Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful for...

This Thanksgiving season (that's right, not Christmas yet!) I've been thinking about the things I am grateful for. This year the thing I am most grateful is my wonderful husband. He has been so great for me over the past year and especially these past few months where I've been back at school. He's done wonderful things to help me get through school, from going grocery shopping to talking me through an incredibly stressful class. I'm sure blessed to have him.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I have a blog?

It's been a while. A year or something? Blogging hasn't taken much of a priority lately, but I'm trying to be on Facebook less and this seems like a better place to spend time (when I have it that is).
We've had a fantastic weekend over here. Ellis was able to take a three day weekend and we've taken advantage of me not having class and him being home. We've caught up on some chores around the house and enjoyed having time to not being running all over the place.
The best part of our weekend was this morning. We went and checked out the farmers market in down town Salt Lake. It was so fun! We tried goodies from lots of different vendors. Some of my favorites were all the fancy cheeses and salsas. Yum! We finished by trying out a Korean food truck. Given my Korean food experience in China, I can said Korean food trucks are good, but I much prefer something a little more Asian!

Sunday, December 8, 2013


2013 has been my roller coaster year. I think more than I could have ever expected and more than I would have chosen. I am not where I expected to be right now. And I am so happy.

I've been thinking a lot about our plan, verses God's plan. I've seen a lot of changes and I know God has been directing my life. I'm living a different life than I thought I would right now, but it is a good life.

Today in church we talked about gratitude. The idea was that the key to the holiday season and to a happy life is gratitude, that it can change your perspective on life. So today I am grateful.

I am grateful for the life that I left behind of my dream career in music, and I'm grateful for the life that I now have. It's smaller than I anticipated. I don't do as much performing as I want, and I don't have my dream job, but I love the life I am dreaming. I love coming home to my best friend every night, and I love the progress we are making together.

This Christmas season, I am grateful for where I am and where my life is going.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Wedding Invitation!

Not to brag, but I have one seriously talented husband-to-be. He did all the designing on this invitation, and I love it. It was loads of work in all sorts of different computer programs to get here and a lot of time and brain power on his part. But it turned out great. Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

Ellis & Nicole Wedding Invitation from elliselkins on Vimeo.

The Dating (and Not Dating) Angst

As alluded to in the previous post, Ellis and I were lucky to become friends before we started dating. I highly recommend this method. Being friends first is the best. However, what I can't recommend is what happened during our dating on and off times. But it makes for a good story... so enjoy...

Ellis asked me out for the first time some time in the middle of November. I think it must have been for the 16th by my best count, but who knows. We went to see "Charlotte's Web" as presented by a middle school a little north of us. A long time friend of Ellis' is the drama teacher at that school. The kids did and excellent job and it was a fun evening. I remember coming out of the evening thinking it had been fun, and that I really enjoyed being with him, but had no idea where things would go...

From that point for the next few weeks we went on some on and off dates, but boy were things confusing! Speaking from my side, I remember thinking he was interested about half the time and then not being sure the other half. I remember one particularly funny instance where I had been bemoaning the state of affairs with Ellis with some flute friends, when who should pop up, but Ellis himself.

By the time Christmas rolled around I was convinced that nothing would ever happen for some reason well beyond my understanding. I knew I was interested, but I also knew things didn't seem to be going anywhere. I even remember telling my parents about him while I was home for the break and just being frustrated. Of course, looking back, if someone would have told me I'd be marrying him 8 months later, I would have laughed.

January, February, and March brought more awkward encounters and more confusion. The favorite (for both of us) was in January. I got a text from Ellis inviting me to join a group going to see a movie for his birthday. I was sick of school that day, and thought it sounded like fun. When I showed up that evening Ellis told me that everyone had had to back out at the last minute... which left me in this suuuuuuuuuuper awkward situation... I felt like I couldn't abandon him to go watch a movie by himself on his birthday, but things had been confusing and I didn't really want to go on a date with him at that point. What ensued was probably the most awkward date/not date in the history of dating. I remember awkward conversation, and awkward drive to the movie theater and sitting on opposite sides of our seats at the movie. Yep. And all on his birthday.

During those months it was always that we'd run into each other, and on Ellis part he'd struggle with trying to figure out what he wanted and me wondering what in the world was going on. I'd manage to quit wondering about him and then not long after he would always show up... the nerve! He'd come to all of my concerts, and just seemed to pop up around the HFAC when I least expected him.  We'd always end up having great conversations and enjoy being with each other, but just couldn't seem to move past some sort of awkward friend-but-maybe-could-be-more-than-friends relationship...

To be continued...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Our Story... Part 1

I have a few minutes, so I thought I would start putting up our story so that those who are interested can enjoy it, and so I can start having a permanent record of it.

Ellis and I met my first Sunday back in Provo after my mission. He was the executive secretary in the ward, and asked me to come in to meet the Bishop (or something like that). I remember he took my picture for the ward directory and we started chatting and he told me his brother had just written a flute choir piece. I thought that was cool but didn't think much more of it.
He says he remembers being interested that day, and so a few days later he invited me to come to a party over at his apartment where some guys from the ward were going to be playing in a band, and of course, he was going to be one of the people playing.
I remember debating if I wanted to go. I was the most awkward returned missionary of all time, and the thought of going to a party at some guys house where there would be music with a beat terrified me. I actually walked over two or three times that night before actually going in. During the intermission Ellis came over, sat by me, and we started talking. I remember figuring out after about 10 minutes that he was flirting with me and freaking out a little. He remembers seeing me suddenly look like a deer in the headlights, and so he backed off.

From the point on he would invite me periodically to things over at his apartment, I remember going and watching movies and a few other events running into each other.  I remember thinking he was cool, but not really being ready to date so soon after my mission.  Honestly, I'm not sure I even registered that there was a real possibility for anything more until the end of the summer.

I was at the cougar eat grabbing a snack before going back to the practice rooms when I ran into Ellis. We were getting food at the same place and started chatting while waiting for our food. After our food came I decided I didn't want to eat alone, and just sort of followed him to his seat... I figured we'd chat a little and be saved the boredom of eating alone.
Three hours later we finally left for our separate destinations. We talked so much during those three hours and I remember thinking it was so fun. We had so much in common and so many similar interests. He could talk classical music with me, which I thought was so cool, and I specifically remember talking about the Black Death in the Middle Ages and being impressed that he was fairly knowledgeable on the subject.
After that experience we both remember going back and talking to roommates about each other, but not really knowing what we wanted. It wouldn't be until almost 3 months later, with plenty of random running into each other in between, before we actually went on a real date....

To be continued....

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Life Updates!

Okay, so it has been forever, like really, FOREVER, since I last wrote. The past year has been crazy, and honestly keeping a blog was not my idea of a good time. But after all the crazy comes a whole lot of great.
My big exciting news is: I'm getting married!
Maybe if I get my act together I'll get our story up here. That would be fun. Although probably not until after the wedding, since I'm planning a wedding in a month. Why a month? Because when your family lives in China you get married when they are around, and right now they're in the country so we're going for it.
Anyhow, I didn't have a lot of time. But maybe this is a sign of things to come. Maybe I'll start posting a little more. But don't get your hopes up.
Aaaaaand what you actually want to see:
 The Fiance and I. Right after he proposed.
 My ring!

Aren't we cute. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012


November is the month of gratitude.  I've noticed since the month started, many people have put different grateful posts on their facebooks... I'm not much for putting a whole lot on facebook, but I've had a lot on my mind, and I figured maybe it was time to actually get on here and publish something.

Three years ago this month I first decided to serve a mission.  I've thought a lot about that decision over the past few weeks, and I have been amazed at how grateful I am that the Lord placed me somewhere I originally didn't want to go.  A mission wasn't in my plans, and actually, when I first got my answer to go on a mission I argued about it with God for a while.  I told Him all the reasons I didn't want to go, all the reasons I shouldn't go, and exactly why a mission didn't fit into my plans.

I'm so glad He let me get all that out, and then gently told me again that I needed to go on a mission.  At that moment I felt the most overwhelming sense of love, particularly directed towards those I would serve.  Three years later I can still feel that, and it was that love that carried me through some of the hardest points in my mission.

My first answer to serve a mission wasn't the last time I needed to know that I really was called to serve.  There was a second time, and once again my answer to serve came in a "no" to something else I wanted.  Looking back, I guess I often don't know what I really want or what is really best for me.  But that, I think, is what I am most grateful for this year.   I grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows me well enough to say "no" because He has things for me that I couldn't have imagined.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


I've been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting recently.  Mostly about my mission and my post mission life.  Neither one turned out or has turned out exactly as I planned.  And it is so much better this way.  I remember how scared I was to leave on my mission.  I felt like I was giving up everything to go (yes, I can be melodramatic sometimes but that really is how I felt).  I had a lot of doors that were open to me when I left on my mission and I wasn't sure that they would still be open when I got home.  Everyone told me I would be soooo incredibly blessed for serving a mission, and sometimes I believed them and sometimes I rolled my eyes.

I didn't really begin to get an idea of what blessings I would be given until I was set apart as a missionary.  I was promised some wonderful things upon the completion of a mission.  I remember hearing those blessings and finally saying, "Okay, you can do this, just let go and trust in God."  So, I marched into the Provo Missionary Training Center, and thought all would be well.  It was hard.  Especially when I watched a heard things in letters from friends at home and wondered if those blessings I had been promised really would be there for me when I returned.

Since coming home I have felt so blessed.  Not everything has worked out exactly as I imagined, but thus far it has been so much better.  I've been faced, and am being faced with choices I never expected making and while things are intimidating, I know it will all work out.  If I learned anything on my mission, it was that God often puts us in hard situations to make us grow in ways we would have never imagined.  And that, often, is the biggest blessing of all.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Confession: In the last two months I've started a bazillion blog posts, only to not finish them, or publish them, or forget about them, or who knows what else.

So, I've now survived a term of classes back at school, gone home for a super fun family vacation, and now I'm back in Provo in the midst of recital prep work.  Besides flute, I'm just job hunting and trying to get everything in order for school in the fall.  Life has been pretty good.

I've been thinking a lot about a conversation I had with my Mission President's wife (there has to be a better way to say that one) I had Friday.  I was texting back and forth with her, and she was asking me what I'm up to these days and such, and then she asked me a question that really caught my attention.  She asked, "are you happy?"

Sister Taylor talked to the missionaries all the time about happiness.  She would remind us often that missionaries are as obedient as they are happy, and then say that that equation doesn't just apply to missionaries.  I spent a good deal of time towards the end of my mission talking with Sister Taylor about happiness and finding joy in the journey as I was going through what were easily the hardest months of my mission.

After Sister Taylor asked me if I was happy, it left me to do a lot of thinking.  It's funny how you remember things one way when you're looking back, when at the time your interpretation may have been a little different.  I really miss being a missionary, even though looking back, I'm not sure I was super super happy all of the time.  In fact, I was cranky at times, grumpy during morning exercise, and in the last few months of my mission, completely exhausted all of the time. But I was filled with so much joy because of the work I was doing.  I think that's what I've missed over the last few months.  But, I am happy here, it's just taking some time to adjust all of the way.  And, as I learned on my mission, it's not necessarily about being giddy happy all of the time, it's about finding the small miracles and joys each day.  That's what I'm working on.