Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Yesterday I drove home late. I had spent a great time at dinner, getting to know a new friend. By the time we left the restaurant it had begun to rain and lightly snow. The wind was blowing and causing the snow to swirl in different directions and the closer I came to home the harder it became to concentrate on the road. The winter after I had turned sixteen I had my first experience in driving home alone in a big snowstorm. I had finished my late night shift at Jubilee and my nervousness caused me to call my dad and ask for his advice, but mainly I just wanted to hear him say that I could do it, that I didn’t have to worry. There is something about talking to my dad that brings just the right kind of comfort. He told me something obvious but that worked as I prepared to travel home, he said, “Just don’t concentrate on the snow, find the white line and watch it. If you stare at the snow you will only get disoriented.” Simple, right? It was, and that advice got me home safe.

Ever since that night the only voice I hear in a snow storm is my father’s. When I am tempted to be mesmerized by the snow, I think of him and try to focus my attention back to the white side line. Last night I was again drawn to his advice but in that, I was also given some spiritual promptings that I have desperately needed. The thought came to me that too often in my life instead of looking to the white line – to steady my course and get me through difficulties safely, I am following the swirling snow of problems, heartache, disillusionment and my own issues and in turn I become lost and disoriented. Last night I was awakened to my foolishness and strengthened in my determination. There is much in life that is good and many who are willing to help and love. The white line can vary from individual to individual but ultimately the core comes down to love, hope and faith; for me the love is centered in those I love and those who love me, the hope comes in understanding of gospel principles and looking forward and not back, finally, the faith is in Jesus Christ.

I am grateful for quiet moments and gentle promptings. Focus on your white line and know that while the snow remains, it does not have to be your focus.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

You really want to see this . . .

I have a confession to make: I LOVE music. But really, don't we all? There has never been a moment in my life that could not be solved or enhanced through just the right song. Fourth grade brought me Mr. Mecham and "Rocky Mountain High"; John Denver taught me the power of metaphor and my life has never been the same because I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky. Jon Secada taught me to relish life and take many, many "Mental Pictures".

When I became a freshman in high school I thought The Verve Pipe wrote their song about me and my angsty mellow dramatic ways, I can't tell you the tears that were shed in my darkened room of pain. Not to mention a life altering concert at Saltaire that found me sitting off in a dimly lit corridor just soaking in the music only to have EMT's bring a passed out girl over to me and set her head in my lap until they could go outside and get a stretcher - - -awkward.

There have been times when I have experience something and a song pops into my brain and I am immediately taking mental notes so that in heaven when I get to edit my life and put it to music, I use only the most correct song - I mean, how embarrassing would it be to have Air Supply playing when the reel of my mission is going and what really fits is Stop this Train by 'ol Johnny Mayer himself (I kid, I kid - loved my mish:)

So today, dear friends, I want to add to your repertoire's of heaven editing music with this great song by Sara Bareilles, Let the Rain. If you do not own this album stop whatever you are doing and get it! I mean it, get - - -it! Like . . . . . . . NOW. I have only survived the last five months because I had Sara and then yesterday I survived because I found this crazy but endearing music video by a bunch of kids . . .

Pay close attention to:

- the singer looking off camera to read the lyrics
- the intensity of the drummer - he has the same face the whole time
- the mad guitar skills that rival even mine
- and last but not least . . . . the clapping! So, the best part!

Love these kids, love Sara Bareilles, love music!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The tale of the Dreaded Chowder

Life is full of tales, is it not? The tale of Hansel and Gretel, the tale of Despereaux, the tale of two cities, even the tale of Snooki and the Jersey Shore. So many stories that move us to tears, that inspire and motivate or sadly, that cast terror into our lives at the very thought that people do really live and act like the Situation and his friends. The tale I want to leave you with today will most likely not kindle any of the previous mentioned feelings, but tell it . . . I will!

As long as my eyes have been blessed to open and awake each day in this world I have lived a life as a Chard child. There are many intricacies to that life that only a fellow Chard child could understand but it is our challenge to educate those around us and I take that challenge to heart. One aspect of our childhood that will set the stage for my tale comes from a carefree happiness and a “live in the moment” outlook on many endeavors into the life experience. Now is it right or wrong? I say, do not judge only enjoy, because we sure did!

The first of the month was a cause for celebration, money was comin’ in and we were a goin' out! A fun family film, a night in a nice restaurant with those you love (Chard children does “Christopher’s” ring a bell:); are these moments not what life is about, the simple pleasures? I dare say it is, dear read, I dare say it is. Another pleasure is, while being at the nice restaurant, ordering food that you love and that makes you glad that you have opposable thumbs – that food for my mother is . . . soup. There has almost never been a time in my life, with my mother, when an individual was setting a water glass down in front of me and introducing themselves as “Chip” or “Ronda” that my dear mother hasn’t looked up and asked, “What is the soup today?”

At this point in our little tale you might wonder, “Well, Mia, there are many options to that fine question.” Well, you are wrong. In my mother’s world there has only ever been one answer – Clam Chowder. My mother has only ever had one hatred in this world, seafood. Ironic, isn’t it? This child of the ocean, a woman born clutching sand and sea in her little palm, grew to have a full blown disdain for any meal that could be concocted from an underwater sea creature; most prevalent being the dreaded Clam.

If the calendar is correct and unless you are Mayan or Chinese, then this first of the month deluge of money has arrived and so out to the restaurant we went. Saturday took us to Applebee’s. We were going to a wedding and stopped at our neighborhood hangout for a hamburger with some friends while we watched the big game with our feet dangling from bar stools. The waiter arrived and without fail my mother asks, “What is your soup today?”

His response, “Well, its Friday, so, Chicken Noodle – oh wait, no, Saturday - - - well then it’s CLAM CHOWDER. Can I get you a bowl?”

My mother’s lip curls and her eyes brim with moisture, “Umm, No.” I laugh and we move on. Food is ordered, conversation flows and we soon are out in the cold again, on our way to Hooper.

Yesterday rolls around and we find ourselves in Logan, its dinnertime, we are still in the funds – Bluebird it is. After twenty years of asking the same question and getting the same answer, would you still ask it? My mother the optimist would, “What is your soup today?”

Before the words are out of waitresses mouth, my mom is shaking her head and casting her eyes to the menu; she knows the shape lips take before they speak the words, Clam Chowder.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Heart Attack? No, no silly - just a very respectable Panic attack!

Gas prices are rising! Food prices are rising! Jobs are being cut! Global warming is killing us - - -have you seen the weather around the world?! Terrorists can strike at any time! Education is falling through the cracks! Bipartisanship is a thing of the past, we all hate each other and we will never agree! Living in inversion is like being a chain smoker – watch out, you are gonna die! Better make sure you have your food storage! Better make sure you have money in the bank! Wait, never mind, banks can’t be trusted go back to hiding it under your mattress! It’s freezing in Florida, you will never eat an orange under six sawbucks a piece again! Heath costs are rising! No insurance? No problem . . . seeing you for a sprained ankle will now only cost $2,000 dollars – discounted rate that is, discounted rate! Hollywood is taking over the world! Integrity is a thing of the past!
And on and on and on . . . Doesn't it seem like some days a panic attack is your only option?