Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Legacy of Faith - #22

Death. To some it is scary. To others, just another part of life. My view on the sometimes too taboo subject changed in late June, when I had the honor of being with my Grandmother as she passed. Although most deaths are not as peaceful as my dear grandmother's, I know that there is peace found after the passing and there is a life outside of this mortality.

Let me explain by first describing my beautiful grandma. Grandma Chapman has got to be one of the most stubborn in my family. She was always determined to support herself and do everything the way she wanted it done. She took pride in her independence and her ability to be successful. My grandma was born with the type of energy one needs to run a marathon every day or raise and support 11 children as a single working mother (which she successfully did). My grandma would go and go and go even until her early 70's. She loved to work and she was good at it. Sadly, several years ago, she had a stroke and began dealing with a 1-minute brain. I know it frustrated her because she used to say to me, "I'm nuts, aren't I?" Like part of her knew what was going on but she had no control over it. This process was sometimes extremely hard to watch because her mental sharpness was one of the things my grandma took pride in. Along with the mental problems came the mobility problems. She couldn't do things by herself which caused her a lot of frustration. Even with all of these ailments, my sweet grandma refused to die. There were several times where we had thought she wasn't going to recover from a fall, infection, or a serious surgery, but her stubborn perseverance kept her alive. Personally, I think she didn't want to leave all of her family behind, and she still had so much energy left to give.

Well, with the deeply saddening passing of my grandmother's daughter and grandson, I watched as her resilience to death began to change. Once, in her near-coma state, she said out loud, "Who is the lady in white over there?" She pointed to the corner.  My mom being in the room at the time said she had felt the presence of her sister and knew she was there watching over my grandma. It wouldn't be long after that when my grandma passed. It was like she realized she had family waiting for her and she made the decision to go. A few hours before her passing, I quietly sat with her and held her hand. At that point, I was in utter denial of her health status. She hadn't talked or communicated for several hours, so I thought I could see if I could talk with her. I said, "Grandma, I love you." I received no reply. Then hesitantly, I said, "Grandma, will you say hello to Dad for me?" Almost immediately she squeezed my hand with strength. Then that was the last sign of communication I had had with her, and it leaves with me today the thought that she would deliver the message because she would see him.

I write all of this because my grandma has taught me the lesson of letting go of fear. She has also taught me to stay true to the gospel because it's what brings happiness. I remember one time eating dinner with her. She had a one-minute memory so having a normal conversation like we used to have was no longer available. Still, curious of my grandmother's utter conviction to her beliefs, I asked, "Grandma, how do you know the church is true." She replied,"Well that's easy. You just follow the principles and you are happy." For her, it was kind of like a no-brainer, and I have the feeling that was the case for most of her life.

I have been left to ponder my sweet grand-mother's example as well as the lesson she had taught me before she passed. I deeply miss my grandmother. I miss the memories of learning from her and listening to her stories; however,  I know that there is not an end to them. There will be more memories to be made. When I am dying, I hope and pray my children and grand-children will be able to shout, "Say hello to Grandma Chapman and Grandpa Major for me." And I hope they will know that I will deliver the message because I too carry my sweet grandmother's legacy of faith and the truth of the afterlife. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Gorgeous Friend La Belle - #21

Today I woke up realizing my Ursula cold has taken away my voice. Don't worry, I haven't "underestimated the importance of body language" or the voice that comes from blog writing thanks to a very endearing and encouraging friend of mine. This morning she text messaged me,  "Um, can I just say I love, love, love your grateful blog! Keep writing in it!! I'm learning so much!!" After reading this, I felt a bit of energy zing into my body so that I could write about this wonderful friend of mine.

Back on the subject of Disney movies, if I had to describe Heather in terms of Disney Princesses, I would have to say she is Belle. I googled Belle's personality and decided to paste it on here because it is so perfectly fitting for Heather:

Belle has gained a significant amount of intelligence over the years due to her love of books, providing her with a wide vocabulary, active imagination, and open mind. She is very confident and outspoken in her opinions, and seldom likes being told what to do. Belle is somewhat a women's-libber for her time, and refuses to be mistreated, undermined, demeaned or controlled by any man. Belle realizes that having dreams is great, but sometimes you need to look beyond them and find what you're truly looking for. Belle is quite witty, and is able to use this trait to her advantage. Belle has a strong sense of character, and is able to use this trait in a variety of ways, and although Belle is quite ignorant of her own beauty, she does somewhat manage to use her feminine charm to her advantange.

One of the first times I talked to Heather at BYU-Idaho, she said to me quite bluntly, "I can tell we are going to be best friends, friends for life!" I stood there thinking, "I barely even know this girl. What do I say to that?" So I just said, "thanks," and at that point I don't think I realized how grateful I really would be for the truthfulness of her future prediction. Now, although I feel special that I am one of Heather's close friends, I do have to mention that I am one of many. You know how the whole castle falls in love with Belle? Well, that is very much the same with Heather. Those who take the time to get to know her, end up absolutely loving and adoring her. And, I might add, end up being changed.

I know without a doubt that Heather came into my life during the time I needed her most. I had just been heartbroken and with Heather's very complimentary and encouraging ways, I was able to realize my potential and look forward with faith. Seriously, Heather has an uncanny way of helping people see what they are gifted with and then encouraging them to excel in that gift. During down days, I remember her saying things like, "you're THE Maps Major! Nothing can get you down." She had a way of making me feel special. During those days in college, Heather helped me realize that I needed to choose success because it wasn't going to come to me by feeling sorry for myself. Such is the reason I continued to get involved in the service program at BYU-Idaho.

I have to mention that like Belle, Heather is one of those people who aren't afraid to take a hold of adventures and dreams and make them part of their lives. When Heather gets an idea in her mind, there is nothing that can get in her way--except maybe God. When Heather graduated from BYU-Idaho, she decided she was going to move to Washington  D.C. For a girl who grew up in the "provincial town" of Grantsville, this was quite the move. But she did it and has become quite successful there; she has worked her way up to Orin Hatch's secretary. Now, Heather is studying the GMAT and is preparing to get a grad degree, and I have no doubt she will do so with the old addage of flying colors.

One of the more tragic life-changing experiences Heather went through about two years ago was the passing of her dear Father who had courageously battled Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Watching Heather's ability to keep pressing forward as an example and pillar to her 8 siblings has truly been remarkable. Under insurmountable stress and pressure, she continues to give to her mother and siblings and continues to support them the best she knows how. During her supportive role, Heather has been trying to work through her own grieving process as well as trying to figure out who she is now. I have talked to her on numerous occasions and I often hang up feeling baffled at how positive she is during her grief. She often tells me exactly how she feels but spins it into what she is doing to overcome it and how much she is learning from it. Even on her down days, she never fails to recognize God's hand in her life and the angels that are watching over her. I hope one day she will write a book on how she worked through her grief because she does it so gracefully.

Heather, I love you girl! Thank you so much for all the inspiring and encouraging moments. Thank-you for pushing me to be better and brighter. Thank-you for all the fun and wonderful memories you made with me during college. I hope you know that you are always the same amazing Heather who I have grown to love in life. It's been incredible to watch as you have grown colorful wings these past couple years. Remember, wanting to change back to who you used to be before you experienced tragedy would be like a butterfly trying to re-cocoon to turn back into a caterpillar. This is something you actually inadvertently taught me years ago. : )

P.S.  thanks for nudging me this morning to get going. Love you dearly.

Heather with M:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Time for Cocooning - #20

Maybe I'll have to do 30 people in 40 days. I caught a cold and all I want to do with my free time is nap and read. I guess that's the lovely thing about being sick: down time. :)  Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I have so many people and blessings to be grateful for. I absolutely love my family. They are so dear to me. Especially my sisters. I have 3 sisters: Rachelle, Melanie, and Anne. I had the opportunity to live with both Rachelle and Melanie and have so many memories during those experiences. When I moved to Seattle to live with my oldest sister, I had no idea it would be a literal turning point in my personality and life. Rachelle taught me so much. Especially things pertaining to becoming more of a woman than an 18 year old girl. She taught me how to do make-up (yes, I never knew how to do make-up) and how to dress fashionably according to me body build. She also inspired me to eat healthier and feel better about how I looked physically. This may not seem like a big deal except it was because my social life was forever changed. I gained confidence and with that came many opportunities I wouldn't have ever had otherwise. I also began to date which was extremely new to me, and Rachelle was there to help me every step of the way.

I talked a lot about my negative attitude in High School, well, another reason that attitude began to fade was because of Rachelle and Paul. They were blunt to me and I needed blunt. I was being an unpleasant, depressed pill to live with and hurt Rachelle's feelings one night by saying something uncalled for. The next morning as I got up and got ready for work, Paul offered to drive me. He was brutally honest, which astonishes me because he is hardly ever like this. He said something along the lines of, "Pamela, I love you but the thing is, it is hard to be around you because are so negative all of the time. You kind of suck the energy out of people." That was the greatest wake up call of my life. I cried and cried after he had said it, but I knew it was true, and it was something I utterly despised. So, I did what the scriptures said to do in such a situation and turned to God. During this time period, President Hinckely had encouraged everyone in the LDS church to read the Book of Mormon. So while I read the book, I used its teachings and power to help change my heart and my weaknesses. There were many nights of pleading for forgiveness and pleading for a change in attitude. Those nights were some of the most comforting I have ever had although getting to the comfort wasn't always easy. I knew with Christ's grace, I could change. And I did and still am changing.

I learned in YW a few Sundays ago about butterflies and how they can be in cocoons for years before they are fully developed. I consider myself to be still  in my cocoon of positivity. One day, with God's help, I will  fly out having overcome my weakness. Until then, I'm going to continue going to the source that gives me strength. Anyway, Washington was without a doubt the beginning of my caterpillar-to-cocoon-career. Thanks to Rachelle and Paul, I was on my way to becoming who I am, and I don't think it would have happened without the loving honesty.

Rachelle, through example, also taught me about giving, sacrifices, and motherhood. Rachelle is such a generous person. She's often putting others' needs in front of her own. I love and appreciate that about her so much. Rachelle is also an incredible mother. She has 5 children and is outstanding with every one of them. She always goes above and beyond to serve them and make sure they get the nourishment they need to be successful. She is often teaching her children about the gospel and holds strong to her family values. In Washington, we had family prayer and scripture study every night. Although some of them were filled with laughter as the tiny ones prayed or recited scriptures, other nights helped me realize the power of love from God and the eternal family. I knew I wanted my family to have the blessing of the gospel just like my sister's kids had, and I knew I wanted a husband as supportive and loving as Paul was to Rachelle. So in many ways, my happiness today can be attributed to their kind, patient, and loving examples.

Rachelle and Paul, thank you so much for some of the best months of my life. You two will always be dear to me and will always have a special place in my heart for the countless ways you have helped me grow. I love you!

Pics are from 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Firmness in the Right of God - #19

It's hard not to live in fear when it comes to the livelihood of the American nation. The United States debt is billowing up to 11 trillion dollars, and for some reason, Justin Bieber and the NBA get breaking news coverage. Our great nation is sadly becoming more and more pathetic in its fast-to-idolize-people-who-look-good-on-a-screen and slow-to-support-our-nation's-moral-and-intellectual-dignity. The fact that we have a front-runner candidate (Gingrich) who cheated multiple times on his wives and refused to pay child support is preposterous. I understand forgiveness and grace but I really think the people who run for president should be exceptionally morally sound and honest people. Essentially, America needs another Abraham Lincoln: loyal, intelligent, moral, religious, humble, honest, and willing to stay strong in the values of America.

Abraham Lincoln is my favorite president. Although he had his life and job on the line, he went forward with what was right in the eyes of God. Lincoln's strong leadership and Christian values saved our nation from corruption and secured the equality deserved by every man and woman in the world. He turned our young nation into something great. Now, some American people would take that hard, earnest standard of leadership and throw it away. I strongly feel if we want another president to lead our nation back to God, then it is our responsibility to find truth and valor in the candidates and elect the one that would steer us back to greatness. I love my country too much to sit back and care less about politics. Yes, they are annoying, but I am a citizen of the United States of America. I am a woman with the freedom to vote and voice my opinion, and I will do so the best I know how.

In Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address, he said, "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865. 

I feel this quote is equally fitting in America today. I hope and pray our nation's citizens will find truth and elect someone with Abraham Lincoln's mentality.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Elder Holland - Day 18

I know I have gotten behind a little on my tributes. I have been too tired to write lately so I have a lot of catching up to do. Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely adore Elder Holland. I have listened to his talks and devotionals countless times and I never tire of them. Which is incredible considering that I don't even like to watch movies twice. Elder Holland never fails to reinvigorate me in my faith. His eloquence is memorable which makes his messages enduring. Although I have several favorite talks of Elder Holland, the one I often re-listen to or study is called None Were with Him. It is about the power of Christ's complete and infinite atonement. If you have approx 4 minutes, watch it. I guarantee it will comfort and inspire you:

Here is the full version of Elder Holland's talk. Trust me, it is well worth the 16 minutes of listening. Its message is life-changing:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Very Special Grandparents - Day 17

"That pin has a strong magnet on the bottom of it," Grandpa said as he shook his head and pointed towards the 9-pin. "Every time I get up there to bowl, they turn that magnet on."

I laughed and responded, "Grandpa, you just have to throw the ball extra hard so you can knock off the magnet." He took my advice and grunted as he threw the ball with all the strength in his 81 year-old body. His thumb made the sound of a cork popping off a bottle when the ball left his hand. The ten-pounder flew down the lane about 3 feet and plopped hard on the wood. The plopping sounds continued and the ball looked like it was a small pebble skipping across a glassy lake. Sure enough, it slammed into the 9-pin and granted him a spare.

"Grandpa, you did it! You knocked off the magnet!" I shouted.

"No, I think they just decided to trick me and turn the magnet off this one time," He confessed in his soft, low voice while shaking his head and grinning widely. After the game, he treated my sister and me to dinner at Chuck-a-rama. We blew through our straws to push a torn napkin piece on the table. Whoever blew it on the opposide side of the table first, won. Grandpa was no match against Patricia and me, but he put up a strong fight. After our victory, Grandpa laughed softly and tears began to pool behind his glass lenses. His chin and lower lip trembled as he quietly mumbled, "You two are very special to me, very special."

That was the first of many daddy-daughter dates we had with Grandpa after Dad died. Although he frequently told us that we were special to him, I will never forget that moment on that day because it was the beginning of an incredible relationship. I had the opportunity of editing and publishing my Grandpa Major's autobiography. Having the opportunity to read and re-read his story has truly been remarkable. His example  of integrity and perseverance is evident through-out his life's story. There never was a magnet or obstacle too strong for him to knock off. Commend him for his success and he will confess that is was God who did it, not him. His simple wisdom is truly stunning; his in depth testimony is quiet, humble, and powerful. I am honored to be his granddaughter. He will always be very special to me, very special.

I also want to include my sweet Grandma Major. I just love and adore her as well. She has taught me how to work hard and not complain. My grandma has terrible spinal spurs that cause her excruciating pain. Although it is extremely debilitating, she works through it and serves me grandpa, her children, and grandchildren. Up until this year, she cooked a full thanksgiving dinner. She'd work on it for days and it was always delicious. Even though it would have been  easy for her to quite and say, "I can't cook anymore, I'm in way too much pain." My grandma also has the faith of a giant. She is always praying for her posterity. She loves us all and cares about our lives. I love my grandparents so much. I can't imagine not having them here on earth. I will miss them so much when they pass. Lucky for me, their equal stubbornness has been keeping them around (neither one of them want to leave the other alone). My grandparents have been married for 70 years. That is so amazing to me. Their relationship is one John and I hope to have when we reach our 90's as well.

Grandma and Grandpa, Thank you for being such amazing examples of hard work, endurance, and faith. I love you deeply and will always remember you as my very special grandparents.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My High School Sunshine: Carly - Day 16

Infectious laughter – being blessed with such a pleasantly permanent contagion has got to be one of God's way of saying, "this person is special." At least, I know that is the case for a special friend in my life with the name of Carly Blackburn. I have to say that I doubt I have ever been able to be around Carly without receiving a much needed, unsolicited laughing attack. This girl, woman now, has a way of finding humor and happiness in life. When we were in the High School world together, I have to admit that I was both grateful and envious of her gift. Grateful because it always brought the sun out to break away my constant rain cloud of doom, and envious because I wish I could carry around the sun all by myself. But lucky for me, Carly was there to teach me here a little and there a little how to do so just by observing her.

One thing that stood out to me the most was Carly's ability to find joy in extremely small experiences or things. Take for example her college job: pining bees. I'm not even joking when I say Carly studied bees to help her get through college and she was absolutely enthralled with it. She loved to talk about the different types of bees and where to find them and what they did. And I would listen to her smiling and thinking, "Wow, I never knew bees were so exciting!" And they were, at least when Carly talked about them. Because of Carly's ability to find such joy in so many small things, Anne and I were thrilled to go on a trip to CA to see Wicked with her. I was so excited to see her face and her reactions while we watched the show, but what was funny, was everything seemed to be equally exciting for her. Although the show was definitely the best part of the trip for me, she'd go off about how fun this and that was and the seashells on the beach etc etc etc. She was able to take the trip and make a ton of memories out of it while I only had two. One, which was the absolutely amazing show, and the other, which was sun poisoning. Which by the way, Carly had us laughing about basically the whole trip because she had such a positive view on it.

Carly was so much a joy that we decided to ask if she'd come along for a family trip to see Wicked again the summer of 07'. This time, I tried to vacation her style a little bit more. My favorite part of the trip was singing Broadway songs full blast on the road-trip and taking pics in the coolest bathroom I have ever been in to date. I'm not sure what made it so cool except that Carly was making my laugh hysterically in it when we took a pit stop in Colorado. Actually, I believe the goal was to take a picture of us in every bathroom we went to on the road-trip, and her utter excitement about the idea was what was making my crack up.

Anyway, I will forever remember how to vacation and live life the Carly-way. Something else I learned from Carly was her ability to just be herself. She didn't try to live up to what seemed like other's expectations. An example of this is when it would  get late during sleep-overs, instead of staying up at ridiculous hours, Carly was okay just to say, "I'm tired. I'm going to bed." We loved to tease her about going to bed early, but looking back now, I loved the fact that she stayed true to herself instead of trying to fit into some mold that she didn't fit into.

Speaking of molding, another thing I love about Carly is her creativity and her ability to make things. Carly was married shortly after John and me. When we  married we were completely and utterly broke. Neither one of us had jobs because we had just moved, and we were barely making it food-wise every week. So, we ended up having to re-wrap a wedding gift for Carly. (Yes, I'll admit it Carly, one day when we are on our feet again, I owe you a proper wedding gift.) Anyway, I honestly chose something I thought she'd be excited about, but apparently she didn't think much of it until she was able to make it into some sort of a jerry-rig for her science class. Now she jokes that she probably used our wedding gift more than anyone else's at the time. But anyway, the point is that Carly can make anything useful and can turn something ordinary to extra-ordinary in no time. Her artistic ability is truly incredible, and honestly, I wish she lived closer to me so I could spend more time with her and learn a bit from her talents.

Carly, AKA as Fora, I am deeply grateful for your friendship. Thank you so much for giving me the medicine of laughter every time I am with you. I hope you remember the memories–bowling balls, scrounge, Wicked, L.A., U2, Aloe Vera plants, bathroom pictures, beautiful hikes, swimming in freezing swimming pools, etc.–and I hope we'll be able to make more again one day. Seriously, I think a Colby-Yates vacation has got to be in order in a few years. : )  Thank you so much for being my sunshine. I love you dearly.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Angel Support Team: Jess - Day 15

I now want to write for once a bit about something I hated which will show why my next tribute is so loved. I say "hated" as a past-tense verb because I now realize several blessings that have come forth because of it. I passionately hated High School. I'm guessing it was a combination between having to go through the hardest thing in my life during my sophomore and junior years (namely testifying in court against someone who hurt me deeply) and, well, High School. So let's face it, a lot of the time I was bitter and depressed, and I don't think I hid those two emotions very well. With that being said, anyone who put up with me was truly angel-like and those who were genuine friends to me were without a doubt, angels. I know that sounds cheesy but I am really serious. I know these people were in my life at that time for reasons beyond friendship. They were God's clarion sent to remind me who I was and where I was going.

Now, with that lengthy introduction, I want to write about someone who must have been called on the angel-support team just for me: Jessica Wall. I can't remember exactly how I met Jess or even how we really became close. Which is sad because she has become a very dear friend of mine. But anyway, Jess had an incredible way of being available when I needed someone to talk to or needed support during the woes of High School. I can remember several times when Jess would actually just sit and listen to me go off about my personal life and heartache. She emphasized with me, cried with me, and hugged me. She cared. Jess often sent me cards and flowers on certain days like my father's death anniversary or hard days dealing with the trial. Her thoughtfulness often helped me remember that people loved me and that I needed to remain hopeful. Jess also had an amazing way of encouraging me to go beyond my potential talents. She knew I loved to write in High School and she often tried talking me into submitting poems and essays into contests. She actually had confidence in me, which in turn, made me want to work harder and learn more. Jess is partially responsible for my decision to test into Honors English and then take A.P. English our senior year. During those times, she would often compliment my writing skills, which looking back may have been a bit exaggerated, but I appreciate her doing so because it was flattering and deeply inspiring at the time. I also have to mention that although Jess and I often had deep conversations, we equally had as many memories laughing together.

Perhaps part of Jess' angelic nature came with her ability to see the future. Jess was the only friend that allowed me to go off about my crush on John without thinking I was just being silly.  She would challenge me to hang out with him more and talk to him, which I needed considering how shy I was in the realm of boys. Also, Jess was the first person I called when John asked me out. I had no idea what to do because I was already in serious relationship with someone else but I really wanted to go out with John. Jess tried to convince me to just go out with John without telling my boyfriend at the time. If only I had listened to her words of wisdom. It would have saved a lot of heartache. Anyway, Jess was also one of the first to hear that I was engaged because she was always so supportive in my relationship with John and would often give me much needed advice.

Jess and I are still close friends today. We can go months without seeing or talking to each other, and yet, as soon as we begin to chat, it's like we just left off from the last time we talked. I still confide in Jess a lot of the internal battles I face and the trials that I am going through, and she still has her angelic empathy. Which I cannot thank her enough for.

Jess, I love you! Thank you for being an angel friend. I hope you will always remember how much your support and love through High School meant to me. I'm sad that you will be leaving Utah. Hopefully we can pick up on our letter writing again so we don't lose touch.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Tribute to the Birthday Boy - Day 14

Since today is my brother's birthday, I thought it would be perfect to write why I am grateful for him and his sweet wife. Growing up, we used to tease Jason by calling him "mom" because he would often be cooking and cleaning for us. Looking back now, I can see that I learned a lot of my deep cleaning skills from watching him and talking to him when he cleaned (I know, I was a terrible sister by not helping out much). Aside from being the additional mother in the home, Jason brought a lot of laughter. He used to go through days when he would only talk by singing. Of course, I never minded because I loved his voice and loved listening to him sing. It always brought a lot of laughter when Mom was trying to ask him something and he would sing back to her. Jason also played the violin. Some of the greatest moments of peace I had growing up were when when he played. He was absolutely amazing. He could play many songs by ear and the soul that he put into his music often caused me goosebumps. Growing up, I looked up to him a lot and I was so proud he was my brother.

Jason is still a big example to me today. He is a hard worker and an amazing husband and father. In a few months, Jason will be graduating with his Nurse Practitioner license. It is so amazing to me that he and his wife were able to get him through med school while he worked full time, oh and they have 3 kids under the age of 6. It really goes to show the strength of their marriage and their work ethic to be able to accomplish that; especially when he has annoying siblings who call frequently to ask medical questions during the time he's either trying to sleep, work, or study.

One of the biggest things that I appreciate about Jason is that he accepts me for who I am and loves me regardless of anything else. When I chose to marry John, he was so supportive that he put on a tux to take Dad's place and danced a daddy-daughter dance with me. This was one of the most touching experiences I have had with him and it will be a memory that will last forever. I appreciate his willingness to step outside of his comfort zone and think of me above himself that day. A few months ago, Jason approached me and told me he respected me and my beliefs. He told me he loved me and supported me. Coming from a brother, this meant so much and it only affirmed all of the loving feelings and gratitude I already had towards him.

I'm not sure I can finish my blog post without mentioning Jason's sweet wife Racheal. Especially since Racheal is a major part of Jason. They have an incredible marriage and relationship. Anyway, there are not many people more giving and serving than Racheal is. She is always bringing over boxes of clothes and toys for M and frankly, there is no way we would be able to make it financially without all of her hand-me-downs. She gives and gives and gives and does it so kindly. More than just things, Racheal is so good at giving advice. When I need mothering advice or advice in other areas, I often call Racheal first. She's like my personal google. And again, she always gives me advice lovingly, patiently, and understandingly. One of the reasons I was able to carry M full-term was because Racheal stressed that I get my progesterone tested and take progesterone pills. My levels were super low and so without that advice and inspiration, well, who knows what would have happened. I consider Racheal a sister of mine and I love her so much. I just hope she knows how much her constant service and giving means to me and my family. I often think to myself, "I want to be more like Racheal." Hopefully, I'll keep learning from her so I can.

Jason, I can't wait until you finish your clinicals so I can see you and your cute family more. Racheal, thanks for being so patient and giving towards me. I appreciate you both and all the memories we share. Love you!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Papa, I'm Always Missing You - Day 13

As I have been writing these posts, I have been able to rekindle friendships and tell the people in my life how much I love them. It has truly been an awesome experience so far. I read on the news today about a mother and two children who died in a tragic car accident. The woman has a husband and another child who survived her. As soon as I read the headline, my heart filled with heaviness and grief for the loved ones involved in this tragedy. Life is so short. Even when it is lived to 90 or 100 years. I feel that it is essential we tell those who are in our lives what they mean to us because of life's unexpected turns. I hope and pray this sweet husband and wife had a loving embrace followed by loving words before the crash. My heart and prayers go out to the family involved with today's devastating deadline.

With this in mind, I want to write about my sweet father. Perhaps one of the hardest parts of dealing with his death at age 12, was dealing with his absence while growing up. For the first several weeks following Dad's death, I would expect the front door to swing open around 6:00 P.M. My dad usually found my mom first thing to give her a big hug and kiss and then we'd eat dinner as a family. Days went by unusually slow for a while. 6:00 P.M. would roll around and the door would remain untouched no matter how much I wished for it to magically bring back my father. The heartache and depression seemed unbearable at the time. I often remember walking around the junior high halls feeling hurt that no one really understood what I was going through. It seemed that most of them thought their bad hair day was enough to scar their junior high career. It did not seem to register for many of them the realness of life and death. Because of this, I often felt jaded and isolated. Also those kids who seemed to show concern didn't really know what to say or how to approach me, so I watched as they stared at me or whispered to their friends about what was going on. Ugh, junior high is hard enough without having to deal with all of that and then go home and deal with a heart-broken mother and a home without my Dad. It seemed unfair.

Looking back now, I realize that there were probably a lot of kids dealing with equally hard problems: divorce, abuse, and poverty. I wish I could have realized that then so many of us didn't have to deal with it alone, feeling empty and hurt. I do have to say that I was blessed enough to have a twin sister who was always there for me. We knew how each other felt without having to talk about it. I was also extremely blessed to have a mother who did all she could to make sure my childhood wasn't a black hole. Also, later on, I met some wonderful friends who were able to replace a lot of the pain I felt with joyous memories.

Although writing about all of this feels good, I haven't mentioned what I miss and love about my papa. You know the saying, "The best thing a father can do for his kids is love their mother?" Well, according to this statement, my dad did the best thing for his children because he was absolutely smitten with my mother and it was almost sickeningly too sweet. My parents had the most romantic marriage. They loved to spend time with each other dancing and playing games. As children, we knew at 10:00 P.M., my parents were no longer parents. They put us to sleep and then had the rest of their night to themselves to build their relationship, even if it meant working together on something. My dad was also sickeningly sweet to us, his children. He loved to give us "bear hugs" and what he called "slobbery kisses." He spoiled us with love.

My father had an amazing testimony. He always told us that he never doubted. There is no doubt his strong testimony must have been a gift from the Holy Ghost. I remember one of the last Family Home Evenings we had, my sweet Dad almost begged us to follow the commandments and live the gospel so we could be together as a family again. In his eyes, even at 12, I could see that he believed whole-hardheartedly in what he was teaching us. He believed in the gospel and the strength of the family.

Dad, I love you dearly and tenderly. I wish M could have the opportunity to be held by you and have one of your slobbery kisses. However, I know that you are still near, watching over my sweet family and being there for Mom. Papa, I'm always missing you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friends through Starburst Operations - Day 12

I was reading in my journal a few weeks ago and came across a passage that made me smile and reminded me of an awesome Junior High and High School friend of mine. On November 13, 2001 it reads:

...Brooke is awesome. She told me she will  never get sick of me. Brooke and I are still pretty close...we have a lot of fun things we do. Like Starburst operation. At Synthia's Halloween party there were a ton of people there. Anyways, we were watching Wait Till Dark. Brooke and I got the couch while every one else was on the floor. We stoll [aka stole] a bag of Starbursts and threw it at people. We started to throw it at Kelli and she got a cookie and threw it at us. It was way funny. We laughed so much. Every time I see Brooke or talk to her, she tells me we need some Starbursts. We also have a little cheer we made up together. We do it in the halls, it's fun....

I believe I was only 13 when I wrote this, so don't make fun! But I wanted to point out how much I adored Brooke. She is in a lot of my journal writes growing up. Here's another fun one from  March 25, 2003:

Monday we had school off. So from Sunday to Monday we had a sleepover [with Brooke and Aimee]. We stayed up all night. I didn't sleep till 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon. Brooke and me decided we were going to make Trish and Aimee a drink with a whole bunch of gross things and they would have to drink it. We made the most gagging drink ever and we decided since we made a deal that we would have to drink it too, we would make something good. So we did. Then we just talked for a long time. 
Anyway, we had so many fun memories together. I had the opportunity to see Brooke for the first time in a long time, and it was so fun to talk for a while. She has the cutest little girl that is a couple months older than M. She just has the cutest little family. Looking back now, it's sad that we kind of parted ways and didn't stay close. I regret that a lot.

Brooke, I hope you know how much I love and appreciate your friendship. Thank you for all the good memories and fun journal writes. ; )  p.s. sorry for stealing a pic, but it was so cute I couldn't resist.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Another Tribute to Annican - Day 11

It's getting harder and harder to decide who to write about next. I have a big list of people that I want to write about but I feel like time and blog posts are running out. I may just have to add a few more days to fit them all in. We'll have to see. Although I already wrote a huge tribute to Anne, my beloved twin sister, in September, I do want to make sure she also made in my 30 people in 30 days posts.

How can one adequately describe the awesomeness of having a best friend there with you almost 24/7 while growing up? This is a task I am still trying to overcome because it really is hard to describe what it is like to have a twin and be a twin. What I can say is that it is a major blessing and an honor to be among the small portion of people on this earth with an identical twin, and an even greater blessing to be among the smaller portion of those who absolutely adore their twin and are close to them. Anne and I haven't always seen eye to eye, well except maybe literally, but right now our relationship is truly a gem. Anne keeps me entertained during the long days John is at school and at work, and I thoroughly enjoy her company. I get excited when she calls and talks to me on her work break and I look forward to the days we set aside time to get together. She is a sweetheart to put up with me and I love her so much. I have to say that Anne has an amazing heart that always seems to be constantly giving. Whether it be time, nursing and photographer expertise, or a quick lunch, she is always doing something for me or helping me out in one way or another. I hope she knows how appreciative I am of her and all she does for me and my family.

Anne, I love you! I look forward to all the fun memories ahead of us and I look forward to becoming twin grandmas together. Maybe we'll still look enough alike to trick our grand-kids. : )

Thursday, November 10, 2011

M - Day 10

I know every parent thinks they have the cutest child because that is exactly how I feel about my beautiful baby. When I think of M, I think of the lyrics, "kissable, huggable, loveable, unbelievable!" because she is all of those things to me. M has the ability to make me genuinely smile and laugh on a daily basis. I feel so honored to be her mother and have the ability to watch her grow, learn, and mature. My heart is overflowing with gratitude for this perfect gift God has entrusted me with.

I find it interesting that it seems to be more and more popular not to want children these days. People think they cost too much and take too much time. Also, according to some, children are seen as a trap or a prison-cell. Although I have no doubt some parents sadly feel this way about their children, I definitely do not. Raising M has been one of the most exciting adventures of my lifetime. The ability to create human life is absolutely incredible; to be able to watch part of my genetic make-up develop and grow into another person is indescribable. It is absolutely baffling the way life begins as a single cell and grows into a intelligent human being all in 9 months time. I have a hard time understanding why anyone wouldn't want to experience such a unique experience, but that's just my personal feelings.

However, I would have to say that the hardest part of being a mother is the pain that comes from seeing M be in pain or the pain that comes from the thought of losing her. To love someone as much as a mother loves a child creates some powerful feelings of joy but equally powerful feelings of pain. I can't imagine losing M. To all those parents who have lost children, I admire your strength and faith to keep going and living a happy life despite your heartache. I'd have to say that that would be the only reason I wouldn't want to be a mother. Just the fear of loving a person that much and losing them even for a short time period seems to be too much of a sacrifice. 

Anyway, frequently during the day I whisper to M, "I love you, Sweetheart." If she ever reads this post, I hope she knows that it is essential she knows that I love her tenderly and am grateful for her bright and happy personality in our home. I look forward to all the memories that we will make together and I will remember with fondness all the memories we already have.

I love you Sweetheart!

To Everyone in My Life

It's been harder and harder to blog about loved ones. Probably because I am so sensitive when it comes to making other people feel bad. I really don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or make anyone feel left out as I continue to blog. So I would hope all of my family and friends would understand that each of you really do hold a special place in my heart and each person is important to me for different reasons. It's been interesting because every day this month I wake up thinking and praying about a few people in particular and by the end of the day, I have a strong feeling on who I want to write about. It's been an incredible experience and it has helped me remember so many of you whom I love and adore so tenderly. Maybe I'll have to keep writing tributes until Christmas to fit everyone in or maybe I'll just keep this as a tradition and continue where I leave off next year. : )

Anyway, I just needed to make sure I put in this excerpt so I don't unintentionally hurt someone dear to me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Brother Schmidt - Day 9

Brother Schmidt was one of many influential advisers I had at BYU-Idaho, but he was probably the one that I'll remember the most. About a year before I worked with him, he was bucked off a horse and paralyzed from the waist down. From that point he underwent surgeries and extensive rehab to get him back to work. The first time I met Brother Schmidt, I noticed his wide smile. He was happy regardless of the wheelchair in which he sat. He had a way of being always being positive. Brother Schmidt taught me how to teach with questions or, in other words, use the Socratic method. This type of teaching has been instrumental in my learning and Brother Schmidt's example of asking the right questions always conjured thinking. I always appreciated that about him.

Anyway, I had the opportunity to go on a Project Inspire (week long service project) with Brother Schmidt and it was a remarkable experience. He always found a way of helping out despite his limitations. He could help assemble and build and he was good at it too. His love for service still inspires me today.

I remember one semester sitting inside of an office with a window looking out into the hallway on campus. Tears of happiness dripped onto the paper I was writing on when I saw Brother Schmidt, with all of his strength, take a few steps with a walker in the hallway. I remembered when he told me several doctors said he would never walk again but he was determined to prove them wrong, and there he was walking. What an incredible man. I am so grateful to have known him and to have learned from him.

Brother Schmidt, his daughters, and some friends.

                              The P.I. group with Brother Schmidt

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

There is no Hyberbole, She is My Hero - Day 8

Imagine being a widow at age 25. Now imagine being a widow because your husband decided to take his own life with a gunshot to the head while you were upstairs. Imagine holding your dear husband in your arms and calling 9-1-1 with the realization that he is probably already gone. This would be an unimaginably heart-breaking experience wouldn't it? And yet, my beautiful friend Krystal experienced exactly what I just had you imagine.

Krystal is hands down THE most resilient person I know. A couple years after burying her sister, she went through this and even though I think it'd be undeniably easy to "throw in the towel" per say, she keeps on trekking in faith. I try not to hyperbolize the hero's in my life because they are real people; however, Krystal and a heroic hyperbole could never by synonymous. She is, to me, the definition of courage, hope, and endurance. She is the epitome of strength. When I find myself complaining, I think of her and her determination to make her life in accordance to God's will, and her ability to do so with class. She is a genuine example of relying on the Lord in faith, this doesn't mean she doesn't have moments of doubt or sadness, it means that she never gives up. She still gets out of bed on Sundays to fulfill her calling; she bears testimony of her unique knowledge of the gospel and her understanding of gratitude. She continues to believe in God, which is nothing short of incredible.

Krystal is my hero, but I want to make sure I write that her heroism doesn't just come from her resiliency from tragedy. It comes from her ability to be selfless and compassionate. During the times I struggled in Junior High and High School, she reached out to me and befriended me. Krystal, since then, has always been a dear friend and an example to me.

Krystal constantly puts the focus on others rather than herself and she does so in a very empathetically genuine way. One of many examples of this was when my husband was going to school during the day and working during the night. Of course, this was a few months after Krystal lost her husband and she said to me, "Wow, that would be hard not to be able to see your husband all day."  I thought to myself, "Wow, she's incredible to empathesize with that given she doesn't get to see her husband at all." Something also amazing was when I was pregnant, Krystal came to visit me with a basket of baby stuff. She was happy for me. I think this shows the amazing giving and self-less nature of her character. Which by the way reminds me of a quote that fits Krystal's character perfectly: “Character is revealed, for example, in the power to discern the suffering of other people when we ourselves are suffering; in the ability to detect the hunger of others when we are hungry; and in the power to reach out and extend compassion for the spiritual agony of others when we are in the midst of our own spiritual distress. Thus, character is demonstrated by looking and reaching outward when the natural and instinctive response is to be self-absorbed and turn inward.” (David A. Bednar, “The Character of Christ,” BYU-Idaho Religion Symposium)

Krystal is one of those people I could go on and on about because I love her so dearly and her friendship means so much to me. I hope she knows the impact she has had on my life. I have a feeling her inspiration has been delivered to hundreds of other people, and I'm sure hundreds more will be positively affected and inspired by knowing this amazing woman.

Krystal, I love you! Thank you for being such a dear friend.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Never Grow Up While You Grow Old - Day 7

With the sun’s setting rays, I noticed the bare mountains had an angelic glow to them. They were God’s perfection, and apparently I was God’s disaster. I was about ten years old and I had just come home from my friend Michelle’s home. Michelle’s father caught us in the act and sent me home on the caveat that I needed to tell my mother what I had done and if I didn’t, he would make sure he did. So I found myself sitting on the front porch with my mother and a large bowl of grapes. For a while, we sat in silence and watched the sun play hide-and-seek with the mountains. She looked content eating her grapes while I began to tell her exactly what had happened. Finally, as I finished my confession, I took a quick glance of my mother’s face to check the severity of my pending punishment. Oddly enough, my mother kept popping grapes in her mouth with a semi-hidden grin. Within a minute, the grin had stretched wider and she threw back her head in laughter and reminiscently said, “Yeah. That’s fun huh? I use to do that all the time with my brothers.” My shameful eyebrows woke up in shock. She continued, “Hey, want a grape?” We sat there as the sun set—just my mother and me. Together we talked and came to the conclusion that prank calling probably wasn't very nice; after which, she hugged me tight and told me she was proud of me for talking to her. She also told me she was proud to be my mother.

I love telling this experience because it shows the sweetness and playfulness of my mother. Her philosophy always seemed to somewhat match Peter Pan’s. Although we grew and matured as children, my mother taught us to pack Neverland with us wherever we went. Her motto was work hard so we could play hard. In essence, her motto was making memories. Every morning, she would walk us to elementary school and we would often sing songs on the way or make up stories. As teenagers, when she was the carpool driver, she let us choose our favorite tapes and let us listen to them on our way to school. She even jokingly sang along to Backstreet Boys even though she couldn’t stand to listen to them. Because she was so fun and playful, she was easy to approach, and I always felt like I had a special bond with her. In High School, she gave me my space. However, my friends and I loved to spend time with my mom so we often chose to hang out around my house and play games with her. Sometimes as a group of friends, we would sit on her bed and just talk to her about the importance of life and the gospel. Oftentimes my friends would tell me, “Your mom is amazing. You are so blessed to have her for a mother.” And they were right. I was significantly blessed.

My mother is one of those people who beam with confidence in their faith. Even though she has buried her husband for a time, she always points out that he is still very much with her and waiting for her to complete her journey on this earth. Her courage is inspirational to me and to many around her. Along with that inspiration is my mother's incredible wisdom. She knows just what to say to me and how to comfort me when I go to her with concerns and doubts.She often reminds me of C.S. Lewis with the depth and breadth of her christian knowledge. She truly amazes me. Now that I have little M, I hope that I will be able to continue my mother’s incredible legacy.

Mom, I love you deeply. Thank you for being an example of insurmountable faith and courage, and thank you for being the world's greatest Peter Pan. I'll continue to never grow up while I grow old with you. Thank you for teaching me how to learn, love, and forgive. Thank you for being my wonderful Mom.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Importance of High School Drama - Day 6

(Mr. Anderson is the third from the left)

I never thought I'd end up owing so much to my High School drama teacher, but alas, here I am writing a blog post dedicated to him. Let me put it bluntly, if it weren't for Mr. Anderson, I would not be married to John today. Why? Because Mr. Anderson invited me to take intermediate drama class the second semester of my freshman year. John, being a senior at the time, happened to be in the same class that I was in. Although Mr.  Anderson most likely had no clue about the major crush I had on John, he persuaded John and me to take a drama scene we performed together to a regional competition. This of course lead to a good friendship which became a beautiful marriage.

A few months after we were married, we ran into Mr. Anderson in a parking lot holding hands. He seemed a bit shocked that two of his High School drama students were now married. He congratulated us and then we thanked him for being responsible for our congratulations. I'm sure it was probably the best moment of his teaching career (I'm teasing). Such a fun love story though. I will post more of the details about it later when I write my post on my sweet husband. But for now, Thank-you again Mr. Anderson for selecting me for intermediate drama in January of 2003! It really did change my life.  : )

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"This above all: to thine own self be true" - Shakespeare

I'm not sure why but reading Romeo and Juliet in 9th grade brought to life English for me. The sheer brilliance of Shakespeare's writing intrigued and delighted me so much that I decided I wanted to get an English degree in College. Granted, at the time I read Romeo and Juliet I probably only understood about 30% of it (probably a good thing at my age), but that's what I loved about it. His work challenged me; it was more than just reading, it was dissecting, and it required thinking. 

Since 9th grade I have enjoyed seeing several of Shakespeare's tragedies and comedies, and I have relished in his sonnets and dramas. One of my favorites is Othello. Although dark, it has taught me about the importance of disputing irrational thoughts because if they are left to mull over, they become beliefs and those beliefs become reality. Even if the reality is completely distorted. Anyway, it is a great read! 

One of my all-time favorite pieces of Shakespeare is sonnet 116. It is, to me, one of the greatest love sonnets ever written. Enjoy!


Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Even More Power than Witches - Day 4

"Do you know what is even more powerful than witches?" My 6-year-old nephew Joshua asked contemplatively. I tried to think up some sort of a punch-line while I watched him climb up to the top of the bunk bed but I couldn't catch on to the joke he was trying to tell. Then, his response made me realize he wasn't joking at all: "Family! Especially a family of God!" A little thrown off, I replied, "Wow Josh. That is a really cool way of saying that. You are right. Nothing is more powerful than families of God." That night before I began my scripture study on the bunk below Joshua, I thought about his profound thought. He was right. Nothing was more powerful than a strong family lead by God.

My sweet nephew has always amazed me. Having the opportunity to share a room with him while I lived in Washington for all of 6 months was truly a special experience. He taught me how to dream Star Wars one night: "Do you know what I do to make sure I have Star Wars dreams every night?" he asked excited to answer. "I make the sounds of light sabers and the cool guns out loud and then when I fall asleep, that's what I dream." I laughed at the response finally understanding why he made the weirdest noises every night before he went to sleep. Of course, during the time he made the noises, he also had Scripture Scouts (a christian music CD on bible stories) on max volume to sing to in between his Star Wars sound effects. Listening to him sing to the Scripture Scouts use to make me cry. His voice as a 6-year-old was incredibly on pitch and the courageous way he'd sing it really touched me.

One day I had lost my car keys at church and we could not find them anywhere. I was getting frantic because the car belonged to a friend of mine and I needed to return it. I sent my family on a hunt and it wasn't long before Joshua brought them up to me. I asked where he found them and he responded confidently, "I just prayed and there they were." I thought to myself, "Of course, why didn't I think of that?"

When thinking of Joshua and those experiences in Washington, I often think of Christ saying, "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Joshua taught me the lesson of humility repetitively while living there. He's such a great nephew; I love him and I am so grateful to have him in my family which is indeed more powerful than witches.

Now Joshua is a teenager in the process of a voice change and is still as cute as ever when he sings. I posted a pic of him the way I'll always remember him most though:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Miss Carlee - Day #3

Yesterday's blog comments reminded me of a friend that had a huge impact in my life and probably doesn't even know it. So I thought I'd blog about it! A few weeks ago I was shopping in Garner Village with my in-laws when I saw a familiar face. I shouted her name, "Carlee?" But she just walked past me. I thought to myself, "of course it isn't her, she doesn't even live here." Feeling embarassed, I turned to talk to M and then heard, "Maps?" It was indeed my dear friend Carlee, and what a tender mercy it had been to see her. She said exactly what I needed to hear that night and I am so grateful she was close enough to the spirit to do so. She also brought quite the smile to my face while driving home. Anyway, I met Carlee through a mutual friend at BYU-I. I have to say that Carlee (she probably actually doesn't know this) is greatly responsible for the happiness I have right now in my marriage. She and another dear friend of ours, Shalyn, gave John and me The Peacegiver for a wedding gift, and it changed our lives.

A few months after John and I were married, it seemed as if Dorothy's house had clobbered us and stolen our red slippers. In other words, we were struggling and having an unusually hard time. Although John has always been undeniably patient with me, I was not so much with him at this time in our lives. It was definitely one of the lowest moments in Maps history because I was being totally and completely selfish and what's worse, ignorant at the same time. While crying one particular night, I remembered Carlee telling me about the book and how it would change our marriage. Admittedly, I pulled it out to find some answers on how I could fix John's imperfections that were seemingly causing all the problems in our marriage; but, the book ended up helping me point my own finger towards myself. I realized I was the one being unforgiving, unkind, and impossible; I also realized I wanted to be part of an amazing marriage full of Christ and forgiveness. I am certain Carlee and Shalyn were an instrument in God's hands when they gave us that book because it was, and still is, pivotal to our successful and happy marriage today.

Carlee is one of those people who notices things the average person doesn't see and then has a beautiful way of relating the gospel and truth to whatever she saw. For this reason, I love reading her blog and keeping up with it. She calls her blog "My Study of Life" and has on the side of her blog posts #103 things she wants to do during her life. Every time Carlee works on one of her lifetime goals, or accomplishes one, she posts about it in her blog. How fun is that? This has inspired me to begin creating my own bucket list. My #1 is to learn and study physics and chemistry. Ahhhhh, I am so excited about #1.

Well Carlee, sure do love ya girl! Thank you so much for being a part of my life and for inspiring me.

P.S. Hope ya don't mind me stealing a super cute pic of you. I was too lazy and tired to dig out my P.I. pics to find one. : )

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pacha - Day 2

My first semester at BYU-I, Bekah, a close roommate of mine, bragged on and on about her best friend who was, at the time, serving a mission in Romania. This friend of her's was due to come home towards the middle of the semester if I recall correctly. Anyway, Bekah told me that I had to meet her because she and I would instantly be close friends. Who was this person? Well, when I met her she introduced herself as "Pacha." What's the first thought  that comes to you after you hear that name? Is it something along the lines of this:

That was my first thought too but that's not who I am gonna blog about. Anyway, Bekah was right, Pacha and I immediately became close; we even decided to be roommates with each other the following semester, and I am so glad we did. Some of my fondest memories of college stem from spending time with her. In a large part, Pacha was responsible for my obsessive involvement in Ultimate Frisbee. She talked me into playing competitively and she even taught me some sweet Frisbee throws. One of our favorite things to do was play what we called "reverent Frisbee" on Sundays. During this time we were usually laughing hysterically while we tried to simultaneously catch discs in the apartment. Other memories involve studying for hours on the top floor of the Library, enjoying good music, and laughing about most everything. 

Looking back now, I can see where Pacha got her nick-name. She is one of the most loyal and caring people I know. Aside from her spunky, cool personality, she is an absolute gem. She is always all about everyone around her. She always had a way of making me feel special when I was with her. She actually listened to me and did it because she genuinely cared. Pacha always goes beyond the responsibilities of a normal friend. She was there for me when I needed her and seriously always had a way of knowing what I needed, especially spiritually speaking (Pacha has an incredible talent of teaching gospel doctrine). Pacha taught me how to truly embrace life through fun, learning, and constant service. Speaking of service, Pacha has already gone to Kenya and Nepal to help the people there. She is currently working on her post-graduate degree. She is truly an example. Now that I have spent this blog bragging about her, you should meet her. I know you'll become close friends! Why? Because anyone who gets to know her, does!  : )

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30 People in 30 Days: My Thanksgiving Month Tribute

In lieu of the Thanksgiving season this year, I am going to blog every day this month. There have been a great amount of people who have influenced, motivated, and cared for me throughout my life; I think it is high time I pay tribute to at least some of them. So here goes my 30 people in 30 days Thanksgiving month tribute:

I felt it only right commemorating #1 to the one person that has been my constant guide, teacher, and mentor. Although I do not understand or know everything about this person, I understand that he knows everything about me. I feel sad to mention that I have outright rejected this person on numerous occasions; and yet, he has never rejected me. In fact, he waits patiently for me to return from my betrayal and forgives me lovingly. This person is real and the more I come to know Him, the more I realize the perfect reality of His existence. He is Jesus Christ whom I am forever utterly and undeniably indebted to because He exists to save me and He exists to save you.

I absolutely love the LDS First Presidency's eloquent words in commemoration of our Redeemer and would simply like to echo theirs in closing. Just click on the link below to access it and enjoy: