Sunday, June 21, 2015

Track 5

"Consider the Lilies" by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Today is Father's Day and I think it only appropriate that I write about my father today. It will be a little different, but this was tradition in my home growing up. I'm going to write a letter.

Dear Dad,

There are so many things I want to tell you right now and they're all jumbled up. Normally words just flow out of my mind, through my fingers and onto a screen or page, but for some reason, I am having a hard time formulating what I want to say. First off, how can it already be almost eight years since I've heard your voice. It was eight years ago today that I sang this song for you in sacrament meeting. Your cancer was back and you knew that you probably weren't going to go into remission again. You asked me to sing this at your funeral. I said no. I hated funerals by that point. But I said I would sing it for you on Father's Day. I remember being up on the stand. I can't even remember if I was part of the Prosser ward anymore or not, but it didn't matter...it will always be my ward. I remember exactly where you were sitting. In the back on the chairs in the overflow to the left when I looked out. Whenever I have sung in church, I always said a prayer before that my performance would not be for my praise but to be able to touch whoever needed to hear my voice and the words I was singing. I don't remember every single note that went on with the song, but I remember when I got to the part about healing, my voice was soft and I just looked out at you. I knew you weren't going to get better. But I am so glad I was able to give you that gift of my song for you on that Father's Day.

I was telling stories about you the other day. You were such a good daddy. I loved it when you would
come home from work and run around the kitchen and living room while "Chariots of Fire" was being hummed. I loved how you would kiss mom. Thank you for loving mom so completely. Yes, it was icky, but it taught me that I want that kind of long lasting love and romance. I loved how you would give us piggy back rides and "bucks". I loved how you taught us how to work. Whether it be in the home or in a profession. I love how you carried the same scripture set your entire life, well from your mission on. I use a phone now, if you can believe it. It has everything in 3x6 inch small device. I wonder if you would have changed over. You loved technology, so I bet you would have. I'm glad I'll never know.

I loved how quiet you were. I loved that your personality was almost a secret except to those who
were closest to you. You were so funny. I like to think I got my quirky sense of humor from you. And only those closest to me really get to know it. You and mom raised a really, really good family. The relationships we have now are amazing. Everyone of them are my best friends. When one is in trouble, we circle around them and make sure they know we are here, being a support and carrying them until they are able to stand on their own again. I've felt that before myself before. It is a gift beyond measure.

Thank you for never taking your responsibly as a father lightly.

That night, "Consider the Lilies" was the song you passed through the veil to. I remember holding your hand, wanting to stay connected to you for as long as I could. I had never seen anyone die before. It is not like the movies at all. It is much more sacred. When it is someone you have loved since the day you were born, it is heart wrenching. It stays with you. You were healed in that moment. You left your broken body behind and became a force for good in my life. I grieved, of course, I grieved and I know you know, but my life fell apart for awhile. But I also can't imagine there was ever a moment where you doubted I would right myself and come back stronger. And I did! With the help of so many people. You know, that whole circle around me thing.

Dad, I love you.
I cannot wait to see you again.

Love,
Stefanie





Monday, June 1, 2015

Track 4

"New York State of Mind" by Billy Joel

I don't know why yesterday's post left a bad taste in my mouth, but it did, so I am doing something I've never done before: write two posts in two days! Let's just move right into a fun time in my life: traveling! Back in 2008-9 the travel bug bit me. I had always enjoyed travel, but never really did it. It
wasn't something that was a big part of my growing up years. We only had one big family vacation and that was to Yellowstone. I have the awesome white stretch pants pictures somewhere here.... Hmmm...I can't find any Yellowstone pictures, but I do have this one from the same summer (1991)!



It's almost the same. Plus, you get to see how cute Ronald McDonald was. Or me and my siblings. Also, if any of my siblings have pictures of that Yellowstone trip, feel free to post some in the Facebook comments. Ha!

Let's fast forward to 2009: Hawaii. I had planned a trip with my friend, Rachel, to Oahu. 10 days on the North Shore in a beach house. I had never been so far away before and even though it is part of the United States, it seemed like half a world away. To say I was excited was an understatement. After it was all planned, my brother, Michael, decided to move to Hawaii, the same island, the same side of said island. So, instead of my vacation being great, it turned out to be freaking awesome! I spent half the time at the beach house and half the time with my brother and his family (seriously...I miss you guys and yes, that may be a little guilt I'm laying down there to move back to the mainland, but no pressure).

Since Hawaii is so beautiful, I've decided to just do a visual tour of it. Enjoy....

One of my goals was to get a picture with all of the "hot" guys at the PCC. Yes, I did use my nieces shamelessly for this purpose. I mean....no....no, that's what I mean. ;)
I also used my sister-in-law. She was game. Even though there are women in this picture, you see how I am strategically next to the man.
We had way too much aunt fun that day. I let them get tattoos and everything!

Dole Plantation. Yuuuuummmmmmm. I would go back just for that ice cream.

If you are wondering what I look like just after I wake up...with a crown on....here you go. I turned 29 for the first time!

The Epic Battle of Katrina and Stefanie Against the Coconut. I have not laughed so hard ever. Who knew it was so hard to crack a coconut? We tried the traditional way, then we decided we had to go outside and try to hit it against random things. Finally, finally, we whacked it open. And it was rotten. 

I love these girls!!!!! Also, travel tip to those not used to humid weather: wear skirts. So much cooler.

This is one of my favorite pictures I took. The sunsets were amazing. The sky felt like you could touch it.


Hawaii will always be special to me. It felt like I was on another planet away from any cares I had at the time. I loved it so much that I decided to go to the opposite side of the country the next year! Bring on....New York! And New Jersey and Minnesota...but we won't really talk about those two. 



New York is big. Really big. This is from the top of the Empire State Building. No, in case you were wondering, my true love did not meet me up there.

So many beautiful bridges connect Manhattan to the rest of the city.

The "reason" I came to New York. BEA!

Can I say enough about the food of New York? It was glorious. If anyone decides to go, make sure to take advantage of the luxurious culinary scene there.

Next time I go, I'll have to actually visit that place. I hear it's historical or something like that. Thanks France!

I just came from New Jersey. This is the only picture I have of that day.

Chinatown was...cool.

Still so much remembrance and respect there for the heroes of 9/11. 

One of the coolest places I visited. This was an old church that had been turned into a strip mall of shops. You might think this was slightly sacrilegious, but it completely captured the spirit of the New Yorkers.

Brooklyn Bridge. Another place I'm so glad I walked across. Also, you may notice my tennis shoes in this picture (stop looking at how I posed the same way as the New Jersey picture above). I bought what I thought were comfortable, yet stylish shoes to walk New York. By the end of the first day, I had blisters where I didn't know you could get blisters. Okay, they were on my feet, which is an obvious place to get blisters, but painful nonetheless. My hurt won out against my desire to be stylish in NY. So...tennis shoes after the first day. But look! The Brooklyn Bridge. 

I knew Manhattan had a Temple, but I had no idea where it was. NY was so big! As I reached the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, there it was. Like a light of hope in this huge city. I loved it.

New York had amazing nature thrown into small pockets around the Burroughs. Oh, and Central Park. This was in Brooklyn.


You may be wondering why I picked "New York State of Mind". Why are you wondering, Imaginary Cyberspace Friend? It's New York. Oh...why not a Hawaiian song? Because Billy Joel is awesome. There's almost nothing sexier than a man playing the piano. And IZ just didn't play the piano well enough ;).