Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Story of Us

Lots of people have been asking to hear the story behind Ryan and me. So, here it goes :) I will try to be as objective as possible, but this is my blog, so if I choose to take a little license here and there, thats my own business :)

Meet Jen and Ryan Walters. I think she is gorgeous, and he isn't too bad either. I have never met Jen before, but I have talked about her for hours on end, and feel like she is a close friend. They met and married in the Salt Lake Temple in 2002. They were both born and raised in the Salt Lake area and settled down there with their new family. Ryan worked and went to school to become a nurse and Jen worked in her career of community health. When Jen was 20 weeks pregnant with their first son, Noah, they discovered that the horrible headaches she was having came from a tumor that was growing in her brain. Fastforward through grueling treatments, remissions, miracles, and finally a relapse, and she passed away in May 2009, right after Noah's third birthday.

Meet Cory and Brooke Jenkins. I will spare you too many details because I am assuming if you are reading this blog, you know most of them. But suffice it to say, Brooke and Cory were married in the Mesa temple where they both grew and up and then promptly made a move to Ft. Lewis, Washington. Cory was beginning his career as a Physician Assistant in the U.S. Army. Their daughter Reagan was born in June of 2009 and Cory was gone by that August. He was killed when an improvised explosive device hit his vehicle during his deployment to Afghanistan.

After a year and a half had passed since Jen and Cory's deaths (mind you, I am skipping the description of that time cuz it is boring and slightly depressing), both Ryan and I were struggling to get back into the dating scene. The experience felt a little bit like cruel and unusual punishment for both of us. How could we ever find someone to love and still be able to honor the eternal love and covenants we had made in the temple. We both decided that the only possible solution was to find another person in the same situation, someone who could totally empathize and respect that love. Now here comes the embarrassing part, though we are trying to get over it :) Ryan decided to sign up for the online dating site LDS Planet. He spent a grand total of about 3 weeks on there. I, on the other hand, hold proud to the claim that I was not online dating. So then how did you meet, you ask? Well, my dear friend Angela Barrus was also signed up for that website. One night she was over at my home and we were messing around and looking at her LDS Planet profile online. I asked her to do a search for widowers because I wanted to prove to her that there were none, that I could never get married because there was no one who fit my criteria (spirituality of a general authority, brains of a rocket scientist, the looks of Brad Pitt, and a widower who won the Father of the Year award). We laughed at some of the profiles that our search returned. And then there he was. And all of us in the room knew it. Angela convinced me to let her send him an email telling him to get in contact with me, which he did not do. Jerk. So then she sent him ANOTHER email to tell him he was really going to miss the boat on this one if he didn't act now. He finally looked me up on Facebook, decided I was attractive enough, and sent me a message :) We clicked right away and it was obvious. We chatted back and forth via email, phone and skype. Three months later, in March, he took the plunge and came down for a visit. We spent the weekend together and went paddleboarding. These are a couple of pictures from that day. He said he wanted to let me know that he was interested in me, so he developed an ingenius plan of splashing reclaimed canal water all over me numerous times. Doesn't that just scream romance?

I am going to skip a few details at this point. We traveled back and forth, seeing each other about every 2 weeks. Please be sure and ask him about the first time he kissed me and his smooth line "smell my hair" that was designed to get me close enough to go in for the kill.

I went with the Jenkins family a couple of weeks ago to vacation in Park City, Utah. Ryan drove out our first day and took me out for a night on the town. We went to Deer Valley Lodge and and rode a ski lift to the top of the mountain. We could see a million miles in either direction and it was gorgeous. After Ryan shoo-ed away the other people that were up there, he sat me on a bench, got down on one knee, and told me that he wanted to take care of Reagan and me. Then he asked me to marry him with the ring of my dreams. Well, I said no at first. Got to keep them on their feet, ya know? But I quickly changed my answer :) Then we grabbed a scrubby looking twelve year old who was the only other human being around to snap this picture. We can't describe the comfort that comes from being with someone who understands our hardest trial so completely, the ease of being able to tell each other story after story about our husband or wife and the person only wants to hear more, and the awe that comes from knowing we have SOMEHOW, SOMEWAY managed to find TWO people in our short lives that we are meant for, when there are others who toil their whole lives without such a privilege. And that is the story of us, in a nutshell. I have included a few more pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Reagan and Noah playing Captain America in the Target. Don't these look like the kind of kids who get shoved in lockers at school?

Enjoying a great Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers game

This is the moment I knew I loved Ryan and wanted to marry him. Can you tell why?

Trying to capture a group shot in the blacklight of Kangaroo Zoo

Lunch at the Olive Garden with my sister Phoebe's family

We took an old fashioned western picture at Rawhide. They thought they were the stuff :)

Attempting some bowling in Arizona

What.a.stud :)

After a carriage ride in Salt Lake. The boy is a crazy romantic.

Hanging out at Temple Square

Self Photograph
At the Phoenix Zoo

At the Easter Pageant. This is the first day he knew he loved me. Cheesy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

This Is My Story

Sooooo,lacking the emotional energy to be original tonight, I will post something that I wrote out 8 months or so ago. This is my story.

"August 25, 2009"

I just realized the other day that I had not yet recorded the events of this day. Even though it was the most horrible day of my life, I am convinced that I am going to want to read this and remember in the years to come. Go figure….

I woke up that morning with a long list of things to do. I was trying to be productive. I needed to get a box off to Cory that I had been procrastinating for awhile. I ran around town trying to gather pictures, treats, etc. to put inside the box. I also dropped off a birthday present for one of my Beehives, Cassandra Cridlebaugh. I was in a really sentimental mood that day, so as Reagan napped, I looked through all of our wedding and engagement photos. I felt soooo close to him at that time. I laughed at the goofy pictures of us and I wondered over the experiences we had been through up to that time in our marriage. We had grown so close and still had years and years to grow old together. I finally ran the box down to the post office. The worker there told me it was better to use a flat rate box, so she sent me away to re-pack it. Instead of going straight home, I drove to the gas station for some gas and bought a bag of Funyuns and a cherry Slurpee. I drove around aimlessly until I had finished it, just thinking about my life and feeling a little lonely. When I got home, I decided to take Reagan for a walk to the library. I wanted to check out some books on cooking for one and baby development. We wandered around the library for awhile and then walked home. It was time to feed Baby Reagan, so we sat down in the rocker in her room to nurse and opened one of the books on baby development. Just a couple of minutes after we started, I heard a knock on the front door. I thought that was strange because I wasn’t expecting anyone. I quickly made myself presentable and dragged Reagan to the front door. I peeked out of the little window to see who was there. I thought I saw two men in Class A green uniforms, but one of them looked to be the chaplain that just moved into our ward. I swear I did not know what was coming when I opened the door. I opened the door to see Chaplain Coleman and Captain Harmon. I remember thinking that CPT Harmon looked really scared. I said “Hi! Come on in”. I went around turning on lights so that we could see in the front room. I was feeling REALLY nervous and anxious, but couldn’t put my finger on why. I figured that if the guy from our ward was here with another military person, they must be doing some kind of military/church liaison program. I sat down and invited them to do the same. The chaplain sat down, but Captain Harmon would not. Then he started in on his script. “Mrs. Jenkins, the Secretary of the Army has asked me to express his deepest regret that it is believed that your husband, Captain Cory Jenkins, was killed in action in Afghanistan August 25, 2009”. After that, things get a little fuzzy. I remember that I latched onto those words “believed to have been killed”. So, they aren’t sure? There is a chance he is still alive? Captain Harmon went on to explain that they were on a reconnaissance mission and they were hit by an IED. Everyone in the vehicle was trapped and they all burned to death. A million questions went through my head. WHY was the PA on a reconnaissance mission? This didn’t make any sense. I was sure they had him mixed up with someone else. But, in my heart of hearts, I knew. It was the thing I had feared and almost knew would come since I first found he would be deployed to Afghanistan. So, instead of asking all of my questions, I just said “Oh My God” over and over and over. I sat on the couch and clutched Baby Reagan and felt my whole world fall apart. I sobbed and moaned and cried oh my God until I was too tired to do it anymore. Chaplain Coleman said some things about remembering the promises I had made with my husband. It rang true, but couldn’t sink in at the time. In a strange out of body way, I felt really bad for Captain Harmon for having to be responsible to bring me this horrible news. He looked like a little boy who was about to cry the entire time. Captain Harmon asked if there was someone I would like him to call to come over and be with me. I told him to call Tiffany Mortensen, my first and closest friend since moving to WA. The chaplain also volunteered to call the Bishop and Relief Society President. I did not want anyone to see me this way or be told the bad news, but I new it would help to have these leaders around me. When neither of them were home, he volunteered to call his wife Carolyn, who came right over. With each new person who walked through the door, I could feel myself fall apart as I told them with the expression on my face. I know I must have looked like a train wreck. Chaplain Coleman volunteered to give me a blessing, so Tiffany called her husband Jon to come over and help with the ordinance. When he arrived, they gave me a beautiful blessing. I can’t remember much of anything that was said, and I felt so numb at the time that it didn’t seem to penetrate, but I know that it helped. Jill Beyler later wrote down all that she could remember so that I will have those blessings recorded. After all of the formalities that the military had to do, I decided that Jill, Tiffany and I still needed to go on our walk that we had scheduled that afternoon. It seems a little irrational now, but I just had to get out and get moving to get my mind off of the pure insanity of the situation. Jill and Tiffany determined that they would stay with me that night at my house. I put Baby Reagan in the front pack carrier and we walked around the lake. It was so strange, almost like any other day, except that there was only one thing on my mind. We talked about random trivial things. I just needed to focus on something else. I also had this really strong desire to find out what was going to happen with us financially. I felt really guilty, at the time, to be worried about such a temporal matter, but it was so consuming. I think I was obsessed with this because I was in a fight or flight mode. I was fighting and that included figuring out how we were going to survive. After our walk of a couple miles, we went to get pizza at Little Caesar’s. On the way there, I called my family to tell them. I was dreading calling them so much. I really did not want to break down on the phone with them and then have to put myself back together again. I determined to try and make it quick and painless, like removing a band-aid. I called my mom and said “Mom, I have something to tell you that I need you to call and tell the rest of the family”. She said OK. I said “Cory has been killed. Can you please tell everyone?” She said “Brooke, No! What happened?” I told her I couldn’t go into details just then but just to please relay the news to the rest of the family. When I got off the phone, I felt a measure of relief that this task was done with. We got the pizza and brought it back to eat. People began stopping by the house (President and Linda Stevens and the Pattersons). They all stayed for awhile and chatted and shared a message and brought ice cream. I dreaded the time I had to go to bed that night. I knew that the quiet and the time by myself was going to be like torture. I set my friends up in the TV room and then went to my room. I lay there for about 30 minutes and knew that this wasn’t going to work. I came out and set up a bed in the TV room with my friends. I just lay there and watched TV and talked a little to my friends the entire night. I think that I slept less than an hour. At one point, when I thought Jill and Tiffany were asleep, I let myself go for the first time. I pulled the blankets over my head and felt the pain and the loneliness wash over me. I sobbed great big gulps and my body heaved. I was doing all this as quietly as I possibly could, but Jill reached out and grabbed my hand and told me to just let it all out. I cried until it hurt. I did that several times that night. I also remember watching a very early morning (3 am) news broadcast that announced that 4 unnamed soldiers had been killed in Afghanistan. They showed video footage of the burned out stryker. This image tormented me in my dreams. I don’t remember too much after that first day except there were a lot of visitors, which wore me out. I bought a plane ticket to go home the morning of the 27th. I also decided that day that I would move back to AZ and live in our house we had there.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happy Anniversary?

I struggled with starting this post, mostly because I didn't know if I would have the emotional energy to finish it. I decided finally to do it today because I definitely won't have what it takes tomorrow.
I love good anniversaries, the kind that give me butterflies of excitement for my husband to come home from work so that we can go on a trip to celebrate the time we have been married. Or how about the kind that involve watching my baby open gifts and smash her face in cake. Sometimes it is just nice to commemorate the passage of time and the growth that has occurred. But, I am learning all to well lately that not all anniversaries are wonderful. How about the anniversary of the last time you ever saw your best friend and love of your life in this life? Yea, I know. Sucky. July 19, 2009. This post is the story of that day, a journal of remembrance more for me than anyone else. I can run the film strip over and over in my head a million times, but there is something about writing it down that burns the memory into my soul.
The night before he left, we decided to go for a short walk alone. My mom was in town helping with Reagan after she was born, so she stayed back and watched her for us. It was dark outside, so it must have been after 10. We headed toward Fort Steilacoom Park, a place with huge expanses of grass where we knew we could be alone. We chatted lightly about the plan for the next day and the things he had to get in order before then. When we came to a soccer field, we both plopped down and lay on the grass. It was dark and I was laying with my head on his stomach, so we couldnt see each other's faces. Our conversation turned more serious. I asked him, trying desperately to keep emotion out of my voice, if he was afraid at all. I will remember what he said forever, "No. Not at all. Maybe I should be". He asked me if I was and I couldnt lie. "Yes", was all I could get out. We lay in silence for several minutes and just enjoyed each other's company until it started to get cold, and then we headed back. I put Reagan to bed, and then myself, and he continued puttering around the house, finishing up some last minute items.
When my alarm went off VERY early in the morning, he was still puttering, though a little more frantically. I really don't think he went to bed at all that night. He was excited to go. That hurt my feelings, but I understood that this is what he had trained for for years, and he couldn't wait to put it into practice. I got up and then Reagan woke up. I asked Cory if he wanted to get her ready while I showered and got dressed. He jumped at the chance. He wanted to do everything for that little girl. When I got out of the shower, I saw him with her on the bed, getting her dressed, and there were tears in his eyes. It was the most beautiful father daughter moment I had ever witnessed. He was soaking up his last experience with his little girl, for what he thought was a whole year. When he returned, she would be a different baby....a child.

When he was finally done packing, we all piled into the truck with all of his gear, and headed onto post (a 10 minute drive). I felt nervous as we pulled up and I saw all of the other soldiers with their gear and the other families, following their husbands and dads around like they were stuck with glue. Cory ran somewhere to run an errand and I sat in the truck and wrote him a letter to be opened after we said goodbye. I think it just told him how proud we were of him and how grateful we were to have a man of God at the head of our family. When he came back, we walked around outside and chatted with some of the other families. Cory was so cute about showing off Reagan. He wanted everyone to see his girl, and she was dressed appropriately. I was struck by how many other men were leaving behind newborns. It just didn't seem right, but at the same time, it gives you the strength to buck up and be strong when there are so many others in your shoes as well.

After visiting, we went upstairs to his office. I sat and nursed Reagan and he tried to sit, but got fidgety and ran in and out to take care of some business. It was at this point that he told me they were going to all leave for a couple of hours, but they would be back to say goodbye. I would like to shoot the person that gave him this impression. We spent the last time we had together nursing the baby and doing paperwork. Then he ran back and said they are getting ready to leave, so I finished up real quick with Reagan and we ran downstairs and outside and ran over to the buses. I started to get a little nervous when I looked around and saw all of the other families crying. Something didn't seem right. Something seemed I had been really strong up to this point and almost prided myself on the fact that I had not cried. When almost everyone was on the bus, all of a sudden he came bounding over to me. I snapped this picture while he was coming. I thought he looked so proud in his uniform.

He ran up and said "Um, I was wrong. I won't see you again. We are leaving right now". I grabbed Reagan out of her carrier real quick and threw her into his arms. He hugged her and then I hugged and gave him a quick peck......and then he was gone. He ran back to the bus and loaded it right away. I remember standing outside the line of buses, fighting back tears as hard as I could, and texting him like crazy "Can you see me? I can't see you!" over and over. The buses were starting to pull away and he texted me "You can't see me, but I can see you". I think that's how the rest of our marriage is going to be. I watched the buses drive away and then went back to his truck, drove away, and fell apart. I drove down the tree covered road from Ft. Lewis to our home and thought that I would never be able to make it a year. A YEAR! It seemed like a lifetime. I am glad I didn't know that it would end up being an actual lifetime, or I never would have let him go. As he said in his letter to me that I got the day after he died "we are apart for a year, but we are together forever". I can close my eyes and see him as he was then, every little detail from head to foot. I can see the scar he got on his shin from running into a weight bench at Sport's Authority. I can see his laugh that you can't really hear because all he does is rock back and forth silently. I can smell the combination of Kenneth Cole "New York" aftershave and Irish Spring deoderant as he kisses me every morning before he goes to work and I am still in a comatose state. I trust all of these things will be the same when I see him again.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Slippin' Through My Fingers

Today my baby turns one year old. If I am going to be completely honest, this scares the living day lights out of me. Here's the deal. She is all I've got. I try not to be weird about it, but she is pretty much my lifeline. She has been a lifesaver for me. I don't know what I would do without her. Hi, my name is Brooke Jenkins,and my best friend is one year old. I know, weird. I would pay every penny I have to own a time machine. I looked through several of her newborn pictures last night and was struck at how she doesn't even look like the same kid anymore. I guess my only option is to take one day at a time and enjoy every minute of it. How do you suppose, out of all the children in the world, I got the best one?

To celebrate, we had a little shindig last night. I tried to keep it small, with just immediate family on both sides and a couple of friends. We had pulled pork sandwiches and everyone brought sidedishes. I made a little slideshow to music of many of the pictures of Reagan taken over the last year and we watched that while we ate and talked. After that, we sang to Reagan and let her go to town on her own cake. Considering I limit her sugar considerably, she freaked out over this little treat. Betty Crocker and I made my own cake and it feel apart, but as lame as I am, I was still soooo proud of it. I have ZERO creative or baking abilities. Finally, she opened, or more accurately, I opened, her presents and we sat around and talked for a long time. It was chill and it was perfect. I couldn't have asked for anything better for her first birthday.

Reagan Abby, one day old
Enjoying some pulled pork and a kiss

Okay, think what you may, but my child is THE CUTEST baby out there.

stressed out that she can't have that cake right now

She loves lemon

working her new cheesy smile

The cake. Yea, I know. You're jealous.

playing with some of her new toys

Thanks mom. That party was awesome!
I thought I would try to capture the portrait of what Reagan is like on her 1st birthday:
  • You can't walk on your own, but you cruise around furniture with the best of them and you can stand without holding onto anything. And geez, are you a fast crawler!
  • You've got sweet hair, a little more than the average kid with all kinds of highlights in it.
  • Green Eyes
  • 18 lbs. 10 oz.
  • When I say "Where's Jesus?", you can find his picture on the wall every time. That's your best party trick.
  • When I say "Close your eyes. It's time to pray", you automatically clasp your hands to get ready for prayer. I used to think you were destined for sainthood, but then I realized you clasp your hands in prayer every time I say the word "close". Close the door. Let's put on your clothes, etc. Also, you get ready for prayer every time I shut a book, because we always pray right after I shut the scriptures we have just been reading. We'll keep working on this one.
  • You give the best sloppy kisses in the whole wide world.
  • You aren't afraid of the water at all. I can let go of you and you'll sink down a bit and not even be afraid.
  • You have allergies like nobody's business, so your nose is always running. You can thank your daddy for that. He used to tell me he was just preparing me for when you came whenever he would get snot on me :)
  • You have 1.5 words learned. Maybe "Hi", and maybe "Mom".
  • You freak out over balloons, balls, and animals of all kinds.
  • You can read. Okay, maybe you can't, but you sure try ALL the time. Your love of books is really encouraging.
  • You know what a bear says, where your nose and feet are, and how to do a couple of words in sign language.
  • You just started doing the most ridiculously cheesy smile I have ever seen. It sure doesn't look real, but it makes everyone smile who sees it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Poor Unfortunate Soul

Being that this is the year of my 10 year high school reunion, I have been reflecting a lot back on who I was at that time. I have been wanting to do a blog post for awhile that captured the essence of Brooke in high school, but last night clinched it. I was having a conversation with four 15 year olds about....well, I don't really remember about what. Anyway, I made the comment that I was a tragic nerd in high school. THEY DIDN'T BELIEVE ME! I insisted and then one said (you know who you are) "Well, when did you all of a sudden just become really cool?" I looked around to see who the conversation was being directed at. Well, the truth cannot be hidden anymore. I was a Poor Unfortunate Soul in high school, and I am not talking about the Disney movie where a voluptuous octupus shakes her shimmy in a way that is scandalously marketed to 4 year olds. I was the epitome of a nerd cake, and I am about to prove it to you. And just so you know, this is nothing like the clip I saw of Jennifer Aniston where she swears she was a nerd in highscool. I think she may have been referring to that one day she got a pimple.....

  • I was Captain of the Badminton team. Yes, badminton.
  • I had a uniform that I wore almost everyday to school. It went something like this: run the brush through your hair, put on your oversized polo or t-shirt, slide on your baggy jeans or khakis, and slip into your canvas, boy-like shoes. Done. Once or twice I wore something that my mom convinced me was "feminine". All day long I was sure that boys were looking at me inappropriately, so I went back to the uniform.
  • I earned the "Outstanding Orchestra Member" award. You know that whatever I had to do to earn that can not be good.
  • I think the grand total on my friend count was 6.
  • I am recalling an experience that scared me away from makeup until I was 18 years old. I decided one day in 8th grade that I was going to wear some makeup. This was not a regular occurence for me, though I owned all of the neccesary equipment. I think my mother had purchased it for me, hoping I would somehow overcome my ugly duckling status. I did my best and then went about my day, including Mr. Granio's Honors Earth Science class. The next morning, when I went to put on my makeup, my mom said "Oh, sweetheart. Can I help you?" I went back to science and as Mr. Granio was passing out papers, he stops at my desk, analyzes my face for a second, and says "Much Better".
  • I loved grownups way more than I loved people my own age. I was on a quest to make them all like me and be my friend. I think I did a pretty good job, because every adult I ever came in contact with was convinced that I was a saint.
  • I was nominated as "Math's Student of the Month". Once again, whatever that required surely put me on the nerd list.
  • I never went to any "boy ask girl" dances. I suppose I could have paid someone to take me....
  • Oh yeah! I forgot! I liked two boys my senior year. Now both of those boys also like boys. It's probably safe to say that those relationships were dead in the water before they even started.

I am having nightmares just reliving some of these experiences, so I will stop here. I am sure the pictures will fill in the details.

This was my 16 birthday. Hmmmmm, Looney Toones and a walkman.

This is a good example if the uniform.

The day I got my driver's permit. What I remember from that day was I was 5'5'', 105 pounds, and I thought I was fat. Oh, and somehow I convinced them to let me play softball at Highland, which was kind of a cool sport.

Practicing away
I think the point of focus in this picture is that I am 16 years old and wearing one piece pajamas and holding a stuffed animal. If I remember correctly, this was supposed to be a blackmail picture.

I gave this picture of me sitting barefoot on a dirty bench outside of target to the boy I somehow convinced to go out with me because I thought it was cute. Baggy polo, baggy jeans.

You see that green and purple huge tie dyed t-shirt. Yea. I wore that way more than I would like to admit.

Grrrrrrr. First day of 11th grade.

I thought my boom box was suh-weet. Funny thing is I couldn't have told you a top 40 song to save my life, but I could have written a 10 page paper on Buddy Holly.

This is a good capture of me and my friends. I think there is only 2 of them missing. Also, I do not possess the ability to be serious in pictures.

Morp, Junior year

I really don't know what is going on this picture, but someone should really rescue that tree.

Senior picure, 17 years old. I think this was the high point of my highschool looks, and I can't take any credit for it. We just came from the salon where someone cut and styled my hair and my mom did my makeup.
Praise be, it's over!
In retrospect there was no one day when "all of a sudden I became really cool". I don't think that's ever going to happen. Some people were just never meant to be cool :) But I did gain confidence somewhere along the way. This came in two waves. First, about the time I turned 18 I discovered that it was okay to be a girl. I could pluck my eyebrows, wear makeup every day, wear clothes that showed off my figure, heck, shower everyday! Second of all, I had a profound life changing experience when I was 21 that taught me that we are all worth so much in God's eyes. So, I started trying to get to know people just for the sake of getting to know them, and no one intimidated me anymore. This has made all the difference. I think I am ALMOST as cool as Jennifer Aniston now......

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A few of my favorite things

I am in a good mood, so I thought I would make a list of the things that put me that way. I believe we are put on this earth to have joy. So, here is my joy!

1. pulling Reagan into bed with me to drink her morning bottle. She is just so.....squishy!
2. decluttering
3. A good book that I just want to feast on till 2 am and cry because I have finished it
4. A clean house
5. A recurring daydream that goes a little something like this:
knock, knock
Me: Yes? Can I help you?
The guy in the uniform: Are you Mrs. Jenkins?
Me:Yes I am
guy: Mrs. Jenkins, this is extremely embarrassing, but the Secretary of the Army has requested that I inform you that your husband has not, in fact, been blown up. He has been conducting a secret mission in Afghanistan that has secured the safety of our nation. And, since we sent you ALL of his clothes, he has been doing it naked.
Me: Sweet. Atleast he won't have any tan lines. Tell him dinner is at 6.
6. A good cry. You know, the kind with lots of snot.
7. My calling in Young Womens
8. Teaching in any way, shape, or form
9. Someone who understands and empathizes with me completely
10. IMing with realling interesting people
11. Intellectually stimulating conversations
12. Hearing stories or seeing pictures of my husband that I have never seen/heard before
13. Pinning people down and making them listen to MY stories about Cory.
14. Really wet and openmouthed kisses.....from Reagan. Geez! Get your mind out of the gutter.
15.Music that takes me somewhere else
16.Salt: french fries, chips and salsa, crackers, etc.
17. Facebook-I know. This is embarassing that this is even on here. But with HOURS of dispensible time every day, it has been good to me.
18. The Biggest Loser
19. Best friends
20. Learning instruments
21. Going to lunch with somebody, not because I am hungry, but because I like their company.
22. Watching my baby grow
23. Trying new things. Veganism, anyone?
24. Feeling like I have made my husband proud
25. Traveling. There is so much out there to see and so little time!
26. Random signs from the universe that Cory just might be watching me and cheering me on
27. Prayer
28. Watching the numbers on the scale be just a LEETLE bit lower than the week before. My goal is to have this baby weight off by the time Reagan starts school.
29.Staring into space in a trance like daydream
30. thrill seeking: surfing, bungee jumping, skydiving, etc.
31. Finding money on the sidewalk family
33. Studying History. Those old guys are just so fascinating. And Hott!

Alright. This list is not comprehensive, but it is a good cross section. I am grateful for my life, even if its the kind of life that no one else would trade with me for a billion bucks. I guess thats the beauty of THE PLAN.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Life's Lessons

Excuse me as I turn this post into a little bit of mental upchuck. I just have had a lot of stuff on my mind lately. I need to start keeping a "real" journal so that I don't have to put anybody who reads this through the psychotic rollercoaster that is my thought process.

I included the picture of myself shooting because over the last month this is mostly how I have felt, like killing somebody. Maybe everybody if they don't stay out of my way. I don't know if it was the onslaught of Memorial Day or the fact that reality is FINALLY starting to sink in. It could be that all of Cory's comrades that he served with are starting to come home. But ultimately, here's the deal. I miss my husband.......bad.

But that is not the subject of this post, only the precursor to it. I have been in a trance for the last 10 months. I was being someone else, not myself. I used to love people and thrived off of my friends. Nothing gave me more happiness than getting to know people and trying to serve them. I have been so self-absorbed that I forgot that, and it turned into a cyclical downward spiral. I was hourding all of my energy, afraid that I wouldn't be able to function on a day to day basis if I spent it on anyone else. But, how could I feel better if I wasn't doing the things I loved the most? So, It was high time I had a wakeup call. That wakeup call came in the form of girl's camp.

I have always adored working with teenagers. If I can dare say so, I feel like it is kind of my calling in life. I chose to teach middle school for this reason, and I have had the chance to serve in the Young Women's program in my last 2 wards. Someday they will catch onto the fact that I am no more mature than a 14 year old and they will stop having me be responsible for them.

I had the distinct privilege this year to be in charge of the YCLs (Youth Camp Leaders). These are the girls age 16ish-18ish. It was a TON of work, but the girls were superhuman and I couldn't have asked for anything more.

Dani, Caryn, Alyssa, Anamaria, Alyssa, Lacey, and Me!
So, what the heck does this have to do with anything?! Well, I had a Nephi moment at camp. "Awake, my soul"! There is this Einstein quote that I have always loved, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results". Whatever I had been doing over the past year was NOT making me happy, but I was holding onto my method for dear life. In the words of the genius Garth Brooks, I was "standing outside the fire", spiritually, socially, and in every other way possible. Christ was right when He said that "whosever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it". I found my life again. I found what makes me happy, and that is my relationships with others. I am excited to get back to the "old" me. I have so much good around me and it is time to dive in. Wahooooooo!