Saturday, June 19, 2010

Beginning Again...

So... I discovered that blogging is a lot like keeping a journal. At least when it comes to excuses as to why I keep putting it off. For the first few weeks after I moved back to California, I kept telling myself that nothing new was going on, so why post. And then a few weeks later I realized I could post about stuff, but wanted to make sure that I posted about the few things I forgot to post about back in January and February. And since I needed to post those first, I couldn't post new stuff... Then the last month has been a crazy blur. I began wondering where I would even begin... And I'm sure it was even more convoluted in my head.

So I'm starting over, in a way. Here's the last five months in a nutshell... (And apologies in advance if it's a little saga-ish...)

After finding out I didn't have a job anymore, and was moving back to California earlier than anticipated, I determined to move home February 15th, Presidents' Day. That left me about three weeks to see everyone I wanted to see, pack everything I was taking, store everything I wasn't... Oh, and find a new job. Three weeks became very short very quickly, but I felt like I was being sustained the entire time. Like things were happening the way they were supposed to. Mom flew out to Utah the Thursday before I moved, and we spent the weekend with Kimmy before cramming (literally) everything I was taking with me in my car (Toyota Corolla) and making the 13 hour drive west.

It took me a few days to get settled, but then I developed a routine of searching for jobs for about an hour or so a day, helping around the house, reading, and *relaxing*. I think. While part of my brain was trying to tell me to relax and enjoy the time I had to take it easy, the other part of my brain was trying keep a third part of my brain from freaking out. In short, I was going a little stir crazy...

I'm not one that enjoys doing nothing, at least not for months on end. But I still had that nudging feeling that things would be okay, that they would work out how they were supposed to. So I spent one day a week in the temple, and gradually began adding other more positive, less sitting-on-my-hands type things to my routine. The few job interviews I had really helped, too. I began to grasp onto that feeling of "things tend to work out" and tried harder everyday to push away the fear and doubts. It worked, most of the time.

Mom and Dad were great! They have always been so supportive of my sisters and me, so having them around during this time was not only nice, but essential. They helped me really grab on to the positive thoughts, helped me remember that this really was part of Heavenly Father's plan for me, and things really would turn out alright when it was time.

When April came, things got tons better for me... at least for my positive mental health. ;0) Kimmy came out from Utah twice to visit, and Julie, Caylee, and Cambree came up from Arizona for two weeks while my brother-in-law was in England on a business trip. I can't even begin to express how amazing this time was for me... To spend that time with my sisters and nieces. It really pulled me out of the funk that I was rapidly descending into. Most days we just stayed around the house, played in the backyard, talked, watched movies, played games. Just good family time. Other days we went on excursions to the mall, to San Francisco, to the zoo. It was so good to be able to spend that time together... I think for all of us!

May was a month of preparation... Mom and Dad's 30th wedding anniversary is coming up in December, so Mom and Dad were taking an Alaskan cruise and tour for two weeks at the end of May to celebrate. That combined with my Mom's family reunion in July, we were pretty busy preparing for the next few weeks and months. I also got a call from a company regarding a job I'd applied for back in March... and went in for two interviews, both very positive. I was still waiting to hear back from them when Mom and Dad left on their cruise in mid-May.

The last four weeks, as mentioned earlier, have been crazy... to put it mildly. Mom and Dad left on their cruise, and the following Monday I was called by the company I'd interviewed for and offered to start my new job at the beginning of June. Long waits, slight insanity spells, and many prayers finally all paid off and my preparations for starting a new job - two days before Mom and Dad came home for their cruise - began.

Part of this preparation involved a short trip to Utah and one heck of an amazing weekend! I flew to Salt Lake on the Wednesday before Memorial Day and spent most of Thursday visiting Kimmy and several friends down in Provo. I picked up a 16-foot Budget Rental truck (it was only supposed to be 10...) and drove up to the mountains above Park City where one of my best friends was storing most of my belongings. Two of my friends and I loaded up the truck and piled in for the road trip we'd been planning for over two years (although I don't remember it involving the three of us in a 16-foot moving truck with only two seats... ;0)! Friday night we stayed at the Silver Legacy in Reno, and Saturday we paid a short visit to the Reno Temple before climbing the Sierras (at about 2 miles/hour). We stopped at the Sacramento Temple for a bit before ending the "road" part of our trip at my house in the Bay Area.

Sunday, by far my favorite day of any week (this week not excepted), we went to church before heading over to the Marin County, the generally under-appreciated northern peninsula (where the Golden Gate ends). We visited Muir Woods, Mt. Tamalpais, and Stinson Beach. And wow, that trip was amazing. I ended the day feeling rejuvenated, ready to take on anything! I was spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically fed that day. Nothing really does that quite as well as the mountains, the ocean, and great friends! I didn't really know then how much I would need that rejuvenation... Monday - Memorial Day - my friends and I spent the day along the San Francisco Embarcadero... Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman's Wharf, and Pier 39! After getting dinner at Boudin's, I drove back across the Bay, dropped my friends off at the airport, and got myself ready to start my new job the next morning.

At about 2:30am, I received a call from Dad. Mom had been admitted to the hospital in Fairbanks, Alaska and was being life-flighted to Seattle the next morning for emergency surgery at Harborview Medical Center. The next few days are still a bit of a blur. Mom had developed some holes in her stomach wall and was leaking stomach acid and bile into her abdominal cavity. Mom was in surgery four out of the five days that followed her arrival in Seattle, where they removed her spleen, part of her pancreas, most of her stomach, and part of her intestines. She was essentially in a drug-induced coma for about five days, and it's scary to realize now how close we'd come to losing her. She was in ICU for about a week and then moved into the trauma/surgery ward, where she is still. Julie, Kimmy, and I flew into Seattle this last weekend where we had an unexpected family reunion... that again was so necessary. Mom has stabilized significantly, and though she will be months on the mend, we're hoping she'll be flying home to California next week sometime.

I started my new job as scheduled on June 1st - and I love it! They've been amazing, and nothing but supportive as I've been dealing with so much personal life from the start of my employment there. I just finished my third week, and yet feel like I've been there forever. I feel so strongly that that's how it was all supposed to turn out... that this is part of the reason I was supposed to lose my job and come home when I did.

I also had a feeling that - besides work - there was some other reason that I needed to be here, now. With Mom coming home soon, in the condition she's in, I know that feeling was accurate. It will definitely be needed for me to be here to help out around the house and to be a support to both my parents as Mom continues to recover.


So, my little novella here has a purpose, but I couldn't accurately describe what I'm feeling right now without the background I've just given... Whether it's for my own peace of mind, or some greater purpose, I don't know. But just as with many things over the last month, I know I was supposed to start my blog again today... and with this being my general message.

I know now, after the last five months, more than I ever have in my life that God watches over us. That He loves us. That he cares more for us than we could possibly imagine. I know that we live our lives of our own free will, but that He guides us and is ever-mindful of who we are, where we're going, what we need to become, and - most importantly - what we need to experience in order to become.
He is there, whether we turn to Him or not. I have learned through my experiences in the last five months what He expects of me and how He means for me to accomplish that. I know that prayers are answered. Period. No ifs ands or buts! We just need to listen and to keep listening. I've learned that true friends are the gifts He gives each of us to help us on our individual paths... and that they can come and they go, but we always have what we need. I know that angels watch over us, both the ones we can see and the ones we can't. I've learned that the greatest blessing I have right now is the knowledge that I can be with my family forever. That FAMILY is what everything - this life, our experiences - everything is all about.

Things do indeed happen for a reason. There are no coincidences, no eternal accidents. I know that things are far from over, and I feel as if I really am beginning again. But that "beginning" comes with a greater understanding of what's been, a deeper appreciation of what is, and a sincere hope for what comes next.