P.S. to Connections

Sure hope I didn’t come across as a boastful braggart in last week’s post about the importance of friends and family in helping us find our way through life. While it’s true that I’ve been extraordinarily blessed with relationships with lovely people, it’s also true that few of them (none, in fact) came marching up to my door, rang the bell, and said, “Hey, I want to be your buddy.” Quite the contrary. Often, I had to take the initiative, whether it was in squaring my shoulders and making myself go where the action was or in making myself speak up and say, “Hi, I’m Jayne.”

Sometimes it’s hard to get out of our comfort zones, but if we don’t, then how can we grow? How can we meet these marvelous people who are just on the other side of the door? As a quick example, today Elizabeth and I attended church in Conway. “Big deal,” some of you might be thinking. “Didn’t you go there for years, and don’t you still have friends there?” The answer is yes…and yes again. At the same time, the Conway ward used to be a small branch, and we knew everyone there. Today Lib and I had to scan the congregation pretty closely to find two empty seats. Er, we got there a few minutes late, and well, we didn’t get any back row seats. What I’m saying is that the number of people attending has greatly increased, and many of them are strangers to us.

But after Relief Society (LOVE that organization), I asked one of the women if she still worked at HGTC. “No,” she replied. “I resigned in order to complete my degree and to work on my family.” I understand what she meant 100 percent. Anyway, as we chatted, she mentioned that she was having a birthday party/luncheon for her little grandson and asked if we wanted to attend. Duty called for both Elizabeth and me, so I reluctantly declined and said I sure hoped she’d extend another invitation in the future. She said she would;  in fact, she said she thought we probably had a lot in common and that we’d find plenty to talk about.  I agree. And the funny thing is, I’d never spoken to her before although I’d seen her pretty face for five or six years when visiting that ward. Today I stepped out of my comfort zone and made a new friend. You should too.

Just a couple more friend and family notes. Friday evening, I was fortunate enough to have dinner with work friends, past and present, and to meet yet another new friend who lives in NMB. From the looks of how his friendship with CCD is progressing, I’ll probably be seeing more of him.  The rest of the weekend was spent with DH’s family, shopping and dining out. Sara J’s in Garden City is a great place for seafood, by the way. The weekend was bookended by lunch with Paul at the Wendy’s on Assembly Street in Columbia on Friday and church attendance with Elizabeth in Conway today.  

Now’s the time to mention that I’m more of an introvert than an extravert. Yes, it’s true. I value my solitude and have to have it in order to recharge my mental, emotional, and spiritual batteries. After spending nearly three hours on the beach alone on Saturday morning, I was again ready to face the world. It was overcast morning, perfect for collecting sea shells, people watching, and walking. And oh my, the sight of ocean and the sound of its roar added to my morning’s walk. How can anyone visit the edge of the continent and not feel His presence? I’m including a few pictures that I snapped with my Blackberry.  IMG00363IMG00366

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So yes, friends and families are ultra important. If you’re reading this and are feeling alone and sort of “out of the loop,” pick up the phone and call someone. Or send a card or an email or go to an evening church service. Or look for events in your area where like-minded people might be congregating, and then GO THERE. I have a “be brave” label on my front page, and it’s been there for quite a while, mainly as a reminder to me but also as a prompt for others. As the late Gordon B. Hinckley was fond of saying, “Do it.”

Beach Lessons

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week with Carrie and the cuties July 2009 119

I can’t help it. The older I get, the more lessons I see in just about everything, and this past Friday’s adventure at the beach with Carrie and her children was no exception. In fact, in a relatively short period of time, I was reminded of a host of things. Here goes.

It was a 35 mile trip from Lib’s house to the strand, and on our way we rode in and out of sunshine. Carrie expressed concern over the overcast skies, but I reminded her of how things could be sunny on the beach and raining like crazy a couple of blocks away. We found a parking place at 50th Avenue, and it was lovely.  As we got out of the car and began unloading our stuff (chairs, towels, bags, children) to walk down to the beach, I couldn’t help but notice how lovely the sea oats and other greenery were. They framed the scene so nicely for us that I  made the three older Maseda kids pose for me (see above).

Within minutes, we were basking in the sun and getting our feet wet in the warm water. Carrie was snapping pictures right and left, and all was grand. Then suddenly, Carrie said, “It’s raining.” I turned around to see her gathering up our things, and about that time the sky fell in…or so it seemed. Blinding sheets of rain pelted us, and wherever I looked, I saw people walking, heads down, as fast as they could towards shelter.  Then the wind picked up, and sand stung our legs.

Truly, of all of my decades of coming to the beach, I’ve never experienced such a deluge of rain and windborne sand. It was actually a little disconcerting, especially when I saw Emma and Brooke screaming as they tried to wrap their towels around their tiny bodies. Around and around, they spun. Braden didn’t look too happy either, but he had managed to get his towel around him, thus protecting his skin from the stinging sand and pelting rain.  I had the baby in my arms, and all I could see were his blue, blue eyes searching my face as if to ask, “What’s going on?” Carrie got the truly necessary items, and we left the chairs behind. Once in the car, the children enjoyed their Fruit Snacks, and Colton and I shared a banana while Carrie closely monitored the weather. Within five minutes, it was over. Seriously, the rain and wind ceased completely, and the sun popped out.  The sky was a beautiful Carolina blue with only a few white clouds in the sky.

Again, we trudged down to the strand and got set up again. What followed was a delightful afternoon of sun and fun. Among my favorite memories are Braden and Emma frolicking in the surf. Brooke was more cautious and stayed along the edge of the water. She spent much of her time searching for sea shells, and I’m hoping that she and her mom will make me a picture frame with the tiny shells that we collected. Emma was the daredevil, and once when she tromped out behind Braden and wouldn’t stop no matter how loudly I yelled, the strong surf knocked her down.  I tried to pick her up while holding on to Carrie’s camera,  but again she fell. The current was just too strong. Unfortunately, the camera got wet, but I was able to pull Emma out of the surf. Undaunted, she continued to play in the ocean.  Colton, the happiest baby in the world, slept through much of the afternoon. I took him for a long, slow (he’s heavy) walk, and as I’d look down at his sleeping face, I couldn’t help but remember my own babies and how walking them always seemed to lull them to sleep.

So what are the lessons I was reminded of?  The primary one is that storms always pass; that’s nature’s way.  This is true for “real life” too. The sun always comes out again, and sometimes when it comes out again, the brightness of it is even better than before. Sometimes in life our trials last much longer, but they always pass, and at some point in time, you’ll see a ray of sun shining through.  Even if it’s just a tiny ray, it can give you hope.

Another lesson learned is that we need to travel lightly. People count. So do provisions. We had to get the children to safety, and we left the things that didn’t matter so much behind.

While we were sitting in the car waiting it out, I thought of how nice it was to have a little refreshment to tide us over. It gave the children something to do and took their minds off of the storm for a few moments.

A final lesson is that while you’re waiting out the storm, it’s nice if you have people with you who are positive. Who wants a naysayer awfulizing about something? Carrie and I kept each other’s spirits up by reminding each other of how quickly these storms can come and go.

This is the longest blog post I’ve written in a while, and believe it or not, there’s plenty more I could add. I won’t, however. I’ll just wait and see if anyone comments on any of the experiences you’ve had with storms or about the value of positive people, refreshments, or material things (?) when the going gets rough.