Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I received a call today...a rather entertaining one to be perfectly honest.

It went something like this:

"Good Afternoon! Thank you for calling Marriott reservations...How can I help you today?"

"Hi, I'm looking for a suite in April for two nights."

She proceeds to give me the dates and I search....nothing.

"I'm sorry, Ma'am. I've got no rooms available."

"Are you sure you've got no suites available. I'm in desperate need."

"Sure, let me double check."

"Thank you so much. I'm Paris Hilton's assistant and the home she had rented for the weekend is not in livable conditions any longer. I'm desperate to find a place for her."

Now, here's where things go silent in my head...your family owns the Hilton chain and you can't get a room at ANY Hilton. I was so tempted to as if she'd like to become a Marriott Rewards Member...Just a thought you know!!!

I so enjoy my job sometimes!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

I DID IT!!!!!

I felt as if I were making my triumphant entry back to church. We walked in and sat down early as the girls rushed off to their quick rehearsal before sacrament meeting began. All was quiet. One after another the nameless faces began filing in. I remembered some of their faces, but their names escape me. I haven't seen any of them since last October...how was I supposed to remember their names. I sat quietly and read my scriptures...soaked in the spirit. As sacrament meeting was getting ready to begin the bishop and his counselors emerged from his office and took the stand. His eyes looked out upon the congregation and fell upon our family. All 5 of us...sitting quietly. Both he and his counselors saw me at the same time. I received three big smiles from the stand, a wave from two counselors and two thumbs up from the bishop. All through sacrament meeting I saw our bishop's eyes glancing in our family's direction with a big smile spread across his face. I may have even glanced upon a little tearage up there.

After sacrament meeting I went to play with all of my little friends in nursery. I still had my calling to attend to. I found myself grateful for the leaders who give my children rides when we can't make it. I am thankful for the leaders that teach my children how to have strong testimonies. I am thankful for a bishop who pulled back on the ourse strings for the adult activities in the ward so that our youth could attend both Young Women's Camp and Scout Camp compliments of our ward. My jaw dropped as we were told no payment was due for either camp. I felt a thankful burning in my heart knowing what a blessing it was to be in this ward.

I remembered back to the afternoon in California when I was lead to the apartment complex nearly 30 minutes from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's home. I was literally lead to this ward....and I feel blessed and now I know why.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Beginning...of the End.

Is it "The End" already?! How could the time have flown past my eyes?! She was just an itty bitty!!!

All right!!! I confess!!!! She was NEVER "itty bitty" to anyone but her abnormally tall parents. I'm simply milimeters from being 6 ft while hubby is well over 6 ft. "Amazon" children were most certainly guaranteed.

So, Why?!

Why am I going on like this?! In less than a year my oldest is going to be turning 16!!! We just received her education packet in the mail from the State Of Texas. Now I have to pick out the right course for her and begin her driver's training. In less than nine months she'll be driving, dating and become a Laurel.

Do you know what that means?!?!?!

No, I;m truly not hyperventilating, but truly our children are with us at home for a blink of the eye before they prepare to go out on their own. Only 3 years until leaving for college I already see her preparing to fly from the nest. She is excited to learn to drive, a skill she will need her entire life. She just finished reading the entire Book of Mormon and is 1 small project away from earning her Young Women's Medallion. She has also decided on her own to earn the Honor Bee in which she needs to read the Book of Mormon...again and provide 40 hours of service. She prepares to be sealed in the temple by holding her own limited use temple recommend. She prepares for life by working hard on her schoolwork. She prepares for her eternal salvation by being a good example and a terrific leader for the rest of the Mia Maids.

Where did the time go? She used to need me for everything. Now, she needs me to start letting go...bit by bit.

However, dear friends...this is not the Beginning of the End as I originally thought.

It is the beginning...of a new beginning.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I'll tell you a secret...

Come closer...

C'mon!!! You can get closer than that!!!


In my family, we've tied, and failed multiple times, to hide a secret from the world.

We're not normal.

More than once we've been told by people we know, and some we've never met how our family is strange. We've heard it all before.






completely and utterly entertaining.

Many have told us we should have our own reality show. Wouldn't that be interesting? A camera crew following us all around on our adventures. Watching us...watch them. We're not that amusing...or are we?

I'm sure I'll get some nasty notes from people, but I've got be hoenst of how I view the world.

For example, last night I was relaxing and watching TV with Molly Bee. With nothing to watch and flipping through the channel aimlessly. I came across a show about small children competing in pageants. As far as I am conerned, pageants for children that young are nothing more than child abuse. Who wants to take such a pure beautiful face...and oh yes, each and every single one of those children are adorably beautiful...with pounds of makeup, hair sprayed so much it wouldn't move in a Class 5 tornado. If they want to dress in elegant dresses, go ahead, but remember...THEY ARE CHILDREN!!!!! And when they cry, love them...don't force them to keep practicing. When they're sick...forget the stupid pageant and KEEP THEM IN BED!!! Don't tell them the "show must go on."

Utterly Ridiculous!!!!!

Anyway, in our efforts to entertain ourselves my youngest did a pageant walk, best imitating the lessons each young girl worked so hard at. From there...our lack of sanity just took over.

We began walking the runway as...



Women going into labor,

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade baloons,

babies learning to walk,

and the Easter Bunny.

It was fun and hysterical...especially to us.

So...what happened? My darling youngest told her friends all about it. They laughed and told her...we should have our own reality show. Oh yeah...I'm sure the world is ready for that!!! However, if we get some free time, maybe we'll recreate our walks and post them. We're like that you know.

BEEP!!!! This is a recording!!!

Seriously, I don't know whether to take it as a compliment or just feel plain insulted.

No less than 5 guests in the past week have told me my voice sounded like a recording.


I thought to myself: "Really?! My voice must sound bad!!!"

However, today one of our dear Platinum Members (Platinum= Living in any Marriott for approximately 1/3 of the year) explained sweetly I should take it as a compliment.

His exact phrase was: "If I could hear your voice everytime I called to make a reservation I'd be staying at Marriott 365 days a year."


Oh yes, these men flirt. Regardless of age, they enjoy flirting. Mind you most of them are single. I won't guarantee all. I'm not THAT naive. I've had gentlemen ask me out to drinks when they visit the resorts I'm booking for them. I've had cameramen offer to bring me a loaf of sourdough bread fresh from San Francisco. After saving one gentleman over $1600 for a group of rooms he was booking for himself and co-workers He wanted to have all of his co-workers take me out to dinner. They even planned on renting a stretch limo so that all 12 of these men could escort me out to dinner. I've taken care of ambassadors, members of congress, producers, music legends, vice presidents of Major League Baseball Clubs and others.

The sweetest moment was an elderly man was making a reservation. In my old jobs I've often called my customers "sweetheart" or "honey." I let it slip when I was talking to him. He choked up a bit. I apologized profusely thinking I'd offended him. He quickly regained his composure and asked me not to worry about it. He said his wife of 40 years called him sweetheart the same way I had. She passed away 5 years earlier. I let it slip one more time and he wished me a good day, this time on purpose.

On a daily basis I feel honored with the sweet words of praise they send my way. However, I find myself stuck. The whole recorded voice thing...should I take it as a compliment? Or should I take offense?

It really could go either way...I think I'll take it as a compliment.

Who knows?

Perhaps someday...I'll be the voice of Marriott.

Oh yeah!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

I'm spoiled...

Rotten to the core...that's what I am. I had to go into work during a last minute rush as my computer refused to upload the Marriott system. Needless to say I was unthrilled as I hadn't bothered to dry my hair...being a little lazy that day and it looked bad...I mean worse than bad. I looked like one of the homeless wandering the streets of San Antonio. However, I was there. My boss greeted me with open arms welcoming me back into the office and making sure I was paid for my time, even though I was sitting in the car on the way to the freeway. I got paid to drive into work yesterday...NICE!!!

Of course I paid for it later when my third and final bus transfer came in nearly 45 minutes late...I could've walked home from the Medical Center...it's only a couple miles.

Anyhoo!!!!My boss was quick to ask if I'd received my certificate for my free weekend stay. When I admitted I hadn't she said in her sweetest voice.

"No worries, sweetie, I'll take care of everything." She is the tiniest little woman and I adore her. She was born in Turkey and grew up in Germany...there are times when her english makes no sense structurally, but we all adore her and understand what she is telling us anyway.

A few minutes later the Southern California manager arrive with certificate and folder in hand. He gave me a quick hug...no political correctness in our office. We all love each other and look at each other as a family, nothing more, nothing less. I was congratulated. Of course I thanked him and told him how excited I was for this. He quickly explained this certificate is one of the most expensive prizes they have given this year. 2 nights= over $1,000. WOW!!!! I am in shock. Hubby has agreed to go along even though the thought of being in California reminds us of the heartbreak we've endured over the past couple years. The manager also was quick to tell me to call and book quickly as they wanted to provide 2 tickets to the Grammy Hall of Fame museum which was nearby.

I'll book when I get to my day off on Monday.

And yes...I'm not just well taken care of...I'm spoiled.


I am THRILLED!!!! I found out the woman Don works with was offered a job in my office. She will now become my sister in the Marriott family. It felt good to help another who has been struggling.

Monday, March 15, 2010


One of the blessings of Marriott is working with fabulous people and being able to meet some incredibly fabulous people at incredibly fabulous properties.

In a crazy turn of events the lovely men at CPS were working on replacing the electric boxes at our apartments. Knowing the power had gone out 3 times before I managed to get the kids off to school I jumped into my, nearly forgotten, business attire and woke my hubby to warn him I was running into the office to work that day.

AND it was a good thing I did.

L.A. Live J.W. Marriott & Ritz Carlton was visiting to promote their property. One team in our office books the Southern California area which was the reason why they came to visit. In true LA style they catered in lunch to us, brought in the red carpet as I rambled on about before.

One thing that ALWAYS happens on these visits is a quiz that helps us to familiarize ourselves with the properties.

Being the Cali girl I am an LA quiz was nuthin' I know the area and it was easy to familiarize myself with the property. Located across the street from the Nokia Center, where American Idol and the Grammys are televised from and within a block of the Staples center, where the Laker's play I knew that area. Wolfgang Puck's is there. There are incredibly Chic restaurants in the area and a fun place to be. Selling this property, was going to be a snap.

Being the travel nerd I am I check my work e-mails several times a day, even when not working, to keep up to date. I received 37 alone today.

Tonight a special e-mail was in my inbox. One that was mailed throughout my office.

Ken, our So. Cal Manager announced the winner of the quiz....Really? There was a prize? I had no idea.

Can you believe it?!

I WON!!!!!

I started screaming...the kids ran into the room wondering what was happening. I won a 2 night stay on a friday /saturday night in the Junior Suite including breakfast for 2 and valet parking. I can barely believe it!!! What a wonderful blessing!!! My kids were thrilled, but knew I wouldn't be able to take everyone. My youngest threw in the suggestion that I should use it to go away for the weekend with hubby for our anniversary this fall.


How fun would that be for us?!

And hubby? Is he excited?

Well, he's at work...he has no idea of our upcoming adventure. I can't wait!!!

Faith...Part 2

Faith, I believe, is a very hard trait to refine. You can have faith in others, that may or may not let you down. You can have faith of the sun rising and know it will rise...or will it? You can have faith in your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but once you know....knowing with every fiber of your being...is it faith at all?

I've tested my faith this week. I called Heavenly Father with every ounce of my being. My desire to return back to church has come full circle. I am done playing the missing Mom at church. I am done not knowing anyone at church. Most of all I am done receiving the looks from some of the sisters in the ward which adds up to them thinking I am inactive. Am I taking it to heart? No. Does it bother me? Perhaps a smidge. It reminds me often not to make judgements on anyone as we don't know their circumstances.

So...when the bidding day came up for my job I requested each and every schedule that included Sunday off...including my 3:30pm- midnight shifts. Believe me, it's not my favorite shift in the world being that I have to get up at 5am every morning to prepare my oldest for seminary.

This morning, I received my schedule for next month....



So I put in for a shift change...having faith.

Nearly 6 hours later I received an e-mail agreeing to change my shift from the 3:30-midnight to....

Drum Roll Please....


Still not my favorite, but I have Weekends off. I CAN GO TO CHURCH!!!!

Not only that, but hubby has been given a time slot for an interview with Amtrak on the 26th.

My faith is growing. My heart is full and my children are smiling...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Having Faith...

After overcoming my instant popularity at work for booking George Clooney's revervation...which included my manager running through the sales floor clutching a trendy LA magazine with my caller gracing the front compliments of the JW Marriott at LA Live who just happened to be visiting. Needless to say work was a little crazy for the two days I spent in the office. I was spoiled by my beloved Courtyard Waikiki who filled my desk with Honolulu Cookie company treats, a giant bamboo clothes pin, to be used for who knows what, and a variety of holders that will attach my purse to a table while out dining so it doesn't need to lay on the floor. So sweet, unfortunately I never use a purse, but who knows...someday I may carry one and actually need this.

Returning to work at home was a welcome treat indeed. As I sat taking in calls my phone lit up...not the one I work on mind you, but my actual home phone. It read out of the area. After I finsihed with my guest I paused my calls and listened to the message. Amtrak was calling. Not for me...for hubby. We had wandered across a position on the Amtrak website and it was truly perfect for him. I was so thankful. It plays to every single one of his strengths. Excited, we put in for it hoping we would get that one in a million chance for him to prove himself and get an interview.

He was quizzed about his background by the human resource manager and was told he would be conducting interviews at the end of the month. He was promised a time would be e-mailed to him. He got off the phone stunned. 2 hours later a repeat call of the same gentleman quizzing him again on the same questions. Perhaps that tactic works on some people in slipping up on their answers, but not my ultra honest hubby. Never ask him if you look fat in those pants...the truth will come out. This time he was given a time to show up and to be prepared for an interview with the human resources manager. I am excited and thrilled for him. He is truly putting himself out there for a job he will really love. He will need to travel, but if he is happy, no worries there.

My thoughts?! You're going to love my reasoning:

If he gets a discount on Amtrak...and I get a discount on Marriott....SUH WEET!!!!!

So, on the 26th he will put himself on the line and go for it. Thank heavens he already has the day off from work.

Such blessings!!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

He Called....

Oh brother! I froze for a moment when I figured out just who I was speaking to...and when he said "Serafina", my work name, my knees became weak, my heart began to pound and I was forced to pick my jaw up off the floor.

Let's just say I could day dream about this gentleman whether being on the ground or up in the air. I would never say no to him if her were my doctor, or my kids' for that matter. I would cross 11,12 even 13 oceans to meet this gentleman.

So, who was he?

I can't tell you...but I already did!!!

Let's see how many can figure this out.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

One Minute With the Spirit...

Most of you know I've been working my life away in an attempt to get our family's lives back on track. What you may not know is with my employment I've not been able to set a foot inside church since last October.

As a Convert, a badge burned into my heart forever, I've learned what life is like without a testimony and grasping in the dark to find a source of light. 18 1/2 years ago I made the choice to forgo my worldly ways and draw closer to Christ, beginning my journey along the straight and narrow path. My testimony is strong and does not waver.

I've formed a plan to get me back to church, but I have to wait for the position to open. Plain and simple. I'll work my rear end off until the position opens and I will move on over to the other group...if, of course, I get the position.

One of the hardships of having one car in a family is making sure our kids can get to all of their activities and get us to work when we need it. Today was one of those days. Hubby had to be at work by 8am, Bryan needed to be at his school at 8:30am for a field trip, Molly needed to be at the church at 9am for road show rehearsal and somehow we needed to make it happen since we are talking needing to be 3 places at once basically.

Hubby dropped Bryan and I off at the market near his school at 7am where I treated him to a doughnut and chocolate milk. We waited at the school until his teacher arrived and students began to gather. At the same time I left my girls left the apartment 5 miles away to walk to church, only a mile or so from our home. I caught the bus for a couple miles and jumped off when we neared the church. I stopped for a moment at the church to make sure my girls made it safely. I spent approximately one minute in the church before completing the final mile push home.

I thought back to my previous life, where we attended church together as a family every Sunday...there was nothing stopping us. I remember attending mutual every wednesday and enjoying my time with the laurels I was called to serve. My life was centered around the church. My children's lives were centered around the church. Such a drastic change from where we are now.

As I walked away from the beautiful red brick building my heart was filled. Tears filled my eyes as I knew Heavenly Father had rushed a recharge to my very soul. I know He cares for me and understands my struggles. I know He sees my heart and supports me with His Heavenly hands when I feel I can't stand any longer. He is there for all of us, but I know today, in that one minute He was there to share his heart with me. Even now, I tear up thinking about it.

It's amazing to me how He is always there, but do we look? Do we keep our eyes and hearts open to His appearances and helping hands in our lives? Or do we continue to walk along with blinders. For myself, though i knew He was understanding and loving me through my struggles I donned the blinders focusing on what I needed to be doing to get my family to where they need to be.

Today, I challenge you all to take the blinders off. Open your eyes. Open your heart and feel His warmth. Feels His arms encircled around you. Feels His heart open unto you.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Secret Date

Oh yes...the secret date. We've done it before, snuck away from the prying eyes and whining of our teens and pre-teen. Of course, sometimes we've snuck away on a far grander scale. This time, we chose to remain close. We dropped the kids off at school, showered, dressed and jumped in the car...snacks in hand.

Among the animals we did wander and lose ourselves. Later, upon telling our kids of our adventures the oldest humphed not truly caring. Our tween sighed saying how she wished she could've gone.

After walking around the zoo we opted to take the train on a ride. I would've taken more pics, but my camera died...literally took its last breath....at least the battery did.

It was so worth it and we found so many more wonderful places to go...for free!!!!

Free date nights!!! Love it!!!