Everyday Inspirations

 
 
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It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine. Had a good girls' night last night, snuggled with my husband and puppy and enjoyed a fantastic margarita. If it was going to end, at least it would end well. But now it turns out we all survived the rapture (if it was at 6pm local time that is) which is a good thing because while I had a good day, don't think I would have chosen to spend it working. Plus, now I can actually have a date night with my husband and hopefully see Pirates of the Caribbean. So alas not the end of the world as we know it, but I still feel fine. 
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Dan and I took a couple days off work last week, so we enjoyed a four-day weekend stay-cation. On Thursday we were driving to a mall downtown and passed Salt Lake's famous Temple Square. The tulips on the grounds were out-of-this world beautiful, and I immediately squealed that we had to go back home and grab the camera. I'm so glad we did. How beautiful is this?
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We've had the documentary The Human Experience in our Netflix instant queue for a few weeks and we finally watched it on Saturday night.

Wow.

If you have not seen this film yet, watch it.

This film is beyond beautiful. It is poetic. Its story examines life -- both what is ugly and what is redeeming. It is based on one simple, undeniable fact: we are human and we are all connected.

I sat back in awe and let this message wash over me. I was so inspired, and that inner fire that is love for my own life, my own human experience, burned brightly in my heart. If I can do anything for these brave, amazing filmmakers, it is to help make sure their beautiful film is shared with our readers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

PS: Have some tissues handy.
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I don't want to spend too much time analyzing a big event that is happening in London tomorrow.

You know what I mean. ;)

However, I do want to take a quick moment to send good thoughts to England's future king and queen. I've been fascinated these past few months as I've watched the overwhelming amount of coverage around this event. While I know it will be a beautiful ceremony and that the bride will look beyond amazing (anyone else dying to see that dress?), I still know that this is just the beginning for this lovely couple. It can be so easy to focus on one day, but this is the start of something big in their lives.

I always get nervous when fairy tale fascination pushes aside real life. It's easy to look at the excitement surrounding the wedding and wish it were you walking up the aisle at that Abbey (come on, ladies, don't act like you haven't imagined that!). However, we don't think about the issues the couple will be dealing with--not to mention the serious heart-to-heart talks they must have had before deciding to wed. This isn't a soap opera drama for us to watch unfold. Royal or not, this couple is in love, and I believe this is our chance to send support and good thoughts for a long, happy life together. It's not about a wedding. It's about a marriage--one that has the power to do great things for this world.

So here's to Kate and Will, and to all the other couples around the world whose love has inspired them to spend their lives together. After all, love is really what makes this life so crazy beautiful.
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{angie}
Remember the spring Ash and I have been dreaming about here, here and here? Well I'm sooooo overjoyed to say goodbye to chapped lips and bitter winds and hello to the flora and fauna of spring! Here is my ode to the beauty that is only just beginning to bloom. 
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Like most of the world, I have Japan on my mind. My heart is heavy with every news story that announces an updated death toll, the effects of radiation, pleas from the Prime Minister. I cannot imagine what the Japanese people are experiencing. I guess I keep thinking that life can turn upside down in the blink of an eye.

But there is still hope and inspiration. In fact, just now I took advantage of LivingSocial's donation match. If you give $5 (which, come on, is doable -- many of us spend more than that on lunch), the site will match your donation. Ten dollars for five? So easy. Already, nearly $775,000 has been raised (at my last check) -- and there are still over 14 hours left. That amount of money filled my heart. When we all get together, when we all give just a little, we can make a difference. I guarantee you that your donation will be priceless to someone overseas. 

I believe we can all do beautiful things together. And even though I get a little heartsick when I see what humans are capable of, moments like this remind me of how amazing we can all be together, that tragedy can open the doors to beauty.

If you're able to give, please consider these websites. (Thanks to Google for this reliable list.)

Oh, and I just realized it's St. Patrick's Day. Sorry for my lack of green-focused blog material. I guess going for a training run instead of an Irish beer kinda threw off my celebrating. ;)

Lots of love!
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Shot by Ash during a lovely walk on Sunday, March 13.
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We had a killer view from the library today. Of course, this isn't it, but it is a gorgeous view of downtown SLC, Memory Grove Park, and the Capitol. The only thing we need are leaves in these trees.
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I was fortunate to spend this beautiful, warm, almost-spring day with a former professor. Kim and I had a wonderful brunch at Salt Lake's Oasis Cafe before heading to the downtown library. There, Kim spoke to a group about the role of the media in today's world. I felt totally spoiled. Two hours at brunch, plus the chance to listen to an expert (and my friend) speak on such a crucial topic... I was like a little sponge, soakin' it all in.

There are times I greatly miss the classroom -- more than I can even describe. I miss that designated time for important conversations, the chance to delve deeply into a topic. Yes, I have meaningful conversations with friends and family, but it's the formality of the classroom that makes a difference to me. It's the guarantee of being in a place where someone will challenge my beliefs and push me to think in new ways.

I've never been the kind of person who is content to accept my education the way it is. I have to challenge myself to further understand the world around me... just because (instead of because I have a paper due). But I've also always been the kind of person who falls short when it comes to understanding the decisions made about my world -- and who makes them. Politics is an incredibly unsexy subject (to most), but the idea of not understanding the way my state and country are run frightens me. But I don't want to be a finger pointer, a person who figures I have all the right answers and everyone else is just "dumb" (doesn't that mentality frustrate you, too?). I want to know why people think the way they do, whether or not they agree with me. I'm hungry for knowledge and inspired by how many places I can go to feed that appetite.

Oh, sweet readers, I hope you don't mind me going off on my tangents lately. I've been conducting a lot of self-reflection, a lot of soul searching. I am happier now than I have ever been. I'm in love with my life -- my family, my sweetheart, my friends, my job, my home. I am content and calm, and I'm ready to change my world for the better. And I believe the best way to pass on that love is through (a lot of) self education and taking the steps necessary to help others love life, too.
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Our world joined in heartache today when we learned of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. As we work together to support families, friends, colleagues, and even complete strangers affected by this disaster, I pray we remember the fragility of life. It is easy to get caught up in small, insignificant details--the material possessions that, while nice to have, should not define us. Moments like this serve as reminders us that life is beautiful and rewarding because we share it with others. Let's take time to remember those who lift us up, to give thanks for health and safety. And, if possible, to give back as much as we are able, both in our communities and across the ocean.
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