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Magical World

Wouldn't it be lovely if, with just a twitch of the nose, life, or any aspect of it could be changed. Instead, positive changes always seem to involve tremendously hard work, determination, and endless setbacks. How lovely it would be to have the powers of Samantha Stephens.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Sometimes You Just Have to Get Away

We've been planning a trip to our family property for about a month now. Originally, we'd invited some friends to join us, but they baled. In the end, it's probably just as well, because I'd have spent the weekend making sure they were enjoying themselves, playing the hostess, etc. Without them, I just relaxed.

It didn't start out that way, of course. Darrin called and said he had to stay at work longer--maybe we should just stay home?? I was crabby and said, "NO! We're going!!" So we didn't leave till three hours past our target time. The kids were restless and grumpy. They got in the car and started fighting. Darrin got out and said he was staying home. I started the car and waved good-bye to him. The kids started apologizing at the top of their lungs, begging Dad to please come. He got back in the car as it pulled out of the driveway--yes, there was Love at Home.

Two hours into our drive (which was actually going quite nicely, because Darrin was sleeping and the kids were listening to their music), the engine shut off. I was right next to a freeway exit, so we coasted off the interstate and stopped. I tried, without success, to start the engine. I popped the hood, and Darrin and I stood in front of the car, looking into into it's guts, wondering what to do next. We wondered for about two minutes, then an officer stopped to tell us to push our car further off the road, which we did, then pondered the car innards some more. Darrin kept asking me to describe what happened, over and over again. Finally, he walked back to the trunk, popped it open, walked back to me and told me to go start the car. I turned the key and it started right up. He grinned, got into the passenger seat and said, "Let's go!"

It seems there is a panic switch, located in the trunk. If a large enough bump is hit, it triggers the switch and turns off the engine. The car won't start again until the switch is reset. The only thing is, we didn't hit any bumps, so I have no idea why that happened. I was happy, though, that it wasn't something BAD that had to be fixed. We continued our trip west.

All in all, the drive wasn't too bad. We tried to get fishing licenses at a Wal-Mart along the way, but the very well-trained man couldn't find the license book. In the twenty minutes it took him to look for it, Tabitha and Adam got a cart and found bunches of things to buy, all of which went back on the shelves. We had no spare room in the car for their bargains. We also got dinner in the town. Our trip just got an hour longer. We finally hit our destination around midnight. We stopped at a Maverik Country Store to get cereal, milk, and gasoline--AND they sold fishing licenses, so we got those, too. We arrived at the old house around 12:30, unloaded the car and got to bed at 1:00 a.m.

The morning light woke me at 6:30. I got up and went for a run. It was incredibly beautiful. The sun was coming up from behind a mountain, sunbeams spreading out from the crest of it. The air was moist (unlike the dry climate I'm used to), and smelled of pine and wildflowers, and 2000 feet lower elevation means more oxygen in the air. I ran about four miles, then turned around and ran home. It was heavenly.

I woke everyone up, nudged them along, and we all went fishing. No one wanted to brave the thick underbrush with me, so I left them behind, fell down frequently, and made my way to my favorite fishing hole. I caught my limit of cutthroat trout (one was about 30 inches--YAY!), then made my way vertically up the steep embankment. I was grateful for all the climbing wall opportunities I have at home--those came in handy. I met everyone at the car. They had caught a total of one fish, and were a little cranky at me. We went home, everyone showered, and we ate fresh trout--yum!!

Darrin and Tabitha accompanied me on my pilgrimmage up the ledges. Adam and DJ opted for naps in our absence. I go to the top of the ledges whenever I return to my girlhood home. I stand at the top and remember that I never jumped, and say a little prayer of thanksgiving. Darrin thinks it's morbid. He always goes with me, even though he hates the climb. I love the upward climb--but this time, hampered by Tabitha, it took me longer than usual. The two of us made it to the top and looked at the magnificent view. We waited fifteen minutes for Darrin, then decided he must have suffered a heart attack on the way up, so we went to find him. He had made it almost to the top. He finished the climb, then we went down.

I hate going down from the ledges. Because it is so steep, I've never made it down without falling. My cousin, Jeff, and I used to just slide to the bottom on our rears. As an adult, the rocks look pretty sharp, and I didn't want to do that. I made it half-way down, my feet slid out from under me and I landed on my left hand. Sure enough, those rocks were sharp. Five smaller ones embedded themselves in my flesh; a larger one cut an inch-long gash in the middle of my palm. It was ugly. I finished the downward climb without falling again, then waited at the bottom for Darrin and Tabitha. They had fallen multiple times, as well, but no blood, just bumps and bruises. Cuts, bumps, bruises...for me, it was worth it.

We met my sister and her family at her house (about 30 miles away) and went out to dinner. We relaxed, laughed and enjoyed each other's company. We got home around 10:30, and crashed in our beds--TIRED!

Sunday morning we packed up, cleaned the house, and went to church. It was wonderful to see old friends. They were sweet, hugged me, and told me I was more beautiful as I got older. Everyone needs to hear that, even if it's not true.

We went back to the house, closed it up, and headed home. We decided we would only make one stop at the midway point for lunch. We were on the road shortly before 11:00. We stopped for lunch at 1:30, and once again at a rest area, briefly and made it home by 5:00. I practiced a musical number for a fireside, then Darrin and I showered and dressed and left for the fireside. My cut hand was SOOOO painful, but I played anyway. I don't usually shake when I play, but this time I did. But I didn't make any mistakes, so thankfully, no one noticed.

Darrin and I got home around 9:00, prayed with the kids, and put everyone to bed.

I needed to get away. It was amazing to be surrounded by beauty, to do what I WANTED to do, not what I HAVE to do. It was wonderful to be in an environment where I am loved by people who watched me grow up, and still love me after all these years. It was a delight to share these things with Darrin and my kids. I felt really happy for the first time in a long while.

I came to some conclusions this weekend. I have reinstated my link to my blog. I needed last week to not have as much traffic, to think, to decide if this site really was helping me. It is. And now that I've had that private time, I'm okay with letting my blog be public again. Also, I've had some email from some of my friends, wondering about David--Why is he gone? Why don't I talk about him anymore? I haven't answered those questions because I've been a little ambivalent about what I should and shouldn't say.

This weekend I realized, I can't apologize for who I am. This is ME. I'm not anything close to perfect. I have more major flaws than the regular person. I have problems, some of them are pretty daunting to me. I have problems with self-esteem. I'm trying to heal from past abuse. I am married, but, from experience, know all about being same-sex attracted. I struggle daily to eat as I try to work through an eating disorder. Sometimes I'm sad.

But I also know this--I love David, and he has told me that I helped him. In an e-mail, he said: "You have been an amazing friend for whom I will be eternally grateful. Nobody can ever take your place. You have given me so much advice, so much help, and so much love that I cannot repay you nor express my gratitude for the above mentioned gifts. You have given me so many opportunities to meet amazing true disciples of Christ, among which you are one of the most amazing. You will always be in my heart and in my prayers. You single-handedly helped me come across a desert of emotional distress. The tears you shed with me, the laughter we enjoyed together, and the constant, unwavering love are gifts that are priceless to me. I love you more than I could ever tell you. You are such an amazing daughter of God. I feel so privileged to have known you. I know, without a doubt, that God allowed you to come into my life to be one of my greatest blessings. So many things I could never have done without your love, support, advice, and encouragement. I love you. I will always. Never doubt that." I removed David from my blog at the request of his parents. This saddens me because helping him was a two-way street. He helped me, as well. Much of my healing came because he proved to me, time and time again, that I can accept love from young men, that they don't all want to hurt me, that friendship extends beyond age and gender, that I don't have to be afraid. Because of my friendship with David, my relationship with my own son grew and developed. But because David is not MY son, I have bowed to the request of his parents. I think that is appropriate. I still see my sweet friend, and I still love him. Should you wish to know more, I welcome your email questions.

In spite of the busy weekend, I'm feeling rested, refreshed, and ready to tackle whatever comes my way. That's a good feeling.


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