Friday, March 6, 2009

The evolution of my quarter life crisis

There I was in Best Buy, patiently awaiting the arrival of Murs – apparently a famous underground rapper – along with about 20 other anxious teens.
I had been assigned to interview the dread locked, sweatshirt wearing artist by my editor – pinch hitting for our A&E reporter who had another meting to jet off to. It wasn’t the first time I had gone into an interview thoroughly confused about what I was supposed to ask. Nathan owes me. Oh look! The latest Fleetwood Mac greatest hits CD! I wonder if it has Sara on it…
Snap. It was then that I realized that I was old.
The feeling has been creeping up on me for a good six months now. I love my job. I can’t sleep past six. Most everyone within my age group is either married, on their first (second or sometimes third) child, attending grad school, getting professionally established or going on an LDS mission.
As a waited for the arrival of Murs, thinking that I needed to look up that collaboration between John Denver and Pavoratti, I realized that I had gone the night before to grab sandwiches after the UNR game with a group of girls who had just graduated from high school. And I was in the office working again by 10:30.
Yes, I felt oddly out of place in the crowd of hip, edgy music fans at Best Buy. But it was the catalyst for my evolution. It struck me that I am ok with my work-filled Friday nights. Yes, I own a pants suit that I have to take to the dry cleaner regularly. And I do look at those Facebook pictures of me dancing the night away in bare feet and a barely-there dress with a tinge of regret. And that is ok with me.
Is my life over? No. It is just starting. Maybe I will go hiking tomorrow. Europe after graduation might be nice … And wasn’t I going to spend some time playing in New York? And then there is that marathon, and my new mountain biking obsession. I think I will also get my yoga teaching certification.
Now if you will excuse me, I am going to put on my Fleetwood Mac on iTunes and finish my paper. From there, the world is my oyster.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


It may be silly, but once upon a time I read that on midnight every Christmas eve the animals in every barn kneel. Somehow, I still believe it. Just like I still believe in writing letters to Santa with my younger brother.

Funny things happen when we grow up. Life gets complicated. Things like faith and wonder and magic grow dull and need a little polishing up.

And yet, somehow, on Dec. 24, at midnight, the world is full of magic and wonder and faith.

There was a Savior born in the still of the night more than 2,000 years ago. He changed the course of all human history. That little baby in a manger was our hope for happiness. Through the small and simple birth of a child, this world can find the hope and faith and wonder and magic it so desperately needs. And, yes, I think the animals bowed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Looking Up

Look up on a clear night at the Marina and you might see stars. Look down and you might see a man and his telescope.
I have been going to the Marina every night lately and getting in a pretty decent run. Tonight I was going to make six miles. So much runs thorough my head during the day that it is so nice to just go and watch the seagulls scatter as I run by and let my mind wander.
Sometimes I see some amazing things - besides the seagulls.
One night there was a group of people swinging kerosene-dipped, flaming swords, poi balls and staffs through the air on the beach. I got a first-rate education in being a pyro. They even let me wield the staff!
Tonight there was a man with a massive telescope.
He was part of a non-profit astronomy education program and was just letting passersby look at stars light years away. So for the first time during my busy day, I looked up.
It was so cool. First he focused in on a cluster of stars that lie in the puffy outer limits of our galaxy. Then he swung the telescope around and zoomed in on clusters of stars in the swinging arms of the Milky Way.
As people gathered to look through the telescope, I couldn’t help but think about how long it had been since I had really stopped just to look at the stars.
He explained the various life cycles that stars can go through and why they appear to be certain colors. That star was about seven billion years old. This star was closer to the millions. Bigger stars have a shorter life cycle - just about a million years or so. They are the James Dean stars. They live fast and die young. Smaller stars live longer, like our sun. He also pointed to a tiny pin-prick of a star on the horizon that had just recently been certified as a new solar system.
As he pulled out a star chart that traced the path of a star system, he said “remember that we are just here for a moment in time. These guys have been here for billions of years.”
Throughout the past couple years, my life has spiraled into a whirlwind. Dull moments are few and far between and things seem to come and go so fast. In that moment I saw my recent past fly through my mind. The first time I walked into my very own apartment, jokes in the newsroom, tears at church, prayers that left my knees numb, Matthew and Ford’s giggles, awards and scrunched up noses from laughter were all just blips. It was there and it was gone.
The little astronomer on the Marina had a point.
I am so thankful for all the amazing things that this life holds for me, and for all the things that it will throw my way in the future. George Santana once said that “there is no cure for life or death but to enjoy the interval.”
Whether or not you find an astronomer on your daily runs, I would suggest looking up at the stars. They will be there for a while, but you wont. Carpe Diem!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The stories that don’t get told

I have had the amazing opportunity to go places and do things that most people never will. In between the standoffs and school board meetings, every so often I get to research and write about the things that make us human.

Last week, I was assigned to write about the Veterans Guest House welcoming its 100,000 guest. The factual headline read “Veterans Guest House welcomes 100,000 guest.” However, the story was so much more than that.

On Veterans Day we are supposed to take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices countless men and women have made in the name of American liberty. I got to reflect on the tears I saw in David Lantry’s eyes. He served in Vietnam.

I wish so badly everyone could have seen his face when he talked about the guest house and how thankful he was.

No matter what your political beliefs, whether you believe Korea was a war or a police action, whether Iraq is a mission of liberation or a quagmire, these soldiers are devoting their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to their country. There is nothing much more patriotic than that.

Lantry didn’t talk much about his experience in Vietnam. He did say a little about the people who come and go through the guest house as they seek local medical treatment. Some were World War II vets, others were form more recent conflicts. The finny thing was that they all had something in common. They had served their country and put their families on the line to do so. Even now, they were still feeling the effects of their service as they struggled with leaving family for medical treatment and suffering through the lingering physical effects of what they did.

One man that day was a cook in the U.S. Navy. He was on his feet so much that his arches fell, causing severe pain for years.

Another woman at the house was in the Air Force, and darn proud of being a female military member in a house full of male vets.

As I walked away from the house and to my car, I wondered, ‘what am I doing for my country?’

News flash - the world is not going to get better before the Savior comes again. In fact it is going to get worse. I cannot stress enough that this is our time to stand up for what is right.

We cannot be complacent anymore. Watch your elected leaders like a hawk. You cannot afford not to. Be active politically. Be critical about what is going on around you. The stakes are higher now than they have ever been. Your freedoms are on the line.

These men and women risked their lives for your freedom. What is your excuse?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A real hero

Friday morning I walked into the Insight offices, blurry eyed from a week of little sleep and cradling a life-line of diet Pepsi in my right hand. For one more day I was going to lose myself in a manic to-do list at work and forget about everything that was so imperfect about my life. At the end of the day I would experience one more illusion that I was a hero because I had accomplished an impossible to do list and inched one step closer to my professional ideal.

Then I got a text message that stopped my already caffeine strained heart. A dear friend had gone into pre-term labor with her two precious twins, only 22-weeks old, fighting to come into the world entirely too early.

Later that day I got to go to the hospital to see my friend. A barrage of thoughts had been rushing through my head in the hours that preceded that visit. However, they were all trumped by what I saw.

I left that experience with a conviction that this world knows no stronger heroism than that of a mother. All professional ambition is hollow compared to the heroism of a mother. Even in the face of harsh odds, there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that my friend would let anything happen to her children while she could do anything about it. In that moment, I saw how much she loved those little girls who she hadn’t even seen yet. The moment was life changing. I hope that even without seeing that moment, those little girls can comprehend just how much their mom and dad love them.

This weekend the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints gathered for the semi-annual General Conference. For one Sunday, I stopped and listened as the ordained apostles of the church and disciples of Jesus Christ shared their testimonies and the hope they had in their Savior. Sunday morning Elder Robert D. Hales described real heroism. Passive does not mean weak. Love is not a failing. I am seeing more and more that the path the Savior walked is not for the weak. His example of love in adversity is one that, when applied in our modern lives, could very well push us to the edge of our endurance. But that is heroism.

Elder Holland:

“My beloved brothers and sisters, I testify of angels, both the heavenly and mortal kind. In doing so, I am testifying that God never leaves us alone. Never leaves us in the challenges we face, nor will he, so long as time shall last or the earth shall stand or there shall be one man or woman or child on the face thereof to be saved. On occasions, global or personal, we may feel that we are distanced from God … in lost and dreary places …. But even then the father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels that were watching all around us. Known and unknown, mortal and immortal … In the process of praying for those angels to attend us may we be a little more angelic ourselves. With a strong arm and a little faith … Perhaps then we can be emissaries from God …”

“And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”

D&C 84:88

Friday, September 12, 2008

Remembering the lessons of Sept. 11

I picked up the small American flag as it lay on the ground at UNR today and dusted off the dirt. At the end of a busy day, it was a poignant time of reflection. Seven years ago I was sitting on the step in our family room trying to make sense of it all. Now where was I? Where are we?
Throughout the day, MSNBC was playing stark footage taken moments after the second of the twin towers collapsed in New York. Firefighters, family and friends were in the middle of dust-strewn streets, just staring. As I write this, it is hard not to just stop and freeze in amazement.

The United States of America changed drastically on Sept. 11, 2001. Two planes crushed their enormous weight into two of the largest centers of commerce in the United States. Something that represented America was spewing smoke into the blue sky. Inside, someone with a family was now dead. Someone who had chased a professional dream had been halted by mindless fanaticism. Multiply that sense by thousands and immerse it in a city full of people now fearing for their lives and you may grasp a percentage of what really happened that day.
A couple years ago I had the opportunity to visit New York City. The energy and culture and lights and feeling in that city were awesome. But no feeling before or after that trip has compared to the way I felt staring into the pit that was ground zero. In the middle of the city, there was silence. The only sound as I looked on was a homeless man playing Amazing Grace on a flute. I could feel the spirits of those who lived and worked and loved there. They were there. Across the street there is a church that has become a memorial to the events of 9/11. There were thank you notes for the firefighters. There were signs asking for information on missing loved ones. There was quiet there too.

Later that week my friend Ashley and I were walking down the street with her sister Jody. As we looked up at the clear blue sky, Jody said that it was still odd for her to hear an airplane fly overhead. There was a long time when the skies were quiet too. To this day, she feels funny when she sees an airplane and she cannot talk about the day without choking up. We all changed that day.
There is no simple way to communicate the gravity of that event. On Sept. 11, 2002, I was sitting with Ford. He was one at the time, and all I could think was that he will never know what this day really means. How will his generation learn the true meaning of heroism, patriotism and unity? Hopefully they will not have to face tragedy of their own.
His world is a different place seven years later. Where are we now? We are not staring in disbelief anymore. We have retaliated. We have declared war on terrorism. But do we remember what we are really fighting? We are not fighting to kill someone or something. Seven years later, our battle is to keep something alive – patriotism and heroism. Seven years later we are still dusting off our flags, waving them in the air proudly and saying “I am an American. I am willing to be a hero if my country needs it.” And we need it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The really great Reno Balloon Races

Every year for my birthday I get the best gift ever. Before the sun comes up, I curl up in a blanket in the crisp fall air and watch a sea of enormous colorful orbs float into the air.

I have always wanted to fly. I would spend hours looking up at the stars at night wishing that I could fly up there. Just for a few minutes, I wanted to be in the sky.

Thursday I got to do that. What an experience. We just floated more than a thousand feet in the air. This is a picture taken by Guy Clifton from the balloon he was in for media day. I guess he spotted the mess of red hair.

For a few minutes, I was flying!

I could see the path below where I went running. The runners on the path then looked like ants. All around me was blue sky.

As I had to get up at 4 a.m. to enjoy the flight, I am at a lack of words at this late hour.

I may add more later, after the glow show and dawn patrol. I love the feeling of flying, and every year I get to let my spirit soar with the balloons.