Christmas Miracle Part 2

A lot of people have been waiting for this update. Yes, the soldier is safely home and "things" are going well :).

Some of you know how miraculously fast his homecoming turned out to be. Once it was confirmed that his replacement was en route, he was able to have a flight scheduled from his base in Iraq to the holding tank in Kuwait. I got an email that just said, "The flower has arrived, papa's coming home!" That was code for "Cpt Rose is here, I finally get to leave this h-hole of a desert." In Kuwait, he learned that the freedom flights to the US (redeployment--soldiers going home for good, vs. R&R) had all been canceled due to the holiday. He was booked on a flight leaving on the 28th. Shortly after leaving the travel tent, he heard his name over the loud speaker. They had found a space for him on the next R&R flight out, aka: pack your bags soldier, you have 2 minutes to get through customs and on that plane, or something like that. I got a quick phone call at 11:35am Christmas Eve, "I only have 2 minutes on this calling card, but I'm leaving now! I got on a flight and I'll see you soon. Next time you hear from me, I'll be calling you from my own cell phone." I hung up the phone and held it to my chest to say a quick prayer of thanks and then jumped up and down a couple times. I may or may not have squealed in excitement.

It's a Christmas Miracle!!

All I can say is that prayer works! And combined prayer works even better.

Now I'm just needing part two and I'm feeling really impatient, waiting for a call from Ft. Hood.

Ring phone, ring!

While I wait, trying to not focus on my silent blackberry and enjoy this Christmas morning with my mom and siblings, I have to admit my gratitude for the amazing mercy and grace of God. Thank you for sending your Son. We watched a short video montage put together by my mom's neighbors (and my roommate's parents) last night. As images of the infant Lord passed on the screen, I was overcome, more than I ever remember feeling before, with awe at the humble circumstances to which He entered His mortal life. But not just because of the stable and manger and sheep and flies, but because He was just a baby! So vulnerable, fragile. This Christ-child who would grow into the Man of Holiness who would save us all began His miraculous life as a baby.

I think this is even more poignant for me now, having spent the last few days with my family, especially my little sister who is cooking her own mini-muffin (who I swear is growing every day--she let me feel his little sleeping bum poking out of her abdomen last night, so sweet!); and my nieces, 3 years and 18 months respectively, who are so full of life and joy at each new thing. They fill me with wonder.

So while I wait for just one more miracle, may warmth & joy to fill your hearts on this Christmas morning and throughout this next year!

Much love,

me

Not the words you want to hear while Skyping with a soldier

I know I already posted today, but this was too memorable to let it go for long before I get it documented somewhere.

I never thought I'd ever get to have this experience. So I'm Skyping with my boyfriend [yes, I call him my boyfriend :)] who is in Iraq and we're in the middle of a conversation and I hear a muffled but harsh voice come over their intercom system, "Incoming! Incoming!" No longer than it takes for my brain to register what the angry male voice said and Tim has disappeared. As he drops to the ground and takes cover either he or someone else says, "we're under attack."


If you look closely you can see the concern on my face as I stare at the empty carols and wait as eagerly as they do for the female voice to report that everything is fine and they can return to what they were doing. In the meantime, the Captain has reached up and grabbed his headset. I whisper, "I can hear you." He responds, "Can you hear me?" And we talk like that for what feels like several minutes. Even under diress, we joke. He tells me how other soldiers are wishing they had reached for their headsets too. Finally, she speaks. "All clear, all clear, all clear." Tim's head pops up and looks around. Another mortar attack survived. Ten more days. Just ten more days.

{the} Messiah--aka: Handel's Messiah


Friday night I got lucky :). My roommate Julie asked me to be her "date" to see Handel's Messiah at the National Cathedral. Amazing! This was a triple first for me: first up-close-and-personal with the Cathedral, first ever hearing the Messiah performed live in its entirety, first time hearing the National Cathedral choir--those little kids are phenomenal. The evening was beautiful.


December 1st

I am still jobless and it was a beautiful, sunny day. The trees are stubbornly holding onto the last of their yellow leaves which makes a glorious contrast against the dark, wet bark. To make the most of circumstance, I forced myself outside and onto the metro. Coming up the escalator from dankness into the fresh air at the Smithsonian stop brought back a rush of nostalgia (it can still be nostalgia after just six months, right?). The last time I stopped there (it was also my first DC metro ride ever) was this summer and at the top I waited for a new friend who walked me around the Mall (that's where the monuments are). That day changed my life. I'm looking forward to someday writing about the details of that day, but not today.

Today I felt similar feelings the first time I walked through the monuments: overwhelm, awe, pride, patriotism, gratitude...just to name a few. I decided this day that one of the reasons I love this city with all of its history and charm is because everything is meaningful stated and meaningfully placed. I stared up at Abraham Lincoln, watchful over our Nation's capital, pained at the thought of that meaning degraded and overlooked. Pained again as I watched a tourist throw his cigarette butt on the ground and grind it into the street with his heel. What a poignant representation of everything that is taken for granted.

I think of the prophesied day that the Constitution will hang by a thread. Dread for that day, and yet excitement for what it will hasten.

In All Things Give Thanks...

I almost declined the invitation to join a few of my new roommates and their friends at a cabin in West Virginia for the Thanksgiving weekend. I had visions of cooking a Cornish game hen for myself and spending the holiday alone in my new home, wallowing in self-pity, missing my family, wondering why I had moved so close to the holidays. But, I didn't. I accepted and am so glad that I did. It turned out to be just what I needed.


My new friend Joni made an amazing apple cranberry pie and a pumpkin cheesecake. She also produced some yummy slushy punch and a red jello/pudding/whipped creamy fluff that made our Mormon Thanksgiving complete.

Loving right now

I'm sitting at my kitchen counter and just thinking of a few things that I love about my life right now...

1. My uber-musical roommates. Two are currently at the piano playing Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker together and it's pretty amazing.

2. My new neighborhood. I went for two walks today. One short walk to return some tools I borrowed from Tim's basement (thanks again!) and a longer one with my roommate Niki. It's such an amazing neighborhood. We passed four parks and lots of people raking up leaves. The trees are huge! My sweater smells like autumn--you know that brisk fall air and how it seeps into your clothing and hair if you spend any amount of time outdoors? It's pretty great too.

3. Having roommates that like to cook and bake. We had Sunday dinner together--beef stew with potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, and corn. Oh, and fresh bread. There are two kinds of lemon bars in the oven right now. My roommate Leanna is testing them to see which one she wants to make for her boss's birthday (and they are playing the waltz of the flowers now).

4. This one is probably the most significant. In sacrament meeting today I started writing in a new moleskin which seems appropriate as I begin this new chapter of my life. I recently received some pretty straightforward, divine instruction to be better at keeping a journal and today I realized, in part, why it is so important. So many times I get answers to questions as I write about how I'm feeling. Today I was writing about a nervousness I've been feeling about upcoming significant events that have the potential of changing my life forever. As I wrote, that nervousness dissipated and was replaced by excitement, joy and so much love. Even now as I'm typing this, I feel a little overcome. I am so excited for the future.

I guess this post is appropriate as I start this week of Thanksgiving. I have so much to be grateful for. So much that I don't deserve. The closing hymn in our meeting today was For the Beauty of the Earth. I could barely sing the last verse. For the joy of human love, brother, sister, parent, child, friends on earth and friends above, for all gently thoughts and mild, Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

Urban Living


Meet my new best friend, Zipcar. How cool is this, for $50/year, you can reserve a car to drive for $7/hour. Gas is included. Cach car has it's own gas card under the driver's side visor. Up to 180 miles included in the rate.

This is like the independent, car-less woman's dream come true. And there's a Tacoma parked like a block away from my home. Ikea, here I come.

Can you see it?

The Washington Monument?? It's that little thing sticking up out of the trees behind me. So, this isn't the greatest picture, I know, and my face is covered in rain and my hair is getting soaked and if you look closely you can see the rain ripples in the river. That's the Potomac and this is me getting off on the wrong metro stop trying to navigate my way to Trader Joe's and then buying more food than I really wanted to carry home. Oh and committing a fashion crime by wearing my running shoes with jeans, but I had no other choice since the rest of my shoes are sitting in a box at the post office, undeliverable on this drizzly Veterans Day. But really, I had a huge smile on my face the whole time, because I'm here and this place is amazing and the shopping on M Street is fantastic and calling my name! (I will resist.) I think I'm really going to love living here!

I'm here!

Sitting in my new family room with one roommate on her laptop watching Alias and another in the kitchen making cookies with her boyfriend. Two others are upstairs in their respective rooms and another is out. Yep, that's right. There are six of us in this house.

It's super cute. Light bamboo flooring, dark wood cabinets in the kitchen and granite counter tops. Mismatched furniture. Two round kitchen tables. Guitar Hero guitars everywhere :). Lots of board games under the TV. And "every chick flick you can imagine". Really, between 6 girls in their late 20s--er, early, early 30s (my move in raised the age average), I guess I didn't need to bring my copy of Pride & Prejudice after all!

I know I should register with a temp agency tomorrow, but is it bad if I want to just take a few days to chill, get settled, find myself lost in the city a couple times trying to see some sites or just looking for the closest grocery store...???

Also, last night while still in Utah,during a routine hair appointment, we had a little accident. The result left me with a surprisingly fabulous color, slightly darker than I anticipated, with an pumpkin red streak in the back. I love it! I hope my future employer loves it too. (do not fret, you, I promise to be blonde again after Christmas.)

This wouldn't be an accurate relocation post without mentioning how hard it was to say good-bye to my family. I love them so much and will miss having them around more than I can tell.

A Friendly Reminder

Bijou Market is tomorrow from 10am-4pm. Check it out at http://www.bijoumarket.com/.

The space is HUGE. I had no idea. It's a big, unfinished strip mall with no walls inside. We mapped out the layout for all 45 vendors tonight--this is big!

Sweet Tooth Fairy will be there with free treats--first come, first serve! As is the entire event, so you'll want to get there early to have your pick of the fantastic merchandise.

Cash, check, Visa and Master Card are welcome.

On a personal note: Yesterday was my last day of work here and my co-workers threw me a sweet surprise bon voyage party. I'm down to 3 days before I move and trying to not panic!!! 5 boxes have been shipped (correction: are still sitting at the post office since apparently, they don't really rush to ship packages sent via "parcel post". thanks USPS for making my life more stressful. I'm just glad I decided last minute to keep my bedding with me and pack it in my luggage) and I'm wondering how I'm going to fit the rest into two suitcases and a carry on, while packing up everything else for storage, cleaning up my sewing room disaster :), and leaving my former living space in a somewhat livable condition. All that with a nice viral sinus infection. I can't help but laugh :). It's probably a good thing that I don't have a job waiting for me in DC so I can take a couple days off to unwind!

Really, though, I am so excited!

Socks for Soldiers


Do you think the philanthropic person who hand knit these "patriotic piggy warmers" :) and sent them to Iraq would be disappointed to find out that they are donning the feet of a deployed soldier's gf instead of a deployed soldier?? I promise I had nothing to do with it...but, I will enjoy them anyway!

November 3rd

(IF YOU CAN ONLY GO TO ONE BOUTIQUE THIS NOVEMBER GO TO BIJOU!! ) but this one is for a good cause too.

A couple months ago, I got a random email from a woman who works for Heritage Schools in Utah County with an invitation to participate in a fundraising boutique on Nov 3. With Bijou and the big move coming up, I had to cancel. But, that doesn't mean you local lovelies can't enjoy!

So I told her I would spread the word. All vendors will be donating a large portion of their profits to Heritage School's Sub-for-Santa program. I wish I could've helped with the e-flyer... I would've gladly donated my time.

More Hooah

video
I don't watch the news...at all...so I'm not sure what I was expecting to see on a US military base in Iraq, but it wasn't GMC trucks.

Today's as good a day as any

to spill some beans. (Where does that phrase come from?? So weird. How is spilling beans related to revealing a secret?)

Now that both of my grandma's know, I'm ready to tell everyone else that I'm moving. Yes, after a year-long "pit stop" in Utah, it is finally time to grow up a bit and move on...and across the country. I've done the west coast thing and now I'm ready to try out how the easterners do things. I think I mentioned that when I was in Washington DC this summer, I absolutely fell in love with the place--the pulse of the city just sunk into my bones. From salsa dancing and eating amazing Cuban food in Adams Morgan to strolling aimlessly through the outdoor market behind the Capitol to navigating the metro by myself to staring up at the Washington monument and being overwhelmed by the emotion of the Vietnam memorial, I got a glimpse of what it would be like to make our Nation's capital my home for awhile. But really! I'd be lying if I said this move has everything to do with my love of urban living and patriotism and absolutely nothing to do with a boy :).

So, in about three weeks, I'll be flying with all the possessions I can fit in two suitcases and a carry on to a new city with new roommates and a brand new adventure. I am so excited. Even through the overwhelm of packing and deciding what to take and what to leave behind and all the unknown, I catch myself getting giggly with delight.

More on this later, I'm sure.

I should be asleep

It's past my bedtime, but I'm missing my pre-sleep ritual and having a hard time winding down. Apparently the army likes to disrupt my routine :). I know there are a few spies ;) out there...I thought you might like this video too. (the stache is gone, ps, if anyone was wondering.)


video

You learn something new...

Maybe I am a little slow and I'm learning things everyone already knows. But, I learned a few new things in the last few days that I am so stoked about.

  1. dictionary.com has an audible pronunciation feature. I had never noticed the little speaker icon before the other day, I clicked it next to a word I was trying to learn and it was amazing. One incredible feature. The word was escutcheon. es ku chun. It means a shield displaying a coat of arms.
  2. Every star in the universe has a unique infrared signature. Today at my singles ward's FHE we had a guest speaker who is one of 93 people who qualified to fly the blackbird--SR71 spy plane used during the cold war. The plane uses the stars to navigate even during the day when you can't see the stars by identifying the most prominent star in the sky by it's infared waves (i.e. energy/vibe) and then from there, identifying two more stars creating a triangle to use for navigation. amazing. I love the stars and their spiritual significance--so I'm already thinking of ways to incorporate that into my personal gospel perspective. This presentation was so rad. example...the blackbird cruised at speeds of 35 miles per minute and at altitudes around 80,000 ft. Flight time from LA to London was 3:47:39, coast-to-coast in just over 1 hour! That would come in handy for me in the near future. Pres Reagan, shortly after his inauguration, started sending the plane over Cuba to let out a sonic boom here and there to send a message to Castro (I like that one). It only took 20 second to get airborne. Can you imagine the g-forces on your body?? It wasn't uncommon from the altitudes it flew for the pilots to see the curvature of the earth. The line of sight was 500 miles...meaning from the air, they could monitor LA and San Francisco at the same time. What a cool plane. ps, there's one in the Smithsonian annex at Dulles airport.
  3. Anyone can sell books on Amazon.com. it is SO easy and I am having SO much fun with this! I posted the majority of my text and reference books from grad school, just under the lowest price already posted, and within 24 hours I have already sold 11 books. I'll be using the money I make for my first month's rent... oh, but that's for another post. stay tuned for some exciting news. Well, I'm excited.

Bring it on!

I feel like I blinked and summer was gone! Normally, I'd be feeling abandoned by the season of sun, water, boating, laying out, etc...but not this year. I say bring on the fall--and winter for that matter. Time could not pass quickly enough for me right now.

Besides, how can I not love this??


I am lucky to have several crafty sisters, especially ones who let me sell stuff in their booths at events like the Sundance Harvest Market...


We couldn't resist a photo-op in the fall grass



It wasn't quite our target market, but it was fun to be outside on possibly the last hot Saturday of the year, enjoying non-stop, live bluegrass music and the smell of BBQ.
Thanks Em-bone!

The sign of true health and some sage advice

The other day at work I was checking out some patients, an older couple. The wife had long white hair pulled back loosely from her face with those curved combs (you know what I'm talking about?) and happy blue eyes. Her husband said, as I told them their total, "We're seniors" seeming to expect a discount. His wife chuckled and gave him a playful nudge, "He always says that." And as I'm admiring their affectionate interaction, she looks at me in awe, her breath catching in her throat, and says, "You have such a wide jaw!" I look at her with a degree of disbelief, thinking "Did she really just tell me that I have an abnormally wide face? 'Happy cheeks' really was just a nice way of saying I have a super fat face!" I think she saw the shock in my eyes and recovered by telling me how some lady who writes books says that a strong jaw is the sign of ultimate health! It shows that my mother was healthy while she carried me in her womb. Well, how can I refuse a compliment like that and from such a cute "senior"??? Thank you! And thanks, Mom, for being such a conscientious pregnant woman! If a fat face indicates good health, then maybe rolls and chub mean I was super healthy! (oh yes, see me at 1 year above...I wonder what bald indicates??)


Oh, just got a kick out of it. I turn back to her husband to reply to his "senior" joke and say that I can't wait until I get discounts on everything. He he gives me a stern look and says, "Don't you dare wish to speed up your youth!" I nod apologetically, pause, lean forward on my elbows and ask, "Is there anything you would do differently? Any wise advice for me?" I'm prepared to make mental notes. He strokes his wrinkled chin and holds up two fingers. "Never borrow money to relatives." Okay, never loan money to relatives. Noted. "And two, I would've invested more carefully." Make more money so I can invest. Duly noted.

That reminds me that I still need to write about my path towards financial freedom :). Our relief society lesson last week was on Elder Hales' general conference talk on being a "provident provider". I was so excited to comment and share what I've learned with the other girls. Something about me, if I think someone may learn a lesson from my mistakes, I will be the first to admit where I've gone wrong. It really does feel SO good to... (I better stop there or I'll ruin it for the real post)... stay tuned.

Proof!

...that missionary work can be done in happy valley.


Meet my friend Anastasia.
We met five weeks ago after she showed up at my ward one Sunday with a woman who is a patient at the clinic where I work. Because of my background in family therapy/counseling I am very familiar with the regulations of HIPAA in regards to patient privilege and confidentiality so I just noticed her from across the room and resisted approaching her to say hi. A couple days later, this patient was in the clinic and we talked.

I explained why I didn't say hi and she told me about Stasia, how she came to BYU for athletics and remained here for five years having limited contact with the LDS church to her coaches (after being bombarded in the dorms her freshman year, she has lived with other non-LDS athletes). I gave her my phone number to give to Stasia since she had expressed interest in coming to the activity we had planned for that week. Thursday, at the end of the day, the phone rang at the office after hours. I almost let it go to voicemail, but answered it at the last second. It was this patient-friend of Stasia's saying she had lost my number. I told her to give me Stasia's number and I would call her. That was our first "introduction", me calling her to invite her to our ward BBQ. It was like we had been friends forever on the phone and she immediately accepted my invitation.

After that night I invited her to church again. She seemed a little hesitant, saying that if she was up and didn't have anything else, she would come. After her response, I wasn't too hopeful about her showing up, but she did. And she came to the activity the next week (see above) and again to church the next Sunday. Later that week as we were playing tennis (well, she really was just giving me a lesson on how to hit) she told me she was having her first discussion with the missionaries. I was a little shocked. I knew she had lots of conversations with our mutual friend about the gospel--this lady is an amazingly positive example--but, she had told me that she had just needed friends. I asked her if I could come. The discussion was so different than I am used to, no invitation to be baptized, no challenge to read the Book of Mormon. The elders simply asked her what she knew about missionaries and then invited her to pray everyday (to which she replied she already was). My thought was, this girl is ready and these elders are totally unprepared. BUT it left her wanting more. They set up an appointment to come back on Wednesday (I couldn't make it because of a scheduling conflict in schedule).

Tuesday night after work, Stasia and I met up to hike the Y (my first time ever--I know, right?). At the top, as we looked over the valley she told me everything she loves about the LDS Church. I just listened in awe and tried my best to validate what she was saying and help her recognize the Spirit's witness. On the descent, she told me she wanted to be baptized before the end of next week and she was going to tell the missionaries at her appointment the next day. I couldn't have been more excited. "Really?" I said. "You really want to get baptized next week?" And with the biggest smile I've ever seen, she said, "Yes!" I got a call from her Wednesday night around 11:30, "Charity, will you come to my baptism this Saturday at 3:00?" Ha! And yesterday we got to watch as she was "reborn"..."no more [a] stranger and foreigner, but [a] fellowcitizen with the saints and the household of God."

It was a combined effort of her coaches, friends, professors, even Tom Homo the athletic director at BYU...so many people participated in Stasia's conversion. I feel so honored to have played a small part. It was a great reminder to me of the power of example and friendship AND a great reminder of why I am LDS.

Flowers travel better than cookies

I sent some cookies overseas a couple weeks ago. I wish I had taken pictures of the process, which included [baking*,] freezing them overnight, sealing in airtight baggies, packing in styrofoam with ice packs and sending on a prayer that they would only take a week to arrive. This is what I received upon their arrival, "It was a melted mess. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." Great response!! It's the thought that counts...as long as they tasted good, right?

Apparently there are things that ship better than others...

If only a camera could've captured the look on my face when these showed up at work yesterday! Absolute perfection on a rather dreary week.

Is it amazing to anyone else that these flowers were sent all the way from Iraq? :)


ps, I do know that they came from a local flower shop, but still! Do you want to know what really made me swoon? When he said after that he had tried to find pink peonies [my favorite], but they aren't in season. Uh...who are you and where did you come from?

Overdue


I have been longing to write, but haven't had much free time lately that hasn't been filled with other things. Tonight I came home a little early so I could spend a bit of time on the lesson for Sunday School tomorrow. I got a message Wednesday night asking if I would teach (the person who was scheduled to teach broke his ankle and had to have surgery, poor guy!), of course I accepted. It's hard for me to turn those requests down.

I just finished reading through the material and the last couple verses really stood out to me:

"You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves."

I love this verse--there is so much truth in the simple metaphor. It doesn't take much, just a good steering device to keep a boat from capsizing, but you have to know how to use the waves and the wind for your benefit to keep you above the surface. For any of you who have ever driven a boat on stormy waters, you know what I'm talking about. If you fight the storm, you are toast. If you use the storm, you will make it back to safety. I don't know why I love this so much, maybe because it's just ringing true for me. When we find ourselves in the midst of adversity, if we don't resist it, but use it...in the words of Elder Wirthlin, learn to say "come what may...and love it" then we can ride the wave of that adversity or trial to the safety of the shore.

"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."

I love feeling the power of the water underneath my boat, not harnessing it--for it cannot be controlled--but definitely using it and letting it carry me to where I need to go. If you give up, let go of the wheel and allow the rudder to go wild in the waves, you're sunk. But if you use the tools: the throttle, the steering system, the momentum and direction of the waves, the ride can and will be exhilarating.

Being a "boater" I guess this metaphor just really hits home for me. It makes sense. Adversity is not a option. If we want to get where we're going, then it is required that we face trials and tribulation. If we fight against it and resist it we will only end up frustrated and miserable. But, if we flow with it and use it for our benefit, cheerfully doing all in our power to ride it out and stay upright, then we will be able to stand still in the assurance of our salvation.

Doctrine & Covenants 123:16-17

I am more than a statistic

I am officially an ACD (adult child of divorce). It's very surreal. I found out on Wednesday morning. As I was walking out the door, my mom got a phone call from her attorney and I heard her say, "It was signed?" with all sorts of shock & surprise in her voice. It made for an interesting day. That night and the next morning I heard more stuff that just totally set me off making Thursday one of the craziest days of my life in terms of how I felt. It was like an out of body experience--I really think my spirit decided to take the day off. Near the end of the work day, I think I finally came out of it and shed a few tears. After work I just wanted to crawl in my bed and cry, so that's exactly what I did...for about 10 minutes and then I grabbed Bethany and we went for a drive up the canyon with the top down and the stero blasting. We sang at the top of our lungs and shouted angry words, letting the wind carry the hurt far, far away. Thank heavens for sisters and convertibles.

When we got back, I put on my running shoes and took off with my ipod. Dusk is one of my favorite times of the day--the witching hour when the mountains turn pinkish. It was very therapuetic. As I was on the home stretch, the sky looked something like this...

Yes, even this cloud has a shiny, bright, silver lining. I finished my workout in the yoga room (big smile). Again, accompanied by music--ps, the yoga room has amazing acoustics--I think everyone needs their own yoga room. The privacy of it all is great and I let my body dictate what I needed to do. I did an awesome arm work out with the 5# and danced it all out. I switched playlists and did a little yoga, moving into "tree," I visualized my roots growing deep into the only safe and secure foundation--the Savior. As I finished up and transitioned into Savasana (corpse pose--something I love about yoga is the final pose, laying on the mat with arms slightly extended from the body, palms facing up, total relaxation!) I told my ipod to "give me a good one". Bach's Cello Suite 1: Prelude was what I got. I absolutely LOVE this piece. If you ever need to feel grounded or just need a little inspiration, turn this song on and turn off all other distractions and just breathe! I laid on the floor in Savasana with the lights off and it was like little fireflies playing arpeggios on the strings of my soul.

They didn't teach us this stuff in grad school. I may have shouted a couple sentences, but there was no talking involved in this therapy session and I am convinced that it was the best possible treatment I could've received! I felt like a new person--my spirit was very much back in my body and happy to be there. I feel so much gratitude right now for crappy situations for which without I would not be forced to discover amazing rememdies.

(It didn't hurt one bit that right after I turned the lights back on, my phone sang a little Jason Mraz to me indicating a very long distance phone call that made my night. Great timing on that one!)

I wish all weekends...

...were 3-day weekends. I feel so productive and I still have half of my weekend left.

Thanks to my new-found motivator, I am finally making some necessary changes. I'm calling it my "partial person make-over"--since this is really covering just two, albeit big, areas. I'll probably blog about the first some time in the future, because the second is a lot more fun to talk about.

In an attempt to spur myself into changing area 1 (financial responsibility), I canceled my too-rarely used gym membership. I don't even want to think about how much money I donated to 24 hr fitness due to this mental block. I have been searching for the motivation to start exercising again (after long hours as a working grad student left me too tired). Now I really have no excuse. It's almost been a year since graduation, and though I've gone on some mini-fitness kicks, nothing has stuck around longer than a couple days. I've been tempted to try a different gym, but I decided today that this is one area that I can save some $$ and still do what I need to do.

For a while now, I have dreamed of having a yoga/meditation room. When the upstairs den was vacated this dream started to become a reality. This morning I spent some time putting some vital elements in place (after I went for a long--for me--walk/jog/run in the rain--it was a perfect way to start my Saturday).

Let me introduce you to one of my new best friends...my yoga room.
The vital elements:


and some much needed inspiration:


I have some big goals for myself to accomplish by the end of the year, now I have a place to work on a few of them, without undermining others.