Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Eulogy: Life is a Daring Adventure or Nothing

A couple weeks ago, I was asked to write my own eulogy for class. My first thought was, "what a morbid assignment!" However, I quickly learned that it was anything but morbid. It gave me an opportunity to explore my heart's desires and what I want my life to have been when it is all said and done.

The purpose of this exercise is to see how you can improve your existence now in order to reach your goals. You ask yourself, "What you would want others to know, believe and say about you once you have passed on?" It allowed me to think about my dreams today being manifested and accomplished in the future. Once it was written, we were then asked:
  • How am I living my life today that will lead to this outcome?
  • Where am I holding back waiting for "someday?"
It's a powerful exercise and I encourage you all to try it. If writing a eulogy is not for you, think about creating a bucket list. Here is the list I created in 2010: http://amyisbreakingalltherules.blogspot.com/2010/11/aut-viam-inveniam-aut-faciam.htm
It's amazing to see how many things I have already accomplished.

My eulogy:

Our beloved, Amy Corrine Carrier, was a loving mother, adored wife, kind-hearted daughter, supportive sister, true friend and gifted healer. 

Amy lived by Helen Keller's quote, “Life is a daring adventure or nothing.” She was a gypsy at heart and spent her life traveling the world. With each new destination and home, she touched the lives of those she met. She dedicated her life to helping those in need. No challenge was too big or too small. Amy's compassion and generosity stretched far and wide. She started her Mind Body Wellness practice later in life, but had such a powerful impact on her clients and the world at large. 

Amy was a devoted wife and traveled the world with her husband. Together they set out on a mission to help others and often put others' needs before their own. It was not long into their travels that their first child arrived. Amy's natural connection to children made her the most loving and nurturing mother. The birth of her second child was just as special. She always said that the greatest accomplishment of her life was being a mother. She truly looked up to her own mother and father and knew the importance of developing a loving household.

Amy's late-mother, Linda, often described her as a hummingbird. Like the beautiful bird, she flew rapidly from one location to the next. Often her wings were moving too fast for the human eye to observe, but when she perched herself on a branch you could see what beauty she possessed and how delicate she truly was.

Amy will truly be missed. Although her physical experience has come to an end, her spirit will live on.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My 4-Year-Old Hero

"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales."
~Albert Einstein

My niece MacKenna is one of the most amazing people I have the privilege to know. She puts truth in the statement – wise beyond her years. She is a thinker, an innovator, a creator, a leader and she is only four.

In 2011, MacKenna started to experience pain and visible swelling in her knee and joints. After months of doctors’ visits and unanswered questions, my sister and brother-in-law turned to the Minnesota Children’s Hospital staff for answers. It was at that time she was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA), which is a term used to describe a type of arthritis in children. It is a long-term (chronic) disease resulting in joint pain and swelling.

According to A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia, the cause of JRA is not known. It is thought to be an autoimmune illness. This means the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. JRA usually occurs before age 16 and symptoms may start as early as 6 months old.

The doctors put her on several medications, including a weekly shot which MacKenna calls “the poke.” To say the least, it has been a challenging couple of years for my family.

In good news, MacKenna went to Children's last week and was told that the arthritis was in remission. To stabilize her improved status, she will continue her medication for an additional year. The story below is based on actual events in MacKenna’s life. The names and some of the details are fictional, but for the most part this is a true story.


Written By Amy Carrier
The Proud Aunt of MacKenna Lynn Guptil

She had been looking forward to this day for months. Kylie could no longer contain her excitement. She swiftly opened her closet door and searched for the white box labeled “Halloween.” She stood on the balls of her feet as she extended her arms to the sky in attempt to reach the box. The small-framed 3-year-old was far from reaching the treasure, but she jumped in the air as a last ditch effort to reach it. Kylie lost her balance and tumbled into closet. The various toys, games and articles of clothing came tumbling down on top of her.

Her mother heard the commotion from the kitchen and came running into Kylie’s room. There she found an angelic face buried in a pile of stuffed animals and toys staring back her. Kylie’s soft blonde curls and indigo eyes made her seem like a fragile doll.

“Are you okay Kylie?”

“Oh yes Mommy, I was just trying to reach my costume.” Kylie pointed to the top shelf. “Can you PLEEAASSEE help me?” Her mother couldn’t resist Kylie’s smile, which stretched ear to ear on her petite porcelain face.

Her mother reached the Halloween box down and placed it on the floor between them. Teasingly she said, “Are you sure you want to open the box?” Kylie, almost bursting with excitement screamed, “Yes Mommy! Please open the box!”

Her mother opened the box to reveal Kylie’s princess costume. She had decided months earlier that she was to be Belle from Beauty and the Beast for Halloween.

Kylie dropped to her knees and reached into the box. She slowly pulled out a miniature dress that was covered in yellow and pink lace. It was a replica of Belle’s dress. Kylie held it up to her chest as she stood up and started spinning around the room. She stopped and looked at her mom with her cheeky little smile.

“I am going to be the prettiest princess in the land.” She squealed.

“Yes, yes the prettiest princess in all the land.” Her mother repeated trying to mask the quiver in her voice and the tear that escaped down her cheek.


The sun was setting over the neighborhood and the street lamps were starting to glow. Little Batmans, cowboys and Tinker Bells started to emerge from the beige cookie-cutter houses that lined the street. Kylie stood at the bottom on the stairs peeking out the window. She was a vision and a perfect tiny version of Belle. The yellow ball gown fit like a glove and she had the tiara and sequence Mary Jane’s to match. 

“Come on Dad, come on! There won’t be any candy left.”

He chuckled, “It’s okay Princess. There will be plenty of candy.”

Based on her level of excitement he expected to see Kylie explode out the door and run to the neighbor’s house like she had done the previous Halloween. However, she slowly made her way down the front porch stairs. Each step was a struggle. She would take a step with her right leg and then drag the left behind.

Kylie slowly made her way to the house next door where her friend Gracie lived.

“Trick or treat?” She yelled when Gracie’s dad opened the door.

He smiled, “What a beautiful princess. I didn’t expect a visit from Belle tonight.”

Kylie giggled, “It’s me Mr. Thompson! Kylie!”

“Oh my, I didn’t realize it was you. Well Kylie, you are a beautiful princess,” he said as he dropped a piece of candy into her orange pumpkin.

Kylie and her father visited a few more houses. With each step she moved a little slower and smiled a little less. Finally, she turned to her dad with an exhausted face.

“Daddy, can you carry me?”

“Of course princess.” He lifted her up and carried her to the next front porch. He set her down and Kylie limped to the door. She mustered enough energy and knocked.

“Trick or treat,” she whispered. By this time even her voice seemed tired.

After she received the candy, Kylie turned to her dad and motioned for him to come closer.

She leaned into his ear and whispered, “I just want to go home. This isn’t fun anymore.”

He scooped her up into his arms and she nestled into his chest. He could feel the warmth of her breath and the wetness of her tears as they walked home. He started to cry. They could no longer ignore the symptoms. They needed to find someone to help Kylie.

Halloween 2011 - MacKenna & Mason (my niece and nephew)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Be the Change You Want to See in the World

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~ Gandhi

I have a story playing over and over in my head. I saw something that I will never forget. It quite possibly has changed my life forever...

But before I explain, I should probably tell you a little bit more of what I have been up to. I moved to New York in early June. I am going back to school full-time in September for Mind-Body Wellness and I am also a full-time nanny. I live with my lifelong friends, Tammy and Keith, and watch over their amazing son Elijah, who is eight months old.

It’s funny how life works…I openly admit that I used to have an adverse reaction to children and often wondered if I ever wanted any of my own. But then along came my niece MacKenna. I quickly realized how amazing children are and how quickly I could fall in love with a young soul. And with all her trials and tribulations in the recent year or so, she continues to amaze me.

When I moved back from New Zealand and moved to Park City, I quickly realized that my ski bum job was not going to pay the bills. In turn, I started working for Park City Sitters. During the short winter season, I babysat for close to 40 different families and started to realize that I was actually pretty good with kids. Then along came the opportunity to help raise Eli, and I thought why not move to New York City and take my courses from there?!

So rewind to the month of June…I was taking the subway into Manhattan to meet up with some friends. The doors opened and on stepped a mother with her son in the baby bjorn. Being a nanny, it grabbed my attention because I seem to be drawn to babies. At first glance all seemed normal. But once the doors shut, the woman pulled out a cardboard sign and started to make her way through the subway car. She was in her late thirties, her clothes soiled and her face very tired.

Her sign read, “Speak very little English. Homeless. Need money to feed my baby. God Bless.”

She passed by me and I saw that her son was not much older than Eli. He stared at me with his big brown eyes, they were tired too, but they still sparkled. He giggled and smiled to reveal his baby teeth. And then, I realized his caramel colored face was covered with infected sores. My heart broke. I reached into my purse and pulled out the little money I had. She nodded and smiled. When the train came to a stop she stepped off and onto the next car.

Panhandlers are a common occurrence on the subway. One can easily become desensitized to them, but not when you see a small child suffering in such a way. My pocket change was only a small way to help.

It makes you realize how lucky you are. Eli is lucky to have amazing parents and he never wants for anything. He has clothes, food, shelter and love. We are blessed.

It also reminds me that I want to “be the change I want to see in the world.”  Perhaps there’s a purpose for me changing careers, being a nanny and seeing that baby on the train. Other than my small donation, there isn’t anything I can do to help him now, but he has changed my life forever and maybe I am on a path to help others. Who knows.

L to R: MacKenna, Me, Tammy & Elijah

Friday, April 13, 2012

Brooklyn, Brooklyn Take Me In

It's that time again.
Boxes are packed.
Gas in the car.
My mind focused on the next destination. Brooklyn, New York.
It's time to say goodbye to Park City, which has been my home since November.
This place is special to me for so many reasons and leaving is bittersweet.
I want to thank the Avett Brothers for their lyrical genius and eloquently stating what is on my mind and in my heart.

"I and Love and You"
By The Avett Brothers

Load the car and write the note
Grab your bag and grab your coat
Tell the ones that need to know
We are headed north

One foot in and one foot back
But it don't pay, to live like that
So i cut the ties and i jumped the tracks
For never to return

Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in
Are you aware the shape I'm in
My hands they shake my head it spins
Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in

When at first I learned to speak
I used all my words to fight
With him and her and you and me
Oh but its just a waste of time
Yeah its such a waste of time

That woman she's got eyes that shine
Like a pair of stolen polished dimes
She asked to dance I said it's fine
I'll see you in the morning time

Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in
Are you aware the shape im in
My hands they shake my head it spins
Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in

Three words that became hard to say
I and love and you
What you were then, I am today
Look at the things I do

Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in
Are you aware the shape I'm in
My hands they shake my head it spins
Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in

Dumbed down and numbed by time and age
Your dreams to catch the world, the cage
The highway sets the travelers stage
All exits look the same

Three words that became hard to say
I and love and you
I and love and you
I and love and you

Saturday, April 7, 2012

What Happens in Moab Stays in Moab

I know I've dreamed you a sin and a lie
I have my freedom but I don't have much time
Faith has been broken tears must be cried
Let's do some living after we die
Wild horses, couldn't drag me away
Wild horses we'll ride them someday

~Rolling Stones

With only a few weeks remaining of the winter season, my flatmate Megan and I decided we needed a mini-vacation and a break from Park City. We packed up the Xterra with all the essentials (sleeping bags, beer and Megan's paper map) and were on our way. At the last minute, our co-worker Jim decided to join us...so the three of us loaded into Black Beauty and started the 4 1/2 hour drive South to Moab.

I think the first lesson I learned on this trip is to never trust directions given by your co-pilot that has been pre-gaming. This will result in a 40-minute detour and get you to your final destination around midnight. But even with a late start, mis-guided route and a snow storm...we made it to Moab in one piece. We battled the wind and used headlamps to set up camp that evening, but in the end I opted to passout and sleep in the back of the Xterra. 

The temperatures dropped that evening and we awoke to see that snow had fallen overnight. For anyone who knows Moab, you know that it is rare for it to snow in the desert. However, the cold weather didn't slow us down. That day we went to Arches National Park, which is the world's largest concentration of natural sandstone arches. Arches is on of the most photographed places in the entire world, but it is easy to see why...it is undescribably beautiful. But I do have to say, every sculpture either looked like a nose or a phallic symbol. After a "strenuous" day of hiking and photo-taking, we opted to visit Moab Brewery Company. There's nothing like drinking some Lizard Ale after a day of hiking and toasting to "calling the lizard."

The next day we made our way to two national parks. Our first stop was Dead Horse National Park. The views were absolutely amazing and you feel like you are standing on top of the world. Legend has it, that in the l800s wild mustang herds were common in that area. The peninsula in Dead Horse National Park, which is 2000 feet above the Colorado River, was used to corral and capture them behind a 50 ft. fence at the neck of the formation. One time a herd of unwanted horses was left out there and they died of thirst. Although tragic, this story really struck a chord with me. Lesson learned...you should never try to tame or corral a wild horse (read between the lines.)

Later that day we drove to Canyonlands National Park. Although the roads are straight and narrow, you have to be careful not to speed. Not because of speed traps, but the roads leading into the parks are fence less pastures and it is not uncommon to see livestock standing in the middle of the road. Canyonlands was breathtaking as well. Each view was epic and warranted at least 10-15 pictures.

The third lesson we learned, was to never visit Moab during Jeep Safari week. Accomodation is limited and the town is busy as. Although it was crazy around town, we decided to stay an extra day.  We were on a mission to find a new place to rest our heads. We were tempted to give in and spend a little extra for a bed and hot shower, but Jim persuaded us to find a campsite out in the wild. After many, "sorry, no room at the inn. Don't you know it's Jeep Safari week?!" responses, we took the recommendation of a local and found the most amazing "free" campsite. It was called Moonflower Camping Area and is located inside of a canyon. We hiked into the canyon along a creek and found the last remaining site. Jim did an amazing job of setting up the tent and building the fire, whilst Megan and I did the shopping. We had an amazing night under the stars filled with laughter, smores and LOTS of hot dogs!

After the most epic night of camping, the next day we headed into town for our first real coffee in days and devised a plan for rafting the Colorado River. I was reluctant at first, but after so many "trust-me's" from Jim I was convinced to bypass the rafting company, rent our own raft, strap it to the car, hitchhike and guide ourselves down the river. And boy, am I glad we did! Whitewater rafting with friends, a cooler filled with beer and as many pee-breaks as you want is the way to go.

Moab was amazing! It might be one of my favorite destinations in all of the U.S. You can't help but feel a sense of freedom whilst in Moab. And you definitely can't help but do a little living before you die.

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park - April 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mutant Message Down Under

It’s hard to believe, but I left for New Zealand one year ago today. At the time, I felt very lost and confused. Leaving the country and embarking on an amazing adventure was the only thing that felt right. Before I left a friend recommended that I read the book, “Mutant Message Down Under” by Marlo Morgan. It is a fictionalized account of a "walkabout" the author took in the Australian Outback with a group of Aborigines.

According to Encarta World English Dictionary, “a walkabout is journey through bush: an extended journey on foot through a remote area made by an Australian Aboriginal wishing to experience or return to a traditional way of life and to traditional beliefs.” The author is invited to join the Real People tribe as they make their way across Australia. Morgan gives insight into the tribal ways and relays strong messages of how this misunderstood culture and way of life could actually be a better way for us all to live.

My friend recommend this book to me at the time because she believed I was about to go on my own version of a “walkabout.” Ironically, it wasn’t until I arrived in Park City that I actually found the time to read it. However, now I can look back on my New Zealand experience and can relate to the author on so many levels. Not only did I just live down under and was exposed to this world, but I to am on a spiritual journey. Based on recent events in my life, the chapter titled “Totems” struck a chord with me. In the book, Morgan asked the tribe about their relationship with the animal kingdom. The tribe member replied, “We are all one. Learning strength from weakness.” The example of the snake was quite potent and timely, so I have decided to share it with you.

“The slithering snake is a learning tool when we observe its frequent removal of the outer skin. Little is gained in a lifetime if what you believe at age seven is still how you feel at age thirty-seven. It is necessary to shed old ideas, habits, opinions, and even companions sometimes. Letting go is sometimes a very difficult human lesson. The snake is no lesser nor greater for shedding the old. It is just necessary. New things cannot come where there is no room. He looks and feels younger when he strips himself of old baggage. He isn’t younger, of course. The Real People laughed because keeping track of age seems senseless to this tribe. The snake is a master of charm and power. Both are good to have but can be destructive when they become overwhelming. Real People respect the snake’s need for privacy in the same way each of them requires some time alone.”

I can relate to the snake and have recently shed my skin. It was difficult, but just part of my journey. So I will continue to slither through life displaying my power and charm along the way.