Just Rannin' Around

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Dinner full of kisses!

I have come to the firm conclusion that there is nothing better than nieces and nephews when you need to feel loved. I went to dinner last night with my older brother and his family, one of my younger brothers and his family and my baby sister. I just happened to pull up when my younger brother was also just walking down the sidewalk to the restaurant. I called out a hello and my cute little 18-month old nephew squirmed his way out of my brother’s arms and ran as fast as his little legs would carry him (which is a funny sight if you have ever seen a small child try to run), into my open arms.

We walked into the restaurant and I was met by two small joyful screams of, “Aunt JRA”, and immediately my legs were being hugged because I couldn’t get down fast enough. My older brother told me that all day long they talked about nothing but seeing me. We were seated and my nieces insisted on sitting on one each side of me. So we colored and talked about pre-school and kindergarten and occasionally got up to take my nephew for a walk. When my baby sister finally arrived she was attacked. Dinner came, we ate and left. Before they got in their cars, I received hugs and kisses and a sweet “I love you” from each.

I got in my car and as we all drove out I saw little hands waiving goodbye. My heart was full! I have the best family in the universe and how grateful I am that they are eternally mine. For when everything in your life seems to be falling apart around you, family is found gathering and picking it back up. Those two nephews and five nieces, three sisters and three brothers, two brothers-in-law and three sisters-in-law and of course my wonderful parents fill my life with unconditional love and support.

I love all 20 of you!!

Post Script: Just an update that Blind Date guy really did call me again.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Public Enemy #1

Known As: Just Rannin’ Around aka JRA

Age: 30

Description: 5 Feet 10 Inches, 150 Pounds, Long Light Brown Hair, Baby Blue Eyes

Crime: Unknown, however ruling out enchilada food poisoning due to the fact that all were accounted for the next day

Punishment: Banished back to Time Out for undisclosed length of time

Warning: Use extreme caution around the suspect since we are unaware of the crime, we aren’t sure what she is capable of hurting or offending.

Last Spotted: The gym this morning trying to calculate what is happening

Thursday, March 24, 2005

It had been a long walk. Thankfully she had on comfortable, sturdy shoes and in many ways enjoyed the walk. When the car pulled over on the shoulder, although she was grateful, she hesitated. Having spent so much time walking this road and accepting a ride on a few occasions, she had learned that one must be cautious with trusting the driver.

Stepping out of the car and walking toward her, he smiled graciously and asked, “May I give you a ride?”

It had been hundreds of miles since she last accepted a ride. Not that there hadn’t been offers, but she wouldn’t just climb into any car…..it was always a conscious decision. She only accepted rides from cars with which she was familiar. Cars, that over the course of her walking, she had seen driving to and from other destinations; sometimes with a passenger and sometimes by themselves. She knew them because she watched them.

“Would you like a ride?” he interrupted her thoughts.

“I think that I am ready for a ride.” she finally answered with a hint of a smile forming in the corners of her lips.

Walking to the passenger side of the car, he politely opened the door and softly took her hand to help her comfortably enter. Shutting the door after making sure she was safely in, he took his position behind the wheel and the ride began.

“I’ve seen you on this road before.” he stated.

“Yeah, I’ve traveled down it.” never giving more information than she was ready to was something she had perfected.

“Broken down?” he questioned.

“Out in these rural areas where the next ride comes far and few between, it is a wise idea to make sure that you are prepped and ready to make the long distances on your own. It is something that I learned the hard way when I began using this road, that is why I have such good walking shoes, I won’t accept a ride from just anyone.” she stated matter-of-factly.

“Care to share your experiences with me?” The concern in his eyes and the caring tone in his voice made her pause for a moment. Silence loomed while she formulated a response and decided if sharing would be something safe for her to do. Questions ran through her head. Why did it matter? Was it just simple conversation for the ride or was there true concern? Is he looking to find incompetence on my part because I’m positive there is? Why did he care when nobody else seemed to?

“Well there are several stories. Are you sure you really want to listen?” she asked hoping the answer would be in the negative to save her from going out of her comfort zone, but not understanding the level of trust that was quickly building with this stranger that captured her interest.

“I wouldn’t have asked if I wasn’t willing to listen.” came the reply

She sighed and began her story. “The first ride I accepted was after I had walked a long time and was just learning about this road. The driver was excited to have a passenger in the car and we traveled a lot of miles just talking and enjoying the company and I was happy not to have to be walking anymore. It wasn’t until I realized that he passed the town at which I wanted to stop, that I took inventory of the entire situation. Only then did it hit me that I was in a car that wasn’t safe. When I was finally paying attention, I was frightened that the driver was all over the road, not paying attention to the road signs placed for safety. When the driver pulled over to pick up another passenger, I bailed. As I walked away, the car slowly followed and I could hear the driver apologize time and again and promising to be safer. After 50 miles, the new passenger finally got the driver to pass me and speed away. I was relieved to be walking on my own again.”

“A few rides were accepted in between, but they really don’t have much of a story to them. They were just rides that lasted for very short distances before the driver tired of having a passenger and pulled over to let me continue my walk. If you would like to know about them, I will share.”

“How about moving to the next ride that took you further down the road,” he suggested.

This was a ride that she really didn’t like to share. One that caused some time to relearn how to walk after being thrown from a moving car, but she continued with the story.

“This driver was extremely safe, that may have been some of the problem. The speed of the car was always going ten miles under the posted limit. However, the driver was always so concerned with the happiness of me, the passenger, that I was willing to overlook the over precautions that were being taken. Conversation was such that the miles passed and I didn’t realize where we were and frankly, I didn’t care. I was ready to drive to wherever the driver was going. The driver told me that I could stay and would be willing to take me to the final destination. That meant that I would no longer have to walk and I was okay with that decision. I wasn’t until we were about 10 miles out of the final destination that the driver suddenly opened the car door and push me out. I think it was the only time that the speed limit was being exceeded. I sat in the dirt and brushed myself off as much as I could and slowly relearned how to walk down the street. However I learned to walk a little further from the street. With my legs still aching, it was harder to accept any more rides. Walking was safer.”

“Have you been able to accept other rides since?” he cautiously asked

“Yes, there has been another ride. It took me a long time to accept a ride and then I made sure that the seat belt was buckled tightly. I decided that conversation was to be limited about me so that I wouldn’t be pushed from a moving car again.”

Seeing that she was done talking for the moment, they drove, both in their own thoughts, knowing that only time would bring the trust to share.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

My cup runneth over!

I am going to take a moment and be sappy, so please be patient. I spent the last part of the evening on my bed reading letters written by so many of my dearest friends. It was a part of a gift that overwhelmed me with love and appreciation. It took me over an hour to get through the letters due to the fact that tears were streaming from my eyes and blurring my vision.

I was surprised by the love and feelings that these wonderful individuals carry in their hearts for little ole’ me. I would have never even allowed myself to hope that so many people that I look up to and admire have such tender feelings and thoughts of me. I am eternally grateful for this gift that means more to me than any of you will ever know. At times I struggle with knowing whether or not I am making a difference in this world. My biggest goal is to reflect as often as possible the love that I know our Father in Heaven and Savior, Jesus Christ has for each of us. Due to the fact that I am a very imperfect daughter, I fail, a lot. Sometimes when I get back up and see my knees and hands bleeding from yet another fall and I am tired and things seem hopeless and I just want to walk away and be done, I will now have another place of encouragement on which to hold.

People always say to make wise choices because one never knows who is watching. I only hope that I am pleasing the eyes that are watching me from above and who truly knows my heart.

To my sweet friends that each took the time to present me with a letter and this gift that is truly priceless, I don’t have the words to even begin to express my appreciation. Please know that I love each of you for the person that you are. Each of you touch my life in a way that no one else could. There are attributes, talents, abilities, knowledge, personality traits, spiritual growth, ect., ect., which I admire in each of you that help me strive to become a better person. I grateful and careful with the trust and love that each of you place in me. I pray for you. I love you. Thank you!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Thirty, Flirty and Thriving!!

It doesn’t feel any different. Aren’t your bones supposed to ache and life supposed to slow down? Well if that is the case I have decided that I am 6 with 24 years of experience because I still feel young and out of control for the most part. Grief, I would still rather have ice cream and double stuffed oreos for breakfast than oatmeal any day. I may or may not have even had that for breakfast this morning in celebration.

I spent the weekend playing. Friday night we were off and running. A group of my favorite friends and I all went to the Grizzle hockey game where they decided to announce my birthday over the jumbo-tron. Then on Saturday I was over at the home of some guy friends that always keep me entertained. Marriage proposals are abundant over there and there are always plenty of hugs and fighting over who loves me the most. What more could a girl ask for?!?! After came the surprise party. It was a blast! I love spending time with these wonderful people who have allowed me to call them friends.

Sunday was busy, but full of friends and thankfully the program that I oversaw ended up going fairly well, I think. My good day was topped with sparkles when a certain someone wished me an early happy birthday. I went home and ate some dinner, took a nap and read a book which I received as a gift. Then it was off to sing and finally home to bed.

This morning I woke up realizing that life has been good to me, not without its trauma, but good nonetheless. I have accomplished many goals and have been blessed far beyond what I deserve. My office was full of black balloons and decorations, my phone has been busy with family and friends and my heart has been full of gratitude. Even though my brother called to inform me that I was half way dead today, I couldn’t be more alive. I have a degree from college. I have pictures and memories from lots of travels. I have a great job, with wonderful co-workers. I have a large family that unconditionally loves me. I have innumerable friends that keep me smiling. I have a burning testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have a loving Father in Heaven that guides me through every moment that life brings.

The first thirty years have held growth, pain, progression, sadness, joy, set backs, deaths, births, knowledge and lessons about who I am. Bring on next the thirty! I am buckled in and ready for it! First aid kit to the left, my mom will tell you that I need it.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Peering around the corner…..62 hours to be exact!

“Experience by itself proves nothing. Experience proves this, or that, or nothing, according to the preconceptions we bring to it.”
- CS Lewis God in the Dock

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Junior High Flashbacks!

Last night was an experience that just made me smile and had me extremely grateful to be where I am in my life. My blind date last night was with a guy that teachings music at a local junior high. He was actually directing the play “Bye, Bye Birdie” at the school and invited me to attend the performance. I drove up and walked into the school and was immediately thrown into a time warp. The sounds, the sights, the smells, the lockers, all sent my brain reminders of being 13 again.

Junior high was not my favorite time in life, however it wasn’t the horrible experience that most people will express that they had. I had zits and growing pains, but honestly who didn’t at that age so in my mind it didn’t make me any less of a person. I had friends and no full time job yet; it was good to just enjoy being young and somewhat still fancy free. Grief I was even a band geek. That’s right, the flute for four years and I loved every parade and every performance. Make fun if you will for whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you!

It was energizing to be sitting in the auditorium full of hormone raging teenagers finding for the first time in their lives that the opposite sex doesn’t carry that nasty disease of cooties. I smiled at the conversations and awkwardness of the social gathering. It was a treat to get to spend some time in that environment again.

After the play, which was really well done might I add, I still had no clue what my date looked like, nor him me. So I stayed in my seat until there were only about four others left in the auditorium. I decided that he was probably out greeting people as they left since he was the director and that is what is typically done. As I walked out, much to my extreme joy, I saw a face that I know and love and haven’t seen in close to seven years. He greeted me by screaming my name and wrapping his arms around me in the biggest bear hug. We talked for a while before he asked me what I was doing at the play. I explained my situation and he just smiled. He then took my hand and introduced me to my date for the night.

I wondered around as he cleaned up a bit and then we went to dinner. He was a nice guy and there was good conversation. After he said that he will call so that we can go hiking sometime. Overall there aren’t any complaints. It was fun and a breath of fresh air to not have a blind date go horrible.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Going in blind.

I have a date tonight. I have a date with someone whom I have never met before. Blind dates, what an interesting concept! I spoke to him on Sunday night when he called to set up the date and I think that it will be fun. I was in an interesting, silly mood since I was on my way home from spending time at the home where a couple of my guy friends live and as usual they were harassing and playing with me. So while I was talking to him that mood came out full force and I had him laughing. First good sign…..he laughs, even if it is at me, he laughs.

He is a junior high school teacher. That is the only thing that I know about him. I really must trust the couple that put the wheels spinning on this crazy game. When it comes right down to it however, life would be boring if there weren’t new people to meet and discover what someone else is creating out of this crazy world.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Sunburned and fabulous!

What a marvelous weekend!! I didn’t realize how much I needed to get away from reality and play outside in the sun until I stepped out of the car and curled my toes through that beautiful red sand late Thursday night. The campfire was already roaring, friends were already laughing and the stars were spectacular. The setting immediately released stress and I was ready to play.

I have a huge tarp (I call it my football field tarp) and the other ten decided to join me in sleeping under the stars rather than in a stuffy tent. Although it was a tight squeeze, most of us slept on our left side and just kept each other warm by staying close. It had to have been quite the sight!

Morning crept up a little faster than wanted due to the late night, but the warmth of the sunshine on our faces soon brought smiles and energy. Most decided to head into Arches National Park while four of us decided to attempt Slick Rock on our bikes. The sign at the beginning of the trail stated that advanced riding skills were required, along with a helmet of course. The four of us headed out full of excitement and with some a bit of anxiety since they had never mountain biked a day in their lives. In hindsight it was probably not the best trail on which to introduce them to this sport. About 30 minutes into the ride the first injury occurred and a decision that two would be heading back to the trailhead. The two of us left, took the 12 mile trail and exited four and a half hours later having seen some of the most incredible sights that southern Utah holds, sunburns of which to be proud, and hills conquered. Later that night we climbed Lion’s Back and watched the sunset over Moab. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

The next day we went to Arches and hiked up to Delicate Arch. We spent some time lying around on the rocks, enjoying the views and the company before heading back down the canyon. We then went back into Moab and had lunch at Pasta Jay’s. If ever in Moab, please don’t miss out on the best Italian food served outside of Italy. It is heavenly!

Homeward bound and back to reality. So sunburn and all, a weekend that was a grand adventure!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

It’s official!!

I can’t wipe the smile off my face today (given it is still early in the day). Why? Let me share. There is only one true sign for Spring for me, and that is a specific smell that enters the air for only a very limited time right at the beginning. This morning as I walked out my front door at 6:45, I was greeted by the fresh, crisp aroma that only Spring brings. My heart immediately did the happy dance and a smile reached my lips. Ah, the simple pleasures of life!

Of course it might also have something to do with the fact that after work today I am heading down to Moab where the biking and hiking trails are endless and the sun promises to warm me from the winter chills. It will be good to be playing outside rather than confined to an office all day. Sleeping under the stars....life is great!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

“Those things that hurt, instruct. It is for this reason that wise people learn not to dread but welcome problems.”
-Benjamin Franklin

I think that I just might tattoo that saying on my forehead so that I don’t forget to welcome my problems. Actually I wonder if I threw them a party upon arrival if they might just appreciate the gesture enough that they will go a bit easier on me. I would go all out with balloons and cupcakes and all. Ah, if only that would really work.

Most of the problems that spin in my life are caused by myself overreacting, over thinking and over worrying. Drama, drama, drama!! I do believe that I have full reign to drop the drama class. Hold please.....it is officially done. Learning is a process and solving problems is a huge step to discovery. It is time to register for the science class instead. Now that my class schedule is rearranged, bring on the problems there is a new light that allows for quicker observation.

“It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.”
-Abraham Lincoln

Monday, March 07, 2005

Don’t worry ‘bout it!

I have decided that I am good enough. I am smart enough. And doggonit, people like me! I have no control over how or what people think of me. I am well aware of the fact that there are people in this world who absolutely hate me. How do I know? Well, there have been some who are very vocal about it. Of course they don’t have enough tact to bring it to my attention, instead this information is typically shared with my friends. Oh well.....I’m over it.

I have always been told that I can please some of the people some of the time, but I can never please all of the people all of the time. I need to stop trying so hard. People are going to categorize me as either a trusted friend, an acquaintance, or someone to avoid. I have no control over where I fit into their lives. So I guess it is just a matter of accepting where people put me and move on with it already. Conflict only occurs when someone places me in a category in which I don’t want to be because I have placed them in a higher category in my life. The advise of my loving mother comes distinctly to mind, “Suck it up and deal with it!”.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Spring here yet?

It was warm enough today that when I stepped outside to run an errand, I didn’t even wear my coat and I am wearing short sleeves. I’m almost ready. Spring fever is kicking in. Now all I need to do is find someone who is willing to hold my hand and walk through the park with me.......

Thursday, March 03, 2005


There are two framed prints by Claude Monet hanging on my office wall. I face them all day long at work. I was sitting back in my chair pondering questions about life, staring at those pictures when I entered my own universe. My thoughts went to my home where there is another replication by Monet. Monet has always been one of my favorite artists, but why? Probably for the same reason that I am so enthralled by Thomas Kinkade…..their works take me out of this world and allow me to be in a peaceful place. A place that I would find myself going when life is difficult or quiet time was needed. Somewhere that people wouldn’t be to interrupt putting together the puzzle pieces of life that just don’t quite fit.

I was soon whisked away being reminded of time spent with some of the most incredible pieces of art in existence. I found myself again walking under the Sistine Chapel, through the Accademia Museum which holds Michealangelo’s David, into an air tight room to view The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, and into weeks of taking in the finest creations the art world has ever seen. Buildings, statues, paintings, all awe inspiring, leaving one to one’s own thoughts.

As quickly as I became lost in thought…..the phone reminded me I was at work and reality rolled over the top of my universe.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Care Bears and Hello Kitty.

Yesterday I took the day off work to tend my 4-year-old niece. Her sister, my 2-year-old niece went up to Primary Children’s Hospital with my sister and bother-in-law to have surgery done on her eyes. I know, this is the third major family trauma already this year and it is only March. I do believe that fills my status quo for the year and no more are allowable. Now if I can only convince nature and everybody else to follow.

We got up in the morning and jumped on the bed and slid down the stairs. After getting ready to leave the house, we started with the errands. Lunch time rolled around and there is nothing like McDonalds to make your stomach turn, I mean make your day happier. She played in the play area for a while after eating her lunch making sure that I witnessed every move that she made.

“Aunt JRA, can you see me? Look what I can do!”

When she decided that she was finished hanging upside down and twirling until I thought I was going to lose my lunch, we were off. We went to the store to buy a treat for her and a cuddly stuffed animal for her sister. At home we popped in a movie for quiet time. After 2 minutes of quiet time, she was done with that so out came the puzzles which we diligently put together, a bit of coloring, reading, running around and lots of tickling and laughing occurred.

It is always nice to remember how one spends the day when under the age of five.

“You and I who still enjoy fairy tales have less reason to wish actual childhood back. We have kept its pleasures and added some grown-up ones as well.”
-CS Lewis Letters to an American Lady

Post Script: My niece is doing well and everything went perfectly.


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