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Can You Hear Me Now?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Six Weeks Already?!

I can't believe six weeks have already passed. I'm headed back to work tomorrow and it feels almost like I'm starting a new job...mostly because I've forgotten a bunch of passwords and a bunch of new staff have been hired in my absence. I'm sure after one day of reading hundreds of emails it'll feel like old hat'.

All the same, please remember me in your prayers for energy and a great day!

With that off my chest I'll continue with The Last Lecture notes. One thing I started to realize as I read this short 'book' is that Pausch may not proclaim his Christianity (in an effort not to exclude others from the all encompassing message), but the roots of everything he does/did are grounded securely in the Word of Christ.

These last chapters have talked about 'the lost art of the thank you note', loyalty, telling the truth (ALWAYS), see in color (not just black and white), no job is beneath you, NEVER GIVE UP, and I've just finished a chapter about being a COMMUNITARIAN. I don't know about you but I've read about all these principles in God's Word.

I really stopped and pondered the idea of Communitarianism. Pausch talks about building a community. He reminds us in a very straightforward manner that we do have rights and with those rights come RESPONSIBILITY. Many of us like to glaze over that last part of the agreement. Children sometimes become selfish about sharing their toys. Teenagers today believe they are even more entitled than the generation before. It should come as no surprise that they are learning this from the adults.

Dr. Pausch speaks specifically about how we all want a fair trial if we were ever arrested; however, many of us try like the dickens to get out of jury duty!

The bottom line...for me, is to use my God-given gifts to serve (volunteer) and to be a productive, giving part of my community. This seems a fitting lesson in this start-up church we are attending and the great needs in serving that exist. As a matter of fact, God knew I was going to be reading these chapters because lo' and behold if the Pastor's wife didn't call and want to 'run something by' the hubs and I...what do you bet it's about an opportunity to serve?

I guess I should call her!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

On Living...

...back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

The Last Lecture is coming to a close and the next section is titled: "It's about how you live your life". Pausch has several short chapters talking about how he tried to live his own life. Rather than be swayed or influenced by his own words I thought I'd throw out the way I've chosen to live my life and potential successes or struggles along the way.

I've tried to live my life with OTHERS IN MIND. I mean my life is not a selfish life, not in it's entirety. I've always had my parents' interests in mind or my friends, my better half, not just my own.

I've been an OBSERVER of life. I've watched people my whole life. My mother even says I watched people as a baby. I wasn't afraid of people, but I would observe them. The first African American I ever met I just had to touch her hair and tell her how beautiful it was. I was about 3 years old.

I also observed people interact with their own families and friends. I've learned some extremely valuable lessons from these observations...particularly things that DON'T work so well. I became a better actress in my observations and it served me well in uncomfortable situations.

I've tried to live my life with PASSION. I am a firm believer that if you do something with passion it will be much more worthwhile. Additionally if you attempt to do things you are NOT passionate about, you will never truly succeed.

I've tried to live my life with an OPEN MIND. For me, if I recognize we are not all the same and we have all come from a different place on this planet, it's much easier to accept ourselves AND others.

The most important way I've lived my life is with QUESTIONS...lots and lots of questions. I am full of questions and love books of questions. I will ask them and I will answer them. We will never have all the answers this side of heaven, but we must ask, we must seek, we must knock!

This is the very crux of who I am and how I approach EVERY part of my life; from flesh to my life in Christ, this is how I approach it. how have YOU lived your life?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Crossing the Finish Line

I'm taking a day break from the Last Lecture series I've been blogging about for this important message...

Today in church the pastor was talking about the Scripture about running the race and how we are called to not only run the race, but to win the race before us.

I thought about it for only a minute when I heard God say to me a couple of things:

The race before me may not be the race before you.

More importantly:

It’s not just about crossing the finish line…it’s about The Cross at the Finish Line!

There’s some food for thought!

Friday, August 15, 2008


One of the sections of Pausch's book talks about the value of time and the way he viewed time and just how valuable it became as his prognosis became reality.

I thought about what time is worth to me. Some things I DO realize are:

1. The person in front of me is more important than the incoming phone call...unless it's my husband.

2. Working late is not ALWAYS the best answer.

3. My time spent with God is the most important time I have.

4. Time is not stolen, it is freely given by us throughout our days.

5. Wishing for more time is not an option.

Things I continue to struggle with regards to time is:

1. It doesn't pay to rehash and rehash BAD times from the past.

2. Live in the minute!

3. Give of your time carefully.

4. Accept help.

5. Don't wear a watch on vacation.

I'm half way through the book. I've enjoyed it immensely and I think I'm gleaning something from it as well.

Have a time-worthy weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lessons Learned

The next chapters of The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch, are all about the lessons he learned along his journey.

Here are the lessons I've learned (or some of them):

1. Accidents happen, and start at an early age. Things can be replaced, people can't.

2. Trust your gut, I've found it's that intuitive sense that becomes much clearer the closer you get to God and there is NO better guide.

3. Never underestimate yourself. You are exactly who God says you are and can do what God says you can do. That's a pretty big picture, so...

4. Don't sweat the small stuff, it all works out eventually, and the lessons learned are unbelievable!

5. True love RARELY happens with that first boyfriend and life is NOT over.

6. It is true, when you quit trying to find him, your soul mate is found.

7. Aging is not the worst thing in the world. With aging comes wisdom and assurance that is SO lacking in youth.

8. Blood is thicker than water.

9. ALL wounds heal...eventually.

10. Some wounds do leave scars and that is to serve as a reminder.

So...what other life lessons are out there?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dreams Awaiting

Yesterday I left off with the question: What were your childhood dreams?

My childhood dreams were as varied and 'ever-changing' as the seasons. The most recurring dreams I had were:

To be an astronaut
To play classical piano
To be a princess
To be a doctor
To be an actress

In his book, Randy Pausch reviews through several chapters how he made each of his childhood dreams a reality (in one sense or another). This seems like quite a challenge for me, but lets see where we end.

Dream #1
I dreamed of being an astronaut because I loved the feeling of flying and weightlessness. Of course the weightlessness I felt was in dreams (along with flying) and the occasional brief jump on a trampoline where you feel less earth-bound and more free to fly in the air as you jump higher and higher. An astronaut is also a scientist and I do believe that is what guided me to ultimately pursue science in college. I still love to stare up at the sky at night or imagine what the moon looks like up close and what moon dust feels like in my bare hand.

Dream #2
My second dream was to play classical piano. I can pick a few notes out on a piano, but my parents income dictated a more realistic dream of playing the organ. Somehow I don't know how my parents managed with the 3 of us all desiring so many things and when we asked we usually received. My brother played trumpet, and guitar, I played the organ and my sister played violin. Aside from the cost of lessons came the endless hours of 'music in training' as we practiced for set hours each day. I quit playing the organ as middle school ended and I went on to pursue other dreams in high school.

I still have a love of piano music. My favorites are probably Jim Brickman and George Winston. I love the way they bring music to life on the piano. I am awed by piano players who get so lost in their magic that it appears effortless.

Dream #3
I also dreamed (as most any girl does) of being a princess. I dreamed of being rescued by a prince and swept off my feet. Guess what...if anyone has ever read anything here about the 'Prince' I married, you know I really did get this dream. There is NOTHING that prince wouldn't do for me. Not a day goes by that I don't feel just like a princess...only without the poison apple.

Dream #4
My next dream was to be a doctor. I really held on to this one for many years. One thing that doesn't make sense is I didn't enjoy GOING to the doctor, but I did dream of BECOMING a doctor. I thought it out and wanted to be a Pediatric Hematologist who specialized in Genetics. I geared all my coursework in high school and college towards this dream. I attended a school (my father's Alma mater) that had an incredibly high MCAT score and Med School acceptance rate. I declared this major and began this dream.

One thing I didn't account for was the social dream I was living and the freedom I had yet to learn to reign in. I would catch glimpses of students I studied with during the week, reading or getting lab time on weekends from sun up to sundown. It was like a punch to the gut but a real time saver. I did not want to give up my social time to study my life away for the next 8-15 years. I wasn't going to be a doctor, but Lord knows I worked with enough of them along the way.

I did work for many years as a Med Tech and got to work on several research projects with PhDs and Physicians and even have a hand in the genetics I so desired to study.

Dream #5
The final dream I included was to be an actress. I love to act. I love to put on the character and become something else for a short period of time. Apparently I had this dream from very early on as my mother points out she refused to fly in a helicopter or I could have had commercial work as a child. "Alas, poor KPJARA!"

I did get to act in high school and learned I also enjoyed directing and back stage work. The theater is an amazing place. It is an amazing experience. I won Best Thespian my senior year and this came as a huge surprise sense I didn't ever have a LEADING role, rather supporting roles or backstage work. What I had was a passion for theater...and this still exists today.

I still have spurts of this behavior when I speak in accents at random times and sing at the top of my my car (and at worship). I dance daily...with the dogs. I recite scenes from movies or plays and even favorite commercials.

What I realized as I thought about these dreams (and read The Last Lecture), is that my dreams certainly did come true. They may not seem like it in the literal sense but in the sense that dreams all came true!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Who Am I?

I'm going on a 'blog-trip' for the next 'however-long-it-takes' and taking whomever wishes to come along. Grab your bags and come along, hopefully we will all arrive at a wonderful place of self-discovery and incredible awareness.

Recently there was an evening news program (I don't remember which one) but it played a portion of Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture" (I tried to autolink it...but apparently it's not working. It's Check it can even watch the lecture.

So my father bought the book. It's a small book, only about 200 small pages. My father read it and has loaned it to me to read and reap. So I started about 30 minutes ago and it's brought me to thoughts I hadn't considered and thoughts I've missed having since my word-purge occurred over a year ago.

In the introduction, Professor Pausch addresses his desire to write and offer this "Last Lecture", which in his case was quite literal and left a legacy for so many. One of the first questions he asks in preparation for the lecture is, What makes me unique?

I stopped and considered what makes me unique. What legacy am I leaving? Am I even leaving a legacy.

Of course, the honest answer is we ALL leave a legacy. Some are forgotten or less than memorable or hopefully forgotten...but most of us leave a legacy worth remembering and when you try to put to words what your legacy is...what comes to mind?

For me, to date, my legacy is one of struggling to find my God-given purpose and living that purpose out, while trying to gain and keep wisdom along the way. My unique-ness comes from a creative spirit, a mind that seeks continually, and a heart that aches for those in pain or those unable to fight for themselves.

I am going to try to post daily as I travel through this book and I'm also hopeful there will be wisdom earned as well. I hope you all will check out Dr. Pausch's website and look at his applies to each of us and we all know we could use that feeling of one-ness with someone else that ultimately came to the end of his journey fulfilled.

The question for tomorrow is: What were your childhood dreams?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Time Flies

I honestly thought by now I'd be bored to tears from all my 'free time'. Let me just say...I'm busier with my 'free time' than I was at work. I think mostly because I have time to 'go and do', and so I do...go and do!

I've had lunches with friends, been shopping, NAPPED (tons), recuperated, had dentist appointments, doctor appointments, hung out with my parents (and other stay-at-home peeps), and frankly I'm really enjoying it.

It's coming to an end much sooner than I can imagine. I return to work August 21. At least it'll make for a SHORT first week back (2 days). I still get tired easily and have to 'rest' throughout the day, but I haven't had a real nap in a week or so.

I'd like to say I've accomplished a lot of soul-searching, but honestly I haven't. I have had a number of 'chats' with God and it's good to hear from Him...anytime! I've worked this week (in attempts to get myself physically ready to WORK), in straightening closets and relining shelves and drawers in the kitchen. I've begun annual purging of items for a garage sale or donation to charity and I'm completing my week with a brand new 'trendy' hair cut and style.

Since next week is my last week off, I'm going to treat it as an in-town vacation and I'm going to go peruse the haunts I love in town, including but not limited to: consignment shops, antique stores, trendy little shops, card stores, craft stores, book stores, etc. If it ever cools down I may have a lunch alfresco (though with temps soaring above 100 that may have to wait til an Autumn weekend).

I've also been working on the annual Christmas gift to the aunts and uncles and some friends. I'm preparing a cookbook of all our favorite recipes. I've completed about 1/4 of it and I think it's going to be a useful and memorable gift. I thought I'd use family pics throughout on individual books for those family members and then use pics of the food (the ones I have). I'm going to have it spiral bound at Kinko's, but I will do some scrap booking to individualize them once I get them copied and bound.

I hope all is well in the blogdom. I have been checking in with many of you and am encouraged daily by so many of my 'reads'. Thank you for your encouragement in the form of emails and comments and the I love the writing.

Happy Wednesday!