Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Second Door: Another Beginning

As I sat in my chair reading tonight, I had reason to recall the lines I've included below. Feelings came to me so strongly, I thought I'd include a few here. This year, I've been reminded several times that there are two doors to our mortal existence, and both are miracles. Because I believe in the Savior, I believe that death is not the end. Saying this does not deny the pain, that it still hurts. This comes because we love. And as we try to make sense of our feelings, we look forward with hope, with a touch more wisdom, and with added compassion due to the stretching and tugging our hearts' have been given. I know its okay. It is. Its just that it comes, and sits with me a while, reminding me...

What is this thing that men call death,
This quiet passing in the night?
’Tis not the end, but genesis
Of better worlds and greater light.

O God, touch Thou my aching heart,
And calm my troubled, haunting fears.
Let hope and faith, transcendent, pure,
Give strength and peace beyond my tears.

There is no death, but only change
With recompense for victory won;
The gift of Him who loved all men,
The Son of God, the Holy One.
Gordon B. Hinckley
(In a great talk he gave, May 1988)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Megan O'Hanlon Marries Alejandro Solis!

One of the dearest people in my life, my partner in both roadside cleanups and in classical sing offs, the one who taught me pretty much all I know about jazz and introduced me to the "greats," the one who has spent at least a gazillion hours on crazy road trips with me, choir trips, hikes, midnight Denny's study parties, and numerous other adventures, one who has largely influenced who I am today...well, she, Megan O'Hanlon of Irish descent, got married, October 25th, 2008, at a lovely Unitarian Church in Mt. Vernon, right outside of Washington, D.C.

It has been difficult for me to put down in words my thoughts; its hard to know where to begin when talking about something so important happening to someone you love so much. At one point, Megs asked me how I felt, and honestly, I just felt so happy for her and to be with her. There is no where else I would have been. The entire experience was a ton of fun, full of memories, and a very action packed blurr in my mind :). That week leading up to the wedding was full of activities and little details to help everyone feel special and feel apart of this most important day for Megs. I was so impressed with the great attention Megs gave to even the smallest of details. Not only was her wedding a wonderful and a very special occasion, but also an event that gave to all who participated; it was like a sincere thank you to all those Megs loves.

During the week, Megs and Alejandro threw a sweet bachelor and bachelorette party at an 80's club where we danced the evening away, all decked out in 80's garb. As bridesmaids, we spent part of the week with Megs in an antique-like, history-filled hotel in D.C., and then she took as many guests as wanted to go, on a dinner cruise out on the Patomic River the night before she was married. It was such a blessing to see so many people we have loved through the years, to hear how they're doing and to catch up on their lives. We all had such a great time - its just too hard to describe all the feelings I experienced.

During her ceremony, Megs used an Irish folk group to play the processional and recessional music. They were fabulous! This group also accompanied Joe and I as we sang "Be Thou My Vision," one of Meg's favorite hymns. As we sang that piece, I felt something unique and really special. The ceremony was performed by a wonderful man dear to both Megan and Alejandro, who did a lovely job. Everything with the wedding party also seemed to go smoothly which was a great relief since it had been rather funny and crazy trying to pull everyone together before hand! The night ended in a amazing dinner and dancing. Ben, Emily, and their kids came as well as James and Joe. It was too much fun partying it up with these folks. This last picture was near the end of the night. I just love my brothers - it was so nice to be with them! Thank you Megan for everything and for blessing my life and making me a part of this memory. I love you.

A Tradition I Love

Since my first year in Provo, I have visited Zion National Park on numerous occasions to camp and hike through the Narrows, the Emerald Pools, to Weeping Rock, etc. My mom is from the desert. As a little girl, mom's favorite hike was up Angel's Landing, which she and her two siblings would do practically running, as little kids do :). For some reason, it was not until last year that I actually hiked Angel's Landing for the first time. It was a really special and sacred experience for me as every step made me think of my angel mother. She is the reason for soooo much good in my life and one of the most important reasons I have the beliefs I have. As I reached the top that first time, I felt a very real connection to her that I hope to never forget.

This all said, Liz and I decided later last year that it was time she and I hike it together, and so, posing as foreigners that only speak Thai...which we do...in addition to English :), we hiked Angel's Landing. Doing so was healing, actually invigorating, a ton of fun and beautiful beyond words! Before I left Utah for "next stop is anywhere I get a job" a few weeks ago, she and I hiked it again. We decided it's a tradition :)...a new one, but one at that and I hope we continue it. Look at these amazing views. There's not much quite like it. You have to hike it if you haven't already.
The day after the hike, we visited my feisty and hilarious grandmother McCain in Cedar City at this great rehabilitation center where she is relearning how to walk(!) because of complications. She was too good to us and I was so grateful to see her. It has come to me that she has blessed my life more than I will ever really understand. Thank you Grandma. Enjoy the pictures all :). Cheers!