Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I can guarantee you will be informed and inspired by the stories of hope and survivorship shared and I can also guarantee, I will still be flicted no matter what :)
This marks week three of my official training. Today, I am $150 closer to my goal thanks to Alisa and Mary Jo and today, I got a black eye while riding my bike.
"How..." you ask "did you raise $150 in a day?!"
Well, thanks to the advent of social media, I can ask early and often via facebook and Mary Jo (a 5-year cancer survivor and TNT full marathon alum) remembered my recent post about the "Century Calf Club."
Anyone donating $100 or more to LLS this season will be represented by their name or their honored hero's name on the back of my calf for the 100 mile ride! These amazing and generous folks will keep me pedaling up the hills of Southern Utah along Utah State Highway 313 and into Dead Horse Point State Park.
Oh, wait, you wanted to know how I got a black eye riding my bike?
I honestly think I must have a bullseye tattooed on my face somewhere because, no lie, a rock, a beetle, a small bird, OR something flew into my face and about knocked me off my bike. It hurt so bad, I saw stars, literally! I feel like someone was in a a tree with a bee bee gun aiming at my face.
Thank goodness my coworker, Andrew, was riding with me because I was so out of it after that, I don't know if I would have found my way home. Eventually, I found my way back home to a cool couch and an ice pack. What an adventure.
Good times and always flicted.
More adventures ahead, I'm sure!
Humor me and DONATE HERE!
Monday, February 21, 2011
It's confused me ever since I heard it and now that I have necklace, that I wear often, that states this, I've spent every so often thinking about it. I think I am still confused since I don't know what I be these days.
There are so many things that I do all the time that I hope will help me be whatever it is I am supposed to be. Unfortunately, that is a bit of a mystery to me right now.
My work is more and more less and less satisfying. I am often tired and irritated with the eternal politics and red tape that is a part of every job. But, that hasn't stopped me from working many hours, late into the night and on weekends to strive to stay ahead and meet the expectations of those who are counting on me. So, I work to be...what?
My love life is no less satisfying. I continue to strive to stay positive as much as possible. I've spent a few months getting to know a few different guys who have been nice but not what I'm looking for. In the end, there is a voice in the back of my mind and in my heart that tells me I've found what I'm looking for but I am unwilling to take the risk and tell him how I really feel. The pain of unrequited concern is worse that any mediocre dating relationship. Unfortunately, it is hard for me to be happy with mediocre. I date to be...what?
Over the past ten months, since my last post, two friends from my past died unexpectedly within three weeks of each other. A former friend from my teenage youth group at church, died while trying to save his children at the beach. They survived, he did not. He was 37 and his widow, single mom of 4 and one on the way, is 35. Then, a friend from Durham, died at 35 after some routine surgery, of a blood clot. She would have been 36 today. Their deaths and funerals were unreal and difficult to digest. Seeing my friends and family mourn was also unreal and difficult to digest. I have cried many unexplained tears at their loss. I had lost touch with them and while I counted both as friends, hadn't spoken with either of them in years. Again, like in the past, regret is my constant companion now as I continue to think about their lives and the reasons why and how our lives drifted apart. I cry to be...what?
Ten months ago, I wrote the night before my knee surgery, that I had loved ones battling cancer and other illness. The same is as true today as it was then. Those same people are in the same struggle today as they were then, even more so. Whether in their lives of struggle to get well or the lives of those who have succumbed to illness, I am reminded that our earthly finish lines aren't always expected, understood, embraced or welcomed. Everyday, I wish I had a magic wand that could heal them and help them overcome their diseases so their lives can be full and long. But, no such wand is at my disposal and their suffering, no matter how unfair, schools them and well as me, about courage and stamina and hope. I hope to be...what?
I read my past posts and I know in my heart what I'm missing and where my optimism has gone. Over the past few years, I've had a hard time understanding where my faith plays into everything. I've been angry at the proliferation of sadness and sickness and the lack of miracles in the lives of those that I love and in my own life. I've let that anger put a wall between me and Heavenly Father. I just don't understand. Recently, I've tried praying again and feel a bit better but I know that wall is really big and I've got a lot of work to do to take in down. I pray to be...what?
I run to be, I walk to be, I talk to be, I hope to be, I cry to be, I laugh to be, I long to be, I fight to be, I strive to be, I like to be, I scream to be, I drive to be, I work to be, I sing to be, I hug to be, I sleep to be, I listen to be, I pray to be...
Friday, May 28, 2010
One of my favorite things to do when I can't sleep (besides write silly stuff on my blog) is to watch crime dramas on TV. One of my favorites is on USA, In Plain Sight (about witness protection yada yada). The show always ends with the wrap up scenes and a voice over of the main character, Mary Shannon, making some profound yet simplistic statement about life. Tonight, she said:
"We forget sometimes how much the world can hurt. It can hurt people we love, people we don't, people caught in the middle, even people who'd give anything if they could just never ever get hurt again. But sometimes the hurt cant be avoided, it's just coming at us and can't be stopped. It's in us and can't be seen or it's lying next to us in the dark, waiting. But sometimes it doesn't come at all. Sometimes we get this other thing that flutters down out of nowhere and stays just long enough to give us hope. Sometimes rarely, barely but just when we need it the most and expect it the least, we get a break."
It is really sticking with me tonight. Over the past little while, I've either become accustomed to or forgetful of the "hurt" the world can bring. I think I keep myself crazy busy to avoid it or somehow outrun it. Not that I'm unaware or ignorant of others around me, I've just gotten good at compartmentalizing my day to day existence and have become fairly routine in the ebb and flow of life.
Over the past few weeks, my routine has been shaken a few times and now I'm left in that moment of clarity when all is calm but I know the hurt is coming and it can't be avoided. From the peeps I love fighting the valiant fight against cancer and other illnesses, to my knee surgery tomorrow and from friends moving away to that one thing my heart wants most but is constantly reminded that I can't have, the pain is coming and it can't be stopped, like a freight train barreling down on me.
I agree with Mary's insights - so much of the hurt in this world is unavoidable, unstoppable, unrelenting. The immediacy of the pain brings up so many fears and questions that I have found myself feeling overwhelmed and out of control.
Time out. Deep breath. Closed eyes. Silent prayer. A few tears. Be still. The flutter of hope.
So thanks, Mary, for the reminder of the reality of inevitable pain but more importantly, thanks for the reminder about the importance of hope. Because no matter what the outcomes of any of these painful situations will be, the truth remains that the pain will come, I will feel it, and it will change me. But if I've stood still long enough to allow the gentle flutter of hope to stir in my heart, that change will include clarity, learning, strength, peace and love.
Here's to the birds in our souls - I'm going to keep hoping.
Emily Dickinson - Hope
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Five years ago, I wrote this after experiencing some great losses in my life. Events in the recent weeks have reminded me of these feelings and I feel the need to repost this.
Five years of loving and losing has proved my original conclusion about life and love and like I said five years ago, what sweet irony. Here's to more living and loving and losing.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Those of you who have known me for awhile will agree that some of my strangest behaviors stem from not wanting to say goodbye. I'm usually the last to leave any place: home, work, church, parties, hanging out with friends and pretty much anywhere people are gathered. I get nervous and jittery and act like a stand-up comedian. I perpetuate crazy games that take forever like Life and Phase 10. I say stupid things at moments of departure. I give cheesy cards. I choke and tear up. I give really awkward hugs that catch people off balance. I've even been known to mess up a kiss on the cheek by planting my lips on some random place on the other's face, like the corner of their lips, their nose, their forehead or even their eyelid. It's truly a disaster.
Let's be totally honest, though. All of this is another way to say, I'm selfish. In so many ways, I like my life the way it is, status quo. I like to have my friends and loved ones close by, not more than an arms length or a short drive away. Mainly because I need every one of them so much. In my mind, I don't exist in this world without them. My relationships with others are what has brought me here and what will help me tomorrow and in the future. Without my friends and family, I would be nothing. My love for each one of the people in my life is one of the things I treasure most. I feel so blessed to be able to love so many people. Sometimes I think my heart will burst because I love people so much but it never does, it just keeps stretching, making infinite room for as many as will accept my care and concern.
Departures really throw me for a loop. And I mean departures in the general sense, whether someone has moved across the street or the country, or someone has branched out to other relationships that I am not a part of, or even those that die. It's hard for many reasons but one of the main reasons I am saddened by these changes is that I have a hard time showing these people how much I love them. A day or a week or a year goes by, and I haven't called or emailed. I haven't gone to visit. I haven't sent Christmas cards. I haven't sent birthday cards to them or to their kids. I haven't hugged them and said, "I love you." When people are in close proximity, it's easy. I don't love those that go any less, in fact, I think I love them more because our relationship is perpetuated in my memory and usually, those memories are good, whether or not they are completely accurate.
But according to the Counting Crows (one of my favorite bands), "The price of a memory is the memory of the sorrow it brings." I have to agree. Love and all similar connections require a hefty price. M. Scott Peck, in his book, The Road Less traveled, calls these things, "love's risks." He says of these risks:
If you move out to another human being, there is always the risk that that person will move away from you, leaving you more painfully alone than you were before. Love anything that lives and it will die. Trust anybody and you may be hurt; depend on anyone and that one may let you down. The price of (love) is pain. If someone is determined not to risk pain, then such a person must do without many things; having children, getting married, the hope of ambition, friendship - all that makes life alive, meaningful and significant. Move out or grow in any dimension and pain as well as joy will be your reward. A full life will be full of pain. But the only alternative is not to live fully or not to live at all.
During the first week of November (2005), two very important people in my life passed away. On November 5, one of my friends and former college roommate, Shelley Windsor, fell while rock climbing in Arizona and died. Then the next day, Roger Miller, the bishop of my church congregation, passed away after a brief battle with lymphoma. Both lives were vibrant, brilliant and well lived.
Shelley was a loyal friend, a true outdoorswoman, full of energy, never quitting, always frugal, dedicated to the gospel of Jesus Christ, humble, patient and kind. The short year we lived together at BYU was full of college drama and fun times. She was the even keel that many of us, like myself, needed. She was always reasonable, fair, open and honest. Even though that moment in my life is long past, it remains part of my favorite times for many reasons and Shelley was a part of that. I was fortunate enough to know her and I feel very blessed.
Her death was sudden and unexpected. Attending her viewing and funeral was painful and surreal but because I know she lived a full and faithful life, the pain is certainly lessened. Yet, I have regrets about the sparse contact I had with Shelley over the past few years. I kept up with her through others and the occasional mass emailing. I am saddened that there are things that I didn't get to share with her or say to her. I hope we can catch up someday.
Bishop Miler had an awesome impact in my life over the three years I knew him. I remember a certain point in my past when I got very caught up in my own inadequacies and heartache. Although I spent many moments in prayer, I felt as if the heavens were shut for some reason and I was left to bear those burdens alone.
One Sunday morning, Bishop Miller shook my hand and asked me how I was doing. I told him "fine." He then asked if I would come and talk with him some time that week and I agreed. At the appointed time, I went to his office and he invited me in. We began the meeting with a prayer and then he sat back in his chair and asked me how I was doing. In that moment, the doors of my broken heart were thrown opened and I was able to share with him the heavy burdens I had been carrying for so long. He reminded me that any place worth going was always uphill and that I was loved and appreciated by many, including my Heavenly Father. Never once was he too busy to listen or treated my burdens as if they were too small to worry with.
And while I know with all of my heart that I will see both of these dear friends again, their absence makes me sad. I feel like this life will be less enjoyable because they are not here to enjoy it with me. I briefly mention these two loved ones here because their absence has been felt so recently and yet there are others whose absence is just as stark and painful. I ask myself often, "What am I going to do? How will I ever survive? How do I show them that I love them now and always?"
Again from The Road Less traveled:
The essence of life is change, a panoply of growth and decay. Elect life and growth, and you elect change and the prospect of death. If we can live with the knowledge that death is our constant companion, traveling on our "left shoulder," then death can become . . . our "ally," still fearsome but continually a source of wise counsel. With death's counsel, the constant awareness of the limit of our time to live and love, we can always be guided to make the best use of our time and live life to the fullest. But if we are unwilling to fully face the fearsome presence of death on our left shoulder, we deprive ourselves of its counsel and cannot possibly live or love with clarity. When we shy away from death, the ever-changing nature of things, we inevitably shy away from life.
In some ways, words have never rung more true to me. In my aversion to change and goodbyes, I have to ask, am I shying away from life? In all honesty, I have to admit that yes, I am. I have more than once allowed a precious opportunity to show love and grow closer to someone to pass because of my fear of the unknown, but perceived painful, ending.
My resolve is strong today and yet I know that there will be moments in the future when, in the throws of a painful good-bye, I will have my doubts about the prudence of my decision to love so much. But I have to exercise my faith in the eternal beauty and purposes of love. It is worth it, it is.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Today was an insanely busy day. Besides the fact that it was a Monday, I had to be at the office at 6:30 AM to prepare for a call at 7. Of course, my sleep was restless, waking often to make sure I wouldn't miss my alarm. Ugh - I hate that.
At 5:30 AM, I decided that there was no reason to try to sleep anymore so, I dragged myself out of bed to get ready. I don't care how attractive you are, it's hard to make yourself up at that hour, but I tried. I threw some snacks in my work bag for breakfast and hurried to the office.
Then, on my way to work, I realized that I had forgot my phone. Rats! One of the busiest days on tap and I had forgotten my dang phone! Because I was leading the call at 7, I couldn't turn around and retrieve it so I made the executive decision to go phoneless - it was unnerving.
At work, I prepped quickly for the call and before I knew it, the call was over and I had another hour to prepare for the next meeting. I had made a "to do" list the night before and I quickly scratched off the last minute details. I finished my list, prepped my out of office email and bolted out the door on my way to Staples to pick up an easel pad for the group to use.
I got to Staples without incidence and continued to follow the directions to the meeting. To my dismay, the directions to the building and parking were not very clear. My heart sank since I had been responsible for setting up the meeting location as well as connecting my colleagues coming into town with these directions. It took me two trips into garages that I had to back out of before I found one to park in.
Once parked, I grabbed my bags and the new easel pad and walked a block to the building where the meeting was being held. I quickly realized that it was going to be an ordeal getting our entire group up to the conference room as the building was secure and we had to be escorted by someone with a badge up to the room. While slightly annoying, it wasn't the end of the world and we only had to make a few trips before the room was full and the meeting was underway.
I felt such great relief once the meeting started since everyone had found the building and we were off to a great start. I sat back in my chair and listened a bit. I had chosen a seat on the corner of the table, so I placed my papers and things on the table, crossed my legs and was settling in. Unfortunately, the room was a bit small for our group, so we were all crowded around the table and my leg was resting against the leg of the table.
While getting comfortable in my seat, I leaned to my left to tuck my skirt under my leg and my boot rubbed up against the leg of the table.
You do the math:
Fake leather + rubbing against a metal table leg = farting sound.
Seriously! Did I have to be leaning to my left when the sound was made!? Really!
You just never know when the next moment will be a moment of embarrassing hilarity or a ready made serving of humble pie :) Eat up, Trace!