Dear Mom

Tonight is my last night in Biloxi. It's difficult, sometimes, to believe I have been here for fifty weeks. When I accepted the assignment last April, I promised Rhonda and myself, that I wouldn't stay longer than 90-days. Looking back I can't believe what a snot I was. Big City Girl does Mississippi and likes it. I think you would like it too. My condo is incredible, the sunsets are gorgeous and the weather is fantastic.
I decided to demobilize about a month ago. Initially, I was going to stay in Jackson and commute but decided against it. The more I thought about it, the better I felt about taking a break. I am so happy I made that decision.

I have spent the past two weeks saying my good-byes. Last night I put my ballet shoes on for the last time. Classes are finished for the year and will not begin again until August. Who knows where I will be by that time? Wherever I am, I hope to be in a studio resuming my classes. I love it. I always have.

Tonight I rode my bike around the cemetery one last time. I will miss the time I spend there. There is comfort in knowing you are not alone in your grief; that others are suffering like you are because they lost someone they loved too.

Tomorrow I will turn in my keys and rental car. From Gulfport I will fly to Atlanta and then on to Salt Lake City. Stephanie is driving down from Missoula, she is a saint, and will pick me up from the airport. She reserved us a room at the Marriott in downtown SLC because she wants our first two days there to be seamless.

On Friday, what should have been your 53rd birthday, Steph and I will go to the temple in the morning so I can participate in an ordinance on your behalf. Once complete, we will meet Desiree for lunch. Around 3pm Baby Rae, Kelly and Sarina will join us for another ordinance, which I will also perform on your behalf.

Last year, Shawna and Marlise met me in Savannah for your birthday. Since your passing I have wanted to do your temple work on your birthday. You always made our birthdays so special and I want to do the same for you. I can't think of a greater, more meaningful gift I could offer you. I know, I don't hope, I KNOW, because I know you, that you will accept it and be grateful for it. You have waited so long and I am so excited about this opportunity AND to think it almost didn't happen.
I was so worried but my dear Bishop, his name is George and his wife's name is Mary, you would absolutely love him, took care of everything. I love him so much. I would not be going to Salt Lake tomorrow if it wasn't for him. I honestly believe he is one of the reasons I am in Mississippi. He has lost so many loved ones and can understand me in ways very few people can. I will bless his name for the rest of my life.

While I was packing I discovered a piece of paper with a list of questions I jotted down a few months ago. It reads:

Why did Mom have to leave?

Does God really know me?

Does He really want what's best for me?

Does she, meaning you, miss me?

Although I don't know all the answers to these questions I believe God does know the desires of my heart. I have prayed, since the day I lost you, I would have this opportunity and it would happen on your birthday. Despite everything, God has provided a way and, honestly, I still can't believe it. I have not felt this much hope and true happiness in a long time. My only wish is that you could be there by my side. That when the work was complete I could throw my arms around you and we would both squeal and jump up and down like we used to do when we were happy or excited. Instead I will try to imagine you and Nancy doing what we would do if we were together; if I were with you.

Like my trip to Savannah, this trip, for me, will be about you. Stephanie, Sarina and I are driving up to Jackson Hole Saturday morning so we can see the Teton mountains; your favorite. I can't believe all the years I lived in Utah I never made it to Jackson Hole. Since you and Dad spent so much time there I have been curious to see it. I also wouldn't mind meeting someone while I'm there; a cowboy who looks amazing in a pair of Wranglers would be nice. I don't know how much pull you have up there but I've been REALLY good for a year and living like a nun is getting old. Not asking for much just a little, harmless, fun.

I love you Mom. I told Dad on Sunday there isn't anything I wouldn't do for you or him. I miss you so much it hurts; hurts like hell, but I know this separation is temporary. That one day I will see you again and you will still be my Mother and I will be your daughter. I wouldn't want it any other way. Until then...

I love you forever-


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the approximate number of structures I surveyed in fifty-weeks. Pretty impressive for the first year of one's profession.

I'm really going to miss it. :(

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My parents are getting old.

There's plenty of hard evidence but none more so than how excited they get about birds at their feeders! I was in DC for three weeks caring for my Mom after surgery. I did not do one single, solitary tourist thing while I was there. I didn't set foot on The Mall. I didn't see a single museum. But I did buy a tripod and take pictures of birds. And some flowers. And a couple of cute kids. And now I'm just wondering what that says about me.


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If I Wasn't Celibate...

and we are talking WAY celibate; no dating, hand-holding, kissing or making-out with a man in almost ONE-YEAR! Yep, just call me CELIBATE SUZY because that's what I am.
What's even more depressing is the end to my hiatus is nowhere in sight. Light at the end of my tunnel? No. We're not even close.
The positive side, yes, I believe there actually is one, is the strange cravings and scary mood swings I've been experiencing this week can only mean one thing! See, that's the best part about living a chaste life. You never have pregnancy scares.
So order me another SMALL Blizzard and pass me another biscuit from Popeye's because this girl's only eating for ONE!

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Save Blair Mountain! Remember the Miners!

Yesterday I received an email from The National Trust for Historic Preservation. Included in the email was an article titled, One Step Forward, One Step Back? I have added personal commentary so my feelings regarding the issue are crystal clear.

The article read as follows:

"Two weeks ago, Blair Mountain in West Virginia, a 2006 11 Most Endangered site, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, an important step forward for the preservation of this landmark c. 1921 coalfield labor battle site. (I wrote a paper for an American Studies Scopes & Methods course at GWU on the West Virginia coal wars and other contemporary labor struggles. The preservation of this site is a BIG deal to me). Within seven days,(that's ONE WEEK) West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin’s administration requested the site be de-listed. ) The National Trust for Historic Preservation and our local partners remain committed to preserving Blair Mountain Battlefield. (Thank goodness for that!)
Join us (me) in telling Governor Manchin that the site of the miners’ stand should be preserved." The petition is located here:

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