If You Build It, They Will Come: Misfit Conf 2013

Sunday, June 16, 2013

And then all of a sudden, I found myself surrounded by my people.

As a woman who often works in reverse, goes to a beat to different drum, paves her own path, and whatever else I've been told, it is a beautiful and rare time when I feel like I truly belong. When I was with the speakers and attendees of the Misfit Conf a few weeks ago, I felt home.

I would say that my journey to end up at that conference started way before I met the creators, AJ and Melissa Leon.

For those that know me and read this blog, you know that I've been on quite the journey as of late. A year ago right now I was a bit jolted, confused, and didn't have a clue of what I wanted or who I wanted to be. I was in survival mode. But one day, while I was still living in Utah, I had an epiphany while brushing my teeth, of all things. I got my first clear vision of what I wanted to do with my life and the steps I would have to do get there. The clouds of confusion finally started to part just a crack.

Within weeks of this vision; I sold all my stuff, closed up my life in Utah, and moved back home to Fargo to save money and put my plan into action. Things were movin' and groovin' for 'ol Randi.

And then I got distracted. Moving back to Fargo was a transition. I hadn't lived here in 7 years and never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever move back. No offense, Fargo. But I had to figure some logistics out. Job, social life, living situations, etc. But leave it to this wonderful town, all of that came pretty easily.

Before I knew it, I had my own apartment downtown (living on my own for the first time ever!), a full-time salaried job with benefits (for the first time ever!) that I enjoyed, started playing music regularly around town, connected with old friends, and made some lovely new friends.

As thankful as I am for my life here, a little voice recently started itching at me again, reminding me of my vision. Reminding me that though my current job was what I needed and will need for a little bit longer, it's time to start creating your the life you know you are meant to live. It's time to start building.

Two weeks or so before I serendipitously met AJ and Melissa, this little voice turned into a yell. It started yelling because my logic and fears were shutting it up. "But you have this great job that could be a solid career, you have too much debt to run your own business, be safe, there are too many details to figure out for it to actually happen, no one else around you lives like you want to- what makes you so special?"

But I kept doing my best to move forward. Building tiny brick by tiny brick. I couldn't ignore that voice anymore. I had so many ideas mixed with fears floating around in my head; I didn't know how exactly it was all going to go down. Then, I met the Misfits.

With AJ and Melissa
I had never heard of them. I had never seen their faces. I had no idea what they were doing in my humble town and why they were going to bring 60+ people here from all over the world. But they seemed familiar, Melissa especially for some reason. Even just from seeing them from across the room at an event downtown.

Through a series of events, they were told that I played music and wanted me to play at the closing party. Without even having to think, I agreed. I wanted in, and I wanted in bad. I didn't even know what they were about, but I just knew I had to be there. I prayed they would let me sit in on the conference, but I was too nervous to ask if I could come to their sold out event.

But generously, and with open arms, they offered a swap. My music for access to the conference. I almost cried out of excitement.

Just some of the lovely conf details.
One by one the misfit crew showed up. Each one inspiring, with their own story, a light. I could go on and on about the jammed packed, life changing goodness each speaker brought. I could talk about the exquisite details in the food, decor, name tags even, that created a magical space for it all. I could talk about the connections made that will forever imprint my life and lead to more good times to come.

But the bottom line is that it changed me. Shifted me. Inspired and encouraged me. Gave me some tools, a blue print, to build my vision into reality.

I got a chance to sit and talk with Melissa for a little while. We exchanged stories. We connected. I told her about my past year and how I feel like I was just meant to be at this conference and what I'm planning for myself. She said, "Well, once you set your intentions, that's when things start falling into place." I smiled and responded with, "I already set my intentions, and that's why I'm here tonight."

I'm learning that there is something magical about action. About starting to build, even if you are freaked out and have no idea what the outcome will be. Even if your end result ends up totally different than you originally thought, which is commonly the case. You would have never gotten there if you didn't act first. If you would have just kept sitting around and waiting to know exactly how it's all going to go down.

I got to experience the Misfit Conf because I started to build. The universe started turning it's cogs and aligned me up with not only the biggest sign that I was on the right path, but it connected me with people that taught me and inspired me. They even came to my hometown. To my neighborhood.

And the Misfit Conf was just the beginning.

What is this vision I have, you are wondering? What is the grand plan? Well, it will unfold shortly. Don't worry, you'll hear all about it. Brick by brick.

For more details of the conference and who the Misfits are, read this and this.

Love Letters: Devin

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A few months ago I came across the blog of a delightful woman that has a section that features her love letters. They are love letters to people, places, things, and she invites everyone to write more love letters. I've decided to accept that invitation.

And since it is the birthday of Mr. Devin Felix, I have decided to devote my first love letter to this kind sir.

Dearest Devin,

You began as the brother of the boy I had a crush on. After a series of my persistent and uninvited phone calls, I wiggled my way into your life. Through the years you have gone from someone's brother to dear friend to my brother to one the best friends I have ever known.

Though we talk almost everyday, and I express my love for you on the regular, I want to truly acknowledge and celebrate who you are to me and those that know you.

A photo from the first day we hung out.
This pretty sums it all up.
No one makes me laugh like you do. Seriously. And you not only continue to crack me up, but you appreciate my humor. I don't know if you realize this, but you were one of my first friends to uplift and encourage my funny side and not try to out do me or have to be the only funny one in the room. You included me in writing weird and funny movies and songs. You loved my ideas and encouraged me to keep going. That will always mean more to me than you know.

You bring out my weird in the best possible way. If I published all of our conversations, the world would be a very confused place. But they work for us. They brighten my day. They make me feel normal.

You have held me in my darkest times. Be in person or otherwise, you have seen me at my worst and loved me anyway. You protect me like an older brother. You bitch with me like a girlfriend. You understand me like soulmate.

It's an honor to be as close to you as I am. I have thoroughly enjoyed spending these past 6 or so years getting to know you. Through road trips, campouts, march sanities, curling teams, being neighbors, being roommates, gentlemen's games, making up weird songs, puppies, daily Devins, late nights, singing in ska bands, heartaches, old married couple moments, laughing at things only we find funny, and on and on, you've been my constant.

Thank you for being weird like me. Thank you for defining your own family and still being my brother and best friend. Thank you for just being you. I hope you realize how much you are loved and not just by me. To know you is to deeply and truly love you.

And even if we never do run away together and be platonic life partners like we talk about, I know that you will always be in my life. I honestly don't know where I would be without you.

Happy Birthday, dear Devin. You are "the most perfectly appropriate gift for the 50th wedding anniversaries."

Post-Valentine's Day Revelations: Why I Love Being Single

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I know many people that subscribe to the belief that no one really wants to be single. That people that say they do are just trying to make themselves feel better. That deep down, everyone wishes they had someone.

Some people scoff at me when I genuinely tell them that I love being single. They ask me if I truly, honestly do, and my official answer is yes, for now.

I was watching the show Parenthood one night a few months back. I had recently moved back to Fargo, living at my parents' house, and still pretty jolted from my sudden move home and major life changes. I had just popped myself a bowl of popcorn, put on my pajama pants, and was reading a new self help book I got in the mail on the commercial breaks.

There was a scene were Amber is on a mini-golf date with her new hunk love interest. And as he, of course, helped her with her lame putting skills; she turned around, their lips touched, a moment was shared, and then it cut to a commercial break. The moment was ruined by some crappy commercial about, oh, dish soap or something, and I noticed that I was leaning forward, eyes wide open, lips slightly apart, eyebrows raised, and holding my breath. Swept away in the young love romance.

Once aware of this, I took a heavy sigh and leaned back, noticed the popcorn crumbles all over my pajama pant lap, glanced at my book titled "How to Make Every Man Want You," and started laughing. Out loud. To myself. *Side note- Don't judge. It's just lame title to get people reading the book. It's really about being fulfilled and happy on your own. And it's good. So shut up.*

I started laughing because a) what a stereotypical single girl scene that was and b) it was the first time I realized that I love being single.

I still can't pinpoint exactly what it was about that moment that made me so happy, but that was when I finally started to embrace the idea that I could be happier on my own. That right now in my life, it's what I want.

The day after Valentine's Day marked the one year mark of me being single. Yeah, I know. The day after Valentine's Day. We knew how to do it.

I dealt with the breakup like any woman in her mid-20s should, with other guys. I had no desire to jump into another serious relationship right away, but I had to feel like I still "got it." So I went out a lot. And I didn't just go on dates. I surrounded myself with people constantly. And for a while, it was good for me. I made wonderful new friends, had great adventures, kissed a lot of cute boys, and felt a sense of freedom that I hadn't really ever felt before.

I even tried having a boyfriend for a little while. He was great, but I quickly learned that I wasn't quite ready for that just yet. I also learned that when I really like someone get kinda cray cray. *That's cool kid talk for crazy.* It's oh so easy for me to jump back into revolving my life around someone and ignoring the things that are really important to me. Their life consumes me, and honestly, I don't like who I am when I'm like that.

So it took a year of socially galavanting about and a killer Valentine's Day to make me chill a bit.

I'll admit, I wasn't looking forward to Valentine's Day this year. I hadn't had a "single" V-Day in four years. I knew it would make me all reflective on this past year and lame and who knows what else, but it turned out to be one of the best I've ever had.

After work, I had the most delightful dinner date with my father. He's the bee's knees and really knows how to make a gal feel special. Later I met up with some of the best people on the planet and listened to some of the best live music on the planet. Great food, great people, great music, what more could you want?

Me with the lovely and talented Raining Jane
One of the bands was an all-female group called Raining Jane from California. They blew my mind. They were beautiful, talented, and their songs were so moving and therapeutic that it moved me to tears. I got to spend a lot of time with them throughout the weekend, along with other very inspiring women musicians, and it was just want I needed.

They all reminded me of what is possible when you tune into what you have to offer the world. What can happen when you aren't obsessing over some guy or being so social that you have no time for yourself. That there is so much love in this world, it's almost impossible to feel lonely. I just spent so much time tuning in to and validating myself by one specific kind of love, and that is such a waste. 

Now, don't get me wrong, a lady still has to have a spot of fun. I haven't turned into some anti-relationship, I hate men, run away to my cave and never come out kind of person. I'm just done seeking it out and being all assertive-has-to-be-in-control-so-I'll-do-all-the-pursuing Randi. It's all about balance.

I am looking forward to finding that special someone where we will have a kick-ass life and make kick-ass kids, someone that helps me pursue and fits with my goals, instead of keeping me from them. But that will come when it will come. I strongly believe that there is a season for all things.

Right now it's my season to not care about all of that. To focus on me, to be a little more anti-social, to not date everyone and their dog. I've got a lot going on. A lot that I want to work on. And I don't have time or energy for silly distractions. 

It's a weird thing, learning how to be alone. I don't feel lonely because I am blessed with great friends and family, but I'm just by myself a lot more, and that's an adjustment. But I feel like it's such a valuable time of life for me, and what I learn now, I will take with me the rest of my life. Why wouldn't I be grateful and want to take advantage of this time?

And I'm going to be this way until I'm not anymore. I'm going to love being single until I'm not single anymore, and then I'll love not being single. There are pro's and con's to each lifestyle, and one is not better than the other. It's all about how you decide it's going to be. Embrace the seasons, people.

So here's to being single and ready to mingle only when I feel like it! I really do love it, for now.

On Reality Part 1: Waking Up

Friday, January 25, 2013

I think it all started back in May when I got my very first speeding ticket. Yeah, that must've been it.

Just the night before I was bragging to my friend that I had made it 27 years without ever getting a speeding ticket. Oh I had gotten pulled over, but I always sweet talked my way out of it. I told him that the day I get an actual speeding ticket would mean I had lost my charm, and that would be a very sad day.

It could have been because my mom was in the car with me, and I felt foolish for trying my ticket avoiding go-to moves in front of her. Or it could have been that my days of charming my way through life was over, and now I had proof in the form of a white slip of paper from the City of Lehi, UT.

A handful of people would describe me as a dreamer, wanderer, head-in-the-clouds kinda gal. A few have told me that I need to come down and live a real life. I always blew off their opinions because I didn't agree with them. As far as I knew it, I was living a real life. I loved moving around all of time, going on adventures, living pay check to pay check with no concern for the future. I wasn't irresponsible. I wasn't getting into trouble with the law. I had decent jobs and paid my bills.

But this past year has been one big reality check after another. It started to dawn on me that maybe I was kind of living in a dream world. That for some reason I thought I was some exception to trials and realities that other people face.

And it all started with my speeding ticket. A few weeks after that, I got my first cavity. Another day I thought I would never live to see. And as the scatterbrained dentist grabbed some unfriendly tool from the nervous front-desk-receptionist-turned-dental-assistant-for-the-day I thought, "What the hell is going on here?"

My pride had been officially bruised. My go-to bragging rights were moving towards extinction. It almost felt like I was starting to wake up from a long deep sleep. I started to look at my life in a new way and notice just how much I chose not to see. How much I created a dream world to protect myself from heartache.

But guess what? It didn't protect me. Maybe it did for a while, but it wasn't anymore. In fact, I think it made me unable to cope with some things when sh*t finally got real.

It wasn't just the speeding ticket and the cavity. That just got the ball rolling. And now there is a whole other reality that I had been sort of blind to. The good and the bad. They are, but are not limited to, the following:

I am not some exception. My relationships aren't without problems. Love isn't all it takes to make things work. I have the ability to seriously hurt the ones that I love the most, and they have the ability to hurt me. My jokes aren't always that funny. Not everyone likes me. Not everyone cares about my opinions. I will probably never do a pull up. I'm a lot more resilient than I give myself credit for. I can be really happy and fulfilled by myself. Loved ones leave this life without saying goodbye or telling you why. Credit cards don't pay off themselves. Student loans aren't just free money. Calories do count during the holidays. I can't just run away to a foreign country whenever I feel like it. The Doctor is not going to show up in a blue phone box and save me from my life. I can be content without seeing mountains everyday, though I dream of them constantly. Fargo will always be ridiculously cold in the winter. I can still write decent music. I have eye wrinkles. My biggest fears can happen, and I can survive them. Dating, though fun at times, sucks and distracts me from what really matters. People appreciate my talents. People still love me even though I don't live by their rules anymore. And time really is the best healer.

And so here I am. Swimming in reality. And I'm actually quite excited about it. Instead of living in some high falootin' dream world, I am trying to take things just as they are. Accepting life for what it really is and not just what I want it to be.

Now there is something to be said along the lines of creating your own reality, life is what you make it, all that jazz. And I'm not saying that there isn't something to dreaming big and dreaming things into life. I'm talking about something else. I'm talking about waking up. Being present. Experiencing all that there is to experience as a human being. Truly enjoying the good and not being embarrassed or trying to avoid the bad.

And that's what I'm excited about. I'm excited to wake up. I want to see it all. Feel it all. But hopefully I can keep it all within the speed limit.

The Year of the Randi

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I'll be honest, I have never been so ready for the New Year. And from what I've heard, it's not just me. There was something about 2012 that made us all hurt and grow in ways we never imagined.

For me, this year has been the worst and most amazing year of my life. I have never felt pain and heartache more deeply, but with that I have gained more confidence and assurance with who I am and what I am capable of working through.

To give you an idea of what this year has been like, here are the high (and low) lights of 2012.

*Dealt with three deaths of three people very dear to me. One from illness, one from an accident, and one from suicide. All three different and difficult to deal with in their own way.

*Lost the love of my life. Not by death, but by divorce. But interestingly enough, it has felt a lot like a death. It was a relatively mutual decision, but I was not prepared for how hard and painful it would end up being.

*Lived in Costa Rica working as a Yoga Teacher and Massage Therapist. What a whirlwind of adventure, therapy, and unique challenges that was.

*Due to having to work so much to keep myself financially afloat as a newly single person, I had to give my dear dog Maeby away. I worked full time 30 min away, and it was just too long to have her home alone. It ripped my heart out. She was my dog, my baby, my everything. I wasn't lonely with her around, and we just understood each other. Luckily my friends took her, and I still get updates on how she is, but saying goodbye to her was a very, very hard goodbye.

*Downsized my life from a townhouse to a Subaru, sold my furniture, took everything else to the thrift store, sorted through photos and love letters from a life that no longer exists that I was saving for a future that will never come and threw most of them away. Said goodbye to loved old and new friends, mountains, family, ex-family, and memories that I've known for the past 7 years and moved back home to Fargo.

*Moved into my parents basement as a broken and broke 27 year old.

*Fell in love with Fargo and started to build a life for myself that was mine and only mine.

*I became an auntie to the cutest little girl on the planet!

*Became a published writer writing for The High Plains Reader and ArtsPulse.

*Started writing and playing music again with an amazing musician that inspires me. I haven't been writing for about 6 years, and it feels so good to be creating music again.

*Started doing improv again with the Linebenders, which has been hilarious and delightful.

*Scored a job that I love and will hopefully jumpstart me into a career that I will really enjoy.

*Connected with old friends and have made some pretty incredible new friends. I have been so blessed with the most incredible friends this year, in Utah and in Fargo. They don't even realize how much they have saved me.

As I look back on this year, I am amazed at how much my life and myself has changed in such a short amount of time. If you would have told me all that would happen from last New Years to this one, I wouldn't of believed you. And if I did, I would have anticipated it being the end of me. I would have thought that it would destroy me completely.

But it didn't destroy me. In fact, quite the opposite happened. By some miracle, it has turned me into the person that I have always wanted to become, but never really got around to. As I started to fall out of love with my ex, I somehow started to fall more in love with myself.

I became determined to create the security, confidence, and, like I mentioned in my last post, a sense of home that I got from having a husband for myself. And I'm getting there. I am just starting to get to know myself again and feel happy in my own skin.

And I want to continue on this Randi-lovin' train as I go into 2013. I have declared it "The Year of the Randi." Yes, I recognize the conceit of this title, but I don't really care. I have spent so many years caring so much about what people think and revolving my life around what others are doing and want for me. And ya know what? I'm sick of it. There is a time and place for all things, and this year I'm making it about me, as selfish as that sounds.

I have big plans for 2014 and the years to come, so 2013 is my year to plan, prepare, and heal. Become my best self physically and mentally. Become independent financially and emotionally. And I really can't wait. Most of 2012 has been a fog of confusion and unknowns, and it feels so, so good to have direction and goals that really inspire me.

So here's to a new year, folks. May it bring new challenges and joy, but mostly joy. I know we could all use it. 

my search for home

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Home. Home is where you hang your hat. Home is where the heart is. Home is wherever I’m with you.

Lately I have been evaluating what home is for me. In the past I have always associated it with a location. For a good portion of my life, Fargo was home. Where my parents were. Where my friends and memories lived. But the mountains have always called my name, and over time Utah started to feel more like home. Where I belonged. Where my people were. Where my adventures happened.

Over the past four years, home has transitioned from a place to more of a concept. I had created a home with someone else. Wherever we were, that is where home was. We had each other and our dog. Our family. My family.

For the past six months I have felt, in a sense, homeless. I have lost those things that defined what home was for me. I have a physical home, but that home has become a display of an old life being covered up with a few new paintings and photos in the picture frames. I still find puppy hairs woven into the fibers of fabrics. I still expect to find someone waiting for me when I open the door.

But I have found solace in the company of some of the best friends a girl could ask for. I’ve gotten joy out of little things I never expected, like having my own room again, planning my own day, watching hours and hours of Doctor Who with no judgment, cooking the same meal everyday for a month. And of course moments of home come when I get up in the mountains. But to be honest, I have struggled to make a home of my own. A life of my own. I have found myself searching for a person to find home in, and the reality is that there isn’t. Not for now anyway. Sure, I could just latch on to the next person that would let me, revolve my life around them, forget and distract myself from the pains and triumphs of moving on. But that really wouldn’t solve anything or help me progress like I want and need to.

I actually feel really lucky to have the opportunity find a home within myself, because really at the end of the day, all we have are ourselves. Our friends, spouses, children, pets, possessions, may be with us and even help define us, but really, if you can’t be with yourself, what do you have to share and give to someone else?

I’ve grown attached to Utah. In a big way. Growing up I always dreamed of moving here someday. And since I have, though I’ve taken breaks from it, always come back. It has everything I want in a place to live and I really think I could stay here forever and be happy. But for reasons that are too complicated to explain, my season in Utah is coming to an end. I always thought Utah would feel like home, but for right now, it doesn’t. Right now it’s a place that constantly reminds me of what I used to have and who I used to be. And that is hard to face when I’m in a time of life where I’m trying to figure out who I am and what I want without those things.

Another part of this whole thing that I cannot escape is that I’m a wanderer. It’s in my blood. I can’t ignore it, and I will never get it out of my system. And now that I have no place to call my home, my desire to wander has increased like I would have never expected. I thought I was ready to settle, but not yet.

Which brings me to the point of this post. I’m packing up and moving out. Selling as many of my belongings as I can, fitting whatever I have left in my car, and hitting the refresh button on my life. Moving on to my search for home.

So why not start in a place that still is home to me in a lot of ways? That’s right, folks. I’m heading back to the plains for a little bit. It may seem like I’m just running back to my hometown, into the arms of my parents, free of obligation, a step back. Yes, I will be happy to be around my family and some of the comforts that only a hometown can give, but it’s just a stepping stone. I’m moving back with a purpose. A way to pay off some debts, save up, spend time at the lakes, and enjoy the Midwestern life before I wander some more. And I’ve got plans people. Big plans. Who knew that Fargo would play a part in me getting there? Oh that Fargo, always full of surprises.

 So I’m planning on leaving in a few weeks. Mid-Septemberish. If you are in Utah, make sure you come and see me before I leave. If you are in Fargo, start preparing yourself, mentally and emotionally, for my arrival. If you are in neither of those places, stay put. I’m sure I’ll pass through one of these days.

Oh, and welcome to my new blog. Please follow, comment, check in whenever you fancy. There will be many more ramblings to come.

life after death: for penny and jared

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Death. It's such an odd thing to fathom. It is so hard to grasp that cultures around the world have developed entire civilizations trying to make sense of it all. Most people spend their whole lives afraid of it. In our culture, we lock it up in a wooden box and burry it in the ground, with only an engraved stone as a reminder.

In the east, they display their dead. They keep the bodies with them, display them in the streets, and then send them down a river; the same river in which they bathe, drink, and use for a bathroom. To them, death is not something to burry. It is a part of the human experience, as much as drinking and bathing. 

With most religions you spend your whole life preparing for death, and in some cases fearing it. When you die you will be judged based on how good or bad you were in this life. Heaven and hell are your only options. Unfortunately, there are so many people living through hell in order to get to heaven. 

And why is that? What is it about death that gets everyone so worked up? As much as we prepare for it, fear it, honor it, for the most part, it's out of our control. So the only thing that makes sense to me is to not focus on death, but on life. Living in the moment, creating "heaven" in the here and now. 

Within the past month, I have lost two people very dear to me. My Aunt Penny died as a result of a lifetime of health complications, and my good friend Jared died in an accident. One more or less expected, the other a total shock. 

Now this isn't my first time with death. I have lost friends in accidents before. I have witnessed loved ones pass because of illnesses. Those passings hurt my soul, but there is something different about the deaths of these two. Perhaps it is because where I'm at in life. Perhaps it's because I have a different belief system now. Or perhaps it's because I'm personally going through my own cycle of births and deaths with different situations in my life. But in the midst of the heartaches of these passings, there is something beautiful I have learned. 

Penny and Jared both lived their lives full of light. Despite a lifetime of health problems, my Aunt was a fighter. She was brilliant, talented, an amazing mother and wife, and never let her illnesses define her. She truly lived life while constantly staring down death. 

Jared was seriously one of the funniest people I know. He was outrageous, hyper, up for anything, and one of the most loyal and loving friends anyone could have ever wanted. He had his own challenges in life, but still remained a light for those around him. 

Yes, their deaths were tragic and thinking of life without them is hard, but there is life after death, and I'm not talking about the afterlife. We, the ones they left behind, are still alive. There is still life in us, and that is something to celebrate. 

For some people, myself included, just simply living can be a trial. There are days where death seems inviting. And death can be a choice, and some people choose it. But in a strange way, mourning and accepting the death of my loved ones has made me marvel at the human experience and choose life. And not just choose it to get by, but to really live it. 

Both Penny and Jared really lived it. They left behind a legacy, be it of beautiful children, loved ones, fond memories, or crazy stories. And it made me realize that I want that. When my time is up, I want a loving family gathered around feeling a bond that only a family can feel. I want my friends to stay up until all hours of the night reminiscing and re-telling the adventures that we had. I want people to gather and celebrate a life well-lived. And I want those in my life to know that I love them. To some that seems like a give in, but to me, I never really thought about it before and have spent many years just checking the days off of a calendar.

And so I want to thank Penny and Jared for teaching me that. It was an honor to be even just a small part of their lives. And no matter what really happens to us after we die, there will always be life to celebrate. 

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." Abraham Lincoln