Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas--from Sunny San Diego

That's right y'all, I am in the beautiful California visiting my parents for the Holidays! I brought Bret with me...oh...serious! All we have been doing since we got here is eat...and eat some more. There is nothing like Daddy's home cooking. I was talking with Bret today and we talked about how he wasn't feeling quite like it was Christmas because there wasn't snow....well...after thinking about it, I have never had a Christmas with the snow. I proceeded to talk about how it doesn't matter whether you have rain, snow or beach-filled heat...Christmas is Christmas with family. I made Bret go and call his family so it felt more like Christmas to him....

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Education system: Is our creativity suppressed?

The education system is suppressing our creativity. A bold statement? Maybe...but allow me to explain in the only way I can think how. Here is an example: My little brother, now 8 years old, just moved with my parents from Sierra Vista, Arizona to San Diego, California. A couple years ago, elementary schools in Arizona took out classes relating to P.E., music and art. I just found out that my brother is enrolled in a school where the teacher decides if they want to spend their time teaching any one of these subjects. So now, because most teachers were not trained to teach music or art, my brother’s education is limited to academics with no emphasis on the arts. In my opinion, without the arts, the voices that drive creative intellect are lost, because they are not being practiced!

Recalling my childhood, the fondest memories I have of school were not all related to the academic learning, but to the more ‘creative learning,’ which I am partial to. I remember my 7th grade English teacher, Ms. Winfield. Perhaps considered a little unethical in her method of teaching, I felt that her teaching style is what directed me to love the language arts.

Ms. Winfield’s class was designed in such a way that the students had the opportunity to develop their own grades. By this, she gave lists of tasks we could do to get an ‘A’ in her class. These tasks included writing poetry, reading books and giving book reports, compiling an English journal, etc. She would teach us grammar, vocabulary, etc., and we would dissect the language of the classics. She gave us full poetic license that allowed us to write without feeling inhibited by the rules she taught of grammar or sentence structure. She would educate us on the proper way of writing after we finished our work, but would not doc points from our grade, unless there was a bizarre spelling mistake. She made me discover how much I loved to write…something I continue to love.

I had other teachers who were so particular about how we would write. During those class periods, I felt like I was being chained to a desk. I felt the creativity stop seeping out of my fingers, and my writing became dull and often void.

It wasn’t until my opinion writing class in college, that I actually enjoyed writing again. Nancy Williams, my college professor, would ask us to write 10 minutes during each class period non-stop. The trick to this method of writing was that we were not allowed to go back and correct spelling, restructure our sentences or edit anything in our text. We just had to write. The rest of the class was spent on editing our writing. This exercise allowed us to get that internal editor out of our heads-the internal editor that had been placed there in our youth that never allowed us to come up with some brilliant pieces of work.

I had a friend send me this link today that I am so excited to share! I borrowed this intro from the site: Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it. With ample anecdotes and witty asides, Robinson points out the many ways our schools fail to recognize -- much less cultivate -- the talents of many brilliant people.

Here is Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

All Things PR

Seeing that I love all things PR. I found this article very interesting. I tend to ignore the comments at the bottom (they just make me mad)....although, everyone is entitled to their own voice. This is mine!

Salt Lake Tribune Article

Is the Internet the New Mission Field for the Church

Essentially, the article is talking about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints using social media as a way to spread the gospel. It is very interesting. In response to the blog posted by Nikki Tross, it looks like they are using this incredible medium to create real-life videos of real-life conversion stories. Taking from her blog, I just want to re-iterate the original message.

LDS Newsroom: Using Videos to Communicate a Message

For the sake of reader's who may not be of the same religious affiliation, I just want to say that faith is faith, regardless of what religion you are. Cling to it and proclaim it from the rooftops.
That is the best PR. It seems to be in my experience that a faith in something is better than a faith in nothing. For me, a faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is best faith I can have!

Monday, December 17, 2007

I am grateful

There are so many things in my life that I am grateful for, but I wanted to mention a few that I have been thinking about this past holiday season. Though not in order of importance, I just wanted to take some time to ramble away!

There was a time in my life that I remember wanting to get away from my family, not because I didn’t love them…oh no…but rather that I wanted to explore my independence and garner experiences, so I could eventually go back to my parents and take pride in this new independent person. I am most grateful to my parents for ‘kicking me out’ of the house to find this independent person. Since then, I have graduated, worked my way up in the corporate world and love where I am. Since being ‘kicked out’, I have had the opportunity to live close to other family and now my sister and brother live close by! I will cherish this time forever! Now, I wish more than ever I could go back to the way it used to be….not being responsible….living with my parents…having them around constantly, because it is easier that way!

After college, I began working for The Summit Group, where I had a chance to ‘grow up.’ I am grateful for the people I worked with at TSG that helped me grow. Growing is sometimes a painful thing, but in the end, I loved how everything turned out. With that growth (very similar to moving out of the house) I felt that I had grown up a lot and needed to move on to bigger things! I am grateful to a new company (Two Little Hands Productions, producers of the TV and DVD series Signing Time!) full of great people that also see in me a potential to help grow their business!

Back in April, I was able to participate in an Easter Oratorio where we celebrated the life of Christ. An incredible performance by both the choir and the orchestra, I am grateful for music and the ability it has to ease my chaotic soul. I can’t say enough about how music has truly impacted my life. Though on a whole separate thought, I have also had the opportunity to go and listen to some amazing performers this year including: the cast of Wicked! (my heart melted…hah….so much I am going again), Tony Bennett (where I fell in love), Jewel (her yodeling is incredible), the Utah Jazz performers (PC Jazz festival), Def Leppard (only the greatest band ever. There were also performances by Styx and Foreigner), Diana Reeves (most amazing Jazz Diva), Mormon Tabernacle Choir featuring the King Singers (Oh Holy Night….sigh*). I could go on….

Before fall had officially begun in Salt Lake City, there was an incredible lightning and rainstorm that made the power go out all around the city. Branches were falling everywhere and I felt like I was in the movie ‘Twister.’ That night after an institute class, I went out to my car and began to drive out of the parking lot. I realized that I was driving on none other than a flat tire….whoops. I am grateful to a guy named Lee (whom I haven’t seen since this tragic night) who braved the storm to help a woman in a white blouse and heels change a tire. I will never forget his kindness as he even drove with me to a gas station to fill up my tires with air and made some recommendation as to the repair of my tire and tires to come.

I am grateful for sunlight! Fall took a while getting to Salt Lake….and for that, I am grateful!! Missing the AZ!

If you had a chance to read my blog, you would have seen a story I published in March about ducks crossing the road. Back in March, I was going through a hard time in my life. I found that the world around me was harsh and mean and that people were rude and inconsiderate. Though I tried not to pattern my life around these harsh circumstances, I found that I started to walk around in a bubble. I no longer smiled at passers-by, I felt like Eeyore with a constant cloud over my head, but most importantly I stopped believing that people in the world were capable of kindness. One day, a man was waving at me to stop at an intersection where the light was green. I quickly slammed on my brakes not knowing why. Shortly after, a mother duck and her ducklings were able to cross the road to safety. I am grateful for the man that stopped traffic to allow the duck family to cross. He restored in me a faith that people are innately good! Because of my busy and hectic life (which really isn’t that busy), I had failed to see that I am truly surrounded by angels that are just trying to live their lives the best they know how, too.

I am grateful for the angels that I know on a more intimate level. I am grateful for friends who have supported me through hard times, who have cried with me, who have laughed with me, who have helped me grow up, but who still let me be a kid sometimes too. I will never forget the amazing friendships I have made and hold so close to my heart. I am making it a goal to stay reconnected with people who have truly contributed to my quilt of life (thanks for the phrase Sis. Lawver). My goal may seem silly, but is something I truly care about, as I hope to maintain these angels in my life….

Most importantly (and yes, ranked as number 1), I am grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate during this time of year. I know that He came to this world as the Son of a living God and that through His example we might know how to return to the presence of the Almighty. How wonderful it is to know that He lived His life, paid the ultimate price and lives again for all of us, so that we may have the opportunity to be happy for time and all eternity! How grateful I am to know that it is only through Jesus Christ, the healer, the lamb, our advocate, our Redeemer, our brother, and our Savior that we can all be truly happy!

I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season. Regardless of where you are, I hope you all know how much I love and appreciate all of you! I am truly grateful to be able to share these thoughts with you as we conclude yet another wonderful year of our lives! May you be blessed in your lives.

God Bless...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Daugther inspires mother to create sign language videos

I work for a woman named Rachel Coleman, the mother of two exceptional children; Leah age 10 was born profoundly deaf and Lucy age 7 was born with spina bifida and cerebral palsy. In an effort to help others be able to communicate with Leah, Rachel and her sister created a video series (starring Leah, her daughter) called Signing Time that became this nationally recognized program dedicated to helping children of ALL abilities learn American Sign Language (ASL) through music, animation and fun. So many have benefited from the miracles of being able to communicate with their children at an early age.....Read more!

read more | digg story

Monday, November 26, 2007

Behind on my correspondence

Yes, I know....I am sure you are thinking "she moved away to Utah and we never heard from her again!!" Well, no more I tell you. I have been scrapbooking, yes, scrapbooking and miss all those times I had that really defined who I am! Those times rollin' with homies in Sierra Vista. I miss it. I crave it. And I am going to make a New Year's resolution in November to do better at keeping in touch. Just a little update and hope to get some comments....nothing too insightful, but if you are in the mood for that, just see my other blogs....what was I on?

I am living with Brendon, who is 18 by the way....it is so crazy! He is just chillin and doing community college classes here until he leaves on his mission. He is a little stinky and doesn't like to do the dishes. But I only have him for a couple more months, so it doesn't bother me!

My sis Jamie and her husband live a couple blocks away, so we get together often. She is going to graduate from the University of Utah in December 2007, but won't get to walk until April/May ish 2008. Her and Jordan are looking for their first home...and yes, she is very baby hungry!

My parents and little bro (8-year old Bryan) moved from SV to San Diego!! Their house was right where the fires were, but they are safe!! Whew. Mom is still trying to get some girl buddies to go and see movies with. She loves to entertain company and is always working on project. If you are ever in town, she will take you in. Just let me know and I can hook it up! Right now, she is probably the most amazing quilter I have ever met! Dad is keeping busy with his job. Apparently his office overlooks the ocean....I feel so sorry for him ;) They miss SV, but they are excited for this new adventure.

I just got a new job at Two Little Hands Productions, the producers of that public television series Signing Time! that teaches children how to sign at a young age! It is amazing. I am doing their PR and Communications.

I worked at another firm, The Summit Group, for 3 years and felt that I needed a change up! So, here I am....and I absolutely love it.

I know you are all curious....so I will let you know that yes, I am dating a kid that is 2 years younger than me, and is going to school part-time and working full time. He is incredibly solid in his faith. It is refreshing to find someone who is not afraid to be completely genuine and sincere! He is amazing with his family and knows what he wants out of life. I respect him and care for him (mushy I know)...but I think I 'm falling for him! Spread the word.... the jig is up....

I miss all you dear friends and hope that we can pick up where I (apparently) left off. Welcome me back from the dark ages. I hope to hear from some of you soon.

My love is deep, my love is strong....

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Crossing to Safety

I was driving down a busy road the other day. Four cars were stopped in front of a traffic light that was green. Two people were next to their cars waving their arms. My first instinct was that someone was in an accident. In an effort to help those around me see the situation, I stuck my hand out the window and slowed down. I looked over to see why we were slowing down and saw a mother duck crossing the busiest intersection during rush hour with her 9 ducklings.

I looked at the faces around me. Instead of seeing the normal 'why are we slowing down’ face or the ‘why do people always have to look at the accidents and cause me to run 3 more minutes late,' face, I saw faces soften and hold a soft reverence for this mother duck and her ducklings. And you know what...no one seemed to mind that we waited for 3 minutes for the duck family to reach safety.

I have been studying current events and how they link to events in the past. It is hard for me to observe how much destruction, sadness and war there is and has been in our history. I couldn't help but become saddened by this research. I remember one particular evening, really struggling with a lecture dealing with the word iniquity. As we researched different texts to define what makes an iniquitous people, I had to leave the room. Call it my sensitive nature, but I couldn't stand to know all the horrible things that have gone on, are going on or that will go on in the world. I know they happen; is it so bad to not want to know details of these heinous circumstances and situations?

After walking out of the lecture, I couldn't help but feel down about the world in which I reside. For so long I believed that people are innately good and honest by nature. After reading, I found myself doubting this belief. I struggled with this concept for a long time and concentrated on trying to find the greater good in people and in life. Sometimes, my struggle was in vain. People still honked their horns at me if they thought I wasn’t driving well. People still treated customer service like it's a yelling match because they grew up with the notion that 'the customer is always right.' People still hit their children. I could go on, but don't want to.

I found it very difficult to find good things in every day circumstances until the day the mother duck and her ducklings made it across the street safely. You see, good surrounds us, but we can't see it. All of us become jaded in one way or another. Although I thought I was leading a life full of good influences and involving myself more in Christ-like activities, I couldn't help but lose myself in trying so hard to become happy. I just had to let it happen. What I realized is that I need to continue to do things that build and buoy my spirit or else I will sink and the search will be lost in the depth.

Thank you to any of you who help someone across the street; who pick up fallen books of a classmate; who open doors for elderly people and ladies; who say hello and smile to strangers; who stop traffic to let the mother duck and ducklings cross the road to safety.

I happen to know that no matter what surrounds us people are innately kind in nature. BUT this kindness is soft-spoken and doesn't boast. This kindness does not stand out the way unkindness does. This kindness is hidden until one day we look up at the stopped traffic and realize that even the most random act is full of goodness and life.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Darkness: Unknown

I recall a lecture I went to speaking on the subject of darkness. It was interesting that the darkness referred to was not necessarily that it was pitch black, or that you couldn’t see right in front of you. The darkness described was actually the absence of light. That no matter how hard you tried to find other sources of light, they just didn’t exist, except for one ultimate source of light, that not only lit the general area, but that also shone so bright you could see what was ahead. This story is more of a religious personification than anything, and I just wanted to reflect on this idea.

Many times it seems that darkness is something that can be prevented with a certain amount of preparation. Oil in lamps, batteries and a flashlight, kerosene and a lantern, matches dipped in nail polish, what have you. It is when we are lacking in these items that darkness overcomes us and we feel possibly feel engulfed by fear, lack of direction, perhaps a lack of understanding.

Imagine hiking a very steep climb, making it to the top, breathing it all in, staring at the peaked vistas, and starting to hike down this high mountain as the sun begins to set, knowing very well that when the sun sets, it will get dark. You feel you are prepared enough because you have a new flashlight with new batteries. The sun goes down, the moon and stars are not shining, your only source of light is coming from the knowledge you have of the trail and the destination or goal you previously mapped out. You ready your flashlight, push the ‘on’ button forward….and no light streams across the path. What is your next step? What guides you to return safely to your destination?

It is amazing to me that with one flip of the switch, light overcomes and extinguishes darkness, but when that light doesn’t work, what do we depend on? Carefully studying this situation leads us to criticize. We question ourselves thinking, “Why didn’t I start back sooner before the sunset, why didn’t I carry that extra flashlight, why didn’t I bring matches, why don’t I have another source of light to lead me down this trail back to my car?” We begin to envision being stuck on a mountain side awaiting a search and rescue team as they search for us. “Did I tell anyone where I was going, would they be able to find me, knowing that I don’t have a light to attract the search and rescue?” Doubt and fear of the unknown take over our thoughts.

So, here is the question: is darkness bad? Not when I sleep! ;) Can it be overcome? How do we find our way on a trail that we know exists and a destination that has been mapped? There was once an example used during another lecture about darkness being just as I described, not enough clarity to continue a journey, doubt and fear, not of the darkness itself, or being stuck without a light source, but the darkness being the unknown.

I know for myself, that when I am stuck in the darkness, not knowing where I am going is a lot scarier than not knowing where I am. Often in life we are faced with different situations where we are traveling down a path that is full of decisions that will lead us to other paths. We know where we ultimately want to go, but sometimes the path we are traveling on starts to get misty. It deepens to a dark fog, blanketed with uncertainty. We feel that we are still on the trail, because we feel like we are headed in the right direction. We rely on our previous experience, others' experience, the knowledge we have of the trail, our decisive and intuitive minds eye to keep stepping in the direction we feel and sometimes know is right. Then the fog subsides and darkness becomes us. The light for which we are searching exists in our destination. We just have to get there.

I hope that in each of us there is a hope that light exists past the darkness. Sometimes, we can stumble around to find the switch, but other times we have to rely on what we know in order to keep walking, trusting that if we rely on those other sources of light and in the destination, that we will see why that part of the trail - or period of time - was dark for us.

Is it dark because our faith is being tested? Do we have enough faith to get where we want to be? Do we have enough hope that there is light on the other side of the darkness - the darkness not being evil, but the darkness being the unknown?

So, is it safe to say that sometimes stepping out into the darkness is necessary for us to progress on the trail of life? I feel that darkness (or the unknown) is overcome when we decide to step in the direction we know and feel is right - the direction we know holds the ultimate light source.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Swimming and toast: Motivation

Some of my favorite memories all happened during my years of high school swim practice. I would wake up around 8:30 a.m. to go to swim practice on the weekend. We would practice at the city pool-a 50 meter Olympic competition pool. The water was always nice and cool on those Saturday mornings. During my morning practices, the water would be a little too cold, but then after swimming a couple lengths, not cold enough. The wind would often pick up around 9:00 a.m. To take advantage of the pickup, and rid us of swim cap headaches, we would dowse our heads with water from the pool while we were lectured on how many hundreds we had to do and in what time to do them in, letting the wind take to the wetness and soak our sweaty faces.

Churning the water, arms flailing, but steady, I maintain my course, all the while thinking, if only I could possess the speed of my teammate in front of me. Once I get into position of lead swimmer, the pressure builds…am I going fast enough, does my teammate behind me want to pass, how can I maintain this momentum in the next set of hundreds, will I be able to prove endurance, what song can I imagine that would put me in a constant-continuous beat, but bring the most benefit, my arms are aching, do I need to let my teammate pass me and let them lead for a while, what am I doing after practice, can I make it to the wall in the amount of time given, did I call my friend back last night? Distracted, I struggle with aches, thoughts and temptation to quit. I look ahead, seeing nothing but foggy, fuzzy water. Breathing hard, lungs bursting, kicking beyond beat, trying to concentrate on my technique, seeing my teammates in the other lanes pass me, disappointed in my lack of speed, I determine that I am at least accurate. I look forward (not too much because that causes strain in the stroke….but just enough.

The goal is not too far distant, I see the wall and motivate myself to push all those other thoughts behind me. TOAST TOAST TOAST, I repeat in my head. I don’t know why the word toast pushes me to outperform what I think I am capable of. The word ‘toast’ means, I am almost there…and I am going to give my all and finish knowing I have done just that.

I reach my destination. I realize that I sprinted all that way. There are others who finished before me, others who finished shortly thereafter and I see the strugglers in the middle of the pool, wading but not pushing. I am relieved to know that I put up a good fight and made it to my destination. And that was only one of three sets of 300’s.

Ah, knowing I would have to subject myself to that again….do I do it? YES. Why? The feeling….the feeling of knowing that I did the best that I could. Knowing that despite my aches, fiery lungs, doubt, misinterpreted trust that I could do it, wandering thought—losing the goal ahead….I would do it all over again. And I do it with fervor.

Looking back at my swim team experience, I see now that I view my life like every 300 push. TOAST TOAST TOAST…..hold out, keep going push to the end….sprint your hardest and then, do it all over again and accomplish something new. The thing I must remember is how much I enjoy the journey.

Just do it: Improve technique, focus on the goal, fight for it because you love it. Your hard swim becomes a coast, gradual development, but still room for improvement.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

PR helps media win the game

As public relations specialists, we pride ourselves in getting as much earned media for our clients as possible. Our work is primarily tailored around truthfully telling our clients’ accomplishments and success stories, as well as representing them during a time of crisis. Public relations helps each company discover stories that are unique and that correspond with the overall identity of that company. Different than advertising, public relations allows the researched publics gain an understanding about each client in conjunction with their identities and missions, which is why public relations professionals spend most of their time developing story ideas that have not been noticed or reported.

PR professionals within the agency arena are not only responsible for finding the news, but are responsible for knowing the newsmakers in nearly every field imaginable. It is not our responsibility to offer news that is a mere blip on the media’s radar, but to deliver good, reliable, solid news. We crave information and want to develop partnerships with media professionals that provide the print and broadcast audiences with relevant news from newsmakers.

There is often a standing controversy about the way public relations works with the television stations. I have found that people who work as directors or producers of newscasts mention certain aspects of a story and may disregard others because of the fear of free advertising. In the movie I Am Sam, Starbucks probably paid millions of dollars to be the chosen coffee house where Sean Penn worked. It could be assumed that television stations sometimes feel uneasy in mentioning certain things in order to protect those who have spent their advertising dollars.

The point to be issued is this: Many times public relations professionals create news opportunities in conjunction with what needs to be heard. If a reporter in television, radio or print likes the idea, they will pursue the story and cover its newsworthy elements. As Ted Koppel mentioned during a Nightline series in September 2001 highlighting the genocide taking place in the Congo, as media representatives it is important to deliver not what people want to hear, but what needs to be heard including all of the: who, what, where, when, how but most importantly the why- despite any fear of free advertising.

I hope I speak for all public relations professionals when I say that PR should not be viewed as a burden to those writing about and/or delivering news. PR professionals should be used as pawns to get media to the newsmakers. Public relations fits into the every day media scheme and deserves to be noticed as those who can also deliver news.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

In 10 minutes

March 4, 2007

In 10 minutes...

In 10 minutes I could sit down to the piano to play two pieces of my mom’s music.

In 10 minutes I could watch the part in Pride and Prejudice where Darcy is walking through the moors toward Elizabeth Bennett and watch them together until the scene where the father says something like,” If anyone inquires after Mary or Kitty, send them in, I am quite at my leisure.”

In 10 minutes, I can pick apart 15-20 split ends. I know this because I was waiting in line for the car wash yesterday. The wait was about 45 minutes, 7 minutes per car, and in those minutes I split the majority of my split ends.

In 10 minutes, I could sing at least four songs all the way through twice.

In 10 minutes, I could take 3 pages of notes from very impressive religious and or other intriguing lectures.

In 10 minutes, I could cook a baked potato in the microwave, drench it with sour cream and eat it half-way.

In 10 minutes, I could read 30+ pages of any children’s fantasy novel. Right now it is the Hidden series.

In 10 minutes, I could call one of the people I love and talk to them about nonsense things until I was laughing or crying. 10 minutes is enough time to reconnect and decide a perfect time to spend 10 more minutes together.

In 10 minutes I can travel to Target. Target is very much like a Tiffany’s for me, in a sense that I love to stop and stare at all the fanciful fun. Rarely do I spend more than 10 minutes in any given store, except Target.

In 10 minutes, I could watch 1/3 of a Gillmore Girls episode and leave feeling refreshed in knowing that I am not just the only silly girl in the world…they are everywhere.

In 10 minutes I can swim at least 500 yards, how many laps that is, I have no idea (I measure by yards).

In 10 minutes I can arrange an interview with a client, write a press release, take a call from an assistant and develop talking points for my clients.

In 10 minutes I can find my favorite songs online and import them to my itunes, my new favorites being Azure Ray, Nouvelle Vague and Sting.

In 10 minutes, I can tell if a situation is going to make you or break you.

In 10 minutes I could write a blog that is completely dedicated to silliness, deep thought, randomness and fun. This blog being so dedicated, I am going to promise that I will write 10 minutes worth, non-stop. I had a teacher in college that developed an exercise, where we would have to write for 10 minutes non-stop, without the internal editor taking control. This being my first blog, I have already let my editor through, correcting spelling errors and such. From now on….there will be randomness and if thoughts are left unfinished, that is all right. This blog is about enjoying the journey. I am sure I will still use spell-check, and I am letting you know that because I don’t want you to feel cheated. If you feel like adding, please do so. Without the thoughts and depth of others, it is hard for me to draw strength in my thoughts. For the next 10 minutes, I will post this blog and begin a new era that I have wanted to explore for a very long time.