Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Lack of Distance

I read this in a newsletter today and it touched me:

"Recently the National Service field lost a hero, advocate and friend. Many AmeriCorps members, VISTA's, Learn & Serve participants, and others working in the field have never heard the name Eli Segal (this is true about me). Yet all of them have been touched by Eli's vision, leadership and tremendous dedication to community service. Working under President Clinton, Eli shaped the legislation that created AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National and Community Service and served as the first CEO of the Corporation... Eli once said,

"Great people are measured by the lack of distance between themselves and others."

I don't know this man but being that I'm a VISTA in AmeriCorps, I am very grateful for what he has done and how he has affected so many other people. I really don't think we comprehend how much we influence people around us. I think we little realize or recognize the impact we make for good!

I have a friend who doesn't have much money himself but has decided to give $1.00 a day to someone who is homeless. He said to me one day, "Kylee, it is not up to us to decided what they will do with this money, but God will know if we could have given more." He inspired me that day. I have a friend who has the most amazing quiet dignity that I know. He always thinks before he speaks (which oftentimes frustrated me) and he never speaks when he shouldn't. He has this amazing ability to lift and inspire those around him. I have learned a great lesson from him that sometimes less is more. I know a girl who has a completely different view of the world than I. She sees art in everything-in everyone. Her heart is so big sometimes I think it might burst! Things that I think look ordinary become extraordinary by her touch and in seeing their transformations I learn from her daily how to better have the Lord's vision. There is a homeless lady that sits on the ground across from where I work everyday and every morning as I pass she smiles. She doesn't have much but to me she teaches strength, endurance and the power of positivity (is that a word??). There are so many more and I could go on and on, but you know what I'm talking about.

May I be a little kinder, talk a little softer, see a little more clearly, and shorten the distance between others and myself!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Make it Happen or Let it Go

I think I found my window...Boston! For a while I kept telling the Lord that if He was going to close all the doors the least He could do was open a window.

There is a very real vision statement in my life: Make it happen or let it go! I did this when I moved out to Boston from Provo. I had wanted to move to the East coast for a few years. I finally realized if it was going to happen I needed to make it happen or let it go, thus the vision statement.

Most things in my life have a song that explains my feeling much better. The day before I flew out here my best frien, Alan played a song for me that made my heart happy. It is from Little Women the Musical. The song is called "Astonishing." I will quote a part of it here to describe for you the euphoria and empowerment (not to mention the blessings) that come when you make things happen in your life.

"I've got to know if I can be
There's a life that I am meant to lead,
Alive like mothing I have known.
I can feel it and it's far from here.
I've got to find it on my own.
Even now I feel its heat upon my skin.
A life of passion that pulls me from within.
A life that I am aching to begin.
There must be somewhere I can be

Here I go and there's no turning back.
My great adventure has begun.
I may be small but I've got giant plans
To shine as brightly as the sun.
I will blaze until I find my time and place,
I will be fearless, surrendering modest and grace.
I will not disappear without a trace.
I'll shout and start a riot,
Be anything but quiet.
Christopher Columbus, I'll be astonishing.
At last."

In learning to let go I am finding the things that matter the most to me and discovering things I never knew existed. I truly believe in this new vision statement of mine...Make it Happen or Let it Go!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

This is the stuff memories are made of...

"If that is all it will take, well then, no big deal. This is the stuff memories are made of." Had I known how prophetic that phrase would be an hour later I might of laughed at myself. This was in response to K. Marie.

Let me start at the beginning. So Seth Wood decided to take K. Marie and I to a special spot of his in East Boston. So we drove (very fast) in his hot convertable with the top down to his special place. It was wonderful and once we got there the water was beautiful and so was the view of Boston. Seth noticed that the tide had risen and so some of the rocks to walk out at this certain spot were covered with water (this should have been our first clue). Marie was wearing flip flops and had started to roll up her pants to walk anyway. She asked Seth and I if we wanted to go to the rock hill anyway- and all we had to do was take off our shoes and socks. Then I said those fated words above...

Once we got to the rock hill we just sat there for a long time and talk and looked out at the harbor and Boston. After a little while I got cold and it was time to go. We all three turned around and quickly noticed that there were no more rocks to be seen. I think we all panicked a little bit. The rocks were still pretty shallow but completely covered with water. Remember that at this point it was cold, dark, and about 12:00 am. So we all started stumbling on the slippery rocks (some more than others). I actually fell a bunch of times and got pretty wet. I do have the excuse that I hurt my ankle rock climbing the other day and wasn't as steady as usual.

After a few minutes of trying to make it back to shore Seth and I realized our shoes were gone. It didn't take too long to see where they had floated off to. They were floating away in the water in front and to the Left of us. At this point I was just about completly soaking wet... so it just made sense to swim out and rescue our shoes. I think I shocked both Seth And K. Marie.

So there I was swimming in the Boston Harbor (Ocean) at 12:30 am and rescuing our shoes. Mind you that it was freezing, but funny as heck. I did get our shoes and I survived the water and all!

My feet were really hurting after I got home so I sat down to look at them and found a lot of huge cuts and gashes on the bottoms of my feet and on the toes. I guess I got all cut up when I was walking on the rocks (more like falling off) but my feet were so cold I didn't know they were getting cut.

So, needless to say, we did make memories tonight --very great ones.

ps I think that we need to have lots more Magic Bullet parties!

Heart Picture # 2

Sailboats! 25 sailboats in the Boston Harbor and My eyes got very large. Two had fallen down and in the process of getting up. The other 23 were sailing smoothly across the water-wow I can't wait to go sailing!

Friday, April 14, 2006


OYM! I heard that a lot on my mission...Open Your Mouth. I didn't have a hard time with this (If you know me you're laughing because you already know this). In fact I absolutely love talking to people and better yet, I love listening to what people have to say.

So I know this is obvious but I want to go on a little tirade about human interaction and communication. We have so many ways of communicating these days: cell phones, email, IM, letters, tv, etc. The recent trend is to find ways in which to have less and less human interaction. Now don't get me wrong, before I get on my soap box (that was for Amy and Micheal Adam), I am a fan of the email/cell phone communication. I do like to talk to people the "fast way", but I love talking to people the good old fashion way-face to face.
So you all know that I really don't like talking on the phone, but I really like to talk. I find this is true in other social settings. Take the Subway/Buses here in Boston. Now, people really do like talking to other people- we like and need human interaction-but place people together on public transportation and it's as if we all have the plaque. Case in point: Today when I went to get on Bus 71 on my way to work I noticed something very interesting. There was a person in just about ever seat and next to every person there was an empty seat. So there I was, basically 2 choices, either take the last seat with an empty seat next to me or actually brave sitting next to someone. I chose the later and actually got a very strange look from the lady I sat next to. Eventually people were forced to sit next to each other-but heaven forbid actually talking- no way.
This is my daily routine. Get on the bus, nobody talks, everyone is either reading a book or listening to music (via headphones...can we get any more removed from society than that?). Get off the bus , get on the T and repeat! People sitting next to total strangers, people staring at each other, but never speaking, people so caught up in their own problems and world that they can't be bothered by anyone else around them. Get off the T and walk to my office with all these people bustling around me, but not saying anything. Go to work. Talk to people via phone and email (even if they are in the office next to mine). Spend the day behind a computer. Walk back to the T and so forth. For someone who needs social and human interaction as much as I do this can only last for so long.
So I decided to play a game. I don't have an Ipod (so that gets rid of the headphones thing), I get sick when I read while in motion (thus the book things doesn't work so well), and so there's just me and all the rest of the people surrounding me. And this brings us back to the beginning OYM.
I decided that I would make a game out of meeting at least one person everyday. This means that I actually have to break the sound barrier sometimes and TALK. This seems very silly, but I have gotten a few funny looks by just asking someone how they are doing or what their name is. I do have to say that in the few moments I spend getting to know a little about my "target" for the day makes all the difference.
I'm working on short interesting and to the point questions that I can get a lot of details from a person in a short amount of time. If you have any suggestions please send them my way. It's amazing how much people really do want to talk to you, how much they have to say, and how much you never knew that you really wanted to know about them.
This game has trickled over into other areas of my life. There's a man who I see everyday outside South Station that I talk to a little here and there, I haven't asked him his name yet, but I will, there's a homeless lady that sits outside my office and I drop money in her cup once in a while and she smiles, I hope to have a great conversation with her one of these days. BRT, right? Taking the time to let others share themselves with you.
So I know that I've gone on and on and so I will end this with my "target" of the day today...Seth. I knew it was him because he was just sitting there looking so out of place. I actually got nervous because there were only a few people on the T and it was dead silent. So I just finally asked him if he was a photographer. He had this really nice camera around his neck, a backpack with sleeping bag and bed roll. He said that he was coming in from NH to see his brother crew tomorrow. He wanted to get some pictures of his brother (side note- I really want to see a crew race on the Charles). we chatted a little more and then I stopped talking. It was silent for a few more minutes and then he started asking me questions. It wasn't life changing things we talked about , but was life changing. In just a few moments I met Seth and the chances of me ever seeing him again are slim to none- but we connected.
I love the game, I love the challenge it gives me everyday to branch out, I love knowing I have so much to learn from others, and I love people.
Thanks Seth!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Everyone secretly......wants a monkey

So enough already with my very serious blogs.

I am thinking of getting a ferret off craigslist. I was talking about this with my roommate K. Marie and we were discussing pets of all sorts. I said to her, "Have you ever wanted to have a pet monkey? Everyone secretly wants a monkey or at least they did at one point"---and she burst out laughing ( does anyone else notice a trend of this happening to me). She looked at me very strangely. It's true though, I mean at some point I think I ask almost all my friends (randomly I don't know why) that very question and I don't think I've met a person yet, that doesn't secretly or openely want a monkey as a pet.

As I got to thinking of this I just started coming up with pets for various friends of mine. for instance I really think that deep down inside my K. Marie wants a unicorn (you can see this manifest in her artwork). I think "our Finnish friend" wants a lizard. I do belive that though she would never admit- and might not even know this- my friend Amy wants a Leopard Gecko with teal over his eyes. As for my friend Luke...I think the he wants a parakeet for practicality sake, but secretly he really wants a penguin. Ma I have no idea what pet you secretly harbor feelings for but I know that you need, actually NEED to have a tarantual for a least a little while some time in your life (I highly recommend this to everyone, they are fascinating creatures).

Anyway, what pet do you secretly want to have (remember that once your respond to this it won't be a secret anymore...ha ha!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Heart Picture #1

Tonight as I walking back to the office to work late I was in my own thoughts and then I saw from a distance a little girl holding her mother's hand. It wasn't the girl or her mother that brought a huge smile to my face. It was the fact that the little girl was holding in her little hands at least 25 white balloons! I think her mother was mostly trying to just keep the girl on the the ground. I couldn't help it, my heart took a picture!

If You Love It...Share It!

I LOVE water! I got this from my mom. Anyway, I happen to have a favorite brand of flavored waterLemon Propel. A few weeks ago I was on a walking lunch with a co-worker of mine and I introduced her to Lemon Propel. It was an instant hit for her. So much so that I fear she may be addicted. So now my co-worker has spread her love forLemon Propel to everyone else in the office and all her friends. She can't believe that she didn't know about Lemon Propel before I introduced her to it.

The scenerio is the same only this time it happened with blogs. I'm new to the whole blog thing, but as you can read, I LOVE IT! I can't help it, I'm a fan. So I tell people about it all the time and a few people are catching on as to how great blogging is.

I guess what I'm saying is that when you love something you just want to share it with everyone you know. This is of course true when it comes to the gospel also.

I got on the T today oblivious of anyone around me. I usually love getting on the T, watching people, trying to write their stories in my mind, but not today. I was running late, the bus took forever getting me to the T, and I was behind in work because I didn't go yesterday due to sickness....I am amazed at God's timing!

As I was getting situated in my seat on the T (I even had my headphones on) this little old lady next to me tapped me on my shoulder and asked me if I was Mormon? I took off my headphones and stared at her (as if I had heard her wrong). So she repeated, " Are you Mormon? I saw your book in your bag?" I was startled and pulled out my military copy of the Book of Mormon. "This" I nodded in her direction. "Oh, yes I've had some young gentlemen try to convert me with that book before."--At this point I realized that we were going to discuss this- missionary work- right here, right now, on the T, when I was least ready...

My natural reaction was, "So what did you think?" She smiled up at me and sort of laughed, "They did a good job trying to convert me". There was that awful word, convert, again. It seemed to me that she was saying it in such a negative way. I wondered....

She went back to paying little attention to me, but I was curious so after a few minutes of looking like I was reading, I tapped her on the shoulder. "Ma'am, were they kind, the young men?" She smiled at me again and said, "Well, yes dear. In fact I have been visited by a few of them since my first visit."---okay this was good so then I said, "You can't blame them can you?" She looked puzzled and asked, "Blame them for what?" (exactly the reaction I had wanted)..."You can't blame them for wanting to share something they love!" She laughed out loud (really she did) and her laugh seemed to break any awkwardness that had existed.

I talked about serving a mission myself (she was surprised that girls served missions) and for just a brief moment our hearts connected. Boy, did God teach me on the T today that it is so not about me!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Making Loss Matter

..."At some point in our lives, we learn that to really discover who we are, we have to go through the process of losing ourselves to find ourselves; in the moment when everything drops out and disappears, suddenly from within we begin to forge a new and greater understanding of who we are. It is when we seek above ourselves, beyond ourselves, that we most truly find ourselves."

I was talking to my K. Marie last night about the acceptance of loss. Loss comes in a variety of fashions. Most people only think to grieve over the loss of someone who dies, but Rabbi David Wolpe, in his book, "Making Loss Matter" writes about 6 different kinds of loss. He makes a case for loss in Home, Dreams, Self (the quote about is from that chapter), Love, Faith, and Life.
"Dreams can ennoble us even when they fail, even when they are lost, even when we let them go. Each dream can be a step on the ladder we climb in order to become the person we were meant to be."

Loss happens with all of us. We move, we love someone who doesn't love us back, we change jobs, we finish school and so much more. I have learned from Rabbi Wolpe that we don't make loss matter enough in life. We rarely take the time to actually grieve for the things we lose.
"The Sassover Rebbe said that he learned the meaning of love from overhearing a conversation between two villagers. One asked the other, "Do you love me?" The second replied, "I love you deeply." The first asked, "Do you know, my friend, what gives me pain?" The second protested the he could not possible know. "If you do not know what gives me pain, " lamented the first, "How can you say you love me?"

I am not suggesting that we all have a pity party or go around lamenting our losses all the time, in fact quite the opposite. Take the necissary time to grieve, then move past. Take what you need with you and leave the rest behind.
"Understanding that we can make loss meaningful is not the same as being glad that loss happened."