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Monday, January 28, 2013

The Shadow 14


Marissa woke up early the next morning anxious and worried. She hadn’t slept well and the seriousness of their situation hung heavily on her mind. Sarah woke up shortly afterward and Marissa ordered breakfast to be sent to their room. After eating Sarah got out of bed.
“How are you feeling?” Marissa asked.
“Much better,” Sarah answered. “I’ve been thinking Marissa. I think we should go to the country estate first. If you go to Scotland Yard they will ask if you have been there and if you haven’t they will pass it off as a woman’s silly worries. I know how they work. Even if you are rich and powerful they still won’t give much credence to a woman.”
Marissa nodded. “You’re right. It is one of the things that I abhor about our political system.”
“If we go there, we will have to be very careful. Jarvis is no fool and if he has men there they won’t hesitate to harm either of us.”
“I’ll order a carriage to take us to the station. It’s early, but I’m sure my people have discovered my note by now. Jarvis will probably find out soon and he will have someone watching the trains,” Marissa said.
They dressed quickly and Marissa packed the few items she had brought. Usually when she went to the estate house she took a trunk full of clothes and stayed for several weeks. She hadn’t been out there since last summer and it would be interesting going there without the usual entourage she had grown accustomed to having.
The carriage arrived and Marissa helped Sarah in first then climbed in quickly after her. The ride to the station was uneventful and Marissa had just enough time to purchase their tickets before boarding the train. It was a short ride to the country, one Marissa usually enjoyed, but her concern for Sean grew with each mile that sped by.
She thought about Sarah’s statement from the day before. Can’t you see how much he loves you? Sean was in love with her. The situation was laughable and yet they had spent enough time together and knew enough about each other to care deeply for the other’s feelings. Marissa wasn’t sure she felt the same way and yet the idea intrigued her.  Did she care for Sean in that way? In the last five years she had definitely learned to value his opinion about everything whether part of the estate or not. She thought about her desire to impress him with her ball gown. She enjoyed dazzling the many men at the parties and balls, but she would rather have his compliments than anyone else.
She shook her head, not quite ready to accept the idea and yet the nagging fear that something horrible had happened to him wouldn’t leave her alone. She let out a sigh and Sarah placed her gloved hand on top Marissa’s.
“He’ll be all right, Marissa,” she said comfortingly.
“I never imagined that Sean cared for me,” Marissa said, in a doubtful voice. “We have been friends for so long that that I didn’t realize his feelings had changed. He must think me terribly self-centered and egotistical. I’ve become the very thing I never wanted to be.”
“That’s not true,” Sarah disagreed. “You are a wonderful woman. You treat everyone, no matter their status, with respect and equality. You treat your servants as people and not slaves. You value the opinion of a humble lawyer and because of how you treated him he as grown to love and respect you.”
“He called me arrogant, Sarah. That hurt me deeply. We used to always made fun of the arrogant aristocracy and yet he lumped me with them,” Marissa cried.
“He was just worried about you Marissa. You showed him what had happened to you and it pushed his limits. When the people you love take no caution for their own safety or continue down a dangerous path it makes us angry and hurts us,” Sarah replied wisely.
“I have to find him and apologize.”
“We will.”
The train slowed as they approached the station. Marissa perked up, glancing out the window, and started collecting their bags.
“I’ll get us a carriage,” Sarah said. “You bring the bags.”
As soon as the train pulled to a stop Sarah left their compartment and stepped onto the platform to locate a hackney coach. Marissa took the bag and made her way to the platform. No sooner had her feet touched the platform than a figure stepped in front of her and a handkerchief was shoved against her nose and mouth. Rough arms held her in a firm embrace until she lost consciousness.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What a Wonderful World

As I stare out the window at the coastline far below and the slow rolling waves as they wash onto the shore, I am amazed at the beauty of this world that we live on. Surely our Heavenly Father must love us to give us such an awesome earth with its many varieties of climates and environments.

We can enjoy the deep red and brown tones of the desert with its quiet beauty and heat or the rolling hills of farmland, or the majestic snow-capped mountains with their rocky heights and awe-inspiring vistas. Or there are the deep, multi-faceted, greens of the forest lands and the spicy scent of pine and fir trees. And of course my own personal favorite, the sandy beaches with the soothing sound of the crashing waves.

I can't help but feel so small and yet so important when I see the wide expanse of beauty around me. Even the stars spread across the sky glow brightly for us to see and use for guidance. How can I matter? And yet I really do matter. I matter enough for Heavenly Father to create this amazing earth. I am important enough that he inspired men and women to creates these neat airplanes that I get to work in and see a tiny portion of his creations. Wow!

It's humbling just to consider it. But it's true!


Friday, January 25, 2013

Again with the books

So I'm adding to my list of recommendations, but I will keep it simple this time.
Good series to read:

The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner.

They will keep you guessing throughout. Enjoy!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Broadway

What is it about Broadway music that makes me want to sing and dance. Just the other day I had a long list of chores to do and so I go to my computer and pull up my music to listen to. Instead of some awesome rock music with a fast beat I choose Broadway.

After choosing Broadway songs I turn the computer speakers up as loud as they can go and then proceed to sing my way through the housework. I'm just glad my neighbors are hard of hearing. By the end of my playlist my voice was a bit ragged, but I had performed the most popular songs of the major broadway hits and my house was clean.

AT THE END OF THE DAY there is ONE DAY MORE and even though I HEARD SOMEONE CRYING it was okay, so DON'T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA. I am WISHING YOU WERE SOMEHOW HERE AGAIN, but knowing you THINK OF ME is enough. There are many DAYS OF PLENTY ahead and ONE DAY I'LL FLY AWAY; probably tomorrow since I'm flying. Even though I've been ON MY OWN I'm going to HOLD ON and realize YOU MUST LOVE ME even though we haven't met yet. ALL I ASK OF YOU is that you WALTZ into my life soon. It's not fun being HERE ALONE and I'D BE DELIGHTED if you could help light THE FIRE WITHIN ME. IN MY LIFE I've seen a lot of EMPTY CHAIRS AT EMPTY TABLES, but even though A LITTLE FALL OF RAIN won't BRING HIM HOME that's all right. It's ASTONISHING how SOME THINGS ARE MEANT TO BE.

So for those of you who are familiar with some of the classic broadway hits I challenge you to figure out which song isn't.

Happy singing!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dear Editor

Dear Series,
    Why is it when you are finished that I have to start thinking about and even sketching notes for your prequel? Aren't four books enough?
Sincerely,
  Stormed Out

Dear Semicolon,
   How in the world am I supposed to use you correctly? I'm not even sure I understand your rules and regulations for use. Please explain.
  Semi-confused

Dear Characters,
    I'm tired of solving your problems. Solve them yourselves and then get back to me with the answers so I can continue your stories.
  Thank you,
    Author

Dear Fantasy Publishers,
    I promise you really will like my story. Many readers have agreed. I know you tend toward the outrageously fantastical, but I really think my story will make a smash hit. Please accept me.
  Sincerely,
    A. Galashad

Dear Antagonist,
    You really are evil. What kind of a person would do the things you do? How can you live with yourself?
  Just Wondering,
    Protagonist
    



Monday, January 21, 2013

The Shadow 13


They reached the inn and Marissa requested a small suite. With the keys in hand she led the way to the rooms and dumped her bag on the empty bed. She was exhausted, but they still needed to figure out what to do about Sean.
Marissa changed into her nightdress and offered the spare to Sarah.
“I haven’t bothered with things like this for so long, I hardly know how to wear them,” Sarah said wryly.
“Well there are several things you aren’t really missing, like that idiotic bustle and the obnoxious corsets,” Marissa replied with a smile.
Sarah pulled the nightgown over her head and for the first time Marissa was able to get an idea of what her mother was like. She was the same height as Marissa, but her figure was much thinner.
“This must be a little disconcerting,” Sarah said a few moments later.
“A little, but I was just thinking that you are much to thin,” Marissa replied.
“I move around a lot, so I don’t have the chance to add weight to my body, but I do eat rather well. There are several excellent restaurants in this area that serve some of the best meals I have had, though they didn’t know it.”
Marissa could hear the smile in the tone of Sarah’s voice.
“I wish I could see what you looked like,” Marissa said wistfully.
“I used to look much like you do now except you have your father’s eyes and his brown hair,” Sarah explained.
“What color are yours?”
“My eyes are blue and my hair is a reddish blonde. It’s very thin though, so I’m glad you got your father’s hair. I wish I could have seen Lord Edgington before he passed.” Her tone was regretful and Marissa decided it would be best to keep quiet on the subject.
“You may have the bed in here, I will take the spare,” Marissa said respectfully.
“Thank you, Marissa, you are a true gentlewoman,” Sarah said quietly.
Marissa hung the dresses she had brought in the wardrobe and then went into the spare room. Her thoughts were whirling in her head and she didn’t quite know what direction to go. She settled down on her bed and closed her eyes when she heard a grunt and a gasp from the other room.
She scrambled out of bed and rushed into the room brandishing the stoker from the fireplace in her room. In the dim firelight she could see the nightgown thrashing on the bed and gasps coming from that direction.
“Sarah, what is it?” Marissa asked dropping the poker and rushing to the bed.
“It hurts,” Sarah moaned.
Marissa lit the lamp hastily and brought it over to the bedside table and then took a towel from the basin and dipped it in the water. In the lamp light she could see grey streaks of skin appearing just above the collar of the nightgown and where Sarah’s hands were clutching the side of the bed.
“He must have given you the antidote,” Marissa murmured.
“Can you see me?” Sarah asked bringing her hands up to her face.
She groaned again as another wave of pain swept through her body. The grey streaks turned a pale skin tone and continued spreading. Marissa wiped Sarah’s now visible brow.
“How bad is it?” Marissa asked.
“Worse than the potion. I feel like my body is going to explode and I didn’t even get the full dose. I just hope it doesn’t kill me like it did Minister Cherington,” she mutters wryly.
Marissa closed her eyes praying it wouldn’t.
Sarah experienced several other waves of pain, but they began to subside after an hour. When the last wave disappeared Marissa could see all of Sarah’s face and her left hand where the dose had been administered.
Sarah looked like an older version of herself with a few more wrinkles and some liberal streaks of grey amongst the blonde tresses. The older woman held up her hands and let out a chuckle.
“I suppose this is better than nothing,” she humphed, staring at the one visible and one invisible hand.
“You didn’t get the whole dose,” Marissa reminded her.
“Yes and I will no longer be able to help you as the invisible watch. What are we going to do?” Sarah asked worriedly.
“I don’t know. Clearly the antidote worked, but we can’t trust that it won’t do more harm than good,” Marissa replied thoughtfully. “What did Minister Cherington look like when you found him?”
“His face was pale and contorted with pain. I’m guessing his heart couldn’t handle the pain of the full antidote. That was awful,” Sarah answered.
“The rats died too,” Marissa added, remembering the boxes John and Jarvis buried. “We will have to keep an eye on you and stay far away from Jarvis and John.”
“We need to know where Sean is?” Sarah replied.
“Everyone thinks I’m going to the country estate, when Jarvis finds out I left early he is certainly going to try and track me down.”
“He will be very angry to discover his well-laid plan was thwarted by your anxiousness to leave. I’m sure he would have way-laid the carriage on your way to the station,” Sarah said.
Marissa gasped, clapping her hand to her forehead. “The carriage! I should have remembered. I was focusing on my house staff and didn’t even think about anyone else.”
“What?” Sarah asked.
Marissa started pacing the room. “Jerry is in charge of the stables and I trust him completely. He wouldn’t have known if someone was trying to harm me and I go so many places it would be the best way to get to me. I’m an idiot,” she muttered.
“Marissa Clarence Edgington, explain yourself!” Sarah demanded, pulling Marissa to a stop.
“My carriage driver, Peter, is new. He’s only been with me for a year. Jerry hired him right after, Henry, the old driver, died. Henry had been ill for months and he was getting on in years. I put him on retirement after we almost crashed and a few days later he died. Jerry hired Peter. Said he came highly qualified and recommended. I trusted Jerry, so I didn’t ask who recommended him,” Marissa explained.
“You are incredibly accessible in that carriage. You go everywhere and all they would have to do is drive to some secluded place and knock you out,” Sarah said, with a shudder.
Marissa dropped her head in her hands. “What have they done with Sean?” Marissa cried. 
“I don’t know and we have no way of finding out,” Sarah replied. “I’m sorry I put you into this mess, Marissa. I thought for certain that your life would be carefree when Jonathan claimed you as his heir, but I ruined it all.”
Sarah placed her invisible hand on her face, but Marissa could still see the tears of anguish.
“Why did Lord Edgington never marry you?” Marissa asked suddenly.
Sarah’s expression changed. “I don’t know,” she sighed. “I became a maid in his mother’s home while he was at school. I was just sixteen and trying to help my family the best I could. When Jonathan finished school he returned home to start working with his father. We met briefly, but nothing happened. A short time later he was shipped off to the country estate to tend to matters there. I didn’t see him until five years later when I was sent to the estate to help clean it and get it ready for Lord and Lady Edgington’s arrival.”
Sarah’s face was a mixture of joy and pain.
“Upon our second meeting something changed. Perhaps it was his work with the simple folk in the country or maybe I had grown up enough for him to notice, but there was a spark between us that developed into deep feelings of love. I tried to keep my head, but Jonathan was very convincing in his arguments and actions.” She paused with a tiny smile and then her expression darkened. 
“One night I overheard him speaking with his mother on the matter. She was furious and appalled at his choice. She adamantly refused to accept such a match and threatened to cut him off completely if he pursued it. Jonathan left the house, finding solace in a bottle of scotch. I was summoned and immediately discharged.”
“That’s awful!” Marissa exclaimed. “You didn’t do anything wrong. He pursued you.”
“Lady Edgington didn’t care. Her son’s precious reputation was at stake,” Sarah answered wryly. “She did, however, give me passage back to London for the next morning. I got a room at the local inn and prepared to return home in shame. That was where Jonathan found me. He was drunk and determined to spite his mother. He was too powerful to resist.” She sighed. “It was a night I won’t forget and only regret because we weren’t properly married. I left for London in the morning before he awakened and never saw him again. When I found out I was expecting I sent a not to him, but I’m certain Lady Edgington received it first.”
“She probably destroyed it,” Marissa said spitefully.
“I don’t think she did,” Sarah disagreed. “I think that’s how Jonathan found you. I think he discovered the note after his mother’s death. She only lived for a few more years. I’m sure he looked for me, but I had already found a new position on the other side of London with folks from a different social circle.”
“Why did you give me up?” Marissa finally asked, wanting to understand and quell the deep feelings of abandonment she had always felt.
“I knew I couldn’t support a child and I didn’t want you to live in the poverty we would be certain to endure if I kept you. My family disowned me, so I was on my own. I chose the Pically Street Orphanage because I knew the Sisters would care for you and give you an education.”
Marissa wanted to argue, but she knew Sarah was right. Living in the slums of London would have stunted any opportunities. She never would have had the chance to learn to read or get the job in the factory. Nevertheless, she always wished she could have know her parents growing up and felt the love of a family. The feelings of abandonment would probably never go away.
“I’m sorry, Marissa. Maybe the choices I made were wrong, but I can’t change that now. When Jonathan found you I was so happy. All I could want for you came true when he declared you his heir. I’m certain Eleanor Edgington turned over in her grave.” Sarah’s voice held a measure of contempt.
“I just wish I could have known Lord Edgington before he died. He was only fifty-six when he became ill,” Marissa said, with a sigh.
“He never was the same after his father died. I’m sure he felt all alone in the world. That is the past, though. We must face the future.”
Marissa nodded. “Maybe I should go back to Dr. Bering’s house and see if I can follow him to Sean. He has to go there sometime or at least send a message to his men,” she suggested.
“I don’t see that we have an option,” Sarah actually agreed. “It just makes me nervous. If they catch any wind that either you or I are there, they might use drastic measures.”
“I don’t know what else to do,” Marissa said anxiously. “If I don’t go to the country house, sooner or later Jarvis is going to find out. He might realize who I am.”
“Or that I got to you first and warned you. We could alway try going there and just see if they were foolish enough to actually take Sean there,” Sarah said.
“Or I could call Scotland Yard and report him missing, but then I’d be expected to return to my house here. I trust my people, but people can be bought.”
“I don’t know what to do, Marissa. We should try to get some rest and maybe we will have a clearer mind in the morning,” Sarah said.
Marissa could hear the weariness in her voice. She remembered how exhausted she had felt after her dose of pain that changed her. Sarah must be feeling the same way.
“All right. We can rest and attack the problem in the morning,” she agreed.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wisdom

So I was reading the January Ensign and I came across this talk given by Elder Neil L. Andersen called Reverence for God Is the Beginning of Wisdom. This was given as a commencement address in April of 2009 at BYU-Idaho.

This talk is absolutely amazing and struck me with such force that I actually had to read it again so I could glean as much as possible from it.

He discusses how we live in the information age and yet it doesn't mean we have the understanding of God. He quoted T. S. Eliot: 


The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to God.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

Elder Andersen discusses the blessings of wisdom but cautions us; "And finally, the wisdom of the world, while in many cases very valuable, is most valuable when it humbly bows to the wisdom of God...More important, the wisdom that brings success in the world must be willing to step behind the wisdom of God and not think that it can substitute for it."

He quoted many scriptures about wisdom, but in everything it comes back to the understanding that: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10) Fear meaning profound reverence. God's "wisdom is perfect. It is pure. It is unselfish."

I was touched by the power in the scriptures that made me think about the wisdom that I have and if I allow the wisdom of God to take precedence. "Joseph Smith said this: 'The things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out.' There is no instant gratification in seeking for the wisdom of God...With the wisdom of God, we see beyond our current circumstances because, as the scripture says, 'the Spirit...speaketh of things as they really are and as they really will be'"

I would encourage everyone to read this talk. It speaks truth and humbles the reader. I am grateful for these times when something such as this touches me, humbles me and inevitably helps me grow closer to my Heavenly Father.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Finding the Joys In My Journey

So some of you might have noticed the new link for a new blog that I am following. It is the musings of a wonderful young woman that I know. I hope you will all take a few moments to brows through her blog. She has a delightful way of looking at life through the eyes of a very mature young woman and a humor that never ceases to delight me.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Dear Editor:

Dear Stubborn,
    You temper is annoying me. Why can't you see he really does love you? Get over yourself.
Sincerely,
  Hopeful

Dear Comma,
    You allow me to make the most ridiculous sentences, that when read out loud really make absolutely no sense, and could really be considered a run on and on and on sentence, and when I think I should stop you allow me to continue. 
Please stop and let the other punctuation marks have a chance.
Your Friend,
  Period

Dear Series,
    I can't tell you how happy I am to have you finished. I am so excited to get my life back, but I truly do hope you get published.
Sincerely,
  Author

Dear Editor,
  You're brutal! You're mean! You're harsh! You're crazy!
I LOVE YOU!!!!!
Thanks for making the Storm awesome!
Loves,
 MMM

Dear Perfection,
    I can't believe how wonderful you are. How I wish you were real, then you could marry me! But alas, you belong to Larea,
Yours Always,
  Wishful

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blessed

Hello all my lovely readers. I first off want to apologize for ditching everyone for the last few months. To say that I was busy seems like such a lame excuse, but I really was very busy. I did a lot of flying and stuff and I was also feverishly working on finishing the last book in a series that I have been writing.

I am happy to say that I finished the book and am finally able to find some time to work on other things (such as The Shadow. :)) I can't say that I will be as good at writing every day like I was there for a while, but I am certainly going to try and keep things moving.

So I know you are all anxiously waiting to find out what happens next to Marissa, but I'm still working on the next chapter. I do however want to share a wonderful experience I had over the Christmas Holidays. I feel very blessed.

So I was lucky enough to have a five day block of reserve from the 22nd of December to the 26th. Yep, I was on call for the whole Christmas break. I knew I would get called too, because everyone who has any sort of seniority can drop trips or call in and of course the reserves get to work. I was somewhat ok with this because I knew I would make some $$.

Now I didn't think I would surpass my guaranteed flight hours for the month of December because I hadn't worked that much during the first two weeks of the month, so having the holiday pay as well as working was fine with me.

So on the 22nd I get a call at 4 AM that they are temporarily assigning me to Salt Lake City (TDY) for the 5 days. I was surprised at this because they usually send the SLC flight attendants to other domiciles. :) So off I go to SLC with a two day CRJ700 trip already on my schedule. I'm not a big fan of the 700 and 900 jets because I like to work alone, but when you are a reserve you suck it up and do what they tell you. And to top it off I got to be the forward flight attendant (FA) on Delta Connection.

AHHHHHHH! I have never, I repeat, never worked the FA position on Delta and I've only done it once on United. So yes, I was totally freaked out. Luckily I got an absolutely awesome aft flight attendant (FF) who helped me be calm. I actually ended up enjoying the position, but mostly because I didn't have to read the announcements. :)

So for two days I got to fly to St. Louis, MO (which would have been totally awesome if I could have stayed and seen my friend Kelly) and Denver. (I've never stayed in Denver before.) On the second day I came back to SLC and before we even arrived I already had stuff posted on my schedule. Just little stuff that would have brought me back to SLC on the 24th and then probably flying somewhere else through the 26th, but as luck would have it they decided to make a change to my schedule.

...Now I don't really think luck had anything to do with it. I think Heavenly Father and probably my mom were in on the plan and here's why...

So I get back to SLC and see that I am already scheduled for a 3 day trip on a CRJ900 that starts in 10 minutes. In other words I had 10 minutes to make it from the E gates in SLC to the end of the B gates. Now if any of you know SLC airport very well then you will understand why 10 minutes is not enough time. :) I book it over to the gate and meet my crew. This time I was in the FF position and I was totally ok with that. My awesome FA had helped me with some preflight stuff and we were ready to board.

So I start this lovely 3 day trip. I got to overnight in Omaha and briefly see my friend Jenn, which was wonderful, and then on to Ontario, CA, on Christmas eve. That was fun. The crews that were at the hotel all went out to eat at In and Out Burger and we got to relax a bit. It wasn't a horrible way to spend Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day we headed back to SLC and then did a Long Beach round trip. That was fun because I got to take two families to Disneyland and one to Lego land for Christmas. We also had a very nice passenger give us a box of wrapped Sees Candies "for the nice Delta flight attendants who had to work on Christmas."

So I was feeling pretty high on Christmas cheer and chocolate. We get back to SLC around 4 pm and I am on call the next day with nothing scheduled. I was luck that didn't have to be available until 9 AM on the 26th. After much contemplation and thought I rented a car and drove home to visit with my dad. I wouldn't be able to attend our family Christmas party on the 26th, but at least I could see my dad for Christmas.

I called to make sure he would be home and when he asked where I was I told him I was on my way to the hotel. (I just didn't tell him it was the hotel Deweyville. Hehehehehe) As it just so happened my sister was up visiting with my dad for Christmas. Bonus! So now I would get to see my dad and my sister and her family. I was feeling really awesome and excited by this point and then the next thing I know my dad is telling me that my brother is also going to stop by. Awesome! I would get to see two siblings and six nieces and nephews. Now I'm feeling humble and blessed. Heavenly Father is really watching out for me.

As I drove I also figured that my mom was working her angelic magic to make things happen this way. I could just see her tweaking schedules so that at just the right time someone would call in sick or cancel and I would get put on just the right trips to have that time off and of course the weather had to be pretty awesome too, because I wasn't about to drive a rental car to Deweyville in a snow storm. So I was sending up prayers of thanks to Heavenly Father for letting and helping my mom arrange stuff so the family could be together for Christmas.

Finally I arrive at my dad's house all excited and ready to surprise them when low and behold who pulls up behind me but another brother and his family. Triple score!!!!! I run up to the door and ring the doorbell. My nephew answers the door and just stares at me because I'm supposed to be at a hotel in California. (I had to tell my sister that because she asked me point blank where I was staying. I figured I had stayed in CA so it wasn't too far off the truth.) Then my dad comes up behind him and I yell surprise.

The look on my dad's face was worth all the time spent on the CRJ700/900 and all the very long and boring flights I had to do for four days. It was the best Christmas present ever!

So I spent Christmas evening with my family, in an impossible situation where I was certain I wouldn't see anyone but the hotel desk clerk. Thank you Heavenly Father (and mom).

That night it began to snow. It snowed all day. I did get to stop by and say hi to another brother and his family before heading to the airport. I got called to fly to Missoula and back to SLC and then home to Fresno where I finally got to open my own Christmas presents and get kisses from my dogs.