My first day at church in California was a bit nerve racking.
I didn't know very many people in the area and was hoping to make friends at church.
During the summer our ward nearly quadruples in size with beach goers.
I wondered how we would ever let people know that we were here to stay - not just vacationing.
As I walked into Relief Society a lady came up to me, grabbed my hand and said,
"Are you new?"
She was smiling, classy and oh so graceful.
She reminded me of my Mom and suddenly I felt at home.
I said yes and immediately she sat down next to me as if we were old friends.
She raised her hand to introduce me and before I knew it she had taken me under her wing.
This is just one simple example of Alicia Furst.
She and her husband Bruce have become a couple that James and I hope to emulate.
They are enthusiastic about life and are kind to everyone they meet.
Yesterday, she invited me over for a sweet luncheon with some of her darling friends.
I was thrilled with the invite and loved getting to know some remarkable women.
On top of her kindness, this woman is the picturesque hostess.
While we devoured these lemon desserts,
her daughter Ashley sang with a pianist that played throughout the afternoon.
She sang classic Valentines songs and it took me back to my choir days in high school.
It doesn't quite feel like Valentines without hearing some of those classic tunes.
Alicia even shared some of her party planning tips with me.
This luncheon was somewhat of a dream for me.
She collects these little gems ahead of time and saves them for the perfect party.
Something I really need to work on.
She says she belongs to the NPR club - never pay retail.
Ha. I love it!
But more than her fabulous Valentines party is her kind, welcoming spirit and smile.
By simply grabbing my hand and sitting next to me 9 months ago,
she changed my entire attitude about moving to a new area.
She made me want to jump in and get involved.
She made a scared, homesick girl feel right at home in a new place.
It is truly remarkable what a warm smile can do.