Thursday, April 25, 2013

Today, I walked.

Today, my two red shoes and I took a walk.
As I put them on, I felt a prayer of gratitude; for the reality that I not only had two red shoes, but needed two, not just one.
I've been keenly aware of my increased gratitude for my complete and whole body I'm blessed with. I have two strong and working legs and feet to carry me into my adventures like today.
And I choose to use them.
I choose to be thankful for them.

The Commons was beautiful today.
Who can deny the blessing of walking through a park mid-day, surrounded by an easy company of people, yet content to be completely on your own ~

My walk today had a purpose.
I wanted and needed to visit the memorial on Boylston Street.

As you walk, you begin to see signs of what lies ahead. You see the ribbons...
 ... and the vestiges of 'the week' where all of Boston stopped, and watched, and waited.

You see signs like this in windows of stores all along the walk, giving you a sense of belonging to something united, a community, a friendship of strength and encouragement.

And then you realize you're "there",
 where it all happened.
And it seems such a small, innocent place.

You know, or rather you feel and then you know, that you've come upon something. Because there in the middle of a normally bustling street side walk, there's a crowd of people... just standing and looking. 
You seem to instinctively feel the unspoken understanding that this place deserves an almost sacred berth of distance. People stand in a semi-circle to quietly observe and reflect, not directed by officials or officers, just out of the human heart of feeling it is decent to do so.
And if you're like me, you look down and realize where you stand. You recognize that as you stand and ponder the past events, you stand on the now 'clean' side walk where last week the stones were stained in blood.
I pictured the people.
I pictured the news.
I pictured the reality of it all.
I felt almost rooted there. Not knowing what exactly to do, yet not feeling it was appropriate yet to just leave. Then I realized it was never going to feel appropriate to leave, like I'd stayed 'long enough' to pay my respects and I could now get back to whatever I was doing, or wherever I was going.

And you sort of wanna stand and just look --- remember. Like this woman.

The Memorial
 The memorial has grown so big that they relocated it to just a stones throw away to Copley Square, right about where the finish line stands.

 I added my name to the heart of Boston who'd also signed their love and emotion.
It's an emotional and very quiet place to be.
I appreciated that.

I hadn't felt as connected to the events as I wanted or felt like I should feel. I realized through a series of events and thoughts shared among family, that it was because I wasn't connecting or resonating with the fear of the whole event. I had been spared the trauma of being on Boylston that day, and was close but not right in the events of Watertown. 

After today, I realize just how much I HAVE connected with the running, with the human side of the happiness Marathon Monday brings to Bostonians now that I'm 'one of them', and with the love shown at the memorial.
There was a true spirit of love hovering over this little piece of a place. 

On my walk home, I thought of so many things. In all the miles I walked today, I chose to do it in silence; no music. There was enough to remember and think on.

As I came across the bridge near my home, I looked over the rail road tracks of the train I hear each day as I go about my life. I thought of how, for some odd reason, I always love seeing the sun reflect off of them, even if it's not the cleanest or most beautiful sight to look on. And as I passed, I stopped and turned back to finally take a picture I've meant to take for over a year. Because you never know what tomorrow holds. And I realized I'd be forever putting things off till tomorrow until I choose to do them today. 

So today I chose to act; 
To finally do today what I'd wanted to do for a few too many yesterday's, and had told myself I'd do in a few more tomorrows.

I chose to walk, to listen, to cry with others at the memorial, to offer my spirit of gratitude and thoughts of remembrance and reverence, and to really 'see' the world today. 

Today, I walked.
Today, I noticed and felt with gratitude each step I took, for myself, and for those who can't.
Today, I chose to live and to live in mindful gratitude.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


[Disclaimer: This post is exactly 9 weeks late... AWEsome]
I think it was one of those, "Wait, it happened? It actually came together and happened? Fewww"... then fly by the seat of your pants on to the next activity.
Who can't relate, right?

All Winter Extravaganza
An anual event for the YSA of New England.
This was my first 'event' as the coordinator for my new calling.

Friday night registration & games

The kid we delegated (my new favorite word) games to came up with having a Nerf war. 
Think I would have come up with that idea? No.
Was it awesome? Yes.

Saturday Morning

Had a nice opening service following this, but of course can't photograph that.
One of our sister missionaries was a back up singer for Gladys Knight for many years before her mission. She was our key note speaker. She then performed two numbers.
Beautiful~ both talk and songs. 

Service Project
The DJ turned on old time big band music and it was a really chill causal time for people to serve and mingle. We got nice positive feedback about it.

 Donated to a local hospital, that was actually in such short supply, they donated the funds for us to purchase the fabric and make them blankets!

A few of the signs that directed people as to where to go. 
We had a workshop speaker drop out the night before, so Jared (my co-chair) had the brilliant idea to host an impromptu testimony meeting after the two workshops (in place of the third). It was pretty touching to hear people bear testimony of how they weren't going to come, decided or were invited last minute to come, and were so grateful they had. Many tears. Jared and I just kept looking at each other out of the corner of our eyes like, "So, it was a success?!" haha. As a leader, you aren't always afforded the luxury of hearing that what you put effort into was meaningful or not to people. So this was a special treat to hear. 
The theme was, "I Know it, I Live it, and I Love it" from sister Dibb's conference talk. The workshop speakers were each given one of the three points of the topic to focus on. They did great jobs, from what little I could tell while popping my head in and out as I monitored the happs. of the event.

People were there all day, so we had to feed them. Those put in charge did wonderful jobs of providing filling, appetizing meals in BULK!

This is a shot of a mini dance-off competition we had.

Thumbs UP!
(And apparently farewell. Jared is engaged!! so I'll be getting a new co-chair. If it were for any other reason, I'd be ticked. But as it is, it's just so reassuring to see someone actually have success in that area, that I just can't fault him. It was fun while it lasted my friend)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Yesterday was a sad day for Boston. I'm so grateful I was home safe from the danger, and that my friends have all been accounted for in safety as well. Just wanted to add my sadness for the end of a beautiful day at an event I've come to love since living in this beautiful city of Boston. Prayers have been in my heart and on my lips for the families of those injured, frightened, and aching for understanding. There are things we won't understand as mortals in this life. We can only trust in the mercy and support from our God and our Savior for a peace we won't find anywhere else. 

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Lives were taken, people were changed.