Monday, June 28, 2010


Last week I met in an interview setting with a late-20's/early 30's woman. During our visit she said, "I notice on your resume that you were the PTA president at my elementary school." I said, "I hope you weren't there when I was the president."

Later I was telling my family about this experience. Taylor said, "Wow. I remember that school. That school is pretty old."

I said, "That school was built the same year as the school I attended in 6th grade. They were brand-new that year."

Taylor's eyes got really big, and he said, "Man! That school is even older than I thought it was!"

Thursday, June 24, 2010

MY President

I once laughed at someone who said she could run into Brad Pitt and hardly flinch; but bring a General Authority into the room and she would be tongue-tied and star-struck.

I laughed, but I'm exactly the same! The list of GA's and LDS Church Who's Who's I've seen while working at Church headquarters is lengthy, but something cool happened yesterday.

My Young Women President walked past my desk and said hello to me yesterday. This is the woman who was the YW general president when I was a young woman. I thought she was all that and a bag of chips. Once, in my 20's, I got to go to BYU Women's Conference. I didn't care what other classes I went to, I had to go to hers, because I loved her.

And yesterday Sister Kapp came to have a meeting with the people in PEF (Perpetual Education Fund), who "live" a few feet from me. As she walked by my desk she said hello to me. And I smiled and returned the greeting in a calm, professional, detached manner.

On the outside.

On the inside I was yelling, "Sister Kapp! Sister Kapp! It's me, Aundrea! Remember me? I was one of your young women who you never met. But you told me you loved me, and I believed you! And you told me God love me, and I believed you! Thank you, thank you for taking care of the teenage me!"

Part of me is grateful that somehow I can come up with a cool version of me. But today the bigger part of me is wishing that the inner me had taken over and hugged this gracious lady. It probably would have scared her to death, but I would feel better about it today. :)

Worries and Heartaches

When you love someone, it opens your heart to the chance of getting hurt. It also opens your heart for a lot of joy, which is why it's all worth it.

But that heartbreak thing!

A friend who holds a sweet place in my heart is getting divorced. There's a lot of garbage that goes along with that (of course!), and I am nowhere near the "epicenter" of the damage that is being done. But my friend and her family are heartbroken and spirit-broken. She told me that she has learned that there is no God. And that hurts my heart. A lot.

Another cherished friend admitted to hitting rock bottom. She has, fortunately, found ways to claw her way out of that hole. I hope that one of the ways she is doing this is by relying on God.

Is it human nature to turn away from God in times of horrible crisis?

Whatever. It hurts my heart.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Top 10 Highlights for a Day

10. Yummy spaghetti for lunch
9. Tonight my friend Stacy is teaching RS meeting. Can't wait!
8. Email from my SIL today, stating that they are looking for work in Utah. Woot! (This is in addition to my sister, who is also on the Utah job hunt.)
7. Dave invited me to ride his bus home. I said, "Right, where would I go? To my in-laws?" He said, "Well, pick your poison, I guess."
6. Devotional with Jesse today.
5. Joe's wife had twin boys yesterday. He sent pix today of Boy A and Boy B. :)
4, 3, 2, and 1. (Yup, it's that good.) Landon sent a text today. It said, "OK not that I'm having no fun here but I want to come home. I miss you guys. I miss yelling at Bri. I miss Ash being nice. I miss Mom and Dad giving of things and Tay his smartness and Bella her dumbness."

Getting All Worked Up About Nothing (?)

Our son Landon is fearless, courageous, and a bit obnoxious. I love him exactly the way he is (although we are still working on his timing and behavior in some venues).

Landon really wanted to go to the cabin in Idaho with his grandparents. He knew that no one else from our family was going to be able to go. But he asked his grandma and grandpa if he could go. His grandpa is incapable of saying the word no, even if (and maybe ESPECIALLY WHEN) he wants to. Because of their incapacity to say no to Landon, Grandma talked to me. I tried valiantly to talk Landon out of this trip. Let's be honest: the main reason I didn't want him to go was because they are not always kind to him.

After a heart-to-heart, in which I was convinced that Landon understood what I was saying, he said, "So, can I ask if I can go to the cabin?" I'm tellin' ya, the kid is fearless (and maybe a tiny bit clueless). The fearlessness is one of the things I love the most about him. Additionally, we always tell our children that the answer is automatically no if you don't ask. So I told him to go ahead.

While Landon trapped Grandpa in a different part of the yard, I had a talk with Grandma. She expressed again that Grandpa didn't want to take Landon by himself. This angered me (reference that "unkind" thing above), and I told her that it was up to them. I also asked, "If this were ANY of the other grandchildren, would this be an issue?" My sweet, courageous MIL hesitated only for a second and then admitted, "Probably not." And so I told her that if they didn't want to take Landon they would have to grow a pair and tell him themselves. Her eyebrows went way up, and I said, "We will not be the bad guys on this. Dad is notorious for not knowing how to say no. If you want Landon to hear the word no, you'll have to tell him yourself."

Sure enough, Grandpa had said yes to Landon. Grandma quickly cut in and said they would discuss it and get back with Landon.

The next day they called and told Landon he could go with them. He has been so excited! I have been terribly worried.

They left Sunday afternoon. They went as far as Idaho Falls and spent the night in a motel there. Monday they took their time getting into Victor; they got some groceries and ran some errands; and then Grandpa took Landon to "the lake", which is--I presume--the Teton River. Tuesday's text from Landon said, "I just had the best pizza in the world! I love you." I texted to see if he was having fun. He said, "Yes. Grandpa has taken me shooting."

"The lake." Pizza. Shooting.

I have to give credit and a ton of gratitude to my in-laws. They have obviously done some planning for Landon to be with them. He did some planning of his own, including taking his laptop (DVD player) and some movies. So hopefully everyone will still love everyone when the trip is over. And then I can stop worrying.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


This is a picture of half of our team for the Ragnar Wasatch Back relay. We are three couples, all from our ward: MaryKay and Dan, me and Spencer, Bob and Stacy. We constituted one half (Van 2) of our team: Ragnarly! Aren't we cool? We've just received our medals at the end of a 36.5 hour, 118-mile race. We spent all that time in the car together, except for when we were each running. We shared meals, naps (thanks, Aunt Marie!), snacks, lights, jackets, many laughs, pain, frustration, and celebration together.
I can't believe I am saying this, but IT. WAS. SO. DANG. FUN.

This is Van 1 of our team. Phil was the only man in that van (he's fantastic). Standing next to him (in the blue) is Suzie, who I love. Phil and Suzie are BIL/SIL, and they live in our ward. The rest of the ladies are Suzie's friends. I wish I could tell you all their names. Suzie, maybe you can tell me the names. They were all fabulous. I think. Because I really only met them each once or twice. :)

Spencer, just taking off for his first leg. He was the All-Star Champion of our team. In fact, someone who works with Dan asked how she could get hold of him and get him on their team. Luckily, Dan kept that information classified. :) Ow, Baby! Check out those legs!

Here is me, near beginning of my first run. ("Run" is still a very subjective term.) I think I look like my mom--we should get her in a running skirt!

Thanks especially to Bob and Stacy for organizing this so beautifully. You are wonderful, and we are grateful to be your friends!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

People Just Like Me

Did you know that, at the COB, we pay to receive an analog television signal? It's true. I don't know what it costs, so don't ask me. But apparently it's enough to make people start to ask, "Exactly how many analog televisions are left?"

The correct answer, my friends, is, "I DON'T KNOW!"

So the building manager asked me to send an email to all of the floor representatives, asking them to identify all the televisions on their floor, including whether they are analog or digital. You know what's coming, don't you?

That's right. So far--a mere 10 minutes since I sent the email--I've received 3 replies asking, "How do we know if it's analog or digital?"

The correct answer, my friends, is, "I DON'T KNOW!"

Saturday, June 12, 2010


5 miles.
58 minutes, 5 seconds.
11 minutes, 38 seconds per mile average.
All alone.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What Is Hiding in the Dark

This is interesting and a good reminder.

I have similar (but obviously, different) feelings about my chronic illness. People will say, "Oh, that's fantastic. You are well."

And I am, really. And I'm super-thankful for that.

But there is this thing lurking inside me. You can't see it, but I still know it's there. It still affects me, even though we can't see it. It still affects my thoughts and my hopes and dreams for the future. It never goes away.

I won't say I know how my friend feels, because I clearly don't. But her post today helped validate some things for me.

As a sidenote, my husband "gets it"--how I feel about this. He experiences these same things because we are so close. There is no doubt that our families are affected (albeit differently) by all of this, as well.

Which goes to show that everyone has all kinds of things going on inside them that we cannot see. Let's all be a little more tolerant today!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Change in My Running

This morning I didn't begin my run till after 9:30. It's a lot hotter after 9:30 than it is at, say, 5:30. Just sayin'.

So I decided to try jogging with Spencer's water belt. I thought it would make me crazy, but it wasn't bad. It did rub a little on my back, but I was able to adjust the water bottles and do OK. And actually, I only used one water bottle, so I could run with just the two at my hips and be OK, I think.

I also wanted to go a different direction, so I put on Spencer's watch. I ran mainly on 3200 West till the watch beeped two miles, then turned around. That made the majority of the first half of my run uphill, so I had the downhill section on the way home (mostly). That wasn't too bad a run, actually.


I ran four miles in 45:39.

That is an average of 11:24 per mile, in case you care.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Striving for Thriving, Not Just Surviving

Yesterday a man in our ward told about meeting many cancer survivors through his work. One day a woman came in and said she was a cancer THRIVER. He asked what that meant, and she told him that having cancer had taught her that it was important to LIVE every single day, and mean it!

We don't all get cancer (thank goodness!), but we all have things that we feel like we will be successful if we survive.

I don't want to just survive. I want to thrive!

Sweet Lessons Learned

Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to play the piano in the care center branch of our stake. The "kids" who are residents there are severely physically and mentally challenged, and they are angels. They are also noisy; some are slobbery; many are smelly. But they are all sweet.

One of them, who cannot speak clearly, stood up to share his testimony. He reached out his hand for me to help him. The branch presidency all looked a little panicked, as he pushed them away and continued to reach for me. I stood to help him, and I kept my hand on his back the whole time. I said his testimony for him while he beamed at me and at his friends. It was a tender experience for me, and it touched me deeply. President Harmon told me later that this man never connects with the women at the care center, but he was quite adamant that I help him.

Sweet lesson learned: You never know when you might be "the one" that someone needs. And you usually don't get a lot of warning.

Another resident put her arm around me while I was still playing the piano and told me that I played beautifully. I thanked her and asked if she ever played the piano. She responded, "Oh, no, but I love to listen to it."

Sweet lesson learned: Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were all genuinely loving to everyone who serves us, even if we know that a particular talent may never be ours in this life?

Another young man--who is quite mentally challenged himself, but who lives in another ward in our stake--has been called to help with the sacrament at the branch. He humbly began the sacrament prayer, and got as far as "we ask Thee in the name" when he made a mistake. There was not even a hesitation from him as he began the prayer again and finished it perfectly.

Sweet lesson learned: We should be humble enough to do the right thing, the right way, right away, just because it's right. And not feel humiliated or embarrassed.

The same sweet young man bore his testimony, and then encouraged another man to do the same. He then took the microphone to a man who cannot speak clearly (but he "sings" every song!). He said, "You wanna bear your testimony, Derek?" Derek made a few sounds and smiled up at Robert who exclaimed, "Good job, Derek! You did it!"

Sweet lesson learned: Sometimes people only need someone's encouragement to prove that they can do something. And we should be able, willing, available, and capable of giving them the acceptance they need.

Later I went to our ward, where I was reminded of these lessons again. But I think we are less tolerant of people who are functioning "normally" (whatever that means). We need to be tolerant, loving, accepting, encouraging, willing, and genuine with EVERYONE.

It's hard sometimes.

If you need a sweet reminder, I can give you directions to the West Jordan Care Center.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I'm Cool. A Little.

I ran 4 miles yesterday before I went to work. And I rocked the world! Seriously, I was awesome! My muscles didn't hurt. My breathing was good. My time was under 12-minute miles. I felt so cool.

And then I decided to run 5 miles today. Here is a word we don't use in our house: Suck. But that's what I did. We hadn't even gone a block and my legs were screaming at me. Which made my heart go into overdrive.

But Spencer was running the first half with me, and he kept me going. Mostly. And when we reached 2.5 miles, we were averaging 11:50 minute miles. Which was good for me. But he continued on for another 5 miles (show-off!) while I turned around to finish my 5 total miles. V--E--R--Y slowly. And including many stops.

To look at the happy side, I ran (mostly) 5 miles this morning. Also, Spencer ran the first half with me, which makes it so much easier for me. Let's focus on the happy side, shall we?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Masquerade Ball

Each year the choirs have a dance party together. This year's theme was a masquerade. This is Ashtyn in Whitney's lovely dress, Briana's tiara and jewelry, and the mask she made herself. Isn't she lovely?

Here's Taylor. He also made his mask. He'd kinda hoped for a Phantom of the Opera mask, but his paycheck did not arrive. This mask turned out very cool, though. (We all paper machier'd over their faces, and their dad was very instrumental in getting everything shaped, dried, and cut--he's a keeper!)

Old Woman

On Monday and Wednesday of next week I'm taking a computer class at LDS Business College. There are two other women from our division who are taking the same class. One is in her 60's and one is 40-ish. We are planning to go to the Triad Center together.

And I'm realizing as we are discussing our plans that I am much more comfortable with these "older" women than when I took a class with the 20-somethings (who I adore). This made me think, "When did I become so old?"

And then I realized that I have always preferred hanging out with the older women.

I've ALWAYS been old. *sigh*

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Names

Mom: Everything is good and normal and going along fine.

Mommy: Our child is tired or desperate and needs help. Now.

Mama: Our child is asking for something; sweet-talking.

Mother: I'm in trouble.

Aundrea: The child has been talking to me and I have not heard them at all.

Babe: Spencer is home!

Aud: Derek or Becky is there.

Aunt Aud: Natty or Laurel is there.

Aunt Auneea: Logan is there. (It used to be Kelly, too...)

Dray: Mom, Brant, Grandma, or Gavin is there.

Sister: Tiff is there.

My Luv: Daddy is there.

As Ashtyn's World Turns

Friday--the day before a 3-day weekend--Ashtyn learned that one of her teachers was failing her because she hadn't turned in work for the 4 weeks she was on Home & Hospital care. Only he never gave the H&H teacher any work for Ashtyn to do, so our understanding was that all of that work had been waived. She was nearly in tears when she called me. At 3:00 p.m.

Should she spend the entire 3-day, holiday weekend doing homework that we understood she would not have to do? And if she did, would she find out on Tuesday that it was all waived anyway? But what if she didn't do the homework, and she found out on Tuesday that she would have 2 days (before the school year ends) to complete 3 weeks' worth of homework?

I told her we were NOT spending the weekend doing homework that we should not have to do. She sighed, "OK, Mommy."

I called the office at the high school, which was closed. Of course. Out of sheer luck, the vice principal answered his line. I discussed all of this with him. He was very understanding, but he said that he would not be able to get hold of the teachers involved until Tuesday, because they were out of the school faster than the kids on that day. He said, "Is there anything Ashtyn can do--you know, small stuff--that will make it so she passes the class?" I replied, "She doesn't want to just PASS the class. She wants the grade she's earned." He said, "Oh, yeah, I didn't think of that."

My eyes are rolling just thinking about it. Because how can we expect our children to be educated when there's not an adult brain to be found in that school?

OK, I'm being harsh. It's not true that there are no brains there. But lemme tell ya, the teachers might have spring fever worse than the kids do! (P.S. We actually really like WJHS. But WE NEED A LITTLE HELP, PLEASE!)

Anyway, I called the vice principal back this morning, and he told me that the teacher had waived all the work. So all is well.

Partners in Everything

Just 17 days till the Ragnar Wasatch Back relay. Have I mentioned that I'm terrified?

Saturday I needed to do a longer run. Spencer was going to run, too, so he said he'd go to the 2-mile mark with me at my pace. Which is SUPER slow. As we "ran" (it's a relative term), I huffed and puffed, while he talked and talked. And those two miles went by so fast! I said, "Please? Will you run with me at Ragnar?"

This is a totally baby-ish, unreasonable, and MEAN request. I know this.

And ya wanna know what my sweetheart said? The same sweetheart who will be running 3 difficult legs of his own said, "That's not a bad idea!"

Let's get past the "He must be nuts" part and focus on the "He really loves me" part.

So yesterday when I got up he said, "Let's go run at the Parkway." And I told him that I had a book I needed to work on, so I thought I'd just do my 3 miles from home so I could get busy on the book. So he was all ready and waiting for me when I was ready to start. And he ran with me AGAIN. And it's so much easier and more fun when he's talking me through the whole thing.

And THAT is why Spencer Hill is the man for me. (Well, that and a whole lot of other reasons!)