Happy Birthday Little Sister!
And here’s the proof to prove it.
Love you! Hope your day was perfect. xo
I was headed out the door on my way to the gym when she came downstairs in her pjs and crazy hair. She splayed herself on the couch, smiling at her late-rising indulgence, and stretched like a cat waking up from an afternoon nap in the sun.
I sat down across from her and at first didn’t know what to say. Sometimes, being the oldest, I act more like a mother than a sister. And sometimes I feel bad about that, but mostly I don’t. But I knew I’d pushed too far a couple days before when I challenged her to think a bit more about a decision she was making. So I felt I needed to tread lightly.
I took a step. She met me. I took another. And she met me again. And before we knew it, two hours had gone by while we’d been talking and laughing and discussing this new life of hers, complete with a new job, a new husband, a new apartment, new friends, and a new city.
I think sometimes, we joke so much about her “middle child syndrome” and her uncanny ability to always take the hard road, that we don’t say enough about her “hugest heart in the world syndrome” or her uncanny ability to always reach the top. She’s amazing, that one is.
She’s tender and kind, always fights for (or rescues, if need be) the underdog, and never judges anyone. She’s down right, honest-to-goodness funny. Oh mercy, is she funny. And while she’s stubborn as stubborn can be, I like to think of it more as “unwavering.” And when that steadiness is channeled for good, she is a force to be reckoned with. She’s probably got the best brain of the three of us and swims like a fish. Did I ever tell you she was the butterfly champ of Georgia when she was 10? Well, she was. She’s one pretty talented lady.
She forgets her worth sometimes and that makes me sad. Because really, I admire and adore every tiny bit of her.
And I know I’m not the only one.
My little sister, Karly Barley, and my new brother-in-law, JJ!
They’re driving up from Arizona for Conference weekend and I’m positively pleased as punch to have them visit. Our littlest sister, Kayc Face, is coming on Sunday so it’s going to be a “party in the U.S.A.” right here with the Maurer girls. (shakin’ my hips like yeah!)
And speaking of Conference, if you’re in need of some spiritual upliftment, a boost to the soul, are curious to hear what a Prophet of God and the Twelve Apostles have to say, or just want to know what we Mormons subscribe to, you should tune in this weekend for the 179th semi-annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sermons and instruction are given from 10:00 a.m. to noon on both Saturday and Sunday and from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (MST). I’m really looking forward it. It’s my tall drink of water every April and October.
Just click here if you’re interested. (You can watch it online, or check out the additional broadcast options.)
*Sometimes I think I’m SO funny! I really cracked myself up over that one. Although it’s not quite as funny as the time mom gave Karly a Christmas card with a black Santa on it right after she and JJ started dating. Talk about hilarious.
I love this picture of Karly and JJ at their ring ceremony. We held the event right next to a tiny harbour in the marshes–which was simply lovely–but what I adore most about this picture is Karly’s face. Something JJ said during his vows cracked her up and I love that she thinks he is so funny. I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Karly and JJ were married, or what we Mormons call “sealed”, at the Columbia South Carolina Temple. We believe that when a marriage is solemnized in a temple by someone holding the proper priesthood authority, it is recorded both here on earth and in heaven and that it is an eternal union–not just until “death do you part.” This is one of the main reasons we place such a huge emphasis on families–creating them, strengthening them, and loving them–because they are forever.
I don’t write much about my own personal experiences with love and relationships (or lack thereof) here on my blog for a lot of reasons. Partly because people say stupid things to “older” single people–not because they mean to or are stupid, they just don’t know what to say, and in the absence of knowing what to say, people wind up saying really dumb things and well, I don’t want to read dumb comments about being single. But mostly I don’t write about my own experience with love and relationships because I’m still figuring it out. Figuring out how to live singly. Figuring out how to thrive singly. Figuring out how to date, who to date, where to find people to date, etc.
And I know (I know alright?) that I will find someone (or they’ll find me), so don’t leave that in the comment box. And I know I’m doing great things in the meantime, so don’t leave that in the comment box either. And I know he’s going to be great once I find him and that I’ve still got time, so don’t think about leaving that for me to read first thing tomorrow morning. See what I mean? It’s just too complicated to write about love and relationships because I have to include too many caveats about how I’m not sad or wistful or lonely or cynical or or too career minded or waiting for perfection. So now that I’ve scared you all away from the comment box, I do have one thing to say–one thing that I don’t think needs any caveats. It is this…
As I sat in the temple, in one of the most holy places on earth, surrounded by friends and family, and watched my sister kneel at an alter holding hands with a good, loving man, making promises to each other and to God, I knew. I knew that that moment was what we, humankind, are here for–to find a spouse that we can create an eternal family with. It is where the truest joys are born. There is nothing worth more than that covenant and relationship. And there is nothing more important to me. Nothing.
I just wanted you to know.
Pictures at the temple:
If you’ve been following happenings here at the Haystack for any amount of time, you know that I come from the ocean, adore the ocean, wish I was at the ocean, and will live by the ocean again someday. You see, I grew up on an island off the coast of South Carolina. But more than that, I was raised on the docks of this island off the coast of South Carolina.
My formative years (and then some) were spent working in the family business, also know as: Adventure Cruises (Hilton Head Island’s premier nature cruise and dolphin watch company). Even while I was swimming in my mother’s belly, she was on the deck of a boat–working. Once born she would strap me on her back and off on a cruise I would go, babbling at tourists, growing my sea legs. There was even a cradle in the engine room just for me where I would fall asleep to the gentle rocking of waves and the hum of machinery.
Once old enough, I became part of my dad’s crew, tying and untying the lines, running the snack bar, welcoming our passengers. During my teenage years, when I became opposed to the idea of sweaty work, I ran the office, answering phones, taking reservations and selling tickets, but (much to my chagrin) was still the pinch hitter if a deck hand didn’t show for work. Like most teenagers, I didn’t know what I had, even though it was right in front of me.
It wasn’t until college that I understood how dreamy my life was. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I began to cherish those hours in the wheelhouse with my dad. It wasn’t until recently that I began to fiercely crave the tidal flow of our marshy waterways with all her colors and critters and sounds and stirrings. And the craving only grows more intense with every passing year.
So when I was home last month for “Wedding Week“, a cruise on our boat was a must. And what a better way to meet our new brother-in-law’s family than on a sunset cruise?
I am totally enamored with my sisters.
And a week with my girls was just what the doctor ordered.
From singing at the top of our lungs and dancing in the living room…
… to dressing up to pick people up at the airport …
… to mani’s and pedi’s at our favorite local salon …
… to belting it out on stage at Kaycie’s concert
… to beach trips and bike rides …
… to doting and lovin’ on a gorgeous-in-every-way bride …
… my week with Karly Barley and Kayc Face (the Baby) was so perfect, I found myself missin’ them somethin’ fierce when Monday arrived, “Don’t Stop Believin’” popped up on the iPod shuffle, I was in Utah … and they were not.
Yes. Sister time was definitely the best part of the whole week.
3 sleepless nights
2 pin-pricked fingers (luckily no blood on fabric)
750 yards of thread
15 seconds of crying
1 minute of thinking I might not be able to do it
3 heaven-sent pleas for help
1 conversation with my (dead) great-great-grandfather who was a tailor
2 finished dresses
Infinite amounts of pride and happiness
At 10:30 p.m. Saturday night I sewed the final stitch in my dress. At 10:31 I jumped in the shower. At 10:45 I was fully clothed and racing around my room throwing all my clothes (thanks Frit for doing my laundry) into a suitcase. At 11:30 I was on my way to the airport to catch my red-eye to Atlanta. Speaking of…I can say that a red-eye flight, especially one that is completely full, is the most uncomfortable, make-me-want-to-kill-myself way to spend 4 hours.
At 8:30 a.m. (EST) I arrived in Savannah. At 9:30 I arrived at Church, wheeled my suitcase to the bathroom (got a lot of weird looks) and changed out of my pajamas, into a dress, pulled my hair in a pony and threw on some make-up. At 9:50 I walked into the chapel and up to the stand, kissed my sisters (who were asked to speak in the meeting), hugged my dad (who was conducting the congregational hymns) and sat next to my mother. None of them knew I would make it in time for Church, so it was quite the reunion.
At 1 p.m. Church was over. I went home, ate a banana, put on my swimsuit and went to the beach where I promptly fell asleep surrounded by sand dunes, seagulls, and my lazy Atlantic waves.
I am happy.
Tonight? I tackle the skirt, sleeves, and sash!
Well I finally got around to editing the photos (sorry it took so long Kar).
Here are a few of my faves …
Yay for me! And for Kar! And for Dad’s wallet!