Monday, March 31, 2014

Worst. Mother. Ever.

The past few days will surely go down as the worst in history when it comes to me being any kind of a caring, compassionate mother, let alone human being!

Yikes!

Sad Days!

Last week, I was doing so well, concentrating my efforts on prayers for Damen, swearing I would be grateful for my own little, minute cross to bear in relationship to the trials those around me have.  I was determined to find joy in this journey, to take it all in stride, one day at a time, give thanks, be happy for today...gosh, the words that cliche into one another are endless with permutations unimaginable!

Sam is on Spring Break.  We are seeing all sorts of pictures on FB of people sitting on a beach somewhere, just their feet and wide open, blue waters...This is our version of that picture...I am calling it "Life's a Beach!"

However, I failed miserably!  Thursday was Shelbie's transfusion.  I had planned to be positive and upbeat and make it a great day.  Instead, I muttered and complained and was so worn out I couldn't get any of my work done and the internet at the hospital wasn't working for most of the day and when it was, it had blocked every single website I needed to get to for work.  Sam and I napped in the morning for an hour, rushed through lunch because Shelbie got sick 5 minutes into eating and had to get back to her room, then tried to be productive for the afternoon which was a mess.

Sam had his driving test at 6 that night so I left Shelbie to take him for that but the teacher was almost 45 minutes late and we still had a 30 minute test.  Shelbie finished early and was bugged that I wasn't there to get her.  The whole day was disastrous.

I fumbled through Friday, exhausted.

Saturday, I thought if I could get Shelbie out of the house for some fresh air, she might feel better.  I think that just made things worse for both of us.  We got home and she started throwing up!

That's pretty much when I hit the wall!  I was not at all helpful.  I couldn't even stand in the bathroom and hold her hair back.  I did manage some water, mints and nausea medication.  When she laid on the floor crying, I stood there and looked at her like I had never seen a sick person before!

When she cried and asked if she could sleep in my bed, without even the slightest filter, I said, "NO! I can not get sick.  I will make you bed a on couch or you can have the bed and I will take the couch."

She told me Sunday morning that she cried for two hours because I was so mean!  I felt horrible.

Sunday, I tried to keep the side effects of IVIG at bay with all sorts of medication but she was just getting worse.  Finally, at 9:00pm, I decided to take her to the ER so she could get some relief from the monster headache and nausea that we just couldn't manage.

The ER was so slow.  We waited 35 minutes just to get to a room, then another 45 minutes from the time the doc saw her until the IV was started.  I was getting so bugged!! All I could see was the clock ticking past the hours I could have been sleeping.  I felt so selfish and so angry!  People in the rooms around us were miserable, babies were screaming, and the nurses were gathered at the desk laughing.  I wanted to go postal! I wanted to open the door and scream at the top of my lungs to get to work and start a stupid IV!! I didn't.

They sent in a student to start the IV.  A student.  3 tries later, a few blown veins and the pain meds started up.  Shelbie was resting comfortably, the babies were still screaming, Sam started getting sick and I was crankier than ever!

Finally, in the middle of the dark night, we headed home.  I couldn't even say a kind word.  I finished the laundry that I had started before we left, got stuff ready for work today and fell into bed, actually hoping I could die for just 48 hours so I could get a little rest.  4 hours of sleep, good enough I guess.

The last words I heard from Shelbie as we drove home were, "Mom, I am so sorry I make your life harder than it is.  I promise I won't ever make you take me to the hospital again."

Gosh...It would have felt a lot better if someone could have just rammed bamboo under my fingernails.  So disappointed in myself.

I thought this was suppose to get easier, not harder?  I thought we were "use" to this way of life.  I thought I should be learning lessons by now, not re-learning the same old lessons.  I thought I would have more faith, more trust, more hope, more patience!  I thought I would be wise and graceful in my trials since we have had so much experience!!

I never thought it would have come to this...

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

For the first time...

For the first time in what feels like forever, but is really only 5 years, I paid all my bills for the month of April with enough left over to buy groceries!  I even made my missionary payment on time which, in and of itself is a major feat!

I decided several months ago, that I really needed to establish some constant, dependable work and then focus on my design business so whatever came in from that was money I could use for Spencer's mission, paying down debt that comes from unemployment and underemployment for 5 years and put some away for our upcoming trip to Seattle.

I have watched my kids, when someone asks them what I do for a living; they stutter and stammer and then tell them they aren't sure, or I'm a janitor or something.  I am sort of embarrassed for them and for me too.  I didn't go to school for 4 years to end up scrubbing toilets and all other manner of evil, dirty things.  I want them to have a mother they can be proud of...but then I thought...

I may not have the most glamorous job and we may still be considered poor as far as the world's standards go but I hope they see how much I value being a stay at home mom and only taking work that allows me the honor of being around to mother them.  I don't think they would want it any other way.  

I have to be gone some portion of each day but I get to send Sam off to school, be with Shelbie for lunch and spend time with them after school and eat dinner together.  Here is the run down of work I am doing.  It amounts to just over 55 hours a week and I went on two more job interviews last week and should hear back in a couple weeks more on those prospects.   I think it's safe to say I am a job collector!  I never thought I could be so creative in finding work.

Per week, this is what I do:

  1. Clean a 6000 sq. foot house
  2. Clean a 2000 sq. foot house
  3. Clean a 1500 sq. foot house
  4. Clean a 5000 sq. foot house
  5. Clean an 8000 sq. foot office building
  6. Clean a 2000 sq. foot office building
  7. Clean a 7000 sq. foot office building
  8. Work 13 hours for a builder in Pocatello
  9. Work 5 hours for an Orthopedic clinic in Pocatello
  10. 9- Interior Design jobs currently- several homes but also a steakhouse, a spa and a doctor's office.
The two jobs I am waiting to hear back on are both writing jobs which I am really excited about. Both are with medical groups and I would be writing content for their websites and blogs. 

The cleaning gets me out of the house but the other work I am able to do primarily from home and work around the hours my kids need me.  I can do it when we are camping out at the hospital and even a doctors office.  I like that the hours are flexible and I like that I finally have some security in place instead of wondering every day when the next job is coming. 

Something weird happens when you have been unemployed for so long...you start panicking about it happening again so you become a job collector and saying no to all the little things that come up is hard to do.  

The time I spent without work I focused on learning some new skills as well as going back to school.  I managed to finish my design degree, picked up some certification on designing for healing environments, took several online college courses from ISU on Marketing and two more writing classes.  At the time, I didn't think any of it would amount to much, it mostly kept my mind from wandering to dark depressing places but I am glad I have been able to hone these new skills and while I'm no expert in the writing and marketing fields, I am learning more every day. 

I feel a little overwhelmed at times and two more jobs are going to seriously max me out but I would rather work 65 hours a week than not be able to be self sufficient and it's all part of the sacrifice a single mother has to make sometimes. 



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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Closing a chapter

Apparently, we are in a life cycle of change and you know how much I love change...! Bleh.


Sam got his drivers license yesterday.  I am proud of him for being patient while he drove 'Miss Daisy' around for the past 7 months.  I will admit, it was nice having a chauffeur.  He has done a lot better than I thought he would and I think, he is probably my best driver out of the three.

He inherits the very old Subaru, over 20 years old... that has been sufficiently broken in by two other teen drivers in our family.  Shelbie totaled it in grade 11 and ran it into a dumpster a few weeks after that.  Spencer had his hay day in church parking lots spinning cookies and running into telephone poles and curbs that mashed up the front end...again!

So, now it's Sam's turn to see how he can add his legacy!

When I took him to his dad's to pick up the car to take his test in, I had no idea it was in such rough shape!  Those floor boards!!!  I couldn't stop laughing.  Before long, this kid is going to be Fred Flintstoning his way through town!  Not to mention, he could barely get the thing started. It was sputtering and smoking before the engine revved up!  We couldn't stop laughing!  I said to Sam, "Whatever you do, don't turn the car off during your test..."

When Sam was taking his test, I was riding in the back seat.  The teacher wasn't too sure I should be coming along because he thought it would make Sam nervous but Sam approved of my attendance.  The teacher kept making small talk and referring to this car as the 'family car'.  I didn't correct him, somehow, the redneck references sort of fit but there was a prouder side of me that was like..."As if I would be caught dead riding in this piece all day!"

When he directed Sam onto the highway, the car started rattling, the steering wheel was shaking and I think I saw smoke smoldering it's way out from the hood. The car was struggling to reach 50 mph, let alone 65!  5 seconds into that, the teacher said, "Let's just take this next exit and head back to town."  Bahahahahaha...good idea!

Despite the crazy car, Sam passed with flying colors, 100%!   The teacher complimented Sam on his driving skills and said he must have had a great teacher.  Then, he turned to me and said,"You taught him?"
"Yes."
"Where are you from?  Here?"
"Nope, I'm from Canada."
"Oh...that explains it.  The best students I have had are from Canada, not locals."

With that, he signed off on the paperwork and got out.  The stupid seatbelt didn't retract and it followed him out the car so he stands there, the seatbelt stretched out to 4' beyond the car.  He looked a little puzzled, then through it on the seat!

 I got in the passenger seat and Sam proceeded to back the wrong way out of an angle parking stall, just missing the parked car behind us and slipped into the pharmacy drive through 20 feet away to get our order!  I could feel the teacher wanting to chase us down and tear up that perfect score! It was the weirdest half hour of my life!

Anyways, that was the end of driving Sam to school and home, the gym, running his errands for him.  It was the end of all the great talks we've had on our travels around town.  I will miss the little bits of time we got to spend together.  Independence is the next chapter for him...Sad to say goodbye.

His dad was talking about having Shelbie buy a new car with her own money and giving her car to Sam.  NOOOOO WAAAAYYYYY!  This Subaru barely gets to 50 miles an hour, and looks like crap...it will keep him humble!  Why give a 16 year old a car that actually runs and looks somewhat decent?  Besides, there are a lot of memories in the cracks and creases of that car...he needs to enjoy the legacy he has been given!
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Friday, March 28, 2014

How old would you be...

The final question in this 30 day blogging challenge is...

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were.

Hmmmmm,  I have always, my whole life felt like an 'old soul'.  I always felt older than I was and I even associated with people much older than me.  I have never really had friends my age, even now.

I will be 45 soon, hard to believe!!!  Some days, I still look around at my life, the responsibility I have in providing for my family, raising my kids, being an adult and I think..."Wait just a minute...why am I in charge?  I'm not old enough for all this responsibility!  Who thought this was a good idea?" It's a head trip.

So, if I didn't know how old I really was, I would probably think I was in my early 30's.  I think the 30's are still about growing up, finding your way; maturing.  By 45, it just seems you should have your act together, be established in relationships, in your self with wisdom flowing freely and a substantial 401K.

Instead, I am not established in anything...living the starving artist kind of life and dragging three kids along with me. My 401 K wouldn't even buy me a weekend in Disneyland and my bank account is like a count down to homelessness.  I can't even bring myself to check my accounts because I'm afraid to see that I only have $25 left to my name!!!

Ah...but I'm not 30, I'm getting old very fast and the truth is, I feel it everyday which makes it really hard to make any sense of this question actually.

If you go by the physical problems I have then I am really around 68 and should be getting social security and some pension from somewhere.  I should be able to snack at the early bird hour and get a senior discount on food.  I have arthritis, cataracts and hearing loss.  My hearing aid broke almost two years ago so not only am I mostly deaf in one ear, the other one is going now and all my kids ever hear from me is 'WHAT?!' I have gone beyond bi-focals to tri's though, I can't really afford those either so I just have three different pairs of glasses I wear depending on the task I am doing.  Yep,  People at church talk to me and anymore, all I do is smile and nod...that might explain the strange looks I get because their question never gets answered.



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Thursday, March 27, 2014

My greatest fear

There is plenty in this world to be scared of but what is my greatest fear?

I really fear the unknown.  It's never been something I am super comfortable with but who is?  My mind is all too powerful in spinning all sorts of terrible things that could happen when things are just open ended and up in the air.

For example...When I got divorced, I was terrified of making it on my own.  I couldn't see any possible way that I could manage alone. I had to buy a house,  buy a car, buy all new furniture and beds...and, enter the workforce and be a mom.  Looking back, I have no idea how I managed to survive and keep three kids alive too but we did it with a lot of help from God.

I don't know why I get so scared.  There has not been one single time that things didn't work out.  They weren't always easy or had the outcome I expected, but they always worked out for the best!

Every time, I vow to be better, to have more faith and less fear.  I start out strong and then the longer the hard times last, the weaker I get and it isn't long before fear has a foothold on my mind.

I suppose you could say that lucky for me, there is no shortage of experiences to practice not being scared.


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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Miracles

Another blog hijack...I actually can't wait for this 30 day challenge to end just because so much has been going on but didn't want to interrupt my jive.

However...It has been such a week that I wanted to write down my feelings before they were lost with less important things.

Last year, I blogged about getting involved to help my friend Sally with a fundraiser for her son.  He has an autoimmune disease that destroyed his liver once when he was just 19 and it came back and destroyed his new liver he has just had a few short years!  It was sad.

He is married now and has a sweet little family including a precious little girl, around a year old though I'm not sure her exact age.

At any rate, This young man has been fighting for his life.  Autoimmune disease also destroyed his colon so he has had two major problems to deal with!!

Today, he was given a second chance at life with a new liver!

There are no words to describe how affected I have been this week with his story.  Tuesday, I couldn't even function.  I stopped to pray every hour that a liver would come.  My kids asked me every hour if they had found a liver.  It was like waiting for Santa times 10!

He was listed for transplant with a MELD score of 40.  The MELD score is how they classify who gets the first organ available.  40 is the highest possible score.  Beyond that, they just have hours to live.

My friend, his mother, is one of the strongest women I know.  She has had her moments I'm sure, but she exudes this grace and faith like I have never seen before.  She is inspiring, and because of her example, I have been able to get some of my own problems in better perspective.

Damen received a liver today.  He is still in surgery as I type this and he will be losing his entire colon in this surgery as well, due to the autoimmune disease that destroyed his liver.

Without a doubt, there is a God in the Heavens.  Without a doubt, He is an 11th hour God and His timing is perfect.  I believe that the individual who lost their life today so Damen could live, lived out the very purposes and plans that God had for his life.  I believe strongly that he wasn't shorted one single moment on earth and Damen has more moments left to fulfill his purpose.

There are so many moments in life that leave an impression on you but there are moments that actually do more than leave an impression, they leave a definition.  I haven't put it all together in my head yet, but this is definitely a moment that has defined a part of my life.  I have yet to put words to what I have experienced but it will come.

I have had so many impressions this week that certain people and events have happened for my good and for a purpose that I need to learn from and feelings and lessons I need to remember.  Damen and this experience is something I will never forget and lessons learned from journeying with him on the fringes has been something I needed to do.

I want to post these pictures because they are so striking of how Heavenly Father can preserve a life and step in at the very most important moment.  I also want to invite you to add your prayers to a host of prayers for Damen, his sweet wife and daughter and their extended families as they begin the road to recovery.  There are so many people struggling with serious health concerns and my heart aches for each and every one of them.  Sometimes, I wish I didn't feel so deeply as I watch the trials of those around me.

I am grateful for prayer.  It can settle even the most restless heart...I just wish I didn't doubt it so much or forget to harness it's power in my own life.  I read recently in my Course in Miracles that we are often scared of peace and the power of prayer...I think there might be some truth to that.  I guess I will save my thoughts on that for a different post.

This is Damen and his family...The face of faith and hope...Never giving up!


 This is the beautiful face of a fighter! An unquenchable spirit.  I love this family!


Continued prayers for a recovery, free from infection and rejection and rest for the entire family.

Tomorrow, Shelbie has her transfusion and I'm pretty sure I will have a little more energy of spirit tomorrow as I think about the hard things we have to do compared to other people's hard things...a transfusion isn't really all that bad!


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If Happiness was a currency...

The 30 Day challenge continues... just three more days.  I'm not sure I loved this idea but...no sense in quitting now.

So, if Happiness was the National currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

Isn't this a thought provoking question?

Writing makes me pretty happy and so does serving.  I guess if I could spend every day just making people happy and writing, then I would be pretty content and very wealthy.

What about you...What is your currency of happiness?

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

30 Day Challenge- My Death Row Meal

At first, I thought this was such an odd question.

And, it is an odd question.

But...have you ever noticed that when someone in this country is put to death, media always reports what they had for their last meal?

So, if I ever find myself having to choose my last meal before death, this is how it would look.

Diet Pepsi and Smart Water
Texas Roadhouse ribs
5 Guys little cheeseburger with mustard, ketchup and raw onions
Homemade fries and gravy
Roasted vegetables
Wendy's frosty

AND......Wait for it.....

Thick and chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies!

That's a lot of food!  If I could actually eat all that, I would be comatose and they could save some taxpayer money on the silver treatment!


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Monday, March 24, 2014

30 Day Challenge- Something you miss from childhood

I don't miss anything from my childhood except for one thing. Grandma's house.

Visiting both of my grandparents each summer was never really something I got overly excited about mostly because I hated leaving home and my parents but I look back at those trips with a great deal of fondness.

There was nothing better than spending the day with my dad's parents in their beauty supply shop. I will never forget the musty smell of that store with a trailing hint of Clubman Talc.  I remember watching my grandpa stand at the front desk, visiting with customers that would come and go, filling out ledger books, stocking shelves.  My grandma would teach us to macrame plant hangers on the floor of my Grandpa's office or take shampoo towels and magically turn them into dolls for us carry around in an apple box.

Every morning, the menu was the same- Porridge and whole wheat bread that grandma had baked in a tomato juice can.  I can still see the bottle of sugar sweetener my grandpa used and his favorite bag of digestive cookies on the cupboard.

At my mom's parent's, the fridge hummed and the clocks ticked and tocked but rarely in sync.  Waking up in the basement, I could hear the old, green radio playing on the kitchen table.  My grandpa was always at the dining room table playing a game of solitaire or reading the paper and my grandma was in the kitchen fixing breakfast, her hair still in pin curls.

I loved walking with my grandpa, hand in hand to the bowling alley for a game of 5 pin bowling or to the little store on the corner for penny candy.  I was always amazed that everyone seemed to know my grandpa.  He always seemed so proud to introduce his grand kids to everyone we saw. Grandpa tried so hard to sound grumpy and would chase us around the front room making his dentures rattle back and forth while grandma stood by watching and laughing so hard!  I nicknamed him Grumpa Gooneybird.

We helped grandma in her rose garden, played in the sheets she had just hung on the line to dry.  We watched her crochet, brushed her hair and figured out that Lawrence Welk wasn't half bad...When you're 10.  If we were lucky, grandma was making a wedding cake and we could watch her make hundreds of royal red roses.

 Grandma was always busy in the kitchen that she ran like a well oiled machine.  We had coleslaw every lunch and vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and raisin cookies every night. You could count on ginger ale to drink out of faded green and yellow, plastic cups.

I guess you could say, the thing I miss the most was how simple life was at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  It was simple and when my world seemed to be changing so fast, things always stayed the same at Grandma and Grandpa's. You could count on them and time just seemed to slow down, even stop.  I miss that feeling of security; of everything being the same.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

30 day challenge- Song that inspires me

There are two songs that I find inspirational.  Both I discovered during really hard times in my life and they seemed to be the thing that saved me or at least in part, kept me going.

1. A Brand New Day by Sting.




Incidently, this song was not something I had heard during my divorce.  I heard it long before then.  I loved the idea that every day is a brand new day!

2. God Moves in a Mysterious Way.  You can go here
To listen to the music Here are the lyrics.

God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform
He plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm

Ye fearful Saints, fresh courage take; The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break, in blessings on your head.

His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan his works in vain;
God is his own interpreter, and he will make it plain.



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Saturday, March 22, 2014

30 Day Challenge- Favorite Movies

Not only am I picky about books, I am also picky about movies.  I refuse to watch Zombie movies, end of the world movies, military movies, most action movies are out unless the kids trick me and I actually end up liking it.  I do not like Sci-Fi but did enjoy the Hunger Games series and I did like Enders Game but Twilight?  No thank you.

Again, I like movies where the main character overcomes something hard.  I love true stories and documentaries and I love historical fiction films.

Here is the short list.


  1. Memoirs of a Geisha
  2. Secret Life of Bees
  3. Lovely Bones
  4. The Help
  5. The Butler
  6. Boy in the Striped Pajamas
  7. Sarah's Key
  8. The Book Theif
  9. Saving Mr. Banks
  10. My Sister's Keeper
I am going to sneak in a bonus film I saw recently- Monuments Men.  Its about a group of men who go to Europe during WWII to find and preserve historical art that Hitler was stealing from churches and museums for his own collection.  I loved it because just a week before, I had been reading an article on how some of the pieces in the Museum of Modern Art were pieces saved from the war.  Even Sam was very intrigued with the film.  It was great!  Probably one I will add to my collection. 


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Friday, March 21, 2014

Favorite Book Titles

I am a picky reader.  I love non-fiction.  I love to be learning about anything really, but when it comes to fiction books, it has to be meaningful or else it leaves me feeling unsatisfied.

I love a memoir, a book that pulls me into the character's life and allows me to struggle with them until we reach the other side.  So, here is my list of all time favorites.


  1. Memoirs of a Geisha- Arthur Golden
  2. Room- Emma Donoghue
  3. Left to tell- Immaculee Illibagiza
  4. The Giver- Lois Lowry
  5. The Help- Kathryn Stockett
  6. Blackbird- Jennifer Lauck
  7. The Red Tent-Anita Diamant
  8. The Book Thief- Markus Zusak
  9. Secret Life of Bees-Sue Monk Kidd
  10. Lovely Bones- Alice Sebold


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Thursday, March 20, 2014

The moment that changed my life

My life has been a series of punctuated moments.  Each one, for good or for bad, changed me.  Each. One.

To me, life happens in moments, not on a continuum of time.  Just one moment...then the next.  I think it changed to this format of time passing the day my kids were diagnosed with Shwachman Diamond Syndrome.  That news seared every horrible emotion on my heart like a brand that will always define me in some way.

In a split second, hardly a conscious thought, I knew that life was fleeting and uncertain and years and years of planning dreams for the future was boiled down, in that instant, to just a moment.  All I knew for sure, was that I had this moment, one moment left with my kids.

A couple of years ago, I saw this poem by Gwendolyn Brooks- Exhaust the little moment.

It was the phrase I had been searching for to explain how my life had changed.
Without a doubt, we have learned to exhaust the moments we have.  We cram a lot of living into one day.  There is hardly a wasted moment.  Even the moments that are full of sadness and sorrow, we feel deeply and reverently and it is imprinted on the fragments left of my heart.

Every moment I have...changes my life.



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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

30 Day Blogging Challenge- My Most Embarrassing Moment


I really should have opted out of this question because I can't say I have had anything real embarrassing, that I can recall.  I have wracked my brain and only come up with a few little quirky things but nothing that was interesting, funny or mortifying.

When I look back at pictures growing up, I was pretty embarrassed by the hairstyles I had.  Gosh...most of them were desperately embarrassing.  Seriously, my kids have friends over just to pull out my old photo albums and laugh at their mom.  It makes me feel special.

I told my beautician last week that this is the first time my hairstyle is actually half way decent and not entirely embarrassing.

I tell you the 70's and 80's were harsh decades but not nearly as bad as the 90's.  Not too sure what was up with that decade- short and big seemed to be the style...my style but I use that term loosely!

I am going to post some of the most priceless hairstyles I had from age 8-12.  You should probably be seated firmly because you will laugh right out of that chair!  I don't think there is any question in my mind anymore why I was always considered the school nerd...it was the hair! Things should start looking up for me now...the hair is slightly better now that I am mid 40 something!  It didn't take me too long to figure stuff out.

I'm going to say...this is the most embarrassing thing I have ever done!!! Let the crazy looks out of the archives!

There are no words for this hairstyle...no words...speechless. 

Oh. My. Gosh.  Speechless.  Sad.


Anyways, I think I can safely say that aging has been kind to me. Wow!  
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

30 Day Challenge- My Favorite Childhood Photo

Well, here I am.  Age 5.  I have no idea the story behind this picture but...


When I look at her, I think...Oh to be so fierce!  When I look at her, I wonder if she had any idea just how fierce she would really have to be in life.  It's hard to believe that that little girl grew up to be someone who had to chase away the bad guys, the boo boos and the blues.

 I wonder if she knew just how ugly and scary the world would actually end up being and not just at night when everything was quiet but the house that creaked and snored in the dark and frightfully resembled the boogie man.  I wonder if she knew then, how she would chase away the demons of disease and protect her little ones she had yet to even dream of.

I love her smiling innocence and her sweet smile.  I love that I use to be that girl.
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Monday, March 17, 2014

30 Day Challenge- One thing I miss about being married

There are so many things I miss about being married and I could obviously come up with a long list and most of them would be obvious so for this post, I am going to choose the less obvious thing that I miss but probably not number one.  This keeps it more interesting.

The very first morning upon waking up in my new home; my new single life, I noticed this one void.  The smell of a man in the morning.

I loved the smell of after shave and cologne wafting through the air.  It was like the smell of being taken care of.  The smell of strength and protection.  The smell of everything being okay in my little world because there was always someone to share the weight of the world with. It was the smell of not being alone.

I bet you weren't expecting that were you?

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

30 Day Challenge- The first 10 songs on my iPod.

My iPod always plays in shuffle mode.

Here are the first 10 songs that played:


  1. Feeling the Same Way- Norah Jones
  2. Questions- Dustin O'Halloran
  3. Human Nature- Michael Jackson
  4. Brand New Day- Sting
  5. Learn to be Lonely- Phantom of the Opera
  6. For Good- Wicked
  7. Blessed- Elton John
  8. Cold as Stone- Lady Antebellum
  9. Dream- Priscilla Ahn
  10. In God's Hands- Nelly Furtado
A little eclectic...That's the way I like it. 



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Saturday, March 15, 2014

30 day challenge- If my life had no limits, what would it look like?

If life had no limits and you didn't have to justify paying bills, taking care of kids, family etc.  What would life look like.

It would look simple and I wouldn't be living on this continent.

I would love to live in a place like Holland, Norway, Sweden or Switzerland- just a quiet little country, full of character, in a quiet little town or suburb of a bigger city.  I would love to be surrounded by things that are old.  Things with centuries of secrets to tell! A place that looks like time and technology hasn't marched all over it. I imagine a place where people are friendly and content.  A place where relationships are more important than feeding your ego, climbing some corporate ladder of nonsense and kissing up to everyone just so you can get somewhere in life.  There is something intriguing to going someplace where nobody knows your name. A place where nobody knows your life and have no pre-conceived notions of who you are, what you are.  A place where you can just be yourself.  A fresh start.

I would live in a little studio apartment above a row of quaint shops. The ceilings would be high, the windows big and the walls full of books!  I would be a writer and would spend the mornings in a little hidden coffee shop, writing.  It would be an unrushed life, a simple existence.  I probably wouldn't own a car but a bike with a wicker basket.  I would probably work besides writing.  I could see myself in a bookstore or a flower shop.  I could even see myself in a little studio of some kind being creative, and the creativity would flow because my mind wouldn't be hassled with first world problems that really make life more difficult than it should be.

Basically, my perfect life would be the opposite of what it is now.  It's not likely I will ever end up in a place as wonderful as that of my dreams but I still dream about paring down, right here where I am but the catch is, I have three kids who don't share the same vision.  So, for now, I will keep up the frenetic pace just to pay the bills on a house that is lousy and full of clutter, to put food on the table,  pay for car repairs, commute an hour to work, rush from one task to the next, day in and day out.  Awwww, to dream....

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Friday, March 14, 2014

30 Day Challenge- How I chose my profession

This is a great story.

After high school graduation, I worked full time for my dad.  I figured I would just do that for awhile, maybe forever.  I didn't really have any big plans for my life which I think irritated my parents.  I'm pretty sure they paid people to take me out and get me out of their way. ;)

One day in the Spring, I received a letter from Ricks College in the United States saying that I had been accepted to their college!  Awesome...But....I didn't even fill out an application.  I had no desire to go to school in the US let alone, go to school.  Period.  Turns out, my cousin in Utah filled out an application on my behalf and sent it in.  She was going there and didn't want to go alone.  It was so nice of her...NOT.

I was furious but I knew there was no way out of it.  If I recall, my parents started packing my things that afternoon. There was not a single bone in my body that wanted to go to school.  I sat down with the catalog just to see what kind of majors they offered. Seriously, they all sounded like way too much work!!

I was looking for something that didn't require a lot of homework, no math, no science and no effort.  I came across Interior Design.  That sounded alright.  No math or at least it said I could test out of math.  No science so that was a plus and how many text books could they possibly have on Interior Design, it's just moving furniture around so it looks nice and fluffing some pillows.

So...I signed up. When fall rolled around, I made the 10 hour drive, through the great Yellowstone Fires of 1988!  Arrived at my disgusting apartment and basically cried for the first two weeks.

For the record, I found out after about a month at school that I had actually chosen the most difficult major and the one with the most work, the most projects, the most all nighters!  Three years later, I graduated with a 3.85 gpa and discovered that I love Space Planning.  I could space plan all day and all night.  I love it.  I love the challenge of taking an empty space and creating something great!  I also love designing for healthcare facilities, the disabled, the elderly and would love to expand my work into Aging in Place.



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Thursday, March 13, 2014

30 day challenge- My Biggest Pet Peeve

The timing of this is...timely.

Yesterday, I had to spend 3 + hours with my biggest pet peeve!  I had to find a dark corner by the time it was over and rock myself back to something resembling sanity!  It was horrible!

My biggest pet peeve is men with EGOS...women too!  I can not stand their self righteous, holier than thou attitude! I can't stand that they think they are God's gift to everything. They are entitled and big.  They take up so much emotional space.  They never make mistakes but everyone else does.  They insist on things being done on their time frame and you must move Heaven and Earth to make them happy.

 I don't even want to spend time typing anymore about it, that's how disturbing my day was today.

So...ya, that's that.  Do you know what EGO stands for?

EDGING  GOD  OUT...it's true.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

30 Day Challenge- Food I can't live without

I can't live without chocolate chip cookies.

I have spent at total of two years making cookies almost every week in hopes of perfecting a chocolate chip recipe.  I think I have finally arrived at that.

Here's the thing about chocolate chip cookies...It's not that I really can't live without them, I can't live without what they mean.

To me, chocolate chip cookies represent the warmth and comfort of home; a true comfort food.

When my kids were little, I was THAT mom who always had a warm cookie treat waiting for them when they piled off the school bus and we would sit around the table eating warm cookies and talking about the day. The best part of the day. I think I got that from my grandma.

Whenever I went to grandma's house, I would run to the kitchen right away because I knew she would always, without fail, have the cookie jar filled with her signature, soft raisin cookies.  I hate raisins but somehow, I loved those cookies, but just those ones, the ones that grandma made.

When Spencer was 9 years old, he came down with Encephalitis and was life flighted by medical jet to Boise.  He was there three weeks and for the better part of our time, he was unconscious.  He was having multiple seizures a hour so the only way they could protect his brain was to keep him in a medically induced coma.  For two weeks, I sat in his room, watching him breathe.  I had a room at the Ronald McDonald house but didn't spend much time there, I was too scared to leave so I spent day and night with him.  

One afternoon, a nurse convinced me to go back to the RMH and shower and just get some fresh air on the walk across the street.  She promised she would stay with Spencer.  I knew I needed a break and so I left for an hour.  As I opened the front door of the Ronald McDonald House, the smell of cookies baking seemed to wrap itself around me.  I walked into the kitchen to see who was in there baking.

I didn't realize that they had volunteers come in twice a week to bake cookies.  Two elderly women stood there and greeted me with a plate of the best chocolate chip cookies I had ever seen.  I took one and without warning, just fell apart crying.  These women, who I didn't even know, wrapped their arms around me and I fell into pieces.  I was so tired and so scared.

It was in that moment that a chocolate chip cookie became much more than just a cookie.  They are the thing I can't live without.  To this day, when we are stuck in the hospital, I have crazy cravings for a warm cookie.  When my kids are having a rough time, I bake cookies.  If I ever live in the same town as a RMH, I will be that lady in the kitchen, baking up a little love for those tired, sad parents schlepping back and forth to the hospital.

There's a lot of love in a cookie...for real.
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

30 Day Challenge- My strange addictions

I can't say that I really have any strange addictions, nothing like you see on the TV show anyways.   I don't eat baby powder,  have a room filled with Pokemon cards, or drink urine...for real...none of that!  Sorry to disappoint you.

Gosh, this will be a short post...

For the past couple of months I have had this strange addiction to roasted broccoli and cauliflower.  I make it almost daily and I make a lot of it at a time.  I go through several heads of each, a week.  I don't do anything fancy, spritz it with some olive oil and a little chili powder and pepper, a dash of salt and I'm good. Sometimes, I add carrots, peppers and onions.  Oh, I love onions and my kids think this is a strange addiction.

And....I love, love, love...my Lindor, extra dark truffles.

I'm not sure why the sudden interest in vegetables but I figure it's a good addiction to have.  It sort of off-sets my Pepsi addiction but I don't really consider it an addiction, just something I really, really like...first thing in the morning.

So, I guess when you consider my diet consists of Pepsi, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Lindor truffles (only one per day because they are so expensive)...It's starting to sound a little strange...maybe...just a little.

 NOW, before you jump all over me for not feeding the kids anything but this...I still fix a dandy, well balanced, home cooked meal every night for the Littles.

Speaking of Pepsi...funny story.  Last week, I felt like I was coming down with the flu that Sam had for a week and I do not like being sick.  The urgent care doc told me about zinc and how it actually stops viruses from replicating themselves.  He said if we took it at the first sign of a cold, along with high doses of Vitamin C, we wouldn't get sick.  So, I tried it.

I found some Cold Eze redi melts for day and for night.  During the day, I took one every two hours.  The night time dose has melatonin in it so you can sleep.  I have never tried melatonin so I was kind of interested to see how it worked.

Well, being the distracted individual that I am, I took it at Midnight, with a full glass of Pepsi.

At 2:45 am, I laid there, bright eyed and ready for a little sleep to carry me away, wondering when the melatonin was going to kick in....Duh! It was then that I remembered I took it with Pepsi...You can't fix stupid...you really can't.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

30 Day Blogging Challenge- Parenting clicked when...

Okay, where were we when I was so rudely interrupted by my life.  Sheesh, the nerve.

Ya, parenting.  What a delightful topic.  Parenting.  We read a million books with good intention, then end up doing whatever we feel like anyways!

Seriously, the book of the day for me was Dr. T. Berry Brazelton!  He was pretty cool and I actually loved his premise of Touchpoints and I actually adopted that idea and it worked!

Then I got into the Eyres.  I love every one of their books and adopted many of their techniques and principles.  They even came along with me to the 'Sex' talk with my kids.  They have an extremely corny book on where babies come from but hey...it worked.   Truth be told, I wanted to be Linda Eyre.  She seemed just so perfect in every way.  She even had perfect and appropriately, frustrating days which made her that much more appealing. If you haven't read her book, I didn't plan to be a Witch...you should.  She shares the great surprises of motherhood- like it's hard.

One day, I happened upon a theory, a truth really, that changed my life and it didn't come from a parenting book.  Without a doubt, it has gotten me through the restless teenage years.   I don't actually remember where it came from, clearly, I didn't come up with it on my own.  It is the idea that our experience in life is based on our thoughts.  To change any behavior, we first have to correct our wrong thinking.  Along with this is the notion of fear and anger.

I started noticing that when I showed a lot of anger, I was really just scared of something.  Scared of being judged, scared of failing, scared of being neglected, mistreated, scared of whatever...

One night, Shelbie came home extremely late and curfew had been hours before she walked in the door.  She wasn't answering her phone and I had no idea where she was.  When she came through that door, I let her have it with harsh, angry words.  The truth is, I was terrified but it made more sense to show anger than it was to fall apart and cry, telling her I thought she was dead in a ditch somewhere.  That thought would have made no sense to a girl who knew she was fine.

That's when parenting clicked for me....Anger really means fear and when kids are angry, they act out, talk back and do mean and hurtful things.  I think it's a mechanism of protection.

Whenever I was faced with poor behavior, angry outbursts, I wouldn't react.  Instead, I would tell them I wanted a hug.  I told them I loved them and then ask them what they were scared of.  For one thing, it caught them off guard that I wasn't losing my temper and patience and arguing back so it knocked the power out of them.  Second, that small validation and recognition that I valued them, opened up communication that led to the real issues in their life, not the petty ones that were easy to argue about.

It has never failed...they were either scared their friends didn't like them, scared to tell me about a mistake they made, scared that they were getting sick...the list goes on.

After I made that connection, our relationships gelled.  We understood each other better and this foundation of trust was deeper than ever.  It keeps the avenues open for when they run into problems.  We talk things out, correct thought patterns and then move on.

They have learned that no problem is so catastrophic we can't handle it together.  I trust that they will be honest and they can trust me that I will never over react or get angry at whatever their truth is.

This has worked great when they request big things.  One time, Spencer wanted to drive with his friends to the State Basketball games some 5 hours away!  I wanted to shut him down!  Right away!  He could tell I was not happy about the idea but he is a smart kid and we had a few years of this technique under our belts, he said, "Mom, you look like you might be getting angry, so why don't you tell me what you are scared about first."  haha...I went through my laundry list of fears...

It's a long drive
You might fall asleep
I don't trust your friends driving
I don't have the money
How are a bunch of 16 year old boys going to act without parental supervision
What if you get sick
What if someone brings alcohol, drugs
What if girls decide to spend the night in your hotel room

I could go on.  It left it in his court to address all my fears.  He told me some of his concerns, I helped him formulate plans if a friend started making poor choices and we both left with trust and love intact.

Knowing this little truth about fear, anger and thoughts, has made all the difference in the world in how life could have been.
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Friday, March 7, 2014

The great disconnect...


Yesterday, we had our appointment at the Oncologist's to begin the genetic testing for our new disease.  There is no easy way to write that, that really makes sense...

Our new disease... Sounds like it's something I'm bragging about, we have a new disease and you don't! Or, that it is something we are so proud and excited about; something we chose, a realized dream...Our new disease...with a loving sigh tagged on the end!

It was clearly a strange morning!  In my mind, it felt like something so big!  So big, that the world should have stopped living, just for a moment, but it didn't seem to care.  In my mind, there should have been a moment of silence when everything just stood still.  I just wanted everything still and quiet...I wanted time to stop!  I wanted all of this to stop.  Even my own kids didn't recognize my anxiety as we drove up to the Oncology office.  They were out of the car and up the steps before I even had my seat belt off!

"What's the rush you guys?!  Wait, just slow down."  They didn't understand how those words tangled with the unspoken truth, still to be found.  Panic was set to fire, a 21 gun salute rang through my head.

For them, it's different and I couldn't figure that out; one of the few times, I couldn't leave my own shoes to walk in their's, for just a moment.  I was stuck in my own head and it felt horrible but I didn't want to be in their's either.  There was such a disconnect.  I kept wondering where my little army of support was...why was I doing this alone?  Again?  Sometimes, there is power in a witness.  I can't really explain that but there just is.  There was no one to take note of this moment.

Sam and Shelbie bickered and annoyed themselves with each other's breathing as we sat and waited by ourselves for awhile before other patients with their pale face and loose fitting wigs, began to drag in for more chemo cocktails. That sentence sounds mean, but I felt nothing for them and that's just not my usual self.  Another disconnect.  I was cold and empty and honestly, I might have been jealous.  They had something that everyone understood.  Cancer.  Everyone knows Cancer.  Everyone rallies around Cancer, shows up.  Cancer is normal.  Cancer is in all the textbooks.  Cancer can eventually be fixed, if you are one of the lucky ones.

We don't have cancer.  At least not yet, I'm sure it's around the next corner.  We have something that nobody understands. Something that hasn't even been written about; we have to write history and I can think of more comfortable places I'd rather be.  We have something that drags on and on.  There is no end in sight; actually, I'm glad there is no end in sight, I just wish the quality of our time was better.

 I let the kids carry on, like kids.  Like little, helpless, tired kids.  Confused and angry.

Now we wait...and wait, like we are playing a very long game of hide and seek except I feel like the rules for this game keep changing and that is frustrating and I'm standing in their faces, waving my hands and jumping up and down and screaming for their attention, but they don't see me, still. "Remember us...we are waiting to hear our fate?"

 It makes me want to utter the four words I try to stay clear of, LIFE IS NOT FAIR  and bone marrow failure sucks.  It just does.

Last night, I found myself horribly homesick for Spencer.   This morning, after a good long bout of anger and frustration and words I shared with a doctor that I should have kept to myself, I suggested to the kids we just blow off our responsibilities for the weekend and drive to Colorado just to catch a glimpse of Spence. What I wouldn't give to throw my arms around him!  I couldn't even get past the word 'Colorado' and we were all standing in the kitchen, chocolate donuts in hand, crying!

It has been 3 months since our doctor in Seattle called with the news of the new mutation.  We have at least two more to go until the clinical testing is complete, then another bit of time until all the specialists are in place in Seattle...and then we will sit down and finally... told what the new disease is.  If you ask me, science needs to figure out a different method of doing this and communication needs to improve.  As soon as I can solve world peace, I will work on this little problem.  To make a family wait almost 6 months with life changing news like this is not cool and only makes us feel even more displaced and lonely in this big ol' world.

Well...this has been quite the whiny rant.  Part of me wants to go back and edit the content with a happy, sparkly coating of sugar and hope and peace and happiness and all things la-di-da, but I think I will leave it.

Things just got real...

 I have already gone through the diagnosis process and taking in the news of Shwachman's.  Not many people have to go through that agonizing process twice but here we are.  Today, may not be my finest moment but tomorrow is another day and I'm sure I will shake off the worry and find my peace again.  That's life.




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30 Day Challenge question...Three words to describe me

I have no clue...I asked my kids and they threw out words like

Organized- I'm not as organized as I once was...now I just pretend to look organized in the chaos
Spontaneous- hmmmm, yet reserved
Funny/Sarcastic
Creative
Caring
Kind
Thoughtful

I would add words like

Whiny
Grumpy
Anxious

This is hard...I guess I would narrow it down to...

Easy Going
Independent
Resourceful

What are three words you would use to describe yourself?  I can see why this is a challenge question!

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

30 day challenge- What I Intended to do Yesterday

I had big plans on my to-do list yesterday, as usual, and, I accomplished most of them but there were three things that were left undone.
I did get a lot done...what would I do without my trusty 3x5's.  It's where life happens!  This is the short list of what I did accomplish.

  • Shelbie's car is having issues and I was going to take it in to the shop to see what the problem is and how much it will set me back.  
  • I have been working on a new business of my own and I need to track down some supplies online and was hoping to squeeze that in yesterday.
  • I have been working on an article for a new magazine submission and had planned to polish that up and start creating the submission letters. 
Nothing major and nothing that can't wait another day or two or three.  My paying jobs kept me really busy from sun up to sun down.  Now that I am thinking about it...

I really should have finished painting my house yesterday, started on some laundry, cleaned out the fridge and done some mending.  I needed to give the dog a haircut, give Sam a haircut, give me a haircut...color my hair.

Oh, and I was going to send a package to Spencer and get some of his meds filled at the pharmacy so I don't end up having to overnight express them next week.

It would have been nice if I could have managed to get to the grocery store too...

Well, seems I had many more intentions than I had time.  Typical.  There's always tomorrow...


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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

30 Day Challenge...My Purse

This is pretty much a random post and I'm not sure why the contents of my purse would be all that interesting but apparently, whoever thought up the 30 day challenge questions thinks it's pretty fascinating.

So...Here you go.

This is how my purse always looks. I did not clean it up for the picture.  I am pretty much a minimalist and have no idea why I always carry such a big bag.  I have a wallet for all the money I hope to store in there some day.  I do have a fetish, bordering on addiction to notebooks.  You can't see very well but I have three currently stashed.  I write all sorts of stuff in them.  Mostly, spur of the moment inspiration, blog ideas, to-do's.  You get the picture.  I have a bottle of Pancreatic Enzymes for the kids when we eat out.  Finally, I have a camera.  That's it.

In the zipper pocket, I keep Burt's Bees chap-stick, two pens because you will rarely see me using public pens and lipstick.

How boring!


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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Lesson I Learned Yesterday...

Yesterday was a busy day in the classroom of life...Lots of homework...

Yesterday, I learned that some people can go from nothing to entitled in no time flat.

Yesterday, I learned that there comes a time when you have to let it go.

Yesterday, I learned that there will come a point in time, when one has to stake their claim upon their own life and stand alone.  Not everything is your fault.

Yesterday, I learned that there are some people you will never be able to make happy.

Yesterday, I learned that patience is a virtue and any virtue worth having takes a lot of practice and ...well...patience and there is no shortage of virtue building experiences in my neck of the woods.

Yesterday, I learned that I don't really know what I want and I should probably just trust God a little more and my head a lot less.

Yesterday, I learned AGAIN...that God is in His Heaven and He freely distributes miracles to His children.

Yesterday, I learned that Spencer is one tough cookie!

Yesterday, I watched Sam fight his way through the flu like a champ, Shelbie wrestle with being treated poorly...AGAIN, Spencer bear his testimony of the Gospel and realized that I love them even more yesterday than I did the day before.

Yesterday, I learned that at the end of the day, I can lock the doors, close the blinds and pray with my children and everything feels just right and will be okay...maybe not today, but someday.

One last big thing I learned YESTERDAY...I learned that Thursday morning at 8:30 am will be a historical moment for our little family as we take our first big step into our unknown future and what I thought I was in such a hurry for now has me putting on the brakes...just a little... scared but it will be okay.



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Monday, March 3, 2014

Reality Shows

Which reality show would I love to be on?  That is today's challenge question.

image: Amazon.com


The reality show I think would be so fun is 30 Days.  The show is no longer on the air but it was hosted by Morgan Spurlock.  He would take people, or himself and immerse them in a lifestyle they were not familiar with for 30 days and then discuss the social impact of the experiment.

He experienced a lot of things and did it for 30 days:

  • Living on minimum wage 
  • Living off the grid
  • Living in a wheelchair
  • Life in jail
  • Trying weird and crazy anti aging techniques 
Now the question is...what would I want to experience for 30 days?



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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Three Influential People

This one is easy for me.  The three people I would love to meet someday would be...

I fell in love with Brene Brown last year when I watched her TED talks on Shame and Vulnerability.  I have taken her Imperfection class and loved that too.  She is so intuitive and real.  She is powerful in her message and inspires me whenever I hear her talk.
Brene Brown (image: Source)
 Deepak Chopra.  I have been a great fan of his when I was a young(er) mother.  His book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success was the foundation for my parenting style.  I love, and have read the majority of his books.  Some of them are 'out there' and I don't really connect but the majority of them, I do.  I love his  ideas.
Deepak Chopra
 Steven R Covey.  I read 4 of his books before I was 20.  The best books I've ever read! I have taught many classes on his principles of the 7 Habits.  It's a book that re-read every now and again.  I have used his mantra over and over in my life "Efficiency with things, effectiveness with people."
Steven R. Covey
 There are a couple of other people I would like to meet and they may actually be tied for one of the top there positions.  I would like to meet; Jeffrey R. Holland and Robert H. Schuller.

Dr. Schuller is a Televangelist but the reason I would like to meet him is because of his book PRAYER:My soul's adventure with God.  This guy opened up my mind to prayer.  His personal stories about his relationship with God were amazing to me.  I was challenged to improve my own relationship with God.  His book also taught me the reality of Faith and how Faith and Prayer are two of the most powerful tools one has.  For some reason, because of where I was in life so many years ago...this book spoke volumes to me and really set the tone for my life.   I remember going to the library when I was in college, I was not looking for anything in particular but his book seemed to fall into my hands.  It was as if reading this book was by divine design.

Jeffrey R. Holland is an Apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Lately, he has been speaking on the topics of trials, their purpose, depression, hard times...I have read a number of his books and when he speaks...I know that he has experienced all of these.  He doesn't just preach rhetoric...he has lived it.  I would love to meet him, shake his hand and thank him for being real.


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