Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Now-July 1

This week, Darren and I received some sobering news that reminded us how fragile and temporary things can be in this life.  We found out earlier this week that Darren's sister and her family lost their home and belongings in a fire that spread throughout southern Pocatello.  Fortunately, the family members themselves were unharmed.  I have been so impressed and inspired by their reaction to this tragedy.  Watching them has helped me recommit to expressing my gratitude for the things I have and to refocus my priorities on the things that really matter.  Thank you, Cornelison family, for setting that example.

1.  Family Time:  Since living away from home, I have relished every opportunity I have to be with my parents and brother.  The location of our get-togethers has always been secondary to the chance to just be around them.  Two weeks ago, however, Darren and I were lucky enough to meet up with my family in Kauai.  What a beautiful place to spend some quality time with the people I love the most.  I loved seeing how some of the characteristics I admire so much in each of my family members came out in their response to this beautiful area.  My mom took long walks on her own each morning to enjoy the beauty of the island in solitude.  My dad set a goal and took the opportunity to challenge himself physically just a few weeks after back surgery by enlisting the family in a picturesque, though quite long, hike (see below).  My brother incorporated ways to keep learning and growing intellectually by listening to great books on audiotape while enjoying the island.  Darren, who was in Hawaii for the first time, took advantage of every opportunity available to him and made the most of his trip by going for long runs, surfing, snorkeling, hiking, and sight-seeing all that he could.  For me, nothing could beat having conversations with my family on the grass while enjoying some pretty great views.

Enjoying one of my favorite beach activities
Darren and I hiked to see "Spouting Horn"

Darren waving to his admiring fans on the shore. :)
 2.  Fulfilling Goals ("The Sonne Death March")--There is something so satisfying about setting a goal for yourself that you know will be difficult to accomplish, working hard toward that goal, and ultimately succeeding in fulfilling it.  My dad, who recently underwent back surgery, set a goal before leaving for Kauai to do an eight hour hike to and from a waterfall along Kauai's Napali Coast.  He worked toward this goal before Hawaii and was determined to accomplish it while we were there.  I must admit (ahem...) that I was not always the supportive daughter I should have been during the hike, offering for us to turn around several times before the waterfall, but I was certainly proud of all of us when we finished.  The hike was more difficult than we expected, but it had spectacular views and will be an experience none of us will easily forget.  I need to make a shout-out to my adventure-seeking husband who was the only one daring enough (or with enough energy) to swim at the waterfall half way through our hike.

Starting out on the hike

Darren preparing to swim at the waterfall

3.  Revisiting Old Pursuits--Before even moving to Gilbert, I was interested in finding a dance studio in the area that taught adult ballet classes.  I took some ballet when I was younger, but didn't really appreciate the beauty or benefits of participating in the dance until I was in college.  Even then, I was easily intimidated by my classmates who seemed much more graceful, talented, and (frankly) flexible than I ever thought I could be (flashback to a couple of summers ago when I went to my first "adult" ballet class outside of college where the instructors decided to combine the beginners with the advanced students (mostly teenagers) into one class over the summer.  I about broke down in tears when they asked me to join them in jetes across the floor.).  My prayers have been answered, however, by finding Ballet Fusion Fitness here in AZ.  It is an adults-only dance studio that does classical ballet and other fitness classes with a ballet emphasis.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven at my first class.  Though I have much to learn, I felt comfortable and excited to be there.  I am thrilled to feel that I am finally willing and able to pursue ballet for what I hope will be a long time to come.

4.  Financial Blessings--As Darren and I prepare for Darren's adventure in law school, we know that it will require a significant financial investment.  While we feel that this investment is worthwhile and right for us at this time, it has caused us some anxiety nonetheless.  For that reason, we felt sincerely blessed to recently receive news that Darren was granted a part-tuition scholarship.   :)

5.  Great Books--The school where I will be teaching this year has asked all of their teachers to read or re-read Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  I have been reading the book for the first time this summer and am so inspired by Covey's insights.  It is a book I know that I will revisit often as I learned to incorporate the habits into my life.  I would highly recommend it to anyone who has not yet read it.

6.  Continuing Education--This past weekend was "Admitted Students Weekend" at Darren's law school.  We attended panels, tours, and met several faculty members and fellow incoming students.  Over the weekend, I found myself often jealous of the fact that Darren is returning to school.  Becoming a teacher, I have realized how much I miss being the student.  There is no doubt being a student can be extremely difficult and overwhelming at times, but there is something about absorbing information, learning to apply it, and exhibiting your understanding to someone you know that can make life so rich.  My experience with Darren this weekend has taught me how much I want to continue my education informally--through books and possible future classes.

7.  Apartment Flowers--It's no secret that I love flowers.  I had been waiting until after Hawaii to get an orchid for the pot by the door, but once we returned we set out to find one.  We also got a basil plant for our kitchen, but I managed to kill that one fairly quickly.  The orchid seems much more hardy, and I love having it in our little space.

Our "Dining Room" and Entry

8.  Musical Instruments--My harp has been in CA for the past couple of years.  My mom and brother, however, have offered to bring it out with them when they come to visit in a couple of weeks.  I can't tell you how happy I am to have it close again.

9.  Mesa Temple--Darren and I visited the Mesa Temple for the first time last night.  The temple never fails to bring me peace and clarity.  Yesterday was no exception.  I am excited for the opportunity to participate in the open house of the new Gilbert Temple in the next year.

10.  Date Nights--Last night's date night consisted of the temple, dinner, and walking around the Chandler Mall.  I loved it.  Darren and I committed to keeping regular date nights this coming fall when our schedules will be much more hectic.  I love him.
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