Friday, April 27, 2012

"Life by the yard is hard, by the inch it's a cinch!"

I recently discovered this quote from President Monson. 
L-O-V-E     I-T!!!
I have spoken over the years with many individuals who have told me, “I have so many problems, such real concerns. I’m overwhelmed with the challenges of life. What can I do?” I have offered to them, and I now offer to you, this specific suggestion: seek heavenly guidance one day at a time. Life by the yard is hard; by the inch it’s a cinch. Each of us can be true for just one day—and then one more and then one more after that—until we’ve lived a lifetime guided by the Spirit, a lifetime close to the Lord, a lifetime of good deeds and righteousness. The Savior promised, “Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.”

This quote gives me hope. I can often feel overwhelmed by all I need to do, challenges I am facing, or what my next steps should be... but thinking back to just a few months ago when I was struggling with my mom's illness I was reminded that I would just wake up every morning and pray for strength, guidance and help for just one more day... just one day at a time.  That was my mantra. Just one day at a time, one foot in front of the other. Some days that's all I could do, but that was all that was needed. I made it through. I did the best I could, and I know that HF will continue to help me as I face new and different challenges!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Kennedy Center!! And, Brahms Requiem

So, sometimes my job has perks! Recently, I was given tickets to VERY good seats for a performance at the Kennedy Center. I've driven by it so many times, but have never been inside. 

It is massive, but it's very pretty. We spent most of our time in the "Hall of Nations" and then in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. The tickets were about ten rows back from the stage and we were in the center. It was amazing!

So, we found out after we had already taken some pictures that we weren't allowed to do so in the concert hall, but we did get this one. Bekah was smart enough to hold up her program at the bottom of the picture so that we had the words in it. The concert hall was huge, but it was so awesome to be inside! 

The concert we were seeing was Brahm's Requiem. I had heard of it before, but didn't know much about it, or even what a Requiem was. So, last week I did some research on the piece, the author (if that's what you call him), Requiems in general, and the history behind its controversy. So interesting and I learned a lot! 

It's not a typical Requiem (which is similar to a catholic funeral mass) because it focuses more on consoling those left behind rather than celebrating the fact that our Savior died for our sins, and as Christians that gives us hope! The overall message is that "they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them." Brahm believed more in Lutheranism... and that led to some controversy about the piece. It's also amazing to learn what people took offense to in music and the arts... throughout the years. I just think they had WAY too much time on their hands! They needed to focus on something else. But, anyway, I am now a huge fan of this Requiem. I also thought the timing of my seeing it performed was nice considering the three losses of life I've experienced recently.

It was BEAUTIFUL (the combination of the words and music). It was also the last performance for the renowned Maestro Norman Scribner. At the end the audience must have clapped for over ten minutes (or it just seemed like that!) to celebrate the work this man has done over the past 47 years. Evidently he had a huge impact on the growth of the Arts in the DC area. I was also so glad I was able to call the AMAZING Bekah hours before the performance and that she could come with me! We had a great time and I am lucky to have her for a friend!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Recently, I've been following this blog by a Harvard Business Professor. What he writes about is good for organizations, but also for people to apply in their own lives! The link above takes you to a post about how one can respond to an emotional outburst of a child... but again, it is applicable to co workers and relationships in general. 

I love how he states, "An organization performs best when the people in the organization know they can trust and depend on each other. Then they break out of silos. They take accountability for their own mistakes instead of blaming each other. They surface problems before they become major obstacles. But if people spend their energy hiding their feelings, that energy will leak out in negative and insidious ways, sabotaging your efforts and theirs." 

I've witnessed this in a few different cases recently and it's mostly the result of people being unwilling to "break out of their silos" and instead, hide their feelings. Whether it's because of a lack of trust, or an unwillingness to make themselves vulnerable, the end result I have witnessed lately is the same and it's not pleasant. 

"Uncovering the real issue happens when people feel safe enough to be vulnerable." It's not a fun spot to be in, but the understanding that comes from it is priceless. 

Given that I am currently in the spot where I would love to have some understanding from another individual, I am reminded yet again that I need to continue to be supportive, caring, and non-judgemental so that hopefully that trust and "safety zone" can be established. It would be a lot easier to throw up my hands in frustration and to back away, because this current spot I am in is not a fun place AT ALL. However, I know that those who love me don't do this to me, and more importantly, my Heavenly Father would not do this to me either... so I can do the same in return to one of his other children. And, I can pray to HF for help and strength along the way....

Friday, April 20, 2012

Oh - How I miss these guys!

 I've been looking forward to this week for a while...
Juliette and the kids were coming to town!

They are on April break from their school in MA (How I miss February and April vacation weeks!) so they decided to come visit their grandparents, friends, and me in D.C. for part of the week! 
 I could not believe how much they've grown, but their personalities, humor, and mannerisms were very much what I remembered!
 All smiles. They truly are happy kids!
 And, Leo and Jeremiah definitely know how to be silly. 
Here Leo was doing a funny face for the camera!

It was such a beautiful day here in DC. I went to meet them at their grandparents house. We visited for a bit so I could catch up on their friends, activities and what-not.

The kids were getting a bit restless, so we decided to go down to the new MLK memorial. Juliette led the way to Rock Creek parkway and we went down. It was such a pretty drive and I had not done it before. It's weird to think that you're in the middle of a city while you're driving down it!

We walked around the memorial and then went to the Roosevelt one. I had never walked it extensively and actively paid attention to what I was viewing. Leo even asked the Park Ranger what some of the items carved on the walls meant! I learned a lot!

Then, we drove back down memory lane for them (and a drive I could do in my sleep) as we drove past Georgetown, Jetties, The Lab School and up to W Street. Then, a left on W street and past their old house (which I lived in with them). However, the current owners basically tore the entire house down and only left a couple structures standing... and are rebuilding it! Since there weren't any walls up, we could see the old staircase and a few other things. Oh - the memories!

Then, we were off to lunch at the "Famous" Palisades Pizza! Famous maybe for being the MOST expensive piece of pizza you can buy! But, the kids and I used to walk there from their house and get ice cream there too... so they wanted to go back. We had a very fun time there! This is a picture of us chillin' outside after we ate.
I love these guys so much! It was fun to catch up and to give Jeremiah and Leo the "tickles" I used to when they were a little younger. I loved doing this when I put them to bed! They shared a room and so we would read stories and then I would just play a game where I would make up some story and it always involved a tickle here and there. Or, I would give them ten seconds to do something and if they didn't, they got tickled! They usually chose not to succeed in the challenge so they would get tickled. We all loved it!

These guys will always have a special place in my heart and I am glad I have an extra reason to visit them in Boston now that Evan, Madison and Holland live there now too!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

In Memory of Warren A. Fitzpatrick and Marian Fitzpatrick

Marian Fitzpatrick
March 2, 2022 - March 18, 2012

Warren A. Fitzpatrick
March 9, 2021 - April 4, 2012

My grandparents were amazing! Even though they lived on an island just north of Seattle, WA for all of my life, when I was younger, we usually got to see them a couple of times a year. In the summer, I always looked forward to their visit. We would go on walks together, play cards on the back deck, and just "show off" to our grandparents how much we had learned and what talents we had acquired or improved since the last time we saw them! They always shared their "snicky-snacks" with us, even though it was really close to dinner time, and they loved to give us advice. Granted, I didn't appreciate that then, as much as I do now, but if there's one thing they made very clear to my brothers and I was that we were very loved. My dad was an only child, so we were their only grandchildren and they let us know that they loved spending time with us!

My grandfather loved golf, but he also loved to read, especially anything about history and the newspaper. He and my dad could debate anything. My grandmother, on the other hand, was Ms. Social! She loved talking, being around other people, and was usually "the life of the party!"

We traveled to Seattle a few times to see them. The island that they lived on didn't have too much to offer in terms of modern conveniences, but we enjoyed its beauty. I loved taking the ferry from the mainland to visit them, and to see the view out of their living room window as the house they built sits on top of a hill by the water. Since they had lived for many years in Japan, their house had some authentic Japanese items, and my grandmother was always trying to teach me a word or two of Japanese. 

They were married for almost 69 years! 69! (Married May 15, 1943) I loved watching the two of them interact. You could tell by their words and actions that they truly loved each other. Each day they put the care and concern for each other first - with everything. The last couple of years of my grandmothers life she lived in a home for those suffering from Alzheimer's, but my grandfather would diligently drive an hour each way three or four times a week to spend the day with her and take her to lunch. They loved spending time with each other and were such a great example to me of what a marriage should be. In the end, it was almost like they were living for the other. After my grandmother passed, my grandfather lived for only 2 and a half more weeks. He knew that it was OK for him to go then, too. They both passed away peacefully, and my grandfather passed away in the home that he built and loved.

The last time I was able to see both of them was in August 2010. It was a cherished visit and I am glad we took the opportunity to get pictures with each other! 

Nana and Pop-pop - You will be missed. Thank you for your example, encouragement, advice, memories, ...... but more than anything, thank you for your love.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Profound new insight for me on Gratitude!

I found this blog post as I was reading through a friend's blog.  (He also has another great post entitled "Marriage is for Losers" that I would recommend as well.... and maybe some others on his blog that I haven't read yet), but this post entitled "Death Defying Gratitude" struck me so hard. 

In the post he talks about his experience with a significant health trial and related it to commonly known stages of grief. 

Here's the chunk I loved:
"Acceptance is usually considered to be the final stage of grief, but I wonder if it should be gratitude.** You see, somewhere in the midst of that excruciating week, it occurred to me that, unless I could be grateful in the middle of the pain, I couldn’t really be grateful at all. What I mean is: if I can only be thankful in the midst of pristine vacations with long hours of sleep, stacks of novels to read, laughing children, and just-the-right-amount-of-salt margaritas, I am not really experiencing gratitude. Happiness maybe, but gratitude is something different. It is a defiant insistence that no matter how bad it is, no matter how eviscerating the pain, no matter how deep the agony, there is something more. Gratitude is not just the discovery of a gift, it is the determined insistence that a gift is present, that it can be found, and that it can be received, regardless of what else is happening. It is the hopeful seeking for the rest of what is going on, right here, right now.

Gratitude is what makes it possible to be bowed low by grief and pain, to be brought to one’s knees by the agony, and yet to defiantly raise our eyes, look around, and believe that the view from this angle could become a gift. Gratitude is pain’s redemption. Gratitude makes you aware of gifts that have always been there, but that you couldn’t perceive when you were strong, confident, and upright. Sometimes, for instance, pain lays you out on the sand, and gives you a different vision of life, and you become grateful for the reminder that your frantic efforts to take control, fix the world, be a man, and keep it all together are causing you to miss out on an incredible gift. In the end, you may even look back into the pain and the grief, and you will never want to do it again, but being grateful for the vision it gave, you might find it hard to imagine your life without it."

I loved his thoughts so much on the idea that no matter WHAT we go through, "there is something more." Recent experiences in my life have truly brought me to my "knees by the agony" of it all, but yet I have truly felt so much peace and gratitude as I see things from a new perspective, or a new "angle" as he calls it. I definitely can look back and see how many times over the past year I was looking at life through my rose-trimmed glasses as I was "strong, confident, and upright", but now I am seeing gifts and blessings that were all around me... yet I had failed to see. 

I also love his statement that I really do NEVER want to have to feel that pain and grief again (although I know that's not realistic!), but I am so grateful for the new perspective it gave me. I am grateful for the added personal strength and courage I gained, as well as a deeper, abiding testimony of the gospel of Jesus-Christ.

I still like to belt out the refrain to the song "What doesn't Kill you makes you Stronger" as I hear it in the car... but it's also nice to pause and reflect on how I see things a little differently these days and am truly grateful for that!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Glass... and Trust :)

A friend introduced me to this song and its lyrics have been on my mind recently. The song is called "Glass" by Thompson Square. Here is the link on youtube

Trying to live and love,
With a heart that can't be broken,
Is like trying to see the light with eyes that can't be opened.
Yeah, we both carry baggage,
We picked up on our way, so if you love me do it gently,
And I will do the same.

We may shine, we may shatter,
We may be picking up the pieces here on after,
We are fragile, we are human,
We are shaped by the light we let through us,
We break fast, cause we are glass.
Cause we are glass.

I'll let you look inside me, through the stains and through the cracks
And in the darkness of this moment,
You see the good in that.
But try not to judge me, cause we've walked down different paths,
But it brought us here together, so I won't take that back.

We may shine, we may shatter,
We may be picking up the pieces here on after,
We are fragile, we are human,
We are shaped by the light we let through us,
We break fast, cause we are glass.

We might be  oil and water, this could be a big mistake,
We might burn like gasoline and fire,
It's a chance we'll have to take.

We may shine, we may shatter,
We may be picking up the pieces here on after,
We are fragile, we are human,
And we are shaped by the light we let through us,
We break fast, cause we are glass.
We are glass.

I have so many thoughts on this I am not sure where to even start. Obviously, I am still in this dating world, so I haven't mastered this subject yet... but I think the top thing that has been on my mind recently is "Trust". 

Trusting someone else with your heart. Trusting them with the knowledge of the past choices and experiences you've had to shape who you are. No one is perfect and we've all made mistakes or have suffered the consequences of the mistakes of others.

We are like glass and we are all very fragile, but if we don't take that risk and trust someone else enough with our glass, than we will never really have the opportunity to shine or shatter when it comes to relationships. It's like not knowing true joy if you've never experienced pain and heartache.

I think in this dating world, trust is hard to come by. We all try and put on our "best" on the outside and try and hide the fact that we really are made of fragile glass and in need of someone else to help us really shine!  People might even judge us by thinking that we seem to have it all together, but really, we're just holding the pieces of our lives barely together. ... but knowing that two pieces of glass molded together is much stronger than one when it comes to the storms of life! 

Or, they might look at our very different pasts and think there's no hope for a future together, but really,  the paths that you have both taken have brought you here together at that moment, so why not give it a try?

 I faced these two relationship issues recently and it's frustrating. I am learning patience, yet again. I am also focusing more on praying to try and understand the other person. As stated above, I know where I came from and what has shaped me, but I don't REALLY know the other person's life path despite conversations we've had. I truly believe the Lord can help us with this though. He can help us understand and have compassion.

We are fragile and we are human, but there is beauty in that! ... If only we can just endure the trial, heartache and broken glass that come at times along the way.