Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Visit from Dad

Today is Sunday. Sunday means Church. Church means reflection.

Christmas was this past week and it was a good day. My Dad was in town for a few days and we got to spend some real daddy daughter time together. I have to admit that it didn’t really feel like Christmas though because my Mom wasn’t there and my brother wasn’t there. This was my first Christmas without a real sense of family. It was just my husband, my Dad and me. I understand why everyone says the mother is the center of the family; it seemed so empty without her. She was the one to keep up on what was going on in everyone’s life, giving love or service, and listening when that’s what you needed. My Dad doesn’t know what to do without her; we each just take it one day at a time. Now that the sad parts are out of the way I'll move onto the happy parts.

While my Dad was here, on Saturday we got to drive up to Logan to visit a friend, the Bishop from years ago in our Cincinnati ward. My Dad served as one of his counselors. We drove up and spent about an hour at his house just talking and catching up with him. While driving we also got to talk and reminisce about good memories with the family. On Friday my Dad and husband got to take a tour of my work and meet my co-workers which was great because my Dad works in a similar field and he got to ask all kinds of questions about how my work does things, I was so proud. On Sunday the family went to church and got to hear from the foremost authority on Joseph Smith. My Dad and I also took a drive down to Spanish fork and trying to find a house of someone my Dad knew from college. We didn’t find it but we did find the Hari Chrishna temple. We stopped and took pictures and had some unexpected fun. My Dad wanted some pictures to put on dating sites. My poor Dad can’t believe he’s 57 and has to start dating again. After our driving adventure we made dinner and took it to my husband at work and spent his break talking. On Monday we spent all day driving around trying to find a restaurant that would be open that evening (Christmas Eve). My husband works in retail and had to work until 6:30 that day so we needed a reservation for 7:30. After about ten restaurants we found it, Macaroni Grill was open until 9pm. We made our reservation and headed home to do laundry quite the rousing Christmas Eve activity. Our dinner was delicious and made even better by the fact I didn’t have to make it, thank you Macaroni Grill for all you do. I awoke Christmas morning to find Santa had left me a fuzzy purple bathrobe on the bedroom door. My Christmas tree was glowing with white lights and presents were spilling out from beneath it. Our little family wished each other a Merry Christmas as we videotaped each other opening presents. I think the highlight may have been my Dad receiving a hula girl air freshener from Santa. He hung it around his neck and told everyone that called he had a hula girl hanging on him all day. We also got the call from my Mom’s family in Ireland to wish us a Happy Christmas and tell us about their Christmas festivities and wished we were there. Later some friends of ours stopped by with their new baby to eat Christmas dessert and play videogames on our Nintendo Wii. It was quite the Christmas.

The next day I had to go back to work unfortunately but Dad and Ben joined me for lunch and we went and ate Thai, it was delicious as always. Later my Dad took one of our digital cameras and drove up to Park City to take some pictures and get a ski Utah sweatshirt. He made it home safely the next day. It was quite the pleasant visit.

Hope your Christmas was a good one.


This was actually written Dec. 11, I just forgot to post it...

I miss talking to people who are active members of a different church than I am. I used to work in a call center and talk to my friend that was a baptist who was veryh active in him church. We would talk about religion and what each of us believed personally and in our respective churches. Out here in Utah I'm mostly surrounded by people of the same religion as me so I don't get a chance to share what I believe with others because they believe the same thing. I think I prefer being in an area where my faith isn't the predominat one, that way I don't take it for granted. Don't get my wrong I go to a school that is run by my church so obviously I still get a regular dose of religion but its not the same.

I'm actually staying in Utah for Christmas this year. This is for two reasons, one is work constraints; my job and my husband's job both require us to work almost all the way up until Christmas as well as the day after Christmas. Reason two is my Dad is coming here because Christmas in New Hampshire just wouldn't be the same without my mom.

It's weird I'll be walking on campus and all of a sudden start to call my mom's cell phone number to ask her how to make a certain food or if she's read a certain book and then I'll realize shes not going to pick up the phone. Its like I forget she's gone, just for a second. Or I'll be listening to a song and I'll have tears in my eyes for no reason. Of course I don't feel like she's really gone. I'm not sure what you believe in but in my church we believe that even after death, our loved ones continue to do missionary work in the next life and are still serving our Heavenly Father they just have the benefit of knowing him a little better than we do in this life. Either way I'm sure my Mom is still doing good in the next life. She was an awesome person always serving others, taking someone dinner when they're sick, or staying with a lady from my church who was in a wheelchair so the woman's son could go to scout camp or just hang out with kids his age for a few hours. She taught sunday school for the kids at my church ages 8 to 12 and I have to admit she had a whole lot more patience than me. I taught her class for a few weeks and was about ready to pull out my hair, but she just loved people. Especially little kids. She wanted to be a grandma more than anything. She didn't get that chance since it's just my brother and me in our family and my brother isn't married and I wasn't planning on having kids until I could afford to have kids which probably won't be for a few years yet.

That’s my thoughts for the moment. Have a good day.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Campus Devotional

Today I had the opportunity to hear Pres. Thomas Monson of the First Presidency of the Mormon Church speak at my university. He had four main actions he encouraged us to take: glance backward, look heavenward, reach outward, and press onward. The glance backward refers to that fact that with Thanksgiving coming up we should all be thankful for the love of family, the opportunities we have realized and a multiplicity of things we have to be thankful for in our lives. Next we should be looking heavenward in asking for the blessing of our Heavenly Father and invite him into each of our lives. His third thought was that we can't do it alone. We can't get through life on our own and we can't get through each day without the help of others, we need to learn how to ask for help and reach out to others. Lastly he told us not to give up hope but to press onward in our trials, our journeys and our goals.

Overall I really enjoyed the speech he gave. President Monson is a funny man and he described how he met his wife and the first time he met her parents. It reminded me of the first time I met my husband's parents, like President Monson, I met my in-laws on my first day with my spouse. When I walked in the door his parents already knew who I was and who my parents were. My husband actually tricked me into a first date with him. We saw each other at a church institute for young single adults but we didn't met until a New Year's Eve party a few days later. My husband asked if he could drive my car when he knew it was packed in the driveway with no way of moving so he said I should come to his work the next day. So I did then after he drove my car he asked if I wanted to get something to eat, then wanted to show me some pictures from his mission so we went to his parents house. Craziness.

Well that's all for now. Have a lovely day.

Monday, November 12, 2007

My productive day

Today I finally did something I have been procrastinating for two months. I actually applied for internships. I spent my day in between classes making copies, writing cover letters and putting together portfolios for each of the five internships that caught my interest. I need an internship so I can actually graduate from college this April. I'm done with classes in December but I can't graduate until I do an internship approved by my school.

Before I submitted that applications I asked Kaylene, the editorial advisor at my school's paper, to be one of my references. She said I should apply to be an editor for my last semester. I would love to do that but I already committed to work at my current job next semester. My dilemma is that the job I have currently pays more and being a young married college student I need all the money I can get to pay rent and groceries. In the long run the editor position would help me more in my career path though. I guess I'll have to discuss it with my husband and friends and decide what to do.

In the mean time, I was excited to find I had already received a response from one of the magazines I applied to for an internship. The editor emailed me to say she'll be in touch and that they start interviews at the end of November and the beginning of December.

My night was also productive in that I started my Christmas shopping. Technically I started my shopping in Ireland two weeks ago when I bought presents for all my nieces and nephews. Tonight my shopping was for presents for my husband. Still on my lists are presents for my brother and Dad as well as my in-laws. It's not even Thanksgiving yet and I'm already thinking about Christmas, time has been going rather quickly.

Its been almost two months since my Mom died and I still don't know how to feel from day to day. Some days I'm fine and some days something as small as a song can make me stop or cry. Today that song was Pink's "Who Knew." Some of the lyrics say, "You took my hand,You showed me how, You promised me you'd be around...If someone said three years from now, You'd be long gone, I'd stand up and punch them up, Cause they're all wrong, I know better, Cause you said forever, And ever, Who knew?" "I'll keep you locked in my head,Until we meet again, Until we meet again, And I won't forget you my friend." I was driving to my husband's work to pick him up when I heard this song and I couldn't help tearing up. I'll think I'm okay and then something will happen that will show me I'm not. I just got back from Ireland on November 4. My mom was born and raised in Ireland and her family still lives there. They are Catholic and so they planned a memorial mass for her on November 3 so my Dad and I flew out on Halloween and came back the 4th. It was a whirlwind trip but it was a good one. The memorial gave me some sense of closure and I learned things I never knew about my mom's life. My Dad spoke of meeting her in Saudi Arabia and how he knew right away that someday she was going to be his wife. At the time there was a minor inconvenience in that fact that she was dating one of his friends at the time but at he said "I knew one day he would screw up and she would be mine, and he did and she was." They were engaged six months later while on an African safari in Kenya and married a year later on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. A few years later they moved to Texas and my brother and I were born. This was the first time my parents realized that something was wrong and at first my mom was diagnosed with post-pardon depression. Later they found out that wasn't it but she had a good team of doctors that got her on medication that allowed her to remain stable for 17 years. My mom never wanted anyone to know so my brother and I were never told until last year when a doctor misdiagnosed her and put her on the wrong medication. After she found out I was engaged she asked to switch her medication since a side effect was weight gain and she wanted to lose weight so she could look good in the wedding pictures. The summer I got married I my husband and I lived with my parents. Throughout the summer my mom slowly got worse as the level of medication in her blood got lower and lower. She was aggressive, she was spending thousands of dollars, and was talking fast and threatening to kick out my husband and me on a regular basis. After a particularly bad situation my Dad had to have my Mom forcibly committed to the hospital for a month while they got her back on the right medication. This past June was the last time I saw my mom. My parents came out to visit my husband and I and my mom brought the top of my wedding cake so my husband and I could celebrate our one year wedding anniversary by eating the our wedding cake. A few months later I could tell when I talked to my mom on the phone that she was depressed. I called her on a Monday to ask about a recipe I always loved that she made and on Wednesday I received a phone call my Dad telling me to call him back as soon as I got the message. I couldn't get a hold of him so I called my brother, he told me that Mom had passed away. Her funeral was the next Monday and so many people shared all the ways my mom had served them through acts of kindness and love. I was a mess but slowly I started to think of the happy times and dwell less on the sadness of her absence. I was fine until the topic of suicide in the media was discussed in my Media Effects Class. My teacher said she could never commit suicide because she couldn't face Heavenly Father and the consequences like going to Hell. I got up and walked out of the class. I couldn't stay there and listen to it. Now that I've reviewed all the sad points of my life in the last few months I think its time to go to bed.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Why I created a Blog

Today I was sitting in a class and my teacher asked anyone who had a blog to raise their hand. Only one person raised her hand. I thought that was odd considering I know quite a few people who have blogs, maybe they just didn't want to admit it and then have to explain their blog to the teacher, or even worse have him go looking to read their blogs. In our class discussion my teacher also mentioned that a solider in Iraq created a blog to tell his family everything that was going on since it was easier than emailing everyone. I have family in Ireland who I can't call because I lack an international phone plan. This leaves email as really my only route of communication. I thought a blog might be a good alternative to the occasional email. Thats my personal motivation. A discussion of the power of bloggers also piqued my interest. We discussed how bloggers are affecting traditional journalism. There were the bloggers that realized the story Dan Rather presented at CBS news about President Bush not completing his service in the National guard was wrong. The story was based on some documents from a superior officer saying the service had not been completed. Bloggers showed thorough the type used in the documents did not exist at they time they were supposedly written and thus the documents could not be authentic. As a result of this CBS and Dan Rather had to apologize to the public and later Dan Rather resigned from CBS news. This showed that bloggers do have power. I do have a third motivation for my desire for a blog. I'm about to graduate with a degree in journalism, and I thought it might be helpful to know my way around a blog and possibly use it as a place to post clips that I can show to employers when applying for jobs. So there it is, my motivation for joining the blogging crowd.