Sunday, August 2, 2015

j & c's story - part one

There is so much to write about in my life over the past seven months. So, you would think that I would be more actively blogging about all the news and goings on. Funny how time seems to run out and my thoughts and feelings are left inside my head.

I am in awe of how much has changed in my life. It's a testament to me that Heavenly Father truly has me in His hands, and is directing my life. I am so grateful.

First things first: You probably want to know how I met "the one." Well, get comfortable...

I flew to Idaho and visited my sister for Christmas. My parents even came up, so I got to see them as well. Flying in December is not easy. I got delayed twice (thanks United! but not really) leaving Dulles Airport and then had to switch planes, thus missing my connecting flight in Denver to Idaho Falls. My sister and mom ended up spending the night in a hotel in Idaho Falls. I called a long time Navy friend and begged a room for the night. She was gracious enough to pick me up at one o'clock in the morning with water and homemade muffins for a snack. I slept in a comfortable bed and caught up with friend SL for a while the next morning, and then was off to Idaho Falls.

Christmas was great fun. I brought matching flannel pajama bottoms for all the boys. And matching flannel nightgowns for my mom, sister and I--classic! We had fun opening presents, spending time with one another, cooking and eating good food, and talking with other family members. My favorite toy was nephew B's horse barn complete with brand new horses, and some dinosaurs. He left the whole thing unattended, and thanks to Grandpa and I those dinosaurs made quite a mess at the horse barn--carnage galore!

It was great to spend time with my sister. I'll always remember the morning we went for a walk to the grocery store when it was two degrees. We both walked outside, and stood for a minute to gauge the temperature. We then turned around, went back inside and put on another layer of clothing. On our walk we caught the sun rise. The town deer kept an eye on us for the whole walk but didn't run away. It was a really beautiful, cold morning. I love mountain winters.

My mom, sister and I went for lunch together at a new tea room that recently opened. We had fun exploring the premises and checking out all the tea cups and pots on display. Mom and I recognized some of the English china from our trip through England years earlier. We had stopped at the potteries in Stoke-on-Trent, and shopped the seconds stores for some of the biggest names in fine English china. Becky and I wished that the shop's handmade mugs were cheaper because we both wanted one to remember our trip. It was a fun outing.

We ended my trip by celebrating my nephew B's seventh birthday. (It's amazing to think that he was born right before I went to Afghanistan and that it's been seven years since I did that.) We partied with a sledding trip up in the mountains where it was 12 degrees. We had a much needed fire to help us stay warm, and filled up on hot chocolate, hot dogs and doughnuts. It was a perfect birthday-sledding party!

That evening I made nephew B's birthday cake, a chocolate cake with blue vanilla frosting topped with coconut. We had dinner with some family friends who were so excited to celebrate with us. We lit candles, sang happy birthday, demolished the cake and opened lots of birthday presents. That kid loves his horses!

Then the following day I flew out of Idaho Falls back into Denver. This time the flight was on time and there were no delays. An interesting man with a really nice smile sat in the seat next to me. He introduced himself as Jesse and we started talking. He was in town to take care of some personal business over the holidays and was heading back to work in Iowa.

We talked the whole flight and kept talking as we walked through the terminal to our departure gates. We talked about why we were in Idaho and where we lived now. We shared about our families, single life, and jobs (he's a welder/pipe fitter). We both told funny stories and enjoyed each others' company. After confirming that yes we wanted to stay in touch, I gave him my card with my contact information, and left the ball in his court. As we parted ways at his departure gate, I impulsively stepped forward and gave him a quick hug. I was kind of surprised by this, but it felt like the right thing to do.

I arrived back at Dulles right on time around one o'clock in the morning again, and another kind friend OS picked me up and took me home. When I got in her car, she asked how my flight was. I remember having a quiet feeling that something important had happened when I told her about the nice guy named Jesse who sat next next to me on the plane. OS asked if we were going to keep in touch. I said that I hoped so, but I honestly had no idea. I got home around three in the morning and went straight to bed.

When I finally woke up about eight hours later my first thought was, "I really hope Jesse contacts me." I was quite surprised by how much I really wanted this to happen. As the day went by I remember thinking several times how much I wanted him to contact me. I went to bed that night thinking about Jesse's nice smile, his kind eyes and how much I enjoyed talking with him.

The next morning Jesse emailed me (finally!!!!), and asked if it was okay that we started communicating. He also said that he didn't want to be an interruption to my life. I remember thinking to myself, "Silly man! Don't you know I want my life to be interrupted?" We emailed back and forth a couple of times and set a time for a phone call the next evening on New Year's Day.

Let's just say that once we got on the phone that we didn't run out of things to talk about for the next three months. It's a good thing that we both have the same phone cell phone carrier because otherwise our bills would have been in the thousands of dollars. (We also used Google Hangout to message each other during the day and for video chatting at least once a week. Technology is so amazing!)

We talked about everything. We told the good, bad and ugly stories, the funny, sad  and not-so-great ones too. We had phone dates where we read poetry and stories to each other. A couple of times we even cooked dinner and ate together over the phone. I started reading Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls to him which we both really enjoy (we still have a ways to go to finish). We compared political ideologies, outlooks on life, interests and hobbies. We shared our testimonies of the gospel and hopes for the future.

We started finding all the things we have in common as well as our differences. Yes, he likes Star Trek, and Star Wars, and super hero movies. He hasn't met The Doctor yet, but an introduction is in the works. He appreciates my interest in space and my crushes on astronauts and the Mars Rover. (The nerd potential is strong with this one.) We are excited about camping and fishing together. We are both Mormons and actively participate in church. We both served in the military-he was active and reserve Army for several years, so he gets my reserve life. He's from Idaho and I'm from Utah, and both love the mountain west and being outdoors. He likes maps, and emergency preparedness. I like to crochet, and sew. He's teaching himself to play the violin, and I sing and play the piano. We are both generally happy people, optimistic about life. He's as hopeful a romantic as I am. And he really likes to dance!

My interest in Jesse was changing from mildly interested to highly interested as we talked and learned about each. I know that people sometimes will hold back and not show their true selves in dating situations. I feel like we were both able to be ourselves, and as our comfort and trust levels grew, the safer it felt to be completely open and honest. We even told each other about those not-so-great things we had done in our lives (you know, the things you're afraid if someone you like found out that they wouldn't like you any more). We were both able to share these things with each other despite our fears, and in returned feel un-judged, supported, and accepted.

Eventually, I shared my blog with Jesse. As he read it he shared with me things that he liked and asked for more details about my experiences or thoughts I shared. He reminded of things I had written where I expressed my faith and hope for good things in my life. It was interesting to see myself through his eyes as he got to know me through my blog.

Years earlier I swore never to do the long distance thing again in my life. Funny about those things you swear you're never gonna do--eventually you end up doing thing them and sometimes they turn out better than before. So, this time it was different (yes, I know so cliché, but really it was). I kept feeling hopeful and at peace all the while Jesse and I were talking. Most importantly, I was having fun! I also knew my feelings were deepening for Jesse, and I wasn't scared by this. Rather I was excited and hopeful, and very much looking forward to our next conversation.

I kept waiting for that feeling I knew all too well from previous dating experiences, that feeling of no-this-is-not-the-right-one-for-you-Christine. And I kept not feeling it. This was new for me, and I kept thinking, "Okay, I'm just going to keep going with this then." In fact, the feeling I was having was "This is a really good man, Christine. This is a really good man. Christine, this is a really good man" over and over. This feeling persisted even when I wasn't talking to Jesse. I remember sitting on my couch thinking about all this, when that same feeling almost overwhelmed me again. I finally looked up and said, "Okay, Father I hear you. I've got it. Jesse is a really good man."

To be continued....

Saturday, January 31, 2015

what made me smile in january

* the first phone call of many phone calls.

* the answer to a prayer that came right as something new was starting in my life. thus opening the way for what i really, truly wanted to come into my life.

* my nephews not wanting to talk to me on the phone when i was because they didn't want to get sick with my cold. silly boys!

* a feeling, a tangible and very real feeling, of being supported and loved.

* snow flurries and flakes that accumulated just a bit. i love snow.

* daffodils, hyacinths, and dark chocolate from Trader Joe's.

* my mom talked to me about this article from elder scott and asked me to read it. i've been reading, pondering, and even listening to it a few times. i'm being taught some of the things that i need.

* playing the piano. singing. cooking. baking. bacon. cheese. cold, clean water. cups of tea. sleeping late on saturday mornings. organizing. laundry. sewing.

* my sister's birthday is in january. i sure do love my becky-doodles. sis, you are such an amazing, righteous and strong woman. i hope that i can be more like you. love you!

* my brother R1 is doing his final semester of law school in tokyo with his entire family. it's so fun to hear their adventures and follow along on their blog. i so wish that i could go and visit him.

* a couple of years ago the relief society (the women's ministry from my church) from my congregation made hats for the oncology ward at children's hospital here in dc. we had a goal of 500 and we ended up donating over 1100 hats. they recently contacted us again, to ask if we would be willing to make more because they were out of hats. so we are starting to make hats again, and i'm teaching people how to make them on knitting looms or crocheting. i'm really excited about this. one of these days i need to learn to how to knit though. if you're interested, please leave a comment below and i'll get in touch with you about how to help.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 in review

Here are just a few highlights from 2014. It was a fun year with lots of friend and family time. It was also a rough year with the unexpected loss of beloved family members as well. An overall good year. I'm hoping for an even better 2015!!


December
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November
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October


September

August

July
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June

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May


April



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March

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February

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January

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Friday, January 2, 2015

new

Happy New Year!

It's so strange to my head that it's 2015 already... and we are already 1.5 days into it. I must say that this year is definitely off to a much more intriguing start than last year. Woop woop!

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want. Selfish, I know, but I realized that it's a really important and big question for me. I was asked what I wanted for Christmas and I didn't have an answer. I honestly didn't know. A friend recently asked, "What do you want me to do for you?" and again I didn't know. So it feels right that I start this new year off by asking myself what do I want. I hope to figure it out this year.

Things I'm going to do this year:

1. Be the biggest loser and get my butt to bed earlier
2. Keep the Sabbath day holy
3. Learn how to create and follow a budget, and then do it!
4. Read more books, watch less stuff
5. Read the Book of Mormon again with real intent
6. Set a retirement date from the Navy Reserve and begin planning it
7. Call more and text less
8. Forgive myself, and trust God more
9. Sing and play the piano more
10. Be open and available to answer the call
11. Answer the question "What do I want?"
12. Be the hopeful romantic

This all feels do-able.

Monday, September 1, 2014

things that made me smile...

* a weekend without alarm clocks. sleeping until i'm ready to be awake. cooking avocado omelets for breakfast.

* a new calling (or assignment) at church. i'm the single adult representative for my congregation. should be interesting... ?

* fall cleaning. the feeling of a room that's been deep cleaned, it feels more open and brighter somehow.

* my nieces and nephews starting school and listening to their thoughts on new teachers and classes. so fun!

* a friend who is a fellow chief and whovian, who asked some very insightful questions when i talked with him one night about something i want to happen in my life. our conversation led me to some insights about where i am and a couple of things that were holding me back. thanks bro!

* the excitement of possibilities that meeting someone new brings until they don't. i'm so grateful for answers to prayers. sometimes it's important to try things out and see how they feel.

* my sister who listens without judgement. love ya!

* dinner with my cousin. so fun to catch up, enjoy good conversation and amazing food at ambar.

* painting a friend's basement. i found it easy to clear my mind and stop thinking for a while as i painted.

* word of advice: if you happen to end a meaningful friendship that is holding you back from being open to what you really want, do not watch the series finale of a beloved show. because you will cry, the ugly sobbing cry as you watch everyone say goodbye as they go off to their new duty stations on starships around the galaxy. thanks Star Trek: Deep Space 9 for nursing a breaking heart.

* a new season of doctor who has begun! so many new adventures to enjoy. (hopefully, moffat doesn't ruin anything else i enjoy in this world, like angel statues, libraries, the internet... )

* so, i've been lazy about being faithful to a goal that the bishop of our congregation set for us to read the complete book of mormon this year. it's not that i haven't been reading it, but i've been reading the parts that call to me. so, after he spoke again about our goal in church yesterday i'm setting the goal to read it all the way through by the end of the year. i'm using this 90-day schedule, so i have a bit of wiggle room. feel free to join in.

* my mom is learning spanish without even trying. being immersed in the language as she teaches english and attends the spanish-speaking congregation is really helping her to catch on. it's so fun to hear her excitement as she realizes what she understands.

* the soundtrack of guardians of the galaxy is pretty awesome. every time i play awesome mix vol 1, i'm dancing and singing around the room or in my car. always makes me smile.

*  holding a new baby is the best thing in the whole world.

* founding farmers for dinner with my best friend. best food-gasm in a very long time.

* a new star trek t-shirt. i seriously love this print.

* a stuffed elephant. excessive nerd syndrome. air conditioning. long walks. my book shelves. a clean bathroom. clean sheets. ted's millionaire bar milkshake. a good deep belly laugh. taking photos.

Monday, July 14, 2014

more things that made me smile

* this post on how Heavenly Father can bless us when we do our part... or when we don't. been there, heard that a few times in my life. nice to know i'm not alone.

* so, i was supposed to fly to germany this weekend on orders, but that didn't happen (long story). naturally, i was disappointed, but all in all okay with how it turned out. i'm at peace with it, and that's a good feeling.

* i was asked to be a co-sponsor for a former sailor as he goes through chief training. it's such an honor.

* two junior officers who care about a shipmate and are bravely doing the right thing reminded why i love the navy. and i needed that reminder one day last week.

* a friend and i were chatting, and he reminded me just how much i love the show MASH. seriously, being the navy i have worked with all those characters in real life.

* re-learning a lesson. you know how you end up in a situation where once you have some hindsight you realize that you once again were learning a lesson that you thought you had already learned? yeah.... that was me again recently. i'm very thankful for do-overs. hopefully, i got it this time and will remember it for the next time.

* going from a hole in the wall to an AC unit in the wall. it took 3 friends, 3 prayers and lots of patience.

* the realization that many of the things on this list are navy-related. funny, cause i wasn't feeling it last week. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

things that make me smile

so many smiles with laughter, and smiles through tears lately. i just feel the need to say it all out loud again.

* my family's reunion in nauvoo, illinois. so much fun and so many memories. a loose tooth, scaring older cousins again and again, river sunsets, hugs, fireflies, concern for my singleness from my nephews, cousins!, ice cream for lunch, a's little smile. all this and so much more did my heart good!

* time spent with 3 lifelong friends who can still come together to make new stories while retelling the old ones, who just love each other, who just enjoy the good company.

* time with family friends who were part of our missionary experience.

* people i work with who say, "I'll pray for you and your family." and knowing they mean it.

* a quick trip home to paradise, utah. even though it was for my aunt's funeral it was so nice to be with my family again. my heart needed it.

* weeding. nothing better than yanking weeds to take life's frustrations.

* answers to prayers before i knew i needed to pray them.

* sunrises.

* dinner with friends and catching up after not having talked for years and years.

* a lonely cat who wanted my company.

* coming home.

* next please. i'm ready.

* a best friend who: picked me up early from the airport. made sure i ate actual food. got home safe. checked in with me the next day and made sure i ate real food again. was good company. gave me hope. and confirmed a right decision.

* getting on the earlier flight which i made by the skin of my teeth.

* flying over the Grand Canyon. seriously beautiful.

* keeping my mom company.

* hugs from nieces and nephews who saw me only a week prior, but the hugs are just as enthusiastic as if it's been a year.

* time talking with my sister and mom.

* aunt 'tine and aunt becky in action.

* my poor nephew's face after he met the treadmill on high. ouch! his big sister and cousin who jumped in to save him and unplug everything.

* seeing someone I grew up with who is happy in her life. and having things work out.

* the serendipity of asking for a ride from the airport and getting the opportunity to visit with a high school friend who was giving her husband a ride to the airport at the same time. not much more serendipitous than that.

* a cancelled flight.  a paid for hotel room. and being able to receive the phone call.

* i caught a fish and cleaned it. it was so gross.

* washington, dc at night on the mall.

* the illinois sky at night. stars, stars and more stars.

* this book: A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet was perfect reading for flying home and back for a funeral. reflections on why family stories are necessary to life. amen!

* conference talks. 3 Nephi 11. Matthew 6:10.

* siblings who text me photos of their kids. smiles galore.

* a housemate who prayed right then and there for me.

* mountains.

* homemade cinnamon rolls.

* my own bed.

* waking up without an alarm.

* friends who send texts at the right time.

* a ride to church.

* second chances.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

things that make me smile this week returns

So, the past few months have not been particularly easy for me. I've been in a winter funk brought on by life creeping up on me with some realizations that left me with the wind knocked out of me. And so I retreated, and hid for a while hoping no one would notice. But Someone did, and He made sure I was taken care of, loved and given what I needed, and I am so grateful.

So, at the urging of a friend who says my life is more interesting and that people like me, I am recommitting to sharing my little light through my blog. And so I will start by once again sharing the things that make smile on a weekly basis.

- Mom and Dad are coming for a visit!!!! This caught me by surprise, because I invited them, listened to all their reasons for not coming, and thought that they wouldn't actually get on a plane to come out here. But they are, and I'm so very giddy to have them visit.

- They are coming out because I am reenlisting in the Navy Reserve for two more years. Yes, I am actually smiling about this. I need to renew my enlistment contract in order to be eligible to retire, which is still in my plans. I'm excited too, because the ceremony is going to be pretty cool, and performed by a close friend. I'll share the details when it actually happens.

- I've talked on the phone with my family a lot this week, and it's been really fun. The other night two of my brothers and I all met up for a Google Hangout session and it was so cool to have the three of us and the little ones hanging out together for a few minutes from different parts of the country. Just makes me happy!!

- I really love hearing about the adventures of my nieces and nephews. I had forgotten the magic of a hotel room as seen through the eyes of a child. Nephew G hated the art museum, because he couldn't touch anything or run around, but still could tell me about the art he saw that he thought was cool. And Niece L loved the lily painting by Monet because that flower is her namesake and they grow in the water. It was so fun to hear about their trip.

- It snowed this week, and got really, really cold. And yes, I know, it's the first week of spring, but I really liked the snow and the cold, and bundling up to stay warm.

- On the way to work the other morning, I saw a herd of deer and a flock of wild turkeys right in the middle of DC. Granted, I was driving through a park area, but it's surrounded by a very large urban residential area. Apparently, it's enough of a green space to support a variety of wildlife.

- As cold as it has been, there are still signs of spring all around. My front garden is greeting me with signs of bright yellow crocus. The daffodils and tulips are poking up the dirt, and the day lilies in the backyard are showing signs of life. In a couple of weeks things will be bloom all over the city, I hope.

- Spring cleaning! I started it this week and have been doing a little every day. I'm not that far along, but it's a start, and it feels good.

- Making new friends. I'm so thankful for the Church in my life which just helps the process of making new friends with people who are kind, amazing and fun.

- Good books! I've been reading the Acorna series by Anne McCaffrey. I always wanted to read this series, and just decided it was time. What an adventure!

- I really love the Harry Potter movies, and crocheting.

- I was part of a lovely group of women who hosted a baby shower for a dear friend who is expecting her first. It was so nice to be a part of sending someone so much love and hope for a new little life to come.

- LDS General Women's Conference was just lovely! So many great messages about how we need and can learn from each other.

Here are a few Instagram photos to end things this week.