Sunday, December 27, 2009

I had some time this morning after finishing up preparation for my lesson today. So, I took a few minutes to read through some posts I had written at the beginning of 2009.

There was a reason for this. I woke up this morning experiencing some of the same feelings of loneliness and rejection that I felt at the beginning of this year, something that almost made me mad. "If 2010 was going to be anything like 2009", I thought, "I don't want to do it!"

Reading through earlier posts made me realize a few things. I've had some hard things happen this year, but I survived. I learned some important lessons, experienced things, both good and bad, that I wasn't anticipating, and had to rely even more on a Father who loves me.

Isn't that why we're here? We go through life, experiencing both good and bad, hopefully learning to rely more heavily on a loving Father, and making the necessary changes so that we can make it back home.

I don't like the hard stuff. I'm not good at it. I grumble and complain. Sometimes I even throw a tantrum. But, hopefully, I emerge better than I was. Hopefully, I grow up. Hopefully, I'm just a little closer to the One whose presence I am wanting to be welcomed into.

Hopefully.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Swimming

A while ago, my sister, Dre, thought it would be fun if Jaime and I joined her in a triathlon sprint next May. So, we bought gym passes and, this week, started our workout. Today was the first day swimming.

In preparation, I, who haven't worn a swimming suit in just about 20 years (not an exaggeration), picked out a swimming suit, we all bought goggles and a swim cap, and Dre visited youtube to get quick instruction on how exactly one swims.

We met at the gym at 6 am. The three of us were dressed in our black suits, very tight swimming caps, and sweet goggles. We were ready!

The pool only has three lanes and two of them were already occupied. So, we tried to talk ourselves out swimming. We even jumped in the hot tub for a few minutes. Then we jumped in the pool - all three of us in one lane.

Dre, aka Michael Phelps, started reenacting what she learned on youtube. I was not a very good student and I think we all thought it would be easier than it was.

We spent the next 30 minutes kicking, swallowing water, entertaining the other two people in the pool, and doing a lot of laughing. We discovered that Jaime can do a mean back stroke, Dre can almost swim as well as Michael Phelps (just a little more practice), and it doesn't matter how hard and fast I kick my feet, sometimes I just won't move.

Can't wait until next time...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Summer of 2009

The other day I was taking a walk up Provo Canyon. I couldn't believe how quickly the leaves were changing and how fall-like it was feeling. Honestly, was summer really over?

While I was walking, I thought about all the different things that happened this summer. I don't remember that I really took a vacation, but I was able to go for a weekend to Fish Lake with my family, something we hadn't done in years. I'd forgotten how much I love it there. I was reminded of great fishing adventures with Grandpa and all of us staying in my grandparents trailer, not to mention the visits to Chappel Cheese in Loa (which, unfortunately, is now closed.)

This summer I was able to get in a few good hikes. I took three of my sister's kids up to the "Y". They were troopers and we had fun hiking up. Audrey was "impressed that we made it clear to the top" and then sorry she'd ever come on the hike as we were headed down. I will admit, up was more fun for me too!

At our store manager's conference I hiked Angel's Landing down in Zion's Park. It was amazing - scary, but amazing. The experience was fantastic. I felt a little pride at knowing that at this point last year I may not have been able to do that hike.

At that same conference I also rode an ATV for the first time. I loved it!!!

The summer was also good because my friend was in town. We saw a few movies, some better than others, spent some time in beautiful areas of Salt Lake that I hadn't seen before, took a drive up to Logan, went to a concert, and had some great walks.

I started P90X this summer. It was hard work for me. Some mornings I got up at 4 am to get the workout finished before I had to be at work. I will admit that there have been a couple of days when it just didn't get done, but overall I have been incredibly consistent. I only have 5 more weeks to go, I haven't lost one pound, but I have gained muscle, lost fat, and feel fantastic.

This was a good summer!!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

One of my favorite things to do is visit places I've never been before. I don't know if I can explain just how much I enjoy it. I feel giddy with excitement, really can't quit smiling and I love taking it all in.

This afternoon was one of those experiences. While I lived in Salt Lake County most of my life, I visited places today that I had never seen before or if I had, I didn't remember.

We started out on a drive through the avenues of Salt Lake. It was so beautiful. I loved the old houses and the big trees that lined the streets.

Then we went to the cemetery in Salt Lake where so many prominent figures in our state's history are buried. It was exciting to go from headstone to headstone. When we saw Willard Richards' my heart was touched and I will admit feeling a little choked up.

As we continued to walk I discovered a whole bunch of Keddington names. I felt like a little kid, going from spot to spot, trying to find the oldest Keddington. I couldn't wait to get home and see if I was related to any of them. It just so happens that John Tipple and Elizabeth Ellis are my great, great, great, great grandparents.

The adventure finished with some more driving though various parts of the city I hadn't been to in ages. I loved all of it. It helped that the person I was with knew so much about the places we saw. That made the experience even more enjoyable.

Friday, July 31, 2009

I hate earwigs! I really believe they are Satan.

I live in an older home and so it has not been unusual to see a few spiders and bugs crawling around. I usually squish them in tissue and flush them down the toilet. However, earwigs are different. They just don't seem to die.

This morning, while taking a shower, I had a brief encounter with a couple of them that has seriously made me reconsider the use of body wash. The experience was not pleasant and they did not live!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Car - Part Two

Early yesterday morning, after a night of not much sleep, I woke up and remembered I had purchased a new car the night before! While the previous day had been long, hot, and frustrating, there was a cute, silver, Ford Focus parked in my driveway. The adventure had been worth it!

My family had tickets to go to the Oquirrh Temple open house. I decided to meet them all in Mapleton, giving me a chance to drive the new car, and show my family.

We left at noon, right on time, and headed to the temple. About the time we hit the Provo Towne Center my sister said that it looked like my hood was going to pop open. I pulled off to the side of the road, pushed on it, and it seemed fine. We started on our way.

By the time we'd gotten to Center Street in Orem, the hood was jumping up and down. I got off the freeway, popped the hood, and looked inside. The contraption that holds the latch down had come unscrewed. Unfortunately I had tools in my old car, but not in this one. I tightened the screws with my fingers and headed to my house.

Lest anyone think that I was calm during this, you are wrong. I was far from it. I had an experience when I was in college where the hood popped up while I was driving. While it caused minimal damage (we were only going 30 MPH), it was incredibly scary. The idea that this would happen while I was on the freeway with a car full of people was almost panicy to me.

When I got home, I grabbed some tools and tried to tighten the screws. They were in a very precarious spot and I knew I couldn't tighten them all the way. I did my best, called my parents to let them know we were once again on our way, and started off, again.

Rather than going to the temple open house, we (all 8 of us in our church clothes) headed back to the dealership. One of the salesman from the night before recognized me and came right over. He asked if I was back to sign some papers and I told him the situation.

He came out with a wrench and did exactly what I had done. He asked questions like, "Are you sure you didn't accidently pull the hood release while you were dirving down the freeway?", or "Shouldn't you have had your husband tighten it for you?". I wanted to say, "Why yes, I did actually pull the hood release while I was driving 70 MPH down the feeway. I've always wanted to know what would happen if I did that". A friend suggested that my response to the husband comment should have been that I would have had him tighten the screws, but he doesn't have any hands.

By this point, my temper had risen almost to the same level as my anxiety. I somewhat calmly pointed out to the salesman that I had had the car less than 12 hours, it only had 7000 miles on it and already something was wrong. He pointed out that it was still under warranty and told me that if I took it to a Ford dealership they would be happy to fix it.

I told him I didn't want it fixed. I didn't want the car and wanted to know what my options were. He said I would have to speak to the manger and left to go inside. I mistakenly assumed that a manager would be out to speak with me. However, 15 minutes later, he came back out, alone.

He politely told me that his manager was "too busy" and all they could do was fix the car. "Too busy", I asked. "You've got to be kidding me!"

He responded by saying that it was, after all, a Saturday and they were busy with customers. I tried to calmly remind him that I was a customer, one who had spent several hours and plenty of money with them the night before.

My dad and I followed him into the smelly locker room where the very busy managers were sitting on their behinds doing absolutly NOTHING. Imagine how happy this made me. Their actions confirmed that I was of no importance to them. Once again I asked what my options were and was told the same thing - I was out of luck and my only option was to take it somewhere else and have it fixed. They basically washed their hands of me. I was not their problem.

I took the car across the street and had it fixed. Any excitement I'd felt about a new car was gone. I know it's not a big deal to any of them, but I will NEVER purchase another car from the Larry H. Miller Used Car Supermarket or even consider purchasing one from Riverton Chevrolet. Because of this experience, a friend who had planned to purchase a car this week from that same lot will go elsewhere.

Had anyone validated how I was feeling by saying that they understood how frustrating this was for me or that they were sorry this had happened, maybe I would feel differently now. But no one did. Not even once.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New Car - Part One

I bought a new car yesterday. It was easily the craziest car-buying adventure I've ever had.

A friend and I started out at 2 in the afternoon. Our first stop was a small Ford dealership. My friend kindly explained to a very pushy man named Bradley, that we were just looking, really didn't want help, and we would find him if we had any questions. He would not go away. So, we quickly looked at a couple of options and left to go look elsewhere.

We stopped at a place where there were several dealerships. During the hottest part of the day, we wandered around for a couple of hours, telling salesmen in several lots that we were just looking, hoping to be left alone.

After a very hot afternoon and some good sunburns, the choices had been narrowed down to 2. We got some much needed drinks and headed back to do some test driving. We went to the first place (yes, back to Bradly) and took a drive. The car was fun to drive, but Bradley's conversation about his love life, his pleading with us to give him a good review (he was new, after all, and it would really help him out), and the three times he told us he wasn't there to ram a tailpipe down our throats made the car not so appealing.

At the second spot we were helped by a man we shall call "Mike". Since we had already been here and had asked questions, we knew what we wanted. Earlier in the day we saw a sign in front of this dealership advertising a great deal on a specific vehicle. We'd asked why it was so good and they explained that it had been a dealer demo and had around 6ooo miles on it.

We told this to Mike, he confirmed what we'd been told earlier, and we took the car for a ride. I loved it!!! It was quiet, powerful, comfortable, fun, and in my price range. I was giddy with excitement!

We left for a couple of hours and then came back to buy the car. It would be impossible to describe my level of excitement.

Mike was thrilled that we were back, sat us down at the table, and began the process. Since I had already been pre-approved through my credit union, there was little we had to do. Mike made a phone call to the secret mafia man that all car dealers have, said "uh-huh" and "right" a bunch of times, hung up the phone, and then proceeded to tell us that the only way I could get that price on the car was if I owned a Nissan or an Infinity. Really?

I was so annoyed. Not once during the three times we had been there had anyone said that. He left to pull some numbers, I sat there and stewed for a few minutes, and we decided to leave.

Mike was standing at the front of the building, right by the entrance. We told him we were going to look around for something else, walked outside, and jumped in the car. He, of course, was watching, ran out after us, and we tore out of the parking lot!

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Plus, I was angry. We parked the car down the road and started walking though car lots once again. I drove another car, just around the block, however, because the windshield wipers broke in half when I turned them on. At this point it was about 8:45 and I was tired and frustrated.

Then we saw it, well actually my friend did. It was a silver 2009 Ford Focus, leather interior, moon roof, and a 6 CD changer. I took it for a test drive and I really liked it. They managed to get the price down where I wanted it to be, and told me it would just be a few minutes. By then, it was about 9:15.

They put us in a room that was terribly hot and smelled like a locker room. I sat there for an hour, while they kept coming back every few minutes to tell me it should only be a few more minutes. I was tired, really needed a shower, and just wanted to go home.

We finally told them we were leaving and would be back in the morning. This was about 10:30. Of course they did everything they could to get us to stay. They offered an entertainment package if we would stay for just 10 more minutes. After 10 minutes, we were ready to leave. At that point, two salesmen were crossing paths, trying to see what they could do to get things to happen. It was actually somewhat comical. Neither one of them knew that the other was trying to do the exact same thing. One of the options was to push us a head of a couple with a two year old. We declined.

Finally, they magically had paperwork for me to sign and I got in the car and drove away. While driving home, the gas light came on. No one had bothered to put gas in the car. There were drink stains on the console, and the dealership floor mats were still in the car, with the actual mats in the trunk, indicating that no one had cleaned or vacuumed it.

"Oh well", I thought. "At least I had a nice, new car."

Boy, did I get a surprise this morning...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

For Good

Today I attended a funeral of a woman I have known since I was very young. Since I heard of her passing, my thoughts have been full of all sorts of memories. She lived across the street from us and I spent a lot of time at her home while I was growing up. I remember her telling me how much she loved cream cheese. When I was getting ready this morning and putting hot rollers in my hair, I remembered that she used to do that. I remember her taking us to Riverton to visit her parents and younger sisters. When I was old enough I would tend her kids.

But, the thing I remember most is that she would do anything for anyone. She loved like the Savior loved. She had a great laugh and seemed to always be smiling.

She made a difference in my life and I'm sure she never knew that. I feel some regret for that, realizing now that I will never be able to tell her.

There are countless people in my life who have influenced me for good. Most don't know it. I need to fix that. video

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Weak Things Become Strong

For the last couple of weeks I've been made aware of things about me that I need to change - things that are holding me back, keeping me from progressing. While the thought could potentially be overwhelming, it has been welcome and encouraging after the last few months.

There's no need to list all of them here (although, some may have thought of weaknesses I have that I haven't even considered. Feel free to speak up!), but I'm anxious for the arduous process that lies ahead as I work on the long list.

Just this morning, an incredible weakness I have caused me to hurt someone. I was quick to pass judgment and was even accusing, all because of my own insecurities. For that, I am very sorry.

I appreciate those who put up with me in spite of my weaknesses, those who can see that there is more to me than that, and those who have hope that at some point those things will become strengths. Thanks for sticking by me, for understanding, and for forgiving.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Never Been Done Before...

...okay, at least by me. Would you believe that until this last Thursday I was perhaps the only person in America who didn't react to the phrase, "I want my two dollars."? It's true. I had never seen Better off Dead!

I went to rent it on Thursday afternoon and the the two guys at the video store (is it still a video store since now they carry DVD's, not videos?) were so excited they could hardly stand it. They were quoting lines from the movie, saying that it was the best movie ever, and I half expected them to show up at my house to watch it. I will admit, other that a couple of weird, animated parts, the move made me laugh out loud and I've found myself the last few days smiling when remembering certain parts of the movie.

Another thing I'd never done until this week, was golf. I won't repeat details since it's mentioned in the post below. My 6 year old nephew didn't believe I'd actually done it. He actually said, "no way" when I showed him where I'd golfed. A friend had to verify that it actually happened before my nephew would believe me.

On Saturday, I hiked up to Doughnut Falls, another thing I'd never done before. The canyon was so beautiful and while the area was crowded, we had a good time throwing rocks, squashing ants, and walking through the mud. I even ran into my last mission companion on the trail. It was so good to see her and then to later chat on Facebook and do some catching up. It brought back lots of memories.

The last picture is not really a picture of something I've never done before. But my two year old nephew, Isaac, is so dang cute that I couldn't resist posting it. Friday evening three of my sisters and I set out to hike up to the "Y" or the "YU" as Isaac calls it.

These last few weeks, recovering from surgery, have not been what I'd expected. I wasn't prepared for the total exhaustion or the emotional reaction that I've had to this. I've spent a few weeks not really sure about things. It's amazing how therapeutic these last few days have been for me. Thanks, everyone!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Golfing

Last night I did something I'd never done before. I went golfing. I guess maybe I can't say that I went golfing. I just went to the driving range and shared a bucket of balls with a friend. Here are the things I learned:

  • I am an impressive golfer (only somewhat more impressive than the four year old who was golfing just down from me).
  • Hitting the ball with all of your strength doesn't make go further. In some cases (okay, a lot of cases) it doesn't make it go at all.
  • It is actually possible to almost hit yourself in the face with a golf ball.
  • The shorter you are, the shorter your club should be. Mine wasn't nearly short enough.
  • Laughing at yourself is a good thing.
  • Someone else laughing at you is also a good thing.
There were a couple of times when I thought I actually hit the ball pretty far. Then I happened to look over at the couple golfing next to us and saw how incredibly far he hit the ball.

If you look closely at the impressive action shot you will see a ball about three feet in front of me. Yes, I actually hit it there. And I hit it hard.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What Makes Me Smile...

Tonight I was reminded of an experience I had when I was 8 years old. I wrote a song for our school's reflection contest. The theme that year was "What Makes Me Smile".

Summer flowers, Spring trees, Humming birds and Bumblebees,

Autumn leaves, Falling snow, Summer breeze that softly blows,

Mother's kisses, Daddy's hugs, Babies laughter, Brother's love,

Mountains pretty, Skies so blue, These things make me smile. Don't they you?

All of those things that made me smile when I was 8, still make me smile today, but I forget, a lot, just how many things there are. This has been especially true the last few weeks.

Being sick when you're single is not fun, but recovering from surgery while living alone has been more difficult for me than I could have imagined. At times the loneliness was consuming and, I think, somewhat hindered my ability to heal. I've had sleepovers with the kids, family over for dinner, attended church, ran errands, and went to work all before I should have because I didn't want to be alone. These things did not speed up my recovery. But I couldn't sit in an empty house for one more second.

The fact is, I'm not alone. I'm surrounded by people who love and care about me. There are so many things in my life that make me smile. I am blessed in more ways than I can count.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Recovery

Having never had surgery before, I had no idea what to expect from the recovery process. These are some misconceptions I had:
  • Feeling great when leaving the hospital ensures a quick recovery. Just because you felt great when you left the hospital, doesn't mean you will feel great by the time you drive the 4 minutes to your house.
  • 40 pain pills will keep you pain free. Pain medication does not eliminate pain. I don't even really think it dulls it. It just makes you so out of it that you don't really care that you're in pain.
  • A good night's sleep in the hospital is an indication of many good nights ahead. This is certainly not true. Who knew it would be more comfortable to sleep in a hospital bed after surgery than in my own?
  • When you wake up two days after surgery, feeling pretty good, it's okay to go into work. It's amazing how tiring driving in a car can be. Then, walking 15 steps into my office just about wiped me out.
Overall, though, it really hasn't been that bad. I've realized just how much I use my stomach muscles to do things like sweeping the floor or doing the laundry. Coughing and sneezing just about kill me over and sleep has been a challenge, especially at night, but I feel more rested than I have in months. I have such great friends and family members who have brought me meals and treats and beautiful flowers as well as spending some time keeping me company. My sweet mom spent two days she really didn't have with me, making sure I was ok.

I'm pretty lucky!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My First Surgery

I have only ever been in the hospital twice (ok, three times if you count when I was born). The first time was right before my mission when my kidney's failed. I spent 5 days at the University of Utah medical center. The second time was yesterday.

For two years I have had an occasional intense pain in my abdomen. It would last for a couple of hours and was accompanied by a whole lot of throwing up. I had three tests to see if the pain was my gallbladder, but everything came back negative.

A little over a week ago it started to get pretty bad. The vomiting and the pain would last all night, so I went to the doctor again. This time she told me to see a specialist and scheduled an appointment for the 27th of July. Well, at 4:00 yesterday morning, after a whole night of pain and puking, I drove myself to the emergency room. They gave me something for pain and did another ultra sound which showed that my gallbladder was full of stones. About 3 pm I went in for surgery.

The hospital stay was pretty uneventful except for the 15 minutes right before surgery. The man who came to take me to the OR crashed into the wall at least 22 times on the way down. He kept saying that the bed was broken, but it was most definitely his driving. In the process, he disconnected my IV which had to then be removed and put in my other arm.

Then they discovered no one had done a pregnancy test and no amount of talk on my part that it was an absolute impossibility for me to be pregnant, would convince them. So, once that was taken care of the nurse noticed while we were standing in the hall that I still had my pj's on. She told me they had to come off. "Right here in the hall?", I questioned. She thought twice and decided the bottoms could be removed in a more private place. Then she asked me when the last time was that I emptied my bladder. This was the same nurse who had just escorted me to the bathroom for the urine sample that they needed for the pregnancy test.

I finally got into the operating room, got on the bed, and went right to sleep. I woke up to two nurses holding me down, telling me to calm down because I had just come out of surgery. I'm not sure what I was doing, but I went back to sleep and woke up later in my room.

I did not react well to the anesthesia and ended up having to spend the night. When the anesthesia wore off about 1 am I felt so great. I slept better than I had in weeks and was more than ready to go when they discharged me this morning. I don't have to be back to work until next Wednesday, and other than the getting in and out of bed, I feel great!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I know it's been along time since I've posted. It's not because I have nothing to share. Really, it's been an eventful few weeks full of traveling, homework, fun, family, and work. But tonight I want to share some things I've been thinking about the last couple of days.

This weekend was our stake conference. There were several themes throughout the meetings, but there was really one that especially struck me. We will all go through hard things. It's how life works. We don't get to choose what those hard things will be and they are usually things we would not expect. However, if we are true to our covenants, follow the words of our living prophet, and do all we are asked, we will be armed with whatever tools are necessary to make it through.

The process seems simple when it's listed out like that or when it's prefaced by "all we need to do is...". For me, the necessity of doing all those things has, at times, created some hard things. I've felt overwhelmed by all I should be doing, but am not, and for me, that causes action in the wrong direction.

But, the last couple days, as I've thought about this message, I felt a renewed desire to change things, a lot of things. And rather than be overwhelmed by all there is to change, for whatever reason, my soul is filled with confidence. Maybe I'm finally growing up!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Day with the Girls

My niece, Audrey, is visiting from Arizona and she spent the night at my house last night. I had to run an errand in Salt Lake this afternoon, and she wanted to visit Temple Square. She also wanted to stop and see her two other cousins.

So, after a long conference call at work, we left, picked up the other two girls, and headed Downtown. We walked through Temple Square, visited the Church museum, and went out to dinner.

The girls had a good time together. Since Audrey lives so far away the three of them don't see each other very often, and Audrey absolutely adores Kandace and K'Lynn. K'Lynn called and asked if she could spend the night. You should have seen the look on her face. I asked her if she was a little excited. She said, "No, I am WAAAYYY excited".

(For the record, I did do Audrey's hair this morning.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

A few days in California

This week I spent some time in Yosemite National Park. We had a leadership conference there and it was so beautiful. Here are just a few pictures.



Friday, March 6, 2009

A Little Embarrassed

Yesterday Haden and I got to hang out for part of the day. He was in his chair and I was attempting to feed him baby food, which he really hates, when someone knocked on the door.

I answered it and it was a man from a mortuary. He explained that he was going door to door in the area, setting up appointments to review with couples their plans for the future. He asked if he could come back when my husband was home.

I don't know why that bugs me so much when people ask if they can come back when my husband is home, but it does. I was annoyed that he would assume that I would have one. I thought of all the things I would have help taking care of - small things like removing a snake from the bedroom floor, shoveling the driveway, taking the car to get fixed, or doing the taxes.

I politely told him that I didn't have a husband and that I really wasn't interested. He was embarrassed, I could tell, and I shut the door, still annoyed at the husband comment. Then I realized I was holding a baby and a jar of baby food. That's why he assumed I had a husband. And I was embarrassed.

Friday, February 27, 2009

One Good Day

I had such a good day today! While I didn't do one thing I'd intended to do, the things I did do where much needed things.

About 10:15 this morning I went over to my parents house. Dre and I were going to do a little shopping for some new shoes for me. I hate to shop! That is no secret. I like to get in, find what I need, and get out. So, it's always better to take her with me. In addition to finding some great shoes, we some some badly needed tops in smaller sizes than those I currently own :).

After that we went to lunch. Haden charmed everyone in the restaurant. He's getting so big and has such a fun personality. He had people falling all over him.

When we got home, we went on a walk/run. I appreciate that she went slower for me. I wish she lived closer so I could do that more often. It would be nice to have someone to go with.

Then we decided to hit a movie - just the girls. We went to see Twilight. Good thing it was in the dollar theater because I would have been mad if regular priced tickets would have been purchased for such an awful movie. We sat on the front row, yes the very front row, and laughed and mocked and shook our heads in disbelief throughout the whole movie.

While I'm now further behind on homework, still have a lesson to finish up for Sunday, and all that other fun stuff to do that normally gets done on my day off, I really needed today.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Honesty - Part II

I suppose I need to clarify some things about the post I did on Sunday about honesty. First of all, I didn't say everything I should have in that short post. Honesty is not the most important characteristic in a future spouse. There are many things I could list. I was having a casual conversation with a man I didn't know and didn't feel it necessary to give him a complete list. Honesty, I thought, was a safe topic, and the intent of my post was to share my amazement at what he considered to be honest or dishonest.

I know it's unrealistic and impractical to expect perfection. We all make mistakes. I'm especially good at them. Part of the reason we're here is to learn and grow and make it back home. But, is it wrong of me to hope that my future spouse would be honest and upfront with me? And, when he's not, that he apologize and we move on?

All I want is a good man, who tries hard to do the best that he can. When he slips and falls, he gets back up, shakes himself off, and continues down the path. Because that's what I try to do.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I was reading the blog tonight of a couple with whom I attended high school. They found out right before the birth of their last child that she had a brain tumor. She delivered the baby early and they proceeded to see what they could do. Today the got word that nothing was really helping. He spent the day consoling his wife as she made mention of the fact that she didn't think she was ready to die.

I moan and groan about my life all the time. Things are too hard or not fun. Someone hurt my feelings. It's hard to be single. Work is a burden. Life's hard. But really, I have it pretty easy. I'm not in a position where I'm trying to figure out what to do without my spouse, or wondering who will take care of my young family when I'm not there to do it anymore.

I wonder a lot why some people have to go through such hard things and others don't really seem to. I know it's all part of Heavenly Father's plan. It's all part of the process that leads us closer to Him so that we can ultimately make it back. I don't like to watch people I care about go through hard things. I suppose, though, that neither did our Father in Heaven as He watched the suffering of His Son. But He did it. He did it so we'd have a way back home to Him. For His sacrifice, I'm grateful.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Honesty

I was talking to a man last night who asked me what I was looking for in a companion. Without hesitation I told him that he had to be honest - completely honest - with me. He said it sounded like I'd had a little experience with this and he asked for some examples. I gave him some big ones - like seriously dating a guy who failed to mention that he was engaged to someone else, but then I also told him that it makes me crazy when people don't do what they say they will. He questioned whether or not that really had to do with honesty.

Seriously? Are you kidding me? It has everything to do with honesty! I was reading an Orson Scott Card article this afternoon which validated my point. The little things have everything to do with honesty.

The article also made me realize that if he's not doing the things he said he'd do, it's because he really doesn't care. Another important thing to be honest about.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Struggling with Juggling

The last couple of weeks have been crazy. I feel like my plate is pretty full and I've found myself having a hard time juggling everything.

As I mentioned before, I went back to school. My first class is halfway through, which is a good thing, because the topic is not one I enjoy, making it harder to study. Since each class is only 5 weeks, it's pretty intense with a lot of reading and a whole bunch of writing. There is something due nearly every night.

In addition to school, one of my callings in my ward is to teach gospel doctrine. I love it, but it scares me to death every time I have to teach. Because of this, I probably over prepare and spend an incredible amount of time studying each week. The study is great. I've learned so much and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Also, last night the Bishop's wife called and asked if I would be on the enrichment committee for March. I think I actually hesitated, which I don't recall ever doing before, as everything I have going on raced through my mind. I told her, though, that I would be happy to do whatever she needed me to do.

Work is always there, adding to my balancing act, as well as a better attempt at a social life (it's true that I actually had a date last week). I've found myself spending time with great people and really enjoying myself. It's good, really good, but puts one more thing on my plate.

I'm not complaining. Really. I asked for more to do. More to consume my suddenly open schedule. I'm sure in a week or so, things will settle down. Actually, I'm kind of hoping they don't. It's good to be busy!

Monday, February 9, 2009

What a Difference a Year Makes

About a year ago I consciously decided that I needed to make a change. I think I've struggled with my weight in one form or another most of my life. Those who've never had that struggle, don't get it and see it as a quick and easy fix. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "all you have to do is..."

The fact is, eating was an emotional thing for me. Still is actually. It was my way to deal with stress, loneliness, and quite honestly any other emotion I happened to be feeling.

I tried countless fad diets. Some worked for a while, but never for long. I had convinced myself that I couldn't loose weight.

Now, I have learned how to make better choices, look forward to daily exercise, and I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can start hiking, walking, and maybe even running outside. I don't deprive myself of anything, just ask the girls at The Pantry.

I'm happier, healthier, have more energy, and have done things I never thought I'd be able to. I've lost 75 pounds so far. Still have a ways to go, but it will happen. I'm looking forward to making it happen.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

How Can I Keep From Singing

Some of you may know that this year didn't start out too great for me. Some unexpected things happened, things I wasn't ready for, and my initial reaction was less than positive.

Fortunately for me, and any with whom I've come in contact, that reaction didn't last long. I have experienced a broad range of emotion, but undeniably, it's the peace and absolute happiness that has been all consuming the last few weeks.

While there have been rough days, angry moments, and too many tears shed to count, I have come out of it all a better person. I have been reminded on countless occasions that He who knows all is very much aware of me. I have had opportunity to ponder and study about things that have increased my understanding. My life has been filled with people and opportunities this last little while that have increased my happiness and strengthened me. For this I am grateful.

There is a song that I love that describes how I feel. We love to sing it as a family, which provides added strength to that which already comes from the lyrics. It's a traditional 19th century song and it's unknown who wrote it. But the words are powerful.

My life flows on in endless song; above earth's lamentation
I hear the sweet, though far off hymn that hails a new creation.

What though my joys and comforts die? My Savior Jesus liveth!
What though the darkness gather round? Songs in the night he giveth!

No storm can shake my inmost calm while to my hope I'm clinging.
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart, a fountain ever springing!
All things are mine since I am his. How can I keep from singing?

Through all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing;
It finds and echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?

I've found myself unable to keep from singing as the blessings of my life have become so much more apparent than the grief. For that, too, I am grateful!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

School

A couple of weeks ago I decided it would be a good idea to go back to school and finish my degree. At this point I have so many credits - about 90 I think. However, I have taken no generals.

When I attended the U right out of high school, I was majoring in music. The program was designed so that it was just about impossible to take anything but music classes the first two years. I think it was designed to weed out those who weren't serious.

After my mission, I took a couple of Spanish classes before we moved to Utah County. Since then I've taken business classes, a bunch of them, but never any generals. I'd have a degree in business and music if only...

Anyway, I finally decided it was time to finish. I found myself in a position where I suddenly had more free time than I knew what to do with. School seemed like a good thing to fill that time.

The classes are online. I only take one at a time and each class is 5 weeks. For me this translates to "I can do anything for only 5 weeks. Even Biology!"

I'll admit to being a little nervous. But I'm also excited for a new adventure.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Haden and I got to hang out yesterday morning. He's 8 months old now and he's getting so big and is so much fun. He makes a terrible mess when he's fed baby food and I'm not very good at actually getting the food in his mouth.

Well, yesterday, after a whole jar, I thought I'd mastered it. Almost all the food got where it was supposed to and we were both relatively clean. I was pretty proud of myself. Then came lunch.

He was eating mixed vegetables, which smell awful! We were having such a good time and were about halfway through the jar. I put the spoon full of tasty veggies in his mouth and he sneezed!

Baby food went everywhere. It was all over my face. I think I gasped. This, plus the mere sight of my orange mush covered face, caused Haden to laugh.

Kids are so great. They remind me of what's really important and tend to make me forget about those little things that I stress so much about. While I wish I had my own, the next best thing is being an aunt. I can't imagine loving these 6 nephews (almost) and 3 nieces more than I do. They bring me absolute happiness!

Monday, January 26, 2009

When Jaime and the kids were staying at my house, they brought their Wii. For the first time, I tried yoga. I did it for about three minutes and couldn't believe how sore I was the next morning. I decided yoga would be a good part of my physical activities for the week.

After deciding I could never justify buying a Wii for myself, although I still really want one, I found a cheep yoga mat with a beginning workout DVD. I tried it out tonight.

I'll admit that some giggling was involved and I kept checking to make sure the blinds were really closed. I don't believe it was really beginning yoga. What beginner can move their legs in those positions? Seriously!

It was a lot of fun and I felt taller after I did it. I think if I keep it up I could actually be 5 foot 4 by the end of February!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

An Incredible Strength

I've been thinking a lot about my family lately. Maybe it's because my sister and her kids have been here and I've been so aware of those members of our family who have not. It's been so long since we've all been together and I can't imagine that it will happen any time soon. We manage to come close, but somehow, we're always missing at least one of us.

Being single and not having a family of my own is without a doubt the hardest thing about my life. Sometimes coming home one more night to an empty house seems almost too much. But I know I'm not ever alone. I have an amazing family, whose strength I always feel. There are even times lately when I feel the strength of those members of my family who have passed on.

It's somewhat amazing to me how it actually works - how that power that binds us together allows us to feel strengthened and uplifted when miles or even a veil separates us. But it works. And I'm glad it does.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Furnace of Affliction

I was studying the other morning and read something that I haven't been able to get out of my mind. It was in 1 Nephi, chapter 20, verse 10. "...I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction."

A commentary on this verse explains this: "It is in the flames of difficulty that the temporal steel of faith is forged. Ease does not call forth greatness."

The "flames of difficulty" are different for each of us. Some struggle with poor health, wayward children, circumstances beyond our control, or a variety of other things. Some of these struggles are very apparent to those who see us, others are buried deep inside and few know just how difficult they really are.

Those flames, while painful, are a necessary part of our journey. Without them, it would be impossible for us to be forged into what our Father in Heaven needs us to be. Those flames force us into an understanding that we can't do it alone. We rely more heavily on the one who knows the end from the beginning. We learn to plead for His help and recognize His arms around us.

And eventually, we become great, like He is.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My sister, Jaime, thought it would be fun to take Audrey and Spencer to a BYU men's volleyball game. The game was this evening and based on the attitudes of some on the way to the game, I was worried that we wouldn't have a good time. Boy, was I wrong.

We got there entirely too early, but we wanted to make sure we had good seats, and we did. A weird thing - the concession stand didn't open when the doors did. We went back three times to get food, because they kept telling us 5 more minutes. Then they didn't really have what we ordered. They refunded our money and I went across the street to get a sandwich for my sister and me. However, we couldn't take food from outside in. That was a little frustrating since it was their fault we had to go get food elsewhere. Once the food dilemma was solved, the rest of the evening was a blast.

Every second of the game was exciting. The kids cheered and clapped. Audrey danced and entertained just about everyone in the arena whenever there was a time out. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat the whole game. We all did a lot of yelling as we cheered on our team. I'm sure that's why they won.

Maybe we'll go to another one next week...

The Princess Party

Jaime and her kids are here visiting from Arizona. We've had some fun adventures. I've been introduced to Wii Fit (still sore from boxing and yoga), I'm beginning to understand Isaac's language, have been to Walmart more times than I care to count, caught a cold from Audrey, and Jaime and I had one heck of a time the other evening clean up after two children tossed their cookies all over the bathroom.

One fun activity occurred spontaneously when Brigham (Spencer) got to go play with the cousins and Audrey did not. Aunt Dre had a great idea. We would have a Princess Party.

We went through mom and dad's closets looking for "princess" dresses for all of us. There were some interesting challenges, the least of which was that Jaime is 7 months pregnant. However, as you can see from the pictures, we all managed to find something. All the princesses danced and we even found a fur coat for Prince Isaac to wear so that he could come and dance with the girls.

Our party was short lived as Dre convinced Audrey that it was just a practice party and the real one would come later. We changed out of our beautiful gowns because real princesses wouldn't eat pizza and play with the Wii dressed like we were. Right?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Symphony

For Christmas this year a friend bought me tickets to the symphony. I haven't been in 15 years, a fact that surprises even myself since I love it so much. Tonight was the concert.

I wish I could remember how old I was the first time I was in that grand hall. I couldn't have been too old. I remember being giddy with excitement as the members of the orchestra were warming up because I couldn't wait for them to begin.

The last time I was there, I was a music major at the "U". I was sitting in the very back, analyzing the piece that was being performed. Nothing kills a good symphony like having to dissect it for a class and I can honestly say that I did not enjoy myself.

However, tonight was amazing. I felt like I had come home. I couldn't wait for the performance to begin and I'll admit to being disappointed when it ended. The final number was emotional, exciting, and energizing. I loved every minute of it!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Things Are Lookin' Up...

Things have been crazy the last couple of weeks. Christmas feels like it was a year ago. Hard to believe that two weeks ago we were celebrating the fact that we only had one more shopping day in our holiday craziness.

For what ever reason, Christmas was hard for me this year. I missed, terribly, the members of my family who were far away and felt an overwhelming sense of loneliness that I just couldn't shake.

I'm not sure how people handle hard times without amazing parents and siblings, a knowledge of who they are, and an absolute certainty of to whom they turn when help is needed that is beyond mortal capacity. For me, having all of those things has resulted in three pretty great days.

I can say honestly that I feel an incredible amount of joy. I woke up this morning with a smile on my face. I've learned so many great things as I've studied this week. Work has been great. The people there have been so much fun. They probably always have been. It was I who needed to change.

I know that there will be hard days ahead. Probably a lot of them. However, I hope this feeling, which is just as overwhelming as my loneliness was last week, stays for a long time. I like it!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My best friend is a guy. We've been friends for a couple of years, but really good friends for just over a year. He's the first person I talk to in the morning and last one before I go to bed. He knows me better than anyone else does, possibly better than anyone ever has. He came into my life when I desperately needed a friend. I am better, so much better, because of our association.

He recently told me about this great girl he met. You can tell by the way he talks about her that he's smitten and I'm happy for him. It was bound to happen eventually. I secretly hoped I would be the first to meet someone. I figured he would survive better without me than I would without him.

I've found myself the last few days not knowing exactly what to do. Even though we've lived in different states, a large chunk of my days have been spent with him in one form or another. Today I was thinking about all the things I'll miss. Here are just a few:
  • Late night and early morning phone calls. Can I wake up to anything but his ring tone?
  • Baseball games. I was just starting to figure them out (sort of). What will I do this season?
  • Youtube videos
  • Songs on playlist
  • Sunday mornings when he would call to make sure I was ready for my lesson. When I'd tell him that I wasn't, we'd always talk it through and he'd assure me that all would be well.
  • Bad days at work. No, I won't actually miss the bad days. Just the fact that I could always call and he understood.
  • Lots of laughing.
  • Nicknames.
  • Deep discussions.
  • Any type of sporting event - especially BYU football.
  • Making me feel like I could do anything.
I want nothing but happiness for him. It's about his turn.

Just don't forget me, okay?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

BYU Basketball

I went to the BYU basketball game tonight, something I've never done before. It was so exciting. While our seats were practically up at the top where it was at least 142 degrees, there was so much energy (sometimes a little too much) and I loved it.

They didn't win - a little disappointing - but it was fun to watch and I had a good time.

I needed it this week.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Change

It's no secret that I don't like change. It's hard for me. I have a hard time when it happens to those around me, even when it something good. I feel left behind and left out.

That being said, I'm ready for some. I'm ready for it to be my turn for something exciting. I'm ready for a new adventure. I'm ready for good things to happen. I'm ready to not be the one left behind. I'm ready to be the one with the good news.

I'm ready.