Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wedding Stuff

I can't believe that the 21st is only 3 days away. Everything has fallen into place wonderfully -- beyond what I could have imagined. 

I knew some specifics of what I wanted -- a life together with Neil by my side. The wedding is just one step to get there. I wanted a traditional wedding dress, good food, family and friends. I don't want a tiered wedding cake, reception line, or doing things just because. I especially didn't want cake smashed in my face. I was ok with some kind of tablecloth and the "fancy" clear plastic plates so that people weren't doing dishes forever afterwards. Enter in "more than I could have imagined" my sister-in-laws family being amazing at decorating and making things beautiful.  I walked into Heather's front room and she had a table set with beautiful china and my heart went pitter patter a little inside. In just talking to them they were able to pull together a gorgeous table. Things have been falling into place like that everywhere, down to being able to get the church on short notice, the Bishop not being busy, and the list goes on. 

The fact that every part of this wedding is being pulled together by people who have seen me through some really ugly times and cheered me on, picked me up, or came down into my chaos to help me find my way out means so much to me. Every part means something special.  I can't wait to see it all pulled together and then be able to share it with all of you. 

So here I sit tonight all sappy and grateful my mascara doesn't run easily because I'm confident that I will be a mess on Friday. 

Here is a teaser photo of what I've been working on. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

30 Days of Gratitude -- Photography

I'm so rarely happy with pictures of me in front of the camera. I love, love, love being behind the camera. Today Carmina took some family/engagement pictures and I great big huge puffy heart love them. I didn't think to ask if she cared if I snagged one to post here, giving her full credit of course so you'll have to click through to our album. 


Thursday, November 6, 2014

30 Days of Gratitude -- Priesthood

On my short list of Priesthood blessings that have moved me the most are a few I've been present for as an RN.  Something different happens when it's someone you only just met as a patient. It was that kind of day today.  I'm also grateful that oh so very soon there will be a Priesthood leader in my home again. If I take a moment to be quiet and still I can already tell a difference. 

Sorry no picture tonight, I'm exhausted and worn out -- plus I don't have one handy that will work. 


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

30 Days of Gratitude -- Storms (weather and life)

We had our first snow storm of the year on Sunday and I was without power (and therefore heat) for nearly 24 hours. During daylight I enjoyed sitting by the fire cuddled up to Neil but as it started to get dark and crews were without an estimated repair time I worried and the novelty of hunkering down for the storm grew weary. 

The storms that bring us moisture are so necessary in this region.  They allow the fields and crops to grow, my flowers to bloom, and quench the thirsty earth. Often they are inconvenient, poorly timed, messy, ruin my hair, and cancel fun plans. Vital but not necessarily fun. 

Storms of life are similar. I'm at a point that I can sincerely say I'm grateful for the things I've learned through my storms and Hard Times. The storms were inconvenient, poorly timed, messy, ruined many cute hair days, and I've had to cancel many fun plans. Vital for me learn of my own strength, to grow my own testimony, to learn humility and perspective while drawing closer to Christ. Vital but decidedly not fun. 


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

30 Days of Gratitude -- Diversity

As soon as I could leave work I bolted so that I could get to St George to check out decorations for the wedding so that I knew what I had to work with. We were meeting with Becky's cousin. 

A little background here. When it comes to parties, girls camp, gatherings of any nature I can quickly plan a menu and feed people well. If people are hungry it's their own doing/choice and I've found that well fed people are happy. I care significantly less about decorations, china patterns, etc. It's very hard for me to visualize the end outcome and I'd rather do all kinds of prep work than a difficult clean up. Here is where fancy paper plates and the like come into play and I'm okay with that. 

We walk into Heather's (no I'm not talking about my house) and there is a table set up with a silver tablecloth and blue charger, china set around etc. and it was so much more than okay. As we start talking they are putting things together and soon we have a mock-up of a beautiful table that is absolutely perfect and makes me smile. 

I may be able to feed people but this family can decorate and see the end picture from the beginning and they are so willing to help--they get the credit for everything beautiful that day. I'm grateful for the diversity in talents that is pulling this wedding together (many people are helping in many roles) and their willingness to help. 

Special thanks today to Becky, Heather, Monica, and Sharon. Oh and David for putting up with us. 

Yes I do have a picture but no I'm not sharing it yet, you'll have to either come or wait until after when I get around to posting pictures. 

30 Days of Gratitude -- Warmth

A day late, but yesterday I was grateful for warmth that was as simple as a thermostat adjustment and heated more than the front room after Sundays power outage. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

30 Days of Gratitude -- Testimony

It's not yet 10 am and I already have pictures (poor quality phone pics, but that's ok) for four days worth of gratitude. Maybe I can make it all the way through the month. 

Today I am grateful for the strength of my testimony in the Gospel. Like the candlelight I used this morning when the power was out it has given me the ability to see enough to have hope during my darkest times and Hard Things. The days I felt completely isolated and was certain that night had the ability to swallow me up without anyone noticing I knew that Christ was aware of me and understood in a way that only He can. My testimony got me through that night, then the next few weeks hour by hour and sometimes breath by breath. 

Like the candle light above, a testimony positioned properly can be magnified while one hidden and suffocated will die out. As a child my testimony mirrored my parents actions until it was strong enough to grow on it's own, I don't believe that scenario to be very unusual. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

30 Days of Gratitude -- Everyday Heroes

For a short time I'd considered not doing 30 Days this year, but I've done it (with varying degrees of success and completion) through photography for the last 10 years.  It's given me better perspective and strength through some rough times. I don't need it this year the way I have others but it's a tradition I don't want to give up and it always refreshes my attitude of gratitude so I'm doing it again.  

I am grateful for everyday heroes. Not just the ones who stories are told about and recognized on the streets but the ones who come to my rescue on stressful busy days when I lock my keys in the car. The stranger who held the door open when I had arms full of toddlers and babies, a kind smile on a bad day. 

My definition of hero is someone who steps up when others don't and they leave the world a better place even if just for a moment. 


p.s. I know I haven't updated in forever, but I'm getting married. Nov 21, yes of this year. I'm sure you'll be hearing details in posts to come. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Quote Hunting

I've spent the last 40 minutes looking for a quote that I can't find.  If anyone knows it I'd love a reference for it. Meanwhile here is the background. 

My pain is getting worse, little things are stacking up on each other with little to no resting time. Last week at work was crazy, I only got lunch one day and the constant running was hard on my back --  especially my climbing over a feeding tube, vent hoses/wires going to the wall, under suction tubing and then stretching sideways. Last week was just the foundation for this week. Every day I have to be at the hospital between meetings, extra shifts, and picture day. Did I mention I'm hurting more? Almost like I'm back in July hurting. I have renters to move in, which means updating the lease that I've been putting off can't be put off any longer. The kittens had a crazy day today breaking the glass out of my favorite picture of Christ and my good mixing bowl. I woke up to glass everywhere upstairs. I can't neglect to mention the large and obvious chin zit because why should my skin cooperate with me?

I was around my favorite people today though. I'd rather have days (weeks?!?) like this with people I love around me than have a so called perfect day without them.  

Here's my quote on one of my pictures that warms my heart. The idea isn't mine and I've seen something recently that I can't find tonight. 


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Warm fuzzies

There is some online bickering tonight among some very real friends of mine. It makes me sad and my heart is feeling a little fragile tonight so I'm taking that extra sensitive and turning it to good. 

Thinking about this group of friends, they've walked me through weekly trips to Orem, twice/month to PCH, tests, procedures, evals, Early Intervention, and IEP fun. We have shared stories, tips on how to best get a stool sample of liquid stool from a diaper, campaigned for funding at Capitol Hill, laughed together and been a friend when things seem lonely and no one else really understands and the world seems lonely. I've cried over children who have passed away, cheered at milestones met years behind schedule and watched kids grow from babies in a stroller over video conferencing to going on trek last summer. It's an amazing group of amazing women and I would have been lost without them. So grateful for technology that keeps us connected. 

I'm similarly grateful for my ward. When they juggled us up I felt lost and invisible. I knew I wasn't, but my heart didn't. All of the people who checked up on me if I missed a Sunday or activity I'd typically be at were gone. I still miss them tons, but I have grown to love our ward. They don't just love and care about my kids in emotions, they use the action form. I can't begin to explain the depth of my appreciation for my ward family for all they do for us and the example they are.  

The weather lately has been beautiful. Amazing storms and gorgeous sunsets with golden leaves up the mountain. 

I have more, but it's late and tomorrow starts early.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Discouraged? Overwhelmed? Frustrated?

I think most of us at sometime or another feel some version of "I'm not enough, I never will be enough and I'm too tired to keep trying."  Yesterday started that way for me. Nothing was different, but my life is anything but easy. I'm okay with that, I don't know anyone who has ever gotten anywhere by things being easy. It could be that Hard Things caught up with me, realizing that I will never be able to do it all. If my basement is clean, upstairs is messy. If laundry and dishes are done there is clutter everywhere. If weeds are pulled at the rental we are eating fast food for dinner. If I'm working everything else falls to pieces. I can't do it on my own and occasionally a black cloud of "I can't" finds it's way to me.

A small part of me wants to give into "I can't" and hide under the covers all day. A bigger part of me wants to figuratively run away into a novel or movie. There have been times that most of me wanted to literally run away. The first two have won in the past, but Reality is very patient waiting for me when I come out from underneath the covers, close the book, or credits roll. While it's been patient Reality has grown as if it feasts on my frustrations. 

Yesterday was different. I took a few minutes with I can't just so she wouldn't feel ignored and then I thought of the passage from Finding Happiness, Peace, and Joy by Richard G. Scott on page 102 where he talks about I Can't and her family of emotions not being from Christ. I took a deep breath watched Mountains To Climb and tried to kick I Can't out. It wasn't easy (see above) but knowing I had Gospel truths on my side made me more determined.

As I thought about how flawed and imperfect I am I realized that everyone is, we are all still here after all. I look at my role models and while I can't see their imperfections I know they aren't perfect either. They are still learning and growing too. They even have days where they are frustrated and overwhelmed.  It's okay that we aren't perfect, we aren't meant to be after all.  We are here to learn and to grow. 

To those who deal with I Can't on a daily basis, I wish I had words to make things easier for you. That I could jump insider your head and help fight the endless battle for you. Like A Broken Vessel from October 2013 General Conference by Jeffrey R Holland is one of the most hope filled things I have to offer. 

So, I've been sitting on this post for about a week waiting to find the quote, snap a picture of the passage from the book, something. Anything. I can't find my book and I wanted to read tonight. I feel like I've lost my seminary copy of the scriptures.  I am going to post this as is, unedited and not prettied up -- much like those down days feel


Thursday, September 11, 2014

He Loves Me Nots

In my tween years I thought of daisies as "he loves me nots" showing both my pessimist view and what I thought was the most accurate way to know if I was loved (in the kind of puppy dog crushes "love" only tweens have). Sometimes I forced the love, counting backwards before I started plucking the petals to predetermine my fate. 

In my yard and most of the neighborhood all of the daisies are spent, dried petals and drooping heads alerting us that fall is just around the corner. As I was walking the other day this peeked at me from behind a light pole. The day was gloomy outside but this matched my peaceful soul. As I stopped to admire the beauty I almost picked it to play he loves me, he loves me. 

I left it, hoping it would brighten someone's day and realizing that I don't need a daisy to determine if I'm loved. I know it because I feel it and I see it every day in small and large acts of kind service. I hear it often and know from the smile on my face when I hear his special text tone. 

Just like this daisy, love isn't perfect. There are petals with small bite marks from a grasshoppers lunch and some that never fully uncurled but this little daisy brightened the street and put a smile on my face making my day better simply for being there. 

It's being there that I've wanted for so long. Not the big exciting dates (okay, those are fun too), constant barrage of flowers (I'm an occasionally fan of flowers -- not so much frequently) or other outward shows of affection but the evening walks, showing up at my house during lunch break or waiting for me after a long days work. Simply being there and being present in my life makes bad moments good and good things better. 


Friday, September 5, 2014

Goodbye Summer

Summer for me ends in a whirlwind of school starting, Kaede's birthday, Labor Day, county fair, usually Mom and Dad coming home from Alaska and a little of who knows what else thrown in,

This year for Kaede's birthday we went to Bunker Pond for some gratitude perspective on our weather up here.  We did manage (barely) to not melt, but I didn't take my camera so I will add a few phone pictures after I'm done.  On the way home the Vue's transmission decided to have a tissy fit and spew some fluids everywhere.  I didn't realize they were designed to be able to handle such things and have a breather tube or tissy fit tube, that lets some of the steam off.  That took a detour and a stop off of the side of the road just past the Hurricane exit and we were back in business.

Sunday morning I talked in church (I will post about that in an upcoming post) but was the talk written?  Oh heavens no.  They are never actually written out for me, just a sketchy outline but I wasn't even that far.  I'd thought about it tons but hadn't put anything down on paper and the notes I made in my phone on Gospel Library weren't in the order I wanted to give them and my phone is too small to read off.  Once again, I didn't melt and neither did anyone else.  Overall I think it went well, but I don't mind talking.  People liking to listen to me is another matter entirely though.

Monday morning we were off to the Labor Day fair.

CVHS Marching Band

CVHS Drumline

You know it's a county fair parade when there are dogs riding on a tractor

Kaede as a banner carrier for CHS 
Michael and his sousaphone.  I'm proud of how hard this kid can work.

A girl and her flute. I don't think she is playing with that smile on her face

From the parade we headed to the cabin.  Terry brought his new toy and had as much fun teaching the little ones to shoot as they had shooting.  The rest of the big boys did too.

Benny, Michael, Kaede, Terry, and the new toy

Michael taking a picture of Terry teaching Kaede to shoot.

Kaede being coached by Uncle Terry

Jelly!!!  Neil and Ryker playing cards, Josie behind them and Grandpa to the right

Kaede and Jo off on an adventure

Michael shooting.
Path to the Rock John.  Not a very glorious end, but I love the path.

Neil and I went up this path to check the water tank, and looking down towards the court yard and the cabin I realized that this is my favorite place on earth.  Memories of family reunions with extended family, quick trips with Grandpa and running all over the hillside.  If I got "lost" I walked downhill until I found the stream and then followed it to the road and walked back up.  I could write a book titled "My Side of the Mountain" if the title wasn't stolen already.  Pulling onto the lot worries fly away and a quiet peace takes their place.  Definitely my favorite place on earth.

It was a crazy weekend with lots of road time (with lots of kids!) but worth every second of it.  I'm not yet recovered and into my work week.  Oh well, sleep is overrated isn't it?


Sunday, August 24, 2014


Earlier this year there was a Facebook post that asked "What do you want to teach your children the most?" I knew my answer before I even finished reading.  I want them to know, to believe, to understand that I will always love them, no matter what. I wish the power of love from me was enough to provide my kids with a kind of bubble wrap that would guarantee they would never deal with trials, pain and Hard Things.  I don't even know that my love really makes any kind of difference in the big scheme of things.  It doesn't make math tests easier, school drama go away, or general teenager life change much.  I'm still that weird Mom who wants to meet friends and get to know them, but they can usually count on me for a ride -- best way of getting to know them, they're trapped! It's easy to love friends, family, and especially your children.

Since my last post about the worth of souls being great I've been wondering, if I'm taking on the challenge to see the worth in the souls of those around me, how exactly am I suppose to do that?  I'm great at thinking of good ideas without coming up with a way to accomplish the goal, but this time I think I've found my answer in John 13:4 where it says a new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. Okay, again it's easy to love friends and family, responding to their needs and spending time with them laughing, bonding, working.  Let's not forget as I have loved you.  Christ loves each one of us, individually not collectively.  He showed that love through kindness and service and ultimately the greatest service that only He could provide in Gethsemane. I've been on the receiving end of some amazing service the past several years, and each one makes me choke up a little and realize that I am loved and have friends who care about me.  I could spend a lifetime paying it forward, but this isn't a budget where a ledger is kept requiring a zero balance when all is said and done, fortunately.

I've written before of those who see the worth of souls, who do the things that many others can't, who help people look at themselves and recognize the worth there.  These aren't random theoretical people, they have names, families, trials of their own but when I think of their willingness to serve others and to jump in and help people out I can't imagine that willingness to serve, often times from people that didn't initially know that is what I imagine loving one another with a Christ like love is and I am grateful for their example and especially their influence in my family's life. They serve those who need it, not those who they deem worthy and they serve without hesitation or judgement of one's situation.  If one gets to pick their legacy, I want love to be mine--the action sort of love, not the emotion of romance novels.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Worth of Souls is Great

This has been weighing on my mind lately, partially from going to Girl's Camp with the Young Women, talking to others who either have or are struggling and thinking back myself on my Hard Things.  We often hear "...the worth of souls is great in the sight of God" (D&C 18:10) and I've spent much of my life applying that to most people, but not all.  Those who make choices with disastrous consequences are easy to write off, discuss in break rooms in gory detail what should happen to them because of their choices.  It's easy to side with the victims and their families that are sometimes harmed by the situation.  From preschool we are taught to despise the villain, cheer for the hero, and have sympathy for the victim.  End of story time.

The scripture doesn't qualify which souls are of worth though.  Not the worth of souls who attend church weekly is great in the sight of God, not the worth of souls who smile at strangers, not the worth of souls that humanity deems worthy.  the worth of souls.  Period.  No qualifications necessary to be worthy.  The teenager going through bullying at school, those doing the bullying, the mother trying her hardest to do her best, as well as the mother who has lost her child to protective services because of her choices.  It extends even beyond that, to individuals generally considered "evil" by most of the world.

I've decided that the worth of souls is great to me too.  It's not always easy to see, depending on circumstances and it's often hard to see when looking at the tired face looking back at the mirror thinking of everything that was done less than perfect.  If we could look beyond the baggy eyes, past the tired that made it so Cheerios were served for dinner, and see into our soul and the greatness within I think our spirits would be lifted.  I like the song "You Are More" from Tenth Avenue North and the chorus resonates with me.
You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create
I am more. You are more.  The stranger on the street that just yelled at you is more. More than you can imagine, more than today's troubles seem (even when it's one of "those" days when it feels like you can barely breath.  I am of great worth just as each of us is.  Please, if you can't see it in yourself find someone to help you find it because I promise you are more and I know it's hard to see.  I've been where I can't imagine more let alone see it.  My vision began and ended with less, but it got better.  Amazing people were there to help me through Hard Things, there are people out there who believe in you no matter what.  I've met them, talked with them, and know that to them the worth of souls is great too, and they spend their time and efforts helping others believe in themselves.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Most of the time I'm "ok" back wise. I can't sit for long, cough, or laugh without pain. I just told my Mom I'd raster die a thousand deaths than sneeze again. In the mornings I feel like I'm 90 I have no idea how girls camp happened. 

I hate mornings more than usual because every move has to be planned and calculated, today I'm a little extra sore than normal so I made a progress list. I can now use the bathroom upstairs where I use to have to go downstairs so I had the counter to help me lower myself down. I don't sleep through the night, but I haven't been up out of bed pacing away the pain since the week of camp. By early afternoon I feel mostly normal, as long as I don't have to sit. 

How much of our spiritual progress is similar? Small, perhaps barely noticeable steps of strength and improvement when all we want is things to be perfect, now, not later. 

I have to hobble around and get the front room presentable, visiting teachers are coming by and it's the dreaded Wednesday with the addition of weed pulling at Gromps' while the ground is soft from the rain we've received. 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Have You Done Any Good?

I'm sitting here on the first day of school that I don't have to be at the hospital thinking back over the summer and to yesterday. Friends and acquaintances would ask "how are you doing?" and it's a hard question to answer. How is my back?  Well, I'm pacing the halls instead of sitting in class and it hurts worse than anything I've experienced -- only not a ten because tens should be saved. How are the kids?  Again, a complicated answer leading into the struggle we've had getting him registered at all and we're there but with Spanish instead of German, no Seminary etc. and no I'm not ready for them to go back. Haven't bought -- anything and still so many things to do (Toquerville Falls!)

For the ones who know me best who "how are you?" means how am I doing, I'm great. A smile has not only found my face but my heart. Bad days are few and even then I know at the end I have someone special who will likely ride in to town to make me forget all about my bad day. 

I'm sitting here thinking of my Hard Things days when I didn't want morning to come because that meant more Hard Things. I didn't get here alone, I prayed on hard days, asked for a Priesthood blessing on the impossible days and have cried on shoulders for what felt like forever.   It seems like it's my turn to pay it back with not much I can actually do, but there should be a way I can be an answer to someone's prayer, right?

I will try to call Mary in a bit, it's not much but it's something, something Bonnie would have already done. Oh how I wish I could have one last talk with her to let her know that I'm going to be okay. That last conversation she wouldn't talk about anything but hoping I'd be okay. Maybe this post is for her?  I doubt she has much time in heaven to read blog posts, but just in case, Bonnie I am doing great -- your friendship is a huge part of that. I love you and miss you. Don't worry I will go call Mary right now. 

Sunflower from the spilled bird seed

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tour of Utah 2014 -- Stage One: Cedar City!!!

I don't know why I enjoy this as much as I do, but I love TOU stuff.  Maybe because the last two years I've just had to walk down the street to enjoy it, maybe because this year the older two played in the band for it?  Maybe because it's just really cool?  Anyways, picture overload time.

Kids at the band, Michael had a blast and Charlet thought it was pretty cool to be so close to the riders being in the front row.  She was less excited about the following photo opportunity though.

The beautiful red-head is one of Charlet's friends, I got a better picture of her than I did Charlet.  Oh well, they both impressed me at Girls Camp...

Bazilion and three rider pictures at the finish going down 200 South.  It's crazy to me how fast and how close they ride to each other.  I keep waiting for some kind of human dominoes to start but it hasn't yet.  I took pictures each lap around and I don't know which ones are which.  They are riders on bikes, that's good enough for me.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Girls Camp 2014

Beginning of last week I could have easily broken into tears. I am the assistant camp director. You know, the one who just does stuff and knows that the totally awesome real camp director (aka Alisha) has all the i's dotted and t's crossed. Turns out she landed a job where she's going to be an awesome post-partum RN to some lucky Momma's in Vegas and her job starts the week before camp. 

I was sad to lose a friend, especially before camp, but I've done Hard Things before, right?  So I go about list making, from groceries to delegating to...wait, my back went out!  Did I mention I'm also the camp nurse and can barely move?  I couldn't imagine how, but I knew I needed to be at camp (partly because our girls couldn't go without any leaders) and partly because it just felt right that I was there.  I've done Hard Things before--I have "Hard Things" down. 

All of this boiled down to an overwhelmed exhausted hurting girl last Monday. My plan to not haul the trailer failed, then we had issues with lights, then, then, then...I wanted to sit and cry but didn't have time and doubted my ability to get back up if I did. So I changed my perspective and looked at it like Christmas Eve. Nothing is ever completely done, no matter how much or little you've done but December 25 comes along and some kind of magic takes over. Family, the money tree, and Christmas magic everywhere. I said a little prayer that there was such a thig as Girls Camp magic and believed in it with my whole being. 

Monday afternoon looked a little like this. 

See my family ever so carefully packing the trailer?  Remember that trailer...

We load up everyone's pillows, sleeping bags, bedding, grub box in The Beast, camp "stuff" and YCL's, Jordon's and mine totes. Food, crafts, last minute inside craft things, mosquito netting and a tent/cot just in case these bunks and my back didn't get along. Really, who wouldn't love sleeping there?

Off we go (photo courtesy of Jordon) with me still believing in Girls Camp magic. In all the years I've been at camp for some reason or another I've never been in charge. You can't tell but it's pouring in this picture -- please let there be magic. 

We go happily on our way, girls talking about anything and everything. We reach camp (still raining) and start up a steep hill and the trailer is open as in stuff falling out open. Without me knowing. Stuff like random ingredients, the spare tire, 1/2 of the craft stuff, ranch dressing, the list goes on and the door has been open a while Camp Magic? pshaw!

Guess what? Camp Magic does exist. With the exception of the spare tire nothing vital was lost and apparently I'm not suppose to feel bad about the tire. We made due, ward lunches were worth the time and energy, the YCL's absolutely shined as examples to the younger girls and had patience I've never seen from 16-17 year old girls before. Size wise we were teeny and were blown away at most of the games but if challenge points were awarded for work done we'd have won. While finishing up camp our tiny ward was the one to send girls to help clean up the amphitheater, kitchen, and pavilion.  In work ethic, we shined.

There is also an amazing spirit at Girls Camp.  I sit and reflect on what has gotten me through so many of my Hard Things and it comes back to Girls Camp and Seminary -- and that mustard seed of faith. I wish every parent of our girls who ever wondered if they were doing anything right ( who doesn't at times?) could experience Girls Camp. Your girls testimonies are strong, their character amazing, their trials are many and just like clean up and prep duties they are shouldering them well. 

Stress, freak outs, lost tires, and worries aside I'd go again in a heart beat. I love our little Young Women's group, their faith, their honest, their humor, their snipe hunting abilities and willingness to get bitten just to show the younger girls what a snipe is. I also learned to se the humor in hashtags instead of just being annoyed. 

Be proud of our youth, they are amazing and yes Camp Magic exists. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Xtreme Crochet

It takes a unique talent to injure your spine while crocheting, but I happen to be just that talented. I did a pretty good job of it too, like who knows when I can go back to work sorta good.  It hurts to breath deep (extra pressure) lay down, cough, sneeze, hiccup, stand up, sit down and laugh. Laughing hurts a lot. I love to laugh and that pain is only trumped by the pain of trying not to laugh which is funny on its own. My "position of comfort" is walking at snail pace but that's not a sleeping position and I'm exhausted with a side of grumpy.

I'm not completely changing topics, I promise they tie in together. I've been dating someone since May.  Initially I enjoyed seeing him when I'd put enough time and energy into getting ready. I still want to be my very best me, but I'm thrilled when he comes to see me at work even though my navy blue scrubs, no to little make up and ponytailed hair is far from the best me but I don't care. 

After all it's not like he's coming over when I've been in pj's all day, hair not done and a pained look on my face. Oh, except for he has and perhaps more than any other time I felt loved. He came right after work (when I'm certain he'd rather be home resting from a busy few days) because I asked for a blessing. While he was here he did some 'honey do' things I would be not even be able to try. He walked with me, snails pace at best, warmed my heart and brought a smile to my face. 

I can't begin to describe how amazing it feels to be fussed over and have a shoulder to cry on when bad days hit. As much as all of the best dates and long talks mean to me, this afternoon means so much more. 

❤️ ~H

P.S. I'd be fine if this was the lesson I needed to learn and tomorrow woke up feeling 100% or even 50%. Not counting on it but it would be nice. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Art of Doing Nothing

I think back about five years ago having a homework assignment to "just be". Find a grassy spot or somewhere comfortable and just let everything go. It took me a long time to manage it for just a few minutes and it seems to have a fine line between the art of doing nothing and lazy.

In my mind, if there is stuff to be done (you know, The List) then it needs to be done and other things like doing nothing have to wait until the doing stuff list is empty. Reality is that The List will never be empty and there are always important things to be done. Doing nothing couldn't wait much longer though. 

Today I may have perfected the art of doing nothing. I feel recharged, connected to family and friends, and energized (not in the caffiene OD sort of energized though) my heart is happy and there is a smile on my face. What did I do to get all that?  Nothing, absolutely nothing. We closed ICU in time to see the parade so my little work jaunt doesn't count for much. Not a single thing on The List was marked off though. 

I've spent more time this summer watching sunsets, stargazing, and listening to muddy waterfalls than ever before. Doing nothing has been amazing for well being, as well as having a friend who is perfectly fine doing nothing with me. I challenge you to go and do nothing for a few minutes. Mentally running through or adding to The List isn't allowed, stressing about whatever needs to wait either. Please, go forth and do nothing. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

How do you see yourself?

I'm not the first and likely not the last person to write about this.  I will likely have to hear it more often before I actually get it more than temporarily.

I'm not beautiful, pretty or cute.  I come to terms with this mostly avoiding mirrors and such until I see pictures of me.  Being the one behind the camera it's easy to not be in many pictures, that might be one of my favorite parts of being behind the camera.  Couple this with the idea that pictures should be very, very close to perfect to be kept from my really into photography days and it's like I have some kind of photogdysmorphic problem. Yes, I made that up. The problem isn't though.  I have thousands of pictures of flowers, kids, skyscapes, landscapes, sunsets, textures, motel signs, street signs, etc. I like to document my life as I see it, capture the beauty I am able to see around me from simple footbridges to majestic sunsets.

footbridge on the way to The Big Tree

My beautiful Mom hates pictures of herself.  She is most likely to goof off and pull some of her famous funny faces in front of the camera instead of letting us capture her as she normally is.  I'm okay with that, she has an amazing talent of making people laugh and pulling faces.  Her face is beautiful though, see. How can you not love her?

Mom at the cabin for her birthday dinner 2014
Isn't she amazing?  She hasn't seen this picture yet but I'm sure she'd pick it apart.  She's not happy with her hair right now and, and, and.  There is always a list of ands.  I'm very well acquainted with them myself.  The old photographer me wouldn't have hung onto this picture, or taken it in the first place.  Those cars?  Too distracting?  The focus and framing?  Off because the kids took this picture and I had to crop it way down to get it to follow the rule of thirds.  Who wants such a flawed picture?  Well, I do.  It's how Michael sees his Grandma.  A wonderful, happy woman with a bright smile and a delicious cake on her lap you can't see.  This picture is us, family gathered together to celebrate a wonderful woman that has cheered most of us on to get us to where we are now.

This same trip, with both Charlet and Michael having the camera there are pictures of me.  Pictures I don't like and ones I wanted to delete.

Me, at Grandpa's Cabin for Mom's birthday 2014
My cheeks are chubby, I don't have any make up on and my hair had a mind of it's own including visible fuzziness and I don't like the way the shirt makes me look. and, and, and.  I have a hard time seeing anything good in the picture, including flaws and imperfections that aren't visible.  I can see the looming to do list that I never seem to finish, the stress, the inability to be enough of anything for anyone on my own. Who needs a visible reminder of that?  Not me!

I've read, and agreed with, articles talking about the importance of not waiting until the weight is lost or whatever goal it is that is keeping you from wanting to be in pictures because pictures are important.  They show the relationship between a young mother (who may still have some extra weight) and a toddler, the beautiful Grandmother being sung Happy Birthday surrounded by her kids, grandkids, and a great grandbaby who all think she's the greatest ever (of course that's because she really is)

I've adjusted ever so slightly and will consent to pictures like this one because Grant is cute enough to make up for what I'm lacking. Isn't his little mohawk the cutest thing ever?  I adore him and so I keep the picture.

Grant and me at Grandpa's Cabin 2014
I also am a fan of the picture of me that really isn't a picture of a person.  Feet at the beach (I'll take one when I'm at the beach, if I ever get there) or something that shows a part of me, perhaps an insight into my personality without actually being a picture of me. It's me, that's my hand and it's a picture I treasure without having to deal with an awkward smile, hair fuzzies, or lack of pristine make up (or any make up at all this trip!)

As I look at the pictures from this trip, most of which I didn't take it's a little easier to look past the soft focus, missing catch lights, busy backgrounds, and other flaws because each picture captures a part of what going to the cabin is.  Spending time at the cabin with family is amazing.  Fun, stories, games, laughter and love -- if you don't want to be part of that then you can go somewhere else.  One of my favorite pictures is horrifically flawed.  Two teens trying to a selfie in low light with a DSLR but with flash turned off and who knows where the focus or focal length was.  I love it, it shows the relationship that these two have been building up between them. Thumbnail size it's just fine!

Charlet and Michael weekend of Grandma's birthday party 2014

I'm keeping the soft focus, low light, technically flawed pictures and I'm taking a breath and not deleting the pictures of me where I see nothing but imperfections because 100 years from now I don't want someone to be looking at my pictures and assume my children are motherless because I was too picky over something as silly as a photograph. I may not be beautiful but I hope when my kids see pictures of me that are able to realize how much I love them and that they are the center of my entire world forever and always even with fly away hair, no make up, and unrested eyes.

Monday, June 16, 2014


I blog because I like to write.  I blog for me and no one else, the only promoting I do is sharing some of the posts on Facebook.  Writing lets me think through and say things that I can't think of in the moment.  Sarcastic comments are almost always on the tip of my tongue, and so is the ability to depreciate a compliment.  I'm working on the compliments, but I've only gotten so far as saying "thank you" and there are times that I want to say more but I feel lost and for once all my words leave me.

I also love to read blogs.  Friends, strangers, local people I don't know really well, artists, medical folk, mommy blogs, cooking blogs, photography blogs -- it really doesn't matter I will read and enjoy a variety of blogs.  When people have topical blogs it makes me wonder how they do it though.  I know people spend more time than I do on their blogging habits from designing to beautiful photography and multiple drafts of entries where mine is more of a mind purge into a quickly thrown together spot on the internet but to have several posts per week on highly defined topics is crazy.  Food blog?  Okay, we'll discuss recipes and pictures of beautiful food, maybe even a gone wrong section but how many days can you do that?  Pictures, editing, multiple drafts and all?  Same with whatever topic the blog may be on.  So, from me you are going to continue to get a mish mash of random stuff written in train of thought style.  If I get my blog prettied up, it will have topics for things I like blogging about but it's still going to be a fairly eclectic collection.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

I hope that today is a great day for everyone, yet I know it won't be. Today will sting for the Mom's doing double duty and I'm not just talking about single Moms. Military moms, moms who are married to the father of her children but he isn't very involved, wife who's spouse is ill or disabled and many other situations I'm unaware of may not love this day quite as much as others. There are those who long to be fathers but can't or haven't yet, fathers who have lost a son, fathers trying hard to improve strained relationships, fathers who take time today to make a list of every perceived mistake. To everyone who fits in that category, be kind to yourself because you deserve it.

Last night as I worked on a special project I was thinking about the fathers in my life and how not one of them is the greatest dad, but how most of them are the greatest dad for their children. I have known some not so great dads but all of the ones I've known and talked with have kept trying with varying degrees of success. It might not be a Hallmark plot line but seeing a guy working to be the best dad he can warms my heart — even if the rest of the situation is sad or strained. 

Dad Thanksgiving 20??

To my own Dad who probably won't see this, thanks for teaching me patience in frustrating situations, showing me what unconditional love and support are, teaching me how to roof, drywall, run electrical, plus more things than I should list and for always having my back. I love you and you are the greatest dad I could ever ask for and I hope you have an amazing day. 

To the boys, thanks for being my brothers. Being there to answer my questions, shoulders to cry on, advise givers and antagonists for as long as I can remember has been wonderful. This little (non-spoiled) sister is grateful to be able to look up to you. 

To the guys in the ward who have helped be an example to my kids from showing them how to work and serve to building pinewood derby cars and early morning cross country runs thank you for filling a gap no one else could. 

It would be glaring obvious if I didn't mention my kids' dad but finding the right words is difficult, so the condensed version is what you get. Thanks for giving me three wonderful children, without them my life wouldn't be complete. 

Happy Father's Day everyone. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Perfect Summer

Tonight was opening ceremonies for Utah Summer Games and once again I sat enjoying summer thinking that this has been the perfect summer. The kind written about in novels and portrayed in movies. I spent some time holding hands I used the peaceful quiet as an opportunity to think backwards and analyze if this was my perfect summer. As a child summers were fine, but just marched off time. I never knew what Hard Things were nor had it ever really crossed my mind leaving me unaware of the value in boring mid-summer days.

Somewhere along with adult responsibilities showing up summer fun went running away, caught up in the doll drum of routine life and stress and was nothing more than a tick marking passing time.   I did fun things, many of them but I rarely enjoyed any of them. 

This summer I've spent hours watching the water run over rocks, the moon rising, the sun glistening off the lake. For once time seems to have slowed down and the view from the slow side roads has been beautiful with wild flowers, beautiful skyscapes, and smell of grass in the air. I would love to freeze this summer forever and I'm grateful for the summers full of Hard Things, tears, and deep sorrow to give me the perspective to love every summer evening this year and cherish it for the beauty in each warm breeze. 

Flowers from my yard

Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer Bucket List

List of things I want and/or need to accomplish this summer, in no particular order.

•Enjoy all the good about summer. Late nights, gorgeous evenings, flowers, sun on my face. 
•Paint the house
•Wildflower festival at Cedar Breaks
•Star party at Cedar Breaks (anyone know how busy those are?)
•Feed the ducks at Parowan's duck pond
•Family and friend party
•Hike to Big Tree

Cedar Breaks overlook after snow storm

What is on your bucket list?

Sunday, June 8, 2014


For years weekends usually consist of either work or lists of things that must be done. Once in a while something fun will come up last minute but rarely do I look forward to weekends in general.

Times change, my perspectives have changed, and I'm finding myself looking forward to weekends, even working weekends. I think it's been since high school when I'd look forward to weekends just for the sake of it being the weekend. 

Monday, June 2, 2014


I know fully well that lonely can be so intense it physically hurts. Surprisingly my loneliest times have been when something positive happens and it seems silly to bother anyone over little things, or when there is an a-ha moment you want to talk about but the best you can do is to blog about it. The hard times I've had caring shoulders to cry on, swing conversations, and walks to share.

This past week I wondered how it is possible to have ever felt invisible. I have so many marvelous friends who do amazing things for us, even more than I realize I'm sure. It's like my family has their own cheerleading squad. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Scripture Time

Early this year we had the FHE, the kind my mind says they all should be. I didn't exactly plan it, it just sort of fell together. I believe sometime I blogged about ice cream. If I can't find it I will write it tomorrow. 

Anyways my current goal for scripture time as a family is the habit, the routine, it just being what we do. It's entertaining at times when Kaede reads in voices, gives things a dramatic flare, or breaks into corresponding Primary songs. We lost some momentum during 2nd Nephi but we made it -- including discussions on why Isiah is important to read even though it's hard to understand sometimes. Charlet noticed the beautiful imagery on her own.  I am grateful for the knowledge that stories lie ahead.  

Family scripture time is hard though, almost always and the blessings linked to it aren't as obvious and straightforward as some. Rounding everyone up during the chaos of the evening and getting minds focused on scriptures instead of bike riding, hummingbirds at the feeder, whether the turtles have been fed and if I charted that last pain assessment or not is challenging and sometimes comical. It's a priority for me though even when I have to remind myself that it's important even when I have no glorious a-ha moments of gospel truths that like I do during personal study.  Mostly this post is to remind me of that priority.  If I write it down it's more solid, more concrete. 

This quote says nothing about it being easy to gather everyone or that blessings come immediately. It also doesn't discuss anything about only immediate families. Grandma and Grandpa were reading 'with' us, on their own time at their own pace 50 miles north. 

“I promise you that daily family prayer and scripture study will build within the walls of your home a security and bonding that will enrich your lives and prepare your families to meet the challenges of today and the eternities to come” (L. Tom Perry, in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 113; or Ensign, May 1993, 92).

In that ice cream FHE we also discussed that statements like those from one of the  Apostles isn't just random words thrown together in a statement but that it's a binding promise that The Lord won't break if we do our part. 

This is another of my favorite quotes on family scripture study. 

When individual members and families immerse themselves in the scriptures regularly and consistently, … other areas of activity will automatically come. Testimonies will increase. Commitment will be strengthened. Families will be fortified. Personal revelation will flow” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Power of the Word,” Ensign,May 1986, 81).

Monday, May 26, 2014

It doesn't take much

I have Dad's eyes. Not his beautiful hazel irises but his tear ducts that can occasionally be tight as steel but usually resembles some kind of slow watering system. I never realized growing up that men aren't "suppose" to cry, the men I love the most have excellent tear ducts maintained by frequent flushing.

It's been a great few weeks, and an amazing weekend full of peace, admiration, gratitude, realization and pride in a job well done. It's been amazing and exhausting. I'm beat and not done yet either.  

I worked today, the exact kind of day that is the reason I became a nurse. I didn't walk out feeling like I was wearing a superman cape or had significantly changed the course of well, anything, but I found joy in today. In seeing a patients face light up when his wife walked into the room (adding that to 'the list') and a twinkle come back into his eyes. I didn't do anything spectacular but I was happy to see improvement today and be there for those moments and see family be supportive, loving, and kind. The kind of perfectly normal work day that makes me get all fluffy eyed. 

Driving home my mind ran to a list of different sorts. Things I still needed to do tonight, so I ran to the store and bought the wrong sized sheets, took a break from have to's so I could water the flowers and fill the bird feeders. I walked to the north flower bed and noticed something. 

North Side where the rose thicket still annoys me
I just stood there and cried.  Someone who I can stick a name to came by and mowed down the stupid wild roses that won't die, the weeds, the foxtails, the everything all the way to the back fence. Mowing was on a list, one that wasn't going to be prioritized until next week but in quiet unsung acts of service this ward is a perfect example if what a ward family is and why I can't picture being anywhere else. Those mowed down weeds all whispered "you are loved, and you matter"

Thank you, so very very much. I can't even begin to say how much you mean to me and have since we first moved here.