GRADUATION!! (Grad School)

Sunday, May 21

I look forward too..

There are many things I look forward to.
I look forward to the beach this weekend
I look forward to the comfort of a educational degree
I look forward to knowing my place in the scheme of things
I look forward to knowing the rules by which I should play
I look forward to seeing the excitement of my brothers next time I am
home for a visit
I look forward to X-men 3
I look forward to the next book I am going to read. I don't know what
it is yet but I am excited just thinking about it.
I look forward to getting rid of the "la grippe" (just for you Kate ;) )
What do you look forward to?

Thursday, May 18

My Role in the Chaos

I spoke with my younger brother today. He got home from his mission last Thursday. He is ill. He has tried very hard to complete his mission but this is the second time he has had to come home, and this time it is for good. The first time was for surgery on his feet. This time it is due to ulcers. He has quite a few. Apparently he can’t keep any food down and he has horrible stomach pain. Add this to the terrible nightmares he has had for years (due to a family trauma when he was really little) and you come up with a young man who is always tired and in pain. This is not really conducive to a teaching spirit. So he came home for good.

Sad as that is that is, it’s not my reason for blogging tonight. One thing he said really struck me. He told me that he explained to another sister why he could talk to me. He said something to the effect that I understood him and would not judge him. Therefore he could always tell me what was going on and never be afraid that I would love him any less. I realize that I can and do play this role with many members of my family. I talk to most of them often, as a matter of fact, in the last week; I have spoken with a sister-in-law, 2 sisters, 4 brothers, my grandmother, my mother, and both of my dads. 11 people with at least 30 minutes if not more than an hour for each conversation. That is just 5 days. Can you imagine how much I talk to in a month? I usually talk to every person in my family every month (excluding nieces). Some of them I talk to more then once. And now you know why I have so many minutes and unlimited text messages.

This is the role that I am meant to play. A long time ago there was a blessing given that stated I needed to help hold my family together. I was to be the glue. I have had a very difficult time reconciling living in another state and “being the glue” for my family. But I realized today that I do not always have to be in the same house or even the same state for every member of my family to know that they are an important part. I am still pondering moving home. It is not something I want to do, the cycle that it leads to can be very detrimental to me. BUT…….this is part of who I am and who I will always be. Not every one will understand if I choose to move home. My family plays a significant role in my life; I doubt there will ever be a time when they don’t. It’s not something I can explain except to say that there are some things that you can’t understand unless you live through them, and we have lived through them together. The chaos, drama, and madness can be in an odd way comforting to me. There is no world without them, maybe it’s because there are enough of them to populate the world. But maybe, just maybe, it’s because they have always been my world and with out them, I am a little lost.

Some of the choas:

And more:


Oh and the newest last month:

Plus 2 more adults I don't even have a photo of! When I said chaos, I really meant it. ;)

Monday, May 15


I had an interesting conversation with my step-father Kent yesterday. I had called home to talk to my mother for Mother’s Day only to find that she was still at church. So I talked to my dad for quite awhile. My parents divorced when I was 11 and Mom and Kent remarried shortly there after. He is the father who was in charge of my rebellious teenage years. He is the father who would give the monthly interviews to make sure I was on track spiritually, emotionally, and socially. I won’t say he is perfect but he is one of the men I am most grateful for in my life. We talked of various things. For the first time in over a year I had one of our old interviews. I was able to ask a few pertinent questions myself. But what struck me the most was a comment he made partially in jest. He asked me if I was done blossoming out here in DC so that I could come home, because he could use the help.

I know this was not done to guilt trip me in any way. He could use the help; my family has always been a chaotic mess, and this was his way of letting me know that he would welcome any help I could offer. I have been in the role before; therefore he was slightly teasing me about it. But there was an underlying current of seriousness. My heart aches at the struggles I know exist with in my family. I know that part of who I am needs to assist in the handling of these struggles. To do that I would have to move home, I have thought about it ever since. I sat home and brooded about it last night. I don’t want to move home. I like living out here, but I miss my family. I miss the comfort of the familiar. I miss my boys. But I came out here for a purpose. Have I attained that purpose? Have I finished? Have I done what I was supposed to do? Have I grown in the ways I needed to? Am I that different then when I left home? In some ways I am. In others I haven’t changed at all. But family is the most important thing in this life. Do I go home to help? Or do I continue to “blossom”? I hate decisions.

Friday, May 12

Rainy Thursday

Yesterday it rained. It was gray and gross and everyone was whining. But I loved it. I love the seasons. I love when they change, but when it rains something happens to the air. I think I would love t0 live in the rain forest someday. It was sprinkling off and on all day but no real heavy showers. I got home and was sitting in my bay window when the real storm came. The sky opened up and it came down in buckets. Huge drops soaking into the ground. I couldn’t help it; I went outside and just stood in it. Letting the rain soak into my hair and run down my face. I tilted my head back and let the rain wash away all the stress of the past week. I looked around and realized that the puddles in the area were going to be amazing. Already I could see one or two that were begging to be jumped in. But I couldn’t do it by myself. I was too self-conscious of who could be watching the crazy woman playing in the rain all by herself. I immediately wished for my boys to come and play. But they are too old and too far away now for such simple joys as puddle jumping. As I stood in the rain yesterday, I remembered rains of the past. Paul and James and I out in the street in Utah, the amazement that would sweep over their face as they would splash through the puddles that came half way up their calves. Later it was Lukas and I in the parking lot of the Church down the street. The joys of us splashing and playing until we were soaked. These play times were always followed with a bath or shower (depending on the age of those playing) and warm clothes. I miss my boys. Not that it would be the same, even if they had been here. They have grown up now. The little boys that I used to spend hours with, making red and green popcorn, playing hide and seek, running around playgrounds, no longer exist. Lukas is 9, James is 13, and Paul is 14. They are too old to do silly things like that. But I miss the moments.

Saturday, May 6

Moments of Contemplation

Someone recently asked me “where I was”. I made a joke of it due to the fact that I am not sure. I am in a place where I think a lot. Life is full of moments of contemplation. I look forward to the beach trip in a couple of weeks. I think I might take a day and just sit on the beach all by myself. I haven’t sat and listened to the waves for awhile.

For now the highlights of the last 3 weeks:

Arizona was good.
I had a great talk with my father and Patty, it will be a moment to remember
I got to meet more cousins I did not know I had
It was nice to see my sisters
Dad and Patty asked me to move to Arizona, again

Kate took me to a library last Thursday
Hello my name is Rachel Gifford. I am a bookaholic
I spent an hour soaking up the peace and then checked out 11 books
I have read 6 of them

The weekend with Cam was good.
You can learn a lot about yourself in less then a week.
I found the bookshop for the Lincoln, Vietnam, and Korean War memorials,
which means….
….I got 3 new books. The joy at that was almost overwhelming

Rent was great, even if Roger couldn’t sing.
I am not really as liberal as I think sometimes
I love sitting in a dark theater with music surrounding me.

Life is full of moments that cause contemplation