Thursday, May 27, 2010

Check Gabe out!

Hopefully this works. I know the left hand doesn't really match the right yet, but he's been working hard at playing them together. He plays by ear.

Friday, May 21, 2010

You know what's fun?

Giving your little kiddos airplane rides and trying to take pics at the same time. aka...Dave's out with one of his friends, (and it's almost dark out so no going outside with the kids) and I'm bored.

Look, Ma! No hands!

I'm teaching a 6 week photography course

If you're interested, jump over to my photo blog and get the information!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A single glorious thing

I love Lilacs. They bloom for such a short amount of time each year and I'm always excited to see them and a little bummed when they're gone.

I try to make it to the local Lilac Garden each year, although I don't always make it. Yesterday was gorgeous out, so I took my younger kids to the park so we could walk through the garden. Rachel and her kids came along.

There was a moment, while we were walking, surrounded by lilacs, that a breeze blew through. Suddenly I was hit with a lilac scented breeze that stopped me in my tracks. It was absolutely lovely.

Clara liked it too. (Sometimes when I'm shooting, I get that perfect shot of the day. This is it.)

We walked around while the girls smelled all the different colors. (with how different my sister and I look, I'm always surprised at how similar our girls look)

Then we walked to the Japanese Garden and wandered around for a while. I love it there, too. It brings back memories from Japan. I hope to go back someday.

These pictures don't really show the gardens, I just think my kids are the cutest. I love that they happened to do the same pose opposite of each other. Total fluke.

Gabe likes any tree that he can climb. He needed a little help with this one cause his shoes kept slipping on the smooth bark but he loved the seat.

Then we made a quick stop at the playground on our way out of the park.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 nemesis

Bedtime is not my friend. It's the end of the day, there are 4 kids with varying bedtime routines and for some reason there's always a lot of yelling. But I generally get through it in one piece and collapse in my computer chair for some down time.

But tonight, as I was watching Gabe brush his teeth and drink some water, I noticed how cute his little feet looked dangling from the sink and I grabbed my camera to try to document the sweet moments of bedtime.

Gabe and Clara love to brush their teeth with NO help from me. It requires a lot of climbing. I think that's the appeal.

Clara then demands a bath. I don't usually cave on this one. I prefer morning baths for her and Gabe. She tries anyway.

This lump is Nathan. He's trying to hide the fact that he's playing a video game and eating candy in bed.


And sweet Aria needs her sleep. As long as she gets her hug, kiss, water and story, she's always the first one sleeping.

Strange, I feel a little better about bedtime now. Maybe 'cause they're all asleep at the moment.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


No, not the state.

OHIO is my cleaning mantra. I have tried every cleaning system known to man and I'm basically a failure at all of them. But I keep trying.

However...OHIO sorta works. It means Only Handle It Once. If something is in your hands, don't just set it down. Put it where it goes.

The problem comes when I just stop picking things up so I can get around putting it away. It starts building up and I'm buried again.

Ah well, I'd rather take pictures of my cute kids anyway.

and...marbles. Yeah...that's more fun than cleaning too.

That picture is supposed to remind me to get my ducks in a row. It doesn't really work. But it was fun to shoot.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My first attempt at thrift store shopping

I probably could have done better, but I was happy with this for my first time. 8 pieces of quality clothing for Aria and Nathan. A plate and bowl to make a cake plate, 6 various sized wooden frames (in the purple and yellow bags) for a project, 2 books, 2 purses and one toy (not pictured).

$60. 21 items, averaging a little under $3 per item.

Living with type 1 diabetes - a spouse's point of view

It's 3 AM and I can't sleep thanks to the adrenaline that woke me up out of a dead sleep when my husband bumped into me while seizing in bed.

He starts seizing when his blood sugar hits 20.

Do you know what normal blood sugar is? It's 90-120.

There are two things that feed brain cells. Oxygen and sugar. Both are necessary. He was almost out of one of them.

Did you know there's a difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes? All we ever hear about is type 2. That's the one that old, unhealthy, overweight people get. Do you know who gets type 1? Kids. And nobody knows why the white blood cells attack and kill the pancreas in some kids. And nobody has a cure for it. Sure, there's a semblance of maintenance. But there's no cure.

Did you know that low blood sugar affects the same portion of the brain as alcohol does? A person who is low will act as if they're drunk.

Did you know that keeping your blood sugar abnormally high will make you lose weight really fast?

Did you know it will also build up a store of sugar in your liver so your body can try to save itself when you go too low and don't have someone around to give you sugar?

Did you know a diabetic's mouth and lips go numb when they're coming out of a low blood sugar episode?

Did you know high blood sugar makes a diabetic tired and really cranky?

Did you know the first thing to go when the blood sugar is dropping is motor skills? Do you want to know when I learned that?

At Disneyland. On my honeymoon.

We'd been married a few months before going on our honeymoon and besides teaching me to give him insulin shots so I wouldn't be squeamish about it, I didn't know much about diabetes. I figured he'd lived with it for 10 years, he knew what to do.


He told me he needed to eat. I asked if he needed to eat immediately or if we could go find a good restaurant. He said we could walk still. 20 minutes later, we hadn't found the right place to eat and he starts kicking his legs out spastically on each step. Like he couldn't quite control his steps anymore. But he was still going and there was a table just ahead.

I had no idea what was going on. I didn't know if he was playing some sort of joke on me or what. It wouldn't have been unheard of. At the time, I had no idea how blood sugar worked or how it affected a person. I had no idea how quickly it drops or how slowly it rises. We made it to the table and Dave collapsed on a chair and drops his head onto his folded arms on the table. All he said was "I need juice."

So I went and STOOD IN LINE.

I don't know what I was thinking. Now, I would be loud and annoying and push my way to the front and tell everyone within ear shot that my husbands blood sugar is too low and I need sugar immediately. Screw the line.

But then. I didn't know. I didn't know what was going on. So I stood in line for another 15 minutes for a pink lemonade. I went back to the table that he hadn't moved from and he couldn't lift his head off his arms. He was all sweaty and limp. But he could still swallow.

I held his head up with one hand and held the straw to his mouth with the other. He managed to down the drink but couldn't talk yet so I just had to hope it would work. I laid his head back down (it was heavy!) and just waited in silence.

About 15 minutes later, he sat up and said he was ready to eat. It was like nothing had happened. But I knew. For me, everything had changed.

Diabetes is a weird disease. You can go from the brink of death to perfectly normal in a matter of minutes. One small mistake, taking the wrong kind of insulin, forgetting to eat, taking two shots because you forgot about the first one...all of those can put someone in a diabetic coma. I know because I've seen it.

I have so many stories that I've decided to start blogging about what it's like to live with a type 1 diabetic. People don't know the difference. When I mention I had to call 911 because I couldn't get any sugar in him, the number one thing people say to me is..."why didn't he take his medicine?" That's type 2. Type 2 diabetics have gotten so unhealthy that their pancreas has a hard time producing insulin. It works, just not well. There is no medicine for type 1. Type 1's just don't produce insulin. Ever. They're completely dependent on synthetic insulin and shots or a pump. They're supposed to check their blood sugar regularly but it's such a pain in the butt that they learn their symptoms and don't. Even I can guess within 10 points what Dave's blood sugar is by how he's acting.

The crazy eyes start around 60.

I took that picture because my friend, Aimee, has a young friend with type 1 diabetes. This young girl wanted to raise awareness by having people write hope on their hands and post a picture online. Without awareness, people won't care, and a cure won't be found. We have to have hope. We have to teach about diabetes. Over 700,000 people in the US have type 1/juvenile diabetes. It's been shown that children are more likely to contract type 1 when their father has type 1. We have four children.

We must have hope.

ETA: entered in i heart faces raise your hand contest.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nathan cracks me up

"Mom, there's something on my leg."


"A Monster."


hikes up his pant leg.

"and guess what? He moves."

Apparently he got bored at school today. lol

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"the choice" A few pictures

I really don't have any great pictures from our wedding. Sucks cause if I could go back in time and shoot it, it would rock.

Anyway... here are a few.

a couple months before meeting Dave. Note the ring.

Engagement. Our engagements are the only pictures I have of us while we were dating.

Wedding. Leaving the temple.

All the rest of the pics were taken behind the temple in one spot.

At the reception. I look like I'm totally over the line business.

There are a couple more pictures and a funny story in one of my old anniversary blogs.

Friday, May 07, 2010

"the choice" in Dave's words

Dave wrote a short, funny version of our courtship several years ago but he humored me and fleshed it out for you. Enjoy!


Although I had really poor grades in high school, I had managed to do really well on the ACT and been accepted to go to BYU after I finished my mission. I thought for sure that this would be where I would meet my eternal companion. The mission president would sometimes joke about how hard one works as a missionary would determine how pretty the girl is that decides to marry him. I finished my mission strong having no ties to any girls at home and determined to find "the right girl"

On the last week of my mission I wrote a list of everything that I wanted in a perfect companion down to the eye color and everything and then began to prioritize the list from "eternal life sustaining" down to "eternal life threatening". Luckily nothing i had listed made it into the latter category. Once I was done I said a prayer for my future wife so that she would find her way to me. I was hoping for her to find her way to the airport when I got off the plane but wasn't going to hold it against her if took her a little longer. That night as I was falling asleep I saw myself sitting in a chair and watching her play the piano from behind. She was so beautiful and when I woke up the next morning I got my list of things I wanted my wife to have and moved the item titled "Plays the Piano" from "nice to have" up to the "vital" category. Once I got home my search began to find this piano player that I saw in my dream.

When I got to BYU I quickly found work in the laundry room of the Provo temple. This was a good job for me because it was really quiet and forced me to reflect on the direction I would take my life. I was focused on finding the girl I had seen in my vision. Finding dates at BYU as a returned missionary is about as hard as finding chocolate or ice cream in any of the girl's dorm rooms. They were everywhere. Someone left a bag of mushrooms on my door once with a note that read "Dave since you're such a fungi will you go to the dance with me?" I had never been introduced to the whole creative dating thing so I called the girl and told her I already had plans that night. Later that day I was rushed by all her roommates and told how rude I was and that I crushed her heart. Eventually I was forced to ask her out with a box of cereal or something "Honey Comb to the dance with me." so she would think that I wanted to ask her all along. The only problem was she was kind of short and didn't play the piano so I failed to see the logic in spending any time pursuing that relationship. I made time to date as many girls as I could while at BYU but quickly found that I may have to revise the list I had made that last week of my mission for fear of taking to long to find her and becoming a menace to society. I would rarely date the same girl more than once and saw no need to even ask a girl out if I knew she didn't play the piano. It got to the point where we would be talking over dinner at a nice restraunt and the conversation would go something like this: "Do you play the piano?" -- "Not really" -- "Do you play any music at all?" -- "I play CDs" -- "CHECK PLEASE!"

One thing I also learned quickly at BYU was how much girls talk to each other. I remember being cornered on one occasion by some girls that had figured me out. They asked why I never went on more than one date with the same girl and always asked every girl I went out with about their piano playing skills.

One day I decided to get up early and spend the whole day in the temple. I got this strong feeling that my wife wasn't in Provo and that I needed to move back home to find her immediately. This didn't make any sense at all because I was right in the middle of a semester and would fail all my classes if I left right then. But what if she was engaged to the wrong guy or something? I had to at least go home and visit to see if maybe I could find her there.

The next morning I loaded up my broken down honda with most of my belongings and went home for a "visit". Somehow I ended up landing a decent job as a web developer so I had to borrow my mom's van the following week and drive back to utah to get the rest of my stuff and tie up any loose ends in Provo. I quickly found some roommates in the singles ward and moved in with them. I still remember my first Sunday going to church because I had expected to find my wife. As I looked around the chapel I didn't see anyone that matched the image I still carried from my mission. I went to FHE at the church where a bunch of singles played broom hockey the following day and I got to meet quite a few people and quickly learned which ones could play the piano. I was already planning an audition in the primary room after the hockey game so I could see which girl, if any, was right and which one I should join or were they all wrong together? Anyway I ended up playing all the songs I had memorized and nobody wanted to play after that so I decided that maybe she hadn't moved into the ward yet.

Quite a bit of time had passed when I finally settled on a girl that could kind of play a casio keyboard and seemed like a pretty quality girl. I even got to the point where her and I went to visit her parents in Wyoming but all the while I kept feeling like I had been settling for less. One night Hillary said "i love you" and I felt pressured to say it back but knew right then it wasn't true and wasn't fair for her so I told her she deserved more and took off. I was back to square one.

A couple weeks later I was at a fireside and I overheard the institute director talking about a girl that had been traveling around as a photographer but was going to quit her job so she could take a calling as the institute choir pianist. All of a sudden I became really interested in joining the institute choir. I remember dragging my roommate Nate along since I didn't want to go alone and we got there a little late so we had to sit in the front row in the chairs furthest away from the piano. The piano player had her back to us and she played the piano beautifully. I kept looking over my sheet music knowing that she was the one but not knowing how I would bring it up to her. I didn't want to say one wrong word and then be forced to spend eternity alone because I messed up my chance. After choir practice I decided to just play the hardest song I knew on the piano to see if she would just leave or maybe come over and talk. When she sat down next to me on the bench I never wanted to leave her side. She was so beautiful and perfect and hopefully single but no matter what I had to try and ask her out.

I could have waited until next week but I never was very good at being patient so instead of risking eternal anguish of waiting a week only to get rejected I made Nate go back so I could write down the information of the new girl on the sign-up sheet so I could give her a call.

I chickened out on calling her phone number so instead I just emailed her from my work the following day. She emailed me back twice where the second email was a summary of the first email with the following explaination:

Hi Dave....
I just sent an email....but my computer tripped out at
the last second and I don't know if you got it.

I did get both emails and kept them forever. I proposed 2 weeks after meeting Misty and we were sealed in the Seattle Temple 5 weeks after that. I had pawned off all my video game equipment so that I could put a good down payment on a platinum ring. I had already purchased the ring before she hinted at wanting white gold instead of yellow. I took it with me when I went to meet her parents over Christmas so I could propose to her by the waterfall in her back yard but was too chicken to ask her dad for permission despite all the times Misty and her Mom left me alone with him. I would probably be weary of some guy that just shows up out of nowhere wanting to marry my daughter though I felt like I had won over Misty's mom fairly quickly when I sat down to their grand piano and started to play. Her mom warmed up to me right away showing me all sorts of Misty's baby pictures. I'll never forget when I was palying the piano and talking to her she asked me how I felt about scouting and I told her I was an Eagle she ran over and opened their back door and yelled "Larry! He's an Eagle Scout!" Made me feel good so I didn't want to tell her that my mom made it a pre-requisite to getting a driver's license.

Everything happened so fast and is still sort of a blur but the feelings of the spirit on that first night I met Misty are still there. I finally found the love that I would spend eternity with and each day she proves to be every bit as good as the spirit said she was and then some.


Ok, it's me again. I totally forgot to add the part about the checklist! I still have that thing. I matched his list. Right down to the blue eyes. It was like he was describing me.

Also, regarding the dream he had of a piano player on his mission: Not long after we were married, we were over at his parents house. I was sitting at their piano playing one of my favorite Michael McLean songs. It's a short one called "Let His Love Reach You" with a really pretty melody. Suddenly Dave came running in and goes

"what were you just playing?"

I started playing it again and he sat down and said "that's the song you were playing in my dream." I got chills.

I pulled out some pictures yesterday. I'll try and get them scanned in so you can have pictures with the story too. :)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

"the choice" epilogue

"in which my story continues"

Our honeymoon was 3 months after our wedding so Dave could get the time off work. We drove my trusty Buick down hwy 1 on the west coast from Seattle to San Diego, stopping along the way in various spots. We even hopped the border for a day in Tijuana.

The next 10 years contained the highest highs and the lowest lows of my lifetime. The first time since we met that we spent a day without seeing each other was 2 1/2 years after we were married. It hasn't always been perfect, but we complement each other nicely.

We've celebrated each others accomplishments and supported each others failures. We made it through 4 births, miscarriage and a few diabetic comas together. We love each other more every day.

I feel confident in assuming that with eternity as our goal, we will live happily ever after. I know that I made the right choice back in December of 99 and I'm grateful I learned to listen to the promptings of the Spirit.

In case you're wondering about Matt, he met someone and got married in the temple after his mission and has a couple kids now. know what I learned while writing this? Maybe real life really is like a cheesy LDS romance novel. :D

"the choice" ch-13

"in which I become newly wed"

It was the longest 10 minutes of my life. I sat staring at the front doors willing him to walk through them. My dress was on my lap and my mom was sitting next to me. I kept looking at my watch and I nervously spun my ring on my finger. I was sure something had happened. Every situation from a diabetic coma to a car accident to leaving me at the alter ran through my head. I was just thinking about finding a phone when I saw his friend from BYU and about 10 feet behind him was Dave looking oh-so-handsome in his tux with the slight zoot suit feel to it. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and my perma-grin was reattached to my face.

We entered the temple together and then went our separate ways to get ready. I felt like a princess in the brides room and I was so excited about my dress. It was soft satin with an empire waist with simple pearl beading around the waist and down the zipper on the back. It had a chiffon overlay on the slightly a-line skirt that had a short train. It had a square neck and the sleeves were satin to my elbow where the pearl beading attached long chiffon sleeves that went to the floor. Kind of...modern renaissance.

He was waiting for me in a small room where we sat together and held hands until our guests were seated. We then went into the sealing room and sat down together. As I was sitting there looking around the room and feeling grateful for all the family that had come I suddenly saw my Grandpa Harvey in my minds eye. (he died when I was a child) He was standing in front of me and he was proud of me and wished he could hug me. His daughter, my Aunt, who died on her mission, was with him. I was overwhelmed by all the love in the room.

The ceremony was simple and beautiful. The Sealer gave us advise before hand to attend the temple often and to not let possessions or "stuff" overwhelm our lives. When it was over we met up with everyone outside the temple. It was a gorgeous day for January. Blue skies, sunshine and probably nearly 60. Nobody had coats on. We took pictures, had a lunch at the stake center and then everyone took off.

Our reception was the next night in my home town and it was everything I had hoped for. Simple, elegant and zero foof. Here we were, 7 weeks from our first date, dancing together as a married couple.

And I wouldn't trade a single moment of it.

"the choice" ch-12

"in which somebody's feet drop in temperature"

The next few weeks were a whirlwind of preparation and fun. I went back to the lady that had started sewing my wedding dress months ago to see if she could finish in just a few weeks. She said since she had already begun that it should be fine.

There were many, many phone calls and plans. I wanted a white on white wedding with accents of silver. I really wanted to transform the church gym as much as possible. I told anybody that was even remotely involved that there must be ZERO FOOF. I wanted clean, flowy, delicate lines throughout. Not foofy bouquets or bows. No themes of any sort, just simple and beautiful.

We found a rental place for the drapes, linens and lights for under the tables. We got icicle lights to surround it the gym with long white drapes and strips of tulle. I picked out silver ribbon for accents and silver floating rose candles for centerpieces. I picked out a daisy circle instead of a veil, much to the horror of my proper little 6 year old cousin. Girls who get married are SUPPOSED to wear veils after all! My Aunt's sister in law agreed to do the simple flowers I wanted and my Grandma agreed to do the catering. My dad built a backdrop frame for the "line" area, a friend agreed to do the temple pictures and we found a photographer for the reception. We got the cake ordered, the music arranged and I booked our wedding night at Snoqualmie Lodge.

The main hurdle was the invitations. The time constraint and cost made it so we didn't want to get them professionally made. So we bought cardstock, designed them ourselves and printed them at Dave's office. In the end they were pretty ghetto but I didn't care. People just throw them away anyway. lol

In the meantime Dave and I saw each other every day. He was rarely far from his guitar and I started hearing the hilarious songs he had written. He would sometimes play that song from "The Wedding Singer" too. The one about growing old together. I loved it! He started teaching me some guitar. We went to church together, went to the temple together, read the scriptures together, went on dates and stayed up late talking. He met Matt and Matt left for the MTC. We would often marvel at the Heavenly orchestration that got us in the same place at the same time.

About a week before the wedding Dave became very distant. He was still going to work and seeing me after work but he wasn't talking like before. He wasn't joking and laughing and playing music. Something was different and he wouldn't talk to me about it. I was terrified that he had changed his mind. My visions of the future were slipping through my fingers. But he didn't say anything. His college roommate/friend flew up from BYU as planned and I got a hotel room near the temple with my mom and sisters the night before the wedding. We stayed up late, giggling and laughing and just enjoying each other. We needed to be at the temple at 9:30 AM so I got up early (who am I kidding? I didn't sleep at all, I was too excited), my sister did my hair, and my cousin did my makeup.

I went to the temple with my mom and we sat in the lobby to wait for Dave. All the while in the back of my mind was that nagging little fear about his state of mind for the last few days.

He was late.

"the choice" ch-11

"in which the ring makes an appearance"

Once we got home, I spent some time hanging out with Traci and Anna (my HS bff's and 1st yr of college roomies). We hadn't spent much time together since we all moved on and we were having a great time. On Tuesday, December 28th, Dave called to see if I could attend the temple with him that night. I agreed and took my time getting ready and chatting with my friends.

He showed up with a dozen roses, 11 red, 1 yellow (I had told him yellow roses were my favorite rose), and presented them to me. Clue number 1. I think I shot a glance at my friends or my Aunt...I know somebody was there, just don't remember who.

We headed up to the temple and went through a session. In the celestial room, he held my hand (did I mention our hands fit together perfectly?) and we just reveled in the peaceful feeling. He leaned close and whispered "do you want to spend eternity with me?" Clue number 2.

We left the celestial room and went to the hallway. He led me to a bench in the hallway and we sat down together. We talked about nothing of real importance for a minute and then he took my left hand, removed my ring that he had placed there the week before and put it back on my right hand. Clue number 3.

Then I totally ruined the moment. After moving my ring over, he stood up. I thought we were leaving. I had no idea why he took my ring off and I remember being confused but just hoping he'd get to the proposal part soon because I wanted something on that hand! So, since he stood up, I stood up too and started to walk down the hall. That's when I realized he stood up so he could pull something out of his pocket. Something small.

Shoot! Why did I stand up and make it all awkward? He rolled with it though. He took my left hand, placed a gorgeous platinum ring on my finger and simply asked "will you marry me?" I said yes and we hugged for ever. Until his parents happened to walk by. To this day I don't know if they went to the temple because they knew his plans or if it was a coincidence. Either way, they invited us to join them for some proxy sealings, so our first 20 minutes as an engaged couple was spent listening to the words of the sealing ceremony. Very cool, I have to say.

The ring was a little big so I was holding my hand in a fist all the time so I wouldn't lose it. When I got home there was much hugging and squealing.

Over the next few days Dave and I discussed dates. We didn't want a long engagement because we figured with all the trouble the Lord went to to get us together, then it must be "meant to be" and there was no sense in delaying the inevitable. We liked the idea of getting married right around Valentines day but when I called the temple I found out they were closed for cleaning the first 2 weeks of February. So then we either had to move it up or move it back. We figured why wait? and set the sealing for January 28th. Less than a month away.

I really had no idea if we could pull it off, but I figured enlisting my family would up my odds and we went to work on a speed wedding that met all my picky criteria.

I just wasn't sure if we'd succeed.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

"the choice" ch-10

"in which Dave is a big fat chicken"

My mom was being awfully quiet on the phone. As a mother now, I'd probably think my child was certifiable if they called me with the sort of news I called her with. She finally started asking questions. How old is he? 24. How did I meet him? Choir. Is he a returned missionary? Yes. (I decided not to mention that little detail of him getting arrested while on his mission.) What does he do for a living? I dunno. Something with computers. I gave all the right answers and she agreed that I could bring him home for Christmas. I assume she then went into overdrive to make sure she had things prepared for an extra guest.

I don't remember the drive there, we probably just talked a lot. Had to get to know each other, after all. I do remember standing in the kitchen after we got there. My parents house is on 10 acres of land and my dad was out near the barn. My mom was talking to Dave and he said he was an eagle scout. She opened the door and hollered out to my dad "HE'S AN EAGLE SCOUT!"

He was making a good impression.

Now I knew the point of this trip. I knew he wanted to talk to my dad before he officially proposed. What I didn't understand was why he wasn't doing it already. I mean, sure, my dad is maybe a little protective, maybe a little scary. And maybe Dave realized that he'd only known me a week and he had a ring burning a hole in his pocket and a future Father-in-law to talk to and it was maybe a little overwhelming. But, HELLO! Soon to be bride, here. I was not feeling very patient about the whole getting the ring business. After all, I had no idea what it looked like.

So, we're coming up on Christmas morning and I'm thinking, he's got to talk to him soon. I mean, it's Christmas! What better gift could I get than a ring on Christmas!? But as far as I knew, there had been no talking yet.

Christmas morning comes and I was sitting on the couch with Dave on one side and my 18 yr old sister on the other side. We're waiting for our 12 year old sister to join us so we can get started. She finally comes down and walks by the couch. At this point Rachel leans over, grabs April's sweats and pantsed her right in front of everybody. April collapses to the floor squealing in indignation while Rachel laughs hysterically. I remember thinking "crap, he's never going to want to marry into this family."

Somehow April recovered and we made it through Christmas and there was no ring for me. Boo. I figured it was time to get creative or he'd never get the guts to talk to my dad. (as an aside, I gave him a framed picture of the Seattle Temple that I happened to have taken on the day we met. Just a few hours before we met.)

The next day was a quiet Sunday and as the day was winding to a close and knowing we were leaving the next morning, I asked my dad for a father's blessing. My mom, sisters and Dave were all there. The spirit was very strong and I was reassured that I was making the right choice. I was told if I hadn't followed the promptings of the spirit I would have missed out on great blessings. The room was so calm and quiet at the end. I gave my dad a hug and then I looked at my mom and sisters and was like "I'm gonna go, uh...write in my journal" and they were all "yeah, I need to stuff" "Right! I forgot about this thing..." and we high tailed it out of there leaving Dave and my dad stuck with each other.

I tried to eavesdrop but they were being quiet.

I found out later that when my dad gave me the blessing he knew then that it was the last time he'd say my maiden name in a blessing. My mom said the spirit was so strong that she knew it was right for us to get married. Rachel hated "Matt with the stupid small head." (seriously, that's what she called him) so she was just glad it was anybody but him.

We went home the next day. Still no proposal. I was getting anxious. What in the world was he waiting for?

Monday, May 03, 2010

"the choice" ch-9

"in which he loves me anyway"

We were sitting on the couch in the house he shared with his brother and 2 friends and I was watching Dave's face closely for a reaction. We'd only known each other for 4 days, I was sure he'd run away now that he knew everything.

But he didn't.

He pulled my head to his shoulder and told me that it was all in the past and didn't matter. We talked for hours and kissed a few times too. By now we both were pretty dang sure that this was going somewhere eternal but neither of us voiced it. We did talk about love and I found out that he had left BYU in the middle of a semester because he was in the temple and had the strongest impression that his wife was not at BYU. So he went home to find her. He was absolutely and completely accepting of me and I was floating somewhere far beyond cloud 9 already.

We saw each other every day that week. On Thursday I met his family. Well, part of them. His Mom was kind and gracious but very confused by my hair color. Apparently when Dave told her about me he said I was blonde. Still not sure where he got that idea from. When I met his Grandma she was appalled by my name. The first thing she said to me was that if her name was Misty, she would pay $1000 to change it because of that evil Pokemon show. I think I said something intelligent like "...oh..."

I learned something else that night. I had noticed this chain he wore around his neck and so at one point I hooked it with my finger and said "what's this?" as I pulled it out from under his shirt. It was a medical ID tag. It stated that he had type 1 diabetes. Now, you have to understand, my only knowledge of t1 diabetes came from Stacy in The Babysitters Club books (I was addicted to those things as a kid. It wasn't until I realized I'd read 4 halloween themed books and the characters hadn't aged at all that I stopped reading them.) Anyway, turns out the author had no idea what she was talking about. So my knowledge of diabetes was slim to none. I asked a couple questions and he assured me it was no big deal. I believed him. It wasn't until our honeymoon that I learned what a big deal it actually could be, but that's another story.

That night we attended the temple together. We were both praying to know if what we thought we were feeling was something that we should stick with. Sitting in the celestial room after the session he took a ring off my right hand, moved it to my left hand and said "what's your ring size?" I answered and could barely contain my excitement.

The next morning I woke up in a panic. We didn't look at rings together and as far as I knew we weren't going to. But I hate yellow gold. Hate it. And he needed to know that because I didn't want to hate my ring forever. So I ran to the library and checked my email (even then I preferred to write rather than call). He had written to me and forwarded one of those "about me" surveys. (probably a good idea seeing as I really didn't know anything about him.) This distracted me and I wrote this to him.

Just so you know. I'm sitting in the library cracking
up at the computer. People are looking at me like I'm
standing on my head and singing I'm a Little Teapot.
That was hilarious.........I love you more every
Misty Dawn (what a neat name....I hear it's worth one
thousand dollars!!!!!!)

Then I was like, crap, I forgot. So I sent a second email right after. (for reference, he skipped out on plans with a friend to hang out with me the night before)

Hey hon,
I forgot to ask if J is mad at you. Tell him
it's all my fault and I tied you up and dragged you
everywhere we went....... ;o)
I also forgot to tell you something......
I've always want a white gold wedding ring....
Love Ya!!!!!
Misty Dawn

huh...I had a serious ellipses addiction.

Feeling better about that, we made plans for him to come home and meet my family for Christmas the next week.

It was time to call my mom and tell her that since the last time we'd spoken, I'd broken up with Matt and gotten unofficially engaged to someone I'd known for 7 days.

"the choice" ch-8

"in which there is a first kiss and a last dance"

He sat with his arm around me all through church. It was then that the knowledge settled on me with assurance that I was choosing him. I was choosing the new, unknown over the old and comfortable and there was no question that it was the right choice. I had no idea what to expect and I was okay with that.

This was a new sensation for me. I grew up in the same town, ward, school and with the same friends. Until I moved to Seattle there wasn't a whole lot of change and faith leaping going on. But I was okay with it. The only worry was how to tell Matt.

Dave wanted to do something after church and I just told him I already had plans to go see a friend. I assured him I'd call him later. He drove me to my Aunts house where I was just moving from his car to mine. I squeezed his hand and smiled at him and he got out and walked me to my car. He gave me a hug and I got in and shut the door. I watched him walk back to his car in my rear view mirror when halfway there he stopped and turned around. I rolled down my window to see what he wanted. He got to my car, leaned into the window and kissed me twice. They were quick and gentle, then he turned and left without a word.

I was stunned. I just sat there for several minutes. It wasn't until he had driven away that I realized what I was doing and decided to restart my breathing and go do what I knew I had to do.

I had an hour drive to think about what to say to Matt. I ran several scenarios through my mind but I wasn't really ready when I got there. I think he knew something was up based on my body language and that I was being really quiet. We went to his room to be out of his parents ear shot and sat down. Some of his mission luggage was already out for odds and ends that he was collecting to take along. I don't really remember the words I said. I remember expressing that I knew we weren't going to get married, regardless of what happened between Dave and I. I remember telling him that when I read his patriarchal blessing months ago and got to the part about his wife, I saw her in my mind and it sure as heck wasn't me. I remember that he ran through the stages of grief really fast. At one point he ignored me and played his video games. At another point he threw a bottle of tylonol against the wall where it popped open and pills flew around. He cried, he asked if I was sure and in the end I tried to give him his ring back (he wouldn't take it) but a peace settled around both of us.

I stood up to go and he tried to hug me. I pulled away a little because I didn't want to be a cheater and I felt much more invested in Dave. He looked hurt and asked if I would just dance with him before I left. I agreed and we shared a last dance. I don't think there was music, even. But it was a poignant moment. The end of a relationship that had brought major changes to both of our lives. And now we were both moving on in new ways. He was preparing to serve the Lord for 2 years in Florida, and I was jumping into the unknown with a serenity in my heart that I had never known before.

The next day I had an email from Dave asking how my evening was and did I want to hang out when he got off work? I went to the gym that day and started to worry again. It was time for phase 2 of this whole honesty thing. I needed to explain that I had, in a sense, broken up with my fiance the night before.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

"the choice" ch-7

"in which I must choose"

I didn't have internet access at my home at this time so I would go to the library once a day to check my email. The next day I opened my email and saw this. (this is the real email, he saved all our emails for a long time)

Prepare yourself for some serious cheese.

To: ''
Subject: Hi there Misty Johnson what's your middle name?

I assume it starts with the letter "D"

Anyway, I hope you don't mind me writing down your e-mail address and phone number last night at institute but I really wanted to get to know you a little better. I decided it would be better if I sent you an e-mail before giving you a call. Then again I'm not sure how often you actually check your e-mail.

This is Dave you taught me a new Jazz scale last night after institute choir practice (thank you). You mentioned your hobby / job as Photo Art and two of my favorite things are Art and cute piano players. *wink*

Well I hope you'll let me come over and check out some of your art work. My number is ... Feel free to give me a call anytime. If you don't reply to this e-mail I'll give you a call sometime on Saturday or Sunday unless I chicken out. I hope to see you around though.

Have a wonderful day.

I found out later that after he left the institute building he made his roommate turn around and go back. He pulled my info off the roster sheet.

Naturally, I got excited and wrote him back immediately. I answered his questions and we set up a date for Saturday night.

He was late.

I was pacing around the living room. I had pulled out some of my best pictures from my photography classes to show off and was randomly sitting at the piano and pounding out "Phantom of the Opera" and other loud, obnoxious songs that I play when I'm anxious.

He finally pulled up in his ancient, beat up, brown Honda Accord. I peaked through the curtains and placed my hand on my chest to try to calm my heart. I took a deep breath and opened the door. He had one of those single roses in a vase that you can buy at any grocery store. I thanked him and set it on the table. I showed him some of my pictures, he was appropriately kind and enthusiastic and we left.

He opened the door for me and I climbed in, noticing the duct tape on the sun roof and the nice stereo that didn't match the rest of the car. I was wearing my favorite purple, checkered pants. Might as well broadcast my weird sense of style from the beginning, after all. Turns out I was with a kindred spirit. He turned on the car and the CD player was cued to start playing in the middle of a Toby Keith song. (jump to 2:45 on that video and you can hear what I heard when the car started).

I didn't really appreciate the planning that went into that until later. At the time I just thought it was strange but didn't think much of it. He turned the radio down and we headed out to our first date.

He took me to the Holiday Lights at Enchanted Village. We were with his brother and his brother's girlfriend and his roommate was there with a date too. It was a mild night for December. The lights were beautiful and there was a light breeze. We just strolled from ride to ride, sitting close together on the rides to stay warm. It wasn't long before he used the pretense of keeping me warm to put his arm around me. I snuggled in and not much later we were holding hands.

Then I came up on a problem. Everybody got in line for the Squirrel Cages. I get motion sick. Bad. It was not in my plan for the evening to yarf all over my date and I had been on the squirrel cages before. I know what happens to me when I'm spinning in a cage which is on a spinning platform. It's not pretty. I pulled on Dave's hand and tried to get out of it. I said I'd sit this one out and immediately his brother and friend started ribbing me for it. I was trying really hard to not let on that it would make me sick. I was trying not to make anything of it but Dave was getting teased and he didn't understand why I wouldn't get on. Finally, I gave in to the peer pressure (and the fact that Dave was dragging me towards the entrance) and got in one of the dreaded cages.

I was having visions of vomit and disgust from my date and his friends. I was NOT willing to face that. I knew I'd just get a headache if I was only spinning one direction and not two. So I grabbed Dave's hands and begged him not to spin the cage. I stared gazed at him in what I hoped was a flirtatious and not a desperate manner. I kept my hands on his and prayed that he wouldn't spin the cage.

He didn't. We both suffered a barrage of teasing from everyone after we got off but I didn't care. My insides stayed where they belonged and that was all that mattered.

The rest of the night was a swirl of Christmas lights, stars and a warm hand. We made plans to attend church together the next morning. He dropped me off at home later and I totally flopped onto my bed like a twitterpated movie starlet.

That was when I realized that I needed to do something about Matt. He had moved back in with his parents while getting ready for his mission. He was set to enter the MTC in mid-January and up til now our plan was to both go on missions and then just see what happened when we got home. His parents lived about an hour from my Aunt and Uncle and I was already planning to go to his house the next day for dinner. I knew I needed to end things in a more permanent way and that I mustn't put it off.

I went to sleep torn between excitement to see Dave again in the morning and trepidation to talk to Matt that afternoon.

It was time to choose between a new, unknown future and the one I'd been preparing for for months.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

"the choice" ch-6

"in which everything changes"

My final shoot as a glamour shots photographer was close to home. It was only a couple hours south of Seattle. (as an aside, it was pouring rain that day and the house was small and blue. For some reason I've always imagined Bella's house in Twilight to look like this house.) Anyway, after that shoot was over, I headed back to my Aunt and Uncle's house.

At this point, I had a nice savings account and no job and no real plans for the future besides that I knew I needed to do whatever calling I was asked to do. I didn't have to wait long. The very next day was the First Presidency Christmas Broadcast. On my way to my seat, the institute choir director stopped me. He said he heard I wasn't going to be traveling anymore and would I be able to play the piano for the institute choir on Thursday? I thought to myself, "duh...this is why I quit my job!" and told him I'd be there.

I remember every moment of Thursday night, Dec 9, 1999. I took my time getting ready. I was wearing khaki pants, a long sleeved white shirt and a green vest/jacket thing. My hair had been recently cut and dyed at that MT salon and I was feeling pretty good. I walked into the institute room and noticed a sign up sheet. I wrote down my name and email address and then I sat at the piano. I was early so I could practice a bit and I didn't really pay much attention as people came in. The Institute Choir was made up of all the south Seattle singles wards so I didn't know a lot of people there. Really only the few from my ward. I'd spent the last 6 months as a bit of a recluse and I was naturally quiet, especially in new situations, so I basically ignored everybody and just played the piano.

About half way through the choir practice, I looked over my left shoulder and noticed a couple guys sitting in the front row of the tenor section. One of them had been looking at me so I turned back around and did my best to ignore him. (I should probably mention here that the ring Matt gave me was a simple, gold band that had previously been his own pinky ring and I had never taken it off my left, ring finger even though we technically broke up. I figured I was going on a mission anyway, it would dissuade the crazies that had previously hit on me).

Choir practice ended and I started gathering up my music. I stood up and one of the two guys that I had noticed earlier came over and started talking to me. He seemed like a nice guy and we chatted for a few minutes. The other guy didn't say a word to me. He sat down on the piano seat that I had just vacated and started to play "Waterfall" by Jon Schmidt by memory.

Naturally, he caught my attention and I turned away from the guy that only spoke. I was captivated by the music and I remember just watching his hands. Any hands that could play like that were worthy of my attention. When the song ended he just started dinking around with chords and runs. I think I asked if he knew any blues scales but I don't really remember talking to him. I know I sat down next to him and showed him the B flat blues scale. I told him to just play random notes and rhythms in that scale and I'd play a bass riff. For the next several minutes we improvised some jazz together. It had been a while since I'd played the piano with someone who could hear music so well and I had so much fun.

The room had emptied out by this point and we stood up. We spoke for a few minutes, I found out both the guys' names and that they were roommates. They said they had to go and they took off. I left right after that and just figured maybe I'd see them at the next choir practice.

I had no idea at the time that one of them already knew he was going to marry me.

"the choice" ch-5

"in which I learn to listen"

I have many fond memories of the time I spent traveling. I saw some of the most beautiful country in the world and I really began to see things in a different way. It's when I felt my photographers eye beginning to really take shape.

I'll never forget the first time I saw "the tree of Utah" popping up out of the salt flats along a highway of nothing. Seriously, nothing. In areas like that I would put my trusty old Buick on cruise control and turn sideways with my legs up on the bench seat next to me and just drive. (I's a wonder I'm not dead).

I remember the breathtaking view from Donner Pass in NV, the charming ski resort town in CO, the "curl up and dye" salon in a small MT town who gave me my first professional dye job and her house tucked back in the mountains where I'm pretty sure bigfoot lives.

There was the lady in Salt Lake who gave everybody a hug when then came or left from her house. Even me, a complete stranger. But it was no ordinary hug. You know how in European countries they kiss both cheeks? (at least they do in the movies...) Well, she would hug both sides. She'd hug with her head to the left then she'd pull back and say "We can't leave the other side out!" and she'd hug again to the right.

I remember searching for some caves with hieroglyphs, but never finding them. I ended up on some sort of private military testing ground. Oops.

I also got lost a lot. But I didn't mind. I learned my way around eventually and I saw a lot more cool stuff.

I remember driving down through Sanpete County towards the Manti temple and seeing it rise up as if from nowhere. A castle in the distance. I took my time on this day. I stopped along the highway several times to take pictures of different things and I sat outside the Manti Temple for quite some time. My motivation for going there was to get a picture for my parents. (I used to take b/w film pictures and after I'd print them, I'd paint them with oils to add a muted color to the image.) My parents were sealed in Manti and I'd always wanted to go. It was then, sitting on the grounds across the street from the Manti temple that I was truly filled with a desire to receive my own endowments.

In fact, I loved it there so much that I began dreaming about moving there after my mission so I could buy a little house with some land and live a quiet life in the middle of nowhere with a few animals, a garden, a lot of books and a darkroom for my photography. I'd take beautiful pictures and get famous from my quaint little cottage. Obviously I'd be single because LDS guys didn't know I existed. (I was a little dramatic with my daydreams)

On my next weekend home I began to prepare to go to the temple. I took the temple prep classes over the next few weeks and on November 5th, 1999, I went through the Portland Temple for the first time. I can only describe that day as a day filled with more love than I had ever experienced at one time. Many of my singles ward friends, all my extended family, and Matt made the trip with me.

After that day I determined to attend the temple weekly and I did. I began to grow by leaps and bounds and I began to understand how the Lord speaks to me. It was over the next few weeks that I realized something was missing in my fabulous world of long distance travel, interesting people and glamour shots.

Using the words of the scriptures, the Lord told me that I needed to serve. The thought consumed me. Every prayer I said, every time I opened my scriptures, every new ward I attended while traveling, I felt the same thing. "As long as you're not at home, you can't serve in my church. You must hold a calling now. It's time to go home."

And this time, I listened.

"the choice" ch-4

"in which I begin to find myself"

I don't remember a single word that was spoken in that blessing. I do remember what I felt. I remember thinking how grateful I was to be in a home with family who loved me and priesthood holder who was willing and able to exercise that priesthood even for silly little me who had just gotten dumped. I knew that Heavenly Father was mindful of me and that he was just trying to guide me. I knew that if I would just be still and let go of my desperate plans that he would guide me. By the end of the blessing I was calm and had a spark of hope.

I was finishing my second year of college then, in which I had taken every black and white film class available to me. I was attending the singles ward and I was finally able to consider myself and my life without a boyfriend around to confuse me.

At the time I was finishing up my last quarter of the year and working at blockbuster video. I wasn't really doing much else and suddenly an opportunity dropped in my lap.

It was the late 90's and all I wanted was a job in photography. I went to one of those in home party things with my Aunt. Women would get together and get makeovers. The hostess would try to sell the makeup. THEN they'd get their pictures taken by a photographer who worked for a sister company and just traveled around doing these in home parties in a certain region of the country. Not just any pictures, mind you. Glamour shots, baby! Later on the photos would go to the hostess and they'd try to milk more money out of their friends by selling those.

So I strike up a conversation with the photographer and before I know it I have an interview set up. Within a week I had an entire traveling glamour shots studio (provided by the company) to pack into my Buick and I started traveling all over the western US. (incidentally, when I tell this story now I just say I was a traveling photographer. It sounds a lot better than when I add the details of the sequins, boas, shiny wraps, faux leather and cheesy poses.)

I suddenly had a lot of time to think. I was on the road all day, living in hotels, spending a couple hours at a strangers house then back to the hotel. I'd go weeks without a weekend at home. I'd have a schedule starting in Washington and I'd loop down through Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah (they liked their glamour shots there, lol), Idaho, Montana then back to Washington.

I loved it.

I loved the long hours on the road. I loved stopping whenever I felt like it to take pictures for myself. I loved seeing new things and I loved the people. I met the coolest people at those parties. People I'll never see again but that made an impression on me in some way. I loved visiting friends in UT and reading lots and lots of books in the hotel. I loved the freedom.

During this time I found myself drawing closer to God than I ever had before. I had recently turned 20 and was feeling like I might as well prepare for a mission since I didn't think I'd have any other options by the time I turned 21. The job paid really well and since the company paid for all my gas and lodging, I didn't really have any bills. I figured I'd save up for a mission and I began preparing to go to the temple.

Little did I know I was actually saving up for my wedding.

"the choice" ch-3

"In which God takes over"

Summer 1998
My first year of college was ending. It was fun and different than anything I'd ever experienced. It was full of highs and lows and significant moments. People moved in and out of my life with an impact. I learned who I was and what I believed. But I was still caught up in the relationship that shouldn't have been.

Everybody was making plans around me. My 2 best friends and roommates were moving on to new, far away schools. Matt was offered a job and apartment with his cousin and brother in Wisconsin of all places and I was sitting there with no idea what to do. I had begun looking at photography programs but I didn't know which one was right.

Out of the blue, I received a phone call from my Aunt. She lived in the Seattle area and said that her and her husband had been prompted to call and invite me to live with them. With no other real plans, and a calmness in my soul when I considered the option, I accepted. Looking back, this couldn't have been easy for them to do. They had 3 small children of their own and they were inviting a confused, barely 19 year old to come live with them and their kids.

That summer, I went to Wisconsin for a month then moved to the Seattle area and began a long distance relationship with Matt. I was too stubborn and slightly jaded by my experience in the young, single adult ward in my home town to jump right into that in Seattle. So for the first 6-8 months I went to a family ward. There were 2 other single adults attending that ward for their own reasons and we became friends.

Aimee and I decided together to start attending the YSA ward and it was a strange conglomeration of what I needed and what I feared. Even though I was still with Matt, I used this time to look for a better offer. I figured if he was out there, he'd show up. Otherwise I'd stick with Matt.

It didn't happen. I had several guy friends, but not a single one asked me out. I went to the activities and dances and church and institute. I put myself out there and I did meet someone. He was a non-LDS guy that went to a dance with his friend. True story. I figured I didn't know how to attract LDS guys. This guy I met ended up being rather stalkerish and it wasn't until I took the roses he gave me and tossed them in the trash in front of him that he finally took the hint and backed off.

This is around the point that I figured I might as well stick with what I had. I went to visit Matt in Wisconsin and came home with a gold ring. The wedding was set for August of 1999.

I excitedly started making plans but the whole time it felt surreal and unnatural. The only thing that I actually managed to get together was trying on dresses and contacting a dress maker to get my design made.

I kept meeting road blocks in making the actual wedding plans when one day in May, Matt called to tell me that he'd had a dream and knew he needed to go on a mission before he could marry me.

I was heartbroken and did something I should have done a long time ago. I started to trust God, turn my will towards His and asked my Uncle for a blessing.