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Insight to Awesome Al on Awesome Track

Here are the answers to the questions that Jo asked me.

1.If you could use 1 3 word  words to describe yourself, what would it be?
"Just not funny."
Kidding, I think it's a close tie between assertive and exact (maybe that makes me intense). I have always been bolder when it comes to voicing my opinion. My friends may not know this about me quite as well, but my family definitely does. This combination may have been what made Dad say to his twelve year-old daugher, "Al, you're just not funny." This torchured me for over 10 years and just in the last year I found out that Dad was only joking  all along (apparently it was a line from the movie A River Runs Through It). I would say my intense personality either drives people crazy or makes them laugh.

2. What is your favorite Artistic medium?
I really love to sketch and always have for as long as I can remember. Now I mostly do it for projects I need to design, but I would love to get back into the habit of one 10 minute sketch each day to improve that ability. I'm not sure if quilts count as well, but I love to make them and they inspire me. Not only that but they serve a purpose beyond just aesthetics.


3.  What does your husband do, that makes you feel giddy?
Power Shoes is incredibly supportive and involved. Whenever I am working on a project, I love when he either jumps in along side of me, or asks questions about what I'm working on and why I'm doing something. Last night's conversation was about bias tape and making button holes (I was trying to finish Ty's Madame Principal: Striped Polka Dot Bubble Dress for PR&P). Someday I'm sure he will be a good little assistant because he knows so much. Just like I hope all of Power Shoes' conversations of welding will give me a good foundation to learn it someday. This question has given me the perfect opportunity to pull one of my blog posts from the unfinished drafts pile to the actually used pile. This is written for Power Shoes in honor of his assistance on the Design Studio and always standing by me.
I just wanted to thank you for your incredibly supportive and all encompassing love for my crazy hippy-ish ways. Last year you didn't even object in the slightest when we started taking a hypnotic/meditative childbirth class; which was a completely foreign concept to you. You proudly wore Heber in public in the baby wrap as much as me because that was what he needed and was easiest.
And now as I am re-purposing this crib, you are encouraging me, letting me run with my ideas, and sacrificing your time, money, and precious sleep. Last night as I was laying in bed trying to go to sleep, it hit me how really fabulous you are (I've always thought you were great, but now I know you are so much more).
I am writing this letter to you for two purposes. The first is so you can know the extent of my gratitude. The second reason is so that I can never forget how amazing you really are on those hard days when my stupid pride gets in the way. Thank you for all the nights we stayed up 3 hours later than we had planned so that we could finish all of the crib re-purpose projects. Thanks for standing beside me as I spent precious money to do this project.
And most especially thank for telling me near the end of a very long week (when I was feeling guilty that I may have forced you into free labor), "Al, thank you for letting me help you with your projects. I've had a lot of fun planning and building with you. We work well together and I look forward to us getting to build more things together." This melted my heart deeper than any gratitude you've ever spoken before.

4.  Who is your favorite ancestor and why?
Honestly I don't know that much of our ancestors. I was going to say Grandma Twila, but I looked up what ancestor was in the dictionary, and it is typically at least one more remote than grandparent. As far as ancestors I actually knew, it is a tie between Great Grandma Lucille and Great Grandpa Shaffer (since they are all I have). Both used their skills and long lives to bless others. Grandma Lucille served in any way she could her entire life. Just before she died (at 92 years-old) she was still volunteering as a pink lady at the hospital to push people around in wheel chairs. It was truly a life filled with service. Grandpa Shaffer is special as well because he was a master craftsman. He could do amazing things with the work of his hands. Besides the homes and churches he built rock by rock, he was also an incredible wood carver. I don't think there's anything he couldn't make. He was even able to make a wood chain out of a single toothpick (can you imagine working on something so intricate?). The combination explains a lot of where some of my inherent desires come from. I love to serve others even if there is not always enough to serve myself, and there is an indescribable satisfaction that comes from creating something beautiful that forces my sewing machine to be out 100% of the time and my silhouette to be out 75% of the time.

5. Tell us one childhood memory, that has shaped who you are today.
From before kindergarten through the end of second grade  Tyler was my very best friend(then he moved away and we had to be friends from a distance). Even to this day I consider him one of the best friends a person could ask for. He was always proud to be my friend (as a little kid I was not as confident as I should have been) and despite only getting to see each other once a year or two, we have always stayed friends. When we were little kids I always felt like I belonged to the land of misfit girls with my very short and very curly hair in a town where all the girls had long flowing locks. That never even phased him despite all the girls in our class having little crushes on him. As a first grader Tyler and his dad were watching the Miss America Pageant. While watching it Tyler asked his dad if girls with curly hair could win the Miss America Pageant too? His dad told him yes. His response was really excited, "Sweet, I'm going to go tell Allison that she could win the Miss America Pageant someday." (Obviously I wasn't there for this, but Tyler's dad told my mom the story when we were little and it has stuck with me forever since). I learned that instead of looking at our differences as curses, we need to think of them as unique opportunities to bless others life. Knowing that I was a Child of God and reminding me that He made me perfect just the way I am was the best gift a friend could give. I was able learn that whatever I dreamed could be possible. That is the gift that I hope to give to my children and all that are near me.

6. What books are you reading, right now?
Hmm, well this last week I just read The Candy Shop War: Arcade Catastrophe and The Outsiders (read it with my 12 year-old brother-in-law).
And I am in the middle of reading many books but my main focus is Les Miserables and the Book of Mormon (Black List, Animal Farm, How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Hobbit, The Magician's Nephew, Stargirl are just another handful on the list of someday when I don't have such fun people around). I want to know the later by every  means possible. This is one of those books that after I read it, I will never actually be done.

7.  What has been your life's biggest challenge, and how have you overcome it?
Patience, and having the calm and faith that should accompany it. This is something I didn't have to learn as much of as a kid, but I have learned time by leaps and bounds as I've been married and begun to raise a family. I've seen my patience grow as we've played the waiting game for moving onto something bigger and better in the last 6 months. The calm and faith was learned from months of stressing, searching, praying, and waiting. In those moments of greatest doubt and uncertainty we were not left alone. I had some really wonderful opportunities to feel peace and comfort, and most importantly Heavenly Father's desire for what was best for me and his all encompassing love. Since one of those more profound moments, we have just trusted that it will be okay and kept swimming along (paying tithing, trying to make ends meet, finding ways to serve those that most need it, and finding joy in the journey) as best as we could.

8. Do you look like your mom or your dad?
 Haha. Funny question. Mom and Dad are complete opposites. Dad has straight, black hair, olive skin complection, and dark chocolate eyes. Mom has blond, curly hair, sky blue eyes, and ivory completion. Besides both of them having tall-ish builds, they are polar opposites when it comes to appearances and personality so naturally all of us kids are a melting pot of Mom and Dad. Therefore you wouldn't know we were siblings unless you know our mannerisms. I would have to say, I think I look more like my dad. I have dark brown hair, nearly black eyes, and an incredible tan when I get out in the sun. There is one thing I definitely got from Mom though, and that is my crazy curly hair.
What do you think?

9. What is your greatest blogging weakness?
Pictures; I do lots of really cool projects, but those usually involve messes especially when you add in keeping 2 kids content while trying to be efficient. So I don't usually get a final picture taken in that moment. Further down the road the same opportunity may not present itself. I also stink at photography in comparison to Scary (I know, there's only one way to get better). Luckily Scary found a pretty easy but amazing, free photo editing program called Picasa.

10.  What is your greatest blogging strength?
 I'm not sure that I've been a hardcore blogger long enough to know for sure. I guess the good thing about my posts, is that I only write things that are significant to me, so don't write filler posts. If I'm writing a post it is because it matters to me and it may bring a perspective into someone's life. and I try to be as real, honest, and quirky as I really am (hence the awesome track).

11. Plan your ideal romantic date, detail-by-detail and share it with us. 
 Honestly the thought of a romantic date stumps me. I used to have an endless supply of date ideas running through my head (oh the single days, when there was time to daydream) and now the typical date is ordering Chinese, picking a movie, and curling up on the couch with my husband. It is fairly cheap, doesn't require babysitters, and you can never be late.
When we move into the Chicago area (2 more weeks-yikes :P), I think it would be fun to go to some musicals and museums; in order to do this, I would have to have a babysitter for the kids. I don't know what else is there, but since we will be there in the winter, it would be fun to get some warm roasted nuts as we walk safely back to our mode of transportation to take us home. As we are waiting for the tram to arrive, I wouldn't mind Power Shoes sneaking in a few kisses.

Questions for Nae:
What made you fall in love with Bubba?
Who is the most influential person in your life that shaped who you are today? Explain.
Where is your most favorite place in the world (that you have actually been to and brings peace to your soul) and why?
What is your favorite snack any time of the day?
What is your default meal to make when you have people over (include the recipe)?
What is your greatest challenge as a new mother of a seven year old?
What is the best approach for someone to get to know you and become your friend?
Tell us a funny story about what it was like to grow up with only brothers.
What has been the biggest adjustment marrying into a family that has 3 sisters?
What is your favorite movie to curl up on the couch with a warm blanket?
Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
What is the first thing that you notice about people?
Do you think that you are strong?
What is your favorite recipe?
If you were a crayon what color would you be?

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