Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My life has been a surprise from the start, rife with unexpected twists and turns, never dull but rarely twisting or turning on queue. Yet, I must confess that the brilliant and sometimes painful colors of those byways and sideways have shaped me into a thought-full and passionate person with stories to tell.

My first four years of of life were spent in San Mateo, California. Before I turned five, we moved to a rural neighborhood outside of Carson City, Nevada. Two years after our move, my father died from complications following surgery and left my mother with the profound difficulty of supporting and raising four children alone. I did not understand for a few years how strong she had been to not only survive, but to flourish. All I remember was the wonderful life I enjoyed in our home. During those years in Carson, I discovered the magic of imagination. My friends and I roamed freely through the hills hunting lizards, snakes, horn toads, and spiders. Many happy hours were spent at the Carson River catching crawdads (we always let them go after we got a bucketful) and fish. We would ride our horses for miles, pan for gold, and while away our summers on the beaches of Lake Tahoe.

My mother, my greatest friend and example, was an orchestra and music teacher and was the one who gave me the gift of music. At ten I began a devotion to playing the violin that soon consumed hours a day. She was my very first instructor. When I was thirteen, she accepted a teaching position in Reno, and we moved, but not before spending a magical summer along the beaches of Santa Barbara. My mother needed to continue her education, and UCSB seemed as good a place as any (one of the best if you ask me) for the enterprise. Ocean, sky, sea creatures, shells, sand, sun.

In the jargon of Regency England, I would have to say our move to Reno was "providential." Some of the most significant friendships, lessons, and opportunities of my life resulted from our move to Reno. Those years remind me of the seasons here in Utah, dramatic, vastly varied, and essential for the fall harvest. I am deeply grateful for the good and the bad of those years and the dear friends who shared them with me. They helped to shape me into the person I am today.

I finally graduated from high school and moved on to some of the best years of my life as a student at Brigham Young University. Wow, how to sum up BYU! Too much fun at first. In fact, during my first year there, I played myself right into placement on academic warning, but never fear, I shaped up and turned 'D's into 'A's. Whew! It was a close call, though. The fun slowed, the work increased. May I brag just a bit? Well, I played in the BYU symphony and danced on the BYU Ballroom dance team--loved it!!! Did I mention how wonderful it was waltzing in the arms of handsome young men? One might almost think me being groomed for writing regency romance novels!

After three years of college, I still didn't have a clue what I wanted to be. A life-changing opportunity to live in Germany and serve others came my way, and when I returned a year and a half later, I knew exactly what I wanted to do; I wanted to teach German. And guess what? That is exactly what I have done for the last *&;# years (you didn't really think I was going to admit how many).

During my last year of college, I met and married my "handsome stranger" (a private joke), and we began our life together in magnificent San Diego.  After eight years, my husband changed careers, and we moved back to Utah and settled in a quaint little town called Bountiful. It is a great place to live, a real Mayberry, and we still live there today.

At present, I boast a very full legacy of two handsome sons, a loving, thoughtful sweetheart of 29 years, three cats, a gorgeous yard full of trees, the drama of 56 years of life, and a soul absolutely cramm-packed with lessons learned in agony, joys grown from great effort, blessings received without deserving most of them, and a heart full of more magical memories than I could possilby ever describe. There you have it, the reason I simply must write.