Seeker of Happiness

$12 Tote Bags and Some Happy Thoughts

"A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand.

Carrie Lynn3 Comments
Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than those who inhabit the mountain?"
- Kahlil Gibran

A lot of my friends grew up and moved away. That's a problem you face living in a college town. But luckily, the friend's I've made have kept in touch with me, and honestly, I don't know what I'd do without them.

This is Anna.

She's about as care-free as this picture depicts. She's been my best friend since I was 16 and she asked me to come with her to walk her ferret. Anna graduated so she's working in Utah, although she's usually somewhere else in the world (like BRAZIL). Right now, she's in Alaska. Anna is engaged to a man named Buck, who doesn't mind that we tease him about his name. He has a job with a salary. Buck lets Anna fly.

When Anna calls, she asks me all about how I'm doing. Sometimes we just spend the whole conversation talking about ME and what's going in MY LIFE that we don't get to what's new with hers. But then we chat later and I get to hear all about it. If we have time, our conversations can turn into marathons. But even when I see my phone bill, I never regret it.

She's poetic and beautiful and when she talks about the sky you would think God made it just for her as a special gift.

This is Mandy.

Mandy is my cousin from my biological dad's side. She's a Kitchens through and through. She graduated too, so she lives with Anna in Utah. Mandy has never been on an awkward date because she can make anyone feel comfortable in any situation. Mandy is the essence of the saying: "Life is what you make it." She is always aware that her choices are what determines how her life is going.

I talked to Mandy on the phone today about everyday life, and it turned into this really great spiritual conversation about serving others even when we feel like we don't have anything to give. Mandy told me she wants to be a spotlight. You know when you go camping, and every one has a flashlight but then someone pulls out one of those HUGE flashlights with the really big battery, and suddenly everyone realizes how dim their little flashlights are? Mandy's like that huge flashlight.

Mandy shoots guns while wearing sparkly-pink acrylic nails.

This is Nathan.

Nathan and I have been friends since the freshman welcome dance at BYU-Idaho in 2004. I've always said: "My husband will make me laugh, but no one will ever make me laugh like Nathan does." Scott knew this going into marriage, and agrees that Nathan is one of the funniest men alive. Nathan and I kept in touch when we were on our missions and if we had had groomsmen at our wedding, he would have been one of them.

Whenever I chat with Nathan, I wonder if he knows how much he means to so many people. You've never met a guy so instantly lovable. Nathan can make you feel good about yourself and when you talk to him, you feel 10 times funnier than you did before because he generously laughs at your jokes. He gives you an energy that can make you feel like you're on a high for days.

If someone doesn't like Nathan, it's probably because they have only talked to him after waking him up from a nap.

This is Ashley.

Ashley was one of my companions on my mission. While we had a lot of fun working together in Canada, we have had more fun becoming closer friends at home. Ashley got married to Marc who is really tall and loves her a lot. Her last name is Roberts now, although to me, she will always be "Abenroth." Ashley just had a baby named Marley who makes her feel fulfilled in life.

I like talking to Ashley because A.) She has Verizon so we talk for free B.) Our conversations usually start with "you're the only person who will understand this..." C.) She doesn't sound disappointed in me when I feel like complaining. In fact, she helps me complain because she knows me well enough and understands that I'll eventually talk myself out of whatever I'm complaining about. D.) Ashely is from Washington so she knows what I'm talking about when I say things like: "Steve Poole" and "Do the Puyallup."

I don't think there's ever been anything Ashley's prayed for that she didn't receive. She's one of the best examples of faith I have in my life.

The people above are far-away friends I've chatted with lately and I miss terribly, but all of my out-of-town friends should know that we miss you and love you and think of you often.