Sunday, March 28, 2010

What does 13 look like?

Like this:

Spending a sunny Sunday afternoon with my favorite 13-year old, I realize that it's all about the attidude. That's a 'tude with a capital "T"!!!

I can't help but feel a tid bit sentimental when I look at these. Is that lip gloss she's wearing? Do I see a smidge of mascara on those big beautiful eyelashes? Is it true? My chee chee is becoming a WOMAN!

And a beatiful one for sure!

Just don't forget who changed you diapers.

Because that was me.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I should probably tell you that this past Saturday was totally wasted. I will tell you that 8+ hours of that day were spent standing in a line that covered almost the whole KSL building dowtown. And standing there for 8+ hours should give you an idea of how fast the line was going. So what was my purpose for standing in line for that long? At the beginning of January I sent in a tape to one of my favorite reality shows. It was kind of a symbolic act that represented the start of a new year's resolution. But, 2 months later I received an email from the casting director on the show, informing me that casting calls were coming to Salt Lake City and that I should attend. After much deliberation among me, fam, friends, coworkers, etc. etc., I decided to go.

W got work off to accompany me and we headed downtown around 10 am, only to be greeted by huge crowds of people and a line that, as stated before, wrapped around a majority of the building. As we tenatively walked to the end of the line, W kept saying "Oh Megs. Oh Megs. Oh Megs." It was cold. Then we moved 3 feet, and it was hot. Then we moved 3 more feet, and it was cold again. We talked to the people behind us. We talked to the people in front of us. We talked to people on the phone. We talked to each other. We listened to music on W's iphone. Then the iphone almost died, so we stopped listening to music and listened to the lady from South Carolina who flew all the way to Utah just for this event. In 1 hour, we pretty much knew her whole life story. And so did everyone else in line. You can imagine what the remaining 7 hours were like.

The only real break we got was when people from the show came down the line handing out 1 page paper applications to fill out that had numbers in the top corner. I was # 857, meaning 856 people were ahead of me. I was sorely disappointed when I realized it had only taken me 15 minutes to answer the questions and we had only moved 6 inches in line. Same thing when I took a bathroom break at LDS Business College and a security guard harrassed me until I pulled my BYU ID out to "prove" I was a student. (He didn't have to know I already graduated.) I knew that had to have taken at least a half hour. Nope. 15, maybe 17 minutes total and only a foot in line. Why? WHY?!!!

By 5:00 pm, we were almost to the front of the line. Bless her little heart, it was all W could do from ditching me and heading for the car. When they finally took us back, they grabbed 30 of us then split us into 2 groups of 15. The girl directing us kept saying "Be enthusiastic! Be yourself!" All I wanted to say was "I'll show you enthusiastic: My name is Megan. My favorite dessert is Wendy's frostys and when I'm outta here I'm buying three and eating all of them. I don't like lines. And I don't like you. I'm gone! Peace!" Okay, I didn't really say that- but close. They ran us to a table with 1 of the 2 casting directors. Each of us quickly went arounnd the table and said 4 things: name, age, profession, and biggest weakness when it comes to food (you bet, Wendy's frosty), and THAT WAS IT! The whole thing took no more than 7 minutes. 7. Minutes. . .7. I couldn't believe it. I was shocked. So shocked, I couldn't even do anything but just giggle in total shockness. I looked at W and all she said as we walked out "You better believe I'm grabbing a free calendar! And you're buying me dinner."

So . . . I wasted a whole day. But, at least I did it. There will be no doubt in my mind, because I tried. I did my part. If anything, it was a memory. A good memory? Debatable. But a memory, nonetheless. I think the best part was W standing by me the whole time. Sure she was hungry. No doubt her legs hurt and her feet were killing her. I know she was about ready to shoot "South Carolina" and was annoyed by the many onlookers who took pictures and pointed as they wondered out loud what the heck we were all doing. (We just told them we were trying out for "Survivor" or waiting for Sting tickets.) Yet, she stayed. And she stood by me because she loved me and wanted me to have every opportunity I could to have a life-changing experience. She believed in me. So . . .she stood in that dang line for 8 hours. I may have been #857, but #857 was important to W. For this, I will forever be touched. For this, I will love her always.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Happy. Birthday. To. You.

March 3 is never ignored. It is not forgotten. It is a day that forever lives in infamy for the Shaw family, and not just because it gave us mom. . . .but because it gave us W as well! This year we celebrated the births of 2 great women by gathering around the kitchen table for some good ol' turkey dinner and homemade "better than (heaven) cake"! It was only made better by the company of close friend Isaiah and other family members. For W it was the big "22" and for mom it was happy 29th! (+/- 20 years)

Happy Birthday sweet angels!! May all your wishes come true!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Her tender hands

Friday afternoon I recieved a phone call during my lunch break. The conversation left me in awe and tears fell freely down my face as I contemplated the events that were described to me over the phone. A good friend of my dad's, whom he met through business work, passed away peacefully Friday morning. Little sister W had a special opportunity to serve as a nurse assistant to this wonderful man during the last hours of his life as he was sent to her ICU floor. There wasn't a lot she could tell us, but some few details of tender moments she shared with him right before and after he passed.

My dad had the opportunity to speak with his friend about a week before he ended up in the hospital. He was aware that his friend was given news, not too long beforehand, that his health had taken a turn for the worse. As they spoke on the phone, it was clear that this man was feeling discouraged and didn't know how things were going to work out. Feeling inspired, dad quickly made reference to running a marathon. "You can't give up hope. You have to keep going and finish the race. You have to make it to that finish line, and when you do . . . it is like no other feeling in the world. So keep going! Don't stop now."

Days later, our family was told this man's health had declined quickly, to the point that he had ended up in the hospital on the same floor where W worked. As W went into work, dad asked if she could relay a message to his dear friend. Later that evening, when the family left momentarily from the man's room, W snuck in quietly and held his hand. He was not awake, but she spoke to him anyway "Dad wants you to remember that you have to finish the race. Finish the race . . .and finish strong."

The next morning the man passed away. As W and another nurse went in after the family said thier goodbyes, they both noticed how happy he looked. W took a moment to softly hold the man's hand and, as she describes it, be overwhelmed with feelings of love and peace. She would later tell me over the phone during my lunch break "Megs, I didn't really know him. But, I love him. He looked so happy and I know that he is free of pain now. I'm so glad I know this."

After I hung up the phone, I couldn't help but feel in awe of my sweet sister and her ability to be sensitive and connect so deeply with people. Working in the healthcare field, I've known many nurses, doctors, and other personnel. Sometimes it seems like caring for people becomes "machine-like" and you can get caught in going through the motions of policy and procedure. But I was reminded by this experience just how fragile humans are and the great task healthcare workers have to remember that fragility and not forget what it means to be a human being. This man had a family with whom he shared many sacred memories. He had a job with people he interacted with- people like my dad. They also had memories and their relationship was one of great friendship. Can we forget this as we strive to keep someone alive or help them pass on? No! It seems to me that this should be one of the main things we think about during this great work. When we are in the business of saving humans, remembering our own "human-ness" and using our ability to interact and connect with other human beings could and, I'm convinced, will be the great factor in success or failure.

W just got accepted to nursing school. I have no doubt that she will make a great nurse. Not because of her interest in human anatomy and physiology, calmness under pressure, or ease with uncomfortable situations involving human defecation, sickness, or death . . . but because of her effort and fearlessness to follow that innate ability to be a human being and care for other human beings as a human being.

I know her tender hands will be put to further great work and will be essential tools in serving fellow human beings . . .our brothers and sisters . . .God's children.

* To John and his family: We love you and you are in our thoughts and prayers continually. We know he finished the race . . .and he finished well.

2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Shaw: A career woman?

Salt Lake City, UT She didn't think it would happen that fast. She wondered if it would even happen at all. Just recently graduated from BYU, Megan Shaw, 24, knew that she would eventually want to get into a career that would allow her to use her Bachelor's degree in psychology. "I loved my degree! I loved what I studied! But, going into it, I knew that a BS alone in this field would not offer a lot job-wise." After months of planning and prayer, Shaw decided to not follow her original plan of graduate school, but to start work in a job that would allow her to use her education. Towards the middle of February, an opportunity to do this presented itself. After a good family friend gave her a tip on a position opening up for the State of Utah as an eligibility counselor, Shaw jumped right in. "I quickly put in my application! I didn't know what would happen, but decided that this was the start of something new." After finding out over 800 applications had been turned in, it was easy to get discouraged. "After getting called back for an interview and feeling good about how it turned out, I had greater hope. Maybe this could happen? Maybe I have a chance?" On Friday morning, Shaw was awoken from her sleep to the sound of a ringing phone, followed by her dad's enthusiastic voice calling from the top of the stairs. Rustling from her bedroom, she grabbed the phone feeling nervous about the news on the other end. "As soon as I heard the words 'You want to work for us?', I didn't know how to respond other than a girlish laugh and 'uh-huh.' I actually couldn't remember anything else that was said- probably wasn't that important, right?"

The experience was described as "bittersweet" due to the fact that taking this job would mean leaving another. Shaw has worked for the OP Lab at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center for a total of 4 1/2 years. "This is my home. This is where I grew up. I started as a freshman in college- 18 and so naive. These people have seen me through my whole college education, along with a 1 1/2 year break while serving an LDS mission in Arizona. They are my family!" Family or not, there is no doubt that this is the start of something amazing, a new phase. "I will say my good-byes, shed my tears, and give my hugs April 2nd. But on April 5th? April 5th I go in smiling with my sleeves rolled up, ready to start a new part of my journey." Go get em', tiger.