Friday, December 28, 2012


In November I did 30 Days of Gratitude and I would spend a lot of my free time thinking of things big and small that I was grateful for that would photograph well or interestingly.  Some days I was just desperate for something to post about because really I was just grateful right then for my pillow.

It definitely made me more grateful for the friends who picked up the other end of the phone when I called, having a warm fall and being able to enjoy the sun and outside a little more.  There are still unrecognized gratitudes out there though.  The car starting when you turn the key, going to work and knowing the computer system you are required to use, lack of "incidents" involving your hair that require a drastic haircut.

Today I had the guys at Battery Depot make it so my car starts when I turn the key.  Kade is a friend of my brother and has helped me out before, even bringing the battery to my house and installing it for me.  Today I didn't see Kade but I was taken care of just as well.  Brand new battery without any hassle and an apology for the battery needing to be replaced.  It is really hard as a woman to be treated decently with "guy things" like the mechanic etc.  Battery Depot (and Rolling Rubber for things not battery related) has never treated me anything but perfect.  Never talked down to or as if I didn't know what I was talking about.

I can't say much about the warm fall, although it was warm enough today that if I hadn't been dealing with batteries and trying to sleep I would have gone for a nice long cleansing walk.

As for working somewhere you know the computer system, tonight is my first night in the ER since they've switched charting and I was never trained on it.  Because of that I get to go in an hour early, because you know 13 hours with a program you don't know is better than 12.  Really, just how chaotic can an ER be on a Friday night between Christmas and New Years?  Really, I should take something to occupy my time shouldn't I?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

"Let It Go"

I picked up a copy of Let It Go for myself for Christmas {nope, didn't wrap it and wait though}  I remember hearing the story on the news, the updates, seeing the Mormon Message about the story and every time I'd see or hear something about it I was initially amazed at what a spiritual giant Chris Williams is and then I'd almost immediately think "I wish he'd write a book"  and I'm very grateful he did.

I read and cried through the book today, was initially planning on sitting at The Little Brick House reading for a while after DiAnna had to go back to work when I realized that I hadn't brought nearly enough tissues and I wasn't up for a public cry today.  I just finished the book and am amazed at his resilience and faith.  I've added him to my bucket list of people I'd like to spend an afternoon with that I'll likely never get to meet.

I had hoped to gain some insight on how to forgive so readily, but like most of my plans that's not what happened but I still sit in complete amazement at his ability to forgive.  I closed the book realizing that I need to have more patience and acceptance with the Lord's plan for me and his time frame.  There are things I hope and pray change, or that I have the appropriate opportunity to change, but having an acceptance of the Lord's time frame instead of mine is something I struggle with.  I can be patient with a store clerk during a busy season {really, who goes to wal-mart the weekend before Christmas expecting it to be a quick trip?}  but when I decide I want something or that something is a worthy goal I want it then.

I can call down to the blood bank with a hurried tone of voice and plead for the necessary blood products to be in my hands like 5 minutes ago and I know they are working as quickly as possible to make it happen.  I'm not use to deciding that I want something to happen in my life and then having to wait patiently while moving forward.  I want to be able to say "this is Heather and I need that done STAT, what can I do to help" and having it make a difference.  Outside of the hospital STAT doesn't mean anything just like the listen to me and listen now tone doesn't mean much to anyone besides my kids.

Perhaps at this year I can be more patient and more accepting of the Lord's time table knowing that in the end everything will be as it is meant to be.

This is the Mormon Message "My Burden Was Made Light" that features Chris Williams and highlights his tragedy and forgiveness if you haven't heard anything about his story it's a good place to start.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"Finding Peace, Happiness, and Joy"

If you know me well at all for the last several years you have probably heard me talk about Finding Peace, Happiness, and Joy by Richard G. Scott.  Whether by name or just as "the book" and I know of a few times without a reference at all.  I have a 2 year old paperback copy that is flagged, highlighted, written in, journaled about and in general looks very well loved.  It's gotten me through some tough times with what seems like a small amount of grace intact instead of feeling like not only the rug but my entire world has been pulled out from under me.

It's been ignored on my bookshelf for a while, until I pulled it out tonight.  I know from how the book flops open and from the multitude of highlights and flags that pg 102 has been very powerful for me many times and tonight that is where it fell open to and this passage stood out, so much that it's the only part I read tonight.
Have you ever had the feeling that the walls are closing in, that you are not in control, and that you simply can't do it?  Those feelings of frustration are not from the Lord.
Being a public blog I'm not going to share the full extend of how much those sentences mean to me tonight but I did want to come and share it.  It's not your typical "Merry Christmas!" message, but this hasn't been a typical Merry Christmas year for me either.  I do hope that everyone was able to find moments of peace this holiday season and took time to enjoy things for what they are, not what you wanted them to be.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Home For The Holidays

For the kids to be able to come to Beaver for any length of time we needed to come over today. I am still incredibly not ready for Christmas but with the exception of Grandma's popcorn and chocolate dipping the pretzels I am as done as it is going to get.
I sit here at home working on Charlet's scarf that likely won't get done wishing for the peace I typically find at home to be found.   There is definitely less stress here -- maybe because I can't do anything about the stressors while I am here. Maybe if weather cooperates I can walk around the walking trail.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Never Again!

Every year I say that next year I'm going to be more on top of things.  Not as rushed, etc.  This year may be the worst year for how far behind I am, and I've not had anyone come up behind me to help {I'm not complaining, feels good to be independent -- except of course for the things I'd like help with LOL}  Kids want to spend time in Beaver which means deadline for us moved up a couple of days and I'm still wiped out from this last work stretch {somewhat wondering if I'm trying to come down with something, I'm not just tired my body is on a full fledge strike}

Just like every other year, I'm not doing this again this way.  If I can manage to avoid Wal-mart completely between Thanksgiving and New Years Day I'll consider it a success.  I keep reminding myself "no matter how unready you are, Christmas day is wonderful"  Right?

I am right, aren't I?

Part of why I'm frustrated this year is that I wanted to do 'neighbor gifts' not just out of obligation or habit but because I really appreciate how much easier my life is because of neighbors who go above and beyond their neighborly duty whether it's giving the kids a ride or listening to me when I need to talk to someone besides myself.  It's not things that I feel obliged to do, it's things I want to do and can't that are frustrating for me.

Just like always, maybe next year.

Who says there can't be more than a post a day?

I've been 'off' lately, so many tragedies the last few weeks and some that have really gotten inside my heart.  I typically go for a long rambling walk {or multiple, depending on the circumstances and time allowed} but it's been so very cold I haven't been able to {no, walking laps at the school won't help}  I've had people from just about every area of my life ask if I'm okay or say they're worried about me.  I've got a few steps left before I can even definitively say the fake "I'm fine" with a smile and nod but I think I'll get there.

I don't know if I have been too busy to work on dealing with stuff, the short days and long nights, the bitter cold, the stress of the season, my legs {they are feeling MUCH better by the way} the fact I think I'm doing a little bit better and something else happens to pull the rug out from under me or a combination of all of the above but I've got to work through things.

I can't walk it out, so I'm going to try writing it out.  I don't know how helpful mindless rambling at the computer will be and it's been forever since I've written with a purpose other than blogging.  I'd love to write about the things that are bothering me to get them out, but I'm bound by privacy laws and the fact that it's just the right thing to do.

My heart goes out to those who are mourning in the public eye, I can't imagine living through such sorrow and then having it be such a public affair.  Then I think of all those mourning in private, perhaps without anyone else knowing at all and I pray that if there is anything I can do to make their burden a little lighter that I'll know and respond.

There are a few things I do know, list format

  • It's okay to be sad.
  • I refuse to stuff all of this, well, stuff
  • Bad things happen even during the most magical time of the year.
  • I don't want to be alone forever.  I might not 'need' anyone and heaven help the poor soul who crosses me on the wrong day implying that I can't do it alone but it's easier with help.  I have friends and neighbors who have made a world of difference in my life once I let them but it's still lonely at say 12:40 and I'm writing to no one in particular when I'd love to be having a conversation.
  • There are worse things than being alone, many of them.
  • I am happier now than I've been in a very long time.
  • There is a lot of power in "The Primary Answers" 

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Great Big Giant List of Everything That Must Be Done (TGBGLETMBD)

I never, ever finish up The Great Big Giant List of Everything That Must Be Done (TGBGLETMBD).  Ever.  It's more of a wish list than reality and I'm okay with how that goes.  A few years ago I realized looking back that no matter how unready for Christmas I was when Christmas Day finally came everything was just fine.  Family, fun, some special holiday magic and I never worried about what I didn't get done.

This year I think I'm going for a record of how much gets undone and I don't have a really good reason -- or even a really bad reason.  I'm trying to let it go knowing how everything will work out in the end but I don't even have TGBGLETMBD to drop things off of as time, money, and energy run out.  I haven't felt my typical Christmas Scroogey self this year -- until this week when the reality of working 7 out of the last 8 nights, money, time, and wishlists all came crashing together in a colossal bang {maybe that's what happened to my kitchen?!?}  I'm exhausted today and flaked out on some obligations and I sit here fighting back sleep at 7:30.

The sting of being a single Mom at Christmas hit me hard today too.  I enjoy planning out Christmas with someone.  Talking about what to get, trying to find something special for everyone and working on my yarn project of the year getting feedback on how it looks.  That doesn't happen by yourself and has always been one of my "I wish my life were like" dreams.

Halfway through Christmas day the kids go with their Dad until they go back to school on the 7th.  I'm looking forward for a chance to get the house caught back up,tackle the laundry monster, perhaps work on my front room walls again.

Christmas Ornaments 2009

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

'twas the week before Christmas

This reminds me of 2 Christmases ago when I had nothing done for Christmas, nothing prepped, nothing.  After Gromps died I had a friend look around my living room and ask "Heather, what can we do to help?"  Through tears I said I don't even know.  "Can we wrap?"  Well, I haven't bought anything to wrap.  So the conversation went and through my frustration he saw what he could do -- and did way more than I ever expected.

This year circumstances are different.  I'm not stressed about Christmas this year and I've enjoyed the concerts the devotionals etc.  I haven't sad down in frustration about all things I'd like to do and can't.  I've enjoyed what I could do.  

I work through Thursday (1/2 shift) and hope to be able to make some ganache so I can dip truffles on Friday morning.  Debating about when to go to Beaver, I have the kids over the weekend until halfway through Christmas day.  

This afternoon when I woke up I laid in bed fighting making a list of how I've not been a great friend to everyone who has been wonderful to me, how I've not baked and dipped chocolated, how I've not even made the Great Big Giant List of Everything That Must Be Done, how I've not {fill in a long list} and tried to fight back the perfectionist side of me.  I took time to mourn this Christmas season, time to heal and rest my legs, but that time has to come from somewhere and now I'm looking at my working 7 out of 8 days {had last night off for Kaede's concert} and trying hard to remember that no matter how ill prepared we are for Christmas, Christmas day is wonderful.

Wonder what the chances of being on call at all this week are?  {yeah, those of you who have seen our census go ahead and laugh}

Saturday, December 15, 2012

There are no words

I can't even begin to wrap my head around the elementary school shooting in Connecticut, let alone find the words to describe how I feel.  It stabs me at my core and becomes nearly paralyzing if I let it.  Today there is another funeral for a child taken too soon that didn't make national news because unfortunately her story, while tragic, just isn't news worthy on a national level.  The second story did emotionally paralyze me for a few days.

Both have similar undertones, I refuse to allow fear to dictate my choices.  It's not that I'm not afraid or I don't care or as was suggested in a vitriolic online rant that I don't love my kids enough to care it's that I've lived my life making choices based on fear in the past and I adamantly refuse to go back there.  Not in my home, not in schooling choices for my kids, not in political decisions I make -- some of my very worst choices were ones I made out of fear.  Each morning I get up and I make my decisions based on what I think is best, putting my kids first.  Not what makes me least afraid, not what I think someone deserves but what is going to make us the strongest family possible.  If there is a lesson to be taught, what is the best way to teach it?

I just can't turn this tragedy into a political platform, no matter how hard I try.

So each day I get up and do the menial things that build my life.  None of them are life changing or exciting, but they are me.  Each morning the sun does come up again, a neighbor steps in to help when they probably don't realize how much their help is needed right then.  The world seems to pause just for a moment and you can see beauty in the stormy sky before the wind starts to howl and blows cold through your bones.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Concert season

Along with hot cocoa, lights, cold weather {yes, that hit hard today} and busy stores another part of the season that never leaves is concert season.  I missed the Advent concert at St Judes but heard the kids sounded great from a very reliable source.

Tonight was the CHS winter concert. {I'll save my gripe about why I have no still shots of Charlet in concert dress with her flute for another time}  Kids did great and when I think back to where they were not too long ago it amazes me {somewhere on my youtube there is a copy of them playing Holly Jolly Christmas}  We definitely live in the right area if you want your kids to learn an instrument.  I ran out of memory so did some quick deleting and missed the very beginning of every song and only got 13 seconds of Mr. Grinch but since it's one of my favorites I'm going to post it too.

Mumbo Jumbo (combined bands)

First 13 seconds of Mr Grinch (combined)

Brighton Bridge (concert band and I hope I spelled that right)

Good job guys, you were amazing.

Friday, December 7, 2012


I so rarely bring work home with me -- at least for very long and I don't cry at work   When I worked at DRMC I nearly always left work stress along I-15 somewhere.  Wednesday was different.  Very, very different.

I can't say much (anything really) and if living under my covers forever was an option I'd be there.  I honestly just don't know what to even say other than I'm so very sorry.  I wish life could be fair, I wish bad things didn't happen to good people, I wish kids were able to be protected, I wish I had some magic wand that could make everything better again.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Season is here


Christmas season is fully here.  Do you know how I know?  The Christmas Devotional was tonight so my mind has officially clicked into Christmas mode.  I've had Christmas music nearby since Thanksgiving, been mmmhmmm'ing and taking notes about everything the kids want while admiring the Christmas lights going up {go ahead, make fun of the bananas--I know I do} but it still didn't feel like quite like Christmas until tonight.

I watched the devotional with a group of new friends, and it made me realize one more time that this year is going to be the best Christmas ever.  I don't have a why for you, I didn't come into lots of money, things aren't magically all falling into place and going perfect, in fact it's been a rough several weeks for me.  Except it's Christmastime.

Two Christmases ago after a very trying and emotionally draining time Michael said "Mom, isn't this the best Christmas ever?  Look at how many people there are who care about us!"  That year I realized that no matter how well prepared or ill prepared we are for Christmas to come Christmas Day is magical.  Last year I still managed to stress and worry despite some conscious efforts to just enjoy the magic of the season but this year feels different, I haven't even once thought of myself as Scrooge or muttered "bah!  Humbug"  I've felt love and support from friends and neighbors, I've not stressed over the "can I have?" {no I don't know how that happened} and I've just been able to breath a little.  I don't know that the whole season will be this stress free but I'm not going to question it I'm just going to enjoy it.

Did you know that CCPD wont' shut down traffic on main street just so I can take a picture?  {no, I didn't ask -- I also didn't ask them to move deer crossing signs near school crossings either}  This isn't the picture I wanted, but I'm waiting until next weekend when the kids are here to put up our tree so this is the picture you get.

Now, I'm going to go find the story about the barometer, we were having some technical difficulties.

30 days of...woah. Wait, hmmm. Philosophical ramblings! There.

Home early from work and I realize that I'm missing my 30 days posts already and we're only the first day into December.  Well, 1 day 20 minutes. So, here I am with a photo and thoughts running around in my head trying to make sense of each other and I find myself here.

I don't know if it's habit or if it's how I've processed a difficult month that happens to be leaking into this month too?  Perhaps if I had someone to talk things through with late at night besides cyberland I would feel differently, but I don't.  The end of 30 days project has me feeling a little lost too, not sure what voice and direction I want the post to go.  {Maybe I should have worked on a picture of a map?} 

I took this picture up the canyon at sunset {yes, I know you are shocked} and toes cold enough that I still shiver a little looking at the picture.  Having never been to a tropical island my experience with beautiful skies is that the stormier, colder, windier that things are the more beauty there is to be found.  It was tempting to sit inside the car having my toes warmed by the heater but it was prettier in the cold -- yes even a few feet make a big difference.  I wish I was as good at seeing the beauty in my storms as I am seeing the beauty in a stormy sky.  Also worth viewing it in lightbox


Friday, November 30, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 30 -- Safety Net

This isn't what I'd planned on writing today and I don't have a picture or even a concept of a picture to go along with it but for now I don't care.

I've posted before {this year and others} about my gratitude for various parts of the gospel.  Tonight I'm grateful for the church and the safety net of people automatically in place.  The friendships that grow from there are wonderful and having great neighbors helps, but knowing that a late night call can calm fears and give hope when needed -- even if things aren't dire is comforting {that warm fuzzy inside sort of comforting that I wish could last forever}  Tonight I'm grateful for people who answer the phone, those who pick up the phone and call when needed, those out there ready and waiting even if they're never needed.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 29 -- Tough Days

It's not the easy days that shape our character or carve beautiful landscapes out of the mountainside, it's the tough days that you want to go hide under a blanket and don't {or perhaps do for a while and then you get up and face the world with a brave face} That's when we truly become who we are meant to be.{yes I was really cold.  The wind was blowing and my toes are finally just warming up}

This one really is worth clicking on it to see it bigger or even better, click here to see it in lightbox.  I promise, it's worth it.

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 29 -- Tough Days (different edit)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I noticed this evening I've passed up 900 views.  Not bad for a blog that I write to no one and for myself, right?  I have been sharing my 30 days posts, but before that not much.  We'll see if I keep spamming FB with my posts or not, I haven't decided.  Part of me is curious about who's reading what I'm writing and if it's the same people or not {I highly suspect a lot of my readers are FB friends}

As the 30 days project draws to a close I've made a few observations.

  1. I stuck with it this year with just a little bumpy patch through Thanksgiving weekend when I was out of town.  
  2. I am nowhere near done being grateful -- I *am* grateful that if at the end of the day I realize I haven't taken a picture today it's okay I can still go to bed and not stress.  Today's snap of a picture that made me frustrated I didn't have the time or the light I needed made me realize how important it is to me that the images reflect my feelings.  
  3. I have really missed shooting.  I think it's a part of me that got lost for a while in the turmoil.
  4. This year feels worlds different than other Holiday seasons, kind of hard to explain but I'm going to sit back and enjoy it.
I really do shoot for myself and write for myself, a blog is just an easy place to think through my fingers {I noticed a blog titled that today, I don't know if I subconsciously stole it from them or not, but I do feel a twinge of guilt using it} I want to keep shooting, even through and around the barriers that block my way.  I'd really like my last few November posts to be strong but I don't have a clue yet what to do for them.

I am going to do a weekly gratitude post, it will give me more time to get a great image and hopefully have some meaningful words to go with it so don't fret -- I'll keep spamming you a little more.

30 Days of Gratitude Day 28 -- Michael

Yes, I know and I'm not going to entertain discussion about how I used the on board flash. You don't like it you can move right along. Getting a picture was more important than waiting and getting the picture I'd hoped for.

Michael gave us a run for our money when he was an infant, so much so that Charlet thought the best restaurant in Salt Lake City was The Rainbow Cafe and the folks at Ronald McDonald House knew us by name. So much of that experience has led me to where I am now, how I treat patients and their families and showed me that I can do things I didn't think I'd be able to. We watched his growth (and shrinkage) ounce by ounce and stood on the brink of interventions I am grateful that we didn't have to do. He's now 12 and 5'8" and just over 100 lbs. When I was putting him in newborn sized clothes on his first birthday I never, ever thought we'd get to the point that his feet are bigger than mine and he's just shy of outgrowing me.

Along with figuring out how to grow he's also done some pretty amazing things. Anything that needs "some assembly required" he's your go to guy. Anything hands on he's all over it, making sure it gets done and done right. {Hmmm, aren't dishes hands on?} When I look at his hands I see Gromps' hands.  I first noticed it in this picture by P&G Photography.  I wanted to capture his hands as I see them, similar to this one from summer 2006


However, he is at an after school program until 5 when we've lost light and I'm not letting him tear apart another bike for the sake of a picture {although I was tempted if we'd had light} so I popped up my on board flash and got this one.  I love you Michael, you continually do things that amaze me.

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 28 -- Michael

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 27 -- Keep us Safe

It's not uncommon for police departments, fire fighters, and EMS to get attention and much needed kudos for all they do to keep everyone safe. Not as often noticed but still important are Search and Rescue (SAR), road departments {yes, county road guys I saw your road closed sign as I drove past and got stuck on ice yesterday} utility companies that come out at all hours if needed.  Not as high on keeping us safe but still very appreciated are the trash guys who make my life so much easier.

This picture is of Dancer a SAR dog from Mesquite finding me over the weekend with my nephew Charles being the one who was working him.

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 27 -- Keep us Safe

Monday, November 26, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 26 -- Flowers

From the first glimpse of life in the springtime to late fall desert blossoms I'm grateful for them all.

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 26 -- Flowers

Sunday, November 25, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 25 -- Simply Grateful

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 25 -- Simply Grateful

Friday when we were rappelling I started to get pictures of some of the knots in the ropes {yeah, that was when I realized I had the wrong lens on for what I wanted} starting to formulate a 30 days post in my head.  Trust.  Safety.  Adrenaline {nixed that one, I wanted this post to be more thoughtful}  Bounced back and forth between safety and trust.  We're only safe when we're obedient though, that should fit into there somewhere too.

I kept thinking of the list of things we do to help keep us spiritually safe, started to turn it into a mental check list for where I am at too. You know the list of Primary answers that answer almost everything {because the plain and simple answers are truly where our strong anchors are} I had those on the list and like every other time I made a list about things that need to be done I started to get overwhelmed.  I haven't {anything} enough lately.  Things have been going well and of course habits starts to slip.  Fall asleep exhausted before evening prayers.  Rush out the door without spending some time to read and ponder.  Do I have to mention how easy it is to skip Family Home Evening when I work on a Monday?

I stopped brainstorming this post and made a mental note that those kinds of lists don't manage to keep me on track.  I got my picture of the knot, well not the exact picture I'd hoped for but I'm happy with it anyways.  I was harnessed up, hair pulled back, gloved up and clipped onto the rope.  That safety line that would keep me tethered and safe not free falling to hard ground below.  I even had my camera with me, debated about having Kim stop me on the edge of the free fall to get a picture {frustrated at myself for having the wrong lens on}  I back up to the edge, grateful that my arm has healed to where I can go rappelling again, listen to a few jokes about the camera {I had it inside my shirt so it wasn't bouncing around} and back up.

If you haven't been rappelling the initially leaning backwards over the edge of a cliff is by far the scariest part, also important to note here is that your dominant hand is your brake hand {I'm right handed}.  The longer it's been since you've been rappelling the scarier it is.  The list runs through my head.  Can I see red on the harness?  Does the figure 8 look right?  I don't have the gloves with the wear spot in them do I?  Are the leg straps on the harness tight enough I'm not going to get that tiny bit of slip that makes your heart race?  Camera staying out of the way of the figure 8? {how do people secure their camera equipment who go rappelling with it?}

Soon all the fears go away and I'm having fun, thinking next time I'm leaving my camera elsewhere {besides, I don't have a single picture of me rappelling ever I bet I could trust one of the older girls with it and get a picture of me}.  Maybe, it is my baby after all.  I'm at the edge where the free fall starts and you have to lean back just like you do initially and I take a breath and lean back.

In a fraction of a second I realize my right hand has lost it's grip. I'm trying to figure out if I can move my left hand to be a brake since I wouldn't have to step over the rope and WHY???  I have had very few gripping problems with my right hand.  How far from the edge of the free fall to the bottom?  Is that very big rock at the bottom below me or Felisa? Drop and roll, I can't forget to roll.  Oh, what will rolling do to my camera.  I can't break anything I don't have anymore time off of work.  I don't want to ruin everyone's rappelling trip.

Then the rope goes taught and I slow down.  I realize I've only slipped a foot {if that, but I promise it was scary and a million things ran through my mind} and have my back to the wall.  I still don't know if at that point my brake hand would work but I couldn't figure out how to spin myself around.  Kim lowered me safely to the ground and all was well. I've never had to rely on the belayer to keep me safe, other than when going down with kids and having them help do some of the work but I've always been grateful they're there.  This weekend the gratitude goes a little  farther.

Sitting up on the hill taking pictures I realized that one thing on the list that I've been missing is the importance of good friends.  Friends who know that a simple tug on a rope will lower you safely down, friends who know the difference in "can we go for a walk sometime, I'd like to talk" and "is there some time today we can talk?"  isn't about word choice but something deeper inside.  A phone call to just see how things are going or a text on a day that could be extra lonely.  Good friends have kept me safe, stopped me from falling off the edge and kept me grounded.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 24 -- Light at the end of the tunnel

For those of you in the middle of nursing school, trying to get into nursing school, working on endless prerequisites for nursing school know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and no it's not from a train.  It's from the NCLEX and you will survive.  So will your patients.

I first felt like I was living in a tunnel just waiting to get out in nursing school.  It lasted for what seemed like an eternity.  The first semester with Lynn?  I felt like it was as long as the rest of schooling I'd done up until that point.  I was completely over "Utopia General" long before mid-term.

I've since come to realize that life is just a series of tunnels {trials really, some we get ourselves into like the nursing program and others we get put into kicking and screaming} that yes we can get through and we will be able to walk in the sunshine again.

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 24 -- Light at the end of the tunnel

Friday, November 23, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 23 -- Rappelling

This one just so happens to be a part 2, watch for Sunday's post for my philosophical ramblings.

I great big puffy heart rappelling.  On a bigger scale than softball when I'm rappelling all I'm thinking about is rappelling {really, I don't want to go flying down because I was distracted thinking about something silly} and the adrenaline rush of falling backwards over a hill is wonderful.

I've never had to be belayed, until Friday when my right hand decided that it was through gripping just as I came over the edge where you start to free fall.  Those of you keeping track, my right hand is the one that hasn't been operated on but had the more severe carpal tunnel.  Elbow was fine.  I'm fine {thanks again Kim for saving my life}  

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 23 -- Rappelling

On the road...

Didn't think about it but I should have pre-typed these up, phone posting leads to shortcuts not eloquence. Stay tuned for posts tomorrow night...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 22 -- Work

(picture to come later)

I am grateful for work.  Yes I'm {retro} posting this on Thanksgiving when I am required to work as a reminder to me that I am grateful for the opportunity to provide for my family.  The schedule isn't perfect, but honestly no matter what the schedule I'd always be missing something, little things at school the kids want me there for to things like working the holidays.  My gratitude extends beyond just having something that I can do to bring home a paycheck but something that I {usually} enjoy doing, coworkers that I look forward to seeing, and being able to take pride in my profession.

Beyond employment I am grateful for a healthy {?!?!?} body that allows me to work, to haul wood, care for the animals, wash dishes {did I really just say I'm grateful for washing dishes?  Nope, grateful I have a body that can -- important difference there} and work hard at playing hard.

P.S.  Picture will come, I just haven't gotten one yet and I wanted to catch up from my mini road trip without skipping.

P.P.S  Ha!  It let me change the date, unless you've been following in real time you'd never know I'm behind.  

A Day of Thanks

I find it interesting that on Thanksgiving, presumably the day that started the original 30 days I'm not posting a 30 days. I will make it up I promise.

Kids are with their Dad this weekend, I worked last night and tonight.  I got a decentish nap on Wednesday but I have realized and accepted I can't cut my sleep short 2 days in a row much less 3 and I am planning on heading south tomorrow.  I seriously contemplated sleeping until 1 or 2 today then getting up and going to Beaver to eat with Russell which would have been fine time wise if everything was on schedule.  Anything not on schedule would have messed with the whole thing and I would have been rushing and stressed to make it back to work.

I am grateful I have a job that I enjoy, I am grateful that this year when I don't have my family around me I was able to work so that others can be around theirs {and that I'm able to go in a little bit early so someone can leave early}, I'm grateful that I am actually working instead of stuck in town on call.  I'm grateful that being part of my family isn't a major holiday or wedding type event, we're family 365 days a year, this year 366.  Hopefully some leftovers will find their way to me this weekend.  If not I'm making turkey dinner next week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 21 -- Music

Someone once said that for art to exist there needs to be people who perform the talent and others who appreciate the talent {paraphrased from the depths of my mind somewhere}.  I fill that last roll very nicely,  my main musical talent is turning on the radio.  I'm wonderful at it, really.  It is on my bucket list to be able to play something other than the radio.  I'd be thrilled if I could sing.  Listening to music, most genres, really moves me though.  I can't tell you much about it other than whether or not it stirs my soul and that's enough for me.

Fortunately my kids have more talent than I do.  Charlet plays the flute, Michael the tuba, Kaede loves to sing and I hope chooses to participate in band as well {she doesn't realize she'll have to pick between band and choir in 6th grade though}.  

I didn't have the time to play with as many angles and perspectives as I'd hoped for and I have to thank Greg for helping me bring my fuzzy idea into reality -- even though it's not exactly as I'd hoped yet.  I'll play again another day.

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 21 -- Music

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 20 -- Modern Medicine

From new medical technology that saves lives to simple things like ibuprofen I'm grateful for what modern medicine has to offer, even if it doesn't make a beautiful picture.

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 20 -- Modern Medicine

Monday, November 19, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 19 -- Kaede

Our Bishop once described Kaede as having an exuberance for life and it may be the most accurate description of her I've ever heard. She loves life, she loves people, she loves animals. Quite simply, she loves. As an infant, even an older infant, she would snuggle into your chest until she melted into you. She still gives some of the best hugs and cuddles of anyone I know. She has the ability to bring a smile to my face on even the darkest of days. {yup, it's an old picture -- it's been that kind of day}

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 19 -- Kaede

Sunday, November 18, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 18 -- Friends I can carry around in my pocket

What feels like forever ago when Michael was a baby and instead of living day by day we were going ounce by ounce never going more than 2 days without seeing a medical professional of some kind I came across a wonderful group of friends at and an amazing amount of support from around the world.  I'd head off to an appointment at Primary Children's and knew I had a group of friends with me "in my pocket" I learned how to be an advocate, which questions to ask, how to communicate my concerns, questions and wishes to his medical team from Monday night chats. Okay, there was a lot more than Monday nights but they were my favorite. Hmmm, maybe has something to do with me enjoying night shift now?

Technology has changed, social media has changed and now I quite literally still carrying around the same group of friends (plus a few others I've collected over time) in my pocket.  I've been known when I'm facing something that seems like I'm alone to take a deep breath and realize that I have a pocket full of support.  Cracked screen, worn out keyboard and all.

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 18 -- Friends I carry around in my pocket

30 Days of Gratitude Day 17 -- Beautiful Sky

Title as I wanted it? 30 Days of Gratitude Day 17 -- Beautiful Sunsets errr Night ummm Evening Sky

I froze my fingers, toes, and bum off trying to get some nice sunset pictures, would have loved a night sky too and as long as I'm headed up the mountain why not make an evening of it, right?

It was cold, bitter wind that blew over my tripod {camera attached but fortunately around my neck} and my fingers and toes are still frozen hours later. Some lost pictures {yes, I could have prevented that one} and I am still grateful for our evening sky. Too many clouds to catch the sky on fire and definitely no starry nights. Next time I'm going up in the summer!

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 17 -- Evening Sky

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Softball is a pretty big part of my life. I have very few memories of my summers not involving the smell of dirt and grass on the field, the crack of the bat when it connects. Several years it has been watching Charlet play {I'm sad that she said she doesn't want to anymore -- but it's her decision and I'll support her efforts in track} but my favorite is to be playing.

Planting your feet in the batter's box, the feel of the ball flying after it connected with the sweet spot. {Not so much running the bases, but hey nothing is perfect and it's not a far distance} Something about being on the field and playing the game clears my head putting everything back into perspective {yes even the base running part}.

 I'm not putting this down as a gratitude entry because while I am grateful for softball I am really sad that right now it's not softball season or even a day I'd be able to bribe someone to pitch to me so I could hit a few balls and I promised myself I'd stay away from snarky, sarcastic gratitudes. I didn't walk yesterday, spent the day sitting at the hospital with a very dear friend.

Perhaps a nice long walk this morning will help clear my head. I can pretend it's warm outside.


{I can't find the picture I wanted, so this one will have to do}

Friday, November 16, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 16 -- Scriptures

This is one of those days that what I'm feeling inside is struggling to come out in words.  To describe how I feel, much less why I feel that way has been impossible and feels even more so tonight trying to write this post.  I sit here, tears building up and wishing I could just hand you a package and have you understand how I feel.  {and so goes many moments in my life}

When my home is filled with peace everything seems so clear, difficult and perhaps insurmountable but definitely clear, until I step away from the safety of home.  Work, school, bills, conflicts, friends and life seem to quickly muddy things up and difficult becomes overwhelming and confusing.  Which way is up?  How I do I move forward?  Am I drowning?  Why doesn't life come with an instruction manual?

Well, turns out it does.  It just takes time, effort, and diligence.  Even with that when life hits hard it can still seem impossible and perhaps not even worth it.  I promise, it's worth it.

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 16 -- Scriptures

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 15 -- Family

I'm writing this early because tomorrow has the potential to be a little bit crazy.

I'm so very grateful for my family. Things haven't always been smooth sailing for us, but the kids and I have stuck together and made it through {not that we're to through yet, but we've made far?} The importance of family and especially putting the kids needs before the rest of the world has had a new meaning for me the last few years. It's not always easy and there are definitely times when you have to make choices between two {or more!} right choices or two wrong choices -- praying that you will do what is best. It's easy to let life become a barricade to what needs to happen to make it where you want to be with everyone's sanity mostly intact.

 You may realize that pictures are important to me from snapshots, taking pictures, nice portraits, beautiful landscapes, shots of kids just being kids. {if not you don't know me very well} This fall after I started back to work it became very important to me to have some nice family pictures taken. I have almost no pictures of me and the kids and have been on the lookout for our perfect photographer. No one locally was right for me. Well, until I happened across P&G Photography and the wonderful combined talents of Greg and Paul.

I've never been so completely happy with pictures when I've placed such an important meaning on them.  They are exactly everything I had dreamed about and I don't think anyone else could have accomplished so much.  If you want to see the rest of our session you can find it here or give me a while and stop by the house and see what I've done in the front room to do the pictures justice.

30 Days of Gratitude Day 14 -- Lunch with a Friend

Early last spring {I really want to say it was around my birthday or shortly after} I started having regular lunches with a friend.  At first it was absolutely thrilling to be doing something for me.  Without kids coming along.  Somewhere along the way I realized that it wasn't as thrilling but it had become very important.  No matter how ugly of a week I've had {or am looking at depending on what's going on} I have an hour each Wednesday that I don't stress about anything and I almost always spend most of it laughing.  It keeps me grounded with my feet under me. I've been known to work Tuesday night and Wednesday night and interrupt my sleep for lunch because it's become that important.

Since I've been back to work our lunch spot is the Little Brick House.  Wednesday is likely to find us sitting in a side booth eating soup in a bread bowl. {really the booth should be ours -- someone else was sitting there today and it completely threw me for a loop, fortunately they left before DiAnna showed up.  I wonder if left a tiny sign saying "Reserved for Wednesday 11 am" if they'd move it or not}  Their sandwiches are the best in town too, but I absolutely love their soup.  I've not had a soup I don't like from there.The bread bowls are heavenly, but require a creamy soup not broth based so I prefer to go on a day I know there is a creamy soup -- either potato bacon or clam chowder are perfect.

This is definitely the wrong time of year, but warmer weather may find us sitting at a bench in the park.  Lunch out this year had kept me going -- pulled me out of a funk multiple times during my LOA when there wasn't much else I could do, makes me smile when it feels like I have nothing to smile about, and lately when things have been going well it's just a great time. Days like today when on the way home from lunch I'm interrupted with a sick kiddo call from school it makes all the difference when the rest of my plans suddenly go awry.

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 14 -- Lunch with a Friend

Vein procedure, Day after

Wow, I don't hurt today as much as I thought I would. Last night I was really sore, but part of that is the workouts we've been doing at work. Outsides of my legs/butt are sore, in a good way. Inside of my right leg is sore, much better when I keep it up and don't move. Unfortunately moving it isn't optional. Two 30 minutes walk each day and I'm not taking any time off. I plan on packing it in ice at work -- I don't have the ice packs with me here.

About 4 hours after my appt time I didn't feel good at all.  Part of me blames the valium, but honestly I don't think it was that.  Part of the ride home are foggy or missing from my memory {of course clear as day me getting dizzy and nauseated though} but the evening is bad.  Clearing everything out of my schedules on Tuesdays through Christmas.  Hopefully with my morning appts things will be a  little more normal by the time the kids come home from school.  Definitely a dinner in the crockpot kind of day though.

Over all, wasn't too bad.  I did already put a run in the stockings and I think I'm just out of luck -- fortunately it's up high.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 13: Warmth

My heart is breaking into a million pieces for several friends this morning and I'm struggling to find the words. Every one of my friends who is hurting so acutely today has been there for me when I've needed someone. I can hear the hurt in all of their voices, I sat at work and had to take a moment to collect my thoughts together because of their pain.

Today I'm grateful for the warmth that they've brought into my life at various places, the times I've seen their number come up on my caller ID and I just knew that in a few seconds everything was going to start to seem a little better. The times they've seen right through "I'm okay for now, I can deal with this all later" knowing that I needed something right then. I could write a small book about the numerous times they've been there when I needed it.

I pray for each of them that today they can feel some of the warmth they've given to me. What I wouldn't give to be able to wrap it up in a box and take it to their doors. I love you all, please know that I mean it when I say "please let me know if there is anything, no matter how small that I can do for you"

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 13 -- Warmth

Monday, November 12, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 12 -- Friends

The picture isn't what I had wanted but I couldn't find the ones I wanted and I didn't have enough time to spend scanning things forever.

I'm beyond grateful for all the friends I have.  From the ones I had in elementary school and High School practical jokes to the ones now who somehow know a difference between when there's time can we talk and I need someone to listen to me STAT even when the words I use are the same.  I have friends who have magically shown up as I was my last bit of patience to see if I wanted to go get a soda and go for a ride.  Friends who get excited with me over silly little things.  There is no way I could have made it through the last few years without the quality of friends I have who love me, flaws and all.

I'm also grateful for my kids' friends and the people in their lives that have been there for them, whether they are aware of it or not.

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 12 -- Friends

Sunday, November 11, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 11 -- Those Who Risk Their Life to Keep Me Safe

Sometimes a picture says more than any words I could add.  Once again, thanks Val for letting me share this with you.

Welcome Home Soldier

30 Days of Gratitude Day 10 -- General Conference

Twice a year we have the opportunity to be spiritually fed (or rehydrated, per Brother Huff)in a feast like no other. When I was a senior in high school we had the opportunity to go with Seminary Council and it was a great trip.

This year, very last minute I had the opportunity go in October, largely because we have some awesome coworkers. Not only was it Conference, it was a road trip in the motor home, wonderful experience I suggest everyone takes advantage of if they have the opportunity. My only regret is my kids couldn't come {this time, I hope that this is a this time type story}  I slept through most of the other 3 sessions though, I am so excited that my copy of The Ensign came today so I can read them, study them, mark them.

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 10 -- General Conference

Friday, November 9, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 9 -- Heritage

I'm grateful for my heritage. Whether stories of pioneers pulling handcarts across the plains to grandparents who helped teach me how to work, how to play, how to love I am grateful.

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 9 -- Heritage

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 9 -- Heritage

Thursday, November 8, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 8 -- Faith

When I first started my 30 days this year I planned things out a little.  Right to vote on November 6th, Sundays I'd post about something belief based, each week I'd do one of the kids with a few other guidelines to keep me going.  Yesterday being my day off I went out to get a few pictures to have to work from on days I'm busy.  There was also a nice fall breeze with the sun shining -- exactly what I wanted for Sunday's post.  I didn't realize I'd need it more now than on Sunday and really I try to live my beliefs 365 not just on Sundays so here it is.

Last year when I posted about faith I described the kind of faith that warms you from your head to your toes and makes you want to shout from rooftops.  This year I'm going to the other end of the spectrum and am very grateful for the quiet subtle faith that like the whisper of a breeze through grass lets you know that everything is going to be okay and you are just fine.  Look to the sun and feel the warmth on your face.

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 8 -- Faith

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 6 -- Right to Vote

Yes, yes I know.  Those of you who are my Facebook friends know that I am not into discussing politics at length in that forum.  You can also add in work, over a friendly lunch, school {unless it's for Donna's Politics and Policy class}  I have tried very hard to cut sources of contention out of my life and arguing over politics fits that category especially since I love to play Devil's Advocate.  I doubt arguing and yelling has ever changed anyone's opinion.

What I enjoy so much more than arguing over who should be president {really, I live in Utah -- my presidential vote isn't going to change anything} is local politics.  I went to the drug store today to pick up a couple of prescriptions and there was one of the candidates working behind the counter.  He called me by name, my needs and health (or current lack of) seemed to be most important to him right then.  I wished him luck today and he smiled and thanked me, mentioning he'll be glad when today is over.  I'm not some prominent community member that everyone knows, and unless you frequent the local ICU chances are you don't know who I am -- but he does, by name.  Local politics is why I get out to vote.

I feel strongly that it's important that everyone gets out and votes.  The political climate is becoming more volatile with each election cycle {yes, that's just my perspective} and each opinion is important.  Let your opinion be heard by voting today.

Today, I am grateful for my right {and responsibility} to vote.

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 6 -- Right to Vote

Monday, November 5, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 5 -- My Neighborhood

I know I do this one every year, but every year I have another full 365 days to be grateful for the neighborhood we live in.  Families who keep an eye out for the kids when I can't, those who take an honest interest in their lives, soup that just shows up when I'm sick.  I am also grateful for our location, when it's been needed I have been able to walk to almost everywhere we needed to be.  I should add to that I'm grateful that it's been since Charlet was in elementary school since I've been stuck on foot for an extended length of time.

My Neighborhood

Sunday, November 4, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 4 -- Charlet

Evening of Excellence is in just a few hours so I'm mentally gearing myself up for it through this post. Our first Evening of Excellence I was completely unprepared to see Charlet from a different perspective. When we had our family pictures done this year I saw Charlet differently in the pictures.  Older, more mature -- not my  little girl anymore.  Evening of Excellence does the same thing, gives me a preview of who she is becoming and where she can go and it's always been just a little more than I was prepared for.

This last year Charlet has done amazing things, she stepped up this summer while I was out from surgery and kept things going around here.  I know she was ready to be done by the time I could use my arm again, but I am so proud of her for standing up and doing what needed to be done.  She is a great big sister and through all the fighting and quarreling I've seen her stand shoulder to shoulder with her siblings when needed.  I could go on forever about how she amazes me every day with her energy and loyalty.  I love you Charlet.

30 Days of Gratitude -- Day 4:  Charlet

Saturday, November 3, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 3 -- Temples

I had originally wanted to do a different gratitude today, but waited until too late to get what I needed for it. Maybe down the road I'll switch around the order of the days.

 For a short time I hesitated to post this, having recently read some of the stories in the news lately and my gratitude for temples is very personal but I couldn't deny it so instead I'm going to leave it short and sweet. Temples and temple work have changed my life and has brought peace to my heart when I thought it wasn't possible.

Salt Lake City LDS Temple

Friday, November 2, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 2 -- Home

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 2 -- Home

Home is much more than where you live.  For every person you ask for what home means for me you will have a different answer.  My answer?  Home is where you want to be when things aren't going quite right, where you feel loved unconditionally.  When there is a storm raging outside home keeps you safe and warm. Filled with laughter, tears, and friends home is always there for you.

This past year I've been doing things specifically to make my house fill like home.  Most of them you can't see in a photo, but this photo does a good job of representing everything.  (and yes, I know my WB was way off.  It has been forever since I've made that mistake)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude Day 1 -- Days off together

30 Days of Gratitude -- Days off together

We've been crazy busy at work lately and it has created all kinds of havoc on my schedule.  Working 12 hour night shifts makes it even worse because unless I have days off together it almost is like I didn't have one off at all because I feel like I lose those days either recovering from nights or prepping for nights.  Today especially I am grateful for 2 days off in a row that is allowing me a full day of housework {okay, I'll be grateful tonight when I can go to bed happy about what I've accomplished instead of frustrated about what didn't get done}

30 Days of Gratitude -- What is it?

Four or five years ago a friend did a 30 Days of Gratitude photo challenge. Beautiful pictures with beautiful thoughts. Every year since then I've joined in (I don't always do it perfectly, but I always try). Last year after I started posting them on Facebook as well I started to notice a lot of people were doing it as well (minus photos), I know there are a lot that do it through Flickr. The rules are simple, every day a picture with a blurb about why that picture is symbolic of something that I'm grateful for. We all know how well I do things that are daily with my schedule so I'm going to be using the delayed post feature on here fairly often but my challenge, my rules I can do what I want. I'd love to have you join along and I'm going to create a list of those participating so if you want in and want a gratuitous link to where you are posting let me know or leave a comment.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chin up Buttercup

In April 2012 General Conference Elder Baxter of the Seventy gave a talk titled "Faith, Fortitude, and Fulfillment:  A Message to Single Parents"  then the fourth Sunday of July I gave a Relief Society lesson on that talk.  I still don't know that I'd call it a lesson exactly but I stood up and cried my way through.  Each day for a month I read the talk, often out loud so that I could just maybe get my way through it with minimal tears -- that didn't work.  The passage  that hit me the most was originally told by President Hinckley in September of 2006 from a single mom who had just delivered something to her neighbors across the street.
“As I turned around to walk back home, I could see my house lighted up. I could hear echoes of my children as I had walked out of the door a few minutes earlier. They were saying: ‘Mom, what are we going to have for dinner?’ ‘Can you take me to the library?’ ‘I have to get some poster paper tonight.’ Tired and weary, I looked at that house and saw the light on in each of the rooms. I thought of all of those children who were home waiting for me to come and meet their needs. My burdens felt heavier than I could bear.
“I remember looking through tears toward the sky, and I said, ‘Dear Father, I just can’t do it tonight. I’m too tired. I can’t face it. I can’t go home and take care of all those children alone. Could I just come to You and stay with You for just one night? …’
“I didn’t really hear the words of reply, but I heard them in my mind. The answer was: ‘No, little one, you can’t come to me now. … But I can come to you.’”2
 The first time I read this {and many times since} I pictured myself walking back across the street towards my own house full of kids with needs that I was certain I could never fill.  Today is one of those days.  It was a gorgeous fall day, I took the extra time to walk Kaede home from school, and then this evening we sat outside for a while went for a walk around the block and visited with a neighbor while Michael went out with Friends of Scouting.  I had hoped for some quiet thought collecting time.

All the while I kept hearing about the Halloween costumes that aren't ready yet.  In my defense, Kaede and Michael have been constantly changing their minds. {I don't know that would have changed much if they had} pumpkins that aren't carved {and we wouldn't even have them if it wasn't for great neighbors} That book reports were due today and Kaede has lost her rubric for it {ahhh, can't forget to email about that tonight} homework to make up from all of them from going hunting with their Dad and missing school on Friday {I'm glad they went, I'm glad they went, I'm glad they went} Let's not forget the dose of self guilt on the side for a dinner of Mac 'n Cheese {and it's not like I've been making wonderful meals other days either -- I've been working}, laundry not done {but, I kept my promise and haven't wash/dried without folding}, a sink full of dishes {they keep rotating, it's a fluid hot spot not a stagnant one}, bathroom that has gone unscrubbed.  To top it off, I spent an evening I could have spend doing housework painting my new wall and I've been considering expanding my social life {go ahead, laugh I understand} and that simultaneously makes me excited and nervous but that's a post for another day or perhaps even a conversation.

How does it all ever get done?  I can't not sleep, too many consequences for me when I don't -- night shift with sleep is hard enough.  I'm grateful when I go to work because leaving home stresses at home is required for me to be able to focus on my patients' and their needs.  It's a shelter from my storm.

It feels like it's been a long time since we've had a normal schedule with the kids and skipping the details the back and forth just sucks and I don't like it.  No, there isn't anything I can do about it.

Chin up Buttercup, everything will be as it is suppose to be.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

There isn't anything...

I remember when I was about Charlet's age and there was some huge teenage disaster that had befallen on my life {I had no truly disastrous things happen to me, it was most likely along the lines of not being able to go to a football game because we had a volleyball game at the same time} Grandpa told me "there isn't anything in life so bad that there isn't some good somewhere"

Of course then he was wrong, surely the end of the world was just around the corner.  Right?

Well, the world didn't end and life went on.  I no longer remember the devastating events that prompted the lesson but the lesson keeps finding ways back into my heart, typically with a smile on my face remembering how his big hands could completely cover mine, how comfortable it was sitting in his lazy boy with him {this went far beyond being a little girl, I don't know how we both sat in that chair for so long but I wouldn't trade it for anything now}, and how much better warm mush in the mornings tasted on a cold winter morning at his house than it ever did at home.

This morning was one of those times.  I worked last night, even did some computer work for the critical care modules that I have to do {2 am is not the time to try to be pulling facts about the RAA system and what tubule does what in the kidney} when I got home from dropping Michael off for band I was exhausted.  I almost had 2 hours that I could sleep before I went to my eye appt with Dr Albrecht.  I set 3 alarms and hoped that it was one of those days that 2 hours feels like 10.  It wasn't.  It felt like about 15 minutes.

I force myself out of bed, rubbed some water on my face to make my eyes open and decided that I wasn't getting dressed and put together for one appointment and was out the door.  As I backed out the driveway and looked over my left shoulders for college students walking to class I noticed the neighbors tree perfectly catching the morning sun on it's golden leaves.  It brought a smile to my exhausted face and tired eyes.

Then Grandpa was with me and I knew no matter how tired I am, how expensive this week has been, how difficult the last 2 weeks have been there is going to be some good if you look hard enough and everything is going to be just as it is suppose to be.

A couple of disclaimers about this post.  It's a life lesson that is important to me and has pulled me through a lot of things I didn't think I could get through, I'm not telling anyone else that they should feel the same.  It's also very important that I am the one who finds the good, if someone else points it out to me I'm likely to come back with some snarky comment {it may not make it out of my mouth, but I promise it'll be there} and have an overall impression of "they just don't get it" and that in general changes my views on whatever kind of relationship we have.

 If I don't get called in tonight I'm going to see if I can find a similar scene tomorrow with my camera in hand.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Warning: Angry Heather in here

I rarely get angry.  I very rarely get angry that doesn't go away with a few deep breaths and some physical space between me and whatever.  The one exception?  My kids.  The momma bear in me isn't buried very deep.  I also fully believe that before I get offended over something, the person doing/saying/whatevering should be notified that what they are doing is not okay in my world.

Conversation today with a near stranger {I had no idea they had any idea about my situation, they surely don't know me very well}

Stranger: "It won't be easy finding someone willing to take you with your [pause] baggage"

Me:  Jaw dropping stare and deathly silence.

Stranger: "It's not like that, it's just that societ..."

Me: "My kids are NOT baggage"

Stranger:  "I didn't mean it like that, it's just a common way..."

Me:  "I don't care how common it is, you should shut up now if you are only going to defend yourself"

Stranger:  "but..."

Me:  Turned and walked away

Argh!!!!  I've never liked the comment, and the past couple of years it hits a sore spot with me even when not being used in reference to us.  Use it referring to us makes any rules I like to play by about being nice, benefit of the doubt, fair warning fly out the window.

I know single never been married people with a lot more baggage than a visible ex-spouse and/or kids.  There are always things that will make any relationship difficult, some bigger than others.  Yes, kids change things and some people aren't willing to deal with step-kids -- that's their choice and I'm not going to try to convince anyone that they should.  My kids are not baggage.  No one kids should be viewed as baggage. Ever.

I also don't want someone who is willing to take me.  Could it be possible to work anymore offense into that one little sentence?  How can someone know that much about my life and know me so little that they think anything along those lines would be acceptable?!?!?

And it's dark and I can't go smack some softballs to cool off.

Bah!  Stupid people suck.  I wish I didn't let them get to me.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Life Goes On

I think it's interesting how no matter what is flying around you life manages go keep going forward. {At this very moment I want to define life as laundry, dishes, etc but this works for a more realistic definition too}

Saturday of General Conference I was put on call.  On call hadn't been in my vocabulary for a long time.  Working 4+ shifts a week and exhausted had though.  Gary had extra tickets to Conference and being home on call when I could be road tripping with them to General Conference was killing me a little inside.  I'll skip the details but I called in every favor I held to be able to go and I think I am going to owe people for a long time.  It's okay, it was worth it.  Did I mention the week leading up to that I got very little sleep?  Every thing my sleep was interrupted for was worth it.

End of September I started to get a mild winter is coming type cold.  A little stuffy, a random cough, once in a while a very mild sinus headache.  Sometimes it slowed me down a little but it was far from stopping anything.  The night of the 12th that came to a screeching halt when I woke up with non-stop coughing fit at 'o dark thirty that lasted hours.  Two different flavors of abx, some liquid death cough syrup, couple of inhalers later I'm still sick.  I can at least function now, the exploding sinus pain is gone and feeling like I was hit by a train is just a memory {think, two years ago I was dealing with this chronically -- yikes} I'm far from better though, I still cough constantly -- liquid death or not and I'm exhausted from how much work it is.  But, life goes on. 

The last ten days haven't been completely lost, I've spent insane amounts of time planning what I'm going to do with the wall I'm putting our pictures from P&G Photography on, which leads to what should I do with the rest of the room?  Until I change my mind again I'm painting the walls warm caramel and the bookshelves dark.  The front room opens up wide into the dining room.  What should I do in there?  Can you see where this goes?  Never mind the couple of hours it took to decide which images to print and I had a lot of help when picking.  Meanwhile as I'm living in some alter fantasy photography world life still goes on.

It was so easy to forget that I'm a single Mom and housework just doesn't do itself, to toy with the idea of being someone I'm not, to experience what I didn't think was possible.  Part of me wants to blame the cough syrup, but I'm going to refrain.  Dishes have to be washed, laundry needs attention, bathroom needs to be scrubbed.  The last two weeks have been a little surreal and unfortunately the must be done details of my life typically take up all of the time.  If I add anything in, from shopping for clothes for our pictures or daydreaming about what I'd do with the house with an unlimited budget {or even a limited one -- having a budget for it would just be nice} something is being neglected, ignored, or just plain forgotten {hello class I had to go to St George to make up!} I don't know if I'll ever have a better grasp on time management, especially while I'm working night shift but I do hope that at some point not forever down the road I manage to have some kind of social life that doesn't include working, meetings, or required attendance.  Meanwhile, life goes on -- the dryer just dinged at me, time to go switch laundry around.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I enjoy spring, it's thrilling and exciting. Full of new life and finds me ready for sunshine and dirt underneath my fingernails.

I absolutely love fall. It makes me feel warm, safe and cozy. Soups {in a bread bowl, pretty please}, layers, hoodies, fire in the fireplace and warm blankets to snuggle under. It brings with it the need to pull everyone around me close and keep everyone feeling warm and safe.

Today was an absolutely beautiful fall day, I walked down to Little Brick House for the second day in a row {hey, we missed our regular lunch a few weeks ago I am just making up for that} and between finally feeling better and the warm fall air surrounding me it was just perfect. Leaves crunching under my feet, a comfy sweater and smile on my face. Welcome Fall, please feel free to hang around for a while. (photo from last years 30 Days of Gratitude, I plan on replacing it soon)

 Day 1 -- My Neighborhood

Saturday, October 13, 2012

New Rules

Single parents shouldn't be allowed to get sick.  Ever.  I was up all night trying not to cough up my toenails. (Thanks Mom for giving me your coughing abilities)   This morning my face was puffy enough I couldn't open both eyes.  Early afternoon I was able to drag myself into Instacare. The fact I was willing to go to Instacare is similar Charlet's hand hurting enough she couldn't text.

Verdict?  I'm sick.  Abx, inhalers and cough syrup -- the kind that tastes like liquid death.

I ran to Wal-mart on Saturday to stock up on tissues and pick up stuff to do semi-homemade chicken noodle soup.  Came home and called Mildred to see if she would be able to make a few phone calls I promised Bonnie I'd make and she ended up bringing me some soup. I think her soup will do me more good than the liquid death syrup.  Definitely does my heart good.

After a nice nap there was a knock on the door and Joy had brought me some soup too. Yay!  It's amazing what something as simple as soup does for chasing away the loneliness. 

The wrong side of the camera

Nothing quite like being on the wrong side of the camera for a little while to want to get back on the right side.  Which leads to equipment jealousy (I am down to my 2 kit lenses.  My little 50 mm broke and the others disappeared) and frustration with the lack of photoshop.

It's just in time for me to start thinking about my 30 Days of Gratitude anyways, and I've learned nothing past Novembers if it isn't that I have to start ahead and just post on the day.  So here we go, me starting to play around again.

Red Cliffs, Fall 2012

Red Cliffs

Monday, October 8, 2012

October Conference 2012

I won't go into all the details of how crazy trying to pull it all off was, sufficient to say that I have awesome coworkers that make feeling as overworked and burned out as I've been feeling worth it -- because they literally covered for me this weekend at the last minute to give me a wonderful opportunity.

I packed in about 15 minutes, made it with mostly everything and nothing vital was missing.  I was ready to go and had no idea how we were getting there, where we were staying or any of those picky little details that matter.  I just knew I was going.

Going to Conference instead of watching Conference is like going to a (insert your favorite sport) game instead of watching it on tv.  TV version you have a better picture, can see more about what is going on etc but the excitement that runs down your spine when you step into the stadium seating completely wipes out anything that the better view would give you.

Conference is the same thing, only magnified.  When I was a Senior in High School we went with seminary council and it was an amazing experience.  This was pre-conference center and I remember sitting on the hard benches in the Tabernacle listening to Music and The Spoken Word after having been up since what was 2 am in my memory to line up for tickets (who am I kidding, I didn't sleep at all that night).  The tired left quickly when the stands started to fill with General Authorities and then President Hinckley.  I don't remember any specifics of what was said that Conference, but I'll never forget how I felt.

Being older, I was grateful for the extra leg room and comfy seat in the Conference Center -- along with the tickets we had ahead of time so there was no line up crazy early to get tickets.  Long after I've forgotten what was said at this Conference I'll remember the feeling of sitting in the Conference Center with family (my kids weren't able to go -- I was with Gary, Felisa, Mina, Jaron and the boys)  I'd love to take the kids up sometime, I don't know how likely it is for me to be able to go to Conference again anytime soon but there was so much I'd liked to have been able to stay up and see if it wasn't for the responsibilities for us back at home.

*squee* -- photographer follow up

I realize that I'm completely over the top happy -- deal with it or go read elsewhere.

Remember my post about how to pick your photographer?  This is a follow up of how you know you picked the right one.  When I was more actively learning about photography (why oh why did I stop?  Oh yeah, nursing school sufficiently sucks the life out of you -- I'd forgotten about that)  I'd hear other photographers talk about providing their clients with an experience, not just pictures.  I think it's one of those vague things that is hard to say "this is how you do it" and for some people it just comes naturally.  I felt like that today.  It's difficult within the bounds of how/why I started this blog to say just how perfect today was, even though after everything leading up to this made me wonder if today was the best day or not.

So, in list form.  How you know that you found The photographer.
  • Kids won't stop talking about next time already.  Kaede's practicing smiling again -- I need to go find a picture of her picture smile to stick in here.
  • Walk away feeling more confident in yourself (I have no explanation for how this happens, it just does)
  • Gain a friend in the photographer.  I believe that in most relationships whether in your physician or your photographer and everyone inbetween that having that personal click is important.  Relaxing and feeling comfortable is important and I don't know about you but I don't feel comfortable around people that I don't click with.  Or worse, if there is an anti-click.
  • Find yourself anxiously waiting to be able to see the end result.
  • You didn't just get your pictures taken, you had an experience.
For now I sit and patiently {or not so patiently} wait for the end result.  I usually kind of dread seeing pictures of me because I know they're going to be horrible.  I'm usually so much more comfortable playing behind the camera instead of in front of it but after today, maybe both sides isn't such a bad thing?

If you want the full long version of why this afternoon was absolutely perfect I'll share, but be prepared for 12 year old squeals.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Heather, how did you pick your photographer?

For those of you who aren't on my Facebook or I haven't talked to yesterday you may have missed the fact that I'm completely over the top excited about getting our pictures done next Monday.  We haven't had professional pictures done since Michael was a baby and never since I started getting passionate about photography.  Or picky, either word is appropriate.

With everything we've been through the last couple of years I really wanted some nice family pictures, but the photographers work I was interested in the price range was out of my budget and those in my price range I wasn't interested in (see picky comment above)  Last week while browsing Facebook I saw a picture my friend was tagged in and I literally stopped scrolled, stared at the screen and said "ohhhhhh"  It was beautiful.  Perfect DOF, scenery was beautiful (they live in Southern Utah so of course it was) and it was perfectly soft and focused at the same time.  I kept going back to it.  I wanted to pluck them out, and put me in their place.  I went to the photographers FB page and continued to fall in love.  I've seen their prints around town -- they have some beautiful ones up at the Natural History Museum at SUU.  I had no idea they did people pictures too.  Not just "oh yeah sure, I'll shoot cousin Jane's wedding because I'm nice like that but really I haven't shot people since I had to so wish us all luck!" but great people shots.

The more I looked the more I knew this is who I wanted.

I called and we're set up for next Monday (yeah!) at Wood's Ranch, Michael gets to bring his fishing pole.  Kids aren't natural little models so I think this may be a fun adventure.


So, how did I decide on them?  How do I know that they are the ones for me?  (Ones because there are two halves to P&G.  G does the shooting, P does the editing)  It comes down to a few things, some more linear than others.

  • They fit in my budget, and are willing to work with me there.  No insane sitting fee with required $500 print purchase.  At the same time, you want to avoid someone claiming to be a professional and giving away their time.  I've shot for a few families and not charged much, but I don't profess to be a professional -- for good reason, I'm not.  You want someone who values their work.
  • You don't want to change their portfolio pictures.  If what you see is close to, or in my case exactly, what you want it's a good match.  I kept browsing local photographers portfolios and thinking "well, if it wasn't hypersaturated, over processed, and every eye popping tutorial available online ran on the picture I might like it"  Not a good match.  At the same time if you are looking for that eye popping color dense style that is what you want to see.  A portfolio is where a photographer puts the work they feel represents them the very best.  If you want to change their very best to an entirely different style you might not get what you want.
  • What you want.  You should feel comfortable talking to the photographer and letting them know what you want and what you don't want.  They aren't mind readers and unless you let them know what you want you are likely to end up with their vision for you.  Sometimes people have unrealistic expectations too -- communicating before hand is the best way to learn if what you want is realistic or not.  No one is going to make me some realistic looking teeny tiny model.  Just a tad unrealistic.  The kids will look like kids, Kaede's smile is going to show crooked teeth.  It's a photography session not a magic wand.
  • They don't give out a high res CD.  The most beautiful pictures in the world are going to look like junk if printed by a junk printer.  I've opened prints of mine and been breathless for a minute with what specific printers have done with them.  Quality is in the details and one of those details is in printing.  It important to have someone value their work enough to follow it all the way through so that you have gorgeous art hanging on your walls, not just some CD with printing rights.  Screen resolution pictures so I can show you here, post on FB etc are an entirely different story -- those just aren't big enough to print.
I may come back and add to this, but I work tonight and need to find my way into bed.  Have a great day everyone.