June 23, 2013


Written 6 months after the tragedy:

I remember sitting in the back of the cold room. It was always cold in that church building. Children's chatter filled the air as I sat there, glancing at each Primary teacher to make sure they didn't need my help.

This was my church calling when I was home summer of 2012. Primary helper. I aided the children's Sunday School teachers if their kids were ever rowdy or if they just needed an extra pair of hands. And so I sat in the back, looking out for the panic in teachers' eyes and for children wiggling about. That was my cue to assist them.

At the front, the Primary president was giving an object lesson. I don't remember what it was, but she asked for a couple volunteers. A sea of small, eager hands waved frantically, each one hoping they would be picked. A small, blonde six-year-old's hand rocketed into the air ahead of everyone else's and she was chosen. As she was walking out of her row, I thought to myself, she must be a Parker, that blonde hair and high voice. I was in Nursery just the Sunday before helping her youngest sister slide down the slide and in Sunbeams the week before that taking another sister and her classmates to get a drink. The way each of them chirped filled my ears and quickly became a part of each of my summery Sundays. Blonde, beautiful and beaming, all three Parker children.

As she was heading towards the front, another child bumped into her. She turned and said something sassy.

Her mother, who was also a Primary teacher and who I knew only as Sister Parker, chuckled to herself. Brother Parker walked in then to drop off something with her and she relayed the story of their sassy daughter. They laughed.

"Oh Emilie."

It was that moment that I had a sudden urge to be married with children and to be able to sit back with my husband and watch our kids learn and grow to be people like us.

December 14th, I was in the Salt Lake Airport when the tragedy at Newtown hit the media. I landed in Hong Kong when plastered all over the televisions were videos of Newtown, the place where I spent some of my weekends, where some of my very good friends lived, where I went to church every week for many years. Anchors commented in Cantonese on the other side of the world. Pictures of Emilie and her classmates were surrounded by Chinese in newspapers. Brother Parker was on TV. And I cried in the little Hong Kong apartment, filled with sorrow, filled with grief for the young lives that ended too soon, too brutally.

I am home for the first time in almost a year, and six months after the tragedy, I am in Newtown, sitting in the back of the cold room, remembering.

This really isn't a post, but after, in a sort of way, paying homage to the place I met the Parkers, this is my way of saying, rest in peace, Emilie, and God comfort the Parker family and the families of the children.

December 14, 2013, one year after the tragedy:


June 18, 2013

Happy birthday Camille.

Dearest Camille,

Today is your birthday. I have an opened bottle of Martinelli's in hand and am toasting to you an exciting 21st year. I wish you a glorious day in Malawi as I celebrate here in America with people who love you.

Speaking of glorious, Wes and I made you a video.

I hope your birthday is the best and that the beginning of your 21st year is full of happiness and glory. Also, we must resume the Critiques when you come back. And perhaps we shall incorporate Wes' German Cupcake Critique. This week's, if you can't see it, is "Better than S" cupcake.

Happy birthday bud.

With much love,

June 14, 2013

Not too bad.

After this post, I had myself and some of you worried about me living alone this summer. And I guess it didn't help that I haven't posted on my blog in a while. But, as the title suggests, living by myself is not too bad. In fact, I love it. Don't get me wrong. I love people and I cannot wait till my darling roommates come back from Africa. But I have a feeling that when I think back on the summer of 2013, I will remember it as the summer of greatness and of growing up.

School and work have kept and still keeps me busy in the mornings and afternoons. But I have to admit, I didn't know what to do with myself those first, quiet May nights. So I cleaned. A lot. And it wasn't because the apartment needed cleaning, but because I had nothing better to do. I remember making a midnight run to Smiths solely for the purpose of purchasing Lime-A-Way. But hey, the water fixtures have never been shinier.

And on the especially quiet days/afternoons/nights, I decided to not only fill it with music, but with loud music. My sincerest apologies, neighbors.

Suddenly, I realized the greatest thing about living alone.

Those of you who know me in such a setting know how much I love to dance. But dancing in an empty apartment? That's a whole new realm of awesomeness. There's just something absolutely freeing about dancing off of everything--couches, chairs, stools, counters--in anything I want and without the fear of being stomped on or accidentally touching the bare, sweaty arms and exposed pectorals of grunting bros in tank tops (ugh, *shudder*). And when I'm too lazy to go to the gym? What an entertaining form of cardio.