Friday, February 27, 2009

Family Friday: Dad

I got the idea of Family Friday from my amazingly talented friend Mindy Gledhill! Seeing as I have an amazing family Fridays will be a great place where I can brag about each one of them to my heart's content!  It seems logical for me to start with the oldest and end with the youngest. So here I go:

Eric Paul Shields

Since this is my blog I guess it's okay to say I have the best father a girl could ever ask for! Since it would take me forever to describe the brilliance that is my dad I will just highlight on some things I love about him:
  • My dad loves the Lord first. 
  • My dad is brilliant and has a PhD.
  • He is an amazing writer. He writes poetry, letters, talks, the best Valentines, and an article about my little brother Grant originally titled, "Fathers and Sons and Prayers".
  • Although my dad is always busy he makes time for his kids.
  • My dad, at times, had 3 or more jobs to make ends meet.
  • My dad loves his family (3 sisters and 5 brothers) and has passed down some great family traditions.
  • My dad served a mission to Japan. Because of his example I served a mission. Also we had many Japanese foreign exchange students in our home growing up.
  • My dad runs marathons (of all the craziness) every 5 years. He ran the Boston Marathon in 2007 and I was there to watch him. He ran for the Liver Foundation and for organ donation.
  • I get my love for Cougar Football from my dad. Our blood is True Blue!
  • I couldn't get enough of my dad when he taught me in seminary for 3 years in hs so I took a BOM class from him at BYU and loved it!
  • My dad has one amazing work ethic.
  • My dad taught me to love motorcycle, to shoot a gun, to change my own oil, to fix a tire, to throw a football, to dance, and so much more.
  •  He has always let me be myself.
  • If I have ever need financial support, emotional support, or just a laugh--my dad is willing and able.
  • He is a wonderful husband, a great father, and a valiant man!
I have so many memories of my dad that I could share but some of my favorite memories with him were when we both attended BYU. Him doing his PhD and me doing my undergrad. It was nice to have a place to hang out (his office) while on campus. I also loved eating lunch with him and just talking about life. It was great to have a parent understand the hell that is finals weeks (since we both had finals) and that grades aren't the only thing in life that matters. It was really hard for me to come back to BYU (after the mission) and not have him on campus.

I love my dad so much at times it hurts! In my darkest moments and times of greatest trials in my life I could never be angry with God because He loaned me out to my dad to take care of me here on earth!  I couldn't be prouder or more humble by my father.  Although life in the Eric Shields family hasn't been easy at times I wouldn't trade it for the world. So Dad just know that you've given me the greatest gift-love!

My dad will always be my daddy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


So I'm not Catholic but I decided to take advantage of Lent--that's right folks I'm going to go 40 days without any soda (pop if that's what you prefer)! This is a big deal in my world and just might be the worst decision I could make at this time in grad school.  So with a little support and reminders here's to the next soda free 40 days!

Well in your case...2 pages

Having a BIG family can be funny at times!

Today in class my teacher was giving us an assignment to creat a genogram of our family and then an ecomap surrounding it. Without going into detail what either of those are it's basically a family tree with my support systems, besides my family, around that family tree (ie, church, school, work, etc.).

As she was explaining the details she said that she wanted it to all fit on one paper and put up an example on the overhead. Then, as if it was just common knowlege, she looked at me and said, "Well in your case you may have to use 2 pages and just stick them together." Then she preceded with the rest of the class.

Paying the Price

Anyone who has read this blog at all knows that I have for the past few years been living under the motto of Make it Happen! What most of you don't know is the catalyst of that motto. I want to share 2 experiences that really have framed this motto in my life.

Experience #1: Travel
when I was 20 I was able to go on a study abroad to Jerusalem/Egypt with BYU! This was my first experience to really travel and get outside the USA (not including Canada/Mexico). Coming from a large family travel wasn't part of the package and so this opportunity was a dream come true for me.

I remember one day I was talking to a fellow student in the program, overlooking Old Jerusalem, and he was telling me about all his traveling experiences. I was flabergasted at the places he had travelled to and the things he had seen and done at such a young age! In fact I was completely and entirely jealous and angry at him for it. How could he afford such luxuries??

One night as I was walking around the Jerusalem he decided to join me and we started talking about life. We ended up sitting by this small grove of Olive trees and I'll never forget that short but irrevocably changing conversation. Basically to sum it up he asked me why I don't travel more, since it seemed in our conversations that I value it. This question made me a bit angry at first and so I reacted so by letting him know that I couldn't afford to travel. He laughed at my reply and very gently and lovingly shared his simple words of wisdom.

He asked me if I had a job back home, I said yes, he asked me what I spend my money on, I said college. Then he paused. He went on to tell me that he also had a job back home, but instead of spending his money on education he spend it all on traveling--since that is what he valued the most--at the time. He said that if I took all the money I spent on paying for education and spent in on travel--then I could have the same kinds of experiences that he was having.

This simple conversation was a huge epiphony for me. I had assumed so many things with him and I was wrong on so many levels. He was right, I valued education more than traveling, and I put my money where I wanted it. That was the last time I complained about not having money to travel!

Experience #2: Scripture Knowledge
A few years after my "travel experience" I was an EFY counselor in Idaho. I had a Coordinator (person/supervisor over me) that I really admired (ps I helped him marry his wife). I was in awe at his ability to memorize scripture, to have quotes from the apostles on the tip of his tongue, and for the amount of spiritual knowledge that he possessed. Again I was envious!

One night as I was quietly studying my scriptures in the lobby making sure the kidlets were sneaking out of the dorms this mentor of mine came and sat next to me. Without ever really making it obvious we began a great journey in the scriptures and I was truly enlightened on many levels. I couldn't believe the insights he had, the scriptures chains we made, and the principles I learned in that short time.

When it was time for us to part and get to sleep he could sense I was frustrated. I asked him how he did it-how in that short time I had learned more that most likely I had in my own personal scripture study that entire year. I was surprised by his answer. He simply said, "I paid the price!"

He went on to say that although he and I had just been studying for a short time he had showed me things he had collectively learned over years of study. He talked about the hours he had spent cross referencing the scriptures, digging into the meaning of things, and truly understanding the principles that scriptures are teaching. He said that for some things there's not shortcut--you just have to pay the price.

I guess I had just though he was a natural--that it came easy to him--that he just got the scriptures better than most.

So What??
In the end both these experiences taught me a lot about life! I learned that you can have what you want but you have to pay the price (sometimes literally)!

PS. thanks Ty & Scott

Sunday, February 08, 2009

"Why We Tell The Story"

(Picture taken by Amanda Stubbs Caroll)

This weekend I drove all day Friday to Orem, Ut for a show called, "Why We Tell The Story"

Background: I moved to Orem, UT the summer before my senior year of hs and you can imagine how that felt.  Drama & Choir were my saving grace (and of course all my amazing friends)!  Syd Riggs, my drama teacher treated me as if I had been at Orem High all along. I was in "Hello Dolly" and "Peter Pan" under her direction at OHS and a few musicals at Hale Center Theater in Orem with her help.  I also played the piano for her "after school" musical theater class.

Syd knew that I loved to play the music from all the various plays she had (and it costs a lot of money to purchase all the song books) so she let me borrow a few at a time and I loved her for that (and for many other things).  I miss Syd. I missed her funeral because I was in Boston and I really wanted to be there and support her and her family.

So when I saw that there was going to be a fundraiser for the "Syd Riggs Scholorship" I decided this was my chance to pay tribute to Syd, my thank you to her, and a way for me to see her family.  Also I knew there were going to be a ton of performers I hadn't seen for 10 years or so that I did show with back in the day. It was a musical reunion and worth every minute of my drive to and fro UT/AZ!

Thanks Syd for all your love, support, direction, challenge, and for believing in and taking a chance on me! You are greatly missed by many and have left behind one amazing legacy!

The Window Lesson

As I was driving home from Utah today I remembered a lesson I had learned years ago about windows in a car.  I grew up in Oregon and I don't know who it was that told me the window tip (most likely dad or driver's Ed teacher) but I'm taking this opportunity to thank you.  Anyway while driving along the Oregon Coast  it gets a little tricky with semis and wind and speed.  If you aren't careful you can get caught between 2 semis and lose control of your car (think hydroplaning without the water).  

TIP: When driving and a very strong wind is hitting you car or you are stuck between 2 huge semi's just slightly roll down 2 windows in your car that are opposite each other (so the back 2 or the front 2).

This tip came in handy almost every time I drove along the coast. So back to my experience today. I was just driving along and it started to snow in Flagstaff really fast and really hard. At one point my car was literally blown from one car lane into the other car lane.....and then I remember the window tip. I rolled down (just a bit) the back 2 windows and didn't have trouble the rest of the way home.

This experience got me thinking (well what else do you do on a 10 hour drive by yourself) about me and my pride (maybe you can relate).  It was such a simple thought but really applicable to my life. I was thinking about how many times I have put up doors, walls, barriers to my heart and spirit and my pride has kept me boxed up--sealed tight.  As the world started to beat on me and winds started to pick up I was such an easy target to hit and move.  How simple and easy it is to just let down my guard a bit--roll down the window ever so slightly--and let in some light, love, guidance, etc.  It's truly amazing how that one little gesture can help gain so much balance and safety.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Today I was labeled confused and it was probably the best "box" or "label" I've been given in a long time. I was asked about how I can be a social worker (or in the field of social work)--considered liberal and be Mormon--considered conservative.

I didn't have a pat answer and thus the label of being confused.  I didn't mind as I have many conflicts with the above. Don't get me wrong I feel I am both conservative and liberal in my ideologies so in a way I just might belong to the "confused" category after all!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Happy Birthday Blog!

I'm a few days behind on this post. My actual blog birthday is January 31st! But as the sayin' goes better late than never. This past year has truly been amazing and full of change. I have links to some of my experiences below but just to sum up some of the fun had in 2008: There was the migraine scare, the American Idol audition, starting Grad School, moving 3 times, trips to both Italy & Africa, getting a new car, laptop, & ipod, my 10 year high school reunion, and much much more!

Here's a look at the year 2008 in review:
My quote from last year's review said this,
I look forward to some stability this next year, buying a car, spending Christmas in Ghana, falling in love, making more dreams come true, and diligently building the Kingdom!
Stability, check. new car, check. Christmas in Ghana, check. Falling in love, well I did date an amazing guy--checkish. Making dreams come true, double check. Building the Kingdom, check. I think did okay with accomplishing what I set out to do!

To say that I had an amazing year would just be an understatement. It was a year full of changes, making dreams come true, learning, growing, and taking chances. It was a year of new discoveries, of going back to school, and making things happen! It was a year of transition, saying tough goodbyes, and some hilarious hellos. Many friends got married, had babies, went back to school, and forged ahead in their lives. In essence 2008 was great!

As for 2009....

I would like to get out of debt (un school related), fall in love (never hurts to try), find a great summer job, travel some more, get a great intern next Fall for school, do well in my MSW program, be a better visiting teacher, live with purpose, make it happen, and place more emphasis on the thing that matter most!