Tuesday, September 30, 2008

One true constant.

I feel like my life has been one big whirlwind the past week or two. Maybe longer. It's been filled with many, many good things (like a fun trip to NYC; seeing an old, but fabulous, friend from my summers at Camp Oneka; my mom in town; Time out for Women; my sister-in-law getting a book contract (CONGRATS BECCA!); birthday parties... the list goes on and on.

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 :)

Isn't it beautiful!!! Right in the middle of Lincoln Center!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A "Time out" with Dr. Seuss and friends

"Today is your day!
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."

l 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.

Horton - What a fun lovin' elephant!

My mom, Dr. Seuss, and Cat in the hat!
Me with the famous crew!

Green eggs and ham anyone?
"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.


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
and Hang-ups
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.
Un-slumping yourself
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.

All Alone!
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.)


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!

---Dr. Seuss

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Change is something I've often thought about. What motivates someone to change? What makes change last? How much control do we have over change?

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:
We gotta make a change...
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 agree with this. As a people, we do need to make many changes, but for me, personally, I need to make many changes cause the old way just isn't workin' for me anymore! And, no one can make these changes but me. That's what it comes down to... no one but me.

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

Labor day... a day to rest from your labors! And TEA Party!

I don't know the history of Labor day, but to me it simply means a day to rest from your labors. And, that is just what I did! (Unlike the rest of Boston where Labor day weekend means "move" weekend. I have seen literally 100 U-hauls or cars stuffed with people's junk. All the students are coming or going. It can also be a sad weekend for me b/c now the streets become more crowded with pedestrians and cars. UGH. Hate traffic!)

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!

Tea Party - All invited!

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 :)

My friend Amy, Kim and I

Amy volunteers with the MIT sailing club and so she can take boats out whenever she feels like it. The day was BEAUTIFUL! The first time we went there were only 7 on the boat (seats 8 comfortably). The 2nd trip out we had 11 people and a dog! It was crowded... but so much fun!

Some of our 11 person crew... and the dog :)

Helping her rig the boat brought back old memories from sailing with my dad and days at Oneka. I was surprised at how much I still remembered even though I was never a good "student of sailing" in those days.

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!!

Cute me :)

Monday, September 1, 2008

What IF it really all WORKS OUT?!!!! What if???

I feel like I need to make a special tribute to the end of my summer. It was fabulous. Simply fabulous. Some parts were hard, but that's life, right? Looking back, I definitely learned so much about me, about life, about other people, relationships of all kinds... the list keeps growing.

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.