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Three Things I Need to Say About Dating and Marriage

It’s an interesting thing to read through one’s blog archives, which is what I’ve been doing lately. It’s a little embarrassing too (yikes), but mostly it’s just interesting to see who I’ve become–to compare the person I am now to the person I was a few years ago. So much has happened. So much has changed since I first started blogging.

Of particular interest to me has been to read my attitude toward dating/love/marriage/men. How I saw it then. How I see it today.

Over the last year, I’ve formulated some conclusions regarding this aspect of my life–conclusions that have brought … peace, I suppose. Although that sounds a little dramatic, even for me.

The first conclusion was more a “stroke of inspiration” that came as I was sitting on the dock one evening in my backyard in Florida (back when I was living in Florida). I’m not even sure what I was thinking about to invite its entrance, but I know it came from God. I know what those thoughts feel like and this was one of them.

“It’s not your fault that you’re not married,” He told me. Continue reading →

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Halfway

Today, I turned 35.

And for the first time in my life, I’ve felt a small measure of anxiety over my age. I loved turning 30–like, love loved. In a weird way, I felt like I was catching up to myself–as though I’d always been 30. And in the ensuing five years, I’ve found myself feeling … relaxed … comfortable … happy with myself. There have been hard things, certainly. Sad times, yesofcourse. But in short, my 30s so far have been great.

But 35. Thirty-five is … really close to 40. And it’s half of 70. And because of that, for the last few weeks, the thought keeps rolling, I’ve lived half(ish) of my life.

It’s not so much the getting older. I don’t mind that. Aging has never scared me. And 35 isn’t even that old. It’s more the reality that what I thought my life would be by now … isn’t. And because time is ticking–so very loudly–I can’t help but think … What have I done? What am I doing? Continue reading →

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Processing the Last Two Months

There is much to write. Too much, in fact. And I’m determined to do so. But there is much to process first. Too much, in fact.

Last night, I sat down and wrote out the basic timeline of events as a starting point. Here’s how the last two months have gone since Frit got engaged on June 29.

June 30 Teach Relief Society
July 4 Take Frit and Timmy’s engagement photos
July 6-7 Roadtrip to Las Vegas–See NKOTB, Boyz II Men, & 98* in concert
July 9 Edit and “deliver” Frit and Timmy’s engagement photos
July 11 Speak at Week 1 of Retreat for Girls in Logan, UT
July 11-14 Roadtrip to South Dakota–See Mount Rushmore
July 14 Decide to move to Florida
July 15 Begin planning Frit’s Bridal Shower for 100 people
July 16 Speak at Week 2 of Retreat for Girls in Logan, UT
July 17 Fly to Arizona, Speak at Time to Blossom Girls Conference
July 18 Design and print Frit and Timmy’s wedding announcement
July 19 Start therapy
July 21 Teach Primary at Church
July 23 Farewell party for friend in the neighborhood
July 25 Teach music marketing class at Refinement Records
July 27 Make headway on quilt pledged for Mindy Gledhill’s CD fundraiser
July 28 Teach Primary at Church
July 30-31 Be with baby sister at hospital as she labors to give birth to darling nephew
July 31 Dear family friend is brutally murdered
Aug 2 Dear friend passes away after a long battle with cancer
Aug 3 Attend baptism of Emily, one of my Primary students
Aug 4 Teach Primary at Church
Aug 4-5 Fly to San Diego for Global Business Travel Association’s annual trade show (end result of months of planning and designing my company’s 30×30 booth)
Aug 7 Hostess Frit’s Bridal Shower
Aug 11 Speak in Sacrament Mtg. @ Church & Teach Primary
Aug 12 Begin shopping & packing for Guatemala
Aug 15 Attend Frit’s family bridal shower
Aug 16 Begin selling furniture
Aug 16 Speak at a Girls Camp in Eden, UT
Aug 17-24 Travel to remote village in Guatemala
Aug 25 Teach Primary
Aug 29 Frit and Timmy’s Reception
Aug 30 Frit and Timmy’s Wedding Day

I’m tired. My brain is tired. My body is tired. And my heart is tired. Exhausted, in fact. And it’s not over.

I still need to make a list of everything that’s happening/needs to be done in September. What happens if I don’t want to do any of this?

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34 Hopes

I’ve been 34 now for a week and a day. And I really love it. 34 suits me.

My birthday was perfect. And I’m beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t celebrate New Year’s on my birthday. It feels … fresher. I woke last Monday morning feeling so full of life, so happy to be alive, so ready to be 34. I felt more hopeful this year than I have in many a birthday. And I made a list–a list of 34 hopes for this coming year. It’s going to be a good one. I feel it.

  1. Make peace with my body. That is–to love it as it is and for what it can do, to carefully and kindly coax it to where it needs to be, and to shape it into something that more closely matches who I really am.
  2. Find him. Or rather–be found.
  3. Launch Be.
  4. Yoga more.
  5. Meditate more.
  6. Eliminate the remaining meat in my diet/Enjoy more whole foods.
  7. Keep a journal.
  8. Spend lots of time with my family members, especially my niece and my nephew-on-the-way.
  9. Visit the temple more.
  10. Cut back on media.
  11. Pay off remaining debt.
  12. Follow a routine sleeping schedule.
  13. Reconnect with a old friends.
  14. See something breathtaking that I’ve never seen.
  15. Go somewhere I’ve never been.
  16. Plant more.
  17. Become a better photographer.
  18. Write more letters.
  19. Sew quilts–lots of them.
  20. Learn a new creative skill.
  21. Read more books.
  22. Do something that scares me.
  23. Take more opportunities to serve.
  24. Feel peace, purpose, and happiness.
  25. Find my style.
  26. Laugh. A lot.
  27. Quit sugar.
  28. Travel.
  29. Explore and experience Utah.
  30. Get a new car.
  31. Run a mile @ 5 mph.
  32. Paint my nails regularly.
  33. Write my life (to this point) story.
  34. Become more me.

 

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33 Moments

Yesterday I posted my list of 33 “Things” I’ve loved whilst being 33. Today I’m sharing 33 Moments.

  1. This first one squeaked in just barely before 33 becomes 34, and I’ll write more about it soon, but tonight I sang in the historic Tabernacle on Temple Square. This was by far, one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my entire life.
  2. A couple weekends ago I took a last minute trip to visit my sister and her family in Arizona. That’s basically code for: I needed to see my Laela-cakes. (Laela Carolina is my 2-year-old niece.) How I could love that little girl as much as I do is beyond me. But anyway, on the first day, we were riding in the car and I was sitting beside her in the backseat and while the sun streamed through the windows, she took my hand … just … because. No one told her too. I didn’t ask her too. I didn’t hold out my hand. She just–took it. And I promptly melted into a puddle of mush as she stole my heart, once again.
  3.  Speaking of sisters … last April, my sisters, brothers-in-law, and that little smoochy-pop Laela convened in AZ for a couple of Atlanta Braves games. I loved everything about this–the minivan we roadtripped in, the drive itself, the games, our niece, time together, Arizona sunshine. Good memories all around.
  4. During the summer, at one of the local Rooftop Concerts … I went by myself and I was a little sad about that as I sat in my camp chair under a big, soft quilt with lanterns and stars strung above me. And Peter Breinholt was performing his encore–“What About.” That song has a lot of good memories attached to it–memories of summer nights past, of my mission, of college, and just lots of really deep, really happy feelings. And I couldn’t help but feel but feel really happy, despite my sad, and I was content and euphoric in a way I hadn’t been in a while.
  5. That time I went to visit Florida. My granddad had passed and I was really missing him, but I got up early one morning and drove around the property just like I would have done if he’d been there and he felt close.
  6. Last Spring I got into a morning walking habit and there were so many times as I finished my walk that the sun was just coming up over the mountains. This Earth. It takes my breath away.
  7. Cheering my baby sister Kaycie over her last mountain at the end of her 200 mile relay. Screaming for her and squeezing her so tight when she crossed the line. I think that’s what it’ll be like when we get to heaven.
  8. Fourth of July is always the best day. Parades, taffy, picnics, heat, sprinklers, sparklers, fireworks. It’s a day where everything is right in America.
  9. Sitting on the beach on Hilton Head. All I did was sit and watch the waves. Which is ultimately, all I need.
  10. Last month, Frit‘s and my home teachers invited us over for dinner. When we got there, we found that the Bishop of our ward and his wife, as well as another family from our neighborhood had also been invited. The adults chatted around the table and ate homemade pizza while the kids played. Pretty soon, one of the little boys (6 or 7?) asked if we could sings hymns and Primary songs around the piano. So we all went downstairs to sing. And I just couldn’t help my happy. And I thought, “I love my neighborhood! And I really love being a Mormon!”
  11. Learning to can my tomatoes and seeing them finished and sealed on the counter all shiny and red was super rewarding.
  12. My Word of Wisdom experiment for Church was a string of really interesting and enlightening moments that blessed my life, my body, and my spirit immeasurably.
  13. Taking my impromptu Fall Color Drive. Utah in the Fall. Oh my.
  14. Having my sister and Lae visit and becoming, even more, the best auntie ever. Watching All Dogs Go to Heaven on the LoveSac under a blanket with her was absolutely the best.
  15. Last Fall I took a business trip to Denver and on an afternoon wandering around the city, I ducked into a Methodist sanctuary for a few minutes. It was so peaceful and beautiful.
  16. Our first snowfall. It was really beautiful and I found myself really excited about Winter. I’m now totally over that and have dubbed this the worst Winter ever, but there at the beginning? Really pretty.
  17. These is My Words was my favorite Book Club book this year and finishing the last few chapters reminded me why I love reading, what a romantic I am, and what a sucker I am for a good story. Great book. Great memory.
  18. One night Frit wasn’t going to be home until really late so I stopped off for some crunchy red grapes, gourmet cheese, crusty bread and fresh pressed grape juice. Once home, I spun the “Midnight in Paris” soundtrack, spread out my vintage white, embroidered tablecloth from Scotland, found my wooden plates from Germany, poured myself some olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping, filled one of my stemmed glasses with juice for sipping, and had the most delightful dinner for one. Then I took a bubble bath.
  19. Climbing the Utah hills trying to find the perfect Christmas tree is always one of my most favorite days of the year. And of course sitting by it once it’s all lit up is the best way to slow the holidays down.
  20. My work Christmas party is always fancy fantastic. This year, we were at the swankiest hotel in SLC, the Grand America, with plates of salmon and filet mignon. The employee gift is always crazy awesome, this year it was an Apple TV with a $100 iTunes gift card, and I always valet park at these events. (Gah! I love valet.) But perhaps the best part of the night was the pair of gold glitter heels I bought special for the occasion. I LOVE those shoes. And I love the memories of fancy dinners downtown during the holidays.
  21. About a year ago, my BFF/college roommate came in to town to take me out for my birthday. As we were sitting across the table, talking about her recent marriage to a gem of a guy, I asked how the baby-making was going. That’s when she got a huge smile on her face and burst with the news that she was expecting. I was the first to know (besides her husband of course) and it was one of those memories that will go down as one of the happiest moments of my life. There is something deep and eternal about friendships like that and to share so many years together as “singles” binds you in an inexplicable way. To hear she was expecting, after wondering for so long how, when, and even if the right guy could would/could be found, was so special. I also got to host her baby shower.
  22. Along those same lines, when I finally met her precious little man in December, it was such a happy day. He and I snuggled on the couch most of the afternoon and I was immediately hooked.
  23. In August, I had the opportunity to speak at a conference (Retreat for Girls) for girls ages 12-15. The purpose of the retreat is to help the girls develop lifelong friendships and increasing their self-esteem and testimony of Christ. Preparing for and delivering my message was a huge blessing and I learned so much.
  24. Right after my 33rd birthday, I called a photographer friend to ask if she would do a photo shoot for me. Like a real one. So I’d have legitimate documentation of what I was like at 33. On the day of the shoot, I found myself having serious anxiety, thinking all the thoughts girls think on occasion–I’m not pretty enough. What was I thinking? I can’t do this. My hair isn’t right. My clothes are stupid. My eyelashes aren’t long and thick. Pretty soon, I was crying a soupy mess in my bathroom–eyes red, one of them gobbed and sticky with fake eyelash glue, make-up completely streaky. It was not pretty. But I stopped and really looked at myself in the mirror. And I reminded myself of what I know to be true–about myself, about God, and about my worth. And I put the glue down, washed my face, put on a new light coat of make-up, grabbed the clothes I felt most comfy in and had a wonderful photo shoot where I felt pretty and special and worthfull.
  25. I love getting all my friends’ Christmas card updates. I love seeing their family photos and hearing all about what they’re doing. I’ve always wanted to send a card out too, but I thought it was maybe a little silly since it’s “just” me. I’ve always told myself, once I have a family then I’m “allowed” to send a card. This year, though, I decided that was just plain ridiculous. What if I never have a family? I will have wasted years not doing something I wanted to do, for absolutely no good reason. So I changed my mind, designed a card, slapped a big picture of my solo face (from the awesome photo shoot) on it and sent 150 cards to the people who matter to me. Best decision ever.
  26. Watching videos of my niece dance brought me more joy this last year than anything. Seriously. Anything.
  27. My baby sister called me on her way home from work one day. She was crying, but happy and blurted out, “I’m pregnant! I just took the test at work, I didn’t think it’d be positive, but it is! And Alex [her husband] is at school until late tonight and I had to tell someone!” Best day ever. Our baby is having a baby!
  28. My parents came to town for a visit and after dinner one night I pulled out some games. Kayc (baby sister), Alex (brother-in-law who I actually call Lexie), Frit, my mom, and my dad (we finally talked him into playing), began a round of Telestrations and I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in forever. That game is one of the funnest and funniest games ever created. I couldn’t breath I was laughing so hard.
  29. While I don’t know if I could classify being a “mom” for a week one of the funnest things I’ve done while being 33, it still gets put on this list because it was a remarkable experience. It was hard, in a way I couldn’t have comprehended before doing it, and rewarding (at times), and a blessing immeasurable. I’m so grateful to be someone my friends feel they can call. I’m grateful they trust me. And I really love their children.
  30. Being the choir director at Church this last year might have been the hardest calling I’ve ever had. I mean seriously, who actually wants to be in the ward choir? We haven’t had a regular choir in our ward in years. But. I worked hard to form one. I encouraged people to come (i.e. guilted them into it), and we performed every month. And by the end of the year, we performed what I’m told was one of the “best Christmas programs” they’d ever seen. Score. AND I actually fell in love with the calling.
  31. When I was hired at this “new” job, I had to take a design class at the community college, so I’d have all the skills they needed. And designing marketing pieces this last year has been so fun. When my first design arrived from the printer, I was like a kid on Christmas morning. It was so exciting to see what I’d created in hard copy.
  32. Last March, I gifted myself a cello for my birthday. I’ve wanted to play that instrument for about 30 years. So I decided to just do it. When I pulled the bow across the strings for the first time, the whole instrument vibrated and resonated against my body. It was so beautiful I almost cried.
  33. One afternoon, after a lot of fasting and prayer, I chose a name for my magazine. Be Magazine. And I was one step closer to realizing my dream and purpose.

Needless to say, it’s been a really good year. On Monday, I’ll be posting 34 Hopes for 34. Happy Birthday to Me!

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Presents!

For my 33rd birthday, I received:

1. A phone call with a ridiculous birthday song, LIVE! from the Maurer house, starring the parentals (and a guest appearance by Mother Goose). Seriously, my parents are insane. The also sent a FedEx’d envelope containing much moola, which is always a welcome gift. I’m putting it toward my cello lessons. (By the way: I’m taking cello lessons!!!)

2. Mismatched thrift store plates from the baby sister. Now I just need a dinner party to show off my cute new table setting.

3. A Dictionary of Etymology from Frit. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. And everyone gives me the same, dippy, “You-really-asked-for-a-dictionary-for-your-birthday?” look when I tell them that’s what I got. But after we went to dinner and the movie on Saturday night I made Frit and the baby sister read the dictionary with me and it was, “like,” the best. time. ever. She also gave me flowers (because fresh flowers make everything better). And a birthday banner. And balloons.

4. Two of the darlingest handmade cards at Church. Such talented women. And so kind to think of me.

5. An iTunes giftcard from Frit’s parents. Hip Hip! I was down to my last couple dollars from my last iTunes card, and I’ve got SO much music on my wishlist right now. Plus a delicious birthday dinner prepared by her mom (my request: souvlaki, rice, broccoli, salad, and fluffy orange jell-o stuff) and a delicious birthday dessert prepared by her sister (skewered cinnamon and raspberry rolls–holy cow amazing).

6. Cookies from one of the cute ladies on my visiting route for Church. They were waiting for me on the porch last night when we came home from Sunday dinner and it took all my strength not to dive into them around 11.

7. Close to 100 birthday wishes on my Facebook page. Seriously, FB is so great for making you feel incredibly loved on your birthday. I love it.

8. Multiple text messages. And since (hardly) no one but Frit ever calls or texts me, it was phenomenally exciting.

9. And to cap the day–a phone call from one of my most favorite boys (men? guys?) on the planet, which resulted in an hour and a half conversation of good. Good conversation–it does it for me.

10. A sunny day. From God.

So as you can see, it was a very, very, good, good, day. I am loving 33.

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Good Morning 33

It’s sunny for my birthday. I prayed that it would be. I like it when He gives me what I want. ‘Specially sunshine.

Today I feel …

Calm

Settled

Happy

Grateful

I really love my 30s. Despite, or rather in spite of, everything crazy and hard about the way this decade has ushered in … I do, really love my 30s.

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Birthday Eve

When the alarm went off at 4:30 this morning, I was wide awake and out of bed within seconds. What is going on? I thought. This is not normal.

I quickly dressed, slid my feet into my black patent pumps, and off to the temple Frit and I went.

What a perfect way to start my birthday eve.

After the temple we went out for breakfast. And as soon as we pulled up, I knew it was my kind of place. Artsy. Quaint. Different. And the food–like the light of heaven upon my tongue.

Hot Chocolate

Norwegian waffles seasoned with cardamom and a side of wild Lingonberries

Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise I wanted to lap

And a peach pastry, which I ate before snapping a picture.

After fully gluttonizing, I went for a walk. A nice 45 minute walk. And then spent the afternoon with my nose in a book. A book as delicious as the cardamom and Lingonberries with which I started the day.

Which brought me to this evening … sushi with my sister and Frit, presents (!), a movie, and a cupcake with a candle.

And now I lay in bed, counting the minutes to 33.

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Yet Before Me

I love rainy days. Which is funny, because I love sunny days too. But a wet, gray day is–so often–just the right amount of melancholy for me.

I sat on the dock today while the clouds loomed dark overhead. Occasional rain drops fell into overlapping ripples on the harbour surface–a soft patting of the sea.

I cozied into my lawn chair with my first Jane Austen. Blasphemous to some, I know, to say such a thing. And I don’t know why I’ve never read Austen–they seem like the kind of books I would’ve devoured–but I just never have. And I’m interested to see–will I like it? That, is the question.

I find it interesting to note that Jane’s first novel, Sense and Sensibility, was published when she was 36.

Only a few years older than me.

And did you know, similarly, that Louisa May Alcott, although she published two slight works in her twenties which brought modest success, her great work Little Women was published when she was thirty-six.

I don’t know why I find this interesting–perhaps because I, so often, feel as though I’ve wasted so much time and that my primest of opportunities are behind me.

But then I look at these women, and countless others like them, and I can’t help but wonder …

Is the best still yet before me?

A bell, deep within me rings–it is.

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Wearing 32

Me. Wearing 32.

My thirty-second birthday was two weeks ago. Truth be told it was a pretty crappy day. Which is sad for someone who loves their birthday as much as I do. I was in Florida that day. Cleaning out my grandmother’s apartment. She had died unexpectedly two days prior and the funeral was the next day. My mom even forgot that it was my birthday. Which is crazy. Because the only person who loves my birthday more than me is her. But how could I hold it against her? She had just lost her mother.

There was no celebration. No balloons. Although there was a small cake from the grocery store that I took a fork to by myself that night in the hotel room around midnight. And that was ok.

When I got back to Utah I rescheduled my previously canceled annual-birthday-haircut. My appointment was yesterday. “April,” I said to my hairdresser. “Do what you want.” (She was shocked. I never say that.) And I like what she did.

This morning I was looking at a picture of me that was taken about a year ago. My hair is probably a good 12 inches shorter than it was then. It felt symbolic.

So much of my own personal growth this last year has been learning to let go. To let go of expectations. Of pain. Of disappointment. Of safety. Of plans. Of control. And yes. Even of hair.

So. 32. It came without fanfare and mostly just feels like a warm downy blanket that you settle into at the end of a long day. And I’m ok with that.

(Does that mean I’m getting older?)

p.s. don’t get me wrong–33 is going to be a bash. oh, and presents and well wishes are always welcome. I’m still a “birthmonth” celebrator after all. :)

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The Moment I Became An Adult


I’ve always been a planner – probably because of the security and control I feel in knowing what lies ahead. In fact I can’t remember a time when my Franklin wasn’t color coded and neatly divided (I tried the Palm and the Blackberry. But what can I say, I like paper and ink). There’s never been a day not filled with perfectly penned responses carefully thought out as I lay awake each night preparing for the coming day. There have even been moments when I’ve asked myself, “Krista, if such and such happened … What would you do? What would you say?” in the off chance such an event ever randomly did happen. Bottom line—I find comfort in the ability to remain poised and collected.

And so, since I plan, my adulthood was set in order way back in childhood. I had thought it all through, visualized it, written it down, and discussed it freely as though my name was Fate. I would go to college, become a high-school English teacher, get married when I was twenty-one, start having children when I was twenty-three, return to the Carolina coast and build our first home when I was twenty-five—for which I have all the color swatches, upholstery samples, furniture styles, and blue prints neatly filed—and then, finally, after working so hard to plan and accomplish, I would confidently walk up to adulthood, calmly introduce myself, and say, “I am here. I have arrived. I am now an adult.” After all that’s what adulthood is isn’t it?

Well. I’m thirty. I’m single. I have no children, and while I am a college graduate, I majored in journalism and work for a recording company in marketing. I live in Utah, and I am a renter. Please don’t misunderstand, I have a wonderful life and incredible opportunities, but somewhere along the way, adulthood tiptoed his way behind me (of course it wasn’t me who raced ahead of him), and it is he who taps me on the shoulder—every day in fact.

Despite my countless hours planning, despite my firm and adamant discussions with the future about how it was supposed to turn out, “it” didn’t listen and I don’t think I ever became an adult. It became me.

But if I was forced to pin-point a specific moment, maybe it was the morning I woke up to find a wrinkle in my smile and I raced to my nearest Mary Kay consultant to buy every anti-aging creme, serum, lotion, and spray she had in stock.

Or maybe it was the day they offered me a full-time job and I found myself diving head first into the depths of health insurance, salary bids, and dental plans. Maybe it was the day my dad handed me my taxes and said he wasn’t declaring me as a dependent nor was he filing them for me anymore. Or what about the time I went on vacation, paid for the whole thing myself, didn’t tell anyone I was leaving, and didn’t have to make sure it was OK.

Perhaps it was that hot summer day after graduating when I went looking for my first real place—you know, the non-student, unfurnished, fifty-percent chance your neighbor’s crazy housing. After my first appointment with a landlord I slowly climbed into my car, rested my head on my steering wheel, and crumbled as I watched my plans plunge into a tiny puddle on the floor, because I hadn’t thought to prepare for how it might feel to look for my first “home” … alone. I hadn’t thought to plan Plan B. Nobody told me to plan Plan B.

But then there was also that business meeting where I was the only girl surrounded by men my father’s age and I had to tell them how things were going to happen. Or it might have been the day I bought a bed, or the day I bought a couch, or the day I bought a vacuum cleaner. Surely you’re an adult when you buy your own vacuum cleaner. Or maybe it was that afternoon when I gave serious thought to retirement and staring my 401-K.

Maybe it was that time I caught a glance of myself in the rear view mirror and my breath caught in my throat because I looked so much like my mother. Maybe it was when 40 didn’t seem so old. Maybe it was the day I fell in love. Maybe it was the day he fell out of love. Maybe it was the day I finally realized he had never loved.

Who knows? But I am coming to the conclusion however, that adulthood has nothing to do with the house, the job, the husband, or even the upholstery. And it probably has nothing to do with age either. Perhaps, just maybe, it has everything to do with not knowing, knowing that you don’t know, and admitting that you don’t.

I really don’t know.

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The Par-Tay

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OK! So let me tell you all about this most amazing party Frit threw for me last night. I honestly had no idea. I knew she had a surprise, but last year that meant tubing in Park City. The year before that it meant sledding in Kaysville. The year before that it meant a beach party in our living room, just the two of us, complete with sand and pina coladas. So when I asked her how I should dress for the evening, and she said, “you’ll want to look nice,” I assumed the theater or a museum. Never a party at my very own home!

My little sister was in on the whole charade and took me to dinner at Thaifoon so that everyone could assemble. She said she had to leave at 7 so she could get back to Provo for dance practice. I understood, and was just grateful she even took the time to come all the way up to Salt Lake, so I told her to “drive safe and text me when you get home so I know you arrived safely.” Then I hopped in my car and called Frit. She asked how dinner was and told me where to meet her for our excursion. I arrived at the park-and-wait but she hadn’t gotten there yet. She called me a few minutes later and said, “I forgot something at the house and have to go back. Just come on home and we can drive together from the house.” I still had no clue and as this all seemed very reasonable, I drove home.

So I’m rounding the bend to our house and in the culdesac next to our house there were a ton of cars and I thought to myself, “Oh, someone’s having a party tonight,” thought nothing more and drove into the driveway. Our front-room light was on, which was odd, because we never use that room, and when I pulled into the garage I saw some folding chairs and I thought, “oh Frit must’ve called her family to come over for cake before we go out for the evening. How fun.” Nothing prepared me for what I saw when I walked in the house.

SURPRISE!!!!!

There, standing in my living room were 30-40 of my dearest friends and family. All of Frit’s family was there, Kaycie had sped to my house after dinner while I “waited” in the parking lot for Frit, Shanna and Whit Whit from work, Mel from our old ward, all my Young Women and the YW leaders, friends from our current ward, Michael McLean (one of the recording artists I do marketing/publicity/tour producing for), and MY MOM! A whole bunch of sneaky liars! Well I burst into tears. I was so overwhelmed that all these people would come to celebrate with me!

Now, I was so surprised to see Michael there that as I initially went around giving hugs and thanking everyone for coming, I hadn’t even seen my own mother in the mix. Apparently I walked right past her multiple times and didn’t even realize it … until everyone was laughing and someone said, “turn around.” And there she was! She flew all the way across the country for my 30th surprise birthday party!

Frit, her sister, her mom, and my mom had spent the afternoon decorating. They had blown up posts from my blog, poems I had written, and quotes I love at Kinko’s and tacked them to the walls. Frit had collected pictures from everyone she invited and they were hanging all over the walls in each of the rooms. There were balloons and feather boas and gorgeous table cloths and a food spread to rival all food spreads! The island in our kitchen was filled with beautiful platters and salads and goodies. Outside, they had strung white cafe lights from our canopy and had a fire pit going for s’mores. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

Later in the evening my old college roommate, Katie came and was soon followed by Matty, who I taught at the MTC with. Both are the dearest of friends and some of my most very favorite memories are things I did with them. There’s one summer at BYU that I look back on with tears of gratitude and joy because of the fun we all had together.

At the end of the night, when the food had been eaten, and the house was empty I couldn’t help but get on my knees and thank my Heavenly Father for:

1. The most amazing roommate and best friend who would orchestrate such an event. For me. I weep even now at the thought of her love and care.
2. A family who loves me. A mom who would fly all this way just for a party. A baby sister who’s darling in every way. A dad who adores me (and paid for mom’s flight). And another sister who was the first phone call of the day.
3. The most wonderful friends a gal could ask for. President Gordon B. Hinckley once said something along the lines of, “All of us are largely the products of the lives which touch upon our lives and today I feel profoundly grateful for those who have touched mine.” I echo his sentiment. Today I am profoundly grateful.

I’ve been thinking a lot these last two days about my life … where I’ve been and where I’m going. And there’s much more to say on the matter. But it’s night. And my eyes are drooping. Slumber is calling. And I must obey.

Thank you to everyone who came (or wished they could’ve come). You made my whole year!

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