Thursday, August 13, 2009

People will always suprise you

Last night I was at Old Navy and a sweet little Asian girl was helping me find a particular shirt I was in search of. After I found the shirt on my own and continued on with my shopping, she eventually returned, shirt in hand, and asked if she'd found what I was looking for. Then she said, "I'm sorry it took me so long to find you. You all just look the same to me." My initial reaction was that I wanted to say to her, "That's okay, you all look the same to me too," because I figured if she was going to make a comment like that, then she shouldn't be offended if I returned the same remark. But I refrained. Still, it's amazing what people think it's okay to say...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Reason #30 - I put away childish things

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." (I Corinthians 13:11)
Today we spent my 31st birthday at Lagoon. As my parents, sister, and best friend sang happy birthday to me over our picnic in the terrace, I laughed at being 31 and holding my birthday party at Lagoon. I laugh at the idea that I still don't feel grown up despite the fact that I live in my own apartment, I have a grown up job, I own my own car (and scooter), I have a cosmetology license and almost a bachelor's degree, and because some of my own friends and family very near to my age are already the parents of 3 children. And I also laugh realizing that I am happy that I am still young in the ways that allow me to find joy in silly things.
As I thought about my final reason for loving 30, I have thought about the fact that 30 is a great age to be. And the reason that 30 is so great is that I finally know myself. I am comfortable in my own skin. I know that I hate river rafting and scary movies, and that's okay. I know that I love roller coasters, I love Lake Powell, I love wake boarding, and I love living in an apartment with no TV. At 30, I have grown enough in my career to provide an income that allows me to do things I've always wanted to do, and allows me to learn from holding a position of responsibility. And, I've also learned enough about love to know that I can love many people in many different ways, and sometimes that means my heart breaks. It's okay that I won't marry every man that I fall in love with, and the only way I can truly settle is to not trust that the Lord will provide me the opportunities that will bring me the most joy.
Most importantly, at 30 - and as of today, 31 - I have recognized that I am a woman, and I have put away childish things. My life, though silly and unrefined, is focused (as much as I know how to focus) on knowing who I want to become and striving to reach that potential. It is a process every day, and some days are better than others. But God has given me the opportunity to enjoy every step of my journey. I don't have to give up going to amusement parks, jumping in puddles, eating cookie dough, and having a slumber party every once in awhile just because I am grown up. I just have to keep remembering to live up to who I am so I can bring real joy into my journey, and to others.

Reason #29 - My Birthday

Yesterday was my last day at work before my birthday, and things have been so crazy I haven't even had time to think about what the day might bring. It was an amazing day. There were so many unexpected surprises. Some of them probably should have been expected, but since it wasn't technically my birthday yet, and I was a little preoccupied, they were all very fun, and made me feel very special. These were the best parts of my day yesterday:

1. Mystery flowers (I have some ideas, but there was no name)
2. My employees decorated my office
3. I got a sweet basket of goodies from my team full of things to take care of myself. :)
4. Ice cream cake with the managers
5. Dinner and cake and ice cream with Erika and Corinne
6. Cards, goodie baskets, and candy from other people in the center.
7. Happy birthday wishes from my dearest friends.

Does it get much better than that? It's so good to feel that you are loved. Now it's off to Lagoon with the family!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Reason #28 - August

I think around age 11, I had my first week long birthday. Within a few years after that I started to realize that having a summer birthday wasn't a bad deal. In exchange for not being able to bring cupcakes to class on my birthday, I had a week long birthday party every year. It's not necessarily that anyone plans on throwing me a week long party, it just seems to work out that way.

Not only does my week long birthday fall in August, but August is just a month full of adventure for me. I think I have been out of town regularly in the month of August for the last few years consecutively. There are just so many fun things to do. This year, my August looks like this:

Week 1: LA
Week 2: My birthday
Week 3: Toronto
Week 4: I run a 10k (we'll see when it's over whether this weekend was fun)
Week 5: I leave for Australia and New Zealand

The down side to having so much fun is that there is of course still plenty of work to be done. So while I am super excited for all of my upcoming adventures, I think it might have been a good idea to spread the fun into the rest of the year a bit better. C'est la vie...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Reason #27 - Breanna

Breanna Elizabeth is the girl who changed my life and helped me become the person I am today. She gave me an opportunity to remember what life is all about, and what kind of person I need to be now, so that I can be the wife and mother I want to be when the time comes. And she taught me incredible lessons about the atonement, and about what it means to truly love.

I had a chance to go to Breanna's baptism this last weekend with my mom, and it was an incredible experience. It was so beautiful to watch her father-a wonderful righteous Priesthood holder-take her hand as she walked into the baptismal font and committed to follow Jesus Christ. It was equally amazing to listen to her sing about going to the temple.

It was so wonderful to see Breanna completely surrounded with an amazing family who loves her dearly and who provide for her a rich and Christ-centered life. And it was an incredible experience to feel the love they shared with me on her special day, as we all celebrated her life together. This is what the atonement provides: the ability to make weak things strong, to make wrong things right, and to give imperfect people the opportunity to make perfect decisions.

Reason #26 - Taking my Mom on Rollercoasters

This past weekend my mom and I flew to LA for a very special baptism. Since we were already going to be in the area, Mom thought it might be fun to go to Magic Mountain. Little did I know that she was truly being her most altruistic self in suggesting this, and maybe she was hoping I would actually turn her down. This is why the altruistic approach is not always the best approach. Because good intentions then have to include a follow-through. Mom did make one strategic move, and that was to avoid the flash-pass which might have meant many more rollercoasters.

When we got to the park early Saturday afternoon, our first rollercoaster was "Revolution", followed by the "Collosus". Both of these were around the last time Mom went (which was a LONG time ago), and she felt fairly certain she'd be able to master these two rides without a problem. They were also good starters for me, because I wasn't sure how much I still loved a good rollercoaster. There did happen to be one more rollercoaster I was sure Mom could handle. It was the "Goliath". As is clear from the picture below, it was pretty tall. You can't quite see the top. In fact, I don't think the top of the picture comes close to showing how high Goliath really was. It might be the best place to get a view of the valley.

After all the coercing, the pleading, the begging I could muster up, I could finally see the little gleam in the eye that comes when you know deep down you can't turn down a good challenge. Mom was in. We made our way through the line, and finally climbed into our seats. I'm not going to lie, I was feeling a bit nervous myself, especially since there was only one little lapbar to hold me in, and the ride was apparently crazy enough that we had to lock up our purses. But one of my favorite quotes of the entire weekend, was halfway through the ride when Mom said, "Ray! This is stinking fun!!!!!!! But I'm still not opening my eyes!"

We had to follow up our little adventure with a stop off at the oxygen bar, where I was treated to citrus-ginger flavored oxygen and a nice little massage. Mom decided we couldn't pass up the opportunity to try flavored oxygen, since we'd never done it before. Definitely an experience.
I have to say, being taken to Magic Mountain is a pretty good way to celebrate turning 31. Who says I have to grow up?? Thanks Mom!

Mom and I at the Oxygen Bar. Aren't we cute?

Goliath. Seriously, it was tall. I'm so proud of my mother!