Monday, November 12, 2012


I have so much to be thankful for. Not just because it's November and Thanksgiving is coming up. I think that it is important to always count our blessings. To regularly thank Heavenly Father for the things he has given us. But I really do feel blessed beyond measure lately. I haven't been completely wonderful and happy but so far I know that I am doing alright!

I got the keys for my new place on Oct 18th and although I was able to "move-in" at that time I wasn't packed and ready to go and without my roommate Krissy being here it also meant there were a few important items I would have been missing if I had, one being a refrigerator. I did start moving some stuff though. I emptied my items out of storage and put them into the garage. I also started moving smaller less needed items. I moved my games and then my DVDs. I brought over my extra blankets and sweaters (it was still hot anyway) and little stuff like that. Then when Krissy was going to be coming down I talked to my Bishop (who also happens to be my Home Teacher at church) and arranged for him and a few other guys to help me move. I had been sick and that didn't help much but it did mean since I wasn't able to go to work I could pack a little. Being sick I didn't have the energy to get a lot done but I was working on stuff.

We officially moved in on the 26th! Then on the 28th the landlord came over and we signed our lease and gave him the first month rent check for Nov! These past two weeks have been interesting. We've been unpacking boxes and getting things put away. Finding homes for places and getting adjusted to each other and this space! It's great and we both love it but we didn't seem to realize the lack of closets (other than in the bedrooms) there are a few closet doors we had seen but until we were here we didn't know they are where the furnace and water heater are. So we've been improvising. We still really do love it here and it's going well.

I love being "on my own" obviously I have a roommate but mostly it's nice to have a quiet place to come home to. It's nice not feeling the stress and contention I had at my parents house. It's great to be able to park in a garage and just chill out. I miss my dog Medic since he didn't move with us (he could've but with the stairs and since he is getting older after talking it over with my mom we decided it's better to leave him there. Plus here there is no yards, less running around space and my nephews would miss him too & a few other things) I do have my rabbit Simba and my turtle though. Krissy has her dog Lexie here. But even that's not the same as if Medic were here. I know I made the right decision in leaving him but tonight I was over there and he kept laying his head on my lap and stayed close to me. I know he misses me just as much as I miss him!

Only hard part is that my paycheck with my "voluntary demotion" was a lot less than i was expecting so money is going to be tight. In fact it already is but that is one of the things that I am thankful for. So far despite the tight reins on my funds I am doing ok for this month. My family is really looking out for me and I was able to sell some extra furniture etc. so i'm hanging in there. I think that although it'll still be tough in the next few months too it will be a little bit easier. Unlike this month when we had to go stock a fridge and purchase cleaning supplies, a living room lamp & etc. I can budget a little better my finances. I will be able to know how much I can and cannot spend or where I need to adjust so that I can. Life is going to be tricky that way but it's still such a blessing.

I also have two potential job opportunities coming up. I had an oral interview last week with Glendale Fire Dept and depending on how I was scored/ranked I hopefully will get a second Chief's interview and go into backgrounds. If not I also have a Glendale Police Dept interview this week and it's the same thing, depending on my score/rank I can go into a secondary interview and potentially backgrounds etc. If I get one of those positions I won't start until early next year sometime but it would be a blessing for sure. I would be making more than before my demotion and I know it would be a better situation. I also know already I would love what I would be doing. I would really love to get back into dispatch. I do like the West Valley CHP office and I have gotten so familiar with my job I keep finishing and getting caught up so that I am helping the other girls or just kinda there because I am bored. It's nice to feel competant! From what i've heard the girl who was there before me had been doing it so long and everything was disorganized and cluttered. They say she never really caught up but worked at her own pace and it kept her busy... I think that it's important to work hard and even in trying to slow down i still finish early several days a week it seems. I know that is a blessing. I am thankful that I have a job, but am still hopeful to advance. Although I will miss CHP if I leave! I also applied for a dispatcher job at the Ca Science Center. I called last week and they haven't scheduled interviews or anything yet, but potentially that could be more money than CHP too, and I think it would be fun to work there. To get to see things like the Space Shuttle Endeavor everyday at work and the travelling exhibits and stuff! That would be pretty cool I think! I could also commute via the metrolink and so I would be able to save money on gas, and wear and tear for my car! It would also mean alone time to read etc instead of driving in traffic and so I could utitlize the advantages of public transportation.

Anyway I know there is a lot more to be thankful for. I know that I am thankful for many, many blessings in my life and these are but a few. But I wanted to write them down! I have a gratitude journal that I was doing so well in writing in daily but have been slacking lately. It's nice to recognize everyday the things in our lives that come from Heavenly Father. I know that even when times are tough he is looking out for me! I have seen it in many ways lately!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Looking up and forward

AHHHHH!!! Believe it or not things are getting better! It's not going to be an easy road but I am finally on a road to somewhere happier and "healthier" I am MOVING OUT! My friend Krissy and I found a condo to rent yesterday and the Owner liked us so much that he encouraged us to get our applications in quickly so he could run the checks and get back to us yesterday. We did all that and have already given him a hold deposit! We have a move-in date of Nov 1st, but since it's already empty (there were a few things left in the garage but the guy was back yesterday afternoon so they may be gone now) he said once he gets it cleaned up we can get the keys early! Not only did we find a 2 bedroom with 2 full bathrooms, we also get a 2-car garage that has lots of shelving for storage! (now we won't have to get a place or build one at my parents house) We both can bring our dogs and I can also bring my bunny! There is a washer and dryer that is only used by us and one other unit. Water and trash is included (and we have our own water heater) so we only need to get water and gas. We also get direct TV (basic package) and free wifi! The best part is it's right at what we were hoping to spend. (less would've been nice, but it's where we set our initial limit for looking) and since most of the other places we looked at for the same price had less square footage and no garage, plus no inlcluded utilities we are saving money and getting more space!

It's an upstairs unit so that will be a little tricky with my knee but I think if I take it slow I should be good. Plus for the most part I am not in/out too much so if I run my errands after work I will only have to go up/down once a day for the most part (unless carrying groceries or something) So it will be nice. I get a bigger room than I am in now, and a bigger closet. Plus some of my shelving units can hopefully go into the living room so my bedroom will be less crowded!

Krissy has a lot of the household items we'll need for the kitchen and stuff so that helps too! We will obviously have to do an initial food run and stuff and get toilet paper, soap and stuff but once we do we will be good for awhile. (only 2 of us) I can't wait! Anyway sorry for such a short post but I need to get to bed!  I will post pictures later. I have some but I am thinking I would rather share once we get moved in and it's not just an open place!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Not myself

 I think it started with my birthday (and that poem) as I began to wonder about my life, where I am and where I thought I would be by now. Things keep changing and although I have been super blessed despite my trials I have been a little "depressed" lately. I don't feel like myself and I don't like feeling this way. 

I have been frustrated with a lot of things that are happening. My knee is getting worse and so trying to lose weight is a lot harder struggle right now. I lost my dispatch job and although I got a new positieon and get to stay CHP it came with a paycut and a new office where although I have been welcomed and meeting new people I feel "lonely" I know it has only been a few days but I don't feel like I fit in. Everyone really has been nice and helpful and I was able to "jump right in" in a sense and start working because I was familiar with most of what I am doing from my time in the Moorpark office. But I am doubting myself still. I have always loved all my jobs and been happy and I know that in time I will feel at home there as well and love it too but for now I feel out of place. 

Like I said I have been blessed though, I got this job, I have had a few other interviews (that I haven't heard back from yet) and I am in the process for Glendale Fire and Glendale Police both are dispatch positions which would be great. I would love to get into another dispatch center and I feel confident I would have better results than CHP. Since I have learned (after everything that has happened) that the Ventura CHP office is kinda known for not keeping new trainees! :( 

I just feel as if although some things are going well, that my family isn't being as supportive as they could be. I know that they probably don't mean things to come off that way but it does and it sucks. Maybe it is my own insecurities about things and with being so upset about things and my life lately anyway... when i was talking to my parents about a dispatcher-clerk position that I am super excited about that is at the Ca Science Center my Dad started telling me that it isn't safe for me to be in that neighborhood especially taking the train etc (it drops off .2 mi away so I wanted to do that) ... he didn't even let me finish talking about how it is better pay and how excited I was because I love the Science Center and their travelling exhibits that come thru. Besides they're about to get the space shuttle! How amazing would that be to work and see that everyday!?! 

So then tonight as I was talking about how I got the email that I passed the exam for the Glendale jobs and get to go to their "information sessions" and take a typing test (the next step for the positions) and my sister started saying how far it is to Glendale (it's not really) and I said "well then I will move" and she started saying how expensive it is there! That's when I lost it! I commuted to Glendale before when i worked at AMR! It wasn't too bad! I know what I am doing! In fact I have been commuting since that job and I started there in 2003! I am not a stranger to having to commute! UGH! 

So needless to say that didn't help me feel much better either! I am trying so hard to be thankful for my blessings and see what is good in my life right now but it seems like all the potential blessings are being shot down by my family who should be the most supportive! Last night I assembled a new shelf thing for my room and was trying to shift some things onto it instead of another shelf I was using that didn't really fit the space and I just sat on my bed and cried. I am so tired of being at home and needing more space! I had imagined being out by now since I was finally making more money and have been better budgeting etc. Things were going so well and I lost it all! So now I am just stuck in the same tiny room that feels like it is just getting smaller. I want some room to breathe! 

I have been getting headache and earache pretty much daily for the past week or so. I also did something to my finger. I don't know if I jammed it somehow while sleeping or what, at first when it was kind of sore I thought it would go away but it's been over a week now and so I am starting to wonder! i also feel less "social". i've just been wanting to lay in bed & do nothing.I think I am just worn out. I really need a change of scenery! I am just frustrated all around! I know that I will get back to being "me" but for now I am not sure where I am! I don't know what I want to do or where I want to go, but I do know that I am ready to be out on my own and unfortunately with the paycut I cannot do that yet! At least not in So California! 33 has always been my favorite number (I don't know why though) but so far my first week being 33 hasn't been a great one! ....  I guess I have 51 more weeks togo and hopefully they'll be better!  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Growing Older

Ok so my birthday was on Tues. I had a lot of fun and went to Disneyland with my sister and a couple friends. It was great (I love Disneyland so it's always great to be there) But although I was having a lot of fun I was thinking a lot about things. I am 33 now! It's a little crazy to me! I have always liked the #33 and now that is my age. It's kind of weird. But It also made me think a lot about my life, where I am now and where I thought I would be. Mostly growing up I thought a lot about things by the time I would be 35, which is creeping up quickly. Anyway after thinking about a few things throughout the day and then hanging out talking with my friend Angela after we had gotten home it made me think some more. I came home and wrote a few lines of a poem. Then I got kind of stuck. But I know from past poems that sometimes I will be stuck for quite a while so I decided to share what I have so far. It will likely be a "to be continued" down the road. If I can finish it down the road I will re-post it in it's entirety.

Growing Older

Growing older, how can it be?
My life is so different from what I envisioned for me.
I thought about family, pets and a home.
I never thought by now I would still be alone.
I'm blessed with a job, church and great friends.
So I know this isn't how my story ends.
Sometimes I wonder have I lived just right?
When will things change, if not tonight?
All that I've hoped for, my wishes and dreams.
I feel like their stitches are ripped at the seams.
I want to keep trying to give it my all.
Put me in coach, hand me that ball,
For I know there is more to this life,
I just need to look past the heartache & strife.

to be cont'd

Monday, September 10, 2012

Drawing on the past

I didn't have a great day today... I have been trying not to argue with my Dad and up until today I have been doing alright. But sometimes I just can't keep it all in... today was one of those days. So then I cried... a lot. I put on some headphones, turned up my ipod really loud and just "ignored" the world around me for a bit. I took care of a few other needs and then was supposed to go to a party. But by that time I was exhausted and didn't feel well so I stayed home napping instead. But now as I was getting ready for bed I was remembering a post I wrote awhile ago (Jan 2010 to be precise) I remembered thinking about my Heavenly Father and how I know that I am a Child of God. Nobody can take that away from me!  I love my parents and I love my Dad but sometimes lately it feels impossible to live with him anymore. I wish things could be different and I have tried to talk to him, I have written poetry about it, and I have even written him a letter directly and yet it seems like I am the only one trying sometimes. But at the same time it also seems like while I am trying to serve him and love him and trying not to fight with him, it feels as if the more I try to make things better the more he strives to get on my nerves. I know that doesn't make sense and maybe you know my Dad and think he wouldn't do that... but you should see the way he is behind closed doors. It is a completely different person then when anybody else is around. When others are here he acts all angelic and even plays the role of a victim. Acts as if we are soo mean to him and picking on him etc. but in general it's the other way around and then some!

Anyway here is a little tidbit of that post from a few years ago. I had been sick and not feeling well. Was out of work at the time, completely broke and in debt. I was going through some major struggles. The night before at church I had gotten a Priesthood blessing from a couple of the guys I knew. If you'd like to look at the complete post you can look it up, it was in Jan 2010 titled "Hugs from a Father"

So I have these giant coloring books that I got from Costco awhile ago. I have 2 different Disney ones (one is Ariel, and one is Princess') and I also have some giant Toy Story coloring sheets from Target. I used to also have a Disney Cars book but I gave it to a friend for her son. So I wanted to color. I knew it was something that was kinda simple and relaxing and it seemed like a good night for coloring. I kinda flipped through a couple pages and stopped on a page with a picture of King Triton and Ariel. They were hugging. Underneath the picture it says " Loving arms are the best things to have around you".
....sorry for the lame-o coloring job I did~
As I was beginning to color this picture I kind of thought to myself "I wish I had this kind of relationship with my dad the kind where I hug him like this with a huge smile on my face and just know that I am loved." Than another thought occurred to me, "I don't have that with my earthly father, but I do have it with my Father in Heaven. I obviously don't get to physically hug him but I do feel his warmth. I do get the feeling of arms around me in times of prayer and at church and even during the blessing I had just received a few hours before. It was as if a light was turned on. I have known that I am a child of God but occasionally I think we all tend to forget it from time to time. This was one of the moments where I was gently reminded! Silly as it sounds that a coloring page would remind me. but that coloring page held a lot of meaning for me last night!
The most interesting part of it all is my institute class this semester is about "Doctrines of the Gospel" and yesterday as I was doing the reading for class for this week (today and thurs) the lesson this week is about Revelation. So yesterday I was reading scriptures about forms of revelation. How it comes from the Spirit, or a vision, or from dreams. How it can come from other sources and I guess for me yesterday I had a brief lesson of revelation through coloring. It is amazing how much our Heavenly Father loves us! I am so grateful for the gospel in my life. I am thankful for the knowledge that I have that I can return to live with him someday if I live worthily. I am so excited for my institute class for the strength it is giving me to go and do. To continue to study the scriptures. I love all that I am learning! I cannot believe in March it has been 10 years since I was baptized! I have learned even though it seems that some of my trials keep getting harder each year I am still strengthened. I am still gaining faith and my testimony becomes stronger! What a great blessing that is to me! I know I can do anything because the Lord is on MY side! I know that I will find a job and will be able to take care of myself and my financial responsibilities. I know that I will get married and be sealed for time and all eternity in the Temple and I know that I will be a mom someday! I can't wait for that time!
So despite the trials and tribulations life is good! I am happy! I am going to try and get back on track with my blogging too! :-)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Hot Pink Pearl

Ok so way back when I wrote a blog about my wheelchair. I had gotten a great deal on a really nice wheelchair. Then I gave it some personalization and upgrades. (see that blog HERE if you'd like.) I also added after that posting a Pirate flag to the front of the seat as well as my mom and I made a bag that would hang on the back of the chair so I could put stuff in it. I also created a cup holder above the bag so that I would have something to hold my drink as well as the drink of any person who might be with and/or pushing me. Here are the pictures of the additions. Also I didn't update that blog but as it turns out the color of the wheels match the color that they painted the gates outside CA Adventure when they re-did it. At the time that I painted my chair the entrance to CA Adv. was blocked off so I had no idea what they were doing or what color they were using. Pretty cool! I also later eventually got some footrests for that chair. So it was perfect. I had a fun colored wheelchair with a nice bag, drink holders and finally footrests. I hate that I cannot stand to walk that long, but if I am going to sit in a chair I would prefer to do so in style. Thus I "pimped my wheelchair" I really miss the days when I could walk around Disneyland or anywhere else for more than a few hours without pain! I miss hiking and all kinds of other activities I cannot handle now. I miss being at the park and talking with whoever I am with because I have learned that when you're with more than one other person and you're in a chair you tend to get ignored a little because they're both standing making eye contact and talking while you're below them and in front of them so you're forgotten a little. I really wish I had never messed up my knee! But I know I have grown thru this trial especially after 3 knee surgeries!

 Flash forward to the past few weeks. I am on a group on Facebook that is called Simi Goods Exchange. It is similar to Craigslist where people are buying and selling items. But it is primarily people who live in Simi valley and since it's through people who know each other on FB it's not open to as many people so it's slightly safer. The group was started by my neighbor. Now of course I have spent more than I have sold, but I have gotten some cool stuff at really good prices. So I cannot complain too much (except for the fact that i am spending money) Anyway someone awhile back had posted a wheelchair. It's a simple model was all black and not as fancy as my chair. But it is a little bit bigger. Now obviously I fit in my chair but it is a little snug as it isn't a typical standard size chair. I checked how much she wanted for it, thinking that if I bought it I could tranfer my wheels and flag and then sell my other one on Craigslist or somewhere and get my money back maybe plus some profit (since my wheelchair is fancier and worth more) but she wanted $75. I didn't really want to pay that much and I didn't want to low-ball her an offer knowing that I would most likely sell mine for more than that. Well then at least a few weeks go by. My sister Denise gave us her old couches as she was getting some newer ones from her in-laws. Now my mom didn't really need the recliner she was using anymore. It was electric and I bought it prob close to a year ago from craigslist for like $40. I posted it on Simi Goods for $25. As it turns out the girl who wanted to buy it was the one who had been selling the wheelchair. She hadn't really gotten any other interest in it and asked me if I would be willing to trade the recliner for the WC. I said sure. So we traded.

So now I have 2 WC's. The second WC does have a bigger seat and although it's not as fancy as my first one I didn't really need all the fancy features on the other chair anyway. I put the 2nd chair in the garage knowing that I didn't really have time to do much to it, plus Deann still had my other chair in her trunk anyway. ... well last week I got my chair from D's trunk and decided to start transferring stuff. I took off my Pirate flag and had put it onto the back of the new chair. It didn't really fit the way it did on the first chair. :-( So then I took off one wheel from each chair to exchange them. The wheels were the same size, everything looked good so I started to switch them..... I ran into a problem.... UGH

As it turned out although the wheels are the same size, the bolts holding the wheels onto the frame as well as the bearing in the wheel itself were different sizes. So I thought about getting new bolts in the alternating sizes so that I could still exchange the wheels but realized that may not work right. One needed longer fatter bolts, and the other needed shorter skinnier bolts. So although I knew I could probably get new bolts in the same sizes with the alternating lengths from what I needed they may not work right. Because now the chair that initially had the larger bolts, the bolt would sit loose in the frame (although it would fit right in the bearing) and that may cause problems while going. Then the one with the larger bearings with the smaller bolt to fit the frame, the bolt would be loose in the chair/bearing....again possibly causing problems.  (If this paragraph doesn't make sense I am sorry, ignore it and move on...basically I couldn't change the wheels because of the bolts)

So now I knew I needed to leave things the way they were, my pirate flag didn't fit and the wheels were not switchable. I knew I wanted to go ahead and keep the larger sized chair but now it was going to be boring. I knew it wasn't too hard to paint the wheels and that It was only like $10 for the paint so I figured I would pimp my new chair now instead. I could still sell the initial chair I would just have to post it with the green wheels. I liked my green wheels especially since I unknowingly painted them the same color as the entrance gates. But I thought if I was going to do a new chair maybe I should change it up a bit. I started thinking about things and thought maybe Hot Pink was the way to go. .... I know they do a lot of "party" type stuff in the parks (especially CA Adv) involving black lights and so with Flourescent Colors my wheels would "glow" :-) That decision was made! I went to Lowe's and bought some spray paint! Woohoo!

I thought about adding some fabric around my pirate flag so that it would fit properly on the seat back. I was also thinking I needed to try and tie in the color of my bag (I have more of that fabric) along with some new fabric so that the wheels would coordinate with the seat and the bag somehow. I found a fabric in the garage (in our stockpile) that I liked and would work. I laid it on the seat and seat back and left it there a bit. After awhile I decided it was too busy of a print and wouldn't work to my liking. I thought maybe I could find something else pirate-y to coordinate with my flag so that i could still use the flag somehow. I got online and looked up Joanns. I searched fabric for "pirate" and found a fabric called "hair bow pirate"

Hair Bow Pirate is a repeating pattern of the skull & crossbones and periodically a skull has a pink hair bow on it's head! I loved it the moment I saw it! I knew the pirates would work and the pink would match the wheels! So on Mon during my lunch break I went and bought 2 yards! Monday night I created a seat cover for the chair. It is removable with a zipper in the back. (part of why I needed to do a seat cover was the seat fabric was slightly faded) Then last night I did a cover for the seat back. The seat back is done differently and basically slips over the top and the handlbars so it comes down just a little on the top of the seat back. Then it drops down behind the seat and I brought up the bottom just a little and it wraps around the bottom of the seat back. So it too is removable for washing etc if needed.

I may take the pirate flag and some of the leftover hair bow fabric and wrap part of the bag for the back of the chair. I am not sure yet. I don't want to make it too busy... But I do want it to coordinate. So we will see. Or I may take just the hair bow fabric and cover just the top of the bag. ... I haven't done anything yet. I think I like the idea of just the top of the bag because it is kind of a lot. Prior to beginning any work on my chair I was on FB chatting with my friend Jen who is currently living in FL. I told her about my ideas with painting the wheels hot pink  and she said she was going to name my chair Hot Pink Pearl. I am not one who usually names my cars etc. but once I found the hair bow pirate fabric and worked on my chair expecially once I got the wheels on and saw just how Hot Pink they are... I decided it really FITS! So my new chair is the Hot Pink Pearl! I cannot wait for my next Disneyland trip and it's maiden voyage!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dreaming, wishing and hoping

Wishing, hoping, dreaming. I think that we all have our expectations in life. We grow up with fairy tales (especially the girls) about “wishing on a star” or other things. We all think of ourselves as a Princess and wait for our Prince Charming. Maybe we are expecting a knight in shining armor or some other form of perfect man… But today I kind of have felt as if maybe I need to let some of my dreams take a back burner. Maybe some of my hopes are not what they should be. Am I wishing for something that isn’t really there? I don’t want to go into too many details but I just have begun to realize one dream that is maybe a little too far-fetched, or it seems like it right now. I guess I have held onto a hope that I am beginning to wonder if it’s worth holding onto.

There are many Disney songs (again with the Princess’) they tell us “When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are. When you wish upon a star your dreams come true” Or there is Snow White who sings

I'm wishing (I'm wishing)
For the one I love
To find me (to find me)
Today (today)
I'm hoping (I'm hoping)
And I'm dreaming of
The nice things (the nice things)
He'll say”

Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty sings:

“I know you
I walked with you once upon a dream.
I know you
The gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam
Yes, I know it's true
that visions are seldom all they seem
But if I know you, I know what you'll do
You'll love me at once
the way you did once upon a dream”

 during this song she meets Prince Phillip walking in the forest and they sing together

I think of Jasmine and Aladdin singing  “A Whole New World. Shining shimmering splendid” and I love when in Beauty and the Beast as they start to really see who each other are inside and begin to fall in love and Mrs Potts starts to sing “There may be something there that wasn’t there before” and little Chip just doesn’t understand “what’s there mama?” Or Belle as she singsNew, and a bit alarming, Who'd have ever thought that this could be. True that he's no Prince Charming, but there's something in him that I simply didn't see. " or in the street as she sings about her book Oh, isn't this amazing?
                It's my fav'rite part because you'll see
                Here's where she meets Prince Charming
                But she won't discover that it's him 'til chapter three 
(Belle is really my favorite Princess)

I think they are great messages. Messages of love and hope and of great things to come. But then there are people who aren’t meant to find “true love” who maybe won’t meet their “Prince Charming” in this life. What if I am one of those people? Maybe I am not meant to get married and have a family? What if I am destined just to be the favorite Aunt? I don’t think that is the case, but from time to time (days like today) I start to wonder.

I begin to think of all my faults, and I look at my life and wonder when things are going to change? What will I be doing when my life changes in the Love department? Will I be reading a book in the “town square” Days like today I begin to think less of the dreams of love and I start feeling like I am with the Goonies at the bottom of the well, when Mouth says Yeah, but you know what? [holds up a coin] This one, this one right here... this was my dream, my wish. And it didn't come true. So I'm taking it back. I'm taking them all back”

I know I shouldn’t let things get to me, afterall just over a week ago I was feeling like a celebrity because the In N Out guy gave me extra fries. But then today I am starting to feel as if I will never get another date or get married. I am not sure why my emotions go to such extremes. I guess what they say is somewhat true. That Disney can give us “Princesses” too high of an expectation, and the truth is I don’t even see myself as a Princess.  I am not expecting to be walking through the forest singing and have some Prince come up behind me singing as well. I don’t think I will find my fairy Godmother who will rescue me and send me to the ball. But I would like a guy to surprise me and “sweep me off my feet”—figuratively. I guess I was just expecting it to happen by now and so today has become one of those days where I doubt myself.

I guess today I am feeling a lot like Sally in the Nightmare Before Christmas (although she isn’t considered a Disney Princess), her song is one of my favorites:

I sense there's something in the wind
That seems like tragedy's at hand
And though I'd like to stand by him
Can't shake this feeling that I have
The worst is just around the bend

I can realate especially to this part:
And does he notice my feelings for him?
And will he see how much he means to me?
I think it's not to be

What will become of my dear friend?
Where will his actions lead us then?
Although I'd like to join the crowd
In their enthusiastic cloud
Try as I may, it doesn't last

And in the final chorus:
And will we ever end up together?
no, I think not, it's never to become
For I am not the one

Today I guess I started to feel as if “I am not the one”

Maybe I need to keep thinking of Cinderella… I need to remember to keep believing, afterall:

A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you're fast asleep
In dreams you lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish for, you keep
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling thru
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Twin Comes to Town

Ok so I often get funny looks when I speak of my close friend Renee. After-all Renee is not a super common name. I can really only remember going to school with one other Renee. My older sister has a friend named Renee and other than that I haven't known too many that I can recall. Well as it turns out I do have a super close friend named Renee. We met through church and over the years we have become so close we call each other our twin! I mean we do share the same name so why shouldn't we?

We have also been known to be called Renee Squared, and depending on who we're with we switch between being Renee 1 or Renee 2. Obviously if we're at my house or in a situation where most of the people know me first I am Renee 1. But when with her family or situation she is Renee 1 and I am #2. It somehow works itself out. Except there is the occasional time when someone says "Renee" and we both say what. That usually causes a good laugh.

Well a few years ago Renee moved to Salt Lake City. So unfortunately we don't get to hang out as often as before.... It is really sad because we tend to have a lot of fun together. When we road-trip we read books out loud together. We joke and have a good time, and at one point she even had a Disneyland Annual Pass as well! It was great (although I am beginning to think she enjoyed it more for the churros than my company) Just kidding!

Well in  June was her birthday and I being lame-o totally forgot! Which is not like me at all.. I typically am well prepared for birthdays and have cards mailed on just the right day for the card to arrive on the birthday etc. But I slacked this year. I am going to blame it on a mix of the vacation I took at the time, the new job and I am not really sure what else may have played a part in it! But I decided I would make it up to her. Knowing she was coming out this month I had decided to take her to see the Cirque Du Soleil show Iris that is now permanent at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. I told her I wanted to do something for her while she would be here visiting and she re-assured me she would have some nights free so we could work it out.

We decided to go on Weds night and I ordered the tickets. We were not in the most expensive seats but they were in a really nice location. We drove down in the evening and it happened to me the Expendables 2 premiere at the same time so we got to experience a little bit of a crowd scene but it wasn't too bad. We started out in the "Boutique" (aka gift shop) for the show and as we looked around I knew for sure I wanted to get a program. I looked at the music and such as well  but not having seen the show yet wasn't sure if I would buy anything.

Finally I picked up a few items and asked about the program at the register. She told me they did have them, they were $20 each and that the cd/soundtrack is $15 but they were offering a "combo pack" and so if you bought both together it was only $29 (tax included) ... she then told me that the music was composed and produced by Danny Elfman and asked me if I knew who that was? Of course I know! He did the Nightmare Before Christmas! Plus several others that I LOVE!! She asked me if I wanted to purchase the combo pack and I said "YES, you had me at Danny Elfman!" She told me he even recorded some stuff for the opening scene! AMAZING! Renee also purchase the combo!

We went in and found our seats, It wasn't long before the performers started making their way through the crowd. We were looking at our programs and waiting for the show. It was cool. I was so excited, this was my second Cirque show. I had seen the travelling show Kooza a few years ago with Renee and her family when they took me along with them! That show we were in the front row for! (Sorry Renee I can't afford that!) So far in my 2 Cirque shows I have seen I am hooked! I want to see more! There is another travelling show coming later this year and will be in Long Beach called Dralion that I want to see as well. Maybe I will buy less expensive tickets and take my nephews along! I think they'd enjoy it!

The show was incredible! I really enjoyed it! I wish that we could take pictures but you can't. I guess I could've been like some people and tried to sneak a few shots without using my flash but most of those people still got caught and were told not to take any pictures! I did feel occasionally there were a few spots where too much was going on at one time on stage (or in the air acrobatically) and so it was hard to know where to watch! But awesome none-the-less!

I had asked for Thurs off knowing that I would be getting home late from the show and since Renee was to leave Thurs evening we had also planned a Disney related activity for Thurs. At the Reagan library in July they started a new exhibit, it will be there until April 2013 and we went.... It is a DIsney Treasures/Archive exhibit. Renee had reserved and purchased the tickets online in advance for us (Thanks Renee since I never did pay you back) we went through the Reagan Library and Air Force one as well (all included in one ticket price) which was nice because although I have been to the library a few times and seen some stuff I hadn't actually been thru the library. I love libraries and museums and such! There is actually a Cleopatra exhibit coming upo at the California Science Center I want to go to as well! I went to the King Tut one a few years back! The King Tut one I had received tickets for my birthday for it, maybe I will ask for that again..only Cleopatra this time!

While walking thru the exhibits my knee was starting to hurt of course and while mostly standing still waiting for the line in front of me to move on Air Force One my knee kind of buckled under me! Renee was behind me and noticed and I told her I was ok. But it started getting worse after that! She of course noticed a little later that I was limping more and slowing down. When she asked me if I "kinked" my knee on AF-1 I said "no it kinked itself" it is so frustrating. But I am trying to walk as much as I can since any more physical activity is too much and makes it even worse. I am also trying to  get back on track with watching what I am eating and doing what I can to lose weight. I know that will help but unfortunately I don't think it will completely get rid of the pain. I am pretty sure I did something to it again! After 3 knee surgeries I think I can tell.

The Disney exhibit was awesome and i definitely want to go back again (maybe a few times) before it leaves if I can! I took a ton of pictures! I loved the original artwork and costumes. I loved the scale models they had on display and all the many neat treasures! I am sure there was stuff I missed because I would get distracted and focus on one thing and go to it. I loved that they had the original statues of the 3 hitchhiking ghosts from the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland and what I didn't know they had that I was so excited to see was the original Bride from the ride too with her beating heart! I have told people recently that I missed her on the ride because the holographic one they have now just isn't the same! I probably squealed when I saw her there! I know I did internally! Renee even bought me the "program" booklet thing for there when she ordered our tickets! (Thanks again) so I got that one too! I love getting those and having them as souvenirs because they last and people can see the many shows and places I have gone! It's fun and sometimes they contain stuff that you can't take with you (like pictures from the Iris show)

So that was fun.   I enjoyed getting to spend some time with my Twin! Whenever we can get together I enjoy it. There had been a little bit of talk of us getting to do a road trip this month to Utah but it fell through. I was super bummed! I love road-trips and with my twin it doesn't get any better!

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Celebrity Life

So celebrities occassionally known to say that they neither want nor appreciate being treated differently because they're a celebrity. .. But at the same time we know that is not often the case. They are treated differently. They are given things we "normal folk" are not given. They are in fact treated with "celebrity" status.

Well I am someone who is not normally feeling as if I am the "most beautiful girl in the room" and I definitely don't feel as if I am ever being treated special because of who I am or how I look. But once in awhile you meet someone who does give you a little feel of that celebrity like status.

This may seem like a silly story to some, and maybe I am over-thinking it or over-reacting but it certainly made my night. ... Last week on Mon after work I had a few things to do and also had my weekly church activity. My mom had not gotten any dinner made and so I decided to grab something on the go. After the activity I was running some errands picking up a few things and decided to grab a burger from In N Out for dinner.

As I was pulling into the parking lot I noticed the drive-thru line was a little long (typical really for In N Out) and I needed to use the bathroom so I parked and went in. I ordered my food and asked the cashier if I could leave my cup on the counter and grab it after the bathroom. He told me no problem and that when I came out to just put out my hand with my hand shaped like a "C" and he would provide me with a cup.

After I was done in the restroom I came out and the cashier Justin had a little bit of a line formed, he was also in the middle of taking someone else's order. I stepped to the side and was waiting to get my cup not wanting to interrupt. When he was done taking the order he looked up from the register and noticed me waiting. He handed me a cup and said "you didn't put your hand out" I told him I didn't want to interrupt and I thanked him then I proceeded to get my drink.

After getting my drink I was waiting for my food and sitting off to the side. There was another guy working the fries and finishing the orders. I was waiting and then I saw Justin tell the Fries guy to put extra fries into a bag and he put in the burger than came and called my number 71. I got up and he offered me ketchup for my food I told him no thanks. He smiled and told me to have a great night. I told him thank you and left with my food.

Now like I said it may seem like a silly story or really not that significant to some, but a little part of me thinks maybe he thought I was cute and so he made sure to get me those extra fries and be the one to give me my order at the counter. After-all he was the cashier not the guy who had been filling the bags...

And I am not going to lie he was cute and has beautiful blue eyes. I do love a pair of beautiful eyes and a nice smile. Which he had both! :-) Ahh... as of yet I have not been back to see him again, or to see if I get the celebrity treatment again... but if it happens again I certainly won't be complaining! ... oh and I fully intend to call In N Out and give him a compliment (not for the possible "flirting") but the good customer service with the cup etc. in the first place! I think people need to reward good works more often and complain less!

Simba: The Lion Head Floppy Ear Bunny

Ok so I know many people know Simba as the Lion King. Disney made him the coolest lion to be known. But as we all know the Circle of Life continues and sometimes bunnies are bred with other bunnies and we end up with Lion Head Bunnies! They are called so because of their lion-like mane.

So when you are having changes take place at work and you are now working clerical in another office and that office has a Sargeant with baby bunnies to give away sometimes you see a picture and you're hooked. You spend your weekend buying supplies and building a hutch so then Mon you come home with an 8-week old bunny! Simba is a mix of a Lion head rabbit and a floppy eared. So he will be kinda mid-sized.
Medic is pretty mellow around Simba. 

So meet Simba! I have now had him a few weeks and we are getting to know each other better. I take him out of the hutch almost nightly and we "hang out" he sits on my chest and I pet him. I want him to be used to human contact. The first week or so he slept in a bin with a piece of cage wire over the top in my room. Lately he has been in his hutch even overnight. He seems to like it. He is even starting to "take care of business" in his litter box! (Yes you can litter-box train a rabbit) It's awesome. He is getting bigger and I love him!

If I can get it to attach I will also include some videos, apparently he likes to "burrow" in my chest when I am holding him. Its funny! Oh and sometimes he is "sniffing" and will go up near your ear so it tickles!
His "hutch" is 4'x2'x2' ... it is now sitting on bricks to bring it off the ground.

He tends to sit kind of curled up in a ball but he does have some "length" and in this picture not only do you see his mane a little but also his fluffy tail

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Washington DC - The Finale

Ok so it has taken me a little while to get to this last post. I guess partly because of adding all the pictures and partly because of a lot of crazy changes in life and my schedule lately. But here is my final post about my trip... it is for Fri and Sat and sadly my trip home... 

So on Fri morning we had decided to go to Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington was one of the places I for sure wanted to visit while there. I had hoped to go to the Temple as well but unfortunately it didn't work out this trip. So on Fri morning we again walked to the metro and started our day at Arlington. It is amazing how much you can be affected by a cemetery. I knew I would likely get emotional there and I did. When we got there we decided to take their tour instead of walking the entire time. The tour takes you first to the Eternal Flame and drops you off. Then you can take the "tram" to the next stop which is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and changing of the guards, then the final stop is the Robert Lee home. 

I remember having gone as a child to Washington DC and I know that I saw the WHite House and the memorials and the monuments and so many places that I saw again during this trip, but it's completely different when you're an adult and know the history, knowing the sacrifices and the events behind the places. It was emotional but I loved being at the cemetery. While there I kind of had a strange set of emotions, I was touched by the experience and knowing what I know now, but while there it really made me think a lot about my Dad. Knowing that my Dad is a Vet and that he will be buried in a national cemertery like Arlington really hit me. I was looking at the headstones and suddenly I felt as if I was in Los ANgeles at the National Cemetery there near the VA hospital where he goes. I was suddenly remembering how many times we have come close to losing him. It's bringing tears to my eyes writing about it and thinking of it now. I also seemed to notice a lot of birds on the headstones. For some reason this stood out to me as well. I thought about these birds and how they stood so tall and proud as if they knew the significance of everything as well. Maybe that is a weird thought but it really did seem that way to me.

So we started out at the Eternal Flame. I loved that most of the memorials and places we went in DC had quotes carved in the walls, concrete etc. Especially when they were from former presidents. It was really cool. I think I learned a little more in DC than I did in previous history classes. Or maybe it was just re-freshened in my mind. I have to admit I don't remember as much as I wish I did! I really enjoyed all the "history" parts of my trip. I loved getting to see COllin and Sharon and the kids, but I really do enjoy going to museums and historical landmarks and just exploring/learning! It's incredible how much there is all around us that we can enjoy and learn about on a daily basis! 

As we went to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier I remembered watching a documentary about the guards. It is incredible the sacrifice they're making. I thought a lot about how our Heavenly Father knows the identity of that soldier and all the "unknowns" I wondered if somehow people who may be related or connected to that particular soldier if they can feel his spirit there? If they somehow know they're directly connected to him? I remember seeing the guards and thinking "they're so young" but yet they are incredible servants! What a tremendous experience they're having and what an example they are to so many others. What a great lesson they will be able to teach their families someday. As we finished and were leaving I noticed someone left an empty water bottle with some trash in it on the steps. I was kind of shocked by the lack of reverence of that person. To have witnessed something so touching and yet leave trash there. I am not trying to brag or boast of myself or anything but I picked it up and carried it until I found a trash can. It really made me feel for whoever dropped it, maybe that was me as a kid during my first visit, it was obviously someone who doesn't understand. It seems like such a small thing but it really left me feeling disappointed in humanity a little. I know I haven't always been the best person and I have a lot to learn but I hope that in circumstances like that I am not ignorant to the reality of my experiences. I was truly touched though by the changing of the guards. I almost felt as if I could've stayed there (melting in the heat) all day and been content. Just watching the guards pace and the changing regularly. Speaking of the heat though I was also impressed with the guard, in their uniforms they don't even seem to notice the temperature. I didn't even notice a bead of sweat! And to think rain or shine they're there! Again it is an incredible experience to be there and witness! 

After the Tomb we saw nearby a few other monuments for the space shuttles and other crews that lost their lives in service. It really is an incredible place with so much to see. I am thankful for our service members, past present and future. Even those who don't necessarily see war they have all made a tremendous sacrifice and should be thanked! I don't think that many people really know the significance of military. Unless directly  connected to our service members I wonder if people really understand. 

Then we went up the the Lee house, it is currently under renovation and restoration projects but there was still a good amount to see. There was also some slave quarters and showed their living conditions. I feel bad for the tall slaves because I am not even sure I could fit on their beds. Which didn't even have mattresses so they probably were not super comfortable to begin with! It was all so interesting to see. As we were on the tram back to the "entrance" area with the gift shop etc. I overheard something that made me smile, there was a family sitting behind us with an elderly female and she said something along the lines of "all I really want is a hot dog, we should've eaten lunch by now" Maybe that isn't funny to you but for me it made me laugh a little inside because you wouldn't expect an elderly person to want a hot dog! At least I wasn't expecting it! I mean if it had been a kid it would've seemed more appropriate! I am not sure what I would expect her to ask about for lunch but I guess it wasn't hot dog! 

Speaking of lunch it was already after 2 I think by this time so we were ready for lunch as well. I was feeling a little bit of heat exhaustion I think because I was kinda nauseated, and with the heat I didn't really have much of an appetite, but we went back to the metro and got off at some mall (i think it was a mall) and got sandwiches at a place that I think was called "Pot Belly" or something like that (memory is slipping a little now) but i think that's it because I remember there being a pot belly style stove thing along one wall behind us where we were in line to order our sandwiches. I got a sandwich, some chips, a glass of water and soda. I drank the water before Collin had even paid for his sandwich. We sat and ate. For how I felt I did pretty well eating my sandwich, but saved the chips. Towards the end I kinda pulled some of the bread off so it wasn't so thick. It was tasty. 

We walked from there a few blocks to go to the Thomas Jefferson memorial. I am not sure if I saw that one as a kid or not. But it was really beautiful. It is along the tidal basin and eventually during the trip we walked completely around the basin. We walked around there a bit and then walked from there around the basin to the Franklin D Roosevelt Memorial. Which I think was one of my favorites. Partly because I really enjoyed the quotes they shared of his and it was a bunch of waterfalls. It was really peaceful and inspiring. From FDR we walked to the fairly new (Collin said about 6 months) Martin Luther King Memorial. Walking there we heard a little thunder and got a few rain driplets. I was hoping it would start pouring! It was another hot gross muggy day and the few droplets actually felt nice! It didn't start raining at that time though :-(  Darn it! I was glad we were done after that and heading back to get ready for dinner because my knee was getting really sore by the time we had even hit the FDR Memorial. I felt like I was starting to limp a little.. (and it was a no-cane day... I know I brought it and should've been using it, but it's hard. I am right handed so I like having my camera ready in my right hand, and use the cane on the right side since I have a bad left knee)

That night Collin had made some plans for us to have dinner with some of his friends. So after the memorials we headed back so we could meet them for dinner. As it turned out we had to kinda push back the time a little since we were out longer than anticipated. We walked back to the metro, and back to the condo. I showered and then I used the oven door as a mirror to do my hair and make-up so Collin could shower. We got ready and were only a couple minutes late for dinner. As it turned out James and Andrea were a couple minutes late as well. So it worked out nicely. While we were at dinner it rained! It was a lot of fun meeting them and the 4 of us had a fun time at Chili's. We had shared some BBQ and Buffalo wings appetizers, and had our meals. The guys had beer, I had a virgin strawberry margarita and Andrea only had water. We all ordered our meals and we talked and laughed. James was kind of picking on the waitress a little but I don't think she minded because she dished it right back at him. (plus she hung around our table probably longer than she should've) It wasn't too busy in there though so I don't think she was ignoring other patrons. I hope not anyway. After dinner we headed back.

We sat on the floor and I was showing Collin pictures from my trip to Sacramento for the CHP academy and the museums I visited while there. I was also showing him my blog and some of my poetry. I am fairly certain I had included him in my email telling people when I started my blog, but I think it was when he was on the ship so he may not have really known. So a lot of my writing was new to him. We had a good time talking about things and it was nice sharing with him some of my writings. I still don't feel as if I am very eloquent or talented when it comes to my occasional poetry but he seemed impressed. 

Sat morning he was showing me his pictures from his recent Europe trip while we had breakfast. Then after getting ready we headed out. We stopped at the marine corp base again and got discounted tickets for the aquarium in Baltimore. We drove to Baltimore and had lunch on the harbor "next door" to the aquarium. It was already getting later and by the time we went to the aquarium we barely had an hour or so before we were going to need to leave for the airport. So we kind of rushed through a little and didn't see all the exhibits but it was an incredible aquarium! If I am ever back in that area I want to plan a trip again and really get to experience it. I want to see more of the exhibits and maybe the videos they offer. I loved it! We ended up being there a little longer then we should've but it was worth it. 

Since we were at the aquarium longer than expected it meant we were running behind getting to the airport for my flight. Luckily we were not too far from the airport, but we hit some traffic due to road work or something. It was weird because they had part of one interesection closed off and it made me that much later. I almost didn't mind because I wasn't ready to leave anyway. I looked up my flight though and knew it was running about 15 min late so I knew that gave me a little bit of time. But I also knew that little bit of time would be taken off my layover (and plane change) which was only going to be about 40 min already! So I was nervous about that. On the way to the airport I was starting to cry and so I kept looking out the passenger window so that hopefully Collin wouldn't notice. I got most of my tears under control before we got to the airport and was feeling a little stronger and was trying not to let him see still. But as we got out and he was hugging me goodbye it was getting hard. He was telling me he had a good time and he hoped I did too, and all I could do was nod (otherwise I would've lost it) I felt bad for not really saying thanks or goodbye, but I couldn't do it! He told me to get going so I wouldn't miss my flight and so I got my suitcase and headed inside. 

This is where the story gets interesting (I don't think I told Collin about this part...) but I got inside and checked it and my suitcase was 8 pounds overweight! (sorry Collin, since you carried it for me!) I am not sure how that happened since it was under by 20 pounds on the way there (must've been all the sweat in my clothing!) and I didn't really buy any souvenirs so I had to take stuff out. So I grabbed my scriptures, my sweater and all the fliers etc. I had collected during the trip. Eventually I got enough stuff out of it and shoved into my backpack so that it was right at 50 pounds! I then went to the security checkpoint and waited in line.. I was starting to get really nervous now, since I had gotten to the airport with less than an hour prior to my flight already and had to do the suitcase stuff... finally I get up there and am going through security and they pull my backpack and ask to check it. UGH!! So she opened it up and pulled out a bottle of soda I forgot I even had in there. She ran my bag again and everything was ok. It was an unopened soda and I asked if I could have it because it wasn't opened and she said if I did I would have to drink it and then go through security again. I didn't have time to do that! So it got tossed! Go figure! I didn't know how far it would be to my terminal but luckily it wasn't too far. I quickly used the bathroom, when I got to my terminal they were already boarding. I had my cane with me I was able to get on without waiting for my boarding group. 

That flight didn't go too bad, we had a plane change in Atlanta and because there were several people who had short times between flights the attendants kept making announcements for people who had more time to please allow others to exit first. I had to wait a little but luckily several people let me go before them. I was glad that my other terminal was only like 2 away. They were boarding that flight already too. I had my cane and literally went from one plane to the next. I got my backpack etc to my seat and used the plane bathroom before the plane filled up. My flight home again went fairly well. My stop in Atlanta allowed me to see the sun starting to set a little. It was cool, but a little weird too because then as we continued to fly it got brighter again, but then I landed in the dark! So I saw the sun set, but then there was still sunlight, then darkness because I was too high to see it "set" again! 

After landing it seemed to be that I was at the far end of the airport or something because it took me forever to get to the baggage claim. Then I had to wait quite awhile for my luggage. So long that I was beginning to worry that it didn't make the plane change with me in Atlanta! It seemed like there were several luggage drops and then nothing! I think the screen was even showing a different flight! Finally though my bag came and I headed out for the flyaway. I debated about waiting for the first flyaway and seeing if it was full or not, or walking down to an earlier terminal. I decided to walk, and as I was starting to walk one came by (darn it I should've waited) so I went to 4 and waited there. I decided to take my chances and if it was super full than I would walk again. But I got lucky and it wasn't bad. My driver was way enthusuastic and talked non-stop during the drive! It was interesting! At least she has a great attitude about her job. I probably should've sent in a good comment about her. But I guess it's too late now. When I got back to the flyaway my mom was almost there with Deann to get me. I only waited a couple minutes. Then we came home. I had to work Sunday morning at 10 am so when we got home I basically got into bed. But since I didn't go in early I was able to get some sleep. Of course I got some early texts on Sunday but I didn't mind. 

Well that is my trip in a nut-shell.... or rather in 3 blog posts! I had an amazing time and even though at times it was hard on my knee and the heat sucked I really am glad I went! It was completely worth everything! Through it all I had a great time! I loved that there was no TV or anything else to distract us and we were able to just hang out in the evenings and catch up on life! It was really cool! Plus like I said I won all games for eternity! Although that's a little sad too because I love games and have quite a collection actually! The next few weeks at work didn't go well, and if nothing else the fact that I was working where I was and making more money and able to get that time off for my trip, I am thankful for it! What a tremendous trip it was and I learned a lot about myself and even a little more about Collin! I love that we are so close and he is such a great example to me! He encourages me, supports me and helps lift me up probably more than he realizes. Over the past 21 years i've grown a lot and a huge part of that growth is because of friends like him! I am so blessed!