Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I feel so much gratitude for my many, many blessings. I KNOW without a doubt that the LORD is guiding my life and that bring me more peace and a feeling of security than I could get from any other source. I KNOW HE does not leave me (or anyone) alone and comfortless. Personally, I am in a much better "place" and mind-set than I was a year ago and I am SOOOOO grateful for that!
Recently I have been reflecting on the many blessings I take for granted each and every day. I recently finished "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch and it is an inspiring and thought-provoking. I look at the "challenges" I face each and every day and they bail in comparison to what others are facing. I have a healthy, strong body. I have a loving family and caring friends. I have a wonderful job and the means to support a comfortable lifestyle, and most of all I have a strong testimony of the LOVE my Savior and Heavenly Father have for me... and yet, WHY am I not jumping out of bed every morning excited to see what the day brings :) Reading his book, and some other recent events in my life, have truly awakened my thinking. I am making a new resolution and pronouncing it to the cyberworld (!!) that in 2009 when I start to feel pressure or stress... or feeling down about something... I am going to do a personal "check-in" with my thoughts and weigh it against what REALLY matters in the BIG PICTURE. And, to do my best to make the most of the time I spend with those I love... and those I don't even know!
2008 was REALLY GR-8!!! But, here's to a 2009 that's 1000 times more than "just fine"! (my PATHETIC attempt at rhyming!)
BUT - CONGRATULATIONS EVAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He found out YESTERDAY that he got an internship at the Treasury Department in DC... and starts in 12 days! I am so proud of him! ... and I look forward to going to visit him soon :)
Saturday, December 27, 2008
But, over the past few years I have developed a tradition. I take an annual run outside on Christmas morning... partly because my little brother loves his beauty sleep and we don't eat breakfast or do anything before 10:30 AM and I can never sleep past 8 AM no matter how tired I am.
But, I love my annual Christmas day runs because there is NO ONE on the street. It's just me and the pavement. If I want to run down the middle of Mass Ave. I can. Or, on Storrow Drive. Sure, why not?! I LOVE IT! And, the past few years the weather has been sunny and not too cold.
Well, this year I took a different route. My car went in for service on Christmas Eve and I couldn't pick it up before the place closed... so I decided to run and pick it up on Christmas day. It was such a GREAT run but one that I could not do any other day of the year because of the roads I had to run on to get there.
I will never forget this run because it was also REALLY windy. At times it was a battle to run into the wind, but I'll never forget the tailwind that was literally pushing me up the last hill. I have never been so grateful for wind in my life and was amazing at how much I could really feel it pushing me! I'm also really proud of this run because I did it faster than I thought I could do!!
Only 363 days or so till my next one :)
My roommate and her boyfriend decorated our Christmas tree Thanksgiving weekend and they did a fabulous job. It was a wonderful addition to our apartment and added to the Christmas spirit!
I am so fortunate to live very close to my grandfather for many reasons, but one of them is because that means family comes to ME for the holidays (well, I like to think they come to me because I'm here... but really it's because he's here!) I don't have to travel anywhere... which is so nice, esp. because this year there were lots of problems with travel created by the weather! (see last post for one small example!)
There was a lot of talk about where to have Christmas dinner in the month of December in order to accommodate my grandfather best... but it didn't matter because he kept his tradition of spending Christmas in the hospital for the 2nd year in a row! He even went in on the same day as he did last year... but was released much sooner this year. So, yet again, our days were spent between the hospital and making holiday preparations for a Christmas dinner at my apartment!
We had fun spending time at two friends houses on Christmas eve... and then having my uncle and some close friends over for Christmas day dinner. (Which I would NOT have been able to do if it weren't for my mother!!) But, before everyone arrived my mom, brother and I took some pictures... and then after everyone arrived I completely forgot to take any pictures!
I can't believe Christmas has come and gone. It goes so quickly, but it was truly wonderful and I still have another week before I report back to Fox Hill elementary! I'm off to PA for a few days... and the car ride will give me lots of time to think about this past year and decide on some of my new year resolutions... which may include a move from Boston??!! Can I resolve to do something like that? Hmmm.... that will be thoughts for another post. I know I can always move and go anywhere... but what makes the most sense and more importantly, what does the Lord want me to do... rather than what I tell HIM I want to do :)
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Now, I know that many people live in areas where snow is quite common and that this post is nothing too extraordinary, but I just had to write about it as my own personal sounding board and pity party :)
This was Boston's first major snowfall of the season. Typically, many, many people get all hyped-up about it. They'll talk about it for days ahead of time, raid the grocery stores like they're going to be snowed in for a week and get ready to "hunker down". And, usually it really isn't all that bad. Some shoveling, yes. But, overwhelming - not usually. Well, this storm was the exception to the norm. There wasn't much time between the first snowflake and the heavy stuff. Fortunately, employers and school administrators heeded the strong warnings this time and sent people home at noon. By 3 PM we were well on our way to having 2 inches on the ground. And, it kept coming, and coming, and coming.
My mom and little brother had driven through the night from PA in order to beat the storm. A friend let us stay in her house since she has a driveway and there's NO WHERE to park in a "snow emergency" in Somerville. ) A snow emergency is declared when there is more than 2 inches expected and you can only park your car on one side of the street. Well, in a town where parking is difficult to find when you're allowed to park on both sides of the street, parking during a snow emergency is like striking a picking the winning ticket in a national lottery (and that's not an exaggeration :) Literally, the town will come and TOW your car after giving you a $100 fine! So, anyway, we were happy to have a spot in their driveway in exchange for some shoveling. And, some shoveling we did. Mounds and mounds of it because did I mention that it just KEPT snowing!
Here's a picture of the house on Saturday morning. It started snowing Friday mid-day.
Lookin' pretty good, eh?!! If there's one thing I am proud of... it's how quickly I learned the importance of QUALITY winter gear after my first winter here of misery in the snow and cold temps. I've got the best gloves (snow doesn't go down your sleeves!) and you can only let your eyes show in Boston because the wind can be so brutal!
These are our piles late Saturday afternoon. Notice... still snowing!!! I have to compliment my mom though. She spent two hours on Saturday morning while I was out doing an errand moving snow and patting down piles so that we could pile more snow on top and it wouldn't slide off
Another pile on Sunday morning... still snowing!
My mom... as we're loading up the car to return back home to my apartment... still snowing and we had just shoveled that driveway 30 minutes before taking this picture! Note, the frustration level in my voice as if I was telling you this story in person. When I shovel I like to have the satisfaction of having a clear driveway even for just a little while.... but not with this storm! However, my mom and I had a wonderful time watching movies, eating good food and just relaxing when we weren't shoveling! That's the magical part about snowstorms. You really can't and don't want to go anywhere... so you can spend quality time together... which we did.
And, a reward for all this hard work? I just found out that we at least have a 2 hour delay tomorrow! WAHOO!!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thanksgiving was perfect. Just perfect. I stayed here in Boston and celebrated with my 2nd family here in Boston, but also spent some quality time with my Dad in RI and other friends. I took a nap each day, continued my tradition of the Macey's day parade (while putting up plastic on our windows), stayed as far away from the malls and shopping as possible, didn't have to cook a thing, and just relaxed. It was perfect! :)
Work has taken on a new meaning for me as I've now become the "head" counselor at school. My co-worker left on maternity leave early and we hadn't hired someone to replace her yet, so I've been filling in for her duties as well... and it's been a little stressful with longer hours than I used to do, but all very rewarding and I LOVE IT! Our long-term sub starts tomorrow so hopefully things will ease soon. If anything, we have the holiday break in just over one week. WAHOO!!! LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT!!!... more details later
But, what I wanted to blog about today was some thoughts on this holiday season. More than anything this year, I've tried to cut down on the things that stress me out (like shopping for the PERFECT gift and trying to get to EVERY social engagement) and to really take time to reflect on the Savior, my religious beliefs, and my life.
Music has such a powerful effect on our emotions and I find that especialy true with religious music, especially those songs that cause us to reflect on our many blessings and the life of the Savior. I've had the opportunity to attend a number of holiday concerts over the past few weeks and it has had a lasting impact on my mood and outlook.
I was reading today in a book that included reflections on Christmas by Chieko Okazaki and she made so many wonderful points. One that struck me in particular was:
`If you feel like a soldier instead of a shepherd, you can remember that we worship at the stable and not at the palace. If you feel that Christmas has you marching in lockstep toward a destination you don't like very much, step out of line. It is more important to be kind than to be on time. It is more important to show love than to show efficiency.... Don't underestimate something as simple as a smile. As one person said, "I've learned that a warm smile beams, 'Welcome to this moment." And someone else noted, "Every moment is a gift from God. That's why it's called the present."
"Presence and presents are homonyms. ...The gift of being fully present to another person--not distracted or simply dutiful but deeply and timelessly loving." During Christmas season we are looking for "the perfect gift" to give a loved one. But, truly the best present you can give anyone is your own presence, your willingness to be fully present for a neighbor, child, family member, or friend. An encounter which is a loving encounter."
WOW - I love that!! Too often I am not "fully present" when talking to another individual. I'm too busy working on "my checklist". And, in the big picture... what's of more value? My checklist or the other individual? I'm going to really focus on this over the next few weeks. Have a daily check-in with myself and I'll report back after the holidays. Can I put my checklist off to the side? It's my crutch... but I really do want to run free without it!!! Let's see how it goes.
So, here's where I seek advice...
Any thoughts on how to do this better???
P.S. - Evan - how will you react if I just give you a card for Christmas with my picture in it just saying you get the gift of having a 'fully present' me in your life!!! :)
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Back to nature. New England has many wonderful things to offer, but Fall in New England is one of the things I think everyone must experience at one time in their life. It is incredible. Words, or my words to describe it, cannot do it justice. One must live it. Breathe in the crisp air. Watch the leaves change color... so bright and majestic! See the shades of color change as the sun rises and sets on them... and then watch them fall and hear them crunch under your feet.
The fall season is ending quickly here in Boston, but I couldn't let winter come without paying tribute to a beautiful Fall. You can't walk down a street in Boston that's lined with trees in the Fall and not notice the beauty of the colorful leaves! I LOVE IT!
Wish I knew how to make these pictures bigger though!!
Incredible. Every morning when I arrive at work I am greeted by a sea of trees on one side of our parking lot and the sun is just hitting them at the right time. It's incredible!!
Then, on a recent weekend my friend Amber came into town. We met on the Boston Common in the afternoon and just walked and talked... these are two things we saw. (For those of you who don't know, the Boston Common is a big park in the middle of Boston)
Yes, those kids are jumping in the leaves... and I was so tempted to join them!!!
Now, we'll move on to some pictures of the Charles River.
Beautiful... but you would NEVER want to swim in it! It's so polluted!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Well, last weekend a friend of mine invited me to go with him to check it out. We took an unconventional way of getting there, but it was so cool! We got on a Ferry in Boston and it went right to Salem. It was dark out and chilly as the boat sped up, but we sat on the top deck for most of the ride and this was one of the amazing pictures we took of Boston as we left. It was AWESOME!
We enjoyed our walk around Salem and I wish we had more time to enjoy it all (but that was my fault!!) but I did get one picture of me as a witch!
Halloween isn't my most favorite holiday... except for all the candy intake :) But, it was fun to finally see Salem in it's element (and it's a lot different than all the other times of the year when you go during the day and it's a cute, old New England town. For two weeks in October... it comes ALIVE!!
But, one Sunday in the year I LOVE even more. The Sunday where you get to sleep in (technically, but not really). The Sunday where you're given that blessed extra hour. You didn't have to do anything to earn it. You just live it. It's one of the best gifts and blessings given to us :)
I won't easily forget the pure happiness I felt this morning as I lay awake, but still in bed, knowing that I had been given an hour. Could I have used it in a more productive way than just laying in bed - Sure, I could have, but man, it felt so good and I justified every single minute I laid there :) The sun was shining through. I was under my warm covers. It was pure heaven. Thank you Heavenly Father for simple, but truly cherished blessings like Daylight Savings Time. (We just won't think about what happens next April... maybe it just won't happen... there's always hope :)
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I feel like it's a birthday and I don't really want to celebrate it because that means I am getting old... and we just "hyper-down" about things like that, as one of my co-workers would say. But, I also feel like this is a major accomplishment for me and I am DARN proud of it!!
Today marks five years since my mom, brother, father and I pulled onto Charnwood Street in Somerville, MA with my car and a U-Haul (after only getting lost a few times off the highway - which is necessary for all newcomers to Boston to experience so that they know they've really arrived in Boston). And, a new life began.
It was my first time living on my own, not surrounded by 15,000 other Mormons my age living in a college town, and no friends what-so-ever. I came without a job, or a computer to get on the internet to find a job... furniture that I had gotten donated from family and extended family and a mattress from the 1980's (but I was grateful for it all!!). But really, let's be honest, what the heck was I thinking? Looking back on it now - I was crazy, alone, and very unprepared. And I had arrived just in time for one of Boston's worst winters on record for wind speed and temperatures.
But, what kept me here? Or, why did I come in the first place. The only answer I can come up with was faith. I knew I had given my decision a lot of thought, had received a lot of counsel from family and friends... but the thing that got me here and kept me here was FAITH. I had prayed about it and knew this is where I should be. Of course, that didn't keep me from crying as I said good-bye to my mom as she got on the "T" to return to PA after helping me unpack for a few days. And, it didn't keep me from crying many, many times over the next few months. BUT, it did give me the courage to stay and not run... which I had thought about a few times :) It also helped that my dad lives an hour and a half away and I would escape there on the weekends a few times (and to thaw out)!
Our temple president told an amazing story from his own life last night at stake conference about acting on faith. I'll never forget it. "No job, no schooling, no house at where they were going... but he left his good job, picked up his young family of four, and moved many states away because he received an answer to prompting and acted on faith". "Things work out. They always do". Of course, there are parameters to that... but I won't go into those now.
But, five years. I had no idea (and no plan) to be here that long. How many more to go? Now, that's a good question. Someone asked me today if I was going to stay here long term. And, I wanted to shout "NO!" But, wait. Why? On my walk home I thought about it. I do LOVE this city. I think when I wanted to shout "NO" it was more of I HAVE to move on from Somerville. It's where I have lived for the past five years. I moved once, but only two blocks away. This street has been walked by me EVERY day for the past five years. I've watched each season change the trees and have many fond memories of Hancock Street.
To name a few:
1. The trees that coat your car in pollen
2. The lady that comes and searches through my recycling every week for cans
3. The car with the sticker that says "Please Jesus, save me from your followers" and I want to RIP it off every time I walk by... and then kick its tires
4. The hydrant across the street that's given me $300 worth in tickets (but I fought each one and won!)
5. The crazy neighbors down the street who always have the biggest Halloween decorations I've ever seen
6. Other crazy neighbors... we'll just leave it at that.
7. Street cleaning. HATE it!
8. Moving in and having our nice neighbor help us rig a pulley to get our couch through the 2nd story window. (Picture below... current duplex where I now live. And, yes, three-seater sleep sofa came up through the 2nd floor windows!)
So, yes. A LOT has changed in my life over the past five years. Things I never dreamed of.... like getting my masters degree, becoming a huge fan of the Red Sox, meeting some of the most incredible people, working in probably the best job ever as an elementary school guidance counselor, etc.... I love Boston. I KNOW I need to move on from Somerville... but how far should I go and when... the next town over... or miles and miles away. No rush on that decision... but it's on my mind. "How many more to go?"
Monday, October 13, 2008
This show was no different from my happy memories of the circus in Charlestown, RI. They had constant action going on in two rings for most of the time. People flying through the air, animals (including tigers!!) performing amazing stunts, great music, funny clowns, the list goes on and on. I was captivated by it and I know my friend and her kids were as well! I am so glad I took the opportunity to go and be a kid again, even if I was techincally suposed to be acting like a "responsible adult" :)
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Today's lesson was on the family. Why Families? Why did Heavenly Father give us the family as the way to organize ourselves on the earth and have roles such as a mother, father, and child. It has been such a fascinating topic to study and research. Because "The Family" and its importance is one of the basic and fundamental teachings of the Church, there is A TON of information available. I could go on and on about the importance of the family, and the roles we each play in the family, but I want this post to be about the Adversary's Attack on the Family.
I found this quote below by one of our church leaders, Elder M. Russell Ballard. While it is somewhat humorous, it makes a strong point.
"When you stop and think about it from a diabolically tactical point of view, fighting the family makes sense. When Satan wants to disrupt the work of the Lord, he doesn’t poison the world’s peanut butter supply, thus bringing the Church’s missionary system to its collective knees. He doesn’t send a plague of laryngitis to afflict the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He doesn’t legislate against green Jell-O or casseroles. When Satan truly wants to disrupt the work of the Lord, he attempts to confuse gender and he attacks God’s plan for His children. He works to drive a wedge of disharmony between a father and a mother. He entices children to be disobedient to their parents. He makes family home evening and family prayer inconvenient. He suggests family scripture study is impractical. That’s all it takes, because Satan knows that the surest and most effective way to disrupt the Lord’s work is to diminish the effectiveness of the family and the sanctity of the home.
Look at what he accomplishes when he does that. Couples unhappy in their marriages tend not to give appropriate gospel instruction in the home. They are less likely to be committed to gospel principles in their own lives. Some drift from the Church. Apathy can overcome even active members, keeping them away from the temple and weakening their capacity to be effective leaders and teachers—thus leaving countless lives untouched and slowing the Lord’s work. And the Internet when not properly used is a vicious influence in the home. So we know, without question, Lucifer is the enemy of the family!"
Wow. This quote really struck me because I have seen and felt that influence in my own life without even realizing or thinking that it's really Satan at work. Ugh. I want to resist and fight that. How terrible. Absolutely terrible, but yet, Satan starts attacking us in the littlest ways just to get his finger in the door and then it opens wider and wider.
With the election coming up and the question about what constitutes a marriage and family on the minds of many people and ballots in some states, I see Satan working hard to open the door even more. I wish everyone could band together and fight against this. It's so sad. How disappointed the Lord must be in us. But, if anything, I know I can do my best to do my part to uphold these values and share them with others. This gives me something to think about this week....
As a guidance counselor I get to do a variety of things, but one of my main goals is to help each student know that they are important, special, of worth and that they are loved. I teach in each classroom once a week for thirty minutes and love coming up with new material and new activities to teach a lesson.
Recently, I came across this poem. I thought it was very profound and wanted to post it. This sums up who I want to be! I frustrate myself. I get so caught up in some of the little things in this world... and, honestly, what do they matter in the real big picture?! Why do some of the small things that bug me or consume my time take me away from fully enjoying life?
Today, for instance, I put everything aside and went for a walk on one of the most beautiful days Boston has to offer - EVER. It was magical. I stopped to notice flowers, cute porches, changing leaf colors. I said Hi to people I walked by and stopped to talk to an older couple sitting on their porch. I took a few minutes to look outside the bubble that constantly surrounds me forcing me to focus only on myself and was amazed by the beauty, peace and goodness that surrounds me.
I have a vision of who I want to be and this poem is going to be my new daily reminder of keeping life in balance and really thinking about what matters most to me. Here's to more days like today!
By Thylias Moss
I want to be wise but not so wise that I can't learn anything.
I want to be tall but not so tall that nothing is above me.
I want to be still but not so still that I turn into a mannequin or get mistaken for a tree.
I want to be in motion but I want the ants in my pants to sometimes take a vacation.
Sometimes I want to be slow but not so slow that everything passes me by.
Sometimes I want to be small but not so small that I am easy to miss.
Sometimes I want to be invisible but not gone.
I want to be all the people I know, then I want to know more people so I can be them too.
Then they can all be me.
I want to be eyes looking, looking everywhere.
I want to be ears hearing, hearing everything.
I want to be hands touching, touching everything.
I want to be mouth tasting, tasting everything.
I want to be heart feeling, feeling everything.
I want to be life doing, doing everything.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I am the type of person who has always tried to maintain some sort of order in my life... and a schedule. I like to know what to expect! Yes, I'll admit it. I'm a die-hard planner!!!
Well, this summer opened up my eyes to life without a schedule and it was a learning experience for me. Grad school offered me a peak at what life is like without a "real" schedule and I struggled with it. I don't like being a student and was determined to be out and done with school as fast as possible (hence the reason I took an intense one year masters program instead of the usual two years!)
But, this summer was definitely a positive experience, although it was not always easy/or fun! (Are lessons in life ever really "fun"? I would actually welcome comments on that!) I am grateful for this experience though because it prepared me for the past few weeks. This is weird for me to say, and for others it might sounds ridiculous, but I have loved the freedom and spontaneity I have experienced the past few weeks. I have put some of the "planning" aside and have let life just happen. Roll with whatever comes my way. It's been fun! Flexibility is required and that is definitely something I have needed to work on.
However, last Sunday morning as I was sitting in an apartment in NYC enjoying some downtime before an eventful day, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the scriptures and for the peace I felt as I read them. I felt like nothing in my life had been constant over the past few weeks... except for one thing. The scriptures and the PEACE I know I feel as I read them. Sometimes I even crave the feeling I get from reading them and will count down the time till I can have it again. I am incredibly grateful for them and just had to blog about it... although words can't express my feelings very well.
And, one additional comment: As we drove into the BIG CITY on Friday evening I was a little overwhelmed. I am not a city girl and was captivated by the lights and action going on everywhere (glad I wasn't driving too!) But, as we turned the corner to where we were staying in Lincoln Center, I turned to my left and say the ANGEL MORONI on top of a beautiful white building (the TEMPLE!!) I was shocked that it was right there! This beautiful temple in the middle of a big city! It made me so happy and a feeling of peace and comfort came over me. I only wished I had brought my recommend with me! I look forward to returning there... hopefully someday soon :)
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!" Dr. Seuss
Life has been busy. Really busy. Why? I have no logical explanation other than... that's life!
But, this weekend I took a "Time Out". For many of us, that never REALLY happens. Some of you probably send your kids to a time out, but we never send ourselves. Granted, a kids time out is not as much fun, rejuvenating or uplifting as the "Time Out" I experienced this weekend!
Deseret Book has these weekend seminars called "Time Out for Women" and they hold them all over the country. Only in the past few years have they spread to the East. By definition this event is : "An inspirational event for women. Attendees are treated to presentations by several respected authors and artists who address the spiritual challenges and needs of women in the Church. It's a great opportunity for women everywhere to gather and get recharged through motivational messages and music."
I'll admit it I REALLY LIKE cheesy church conferences and gatherings, LOVE EFY music, and love learning from others especially when it comes to spiritual matters. I found out the conference was coming to Springfield, MA this year so I talked my mom into going with me! The theme was "Joyful Life". Again, by definition this is "Great delight or happiness caused by a life that is exceptionally good or satisfying." The talks and music were about celebrating "me"!!!, thanking the heavens for all the good that comes my way, and how to claim a more "satisfying life". It was fantastic.
1,000 women gathered together in one large room. A little overwhelming maybe. Friday night was my favorite. Micheal McLean gave a concert, as well as Kenneth Cope and Kim Nelson. I've always been a fan of "churchy" music... not just the hymns, but the "feel good, lift your spirits in the everyday world" kind of music. So, Friday night was a bit of heaven for me. Songs I've been listening to since I was about ten years old were sung right in front of me! Oh - I could have sat there forever! I have always firmly believed that music can have such a powerful influence (good and bad) on your thoughts and attitude. I find that even as I drive to work in the morning. Some songs really make me tense (not good when I'm fighting traffic) and some songs don't help my mood WHATSOEVER! But, the songs on Friday night were incredible.
Kim Nelson also spoke that night. He's a funny, funny man. He's a marriage and family counselor and I loved some of his points. When talking about relationships he said: "Agreement isn't necessary, but understanding is." REALLY?? That was profound for me and would have helped a few of my past relationships :)
Saturday was again amazing. Maybe a little overload on the "churchy" stuff, but wonderful! Good music interspersed some wonderful speakers. There really is so much to be joyful about in life and none of us give ourselves as much credit as we deserve!!
My mom was even recognized as one of about 15 women in the room for being a Woman Living a JOYFUL life!!! Way to go MOM!!!!
One of my favorite parts of Saturday though was eating lunch in Dr. Seuss Memorial Gardens! Yep - that's right. Dr. Seuss was born and lived in Springfield, MA and there is a beautiful park with statues from his books! I've always wanted to go see this, but never could justify a 90 minute drive just to see a park! I got lots of pictures with some of my favorite characters.
"One of the places you'll go" has always had a special place in my heart. I first heard it at a girls camp when I was 16... then I got a copy for my graduation from high school. It's message is so simple, but so profound. The world is open to you. Endless possibilities. I thought it tied in nicely with living a JOYFUL life!
Here's my tribute to it... and for those who have never read it before
Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.
You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.
It's opener there
in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.
THE PLACES YOU'LL GO!
You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.
You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don' t
Because, sometimes, you won't.
I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
can happen to you.
You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You'll be left in a Lurch.
You'll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you'll be in a Slump.
And when you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
is not easily done.
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both you elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?
And IF you go in, should you turn left or right...
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.
You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...
...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a sting of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
That's not for you!
Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.
With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!
Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. there are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You'll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.
Except when they don't.
Because, sometimes, they won't.
I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.
And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.
But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.
On and on you will hike
and I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.
You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3 / 4 percent guaranteed.)
KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
I think I first started thinking deeply about change when I was doing my undergrad at BYU. There were many changes in my life simply because I was living on my own, but also I became more aware of who I was and what I wanted to become... and I knew there weer many things about me and my life I wanted to change.
One of my dearest friends and roommate at BYU introduced me to the song "Changes" by 2PAC. (She is one of the most Christ-like people I know, but we would often joke with her about being a "gangsta'" in another life!!) Anyway, one of the refrains states:
It's time for us as a people to start makin' some changes.
Let's change the way we eat, let's change the way we live
and let's change the way we treat each other.
You see the old way wasn't working so it's on us to do
what we gotta do, to survive.
I just finished reading a book someone gave me for Christmas (I got a lot of books, ok?!!) The author talks about how change happens in an instant. It doesn't take years, months, or weeks of grueling effort-it happens the instant the mind is truly made up. And, it happens again the next day as you make decisions that affect your life. You live that change every day with the decisions you make, but the change happens in the instant you make it.
The author makes another good point. "How do I know that I wanted to write this book? Because I'm writing it. I used to say I wanted to write a book. ... I would get frustrated with myself as the years passed and I hadn't written a word.... I would think, 'If only I had more time, I could work on the book. If only I wasn't so busy all the time with my job, I could really spend time writing.... That was a lie... big fat lie I was telling myself. The truth is I didn't want to write the book. If I had wanted to, I would have. ... I know it now because the second I really wanted to write the book, I did."
That example hit me hard. I've experienced it personally this year. I kept putting the "change" off with a boat-load of excuses, but once I really wanted to change, REALLY wanted it, the change was in an instant. Now, of course I am not going to say I have the power to make such changes and stick with them on my own. Never will I be able to do that. I've learned that the hard way. It takes humility, coming to know the Savior and the Atonement, and prayer. At least that's what it took for me...
The author goes on to say explain that the only way to fix your world is to fix yourself. I know that I've often wanted others to change and it's never-ending. It's the source of more frustration than it really should be. "'I wish they were different.' It's a fruitless, destructive waste of time to think this." The only thing we can do is change ourselves and the way we think/act.
Over the past two weeks I have seen this come true in a relationship I have with one of my co-workers. If I change myself, address the problem in me, my world changes... and it's a MUCH HAPPIER WORLD!!!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Last week was my first week back at school after a wonderful summer. Oh my! The days were a lot longer and harder than I remembered. Maybe it was just the start of school and trying to get everything together and back on schedule, but I was literally exhausted and yet I was still trying to "burn the candle at both ends" with family being in town as well!
Overall, it was a great week. I was reminded how much I really do love my job... but hey, I'll take a day off whenever I can get it!
My weekend however has been nothing like I was thinking it would. On Saturday my hard drive crashed. Yep - everything on it GONE. Luckily, my mom had encouraged me to buy an external drive many moons ago, but I was "too busy" (a.k.a too lazy) to figure out how to save all my pictures and itunes on it. WELL, let's just say I'm starting from scratch again. Luckily I do have all my files, etc... but oh - the hours I wasted setting up all that stuff and now it's gone. (FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON'T BACK UP YOUR INFO WITH AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE... DO IT! AND, DO IT RIGHT!! (unlike me!)
Then, my mom's computer started to have problems, so let's just say i spent more time in Sprint & Apple stores this weekend than I care to think about! But, let's get back to Labor day where I am resting from my labors.
Well, it's GORGEOUS outside. Gorgeous! So, I woke up, helped my mom pack up her car and then went for a long run. It was FABULOUS! It's amazing how much beauty this city has once you start to not look at all the trash and run-down homes, etc. You can find some true gems and flowers along the way :) I also took the longest shower known to man today and then did some errands (but it felt good to get them done even though that's technically laboring.)
Then, my friend called. She had moved into a new place on Saturday and her new roommate was moving in this afternoon. She was tired and exhausted and woke up this morning to a "scene" outside her back door. Someone had come and set up a "tea-party" scene with stuffed animals that should be at D.I. Then, around the scene were some odd items.(picture below) The tea party was pretty funny. Creative. But to someone who's just spent two days moving all their own junk, the last thing you want to do is move someone else's junk. She appreciated their humor, but also felt like screaming at the thought of moving a whole bunch more stuff so her roommate could get her own junk through the door! So, I went to help. And, it really was creative and fun... but we threw it in boxes and took it to D.I. She doesn't know who it was... but man, I'm dying to know!
Now, onto the resting from your labors. I did something I've wanted to do since I arrived in Boston almost 5 years ago. SAILING ON THE CHARLES RIVER!!!
Everytime I take the red line over the river and see all the boats on the water I get jealous. Well, yesterday, everyone on the Red line was jealous of me :)
Fortunately we had pretty good wind, but it was probably nothing for an experienced sailor! I sat in the back on both trips and got to steer us for most of the time. It was the MOST beautiful day. Now I can check one more thing off my "Boston to-do" list!!
Monday, September 1, 2008
I don't think I can put into words the events of the past few months have had on my life... but I heard this song during a tribute to Olympians on NBC a few weeks ago and it made me cry. I felt like this song sums up my life and my thinking... my past and my future hopes and dreams... what I know to be true.
One of my favorite quotes from President Hinckley is: “It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. … If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers” (Jordan Utah South regional conference, priesthood session, 1 Mar. 1997).
I repeat that to myself over and over!!!! But, this song had a serious impact on me as well... what if my hopes and dreams really do come true??
"What IF it all goes right" by Melissa Lawson
What if that road that you're taking's a dead end
What if love leaves you all jaded and broken
What if that limb breaks you're climbing out on
Yeah, what if it all goes wrong
But, what if it all goes right
What if it all works out
What if the stars line up
and good luck rains down
What if you chase your dreams
and it changes your whole life
Yeah, what if it all goes right
What if that road is a beautiful slow drive
what if that love ends up lasting a life time
what if that limb holds you, oak tree strong
what if this time nothing goes wrong
What if it all goes right
What if it all works out
What if the stars line up
and good luck rains down
What if you chase your dreams
and it changes your whole life
Yeah, what if it all goes right
What if you climb to the mountain top
and touch the sky
grab a cloud as it passes by
you might fall you might fall
but then again you might fly
What if it all goes right
What if it all works out
What if the stars line up
and good luck rains down
What if you chase your dreams
and it changes your whole life
Yeah, what if it all goes right
Summer, thank you for all you taught me.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I love this book because of the different remarks she had on life and what gives it meaning. While I didn't agree with some of her thoughts, I was very impressed by others. This one, on happiness, stuck out to me.
"...People universally think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And, once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't, you will leak away your innate contentment. It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments."
I've been talking to a lot of people recently about the word "happiness" and what happiness really is. It's different for everyone, but I think Elizabeth Gilbert nailed an important point. I make my own happiness and I am in charge of maintaining it. Life happens. Some good, some bad, but it's all in maintaining the happiness I know I have felt at times when it's hard to do so. That's one of my new quests in life!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
There's something about me that doesn't take long to figure out. I have a love/hate relationship with driving!! I'm okay with being a passenger in the car, but being behind the wheel is another story.
I had forgotten this fact about me while I worked at Harvard and was able to take the "T" everyday. Oh - I do miss those days. Not the job. The commute. I took the "T" one stop. Some days I could have walked it faster. I loved being able to read or listen to music. I loved watching people and trying to create their life story (this is weird, I know, but fun to do if you want to pass the time!) But, because I am never satisfied, I complained at that time about the "T" being late, or the subway cars that had no air conditioning, or how some days I felt like I was in a can of sardines and it smelled just as bad. And, then at night or on the weekends I drove everywhere even if I could take the "T" because I missed my car!! I loved the freedom it allowed me even though driving on the streets of Boston requires a completely different post!
Then, my love relationship with my car turned to a hate relationship when I started school and my internship. School was a 25 minute drive and my internship school was a 55 minute drive at 7 AM when I could barely keep my eyes open because I was burning the candle at both ends (trying to get my classwork done and still get my lesson plans done for school at night). Those drives seemed soooooooo long. When I got home for the day, the thought of getting back in my car was torture. I felt like I lived in it. I also hate traffic, bad drivers, slow drivers, too cautious drivers, the list goes on an on.... I know it's my patience and "niceness" that I need to work on, but I LOVE drivers who obey these Boston rules (as noted in a post by my friend, Aleigh)! I do all three of these things and am proud of it! http://simplymarvy.blogspot.com/2008/08/boston-driving-customs-vs-laws.html
Great post Aleigh!
This past year my school that I worked at was about 30 minutes away, but I still hate the traffic and the commute. I've tried so many different things to enjoy the drive. It's not as bad as my internship drive, but I still envy those who either a.) have a traveling companion and can be the passenger some days or b.) take public transportation. Basically, I think I just want my commute to Harvard back, but still keep my current job! (However, if anyone has any good suggestions on what I can do to enjoy the drive, let me know!)
Anyway, this hate relationship with my car spurned my desire to get a bike this past summer and to start walking places as soon as it was warm enough to come out of hibernation from the winter cold! It's been FABULOUS! I never thought I would buy a bike in this city because I thought bikers were risking their lives riding on the road. And, they are. And, now I am too. But, hey, it saves me from getting behind the wheel!
Back to the Olympics. This past week I decided to go to visit my mom in PA for a few days. It was a last minute trip so of course plane tickets were crazy expensive. My other options were taking Amtrak or driving. A train ticket these days is not a lot cheaper than a flight and Amtrak is NEVER, EVER on time. Also, I wanted to stop in RI to see my dad and go to the beach on Saturday as I drove down (which I am SO glad I did b/c the weather was beautiful!!)
Well, here's the moment you've all been waiting for (and will be envious of if you've ever done the drive!) Okay - my family record for driving from Westerly, RI to Audubon, PA (and this drive has been done more times than any of my family members care to think about!) is a little over 5 hours. But, on Saturday evening, August 9, I completed the drive in a few minutes shy of 4.5 hours!!!! Incredible. I even stopped once to go to the bathroom! Yes, I was going faster than the posted speed limit, but no, I wasn't the fastest on the road and went speeds similar to other cars. There was just no traffic or accident to slow me up and I have no doubt the Lord was watching over me!!
I was so happy about my first gold medal that I didn't think about the even more dreaded drive from PA back to Boston. I have never driven this far by myself and I was NOT looking forward to it. I was actually anticipating that I might have to pull over and nap or do something active to keep going. Hoping to make the trip as short as possible, I had also mapped out a new route that I thought might save me some time and avoid toll roads. IT WORKED!!!
My mom and others have done this drive many, many times as well and the record thus far is just over 6.25 hours. But, I pulled onto Hancock Street in 5 hours 42 minutes!!!! I was so excited! I had timed my departure from PA perfectly to avoid all traffic times around the big cities and again, no accidents on the road to hold me up! But, yet again, I surely can't take the credit. I was definitely blessed by the Lord. I was amazed at how quickly the time passed (of course, talking to a few friends on the way helped the time pass even quicker!)
And, it was a great reminder to me that the Lord does hear and answer my prayers, even as silly as asking for help on a long drive up and down the east coast!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
If you're read my previous post you know that I was on the Cape with Papa Bob, Milly and the kids. Well, the family LOVES baseball and Charlotte and Lila live in NYC. Papa Bob is more of a Red Sox fan, but he wanted to take his grandkids to Yankee Stadium once before it was torn down.
So, we loaded up the two cars and traveled from Chatham, MA to NYC, NY all for ONE baseball game. My family and some friends thought I was crazy because I had the three kids with me on this five ours trip... but you know what? It was worth it!
Their family car is equipped with a DVD player, so that HELPED a LOT! We didn't hit any traffic until we got close to the GW bridge, but by that pt the kids were just excited to get to the game so they held out.
The kids had made "Go Yankee" signs our last night in Chatham and we were all set for the game.
Our car dropped us off right at our gate, so it was perfect. We arrived just as the first pitch was being thrown. I don't know where good seats are in a stadium... we were pretty high up, but I was just glad to be there!!
It was a beautiful night and I got my fill of a hot dog, pretzel and then some dippn' dots ice cream! YUM! The kids were very excited. And, honestly. I was too. There's just a thrill that comes from sitting in a baseball stadium with people you have fun with and laugh/joke around. Baseball is America's pastime and I just felt so peaceful and calm chillin' at the game.
In order to not betray the Red Sox even more I cheered for both the Yankees and the Angels. Not as loud as some of the folks around us... but I was definitely happy when the Angels won by quite a few!
We got these cool baseball hat cup things with out ice cream. And, Jeremiah was such a trooper. This had been a VERY long and napless day for him. We didn't get home until 11 PM and he was awake the entire time!
We just ahd to stay until the 7th inning when they sing "Take me out to the Ball Game". This is Jeremiah's favorite song and he sings it OVER and OVER. Seriously, all week long, he would sing it not even realizing he was going to a ball game later in the week. His parents and others have sung it to him and he gets a reaction from people when he sings it... so he loves signing it. He knows ALL the words too. It's so DANG cute!
Seeing the look on his eyes when the entire stadium was singing his song was PRICELESS.
I was beyond exhausted when we got back to the room. I had laid out the kids pajamas and toothbrush. They were in bed within five minutes of arriving home and I was in bed within ten minutes. Sleep.... ahhhhh.
But, I was determined to wake up and run in Central Park in the morning. I didn't realize at that time how wonderful this run would be and it was a struggle to get up at 7 AM, but I forced myself because I wanted to say I DID it!! And, IT WAS THE BEST RUN EVER!!!
We were right in Lincoln Center so I was two blocks from the parks entrance on 67th street. It was a beautiful morning and there were lots of runners, bikers, walkers, what-ever's everywhere. I couldn't believe I was in NYC. Central Park is gorgeous... and beside the occassional smells every now and then, I wouldn't have believed it myself. I ran the 6 miles and felt like I could have run it again (which NEVER happens to me). It was so peaceful and calm... I'd go back and run it again any chance I got.
Well, I am also glad I went running that morning because the drive back was pretty much the next thing to DEATH by TORTURE that I could imagine. Traffic. Terrible traffic and the kids had had it. Done. They were short on sleep and patience. And, so was I. And, I don't do well sitting in traffic that's not moving either!
So, after a lovely morning, we packed up and left. It took us 3 (count that) THREE hours to get to New Haven. I think I could have walked faster! (And, told the kids they should test it and see. I challenged Leo to get out of the car and walk and see if he could make more progress... but he declined)
So, it was a rough ride back... but there was ONE cool part! I had told the kids about the carousel I used to ride when I was young (the one with the golden ring... see previous post) and since we were driving right by the exit, we got off.
My dad was so nice to drop us off in the little town b/c parking is a BEAST in the summer (and it was great to see my dad, even for only ten minutes!). We had lunch at my favorite ice cream place, rode the carousel a few times, and walked over to the Watch Hill Yacht Club to see the boats.
I love sharing a part of my childhood with them. And, they loved seeing and experiencing it as well. They kept asking me questions about what I loved most and what I would do during my summers there and I loved telling them! No one got the gold ring, but we all felt like we had memories to treasure as we headed back to Boston.