a collection of certainly special, uniquely unusual, and equally momentous thoughts: memoirs of me

Monday, November 16, 2015

My BFF Jimmy

As of a week ago I had 8 different things on my Life Bucket List. 

Now I have 7. 

See Jimmy Fallon live on The Tonight Show: CHECK!

Do other people have Life Bucket Lists like me? I surely hope so! There is something so fun about dreaming big, figuring out how to make those dreams happen, and then crossing those items off one by one. Although my Life Bucket List may not be long like some of my friends, it has some serious dreams on it and I intend to make every one of them happen. 

The story.

Wednesday, November 4th: A gasp followed by a another huge "NO WAY!!!!!" I've been trying to get tickets for almost a year. Months of waiting anxiously on the days the tickets are released trying to be fast enough to be waitlisted at least. Several sad emails notifying me that my wait list request was denied. But not today! Two tickets reserved JUST FOR ME! I ran downstairs and called Jeff. "What are you doing next Wednesday because you need to clear your schedule?!" He happily obliged and we immediately started looking for bus tickets. 

Wednesday, November 11th: I feel more giddy than I ever have been for a Christmas morning. Jeff and I meet at his house, walk to the metro, arrive at Union Station, find our seats on the MegaBus, and we're off! The adventure is just about to begin. 

10:40 am - We're 40 few minutes outside of Baltimore and our bus breaks down. No. Please. Not today. My heart immediately sinks and I begin to calculate minutes in my head. We only have an hour and a half buffer. When our bus driver is a moron and the most unhelpful human on the planet, a few feisty bus patrons start calling customer service. Things only get more feisty from there. Inside I'm incredibly frustrated but trying to stay hopeful. We can still make it at this point. 

Things become more dire as the minutes wear on. I'm not actually sure if Jeff could tell how heartsick I was at this point but I hoped against all hope. We might not be getting lunch after the bus ride but we still had time to make it. 

12:15 pm - We're FINALLY back on the road. Everyone calms down and Jeff and I start running through options. We're going to arrive in NYC around 3 pm. We have to check in at 3:15 at Rockefeller Center but we'll be 22 blocks away. Do we run? Cab? Subway? Bike? We thought of every option. It looked like staying on foot would beat trying to get through traffic in a cab. 

3:02 pm - The bus pulls into its pit stop. Jeff and I are waiting at the front of the bus and as soon as the doors open we're off! Half speed walking/ half running (dating a guy that's 6'5 and has long legs makes keeping up with him interesting). 

3:10 pm - My purse strap breaks and the purse falls to the group in the middle of the street. Are you kidding me? I scoop it up and continue speed walking. Nothing is going to stop us. 

3:22 pm - We arrive at 30 Rock! Jeff runs upstairs to drop off his laptop bag at the Deloitte offices and I wait in the lobby. I have sweat dripping down my back. I scour the floor looking for the entrance to the NBC Studios and find two well-dressed men that look official letting people go up a flight of stairs. That must be it! Jeff comes back downstairs and hustles over to me. We show the two guys our tickets and they let us up the stairs. We made it! 

3:45 - 4:30 pm - After going through a serious of lines, showing our tickets, walking through security, etc., we're finally ushered into the Peacock Lounge and find our friends, Allie and Ryan, who also happened to get tickets the same day as us. We relax on the sofas and cool down. Finally, the anxiety of the morning starts to fade and the anticipation for the show starts to build. 

4:30 pm - We're led into Studio 6B. STUDIO 6B! This is where the magic happens. This is where Jimmy works every day. It's where Nicole Kidman shared her story about how she almost dated Jimmy. It's where all the Lip Sync Battles happen. It's where Blake Shelton made fun of Jimmy for buying a small truck. It's where Justin Timberlake and Jimmy talk in Hashtags. It's where Ryan Reynolds soaked Jimmy in Water Wars. It's where Ariana Grande killed it in Wheel of Musical Impressions. This is really it!!! Jeff and I are led to seats smack dab in the middle of the middle section and I'm about as happy as I've ever been. 

5 - 6:15 pm - Can I say this was the best hour and fifteen minutes of my life? Because it was. James McAvoy, Sam Smith, The Undertaker, The Roots Band, Kurt Braunohler, and JIMMY FALLON. I'm not sure if I've ever felt the feeling I felt when Jimmy walked on stage. It was transcendent. So many laughs. So many smiles. So much fun. 

6:30 pm - It's over and I can officially cross that bucket list item off my list. We meander through the NBC gift shop, take some pictures, grab a slice of pizza (we hadn't really eaten in 12 hours so that pizza was pretty heavenly), grabbed Allie and Ryan's car, and made our way home.

11:30 pm - We arrive back in Crystal City, exhausted but extremely pleased.

What a crazy day! 

Friday, November 6, 2015

My heart has wings of gratitude

I left work at 5 pm last night, in the deep darkness that daylight savings brings, and headed up to the temple. Just after crossing the 14th Street Bridge I hit some major traffic due to some important road in front of some important building being blocked off and had to sit in traffic for an additional 45 minutes.

I was exhausted once I arrived at the temple an hour and a half later. I had a headache, I was hungry, and I walked a little halfheartedly through the front doors wondering how I was going to make it through the night when I knew I was assigned to be in the 8 pm session. It was going to be a hard night. I was going to be leaving late and was already envisioning falling into my bed hours later, exhausted and ready to sleep.

But I knew I had to trudge on. The temple is important to me and because of my work schedule I hadn’t been able to attend the three Thursdays previous. I didn’t want to fall into the trap of not going and making that more of a routine that the opposite.

So I walked in. I handed them my recommend. I lifted my head to look at the mural that greets patrons as they cross the bridge. I tried to pry my eyes open as I entered the study lounge to grab my schedule. And I lumbered down to get dressed, eat a quick dinner, and head to our preparation meeting.

Sister Colton grabbed me just as preparation meeting ended and had at her side a new temple worker.

“Sister Redford, this is Sister Reategui, our new Spanish speaking worker on this shift. You are the only other Spanish speaker on this shift. Could you please interpret for me?”

Speak Spanish? Right now? My shoulders may have sagged a little. Speaking Spanish was perhaps the last thing I wanted to do in that moment.

“Of course, Sister Colton.”

What transpired in the next three hours left me with a surety that Heavenly Father knows me so very well.

Sister Reategui and I were able to do sealings, one of my favorite things. Then we headed to the Hostess position where I got to speak with her for a full hour and get to know her in a very personal way. I was reassured that I can actually speak Spanish still and that after a little practice it starts coming naturally and without hesitation. The last hour we spent in the Celestial Room where I got to sit in perfect silence, watch an almost-married couple come through the veil together for the first time before their wedding this weekend, and see a friend who was downtrodden and depressed weep in a far corner and then be able to comfort her in her moment of weakness. I thought of my mission and how badly I had wanted to be called Spanish speaking. When my call came and my desire fulfilled, I felt impressed that God was going to use me, not just during my mission, but in the years afterward. Him allowing me to learn Spanish was so I could be His instrument. And here I was sitting in that room, feeling comforted that even through my exhaustion, He was using me and the skills He let me learn. 

By the time I left the temple I was still tired, but not exhausted. My feet were not trudging across the pavement. My headache had disappeared. And to quote a friend, “My heart had wings of gratitude.”

If there’s anything I believe in it’s the tender mercies from a loving Heavenly Father who blesses us simply because He’s good to His very core.

“Surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful.” –Elder Jeffrey R. Holland