Thursday, August 27, 2009

All Geared up

I am an all or nothin' kind of girl. I don't do half way. When I decide to do anything I jump in head first and go for it. Because of this, a lot of people would assume that I am full of self confidence. Not so. I always feel pretty stupid as I am trying anything new or out of my element. Especially around anyone who might actually know what they are doing. I tend to avoid those people at all costs because I don't think me looking dumb needs to be on display for all to see.

On another note but actually related is the fact that I majored in Fashion Merchandising. The clothes that you wear send a message, regardless of whether or not you realize this fact. I am kind of funny about this one. If I don't have time to shower and get all the way ready for the day but have to go out, there is no way I'm going to try to fake it and just put on make up and do my best with my hair. I'm just going out grubby. I don't want to look like I tried to look nice unless I really did. This is part of the all or nothin' deal. So when you are doing a sport and you are wearing all the garb, the message I get is that you know what you are doing. You can walk the walk and talk the talk.
So, and this is how that relates( I know you're wondering where I am going with this), when I went out and bought myself a road bike I was sure that was all that I was getting. Again, not the case. I realized I needed a helmet. Then the guy at the bike shop starts talking to me about gloves. What in the world would I need gloves for? Then he explains about how if for whatever reason I crash I could really tear up my hands. Yep, I bought the gloves. Then he starts talking to me about (wait before I continue, you need a Nacho Libre accent to read this next part, even if its just in your head. Ready?) stretchy pants. Um, no thank you!!! Me in stretchy pants, not so cute! Ah, but he tells me all about how the stretchy pants (no he didn't call them that, and yes, I know thats not their real name, but it is in my head okay?) anyway they have padding in them and it keeps your tush from being really sore. Oh yes, that did sound good. So yes, I now own stretchy pants. Next he started in on buying a riding jersey. Pockets in the pack to carry your stuff, elastic around the waist so your shirts not dangling around, longer in the back since you are leaning forward. All good reasons, but I had to draw the line somewhere, and so the jersey did not make the purchase list. As you can probably tell I know absolutely nothing about cycling. But I keep toying with the idea of a triathlon, and so I'm jumping in head first, but I am so far from my comfort zone!

Before my first ride I put all my stuff on and actually looked down the hall to make sure nobody was around before I left my bedroom. I don't really look like a REAL rider, but still, wearing all the stuff I did buy, made me feel more than a little self conscious. By the living room I was out of luck. After I walked past Wes, he asked me what was wrong with my butt. "It's called padding son," I called out as I kept on walking. When I got in to the garage and Jeff caught a glimpse of me he called out,"Yes! I can't believe it! I can't believe you are wearing stretchy pants!" ( And yes he said it with a Nacho Libre accent) Apparently I used to make fun of him for wearing them when we were dating, I totally don't remember this, but obviously he is scarred from my remarks. He just laughed and laughed and then went and grabbed my camera. Nice! I am now the "butt" of my own jokes!

My mom joined me on my first ride. When she asked where I wanted to go I simply said, "Anywhere there are not REAL riders." And I meant it! I don't want to look like I know what I am doing because I totally don't! I am sure there are tons of little rules, riding etiquette, that I know nothing about. In fact my greatest fear currently, other than being seen off of my bike by anyone I know while I am wearing my stretchy pants, is getting a flat out there and then taking forever to fix it while on the side of the road, all the while the REAL riders, who can change a tire with their eyes closed, whiz past me.
So for now I am just fine riding solo, asking lots of questions and figuring things out. When I feel like I know what I am doing I may just go back and buy that jersey!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Just Like Humpty Dumpty

Sometimes we do things for so long that it just becomes part of who we are. I have spent the last 5 years working with the youth of our Stake. I have been working with some of the most talented men and women I know. They have so much love for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and for the young men and women we have been assigned to mentor. For the first year or so, I was just so in awe of those I was working with I couldn't believe I had been given the opportunity to work along side them. I thought if I flew under the radar they wouldn't realize that little Jeni had somehow weaseled her way into their presence. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have learned and grown through this assignment. Those whom I have worked so closely with are now just like family.

I have been able to assist in planning and preparing our Stake EFY, 

service projects, many quad stake dances,

 beehive conferences,

 leadership training meetings, various retreats and activities for just the senior class, 

the stake musical held every fall, and my very favorite of all the activities, girls camp.

 My life's schedule has revolved around the timing of each of these annual events, and I have loved every minute of it. Truly. It is one of the busiest assignments I can think of but never has it felt like work. The youth of our Stake are amazing, talented, valiant, and full of integrity. I have grown so close to many of them, and have felt something similar to a parental love for all of them. My heart has ached for some as they have struggled and seen hard times. Others I have literally jumped for joy with at hearing good news. I have spent hours listening to stories of issues with boys or friends. I have felt so proud of some as they have gone to serve missions, gotten married, left for school, or made difficult decisions.

This week I was thanked for my service and released from my responsibilities along with the rest of our presidency. As we serve in various places in the church we always go into it knowing it will be just for a period of time, sometimes as short as months and others for a couple of years. In my head I have known that this time would come, I also knew that it would be a little hard on my heart. I just didn't know it would feel like this. I feel so empty and broken, a little bit lost. My head keeps reminding me of all the time I will have on my hands now, but heart doesn't seem to care.
I got several text messages from friends today as they heard the news of my release, and every one of them was the same, "Are you okay" "How are you holding up?" " Do you need anything?" "I'm so sorry, I know how much you loved this". The tears seem to come and go at the strangest times and the littlest thing can start them off. My head knows that I have many years of service to give and many other places to serve and I will. I will happily serve wherever I am asked and give it everything I've got. But just for right now I feel like Humpty Dumpty, and even with all the kings horses and all the kings men, I don't know how to put myself back together again!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good Friends are Good Medicine

I have been in need of a "pick-me -up" for a couple of weeks.  That need hit a peak at the beginning of this week.  I knew just who to call.  My good friend Michelle is the best medicine for a down day.  Michelle is one of the most loving and giving people I know.  From the moment you say hello she is full of compliments and enthusiasm.  Michelle can put a positive twist on just about anything and has such a fresh way of looking at life.  We share a love of running and the outdoors. We even love the same kinds of music, which has always been something that can pick my spirits up. Michelle also happens to live in L.A. which means the beach is never too far away.  I knew it was just what I needed!

Tuesday night with my music blaring I headed off to LA.   I got there late and Michelle and I stayed up even later chatting in the hot tub into the wee hours of the morning.  We got up early and headed over to an intense kickboxing class, then off to an italian sandwich cafe to pick up lunch to bring to the beach.  We spent the day reading, talking, and napping in the sand listening to the waves.  We ended up back at her gorgeous house nestled into the hills, enjoying the pool and the hot tub again.  Driving home I felt a little lighter, and full of gratitude for the difference a good friend can make.  

Friday, August 14, 2009

Under The Big Top

The Hurd Family Reunion at Bear lake was just like a three ringed circus!  Willie the clown even joined us for the week providing hours of entertainment for the kids while they attended "clown school".   The refreshments for the week included an unlimited supply of snow cones and cotton candy!
In the morning while the kids were occupied my dad and his sisters and mom and dad had a chance to catch up.  They sorted through old family photos, putting names and dates with faces. We had a good time reconnecting with our cousins as well.

When clown school was out we headed over to lake.  The kids loved digging in the sand, finding shells on the shore, canoeing and kayaking in the lake, and playing in the water.  

The entertainment on night two was Karaoke!  The Armstrong sisters did a soulful rendition of Cher's Do You Believe in Life After Love.  Brynne sang Go Diego Go, Pete rocked Vanilla Ice and the boys brought down the house with YMCA.

The highlight however was our last night at the circus, featuring all our little ones, aunt Bev the MC and Willie the clown.  My little Brynne started off the show with this number!

In between the kids acts Uncle Bob showed off his juggling skills, and David wowed the crowd with his mad skills on the pogo stick!
When the tents came down it was raining and 45 degrees outside! We were ready to head back home to bask under the hot California sun!  See ya next year...