Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Moore Strong!

This is going to be a lengthy one...
This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to Moore, OK to help with the disaster relief. It was a crazy week of figuring out if we could even go, but I won't get into that, the point is, we decided to go, and left about 3 hours later.
Driving to Moore is about 14 hours, we drove 10 hours to Amarillo, TX, slept for about 3 then drove 4-5 more to Moore. One of the girls in our group has a sister that lives there (half a mile from the distruction) and offered us a place to stay.
We stopped in at the house around 11, dropped our stuff off and went to work.
We went to the church (which was kind of a hub), got our shirts and anything else we'd need (they had tables loaded with work gloves, safety glasses, ear plugs, masks, water, granola bars, hand sanitizer and so on...) and asked them to put us to work.
After a small stint at flattening boxes we were then sent to a park where loads of people were there cleaning debris and cutting down trees that had too much damage. By the time we got there it was pretty clean, but there was a destroyed neighborhood right behind it. So I went to see what we could do.
I walked through the neighborhood just awe struck. Houses completely destroyed, the only thing left standing were the support walls IF they even lasted. But, all through that, they had a sense of humor about things.

The thing was, you couldn't just start cleaning out a house. Insurance companies had to go through and check them first, so you had to see if the house had been marked first before you could go in. So we found a house that people were working on, and jumped in.
Basically we were told just to go through and clear out the house, if anything looked salvagable we would put it in a pile, but if not we threw it on the curb. It was a horrible feeling to know you are picking up someone's entire life and just tossing it in a wheelbarrow to be thrown away.
We worked on this house for about 3 hours (about 15-20 of us) and by the end it was pretty cleaned out, you felt a slight sense of accomplishment, then you'd look to your right, or left, or anywhere and realize, we had barely scratched the surface.

Our house:


To the right and left:

All weekend we just kept telling ourselves, "We may not have made a big difference, nothing more than a bandaid on a bullet wound, but we made a difference to that family." It was really hard to not get discouraged.
After that house we walked to the park and saw this big duck pond, we found a little tunnel that channeled into the pond that was loaded with gunk, so we spent the next hour or so shoveling that out.

Once we were done there we were told we should go home, as a big thunderstorm was supposed to come through. We would have stayed, but the missionaries left and took all the shovels and wheelbarrows with them, so we didn't really have a lot that we could do. So we went home.

The next day was Sunday. The plan was to all meet at the church, have a brief meeting and then get to work. We were told to come in our jeans and work clothes, so that's what we did. It was incredibly spiritual, the sence of unity in that chapel. Boys passing the sacrament in their white shirts, ties, jeans and work boots. The stake president speaking at the pulpit, jeans and a t-shirt.
It was a girl's missionary farewell that Sunday. Sister Orr. Her family owned the Orr Family Farm, which had been destroyed. 150 horses died on that farm unable to get away. Complete devastation. She spoke beautifully starting out by saying, "When I imagined giving my farewell speech, I didn't think picture this many people, and I didn't picture jeans and t-shirts..." She gave a truly inspired/inspirational talk. She will enter the MTC this Wednesday before entering the mission field in Mesa, AZ. We made sure to talk to her after.
The hymns that day were inspired, ending with "Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel" Admittedly one of my least favorite hymns, that now will be a part of me forever.
After the meeting the Stake President stood and said, "Alright now get out of the church and get to work.

After church we did a little of delivering boxes out to people. We then got in a bus and headed to the Orr Family Farm to help clean debris off the land. Man oh man... We get to this ginormous field and there is just crap all over the place. Wood, metal, personal belongings, just COVERING the place. The first round, will be getting all the big pieces into piles so the city can come through and forklift them outta there, then they'll go through and comb it again getting all the littler pieces into piles, then go through again getting the even smaller pieces. This will take months. We were out there for about 4.5 hours and again, barely scratched the surface.

On the bus, on the way to the farm.

After the farm, we drove around just looking for people to help. That was our last day there and we wanted to end helping specific people.
We found a house where a lady and her two daughters lived. They were in the house when the tornado hit and the house was leveled. The fact that they survived is amazing, the fact that they were unharmed, a miracle. We helped them clean up, we helped them tarp the "saved" items to leave for the night. I was talking to the son and he was telling me, that his father had passed away the week before and he was in town for the funeral, so on the one hand you can't help but think, "Why did all of this happen?" on the other had, he said, "Had it not been for the funeral, I wouldn't have been here to help them." Even thinking about that makes me tear up. How humble! A tender mercy, yes, but such an unfortunate one. As the day was nearing an end we wished them luck, they gave us hugs thanked us profusely and we left them... Lives altered, not enough done to help, we were soon to be going home and leaving it all behind. It was a horrible feeling. Walking away with so much more to do.

We then drove around as the sun was setting. We drove past Plaza Towers Elementary. They had crosses in the front for the 7 children that lost their lives. Two up front that you could sign, which I did. I almost felt undeserving of signing that sign, yes I was there, yes I helped a bit, but I didn't do enough.

We then drove back to the house, had dinner, packed up and left in the early morning on Memorial Day.
This was an experience I won't soon forget. The feeling of the whole community coming together. People on every street corner doing whatever they could to help, free food, free water, free tetanus shots, free tire repair, anything they could think of. People would drive by literally every half hour passing out water and gatorade, fresh cooked meals and snacks. Signs reading, "Moore Strong" "Moore families in our hearts" "We will rebuild" "You hit like a girl".
I felt unworthy to be there almost. Just a visitor coming to see the damage and then going home to my perfect life. I wanted to stay and do more, but I know no matter how long I stayed, I couldn't do enough.
It left a hole in my heart. Even as I write this post I just keep crying. Those people, those amazing people!
I am so grateful to have had this experience. To be humbled the way I was. I may never feel like I did enough, I may always feel a bit of discouragement, but I went there. Two days is small, but it's two days still.
Moore, Oklahoma will forever be a part of me.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

When you try to be sneaky...

Ok... So a couple of years ago I went on a singles cruise.
I went to a party the week before the cruise and met some people that were going to be going, and they made me REALLY not want to go. I remember calling my parents the night before telling them how badly I didn't want to go. I didn't want to be in that "scene" I remember saying, "It's just going to be a bunch of 30 year olds acting like 17 year olds without parental supervision for the first time." I had a really bad attitude. The last thing I wanted was to go and have a "cruise fling". A pseudo relationship that would only last as long as the cruise and then be as though it never happened.
I knew a lot of people that were SO LOOKING FORWARD to their cruise flings and I just wanted no part of that.
Well roughly three days in I was at dinner, and I was next you a young chap and we just laughed the whole time (big BIG seller for me is if the guy can make me laugh and we laughed). I remember thinking, "Oh no... I think I'm into this guy".
Later that night we were all up on the Lido deck just dancing away. I was talking to him and this guy came over and said, "Hey, we are all going up to the Serenity Deck (aka the adult only [aka the make out] deck)to play games." He looked at me and said, "Race you!" And we both went running.
We get up there, and NO ONE FOLLOWED! I was internally panicking. We still had like 4 days left of the cruise, I didn't want anything to happen and then to have to like "play it cool" around each other. I did NOT want to be a "cruise couple" I did NOT want anyone to know. We found this chair thingy and were both laying in it waiting for everyone else to come. I seriously was not leaving any room for misinterpretation. I was laying stiff as a board, I gave him nothing.
Here we are, laying on this deck, totally alone, stars above us, you can hear the music playing on the Lido Deck, ocean breezes coming and going, slight rocking of the boat. OH COME ON!!! So there we are, me being super awkward and him being a normal human. I just laid there thinking, "I can't do this... I can't do this..." And then, the music changes from Raggae dancing music, to "Wonderful Tonight" and other such love songs. "Are you KIDDING ME?" I honestly could not believe it. I can't even remember what I said, but I said something along the lines of, "Wow, they're really trying to amp up the 'mood'" and right then he grabbed me and kissed me. Of course it was friggen perfect. He pulled back and said, "I'm sorry, I just couldn't let that moment pass." I said, "No... yeah... that was pretty perfect." and we may or may not have kissed a bit more.
Minutes later someone came up and found us and said, everyone was actually meeting on the back of the Lido Deck. So I said, "Welp... we better go."
I was freaking out... I was adamant pre-cruise and really up to that point that I would NOT be that girl. As we were walking to the Lido Deck I almost pulled him aside to say, "Listen, let's keep this on the down low. We don't need people eyeing us all week." but I just chose to keep it to myself. Girls are way more likely to talk about that stuff than dudes, so I'd probably be fine, no one had to know.
So we joined everyone playing on the Lido deck. They were playing a game called, "Never have I ever." What happens in this game is, everyone sits in a circle and there is a person in the middle. The person in the middle says something they have never done and if you have done it you get up and have to run to another seat. The object is to not be the last person, otherwise you are then in the middle.
So we play for about an hour and then someone gets into the middle and says, "Never have I ever... made out on a cruise." Someone yells, "Be more specific." they said, "Ok, never have I ever made out on THIS cruise." My eyes dart to the guy... we both stare wide eyed at each other and I just thought. "Don't get up... don't get up" and he gets up... so I had to... we were two of four people, and the other two everyone already knew about. The whole circle went NUTS. I sat down and hear chanting, "Story! Story! Story!" I don't think my face was capable of being more red than it was in that moment.
So I did what I SWORE I wouldn't do, and my idea of keeping it under wraps lasted all of an hour.
Probably one of my most embarrassing moments, also probably one of the best first kiss stories ever.

Pretty sure that was the face I made...

Here is the blog post I wrote after that cruise... if you are so inclined/intrigued

Monday, May 20, 2013

Too close for comfort

So a few years ago I moved into a new ward. In this ward there was a boy. I had a wee crush on this lad.
One night my roommates and I decided to have a game night, so I invited him. He came with a couple buddies of his and we all had a grand time. At the end of the night, his buddies left and he stayed and helped me clean up and we chatted for a while. As we were chatting I noticed on my phone that I got a "friend request" from one of his buddies. I said, "Is this your friend?" he said it was so I accepted. We will call these guys A and B. A being the guy I was into and B being his friend. So A tells me that he thinks B was interested in me. I thought that was interesting since A was also showing interest as well, but I thought, "Whatever, I'll let them work that out."
So later that night I get a message from B on the ole FB thanking me for the game night. We chatted for a bit and he ended up getting my number. "No biggie" I thought. So B and I had made plans to go out on Wednesday of that week, and A and I kept up communication. I was intrigued by both of them and again just thought, they can figure things out how they want.
So things go along swimmingly, both are texting me rather regularly. I remember specifically the day B and I went out I had a softball game. I was texting both of them throughout, telling them my stats and what not. When the game was over I let B know when I'd be home so he could come pick me up.
I get home and am getting ready for B to come get me, then I get a text from A that says, "Well **** just left to go pick you up, so I better let you go."

Um... WHAT?

They LIVE together? KEEP in mind, A knew I was going out with B, I wasn't being sneaky. However, I didn't know they lived together, and if they were together all night while I was texting both of them... telling them about my game, sometimes sending the exact same text... awkward!

So... I was pretty much speechless and can't even tell you what my response to him was.
So B comes to get me and we are chit chatting, getting to know one another. He was a charming fellow. It was a great date. At one point in the date he is telling me a story and he says, "My aunt, ****'s mom..."

UM... WHAT???

They are COUSINS!!!???

I'm pretty sure I laughed when he told me that. I didn't even know how to proceed from there. Roommate cousins that I had been texting all week and interested in both.

Best part... B had a brother. I fancied him too. Nothing happened with any of them.
Twas a little too close for comfort. Sometimes keepin it in the family is not the best idea.

Ah look how cute I am!!! So sweet and innocent!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Follow Up From Yesterday's Post

Yesterday I went on a date with a guy I had been set up with by several people. I warn you, this may get confusing but I urge you to pioneer through. I said I wasn't going to blog about this, but it's just too good.
In the beginning of the date we were both telling our sides of the story of how we got set up. His was MUCH more entertaining than mine, and I'm gonna tell it. Our connection is he grew up with my cousin's husband. I was in California and met a couple of my cousin's husband's friends, who shall remain nameless. We'll call them #1 and #2. Apparently #1 will set my date up with pretty much any single girl "that's nice" so when he approached me about going out with the guy, #2 then texts my date and says, "Warning, #1 is trying to set you up". My date had told me that #2 is a lot more discerning when it comes to setting him up so he asked him, "Would YOU set me up with her?" To which #2 apparently replied, "I don't really know anything about her, but if I was going on looks alone, yeah." (Thanks #2 that's kind of you)
This is where things get crazy. So "blind dates" are obsolete these days, thanks to the wonderful world of Facebook, and I have no shortage of pictures on the Facebook. The next thing my date knows, he's getting an influx of pictures of me, sent from #2 (who must have gotten them from my cousin's facebook as he and I are not FB friends) These people are nothing if not thorough.
All this happened about a month ago, and since then we have both been contacted a number of times from the setter-uppers seeing if he and I had actually gotten together yet. We had been in contact, but hadn't gone out yet, so when I got a second text from my cousin asking for status I contacted him and said, "We better make this happen" So we set up the date for last night.
Apparently he was getting a lot more pressure than I was, and he was also getting a lot more updates on me.
Day of the date #2 was getting the deets from him, "What are you gonna do? When are you gonna pick her up?" What have you... Then late in the day not too soon before picking me up he gets the following text from #2, "Too bad it's not Fall..." followed by a link TO MY BLOG!!!!
When he told me that I started laughing SO HARD and turned bright red. He literally had to turn the AC up in his car for me. I seriously could not believe it... I told him, "I JUST posted that blog like 3 hours ago!" I hadn't posted anything in like 3 weeks! WHAT ARE THE CHANCES!?!? Yes my blog is open to the public and I don't mind at all that he read it, but here's my question to #2 (since you obviously read my blog) How often ARE you checking up on me? Do you somehow have an alert to when I make changes? Well if after all your research, you still found me worthy to go out with your friend, I can't be that bad right?
Oh man, for the rest of the night I would randomly burst into laughter and he'd then turn up the AC.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What happens when I'm bored...

Alright Listen! Don't judge me!
So sometimes when I get really bored (mainly at work) I will make lists of things. Today I tested some theories.
I have noticed that I date way more in the Fall and Winter than I do in the Spring and Summer. Today I made a list of all the guys I've kissed and wrote down (to the best of my memory) when we kissed. In the Fall I kiss more than any other time of the year. (Alright don't go crazy I'm not kissing ALL THE TIME)For instance, last year, only 37% of the guys I kissed were in the first 7 months of the year... (I like math alright? Back up off me.)
Here is what I find interesting. I feel like in the summer is when we all look our best. We workout for our "swimsuit bodies" we are sunkissed, I know that is when I am the most confident. So you'd think that would be the time that us single people are most active (ifyouknowwhatImean)
Here is the conclusion of my theory. In the summer there are always a million things to do. There are sports to play, trips to go on, boating, swimming, camping, hiking... all of these things are fun to do in groups. You meet a lot of new people in the summer through these activities. In the Fall/Winter your options are a lot more limited. You can... watch movies... (I'm seriously at a loss of other things to do) so when you watch movies, you want to be all cozy and cuddly. You go outside and it's cold so you want to be all cozy and cuddly. In the summer I think of running and playing, in the winter I think of sitting and cuddling.
Summer is upon us my friends (specially for those of us in AZ, the idea of cuddling just makes me think of sweat) so hope you stocked up this winter.
Crap, I move to Arizona to get out of the Utah Winter only to realize Winter has some rill good perks.
Here's to changing history :)