Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cue the music...

It's a small, small world.

Tonight, I opened one of the happiest/most fun emails of my life. (And I'm here to tell you, I've had some rockin' awesome emails in my time.)

My friend Jen forwarded me an email that her son, Zane, sent home from the mission field. I won't repost the whole thing, but would you check out this middle paragraph:

     So I was talking with my Bishop while helping somebody move and when it came up that I was from Snowflake he said he knew somebody from Snowflake a long time ago back in College at BYU. His friend ended up being none other then THE Laurie Evans!!! He told me stories of going to Denny's with her and he said that it was one of his favorite things to do in College. I could see how fun that would be with Laurie. So next time you talk to Laurie let her know that I am in Bishop Matthew Woll's ward.

Matt Woll.

Holy moly.

The memories are flooding in. ... And the water looks very much like this:


(photo courtesy of Amy's FB vault of pics - LtoR, Brent, Jared, Matt and Larry)

Matt was in my ward for, like, three years. He was the EQ Pres when I was in my first (and second) RS presidencies. I'm pretty sure that every other member of both presidencies I served with had a crush on the man - and who could blame them, would you look at him? (Julie and I were roommates at the time and we mourned, on a fairly regular basis, that none of the sets of brothers in our ward were tall enough for the two of us.) Matt's apartment, and his brother Craig's apartment, (they were next door to each other) were regulars at Sunday dinners, Christmas in July parties, movie nights, etc.

So many memories. So many good times. So many great people, living in a very small, tight-knit church community.

The BYU 3rd ward was life-changing, on so very many levels. I'm tickled pink that Matt Woll would not only remember who I am, but be able to tell stories to Elder Owens about the good times we used to have together.

I tell you what, I've been blessed - my whole life - with truly amazing people for friends. And this man, who is now a bishop on the other side of the country, working with one of my best AZ friends' sons, has always been one of my favorites. 

This game called life is such an amazing journey, isn't it? I love it when I get to actually, literally, see the ties that bind us to each other.

It is a small (and totally awesome) world. I love it!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

How can I find comfort when someone I care about dies?

Sometimes, life throws you a curve ball.

Last Sunday, I was asked to flip lessons and teach this Sunday (today), instead of next. I agreed to teach said lesson without asking what the assigned topic was.

Uh... hello. See the title of this post. THAT was the assigned topic.

Interesting, as I've been in a bizarre form of denial about Mark. (Some of it mourning, as in sadness, some of it is anger, and... I am sorry to say that I've just put a finger on this in the past week... some of it survivor's guilt. Which, really, I'm thinking is probably the root of some of the anger.)

Anyhoo, this lesson hit me like a freight train. And I had some SERIOUS grumpiness directed at The Powers That Be (aka: God) that THIS is the lesson that fell into my lap. So much so that I put off reading all the recommended conference talks until this morning, and that's when it hit me. ("It" being the freight train.)

Would you read this quote? Oh my goodness gracious, it's like Elder Nelson was speaking DIRECTLY TO ME, in a talk he gave over twenty years ago:

Irrespective of age, we mourn for those loved and lost. Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love. It is a natural response in complete accord with divine commandment: “Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die.” (D&C 42:45.)
Moreover, we can’t fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life.
Russell M. Nelson, “Doors of Death,” Ensign, May 1992, 72–74
Again, "the only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life."

Insert my softening heart right here.

It's worth it. The grief and the sorrow when we lose someone we love? ... It's TOTALLY worth it. Because if we didn't love those people so much, they wouldn't leave a hole. But we do love them, so they do leave a hole. ... And since the cost of not missing them would be not loving them, the pain is worth it.

Am I still sad (and sometimes mad)? Yeah. Do I have a measure of guilt (that I know is irrational, because it's not like this is a choice I made, or a circumstance I created), because I am still here and Mark is gone? Also, yeah. ... But I have a heck of a lot more peace than I did even 24 hours ago, and for that, I am grateful.

You've got to know that I still cried through my entire lesson (I'm a weepy little thing), but I'm so grateful for the "opportunity" (I put that in quotes, because I fought this lesson good and hard) to teach this exact lesson - right now, when I  needed it.

It's amazing to me, how the Lord creates circumstances to meet our needs. Simply amazing. Poetic, even. I love Him.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Happy Anniversary!

Guess who moved to Mesa eight years ago, today?

That would be me.

I cannot believe I've been here for eight years. In some ways, they've been the fastest years of my life. In others, they've been the longest. ... But no matter how I look at it, I struggle to believe I've been here.

For. Eight. Years.

It's a funny story, actually, how I ended up here. I knew it was time for me to make a move (pun intended), and for several months prior to making a final decision, I was weighing Provo, Utah and Louisville, Kentucky as my options.

You heard me: Kentucky.

What can I say? I read a lot of horse books when I was a kid, and Kentucky was painted as a very lovely place. Rolling hills, thoroughbreds, white picket fences, etc. Also, I had a good friend and former roommate who lived in Louisville who I'd been to visit a few times. I'd fallen smack in love with the architecture, the rolling hills, the fall color, the general kindness of anyone/everyone I met. ... I'm telling you, southern hospitality is a real thing, people.

Utah was tempting, because it was familiar. Kentucky was tempting because it WASN'T familiar. In Utah, I'd be surrounded by extended family. In Kentucky, I wouldn't have family for, literally, thousands of miles. I felt like they were both great, viable, options and I just needed to make the choice between two really good sides of a coin.

And then I prayed about it. ... And couldn't get confirmation from The Man Upstairs on either plan. (And I'm here to tell you, I made QUITE A CASE for both of them. Nevertheless, I couldn't get a warm fuzzy to save my soul.) So, I asked a flat out, open-ended question about where I should go. And it came flying at me: Phoenix.

I'm pretty sure that I rolled my eyes and thought something along the lines of, "Yeah. Right. Sure. Move to the desert. That's gonna happen." And then I thought about it for a minute - just long enough to ask, in prayer, for confirmation that Phoenix was the right place for me to be - and I had an overwhelming feeling/recognition that I needed to be in the valley of the sun.

I went home and went online and, within hours, found an apartment in my price range online. I went to work the next week and arranged an interview to transfer with the company I was already working for. Maybe six weeks later, I packed up my car and drove myself down to said apartment and moved in over President's Day weekend.

And I've been here ever since.

Here, where I fell into the lap of the most incredible church community I ever could have asked for. Here, where I've met and worked with some of the most quality people I've  known in my entire life. Here, where I am - at most - three hours away from my parents. (They've made a trip down more than once because they knew I needed them, and I'm beyond grateful that I haven't been 6,000 - or even 600 - miles away from home.) Here, where my brothers and their families live. Here, where Jo is only five minutes away. Here, where I have had access to medical treatment in facilities that were fully equipped and able to handle my bizarre needs. Here, where my beloved Dr. H practices. Here, in an apartment that has never been too expensive for me to justify staying in my own place, even when I couldn't work.

Eight years and two months ago, I was pretty hellbent on making a wildly different decision than I ended up making. Now, I'm sure I would have had a heck of a support system, no matter where I'd ended up in the early winter of 2006 (I have a knack for attracting the best people, everywhere I go), but I'm so glad that I stayed in Arizona, that I ended up here.

Happy Anniversary to me and my teeny tiny (600 sq ft) apartment, my city of residence, and all of the people who've been along for the ride in this phase of my life. Life is good. Even when it's crazy, it is good. I am blessed.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Egg yolk in the bathroom sink

I must apologize to any readers who are put off by the site of a less than pristine sink. (As a woman who is more than a little compulsive about keeping sink bowls clean, I'm surprised that I am posting this pic.)

This morning, as I was brushing my teeth (sans corrective eyewear), I noticed a yellow spot in the sink.



"That's weird", I thought, "I wonder how in the world I got egg yolk in the sink. I haven't eaten fried eggs in... I can't even remember how long."

I bent down and practically put my face into the sink, squinching my eyes up so I could get a better look.


Sure enough. Dried egg yolk.

I straightened back up and continued to brush my teeth, thinking back on the last few weeks, trying to pinpoint the last time I'd eaten fried eggs. Unable to remember when I'd last eaten eggs, much less reconstruct a scenario in which I would have been eating a runny-yolked egg over my BATHROOM sink, I decided that the spot had probably been there for weeks and I was just now noticing it. Which is weird, because I am NEUROTIC about having even one stray hair in the sink bowl. ... But whatever. I figured I must have been a little preoccupied lately, and this spot of egg somehow missed my notice.

And then, as I finished brushing my teeth, I reached forward with my left hand to turn the water off, and I saw it...


Oh yeah. Dial, much like the color of egg yolks, is a bright yellow.

Phew! It seems that I had NOT been sleep-eating fried eggs over the bathroom sink. Rather, I was simply suffering another attack of the early-morning crazies. (What kills me about this story is that I spent actual time trying to remember how/when I'd have been eating eggs in the bathroom. Like THAT was a perfectly reasonable thing to have done at any point in time. I wasn't one bit concerned that I'd been eating eggs in the bathroom, just bugged that I'd somehow left a spot on the porcelain.)

A morning person, I am not. .   

Saturday, February 1, 2014

What you (may have) missed...

Guess who's back? ... Me.

My computer has been down for, like, a month. (As in, LITERALLY a month. Check the last post date.) I'd been thinking it had something to do with my computer itself, but my bro Spencer was over this morning to put my new TV together for me (because I'm am beyond helpless when it comes to these things) and... it seems a cord had fallen out of one of those little boxes that live under my tv. It may be the router. ... I honestly don't know what those boxes are called. I just know they have blinking lights and my internet connection depends on them. ... Anyway, Spence plugged the cord back in and voila! Ye olde laptop is working again!

So, during the month of January... this is what you missed:

My friend Cindy bought me a TV. 



You heard me. MY FRIEND BOUGHT ME A TV. 

Her reasoning was that she reads my blog and she'd seen pics of the old box TV in my living room, so she knew I "needed" a flat screen. Hello! Who buys someone a flat screen television?! ... My friend Cindy, that's who. I'm still blown away by her thoughtfulness and generosity. Even now, as I sit here, watching last night's episode of Blue Bloods, I am amazed that this clarity and PRACTICALLY LIFE-SIZED VIEW OF TOM SELLECK was a gift from my dear friend. ... I may not have actually needed a new TV, but I sure am enjoying it!

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I took a little Sunday drive to Thatcher MLK weekend to do a youth fireside in my friend Evvie's ward. (I do not recommend the drive. It was like going to Holbrook and back. Six times in a row. Ugh. ... But I did have a great time, once I got there. I would recommend going to her ward, and visiting with the youth in her area. They were fabulous!)

After the fireside, Evvie gifted me with a beautiful pink box... 



...full of EVERYTHING I LOVE!

Hello! Best (okay, only) "Thank You" gift. Of. My. Life.

I feel like there are two important take-ways in this little tale:

1) Because I am addicted to public speaking, I'll go anywhere I'm invited to go. Seriously. Anywhere. Anytime. And I'll talk about anything that any of you would/could ask me to. I love that stuff!

2) And, speaking of stuff that I love... I'd like it (who's kidding who? ... I'd LOVE it) if I could get a box of salt water taffy and other assorted candy as a Thank You every time I speak somewhere.

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I pooped my pants.

Yeah, you read that right. I pooped my pants. Sort of a lot. (Five times in four days.) But the first time was the best/worst.

I don't want to be too graphic, so I won't give you ALL the details, but I will tell you that I was standing in WalMart when it happened. True story. (Because if you're going to have that kind of an accident in public, is there a better/worse place for it to happen than in the bread aisle at your local WalMart? ... I think not.)

And I'll also tell you that you don't EVER want to have that kind of thing happen when you're wearing Spanx - because all that lycra just makes everything spread. Everywhere. ... Suffice it to say that there was a grown-up blow-out situation and I came home and threw one of my beloved 62 pairs of panties straight into the trash. That's one day sooner that I'll have to do laundry next month, and I'm all kinds of upset about it.

Henry and I are, once again, friends off. (I hold him entirely responsible for all the weird poop issues of January, 2014.)

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I went to Utah, so I could say my final goodbye to this great man:


It's still just... well, surreal.

I'm so glad that I was able to go back for Mark's services. I'd been able to spend a few days in Utah just before Christmas, and I'll always be grateful that I was blessed to be there when Mark was still home, so I could spend time with Mark and Rachel and the kids (and other varied and assorted relations) at the Provo house.

Mark was so very much more to me than my cousin's husband. He was my friend. I'm so grateful for my association with him, for the many conversations we were able to have over the years. I'm grateful for his impact on my life, for his kind and patient nature. It was great to be able to be in Utah last week, to get a glimpse of how many lives he had touched. He'll be missed. ... So much. ... By so many.

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I laughed my guts out.

Literally.

I only wish I was kidding. 

Here's what happened... Christian and I went to Jesterz last night (you know I love that place, right?!), and I laughed so hard that I think Henry grew another inch.

For real.

There was this one game, where one of the actors was pretending to be a cat. ... Man alive, I laughed so hard that I had to fold my arms over my stomach and push in, so I could get Henry back inside of my body where he belongs.

After the show, we were talking in the parking lot when I realized that I was having an altogether unholy kind of abdominal pain. ... So we got into Christian's car and she drove to the other side of the parking lot so we could get a hot chocolate. (Because nothing soothes an achey stomach like hot chocolate. JUST KIDDING. ... It was cold. Which is all the excuse I need for a cup of steaming cocoa with a thick layer of whipped cream on top.)

And to top it all off... When  I got into bed last night, I couldn't lie on my side, because the gravity pulling Henry down to the mattress hurt so bad that it made me want to cry. (I mean, it also made me want to laugh. Because it was laughing that got me into this mess. But whatever.)

This stupid hernia is going to be the death of me.

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I got pulled over for drunk driving.

True story.

Last night, on the way home from the comedy show, I got pulled over. For DRUNK DRIVING.

It seems that I made a wide turn as I exited the freeway last night. A kind motorcycle cop saw me swerve into the bike lane for a half a second (in my defense, it was 11:00 PM and there were absolutely no bikes on the road at the time, so I wasn't paying as much attention to the bike lane as I would during... you know... "bike hours"), so he followed me almost all the way home.

When he walked up to my window, he asked (like they always do) if I knew why he had pulled me over. And I (like I always do), said "No". ... And that's when he told me about the wide turn/erratic driving.

I gave him the license, actually saying the words, "I swear to you, all I've been drinking is hot chocolate!", and asked if he needed to see my insurance and registration.

I'm not sure if it was that my eyes were clear, that my diction was excellent, that I had a hot chocolate cup sitting right there in my driver's side cup holder, or what... but he smiled at me, and said "No, that's not necessary. I'll just take you at your word." ... And then he gave me a little police escort home and then went on his merry way.

Phew! ... Because having to take a breathalizer when, seriously, all you've had to drink is a hot chocolate would have been kind of silly.

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And that's the month of January in a nutshell, kids.

You didn't miss much. ... I'm hoping February will be more fun and less poopy. (And I mean that in both the literal and figurative sense of the word.)