Monday, February 26, 2007

Expectation Faith

Recently I was able to put together and direct a musical fireside. This experience has been key to teaching me a principle of faith that I am beginning to better understand and apply in my life. From the very beginning of the process of putting this musical fireside together (and many other experiences) thoughts have been ruminating in my mind about faith, but not just any kind of faith-a certain kind of faith-that I will call expectation faith. This is sometimes known as- drawing upon the powers of heaven-faith. I've done research on this subject but would love to hear what you have to say on this topic. Here are a few things I discovered concerning "Expectation Faith."

Many of you have heard the phrase, "The pathway to heaven is paved with good intentions." Rex C. Reeve, of the first quorum of the seventy said,

..."If we are going to draw upon the powers of heaven, intention is not enough. We must obey every word of command with exactness. Remember these words of the Lord: “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise”(D&C 82:10). We must actually obey the law; intention is not enough!"
I love that promise we have from the Lord. He is bound-we can expect Him to fulfill His promise-but we must do our part and ask in faith. Gene R. Cook, of the first quorum of the seventy suggested 6 steps to draw upon the powers of heaven: 1. Be believing 2. Commit yourself 3. Do your part 4. Pray 5. Expect trials of your faith 6. Expect the Lord to act. He also said,
"Faithful Latter-day Saints will want to know how to use their faith to cause all things to work for their good (see D&C 90:24), to act and not to be acted upon (see 2 Ne. 2:13–14, 16, 26–27), and to righteously prevail over self and others and situations (see 3 Ne. 7:17–18). They will want to know the specific will of the Lord concerning themselves and then, in faith, discipline themselves to submit to his will...You too can literally cause things to work for your good both in your life and in the lives of others if you are full of faith in the Lord. “All things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). Commit yourself in advance to what you righteously desire. The righteous exercising of faith will bring it about."
This quote is very powerful and true. Don’t we all want to use our faith to make things happen in our lives? Don’t we want to have the power to act and not just have to deal with the hand we’re dealt? I think we all want to make things happen in our lives. To find that balance between relying on the Lord and using our agency, we fought for, to make things happen.

I know this type of faith might not be new to some of you (I know I was taught and engaged in this somewhat on my mission-whether knowingly or not) and you are probably much better at applying this kind of faith in your life. I welcome any of your personal experiences. Unbeknownst to me I was able to go through the 6 steps outlined above in the preparing, rehearsing, and the performance of the musical fireside, “Come Unto Christ”. Many people asked me if I was stressed, overwhelmed, nervous, etc. I think I surprised some of them by responding that I was enjoying myself and come what may I expected things to turn out great! I remember telling the choir that should also expect fireside to be a very spiritual experience. I had prepared, we had all practiced and put time and energy into the music, we were united in a righteous cause, we were building the kingdom, perfecting the saints, and most importantly we were putting our faith into action. Because my desire and prayer all along was that the spirit would edify all who would participate in the musical fireside and all who came to listen, I knew my prayer would be answered. I didn’t waiver, I didn’t second guess, and I didn’t stress out (this is the surprising part). I enjoyed every minute of the process (even with soloists and speaker dropping out last minute, struggling to find piano players, and juggling busy schedules) and expected the Lord to fulfill His part. He did. The fireside was a success-by the standard and requirements I had set-the spirit had been there and all were edified!
"Expect the Lord to perform according to his holy will and your faith. His arm will be revealed. He will take care of his Saints. He wants other people to learn faith by your example. He wants you to cause things to happen. He wants you to draw upon his all-powerful arm and the power that resides in you to do things in his way. He desires you not to be too deeply involved in or absorbed by worldly, temporal, superficial, or secondary things. These things must be dealt with, but even they must be handled spiritually… My brothers and sisters, today is a day of miracles. We believe in miracles. The Latter-day Saints may expect miracles according to their faith. As a member of this Church, you are authorized to take a leading part in the development of the kingdom of God on earth within your respective responsibilities. Pray fervently. Actively seek to increase your faith, and with that great gift from God, you can cause great things to occur within your life and in the lives of others." (Gene R. Cook, of the quorum of seventy, emphasis added).
I look forward to applying this principle more in my life and to hearing feedback from you.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Artisia--Protector of Art

I don't know how many of you know this but Kristi Marie Thompson has an alter ego...Artisia--Protector of Art. Artisia is truly extraordinary! Her nemesis is Arthur Krytic and they were in competition for the featured spot at an art gallery. Arthur gave Artisia some paints that were led based, as a gift, in hopes of killing her off. Little did he know that as a child Artisia had eaten paint chips with lead in them and built up an immunity to led based paint. Artisia has the ability to think paintings into life, with a flick of her paint brush she can strike evil with her turpentine potion, she can paint and draw at super human speed, and she is the protector of all things art. To get the deeper scoop you'll just have to catch up with Artisia...if you can!

This is where Artisia works. She really is amazing making her paintings and drawings come to life by just thinking it! You'll just have to see it to believe it...

New Job

So this is where I work now! Big Brothers Big Sister of Massachusettes Bay. I am a "case worker" for matches of Bigs and Littles (what we call the mentors and mentees). Internally I'm called a Match Advocate. I work in the Programing Department-specifically in the Match Support Center. Eventually I will take calls and call all parties involoved in our matches. I'll talk with the Gaurdians, Littles, and Bigs, and anyone else involved. So I will spend most of my days on the phone or email helping to support matches. So far I really like the job. I've been doing HR paperwork, observing others, and meeting all the different department heads. BBBSMB went from 9 Match Advocates recently to 18. So the person in my position that has worked there the longest has only been working for 1 1/2 years and just got promoted to a Supervisor. So it's a fairly new department in the Boston office. So I'm excited to be a part of this great team!

For those of you who don't know what my massive building looks's about 1/3 of how tall it looks. I work on the 5th floor so not too far up...but really this building is quite intimidating.

75 Federal is where I work.

There are so many floors that there are actually directions on the wall to the certain elevators that lead me to my office. I'm on the 5th (actually 6th, but you have to enter from teh 5th floor) of 75 Federal. There's a security desk where I had to take a picture so they know who I am. I also have a swipe card for the elevator when it's the weekends or after hours and to get into my office and cubicle.l

When I got to work they had my cubicle all ready, my name on a plaquerd (you can't see in this picture) on the outside of my cubicle. You can't quite see on the balloon or the sign above my computer but both say welcome aboard Kylee. It was great to feel so welcomed. My computer and phone were both set up and ready for me to start day one. Also I found out there are 2 other Kylee's that work in my office ( all of us spell our names the same....crazy!) so we might have to get creative. I'll tell you what though going from a staff of 6 to a staff of 80 will take some adjustment time. So far I really like all my coworkers and they are more than willing to help me out with anything. A lot of them on my floor and department are relatively new themselves-so been there done that!

So far I really like this job and the ambiance the work enviroment lends to success! Here's to a new job, new adventures,new discoveries, benefits, actually getting paid to work, and new friends!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

To Love and Be Loved

“If so many men, so many minds, certainly so many hearts,
so many kinds of love” -Tolstoy

Valentine’s Day always gets me thinking about love. I’m not a Valentine’s Day hater-though most of my Valentine days I’ve been single as ever. There’s something exciting about an entire day that gives you the ability to liberally express love. So here are just some of my random thoughts about love. A collection of ideas from some of my favorite poets, authors, etc.

In reading the words of Carl Jung about love I found myself fascinated with his ideas of projection. Projection is the idea that we project how we see people and how we love them onto them. It’s an idea related to “romance addiction”, being in love with love and not in love with a person. He discusses the idea in such a way that made me wonder. Do I love people for who they are or do I love them for how I want to them to be? It made me think about my relationships with people and the different kinds of love that I “feel” and “project” onto them. Jung also goes on to give his view of “love”. His idea of love is so simple, yet profound. He said,

Feeling is a matter of small. And in human love we can see that it is true. The real relatedness between two people is experienced in the small tasks they do together: the quite conversation when the day upheavals are at rest, the soft word of understanding, the daily companionship, the encouragement offered in a difficult moment, the small fight when least expected, the spontaneous gesture of love. (196)

Jung’s idea of love is shared experiences. I love that. Moments in time where you heart interacts with another heart. Sometimes I like to call these moments heart pictures; small moments in time where your heart takes a picture. Life is a conglomeration of these heart pictures-gathered together to create a whole--or this idea we call love. I am amazed at how much of me is made up of all the people who have influenced my life. I am made of them and they, in turn, have a piece of me. My life has certainly been changed by my interactions with people. I strive to meet new people, learn from them, love them, let them love me, and come away with a sense of becoming whole.

One philosopher that opened my eyes to a different view of love is Robert Johnson. He wrote a book about myths and the ideology of western “romantic love”. In his book he talks about how love is based on commitment and service. Love is not selfish or something to take, but love is to be given. He said,

We can learn that human relationship is inseparable from friendship and commitment. We can learn the essence of love is not to use the other person to make us happy but to serve and affirm the one we love. And we can discover, to our surprise, that what we have needed more than anything was not so much to be loved, as to love. (201)

Johnson’s idea of love is cliché, “It is better to love then be loved”. This kind of love is familiar to us and comes from the bible in Matthew 22:36-39. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all they heart, and with all they soul, and with all they mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” The idea that “true” love comes from serving and loving others is nothing new. Many of you have experienced this selfless kind of love-either by giving it or by receiving it.

As much as I have talked about loving others I strongly believe in loving ones self. In the scripture mentioned above it says, “love thy neighbor as thyself.” To me there are 2 ½ commandments in those verses. It is clear that we must love ourselves in order to love others. When you love yourself and begin to understand God’s love for you, then you can love others freely. One of My favorite poets Rainer Maria Rilke said,

Love is at first not anything that means merging, giving over, and uniting with another (for what would a union be of something unclarified and unfinished, still subordinate-?); it is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world for himself in another's sake." (Letters to a Young Poet)

Enrich Fromm also said, “Love is union with somebody or something, outside oneself, under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one’s own self.” I think this idea of 2 whole people uniting or coming together in love, not one completing the other, but adding upon their love for each other, is beautiful. There is a power that flows into your life when you first love God, then yourself, and then others.

But what about the loss of love or the pain love causes? What about the wounded hearts, the lonely nights, the struggle to allow yourself to love again? What about those who break hearts, those who leave us broken hearted, and all those whose hearts we never seem to be able to reach? Rabbi David Wolpe in his book, “Making Loss Matter” said this about love,

“…Love is an ever fixed mark in the minds of poets, but in the world, love can fade or end. ‘Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,’ wrote Shakespeare, ‘but bears it out even to the edge of doom.’ We want to believe it. But for those who have lost love, the heroic words about everlastingness are mocked by the pain of unhealed hearts…The inescapable paradox of love is this: It is made precious by time, which threatens to destroy it. Only through loss can we love, but it is loss that wracks our heart… True love is the outgrowth of the ability to have faith… To love is to accept the possibility of suffering…The root of love is bound up with a knowledge of pain and a consciousness of loss. In the end, such love connects us to God.”

All who love know there is a measure of pain that accompany it. Sometimes I think it’s the pain that makes you fully aware of the kind of love you have. Your tears will be counted, your sorrow made known, and love will find its way again into your heart.

There are so many more types of love and things that could be said, but I would be amiss if I didn’t finish up with the kind of love that sustains me. The love I feel for my wonderful family. Mitch Albom writes,

The fact is there is no foundation, no secure ground, upon which people may stand today if it isn’t the family... If you don’t have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don’t have much at all. Love is so supremely important. As our great poet Auden said, ‘Love each other or perish’.

The love I feel from my family is immense, deep, and unconditional. Their love lifts, frees, and allows me to be who I am today. My mother is my fan, cheerleader, and friend and my dad is my teacher, inspiration, and guidance. My sisters are my anchors, my joy, and my confidence and my brothers are my angels, my excitement, and my drive. My family is my life! When my brother Grant died, I realized what it felt like to have a broken heart, but I also began to realize what true love is. This type of love is multi-faceted, omnipresent, and eternal. I love my family so much and as I get older and encounter different obstacles in my life I am continuously amazed at how my love changes as I change.

I know that I am the person I am today because of the love I have felt, shared, and given. My life is truly a collection of love. Thank you for being part of that love and most importantly for letting me love you. Happy Valentines Day!

(Excerpts from an essay I wrote in 2004 and some new ideas)

Lessons Learned

Life teaches us lots of lessons. The title of one of my grad school essays was, "Then Life Happened"...speaking to pivitol points in my life. I am amazed at the lessons I've learned just by living life. I like these lyrics:

Lessons Learned
There's some things that I regret,
Some words I wish had gone unsaid,
Some starts,
That had some bitter endings,
Been some bad times I've been through,
Damage I cannot undo,
Some things,
I wish I could do all all over again,
But it don't really matter,
Life gets that much harder,
It makes you that much stronger,
Oh, some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were,
Lessons learned.

And every tear that had to fall from my eyes,
Everyday I wonder how I get through the night,
Every change, life has thrown me,
I'm thankful, for every break in my heart,
I'm grateful, for every scar,
Some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were lessons learned.

There's mistakes that I have made,
Some chances I just threw away,
Some roads,
I never should've taken,
Been some signs I didn't see,
Hearts that I hurt needlessly,
Some wounds,
That I wish I could have one more chance to mend,
But it don't make no difference,
The past can't be rewritten,
You get the life you're given,
Oh, some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were,
Lessons learned.

And all the things that break you,
All the things that make you strong,
You can't change the past,
Cause it's gone,
And you just gotta move on,
Because it's all,
Lessons learned.
"Some Hearts" Carrie Underwood

The other night I found myself sitting in the living room talking to two great friends of mine. I was asking them questions about life. What is one of you favorite memories of the past year? What is the greatest lesson you learned this past year? And so forth. I was grateful to be able to hear the answers to these questions and more. What a great moment and memory! I want to have more of these moments.

What a Wonderful Week!

The following 7 blog entries are the goings on in my life for a week's period.

Lately it seems many of my friends have called to ask me if I'm moving back to UT or AZ (my original plan was to move to Boston for a year and then move back). Also friends have been calling to ask me about my new job...which I'll start in a week. All of them want to know what I'm doing in Boston and why I love it so much.

To answer your questions I figured I'd give you all a glimpse of just one week in my life..


The Atlantic Adventure
Portland, Maine

I got a call on Saturday morning to go on an unexpected road trip with Jon hill to Portland, Maine. I was very excited because I've wanted to go to Portland, Maine since I moved to Boston. I figured since I grew up in Portland, Oregon it would be cool to visit the entire other side of the USA...the other Portland. So we began our journey to Maine....

Jon & I decided to stop at a visitor's center to get a map of Portland and to hear the spill of where to go and what to see. The lady behind the desk was very informative and she gave us a great map of the area.

On the way to Maine I kept seeing frozen ponds and lakes and said to Jon that I thought it would be cool to ice skate or walk out on a real frozen pond. So we did. We found a frozen pond and walked out into the middle of a make shift hockey practice (thus the goal post).

As you can see I was a little tentative to get too close to the goal post, but Jon was fearless. The frozen pond was beautiful and it made me wish I had ice skates!

As we were leaving this nice lady asked if she could take our picture and then she preceded to tell us all the great places to eat and how to get there. I loved listening to her accent and how much she loved talking about Maine. After she had given us her spill she insisted on taking our picture. The frozen pond is off to our can barely tell it's a pond at all.

On our way to the famous Maine Lighthouse I wanted to make snow angels. So Jon and I found some snow that looked fitting for snow angel making. As we started to walk out onto the snow we realized we were walking on a frozen river/creek. If you look closely at our angels you can actually see the ice. I can't believe I had to drive all the way to Maine to make a snow angel this winter.

You gotta love Longfellow!

Isn't she just breathtaking!

I guess this particular lighthouse is the most famous (or one of the most) photographed lighthouse in the nation. I guess you can see why. The museum was closed but we walked around the area and just enjoyed the beauty of the Altantic Coast.

Jon wanted to see how cold the Altantic Ocean was this time of year and I wanted to swing on the swings next to where we parked. So we decided to do both. Jon ended up touching more water than he wanted to (and carried it home with him by way of his soaking sock). Turns out the Atlantic is very wet, cold, and salty. Go figure. The swings were fun...thanks Jon for indulging me!

Everyone we had talked to mentioned to us that we need to walk around in the Old Port area of Portland. So we found a parking spot and walked around a bit, but hunger got the best of us.

Dinner was quite interesting. After deciding to eat Indian food we went inside a restraunt called Tandor. After only a few minutes (and noticing there were no other customers) we both felt like leaving. So we did. Great decision on our part!

Besides, we decided that we wanted to have a real Portland Sea Food dinner. So we climbed aboard a ship and ate at the famous DiMillo's for dinner. The food was great and Jon & I both had the stuffed Haddock. Our waiter, Bob, was great, the ambiance was perfect, and the food was fantastic (not to mention the great company)!

Jon & Kylee

I had seen this sign earlier in the evening and thought a lot about it. I knew it must be something important but neither Jon nor I knew what "following seas" were or meant. So we decided to ask the man pictured in the right window. He was very nice and explained to us that the phrase, "May you have fair winds and following seas" is a old mariner's prayer. "Following seas" are waves that hit the boat from behind and not broadside. That way the waves push the boat along on its journey. I thought that was a beautiful way to end our Atlantic Adventure!

So a fair wind and following seas to you all!


Adoption & Foster Care Mentoring
Says Goodbye!

Strong Women Strong Girls (nonprofit whose offices are next to ours) take a moment to say goodbye to me.

I don't know if you can tell but the entire room is decorated in silver and purple. I couldn't belive it. There were Purple Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling, bubbles, jelly beans, cards, cake, brownies, and AFC gave me a big purple Pilates Ball. It was a roaring goodbye party. I will miss working there, but I'm still mentoring with AFC so I won't be too far from the program or the great people that run it!

Here's to a great year working at Adoption & Foster Care Mentoring!!

Monday, February 12, 2007


Adoption & Foster Care Mentoring's
First Annual
Volunteer Appreciation Event
February 8, 2007

(Pictures of this event forthcoming....)

Post Appreciation Night Party

For my post party I decided to get together with some friends to watch a movie. The girls chose, "Step Up" and had to hear about how stupi it was through the entire movie. Meanwhile I was able to unwind a little and was grateful the event was a success and over!

Marie, Preston, & Natalie...enjoying Seth's bed while he's away.

Timothy & Kylee--notice that we both still have our coats on inside. That's because Tim's house is freezing. I guess that's what happens when you live in a big house all alone...we miss you Seth!


Appreciation Preparation

For the past few months I've been preparing for a huge volunteer appreciation event. Adoption & Foster Care Mentoring (where i've been working this past year) has never had an huge event like this before and we want to make it an annual event. ( No pressure, righ?) The entire process was very stressful but well worth it.

We ended up finding a Funder,Mellon Financial Corporation, to host us on their 15th floor Executive Dining Room. They feed us a great dinner and dessert as well as letting us have our event (all for free) at their conviently located office downtown.

I wanted to make T-shirts to give all the volunteers as a gift at the event so with the help of Artists For Humanity (another nonprofit) I designed a t-shirt. Then I found out that another Funder of ours, Bank of America, decided to give us money for the t-shirts.

Another Funder, Shore Pharmacy donated the gift bags you below, which rounded out just about everything we needed. With the help of wonderful volunteers and an amazing staff we were able to get everyrthing finished in time for the big event!

Every volunteer, social worker, & mentor recieved a certificate.

It was all fancy dancy so everyone needed a name tag to enter the elevator and to be on the 15th floor.

Here's the gift bags, name tags, & certificates waiting to be taking over to Mellon. Thanks everyone for helping out to prepare for the appreciation event!


Idealist Nonprofit Fair

Today I worked a 12 hour day. 4 of those hours was spent on BU campus at the Nonprofit Fair. I have been training the girl that is taking my place, Sabrina Barron, for the past 2 weeks. Attending a Volunteer Fair was part of the training.

Sabrina (taking my place at AFC Mentoring) doing an excellent job of recruiting volunteers & mentors. We ended up getting 4 full pages of people interested in volunteering in some capacity with AFC Mentoring. I call that a success!

Our table at the Idealist Nonprofit Fair.


Family Home Evening

FHE was at my house. We shared a lesson, sang a song, decorated cookies, and made valentine cards. All in all it was great night and my house was filled with great people!

Marie baked us her family's famous Valentine Cookies to decorate. Everyone had a great time and got a little creative!

These are just a few of Natalie's homemade Valentine Cards. Stayed tuned to her blog (see side bar) for more details of her amazing and hilarious cards.

So I kid you not...(okay so we had to do a redo and make Jared cross his legs)... this is not a posed photo. they were actually both reading the same Time magazine right next to each other.


Musical Fireside: Come Unto Christ

For a few weeks now I've been directing rehearsals for an upcoming musical fireside called, Come Unto Christ. The rehearsals are coming along great and we're all have a blast singing beautiful songs and bearing testimony of our Savior. Come check us out in a few weeks!

What: A musical celebration of Christ's life.
Where: The LDS church on the corner of Brattle and Hawthorne Street (Harvard Square). Across the street from the Longfellow House.
Time: 7:00 pm
Date: February 25, 2007

Marie is getting down to buisness!

The choir is warming up (there are guys in this choir)

And more warming up...

We do more than sing...we have fun!

And we do it all with a smile!


Aimo & Kylene. Ami is leaving us for a spell so of course there was a big party. You know us Mormons--any excuse for a party! Ami yu will be greatly missed...did I mention how great it looks to have a Harvard degree...hint hint, wink wink, nudge nudge...come back to us!

Jasmine & Kylee

Rachel, Colleen, & Marie

Tonya, Rachel, Colleen, & there weren't a lot of places to sit...we improvised!