These next 30 years will be the family years. We will get to recreate that childhood for these darling little spirits that are on loan to us. We will laugh, cry, and grow with them and hope that they turn out better than we did. These are the years that we'll struggle finically and worry about where life is taking us. Each of the 3rds of life comes with its ups and downs. But I am so excited for this time in my life.
The final 30 years (assuming I only live to 90 - but who wants to live longer than that anyway) will be the retirement years. We won't be continually job hunting and worrying about that. We'll be grandparents and 'wise' - ha! I'm excited for those years too. It's interesting how my mind has taken this turn over the past year. I was absolutely dreading turning 30 when I turned 29.
So I've been thinking about the top 30 things I've done over the past 30 years. How does one sum up all the activities of 3 decades?? I suppose I'll just give you some of the highlights. Here they are in NO particular order:
- Went on a service trip to Uganda, Africa. While there I taught children in orphanages and schools, helped a dentist do clinical work, and realized that the world was SO much bigger than I had previously known. I learned to follow the guidance of the spirit and gained a new level of appreciation for the life I live.
- Married the man of my dreams. I'd dated just about every type of guy in the book - each one leading me closer to the type of man Mason was. I'm so blessed and incredibly thankful for him and how he has made me into the person I am today.
- Gave birth to Boone Mason - my first child. My heart grew to a new level I never knew existed on September 22, 2012. You gave my life purpose and have taught me how to serve. You are my world and I love you to pieces.
- Gave birth to Marae Elizabeth. I got my little girl. You are the other part of my world and I can't even remember life without you. You've helped me develop a new level of patience and I'm so excited to finally have a new best friend. I also love you to pieces.
- Taught first grade for 4 years. I loved my job and that little classroom with 30 desks packed in. Teaching first grade taught me how quickly children grow and how forgiving and perfect children really are. I made lifelong friendships that I cherish and developed a love for teaching and learning things myself. It also taught me how to be organized and get things done before they pile up.
- Became friends with my parents. The relationship I have with my parents is one of my most cherished relationships. Those teenage years were brutal on us and I'm so thankful they were patient with me and loved me through all my ups and downs. Now I consider them to be my closest friends and I love sharing life's experiences with them. They love me and my little family like no one else ever will.
- Moved to Utah. I went to NAU in Flagstaff for two years and the thought of moving to Utah was never in my plans. Of course my Father in Heaven had a different plan in store for me. Thankfully I decided to move to Utah after much heartache and indecision. Besides deciding to marry Mason, this was probably the best decision of my life.
- Visited Ireland, Scotland, and London. On the trip back from Africa I had a layover in London. My parents and Ryan flew out for a vacation. We saw many castles and all kinds of beautiful land. It was great fun and another continent to add to my list of places I've been.
- Read the Book of Mormon and gained a testimony of it's truth.
- Performed on many stages. Due to the fact that my father was the drama teacher at the high school I was exposed to theater at a young age. I'll blame my dramatic tendencies on this. :) I performed in my first play when I was in 1st grade. I was the young Esmeralda in the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Here is a list of the performances I've done in my lifetime (although I know I'm forgetting a few): Annie Warbucks, Grease, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Evita, The Sound of Music, The Crucible, The Nutcracker (10+ times), Pantomime 5 and 6, A Christmas Carol, Blue Notes (the high school show choir), Ballroom Dance Team at Utah Valley University for 3 years... and I'm sure there are more, but that's all I can think of right now. Oh how I love the theater.
- Developed a love of music. I think part of this came from my involvement in theater musicals, but I have always loved music. I starting taking piano lessons at age 8 and still play today. I played the flute in Junior High through High School and still have it. I pulled it out the other day and amazed Mason by the fact that I could still play it. I love to sing. I married a singer. Our children WILL sing. Music is a spiritual and emotional release for me. I love to sit down at the piano and play a song filled with emotion. When I was a teenager (and full of emotion) my mom said that she could tell what mood I was in depending on how I would play the piano. My current calling in our ward is ward choir director. There are only 3 people in the ward who can play the piano. I am thankful for this talent my parents helped me develop by making me practice.
- Developed my relationship with Christ. I know that Christ loves me and wants me to return to live with him in heaven one day. I know that he died for me that I may have that opportunity. He knows me, supports me, and wants what's best for me. He cries with me, celebrates with me, and continues to bless me on a daily basis. He is always there for me when I need him and waiting for me to reach out to him. He guides my decisions and I am thankful for that. I can't imagine a life without the knowledge of Christ. I am so thankful for him and the ultimate sacrifice that he made for me to return to his loving arms in heaven one day.
- Learned the value of money. I can remember my mom teaching me how to balance a checkbook at a very young age. Our generation doesn't use a checkbook balancing system anymore, but this taught me how to watch my money and where it was going. I've always been very conscientious with money since and learned to save and bargain hunt.
- Went sky diving. Shout out to Josh Tycksen!! That is something I always said I wanted to do when I was young, but never actually thought I'd do it. He picked me up on a date not telling me what we were going to do until we pulled up to the place. My heart dropped and I wasn't sure if I could, but he'd already paid for it - so I did! It was terrifyingly AMAZING! The jump out of the plane was the scariest thing I'd had to do, but the free fall was one of the most liberating. Something about facing your fears and overcoming them really is life changing. I left that date with a new outlook on life.
- Did a fire walk at an Anthony Robbins workshop. My dad was always into the motivational workshops and always hosted them at school with his students at camps for troubled youth and things. We attended many workshops and seminars in our day. I've done more board breaks than I can count, but one of the more monumental experiences was when I did a fire walk. I was in my young teenage years and the purpose was to focus your mind on the goal at the end and not the turmoil on the way - goal setting. I did not get burned and these workshops and camps that I was a trainer at for YEARS really taught me to be driven in life and set high goals for myself - not to mention all the fun they were!
- Hiked the Talkeetna Mountains in Alaska. I dated a bit of an extremist (maybe adventurous is a better word) for a little while - another shout out to Scott Foster! He was from Alaska and we went back to visit his family there one summer. One morning he up and decided that we would go on a 10 mile hike (or longer) up the side of a mountain that once we reached the top required us to strap ice pick shoes to our feet and tie ourselves to the other 4 members in our team in case someone slipped and fell into an ice gully and hike another 5 miles to a resting hut in the middle of an ice wonderland. It was beautiful and I remember the peace I felt being up there on top of the world. There were moments when the climb was so intense and dangerous that I all I could focus on was where I was putting my foot next for each step. It was one of the first times I learned how to clear my mind and it was again, liberating. Thinking about nothing else but where my foot was going to land next. I have a tendency to worry or think too much so being able to clear my mind and be at peace is a skill I've had to develop.
- Developed a love for nature. This one kinda goes along with the last. I love to be outdoors. I love to hike, camp, explore, garden, drive through mountains. There is something so peaceful and beautiful about this world that God created for us. Being in nature is one of the ways I know heavenly father loves me - because he created it for me.
- Made cherished friendships. Growing up I always felt like the odd man out because I was the only girl amidst all the boys. I always wanted a sister to be best friends with. I still do... but I've learned to cherish other friendships I've made along the way. You know you have a best friend when you haven't talk to someone in a while, but when you do, you pick up right where you left off as if you haven't missed a beat. I have a couple of those that I am so thankful for. Unfortunately all of those relationships are far away from me since I've moved to Arizona. I pray that I can make more friendships like those. But to my friends Tanya, Kara, Natalie, Lindsey, Klara, Emily, Thomas and Eric you have grown with me... you've watched me fail and succeed and even though I don't get to see you all that often, I think of you often and know that the next laugh is just waiting right around the corner.
- Been to 25 of the 50 states: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Illinois, Tennessee, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, and Washington D.C. - even though that's not a state. I have driven from coast to coast. New York to Alaska (although not in the same trip). So technically I've been in more states, but those were the states I actually visited in and didn't just drive through or stay in an airport. This certainly is a beautiful country!
- Been outside the United States several times. I've been to Cancun, Mexico twice, 4 different other parts of Mexico, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, London, Kenya, Uganda - and there are many more on my 'to visit' list. I love to travel. I love to see sights and learn different cultures of different people.
- Learned to dance. I started taking dance lessons when I was just a little girl. I took tap, jazz, and ballet. I love it. It gave me rhythm. I continued taking it for years - although I was never really as good as everyone else (in the ballet area) and I think it's because I never stretched and was as flexible as a ballerina needs to be. But I still loved it and did it. I danced throughout high school in the show choir. I went to NAU and missed dancing so I took a tap dancing class. Then when I moved to Utah a whole new world of Ballroom Dancing opened up to me. I took a couple of classes and joined the Ballroom Dance team where my dreams of waltzing and cha-chaing in pretty dresses and heels came true. I was good at Ballroom and I loved it. In Utah they had many places to go dancing all throughout the week. I often would be out dancing 4-5 nights a week. I absolutely loved it. I'd go country dancing on Wednesday and Saturday nights, Salsa dancing on Friday nights, and if I wanted they had Ballroom dance venues with dancing scattered throughout the other weekdays. Honestly, I miss it so much. It was such a HUGE part of my life in college. My dream is for Mason to learn the moves (he has the rhythm) and for us to go dancing every now and then. He's actually taking me dancing tomorrow night.
- Learned to cook. Before I got married I don't think I had cooked a single meal besides macaroni and cheese in my entire life. Insane - I know. I was working full time and so was Mason and so we ended up eating out a lot that first year (who am I kidding - those first 3 years) because I was too tired to cook when I got home and I had no idea what I was doing. We actually got in an argument one night our first year about it (not that he was demanding me to cook, I was just comparing myself to his wonderful chef mother) and I told him I was never going to go cook for him - ever - so don't expect it. After that night I finally let go of all my insecurities of cooking (again, weird) and started cooking little by little. Now, I love it. I love finding new delicious recipes that everyone loves. I love putting fruits and veggies and all sorts of healthy eats on my little ones tray and watching him chow down. I've come to realize that the health of my family depends on me and what I bring into the home. I love food. Just the other night I whipped up a roasted chicken with potatoes and other sides as a quick 'what should I make for dinner' dinner and Mason reminded me of that night our first year. He said, "Did you ever think you'd just whip up a roasted chicken as a quick idea meal?" Now I've got a whole recipe box of favorites with many more to try!
- Photography. I love taking pictures... I always have. I use to take the disposable pictures on those ghetto cameras and I remember the thrill of waiting for your pictures to be developed. Pictures capture a fleeting moment in time for you to look back on again and again. I've developed a love for photography and I love my pictures. If I were to lose my pictures and home movies I'd be heart broken. Those are my memories. I've learned over the years little tricks with lighting and I hope to learn much more.
- Developed a relationship with my brothers. As I mentioned earlier I always felt like the odd man out when it came to being the only girl amidst the boys. Throughout my life there were different times when I was close to different brothers. Kyle, Eric and I were close when we were little. I fought with all my brothers when we were teenagers. Ryan and I were close in college. Now that most of us are married though, we all have become great friends and it's fun to get together or have the iMessages sent like crazy. They make me laugh and I know they love me.
- Got an education. I went to school from ages 5 to 23. That's a crazy long time!! I am so thankful for the education I received and the fact that I graduated from college with a Bachelors in Education.
- Learned to love. When you are a child and you think the world revolves around you, it takes a while to realize that it doesn't. I was blessed with a family that spoiled me yet also taught me to serve others and love. We were always doing acts of service as a family. One of my favorite family traditions was doing the twelve days of Christmas to a needy family anonymously each year. Throughout the way I've learned to not judge others (or at least try not to). Everyone is here on this planet doing the best they can all trying to figure out this life. Who am I to judge someone else. I figure if I'm kind to even the lowliest ant (actually I hate ants and roaches)... ok lets say the lowliest bug then hopefully Heavenly Father will be kind to me.
- Developed my creative side. I've learned the basic skills of sewing and have made a few projects. I also have refurbished a couple of pieces of furniture. I enjoy making things look nice. I loved putting together my kids rooms and I hope to be able to have a house to do the same with in the next 30 years. I like to create crafts and improve things.
- Learned what beauty is. I'll admit that I've always been a bit of a vain person. When I was younger I never thought that I was pretty and I often beat myself up about it. My parents always told me that I was the most beautiful girl, but I always chalked that up to what parents were suppose to say. When I graduated high school and started buying my own clothes and making my own choices as to how to be beautiful I learned a lot. I finally gained self confidence and began to feel beautiful. The world sees beauty in flesh, makeup and fashion. While I do enjoy getting all dolled up and feeling pretty, beauty is only skin deep. Some of the most beautiful people I know are beautiful on the inside and out. They have a deep love for others and a joy for life that is contagious. They are confident in their values and aren't easily influenced by the world. Thankfully I have realized this and will try to instill what real beauty is to my daughters.
- Developed a love for reading. I never really liked reading when I was younger and always felt it a burden of homework. Now I love to curl up with a good book and have it take me into another world.
- Became a mother. I touched on this a tad in #'s 2 and 3, but giving birth to two children and becoming a mother are two totally different things. Becoming a mother means dividing your heart into as many children as you have. When they hurt, you hurt. When they feel joy, you feel joy. It means giving up yourself (at least while they are young) to their needs and serving endlessly day and night. It means putting them before yourself. It means losing the recognition of a job well done that you'd get in the working world with raises, incentives, and promotions. It means putting your wants, needs, and wishes on the shelf for a later time - if that time comes. It means laughs, hugs, and wildness. It's being tired and staying in pj's many days. It's never missing a day without seeing the darlings you love the most. It's being there for every single moment and getting to experience it with them. I became a mother and I love it.
Whew!! There you have it. My top 30 over the past 30. I'm sure more will come to mind, but this will do for now. On to the next 30 years!! Wow!!