Pages

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

UBER 2.0

Really?  This wasn't supposed to happen...Especially after believing I took the "wrong road" to find the right one faster...but here I am, back at Uber, different role, and UT based this time.  I am a 'remote' employee for the first time in my career.  I didn't know this was going to be part of my "New Chapter" given the many change this year has brought.  

I re-read my first post after leaving UBER, it was short and somewhat nostalgic.  Now I am back, all in and ready to figure out how to make this new gig work.  New CEO, many new leaders, 7,000 new employees despite the chaos and internal deconstruction that has taken place.  Time for a great turnaround story!  Maybe one of the biggest ever.... I feel so grateful the opportunity came my way the way it did.

I am not sure what will happen, but I know it will be very different and very big.  I hope I can stretch fast enough to keep up and contribute in a meaningful way.  The cause is still so cool.... Transforming cities and they way people interact and move.  Creating tons of new jobs for all kinds of people all over the world, opening doors where none could be opened, reducing pollution, eliminating congestion, saving lives everyday, creating new social experiences in transformative ways, innovating and paving the way for autonomous vehicles for the future.

I hope I can help.... wish me luck k?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Find Your Footing.....Find Your Voice


A few weeks ago we received a hand written letter from McKenna from her mission in Uruguay.  Can I just say how incredibly fun it is to get a pure handwritten letter these days, when email is so much easier and faster.  In her letter she talked about her first two months... the ups the downs and the joy she is learning from both.  She shared her journey of trying to navigate success in her chosen new way of life.......living 24x7 with someone who doesn't speak her language, who doesn't share all the same values, very different personality and who sometimes lets her insecurities rule how she treats others...

She encapsulated this journey by writing: 

"I am trying to find my footing now, so that I can find my voice later...."

As soon as I read those words, they immediately stuck, like pinning a specific location on a google map.  It was like pure intelligence flowing into my mind... somehow I knew this was important despite not knowing what it exactly meant for me in that moment, but I knew what it meant for her.....that right now, in her world, everything was about forming a firm foundation..... getting more comfortable with Spanish, connecting with her companion, building trust with local church members and leaders, becoming more accustomed to the people and their customs first.... so that a bit later, after these things were in place, she could literally launch herself into a new orbit, like this picture of her above, with all her energy and spirit.......into a place where she could totally express the deep feelings she has in her heart without constraint, yes...even with total abandon. That space......where she could explicitly share her testimony and the love she has for Heavenly Father and Christ to others in her own unique way.... with her very special individual "voice."

When I heard these words from her letter, my mind could instantly see that place, where she, with her radiant face and spirit, was able to share her personal experiences, beliefs and values to others who might be interested in learning what plan God might have for them.  Where her heart could leap for joy as she could see how her efforts might lead any one to greater happiness by feeling God's love for them.

So, once I finished pretending to play this out for her in my minds eye...... I eventually turned those words inward where I found many questions looming.....Where is my footing?  Where is my voice?  Am I on solid ground?  Am I sharing all that I should be authentically with all my energy?

In LDS scripture, there are 25 references to the phrase:  "serve with all your might, mind and strength"  One of my faves is:  
"Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day."   D&C 4:2
Aren't we all in the service of God?  Maybe your God has a different name..... Maybe you don't go to Church, but I bet you serve others......probably very often, even daily....... A wise man named Mosiah said that when we serve each other, in essence we are only serving our God.  

A horrific thing happened this week in Vegas.  59 people died and hundreds more were injured from a shooter who ended up taking his own life.  Hard to even consider how this could happen, much less any motif...Truly soul shaking and evil at its core.  What was amazing was the collective response of so many people that have come out to support the relief efforts.  Many heroic stories that we don't even know about....too soon, but they will come out in time.  In fact, so many people have volunteered so many things that relief command couldn't even handle it all.   Talk about serving others...... What  a huge support from the community....no religion, no politics, no race, no gender issues....they just came forward because they knew in their hearts that serving was the right thing to do.

Yes, America was certainly shaken with the news..... but within hours, I would say she found her footing......within 1 day, I would say she found her voice..... a collective voice that has united us all and enabled us to find our own.....

I think in life we all get shaken......it often isn't just tragic events, but small things that can trip us up.  The wrong attitude, a bit of pride, a hurt feeling, feeling alone, feeling criticized, experiencing loss....are just a few.  What I think I am learning from McKenna is that it isn't about whether we lose our footing, but that we constantly need to find it and secure it, so that then, and only then.... can we share all the contents of our hearts with others....with all our abandon.....yes! even with all our might, mind and strength and feel the confidence that Heaven is smiling down on our efforts.

I am not sure how blameless I will actually be as I stand before God on that last day...... but I would like to believe, that if I can help you and you can help me to get clear about where we are standing and then what we are standing for that when asked I will be happy to say: "Oh yes, here is a good and faithful servant, please may they enter into your rest....."

Go for it McKenna, I can't wait to hear what happens when your voice is found... and then heard, the music it will make, the joy it will create, the closeness people will feel towards Heaven as a result.... I gotta tell you, in my book, you came with it as a little girl.  I have been listening to it your whole life, and it is so very sweet....

Sunday, October 1, 2017

New Chapter

Have you ever found yourself in a great book, reading a really good chapter and you are so deep into it you don't want it to end?  
And even though you know the chapter has to end you go through the inevitable angst anyway and keep reading cause you have to.

There have been some times when a particularly good chapter has managed to get me so deeply engrossed in the story that I have to actually pause at the end, put the book down, and just soak in what just happened.  Like rewinding and recapturing the highlights and how I felt.  Like soaking and trying to visually keep it altogether in my mind.....

Then, a few minutes later....you pick the book back up and guess what?  There is a brand new chapter to throw yourself into all over again!  Fantastic... who knows what is going to happen next.

As far as the chapters in my family's book of life go, our last chapter was pretty incredible.  12 years ago we rolled into Centerville, UT from Rochester, NY.  We bought an old historic home with a secret garden and a big rock wall.  It had mystery, character and whimsy.  There were fun nooks, cranny's, places to explore, to play and to dream.  Our kids grew up there and made the very most of it.  While the fun house may have captured their imagination, it was the people that came into our lives that captured our hearts.

The neighborhood was friendly and the people we associated the most with were those that came regularly to church.  They were amazing.........actually, they were magnificent.  Deeply spiritual people willing to serve us at a moment's notice.  It was a privilege to live amongst these people.  These didn't wait to be told that someone needed a tree to be cut down, or a meal due to sickness.  These people just knew these things as they occurred and they just took care of each other without waiting for an assignment, project or any organized activity.  No recognition needed.  On Sunday they taught our kids about Jesus and how he lived his life.  During the week they practiced what they preached.  They lived as He did, loving others, looking for ways to help, giving of their means and time as if they had big bank accounts of it to just spend at will.  The influence of these good neighbors was immense on us and our kids.  They modeled everything you read about in the Bible everyday.  How could that not ultimately affect us?

As a result, our kids had frequent spiritual experiences during the course of those 12 years....watching these people first, pondering and wondering, then forming their own opinions of what they believed in, then copying them...practicing what they were seeing until it became very familiar to them, like singing the words to your favorite country song.

They grew up and formed their own chapters of their own books.  They learned, loved and occasionally lost, but they will always remember what happened here in Centerville, and why.

Then they all left....well, almost all......One beautiful redhead is now curling her toes over the launchpad, the last one preparing to leap off of her perch of home..... thus ending this chapter.

I pause and put the book down for a minute.... I close my eyes and rewind and reminisce in the highlights of that wonderful chapter of our lives.  Faces pop up with each memory... faces that will not be forgotten....I soak one last time before saying farewell to home, house and friends.  I pick up the book and turn the page.....

.....I wonder what is in store for us now?

I can't wait to see.....


Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Answer




Yesterday....

my

heart 

was

troubled 

inside



So...

I

knelt

and

prayed



Today...


received 

an 

answer



Is there anything more beautifully stunning than receiving a clear answer to prayer?   I am not sure. 
It is like.... a calm lake.  So, just like releasing the birthday balloons to the heavens as an 8 year old after the party,  I now find a fistful of  different "balloons"-- representing the persistent plaguing questions I have so tightly gripped and grappled with for a season...  

Ah!.... so now to let go.... why is it so hard?  The answer has come so clear and plain.  Why the hesitation?   

I inhale in and hold my breath....for forever.........eventually I exhale.  My fingers open and I let go.......  A new smile starts to form... a different smile.  One that will sustain me, one that will matter years from now as I reflect back on this poignant moment in my life.  



May courage find us both !
















Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Two Dobermans

(The other day I made reference to the Two Dobermans in my "In Between" post.  Here is a bit more on that....)

I am not sure when they showed up.  I never invited them in.  They seemed to have just appeared.  I don't remember one and then the other... I have always known them together, and I guess they have always been there.  They can't seem to be without the other.

They have lived inside me all this time, they reside in the recesses of my mind.  They have found a home that is for sure and no matter what I do, they never leave.  I will not name them for they know who they are, I just wish they didn't know me so well.

These are they who represent both ends of the moral spectrum.  These are they who both think they know what I should hear, what I should know and what I should do.  They seem to know things I don't.  They have an uncanny sense of knowing when to show up....often during change.  They feed off of the "valley of despair".... that place I call the "dip" where confusion, anger and frustration live. They both have much to say.

When I get wound up the most is when I find the one on the right... barking loudly to me of all the things I deserve, that I should have, that I am justified in doing and having for my own.  When I least expect it I hear the other on the left....also barking, but the message is different, it is less voracious, but very compelling and persistent. This one reminds me of what I know, what I feel, what I believe in ...of where I need to point my life.  They take turns, but there are times when they don't..... they decide to go after one another.... sometimes I see them as an observer, wondering if they know I am watching... feeling the tension they create, wondering if either will back down.  They both know what it tastes like to win, so they are emboldened to hold their ground.  The trouble comes when I lose sense of who is right... how can they both sound right?!  That is when I feel the most chaos inside... when they both bark so boldly and brightly.

Do you have dobermans?  Maybe not dogs, maybe something else.... but do you know these actors in your mind's stage?  They read their lines a million times, but you still haven't heard a thing?  Rather you look for a way to avoid them, to drown out the barking by escaping to places in your mind and imagination where real answers are so elusive....The answers aren't ever in a place, rather, they are in you all the time....lingering waiting to see which one of the dobermans you end up listening to to coax out your choice.

Maybe you don't have them, but I do.  They are very familiar to me, but we are not friends.... and yet somehow they have become part of my psyche and my soul.  The conflict rages and then subsides..... in an endless continuous cycle like the perennial ebb and flow of the sea's tide.

Over time, as I have thought about them and their purpose,  I have come to believe that I need them.  I need the contrasting noise, I need to feel the pull one way and then the other, the familiar tug of suggestion until the moment of choice occurs..... They don't seem to keep score, but they never back down.  They drive me crazy, they keep me sane..... they cripple me with honesty and crush me with lies.  They remind me of the fight inside myself, the fight I hope to win...of who I need to be.

Yes, I have two dobermans....I hope yours are not like mine.....





Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The End of Summer

It is midnight, Labor Day just passed by a few minutes ago...feels like the end of summer......

What a great weekend!  The sun was out, drenching all with its heat.  I was there, basking in it.  The moisture that came wasn't so bad, I knew it was going to come so I made room for it in my mind.... The sunset was awesome... it has been for the past few days.  The varied hues of yellow perfectly depict the season..... a season full of light.

I had carefully been keeping track of the days getting darker a few minutes faster.... as if thinking that if I paid that much attention I could will the day to linger, longer than it needed to....

Man I love the heady days of summer.  Where the world is a a glow with gold color.  Afternoons are the very best....They get really quiet...they are like incredible paintings just waiting to be watched, to be soaked in deep.  I love the clarity the heat brings to each day.  Hot is hot, and it is supposed to be that...right?  Why anything else during Summer?  To layout and feel the heat get to that perfect temperature when your body says "Hey, let's get in the water k?"  I always agree and getting in the water is wonderful.. the chill around the shoulders as they submerge causes the little shivers all over.... lingering with my arms over the side of the pool I wait until I really cool off, but then before I get too cold I climb out and lay flat on the hot cement pool side.... I feel the immediate burn and then feel the heat turn to warm.  The wind blows and I feel that oh so yummy balance of chill and heat at the same time.

Summers are made for long drives, long walks, long bike rides and long conversations on a porch. Summers make room for great memories to be made.  Early morning or late afternoons... the days are so extended they beckon for folks to come outside and be with it... Summer is for outside, but has a way of turning everything inside at the end of the proverbial summer's day.  Being out with family only really means making small important internal connections....

The bike rides with the warm wind in my face felt right.  It was very ok.... it felt familiar and like a friend it beckoned me to go a bit further, to discover country dirt roads I had never taken before, to look at farms, fields, homes and nature with new light, new filters with the only purpose to just..... discover, and soak and just....be.

Feels like the end of Summer, but oh what a Summer it was!!  I squeezed almost every minute of it I could.  I wasn't always busy, sometimes just super lazy.... whatever the day asked of me.... I gave freely.  

I love Fall, but Summers feel like old friends.  Easy to say hi to, easy to get a long with, always there when you need them.   

So, this Labor Day reminds me the Sun has worked hard.... it deserves a rest I guess, so with the familiar ache of hurting good I watch one of the last sunsets after 8pm descend below the Earth's horizon while it spews forth amazing colors of light as if one last ditch effort to remind us of all it can do and be.....

Yes, it feels like the end of Summer......one last warm reassuring hug.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

In-Between

I did not expect a year ago that I would be in-between homes, and that I would be one inch away from having no kids left at home, that the roadmap of my so carefully crafted career path would fall apart so quickly....  I wasn't ready for the abrupt punch in the face that stuns one's senses....leaving one dazed, confused a bit and without momentum...

Have you experienced "in-between" before?

 Although I have been in-between a thousand times before, this 'in-between" has been different.  This isn't about being in-between jobs, homes, schools, or even countries in my case..... This is that new kind of different.... the empty place of in-between when the kids leave.  I can remember just yesterday how the house was bustling with kids and activities. Every minute was eaten up with things to do, kids to take care of, errands to run...... the idea of finding time for myself was fleeting... maybe I would get a few minutes, maybe an hour on some days.  Many times the only way to find that time was by staying up too late at night.  Back then, it was that place where I found myself many times in the driveway of my home, after work, lingering for a few extra minutes to lean my head on the steering wheel, mentally preparing myself for the onslaught of what awaited just a few feet away....inside.  Not bad, just busy....good busy.  It would require an "all in" attitude, anything in-between wouldn't be enough.

That was yesterday.... today I walk in and I can hear a pin drop.  Eerie...No noise... no bustle.... just a new kind of unnerving quiet.  I never would have thought free time would ever be a burden but it has been for the first time.  How weird.....The minutes can seem like hours, the hours days.  The irony is now I am not sure what to do with it.  Yes, I now can do all those things I never could before.  So I do them... and there is tons of time left.  This was that time people would talk about to write the next great American novel, to redecorate, learn a new instrument, or donate all your time to the needy.
Funny how that is not where my head or heart is...I can't seem to find the momentum to realize all those things I dreamed about.

Sometimes I feel the silence screams so loud here in this forsaken in-between place... silence that creates its' own tension inside.  I should be ecstatic!  How come it isn't enough?   Why am I restless? What kind of crazy is this?

I am not comfortable in or with this place... I want the clarity of one side or the other, not wanting to pretend I am ok in the "middle", only to confront the reality of my restlessness, like an animal pacing back and forth as if stuck in a pen trying to break through and run free.

In these "in-betweens" I found those two dobermans going at each other in my mind.  Each barking the virtues of their points of view, trying to coax me into their respective corner....being caught in the middle..... clearly seeing both sides, but knowing I need to ultimately side with one....Like letting go of a very dreamy dream despite its' slippery grasp on reality, knowing the inevitability of having to focus forward on something more tangible, more solid, more real.  Not easy for a dreamer like me.... but.....necessary.

I close my eyes, and reach out wide with both arms trying to feel the security and hardness of walls, walls I can lean on, walls I can feel and trace my fingers across the random grooves on its surface, following the texture until they arrive at the certainty of borders and boundaries.....

solidity of purpose.








Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Total Eclipse

Today the moon did what it always does every day, rotate around the earth in it's habitual unsurprising orbit.  A dead rock tethered to a cosmic gravitational leash.    It had no idea that today would be different..... very different.  The sun didn't have anything special planned either.   It was going to do what it did everyday, blast us with light, heat and a bunch of UV rays.

Today their paths would cross seemingly randomly, just by chance the moon would pass for just a few minutes directly in front of the sun.  The affect would be dramatic and capture the imagination of millions, and yet each wouldn't know about the other, neither would care.

It was so cool to see the light of the practically noon day sun soften so suddenly yet slowly all at the same time, such sublety.  It was as if a camera filter had been placed over all the earth, or over all our eyes.   Then the air slowly got cooler, the temperature dropped as if someone literally clicked down on the thermostat 10 degrees.  It was like being in a real life sci fi movie for a few minutes.  So odd, so cool and so captivating.  We were there, for just those few minutes, and then the light normalized, the heat came back and we went on our way......the moment had passed, and we were all that we were before.  But we were all part of something special for that moment.

Most of our lives is about people crossing our paths, and us theirs....  Most of the time they are like partial eclipses, then once in a while, we experience a total eclipse.  These are different.  These cast a different light on things.  The temperature changes in that we feel different, we see things in a different light......as if seeing things for the first time.  They can be cosmic, they definitely capture our imagination.  We find ourselves dreaming for a few minutes like we all did today watching that eclipse in the sky......wondering what could be.....lost in our view heavenward.

Maybe you have had a few total eclipse moments in your life.... I have.  They tend to mark us with more permanent ink than the normal day to day crossings.  They always seem so random, but when looking back, they aren't are they?   Something orchestrated the timing, the sequence, the time, so perfectly.  Can it really be so random when it comes to you and me.... Really?  It was just coincidental that you and I met the way we did?  Accidental?  I don't think so..... We felt the connection, we were drawn to each other.....cosmic no?  I would like to think it wasn't something, but rather someone who knew cosmic math so well that the algorithm of our particular total eclipse was perfectly designed for you and I to know each other.... so we could love each other better.  Here is to all the total eclipses that have brought all of you to my life.  I am the better for it.

If this is what calculus was all about, then I get it now.....I guess I am ok with learning math in Heaven after all....

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Archer's Bow

I felt it first with Landon, and each new that came after has been the same.  I have always felt, way down deep, that these amazing five fingered humans never came from us, rather...through us. I have never felt that they were 'mine.'  The process that brings each one here is too cosmic, too crazy, too mindblowing to think that they could be anyone else's but His, from Heaven.

One might ask, "Does that change your love for them?"  

I would say that is has influenced and shaped the way I see and love them.  

Mom always taught me that when we 'borrow' something we treat it differently, more carefully, in fact, if you can, give it back better than when you got it.  There is a greater sense of mindfulness I believe that occurs when someone lends you something very special to them.  

Usually, there is a hesitation I think.... when someone asks to borrow something of you that is like...one of your favorite things and you are kinda like "Oh crap.... really?"  You think you might want to say "no" but you don't know how....Does that happen to you?  You end up saying "yes" and then you wonder and worry if you are really going to get that thing back, or in the shape that you expect.   I have always admired the 'instantaneous lender', that person that joyfully gives, with almost no regard for hesitation... they have somehow already worked out all that worry stuff that normally gets in the way... they don't have it.  They start from a very different place.  A wonderful place that when you see it in someone else you marvel....a place that seems more difficult for you....thus the admiration.

So Heaven lent us these four...  cream of the crop, grade A quality, top of the line.... He gave us the best of the best.  What does one do with the best of the best??   Eventually, after alot of hand wringing and over analyzing, it comes to you in a flash.....you just get out of their way.  The most simple hard thing ever a parent does.   It is a sophisticated form of letting go, without abdicating any responsibility.  This kind of letting go actually changes you .... you step aside a bit, but you are doing all the learning, fumbling around to find your new foothold, to find the banister that is no longer there.  Never has there been so heavy a burden of turning over the bricks to God, one by one realizing He knows where to place each one, in the building of their future pathways.  

Gibran calls them arrows and us bows and He is the archer.  I connect strongly with his metaphors.  I identify with what he describes in a powerful way.  I love how he makes me think differently, about trajectory and how I can help them with that.  Trajectory is long-term mindedness, not short-term.  It keeps my eyes looking further ahead than normal.....  So I pull back as hard as I can, I try and aim while my arm quivers a bit... looking out without seeing everything, hoping, praying, learning to not worry as I let loose of each arrow... each one going on a different path, a path designed especially for them.  

With one arrow left in the quiver, I ponder about the other 3 that have soared through the air finding their mark...How will I know if I bent back far enough?  Misjudged the aim? Am I strong enough to get them to where they are supposed to go?  I must leave it up to the archer.  He can see... He knows....

So we return those that were sent through us, borrowed... one at a time....feeling the temporary loss, but filled by the experience we had with each.  The greatest gifts.... what an honor, what a privilege.... to have been part of your flight.  Fly sharp, fly true, fly far and find your mark.


On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts, 
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, 
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, 
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, 
and He bends you with His might 
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, 
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Happy Birthday Gold Dragon

It was super hot, like 100 degrees hot.  Early July....not like 1pm hot, but the worser hot, yep.... the 6:30pm hot.  Way worser...

The objective was to move this huge pile of dirt to the back yard and spread it evenly.  Maybe 200 wheelbarrow trips....  This wasn't one of those "required training" moments, it was service, plain and simple.  Volunteer time....

So, it didn't even hit me until I was really into my 10th load or so.... there was Alexa, shoveling away, non stop.  I stopped... looked up and realized that she was actually there.... no whining, no sass, no saucy quips, no sarcasm.... She didn't complain that she had to go... I don't  remember even asking her to come.  She just did, and was there....

I was caught off guard.  Not because she would never do this kind of work.   No, she could work hard when she wanted to. Not that she didn't want to serve, she has done plenty of that. Something was different.  Enough for me to pause, watch her do about 10 shovels and then I took a picture, hoping that something would connect later.....

..... I think I just connected.   With Landon off at college for the summer, and McKenna in Uruguay and Braden off to Thailand, it was just her.  She was the only left at home.  It was if she knew that and subconsciously and knew that she was now the new "Braden", the one that we would need to lean on, the one we could depend upon, the one that would be our rock in their absence.

This was her stepping up and doing what it took despite the unpleasantness of it all. It was like she grew up all over again in an instance.  I knew I would not see her the same after this.  She had crossed that threshold of being a sassy "kid" to that of full grown sentient adult.  A bit of a rite of passage in the most unexpected scenario.  Maybe I am off, but that is what came to me as I reflected on what caused me to pause and wonder.

I must say I loved the moment I found myself in.  I loved catching her doing this, doing it to help someone, doing it for love and the goodness of her heart.  Somehow she knew this wasn't the time for all her extraordinary and wonderful sassisness, which is also very fun.

Today is her birthday.  She is seventeen.  The 20th day of the year 2000.  The year of the Dragon.  In fact, of all the elemental dragons, she is a Gold Dragon who displays characteristics of  being natural and straightforward, which is Alexa to a T.  Other notable Gold Dragons are Bruce Lee, John Lennon and Pele.... not such bad company to be in.   Gifted with innate courage, tenacity and intelligence, dragons are enthusiastic and confident. They are not afraid of challenges, and willing to take risks. 

Alexa does all of this just below the surface.  She spouts a bit out loud, but never announces her moves....but underneath she has a heart of gold.  No wonder she is a gold dragon.  She would do anything for anyone.  She has handled an enormous amount of personal and family change and has handled it like a pro.  It has to be so hard to be the last one at home, having to deal with Mom and Dad peering in on her every move.  Who else are they going to pay attention to?  So, yes, she is under the microscope like none of her siblings have had to experience.  

The best is when I can catch that most magnificent smile she has, the one she hides, the one she knows about, but reserves for certain boys and when she buys cool new clothes. The one that shows who she really is inside.  The one that when she decides is finally safe to show the world, could actually affect the earth's orbit.  The one that fills the heart with one glance.  It sneaks out more than she would like it to.  She has a reputation at stake, one that could possibly be ruined if this particular smile became to "present" too often. So, guard it she must......for now.  

But soon.... it will be revealed, she won't be able to stop it... it has to come forth and shine.

I can't wait for that day.   It has been 17 years of waiting.... she has come a long way since wanting to "slice my head and arms off" when she was a 3 year old greeting me at the door after coming home from work.... it has been worth the wait.

Let's go Dragon... start blazing your next 17! 

Happy birthday!!