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Showing posts from November, 2014

The Making of a Christmas Tree

"The Art of Quitting"

This was the title of an article I saw yesterday while sipping Godiva Hot Chocolate in an abandoned corner of Barnes and Noble, stealing a few glances in my favorite magazines that I can not remotely afford.  (Have you ever stolen anything?  I mean, besides glances?  I have!  That post coming up...)

I didn't read the whole article but I found the title to be very interesting since this is precisely what I have done this year, or tried to do this year.

While at first glance, it may not seem like I quit much this year.  I did.  I learned to say 'no' when I would have normally said, 'yes'.  I learned that the whole problem with saying NO is trying to come up with a reason to justify the NO.  When I discovered that people don't need to know my every reason and whim...No became really easy to do.

I've spent less time trying to save the world and more time just trying to save the moment.  Save the little moment that is so fleeting yet carries a million joys and …


I had big plans for Thanksgiving!  Big...BIG plans!

Just kidding.  I had no plans!  I planned to work since the kids have been at the Wasband's.

But then, I started getting sick.  I fought it and fought it with my little bags of tricks but by Wednesday, I just decided to surrender.

Wednesday night, I ran a fever and had some pretty terrific body aches.  I slept all of 3 hours!

Thursday, I laid in bed and watched a stack of movies, slept and ate Cottage Cheese Pancakes.  Well, one Cottage Cheese Pancake.  They are really good despite how they sound.  It was not quite a turkey with all the trimmings but it filled the void.

I'm not a champ when it comes to sleeping.  I haven't really slept in about 25 years so I thought I might give it try.  You know, see how the other side lives.  I figured, being sick was as good a reason as any to be lazy and sleep.  When else do you get to do that?  Well, some people do it daily but not me.  Even when I'm sick, sleeping just seems …

Affordable my foot

Blogs all over the country are writing sweet, touching, thoughtful posts on gratitude.  I am grateful, don't get me wrong.  I am grateful every day but today...I'm frustrated!  Still grateful, but frustrated.

2015 is the year everyone has to be on the Affordable Care Act.  So, I've been working on that for the past week.

I got a letter from Health and Welfare and the Exchange saying that two of my three kids aren't eligible for the Exchange and the government has deemed them suitable candidates for Medicaid.  That sounds all well and good but they are each on a different Medicaid plan.  Neither one of those plans offer enough coverage for a kid with Dyskeratosis Congenita.  For example, they only cover three ER visits a calendar year!  That's a joke!  We've been there 15 times already and it's not the end of the year!

Remaining calm, I called my agent and he got all important players on a conference call so we could hash this out.  I just wanted to be able…

Happy to report

I am happy to report that I received some very good news yesterday!

My friend's baby is going to be okay!  Hooray!  They will have a very happy Thanksgiving with much to be grateful for.

My friend who has spots on her liver is still not out of the woods but they didn't find any melanoma which is amazing.  They aren't sure what is going on they have more testing to do and things to watch but for now, it feels a little bit better.

I was relieved on both counts.

We are doing alright...getting a little behind on my work for the week since I got sick yesterday and spent hours...seriously hours trying to get Spencer's book finished and his other presents wrapped. I will be sending it all out today!  I love the way the book turned out...and, I love the quote I found for the front cover!  Thanks to my family and friends for sending pictures and quotes.

 Got his presents wrapped up.  Just curious, do you buy matching wrapping paper at Christmas time or just wrap the gifts in w…

Broken Hearted

I need to toughen my skin or something because my heart has been broken in so many pieces this week!  I can't stand to see people struggle.  I can't stand to see other people with broken hearts.

When I say I can't stand it, I mean, I really can't stand it!  It is so overwhelming to me!

Maybe it's because of the life I have been given.  The hard things I have faced have been...well...


I don't want other people to have to go through hard things.  I don't want them to have to stare down their own mortality or that of a loved one!  I would take on everyone's problems if I knew they could be spared their own heartache.

It's really a big deal for me.  I don't like feeling helpless, powerless.

Three big things this week...

1.   My friend who had a liver transplant earlier this year is really, really sick!   Ugh! I was upset to hear that he is back in the hospital and struggling with what they think is acute liver rejection yet the jury is still …

12 Weeks of Holiday Giving

I was thinking today, as we drove to yet another hospital for more testing...This has been a long 12 weeks of hospitals and doctors.  Then, as I thought about all the bills we are racking up, they must be glad we are around; we are their job security!  Ha ha...not literally, but it sure feels like we are 'giving' a lot to our local docs, hospitals, and the car repair shop!  I would estimate our medical expenses over the past  12 weeks are somewhere to the tune of $75,000.  No joke!

So, I call it our '12 weeks of holiday giving'.  Hopefully, we are giving something as we trip through these visits besides money.

Last week, for Sam's procedure, the doc said, "We haven't seen you guys in awhile!"
"That's right, I decided to give you a break from us!" I said.
"Thank you! You guys are really hard." he replied.

I wasn't expecting that answer, but since we like to joke about everything...

I said, "Did you just thank me for gi…

So Far

So far, the hard week I was anticipating has been pretty manageable.

I was able to get my car fixed and Sam's car fixed.

Today Shelbie had her transfusion and it went off without a hitch.   It was a plenty long day but no side effects and she slept all day long!  Tonight, she isn't feeling so hot, the headache is starting up a bit and she feels nauseated but maybe with a good night's sleep, she will be okay by morning.

Sam met us up at the hospital after school and he was in really good spirits which was so nice for a change.

All in all, it's been okay.  Thank goodness for little tender mercies!

Next up...get signed up for Obamacare and get Sam through his hospital tour and that will wrap up another really crazy, busy week!   Well, almost wrap up the week!

Sunday night, I was blessed with a gift from my friends who paid for most of the cost of the battery for Sam's car!  I was so amazed and surprised!  I can't tell you what a relief it was this morning to n…

Counting on Sundays

I usually count on Sundays to be the one day that I am able to refocus and regroup for the coming week.  I know this week is going to be a doosy so I was really hoping for a comforting Sunday.  A quiet Sunday.

I went to bed not feeling so great and had a lousy sleep.

I woke up to a text message from my boss, chewing me out and giving me a project to that he needs by Monday morning.  It's not a simple project either.  It's an entire set of floor plans which is about a 15 hour task, minimum.  In the past, when he gives me ridiculous deadlines, I am very accommodating but today, I'm feeling a little less than that. It's Sunday for crying out loud!

During church, I thought about three friends I have, two live in the cyber world and are fighting late stage Melanoma and one is a good friend fighting some mystery problem that has her bedridden.  I thought about these three women and how they are submitting to God's will.  They are all patient in their afflictions.  They …

I couldn't help myself

My parenting fiasco earlier in the week ended too soon!  I actually wanted to talk to Sam about the great desire and temptation to spin cookies in empty parking lots with the first snowfall.  I didn't dare just come out and start another lecture, I had to be creative and thoughtful about it!

Thursday night, it was snowing.  As we drove home from the gym, I casually started the conversation just to get a feel for where he was at.

"Hey Sam, I was going to mention something about spinning cookies, you know, because I'm thinking the desire to do that might come up one of these days, if it hasn't already and since this is your first winter driving, we should probably talk about it. What do you think?"

"We can...if you want.  It may have already come up though." he said with a smirk!'s not like I wasn't expecting that.  Shelbie did it and wrecked her bumper on a light post.  Spencer did it and broke his bumper and smashed up his rims and wr…

A little crazy tastes...

For about the past 3 months or so, I've been consumed with good health.  Not that I haven't always been somewhat conscientious but it's built up a little more momentum.  More on the momentum later..

So, I'm on an alkaline diet.  Horrible things like cancer, autoimmune disease, inflammation, fungus, yeast, can not exist in an alkaline state.  The American diet is all acidic, including mine!   Basically I eat only fresh fruits and vegetables, as close to their raw state as possible.  I also drink some pretty crazy elixirs that taste nothing but nasty!

Like, apple cider vinegar!  After that shot, I do another one of baking soda and a little water then, I add a handful of vitamins as a chaser.  I finish up the morning with a cup and a half of lemon juice in 24 ounces of water and a tsp of Stevia.  I actually really like the lemon juice which I am surprised at!  It's freshly squeezed at home, pulp and all!  I'm surprised how it fills me up.

I also made this soup tha…

Impromptu Procedure

Sam has been doing so well for three days...until I blew it today!  I've been making great strides in screwing things up lately!  I'm so awesome I can hardly contain myself!

Here's how it all went down.  Shelbie needed all her scripts refilled and her thyroid medication had run out of refills.  That means one thing..a big pain the neck.  I never find out she is out until she is out.  The pharmacy never puts calling the doctor at the top of their priority list and for me to call the doctor includes a grand game of phone tag, SO...I decided after school to run Shelbie down to the clinic for a blood test and get the refill script myself.  They never refill it unless we do the token blood work to check her thyroid levels.  Fair enough.

Monday, Sam showed me this strange mole that showed up just a week ago from out of the blue.  It was waxy looking and was starting to fill up with blood.  Since Dyskeratosis Congenita carries a 95% chance of getting cancer, including skin cancer…

Parenting Tip #367

I'm really happy to be able to share with you another one of my greatest moments in parenting.

I've finally decided that my purpose here on earth is to teach.  To set a fine example of parenting skills that reflect the vast depth of experience I have in this area.

So, pay attention...

When approaching our child, son/and or daughter about their poor driving habits, always do it at the dinner table or around a board game, while folding laundry, feeding the dog, handing them allowance... Never breach the subject in the car...On a Monday night...When you have exactly 5 minutes to get to the 6:45 showing of their favorite movie, on the other side of town.Never take a short cut through the residential streets, while you're in a hurry, while discussing their lead foot. Never assume that they don't listen to you.  They do.  They also watch what you do. They are also very good at noticing the speedometer.When you are done rambling on about how they need to be more attentive an…

The Ups and Downs

Man, it seems I get one child stable and the next one is on the way down.  There never seems to be a time when we are just even steven.

Shelbie is finally in a really good place.  She has good spiritual and emotional energy.  Physically...she is doing lousy but her attitude is very much in a good place.  It's so true, that sometimes, all it takes is someone else besides me, paying a little attention to her and being willing to 'rescue' her.  Just the thought that someone else cares has made all the difference this week.  I am so grateful for a Bishop that is putting her on his radar and quite literally, rescuing her.  It's been a long, hard year for that girl!

Spencer is on the mend and I was so glad to receive a good picture of him today!  Way better than the last picture he sent me!

His energy is coming back, snow is falling in Vail, where he is headed in the morning, and life is good for him. Whew...

Then there's Sam.  Man...this poor kid has been through a lot …

We receive no ordinary blessings

November is the month of gratitude, and shopping but mostly gratitude!  ha ha...

We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving in October.  I wanted it to be extra special this time so I made a paper table runner and five different paper place mats.

Today, I am sharing a free download of the place mats and table runner. I printed them at a local copy shop on card stock.  At our Thanksgiving, while I finished up the trimmings, the kids and our guests wrote on the table runner all the things they were thankful for.  It turned out so great!  It's definitely going to be a new tradition for us.

I chose my favorite quotes on gratitude!  I absolutely love the table runner quote: We receive no ordinary blessings!  It's so true!

So, in honor of this month of gratitude, feel free to download these PDF's and print them for your own Thanksgiving Celebration!

 Download the table runner HERE

Be Grateful, can be downloaded HERE

 We can choose is downloaded HERE

Thankful People can be downloaded HERE


Homeless no more

If you've been hanging out here for any length of time, you might have heard me talk about my homeless friend May.  I wrote a Christmas story about her a couple of years ago.  We have known her for probably 16 years.

For the entire 16 years I've known her, she has been homeless, living in her car that contains every single thing she owns.  She slept in her car through most of the bitter winters we have here, surviving by driving around through the night to keep the heater going and then sleeping when the sun was high in the sky, just catching minutes of sleep here and there.

She doesn't own a phone and so staying in touch with her has been difficult.  She would spend some time during the late winter and spring in Arizona but always drift back to town.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about May and watch for her.

A few weeks ago, one of the kids said they saw a lady that looked a lot like May riding a bike.

Last Monday, Sam and I saw her at the grocery store.  …

The bathroom

Yesterday, on our way home from Sam's appointment, I stopped in the city to pick something up for an Open House I am helping a client with.   Before I started shopping, I ran into the bathroom.

There was no lock on the cubicle door but there was no one in the bathroom either so I wasn't too concerned.  But then, I heard the door open and in walks another woman.  Public bathrooms are just awkward places on a good day, when everyone just ignores each other and goes about their business.

Well, I can tell this woman is going to try to get into the stall I'm in, so I reach my arm out to keep the door closed.  Sure enough, she proceeds to push on it and I'm trying to keep it closed.

After her third attempt, I said, "Someone is in here!"  That sentence alone is so awkward...what do you say?  "I'm in here."?  There's hardly time to start assessing good grammar when some stranger is trying to break down your cubicle door!

She finally stops pushing a…

A Hen With Teeth

Today was filled with something from another dimension...

Sam had Pulmonology stuff to do today in another town.  A very small town, even smaller than the town we live in and it was about an hour drive from here.

I was a little miffed starting out this morning because last night, they called to remind me that his 9:00am appointment was actually 11 am.  They totally messed up the schedule so I had to juggle around a bunch of work stuff in order to make it happen.  I didn't dare cancel because this guy is in high demand.

We find the tiny place and walk in to a room filled with stale smoke, and an assortment of portable oxygen tanks all puffing away in unison.  It was a bit odd.  We sat down and waited for 45 minutes beyond our designated time to get back to a room.

After the nurse takes Sam's vitals, she asked why we were there.  I explained that Sam had recently been diagnosed with Dyskeratosis Congenita and needed to get baseline lung function testing done.


This just in

Well, remember a while back, two months ago, I submitted a sample of my novel for critique from Gelfman Schneider in New York?

I heard back from them today!  It's way better than I thought it was going to be.  I had visions of her ripping my book apart and flat out telling me my writing was hideous and I should go hide in a closet and never come out!  I was just as dramatic in my head!

She didn't say that at all!

She said I had promise as a writer and had a strong sentence level.  I'm not sure what that means exactly but it sounds good!  Just kidding, that was the part I was worried about!  They made some great suggestions which I already knew I needed to fix like finding a stronger Memoir voice.  For an Essay or Report, she said it was great but she wanted me to own my story with more narrative.  Owning my words has always been a problem.  I spend too much time keeping a distance from my own life and hesitate to really make it mine.  I look at life from a distan…

Being Prepared

Today was the day!

The day I have been dreading for 15 months.

The day Spencer wrote home to tell me that he had been in the hospital.  I cried all the way through his letter.  I was just so sad that I couldn't have been there to take care of him but it was a testimony builder to know that even though I couldn't be there for him, he was taken care of by good doctors, nurses and Mission leaders.  Even through the tears and my shaking hands, I knew without a doubt that God has been watching over him.

Even Spencer said that he knows he was being watched over.  He has never been that sick and had it resolve in just a couple of days.  In the past when he had similar symptoms, he was sick for weeks!  He said he is getting better each day and I hope that continues to be the case.

I couldn't help but think about two words today...Being Prepared.

Before Spencer left, we spent an entire afternoon going over health things.  I taught him about fever protocol and treatment, nausea…

Valuable Lessons

I have not been very fond of the month of October and I'm pretty glad to see that month in the rear view mirror.  I can't say that I loved any month before that either but I'll spare you my complaining.

Despite the ups and downs of the past few weeks, I learned a valuable lesson in October.  I learned about Business.  That's right- business.

I learned all about my business, your business and God's business from a woman name Byron Katie.  She had a podcast that I stumbled upon and her words struck a chord within me.

As she stated, there are only three businesses; yours, other's and God's.  When we try to be in charge of anybody's business but our own, we end up with conflict, frustration, judgement and anxiety.

When I worry about my kids' future, I dwell on how things are going to progress and I get anxious and crazy in my head.  I worry about the fact that they won't live to any ripe old age.  I have even been known to strike a deal or two wit…


Ohhh, it was a stormy Halloween night.  The fallen leaves, rustled past the gate that creaked and moaned against the wind, on their way to winter.  The pumpkin candles flickered as a black stretched its way across the yard...

Actually, it wasn't a stormy Halloween night!  I just felt like getting off to a good start to report my Halloween events!!  It was actually a lovely Halloween night and I actually went out!  Yes, I did!  I know that is hard to believe.  I hate Halloween.  I pretty much think everything about Halloween is pointless and ridiculous.

I use to be the mom who offered my kids a trip to the store to buy two of their very favorite bags of candy just to spare me the effort of making a costume and taking them out in typically, cold weather that resembled weather more suitable for winter, than fall.  They never once took me up on that offer so I always, begrudgingly, I might add, fixed up a costume for them to wear.

I started out being creative and would go to great l…