Monday, September 30, 2013

A Goal Realized

Here is the picture hanging up in my apartment right now.
A few weeks ago Kenton and I both received a package from Bridge of Love. Inside it, was a letter and a picture. The letter was from Laurie Lundberg telling us about the visit to Romania that Bridge of Love made this summer and the picture was from the kids in Romania. 

The letter said that when Laurie spoke to those in charge of the sister organization there, Podul Dragostei, they informed her that, just recently, three teachers had offered their time on a volunteer basis as tutors for the kids. Isn't that amazing! It is wonderful that they are giving of their time. It was decided to let them continue teaching on as volunteers since they already have a paying job and are happy to help.

The foster parents told Laurie Lundberg that it would be nice for the kids to have computers and computer classes. It would be helpful for their education and help them have the skills needed to find jobs in the future. Bridge of Love felt that this fit nicely with what Longboard For Love promoted so the money is going towards a teacher and a computer lab for the kids.

Laurie told the kids and foster parents about our longboard trip which will help make the computer lab possible. They were extremely grateful. To show their gratitude they sent a picture of the kids and had the kids sign it. I was very touched and it is now hanging up in my apartment.

This whole endeavor and this blessing would not have been made possible without the help of all of you. Kenton and I did the trip, but it wasn't enough without the generosity and love exhibited by all who gave of themselves in some way. Bridge of Love, and the children in Barlad Romania thank you all.

I had hoped to help other people and possibly inspire others for good through this trip. Instead I find myself greatly helped by being inspired, changed, and uplifted by the loving giving example I saw through this adventure. Longboard For Love, especially Mason Bennett, wants to thank you all as well.

Huzzah for Humanity!



Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Hero's Trail

Confessions
            I am a bibliophile. I simply love books. I recently realized just how many I have when Jamie and me moved into our new apartment in Provo. We brought down boxes full of books, and we only have one bookcase! After three days of organizing, and reorganizing and sending books back home we finally figured it out.
            There are books from many different genres and subjects. Storybooks: Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit,  and My Side of the Mountain. Personal favorites include: Dante's Inferno, Frankenstein, Les Meserables, East of Eden, The Neverending Story. We have biographies about Gandhi, William Wilberforce, Michelangelo, The Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt. Myths and Fables with Beowolf, The Poetic Edda, Grimms Fairy Tales, and Anderson's Fairy Tales. Books on adventure and discovery in Kon-tiki, The Lost City of Z, River of Darkness. Religious books like the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Quran, Popol Vuh, The Apocrypha, Book of Jasher, Baggiavad Gita, Dammapada, Confession's of St. Augustine. Philosophy and thinking with Kierkegaard, C.S. Lewis, Viktor Frankl, Buscalia, and Taylor Caldwell. Poetry from Shel Silverstein to Shakespeare's Complete works, to Mihai Eminescu, Robert Frost, Paublo Neruda. History with Gibbon's Rise and Decline of the Roman Empire, and Gardner's Art through the Ages.
           
 Merlin and Barron
            While the list is long it represents a very small number of my favorites that made it into the bookcase. Books and reading really mean a lot to me. One book that has been important to me is by T.A. Barron. In second grade I was starting to feel that the Bailey School Kids books were becoming too simple and repetitive. I branched out to the harder books and found myself intrigued by The Lost Years of Merlin. I read it and loved it. I fell in love with the characters and the world which was created in the pages. The morals and love of nature spoke to me.
In his sweater. Photo courtesy of www.soentpiet.com
            In the years following I devoured every book Barron wrote. I love how he helped teach me the impact a good person can have on the world. I followed the Merlin series to when it was five books. Then eight, then eleven. Until they were reprinted as a series with new titles. When I was 17 T.A. Barron came to Utah with his new book, The Hero's Trail. I took my little brother with me to go see him. We drove about a half hour to the auditorium where Barron would be speaking.
            We sat there nervously waiting for this great man, this creator of worlds in which we had spent so much time, to appear. He was announced, and up the isle he strode, skipping up the stage steps...he tripped! My brother and I looked at each other in amazement. "He's human!" I thought. "He wears funny green sweaters and trips sometimes!"
           
Small and Simple Things
            As I listened I thought to myself how he was another person, just like us, who does wonderful things. That was the message he spoke about. That each of us walks a trail in life, the Heroes Trail, and by the strength of our character we can surmount obstacles and make a difference in the world. The book, which I bought and had signed, shares stories and quotes about people, mostly young people, who have made the world a better place.
            I look back on my life and see this as one more learning experience that led me to who I am and why Longboard For Love did what we did. As normal people we wanted to make a genuine difference in the world, and maybe, at the same time, our example could ignite the spark of charity in anothers heart. Just as Barron helped do the same in me.
        
    "This world of ours is a truly wondrous place-full of great mysteries and great contrasts. Chief among those mysteries, I am afraid, is how a world with so much beauty and richness could also be home to greed, arrogance, and intolerance. How can a world that produces abundant fruits, inspires timeless poetry, builds lasting friendships, and creates chances for us to realize our dreams also contain the horror of war and religious hatred? That is the greatest challenge of our time, my friend; to tip the world's scale, to find hope where there might be despair, to help all living creatures live together in harmony" -T.A. Barron


            "Just as the smallest grain of sand can tilt the scale, the weight of one person's will can life an entire world." - T.A. Barron

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Favorite Photo

We have posted a lot of pictures from our recent trip on the blog and our Facebook page. The photo below is my favorite picture from the whole adventure. It was taken by a photographer from the Orange County Register. Early one morning we met with the news, we shared our story with them and then they took a lot of pictures. The "photo-shoot" lasted a few hours but they were really flexible with our schedule and just followed us in their car and took pictures of us on the go.

As we were talking to them I had my hands on my board. The photographer snapped a picture and I thought nothing of it. Later in the newspaper article I saw it and realized she had noticed what I wrote on the bottom of my board. The caption for the picture in the article says, "Mason Bennett, 23, of Utah carries a hand-written question on his long board, "Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

I am glad she picked up on that. I wrote a few things that inspired me on the bottom of my board. My hands are covering up the spot where I wrote a name for my board "Impetus" and on another spot I wrote a line from a poem as well, "Home is behind, the world ahead, and there are many paths to tread." All of them wore off by the end of the trip except for this inspiring question:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

photo courtesy of Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register

Monday, September 23, 2013

Dracula's Dash For Hope 2013






It is that time of year again! Bridge of Love is hosting its annual 5K race, Dracula's Dash For Hope. I went last year and it was a ton of fun. Here is the information from the Bridge of Love website about the race. I hope to see you there!

Dear Friend of Bridge of Love,

We are excited to announce our Dracula’s Dash for Hope 5k and 1/2-Mile Kids’ Run on Saturday, October 12th at the Cottonwood Complex, 4400 S. 1300 E. in Salt Lake City.

Dracula is out to change his reputation of doom and gloom by helping to raise donations for abandoned and
Photo of the 1/2 children race from last year
disadvantaged children in Romania. This is our 6th annual charity 5k and it keeps getting better every year!

For 2013, we’ve added a shorter run for kids and planned fun Halloween-themed changes. There will be refreshments, medals, and prizes. Costumes are encouraged but not required.

Visit www.bridgeofloveromania.com to pre-register online or for more information about Dracula’s Dash for Hope. Race-day registration and packet pickup is from 7:00 – 8:30 a.m. Please sign up early!

The 1/2-mile run for children under age 10 begins at 8:30 a.m. The cost is $10 and all participants will receive a medal.

The 5k starts at 9 a.m. sharp. The cost is $25 through Oct.1st or $35 afterward. Medals will be awarded to the top 5k runners in each age group. All participants will be given a race t-shirt and entered in a raffle for prizes donated by local businesses and volunteers.

While not required, we encourage race participants to make an even bigger difference by asking family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to sponsor them in the race by making a donation of any amount to Bridge of Love.

We are giving away a 32" LED Color TV to the person who collects the most donations. All others who donate $200 or more will receive a $20 gift card.

More information to assist runners who choose to seek out race sponsor donations will be provided following their online pre-registration. 
You can register for the race by clicking here.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wheel Shields

It has been too long since last I wrote. The summer has been a busy one. Longboard 650 miles, get married, move to California for an internship, move back to Utah, and start another semester of school. Life has been crazy, but life is good.

Recently I got an email from a company I talked about almost a year ago, Wheel Shields. They contacted me to let me know about their recent Kickstarter Campaign helping to fund their innovative product. Sadly, in the rush of moving back to Provo, starting a new semester, and starting two jobs I haven't been able to address the email until now. Sadly the Kickstarter is over. Good news though, they got their funding! Which means they are taking off and now the rest of us can order the product from their website.

Check them out. Especially if you are into distance longboarding. With the upcoming rainy and wet winter weather these will be indispensable.

 I'm excited to see this great idea opening up. Things like this help the wonderful sport of longboarding to evolve and move in new directions. I'm not sure personally how well they work but as soon as I get a set I will let you know. Until then I thought I would share a video of Rob Thompson (Guinness World Record for Longest Distance on a Skateboard (7,500 miles) and one of my boarding heroes) talk about the Shields. If he thinks they are good, I'm willing to try them out. On any upcoming distance trips I plan of having these.