Monday, June 25, 2007

Blind Dates and other such nonsense...

You always have to try. You do--simply because you have hope and you know the Lord works in mysterious ways...

Alas, last night was just mysterious...

My cousin and her husband and boys moved to Springfield on an Air Force assignment in DC about six months ago. I've loved having family so close. Their good friends from their assignment in Italy live in their neighborhood and they've loved reconnecting. Well, because my cousins know me, a single Mormon female, and their friends know a single Mormon male, they thought for sure it would be a match.

I only agreed to it if we could all have Sunday dinner together. It was lovely--I enjoyed meeting this family that I've heard so much about, and I love playing with my "nephews"--Arian's Benjamin and Bryce. But the guy... he dated my roommate and I've heard many not necessarily pleasant things about him. We were all civil and enjoyed the evening with grace, but it was a bit awkward, for both of us, I think.

Here is what I've learned about being set up:
1. Many people think that if you have one thing in common, it would be a great set up:
They're both single.
They're both LDS.
2. Blind dates can be extremely revelatory. You see what other people think about you by the people they are clamoring to set you up with. Sometimes that can be very painful.
3. It's always best to require a double date with whomever is setting you up. That way they can actually see the dynamics.
4. Often you can at least scratch it up to a GREAT story (and boy, do I have many!).
5. Sometimes you can meet some interesting people and at least expand your social circle.
6. Other times you just wish you could crawl into a hole.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

They should move that rock...

This weekend I went to the Shenandoah Valley with a bunch of friends--many adventures. Many adventures--involving deer and headlights on dark, windy country roads, turning around several times ("I think we've been here before!"), NOT playing Twister ("I'm not old; I'm mature"), a near-midnight tavern run (It WAS the only food around--and it was good), star-gazing, s'mor stuffing, and pancakes with chocolate and strawberries.

The highlight, though, was hiking Old Rag. It was incredible--especially the boulder scampering. At one point we got stuck behind a rather large group of Japanese-Americans who for the life of them could not seem to figure out how to get up a rather precarious rock formation. I became a little impatient and said something under my breath, and the Indian guy behind us actually suggested that someone should remove the rock so people could get up the mountain. His comment floored me--does he want a tram and an ice cream stand at the top? Are national parks supposed to be Disneyland?

At any rate, I pushed and pulled and heaved and LOVED the physical exertion, the scampering, the conversation, the friends, and the view at the top. What a day! I even picked some more wildflower weeds to add to my gloriously-blooming peonies. Here are some photos to prove we made it. I'll post more when I get them from my fellow hikers...

Monday, June 11, 2007

I love Fireflies

There is a brief window of firefly season here in Northern Virginia. I didn't see any at all when I moved here last August and I was so disappointed--I grew up in the West without the magic of fireflies. I remember the first time I saw them when I visited my grandparents one summer in Atlanta and then years later in Missouri. And I loved them in Central Park on summer evening walks in New York. Apparently the show up here in the early summer, and I love them.

There is something remarkable about the haphazard flashes of light--unexpected and unpreservable. They are so temporary that their light produces a little burst of excitement and wonder. I feel like a little kid again, staring into the air, hoping and being so pleasantly surprised to see fireflies pop back and forth in the dusk. I want to bottle them up so I can draw upon their light later on, but I know it's to no avail. The firefly reminds me to live in the moment.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

We are the Rising Generation

So I had a crazy opportunity on Friday... my good friend Laurel was in charge of an event here in Fairfax and needed help. I offered to act as a shuttle driver for the presenters, and Friday afternoon I found myself picking up Ardeth Kapp at the Dulles airport to drive to her hotel. It was sort of a surreal experience... I remember my golden days of Young Women when she was at the helm as the General YW president. I thought she was the greatest thing in the world--she had this amazing perception and vision with a sound foundation. I remember singing in the YW choir for the first Young Women broadcast in 1985 in the Tabernacle, and I remember being flooded with the Spirit and feeling one of my early first testimonies in a very powerful way. I also remember the balloon launching celebration--I even stayed home from a family vacation to attend. And I remember the bell-ringing celebration.

So after introducing myself to her, and hearing about her recent trip with her sisters to Canada where her brother received an honorary doctoral degree, I told her how much I admired her and that I was part of the famous broadcast. She gave me a hug right there in the car as I negotiated traffic on the Lee Highway and said, "Oh! You're one of my girls!" We talked and talked the whole way to the hotel, and I hope she didn't know that I had absolutely no idea where we were or how I was going to find the Fair Oaks Marriott.
Later that afternoon I drove Ardeth and Heber, her husband, to the venue, and we again chatted the whole way. Heber even offered some marriage advice: "Marry a rich man," he said. "Heb, did you marry me for my money?" Ardeth asked. "No," he said. "But it would have been much better." "What do you mean?" she asked. "What do you think about our marriage?" "Well, it just would have been better if we'd had money."

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Making Weeds into Wildflowers

Last week I was in Missouri visiting my dear grandparents. Things are not looking so good there--my grandfather as a very aggressive cancer and is home with hospice, and my grandmother is struggling to keep up with her new nursing responsibilities as well as grappling with what the future holds for her. As I went running one morning along the country roads, I struggled with my own emotions and physical condition. But I began to see the weeds all around me in their color and fine detail. I got back to the house, grabbed a pair of scissors, a bag, and some gardening gloves, and I cut flowers as far as I dared wander into the thick undergrowth full of snakes and chiggers and ticks.

I really believe that when we can open our eyes to find beauty, we can participate in actually creating it. We invite it in. We need it, and we allow it to heal and to refine. Thank goodness for weeds that become wild flowers.