My only memory of rock climbing was when my poor high school friends were filming a video where they needed a girl at the top of a climb.... so my only experience was my friends trying to pull my weak heavy body up the red sandstone of Cedar Canyon.
Yes that was a terrible memory.
So when Jason suggested we try rock climbing I was very nervous. But the good news is, I really like it! We just got back from climbing, but here are the pictures from last weekend when we went.
Yesterday on a bike ride up Provo Canyon I was listening to my grandpa's funeral. P.S. I asked the biologist at my school about the leaves... they aren't brilliant this year due to the lack of water at the beginning of the summer. :( Anyway, I was listening to my grandpa's funeral. Kinda weird I know, even weirder that I have listened to is multiple times. I'm sure I look like an absolutely crazy person as I am running on the treadmill with tears flowing down my cheeks as I listen to it. But the talks given at the funeral were absolutely beautiful so often when I'm sick of music I've been listening to them. (I used to listen to Mere Christianity and Harry Potter 7 but now that I can repeat both word for word, I've been trying to venture out.)
Anyway my uncle Nolan gave a wonderful talk that I feel really connected to. But as I was listening to the talk something struck me this time. He said, "My dad lived to find beauty." As I was riding up the canyon through the gorgeous river bottom with arching trees and breath taking waterfalls I was inspired to create a life so someone would say about me someday. But the more I thought about it the more I realized that although I do love beauty and seek beauty what I live for is people. I love people. Now what's hard about beauty is it's always just a fleeting moment when the sky reaches golden hour and the rays of sunlight cast a beautiful spotlight on a mountain or the valley floor is covered in wildflowers or a fresh blanket of snow turns an ugly dead forest into a winter wonderland. Beauty is always fleeting. But what's so hard for me is so are people.
Now clearly that's a ridiculous statement, people are clearly more stable and constant that a ray of sun or a wildflower or clean snow... but the moment when a group of people mesh and bond together that I long for so deeply... those moments of beauty to me.... they are fleeting moments that I live for.
As I was riding up the canyon I was thinking of some of my favorite groups of people that I loved so dearly. Being that I love people I of course keep in contact with them but as we know it never really is the same. And often times that depresses me. The idea that it will never be the same. The idea that the bond that once was so strong eventually becomes just memory. But luckily as I was riding up the canyon I came to a realization. Sure those eras are over. Sure they will never return. But how lucky is it that there are wonderful people everywhere! That everywhere I turn I find a new group of people to love and adore and laugh with and cry with. My current group is hands down the most eclectic but what makes me the most excited is that I love them almost just as much as any others. Every day after I walk out of lunch I feel so privileged to even know them, lucky to be apart of them.
So today rather than being sad that these eras are over, I am happy that I know, groups of friends will come and go, but the best part is there is always something around the river bend.
But of course here is a picture of the group that will always and forever be my favorite.
It's been a while since I've given a play by play of a day in my life... sadly due to a husband who doesn't care for pictures, I have completely gotten out of the habit of taking pictures but I'll find images somewhere...
Today started so wonderful because I slept in! Slept until 7! What the heck is wrong with me I cannot figure out, but lately I haven't been able to sleep beyond 5.
So I started at the gym with a step class and then when I normally would have done the pump class after my dear gym buddy Ashley and I ran on the treadmill. The reason why I didn't dare lift another weight today is because I lifted super duper hard on Thursday and then on Friday Jason and I went climbing at the Quarry. I can only mention climbing now because I have officially arrived! We got me my own climbing shoes AND I climbed at 10a which Jason says is the difficulty you must be able to climb in order to say, Yeah I climb.
Anyways, back to the gym. It is crazy how fast time flies when you can talk to someone while on the treadmill! Ashley is a a second year in BYU Law and she just got two job offers! So so proud of her!
Came home from the gym and at the most delicious breakfast consisting of homegrown peaches, tomatoes, cucumbers, 2 egg whites, and homemade banana bread with lots of walnuts. After taking a shower I jumped back in bed and read Austenland.
Kinda a super duper stupid book until the ending. I cannot tell you how much I loved the ending!!!! I love the ending so much that I cannot to wait to watch the movie with my friend Amelia this week. (I am not going to make Jason suffer through such torture.)
When I finished the book Jason had got home from playing so we got ready to head on an adventure. I was a little bummed that we didn't have a snack for our "road trip". As I was searching our cupboards Jason was like, "Wait, wait, what's up here?" He pulled a baggie full of Swedish Fish out from behind one of our paintings in our living room. It's so hilarious! We bought a huge back of Swedish Fish at Costco which I told him to hide so I didn't eat the whole thing in one sitting. What I didn't understand is that he thought that meant he needed to hide baggies full of Swedish Fish throughout our apartment. Some of my favorite hiding places I've found so far have been in the cushions of the couch, underneath the laundry soap, and my personal favorite in the guitar.
Anyway, on our adventure we first stopped with everyone else in Utah at Chalk the Block down in the Riverwoods. Super fun, live music, and loads of Utah County people watching.
It was kinda a deary fallish day which made me want to go to Park City. Jason had never been to Park City other than to snowboard/ski so it was a totally new adventure for him. I must say one kinda down of the trip was.... the drive which is absolutely spectacular, was kinda a drag. ALL the leaves that usually are an array of brilliant oranges, reds, and yellows..... were all an ugly brown. So when it normal looks like this:
it was a bit disappointing that they were all just a mute brown color....... I wonder why that happened??
Anyway we got to Park City to the most beautiful rainy cool weather, perfect to walk around at all the shops and visited some fun art galleries. I know a lot of really hip travelers out there hate touristy areas... but I am such a sucker for them! And Main Street Park City is definitely no exception. We ended our visit with a delicious bowl of soup and then the most delicious smelling, yet not tasting.... so sad, bakery I've ever experienced.
As we drove home I told Jason every detail of the book Austenland.... poor guy. I just loved the ending so much!
Then we got home, snuggled up on the couch and watched an episode of Prison Break which had to be followed by something nice and not scary so I didn't have nightmares... First episode of Pride and Prejudice.... and I fell asleep.
I love people. I love relationships. This morning I am just sitting and thinking of all the random acts of kindness that have happened to me this week. Sometimes life is hard. It's life right? But it's times when life is rough that the little things affect me so much.
I am just sitting here thinking of all the kind things that have happened to me the last week. I mean simple things. A card from my sister that brought me to tears, a invite from my bff to meet her at the zoo with Cafe Rio waiting, a hug from my mom, an email from my darling mother in law or a call from Lars on his drive back from Arizona.... or this:
When my dear friend walked into my classroom holding this box of home grown produce it took everything in me not to cry. I feel so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life. And the good part is, whenever someone does something nice, it's like a ripple affect and it makes me want to go out and spread sunshine. So Joan, my students are thanking you. :)
Probably one of the most valuable things I've ever learned came from the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People." Sometimes I am blown away by how wise my dad is. Honestly I don't know how it happened but man alive I am grateful for his wisdom. Anyway, back when I was a very very bratty 17 year old girl who thought the world revolved around me, my dad begged and begged for me to read this book. I think he tried everything... bribe me, punish me.... and as far as I can recall it didn't work. I didn't read it.
Until much later.
One of the best lessons to be learned in the book is about names. Dale says, "A name, to that person, is the sweetest word in that language." He goes on to talk about how everyone is terrible at names. It isn't easy to remember names. But each and every year when I get my list of 283 students I remember the wisdom of that book and I do everything in my power to start learning my students names as quickly as possible. You would not believe how much a 14 year old will light up when I say hi to the student by name in the hall. Something so simple can bring me so far.
It's crazy how something so simple is so significant. How much it bothers us when someone miss spells our name or can't pronounce it. If I saw Kristen Parsons one more time......
I thought I knew how important names were. I thought I really grasped it. Until my name changed.
I've dreamed my whole life about the day my name would finally change. I was the pathetic girl that would practice writing my name with every last name I could think of. (But if you know me at all, you know that's not saying much.... or if you ever had to sit by me through anything with a pen in my hand you know I write my name more than anyone you'll ever meet.)
I can't believe how difficult it has been this year to not be Miss Parson. Sure it's only been 3 weeks and hopefully it'll change. But I have worked so hard to create my identity. I have become so proud of who Miss Parson is in the town I teach. And as silly as it sounds, it is so hard to watch Miss Parson just fade away. It's almost like part of me has died and will never return.
As I have stated before it makes me feel so good when old students come back and visit. And yesterday was no exception. It almost brought tears to my eyes yesterday when Jake, my funniest student 4 years ago, opened the door and yelled, "MISSS PARSON!!!!!!" I don't know why it affected me so much. Just hearing him say my name with such love and excitement. It's hard not hearing that anymore. It's hard having to start over, create a new identity. It's hard having my students stumble over my name every time they try and get my attention. It's hard to remember I am the same person, the same teacher, the same passionate crazy lady that wants so badly for my students to care about the world.
I'm so proud to be a Braithwaite. I'm proud of the heritage I know it has. I love that my students no longer have to feel sorry for me when they find out I'm 30 years old. I love that I am attached to Jason. Every time the secretary calls me over the intercom and says, "Mrs. Braithwaite, we need so and so in the office." I get all warm and fuzy inside. But it's my teaching identity that is hard to give up. And who knew that for me, so much of that was in a name.