Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Persistence WORKS! And, I am OFFICIALLY AMAZING!!!

So, ever since I joined this blogging world many moons ago it has been a trial and error (mostly error) learning experience on how to post things. I got the basics down... and that took a while!

How some of you have cute blocks of pictures, graphics, and side applications, etc. I still have NO idea!

A miracle occurred in my life tonight
and I've conquered one more step in the blogging world!
(hence making me officially

I added a Youtube Video!!
(see post below... and enjoy because
that is there ONLY by a miracle!)

Now, I know some of you are laughing
because of the silliness of my
over this feat

but you just have NO IDEA!
I've tried so many, many times and
ended up frustrated each time.

this time I didn't give up!

Persistence works!!!

and, I am AWESOME!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Random Sampler

So my life has been very eventful recently... but not totally in a good way! And, I am just tired of talking about it, so I'll spare any reader from it. But, I will say, that sadly, I have learned, yet again, the hard way, that bullies exist even when they're 60 years old! Some things never change and it's so sad :(

So, I have been very blessed to have come across some random things I would like to share as they've caused me to pause and think...

The first is this quote:
"Patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!
The children of Israel waited 40 years in the wilderness before they could enter the promised land. Jacob waited 7 long years for Rachel. The Jews waited 70 years in Babylon before they could return to rebuild the temple. The Nephites waited for a sign of Christ’s birth, even knowing that if the sign did not come, they would perish. Joseph Smith’s trials in Liberty Jail caused even the prophet of God to wonder, “How long?”

In each case, Heavenly Father had a purpose in requiring that His children wait.

Every one of us is called to wait in our own way."
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Continue in Patience", April 2010 General Conference
I love this quote mostly because of the definition it gives to the word "patience" and because I had never correlated those stories in the Bible/Book of Mormon with what I need to be patient for. Sometimes I wish I could just see the end from the beginning. Then I'd have patience, right??! But, probably not. I just need to remember to have continuous faith and hope that the time will come!

Next random, but thought-provoking, quote:

“One day my daughter got a sliver in her finger. It really hurt and I had to take it out. But taking it out hurt too. I held my daughter on my lap. I talked softly to her and tried to be gentle. But she kicked, screamed, and fought all the way. I tried to tell her that if she relaxed and stopped fighting, it wouldn’t hurt as much. I tried to tell her if she just trusted me, the pain would be gone before she knew it. But she was too scared to trust. When I got the sliver out, she was so mad she just cried and beat on my arms. It hurt that she didn’t trust me. It hurt more that she had made her pain worse than it had to be."

I got this quote from a book I had to read recently by Melody Beady. Sometimes I feel like this is my relationship with the Lord. When things are hard, I know I "kick, scream, and fight" because I am too scared to trust that the Lord's plan will work (as it ALWAYS HAS!) and I know these actions are making it worse for me and more painful in the long-run. Overtime, and through learning the hard way, I have learned to trust a little bit more, but I still have a long way to go! And, I wonder how much my lack of trust and faith has hurt the Lord... He must wonder and shake his head at how stubborn some of his children are and say "If they only knew how to let go and trust how much easier life could be for them!"

But... oh - it's still so hard at times! I like control and want to feel like I am in control!!!

Next random thing:

Got this in an email and it brought back memories of middle/high school when I first became a Michael McClean fan. I REALLY like this song and it's even more powerful when put together with slides. This video is from a presentation made at a recent fireside for my church here in my area...

Hold On, Hope On, Be Healed (Micheal McClean)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Take me out to the ball game!

So, it's not Boston... and definitely not the Red Sox, but today I went with my roommate and some friends to the Nationals V. Brewers game (both equally bad!) and the Nationals won!

There's just something about sitting in a baseball stadium on a beautiful, sunny afternoon. Relaxing, talking, seeing the crazy games played on the sidelines and projected on the big tv screen during breaks in the game, watching people drink beer after beer around you, and listening to their conversations too.... there's just something uniquely American about it!

Especially going to the stadium in our Nations capitol!
And, we had a fabulous view of the Washington Monument
from our seats. Just such a great reminder of where I am
and how lucky I am to be here!
My roommate, Becca, and I after singing
"Take me out to the ballgame"
during the 7th inning stretch!

Friday, April 16, 2010

He was walking her home, holding her hand :)

Have I mentioned my favorite radio station in D.C. on this blog before? I think so. But, if not, it's a Contemporary Christian Station, WGTS 91.9. I like to call it my "gospel" station and I have truly fallen in love with it. Finally a radio station where I don't have to monitor the songs for the "little ears" I sometimes have in the car with me... or even my own ears! Yes, occasionally you get the preacher on there and I can sometimes listen to what he says... but mostly it's just uplifting, positive, family-friendly music! The make-you-feel-good kind of stuff!

Well, I was in the kitchen cooking this week and this song came on the radio. Normally, I don't really pay attention to the words and it's just background for me when doing chores in the house, but this song struck me and I had tears in my eyes by the end of it!

Here's the link on youtube
I highly recommend watching this on youtube
with the music and the pictures... adds to the effect!

(oh my gosh - I am crying again listening to it!)

He was walking HER HOME
by Mark Schultz

Looking back, he sees it all.
It was her first date the night he came to call
And her dad said "Son, have her home on time, and promise me you'll never leave her side."
He took her to a show in town,
And he was ten feet off the ground.
He was walking her home, holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled, it stole the breath right out of him
Down that old road, with the stars up above
He remembers where he was the night he fell in love
He was walking her home.
Ten more years, in a waiting room.
And half-past one, was when the doctor said
"Come in and meet your son."
And his knees went weak, when he saw his wife
She was smiling as she said "He's got your eyes."
And as she slept he held her tight
His mind went back to that first night.
And wandered through the best days of her life
Sixty year together and he never left her side.
A nursing home, at eighty-five
And the doctor said it could he her last night.
And the nurse said "Oh, should we tell him now? Or should he wait until the morning to find out...?"
But when they checked her room that night,
He was laying by her side.
He was walking her home, holding her hand,
Oh, the way she smiled when he said "This is not the end."
Just for a while, they were eighteen
And she was still more beautiful to him than anything.
He was walking her home. (x2)
Looking back, he sees it all.
It was her first date the night he came to call.

Now, that is one of my top goals in this life.
To have a marriage like that.
I have to keep the HOPE and FAITH
that this goal is still attainable!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spring Break 2010!

Spring BREAK

Could not have been MORE fabulous. Just what the doctor ordered. Now, I realize this is not what a doctor would have ordered for someone else, and you might think it's boring, but OH - I needed it more than I think I knew at the time!

Many of my teacher friends went to beautiful and amazing places. Honestly, I was jealous and even spent oodles of time in February looking into trips, but nothing felt right. Skeptical and not very excited about it, I accepted the feeling I had that I should not travel anywhere and do a
STAYCATION. Honestly, I was nervous about this because I am not one to sit around or do things by myself, but I decided to make the most of it. For the two weeks before spring break I started making a list of all the things I wanted to do this week... and I am proud to say I GOT THEM DONE and some other things as well!

Here's a summary:

Spent last Saturday organizing my living spaces and cleaned my entire apartment! Doesn't sound like much fun, but honestly, for me it was so
refreshing! It was my spring cleaning! Air out the apartment, and push winter as far away as possible. And this also allowed me to stay home and wait all day for Comcast (oh - I have serious issues with their customer service, but really like their technicians. I just dread the next time I actually have to call them. SO NOT HELPFUL. But, the Lord gave me a tender mercy and reminded me that miracles really can AND DO happen.)

Monday I actually had to go into school for some certification stuff. Only found out about the requirement last Thursday, but hey - gotta do what you gotta do by June 1st so why not do it now! And, the weather was pretty nasty so I didn't mind really. The lady helping me went above and beyond her call of duty and I was so appreciative! This also allowed me to be at school and get lots of lesson plans done with NO interruptions. So, I felt successful!

A special treat on Monday night was attending a concert at the Temple Square Visitor Center where I had some friends singing/playing music about our Savior. It was fabulous. I love how talented some people are! BUT, then, Evan, Madison and I were SO fortunate to get last-minute tickets to the Terra Cotta Warrior exhibit at the National Geographic Society before it left on Wednesday. I had wanted to go for so long, but tickets immediately sold out. However, the last two weeks, the museum decided to open from 9-12 PM and let more people in to see it! We were fortunate to get tickets fro 9:30 PM on Monday. Here's some info on them

The exhibit was BEYOND cool. I honestly didn't know anything about it, but I am so glad I was able to attend!

Tuesday... Got a ton of errands done as the weather was still pretty nasty. Again, renewed my love for Target. Seriously, I LOVE THAT STORE!.... but oh - had a "senior moment" when I locked my keys inside Juliette's house. DRAMA, but again a "tender mercy" from the Lord came and I didn't have to wait too long before help arrived (everyone with a key was OUT OF TOWN for spring break!!!! except for one person!)

Wednesday/Thursday... weather changed to become INCREDIBLE!

So, I love the fact that Evan and Madison moved a mile away and look forward to getting to know Madison better! And, loved even more that Evan doesn't start work until Monday... so we went to the Great Falls National Park. So pretty. I love the fact that he's wearing his high school windbreaker in this picture and told me that if he ever lost it, there's no amount of money he wouldn't pay to get another one :)

I LOVE Evan!!!
I felt so blessed to me able to spend some one on one time with him
before he starts an incredible, but intense, job next week.
I've always looked up to this kid... literally and figuratively!
He's so patient, understanding and non-judgemental
I LOVE how he always ends our conversations
on the phone or in person with
Never fail... I LOVE that about him!!

This picture is from the rapids. It's incredible the amount of water shooting down this river. Much more than normal. Everywhere on the east has had an incredible amount of rain this season and the snowfall amounts from the winter contributed to it as well.

So, another thing I loved was the chance I had to go to the outlets! Two different ones between Wednesday and Friday. Wednesday's stop was planned on my drive back, but Fridays was a surprise as I realized I was actually passing the Leesburg outlets on my drive to
A co-worker first told me about this place a few weeks ago and since we talked about it, it was #1 on my to-do list this week! I think the combination of history (especially since I had just finished the book "The Help" which is about African-American women in the south, and another book on along similar lines). I didn't know much about John Brown and wanted to know more! I also loved that it wasn't too far a drive and that it had a national park associated with it so I could go hiking/exploring! So, this was a MUST this week. I needed to do something "outside my box", if you know what I mean. (a.k.a... the usual daily stuff)

My drive out there was beautiful! Sometimes I forget what the woods and countryside look like! Also, the above picture doesn't show it too well, but the town of Harper's Ferry is located in West Virginia, but it comes to a triangle point where Maryland, Virgina and West Virginia meet! This picture is from the Maryland side. You can cross a foot bridge from Harper's Ferry to hike up this side. There isn't a foot bridge to the VA side, but there is a bridge a couple of miles down the road and that's the bridge I drove across to get there. You can also see the train tracks in the picture above.

Well, little did I know that Harper's Ferry is also about half-way between Maine and Georgia on the Appalachian Trail! Pretty cool, I thought!
When I arrived there I was drawn right to the Amtrak station! Ha - reminded me so much of the town I grew up in Rhode Island. A small station with fond memories of taking the train from RI to PA.... oh so many times! It had a very cute, historic train dept and I was lucky to have a train arrive just as I was arriving. I hopped out of the car quickly to take a picture of the train conductors and people getting on. This probably sounds crazy I was so fascinated by this, but it brought back so many memories for me and gave me a feeling like I was really in the country. Hey - it's not Union Station in DC!
Off it goes into the tunnel...
The beautiful river surrounding the town on two sides.
Picture of historic Harper's Ferry!
This picture doesn't do it justice on how HILLY it was.
Like straight uphill and down. My quads got a workout!
Here is a picture of the armory (which is a replica). I didn't know anything about John Brown, really, or Harper's Ferry and how essential it had been for early settlers as well as the role it played in the start of the civil war!

I HIGHLY recommend this link if you want the top highlights of what this town has meant for our Founding Fathers and the years since then!
This quote made me stop and think. Save it for another blog post, but Henry David Thoreau said:

"Is it not possible that an individual may be right
and a government wrong?
Are laws to be enforced simply because they were made?
or declared by any number of men, if they are NOT good?"

I am not sure if he was referring to the slavery laws, and our country has come a long way, but I thought this was a great quote to ponder and talk about!
Here's a painting of John Brown. One of my new heroes in standing up for what is right when the majority is against you.... and seeking your life for standing up for what's right. He was murdered in a terrible way, but made me think of the example Joseph Smith set and being willing to die for the truth and what he knew to be RIGHT.
I highly recommend a visit to this town if you're ever in DC area. Not only is the history interesting, the area is beautiful and custard (ice cream) can be found for sale everywhere!

One of the things I like to do when driving through a country town is to drive down some of the side streets, look at the homes, and imagine people living there. Such an unknown world to me. There's no large grocery stores, shopping areas, fitness centers, malls, metro stops, movie theaters, etc! What do these people do with their time??? Where do they work?? Even their school was K-12. Since it was a nice, spring day, I saw many people sitting on their porches, rocking in a chair while watching traffic pass by, or talking with others. No rushing, fast-paced life. In fact, I never saw one of the local people with a BLACKBERRY or techy cell-phone (but saw many visitors with one typing away as they walked around town!!)

I thought of myself living in a town like this and got a little anxious in my stomach because I think it would be VERY hard for me! But, then, I've never had the opportunity to, and YES - it would def. be a complete change from how I know how to "live". However, I don't think these people are miserable or unhappy. Many, if not all, in fact, probably love it! But, it made me grateful for my life and how things are because I am happy!

However, as I was driving out of town I happened to drive past this....
Never saw a grocery store, gas station, or anything...
but YES! They do have a 7/11.
YES - I really could LIVE here if I could have a
Slurpee and BIG GULP every now and then :)

Saturday was the start of General Conference, which is always wonderful! But, an extra special treat was to be able to meet Michelle downtown and walk to the Tidal Basin to see the Cherry Blossoms! History here

So, everyone, along with their mom, dog and three neighbors were there today. It makes sense. Weather was BEAUTIFUL and they are in peak bloom from April 1-4 (seriously, this has been the top news story ALL week!!), but honestly, until you're in the middle of the crowds it's hard to imagine just how many people can be in one place at one time!

Michelle is a friend from Boston, who I have always admired and respected, and now lives in UT. She came here for a weekend trip, and boy, did she pick the right time to come!

A picture of the two of us in the trees.
Paddle Boats and Cherry Blossoms
I remember going on the paddle boats when I was a lot younger with my dad!
We tried to do it as well, but the line was over an hour wait!
Blossoms up close. So pretty!

Just resting... and enjoying the wonderful weather and trees!

As we entered the Tidal Basin area I saw this stump with the plaque. It was over 80 years old, but a victim of the February Blizzard. That's one snowstorm I will NEVER forget!

Tomorrow is General Conference and Easter. Another great day. I am so grateful and truly feel blessed to have had this wonderful week!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Evan & Madison Fitzpatrick, February 6, 2010

Evan and Madison Fitzpatrick
Albuquerque, NM Temple
February 6, 2010

A beautiful wedding, but a trip I will never forget (because I was sick!) I'll spare the details on the being sick part, but it really hindered my involvement in the wedding as well as my ability to go out and explore the area!

(As a notable side note: This is the 2nd family gathering/trip that I have been sick on in the past two years. I NEVER get the flu when I am in town and can stay home in bed... only when I travel! Not a good trend I want to continue.)

So, I'll just stick with the wedding details. However: if anyone is ever in the area of NM, I would recommend a stop in Old Town Santa Fe, NM. I only saw brief parts of it as I stayed mostly in the car when we went to visit, but it was very nice. Lots of art galleries, jewelry dealers, and neat architecture.

As you can see it was a BEAUTIFUL day to get married. One thing I had been really excited about before the wedding was that I thought Albuquerque would be WARM in February. But, was quickly informed this was not the case. Hey, it was in the 40s so at least it was better than DC!

This was also the turning point for me when I crossed from feeling ill to actually feeling normal again. It was like an immediate switch on the drive to the temple. I had spent the morning in bed, but felt a TON better by the time I arrived here!
Albuquerque, NM Temple
This was my first time attending a sealing and it was beautiful. Nothing can compare. Of course, those attending were able to leave the temple before Evan and Madison, but here is a picture of their "official" walk out of the temple as husband and wife!

(ha, ha... they had walked out once already, but we weren't ready for them, so they went back in and walked out "officially" in this picture :)

This is a picture of Madison's fun family
... with one new addition, of course!
My family with a new beautiful addition as well.
Sadly, we were missing Justin's wife and two sons.
Someday we'll all get together
in the same place and same time.
After the wedding, we had some time before the luncheon. This gave me the chance to spend some time with my dad... who I really had not been able to spend time with because of being ill. A treasured time for me :)

But, with the good, often comes the bad. Upon arrival at the luncheon, I checked the messages on my phone. ... the dreaded phone call people had been teasing me about all day had come. My flight back to DC the next day was canceled due to the


as officially declared by President Obama.
(The 2nd one of the winter season!!!!
Why did I move here again???)

So, needless to say, I was very shaken by this because my family was all leaving on Sunday morning and I was being told I couldn't get a flight until Tuesday night. I envisioned me being in a hotel room without a car and no family around. Honestly, I kind of lost it ... literally... because I just wanted to be back in my own bed and my own apartment after having such a difficult travel experience up until this point with being sick! Thankfully, my angel mother was able to step in and handle my new travel plans... details below.

But, sadly, I missed the entire luncheon and my mom missed the 2nd half of it because she was on the phone with the travel agent. Ugh - really poor timing. But, I heard the toasts and everything were wonderful. The luncheon and the reception later on were held in this very old church. Not a typical church, but one with white adobe (?) walls, I think. Very cute and quaint in a secluded part of town. Perfect for our numbers though! There were actually no street lights, or lights anywhere, so they had lined the walkways with little luminaries. Very pretty. I also noticed this was something that was different about Albuquerque, or at least the parts I saw. It was rare to have a street light or lights in general, which made driving at night "different", but the sky was very clear to look up at with the stars and no lights getting in the way.

So, another sad thing is that my angel mother ended up getting the flu and started feeling sick after the luncheon, so she missed the entire reception in the evening.
(I know... this is a wedding for the record books, but fortunately, I don't think there were any snafu's for the bride and groom, which is the most important thing!

So, here are a few pictures from the reception.
My family (minus my mom)

My dad with Evan and Madison
Evan, Madison, Justin and I
Evan holding the wedding cake...
which I didn't eat any of because it strayed a little too
far from my diet of saltines up to that point,
but I heard it was good!

After the cake "ceremony", Evan sung a song for Madison and it was beautiful. Totally a surprise for her, but I think a pleasant surprise!
Their first dance as husband and wife.
What a CUTE couple!

I didn't have too much of an opportunity to get to know Madison before the wedding, but I have been impressed with her optimistic, positive attitude, her style and fashion (an area I need so much help in!!), and most importantly how much she outwardly shows her love and support of my little brother, Evan, whom I have always looked up to and admired. If my opinion counts for anything, which it doesn't (!!), I approve of his choice for an eternal companion! And, the best part about it for me is that they just moved less than a mile from me. WAHOOO!!! Evan starts a job with BCG on Monday!

So, overall, this trip was not one that will go down in the record books for me as one I'd like to repeat anytime soon... or EVER. But, I wouldn't have missed it for anything. I am grateful to have a wonderful, new sister-in-law, and for the chance it gave my family to gather.

Oh - and "SNOMAGEDDON" actually turned out to be a blessing because my mom was able to work it so I could fly to Denver with her and my brother on Sunday morning, spend two days with my nephews and other sister-in-law, and get back to DC with plenty of time to rest and relax as the entire city was SHUT DOWN for a week! It was a true blessing to spend time at their house and with my adorable nephews. I love time with family. Nothing can compare. However, the personal drama of this whole trip, including the craziness of the actual flight home, I could have done without!

Oh - and 2nd thing that's worthy of note: I didn't realize it until 20 minutes into our conversation, but I sat next to Mark Madsen on the flight to Denver! Ha, ha... that's a story I'll have to share in person. It's a good thing I like to laugh because I continuously crack myself up over silly, stupid, dumb things I do.

Like this week for instance. ... more stories to come in next post about Spring Break this week!