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


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!

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. 


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. 


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.