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Would You Like to Know a Truth?


This blue-tongued little munchkin is Cameron. He is one of Frit’s 5 nephews, and 1 niece, that came for a sleepover at our house last night. As we were making up skits to perform for each other (mind you it was about 11:30 p.m. at this point, 2 hours past my bedtime), Cam sat down beside me and very seriously, but with excited anticipation to share, asked, “Would you like to know a truth?” “Yes, I would,” I answered.

“OK.” he started, thrilled to impart his 10-year-old wisdom. “You are never there. You are always here.”

I sat staring at him, astounded at how relevant his “truth” was to current situations in my own life. Apparently, however, it looked as though I didn’t get it and so he continued to wax philosophical on my behalf, the little tao, explaining what it meant.

After a quick minute he stopped, looked at me, and said, “Do you want to know where I learned this truth?”

“Yes, of course I would,” I replied very seriously. As I could tell this was a very serious discussion.

“Fraggle Rock,” and he skipped off to play the native in his twin brother’s skit.

Ah yes. Fraggle Rock.

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I Am. A Woman Of Steel.

I have tried to write this post a bazillion times since Saturday. But I write and then I delete. I write and then I delete. And I’ve got nothin’! No creative way to tell you about the excruciating, exhilarating event THAT I FINISHED on Saturday. I’ve got no metaphors, no similes, no alliteration, no onomatopoeia.

All I’ve got is this:

I Am A Woman of Steel Triathlete.

Yep! That’s right. I am a triathlete. Tri … athlete. Tri … athlete. Holy crap that feels good to say! I am so. Proud. Of. Myself. I am, a TRIATHLETE.


Saturday began for Frit and I at 5 a.m. The night before we had packed the car, packed our bags, and packed our bikes. So all we had to do was throw on our suits and eat a good breakfast. It was thrilling (and frightening) to pull out of the driveway, before the dawn, knowing we were finally headed to the race we’d been training for for weeks.


On the way, we talked about what we were excited about and what we were worried about. But mostly we talked about how happy we were that we’d decided to do this (and how glad we’d be once it was over so we could have our lives back).


We arrived at the race site just after 7:00 a.m. and each of us set out to find our assigned transition spots, lay out our gear, tag our bikes, secure our timing chips to our ankles, and get a little jittery.


At 7:30 we were to be at the pool for rules and the national anthem. At 8:00 the starting alarm sounded and we were off. Well. Not really “off.” Line-up is based on self-seeding and since neither of us are professional, we were near the back–which was great in so many ways. Since we had to wait, it allowed time to calm down, relax a bit, and make some friends.


I entered the pool at 8:50 and finished the swim in just over 9 minutes. And then it was off to the bike! Miles 1 and 7 were mega hills and I struggled. I was so slow. And it was hard to keep feelings of discouragement away as people, who I knew were on their second lap, passed me. But I kept peddling. It was all I could do, and I just tried to remember that I didn’t care how fast I was–I was only in this to finish. After an hour and twenty-five minutes, the 12.4 mile bike ride was behind me. I was tired and my legs felt like burning, rubbery, lead noodles.


Frit was waiting for me at my second transition. She had just finished the race and I was so proud of her (SO proud) but I was bugged (REALLY bugged) with myself for being so slow. She tried to encourage and cheer me on, but I was in no mood. I started toward the route start (read “stomped” toward the route start) and saw she was following me, ready to run the run again, beside me. She has a habit of doing this as some of you know. But, like I said, I was in a mood–a bugged, mad at myself, let-me-throw-myself-a-pity-party-by-myself mood. So I told her to go away (even though I was really grateful she was there). Sometimes I’m a brat like that and luckily she knows me well enough–she stayed. (Frit, thanks for always staying. I love you with all my heart.)

Now, if any of you have ever done a triathlon you can attest to the fact that the transition from bike to run is brutal. BRUtal. And the entirety of the run’s first mile was uphill. I tried to make my legs go, but I could barely get my feet high enough to clear the pavement. They would not go. And so I walked. Slowly. I was so tired and annoyed with myself and mad at my legs. And even though I thought I had cried all my tears out on the bike, I broke down as we neared the top of the hill. I mean really broke down. A sobbing, snotting, can’t-catch-my-breath breakdown. I looked at Frit and with all honesty and certainty told her, “I don’t think I can finish this. I really don’t think I can do it.” (Even now, typing that makes me tear up at the memory of how I felt at that moment.) I really didn’t think I could take one more step. And she looked at me, and with all honesty and certainty said, “Yes. You can.”

At this point, I was pretty sure I was in last place. Which sucked. I mean, my only two goals going into this were to 1) finish and 2) not be last. But somewhere in the middle of mile 2 Frit turned around and noticed a couple women walking behind me. This helped me pick up the pace just a bit–I didn’t want them to gain on me. And in picking it up, I ended up passing the woman in front of me too.

By mile 3 my legs had un-noodled, lightened a bit and I was running! We were SO close to the finish line and I felt so good. So tired. But proud and grateful and overwhelmed. At the last turn I saw a familiar blonde waiting with her two boys. She saw me at the same moment and screamed my name, jumped and cheered, and I lost it. I hadn’t known she was coming and there couldn’t have been a better surprise. She and her boys fell into line beside us and the five of us ran toward the finish together. As I entered the “grandstand” area, they all fell back as I took those final steps alone. Time seemed to slow.

If I close my eyes, I can still hear, in the far corner of my mind, the announcer at the microphone, “Here she is! Number 143! Let’s cheer her in everyone! Way to go #143! You did it!” The colors and faces are a blur, but I can hear their cheering, their clapping, their yelling, their encouraging. And there it was, three final steps and I was done. #143. Two hours and 29 minutes.

On the other side of the finish line a fellow-racer (a complete stranger!) wrapped her arms around me as I sobbed with relief, accomplishment, weariness, joy and pride. “You did it. You. Are. Amazing. You did it.” she kept saying over and over. And then there was Frit. Smiling and laughing and proud. Ready to squish any air I had left in me, out. I highly recommend that everyone find a best friend.


The rest of the day I was reeling. Who am I kidding?! I’m still reeling! I am a triathlete! A finisher! A Woman of Steel.

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Something Wicked this Way Comes

There are times in my life when I’ve been moved–taken to a place where I felt like my insides were going to burst out of me. Where I felt like I would float away because of what I’d seen (the fiery sky of a South Carolina sunset), heard (Jason Crabb singing “The Cross” live), or read (3rd grade, Bridge to Terabithia).

There have, of course, been more than just those three examples, and tonight has now been added to this list of times where, because of someone’s creation and talent, I was lifted to a higher place, beyond and above the muck.

Tonight. Was. Phenomenal.

Frit / nephew Cooper / Me


(And it’s also nights like this that I wish I had stuck to my guns
and just gone for the Music/Dance/Theater degree.)

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You Know You’re Best Friends If …

Today after church, Frit and I lounged on the booty bag (a.k.a the Love Sac) relaxing in the quiet that pervades on a Sunday afternoon. Sunshine streamed through the blinds as we sat in silence, eyes closed, each of us lost in our own thoughts. After a while …

Me: Frit?
Frit: Yeah?
Me: If I’m ever in a coma for some reason will you shave my legs for me?
Frit: Sure.
[silence]
Me: Would you pluck my eyebrows? You know how I am about my eyebrows.
Frit: Of course.
[silence]
Me: What about those stray whiskers on my chin? Will you pluck those for me too? I mean since I’m in a coma and all.
Frit: Yep.
Me: Thanks.
[silence]
Me: Is there anything you want me to do for you if you’re ever in a coma?
Frit: Just the same stuff. Oh yeah, and you’d have to wipe my bum.
Me: OK
Frit: OK
[silence]
Then we played with photobooth for much longer than we should’ve.

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The Par-Tay

Image via

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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12 Weeks

Tonight
was our first night …
of triathlon training.
All i have to say …
is that this …
is gonna be ca-ra-zy.
Tomorrow
we gotta get up …
E.A.R.L.Y …
to do our core training exercises …
so that when game day comes …
we look …
like …
THIS.

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Here’s to Someday


As Latter-day Saints, we believe that the family is ordained of God and that it is the central unit in His plan of happiness for us, His children. One of the ways we are encouraged to nurture those family relationships is by reserving one night each week for “Family Night.” On this night, we, as families, sing, pray, teach, learn, play, laugh, eat, encourage, and (hopefully) enjoy each others’ company. We grow in love toward one another and in our understanding of important gospel principles. Obviously these things should be happening every day of the week, but it is on “Family Night” that each family member puts all other social and professional obligations aside and focuses solely on the family.

Since “Family Night” is a weekly tradition I want to have in my “someday-family,” I’m trying to cultivate that habit now. It’s a little tricky (obviously, since I don’t have a family), and sometimes funny–mostly when Frit welcomes “all of us” to Family Night or when we sing the opening song (just the two of us). But I know that by staying dedicated to what I believe is important and wise counsel, I will adopt a habit that will bless my future home and family.

Tonight, I was in charge of the lesson and with Valentine’s day around the corner, I decided to teach about love. After the opening song (that we mostly laughed through) and an opening prayer, we opened our scriptures to 1 Corinthians 13 to read Paul’s sermon on charity. As we read we talked about what love really is at its purest form and what it means when Paul says that without charity we are nothing.

I asked Frit who (aside from Christ) had taught her what charity is, and what that has meant to her life. She shared her thoughts on her mom, a woman who has always been there, loving her in love’s most pure, basic, true form. She then flipped the question and I too could think only of my mother, who would do anything for anyone without any thought to how it would affect her life.

As we talked about the kind of women our mothers are, Frit said, “Do you think it’s because they love the Lord, that they know how to love others so well?” I hadn’t ever thought of it that way before, but yes. I do think that.

I think that when we, ourselves, feel the abundant love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, we can’t help but love others. And not just love them, but love them with the same unconditional and genuine love God has for us. You can’t help it! You know how much you are loved. You know how much you are worth. And you see that worth in others.

It is easy, when we are far from the Lord, to forget just how much He loves us. We forget how merciful, kind, and gentle that love is. But the closer we get to Him, the more real and obvious that love is. It’s a love that is impossible to misunderstand.

I have felt His love increasing day by day as I try harder and harder to inch closer and closer to Him. But more importantly, I have seen His love fix my small and broken life, despite my own efforts. It is a love that is real and unmistakable.

It is a love I cannot live without.

It is a love I cannot wait to share.

(Oh, and just in case you were wondering … after the lesson, we wrote love notes to friends and family and ate pie.)

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One for You, Two for Me

Last night the conversation went a little something like this:

Me: You know — I think that if Heavenly Father is going to leave us single for longer than we expected or wanted or planned, then He owes us extra blessings.

Frit: [chuckle] Oh yeah? How so?

Me: Well I mean really, if He’s going to keep us single like this, which is fine, there has to be a reason and a purpose. And for sure we’re blessed. Most definitely we are blessed. But I think He kind of owes it to us to give us an added measure of help and love and direction. Extra confirmation, you know, that we’re in the right spot. I think we deserve that. I think that’s fair.

Frit: [smiling] Have you told Him this yet?

Me: [still very serious] No you’re the first person I’ve shared my theory with. I mean technically I guess He can hear me right now as I’m telling you, but I haven’t actually discussed this with Him personally. Yet. But I’m going to.

***

I haven’t actually discussed it with Him. Yet. I’m still mulling over the theory in my head before I present it to Him.

He knows I need some extra blessings right now. He knows I need some extra direction and extra help and extra confirmation. He knows I’m not where I want to be and that I’m not fulfilled in the ways I want to be fulfilled. He knows I want some things to be different. He knows I have dreams of my own and something inside me that says, “I was meant to do more.” And oddly enough, I’m not even talking about finding my Love or even being a mother right now.

And really, He doesn’t owe me. I know that.

I owe Him. Oh, how I owe him. And yet …

He’s waiting to give me more.

Waiting to give me what I need (and so much of what I want).

Because that’s who He is.

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So I Don’t Forget

Ozella couldn’t remember where her room was tonight. “Do you know where I live?” she asked. “No,” I replied as I hugged her and kissed her cheek. She had hold of my hand and wasn’t letting go anytime soon. Not that I minded. She’s one of my favorites. “Neither do I!” she said with a chuckle.

She’s a timepiece, that Ozella–with her perfectly coiffed hair, purple eye-shadow and red, red lipstick. She’s always dressed like she’s on her way to the theater (back when people dressed up for the theater), and smiles with eyes as sparkly as the rhinestones dangling from her ears, round her neck, and adorning every finger. She’s one of my regulars, always on the front row, and until tonight, she would mouth every word of every song I sang. “It’s so I don’t forget the words,” she would say. “I don’t want to forget the words.”

But tonight, she didn’t much sing along.

We’ve had many come and go since we started spending evenings with the residents of Barton Creek Assisted Living. And until tonight, though it’s been sad when one month someone’s there and the next they’re not, I’ve understood. It’s the cycle of life. We’re born, we live, we die.

But tonight, when Ozella didn’t know where her room was. And when Helen, who saves her Birds and Butterflies magazines for us, wasn’t there. And when Jack didn’t know he’d been there before. And when we noticed Irene’s obituary on the counter at the front desk … I couldn’t help but struggle to find a place to put it all.

My friends … Ozella, Helen, Irene, Afton, Ruth, Jack, the woman in the front row, who’s gone blind over the last year, and claps after every song shouting (loudly), “More! More!”, her husband who wears a blue one-piece jumpsuit and whispers (loud enough for me to hear), “beautiful” when I really nail it, the man who requested “Always” every month becuase it was his late wife’s favorite and cried every time.

They clap even when I hit wrong notes or forget the words. They tell me it was the most lovely concert they’ve ever heard. They squeeze my hand like it’s the first time they’ve held a hand in forever. And I love it. Because it’s been a while since I held a hand too.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I guess I’m writing because I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to forget what they look like, or the scent of their perfumes, or how they made me feel. Because someday I, like Ozella, might not remember where I live.

And I want someone to know my story.

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A Delicious New Year

I’m working on another post about home, but in the meantime (while you wait) … let me show you what we ate on New Year’s Eve, whilst sitting on the couch in our jamms watching Kung Fu Panda:

Homemade Pizza with wheat crust and mushrooms, chicken, tomatoes and basil on top

Grapes (cuz we’re healthy), Sparkling Pomegranate Juice,
and lime tortilla chips with salsa and cheeese …

And CAKE!
Lots o cake (cuz we’re healthy)! Homemade, from scratch, double layer fudgey cake with white chocolate oozy, goozy filling and inches of frosting. And yes, those are chocolate stars on top, poured and cut by yours truly. You’re jealous aren’t you? (You should be.)
All featured beautifully on the brand new cake pedestal Frit got me for Christmas.
Oh, how I love to bake from scratch. I really, really love it.
And I really, really love the way that cake looks on that cake pedestal.
And I really, really love a New Year (especially one that begins with cake).
Happy New Year! I hope yours is as delicious as mine!

 

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That Time We Chopped A Tree (As told like a medievil tale. Don’t ask me why. Because I don’t know. That’s just how the story came out, okay?)

On a chilly November morn, two brave, beautiful ladies-in-waiting (oh how they’re waiting!) embarked on a crusade. A crusade not to be taken lightly. The quest would not only test their courage and stunning good looks, but more importantly, challenge the capacity of their brains and brawn (of which they luckily possess an ultra-abundance). The quarry?

To find (dun, dun, dun) … “The Perfect Christmas Tree.” Oh how difficult a task! A decision of vast consequence I dare say! And what with all the variables (is it too tall? too short? to fat? too sparse? strong boughs? flimsy arms? dry needles? sappy bark?), finding “The Perfect Christmas Tree” is sure to pose a daunting, but certainly conquerable charge for these two capable ladies-in-waiting (oh how they’re waiting!).

And thus, they begin their journeyings at the land West Bountiful. Over hills, over dales, these two lovelies hit the dusty trails until … they happen upon …

Kapp’s Tree Farm
At the mouth of Odgen Canyon, off highway 84, on the way to Mountain Green, in the middle of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
Oh yes. This IS the place! Hillside upon hillside of trees for every persuasion!
Let’s see how they fare …

Upon reaching their destination,
they wind in and out of spruces and pines and furs (oh my!) until they find …

Nay. I think not. Er … she’s a little top heavy dontcha think? Looks more like a moose than a Christmas tree.

And so. They keep climbing. Higher and higher. And higher. Burning quads and calf muscle spasms can’t stop these two! Only the site of (hold on, let me catch my breath) … ok … only the site of THIS could stop them in their tracks (well. maybe this or a plate of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins). But could THIS be the tree?

No. Not a chance.
Oh Charlie! Where Art Thou?

(Poor little tree. And if no one takes him, he will never be able to fill the measure of his creation. That is — to be dressed in twinkling lights, covered in strings of popcorn, wrapped with tinsel, and proudly don a glittering star atop his head of course.)

And thus we see, our two heroines are striking out at every turn. Where, oh where, has their perfect tree grown?!

To rejuvenate their spirits, they turn to playing games. Like …

Where’s Frit?
(Very similar to Where’s Waldo? Actually it’s exactly the same as Where’s Waldo?)
(you probably can’t even see her. She’s very tree-like.)

OK. Enough horsing around.

But WAIT! [all characters stop dead in their tracks]
What to their wondering eyes did appear?!
dut, duh, duh, dah! the trumpets sound!

Could it be? Oh yes. Yes, that’s her.

The Perfect Christmas Tree. Isn’t she lovely? (cue Stevie Wonder)

[And now pretend that I didn’t forget to take a picture of The Perfect Christmas Tree before we chopped her down.]

Our ladies-in-waiting (did I mention they’re waiting? oh how they’re waiting!) are beaming with pride. They have climbed every hillside. They have sweat with determination. They have sworn with conviction. And sometimes just sworn. But they have come off conquerors. They are bringing home the prize.

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Side by Side

 

Her name is Kim. I call her Frit. My name is Krista. She calls me Kristafer.
Sometimes we call each other Cook (short for Cookie), because one night when she came home from a date — I was already in bed — she came in to tell me about it and the first thing I said in my Ambien (we call them Zambians)-state-of-delirium, in which I am not held accountable for ANYTHING I utter, was “Hi Cookie. How was you date?” But anyway …


If I can’t sleep, she scratches my back till I’m out.
If she has a bad dream, I let her crawl in my bed till the creepies go away.

She has a pajama top with a permanent mascara stain from the time I cried (hard) on her shoulder.
I have a drawer full of 4 years of notes she’s left in life’s unsuspecting places.

She held my hair back while I puked for 3 days with the Influenza.
I held her hand after a break-up.

She makes me gut-laugh.
I make her dinner.

She loves it when I rock-out to The Office’s theme song.
I love it when she leaves her made-up songs on my voicemail.

She forgives me when my mind sometimes wanders while she’s talking to me and I say, “Wait. I wasn’t listening. What did you say?”
I forgive her when she hides around corners, under tables, behind beds, at the top of the stairs, and jumps out at just the right moment and scares the Holy love of God right out of me.

She knows my darkest corners.
I know when she needs help but won’t ask.

She prays for me.
I pray for her.

She teaches me that I can do this.
I teach her my sweet dance moves.

She rubs my feet when I say please.
I sing for her when she says please.
(tell me THAT’s not an awesome trade!)

We may be single. But we are not alone.
It’s sure nice to have someone to come home to.

For more posts about Frit, click here.

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