Sunday, March 29, 2009

The word: COME

I was reading an article by Joseph A. Cannon and he pointed out that the word "come" starts more hymns in the LDS hymnbook than any other word. It also appears in the scriptures more than 3,000 times. Wow. That in itself was significant to me. But, what does the word mean or why is it used so often?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, come is "an elementary verb of motion, expressing movement towards so as to reach the speaker... In its most literal sense it expresses the (forward) motion of a voluntary agent."

The importance of this word is significant because it confirms how we, as individuals are to ACT and not wait for something to COME to us! Sometimes I feel like I'm just going to wait and see what life brings :) Isn't that much easier?! But, that's not what the Lord would have me do. I need to be actively pursuing goals and plans for my future. My happiness depends on me and my COMING unto the Lord to know what he would have me do.

At times the thought of moving forward by faith is daunting for me. I want to KNOW everything!! But the author pointed out that Savior commanded us to "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Ahhh... rest. I love that feeling and I don't let myself experience enough of it! The Savior also teaches us that: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will COME in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20). I WANT THAT but it means I need to COME unto him... forward motion of a voluntary agent. He's there and he NEVER left and he's not going to force me to COME.... that's the VOLUNTARY part.

I love this quote by Elder Neal A. Maxwell. "The submission of one's will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God's altar. The many other things we give to God, however nice that may be of us, are actually things he has already given us. But when we submit ourselves by letting our wills be swallowed up in God's will then we are really giving something to him. It is the only possession we have that we can give." (Ensign, August 2000).

I read this article as I was thinking about General Conference this weekend and how excited I am to hear from our church leaders. I am also hoping that I can feel some sense of advice and direction for my life right now... like they're speaking right to me :) However, this article was a powerful reminder to me that life won't just happen to me. I need to move forward... and most importantly multiply by hundreds my current effort to COME UNTO HIM.

Gum Chewing... Let the TRUTH FINALLY be known :)

Today I ran across this article in the Boston Globe.

(Wesley Bedrosian for the Boston Globe)

"BECAUSE OF ITS association with the carefree attitude of youth, chewing gum can convey an immature or unprofessional air. New research suggests that it may be time to change that preconception. People who chewed gum while working through challenging mental tasks showed higher alertness and lower stress and anxiety (including lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone) than those who weren't chewing gum. Although the exact mechanism is unclear, the authors speculate that chewing gum may increase blood flow or metabolism."

Scholey, A. et al., "Chewing Gum Alleviates Negative Mood and Reduces Cortisol During Acute Laboratory Psychological Stress," Physiology & Behavior (forthcoming).

Mom - I know that all those years of trying to convince me to not chew gum were frustrating for you... but, I knew this to be true in my heart. See!! I'm MUCH smarter than I ever would have been. Now, aren't you grateful I didn't listen to you? :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

The new ABC's

Almost everyday I get to sing the ABC's or work on individual letters with kids! Well, I ran across this version of the ABC's in relation to reducing stress in your life (by Claude Arpi) and found some of the ideas very helpful! I highlighted some of the ones I really liked. Much more applicable to my life than just singing the ABC's.... :) (And, I changed two of them since they were not at all applicable to me!)

Always take time for yourself, at least 30 minutes per day.

Be aware of your own stress meter: Know when to step back & cool down.

Concentrate on controlling your own situation without controlling everybody else.

Daily exercise will burn off the stress chemicals.

Eat lots of fresh fruit, veggies, bread & water; give your body the best for it to perform at its best.

Forgive others, don’t hold grudges & be tolerant – not everyone is as capable as you.

Gain perspective on things, how important is the issue?

Hugs, kisses & laughter; have fun & don’t be afraid to share your feelings with others.

Identify stressors & plan to deal with them better next time.

Judge your own performance realistically; don’t set goals out of your own reach.

Keep a positive attitude, your outlook will influence outcomes & the way others treat you.

Love. Simply put. Love others.

Manage money well, seek advice & save at least 10% of what you earn.

No is a word you need to learn to use without feeling guilty.

Outdoor activities by yourself or with friends/family can be a great way to relax.

Play your favorite music rather than watching television.

Quiet time. Make sure you incorporate some quiet time into your day.

Relationships: nurture & enjoy them, learn to listen more & talk less.

Sleep well with a firm mattress & a supportive pillow; don’t overheat yourself & allow plenty of ventilation.

Treat yourself once a week with a massage, dinner out, the movies, etc. Moderation is the key.

Understand things from the other person’s point of view.

Verify information from the source before exploding.

Worry less, it really does not get things completed better or quicker.

Xpress: Make a regular retreat to your favorite space; make holidays part of your yearly plan & budget.

Yearly goal setting: plan what you want to achieve based on your priorities in career, relationships, etc.

Zest for life: each day is a gift, smile & be thankful that you are a part of the bigger picture.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I'm DONE, I'm DONE, I'm DONE... and I WON, I WON, I WON!

I like hearing those words: I'm DONE AND I WON!

So, what am "I done?!" Well, yesterday I took the last 3 tests for my certification. It was 4 hours in the testing center, but I know I passed at least two of them (and did pretty well!) It was such a great feeling to walk out of the testing center, and then stop by the library to turn in my practice books. NO MORE. No more vocab, no more formulas, no more STUPID grammar rules that have 1,000 exceptions!


What will I do to fill my time now? I can come out of my hole... just like the groundhog, right? It's been about 6 weeks or so since he did/didn't see his shadow. Maybe he was just predicting when I would be free again because he sure isn't predicting when spring's coming. (It's going to be 34 degrees for a high on Monday... yet spring officially started last week!)

I'll take suggestions on what you think I should do with my time now... even more so now that Juliette, David and the kids move to DC on Tuesday. I can't even imagine life in Boston without them... but I won't have to imagine it soon since I'll be LIVING it come Wednesday.

Oh - the I WON part!!

Friday night (when I was so tempted to study) I decided to deserved a break and went to my friends jewelry party! I've never been to one before, but I've been to kitchen gadget parties, etc. I like jewelry... and I missed seeing my friends since I've been in my hole the past few weeks. When I got there we were waiting for others before beginning the silly games, so I started browsing the jewelry. I fell in love with this one piece that was way off to the side that seemed to go well with many different colors. Well, come to find out that it's a "retired" piece and only for those who book a show. Hmmm... that's not going to happen. Oh well, I thought.

So, we start playing the silly games and I WON the first one!! I never win these silly things! Well, she handed me a box with a necklace in it that was very pretty. But, then she asked me if I'd like to exchange it for the necklace I had fallen in love with? YES, OF COURSE!!! So, I got it for FREE! You can't beat that!

The pretty box it came in :)

Okay, the pictures don't do it justice. I am a terrible photographer! But, I love the bright colors and the way it **SPARKLES**

A FREE GIFT and MY LIFE back in one weekend. LOVE IT!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Harvard video on Mormonism!

One of the members of the University Ward here in Boston participated in a "Day of Faith: Personal Quests for a Purpose" event where she was interviewed by a journalist about her faith and beliefs. The video is slowly spreading around the world via the internet and the Boston Globe did a story on it last Sunday!

She's only 20 years old, but she is VERY well spoken and poised as she handles a series of questions about things from the temple, how she responds to allegations that Mormonism is a cult, how she views the role of women in the church, and what her relationship is with the Savior. The interview is about 20 minutes long but she doesn't let up in her persistence to speak the truth, answer the questions, and accurately portray the church and her beliefs.

After having watched the video, I feel so inadequate! I highly recommend watching it and sharing it with others!

Here's the link:

I do not like this PRAXIS test, I do not like it, Cara I am!

So, Dr. Seuss's birthday was on March 2nd and I have been reading many books to the kids this month in celebration of this special day! I would write this post in Dr. Seuss's style, but that would just take way too long. However, I have been saying "I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them Sam I am," over and over in my head. Today I changed it to "I DO NOT like this PRAXIS test, I do not like it Cara I am!"

On a side note: our school served green eggs and ham for lunch on his birthday. It looked SO GROSS, but the kids loved it. I couldn't bring myself to eat it though.

Back to today. Well, I decided a month ago that I want to be a certified school counselor in a few different states to give me more flexibility in where I live :) In order to do that, a few of the states require teachers to take a reading, writing and math test as well as a subject area test. So, for the past month, my life has been work... and studying... work... and studying some more. Oh wait... yep. More studying.

Now, I have a history of having a love-hate relationship with standardized test (more on the hate part than the love part). I hated taking the SATs, etc. I am not a good test taker and I really felt like they were not a good measure of someone's motivation and "drive" to do well. I hate judging someone based on a socre they got on one test! It's so stupid, in my opinion! Over the years, I got average to above-average grades, but I worked DANG hard in order to get them. So, when I started studying for these Praxis tests I was determined to remain positive and give it another chance.


Even though I work EVERYDAY as a school counselor, I decided to buy this expensive studying guide just to make sure I was as prepared as possible.

Only 2nd to my scriptures, it has been the most read book for me this past month.


I took this test this morning. 120 questions. Not only was the test unbelievably detailed in facts that I've NEVER encountered in my job in the past year and a half, but out of 120 questions, only 15-20 of them were covered in this 288 page study guide. What a waste of money. What a WASTE of paper. What a waste of TIME!

UGH. It was so frustrating. Not only was this study guide a joke, but the test as well.

Whatever happened to judging someone, and hiring them, based on their personality, motivation, skills, LOVE of what they do, and DESIRE to make a difference? If I ever become an administrator, that's what I would look for. Not if they have some credential next to their name saying they passed some stupid test. All that says is that they guessed a little bit better than the person next to them.

But, wait, to become an administrator you probably have to pass some other stupid test. :)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

You know you're from Boston when...

A friend had this posted on her Facebook acct. and I thought it was hilarious. But... probably only funny for those who live in Boston! It includes some tips if you're coming here to visit. I've posted some of my own personal thoughts after some of them... (Reading this makes me feel like I've been in Boston WAY too long. What has this city done to me??!!)

The person driving in front of you is going 70 mph and you are cursing him for going too slow. (Well, not cursing them, but complaining about them!)

You actually enjoy driving around rotaries. (Yep, they are fun as long as you don't hesitate)

You almost feel disappointed when someone doesn't yell at you when you cut them off or steal their parking space. (Personaly, I haven't done this, but others have done it to me and I want to yell at them!)

You can actually find your way around Boston. (Yes, I can finally, FINALLY, say this is TRUE!)

You get jimmies on your ice cream. (mmmmm....)

Evacuation Day is a recognized holiday. (I never really got to benefit from this since I never worked IN the city... but jealous of my roommates who have!)

You know what First Night is. (Very cool)

You have never been to Cheers. (Yep!)

The curse of the Bambino is taught in public schools. (I've read so many kids books about this...!)

You own a "Yankees Suck" shirt or hat. (I don't... yet!)

You know how to make a frappe. (mmm.... love the ones at Friendly's!)

You know what a hoodsie is. (and I even have a few)

You never go to "Cape Cod", you go "down the Cape". (Love Chatham!)

You can drive to the mountains and the ocean all in one day. (One of the best parts of NE)

You know that the Mass Pike is some sort of strange weather dividing line. (Just as in the storm we're having tonight. Snow to the north, rain to the south... why?)

You do not recognize the letter "R" as a part of the English language. (Very true of this city!)

You've slammed on your brakes to deter a tailgater (Not yet, but a few times I would have liked to!)

Know at least three Tony's, one Vinnie and a Frank(ie) (Yep)

You keep an ice scraper and can of de-icer on the floor of your car...year round (Yep! Never needed a de-icer to be able to start my car until this year. Thanks mom for the stocking stuffer!)

You know what candlepin bowling is (not a big fan, but I know what it is)

You've pulled out of a side street and used your car to block oncoming traffic so you can make a left. (Yes. Almost every day!)

You think three straight days of 80+ temperatures is a heatwave.

You refer to 6 inches of snow as a "dusting." (This winter... that's been very true!)

The weather changes from 70 and sunny to 20 and snowy in under an hour, and you hardly notice. (Like later today for instance...Where, oh where, is spring??)

You don't think you have an attitude. (Nope. I don't :)

You always 'bang a left' as soon as the light turns green, and oncoming traffic always expects it. (ha, ha)

Everything in town is "a five minute walk." (EVERYTHING. I mean EVERYTHING)

You believe using your turn signal is a sign of weakness. (Yep!)

You don't realize that you walk and talk twice as fast as everyone else. (Ummm... I know I do this, but is that a problem?)

You think if someone is nice to you, they must want something or are from out of town. (Ha, ha)


You wear a Harvard sweatshirt.

You ask directions to "Cheers."

You order a grinder and a soda.

You follow soccer.

You pronounce it "Worchester" or Glouchester."

Don't call it Beantown.

Don't pahk your cah in Hahvid Yahd.
They'll tow it to Meffa (Medford) or Slumaville (Somerville).

Don't swim in the Charles, no matter what Bill Weld tells you.

Don't sleep in the Common.

Don't wear orange in Southie on St. Patrick's Day.

There are two State Houses, two
City Halls, two courthouses and two Hancock buildings (one old, one new).

Route 128 is also I-95. It is also I-93.

It's the Sox, The Pats (or Patsies if they're losing), the Seltz, the Broons.

The underground train is not the subway. It's the T and it doesn't run all night

Pay no attention to the street names. There's no school on School Street, no court on Court Street, no dock on Dock Square, no water on Water Street. Back Bay streets are in alphabetical odda. Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth. So are South Boston streets: A, B, C, D. (no J)

If the streets are named after trees (Walnut, Chestnut, Cedar), you're on Beacon Hill. If they're named after poets you're in Wellesley.

(subject to change at any time):
When on a one way street, stay to the right to allow oncoming traffic to pass.

Never, ever, stop for a pedestrian unless he flings himself under the wheels of your car.

The first parking space you see will be the last parking space you see. Grab it.

Double park in the North End of Boston, unless triple parking is available.

Learn to swerve abruptly. Boston is the home of slalom driving, thanks to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, which puts potholes in key locations to test drivers' reflexes and keep them on their toes.

Breakdown lanes are not for breaking down, but for speeding, especially during rush hour.
Breakdown lanes may also end without warning causing traffic jams as people merge back in.

Never use directional signals when changing lanes. They only warn other drivers to speed up and not let you in.

Making eye contact revokes your right of way.

Never pass on the left when you can pass on the right.

Whenever possible, stop in the middle of a crosswalk to ensure inconveniencing as many pedestrians as possible. And if a pedestrian ahead of you steps in the road, speed up loudly and chase him back up on the curb. Peds have no rights.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

"Everything's AMAZING....nobody's happy."

My friend posted this video on her facebook account and I thought it was hilarious. A very good reminder about what I take for granted. It's incredible the technology we have now in the world and yet I still complain when my cell phone accidentally drops a call... or I can't get internet access for a minute or two... or my internet is running "slower" than normal. I've come to expect quality and "Dang IT! I'm going to complain if I don't have it!" That's ungrateful and stupid thinking on my part... but yet I still do it.

For any of you who do the same and have four minutes to spare... go to this link! I had never heard of him before but did some research and he's an Emmy Award Winning stand-up comedian! I feel even more connected to him since he grew up in Newton, MA.



Everyday during my lunch groups, I get to hear some pretty wild, comical things from the kids! I always have them start the group by sharing something. Whatever they want, they just have to share something with everyone else. Most of the time I hear about some sports game they were in, or what they did on the weekend, etc.

Well, a few weeks ago one boy mentioned how he had his birthday party at Bonkers. I was like, "What"? I thought I knew most of the kid-friendly entertainment places around here. Well, come to find out... there's still places for me to discover!

Bonkers is a family-friendly, indoor, glorified Chuck-E-Cheese/amusement park all in one. I was SOOOOO Impressed! Not only was the staff helpful, the place was CLEAN (which I almost never find at similar kid-friendly places) and there was actually space to move around. I didn't feel like I was a sardine and that the boys had to hold my hands as we moved around the building for fear that someone would steal them from me (which I often feel at our local Chuck-e-cheese!)

Personally, I had SO much fun, so you can imagine how much fun the kids had. The rides were just perfect for their age and they loved the HUGE climbing structure/gym they had as well. I am so glad we went and I'm SO GLAD I find out such random facts from kids at my school :)

Jeremiah's tatto - #3 because he's 3 years old!

Leo's PIRATE Tatto!
Jeremiah on the Merry-Go-Round... he was too scared to ride the horses that moved up and down :)
Leo!! All SMILES :)