Sometimes I feel like my blog is our family travel log. I do want to document where we go and what we do, but sometimes I don't have time or ambition left to write about other 'stuff.' So I am going to do a little of both in this post. Forgive the longness and rambling-ness of it all.
We went to Denver this weekend and although I admittedly was not looking forward to the drive, I was looking forward to seeing the spot that Kip and his family called home. They moved at the beginning of the year to Denver from AZ. We had originally planned to attend the BYU v Air Force football game, but alas, my UofU attending husband convinced me to do some school shopping. Luckily, I got to participate in a different game that I love.
If you have known me or talked to me much, you might know that I LOVE to play the 'Mormon-Do-You-Know' game. This is the game where you find out where people are from, or where they have lived, or gone to school, or served a mission. You then say, "Oh, you served in Japan in the 80's...." or "Oh, you are from Rhode Island...." followed up by, "Do you know___________?" then you insert the name of the person you knew that served in Japan or lived in RI. Usually it's some Mormon from your college ward, or a person your favorite mission companion used to date. Or any other mormons-are-everywhere-and-like-to-mingle-scenario.
I love it. Love, love, love it when I learn about some connection I have with someone I have just met. It makes me feel like we're, well, connected. I also enjoy it on a bigger scale because I am a firm believer that there are no coincidences. I like feeling like there is a purpose to the vast social and familial network we get a glimpse of by playing the MDYK game (I also think that it is not just a Mormon phenomenon, but with missions, BYU, dating, and wards, Mormon culture lends itself to these connections beyond what might be typical geographic boundaries). I think that if you visit with most any new acquaintance long enough, you would find that you have common friends or have almost met a time or two. I think Facebook, a social networking site, has really driven home for me that we really are all quite close. I love finding old friends only to see that we have many more mutual friends than I had before realized.
I think this fascination comes from moving frequently in my adolescent years. But everywhere we moved, the members of the church were a constant and we often found ties to old friends in the new faces we met. It made me feel like God was looking out for me. And I still feel that way.
We had the pleasure of attending Sac. Mtg. with Kip's family where we sat on the row in front of the Allreds (their mom, Lori, is my dear friend from High School) and listened to Mayce (Kip's oldest daughter) give a talk. I watched her preparing for it the night before and I read the article she was to use as a guide. We had a great conversation that night and it was fun to hear her talk about how the Lord was watching over her and gave her answers to her prayers about moving to Denver. She and her twin sister Maddy have become good friends with Lori's daughter, Paris. From her talk, I think Mayce too felt like God was looking out for her. And He was.
I know that when I moved to Page, Lori's family helped to make that transition really easy. They were friends to me. And now, another generation later, their family was again helping my family to transition to a new place. I just really dig that. I have to admit I am a little envious that it is not me who gets to live near one of my old friends, but I am so glad that those connections are still around. Kip's family actually moved from a place where they lived only a few blocks from Lori's sister, Lisa, whom I also adore!
It's almost funny how a few of my friends have stayed close to my family. And because I am talking about my Denver connections, I will give just one more example. My friend Tiffiny is from Page as well and is another beautiful girl I adore (did I mention that all of these girls Lori, Lisa, and Tiff are not only kind, they are freakishly beautiful to boot?). Tiff's family lived in Denver a while back too. In fact, they lived in my brother Skip's ward! They were ward friends! I love it! After Tiff moved to Utah, come to find out, she lives right near my sister Kim's house! Their kids play basketball together! They are sports friends! So Fun! OK, yes, I am a little jealous and wish it were me that Tiff lived by, but I'll have to be content to have her stay connected through my siblings. It's kinda weird that she has lived very near the only 2 siblings that she didn't already know in Page. Did I mention that Tiff's brother Paul was in the MTC with me in the classroom next to mine? OK, I will stop....but first I will put up this picture I saw on FB...
That's right! It's Tiff and her family at the BYU game we just skipped!! They were right there! :) Ah, such a small world!
We enjoyed visiting Kip's Denver ward and I loved pondering connections. When the meeting got over, we were getting up to leave when a lady in front of us turned around and said to John, "Hey, I think I know you, I wouldn't have recognized you but your niece is speaking and she's a Gilleland. I used to date your old roommate, Phil." John answered, "You mean the same Phil that grew up in Darren's ward back in Texas?" (Darren is Lori's husband.) Skip, Kip, Kim, Tiff, Lisa, Lori, Darren, Phil.... I know it get's confusing if you don't know everyone, but you can know that I almost giggled out loud as the day seemed to just get wrapped up in a little bow!