Monday, March 21, 2011


... a little side post until I can get my act together and blog about Ireland!

I've truly been blessed with many great friends throughout my life. I am a believer that certain people are placed in your life when you need them, and I think this is true of the friends I have met and made throughout my life.

"Friends are the most important ingredient in this recipe of life."

My college years at BYU were incredible. I loved it and am so grateful I had the opportunity to attend it. But, certain things happened during the Fall of my Sophomore year that rattled my comfort zone and the life I had built at BYU... and I found myself very alone and in need of friends.

I don't remember all the details of how it all happened, but I had known from the start of the semester that there was (what appeared to me) a very fun and active group of girls living on the other side of my apartment building in two different apartments. I didn't have enough courage to just go over and introduce myself and hope that they would invite me in. So, instead, I tried to strategically place myself in areas where I would possibly get a chance to know one or two of them. Ha, Ha! Embarrassing to admit now, but I REALLY wanted to be friends with them. They seemed SO COOL and that they were all having fun!

So, again, I don't remember all the silly things I tried, but the Lord was watching over me and I did become friends with all of them. And, this blessing dramatically affected the rest of my years at BYU for the better... as well as my life since then! I LOVE that even though many miles separate us, we are still able to keep in touch thank to the internet!

I ended up getting to know two of the girls (Maylene and Nancy) in one apartment first and this led to getting to know all of their friends as well! Months down the road, I ended up moving in with these two girls and the rest is history!

I was able to go to Phoenix about three years ago to see Maylene and her cute family, and ever since we've always talked about how I need to come back and visit, or she needs to come to the east! Finally, around Christmas time, Maylene decided 2011 was her year to come visit the east coast for the first time in her life! We talked about some dates, and decided that this past week would be the best time. Why put it off?!!!

Well, she flew home this afternoon and I can't even express how much fun and how wonderful it was to have her visit! We've both obviously grown up a bit... look a little older... and have become a lot more responsible than we were in college :) BUT talking with her and being with her is just like we never moved thousands of miles from each other!

A little summary of our trip:

I couldn't take off of work since I had all last week off, so Maylene got to hang out with me and the kids! She flew in Wed, but sadly I had to work late... and fortunately another of our BYU friends who lives in this area was free (!!) so they got to hang out. I felt bad I couldn't pick her up at the airport, but Maylene was excited to take a train and a subway for the first time!

I picked her up on Thursday morning and off we went to do some errands for the family. Thursday was a little atypical in the afternoon because I had to keep the kids out of the house after school until 7 pm - ish, so we played with them at the school playground and then came to my apartment for dinner and a movie! We ordered pizza and enjoyed some (scary!!) kid movies.

I asked one of the kids to take a picture of us. Shaky 8 year old hands...

After we dropped the kids off at home, we came back to watch the BYU game. Go Cougs! But, sadly, I am not able to stay up as late as I did in college and a few early mornings this week had me falling asleep at 8:40 PM - right at the start of the 2nd half! Maylene was able to watch the rest though :) She must have thought I lead a sad, sad life given how early I went to bed!

Friday was BUSY! The kids had their first day of spring break, and I had invited two of their friends to join us on our adventures that day - so we had 5 kids total (I was SO glad Maylene was there!). We had a ton of fun going to the Dulles Air and Space Museum and then to this "House of Bounce" where they have about ten huge inflatable structures for the kids to run around and jump on. They ran and played tag between the different bounce structures for almost 90 minutes! I was exhausted watching them. Fortunately, they have some gossip magazines for parents to sit and read while waiting... so Maylene and I caught up on all our celebrity gossip :)

We had a picnic lunch and then some down time before taking the twins to Tae Kwon Do. Then home for baths and dinner. It was a VERY full day, but it was so fun to have Maylene there. The kids loved her, and she kept me calm when my patience level was at zero :)

After work, I took Maylene to see the DC temple. It was a beautiful night! Inside the visitor center they had a really pretty art display.
And, then... the moment I had been waiting three (3!) years for. I was so fortunate that Maylene was willing to make her famous fajitas for us for dinner later on! Oh yum! No one can make them as good as her with all the fixins! She's a master chef in the kitchen! They were so yummy and there was enough for many leftovers! We ended our evening with a lovely chic flick :)

Saturday was another eventful day. Maylene had never been in to downtown DC. It was fun to see her look at everything and ask questions as we drove all over! There is quite a history here... and although I don't know much, it was fun to share with her what I had learned.

We knew we didn't have too much time, but we got to see the White House Visitor Center. Then, we walked over to the White House... or as close as you could get.

Look at the snipers or the secret service on the roof.
Security is TIGHT!
This is the "famous" garden that Michelle Obama has growing on the White House lawn to promote her healthy eating campaign.
Afterward, we headed over a few more blocks to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery. I had also never been here before, but was very impressed.

I seriously thought this person was REAL!
I had to walk up close to make sure she wasn't!Next it was on to lunch at one of the closet places to Mexican Food we have here in DC... "Baja Fresh!" Yum.

And, then on to Mount Vernon. The home of George and Martha Washington.

Again, since it was such a beautiful day we were so lucky to have the opportunity to walk ALL over it. They have done such a great job with the museum and the upkeep of all the history there in order to share it with visitors.

A wooden bridge we walked over to get to the slave quarters and farm.
The tomb of George Washington and 25 of his family members.
The actual tombs of GW and MW. GW on the right and MW on the left.
Maylene in front of the house right before we took a tour of it!

This is the view from the back of his home in Mount Vernon. So pretty!

Saturday night we went to my ward activity for a bit and then back home to watch more BYU basketball and another chic flick!

It was a very fun, eventful and unforgettable few days. I am so grateful for friends who... even though the miles may be far between us... when we talk or get together... it's like we were never apart! Saying goodbye was sad, but it makes me look fwd to our next visit even more!

And, Maylene is truly a friend that fits this category:

"A Friend is someone who knows all about you and loves you anyway!!!"

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I'm still alive... and musings from today

It's been a while since I've posted anything... and that was made even more aware to me when a friend emailed me to make sure I was still alive :)

I am.

That's a huge relief
(especially to me!)

But, I am just in awe that it's already the middle of March. WHEW. Where did the time go? I'm happy winter is on its way out (and even happier I spent the winter in DC and NOT Boston where they got pounded with snow!)

Life has been busy. I've had a nice balance of working a ton of hours, but then getting some significant time off while the family I work for took two vacations. The nice part of my job is that I also get to take vacations when they do (and not with them!) I went home for one of them, and went to here for the other week.

Ha, ha! Not Boston, but ...

And, it was absolutely wonderful! The best weather I could have asked for, the nicest people we met along the way, and I couldn't ask for a better, more patient, and fun travel companion :)

I will post more pictures soon. All I have to say is... I can't wait to go back! It was my first time overseas, and I decided to go only 5 weeks before... so a lot of my "spare" time was spent in reading travel websites and books about what to do and see! It was well worth it! We stayed away from most of the cities and "touristy" stuff and got to see/experience the true beauty of the country! It is simply a magical/beautiful country.

Coming home has been a bit hard with the time change, and the added bonus of "Springing our clocks forward an hour!", but life goes on. With the busyness of trip planning and work, I had kind of put my life on hold. Now that I am back... it's kind of staring me in the face and making me a bit fearful and anxious in certain areas. I read this talk today and it helped me refocus my thoughts, which brought me peace.

However, this quote stuck out to me like it was flashing on the page in bright lights and I've been pondering the reality of it all day:

Elder Neal A. Maxwell has said:

The issue for us is trusting God enough to trust also His timing. If we can truly believe He has our welfare at heart, may we not let His plans unfold as He thinks best? The same is true with the second coming and with all those matters wherein our faith needs to include faith in the Lord's timing for us personally, not just in His overall plans and purposes. [Even As I Am (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1982), 93]

I do believe that Heavenly Father has my best interest and welfare at heart, but it's hard not seeing the future from the present. Looking back, I can clearly see his hand in my life, but my faith often lacks and doubt enters when I think about the future. If he hasn't abandoned me yet... why would he now?

How can I just remember this and let faith replace my doubt?!