Monday, June 30, 2014

This -

Over and over again this month I've reflected on how blessed I am to have made it through another tough year - the year of healing. I woke up Saturday morning and realized my arm didn't ache, my boob didn't ache. In fact, the parts of me that did ache were because I had hiked the "Y"  on Friday - a healthy ache!

As I recently listened to Joshua Prager's experiences from several years ago, and his subsequent rebirth, I couldn't help but think how similar our feelings are.

When I feel down, feel hurt, feel the victim, I am relinquishing my ability to heal and to grow from my experiences - and I'm not talking "only" cancer. I refuse to be a victim, I refuse to wallow, I refuse to linger on the "what if's" the "what could have been." I am stronger, better, more because of my life's experiences -

Monday, June 23, 2014

Busyness -

The article below, written by Allison Vaillancourt, for The Chronicle of Higher Education, could not be more timely. Busyness is a monster I've been trying to banish from my life for many years. Just when I think I have "it" down, I get too cocky, add something to my plate, and off I go again in busyness.

However - Last year, this time, when I was walking faster than I could run, I had a lovely accident. This blown elbow and accompanying injuries was my awakening, hopefully for quite awhile. And it was here when I really learned that being busy, even in goodness, is not good.

So now - a year later - I am still learning, but I am implementing the "Life is great. My plate is full, but I wouldn't choose another way" lifestyle. And - I've learned to say "No," even to things I really want to be a part of. And it is freeing! And I haven't lost any opportunities to grow, so it must be OK to say no!

One choice I made when my children were young was "to come to them with dry hands," meaning I'm never, ever, ever too busy for family. They come first. They always have, they always will. There's nothing wrong with taking time to breathe and enjoy - life is short, I know.

Amen -

Let's Banish Busyness!

June 10, 2014
I work with someone who begins every conversation by telling me how busy she is. I don't mean some conversations, or most conversations; I mean every single conversation. Whenever I am about to talk with her, I ask myself, "I wonder if she will tell me how busy she is?" And every single time, she does. Is she accomplishing a lot? No; less than most. But is she "so busy?" Oh, yeah.

This particular colleague is not the only one who does this. As Jen Sincero, the author of You Are a Badass, has noted, "I'm so busy" is the new "I'm fine, thanks." And it is getting annoying.

I'm curious about why so many of us seem obsessed with talking about how busy we are and why it seems acceptable to acknowledge that our lives are basically out of control. How can this be a good thing? I'm sure there are many who think being buried is a badge of honor—proof that they are important and in demand. But really, when is the last time you heard a world leader or MacArthur "Genius Grant" winner moan, "I can't believe how many meetings I have. And, oh my God, the email!"

The people who seem to accomplish the most seem to complain the least, and they also seem to have an unusual sense of focus. They don't think they can do everything people want them to do, and unlike us, they don't even try.

A circle of my friends has been exploring the topic of busyness lately and we have decided there are three key lessons for us to remember.

Lesson One: We can have it all, just not at the same time. Rather than trying to be superhuman, what if we decided to focus on just two or three key areas and let everything else fall away? Life might not be as interesting, but it might be less chaotic.

Lesson Two: Talking about being busy signals to others that we can't be trusted with anything new or bigger. "David can barely handle what's on his plate now, so he certainly can't be trusted to lead this high-profile project."

Lesson Three: Our minds pay attention to our mouths. Constant conversations about feeling overwhelmed and out of control are self-reinforcing and self-sabotaging. When we talk about being overly busy, we feel overly busy, and this mental swirling makes it hard for us to get anything done.

In response to these realizations, my circle has pledged to banish the word "busy" from our collective vocabulary in order to sound less pathetic and more in control. When asked how she is doing, one friend now responds, "I am doing more than I ever dreamed possible." Another says, "Terrific; there is a lot going on." They both appear energetic and engaged rather than scattered and manic. It's a good look for them.

Are you feeling "incredibly busy" these days? What's you standard response to "How are you?"

Monday, June 16, 2014

Flat Tires -

I recently read an article that said people who have spent time on the cancer bus make less money after treatment, have a more difficult time finding employment, and have more post-treatment expenses, than the everyday person. Yup. Feeling those effects.

Thunk, thud, psssssh. Another stack of nails on this journey - and I'm running out of spare tires.

Somewhere there has to be a "no-flat" tire.

Friday, June 13, 2014

My Nod to Crisfield, Maryland -

Eleven years ago today, on Friday, June 13, 2003, I made a decision that forever changed my life and the lives of my family. I packed 2 suitcases and flew to Maryland, where for 3 weeks I worked with a team of folklorists, historians, and ethnographers whose mandate was to take a snapshot in time of the town of Crisfield, a maritime community on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Crisfield used to be the crab capital of the world, yet as pollution increased in the Bay and the crab count decreased, and as Asian crabs became cheaper to buy than American crabs, the town and its industry began to falter. We met beautiful people, gathered their stories, took photos of their lives, and presented it back to them. It was a beautiful 3 weeks, one of the first times I felt free to be me, and a time I felt accepted, appreciated, even loved. I loved every moment, and coming home was brutal; I wanted to stay where I could start-over, make changes, and redefine myself, or better yet, be my authentic self.

Well, I came home, and I made changes anyway, because that's how I operate - "Be the change . . ." was something I learned when I was a child - "If you don't like something then change it," was a phrase I heard from my parents over and over again. "Don't wait for someone to do it for you, do it yourself," was another adage. As a 44 year old woman, about to launch into single life, I had to look at all the changes that would occur not only in my life, but in the lives of many many loved ones. And I stewed and stewed about how I was going to move forward - how I could be true to myself without hurting others - and I couldn't do both - so I chose being true to myself, hoping that as time went on, wounds would heal.

I couldn't make these changes alone - I had cheerleaders and doubters on both coasts and in-between.

And here I am, 11 years later, facing other changes, particularly the changes of these past 18 months, and I am fine. I am. I am happy and hopeful and growing and good. "Be the change you want to see . . . " is not about changing a hairdo, rearranging the living room, changing clothes, although certainly those are changes, but I've learned that change is within - changing attitudes, perceptions, realizations, adapting and adopting, and moving forward. Yes - change is good - change is not a one-time deal - change is progress - if we allow ourselves to be authentic, to be our true selves, and to embrace whatever it is life dishes us - or we dish ourselves, we can move forward in health and happiness.

I thank my higher power, my friends, my family for being on this change path with me. Yeah -

Monday, June 9, 2014

Utah in the News -

While I was off family-reunion'ing, a couple of Utah bits made national news - photo-shopping of year book pictures deemed immodest (wish I could find my 1977 Orem High yearbook photo - aaah, no I don't), and an NPR "All Things Considered" show on the MTC in Provo, and language acquisition. Both are pretty entertaining and worth reading and listening to. Make sure you entertain yourself by reading the comments on both. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sunshine -

Heading to Zion National Park for our family reunion. I'm so excited to have 5 of our 6 children and all their kids together. Our theme for this reunion is:

You Are My Sunshine

Our kids really do bring sunshine into my live, our lives. I love being a mom and a grandmother - these past 2.5 years they have been the carrot dangling in front of me to endure, heal, and now re-energize. I'm looking forward to playing with them as well as watching them. 

I read this thought the other day: "If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in."  (Rachel Carson)

I had a great friend in Brigham City who taught me to get on the ground and see the world through my children's eyes. I've never forgotten that lesson - and I have done my best to play with my kids and grandkids - to be in the moment with them, it's a great excuse to enjoy and let go - being present is a great present, it is something Scott and I can offer - in fact, it's one of our family "rules," when the kids are with us, they get our attention.

I am excited to finish preparing for the reunion today and then being able to rest on the knowledge that our children and grandchildren enjoy each other and know how to play.

Happy week -