Friday, February 26, 2010

It's Friday And It's On My Mind

Here's what's on my mind:

1. I was watching the Olympics last night and heard someone say, "I'd give anything to skate like that!" and I thought "no you wouldn't. They DID give everything to skate like that" I a mean person for thinking that? I just know that these Olympians didn't just wake up a few weeks ago and decide to go to the Olympics...many have trained for most of their lives. They have given up so much to get where they are today. I admire them and praise them all because their fortitude, discipline and tenacity is beyond comprehension for most of us.

2. Who cares how many women John Edwards has slept with?!? Really, are we surprised that he lied about that sweet, innocent little girl being his? Let me remind you, ""...sad, seems to be a trend...

3. It's a good thing we have children before we are 50! I ADORE my grandchildren, but they kick my proverbial butt! Nevertheless, I cherish the time I get to spend with them. They heal my heart:)

4. Cloning seems to me to be a great idea! There's only 1 of me which often creates a huge dilemma. I'm working on saying "No" but not having much success...guess that's for another post.

And Finally...

5. I met my husband 6 years ago this past week (the 23rd to be exact). He ALWAYS remembers the 23rd of every month with a gift of some sort. He is so sweet and thoughtful, it really touches my heart that he treasures that day. (If you're wondering, we decided to wait until tomorrow to celebrate six awesome years.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I came upon this idea from a blog that I regularly read so, with her permission, I am stealing her idea!

Today I am thankful for SOFT TOILET PAPER! I know, this is a strange thing to write about but I think that it's important to remember the things that we take for granted on a daily basis.

Brad and I are sticklers for soft, 2 ply TP so you can imagine my surprise when he came home the other day with a 24 pack of 1 ply, not very soft tissue. I didn't say anything, after all, he was doing me a favor by picking it up when he ran into town. We are using it and boy have I noticed a difference! It's OK. We will survive and we will be alright...but boy am I thankful for my precious 2 ply, soft little buddy that I have taken for granted all of these years!
What did people use before toilet paper? Well, just use your imagination: grass, leaves, fur, mussell shells, corncobs, stinging nettles... okay, maybe not that last, at least not more than once. The ancient Greeks used stones and pieces of clay; ancient Romans used sponges on the ends of sticks, kept in jugs filled with salty water. Mideasterners commonly used the left hand, which is supposedly still considered unclean in the Arabian region.

"Official" toilet paper - that is, paper which was produced specifically for the purpose - dates back at least to the late 14th Century, when Chinese emperors ordered it in 2-foot x 3-foot sheets.

Corncobs and pages torn from newspapers and magazines were commonly used in the early American West. The Sears catalogue was well-known in this context, and even produced such humorous spinoffs as the "Rears and Sorebutt" catalogue. The Farmer's Almanac had a hole in it so it could be hung on a hook and the pages torn off easily.

Joseph C. Gayetty of New York started producing the first packaged toilet paper in the U.S. in 1857. It consisted of pre-moistened flat sheets medicated with aloe and was named "Gayetty’s Medicated Paper". Gayetty's name was printed on every sheet.

Rolled and perforated toilet paper as we're familiar with today was invented around 1880. Various sources attribute it to the Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company in 1877, and to the Scott Paper company in 1879 or 1890. On a side note, the Scott Company was too embarrassed to put their name on their product, as the concept of toilet paper was a sensitive subject at the time, so they customized it for their customers... hence the Waldorf Hotel became a big name in toilet paper.

Life is full of the "little things". I find that it is so easy to be thankful for the obvious, like our homes, our families, our health, our cars, a new job or any other "big" thing that enters our life. But to me, the little things in life are sometimes the things that if taken away, we would be left in a whirlwind of confusion and discomfort. I try to express my gratitude to Heavenly Father each day for ALL that He has provided for me...and that includes toilet paper.

So today I stick by my post! I am thankful for something that we all need and use daily. Something that actually has a history and a story worth reading and understanding. What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Run For Your Life!

A man recounting his time living as a boy in Germany shared the following experience:

Born thirteen years prior to World War II, he told of his upbringing as a Hitler Youth and how, in his home, his parents taught him that they were not the superior race--that God loves all of his children equally. He then was sent to Czechoslovakia to attend a military school. One weekend he was ice skating on a lake, but fell in where the ice had thinned out. He fell into water up to his waist. As he lay on the cold snow, his wet clothes literally freezing to his body, a man on a sleigh approached him. He was sure that the man would put him on the sleigh, wrapping him up in the warm furs he had with him, but instead the man made him hold onto the back of the sleigh and run behind it into town, about a two or three mile run.

At the time he did not understand why he was having to run, but he later learned that running is what saved his life. Had he been wrapped up in the furs on the sleigh he would have frozen to death, but by running he kept his blood circulating, and it kept him alive.

This is much like when we pray to Heavenly Father. After we have fallen through thin ice and are freezing, our Heavenly Father has the warm furs to wrap us up in, but instead He makes us run; He makes us run to save our lives. It's hard and not fun at all, but when we finally return to Him, we will be a stronger, better person, and we will be saved. Heavenly Father makes us run to preserve our lives, to keep us moving until it's time to meet Him again.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Womens Wellness Retreat-Day 1

I have been trying to eat healthier, exercise more and cut out sugars. I'm not doing this for any religious reason, although I think that (Lent, in particular) is a wonderful thing, I'm just trying to do this because I don't feel as well as I know that I can. I have gained about 10 extra pounds, I'm sluggish and just don't feel as well in general. I have always had a super high metabolism where weight was something I TRIED to put on! I could eat anything I wanted and I did! Now I'm paying dearly for all of those "easy" years and I feel just down right crummy!

Many of you may know that I was in sunny St. George this past weekend for a “Women’s Wellness Retreat”. My sweet friend from Midway, Kerry Hendrickson, was gracious enough to put this together with Leslie Smoot (my NEW Friend). Both Kerry and Leslie are Raw Foods experts…they would probably be too humble to call themselves “experts”, but trust me, they are! (When I say “raw”, I’m talking Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Seeds and Grains…not meat!) Kerry has a gorgeous, warm welcoming home in St. George so we held it there and it was the PERFECT setting!

We started the weekend by meeting together at a beautiful trail head just a few blocks from Kerry’s home and about 9 of us began our sunrise hike together. I didn't know anyone, so I started out walking alone, which was fine, but early on, this darling girl, Carrie, who was walking with her sister-in-law, turned back towards me and began talking to me. We were quickly engaged in conversation and together we all enjoyed the magnificent beauty of the red clay bluffs set against the sapphire blue sky and the experience became etched in my mind forever. Just before we turned to walk back, Leslie, who lead the hike, asked us to take a moment, breathe in the beauty and raise our arms to salute the sun and end by bringing our hands together at our heart, three times. It was awesome.

Several hours later, we all met at Kerry’s house and the fun began! They had prepared a most amazing lunch that was not only COMPLETELY healthy and mostly RAW, but it was FABULOUS and filling and I couldn’t get enough!! I felt as though I could eat for hours and not gain a pound because everything was balanced so well. We had a Mexican themed lunch with darling Rose as our chef du jour. She is from Mexico and shared her fabulous recipes, tips and insights with us (recipes to follow) and set the tone for the rest of the day.

We learned about the dangers of continuing with our current eating habits and how so many diseases, pains and health problems can be averted by choosing wisely and eating raw. But the thing I loved about Day 1 was learning about the rhythms of the earth and the importance of staying in balance with it. For example, the rhythms are so powerful that if you set 3 different pendulums on a table and start them all at different speeds, eventually they will end up in sync with each other.

Attitude was a HUGE part of the seminar. How we feel about ourselves as well as what we say and do to others affects us from a physiological stand point that we often don't even think about!

Perhaps the most fascinating demonstration was the study done by Dr. Masaru Emoto. He studied water and took separate portions of water and treated each differently. He spoke kind words to one section…words like, LOVE, APPRECIATION, THANK YOU, I LOVE YOU, MOTHER THERESA etc…Then he took the second section and spoke words like, ANGER, I HATE YOU, YOU DISGUST ME, ADOLPH HITLER etc…the water that had kind words spoken had beautiful water crystals…the water exposed to negativity had no form. The crystals were unrecognizable and a mess (you can see a video on this on YouTube under “Emoto Japanese Water Study”).There was so much that we talked about, it would be impossible to put it all down in words, but I can tell you this, it was well worth every minute spent. I am so thankful to have learned so much and I am so inspired to eat better and get healthier.

Mother Theresa...

I Love You...

Thank You...

Adolph Hitler...

Heavy Metal Music...

You Make Me Sick...

Fujiwara Damn water before prayer was offered...

Fujiwara Damn water after prayer was offered...

No wonder stress kills us! Our bodies are made up of 70% water. Can you imagine what negativity does to us??
So it has only been 3 days and I have NOT eaten any sugar, I have focused on eating whole grains, nuts, organic fresh and RAW fruits and vegetables and I have been drinking at least 60 oz of water per day. I can't begin to tell you how much better I ALREADY FEEL!!! It has changed my life and I am so excited! Brad is on board, so we are on our way to a healthier, happier more prosperous life!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Good and the Bad

"On Good days you live, on Bad days you learn"

I heard this saying recently and it really hit me. I think that I have more good days than bad, but when they're bad, they are the ones that I sometimes want to forget the most. Maybe I'm looking at this all wrong! Maybe I need to start remembering the bad days a little bit more...not dwell on the negativity, but look for the lessons and then remember.

I had a really bad day a couple of weeks ago. Everything that could go wrong did and it seemed like NOTHING went the way I wanted it to. As I try to remember the specific events of the day, I have found that I really cannot remember why it was such a tough day! Maybe the lessons that I needed to learn simply were not learned! It makes me worry because now do I have to have a repeat of those same experiences? They may come in a different package, but did I learn the lessons of the day??

The blessings in my life are amazingly unbelievable! I have more than anyone could ever really need and yet I sometimes find myself wanting more. This year I am focusing on realizing my everyday blessings and finding signifigance in each day. I chose my word for the year and it is "SIGNIFICANT"... (I did a post on my old blog...maybe I'll repeat the post on this one)...But, I still have the "bad days"

I have had to remember that these tough days can turn out to be the best if we ride the storm and allow it to pass without destroying us. There have been SO many times when I have "survived" a day and later looked back on it only to realize that it did indeed make me stronger even though I never want to repeat that same day!

But equally important are the "good days". Those seem to be the times that I take for granted, like I'm entitled to only have a good day! Those days are indeed the days to "live" and enjoy and cherish and treasure! If they are ignored or taken for granted, they are in vain.

So here's to life! Live it each day to the fullest. Laugh until you hurt and Love it more than you can imagine.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Is It Only Me?

Is it just me or do other women visit a place and ask their husbands if they can pack up and move (together, of course)? We are in St. George, UT which, for my out-of-state friends, is located in the very most Southwest corner of Utah and is just 2 hours away from Las Vegas and 4 hours away from where I live. St. Geroge has become like a mini Palm Springs, full of retirees but also filled with amazing families.

We got here Wed. night and I immediately noticed that when we were unpacking our car, that my jacket was still IN the car and I didn't need was heavenly. Yesterday it was 66 degrees and granted, we are in a desert, but it was beautiful. There is NO air pollution and the homes are set against the most vibrant red clay bluffs you have ever seen and the colors of the desert are rich and luscious . I think I am so "Color Deprived" because all I have seen lately is brown and LOTS of white!

I dragged my sweet hubby down here (not a tough thing to do) and assured him that he could work while I attended my girlfriend's "Wellness For Women" retreat (that post will be in a few days). My darling friend is one of those lucky women who has a fabulous home up in Midway (Northern Utah) as well as another fabulous home in St. George. After we took a sunrise hike yesterday morning, I went back to the hotel only to inform my sweet Brad that "we ARE buying a home down here!" He chuckled, patronized me and assured me that when we are able, we will indeed purchase a place in this gorgeous oasis.

So, is it only me? Or do other women want to just pick up and move when they visit a different city? I feel this way when I go to Hawaii, NYC, London and just about any other of our "vacation" spots. I feel this insatiable need to feel assured that we can come back at a moments whim. I almost become obsessed and find myself picking up flyers for homes that are listed on the market. I become a crazy woman on a quest to find a new home!

Don't get me wrong, I love where I live, but to have another place in another city is a dream of mine. We've talked about getting a condo in Hawaii, not a time-share, a real bonafide condo. We've talked about getting something small on the East Coast close to NYC (taxes are killer in NYC). I guess I just have to be patient and trust that if it's something that will benefit us and our family, then we will find a way to make it happen...or maybe I can just be happy with what I DO have and be content with staying in hotels when we visit all of these fun places...I don't know!

This is what I left...

This is what I came to...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Huge Thank You

I love the blogging world because it connects us with people we would never ever have the opportunity to meet in a million years! I have “met” some of the most amazing women by stumbling across their blogs and even though I have never personally met or even verbally spoken to them, I feel like we have become life-long friends.

I believe that we all lived before we came to this beautiful earth and that we are all brothers and sisters with the same challenges and trials. Our challenges come in different packages, but we are all tried and tested so that we can become better, stronger, more Christ-like people and add to the richness of this world and to the lives of those we come in contact with. This is what my “blogging” friends have done for me. They have added to the richness of my life and have inspired me in ways that they will never know!

Many of these women are women who are much younger than I am and their wisdom and insight far surpasses any that I could possibly possess and truly amazes me. I only wish we had had the technology 30 years ago when I began my little family that we do now and I know that I would have gleaned and learned so much more which would only have helped me do a better job in raising my children. But now I have the opportunity to continue to learn and, although my children are grown and on their own, I can only hope to be a better grandmother than I was a mother.

I often get a bit overwhelmed by some of the amazing photos of homes and décor found on various blogs. I see amazing young women who seem to have it all together at such a young age and I feel envious that they “get it” when they are still young enough to make it really work for them. I look at their photos and see beautifully decorated homes…most on a budget! I see precious children who are flourishing because they have a loving, self-less, conscientious mother who looks out for their welfare above anything else. I smell amazing aromas coming from warm kitchens filled with delicious recipes made from the hearts of women who see the value in creating memories at the dinner table. I see homes that should be awarded generous prizes for amazing décor and elegance with the most amazing homey feel. I look at works of art made at the hands of creative women who take something old and discarded and turn it into a piece worthy of the richest castles in Europe. But most of all, I see the same connective thread in each and every post…a desire to do better, reach higher and serve more.

So here is a very grateful shout-out of thanks to some of my favorite, most inspirational blogger friends!

Please take a moment to check out just a few of my favorite blogs and hopefully you will find something that will inspire you to be a better mother, grandmother, wife, sister, daughter, friend…and most importantly, a better woman.

Thank you…I love you all!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Voices In My Head

February is the month where we celebrate LOVE. Hence this post...

Have you ever felt like your own worst critic?? I know, stupid question...of course, we all do that at one time or another. I seem to go through spurts and when I have a spurt, I seem to rip myself up one side and down another. I hate that I do it, but still, I do it.

I have always been a bit of a perfectionist which may be a big part of the reason that I am so hard on myself. I probably have some OCD tendancies (not bad, but still there) and I love order. That's just one small component of why I am so hard on myself. The bottom line is, I have struggled with low self-esteem and always have. I have come MILES over the years and have learned that I am here to make mistakes, but I still fight the "Voices" in my head that tell me I'm not good enough.

Recently I was mistreated by someone close to me whom I love and respected dearly and whom I thought loved and respected me back. This person has a drinking problem and when she "went off" on me, she had in fact been drinking. She assumed that I had "wronged" her because of her perception of what she thought she heard (it's so stupid, really). Anyway, she tore me up with her tongue. And even though I apologized repeatedly for making her feel bad (which was the FARTHEST thing from my mind), she shut me down and cut me off. So naturally, I left feeling totally at fault (even the witnesses were shocked at her behavior) and even though I knew that alcohol was a major factor, I beat myself up and those pesky Voices in my head told me that I was a bad person and not worthy of being loved. I shed many tears and, because of her cruel behavior, I ended up hating myself for several days!

I have since moved on from that experience. I have forgiven her and I now just pity her because she is a very sad and lonely person whose best friend lives in the bottom of a glass! I'm not angry, just sad that she has decided to shut herself off and live in her anger.

We have ALL been hurt and wronged. We have all been damaged. It's just the way it is!

So this is what I have done...I have made a list of the good things about me...this was most difficult because naturally, the Voices wanted me to make a list of the bad things...but in my attempts to silence them, this is what I have come up with...

1. I am a very forgiving person. I truly forgive and forget because I know that we are all here on earth to make mistakes. We are going to hurt others, maybe not intentionally, but we do it and we ALL deserve forgiveness.

2. I am a positive person...for the most part! I DO look at the glass half full and give people the benefit of the doubt. This has hurt me at times, but in the long run, it has benefited me more.

3. I am a smart person! I try to keep myself educated. I observe and learn. I look for the lessons in experiences and I try to grow from all of them even though the Voices tell me that I should know more and should be smarter for my age...

4. I am a loving person. I truly do love people.

5. I am a fun person to be around...most of the time...I admit, when I wrote that last statement, the Voices tried to tell me that I was the only one who thinks I'm fun and that really I'm just annoying...

6. I am a good mother. Yes, I have made a multitude of mistakes (and the Voices remind me of this constantly) but nobody loves their kids more than I do! All you mothers out there know exactly what I mean!

7. I am a good wife. When I got divorced, my ex-husband told my new husband that he was the luckiest man on earth to be getting me because I was a great wife! (this same ex-husband cheated on me and, in my opinion, added greatly to my low self-exteem issues...but that's for another day!)

8. I am a generous person. I will give you anything you a fault.

So that's about it. I'm learning to love myself. I made the list. The Voices are taunting me as I write and telling me to erase this silly post. But for my sake, I'm publishing it!

"Self esteem is the reputation we acquire with ourselves" ~author unknown

Monday, February 15, 2010

If Your Life Was A Song

Throughout my ENTIRE life, music has been a vital component in my family. My mother was and still is, a professional musicisan and at age 78 (79 next month!)still plays the violin in the Utah Symphony and plays it beautifully. My dad was V.P. for Capitol Records and was surrounded by musical artists. Since we received records in the mail on a DAILY basis, we, as kids, were "drenched" in music.

So I have been asked this question before..."If your life was a song, which one would it be?" I was asked that several years ago and still haven't come up with one! Maybe I haven't come up with the perfect song because there are so many that encapsulate my life...but I'm still thinking on that one!
I love the saying ,"Music is the soundtrack of our life". I think Dick Clark coined that one, but whoever it was, it's true. No matter where I am in the world, if I hear a certain song(s), I am immediately catapulted back in timel...ususally to a good place, but sometimes to a place that I would have loved to forgotten...I guess that comes along with it.

The other day I was in a bookstore and they were playing classical music. It happened to be "The Meditation" (not sure who's it was by) but my dearly departed grandmother's face popped into my head (my mother played it at her funeral=hence the memory). Anyway, my thoughts moved all over the place and I was sweetly reminded of her home in Alburquerque that was filled with authentic Native American antiquities, closets full of books containing stories from the most remote corners of the world and some of the sweetest music coming from her baby grand piano. It was so interesting to me because she has been gone for almost 30 years...but the sounds, smells and visions in my mind were clear.

My "soundtrack album" would include some of the following songs:

  • "Our House" by Bread=my older brother, Mark when we were living in Westlake Village, California.

  • "Schools Out" by Alice Cooper=Driving home late at night back in about 1972 from the health spa in Ft.Lauderdale.

  • "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls=my oldest daughter and a few of her friends dancing in her room when she was in high school....over and over and over!!

  • "Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson=my son singing to the top of his lungs with his door closed when he was about 9 years old. (again, over and over and over...)

  • "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers=my deceased mother-in-law's smiling was her favorite song.

  • "25 or 6 to 4" by Chicago=marching on the football field with my high school band...we did a HORRIFIC rendition. Go Hurricanes!

  • "Graduation Day" by the Four Freshmen=great times at the Barbour's pool in California...Ross Barbour was one of the Four Freshmen and they were our best friends.

  • "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" by the Beatles=My first date with my husband. We sang this together and he had the sweetest smile on his face.

  • "I Saw Her Standing There" by the Beatles=singing with Jilly in Louisville and doing our silly hand gestures.

  • "Close To You" by the Carpenters=singing in the car with my sister, Carol on our family roadtrips and having the most perfect harmonies!

  • "Hey Jude" by the Beatles=Natalie, Brad and me singing at the top of our lungs on our way to Las Vegas with Natalie's friend, Paige.

  • "Ob-la-di-ob-la-da" by the Beatles=my niece, Oakley, singing it with us everytime she got in our car.

The list goes on and on...and YES, almost every Beatles song would be on it! But so would many others like Elton John, Chicago, Styx, The Rolling Stones, Journey, Boston, Neil Young, Credence Clearwater Revival, Cat Stevens, Roy Orbison, Earth Wind and Fire...also, Musicals like "The Sound of Music", "The Kind and I", even "Mary Poppins!...and let us not forget the most sacred music in the world, our beautiful Hymns of praise to our Lord.

So, back to the original question.."If your life was a song, which one would it be?" I still haven't got a clue but I am thankful for the beauty of music and am even more thankful parents who recognized that it was important in our lives. I'm thankful for a mother who, although she was classically trained and exposed us to the genius of the greats, allowed us to listen to "our" music and embraced it with us. I love that she recognized that many "modern"composers (ie: Lennon/McCartney) were indeed geniuses and made meaningful contributions to the world. I am thankful for a father who exposed us not only to the greatest melodies of the 40's, 50's and 60's, but also to the people themselves by sharing the human stories of who they really were...even inviting many into our homes and showing us that they were real people with real lives and families of their own.

Music has been and will be one of the most constant and important parts of my life. It is the part that has added the color and passion that has made my life more interesting and memorable. Music IS the soundtrack of my life...What is your song?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Vintage Valentines

I ran across these Vintage Valentines that are NOT so Politically Correct! They reminded me of the 60's when life was much simpler...Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

If These Walls Could Talk

Yesterday I went to help a young mother in our ward who gave birth to triplets back in December. She and her husband live in an older, small house that needs some things done to it before they move their beautiful little babes into it so in the meantime, they are living in her cousin's home that is vacant and up for sale. This home is BEAUTIFUL! It is close to 4500 sq. ft. on a half acre with stunning views of the mountains and surrounding valley. It has all of the modern conveniences of the 21st century and offers everything that any red-blooded American woman would love...I am ashamed to admit that I felt a bit envious...I used to have a 4000 sq. ft. home and, although I thought I could let it go, I often find myself missing the space I once had.

As I looked around, (the house is scantilly decorated with just a few things to make it more appealing during the "for sale" process) I found myself envisioning my own personal touches and I had it completely decorated in my head...and it was FABULOUS! I spared no expense and filled it with my own personal things as well as numerous plush drapes, linens, luxurious couches, comfy chairs, oriental rugs, textured wall treatments, amazing framed oil paintings, along with the latest in electronics and appliances (yes, I changed out a few things in the kitchen)...

I envisioned huge family gatherings with grandchildren playing in the upstairs bedroom that was already painted a soft yellow (that remained the same in my renovation!) They played in the drop down "playroom" area within the same room and I saw them in their dress-ups having tea parties...Then I went home!

As I walked into my little 900 sq. ft. home, I felt a rush of...comfort. I felt at home and as I looked around, I realized that even though my house is less than a quarter of the size of my newly redecorated "imaginary" home, it is filled with love and memories. Memories of a life before me...

It's the home where my sweet husband and his sister were raised by a loving single mother who worked 3 jobs just to make ends meet and provide for her children who were the loves of her life. It's a home where if the walls could talk, they would tell stories of "Christmas's Past" where wide-eyed children would creep out to see what was left under the immensly over-flocked pink Christmas tree. Where families gathered in cramped quarters to celebrate birthdays. Where neighbors stopped by without advance notice just because they cared and wanted to chat. Where teenagers had parties when their hard-working, devoted mother was away on business, only to have that same mother call their friends when she got home to make them come back to help clean up the residual mess...and their friends were OK with that and LOVED their mother! And on and on and on...

This is my home! It has adopted me and now it is time for me to accept the love it has to offer. It's time for me to let go of the need for more room and just embrace the precious space that reeks of a lifetime of memories. I have done some remodeling and have more to do...we have room to grow, and we will but in the meantime, it is time for me to learn to be content with what I have and thankful for a warm, comfortable's not a "house", it's a "home".

It became very clear to me that I have been complaining about a "gift"! I have been wanting more than I really "need" I haven't been thankful for what I do have and I have been more concerned with what I don't have...shame on me!

I do have a LOT of things in storage...actually, I have enough in storage to furnish another house. And that's OK...the day will come when I have room for some of those "things"...the rest, I'll get rid of and that will be OK too. I do want more room for entertaining...I do want room for guests to come visit and I will have that room because this little house has available space for additions...but in the meantime, I am working on being more thankful and more content with what I DO have and I'm trying to not worry about what I don't have.

I DO have:

1. An amazing husband who loves me and whom I love more than I could ever have imagined.

2. Four amazing children who give me more joy than I sometimes feel like I deserve.

3. Five of the MOST BEAUTIFUL and SWEET grandchildren in the world!

4. Faith in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and the peace of mind in knowing that through Him, all things are possible.

5. Good health.

6. All of the comforts and modern conveniences of life.

7. Plenty of food, clothing and lots of warm blankets.

8. The sweetest neighbors in the world who would do anything for us without question!

9. Precious extended family members who I adore and love even though many live far away.

10. Everything I need to be happy!

I pray that I will remember the bounteous blessings that have been bestowed upon me and my family and friends. I pray that I will be forever grateful for ALL that I have and remember that there are MILLIONS of people who are so much worse off than anyone I personally know. And I pray that I will always be thankful for the truly important things in life and appreciative of the love of good friends and family because in the end, that's what makes a person rich and the size of their house doesn't matter at all.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Precious Moments

Aja and her girls came up Saturday and spent the night with us since they were having baby Tage blessed in our ward the following day. (Ryan stayed at his brother's and met us Sunday morning).

When Aja arrived, we were greeted with the SWEETEST hugs and kisses imaginable by 2 of the sweetest little girls I know! As soon as she arrived, we jumped into her car and ran over to her good friend Bonnie's house to celebrate the birthday of her 2 year old daughter, Kjersti (pronounced "Cher-stee"...Love it!) We ate cake, the kids played and back to my house we went to tuck 3 VERY tired wee ones into bed...

The best part of the night was after the little darlin's fell asleep and Aja, Brad and I stayed up just talking about anything! We covered everything from "adorable child antics" to "conspiracy theories" name it, we talked about it. We had to get up early the next morning to get ready for the blessing, fix the food and get 3 kids ready, and since we had stayed up til 2:00 AM, it was no easy task!

It took me back about 10 years when I had 3 teenagers in my home and I would have an early sign-in at the airport with a rigorous flight schedule the next day...inevitably, one of my kids would be in the mood to talk until the wee hours of the morning and I would have to literally fall out of bed, drag myself to the shower and fight to stay awake while driving to the airport...but it was always worth it.

As exhausted as I was yesterday, I wouldn't have changed a minute of the night before...Sunday was even better! The baby blessing was beautiful and my dad did an amazing job. He was prepared and humble and offered a most amazing blessing on that sweet little boy who is still fighting for his very life...Aja was touched and many tears of joy were shed. The Spirit was strong and my family shared some very sacred moments that were long overdue...

I LOVED having most of my family over (the ones who didn't make it lived out of state) and I loved that we were all CRAMMED into my teeny little house and that it was OK! I loved that Bonnie and Ryan Norton came over and joined us...and Preston Pope...I loved laughing with Natalie over crazy Superbowl commercials and how her laugh made ME laugh! I loved watching the little ones play Beatles Rock Band pretending that they were indeed little Rock Stars...even the little 2 and 3 year olds! I loved that my poor little aging dad and my amazing mom came over and joined us for dinner...I loved that the only one truly worried about the lack of space was ME!

We watched the Superbowl and I loved that the New Orleans Saints triumphed over the Indianapolis Colts...I loved that Ryan Norton teased Aja about how the game was rigged because of hurricane Katrina (claiming that everyone felt sorry for them so agreed to throw the game! lol) and that she vehemently defended the Saints! (She' ridiculously gullible!!)...and I loved how we made brownies and used my new "all edges" pan...

By the time everyone left (well after 10:00 PM) Brad and I were exhausted...and I mean "" exhausted...but we wouldn't have traded a minute of what we had on a cold, sunny Sunday with our loved ones...

I am so thankful for the most precious moments in life. For the unexpected surprises that your children spring on you when you think that all of your years of worry and sleepless night went unnoticed and were in vain. I am so thankful for a Ward family that chooses to love and accept EVERYONE regardless of whether or not they "fit the mold" and by loving unconditionally, they help bring souls unto Christ. I am so thankful for a loving Bishop who is patient, kind and extremely understanding with my sweet daughter who has come back to church after an almost 18 year absence of ANY kind of religion in her life.

It has all been worth it. LIFE is worth it! These are the precious moments in life that recharge us and inspire us all to keep enduring and continue moving in a forward direction...It's one ever said it would be easy, but it IS worth it!

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Bunch of Nothing Friday

A special thanks to Sarah over at "Clover Lane" for her inspiration to sum up the week with "A Bunch of Nothing" Fridays (Her blog is amazing and one of my favs).

1. Survived the craziness of the fashion show that my daughter, son and granddaughter were in. But it was fun to be Alakina's personal assistant.

2. Made yummy shrimp enchiladas with NO recipe...even Brad liked them and he thinks seafood and mexican just don't mix.

3. Taught my friend's Sunday School class with virtually NO advance notice...Do you know the difference between "transgression" and "sin"...I do now!

4. Sick of being CoLd!

5. Even though it's cold, I can't get over how beautiful it is living in the mountains! I think it's funny that I have to shoo the deer away before I can back my car out of the driveway.

6. Baby Tage is getting stronger everyday. Now he just needs to sleep more than 20 min. at a time...poor Aja, she's exhausted all the time.

7. Anxious to see "Dear John" which arrives in theaters today.

8. Can't wait to see "Valentine's Day" which arrives in theaters next Friday and can't wait for the actual day next Sunday... such a sweet holiday (no pun intended).

9. Planning a St. George weekend getaway with Brad to go to my girlfriend's "Wellness Retreat for Women" (Brad will work while I'm, retreating!) So excited to run around in a t-shirt without a jacket, but more excited for the retreat.

10. Love the cute teenage girls in my ward but amazed at how they complicate their lives so unnecessarily...did I really do that when I was a teenager??

11. I admit that I watch "The Bachelor" and I've made my husband watch it with me! It's pretty hilarious that people actually think they can find "love" on national TV while millions (OK, maybe thousands) of people watch the potential husband locking lips with different women on the same day declaring that he's "beginning to fall" for each one of them...YIKES...(but I can't stop watching)!

12. Can't wait for "Survivor-Heroes vs. Villians" Thursday... (Hi. I'm Mary. I'm a Reality-Show-aholic.)

13. Survived watching one of my best friends deal with a cold-hearted heartbreak. Even though it's for the best, it's still difficult to watch=(

14. Ready to get started planning Swiss Days. So much fun:)

15. Looking forward to Sunday when my sweet grandbaby, Tage will be getting blessed. Afterwards, we'll eat Chili con Queso (our family fav) and watch the Superbowl...Go Saints!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Full Moon

Last Saturday night, Brad and I were driving home from Salt Lake. It was dark and the sky was cloudy and overcast. They call it the "Inversion" in Salt Lake City...I call it Smog! Maybe that's the Calfornia girl in me, but let's get's ugly, it's brown, it stinks...SMOG...

As we were driving up Parley's Canyon and as we were climbing in altitude, we saw a faint glow in the sky. We came around a turn and there it was! We were treated to a most beautiful, glowing full moon! It was awe inspiring as we drove in the dark of the night lit, at times, only by the light of this amazingly beautiful full moon.

It made me wonder how many other people in the world were gazing up at that very sight. What were they thinking and where were they? Did they stand in awe as I did? Did they appreciate the glory of the Creator as I did? I wonder.

I know that no matter where we are, we all can see the moon at one time or another. Sometimes we can see it in one city but not in a neighboring city. Sometimes we have to change our route to be able to see clearly. Sometimes the route changes have to be even bigger than that. But, if we make the necessary changes, we are treated to a most incredible sight.

I remember when I flew, that we would be on the runway, in position waiting to take-off in the "inversion". As we would roll down the runway, I would look out the window and barely be able to see the mountains...sometimes, I couldn't see them at all. In just a matter of minutes, we would lift off and rise above the thick, brown, smelly gunk and the most pristine blue sky welcomed us.

That's life isn't it? Life requires changes and re-routes. It requires that we rise above the gunk and soar to beautiful heights. When we do that, we can once again see!

I have had to make changes over and over and over in my life and I fully expect to make more changes as I journey though this life. I used to be more stubborn and balk at very much change...but I have learned that the only way to see clearly and to breathe fresh air, is to re-route, change course or climb to greater heights.

So each time I look at the moon, whether full or not, I am thankful to be out of the "gunk" and it inspires me to rise above the gloom and appreciate all that I have. I see more clearly and I think with clarity. It's not that hard to do, it's just necessary to do it!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


This is what 8 degrees farenheit looks like...