Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sleeping on the trampoline

When I was growing up we spent many a summer night sleeping on trampolines.  We thought it was the coolest thing ever! ( I have since come to believe our mothers figured out it was a good way to get us out of the house and not have  to listen to us and yell at us to shut up and go to sleep)  My kids were big on sleeping out on the tramp as well when they were little, so it only makes sense that I would want to share that tradition with my grandchildren. 

It's been hot as blazes here in Colorado the last while, so getting out of my house without air conditioning has been tops on my priority list.  A couple of nights ago, while watching my 3 year old granddaughter jumping on the tramp at dusk I knew we had to have a trampoline sleepover.   I climbed on the tramp with her and did a few rounds of "ring around the rosie"  (Which was more fun when I was younger....I was beginning to get vertigo) and we laid down and looked at the clouds and decided what they were.  (spiders, angels and monkeys...oh my!!)  and hatched the plan with her to sleep outside.  Her eyes were huge in disbelief that sleeping outside on the tramp was even allowed.  She smiled at me with the largest grin I have seen on her face in a long time.  It was as if in her little mind she was thinking-
, "I need to hang out more with Gammie.  She has some serious fun."
(Which thinking she wound be totally right!!)

We grabbed the blankies from around the house, made popcorn, and pulled out the laptop to watch a movie. (yea, we didn't do that as a kid)  The movie portion actually lasted only a few minutes, and I was thrilled when she said, "Gammie, can we turn off the movie and look at the stars?" 
"Duh" I thought.   My one minute to unplug and hang out with her and I organize more technology for her.  I made a note to myself not to do that again, and off went the movie. 

 We laid on our backs and snacked on popcorn.  We talked about stars and where they came from and what they were made of and how big they were.  I made up most of the stuff as I am not sure the exact molecular structure of a star, but she thought the answer that Heavenly Father and Jesus made the stars so we would have a beautiful sky to look at night was a great answer.  (And, frankly, I do too!)

We looked at all the airplanes flying with their blinking lights.   We guessed where the people in the airplanes were flying to.  She snuggled close to me and giggled. ( I hardly slept, and my granddaughter will probably get west nile from all the bug bites she has,) It was the best night in a long time. 

Too often we are so busy with the hustle and bustle of life.  We do what our Iphones and blackberries tell us to do when they tell us to do them.  I don't want to live my life like that.  I want memories that last into eternity.  I want my granddaughter to remember the night on the trampoline and I hope there are many more in the future.   I have learned something from the teachers I work with.  They take summers off still. While I continue to work every day and juggle all the responsibilities of the leadership program, they are not.  And they are smarter than I am.  They went on vacation for six weeks.  They are up in the mountains all summer.  They are bike riding, swimming, and making sandcastles.  That is why they are teachers, and they are smart to use their time to unplug.  Heaven knows they will spend the next nine months running with their hair on fire. Maybe we all don't get summers off, but we all get some time off.  Are we using that time to make a difference and build relationships with those who matter most, or are we bringing work home, shoo-ing off the kids to be quiet, ignoring our spouse for hours at a time to do a little more work? 

Don't forget why we are here- build those relationships that truly matter!  Because that is how we truly make a difference, one random woman at a time!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Good Karma

 On a recent trip to Las Vegas, Nevada with my two sons for a basketball tournament I knew I would have some free time.  I decided to sneak out of the hotel early while my teenage boys were still sleeping (thus they would never really know I was gone, and I would not miss any fun times with them! Aahh,  the beauty of teenage boys and their sleep patterns!)  and head to the Las Vegas Temple. 

I love to visit the other temples!  The are so beautiful and so unique while still being so similar.  (I know, that sounds silly, but it's true!) 

We were on a pretty tight budget this trip- in fact, I did not rent a car.  I knew the temple was a bit away from the hotel we were staying at on the strip, but I thought I could still get a cab ride to the temple.  It would be a little pricey, but certainly worth it! 

I got a cab with a lady who was from Ethiopia and had been in the United States for around ten years.  She had no idea where the temple was.  I was glad to have the GPS on my phone to make sure we were headed the right way!!  This sweet lady and I had a wonderful conversation about our families, and why I needed to attend a "church" that was so far away.  (she assured me she would help me find one closer, but I insisted this was the one I wanted to go to!)  I began to get nervous in the back seat of the cab when I saw the dollar amount for my ride continue to climb and climb.  I was nearing the dollar amount I had envisioned spending on the entire trip, and I was not at the temple yet.  My heart sank as I began to calculate the cost of a return trip.  Maybe this was a bad idea. 

We got closer to the temple and I began to contemplate walking the rest of the way when I saw Moroni in the distance, but I continued on with my sweet driver chatting about so many things.   As we got closer, my cab driver got quiet. 
She said, "Oh my, it's beautiful!  I had no idea this building was here!!"
We pulled into the parking lot and were met by the sign- "Las Vegas Temple- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."  My cab driver read the sign.
  Her eyebrows raised.
She said quietly, "You believe in Jesus Christ?"
I smiled.  "Yes, I do." I replied.
She said, "I do too."
I said, "It makes all the difference in my world."
We pulled to the front of the temple doors and she asked me how long my church service was, and how was I getting home.  I told her I would probably need a ride.  (with my stomach sinking, while I calculated the tip for with my trip) She gave me her phone number and told me to call her.   She marveled again at the beautiful gardens and I told her to park her cab for a couple minutes and enjoy the serenity of the temple grounds.  I thanked her for the ride, and headed to the front doors.

  I said a quiet prayer for my new friend from Ethiopia.

I walked in the front door of the temple.  It was beautiful, but I could hardly think because I began to worry about the costs of the trip.  How was I going to get back to the hotel?  Maybe there was a bus?  I was met at the front door by a sweet sister who welcomed me to the temple.  I must have had that "I am confused and don't know which way to go look" on my face, as she asked me if this was my first time at the temple.  I told her I was from Colorado and was visiting.  She smiled and told me she would help me navigate my way around.  We chatted quietly for a moment as we walked into the temple and she helped me find my way around to prepare for the next session.  I thanked her for all her help and went to the chapel to wait for the next session. 

My mind went from looking at the beauty of the temple to panicking about the cost of the cab ride.  I knew I needed to "put the world aside" so that I could enjoy the peace of the temple.  I said a heartfelt prayer that I would figure something out.  I knew the Lord loved me, and was mindful of my situation, so I needed to enjoy the time at the temple and put the worries of  the cab ride away.  I did my best. 

Towards the end of the session I began to think about the cab ride again.  "would that older couple think I was a weirdo if I asked them to drive me to the strip?" I thought.... maybe not, but probably.  So I decided not to ask total strangers for rides.
  I could ask the front desk if there was a bus nearby.
Or.......I  could just suck it up and pay the cab ride.
It was my sacrifice for attending the temple. 
That was it.
Stop whining Carrie! 
Put on your big girl panties!
You are not pulling a hand cart!!
You did not save for five years to pay for a boat ride to the temple thousands of miles away.
You have a cab ride that cost you more that you wanted to.
Deal with it. 
Yup, that was it.  I took a big breath, said a small prayer for the opportunity to serve in the beautiful Las Vegas Temple and I walked out the door to change my clothes. 

Just then Karma happened.

The sweet lady who showed me around in the beginning of my day was standing outside another door.  Her eyes lite up when she saw me. 
"There you are!" she said.
"What hotel are you staying at?" She asked me.
"I told her I was at Mandalay Bay, on the strip.  
"She glanced at her watch.  I get off my shift in 20 minutes, and I would be happy to drive you to your hotel.  It's silly for you to pay for a cab." 


I asked her if she was sure, and told her she was an answer to a prayer.  She told me she would meet me out front in 20 minutes. 

I changed my clothes and said a prayer.  That was an answer to a prayer.  It came swift, quickly and actually exactly how I would have liked it to be answered.  But only after I was willing to pay the cab ride.   I know all prayers aren't answered like that.  If they were no one I know would be dead, sick, divorced, flunked a test, needed surgery or wanted for anything.  But today in Las Vegas, I hit the jackpot. 

I met my ride in the front of the temple.  She apologized for making me wait. Really?  You are doing me a huge favor and you are apologizing....really?  Yup... your are an LDS Woman....

We headed off to Mandalay Bay.  We hit it off and had several things in common.  And the kicker?  Her name was Karma.  I'd say she was appropriately named.  She was good Karma today!  She dropped me off at the front of the hotel.  She, of course, would not take any money.  I thanked her and she drove away.  My boys were just waking up, I had a wonderful time at the temple, and I got a little reminder of how much my Heavenly Father knows me, loves me and is there for me. I also got a reminder that women rock.  The do amazing things for each other. My life was touched by my cab driver and sweet Karma.  Just goes to show you, we can all make a difference, one random woman at a time!!