Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why? I HAVE NO IDEA... but I do have FAITH

Taking a little intermission from my Nantucket posts...

I am back in DC and it's been busy getting kids started with school again while unpacking, and getting my life back together as well! (I bought my first piece of furniture this past week... others soon to come!)

It's also been a time of reflection for me in thinking about where I am and where I am going. And, I've come to the conclusion that

(Yes, that did scare me initially)

After graduating high school and in college I had my five and ten year plans. Well, I'll just say that it's nothing at all what my life is actually like right now. Even my plan after graduating with my masters degree is completely different than what I am doing now.

It's made me stop and think - WHY? Why did I even go to grad school if I was only going to work as a school counselor for 2.5 years? That was a lot of torture, money and agony to put myself through for just that!

And, I've asked WHY for many other questions as well. I'm not saying I have found the answers to those WHY questions, but I can start to see how one event led me to the next. And, that I can't even imagine I would be where I am right now if I hadn't taken those small, and sometimes very hard, steps along the way.

I ran across this article by Steve Jobs. His words gave me comfort as I walk a little blindly right now... and question - WHY?

Steve: "I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me."

(I imagine he asked himself this question many times after this happened... WHY?)

Steve continues: "It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."

I love that statement. I have had jobs at times that I DID NOT love. And, I guess I am still in the process of figuring out exactly what I do LOVE and what I believe is great work. I have faith and hope that I'll find it... but a long the way I guess I am just going to have to ask WHY and reason that I just don't know! And, that is OK.

Steve also adds: "When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."

That is a good motto to live by

Finally, Steve explains it best by saying: "Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

I want to believe this is faith. Faith that the Lord knows who I am. Faith that he hears and answers my prayers. Faith that he loves me, is aware of me, and will help me as make decisions about my future.

Something I never thought I would see on this island

Nantucket is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L

Pretty flowers, beaches, houses, pools, yacht clubs, stores, landscape, etc.. You name it, it's beautiful! Everything is ridiculously expensive because they know that the majority of the people on the island can afford those prices, or work for those that can... like me :)

Well, I was shocked that the island was going to have its annual demolition derby! This was a tradition... WHAT?! The island has a different side to it than I have ever seen! So, I had to check it out. I got made fun of a little by some of those I talked to before I went (as I was leaving a tennis tournament at a club in order to go). They were just joking around, but I knew it wasn't their scene. I consider myself someone who can kind of mix well with all people, so I hoped I didn't stick out like a sore thumb there!

Off I went. I just wanted to take pictures of everything. I think I've been to one before, but it was when I was at BYU and I don't really remember it.

I went the 2nd day. So, maybe some cars had already been removed, but there were still a ton on the lot. People were fixing things and trying to make their car the best. I loved some of the colors on the cars and thought about how I would decorate one if I had it!

These cars were lined up ready for the next event

There was also a certain style of dress among most of those that attended... and I can't say that I really fit in well there, but they were accepting :) I made friends with the three older gentleman who sat beside me. I enjoyed listening to their conversations, and then I felt comfortable to ask them what the heck was going on and what the rules were.
This event was very confusing for me. I think they called it "intermission". But, the motorcycle would come up against the huge cement stone in front of it and then just rev its' tires trying to create as much smoke as possible. The more smoke that came out, the more the crowd cheered!
So, this guy got some really, really big cheers!
And, so did he.
I was just glad I was far back enough
that I didn't have to inhale the smoke!
Then, it was on to the cars.
What is the guy in this picture thinking?
Why would you stand there and hold it???
So, in this picture the car had just caught on fire and the driver escaped before he got injured. The FD was quick to respond, but the day before someone had to be med-vacced to Boston because he didn't escape in time and had burns on most of his body. I think it's interesting that the guy in the white shirt is pumping up his hands in victory! To me, the entire thing is silly and dare I say, stupid!

I then watched the cars ram in to each other and have a free-for-all. Needless to say, I was ready to go after one round. But, hey. I learned that Nantucket has a side I've never seen before and that I shouldn't judge by the appearance of the island only :)

Hard day of work :)

And, again, another hard day of work!

You would think on the island there would be quite a few people who offer to take you tubing or water-skiing, etc. Well, there aren't. We couldn't find any, until just recently! Their dad saw a flyer for a guy that would take us out on his boat for tubing and he signed us up!

It could not have been a more beautiful day! We met Captain John who took us out on his boat in to the harbor. He blew up the massive 3 person tube and off we went! I was one of the first to get to go. It was a tough sacrifice, but someone had to do it! Ava and Jed obviously loved it as well :)

The thumbs up in the picture just meant that we wanted him to go FASTER! For Ava, he could never go fast enough :)

So, some other tough things I've had to do is try paddle boarding! I don't think I had ever seen anyone do this before this summer, but couldn't let the summer go by without trying it. Sadly, I chose a day that was pretty windy... meaning that it was easy to get somewhere when the wind was behind you, but coming back was a LOT harder. This kind of scared me because I didn't want to have to swim back in with the paddleboat, so I didn't venture too far out.

I asked Amanda (my only friend on the island!) to come with me! She's always got an "adventure bug" in her, so she readily agreed!

Paddleboarding is weird in that you just stand on this board and paddle. Your feet are not strapped to anything and so you really have to balance yourself. Good for the core muscles, I guess!
Since we didn't venture too far out with the paddlesboards, we decided that we could get further if we went together in a kayak. So, Amanda and I took out a double and paddled over to the other side. There wasn't anyone to take a picture of both of us in the kayak so we each got one separately. It was hard paddleing back in... the wind was really strong that day!

Yep - Just chillin'. But that was after using all my upperbody strength to help get us back. And, I owe my steering skills to Camp Oneka where I learned to canoe and kayak! If not, maybe we would have ended up outside the harbor and in the ocean!!

Autism Speaks... and sandcastles!

On Saturday, August 20th I had the awesome opportunity to walk with the family I work for, for this great cause! I have worked with children who have autism before, and figured I could surely participate in a 2 mile walk for a good cause. It's been a while though since I have been around families who have children with autism and how it affects every family member. I met the founders that morning and walked with their children and grandchildren. I saw, in that short amount of time, how autism not only affects the child, but every member of the family. It affects every minute of their day and what they are able to do and accomplish. The parents that I know of who have a child with autism dedicate their lives to helping their child. And, as I learned more about this organization, met the founders and their family, and participated in the day's events, I have truly become a supporter of it and am volunteering to help at their DC walk in October! What they have been able to accomplish in 6 years is incredible!

Here is a link to their history:

I also really liked the design of their t-shirts.
I'll actually wear this one again!

The day of the walk was absolutely beautiful. We've had many days like that here on the island, actually! But, it was sunny and not humid. We gathered on Jetties Beach, which is near town. They had some activities for kids, and then some promotional stuff, and then we walked 2 miles! It wasn't hard, but they were able to raise a lot of money.

Autism is hard because there really isn't any medicine for it, and a lot of the cause/ways to help are "unknown". Today, it is estimated that one in every 110 children are diagnosed on the autism spectrum, which makes it more common that childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. Sadly there are about 1.5 million individuals in the US with it and the prevalence rate is increasing about 10-17 percent annually. So, something needs to be done!

After the walk, we stopped back at the house to get out bathing suits... because we were invited to a pool party/BBQ at the Wright's house! They live on the north-eastern side of the island in a very pretty area. The house was beautiful, as well as the pool/pool house and everything around it! They also have a lot of land, which is great for their
This is a picture of their beautiful house!

The BBQ and all the food were by the pool. So, while the adults talked, the kids played! They even had their own paddleboard! Notice below... Jed is very happy to be on it, but that's only because he fought off Max to get that spot and Ava is very distraught because she had it first. Ahhh... siblings :)
I wasn't sure the whole story behind this racecar, but I do know it was quite a feat for it to be able to get on the island. It had to come over on the ferry and was very protected... but I imagine it took a lot of coordination and planning. This was my first time seeing an actual racecar up close and personal. Very cool! I even looked under the car and I can't tell you all that they told me, but the engine and the mechanics underneath the car are not like a typical car!

Well, after the party (with very yummy food), I headed back to Jetties Beach where I saw the final products of the Sandcastle Building contest they had that afternoon. People could register as family's, individuals or groups. Sadly, when I was arriving, some of the high tide was coming in and starting to destroy some of the castles, but I still snagged some pictures! Some people get very in to this ad plan for months what they are going to do!
I thought this one was pretty neat. It's just a huge castle, but very well done and I liked the extra special touch of the shells!
"ACKPORT" is supposed to resemble the airport whose call letters are ACK. The sculpture is a plne and then they also used shells to decorate it. Creative!
And, a lovely Octopus. Simple, but cool!

Just another hard-working day here on the island :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Brant Point and Steps Beach

One of my goals (I think I mentioned in another post) is to see all the lighthouses on the island. This lighthouse was an easy one to get to. It's just west of town and you can basically drive to it. It's Brant Point and it's right next to the Coast Guard Station. It's a tiny lighthouse, but it's the main one to guide ships in to the harbor. And, as I found out yesterday, it's also a great beach for little kids since the waves are so small and evidently there must be some good fishing because there were many out there doing it... although I didn't see any fish in the water!

I liked the flag on the side of it

Can you see the size of some of those boats!
All I kept thinking as I walked past some of these boats
and houses on the harbor... was
WHO are these people??!!
I need to get to know them!!
The picture below is one of the ferry's leaving the island.
So, one of my other goals is to get to as many of the beaches on the island as possible. This is a much harder goal to reach as there are 37 miles of beaches and every half-mile seems to be a new beach! But, the kids told me about this one so I thought I'd check it out.
Steps beach... properly named because...
These are the steps to gain access to the beach!
This beach is located off of "Cliff Rd". Looking up from the beach you can tell why it's named that. And, the picture doesn't do these houses justice! I love just driving by them and thinking, "Who are these people?!
I have to get to know them!" :)

Then, I saw these tomatoes?? everywhere in the green brush on the cliff. I also saw a snake slither away... and that about did it for me at this beach. It was a very quick walk for me back up the steps.

Town from the tippy top of the whaling museum

I am trying to do some touristy things on the island before the end of the summer. I would say besides the numerous beaches, the main tourist attraction is the whaling museum. And, my one friend on the island, just so happens to have free passes. Normally, it's $17 to get in. Probably wouldn't pay that on my own, but for free... I'm happy to go in and spend some time!

The museum was very interesting. I had no idea how or even why Nantucketers tried to catch whales after arriving on the island in the 1700s. They wanted the oil for lamps, etc. They sought after "right whales" and "sperm whales".

I wish I could give an accurate description of how these men caught whales, but keep in mind... this is the 1700s and not much technology or engine-powered things were invented yet! So, once a whale was spotted, the men on this row boat would row out to the whale as fast as it could. Maybe up to a mile or more. Then, it would harpoon the whale and go for a RIDE! Yes, that's right. The whale obviously was HUGE and strong. It would take the row boat on a wild ride until it either got tired, or swam beneath the ocean. If it decided to go below the water, the row boat men had to make a split second decision on whether to cut the rope (therefore preventing sinking) or ride it out in hopes the whale didn't go too far below the water!

So, assuming the whale just tuckered out and stopped, the crew would kill the whale and then row it back to the big boat. Now, this is a HUGE whale. After they rowed fast to get the whale, then embraced the challenge of capturing the whale, they now have to tow the darn thing back to the main boat... many, many miles away! I can't even imagine how exhausting that would be!

Anyway - it was very, very cool to learn about! With my pass, I was also able to go on a 90 minute walking tour of the town and learn about its history. Very interesting. Then, I climbed up to the tippy-top of the whaling museum to take picture of the harbor and the town.

I learned there are some 2500 moorings for boats in the harbor. And, some of these boats are bigger than two or three normal homes put together!

I guess I really like these pictures because I walk these streets so often. Looking down and seeing it in a "big picture" is really neat!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Why I love this airport

The first time I took one of these planes, I had to ask myself if the trip was really worth it because I was so nervous to ride in one! All I could think of was a story I heard when I was in Alaska this time last year and how a similar plane crashed in to a side of the mountain.

I knew I wouldn't be going over any mountains, but I did figure out my quick escape plan if we happened to crash on the water.

I've now taken a couple of these flights and am more comfortable with them. My last trip "overseas" was to Hyannis. I arrived at the airport an hour early because I thought I had to go through security. Well, LUCKY me! There's such a thing as "Airport Taxi's"!

Who knew?!

With these flights you don't have to go through security. If I was traveling to Boston or PVD or some other major airport I would have had to, but not Hyannis or some of the other very small airports. I literally could have walked in to the airport a minute before my flight, got my ticket and boarded!
What a cute little plane. This one was actually quite
crowded with 6 people on board and the pilot!

As we flew I wanted to take pictures of the beautiful land/water below.
We flew closer to the ground that normal flights
so I just looked down the whole time
It was around sunset
And, there is Nantucket! All those beach houses!

Katy's visit! I have 2 friends today!

The family I nanny for decided to take the kids off island for a few days. I could have gone off as well, for the whole time, but decided to also make the most of them being gone and having some time off to explore the island! ... and take advantage of things I've done... just without the kids!

Fortunately, Katy had a free day and was able to come over to play! She doubled my friend number on the island :)

The day flew by. We spent some time in town, the beach, the pool, Sconset, Sankaty light house, and a bike ride (Well, Katy and Amanda did while I had to attend an event. From what I hear Katy got to see more parts of the island than they had originally set out for :)

It was fun and a very beautiful day!

"Katy Head"
Now, that might be an even better name for the lighthouse!
Don't ask me why I am posing as a teapot?! Ha!
This lighthouse was moved some years ago
because of beach erosion... but it's located
in a very pretty part of the island!
My one friend on the island, Amanda, joined with us for the day.
It was so fun to have Katy here for a visit and
to enjoy yet another beautiful day on the island!

Monday, August 8, 2011

A little excursion

So, recently I was able to take a day excursion
back to my old stomping ground


to visit some of my favorite boys :)

I flew on a teeny, tiny plane to Hyannis (only 17 minutes long!... and more on that in another post) and then rented a car. I can't express how fun it was to get on the highway and drive! Here on the island, I never get to go above 35 mph, and it's all stop & go or stop, turn, and then go. But, on the highway, I just GO!

I arrived in time to pick them up from their half day of camp. It had been just over a year since I said goodbye to them and seeing them again made me smile! They gave me a hug and then showed me all the cool things they were doing or making at their camp!

We then went to one of mine (and their) favorite spots for lunch - Chipotle! On the way I got all the updates on school, friends, sports, summer fun, etc. They both have such great, positive attitudes and are so enthusiastic! They're also polite and get along well with each other, so the entire afternoon was a treat for me to be with them!
I miss these smiles!

Jeremiah is holding up some cards for some game. I never quite figured out what it was or how to play, but the boys love it!

After a yummy lunch, we headed back to their house because they wanted to show me a few things.

They've turned their downstairs basement in to a little workshop area for each child, and another location for the band!

Here are some of Leo's impressive "builds" from his Legos. I can't even imagine the hours he put in to doing it! But, I was so impressed. A pirate ship, a castle... and on and on

Then, Jeremiah and Leo wanted to show me their skills on their instruments. Leo is learning the drums and Jeremiah is playing the piano. Leo played some and then let me try. Drums are harder than I thought! Jeremiah then played a song for me. I was so impressed by both!

Afterwards we played some baseball in the yard (until we lost all the balls in the bushes and no one wanted to go after them!) and some basketball. Then we moved inside to build some dominoes and read stories.

It was such a fun afternoon and I was sad to say goodbye, but I had to get back. I got big hugs before I left though. Sadly, on my return drive, it was more stop and go (with a lot of stopping) as it was rush hour, but I did get there in time for my flight!

Such a great day!! I hope I get to see them again in a few weeks!

On my way out, I stopped by to take a picture of the church I used to meet in. It burned down in May 2009. I happened to be inside in our Sunday service when it started. It was incredible to watch it burn from start to finish.

The churches in the community provided our congregation a space to meet for a while. But, I was very happy to hear that the church was rebuilt and dedicated recently! It wasn't open when I got there, but it was wonderful to even just stand outside and look at it. Such wonderful memories of my time there!

Sunday, August 7, 2011