Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Saxophone

My favorite Christmas gift this year was given to me by my dad before I even got home...

The Back Story: My grandpa, Leland Grant "Gus" Shields, use to play his saxophone in a dance band at BYU called the Y's Men Band. I loved imagining my grandpa playing his sax in that band and to this day still listen to his recordings. I loved my grandpa with all my heart and because of his love of jazz, then my dad's love of jazz, I too fell in love with jazz at a young age.  

One day my aunt was telling me about the time her dad (my grandpa) had played the saxophone at her wedding and I thought that was awesome. So I asked my dad to play the saxophone at my wedding.  This was so many years ago that I barely remembered asking my dad.

Years ago my dad found his dad's sax lying around collecting dust in the basement of his home and asked his mom if he could have it. She said yes so my dad took it home and it began to collect dust for a years at his house. My dad eventually bought a case off craigslist for the saxophone but the mouthpiece was missing and the sax needed a lot of work, if anyone was ever going to play it again.

Leland Grant "Gus" Shields' Saxophone

Then one day my dad began an unlikely friendship with a man, Don Degrady, that used to play in the Y's Men Band at BYU with my grandpa. Don gave my dad a beautiful mouthpiece for my grandpa's sax and told my dad of a wonderful place in Oakland, CA where they could fix up my grandpa's saxophone. So my dad sent it to that store.

Mouth piece given by Don  DeGrady

The Christmas Story: So a few days ago my dad drove to Oakland early to pick up my grandpa's saxophone and then to pick me up from the airport to come home for Christmas. On the way home he told me the backstory of my grandpa's saxophone. He also told me that he had been praying for me to find a good man and get married but that he felt like he needed to do his part. So he decided to get the saxophone all ready to play, picked out a song, and is going to practice and prepare to play at my wedding!

I love my dad and LOVE his faith!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Spewing Poison

I have always loved the simple way Dr. Seuss packs a punch with very few words. If could, for this post,  I would change the word STEP in the above quote to SPEAK.

 I have been thinking a lot about the power of spoken words.  Recently, as I read my Facebook wall I was  embarrassed by many of the comments my friends had written.  It started to really bother me as I am a big fan of people speaking their peace and getting things out of their heads and hearts--so I was wondering why it was bothering me so much...

I was talking to my roommate one night and I sharing with her my thought on the subject  and I said, "It's like people are just spewing their poison all over everyone."  THAT WAS IT!  It wasn't that people were feeling or even wanting to share their feelings it was they way in which they were doing it. 

It's okay to have poison inside you.  It's okay to want to share it, get rid of it, or even to spew it. What is not okay is just spewing your poison on anyone that will listen.  Not everyone is ready to handle your poison.  And not everyone realizes that might just be your feelings IN THAT MOMENT.

As a therapist I encourage my clients to let everything out, let go of anger, hurt, pain, betrayal, regret--their poisons.  I hope to create a safe place for them to do this, however, so they don't have to vent out all their negative feelings to their family, friends, coworkers etc.

Being a safe place for someone to share their unspeakable things is a gift. Finding people in your life with whom you can share your poisons is a gift.  Just be careful because your words have great staying power.  It is much easier to forgive your words than it is to forget them.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I'm Thankful For...

November 9 & 10th, 2012

I recently wrote this blog post and I'm grateful for so many things in it that I'm counting it for 2 days!

I am big fan of making things happen in my life and in the lives of others. 

Do you have non-profit you want to start or are a part of and you need funding? Do you a group gift you want to people to pay into? Do you have wicked awesome ideas but don't know how to get them out of your head and into production? Do you have some money you want to invest in someone else (micro loan) and help them change their lives?

If so, and if you are just curious, please look just a few of the incredible resources there are out there to help you make things happen in your life and make your dreams come true!

Crowd tilt
We all love doing things as a group. Like with a lot of experiences, it's not what you do – it’s the people you do it with that matters more.
At Crowdtilt, we’re trying to make it easier for groups to do things together. Whether it’s a party-bus to the next Phish show or pooling money for a cause you know your close friends are passionate about – we just want to make that process of grouping those funds as easy as possible.
(from the About section on the website)

Start Some Good

StartSomeGood empowers people from around the world to become social innovators. By connecting social entrepreneurs with the financial and intellectual capital they need to transform an idea for improving the world into a reality, together we can turn ideas into action and impact.
There are no shortage of problems in the world, and no shortage of people with ideas to address them, yet they lack the resources that they need to get started. StartSomeGood provides social entrepreneurs with a platform to raise start-up funds and build a community of supporters -- all in a fun, engaging and community-driven way. Our site taps into the power of the crowd, allowing social entrepreneurs to ask for small amounts of money from supporters from around the world, and gives them the tools to update their supporters, provide unique rewards in exchange for support and run multiple campaigns over time.
We’ve taken the crowdfunding model -- which is growing in popularity world-wide -- and customized it to reflect the unique needs of social entrepreneurs.
If you are visiting for the first time, we know you will find many worthwhile initiatives and inspiring changemakers here. We hope you will choose to chip in to help make these important ventures start and thrive, to help those who are helping our world. And then we hope you think about what your community needs, and the good you might start yourself. We are here to help you turn your ideas into action and impact.
Creating a more sustainable, equal and just future will take all of us.
How will you StartSomeGood? 
(from the About/Overview section on the website)


The more you participate 
the more you earn,
 gaining you status, 
privileges and cold, 
hard gift-cards.
All of your participations on Crowdtap will help make donations to your selected charity.
Brands want your opinions and they want you to tell others. What better way than to give you their products.

(from website front)


What Can I Do on Razoo?


Search for and donate to 1 million officially registered nonprofit organizations.


Set up a fundraiser for a charity of your choice. There are no setup fees and no monthly subscription fees.


Raise money as a team on Razoo. Or simply help others spread the word about their cause. 
(from the Learn More section on website)

What's Kickstarter?

  1. Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.
    Since our launch on April 28, 2009, over $350 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 30,000 creative projects. If you like stats, there's lots more here.
  2. Thousands of creative projects are funding on Kickstarter at any given moment. Each project is independently created and crafted by the person behind it. The filmmakers, musicians, artists, and designers you see on Kickstarter have complete control and responsibility over their projects. They spend weeks building their project pages, shooting their videos, and brainstorming what rewards to offer backers. When they're ready, creators launch their project and share it with their community.
    Every project creator sets their project's funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, all backers' credit cards are charged when time expires. If the project falls short, no one is charged. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.
    (from the What's Kickstarter page on the website)


Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations networked together in more than 90 countries, as part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty.

We work directly with communities and we seek to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

What we do
Find out how we work with others to end poverty and injustice, from campaigning to responding to emergencies.

Why we do it
We believe that respect for human rights will help lift people out of poverty.

Our history
Find out more about Oxfam.
We strive to do what we say we will do. Read about our core values and operating principles against which we measure ourselves.
Until 2012, our work to achieve a just world without poverty will be guided by our Strategic Plan, "Demanding Justice."

(from the About Us section on the website)


For centuries, becoming an “inventor” has been a hard gig to crack. Complexities relating to financing, engineering, distribution, and legalities have stood in the way of brilliant people executing on their great ideas.
Since launching in 2009, Quirky has rapidly changed the way the world thinks about product development.
We bring two brand new consumer products to market each week, by enabling a fluid conversation between a global community and Quirky's expert product design staff.
The world influences our business in real-time, and we share our revenue directly with the people who helped us make successful decisions.
(from the About Us section on the website)



For years, fundraising platforms stood between nonprofit and their donors. Non-profits had to send their donors to someone else’s site. We take a different approach. CauseVox brings your fundraising back to your own site. Because your story is unlike any others, your fundraising site should be unique too. 

We have one purpose in mind: to tell your stories beautifully online, inspiring support & donations towards your cause. We do this through our simple, yet powerful, tools. 

(from the About Us section on the website)


Since FirstGiving was founded over a decade ago, our organization has been dedicated to one purpose: empowering passionate nonprofit supporters to raise more money than they ever thought possible for the causes they care about.

We partner with nonprofit organizations to allow them to plan, execute, and measure successful online fundraising campaigns. For individual fundraisers, we aim to make the process simple, effective, and even fun!

Above all, we want nonprofit and fundraisers alike to meet and exceed their goals of raising money for important causes, building awareness, and expanding the world of giving.

(From the About Us/Overview section of the website)


We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Learn more about how it works.
Since Kiva was founded in 2005:
  • 844,334 Kiva lenders
  • $370,136,225in loans
  • 98.97% Repayment rate
We work with:
  • 168 Field Partners
  • 450 volunteers around the world
  • 66 different countries

  • (found in About section on website)

 I hope I introduced some new wicked awesome fundraising/make it happen/invention-making/fund a project/friend, etc websites to you. I also hope it inspires you some kind of action.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

I'm Thankful For...

I need to make up for lost days..

November 6, 2012

If you think about it eyelashes are amazing
They protect my eyes
I get to paint them with colors (I love my blue & green mascara)
I knew a girl whose eyelashes fell out and she had to use Vaseline to protect her eyes
They make my face prettier
Long ones remind me of my brother Grant b/c he had such beautiful long lashes

November 7, 2012

This small will not do my love for travel justice but I hope my traveling does
because I learn about new people and cultures
because it stretches me out of my comfort zone
because I am always more grateful to come home

November 8, 2012

I recently got a smart phone and I'm trying to catch up
but who am I kidding I'm a minimalist and I will never really use my smart phone to it's capabilities just like I use my laptop as a word processor
While I do love real time communication I do so love hulu, cellphones, computers, dishwashers, cars, and so much more
And yes, I really want to touch glass and use it like a computer one day

Sunday, November 04, 2012

I'm Thankful for...

because I can't remember ever not wanting to write
because I started a journal when I was 9 y.o.
because it helps me see the world in a different light
I am grateful for writing because it helps me get things out of my heart & head

November is National Novel Writing Month
It's a writer thing
It's intense, crazy, exhilarating,  & challenging
I am grateful for all my writing friends (& family)
I love all my new author friends
I enjoy my writing groups
I am grateful for such an incredible desire and passion to WRITE!!!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

I'm Thankful For...

Brigham Young University 1998-2004 

Arizona State University  2008-2010

I'm extremely grateful for my EDUCATION!!

Some say I went from the Lord's University to the Devil's and I loved every minute of both! I recognize that I am very blessed to be in a country where I can get educated and from a family that not only supports education but also lives it.

 My father has a PhD in Sociology (dad), BA in Early Education (mom), Masters of Social Work (me), PhD in Social Cultural Anthropology (African Studies emphasis) (chelsea), PhD candidate in Hispanic Studies (emphasis in film and literature) (mike, chelsea's husband), BA in Graphic Design (dani), BA in Biology (kevin, dani's husband), BA candidate in Psychology (kati), and working on BA (ali).

I can't say I loved how hard I had to work in school but I can, without any hesitation say I LOVE learning!

Friday, November 02, 2012

I'm Thankful For...

November 2, 2012

because there was this time that I didn't have a TV
because it is a significant part of my self care plan
because it is one of my escape mechanisms
because I can watch my favorite "time wasters" whenever I want
because it is my best excuse for being lazy and not going out
because sometimes I need to live vicariously

I'm Thankful For...

November 1, 2012

patience helped me get my job at ANASAZI
patience helped me to write a book and see it through it's publishing (6 years total)
patience helped me be happy & single for many years
patience helped me to better understand my relationship with my Creator
patience helped me get through grad school
patience helped me learn the piano
patience is constantly my companion during hard therapy session with my clients
patience pushes me to look inward at the end of a long day
patience often whispers to me to hold on a little longer when I'm way beyond what I think I can do
patience that kicks me in the but
The fact that I am terrible at being patient with myself but God continues to give me opportunities to do better!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Instant & Urgent

I recently got a Smart Phone—the iphone 4 to be exact. I got it for free since Apple just released the iphone 5. I pretty sure I'm one of the last people on the earth to graduate to a Smart Phone. I was holding out for a lot of reason but mostly for the reasons of this post.

I am going to confess to a few outrageous things: 1. I don't actually liked to be reached at all times of the day 2. I don't like my phone to rule my life 3. I believe that people come before electronics ALWAYS 4. Everything is NOT urgent 5. Just because you can reach me instantly doesn't mean I am always available.

 I have an old heart. I currently own a typewriter & a record player that are both 2x older (or more) than me. I love them. So you can imagine how a Smart Phone makes me feel. I noticed I am more anxious. I feel like I can't hide from anyone. I feel the urgency that seems to exist when you carry a Smart Phone that anyone can get a hold of you any time and that everything needs to be responded to immediately.

In this fashion urgency has lost is flavor a bit. If everything needs be instant and urgent then how does anyone know the difference?
Found HERE
I am a people person. I have always been this way. Therefore, in my world I place people over just about anything else. When I make time for people I focus on them—not my phone. I believe in voice mail, the silence function, text messages, and anything else that makes it possible for me to respond to people's needs in a time that makes sense and when I actually have time for them.

I can't you how many times someone has called me and couldn't actually talk to me. They were multitasking or trying to do too many things at once. A part of me just laughs as they called me. I didn't call them. They could've waited until they had the time or the place to actually talk to me.

Also, it baffles me a bit that people get so upset (sometimes even angry) when I don't respond immediately to them either via email, text, or mobile.  Yes, I periodically turn off my phone. Yes, I put my phone on silence most of the work day. Yes, I decline calls when I'm with people, eating, driving, talking to my family, friends, or roommates. Yes, I sometimes don't get to my emails immediately. Yes, sometimes I do an electronic fast where I don't use any electronics. And, yes, I am perfectly okay.

Found this HERE

I do however, understand the importance of returning email, vm, texts, etc. I understand that when you leave me a message I should respond in a timely manner. I also understand that if I want to maintain friendships, relationships, etc that I need to make an effort to use theses shiny modern gadgets to stay in touch. I am not afraid of technology but I do worry about what it is doing to people.

I DARE you to turn off your phone more, to never use it on a date (unless you absolutely need it or for an emergency), to focus more on people rather than multi tasking, to not use your phone in the car (even on your commute), to close your laptop, turn off itunes, take your earphone out, turn off your ipod, turn off the tv, and for go out and live more of you life unplugged!

I love my gadgets, every single one, and don't condone them, but when they become more important than the people using them—that worries me.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Shabby Apple Incredible Giveaway

SHABBY APPLE is doing this incredible giveaway right now! As most of you know I'm not a big fan of wearing dresses—but if I could afford them I would buy a number of dresses from Shabby Apple.

They are giving someone a dress a month (of their choice) for a year for FREE!  I can't believe it! This is in thanks to their customers. I think that is the best way to say thank you!

Monday, September 03, 2012


I am mustering up a lot of courage or Yuuki these days! I have a book coming out later this month and that means I will be doing a lot of self promotion. 

So here's to Yuuki!

the Japanese word for courage is: 勇気 (yuuki)

The first character has the meaning 'brave' and the second is 'spirit'. I should think leaving off the second character would be fine unless you were using it in an actual Japanese sentence (in which case you'd likely be representing the word yuuki and so would need both)...

...according to Jim Breen's WWWJDIC  (yuu) can stand alone as a noun, meaning "bravery; courage; heroism"...

I started a new FB fan page for my book so if you haven't yet—please go and "like" it!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

INSPIRE: A Musical Fireside Group

On October 17, 2011 Michael Sackett & I sent out an email letting people know they had made it into a Musical Fireside Group—later, that group would be named, "INSPIRE."

Nine months later INSPIRE is in full swing!

I have ALWAYS loved music. Michael has also.  While I was directing Musical Firesides in Boston and later becoming the Musical Director of Latter Day Sounds Michael was busy performing with groups like Latter Day Celebrations, Vocal Point, Young Ambassadors, and performing with Rob Gardner's many productions.

One day Michael and I were talking about how we wanted to get back into music. He got married, moved to AZ,  and had beautiful little boy. I moved to AZ, graduated from Grad School, and got a job as a wilderness therapist. We were both ready to bring music back into our lives.

Also, we both realized that there wasn't really much, as far as LDS music groups go, in the Valley. There were a few other groups but they required a lot of time. Michael & I wanted to put together a group that would rehearse and perform on Sunday nights. We wanted it to be open to anyone between the ages of 18-35ish.

Putting this group together has been no small feat. It takes a lot of time and work. It has been incredible working with Michael. I love meeting new people, hearing their stories, listening to their voices. This is journey I love and I look forward to many more wicked awesome experiences!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sit In & Own Your Stuff

As an adolescent therapist I often talk to teenagers and their parents about sitting with or in their stuff. I also talk about them owning their stuff. All this garble is to say you don't have control of others only of yourself. I believe this sentiment whole heartedly.

In the last few days I have allowed myself to sit in and own my stuff. I have been miserable. There are a few significant changes that have happen lately, one of which is me moving to a new place with new roommates. I am also sick and not feeling well at all.

I hardly slept at all Monday night and fought the urge to call in sick for Tuesday a gazillion times. Tuesdays are trail days at my job and just about impossible to miss (and I was sitting with another Shadow's clients too.) So I sucked it up and head to work at 6 am.

I told myself, "Self, you don't have to be happy or comfortable, you don't have play nice or fake it. What you do have to be is professional and own your stuff. You need to be present in your sessions, focus on your YoungWalkers/SinaguaWalkers, and listen. Everything else if fair game.

And so I was miserable on the 4 hour drive out to the trail and miserable on the 4 hour drive back ( I mostly slept—thank you driver.) When people asked me how I am the past few days I tell them the truth. I am not well—but I will get there. They don't really know what to do with me. I am dependable, most of the time, as the happy-see life in a positive view-kind of person. When life is hard for me people don't know how to react. They feel the need to fix me, or save me, or something similar.  I don't need any of those things. I just need to Sit In & Own My Stuff.

I am taking my own advice. I am living in the present. I am not feeling well but I will get there. I have so many blessings and people who love me. I am grateful for so many things.

So if you run into me in the next few days just know things will get better, I will stop feeling sick, and I am grateful for your love and concern!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Heart Pictures Jar

The other night I had this idea—clear as if it was memory that had already happened. I was writing on a piece of paper a heart picture moment—a moment in time that your heart takes a picture and wants to remember and hold onto forever. After writing on a piece of paper I put it in this glass jar. The label on the jar said, "Heart Pictures."

So I bought a jar. I labeled it. I wrote a heart picture moment. I love that one day my jar will be filled with special moments!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

w/o the Benefits

I bought a "house" (my student loan) w/o the benefits of having a house.

I have pregnant swollen feet (ants attached them & I'm allergic) w/o the benefits of being pregnant

I don't like this pattern...

Friday, April 13, 2012


I am severely allergic to cut grass. I know it sounds silly but it does a number on my immune system. I carry an Epi Pen for this reason (and others.) When I was little and my dad would mow the lawn I would run into my room, shut the door, the windows, and climb under my covers. I was afraid of the enzyme that is released when the grass is cut. It hurts me.

Currently, we have a wonderful team of people who groom our yard. On Friday mornings they come and edge the grass, cut it, etc. Every Friday morning I hesitate at the front door, I take a deep breath, I stave off panic, I tell myself, "self, move now!" and race to my car before I take another breath.

As I was doing this ritual this morning I thought about how it applies to other areas of my life. Sometimes I come face to face with things that I fear or can potentially hurt me and I am paralyzed. I think if I took a deep breath and moved forward I would find I am more than okay.

The children of Israel stood face to face with the Red Sea. In Exodus 14:15 it reads, "And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward."   In Matthew 14:22-24 it reads, "And when Peter was come down out of the ship..." It takes action to get miracles. It takes moving to find joy in life. There are so many more stories/references to people who stand on the brink and decided to move.

And so today I issue this challenge: MOVE!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

It's Okay

It's okay if you have no idea what is going to happen next

It's okay if you are exhausted

It's okay if you are wrestling with God and losing

It's okay to be happy

It's okay if at some point in the day you close your eyes and utter a simple prayer of thanks

It's okay to be in love

It's okay to feel like you are absolutely failing in life

It's okay to be wrong

It's okay to ask questions

It's okay to change your mind

It's okay to be different

It's okay  to be passionate

It's okay to listen

It's okay to want to feel a part of something

It's okay to ask for help

It's okay because you are enough

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ducks in a Row

I was talking to a friend today in my office and said, "Well, when you get all your ducks in a row—a co-worker poked his head in at that moment and said, "Make sure they are your ducks!"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Independent vs. Dependent

It seems strange to me that there are men out there that want to have a submissive, docile, train-them-as-they-go, dependent wife. I know this is true, and okay.  I know there are men who want to exert their manliness in their marriage and home. I know there are women who are perfectly happy following their lead. I know this but it's hard for me to wrap my head around.

I have been and am currently blessed to be surrounded by independent, strong, opinionated, forward thinking, headstrong, educated women in my life. So when the topic came up about dating a submissive/docile woman vs. a headstrong/independent women it got my mind reeling.

I grew up in a home where my parents, in my eyes, seems to equally work in our home. If mom made dinner—dad did the dishes. My dad may have been the primary breadwinner but my mother has kept up her teaching/licensing and is a substitute teacher when she wants.  My mom runs the money and the house. My dad plays a significant spiritual role. This was not the pattern of either of their parents.

I have 2 beautiful, brilliant, talented sisters who are married and they are both independent, headstrong, opinionated, powerful, fierce women. They love their husbands and respect them. Their husbands encourage them to be their best selves. Neither of these men married submissive, docile wives, and neither of them are any less manly as a result. In fact, I find I respect and love them more for their ability to blow wind in the sails of my sisters.

 I've learned a few things along the way of how to date, love, empower, etc. an independent headstrong women from awesome examples, like my mom and sisters, in my life.

  • Don't make decisions for her. She has worked hard, done the research, and has her own opinion. Instead ask her.
  • She may be strong and independent but that doesn't mean she doesn't need a place to be weak and fall apart. Allow her that space. Take her in your arms, talk to her, and listen. She never feels more loved then when she can be vulnerable and strong at the same time.
  • It is far better to understand than to be understood.
  • It is possible for you to be a gentleman without being patronizing
  • When you encourage her to be independent, strong, have opinions, it will not diminish your strength, power, or role as a man.
  • "Intimidating" women love to relax, feel comfortable, take off their heels, put away the days work, put their hair in a messy bun or ponytail, and still feel sexy. How a man makes her feel in these moments matter.
  • It is okay for you to talk to her about things that hurt you about her independence or strong will. It is okay if you want to serve her or give her things, or if you just want to be the strong one for a while.
  • It might be hard to get a strong independent women but the work will be worth it once you climb those walls.
  • Listen. Invest. Be present. You just might be blown away by her heart and mind.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Story Time: Richard

Cape Coast
Ghana, West Africa

"...I unloaded my things, put on my swimsuit & headed to the coast/beach to swim. I went expecting to really dive in & swim but didn't. I mostly just stood where I had sure footing & let the waves hit me. The under current was too strong & the riptide too dangerous to go swimming. Along the way I befriended Richard & he watched my stuff, smoked pot, listened to music through his headphones, while I played in the VERY salty ocean."

At the end of very long and very hot day in Ghana I was ready to relax. I dropped my stuff off at a small hotel and ran to the beach. I had a few things I dropped in the sand but couldn't go too far into the water without worrying about my stuff. And that was when I met Richard. I kept coming out of the water to check on my things and after the 3rd time or so he told me he would keep an eye on my stuff. Honestly, I didn't know if I would see my stuff again but I trusted him and ran off into the water.

After a long time of playing in the ocean I came back for my things. There was Richard just kickin' it, smoking pot, listening to his tunes, and keeping an eye on my stuff. I gathered my stuff, thanked him, and started to walk back to my hostel. Richard started walking with me.  He asked if he could buy me a drink. I politely refused. He asked why. I said I don't drink and he couldn't believe it. He asked me if I smoke, gesturing to share his joint. I said no. He threw it on the ground and smashed it.

Then he asked me all sorts of questions about why I don't drink or smoke. We talked about my beliefs for a bit and he continued to walk with me. I told him he didn't need to walk me all the way but he insisted. I asked him about his family and he told me they were all dead—that he was alone in the world. He said he makes and sells things on the street to live but that he makes good money and not to worry about him. He told me that "Life is good, God is great, and all my needs are taken care of." Even though he was completely high I couldn't help but smile at his faith. When I inquired more about his family he told me he didn't want to talk about such dark things. "Some things are better left in the past."

After walking a bit more he asked if he could come up to my room. I, wanting to understand his intentions, asked, "Why?". He laughed this jolly big laugh that filled the air around us. I'll never forget his crooked smile when he said, "Let me guess you don't do that either?" I laughed with him and said no. He was very polite and respectful and asked more questions about my beliefs. We sat on a random curb and shared beliefs.

He shared that he thought life was better when he was high because he didn't have to feel pain or joy because they were mirrors of each other. He liked to stay safe and somewhere in the middle. I shared with him my feelings about touring the slave castles earlier that day. It got dark and I was tired so I said goodbye to my new friend Richard. He handed me a bracelet he had made and told me it was free. I thanked him again and he walked away.

Thank you Richard for watching my stuff on the beach. Thank you for the bracelet. Thank you for your kindness and open heart. Thank you for sharing some of your story. But mostly, thank you for reminding me that, "Life is good, God is great, and all my needs are taken care of."

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Art of Self Sabatoge

I was huddled in a corner of the SDSU track field (above a parking garage) in torrential rain and strong gusts of wind trying to figure out when my sister was going to be doing Triple Jump for UVU. I was on the phone w/ my mom and she was telling me that Alexa's coaches wanted her to scratch out of Triple Jump. I was confused and upset.

Then I spoke with a friend of hers and he told me that Ali best triple jump is around 36 and SDSU's sand pit is around 36. So her coaches wanted her to scratch b/c if she doesn't PR (jump the best she has ever) she won't even make the sand. My sister heard what they said and decided to jump anyway. I looked at her friend and asked him why? He smiled at me and said, "Kylee, she knows that in order to make the sand she will PR and that will force her to jump her best."

It was like a light exploded in my head. I have been thinking a lot about self sabotage, limiting ourselves, etc. I have talked with a lot of my friends who are trying to figure out things in their lives (and mine). It seems that they are almost afraid to be successful. They don't know how to live their dreams. They are so quick to limit what they are capable of doing to what they are familiar with.

I have been thinking lately of how I am looking down the triple jump lane in my life. Do I see the sand and fear the gap or do I see the sand and have faith that I will make it?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Room To Grow

"I had become a new person; and those who knew the old person laughed at me. The only man who behaved sensibly was my tailor: he took my measure anew every time he saw me, whilst all the rest went in with their old measurements and expected them to fit me." (George bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Man and Superman, 1903.)

People change. I am grateful that I am not the same person I was 10 years ago. I liked me 10 years ago but life has taught me much since then. I wonder though how forgiving I am of those I knew 10 years ago? Do I "measure them anew" when I see them again. Do I allow them space and room to grow, change?

Like life, people don't stay static. Challenges and heartache carve out holes in their hearts and triumphs and miracles build muscle. The heart of someone you once knew is not the same heart today. 

I know I need to be better at allowing people room to grow as I hope they will allow me the same.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Story Time: Delores, The Lady On The Corner

When I was living in Boston, MA as an AmeriCorp V.I.S.TA. I would often walk around downtown during my lunch break. I would walk around the Public Gardens or the Boston Common. Some days I would walk down to the water and eat my lunch overlooking the Harbor. No matter when I went for lunch I noticed this homeless lady standing on the corner, the same corner, every day.

She wasn't pan handling or even begging—I don't really know what she did there. I remember the day that snuck into my mind. I didn't know her. I didn't know what she did, where she came from, what her story was that led her to the corner. Most importantly, I didn't know her name.  I had been cordial to her in the past saying hi or good day. I think I even gave her a few bucks now and again but it wasn't the same.

One day I was determined to get to know the lady on the corner. When it came time for lunch I mossied on over to her corner and introduced myself. I asked her name and she smiled her almost toothless grin and said, "My name is Delores, but you can call me D—everybody does." Delores noticed my lunch and told me that if I was going to talk to her I might as well share my lunch. I laughed and let her pick through my lunch and take what she liked. Then we talked about perfectly random things.

Delores asked me if I wanted to buy a newspaper from her. I asked about the newspaper and she told me about Spare Change, a newspaper written & sold by the homeless in Boston. She bought each paper for 25¢ and sold them for $1. She let me know that a few weeks ago they ran an article she wrote. I bought a paper from her and she was done talking with me.

I took my newspaper and what was left over of my lunch and sat down at the base of the fountain in Boston Common, near the beginning of the Freedom Trail. I couldn't help but be grateful for talking to Delores.