August Moments

Summer is slipping by, but it’s not quite gone yet. I am hoping to get one more trip to the beach in, another outdoor concert, and perhaps some river tubing. While it’s been a great summer, I am very excited for fall — my favorite season of the year.

A couple weeks ago, Marimar, my former boss and mentor, moved to Miami. Below is a picture of me with her and one of my teammates. Marimar was a great mentor. She is one of those people I know I will remember and be grateful for for the rest of my life. Her positivity is inspiring. She has a heart of gold. A friend of Marimar’s hosted a beautiful going away dinner in her backyard. I wasn’t courageous enough to whip out my iPhone and take pictures of the place settings and food, but boy oh boy it all looked like it came straight from the classiest Pinterest board.

Me, Marimar, and Karyn at Marimar's going away dinner (on a very humid Virginia evening).
Me, Marimar, and Karyn at Marimar’s going away dinner (on a very humid Virginia evening).

Andy Grammar, an artist who I’ve wanted to see in concert for the last couple years, put on a free concert at the Tysons outdoor stage. The concert was so fun. He’s probably one of the most amazing singers live. Not only is his music incredible, but he has a very funny and charming personality that kept the whole audience engaged.

Andy Grammar :)
Andy Grammar ๐Ÿ™‚
Waiting for the concert to begin.
Waiting for the concert to begin.

Last night I had the opportunity to go to dinner with two of my best friends from high school/middle school. There are five of us in total who still get together whenever we’re all back in Northern Virginia. We headed to one of our favorite restaurants — Maggianno’s — for dinner. It was fun to catch up on life and reconnect.

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I am so grateful we all still keep in touch.

Patience and an Eternal Perspective

Tonight I had the opportunity to go to the Washington D.C. LDS Temple (to see why Mormons build temples, click here). I am grateful for the peace that comes when I view life with a more eternal perspective. Attending the temple is one of the things that helps me remember I am a child of God, that I lived with God before I was born and will live with Him again if I have faith and keep the commandments. Life seems more peaceful when I remember these things and look at life with what I call “the eyes of eternity.”

I took a quick picture of the Temple during my visit tonight.
I took a quick picture of the Temple during my visit tonight.

Recently my mind has been focused on the attributes of patience and humility. A devotional given by Elder Neal A. Maxwell at Brigham Young University a number of years ago has been on my mind. A friend introduced it to me a couple of years ago, and I love reading it every so often. You can read or listen to the devotional speech here. I appreciate the reminder that patience is trusting in God. When we trust in God and have faith in Him, we trust in His timetable. I especially love this quote:

“There is also a dimension of patience which links it to a special reverence for life. Patience is a willingness, in a sense, to watch the unfolding purposes of God with a sense of wonder and awe, rather than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance. Put another way, too much anxious opening of the oven door and the cake falls instead of rising. So it is with us. If we are always selfishly taking our temperature to see if we are happy, we will not be.” -Elder Neal A. Maxwell

I am grateful for family and good friends who I can talk with about life, faith, and the importance of trusting in God. My heart has been strengthened in many moments this summer as I’ve listened to others express their faith and trust in God – such a blessing for me to hear.

Here are some moments of summer I haven’t yet captured on the blog…

Last Virginia family gathering before Blake headed out to BYU.
Last Virginia family gathering before Blake headed out to BYU.
With Eric and Jen at the Rascal Flatts Concert a few weeks ago.
With Eric and Jen at the Rascal Flatts Concert a few weeks ago.
Fun fireworks after the Nationals Game. About 40 of us from my church congregation went to a game together. It was looong but very fun.
Fun fireworks after the Nationals Game. About 40 of us from my church congregation went to a game together. It was looong but very fun.
KJ and I went on a hike to the river. We got a little lost because we hiked about 3 miles to the river and then just 1 mile back to the car.
KJ and I went on a hike to the river. We got a little lost. We hiked about 3 miles to the river and then just 1 mile back to the car ๐Ÿ™‚
This picture is from the final Institute site of the summer in Villanova, Pennsylvania. I never blogged about this trip, so this picture will have to suffice. Pictured here are my coworkers Shelby and Karyn, who I spent the summer traveling with.
This picture is from the final Institute site of the summer in Villanova, Pennsylvania. I never blogged about this trip, so this picture will have to suffice. Pictured here are my coworkers Shelby and Karyn, who I spent the summer traveling with.
Last week I traveled to Cincinnati for work. While there I tried Graeter's Ice Cream. It was the best ice cream I've ever had.
Last week I traveled to Cincinnati for work. While there I tried Graeter’s Ice Cream. It was the best ice cream I’ve ever had.

My eyelids are getting droopy so I can tell it’s time for me to go to bed. But before I close my laptop for the night, I want to share this video which I’ve watched a number of times over the last few weeks. This video has helped me to remember to be patient, trust in God, and look at life with the eyes of eternity.

West Institute in California

It’s been a busssy summer! It’s been over a month since I’ve updated, so here goesย my first effort to get caught up on the happenings of summer.

West Institute

Less than a week after I returned from Myrtle Beach, I headed to Los Angeles for West Institute (the third of four professional development conferences during the summer I participate in the planning and execution of). The weather was beautiful. But I would expect nothing less from southern California! On the first Saturday while I was there, I had the opportunity to go to the Los Angeles LDS Temple. When I lived in L.A. as an intern in 2008, I never had the opportunity to go inside the temple. I was so grateful for this opportunity. L.A. will always hold a special place in my heart because it was there that I decided to serve an LDS mission. I feel like the decisions I made in L.A. in 2008 changed the trajectory of my life in a way I didn’t expect but in a way I will forever appreciate.

On Monday we headed to the magical Trattoria. I describe this restaurant as magical because beautiful white lights hang over the patio and every evening the entire restaurant joins in the singing of “That’s Amore!” And this restaurant has the most amazing endless garlic knots. Delicious.

Wednesday evening is the Big Bash, which at this Institute site takes place on a Yacht. The weather predicted rain (which is crazy in L.A. in July) but thankfully it only drizzled a little bit on Wednesday morning.

Ready to board the Yacht.
Ready to board the Yacht.
Institute Staff at West Institute aboard the Entertainer Yacht.
Institute Staff at West Institute aboard the Entertainer Yacht.
It's tradition that we take a selfie at the Big Bash.
It’s tradition that we take a selfie at the Big Bash.

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Thursday evening we gathered at Raymond’s sister- and brother-in-law’s house. Their house is in the Pacific Palisades, and you can see the Pacific Ocean from their backyard. If it’s a clear night, you can even see Catalina Island. This was a very fun night. We always take lots of pictures while we’re up there.

8th Annual West Institute Reception and Dinner 128

8th Annual West Institute Reception and Dinner 146

Wearing our FitBits for our work wellness challenge. FitBit should pay us for the amount of advertising we did for them this summer ;)
Wearing our FitBits for our work wellness challenge. FitBit should pay us for the amount of advertising we did for them this summer ๐Ÿ˜‰
Our matching Institute staff  pullovers.
Our matching Institute staff pullovers.

After West Institute concluded, I headed down to Long Beach to spend some time with my great aunt Fannie. She is a beautiful lady inside and out, and I had a great time learning more about her love story with my great uncle George. I was also able to spend some time down by the Pacific Ocean. It was kind of a windy day, and there were A TON of kite surfers out on the water.

The beautiful ocean with lots of kite surfers.
The beautiful ocean with lots of kite surfers.
Delicious Mexican dinner with Fannie.
Delicious Mexican dinner with Fannie.
The California sky was amazing that night.
The California sky was amazing that night.