Tuesday, December 18, 2012


It is snowing in Portland today, not just snow flakes but snow chunks are falling from the sky. It reminds me of something magical as if I am sitting in my own snow globe at work. While I should be studying or reading the latest journal article on liver cirrhosis, I am instead  sitting in my office cubical waiting for my next patient and feeling moved to write a  blog about those glorious flakes of white.
 Besides being amazingly beautiful, the snow reminds me of new beginnings. It is fresh, cooling, and something about it makes me want to curl up next to the fire with a warm cup of cocoa. There is something in its purity that leaves me fresh and renewed. Perhaps this is the panacea we all need right now.

I have been overwhelmed with sadness and grief over the last couple of weeks tragedies. It truly shakes my soul to the core, to read the paper or to watch the television as the pictures of the innocent children fill the screen. I live in Oregon, and approximately 1 month ago I had no idea where Clackamas was, and now I and the entire country does. I often find myself asking why do bad things happen? There is no answer. I think the thing about tragedy in the darkest of moments is the ability to see what good can come from these situations. It is in the aftermath, that rebuilding and healing can occur. While I am less concerned about my constitutional rights to bear arms, I hope that true work is being made on gun policy. I hope that we are having a frank discussions about mental illness in this country.  I hope that we will find peace in the light of tragedy. I hope that we are able to see the snow, in the dark of night.

I still believe in the innate goodness of people. I believe that this is a place I want to have children. I believe that this is a place I want to grow old and wear big hats. I believe that beauty surrounds me daily. I believe that love will prevail. I believe in forgiveness and rebuilding. 

Let it Snow!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Birthday Blog

My favorite movie growing up was "The Wizard of Oz," I literally watched it on repeat. I would frolick around our house singing "Somewhere over the Rainbow" as if I was a budding Judy Garland. I cried every time I saw those darn monkeys, and I was mesmerized by the Emerald City. Thus you can imagine my delight, when my mother asked me what I wanted to be for Halloween when I was 6 years old. I mean Dorothy was an obvious winner. I remember my mom had bought these black patent leather shoes and each night after school for the entire month of October she and I would glitter my shoes with the most magnificent color of red glitter. I just remember how I would jump up and down with glee as I sprinkled red glitter all over the shoes. I was so eager, so full of excitement. I don't know if you imagine what 31 days of glitter looks like on a pair of shoes, but I can. It was stinkin' amazing.

The truth is I often wish I could view the world as I did when I was 6 year old. Everything was so fresh and new. Life seemed so magical and everything sparkled like those damn ruby slippers.  The truth is as I just blew out another candle on my birthday cake this year. I can honestly say while I didn't wear ruby slippers, I didn't feel remorse or an inch of bitterness as my 29th year came to greet me. I believe that there are truly seasons of our lives, the highs and lows, and the years where we try to make sense of it all.  Thus my annual birthday blog this year is dedicated to the learning the lessons that will keep us young at heart.

My greatest lesson I have learned over the years is that the relationships we foster matter. Perhaps it is because I grew up as an only child, but I love my friends like they are my family. I feel so truly blessed to have people in my life that care about me the way my friends do. I had the opportunity of welcoming one of my very best friend's baby into the world yesterday. Being the sap that I am, I could barely hold my tears of excitement for the couple and journey that lie ahead for them and their new baby girl. Sharing in the joys and successes of others is one of the things that has truly allowed me to be a better friend and a more free spirited individual.

I believe the one thing that I miss most about my youth is the resilience- the bounce back. I watched a little girl skipping down the street a couple of days ago fall down, and rip her most adorable tights. Tears poured down her cheeks instantaneously, yet the immediate kiss on the knee and the girl was back to skipping and laughing. If only adult life was like this. My goal in the coming year is to be more resilient, to let hurtful words roll off my back like water, and to forgive more.
I remember when I was little and my mom would get dressed up for parties. I truly thought she was the most beautiful woman in the entire world. She wore these really tall high heels, fire engine red lipstick, and I would watch from the bed in admiration. While I do think my mother is an attractive person on the outside, the thing that makes her the most beautiful to me these days is how big and gorgeous her heart is. In my 29th year I have come to terms with the fact I will never be a size 2 or be a model. Thus I am going to strive to work more on my interior than my exterior this year. To try to smile more, and frown less, to laugh more, and worry less.  No botox, no plastic surgery, just me learning to age gracefully with a smile on my face.

Lastly, I could write an entire book on the do's and don'ts of dating from the last year. I have learned you can change no one.  You cannot help anyone find happiness. You cannot make excuses for men who leave you at marathons. You cannot potty train 26 year olds. The list continues. While most of my friends are in serious relationships, or married I sometimes feel like the lone cowboy searching for a mate in the desolate streets of Portland. Thus, I have vowed to be more open to new opportunities. Thus my friends have helped to place me on a dating website. While it is nothing what I expected and I find myself saying no more than yes, it has left me hopeful, for possibilities, and prince charmings.

Perhaps this is what being young at heart is. You don't have to be Peter Pan and never grow up, but just be adaptable to change. Learn to appreciate the people in your life. Learn to live, laugh and cry without fear. To know love and to be hopeful, and before you know it you will realize you truly are as young as you feel.

Thank you for a gorgeous, and memorable birthday. I am truly blessed. XOXO - jen*