26 April 2010

Awesome People, Part 1

"I count myself in nothing else so happy
As in a soul rememb'ring my good friends."
~ William Shakespeare

Today I've been thinking about the awesome people in my life and how they have blessed my life. I am sharing with you the first part of a very long list.

Krysten amazes me with her strength and resilience. She has faced and overcome obstacles that would've made other people faint. Her smile and loving kindness invite you in and you feel incredibly fortunate for the invitation.

Every child needs a father--and mine is exceptional. If I am kind, hard working, or loving, it is because of his example. He is a man of few words (except for the Boys Life jokes he tells!); his actions, however, are prolific. When I was growing up, I selfishly resented how serviceable and generous he was because that service took him away from the family. But now with a more complete understanding, I am grateful for his example and I try to reach out as he would. My dad would do anything for me--even use his valuable days off to drive six hours to clean the carpets of Judy's new house where I'd be living, help me move heavy boxes before his knee surgery, and much more. And my father constantly astonishes me with his creative genius: he can fix almost anything, use duct tape and orange bailing twine in very unusual but effective ways, and in a MacGyver like way, take ordinary household items and produce extraordinary, save-the-day results.

Emily is like chocolate cheesecake from Mike's Pastry in Boston: you didn't think something so amazing could exist in the world--but once you discover its existence, you don't know how you lived without it and you would go to great lengths to have some more. Love you, Em!

Gloria, DeAnne, Chris, and Mary Lou are the sweet (and sassy!) souls who loved me back into the fold. Mary Lou adopted me as one of her own children (which was convenient since I was good friends with all of her children). Though DeAnne taught our YW lessons on Sunday, the most important lessons I learned from her were in the one-on-one time she gave me. And Gloria and Chris wouldn't give up on me, even when I didn't want to listen. If I can become even one-tenth of the wonderful women they are, I will have succeeded in life.

I've had a difficult time putting into words the blessings that Jana's friendship has brought into my life--not because there wasn't enough but because the blessings are innumerable! Jana is a kindred spirit who understands my "bowl personality" (which was especially nice when surrounded by the "plates," Mel and Suz!). Jana gives her heart and soul to relationships; she cares deeply and mourns with those who mourn, and comforts those that stand in need of comfort--and she does so without fanfare and without expectation of remuneration of any kind. She is generous with her talents, skills, praise, counsel, time, and anything that she has. And as was recorded on our quote board, her "job is to laugh"--and she does that very well. "He came back to check me out," right Jana?

I've known Suz "forever" (or least that's the way it feels) and can't remember a time when I haven't been blessed by this remarkable woman. I marvel at all she has accomplished professionally and personally and how she is able to do it all! She balances career and family as well as anyone could. And she still squeezes in time for "girl time" with me, Judy, and Kerry! Although it looks like our initial dream of having adjacent university offices and being "matchy" Doctor Agee Pha-hood will not occur, I am confident that whatever new dreams that she and Steveo pursue will allow for at least a 'cameo appearance' by me once in awhile, even if only to drop in and spoil Brooke.

Steveo is definitely 'chicken in a biskit'! I'm grateful that Suz was smart enough to trade her melba toast in for Steveo. I love Steveo for countless reasons: for how happy he's made (and continues to make) Suz; for his friendship to me and how he embraced me as part of his life (he's not just 'some guy' Suz married, he's *my* friend too); for his example of goodness and honoring his priesthood; for all of the fun times he, Suz, and I have had together and will have in years to come; and for just being one of the coolest guys I've ever known. Steveo rocks the Kasbah. The end.

JenE's friendship is good for the heart. She has a magical way of making me feel better about myself, about the world, even about harrowing situations in life. I leave conversations with JenE feeling that I'm okay, the world is good, and that everything will work out just as it should. JenE also makes me laugh with her innocent, honest facial expressions and matter-of-fact statements: e.g. The expression on her face after she realized that the pot full of beans she'd put down the sink had clogged up the garbage disposal or her attorney-like assessment that something was a "lawsuit waiting to happen...but it was fun while it lasted!" I love that JenE continues to be in my life even though she is far away assuming her new role as Momma JenE. She will always be "my JenE."

I didn't know if Mel and I would be good friends when I first became her roommate--not that I didn't like her (or that the church was dirty or anything) but because Mel's life seemed to be full already with her large close-knit family (both immediate and extended), her multitude of other friends, and her very active life. Thankfully, Mel made room in her life for me...and I have thanked Heavenly Father ever since that I could "spend a few moments" with Mel. Those "few moments" whenever I get them are treasures to me. I love talking to Mel. I love learning from Mel. I love laughing with Mel. I love that, as she said so profoundly once, "isn't it great that we will be friends forever?!"

The word to describe Matt is brilliant. He is a brilliant 'techno genius' who patiently "dumbs down" technical issues so even someone technically challenged (like me) can understand. His brilliant mind perceives and absorbs gospel truths (I love discussing the gospel with him and learning the brilliant truths he's discerned!). He utilizes his brilliant gifts to befriend strangers he meets, people who are lonely and often excluded from the 'mainstream', and everyone else in every other situation in life; Matt's love and friendship are brilliant blessings in a sometimes cloudy life. Matt is also a brilliant example of honoring the priesthood and his covenants; his example engenders a desire in me to "try a little harder to be a little better."

You want KShum in your life: she is the bomb-diggity, THE 411, and the life of any party, anywhere. She is also a true friend who always has "got your back." Our (often) daily email/text conversations are fun and enlightening. Her heart is better than gold; I think it's platinum. Although she doesn't kill spiders (and Molly doesn't either, for that matter!), her friendship is always "in service"...and I am very, very grateful for that.

Kim's friendship is one of the grand, unexpected delights of my life--like getting a free gift with purchase. We were in the same ward and hung out in the same group of friends, but I didn't necessarily think that she thought I was "cool." To my great delight, she, someone I admired and with whom I loved spending time, reciprocated my admiration. What a tender mercy Kim is in my life. When she moved into my new ward, I was surprised and delighted to (finally) have a true friend in the ward. She generously took care of me during a very difficult health crisis, something totally aligned with her generous nature. I love laughing with Kim, especially late at night when I'm trying to type a comment about someone in my Facebook status. Kim's innate sense of adventure awakens my dormant dreams of seeing (and hiking through) the world. (Can't wait for our South American adventure, Kim!)

Judy...well, I've already extolled her virtues in several posts (here and there). "There is too much. Let me sum up." She is my BFFFFF..."and that's how you make it."

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