10 years ago I never had visiting Africa on my list of top 10 places to visit. (Sure I thought it would be great to go, but I had a plethora of other places I would have picked first). Then my dad got asked to go do some vision projects in the DR Congo and since my mom had some health issues, I got to be his companion. It was tough. The smells are almost unbearable, I always felt hungry, I got tired after long days of traveling and working, and the living conditions are heart breaking. But it was also life changing. There are so many Africans making the best of what they can and trying to help those around them. It made me want to be a better person. I guess it is one of those things you can't really describe, you just have to experience for yourself. Anyway, since that first trip to Africa back in 2006, my dad has gone back 2 or 3 times a year setting up vision projects for the LDS Church. Africa has grown to hold a special place in our family. My mom has been his primary companion on these trips and I'm proud to say she is keeping the fabric market in business. For Christmas this year she made each of her children a beautiful African quilt. Each one a little different, full of crazy colors and patterns (one of my favorite parts of Africa is the visual feast of colors and designs). I love my quilt! Thank you mom!
This will be my 5th Thanksgiving spent with the Mr. The first was a fabulous show with fireworks, cheers, a first kiss, and Mediterranean food disguised to taste American (it did not work) . The third was spent away from family and friends with no appearance of a Thanksgiving feast whatsoever. And even though I would love nothing more than to be back in Belgium eating frites with my man, at the time I wanted nothing more than to be at home sitting down to a feast with family. This year we are so blessed to be able to have two feasts in one day.
Happy Thanksgiving! Today I am grateful for traditions, family, and for you.
I realized I haven't posted hardly anything about where I work. I work for my dad at Excel Eye Center in American Fork (we have offices all over utah county). My dad is an Opthalmologist (eye doc) and my main title is the refractive surgery counselor and coordinator. Since my dad has retired from Lasik I really only deal with cataract surgeries for him and a few other doctors. I also help with most other stuff in the office as well though. I love my job. It may not be very "career oriented" or sound that impressive--but I am happy to go to work everyday, and I think that says a lot. Some of these people I have known my entire life. Its funny how they know more about the details of my life than some of my best freinds. I guess that is what happens when you spend 8+ hours a day with someone. We have this imaginary circle drawn around the office that says anything said within that circle stays in that circle. I know I can go to Laura or Sandi about anything and keep their trust.
I love the patients that we see. Some of them are crazy, and some are really mean, but most of them are simply sweet. I have learned so many life lessons from observing the patients. (Including many lessons about what type of person NOT to become). I know that I am actaully making a difference when I try to help an elderly couple navigate their insurance company or console a mother who fears her child might lose their sight.
The best part about work though is my dad. We see a lot of elderly patients, which causes me to reflect on my life as they are at the end of theirs. I know I will always cherish these years spent seeing so much of my dad and learning about the man he is away from home.
I feel I need to follow-up on my last post and say I'm doing better. I can't claim that I'm totally comparison or envy free, but my perspective is continusouly getting better and better. I appreciate the comments to help me know I am not alone on this one. We are all struggling, and it helps me keep in perspective just how glorious it is to know that the Lord's side wins because man--Satan is smart. He knows exactly where I am weak. But I am blessed to have counsel from our living Prophets to bring me up again.
The Lovely Bethany pointed me to this gem by Elder Holland. I would post the enitre talk here because every sentence is so profound. But I feel like this quote is pretty much how I was feeling before:
"In a world that constantly compares people, ranking them as more or less intelligent, more or less attractive, more or less successful, it is not easy to really believe in a [divine] love that does not do the same. When I hear someone praised,” he says, “it is hard not to think of myself as less praiseworthy; when I read about the goodness and kindness of other people, it is hard not to wonder whether I myself am as good and kind as they; and when I see trophies, rewards, and prizes being handed out to special people, I cannot avoid asking myself why that didn’t happen to me"
And now I'm feeling much more like this:
"Brothers and sisters, I testify that no one of us is less treasured or cherished of God than another. I testify that He loves each of us—insecurities, anxieties, self-image, and all. He doesn’t measure our talents or our looks; He doesn’t measure our professions or our possessions. He cheers on every runner, calling out that the race is against sin, not against each other. I know that if we will be faithful, there is a perfectly tailored robe of righteousness ready and waiting for everyone, 14 “robes … made … white in the blood of the Lamb.” 15 May we encourage each other in our effort to win that prize is my earnest prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
Thank you for not chastising me in my momment of confession. And please do not hesitate to post your successes and accomplishments--they truly give me hope and inspiration.
I think I need help.
Mostly I need someone to empathize with me and tell me I'm not the only one that has these feelings.
A couple months ago we had a 5th Sunday lesson about the postivies of the internet. I'm really grateful for that lesson because otherwise I might get overwhelmed with how negativly the internet can influence me.
What I mean is that I get bombarded (okay its probably my fault for reading blogs all the time and browsing facebook) with everyone's success stories and then sit back and think, "what the heck? am I not doing enough with my life?"
Does anyone else get discouraged about this? Or ask if these people are even real?
I understand that people aren't going to post about their failures and short comings for the most part. Heck--I haven't posted in a couple months because I haven't felt I have anything to "talk" (alright, I mean brag) about right now. But why is that the case? Why do we fear what others will think of us? Why have we defined success by how busy we are?
I already have answers to all these questions, and tomrrow I'm sure I'll feel my normal self again. But for now I feel like I need to take a stance against the world.
My name is Heather. I don't have the patience to sew perfect lines for quilts. I don't have a smart phone yet. My face still breaks out more than I would like it to. And that is okay!
--Let's be honest, I've been blessed with way more than I deserve.
Last night as the sun had already set, we walked around the high school track next to our apartment. Hand-in-hand we got carried away in a discussion about freedom of speech and the policies behind tax law (most if it I don't really get). Our voices hardly concealed the excitement as we played out future scenarios of living our dreams. What would we do if Mitch got this internship? Or what would it be like if we lived in that state (or country)?
3 years ago I married Mitch with dreams of what would come. Many of those dreams have changed but I still can't believe how much joy I have as the wife of this man. I've learned that it doesn't really matter what happens to us. Success or failure in whatever we dream--the only thing that truly matters is that I did it with him.
Mitch starts school again tomorrow. I've been spoiled this summer having him in the evenings and going on trips. I haven't posted in a month and I know I won't get around to doing a post for each thing that happened the last half of this summer. But I did finally load pictures from my camera to Mitch's fancy new laptop. So here are some of the exciting things that happened:
Dear Liz got married. It was so beautiful.
We went to Kanosh with Tyson and Keera and other great friends.
They have some awesome warm springs there.
Mitch finally saw Old Faithful.
Baby Paul was born--the Hunsaker name lives on.
I spent time with friends.
Mitch and I both had birthdays.
Dad ran his first half-marathon. (and Karren dominated her second one)
We got to spend a lot of time with family.
And cute Madie got married.
This summer was great. We are curious for what this fall will bring. (I'm sorry if I missed other things that happened this summer, these are just the ones I had photos to document)
We had the Jesse Hunsaker family reunion last week up in Ashton, Idaho at a beautiful cabin. It was very large and right on the river; it was so much fun. We decided to do a mini olympics to get in the mood for the end of this month (I love to watch the olympics). We divided up into teams and represented countries of ancestry: Isle of Man, England, Sweden, and Switzerland. (My team was Switzerland and we dominated) Each night we had various events and a hoot of a time. I love my family so much I can hardly contain the excitement.
I have so much to catch up on, summer is always so busy. We've had Liz's wedding, family events, Alpine on fire causing an evacuation, and lots more coming up. But I have to devote one post just to my marathon.
As I was 400 m from the finish line, this sweet lady next to me told me to hold the image in my mind and try to remember it as I remember my wedding day. I thought that was a little bold at the time, but now I understand why. Running a marathon is the biggest accomplishment I have done physically and the feeling of crossing the finish line is surreal.
The last 6 miles are tough. I've decided that anyone can run 20 miles, its the last 6.2 that get you. And for a first time marathoner, I didn't know what to expect. I was so relieved when I found Mitch on his bike at mile 20. He rode along side me the last 6, and I needed him every step of that. At mile 22 I was so focused on just putting one foot in front of the other that I didn't even notice my dear friend Katie cheering for me until she was right in my face. The only thing I could mumble to her was "this sucks." Which it did, at mile 22 and all the way to mile 26. But boy oh boy that last stretch is worth the whole thing. And honestly, the whole way is so neat. I really want to run a marathon with someone in the future for company, but I was glad I did one on my own. I felt so alive and at one with myself.
I crossed the finish line at 4:08 which I was more than happy with considering at one point I didn't know if my body would ever be able to handle a marathon. I have room to improve but I beat my goal. I am so lucky that I had wonderful friends and family to cheer me on at the finish line. As a runner, having a support system makes all the difference.
Kelli and Tom presented me with the Pickett Pineapple at the finish line. That was a great honor! :)
I love this guy--he is the best support. And I am slowly getting him to enjoy running more and more. I doubt I'll ever convince him to run a marathon after my incident (keep reading) but I do believe we will enjoy a lifetime of "callitawalkandthenstartrunning" together.
So I felt great after the marathon for about 30 minutes. But then my vision started getting blurry and I felt like I would pass out. I ended up throwing up and for the next 7 hours I couldn't keep a single thing down. Mitch was really worried and at about 5 pm we ended up at the hospital because of dehydration. After a couple IV's I started feeling great. I just desperately needed some fluids in me and I couldn't keep them down orally.
At one point after the marathon my brother-in-law asked me if the marathon was worth it. I told him that if I ever wanted to run one again he needed to remind me how miserable I felt afterwards. I'll hold it to him because I already want to run another one.
This week has gone by so slow. I just want 10:30 Saturday morning to be here already. The last couple of days I have been plagued by spontaneous flouts of butterflies in my stomach. Not the type that comes just before a kiss. The type that makes you feel sick with nervousness. This morning I woke up every 10 minutes to check the clock. My dreams played tricks on me as I would wake up in a panic thinking I was going to be late. I doubt I'll get much sleep tonight.
I'm just finally getting around to uploading my pictures to the computer so I can now tell you about our latest adventure. A few weeks ago we decided to go pay a Sunday visit to our friends Matt and Sandee. They are another couple that met in Jerusalem and got married the day before us. Needless to say, we have been friends ever since.
Anyway, they mentioned to us this incredible deal to go on a mediterranean cruise--the catch was that it was in just a couple weeks. We discussed how neat it would be to go but decided to sleep on the idea since Mitch and I know we have a natural disposition to say yes to going anywhere exciting without really thinking it through. Well, it turns out everything fell into place for us to be able to go on this trip, so we took advantage of the opportune moment.
Here is how the trip went:
About 3 days in Rome. That city is unreal--every way you look, there is something cool to see. That city is so rich with history, I was not disappointed.
Then a day at Pompei and a night in Napoli. Pompei was nice because you get a true feel for how a city would have been 2,000 ears ago. Its not just a few old ruins, its an entire town.
Then we got on the cruise ship. Our first port was Messina, Sicily. The cannoli there was A-mazing!
And we had pizza as much as possible in Italy. Napoli wins out for having the best pizza.
We enjoyed Athens, especially the gyros!
And we LOVED Ephesus. Turkey is one of my favorite countries I have decided.
Our last port was Crete. Crete is the largest island off of Greece, and our port town was Chania. It is a beautiful venetian port city and we happened to be there right as the olympic torch was coming through!