Saturday, June 18, 2016

Letters to my Dad Part 3

Dear Dad,
Right after you died, I went for a hike along the foothills behind Huntsman and the JCC.  My biggest fear at that moment was that I would forget you. I plead with Heavenly Father for ways to help me not forget. One of the pieces of inspiration I received that day hiking was to go every year to the Uinta's.  I knew that was your favorite place here in Utah to hike.  I had only been there twice with you; first to retrieve your stubborn, lost llamas and then to eat lunch at the Highline Trail Head after you recovered from surgery and had finished radiation.  That day eating lunch I was still hopeful, as were you, that we'd get to hike together in August.  It never happened.

It's Father's Day weekend. I miss you. Words can not describe the ache in my heart. At times I think the healing art of time is doing its thing- and then there are moments like this weekend of indescribable sadness and loss. Today I spent the day in the Uinta's. I haven't missed a year. I hiked a 4 mile loop that ended up being a way bigger adventure than I had planned on. Once I made it through the unexpected adventure part, I sat down by a beautiful alpine lake and sobbed. Instead of trying to fight the tears - I leaned into the emotion and penned these words to you;

I didn't develop my deep love of hiking until later in life, when it was too late to share it with you in person. I am grieving over the loss of hiking with you- of sharing the excitement and anticipation during the planning phase - the struggle of the climb- the elation and triumph of reaching that distant peak- the aching muscles and fatigue - and the complete satisfaction and sense of accomplishment on the drive home. 

At least this is how I feel - I wonder if this is the same way you felt. I wish I knew.

I'm sure we would clean and pack away the gear while recounting the adventure- complaining about how crazy it was to do this and wondering why we go through all the work- yet knowing the whole time I'd do it again with you ANYTIME!

Oh, how I wish I got to experience this with you. While I never did a big hike with you in person - I know everytime I hike you are with me. You watch over me and keep me safe. Whenever I feel a little nervous about some part of my hike I just talk to you and ask for your help. It works everytime - It worked today when I lost my shoe in the snowfield. I carry a piece of you tied to my backpack each time I hike. Thank you for always showing up- Just like you did for me while you were alive.

I love you Dad. I am eternally great fun for the legacy you left me. I pray that you will always stay near to me my entire life.

Love always,

Monday, March 10, 2014

On Car Shopping and Internet Dating

I've gone almost 3 weeks without a car; 17 work days biking back and forth; 3 weekends ride sharing to get to social events.  Friends and Family keep asking me if I've found a car yet.  And to each I sigh, "No."  "Have you even looked?"  "Sort of."

In reality I've only gone to look at 2 cars in person.  But I've spent HOURS scouring the inter-tubes for THE car. While doing so today it dawned on me how similar the acts of car shopping and internet dating truly are.  My extremely brief encounter with internet dating may not afford me the true ins and outs of the sport.  So mainly I'm speaking with vast sweeping generalizations.  However from my observations of other close family and friends who have given the internet dating adventure a good try, I don't think I'm too far off.

It all starts with pictures.  As I flip through picture after picture I start an internal dialogue...

Will you be the one for me?  Can you get me to where I want to go? Do you fulfill my needs/wants?  Do our personalities match?  Are you high or low maintenance?  Will you just be a drain of time and money?  All sorts of prejudgments are made.

After one catches my eye I stare at picture after picture trying to imagine our life together. I start to make weekend plans and even plan our first adventurous road trip together.  And before I know it I'm in a relationship with a person  er, I mean, a car I've never met.

Then I take the risk and decide to meet face to face.  I'm nervous, skeptical really.  Will you live up to this picture of life I've painted for us?  Are your pictures accurate?  Does your "I enjoy the outdoors" vibe really mean you like looking at the outdoors OR do you really like to adventure outside?

When we finally meet... The ski rack on the roof from the pictures is missing...disappointment.

I look around, ask questions, seriously investigate.  After all, if I'm going to commit to you, I should know what I'm committing to.  The more time I'm with you and more questions I ask, your best features show up and your flaws appear.  I start to wonder if I can deal with that dent or ding.  What about that broken piece?  Do you like affection?*  Oops, I mean, how much TLC will I need to give you?

Not bad... Not sold either.  There was just something missing.  I didn't feel it. I drive away dejected and worn out. All that time researching wasted.  Maybe I need to go back to the drawing board. After I take a break from internet dating a car of course!  Then again maybe THE car is in another state...

I'm sure one day the process will pay off.  I'll find THE car meant for me.  It will take me on road trip adventures to new states and national parks.  And maybe, just maybe, if it's REALLY THE ONE, it might drive me to the place where I meet THE ONE.

*That question was asked of me on my first and only internet date.  Now can you see why it was a brief encounter?

And as a side note... Maybe it's just me that does her car shopping by feeling.  In an attempt to be less subjective and more objective, I spent HOURS today filling in this spread sheet my brother uses when he car shops.  This in uncharacteristic of me.  But I admit it has made me think twice about the car I feel I want.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Two Years

Two years ago today I endured one of the hardest days of my entire life.
Two years ago today as I walked out of the elevator and saw Jeremy for the first time in 96 days I melted into his arms and couldn't stop crying for hours.
Two years ago today for the first time in my life I stepped foot in a court of law and nodded my head to the judge that my marriage could not be saved.
Two years ago today I signed final papers officially ending my marriage and the future I had planned on. 
Two years ago today I could not imagine ever being happy ever again.
Two years ago today I was lost.

Two years later I feel immense gratitude for that experience.
Two years later I have more empathy and compassion for those around me.
Two years later I'm more forgiving,accepting and open.
Two years later my testimony of the gospel has deeper roots.
Two years later I have hope in the future- whatever it brings.
Two years later I know my strength, and where that strength comes from.
Two years later I have found myself again.
Two years later I am the happiest I've ever been- joy as exceeding as my pain.

And as I typed that I remembered this post I wrote back then and realize that it came true.  I am extremely blessed.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


I don't know what it is about me, but for some reason I attract males who use walkers...

Meet Lucas. Lucas loves to spit up, chew on his hands, slobber, eat split pea soup, and practice walking. I have a date with Lucas every Wednesday night. Lately more often than that.  Last weekend we rode in the back of his parents car for 8 hours together. He couldn't keep his eyes off me! For almost the entire 8 hours he stared at me. Even in the dark. When I thought he was sleeping, I'd push a button on my cell phone to use as a light to check on him... and his giant eyes would be wide open starring at me. It became a little creepy. I think he's infatuated.

A while ago I followed the advice of a friend and signed up for a LDS dating website. Not much has come from it. A few conversations. A date (who promptly asked how many kids I wanted to have. Seriously. He didn't even know my last name at that point. Sheesh. Slow down buddy). And a lot of men "looking" at my profile. When one of those men "like" a picture or send me a flirt I get an email. I'm not going to lie, something leaps inside of me when one of those emails pop up. Butterflies.

A strange pattern has emerged. Most of these likes and flirts are coming from older men. As in OLDER men.

GCDOW- age 58
LEO03- age 57
GEORGE1 - age 65

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.  I don't know what it is about my profile that screams, "Hey Guys, I'm only 32, but I like my men OLD!"  Are they just trying to be nice? Trying to boost a girls confidence?  I don't get it.  I'm often mistaken to be way younger than I am.  What about this profile picture entices the guys who are 20+ year older than me to flirt with me.  That's like having my Dad flirt with me.  CREEPY!

And just to prove a point. I went to church with friends last weekend in California. As we were walking to class we passed an OLDER gentleman walking very slowly with a walker. I walked into the room first, found us a place to sit and we all sat down and visited quietly waiting for the class to start. The before mentioned older gentleman entered the room, and paused at the front for a few seconds. He headed towards me. I just thought he was going to take a seat. Instead he comes right up to me and asks me to give the opening prayer. Out of everyone in the room, many people whom he knows, he some how found and approached me. I leaned over to Megan right before the prayer and said, "See, I attract males who use walkers."

Heaven help us all if this is how my post-divorce dating life continues... That's not to say I haven't had some wonderful dates or haven't met some awesome's just a recent trend.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Because It's Time

Life has been pretty much non-stop since school started. Here's a little bit of what has been going on...

First day of school

8th graders are a whole different subspecies of humans.  They are equal parts frustrating and entertaining.  I'm constantly being amused and annoyed by their behavior.  My "honeymoon" to teaching wore off pretty quickly.  Within a few weeks, I was calling my Mom crying.  I generally haven't had many problems with classroom management but I'm having some difficulties this time around.  I'm still trying to figure it out and am totally satisfied with approaching this year as a learning process.  One day my instructional coach from the district came in to observe.  Afterwards he said, "You have an amazing lesson planned out.  It was perfect.  But the kids are killing it."

I spent sometime, reluctantly, trying to remember what it was like to be an 8th grader again.  I think that has helped me to calm down and not expect perfection from them or from me.  I now feel very sorry for my 8th grade teachers.

In the beginning it was really easy to just spend all my time at school.  I never thought I was prepared enough for the next day, so I'd spend all my time there.  I figured I didn't really have anything else going on in my life so I might as well spend it at work.  After my first weekend with no school work passed, I decided to restore some balance.  While school still takes up the majority of my life, I've incorporated some daily/weekly rituals that help me walk away and feel satisfied in all areas of life.
  • Weekly dinner with Megan and Erik.  The biggest pull to deciding to move to Arizona was the fact that Megan and Erik live here.  Thankfully they live a short 8 minute drive away.  We've started a weekly tradition of having dinner together.  I go over after school and hang out with Megan and the two kids until Erik comes home for dinner.  I love being at their house.  I'm so grateful to have their support and friendship.  They are my family here.
Megan coached me through my first singles conference last weekend. Before each event I would text Megan a picture of my outfit to get approval.   I often still feel a little socially awkward, but with Megan's constant help, I'm improving... and I even had a great conversation with a cute guy!

  • Weekly Institute class.  In an effort to meet new people I go to a mid-singles institute class.  The teacher is fabulous and I'm slowly meeting new people.  It's nice to have a constant
  • I started a garden.  While the majority of you are hunkering down for the winter, I'm busting out the seeds and garden tools.  Hopefully my garden will grow.
I'm loving life here.  It's hard not to.  I still have my struggles.  I still come apart at a moment's notice when I encounter too many emotional triggers right in a row.  And life continues to move forward.  I've learned to handle those moments, accept them, and let them happen knowing that it will pass. Knowing that I have so very many things to be grateful for even amongst all the loss. The pain has been eased by my Savior.  I don't have to feel it all by myself.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Miss Sharing

**** I wrote this after my road trip and never published it, but here it is and I still feelt he same****

I remember when my best friend and roommate in college came back to school after returning from a school/humanitarian aid trip to Asia.  At the end of recounting stories of her adventures to me she said something along the lines of, "I just wish I had someone to share that kind of experience with."  I knew at that moment she was ready to get married. 

For the past 20 days I shared my life with my long time friend, Ben.  We embarked on a cross country road trip to Florida and back. That's a long time to spend with one person, especially if you aren't married.  I can honestly say I truly enjoyed every second of that trip.  I never once wished I was somewhere else.  When you spend that much time with someone, most of it one-on-one, you learn new things.  Even though Ben and I have been friends for 12 years now, I learned so much about him.

Towards the end of the trip, Ben was pretty eager to get back to sleeping in his own bed and not be living out of a suitcase.  I personally wasn't looking forward to the end of the trip.  In fact it was a little disappointing.  I didn't have a bed of my own, I didn't have a life full of other friends to hang out with and I still had a week before I started work.  Plus, the first day back was Jeremy's birthday... 4 days later would have been my 5th wedding anniversary.  I would have much rather been on the adventure of a road trip than be by myself in a new city.

The more I thought about it though, the big realization I had was that I really miss sharing my life with someone.   I miss companionship. It felt good to go on adventures and to share the everyday moments with Ben.  Everyday life is that much better when you share it with someone... even the boring mundane things don't seem as boring.  You learn to read someones body language and feel their moods.  You learn when you need to stay quiet and when to laugh.  You learn what drink to order them when you sit down for dinner.  You develop inside jokes and start to trust them with personal feelings.  You develop a connection.

I truly miss that part of being married... Sharing.

Epic Road Trip Part 3

After a blissful week in Florida, I reluctantly packed up my things, jumped in the car and started our trip back west.  We made a little stop in Chattanooga again and then headed towards Kansas City to meet up with our mutual friends the Broughs.  Our trip back was much quicker but we still managed to sneak in some really fun things. 

Our first night we stayed in St. Louis.  I had read about the Lantern Festival at the St. Louis Arboretum and because Ben is a good sport about putting up with my crazy ideas we enjoyed an evening walking around the gardens.  The next morning we walked across the street from the hotel to the St. Louis arch.  That thing is Tall!  We rode the elevator up the 635 feet to look out the windows at the Mississippi.  On our way out of town we stopped at the best BBQ place ever!

That afternoon we headed to Kansas City.  Ben found out that the Mariners (his favorite baseball team) was playing in Kansas City.  So we spontaneously decided to enjoy a baseball game together.  We stayed that night at the Great Wolf Lodge with the Broughs and more gaming commenced.  In the morning we played in the water park for a few hours and then hit the road to start the long trip back to Arizona. 

The last day of the trip we made a few stops to see some petroglyphs and the Petrified forest.  Ben was eager to get back to his own bed, so it was super nice of him to make the stops so I could get a stamp in my passport.  I wasn't so eager because I didn't have a bed to sleep in.  Plus I was loving every minute of our trip.  But I couldn't put off "real" life much longer.  We made it home 20 days after leaving.  I'm so very glad I went!  And so thankful Ben invited me!
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