Reverb 10 – Wisdom

What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

I made the decision to jump.  I stepped out of the safety and security of the known and flung myself, almost with a sense of relief, into the unknown. I made a conscious decision to be alone again.  And yet to be closer to my loved ones than I have ever been.  I decided that my holistic life was more important than loving my job; and that to be a complete human being I needed to have a job for which I had great passion  that was not designed to consume all my time, energy, and soul. 

I decided to be brave and admit that I don’t know what I want, but I do know I wasn’t living it.  Then I decided it was time, at 31 years old, to go find it.   Whatever the elusive “it” may be.

What I have found is a sense of place and home that I have not felt in years.  I have a sense of self and purpose that before had evaded my grasp.

My wisdom:  It is scary to take a leap of faith.  But if you are following the path God has for you, you are jumping off a cliff and straight into His waiting arms.

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Published in: on December 13, 2010 at 1:39 pm  Comments (1)  

Reverb10 Community

Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

Community.  The word community has taken on new meaning for me in the last ten months.  I have worked somewhat unconsciously, though with great intention, towards defining that word and its place in my world.   It has been four years since I have had to think of my own interpretation of that word.  As a Resident Director a person is thrown into a community: a group of individuals who live, essentially, the same kind of life, attend the same meetings, work towards similar goals, and spent hours upon hours toiling to help others build community.  A sense of place.  A sense of ownership and belonging.  An environment in which everyone’s humanity is equally respected and celebrated.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  I wouldn’t know.  I spent so much time trying to help others build that all important sense of community that I neglected and even actively ignored building a community for myself.  I existed as a Resident Director.  I found support where I could with my colleagues, and it was plentiful, but I never took the time to define what community means to me.  And I certainly didn’t make nurturing my own community a priority.

I have learned and am learning to become a nurturer of other people’s communities and needs and also of my own.  I actively work within my community, but I also prioritize taking time for myself with my friends and family.

I got so used to giving, and building, and achieving, that I forgot how to rest, be calm, and accept.

Now, I call my mother at least once a day.  I make sure I check in with my brother on a weekly basis.  I call my grandparents.  I keep touch with friends from all sectors of my life.  I walk my dog and chase him around the house.  I make time to visit with my neighbor.

I’m learning how to create, within myself, a holistic sense of community.

Published in: on December 7, 2010 at 2:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Inspired

A friend of mine has inspired me to do some prompted reflecting at the close of a year filled with change.   I’m a little late getting started with this, but I don’t intent to play “catch up” with previous prompts.  I’m just diving in and going from here.

I have not been blogging of late.  I used a journal instead – there is something satisfying in being able to hold, in my hands, something I have written.  But for some reason, I feel like blogging again.  Perhaps it was my mother’s, “Do you intend to ever write in your blog again?” that kick started the wheels turning.  But for now, I’m back.

Published in: on December 7, 2010 at 1:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

The plan…

After we left for Paris it was impossible to blog (and I had to pay for it in London so I was trying to type really fast and I didn’t have time to edit the way I needed to) so I just stopped blogging. I kept a journal so over the next few days I’m going to be posting from the journal as though we were still in Paris and London. It will be carefully edited because I’m not paying through the nose to use internet; Mom, you won’t have to cringe anymore. You’ll still get the feel of everything we experienced and all that happened on our trip.
Hope you enjoy because we had a marvelous time!

Published in: on March 30, 2009 at 1:50 pm  Comments (1)  

Prince Charming

We started the day with an early morning wake-up call (me not being able to go back to sleep and making sure everyone got up on time), a lousy hostel breakfast (warm milk, corn flakes, and toast), and a tube trip to St. Paul’s Cathedral (and the day started looking up!) Oh. My. Gosh. Truly, St. Paul’s is incredible. The dome, and architecture, and the everything. I am completely amazed by this work of art. It is impossible not to be put in a mood of worship within that place.
Then we took off for the Tower of London (didn’t go in) and the Tower Bridge (because it’s pretty) followed by a trip to the British Library. Beowulf was out to rest away from the lights but they did put Sir Gawain and the Green Knight out for me to enjoy; I’m sure they were just thinking of me when they made that selection. Jane Austen’s writing desk was still there – it was good to see her again.
From their we went back to Trafalgar Square to a little cafe I found my last trip here, ordered sandwiches, and took them to the steps of the National Gallery for a picnic. We all went and got Phantom tickets (the other three decided to join Brandon and I) and then split up with Becca, David, and Katie Belle taking off for Harrods and shopping and Brandon and I headed for Egypt, Greece, Assyria, and China via the British Museum. We spent two hours there before running back to the hostel, taking a quick walk through Hyde Park to Kensington Palace and then catching a cab (because when you are in London you really must ride a cab at least once) to go see Phantom! We walked up the street to get a spinach pasty to go and enjoyed that while waiting for the doors to open.
This was the single best Phantom I have ever seen! His voice was perfect; deep, classically trained yes but with an edge that suited the character extremely well. I have never seen nor heard a better Phantom. He was just phenomenal! I cried at the end and again, Christine chose Raoul over the Phantom. Seriously, if she doesn’t want him (as she has proved all six times I have seen the show) then may I please have him?

Tomorrow I am off to Bath, The Cotswolds, and Stonehenge. Just a quick day tour but I am excited to get to see some countryside. Andrew (really nice guy from Scotland we met in the hostel) felt Bath was an excellent choice. Nothing like the approval of a Scotsman to solidify a girl’s plans…just saying.

Much love to everyone back home!

Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 4:40 pm  Comments (3)  

I should know better…

Life lesson of the day: Continetal Breakfasts are not worth it!

Sometime you should ask me about my first trip to Europe and my breakfast experience in Scotland.  For those of you who know the story, I just had another one here in the hostel in London.  After meeting Andrew in our hostel room last night (a perfectly charming Scotsman down from Inverness) I was thinking this hostel thing might just not be the worst idea I’ve ever had.  Alas, breakfast rolled around and I am left once again wondering if maybe I’ve lost my marbles. 

If I could impart one thing to the Brits it would be the idea of refrigerated buffets.  Still not there so I downed some luke warm OJ and left.  I figured a little vitamin C couldn’t be a bad thing.  Brandon and I both came back upstairs for a little computer fix and I can only hope the other three will emerge from the dungeon shortly hopefully unscathed by the warm milk and crowds of children.  Yes, there are children here but I’m still a little too bitter to comment.  I thought we were staying at a hostel where only 18-35 year-old people were allowed.  Boo

We are off!

Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 1:05 am  Comments (3)  

Momma, I made it!

After an exhausting drive to Seattle  (it is by God’s grace we made it – thanks for the prayers, Momma!), a restless flight to Atlanta (there were children in the seat behind who were allowed to throw toy cars at the back of my seat through the entire flight), and a sleep filled flight to London (fell asleep an hour outside of Atlanta and woke up an hour and half outside of London – no children in the near vicinity) we arrived.  We made it through customs, to Paddington station just fine and found our hostel.  We’ve taken advantage of the lovely weather and been to Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster, Trafalgar Square, and Piccadilly Circus.  

David and Becca are pretty conscious of the volume of their voices.  Becca checks in every once in a while to see if her “London voice” is quiet enough.  They are trying so very hard to respect the culture they are experiencing. 

I’ve found a kindred spirit in Brandon.  He enjoys all the same things I do so we are spending our day tomorrow together.  As a big group we are going to St Paul’s Cathedral, The Tower (to see from the outside, not actually go in)and Tower Bridge, and the British Library.  I had to bribe two of them to go to the British Library by telling them there were free bathrooms and water fountains to fill up their water bottles.  The other one only wanted to go because there are some Beatles song sheets there.  Crush my soul!  In one room are some of the greatest treasures of the world’s literature and the draw was free bathrooms.  This caused me to launch into a lecture about the tenacity of the human spirit and the very soul of generations before us being captured within these writings.  I was unable to change any minds with my impassioned plea.  They also refuse to go to the British Museum – citing it as boring and preferring instead to go to Harrods and Oxford Street (a mile an a half of tourist stores and shopping centers).  Again, my heart broke a little, but I refrained from a lecture this time.  You can only do so much in one day.  Brandon is my salvation; as I said, we like all very similar things so we are touring buddies for the week I imagine.  He also shows the proper amount of awe when we see cool stuff. 

Everyone was going to go to Phantom with us, but then they found out the guy who played Kramer in Seinfeld is in Arsenic and Old Lace and they want to go to that instead.  Again, it’s just Brandon for Phantom.  Which is fine – West End productions are worth it.  I’m glad they are going to a play instead of hitting the bars.  Never mind – Becca just looked up Arsenic and it closed March 5th.  They’ll probably go see Wicked instead.  Doesn’t matter to me – if my tookas is in the West End it is seeing Phantom!  Christine dumped him for another man; you won’t find me doing the same thing!

I’m tired, dirty, and in desperate need of a shower.  My feet are about ready to walk off my ankles they are so tired.  We covered some ground today and Brandon and I are planning on covering a heck of a lot more tomorrow.  In addition to the group’s happenings, we are headed to Westminster (we got to see the outside today but Brandon wants to see inside), The British Museum, The National Gallery, The Royal Albert Hall, a walk through Hyde Park, and whatever else our little brains cook up. 

The culture shock isn’t huge for everyone because they still here their language as the dominate one.  Little things, like how Londoners don’t smile and make eye contact and the fact that there are stairs everywhere are things they are picking up one but they haven’t quite picked up on the fact that the culture is vastly different.  I’m not sure if within this week there is enough time for them to see – it takes a while to work through trying to make this culture fit your culture – which is pretty solidly where most of them are right now.  It’s fun to watch how they react to things and the lens through which they see the world. 

I’m going to close for now, go shower, and write in my journal.  Love to everyone back home! 

Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 1:30 pm  Comments (4)  

“Him” has now become Carter

In a follow up post to “It has now become him” – “him” has been born.  Carter is three weeks old today.  Tom and Shareana decided on Carter Maximus Steele Keys for his name.   As one of my former RAs said, “That’s a seriously BA name…I wouldn’t mess with a kid who had a name like that.”  He’s a little guy but apparently not afraid of voicing his thoughts or opinions on any topic that strikes his fancy.  

Spencer is staying with Mom and Dad while I am in Europe and Mom and Dad plan on going up to see Carter in a little over a week.  I’ll be interested in Spencer’s take on the little man.  It will be the first time Spencer will have to really share his Gran with anyone.  I can see Gran holding Carter and Spencer deciding it is his turn and just diving up into Gran’s arms without so much as a glance at the junior human he is trampling.  That’s my boy…such a gentleman.  Spencer has never really been a fan of children – he’s pretty patient with Leigh (an RD friend’s daughter) but that only lasts for 10 minutes at a time.   It should be interesting…

Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 5:25 am  Leave a Comment  

I’m going back…

I’m 48 hours away from driving out of Corvallis headed towards Seattle which will ultimately take me back to the UK for Spring Break. Some friends and I got some truly amazing deals on tickets and we are taking off for Spring Break in Europe. I love the sound of that…slightly decadent, don’t you think? Anyhoo, we are flying over to see the sights as well as catch up with four of our friends who decided to abandon us for study abroad. Here’s the rough itinerary:

Saturday: Leave home for UK
Sunday: Arrive in London and kick off the London 2009 Tour with a trip to the British Museum and Library. I’m not flying thousands of miles and not making a trip to visit Beowulf of Jane Austen’s writing desk…that would be crazy! And since I am going with four people who have never been to London, I figure starting the trip with a tiny Brit Lit lesson followed up by some time spent in the Egyptian section of the British Museum is a good way to kick off our time there.
Monday: Tour London with friends and go see Phantom of the Opera. At least that is what Brandon, Becca, and I are doing. I’m not sure if Sparky and Katie Belle are up for Phantom but I have faith I will be able to convince them.
Tuesday: Some of us are taking day trips outside of London, others are staying in London to see more sights. I’m going to see Stonehenge (could care less), Lacock (Cotswold village where they filmed part of the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice…be still my beating heart) and Bath (where Jane Austen lived for several years…soooo excited).
Wednesday: Chunneling to Paris and hooking up with Aisling who is flying up from Spain to see us. Look out Paris here we come!
Thursday: Hooking up with Kevin and Trevin who are coming up from Angers to see us and more Paris.
Friday: I think Kevin and I are going to Versailles for part of the day and then saying goodbye to Aisling, Kevin, and Trevin and chunneling back to London for one more night and to see Jaimie.
Saturday: Catching a plane to JFK (where I will spend 10 hours of my life in a layover I will never get back) before catching a plane back to Seattle.
Sunday: Arriving home sweet home back in Corvallis and kicking off Spring Term!

We have selected “home-base” locations that provide computer terminals so I will be able to post on my blog on a regular to semi-regular basis and keep you updated on all the fun and fantastic things we are doing and seeing.

Right now I’m concentrating on getting lots of sleep and rest to get over the crud I came down with as well as doing practice runs of packing. I’m committed to taking as few things as possible so I can pack gifts for everyone in my pack and not have to purchase another bag to get things home. I am currently taking 2 pairs of pants, two tops, jammies, extra underclothes, three pair of shoes (one is a shower shoe – because I don’t trust hostel showers), my little baggie of liquid products, a brush and toothbrush and my journal and camera. I have about 1/3 of my backpack full so as it stands everything goes in the carry on with plenty of room to spare.

I’m going to try to go back to sleep for a couple more hours. I went to bed super early last night. It felt deliciously divine to shut the ringer on my phone off and crawl into bed so early.

Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 5:06 am  Leave a Comment  

“It” has now become “him”

Tom (brother) called to tell me Shareana (sister-in-law) had her final ultrasound and officially found out they are having a little boy.  I can stop calling the baby bump “It” and transition into official pronouns.  It is now him.

Published in: on November 21, 2008 at 2:08 am  Comments (1)