Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lessons Learned from Spring Summit

In every life there is a pivotal moment that forever changes the rest of that persons life. For me that moment was Spring Summit. I have had many moments since that time, but that particular event was the grain of rice that tipped the scale.

For those of you who are wondering what exactly happened during that pivotal moment, Spring Summit is a 35 day outdoor expedition trip that is sponsored by the Recreation Management program at BYU-Idaho. Students from all majors are encouraged to apply and 13 lucky humans are selected through prayerful consideration by two wonderful teachers, to travel down to Southern Utah to take part in this life changing event. The schedule included a 10 day pre-trip preparation course which included a weekend up at badger creek to participate in team building initiatives, a 9 hour trip down to Southern Utah, and finally 35 days of desert survival, canyoneering, backpacking, solo, mountain biking, rafting, mountaineering,  hiking, and many hours in the van and truck. As if spending 35 days together does not already predispose the participants to become physically and emotionally close, add to that the element of extreme danger, and similar goals and you have a recipe for bonding and life changing relationships. Throughout this time I learned several lessons that I should never forget. As Oliver Wendell Holmes counsels, "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions." I will admit that due to lack of attention and insight I have seemed to have forgotten many of these lessons in the past 12 months. I am grateful for wonderful friends who are still in my life to remind me that I am still capable of being the person that I was on Spring Summit, I still have these lessons buried deep in my heart, and while it will take some time, the people here in Ohio will one day be able to see me like those members of Spring Summit saw me,  as a daughter of my Heavenly Father capable of far more than I give myself credit for. While on this journey of self discovery I learned:
I learned that "twenty years from now I will be more disappointed by the things that I didn't do than by the ones I did do." (Mark Twain)

I learned that Heavenly Father and nature are often simultaneous 

I learned to laugh at less than ideal situations

I learned to be proud of little accomplishments

I learned that I have more potential than I give myself credit

I learned that there are people that care about me

I learned that "self discovery is the end product of a great challenge mastered, when the mind commands the body to do the seemingly impossible, when courage and strength are summoned to extraordinary limits for the sake of something outside the self." (Kurt Haun)

I learned how to make a true campfire

I learned to give complimants no matter how silly or stupid I feel giving them

I learned the power of love

I learned that there is something about campfires that brings out all of my embarrassing stories

I learned that while electronics and technology have their purpose they really just get in the way of humans communicating heart to heart.

I learned how strong the will power is to live

I learned not to be so hard on myself

I learned that cheering for others accomplishments is much more fulfilling than cheering for your own.

I learned that beauty is relative

I learned that life does not have to be competition

I learned that when you see one grainery you have seen them all

I learned to build others self esteem through compliments, instead of tearing them down with criticism. 

I learned how to be comfortable and proud of who I am

I learned to be grateful for the little joys of life... even if that means taking a cold shower once a week for 35 days and peeing in the river.

I learned that it did not matter where I come from, what I looked like, or how much money I made, we were all on the same journey with the same goal, all that mattered was that we finished.

I learned that sunshine, exercise, and good friends can remedy almost any physical or emotional ailment.
I learned that it quitting is not an acceptable option

I learned to not care what people think about me (case and point)

I learned that there is only one way to become good at something, and that is to try something you may be bad at.

I learned that I am worth something, that I am not insignificant, and that I can influence the lives of others

I learned "not to be frightened by fear. I discovered what a fine piece of machinery the human body is and that it can take a tremendous amount of stress before it breaks down. I learned to make decisions... My confidence grew and I discovered human resources which are ready to be called upon in time of future crisis. I learned something about human frailties... I learned how to make a team out of a group of individuals. Adventurous experiences out-of-doors are perceived to kindle the enthusiasm of the young, to develop their concern for others, for their community and for the environment. Such experiences provide the means of self-discovery, self-expression, and enjoyment which are at once both stimulating and fulfilling. It thus emerges that, for young people and adults alike outdoor adventure is perceived as a vehicle for building values and ideals, for developing creativity and enterprise, for enhancing a sense of citizenship, and for widening physical and spiritual horizons." (Lord hunt of Llanfair Waterdine)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Teacher Named Life

Life has taught me...
To expect the unexpected...

To learn something from every person I have met...

To live in the moment and love every second of it...

Picture from

That no good comes from competing, comparing, and criticizing...

That there are times in when you need your friends to give you a good slap in the face to remind you of who you truley are, Albert Schweitzer once said,  "At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."

That I am not cut out for pulling all nighters, no matter how many times I try...

To give everyone the benefit of the doubt.... 

To laugh when things get tough. Laughter truly is the best medicine.... 
Picture from
To be thankful for all the decisions that have helped me become me...

That working out sucks, but it feels so good when you are done...

That under stressful situations I will cry....

That nobody cares how stupid you think you look, they are more concerned with how stupid they think they look... 

That mascara, a set of earrings, and a pair of heels are a girls best friend...

That more can be accomplished when we cheer for each others contributions to society rather than criticize others efforts. 

That boys are from mars but no matter how much you try to do without them, life is more easier when you keep them around...

Picture from
That "whether we walk among our people or alone among the hills, happiness in life's walking depends on how we feel about others in our hearts. We travel only as far and as high as our hearts will take us." -- from The Seven Paths of the ANASAZI Way

To recognize and be grateful for all of the tender mercies that occur and continue to occur daily in my life...  

That you don't need fame, fortune, a size 0 dress or a perfect family to truly succeed. We can learn a great lesson from the great Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said, "To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success." 
Picture from