Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bless-ed is this life

The title of my post is taken from Brett Dennen, my favorite summertime musician. I really am the luckiest girl. Putting my worries on the shelf for the summertime seemed appropriate so that I could enjoy what life has to offer. Instead of listing all the details, why don't I just show you some of my fave summer memories...so far. I know you all are suckers for pictures anyway....

Picture 1: This is Becky and me biking up in Littledale (East Canyon on the way to Park City). I have taken up mountain biking and LOVE it. I am not excited for my first fall, but know it will happen...c'est la vie.

Picture 2: Jason and me in Lake Powell. I went with 5 other girls and one other boy. Highlights: spending the night in the Wal-mart parking lot, eating at Denny's the next morning, battling 8-foot swells due to the wind, hanging with really great people, getting pulled over by the boat sheriff, tubing, dutch-oven dinners, grilling steak, reading a book in my tent, sand blowing in everything (I am still finding it every where), midnight cruises on the lake lit by the full moon.

Picture 3: One more Powell pic, just for fun. This is Nate, Michelle, Me and Jason. The water in this pic is far from serene. We had to put towels over us to keep from the water splashing in the boat. It was incredibly windy, but the next day...of course...the water was pure glass.

Picture 4: I went to Moab with my ward. We hiked, biked, camped and later, I took off with friends to go river rafting. I felt invincible and very hard core. Highlights: seeing so many amazing natural arches, flipping over in the raft, making life-long survival friends and yelling 'survivors' every 3 seconds on the rest of the way down the Colorado River, jamming to tunes until lights out at the campground, biking up slick rock, my friend Darnell's bike broke: but we had Jimmy the incredible fix-it man with us to save the day, sleeping on a queen size air mattress, showering at the campground where everyone made fun of me...hey, if there is a shower at the camping site, you bet I am going to use it!

Picture 5: Kelly, Darnell and me setting up our tent.

The memories continue: Catching up with all the wardies on their lives, getting a tour of this really nice hotel from a 9-year old (Grace), finding my way from out under the raft after it capsized, rescuing our people, winning the splash battles just by calling it first, getting a Moab t-shirt, making it up really hard hills without falling off my bike :)...the list goes on and on.

Picture 6: Julie, Kerrie, Me, Darnell and Kelly...the survivors.

Picture 7: Me, Katie, Nate, Alma, Sherri, Shannon, Dan (on the bottom row), Jared, Kim. Demolition Derbies...need I say more!!

Picture 8: Tedi, Wyatt, Stephanie, Brandon and me at the Bees game. I don't remember who won...hee hee, but I do remember charging the field to see fireworks...and fireworks THEY WERE!

Picture 9: Alma and I at the Bee Gees tribute. When mom, dad and Bryan came to town, we all went to look at houses for fun in Daybreak during their garage sale days. A radio station was doing a remote at one of the model homes. Needless to say, my dad won tickets to the Bee Gees tribute concert and gave them to me. Thanks dad!

So, I think that sums up my summer with more adventures to come...I don't have pics of my class, or my two jobs (consulting and research assisting), but I do that as well. In fact, I had to tell my dad that really, I am working...I just know how to play hard too, that's all.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Same Kind of Different As Me

Most of you know that I am a crier. Sometimes I cry over the silliest of things, AT&T commercials, a look, a spiritual hymn...etc. There are many reasons I cry. I cry when I am blissfully happy, extremely frustrated with circumstances, when I feel good inside, when I am inspired, when I just feel like it for no reason, when I recognize blessings, when I am downright mad, when I get hurt physically. But more often than not, I cry when I am touched.

I am surrounded by a myriad of people who have contributed great things to my life. This past week, I was deeply touched by two men who had enough courage (and I would say were inspired) to write down their feelings and their experiences and put them in a book. In a way, I feel that the story has contributed to my faith and has restored in me a hope in people. I also feel that in way I have been completely edified and know that my reading this book at this particular time was no coincidence.

The book I am referring to is The Same Kind of Different As Me. I am going to copy and paste a summary below:

A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery.

An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel.

A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream.

A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.

It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana . . . and an East Texas honky-tonk . . . and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda . . . an upscale New York gallery . . . a downtown dumpster . . . a Texas ranch.

Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.

This book left me thirsty to serve...a thirst it seems sometimes I am lacking. It left me with an open mind and encouraged me to seek after the entire picture. There were so many pivotal moments and phrases in this book. And, by the way, it is entirely non-fictional, but written in a creative writing format. The way the story is told is incredible in its description and creates a story that is sure to stay in my mind forever.

It leaves me with a couple thoughts:

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them" - Mother Theresa

"My life is my message" - Ghandi

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Peach Shakes

You wouldn't think that growing up in Sierra Vista would have a lot of perks. I just had an aunt visit SV and she called me asking, "What is there to do here?" I am sure she thought What in the world did they do when they lived here? I laugh at this because...sure, compared to the thriving metropolis of Salt Lake, it probably could be considered 'boring.' But let me tell you a memory that I cherish more than anything a city could provide.

Thunder and lightning storms and peach shakes. Every June-September the sky in Sierra Vista would get dark about mid-day and the smell of wet asphalt and wet desert dirt (not necessarily mud...it never rained hard enough) would roll in. That is when the lightning show started. Any time we knew there would be a storm, my mom would hurry and make peach shakes and we would all sit out on my back porch that faced the mountains and watch the lightning show. We would ooh and aah trying to see if we could spot the longest piece of lightning and would shriek when we would hear the best clap of thunder. That alone would take me back there to live. I think about it all the time.

Right now in Salt Lake, we are having a thunder and lighting storm. And even though it really isn't the same kind of desert rain smell, it still smells good and fresh.

Break out the peach shakes baby!