Monday, December 30, 2013

Chocolate Lasagna


I tried to find an original source for this recipe and couldn't. I made mine from a comment on a Pinterest picture. As typical for me I didn't follow exactly. 

Chocolate Lasagna

Ingredients
1 package Oreos (not double stuff) crushed to crumbs. 
6 Tbsp melted butter
8 oz package cream cheese softened
1/4 C sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 tub cool whip
1 large box chocolate pudding
Enough milk to mix pudding per pie directions
Mini chocolate chips

Directions

Mix butter and Oreo crumbs together and press into 9 X 13 pan or 2 square pans if you are taking dessert to someone who needs it.  Put into fridge then go start dinner rolls in bread machine. Whip cream cheese until light and fluffy then add in milk and sugar until it's a bowl of cream cheese near heaven goodness. Fold in some cool whip. Recipe called for 1 1/4 C I think but I just scooped some. Spread it over crumb crust and put back into fridge. Get distracted while taking the trash out and putter around outside.  Mix pudding mix as per pie recipe directions and pour over cream cheese mixture spreading evenly then place in fridge for at least 5 minutes. Realize that you have a waterfall coming from the drainpipe under the kitchen sink. Sit and cry for a minute then go to work playing plumber. Spread the rest of the cool whip on top of the chocolate being careful to keep layers separate and not pull the chocolate up into the cool whip. Top with mini chocolate chips. Instructions said to freeze for 1 hour or refrigerate for 4 hours. I didn't but it spent a lot of prep time in the fridge while I played plumber etc. 

This is a good dessert, nice and simple. I'm not a big fan of Cool Whip or boxed ingredients but it's nice to have a trick recipe in your pocket now and then. I think I'd like chocolate curls ontop instead of the chips but if I'm going to the trouble of making chocolate curls they aren't going on Cool Whip.  

I may or may not have snuck another piece into my bedroom to eat while writing this post. 

{Heather} 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

SMART Goals, not so smart?

I was introduced to SMART goals in school and drilled with them during the nursing program. They still hang around at work. There is exact criteria for SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely but all be very clear and well defined. For evaluations I understand the smart format, it gives a good ruler for progress. For how the patients shift went I lean a little more towards meh' whatever. As for New Years Resolutions I think it's a bad idea, at least for me. 

The wording out charting uses is  all goals met or goals not met. Pretty much it's pass/fail, succeed/unsuccessful, your great/you suck. If the measurable part of my goal is to lose 20 lbs and I lose 19 I have 'goals not met', fail, unsuccessful, and I suck. Completely ignoring all the work and progress made. Similar things happen with absolutes. I will exercise 20 minutes 3 times a week. As soon as there is a week it doesn't happen you've failed. Again. This is why I don't set standard New Year's Resutions, failing is hard on self esteem. 

My resolutions this year?  I want to be a better me, truer to myself, kinder to myself and others. I want to gain a better understanding of my worth.  Smile more and spend more time in the sunshine. I want to be a better friend, mother, sister, daughter. I want to love fully, sing in the shower, and dance in the rain. 



I have a plan with baby steps and ways back on track when it gets hard or I get lazy.  Absolutes won't happen but I can do better and achieve more. I sit and look back to a year ago and somehow I find the strength to be grateful not exactly for the trials I've faced this year but for the strength I've found, how my testimony has grown and for my amazing friends who are busy going around and answering prayers by visits, phone calls, hot chocolate and walks in the cold.  This year really threw me for a loop, more than I thought was possible. It's taken nearly a year to get to where I am now full of days I could barely get out bed, times so lonely my chest hurt, and so tired I couldn't function.  I got through that swamp, or at least a ways through it and I can smile again :-) all without SMART goals of which I'd certainly have to receive "goals not met". 

I hope everyone has a safe New Years Eve and a wonderful 2014.  Make sure you have a designated driver or call a cab. 




Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Concert

The sign said no cameras or videotaping. No mention of recording voice notes or not. Now if I can just put them on here.  Which I can't so have some pictures. 






'Tis the season for lonely

I had a nice, uplifting post planned sharing some insights and questions from reading this week. 

Instead I'm having a night filled with choffy and crochet. Really what I want is someone to talk to, share my insights, plan Christmas, tell me the hats are going to be waaaayyy too small because I didn't take the time to gauge. 

I don't want lonely to be forever, I wish I knew what was up ahead for me. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Traditions

Growing up one if my favorite traditions was helping Grandma and Grandpa decorate for Christmas. Grandma would be busy turning the mantle and organ into Christmas wonderland while Grandpa was busy making sure the tree was perfect from all angles. He would cut off branches to graft them exactly where he wanted them, and wouldn't stop until it was perfect. 

Fast forward to 2013.  Buying a Christmas tree late I didn't have a ton of choices. I prefer a fir even though they look less perfect than ponderosa because if the smell, the perfect top for a star and more space for dangly ornaments. There were only a few firs left on the lot and my favorite has a nice bare spot. Not the length of the tree so we can put up against the wall tight but a perfect spot for some branches to be grafted in. 


I don't know that this is the year to be learning about grafting Christmas trees, but we'll be talking about it when it {finally} gets decorated. 

Miss you Grandpa, especially at Christmas time. You are apart of all my favorite Christmas memories. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Band concert time!

Music is such a huge part of Christmas for me. The chaos of all the concerts is crazy but I love every minute of them.

This week was Charlet's band concert, less technical difficulties than usual I'm only missing the end of one song. We did have to hunt all over the auditorium for a piece of her flute that fell off.










Okay, that's all I have listed for now, I will add the others as I put them up




Heart of Gold

Our local shop with a cop is tomorrow.  The Young Women always go and help wrap, probably their favorite service project. A year and half into single-parenthood Kaede and Michael were invited to go, after a fair amount of inner turmoil, they went and had a great experience. It often comes up at Christmastime, today as we walked into Wal-mart past the bin for Toys For Tots Kaede sighed and said "I wish I got to do Shop With A Cop again so I could put some nice toys in there" she had asked earlier if we could put something in there and I said no.  What a meany Grinch I am!  When we were putting packages together for our missionaries (that are not going to make it in time :-(  ) we had put everything in I'd planned on/budgeted for not having any idea how much mailing them would be and Kaede wanted to get something else too.  Even if it meant she got less for Christmas this year.  

The size of that girls heart is simply amazing, she has empathy for absolutely everyone and hates to see people sad.  I hope and pray that she is able to hold onto her golden heart forever. 

With Aunt Becky at Little Brick House after a concert this fall. 


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Winds of Change

I'm not certain exactly what, but today things felt different. It could be a bunch of little things, running late to church so we were sitting in the very back. Waited for a phone call during Sunday School that never came, new counselors in the Bishopric.  Lots of small little things that in reality aren't much.

Work last week was different too, I'm skipping details there but Friday night I was grateful to be headed home. The new Cedar Ward, my curiosity is piqued and I realized it gives me a better option when I work Saturday nights. 

There is something more though and it has me a little uncertain. Life just seems a little different somehow. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The beauty in Saturday morning

I'm sitting in bed, bundled under a stack of blankets reading, checking Facebook, Christmas list planning and checking the weather to see if getting a tree today is very realistic. There was no alarm waking me up, no sub zero temperatures to trudge through to get the car started, no list of critical value phone calls all day long. 

I'm completely wiped out after the week we've had at work, trying desperately to have a fun busy day but realistically I may just get the front rooms of the house straightened up. Maybe. 

I wish I had a truck, that would make getting a tree today more likely, then we could put it up tomorrow after church. I'm excited this year for the holiday season, just a little overwhelmed at all there is to do and just me to get it all done. 

I think I'm going to go make some hot chocolate and go start a fire. See if this tired body can find some energy. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

On Gratitude

The day started out pretty and blue skies. By 3:30 it looked like this. 


By 4:00


4:10


8:30



It would be easy to be sad about no carport or garage and having to work tomorrow. Or needing new tires, how warm scrubs aren't, or how early 5 am feels in the winter. Trust me I was there briefly tonight. 

I'm making a choice to look at things differently though. I'm grateful I'm not still working at DRMC. I'm grateful that after a week of call I'm working. I know I should be grateful for the moisture. 

Sometimes gratitude for bad situations hits you out of nowhere, other times you have to go looking for it but the more you go looking for it the more readily it comes to you. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude -- Life Lessons from the kids

Our printer is out of ink, has been for a while. Kaede has the share fair coming up and because of the no printing problem she was hand writing the answers to her questions. She was overwhelmed and near meltdown over it needing to be written neatly. 

I told her that yes she could do it. No one expected it to be perfect just that she did her very best, even though it was hard. Her best would be good enough and no one would require more. 

Then came the lightbulb moment with the strength of flipping on the over head lights in a patient room at 3 am while they are sleeping. No one requires me to be perfect, just to do my best and try my hardest, even when it's difficult and I'm overwhelmed. Kaede's handwritten answers aren't as perfect as a typed copy and that's okay. She took her situation, her mountain and did her best. She pushed herself to do more than she thought she could. 

I can see it being easy to blur the line between complacent and accepting less than perfection, but I believe if we are always doing our best and trying our hardest that complacency won't be a problem because hard things done repeatedly become easier and the bar for 'hard' is set a little higher. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wishing...

I've been asked a few times lately "what I miss the most". Without going into unnecessary details it's not what I miss exactly it's what do I want, hope for, long for. 

There is a post on Huffington about 'boring' men. It hit on many things that I want, made me think of many others. I want a shoulder to cry on literally, for hours if needed, words optional a whisper that everything will be okay bonus. Someone to spend hours in the kitchen making their favorite meal for when they've had a hard day or maybe not hours -- I don't care if the favorite is Ramen noodles -- but a smile of appretiation for a labor of love melts my heart.  Someone to share a great day with;  It's hard coming home from a great day at work high to a dark and empty house. Surprise planning and things like Christmas; it's more fun working out details with someone. Someone to talk about the quiet, personal spiritual moments;  not necessarily just spiritual moments but times that are personal enough you don't want to tell everyone but wish you could share with someone. 

Now that it feels a little (okay, lot) like I've bared my soul I'm going to go listen to sad country love songs to fall asleep.  Have a good night!
~H

Monday, November 18, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude -- Great days.

All around awesome day. Work was fine, Rachel came in early so I could get to Kaede's concert on time and if it wasn't for Macayla's ironing the very wrinkled concert outfit and every other little thing that went right I'd have not gotten her there by call time.

There were a few technical difficulties like running out of memory and spending all of Edelweiss deleting unnecessary thinks like a mad woman -- one of my favorite songs too. 

Song of Gratitude (I think, program is still in the car). Kaede is directly behind the cue poster. You can occasionally see her legs (black tights)



Then Hometown and Edelweiss which were lost due to technical difficulties.  76 Trombones you get glimpses of her on this one.


I Am The Earth




Then Thanksgiving rounds. You can see Kaede in this one!



We finished the evening with dinner at The Little Brick House with Becky and Monica and loads of laughter and fun. 



Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Musings

It's been a quiet Sunday around here, thought about going for a thinking walk but the cold kept me inside.  

Middle/end of October I posted a quote from Jeffrey R. Holland and discussed my mixed emotions. For this weekend and hopefully days to come my perspective has changed. 


For now hard things feel productive and like I'm going somewhere instead of the quick sand I was in where regardless of what I did I felt like I was sinking further and the best plan was to do nothing. 

What changed? I can't tell you for certain but I did start listening to my body more. Hello shingles, do you think I need to look at stress management?  I did to. I was honest and open with people close to me. Not in a just listen but don't do anything kind of way but looking for advice and support. I knew harder was just ahead and might need someone to pull me up.  I was given a challenge and accepted it (previously referred to as my mountain and it will be later on too). Then following the bishop's wise counsel I looked for a way to serve.  Yes between being Mom and an RN most of my time is spent doing things for other people and I'm grateful. Going to work and taking care of others often helps me temporarily set aside my concerns, giving me some breathing room and rest. This service needed to be different, not a have to or a because everyone else is and definitely not something so pressing that I stress more about it. I wanted to get the girls in on it too and have it be something they could get excited about. 

We've "adopted" some missionaries.  The girls are excited and at Thanksgiving we're (everyone going to Gary's) going to put packages together for them. I don't think they will arrive before Christmas but I want this to be a new Thanksgiving tradition. 

I don't think one thing changed, I think a bunch of small things have. I am so grateful for those changes. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude -- Broken China

Sometimes a picture really does speak a thousand words. Sometimes those words are in a hidden language that only a few can understand and can't really be explained. That said, today I'm grateful for broken china.  Thankful enough to even pull out my Nikon for this post.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Glass half full?

Everything in life has an equal an opposite force. From the laws of physics to quickly spoken quotes that can dimish how difficult it can be to reframe ones thoughts.  Sometimes it takes a little distance in both time and space to be able to see the other half of the glass regardless of which half we're looking at. 

One of the downsides of working days is that I have more nights alone.  I never listed that on my list of perks about night shift, it took being away from it for a while and feeling the loneliness to be able to acknowledge the value in hanging out with work friends. It is important to acknowledge the pain. Not to hang onto it forever or wallow in it but realize that this trial, this challenge hurts at times nod then let it go so you can move forward. 

~Heather 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude -- Prayer

April 2013 General Conference Boyd K. Packer

Not just your standard lets start this meeting or pray before we eat, but what I've referred to as Enos prayers. 

Listening to Conference in April I couldn't focus on much else besides the highlighted portion. To a single Mom who is frustrated about the lack of Priesthood in the home, even with it only being a phone call away that blurb was heaven sent. Lately it's been easy to tell the difference between standard prayer and a sincere talking to God prayer. The difference isn't always what words are spoken but in my heart. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude -- Gratitude

Today has been fine, this evening fun, and tonight a lovely cocktail of lonely, sad, and anxiety. I'm not feeling overwhelming gratitude for anything. No sappy Veterans Day post or pretty pictures of flags. 

I am somewhere deep down grateful for gratitude. I know this year is different, iphone pictures instead of planned out effort and my Nikon, skipped posts, nothing on Flickr. I'm glad that on days like this I can be grateful for a home, job, friends, etc. Sad doesn't have to overtake everything. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude -- Priesthood

Salt Lake Temple October 2012

I couldn't come up with a decent idea for a picture that didn't require me having to involve someone else on a Sunday evening for a blog post. I wanted it to involve hands. The deacon's hands as they pass the sacrament, to capture the comfort that comes the moment a worthy Priesthood holder lays his hands on your head sometimes before the words of the blessing are even started. I wasn't going to bother anyone tonight though so my picture of the SLC temple from October 2012 General Conference wins.  

My family has been incredibly blessed the past few weeks because of Priesthood blessings. For me asking for a blessing takes a lot if humility and courage. When I'm at that place I am incredibly grateful that there is not a shortage of people I can call on, including phone calls placed to far away Bishops that I've never met before. 

When my life has been turned upside down and I could barely breath I was asked "what can I do to help?"  I had no idea, I'm not certain I even knew my name right then but I knew I needed a blessing, perhaps more than I ever had before. The blessing didn't miraculously change anything, but among a storm of chaos and confusion about everything I thought I knew I was fully aware that my Heavenly Father loves me and knows me -- including the trials and difficult times that I face. 

That is how most of my stories of Priesthood blessings go. No miracles making the warm fuzzy section of the newspaper but many tender mercies that have given me the strength and courage to keep moving forward. For that I am eternally grateful, including those who are so willing to take the time to help when called. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude -- Those Who Do Hard Jobs

I have no picture today, couldn't come up with one.  My job is one that I often hear "I could never do what you do!"  I love my job though, even through the gross and hard parts. The good far outweighs the bad. 

There are many more jobs out there that are best filled by people who do what they do because they love it. They believe in people that most of society has written off, they stand up and fight for individuals without any other voice. Help people again and again because they won't give up.

Thank you for believing when society has given up, for fighting for the underdog, speaking up for the voiceless. The world is a better place because of you. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude -- Friends


I have been blessed that no matter where I am in life I have had good friends as long as I let them into my life. I've done things within friendships that I wish I could take back and change, there are friendships that the tides of change have ended and friendships I've chosen to end. Some I miss greatly, some I think back on fondly, and a few I regret most of the friendship (I won't discount how much I've learned and grown from those). Friends have always been there for me and I am deeply grateful for each whisper, giggle, comforting hug and late night conversation. 
Time and distance both change friendships in many ways. In elementary school cancer is what stole my best friend away from me. I look back on the sleepovers, late night giggles and the times that we just sat together because Charlet didn't feel up to anything else and am grateful for each moment.  High school brought hours of dragging main and working on the next great prank for our seminary teacher and that all ended after graduation. Friends who wouldn't have been a friend if they didn't have kids in the same program where I was better known as Charlet/Michael/Kaede's Mom than Heather. So many seasons and different friends for each.
Then came hard decisions, some chaos, hard things and difficult times and in the shake up my friends were shaken up too. Friendly acquaintances turned into rock solid support, coworkers turned into a safe harbor, people I barely knew turned into a personal cheerleading squad for when I didn't believe in myself. When things turned difficult a few weeks ago I knew exactly where my support system was and I have doubts that they will continue to be there for me because they've already stood through my storm with me. 
Then this afternoon I realized how blessed I am to know there are friends who have my back. Thank you more than words can express. 


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude -- The Arts

Kaede's Choir Program

In this community there are many ways to  watch or participate in the arts from High School band concerts to the Honors Band concert that is a combined effort between the university and the middle schools and community programs that have theater groups or the children's choir. Speaking of which, Kaede has a concert on the 18th at 6 pm. We'd love to see you there, let me know if you want details. It would be a great FHE activity. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude -- Right to Vote (and others)


I am very grateful for the right to vote. One thing I struggle with is when people don't vote on years like this because "it's not a big election this year". Really?  Maybe people out of this area won't know who gets elected but you know what?  I know our city council, they're more approachable and one of them I call often for various reasons and would have no problem calling him if I was wondering something or wanted to voice my opinion on a current issue.   I've talked about state level politics and given my support while at the pharmacy picking up prescriptions. 

Maybe it's not a big election but this year I voted for (okay it was more against) who I did because I know them. There is no trying to weigh the bias from different media sources, there is knowing that someone is who they present themselves to be or alternatively knowing that someone will say or do whatever makes them look best at the moment. 

The RAP tax won't cause any earthshaking media stories, but if you use and are grateful for the programs they support maybe you should go vote for it. And as long as I'm on my soapbox maybe you shouldn't in the same breath complain about the RAP tax and be excited for the ice rink. RAP funds are a huge part of why we're getting the rink. 

On a smaller scale I'm grateful for my neighbors right to have Christmas lights up already (yes, they are turned on) and even more grateful for my right to blog about how crazy it is to have Christmas lights on when it's the first week of November. 

I hope you went out and voted today, at least minimally informed about what you were voting for, and I also hope you don't yet have Christmas lights on.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude -- Perspective


A friend just sent me this on Pinterest and it's the perfect Kaede meme. She has an amazing perspective on just about everything. She loves easily, forgives readily, her smile can brighten the darkest day. 

Why?

She is blessed to have perspective that most do not. Several summers ago Kaede came running inside ecstatic because we are the luckiest people on our block. She pulled me outside to show me why. Our yard was full of wishes!  Aren't they beautiful?  Aren't we so lucky?  

Sometimes I have to directly reframe my perspective and often it takes me a while to internalize the new perspective but it does work, if only it came as easily to me as it does Kaede. Fortunately I have a good example to show me how. 

Even now if you show Kaede a picture of a dandelion and ask "what's this?" Her answer will be "a wish".

30 Days of Gratitude -- Young Women's Program

Tonight was Evening of Excellence, the leaders and girls have all worked hard. The programs have changed from when I was in YW, both the personal progress program and how Evening of Excellence is set up. I am grateful for the program, the friendships, and the role models




Saturday, November 2, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude -- My Ward


I wasn't sure what picture to use with this, so I decided to go for the old 2nd/8th ward building during demolition. 

The strength and support that I get from members of the ward is amazing. From being on the receiving end of service to simply feeling loved and cared for including feeling apart of something is invaluable. Now I'm going to curl up with some homemade soup and sit in front of my fire. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude -- Day 1

In so many ways I'm not ready for November. Time keeps marching on through a fog of struggles, each new month marking the passing time. I hadn't necessarily planned on doing another 30 days but last minute I changed my mind. You may see some recycled pictures and a lot if iPhone pictures but I need this now more than I have in the past, so here we go. 

Today I'm grateful for Netflix, microwave noodles, Sprite, club crackers and the bottle of zofran that hangs out in the back of my medicine cabinet.  Oh and the do not disturb setting on my phone. 


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ahhhh fall

Yesterday was crazy windy and today I woke to a skiff if snow and iced over car. That said, it's been a beautiful few days. Even Wal-mart seemed peaceful. 

I'm refusing to take credit in this change of perspective but I am grateful for it, even if it is the calm before the storm. I will be better prepared to weather the storm this way. 


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Thank You for Today

Nothing of amazing miracles has changed in my life, if anything things have gotten a little more complicated since yesterday.  Today was the kind of day that is the reason that Sunday's are my favorite day of the week.  I feel emotionally and spiritually tanked up, and even if it is just the calm before the storm today was overflowing with peace.  I'm remembering in my heart, not just my head how profound of a feeling peace can be if we allow it into our lives.

I value today from before I got up out of bed likely until I fall asleep tonight for how much hope it has brought to me.  I know that mountain is still before me, but I can do this.  I've climbed mountains before, more alone than I am now.  I may not know this particular mountain well but I've surrounded myself with support and I have faith in those leading me along this trail.  I still have to climb this mountain by myself but I have a cheering section that I trust implicitly.

I don't know how to adequately describe how grateful I am for today, it may not have brought miraculous circumstance changes but it has been a tender mercy that was desperately needed.  Phone calls brought reassurance, talking with strangers brought peace and hope, a walk with the kids let me crunch through fallen leaves and soak in one more day of sunshine before winter darkness arrives. Somehow the caramel cheesecake belongs in here too, it was wonderful.

I remember now why I worked every Saturday for over a year, it's because there was a time that every, or at least most, Sunday's were like this.  No matter how I felt going in, coming out on the other side of Sunday was significantly better and usually lasted close to 7 days if I worked hard at it.

Thank you from every fiber of my being for today.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Better after

There is a blog out there titled Better After. Mostly DIY redoing, recycling, upcycling projects. Furniture from yard sales or thrift stores remade into beautiful pieces type stuff. Some if the before and after shots are amazing. The after pictures hardly resemble the before.

I've adopted a similar motto for catching up on neglected housework. Better today than yesterday. Each day I clean up more of a mess than we make, ideally something extra in each room. Ideal doesn't always match reality an sometimes nothing is better today than yesterday. 

Unfortunately better after isn't always (or ever) a linear motion. When redoing a room or piece of furniture during is much more chaotic, vulnerable, and downright messy than before was. It gets worse (harder) before it gets to better after. 

I don't have a detailed map of what lies ahead but I know that it will be better after. I also know that inbetween here and there is a lot if shaky ground with very vulnerable areas and I can't take things I've been hiding behind with me, they aren't allowed. 

I do not necessarily have faith that I can do it. I do have faith in those surrounding me and who is leading me on the journey. I don't know what lies on the other side, I will let you know when I get there. No, I don't know when that will be either. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

This Mountain Before Me

Last night I made a conscience choice to climb this monster of a mountain in front of me instead of walking around it and pretending it doesn't exist.  It's there, I'm going to conquer it. It's going to take me relying on 'my people' for I don't know what yet. I guess at this point I'm just packing all my mountain climbing gear.

I have either talked to or plan to talk to all the people I need to know that I'm climbing in case I start to fall. My journey started with a lot of tears and a Priesthood Blessing. Other homework will have to wait until next week, but that will give me time to gather my gear together.

I don't know what will happen to the blog. For the last year this has been my shoulder to cry on, celebrate with etc. I write more anytime I tackle a mountain but I see this being very personal and specific. I may password some entries, I may go back to my paper journal.  I don't know just yet. If you want a password to a private entry just ask. I may not say yes, but I won't be offended. Maybe that will be tonight, defining my mountain. 

It's time for me to get to work, but starting my morning quiet and thoughtfully has been an amazing blessing. I hope you all have a great day. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's quote week apparently

Sometime after my last blog post this quote from Elder Holland came across my Instagram feed a couple of times as well as Facebook more times than I could count.


I have a love hate relationship with the quote. I absolutely adore Elder Holland and his talks are amazing. It speaks to hope and future strength. Perhaps an implied end to hard things. The take heart part is difficult when in the trenches though. Good news!  It could get worse!  

When I went on trek two years ago I came home exhausted, dusty, spiritually tanked up and had more hope than I'd seen in a while. While relaying part of my trek experience I told someone (Kris?!?) that none of the pioneers that made it to Salt Lake Valley made it by sitting down as the storm blew across them and their handcarts along Rocky Ridge. They kept walking, carrying those that couldn't walk regardless of how hard things seemed.  When it was all over they were grateful for the experience. 

I mistakenly compared where I was with my current load of trials for that time as my personal Rocky Ridge followed by jokingly saying at least I'd better not still be out on the plains. I thought I could see an end and as such a beginning. What I didn't realize is that really I was in a crowded train car on my way to Missouri still. 

Anyways, endure to the end. You can't endure to the end passively just letting time pass in hopes that things improve. You (meaning me) have to keep going, each morning getting up out of bed and making the best decisions we can for that day. Hopefully today is better than yesterday. Things are slightly better today than yesterday and much better than Monday. I don't know when harder ends, and I don't know that I can yet 'take heart' but I've stopped thinking that I'm doing something wrong for things to keep getting harder.  Sometimes harder just happens.

Chin up, Buttercup 
~Heather

Monday, October 21, 2013

Discouraged and lonely

If you either follow my blog or have had very many conversations about when I'm struggling you probably have heard how much I lean on Henry B Eyring's talk Mountains to Climb. The Mormon Message from that talk is amazing too. In that talk he says "at the bedside of someone ready to give up the fight".



I had "give up" days last week where I gave up on housework and my accompanying better today than yesterday philosophy. Where I came home from work and ate some crackers and milk for dinner, considering that a success. Where I came home from a Bishop's appt and sobbed in my driveway.  I've pictured what my mountain to climb video would look like and the after is too far away to picture or dream about. Lonely is so difficult for me, it feels like I'm a living version of the Tin Man, just hollow inside. Add a dose of self doubt and it's a miserable feeling. 

Where I am now feels like forever, I don't know that I have the strength to get through this, and if I do what is next?  If I give up now will things stop being so hard? It feels as if my ability to cope has been completely over estimated. 

Being a single parent outright sucks sometimes. There is no one there to give you a hug and say that everything is going to be okay, you can get through this together. 

That said, things are still better than they were. It's harder, definitely, and I miss things that I never had in my marriage but better than they were. 

I have Visiting Teachers coming by today and a bit of cleaning to do so I need to get off of here for now. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gratitude List

Working on my perspective here.

  • Grateful for better living through pharmaceuticals, it's making my life tolerable for the time being. 
  • Grateful I know where all my kids are and that they are safe. 
  • Grateful for the best friends and neighbors. 
  • Grateful I can have an early bedtime tonight so I can do it all again tomorrow. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

"love him no matter what"

I worked all day for Sunday last week, missing once again Conference talks. Fortunately I was able to download them to my phone so I could listen to them on Monday's long ride home alone. I need to listen to them again because regardless of the topic I kept coming back to the story in Henry B Eyring's talk about the Grandmother going to see her grandson in prison wondering her own version of why me?  Her answer was “I gave him to you because I knew you could and would love him no matter what he did.” Not so shockingly I bawled enough I probably should have pulled over coming down the canyon on I-70. 

The rest of the way home I kept thinking of this, from different perspectives. 

The obvious that Heavenly Father loves each and everyone of us. Not just at the times we are doing well, but all the time. When we are struggling,  when we've stumbled then tripped and it feels like we can't get up, when we question, doubt, and don't believe we are loved.  If I project my feelings as a parent I believe that those times we are loved even more. 

I don't believe that love is only an emotion. The bigger definition is as an action and the overall way that an individual treats those they love.   As part of God's love for us He ensures that there are people around us who love us, no matter what. 

I've been in a place where I pushed all of that support away and it was dark, cold and very lonely. Looking backwards, it was my fault. Some of the same people who are there for me now I realized I've pushed away in the past. The good news is the people that were put into my life are also patient and forgiving. 

I also wonder if there is more power in love than I realize. Sure it makes one happy and can bring hope and relief while not realizing that one is loved is discouraging and lonely. I know that much, but I wonder how much stronger of a force love is, and if we will ever realize it. 

~Heather

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Real friends

I was browsing Pinterest humor and found this ecard.


I don't have many (any?) friends who would help me hide a body but I do have friends who I've shown up on their doorstep without even a word of what was wrong they knew I needed a hug. I have no doubts that they would have done anything in their power to help, all without needing a why.

On one late night call that had a friend come to me I was asked what was going on. I didn't have the time or even ability to put into words at that moment what was wrong. With no clue about what was wrong I was given the most powerful blessing I can remember. 

I have people around me that I cherish deeply because they care about me, not just the what. So, for all those friends that I hold so dear and are understanding of most everything thank you from the bottom of my heart for making me tear up and my eyelids overflow over a funny e-card. Most (all?) of you have no idea how you have changed my life. 

~Heather

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Reflecting

I'm sitting here reflecting back on the last few weeks of roofing. List style.

  • glad I can roof, would be okay NOT roofing anytime soon
  • my roof is bigger than I thought. 
  • kids were pretty amazing while I was working (extra shifts and extended shifts thrown in) and roofing trying to get things done. Kaede ate more turkey sandwiches than I'd expect in those couple of weeks
  • I'm glad it's done. 
  • if you want to grow closer to someone reroof with them. I'm willing to bet any hard working project will work too
  • grateful for tender mercies and outright miracles. 
  • weird ankle stuff aside, my body is grateful it's done. My elbow held out amazingly well (see above) and weird ankle stuff waiting until the roof was done (see above)
  • 2 weeks of windy but otherwise cooperative weather was amazing and never happens around here (see above)
  • the roof that love built. I am so grateful to Dad, without him I don't know what would have happened. Home Teachers and neighbors who stopped by to help toss old shingles saved me more than a day, without a doubt. 

I still don't have a done picture without the air hose in the way but as soon as my ankle lets me I have one more chimney to caulk and gutters to clean -- may as well hang Christmas lights too -- I will get it then. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

It really shouldn't be this hard

Yes I have an iPhone, yes I love it.  However, iTunes and I don't always get along.  It could have something to do with my ancient computer, it could have something to do with the fact that I think I should be able to do everything straight from my phone.  After all, 90% of my blog posts I type on my phone.

I have a road trip ahead of me tomorrow, 3 hours of it alone, and finished my audiobook on my last solo road trip.  I worked for the Relief Society session of General Conference so I was planning on downloading it onto my phone and listening through my Roadster.  Good plan right?

Except it's not working.  "open in iTunes" isn't an option for me.  I'm updating my iTunes software hoping that something works a little better then.  Listening to General Conference shouldn't be this difficult, right?

Anyone have any good suggestions for audiobooks?  I really enjoy Nicholas Sparks audiobooks but there is also a part of me that doesn't think I can handle another Nicholas Sparks story.  Everything else I've listened to has been long enough ago I can't remember.  Long podcasts you love?  Anything I can download and listen to along the freeway would be great.

I know I'm rambling, but I'm tired and I need to both find clothes for tomorrow and switch laundry so the girls have something to wear that's clean and I'm working on staying awake until the washer beeps at me and/or iTunes updates enough I can figure out how to download the Women's Broadcast.

~Heather

Friday, October 4, 2013

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is Dad's birthday and while I'd love to have him here, I'm grateful he has stayed at home and in a very un-Dad-like move has stayed at home not doing much.

A few days ago I posted a picture of me on the roof and commented that I wished I'd have had a Wonder Woman shirt on. Really, replacing the roof isn't a huge deal  to pretty much anyone but me. However, my Dad is a super hero in my book. From helping me with the roof (okay, I was helping him) to little things like nearly always being willing to grill Moroni Barbeque Turkey and growing up never questioning that Dad would always have my back, no matter what but not to the point of shielding me from consequences. We were accountable for mistakes we made or bad decisions. 

This is really the picture that needs a superhero cape.  Wait, I can see one there can't you?   



Kaede helping Grandpa with the gutters

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Project New Roof: Done

It started to sprinkle as I was calking around flashing so I don't have a picture from today. The air hose, tools, everything is down. The dumpster goes away tomorrow, giving me a small window of time to throw away stuff. 

Time to start seriously thinking about paint colors. Winter isn't very far away. 


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Just one more thing

After my last post I made the mistake of saying out loud "I can't do it, I can't even take one more thing"  I still had backpacks to go through, voicemails needing my time and attention, and emails requiring action. I was nearly overwhelmed into a puddle that night and nothing productive happened.

The next day I didn't get "just one more thing" I got bushels full that sent me listing all of the things that don't really matter like stocking up at the caselot sale.   I took several big deep breaths and started prioritizing. Extra teen in the house for a while?  Check. Everything arranged for my work marathon this weekend?  Check. Kinda. Driveway {mostly} cleared so that the dumpster can be delivered?  Check. 


Why the dumpster?  Dad picked this weekend, the weekend of my night shift working marathon, to start reroofing. 

It's definitely needed, every storm has brought down more grit and occasional shingles. 


End of day one looked like this with some of the things you can't take photos of like 40 minutes on hold with Home Depot to get a quote, running to GP to look, measuring the roof. You know. Fun stuff. 

Wait, I forgot. I had to work after all that. 


***looking behind the scenes I realized this never published, so here it is***

Monday, September 30, 2013

Pumpkin Thief

We had several (>6) giant pumpkins at Gromps' and a bunch of normal pumpkins. I don't know about the normal pumpkins but the one giant pumpkin that was hiding under the apple tree is the only one there last night. Poof, missing. 

We still have enough to share since I'm likely not going to have time to can pumpkin but seriously?!?  I had plans for the pumpkins that didn't involve the big ones disappearing. 



Friday, September 27, 2013

Project Update--Day 7



I will be tired forever. Russell is coming with Dad tomorrow!  I'd happy dance if I had the energy.  Neighbors came over today and picked up all the old shingles plus some other driveway junk. Saved me a day that I'd have been on my own.

I work tomorrow night, again, then out of town on Sunday. I haven't looked past Sunday yet. 

Today we cleaned up the west side and shingled up to the vent level. I don't have a picture of the west side, but here's and up to date north side. That's how high the west side is. We're short shingles because we were told 3 bundles to a square but each bundle covers 25 square feet. Dad will work that out tomorrow though. I doubt anything will be delivered before Monday though. 




Having the roof as done as it is makes me want to paint even more. Like there is time before it gets too cold?!?  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Parenting

It's tough. Really tough regardless of circumstances. You take babies and in not enough years hope and pray that you have taught them everything they need to know to be kind and loving adults. Then you take the sweet sounding version of parenting and you come home from a 14 hour shift to nail polish spilt on the table, hungry kids who haven't had a chance to tell you how their day was because when they tried to call when you are normally off you were talking to a doc and couldn't answer. Laundry that is covering the couch waiting to be folded, dishes that need to be washed.

And tomorrow?  Tomorrow you roof. 

I see families who seem to have it all together and I just wonder how. I have a 5 minute drive from work and it's not long enough to decompress. All of today is still buzzing around me. Did I do all I could do?  I was busy today but did I do my very best? 

When asked about roofing through yesterday's winds Dad said something along the lines of well, the roof has to be done, I'm going to CA soon and we don't have the luxury of time. We will do what has to be done because it needs to be done not because it's convenient. I've enjoyed working with Dad on the roof, it's nice to think and to take Dad's simple comments and expand it. Parenting is a series of "have to" and often the most critical of the have to things come at the most inconvenient of times. Nail polish on the table after a 14 hour shift and no dinner in the crockpot and needing to shove aside today's worry and listen to how the field trip went and plans for Homecoming game. 

All difficult and inconvenient. When everyone is in bed and then I want to talk no one is here.  Single parenting is hard, every single day -- some more than others, some more lonely than others, almost always overwhelming.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Do as I say not as I do

Today was windy. Very windy. 


Lick all the Chapstick with sunscreen in it off your lips kind of windy. Nice and sunny though. The spots I had hives swell up on me are blistered on top of burned, my cowlick is burned, my face is burned and blistered, my lips are hideously blistered. I'm quite the sight. Do as I say not as I do style of nursing. 

My body still aches but in light of Dad's time before he goes on a work trip being limited I've stopped hauling old shingles to the dumpster and have been up on top. My aches are more specific and sleeping at night instead of working is great for exhaustion levels. 

The corner of the eaves is now fixed, the front part of the roof that is over the front room facing south is done to the ridge cap, side facing east is about a bundle short of reaching to the top ridge cap. Most of the work around the chimney is done but that's not something I can help with much.

I'm feeling less shaky up there, maybe I've gotten my roof legs?  I work tomorrow so if anyone wants to hang out on the roof with my Dad that would be great. 

We found some abandoned homes from the year the wasps were so thick around the long gone shrub that grew into the eaves. 






Monday, September 23, 2013

Exhausted. Sore. Wide awake.

Thursday evening I found out that Project: New Roof was starting on Friday. The next day Friday not this upcoming Friday. 

Friday day I was able to cat nap inbetween dumpster delivery, shingle shopping, roof measuring and the excitement of "wahoo! New roof!"  Worked Friday night and got home 7 am Saturday  (12.5 hours of RN work) and slept for four-ish hours, then started pitching shingles into the dumpster. I'd planned on staying on the ground and relatively clean. 

Then the wind blew tar paper loose and Dad needed a hammer and me to bring it to him. So much for "clean" even by the most liberal definitions. However, scrapping shingles off the roof was much easier than tossing them into the dumpster from the driveway. I stayed in the roof playing with shingles instead of getting my before work catnap. (5 hours of roofing work)

Back to work for an extended shift (14 hours RN work) came home in time to change out of scrubs and into a dress for church. Even through Sacrament Meeting I was so tired I kept wondering why I didn't just go home and sleep. I didn't because of a conversation I had afterwards. Absolutely worth the exhaustion and just the pick me up I've been needing for a few weeks now.  Made it home to fall into bed and sleep until 2 pm (3 hours sleep time). Find out I'm on call Sunday night (oh sweet tender mercy) so I force myself out of bed and commit to not using the free time to catch up on chores. The few hours I had Sunday afternoon and evening were very refreshing and greatly needed. I manage to catch up on sleep with 7 more hours if sleep time. Up early this morning to get sandwich supplies, drinks, mow a strip through the weeds for shingles to land on and protect my flower bed (3 hours miscellaneous stuff) to climb up on the roof around 9. I didn't go back up after the front of the house was cleaned off because I was unburying my flowers, they're okay :)


I stopped at about 6:30. (9.5 hours roofing time). I am so tired and fortunately have a few errands to run tomorrow that will give me a little break, except Dad is still going to be on the roof without me here. 

My arms and back muscles are so crazy sore, my room smells of IcyHot and of course I can't reach the sorest spots. Single Mom problems for sure. 

I feel ibuprofen kicking in, I'm going to go crash. Have a good night everyone!  



Project Time: New Roof

I am having a slow start to this morning, my body moaning at me that the muscles used to roof are entirely different than the muscles used on the busiest night of being a nurse. I need to get up and get going, shingles are all over the south side of the house and I need to mow down the weeds and try to find a way to protect my front flowers.   I know Dad will be here soon. 

Before:


The dumpster!  Yay!


Mid day on day one. Lots of work done that doesn't get a picture. Like measuring etc. 


I have been working nights this weekend so more work is done after my "end of" pictures. 

"End of" day one


Hmmm no end of day two pictures. I will have to run out and get one before we start. 

From the roof looking down. Scrapping is more fun than throwing shingles into the dumpster. 





Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Frustrated

I don't even really have much to say other than "argh! Really?!?"  So much to do and I can't. I'm hoping for some near miraculous speedy healing tonight. I have to go to the bank, the debit card for the business account was hacked so I have to go file some disputes. Kudos to the fraud department for stopping it so quickly though.  The garden, the one turning into a thing of nightmares. My house has to have some attention given to it as does the flower beds at the apartment. I actually need to mess with the sprinkler system in the beds (yes really) and put up a rent sign.  Sack dinners have to be packed. Volcanoes need to be started, homework nudging. How am I suppose to do anything with homework when I haven't gotten home until 8?  At that point hearing "it's all done" is enough even though things like volcanoes and book reports exist. 

Except I can't. Well the bank will likely happen either way but my foot needs to be up and elevated. I think I'm seeing the results of stress on my body and I can't remove the stress so I take a deep breath and hear Grandpa's voice tell me "chin up Buttercup"

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Still Here

I've sat with this window open many times unsure of what to write lately. I have a few guidelines for this blog. I write for me, not for you (sorry, that's just the way it is) I don't want it to be a pity party about all the way life sucks but at the same time I don't want to create some false picture of my life. The last two can be hard to balance. I've had strong faith building moments too personal to write about here and now I find myself on the opposite end of the spectrum, struggling but in a very deep and personal way that has been consuming my thoughts. I don't know to write balancing all of that. 

I'm here, just taking one moment at a time. Sometimes choosing to sit out for a little and try to catch my breath for a bit. Never seems to work but I keep trying. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dress Up

On Monday we found out that Charlet needed a formal dress for a party on Friday that she's been looking forward to for a while. That's not much notice and there isn't a large variety of places to look for formal gowns and no time to go anywhere. 

Then ShaLiece told me about Cinderella's Closet, a place in Enoch that rents out modest gowns. Maddie and Kelsey came with us and they had a blast. 


We even found a gown that works (really they all were okay, except one that was a little too big even with the corset back). The winner?


I will be out of town on Friday but Kelsey and Maddie promised to take pictures for me. 


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Year of the Tomatoes (and corn, and squash, and jalapenos)

When I was in 7-8th grade-ish we had what I refer to as "year of the peaches"  When you are an Erickson and it's peach time it's very all encompassing.  Like 20 bushels worth that were sorted according to ripeness and all canned and/or jammed.  Crazy busy time of year but man, home canned peaches were worth it.  The year of the peaches the peaches arrival was carefully timed to hit just after Mom and Dad got home from picking Russell up in Oklahoma.  They drove and were gone for a while {maybe a week?}  Perfect timing, aside from having bushels of peaches to put up when they got home -- but hey they were bringing another set of hands that could help home.

The peaches came early that year.  Like right before {I don't know how many days, but not enough} before they needed to leave for Oklahoma.  Mom asked Dad what they were going to do because you don't waste that much food, there was no way that they would keep that long, and that's a lot of canning to do in just a couple of days.  Dad's reply in his typical calm manner?  "well, we'll just have to get them put up"  Those of you who knew Grandma know that there weren't very many ox in the mire situations that would have her miss church and non Sunday activities such as Grandpa messing with the horses or let's say canning were not acceptable.  Except the year of the peaches.  Everyone stayed home to can but they sent me, first time I considered straight up ditching church because I just didn't know how to explain what peach season was like at our house.  We didn't can a pressure cooker full and a few left to eat.  We canned, and canned and canned and then had peaches and cream for dinner and that was a normal year.  There were just a few days to accomplish what did for over a week.  It may be my imagination but I think we had extra peaches that year too.

Fast forward from 1990 {or so} to 2013.  I haven't ordered peaches, much less in massive quantities but my garden has done well for the amount of time I've put into it -- at least once you get through the weed forest back to the veggies.  My tomatoes have gone crazy.  Before I knew it they were too big for cages so it's a wild uncontrollable kind of crazy.  Then we've been very rain which has made my tomatoes like to split.  Split tomatoes do not store for very long and I have a lot.
Lemon Boys, can you find the split?

Over exposed early girls.  See the background?  Those aren't picked yet.  *sigh*




Part of my haul from last night

I unloaded my car and hauled everything downstairs, pulling out a bag of tomatoes to take to work {bacon and lettuce from the cafeteria, tomatoes and cucumbers from my garden} and some for a coworker and stuck everything in the fridge hoping for the best because these need to deal with immediately if not sooner tomatoes I can't touch until days after they were picked.

I hear Dad's calm voice saying "we'll get them  put up" and inside I'm ready to explode thinking of how I have so many other things to do besides spend days off with tomatoes.  My plans for tomorrow heartbreakingly fell through so I'm going to pick up the pieces and sort through tomatoes.

It's not just the tomatoes though, I harvested a small section of corn and ended up with a laundry basket full.

More  corn than we can eat and it's just the beginning
The squash that keep coming regardless of the squash bug invasion of 2013 that I'm losing.  The golden zucchini I can freeze and use in a 101 different ways, but the summer squash?  Not much to do there.




Soooo grateful for an old run down fridge downstairs!

Sorry all the pictures suck, I don't know that I'll get a camera over there before winter that isn't attached to my phone.  

Yesterday when I was harvesting after a 12 hour shift until dark I started a list that was a titch on the negative side.

I don't garden because...
  • Single parents have too much time on their hands and need something to keep them busy.
  • 12 hour shifts just aren't long enough
  • I enjoy hanging with squash bugs, powdery mildew, and massive amounts of pollen
  • Worrying about the wind blowing over the corn at just a little too early to harvest and losing it all helps with my worry list (along with assorted other problems we've had this year).
  • I love broken fingernails
  • I enjoy watching the weather channel and feeling like a heathen wishing that would not rain quite so much just over my tomato plants
  • squash bugs, have I mentioned them yet?  they're ugly, squishy and gross.  And creepy.
  • I love pulling weeds that are taller than me!
So I turned it around.  I garden because...
  • It's an important skill for me to have.  We may not have a lot of variety this year, but we won't be going hungry.
  • There is something a little Wonder Woman-ish about doing a garden on your own.  It's providing for my family in a little different way than me working and it's very satisfying to eat a meal that you grew on your own -- until I while later and you realize you did need some protein somewhere in there.
  • Every time I'm in the garden, without fail, I always think of Grandma.  I'm not going to compare our gardens, she's probably rolling over in her grave at all of my weeds and uncaged tomatoes, but each summer I spent a lot of time with Grandma in her garden.  I will never forget the year that her boys planted her garden not because there was a shortage of care taking that they were doing but because it was always so important to her.  One of the my most touching memories of the end of her life and I venture to say she appreciated it more than she was ever able to express.
  • There is nothing that tastes better than that first tomato picked and eaten in the garden so no one else will know.
  • Seeing Kaede hiding in the cherry tomatoes or pea patch and then being "too full" for dinner warms my heart even though our harvests then are a little smaller than when I don't bring her along.
  • Veggies all winter because I stuck it out through the less fun parts taste better than any store purchased version of the same thing.  I've never seen "labor of love" listed as an ingredient on a bag of frozen corn.
  • The best anti-depressant ever is planting in the spring and anxiously watching for the first sprouts, first blossoms, and being able to enjoy the sun on your back.
  • It's my Pooh like thoughtful spot.  I've unloaded large amounts of problems in the rows between the corn, shared things I have no one else to tell things to and watered carrot sprouts with my tears.  My garden is never too busy for me.
  • Having your own pumpkins at Halloween is the best!  We'll have enough I won't be afraid to try some fun things carving them this year {when did pumpkins get so expensive?}
The second list far outweighs the first, even with the added stress it's currently bringing that I really just don't need right now, so I will continue to garden and hope for the best for my tomatoes to hang on just a little bit longer until I can give them the attention they deserve.