Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Workshop Notes

I am happy to say that the workshop last weekend went great! We had a good turnout for my first workshop. I have finally gotten one of our speakers notes typed up & edited, thanks to my sister in law Eve for helping. It took me a lot longer than I thought it would but hopefully I can get the rest of them up here soon! Enjoy reading & check back often for the rest of the speakers!

Tiffany Berg
Defining Beauty

"I’m really excited to talk to you today, how many moms are there? I have five children does anybody have more than five children? Six, Ten?! It’s Friday night, what do most moms tend to buy on Friday nights? Pizza! I was at Papa Murphy’s last night & I saw this ticket for the Castle of Chaos & I thought somebody’s making money off of coming to my house!! You know, being a mom with five kids, it’s a little chaotic. So I thought it’s kind of scary at our house right now. We just moved & this last year has been really bad. Do you all know bad, like awful bad? How many have had a great year? How many of you have had a bad year? Ok great because I am going to be talking to you. We are like this. Ok this last year, let’s see in the last year and a half actually. I won the Mrs. Utah pageant which was so exciting! Lots of fun, great new friends. And then I was hit on the freeway & hurt my head very, very badly. So that kind of started things. Then six months later my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Then a little while after that we needed to move into some place smaller. So when I say the castle of chaos, I really mean more like the dungeon of doom! That’s really what I’m talking about. But you know, there’s so much about what we’ve been going through that is beautiful. That has really been amazing, that I would be amiss if I didn’t share that with you. That especially you young ladies as you’re looking at wow what am I going to be when I grow up. What is there to look forward to? I know passing forty, you know, the location of certain things in my body is a little lower now, that’s not something you necessarily want to look forward to. But being a mom is fabulous, its awesome. And even in tough times its awesome! I did spend some time growing up in France. How many of you here know a different language? A lot of people here know Spanish. I learned French and interestingly enough, in France you would have these little kids that would run up to you that would want to talk to you because they knew English. They would try and figure out the English slang. So they would ask, “Teach us something American, not just something English or British.” So we would teach them how to say yes as an American, UH-huh so that’s how we say yes. And they would say that’s so great, how do you say no, huh-uh. So yes is Uh huh & no is Huh-uh. So these poor little kids would be uh huh.. The nuances are slight but it is where you put the emphasis. So, today as we are talking about Defining Beauty I want to talk more about definition more so than beauty. How do you define beauty as opposed to beauty in how you look? Let me tell you why that is so important to me. Sometime back my mother in law told us she wanted us to get together & have family pictures. We like most Utah families, large Utah families decided that we were going to all dress alike. We all wore white shirts & khaki pants. She said, now that everyone has the same outfits on we want you to drive up into the mountains as a caravan with the children and their spouses & their children’s children. So our whole pioneer heritage is going to go up into the mountains in our white shirts and tan pants and take family pictures. So we are all standing there in clumps according to whose married to who and who birthed who, you know how that goes. So we are all there in our little clumps & this very professional photographer very nice woman is looking at my husband on the end & saying come on you on the end, show me some teeth, come on show me some teeth. And everyone’s waiting, my husband is getting embarrassing. And the photographer is going come on you on the end show me some teeth. Nothing. So a couple of weeks later this photographer is at my mother in laws house & she spread all these photographs along the counter and she says Betty I’m sorry, this one on the end he wouldn’t smile. And my mother in law she knew who that was & she said, what you don’t understand, that son right there, he couldn‘t smile. You see he has been battling cancer and he lost his smile. He lost half his mouth to cancer. So ladies when we talk about defining beauty, what defines beauty? What makes someone beautiful? Yeah, I won the Mrs. Utah pageant, great, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to have my husband on the very last night. That is important, that is significant. I’ll hold that to Britney Spears any day. My husband is beautiful; he looks so different from the man I married. And I’m so glad he’s here.
I want to talk a little bit about Barbie. We all know and love Barbie. There’s fitness Barbie, camping Barbie, rock star, ice skating Barbie. I always loved Barbie; she was my idol growing up because I had buck teeth, red hair and freckles. I did not look like her, but I wanted to look like her. Later in life I found out that there is a box at the grocery store that you can buy for ten bucks, you can bleach your hair. Barbie didn’t always exist. Some of you didn’t know that. She was actually created by a lady named Ruth. And before Barbie was created, the only dolls were baby dolls. Dolls that you can actually wrap up in a blanket and pretend you were feeding with a baby bottle. And Ruth, she and her husband and one of their friends got together and created a company called Mattel. They put all their names together and started Mattel. Mattel originally was making picture frames out of wood. Ruth’s husband started to take the pieces of wood & he was making doll houses. And Ruth thought you know what I think it would be so great to invent a doll that looked more like a woman because she knew that girls struggle with the changes in their bodies, they struggle from going from looking like a baby to looking like a woman. And as much criticism as there is for Barbie she thought it would be kind of cool to create a doll that had accessories and a career and life choices. And she wanted girls to get excited about growing up & being a mom and owning homes and pink corvettes. She wanted girls to dream big dreams. And so she created Barbie. Now Barbie was the first doll to actually be shaped with breasts and that became very controversial. Because people back then thought that was very provocative they almost came right out and said its an insult to women for there to be a doll with breasts, even though, how many moms are here, you all have breasts, not such a bad deal. She got a lot of flack for that but immediately this doll was launched into the international toy box & Barbie became a fortune five hundred company. No one thought it would work & yet in reality little girls love to play with these. They love to play with the accessories. You know why there is not a Mother Teresa Barbie? She has no accessories and no clothes. Don’t work for everybody, but the dreaming part was awesome. Girls loved to get creative about possible careers , possible adventures. So Barbie came along, well years passed and you know Barbie has a lot of different looks and names now we have the Brats dolls. Still very fun, very creative. Years later Ruth got sick, she got breast cancer, interestingly enough. And the woman who created the first doll with breasts was one of the first to create prosthetics for women who lose their breasts to breast cancer. So in all of the criticism about “how could you do that, how could you come up with a doll shaped like a woman” Ruth through the irony of life became very aware of the meaning of the shape and beauty of a woman. It is important it is exciting to be a woman it is exciting to be a mom & have all of those motherly features. Now my husband, when he was going through a class that was just a couple of weeks before he would start his chemo radiation. This class was for the friends and family that would be taking care of the patient as they went through this process. And with chemo therapy different drugs are used for different treatments, I didn’t know that. So we were in a classroom with a nurse & the nurse was telling each of the patients and their family specifically, “This is the drug that will be given this is the dose, these are the things you need to watch for”. And there in the class was a young couple, a beautiful young woman, beautiful blond hair. So she’s sitting there & here’s this young couple, turns out this young gal had cancer in her female organs & she wasn’t able to have children. She was having chemo and radiation to keep her alive. Her name was Sarah. And the nurse said, “I’m sorry to have to share this with you, but not only is the chemo therapy going to make you sick, but it will also almost immediately make all of your hair fall out.” And as we sat there listening to the nurse tell this beautiful young woman who already knows she is not going to have children of her own, Sarah you will lose all of your hair & this is how its going to happen, within two to three weeks it will start to thin & one morning you’ll wake up and sadly it will fall out almost immediately. And her husband was sitting next to her and on the other side was her sister, & it was almost as if immediately they looked at her and said just as if without words, Sarah you are not your hair. You’ve got to know that. Just like we as a family had rallied around my husband & said you are not your mouth, just as much as we love that smile, you are not your smile. In the same way Sarah’s husband & her sister sat there & with that love just held her, you are not your hair. So what is beauty? What is it? When we define beauty. You see actually people are defined by the beauty they choose. We joke around about Mother Teresa, but in all reality, she was amazingly beautiful. When I looked up the word defining, defining meant critically important. So what is it about you that is critically important. What gifts & talents are critically important to your being, your personality? If every part of you was gone, in fact, you’re not your hair, you’re not your smile, (as she is cutting Barbie’s hair) .What defines you? I want to tell you about my friend Hope. You see when Hope was born, she was born with two club feet by the time she was 17 she had had over 26 surgeries &she was still in pain every single day. And the doctors said, “Hope, you have a choice here. The only way you are going to get out of feeling excruciating pain everyday is to amputate. This one leg we have done so many surgeries & yet it is not getting better.” And Hope thought about it and she prayed about it & she knew the only solution was to give up her leg. (trying to remove Barbie’s leg but it won’t come off) So hope said, go ahead & take my leg. So the doctors did a surgery & they removed one of Hope’s legs. 17 years old. The pain went away, but there was a new kind of pain. She was different she had to be fitted with a prosthetic leg and as time passed she got used to the prosthesis. She grew a little bit & the doctors said, “Hope, its been a while, this leg is doing really well for you. But because your body is changing, you’re a little taller now & a little bit different adjustment on the leg. We need to give you a new one.” She said Ok that will give me three legs. He said no you don’t need that third leg any more you can just discard that & leave it here in the office. You’re getting a new leg, a better leg. You know, this morning I was in the shower & I was shaving and I thought I need a better leg, its looking a little bit scary. So Hope was getting a new leg. She thought about this for a long time & thought wait a minute, if I am not going to use that leg anymore there has got to be someone that is my height my weight that could really use a free leg! So she asked her doctor about that & he said that in the United States we are not allowed to reuse prosthetics. We can’t just take your leg & give it to the next patient even though the next patient might really need your leg. And she said well that doesn’t make sense, I mean supply and demand; certainly there is someone who can’t pay for a leg who could use my leg. And they said no we can’t do that, in the US there are regulations against that. So she said well what about outside of the United States. And they said well no one has ever done that before. So Hope went on her computer and she started researching. Are there people outside of the United States that needed legs? Certainly there are. You see there are countries that have had wars right on their soil & children playing out in the fields inadvertently step on land mines. We don’t have that problem in the US. But in some countries they do. So Hope started doing some research and she said I am going to amass all of the free legs and free arms that I can in the US & I am going to find a way to take them to those people and to date, Hope Bevilhymer of West Jordan Utah, has gifted over 500 limbs to individuals outside of the United States. That is beautiful. That is not only beautiful, that is critically important, that is defining beauty, that is choosing what will define you. Not the media, not a scale, not a dress size, but deciding I get to choose what I hope for, what I believe in, what I see in the future and the problems I can solve. Hope was also gifted the Volvo for life award, which means, every three years for the rest of her life because of the one decision she made, she will be given a brand new car. Pretty dang cool. Pretty cool. You know it is hard to know what voices to listen to. In today’s society, you have the media saying what’s beautiful, the advertisements saying what’s beautiful. There was a young couple and the husband came home to find the wife admiring herself in the mirror in a brand new red dress. He said, “Honey, we are trying to save money. Tell me you did not buy that dress.” She said, “The devil made me do it. I’m sorry” And he said, “You know when that devil tells you to do something you say Satan get behind me.” And she said, “I did & he said it looked dang good from back there too.” We’re pulled by what the advertisers say is beautiful, what the actors and actresses say is beautiful, what the music says is beautiful and in some ways our definition of beauty & what defines us changes a little bit. I want you to think for just a minute. What was one experience that made me better? A critically important moment, not always the moments that make you aesthetically beautiful on the outside. Ladies, I think about my husband and I think about the frustration that he feels because on the inside he is the same person. He doesn’t feel like he should be perceived any differently & yet sometimes he is. When we go places sometimes people don’t know what’s happened. He had to go in for a pretty major surgery a couple of months ago where they actually took the bone from his legs & replaced his jaw because his jaw was being taken over by cancer. So he was in the intensive care unit for a week. And in the unit they don’t allow small children. Our two youngest fall under that 12 years old age bracket. So they hadn’t seen their dad in a week. And because it was such an intense surgery they had some major static going on because they missed their dad. And my husband he couldn’t really talk very well yet, so it was hard for them to even visit with him on the phone. So one day they came up to the hospital anyway & we were in the intensive care & my children were outside the room outside this long corridor. They were in the waiting room waiting for the rest of us to have our visit. And right when we were visiting the nurse came in and said Paul this is great, I’m glad your family is here because we are going to take you on your first walk since your surgery based on all of the medications & the stitches that were in his leg. And there was a lot going on, in fact things were so precarious that he had tubes and wires everywhere including a catheter bag so he wouldn’t have to get up to go to the bathroom. So as scary as all those wires and cords and all of that were, they got him up and he was on his walker and they were helping him walk around and right as he came around the bend, now as I say that is sounds like he was going fast, he wasn’t, as he carefully came around the corner, the doors to the unit opened. And so down the hallway were two little kids that could see their dad for the first time in five days all the way down the hallway they could see him and he could see them and I’m thinking oh this is so great this is like a hallmark moment he’s going to blow them a kiss or he’s gonna say something amazing and its gonna swell their hearts and my husband reaches down and he shakes his urine bag & he says do you get what this is? So I’m thinking the definition he’s going to choose for the first interaction with the kids is going to be something deep meaningful memorable you put in your scrapbook and he’s making fun of his leg bag. But I realized the definition of he’s the same person, all this had changed and all this had changed & he had cords and buttons and bags and iv’s. And the definition he had chose was humor, was so beautiful because at the other end of the isle my children were jumping and squealing and laughing because they knew that their dad was the same person. Less hair, less weight, a different shaped face, a different mouth, he was the very same person. And ladies, girls, defining beauty is critically important. You are not your hair, you are not your breasts, you are not your weight, you are not your looks, you are not your teeth, you’re not your makeup, and you’re not your outfits. There is something critically important about your value and who you are and nobody else, nobody will test that. So with that I’ll leave you today & thank you for letting me share my stories with you. "

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