Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What do you like to eat on New Years?

I could write about resolutions or some other unnecessary thoughts and opinions on how I need to better my life. (When can I not? What's January 1st got to do with it?) But I think food is a better subject for the moment and since I was in charge of today's office potluck and it turned out as a success - in other words every one's belly is full - I thought I'd share this with you since tonight is the official last day of the year to pig out!

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately.
Go next door, where they're serving fudge.
2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-oholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it.
3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?
6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.
7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Holiday cookies, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.
8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day??
9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.
10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention.

Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just another day in the life of a working mom.

Yesterday I was so distraught and depressed, just simply emotional. I hid it well though. At lunch I went out to my car and cried telling God, "I don't want to work, I want to stay home, I want to be home with my kids. I don't belong here." After that I felt better - I remembered why He put me here in the first place, I remembered to thank Him and that I am not a bad mother for going to work. I remembered that I need to take life one day at a time. So I dried my eyes with the napkins in the car stockpiled from the gas station and fixed my make up in order to present myself. Still feeling melancholy, I went back in the building to face the music. It was like I was a zomby, but at least I wasn't upset any longer.

I wonder if this was cause it was the first day back at work after Christmas and I was feeling a bit blue, like the baby blues I usually have after Christmas is over. Charlie is right though - I am doing better than I have in years past. However this morning I am reflecting back in time and I realize that I have felt this way many Mondays in a row. This has revealed to me that it is not possible that my emotional drama yesterday was all post-Christmas, yes some, but not all. Ever since we started our 4 day work week at work I have noticed Mondays have become a lot harder for me. Yet Tuesday and on seem to be okay, I get back in the groove and feel okay and seem to feel comfortable working again. But Mondays are like going through hell. Literally.

I think having that extra day off, for which I LOVE, has made me become even more torn between working and wanting to be a stay at home mom. In some weird way I get confused on what I am doing and why. I now realize that Monday's are just going to be a struggle every week and know that I need to do something about it. I am not sure how to overcome this or even where to start. The only thing I can think of is to proactively try to think about work on Sunday evening even if I don't want to. I need to think of what I have waiting for me in the morning but in a different way so that I can get it in my head on a positive note - rather than dreading going or not thinking about it at all. I need to find a way to ease my brain into the whole idea. That's how I am though, I take so much time to process my thoughts. Silly isn't it?

Friday, December 26, 2008


Last night we attended the annual candle lighting ceremony held each Christmas Eve at our church. It was one of the best I remember but I think it is because of my spirit this year and the fact that not only did I get the message but that I felt it too.

Christmas was good. We started the day about 8:00 unwrapping gifts. Coffee in hand I was still able to successfully take pictures of the kids. Savannah tuckered out afterward, just like the kid, Randy, in A Christmas Story. They were happy but not because of the gifts. We had a good time and ended the day with a great dinner. Turkey with all the fixins and prime rib roast - as usual it turned out great (thanks to my chef husband.) My mom and her boyfriend, Randy, came for dinner along with my brother and his family. We ate to our hearts desire and yes, I remembered to take a picture of the turkey before it was carved! Later our friends stopped by to visit and we fellow-shipped and had a good time. The day went by fast and after everyone left, Charlie and I sat in the dark with the glowing tree when he made an observation. He said that I was doing good this year, that I didn't fall into that "post-partum" depression I always seem to do on the afternoon of Christmas after all is said and done. Like I told you all, Christmas is different for me this year. Sure the part of the excitement of gifts and seeing family is over for now, but Christmas is never really over is it?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Time is Here

Nothing like coffee and cinnamon cocoa on such a cold wintery day! Mmmm. After our day long snowfall yesterday, the air has become frosty and the ground is crisp. I am not sure how many inches we got in snow, but it had to be at least 6" or more. The skiers are loving it I'm sure as it is that wet sticky stuff that is very slick and smooth. I hear it will be a white Christmas for us this year which is awesome cause I am not sure I remember the last time we had one. For me, I would like it to snow in the early evening on Christmas Day - after all the activity is over. They said on the news that we were going to be hit with a storm today, a pretty bad one it sounded like. We'll wait and see, but I'm not worried - nothing seems to be bothering me today. :)

So with all the hustle and bustle I forgot to mention that we saw Kurt Bestor in concert at Charlie's office Christmas party Saturday night. We almost didn't make it to the party in that Charlie didn't want to go, but of course he didn't tell me this until it was time to leave. (Yes, my husband can be a Scrooge at times when it comes to social events.) But we did go and when we got there and signed in, I was excited to find that they were giving the employees a free Kurt Bestor Christmas compilation on CD. Charlie looked at me funny when I reacted this way - not knowing why I was so excited or who the guy even was. I was then thinking to myself, "Aha, for once I know of a musician that Charlie doesn't!" Then when they announced that Kurt was going to perform, I became ecstatic and I think it was then that Charlie saw my excitement and for a moment he seemed glad that we were there. I do admit that a lot of Kurt's pieces he played that night were very similar in key and I was kind of surprised at myself that I noticed it. (See how living with a musician has created critical hearing skills that I never knew I had?) Nonetheless, Charlie and I's favorite that night was the version Kurt created of "Christmas Time is Here" from the Charlie Brown Christmas show. I love to listen to music live whenever I can so it was a neat experience and am glad we went. What a nice Christmas treat!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Are you ready?

So as I am working on this snowy morning, I find myself passing by the mail room where there a dozen snacks to try and taste and so of course I stop where it seems that my co-workers are also collected there for the same reason. As we converse the topic is always up about whether or not you are ready for Christmas. I reply with a "Yes!" And of course realized then they were meaning the gifts, shopping, wrapping, baking, etc. So I had to clarify, "Yes, I am spiritually ready. I am happy and can't wait." Not worrying about the other stuff at all this year. Yes I do have presents that still need wrapped and last minute shopping to do, but I am not focused on that. That is not what's important to me, not this year. How about you?

Getting closer!

I am so excited to celebrate this year and as it gets nearer and nearer I have a harder time focusing on anything else. We are having a turkey dinner on Christmas Day and I've invited my closest families to join us. I have never made dinner on Christmas Day before so this will be fun. I can't wait!

As I work I keep watch on the clock and next year I will definately remind myself to take a two week vacation during the holidays so as not to be in the same position dreading each and every minute of work when I look out the window and see the snow falling wishing I were at home!

Friday, December 19, 2008

You'll shoot your eye out!

Yesterday at work I embarked on a couple of new duties that I am learning to do and found that I could really get into this job because of them. The people that I work with are disabled and part of our requirements to assist them financially up to a two year period is that they participate in applying and pursuing disability income. The program lasts for only 24 months and in that time it is my goal to help them either meet employment (based off their doctor's recommendations on what they can do) or to obtain SSDI and/or SSI. It is their job to participate in doing all that the policy requires of them on their part. They have to earn the assistance and work for it in many different ways.

Well when someone gets close to the end of their assistance there is a "Dire Need" letter that I write letting the Social Security Office of Adjudication and Review know that the customer could face homeless or lack of funds to help them treat their condition in turn making their situation worse. Another letter that I can create on behalf of the customer is called a "Medical Summary" report, this is quite a lengthy letter that is written showing almost a complete biography of the customer's life up to date focusing around where and why their disability all began in the first place and how it has taken so many things in their life away, including employment.

Well long story short, it occurred to me last night that I had no idea back when I was in college that the persuasive paper I had to write for English class would ever do me any good. I enjoyed writing it, in fact it was one assignment I worked hard on as I was determined to get that teacher persuaded by my point. I remember this vividly, it was like I was Ralphie, the kid in the movie Christmas Story. Like him, I wanted her to love the paper so much that it was like I envisioned the teacher falling in love with it and writing A+, A+, A+ in big red pencil all over it and even publishing it! And when it came back only as a B+, I was disappointed just like Ralphie was in the movie - only the teacher didn't say "You'll shoot your eye out" on it.

I do love to write when I am challenged with getting out what I want to say and to make what I have to say interesting. I was told by my English teacher in 8th grade that I ought to go into an honors class for my writing. I don't even remember what the paper was about that I wrote back then other than it was a creative piece and when she read it to the whole class, I was so embarrassed!

Recently I wrote up an nomination for co-worker for a regional customer service award. The person would receive a lovely plaque made out of crystal and $500 if their nomination one. Well mine took to vote and the lady I nominated was so astonished and truly surprised as was I. It was as if I had won that award myself! It was so exciting!

I know I am talented at writing, but I have much work to do. My problem when I write now is taking the time to read and make a final draft. I sometimes think I've put it all there but then realize that just cause it was in my brain doesn't mean I got it out as fast as I was thinking it. This has been an issue with blogging as I only have so much time to myself. However I have a feeling that Santa will finally be bringing me that laptop after all these years that I have been persuading him I need. Just maybe mind you.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The snow is falling again...

Well today is a good day. The morning sky is glistening with sparkling crystals of snow falling so peacefully leaving a thick blanket of pure white fluffiness. I love first snowfalls. They are so beautiful. Granted it has already snowed a couple of times this season, but it melted and now it is back. It is so pretty. I am the first to admit that I do enjoy driving in the snow where no one has touched in fact just as much as walking in it....funny how just like a kid you see something so pretty and clean and you just get this urge to make your mark on it!

Savannah will be performing her Christmas program with her preschool today so I am so excited that I get to be there. My employer is and always has been very flexible and family oriented, so I am very appreciative that I get the opportunity to flex my schedule as I need to so I don't have to miss everything. It is hard not being at home and baking cookies or building snow men during the day - and I am not just referring to this time of year, but the activities like this that are year round! Maybe there will be enough snow left for tomorrow on my day off to build Frosty. Hope so. My trouble is that when I have a day off I think I need to worry about getting my other chores done. I have been diligently trying to work on this and I am doing better. I don't need to feel ripped off cause I am a working mother - I only feel that way if I let myself!

Something I heard that was sad yesterday - I was meeting with one of my customers for the first time and in getting to know her she had mentioned that her soon to be ex-husband had come in her home and stole their Christmas tree and presents. Isn't that horrible? What kind of person would do this? Of course you are thinking Grinch just like I was when she was telling me this, but she was dead serious. Only thing that still puzzles me was that she didn't seem that upset about it. Maybe cause unlike a 4 year old child the only child in her home who is 14 years old will have an understanding of it all or maybe it's cause she expects it from him. I don't know.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I would like to share something with you all. As I struggle in life and have for so long, I am just at peace this morning with a dream I have had. Some background to why this is so relevant is that the churh where we attend has been recently given an opportunity and a need to either relocate or restore our church building, but nothing has been set in stone. Charlie and I also have a need and are in a possible opportunity to relocate as well. But we have had to pray much for our situation and in order to do that we need to be conscious of our spirituality so that we may receive the answer that is of His will. So both of these things put together may have nothing to do with our church at all but I believe it has given some direction to the prayers God is receiving from its body, including myself.

For quite some time I have been having vivid dreams about driving a car or other type of vehicle and never really understood what they meant until this morning when I woke up. I remember the first dream I had (sometime in 1993) where I was in my car I had at the time and I had one of my boys in a car seat in the back, it seems that he were a baby in the dream. Well I had somehow gotten out of control and started veering off the steep road into the large ditch, you know that big hill by the Orem Wal-mart? Well I was going down that road heading toward the lake, no other cars were around and it was dark. I just remember the car going off the road, rolling, and then me and the baby (it seems like it was Michael) just walked away. But then I woke up. I don't remember any feeling of emotion other than wondering what it meant.

Long story short, since then I have had a lot happen to me. I recovered from one of my largest tribulations - my divorce, battle with drugs, and loss of insanity 1996 to 1999 - it has been off and on where I have experienced similar dreams. However my dreams were always bright and during daylight and instead of a car I am driving a large pickup truck. When I am driving in these dreams (and my kids were not with me in these dreams, it seems I was alone) I find that when I need to stop the vehicle I can never seem to get the brakes on the truck to work. It is at the point where they are not stopping the vehicle where I wake up. Sometimes in these dreams they included other things that were sinful in nature, things that I was probably experiencing at the time and knew that I was in need of God's help, but I don't recall the details of those pictures now. Where I always knew these dreams meant something I also let myself think too that maybe they were just memories and/or nightmares of my experience in learning how to drive a manual transmission in a large truck as I once had, but I know differently now.

My last dream like this was a couple of months ago. I was not alone this time though. A friend I have had for the last few years was there in the truck with me with one of her kids. (Just as I typed this I originally put "with us" instead of "with me" - because I am never alone am I?) I was the driver and it seemed we were driving in a large outdoor mall, kind of like the Gateway but instead it was built with pillars you would see in Rome. We were to go shopping it seems, and once again I was driving a large truck and this time there was an intersection with a stop light just beaming red to stop. When I tried to stop the truck I remember looking down at the brake and it wouldn't stop, it wouldn't even slow down. I then woke up.

This morning I dreamt I was driving my little blue car that Jacob now drives. It was dark out, very dark. I had Savannah with me but she was older than she is now. I was on my way to take her to the babysitter prior to work as usual. I remember driving in the car and how smooth the ride felt. I saw myself from above driving through the kitchen in our church - it was pitch black and all I could see was the car driving through all the folding chairs there. Then I was no longer looking from above, I was in the car and as I was driving I turned my head to the right as if to look behind me when I told myself to slow down, that there was a cop I had just passed. As I slowed down a voice told me not to worry about being pulled over, that "He" knew I was being careful. I felt joy at that moment. Then I turned a corner where I saw the babysitter's face (this is the same lady I mentioned above that has become my friend over the past few years) but it wasn't her, it was her face but her image was more of a spirit form of a different person that I don't know. And just as fast as I saw her face it disappeared. I then found myself in "a" church kitchen with a good friend from church, where she was preparing a pork roast for a potluck we were having that day. It felt like it was to be a potluck for work (cause in my dream I am on my way to work), but yet it was actually for a church congregation. The kitchen we were in reminded me of the same as the one we have in the church now, yet different and new. As I turned to use the kitchen sink and excused myself from getting out of her way, I remember the counter top of the kitchen being exactly the same as the kitchen of the church we have now but then when I glanced to the left the kitchen was not the same. She didn't say anything to me and just smiled as she went on her way with getting the roast in the crock pot. There were many other people there to her side. I didn't see their faces, but there was a group and they were all working together. I then remember looking behind me at Savannah who was standing near a fridge waiting for me to get her a drink of milk in her "sippy cup" to have before I dropped her off at the babysitters, and behind her was the dark area where the folding chairs were and it looked just like our old dining area of the kitchen of the Calvary. I then remember thinking I needed to get to work now and it was then that I woke up.

I shared this dream with Charlie as I have all the other dreams where I cannot stop the truck, and as I was expecting him to think I was being silly it was then that I saw him overcome the spirit as it did me. It was an awesome experience.

The dream I had today is representation of my life that today is finally and truly being led by His spirit and the prospective change for what may lie ahead in the future for myself, Savannah, and for the church we attend. It shows me that with prayer the ride will be smooth and our destination will be celebrated. But that we must continue to work for it and to have faith.

I praise God for prayer and His work as he is the potter and we are the clay. That he has a plan for us and we can never know what is in store. That great things are to come from Him and that if we continue in prayer we will know His will. I am even more now than before in so much wonder to know what the future holds for us and for Calvary. I just pray.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas spirit!

I just love having the Christmas spirit fulfilled within me. I am really looking forward to the new things happening this year versus years past:

Savannah is more aware of what is going on and shows so much excitement. She is so excited to place each gift so carefully under the tree. She also loves to sing Christmas songs next to the tree while we are all watching and cheering her on. Each day when I remind her that she needs to take a chocolate out of her advent calendar she is so excited to run and get it and bring it to me to help her find the next day.

Charlie will be performing with the praise & worship team at the Christmas Eve service at our church. We took a break from church for a while and are now back and attending. I am never sure why we (I) quit going in the first place since I feel so much more joy and fulfillment when attending than while not. He will be playing piano, bass, and/or singing. I'm not for sure yet what he will be doing, but he will be great at it! (For those in my family that are LDS and/or do not understand what praise & worship is like I didn't, it is not people shouting out "Hallelujahs" and yelling loudly and raising their arms up and down violently. We simply express our praise to God using musical instruments of all sorts and we stand and sing with the group that is performing the music. The spirit does lead us to clap our hands or raise our hands to God and it is awesome - you feel alive and alive in Him. The church we attend is a non-denomitation church for Christians to gather and fellowship to praise Him and spread the Good News.)

Every year, we are asked to create an ornament for the Jesse tree at church, when others brought up their ornament, Savannah's eyes just lit up and said, "We need to make ours!" So this year to see Savannah's desire to do this is such a neat experience that I am looking forward to starting this week on getting our ornament done to she what she and Jake (and myself) learn!

This year I get to sit next to my husband during the sermons, until January that is. (I will be teaching the kindergartners Sunday school starting then...) In years past he was running the sound board so I didn't ever really get to sit next to him. It is funny that it means so much me to just sit next to him to hear the message, but it does. It's a feeling of partnership that I have had with no one else. I cherish it.
So about that job thing? Well after pondering on it all week and reminding myself that I prayed to God about leaving my last job, that I wanted something more, that if I was going to spend time away from Savannah at home to be working, that it must serve some purpose other than salary and great benefits. This past week I am reminded that my prayer had been answered...that duh, hello? I asked for this. I wanted to be put out of my comfort zone so that I may grow, I want my time to be spent meaningfully. I may not see the reward now or have the confidence that I am or can make a difference in other people's lives, but it will come.

It's funny cause Mondays are the worst, the beginning of the week I am leery and do not get a feel for the job, but by the end of the week I usually find I am doing better and have a better focus on it. Why is that? Maybe the three day weekends I don't know, but it's true. So for now I will only ask for His guidance to get me through the day one day at a time so that I may be led to perform the job I have been asked to do.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Having second thoughts...

On my new position that is. I am wondering how a person can already be burned out from her job after only accepting it 2 1/2 months ago. I realize this working one on one with people and counseling them would be hard and a challenge for me, but I am concerned though that maybe it isn't for me and may never be for me. I am finding that I am tired of people and their problems already. I find I do not enjoy working like I have previously even in comparison to issuing food stamps and Medicaid this feeling has even changed. When I was just issuing benefits, it was easier as I didn't get involved in their lives. Now I am entwined in such a different way.

Do I give it more time knowing that this is a new position or do I talk to my boss about it and see how he feels and ask for some advice? At what point will I know whether or not this is the job for me? Is it because of the holidays that I am lacking the desire to work? I know the answer all too well is to give it time, that once I learn better what I am doing and become effecient at it I will like it better. But even if I know what I am doing better the people and their problems will not go away.

I got a job announcement for a Financial Analyst III with the State Hospital, it sounds mind numbing, but it would be a promotion and not involve working with people and their problems, just numbers. That's it. Sounds too easy. Drawback is that this would be with a new agency and my goal was to retire with Workforce Services, I have a dedication to them I guess.

What is your opinion?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Getting excited!

I am ready to celebrate Christmas. After spending time during a great Thanksgiving and recent wedding with family and remembering our blessings I look forward to more. This time of year is good for that. Last night when we turned on the lights that were hung on the porch I was reminded of the light He gives us when we are lost. The lights resemble this to me more than ever. I also saw a beautiful nativity scene this morning on the way to work. It always brings me warmth and peace when I gaze upon it. After reading Jamie's blog, "Blogging with Ida," I am also reminded of this meaning of Christmas and am inspired to teach Savannah about it as well and to set aside all the commercialism she is exposed to. I hope she will understand and learn it in her heart too.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Was the yum!

Had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family. Why do I always forget to shoot a pic of the turkey before it is carved? It happens every year. Oh well.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

My Health - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#1 - I am thankful for having my health. Well of course I could be healthier, duh, but I could be worse too. I work with a lot of people who have many health conditions, physical and mental. I can relate to some of the mental issues they are having, but not in a sense of being permanently ill as they are. So many have illnesses that cause them pain and discomfort every day. And here I complain about one little ache or pain.

I am grateful to be alive and able to experience sight, sound, taste, and smell. The body is amazing in all that it does. It is good to feel alive and I guess that is why I really think getting rid of my bad habits is important.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Grandparents - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#2 - I am grateful to have had such wonderful grandparents. My grandma and grandpa were so admirable to me growing up as a child and up into my adulthood. My grandpa was very intelligent and studious. He didn't talk much to me, but you could tell he was wise.

My grandma was as sweet as ever and would always worry about others before herself. She would knit, paint, sew, and bake as grandmothers do. I miss going to Grandma's especially on Sundays after church. She was always such a positive role model for me and I still think of her almost daily.

My Country - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#3 - My country. I am thankful for living in the United States. That I have plenty of food to eat (you can't tell?), that I have a warm bed, that I have opportunity to grow, and that I have freedom.

I was watching TV last night when a commercial came on about abandoned and undernourished kids in Africa. I couldn't watch it. I had to close my eyes. I think of how hard it would be to be his mother, but what's worse is how hard it must have been for her to abandon her. The center for these kids is giving them a future. But where is she now? Did she do the best for her child then? I have it easy here. I am guilty of it.

With change underway I am thankful for what I do have and hope that it doesn't get taken away. For I don't take what I have now for granted.

The Holidays - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#4 The holidays. I am thankful for the holidays. It is always wonderful to find different things to celebrate and almost all of them are usually something we are thankful for, so Thanksgiving Day must be for everything else, right? Think about it:

Civil Rights Day
Valentine's Day
Easter Day
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Pioneer Day (Utah)
Labor Day
Veteran's Day
Christmas Day

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Faith - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#5 - My faith. I am thankful for my faith. As I was in women's Bible study last night I realized something. It wasn't me that got me through my tough times. It wasn't me that was successful at my job. It wasn't me at all. It was the Lord's spirit that led me.

I am thankful to have this gift in my life. For without it I wouldn't be where I am at today nor would I feel fulfilled. I can testify to so many promptings and miracles in my life because of my faith.

In a world like today and what is to come, I am very thankful for my faith. It only gets stronger every day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Brothers - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#6 - My brothers. I am thankful for my brothers. They are always so willing to help me at a moments notice. For example, for Thanksgiving I asked my mom if I could borrow her folding table and chairs. She and I can always rely on John to retrieve them wherever they be stashed. He is so kind to help me put them in my car. John is always very helpful.

Marty is great in that he will give me any advice I need on a car's maintenance. He is willing to work on my cars anytime I need and is so happy to do so. I wish he didn't live so far away.

Matt is the same, he also works on cars, but he helps me in so many other ways. This year he offered to give me tons of produce from his garden, fresh eggs from his chicken, and would be willing to put my lights on my house for Christmas if I let him.

If I ever do come across hard times again, I know I can always rely on my brothers to help me do the things I cannot do alone.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Dad - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#7 - My dad. I am thankful for my dad. He is gone now, but I am still very thankful each and every day for my dad. My dad was my hero. He was a hard working man and was there for me more than a daughter could ask her dad to be.

I have to admit that my dad wasn't always my hero. When I was young I was scared of him. I only remembered him disciplining me, giving me chores, or making me sit at the table to eat every bit of food on my plate. He was an alcoholic for what seemed a long time. I don't recall him being happy around us kids until I was much older but then again I have been known to not pay attention to details closely and tend to pay more attention to my emotions.

I loved my dad when I got to know him. I was an adult by this time and really felt close to him. I feel so sad that I couldn't have had more time to get to know him than I did. My dad died too young. It is sad to know that people who have sleep apnea as he did do not even know they have it. That stopping breathing in their sleep will kill them someday. It will kill them and hurt their loved ones.

I relied on my dad so much for moral support, even when I didn't know it. He would offer to go to court with me when I was going through my mental break and had the boys in foster care. He was there by my side to back me up yet he didn't say a word. He didn't need to.

I miss my dad. I am thankful I had him and that he was such a good example to me and the boys, that he was so hard working and loved to do the things he did. That he tried to hide his pain in his shoulder and knees and that he was unselfish enough to think of helping his kids with the settlement he was going to pursue all the while in pain after his surgery.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My Mom - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#8 - I am thankful for my mom. My mom has been with me through some pretty tough times. I was not the smartest kid and ended up in a lot of predicaments well into the age of 27. She has helped me through teen pregnancy, teen marriage, finishing my high school, my first childbirth, my divorce, my drug problems, my mental problems, and my financial problems. I created a lot of hard struggles that didn't allow for us to grow or bond as we had the potential to. She was there and that counted for a lot.

The best times with my mother are of my relationship with her as a kid - it reminds me of mine and Savannah's relationship today. Savannah's smile just lights up the room when she sees me and the same for me to her. I remember feeling that way about my mom when I was little too. I think it is such a great blessing to have the comfort in your heart knowing that such a special person called mom was the one that takes care of you.

My fondest memories of mom as a kid were the baking she did, the smell in the house, the music she'd play on the stereo, her button container, her shoes that I would try on endlessly. I loved her hair and how it was so pretty with curls. I remember her jewelry and her perfume. My mom would encourage me to dance in the dark to her music on the record and would watch me as I pretended I was a ballerina.

She encouraged me to take tap lessons one day and as I hid behind the couch from the person at the door, I remember her giving me the choice to make my own decision. I don't know why I was so scared, but the fact that she gave me the choice has helped me realize that I am an independent person. She gave me the choice to keep my baby when it was found that I was pregnant at age 16 too. She always gave me options to make my own decisions.

Mom doesn't always show her love in an affectionate way (neither do I) but I know she loves me and I am still her little girl. That's all that matters. I am glad that she is in my life and that I am in hers only now we don't seem to need each other much and I admit it feels like something is missing. I hope to be better at spending more time with her next year as a resolution because I am very thankful for my mom.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Pets - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#9 - My pets. I am thankful for Muffers, Bear, and Buddy. (The fish are fun to look at but they don't do a whole lot as far as for company.)

Muffers is so finicky. She only likes to eat, drink, sleep, purr, and associate with anyone if it's on her terms. She is a priss. She is so sweet though. She waits until the house is quiet and all the kids are in bed and then comes in and makes "muffins" on our bellies. She prefers her water freshly ran from the tap yet she loves to roll in the dirt, which is surprising cause when you go to pet her she acts as if she doesn't want your grubby hands touching clean fur.

Bear is dopey dog. He is a puppy so he will be a dopey dog for a while. But he is so fun loving, he also shows how concerned he is for everyone like dogs do. The other day Savannah bonked her head and was crying and he was there licking her foot all better. He is great for making sure my kitchen floor is spotless and he adds so much life to the house that when he is not around it just isn't the same. You can always expect Bear waiting at the door for your arrival.

Buddy is our little tabby boy. He has only been with us for 3 weeks. I can't say that I am thankful for his playing in my houseplant, but he is a kitten afterall. He is also very loveable, purrs loud, and sleeps by my head every night. He plays with everything especially at 5:00 in the morning. The other morning I found him sneaking some of my orange juice. Silly guy, I've never heard of cat drinking orange juice.

I am glad to have such cute little spirits to have around to make life more interesting. They love us too!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Dolly - Thanksgivng's 14 days of 14 blessings

#10 - "A Dolly." Savannah wanted to add to my list. Today she is thankful for a dolly. "Cause I like it." She likes the dolly with the puppies like her friend has. (This is odd cause everytime we see this doll in the store she doesn't ever seem like she is interested in it!)

There you have it. Savannah is thankful for a doll that she doesn't have. She wants it. I think she is confused with her wish list for Santa and her Thanksgiving list. Oh to be a kid again!

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Sisters - Thanksgivng's 14 days of 14 blessings

#11 - I am thankful for my sisters. My sisters have always been a large inspiration in my life. Each one has her own qualities that I admire and look up to. I am the youngest daughter in my family, so they have been my example ever since I can remember.

Tina - Tina is independent, generous, pretty, intelligent, and takes well care of herself and her family. It's hard to tell but I think she keeps a lot of her feelings inside and when she lets them out she doesn't let anything bother her. Tina knows what she wants and how to get it - she is emotionally strong. Tina is very mature, outgoing, and always trying new things. Even to this day I find I still want to be more like her "when I grow up."

As a child I only remember Tina in her teen years. After all she is between 8 and 9 years older than I am. She didn't feel like my sister at all at that time though. I remember her getting ready for dates to go to the disco, her dress, her golden necklace and feathered hair. She was and still is always so beautiful. I remember sneaking in her room to look at her posters on her wall and her makeup whenever she wasn't home. She always brought cool friends like Kendra over who wore a cool neck band and feathered hair. They hung out in her room a lot and listened to Andy Gibb.

Tina is always inviting people to do things with her and she always insists on treating for everything. She is very generous in that she enjoys doing this so that a person like me can experience some of the greater things in life. Tina took my daughter and I to see Disney's Princesses on Ice earlier this year and we had so much fun thanks to her. Savannah will never forget going either. She still talks about it. I always have fun with Tina, no matter where we are.

Tina has inspired me to be better; to exercise and take care of my body before I get too old, to be financially stable, and to always go after my own dreams.

Monica - Monica is sweet, gentle, kind, and nurturing. Monica is always positive about life and loved ones and is very faithful to her spirituality. Monica loves homemaking and has always been a stable influence in my life. When I visit her today it feels like home. Home meaning the security and warmness that I felt as a child growing up; the smell of something baking, the kids doing chores, brothers and sisters in each room of the house, and family game playing.

When I was growing up, Monica was always quiet. I didn't know her much as she and I are also some 7 or 8 years apart. I did hang around her from time to time, usually when she was watching "Eight is Enough" and she would paint my nails during commercials. She had a cute stuffed kitty that wound up and had music play on it. After she left for school I would sneak in there and play with it. I remember her bed was always made too. She had posters of Shaun Cassidy and KC & the Sunshine Band.

To this day Monica has always spent a lot of time baking in the kitchen. I was little enough that I would climb up to sit on the bar and watch everything she did. She always gave me the egg beaters every time! I remember one summer day she took me for a ride on her metallic magenta bike with the white banana seat. I think I was sitting on the funny handlebars while we rode through the trailer court down the street from us. It was funny that the only part of our conversation I remember was when she asked me what I smelled as we rode by someone with a cigarette. All I remember was saying that it smelled like Lagoon - an amusement park in Salt Lake City that Dad would take us to each year. I guess I didn't know what a cigarette was. I just knew where I had smelled the smell for the first time.

Monica inspires me to be positive, to believe in others, and to have a full heart for everything I do in life. She encourages me to run my house as a "home" and to be faithful to my spiritual beliefs to remain calm in spirit to be content like she is.

Jennifer - Jennifer is smart, independent, and naturally healthy. In addition, she is well organized, proactive, and very assertive. Jennifer and I are closest in age, about 3 1/2 years difference. She and I have a friend relationship and are close in that we shared bedrooms growing up. Jennifer has always been a good example to me for as long as I can remember. She has always had high standards of herself and excels to be different from everyone which makes her so unique. I have always admired that about her and have been influenced to really let others know of my opinion and not be persuaded by the majority.

My fondest memories of Jennifer are when we would play Wonder Woman together. I remember watching Sunday television with her as we both loved Shirley Temple and Little House on the Prarie. I loved playing "girations" with her in the front room and being hyper with her. Jennifer used to climb up the hallway with her monkey hands and clammy feet. Sometimes we would dress up in frilly slips and pretend we were ballet dancers.

In my eyes, Jennifer was the most popular one in her school. She was in the drill team, the marching band, and all the while working and hanging out with friends. I thought I was so cool to have her for my sister and would show off to my friends all the pictures she had in the yearbook. She also had the cutest clothes and still does.

Jennifer has taught me to strive to be better, she has been a good listener whenever I've needed an ear. She has created a desire in me to learn how to become a diverse and unique indiviual so that I may stand out among the rest.

I am so appreciative that I have such wonderful sisters to share my life with.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Kids - Thanksgivng's 14 days of 14 blessings

#12 - I am thankful for my kids. My kids bring joy to my life that no one else can. They have been with me through thick and thin and are always there to listen to me when no one else is. Without my kids I probably wouldn't be where I am today.

About 9 years ago I had become mentally ill. This was due to going through a 2 year long struggle with trying to find my identity without my husband who had left me. I didn't seek counseling as I should have and let myself get involved with drugs as a means to cope and still spent time with my ex that I thought would be beneficial for our relationship.

Well I snapped one day. I am sure this had traumatized my boys to no end with the things I did while in la la land. It hurts my heard to remember those times and to think of what they must have been feeling. I put them through hell. I left Jacob at the park thinking that angels told me to, that he would be better off there, that if I sacrificed him, God would take him and I would be a better mother for it. For Michael I thought I was supposed to take him on a ride with me and that white cars were guiding us on the street who we were supposed to learn from, that the cars contained guardians and messengers. So I hit one of them purposefully thinking that was what I was supposed to do. The older couple that got ouf of the car that I hit looked like guardian angels to me and when they asked if we were alright they were there to help us and to guide us home.

Crazy wasn't I? Psychosis and severe depression was the diagnosis the doctor gave me. I didn't even know what was going on. It was a mess. I am lucky to not have killed my kids or hurt them thank God. After I went to the mental ward at the hospital, I was sane enough to let the authorities know not to let them stay with their dad while I was there as he was a drug dealer. That same day, I hate to think of their poor little hearts getting broken when the Child Services took them away and put in a good foster home.

To this day I ask them how they felt at that time, if they were scared and all, but they weren't. I think what I had done had scared them enough and they probably blocked out a lot of the emotional pain from those two years in general I guess. Poor guys. I wish I could go back in time and had done things right.

Had I not had those two little boys I probably never would have even strived to be a better person. When I got out of the psych ward I wasn't able to get them back in my custody right away, so I took the opportunity to work on getting my head back and my emotions stable so that when they did come back I would be the best mom I'd ever been.

To my surprise it worked better than I had planned. I was doing so well in counseling, taking my medication as I should have, and best of all had self worth and knew who I was and how to get it. I learned that only I was in control of my emotions, that no one else discerned how I would feel. Yes they can affect me and how I feel, but it was up to me to react with my own emotions.

Three months later after visiting with the boys weekly and keeping as much contact with them as I was allowed, I went to court thinking it was just a followup appointment. Little did Iknow I would be awarded them back! Moving from her last case of disgust and cold hearted news to the defendants the judge had transformed into a warm and inviting person and had asked me, "Your have progressed so well and deserve to have these kids back. I have seen so many cases in my career, but what makes you so different?" I couldn't answer other than I loved those kids and wanted to be back with them. My life was not my own without them. Didn't all parents feel that way?

I had Michael at age 17 and Jacob at age 19 and was just a kid myself. I have never known any other way than to take care of these boys the best I knew how and to love them. Had they not been my purpose for getting a stable life back in order I don't know where I would be today.

Savannah has also become a great joy in my life. She lifts my spirit every moment! Of course children at that age are so young and innocent. They are naive and see the world in such a different way. She is the spitting image of me when I was her age and sometimes reminds me to see life through a child's eye again.

Savannah helps me to remember God. I want her to be influenced in ways that I wasn't and to really understand who God is rather than what others tell her. I want her to develop a relationship with Him and to be a well rounded individual who knows her self worth. I hope to accomplish this but without having a strong relationship of my own with God, it will be difficult. I am learning myself still of who I am in His eyes and my purpose here on earth and with that I feel the urge to cut out a lot of bad habits that I recently elaborated to you about. To get closer to God and to be truly happy, I really need to do my best and learn from my convictions.

I am working hard to be a good example to Savannah, for which I appreciate her as my daughter. Without her as this reason I might not have something to strive so hard for at this time in my life. Michael and Jacob are their own person now, age 19 and 17 I think they are some influence from me but are set out to find their own ways with their own decisions and thoughts. I miss having them home like I did a few years ago, they were always so helpful around the house and enjoyed being with me when I needed them to the most.

I am very grateful for my kids, those three little lights that shine in my heart. They provide so much life, laughter, and love to me as only a mother could know.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Husband - Thanksgivng's 14 days of 14 blessings

#13 - I am thankful for my husband. My husband came to me as a result of prayer. Maybe his prayer, maybe mine, maybe both. I had maintained happiness and self sufficiency living as a single mom for a couple of years when he and I met. I never dated or really went out nor did I had the desire to. I admit I would get lonely off and on but in no way was ready to get near a relationship and so I stayed away from meeting new people all together. Probably not the best way but I figured I had enough of a social life during going through my divorce that I had plenty for a while. And if you know me I'm not a social butterfly to begin with.

After being financially stable for a while, I decided to make one of my first major purchases. It was a computer that was built by a good friend. I always wanted a computer and was so excited. Shortly thereafter I enrolled in college to finish working on my degree I had started 4 years prior. I thought it would be good that I could access online courses after coming home from work and still be with my boys. I would stay up late off and on doing homework and sometimes messed around on to amuse myself. It was August and after a long night I decided to register and visit MSN Chat just for the fun of it to see what it was all about. No sooner than I had done this, Charlie had messaged me telling me he liked my picture. Given all the slum I got from the other umpteen people at the moment I logged on, I didn't think anything of it and thought "Oh great, another one trying to get me to come to look at their web cam or something stupid." When I replied to him, after looking at his profile of course, I told him "Thanks" but didn't believe he was being serious. I looked at his profile over and over thinking to myself that he is probably just a regular guy, but I wasn't adamant about finding out either.

Charlie wouldn't actually converse with me online at that point, he would simply type lyrics to songs and add note emoticons to show that he was "singing" to me. I thought it was cute but didn't get why he continued this way. I thought it was odd that he wasn't trying to get answers from me regarding stupid questions that dealt with my fantasies or something. Nothing was really progressing at that point to keep me interested so when it got pretty late I logged off. I mentally logged his user name "Senti-Chaz" in my head in case I ran across him again if I were ever to log back in the future.

About a week later I got bored and logged on the chat site again. To my surprise I found him online again. I decided I didn't really want to talk to anyone else, they were so boring and fake. So I messaged him and reminded him of our meeting from the last time. He remembered me. This time we started to get to know each other. One of his first questions was if I was an online gamer for Ultima Online and of course I gave him a big fat no and "what is UO?". At that point I didn't think he was interested in me any longer but I was wrong. We conversed about our jobs, our interests in music and the crazy stuff we've done in the past and ended up moving to each other's MSN Messenger favorites list. Our relationship then existed online after work and in between my school work every day and all weekends. I don't even remember what we talked about but it was everything past, future, present, and then some.

It was cool. Of course I thought it was odd that he didn't have a home phone and he put it bluntly that he never had a need for one. This I found interesting in that he was somewhat of a recluse, the same as me but I admit I also worried that he secretly was living in his mother's basement and smoking dope out on their back porch when they weren't home. Or that he was terrible with money and couldn't get a phone in his name. But I was wrong. His profile was 100% accurate - "What you see is what you get" as his motto was stated. Looking back it was neat that he would call me from a pay phone from the gas station down the street from his apartment until his phone was hooked up.

I was pretty excited as time went on to find out that we had so many of the same dreams and values and best of all he has a desire to be close with God just as I have and I never knew that a man like that really existed. I love that he can go to a play with me one night and to karaoke the next. That he can switch the radio dial from AC DC to classical to the old country my dad listened to. And that he knows each performer's name, the song, and date that the music came from. I love that he can relate to me, that he knows from his own experiences of what it's like to "self medicate" or what it's like to feel like a loner or outsider. We really connect more than anyone knows.

Like I said in the beginning, I did pray for him - in that a couple of months prior to meeting him, I asked God that if I do find a man, that he be involved in "church" in some way or fashion. I didn't specify in my prayer of how this man would be participating in or what type of church and figured God knew what I meant as He knows me. I knew I had made bad choices in the past with men that have no value system at all, nor did I ever realize what I desired in a man until now. During the last 6 years with Charlie I still believe he was "hand picked" for me and I for him. God knew we had a need for each other.

Charlie is genuinely talented with a gift of a voice that I have never heard before. I love to hear him sing. Being in a former band as the lead singer and pianist, I found him often writing songs for me when he was still living in Wyoming. He'd spend his thoughts doing this while he would work and said that I was his inspiration. After moving to Utah he struggled off and on with finding a band where he could express himself and continue to utilize his talents. There were a few, but they didn't last. He eventually realized he was too old for spending his weekends up practicing in garages or basements with dope heads. So he thought if he found a Christian band it be more worthwhile for what he wanted to do and why. After getting to know the band, he found the people there did not have the same desire for creating new found music and lyrics to express his emotions to God.

After Charlie received many prompts from God over and over to go to church, we started to go to a nearby fellowship group for services. Being raised LDS I have only experienced church services that were dogmatic with very little stimulation so I instantly realized I would be exposed to a whole new way of worshiping. I wasn't sure about it all but trusted Charlie and the fact that it was a non-denominational group encouraged me to know there would be no pressure to "join" or to cult with them as if that was their only challenge or lot in life. The church had a small worship team and Charlie felt it was a place where we were put for a reason. To put it in the words God spoke to him, "Grow where you are planted." Since that first day, he has helped the worship team off and on with sound and filling in here and there by guitar or piano. He has learned that if he is patient, there is potential for growth when the time comes for him to do more. I admit that we had some personality conflicts with others there and stopped going for a while but now are back in the game. Charlie doesn't feel led to go to different church and I feel the same way and hope I am encouraging for him to be patient this time around. Just recently he shared with me a beautiful song that he had written and kept in his head. It is amazing that he does all this without his piano by his side or a pad of paper to write the lyrics down. Amazing.

Life hasn't always been peachy with my music man though. We have our ups and downs. Our personalities usually compliment each other, his being more outgoing and creative, mine being more conservative and quiet. While he hyper focuses on life's events, I just soak them up and then wait to take action. Sometimes we have conflicts I admit and have had close encounters with separating but both realize that is not the answer. No matter how eccentric he can be the teddy bear inside that I fell in love with will always be there.

Charlie was there for me when my Grandma died, just 6 months after we had met. He was there when my Grandpa died 7 months later and again when my dad died 7 months after that. Had I been alone through these things I don't know that I would have gotten through like I did. I am still mourning my dad and Charlie is always there to listen to my tears and frustrations even if I can't explain exactly what I am feeling or why. He has also been there with my heartache with our runaway teenage son. our pet dog dying, and Savannah and her breathing spells. He was there when Savannah's elbow came out of the socket a couple of Thanksgivings ago. He comforted her as she cried in pain and he knew exactly what to do until we got to the ER. I on the other hand was helpless.

He's been there for the good things too - upgrade after upgrade on our house he has come up with most of the ideas and motivation to move forward on them. We shared in picking our trees, talking about roses, re-picking trees after our dog used them for a chew toy. He spent a lot of time teaching the boys all about installing a sprinkler system and how to hang dry wall. They loathed the lessons but someday they will use what he has taught them! He has shared and pursued his dream hobby with me as an aquarist and has taught me a lot from seeing his passion and his genuine interest in one of life's amazing miracles.

Charlie was there from the minute we found out we were expecting. He was there for every appointment and would meet up with me to attend prenatal class each week after work. He would rub my belly with lotion and rub my feet and back when I was in pain. He would harvest my every craving at a moments notice. He read Green Eggs & Ham to my belly and keep his head close to it at night. He was there emotionally and physically. He was also genuinely concerned. One of his worries was of the baby going through labor and be subjected to medication from the epidural. I never really thought before to try to go through labor without medication so the baby would be alert and awake when she was born. And after we talked about it, I realized it was something important to him and therefore became important to me as well. He encouraged me to go natural and I did! It was an experience I'll never forget and am glad I had it. I still remember his loving and worried face there in my view - the only thing I could focus on while in my worst pain. I cannot explain the bond that I felt with him at that moment and at the moment when she finally arrived. He is such a good dad to this day too. He is involved with her and interacts with her every day - something that Michael and Jacob never knew existed. Her favorite time with Dad is when he plays dive bomb on the bed with her. She just loves it when he carries her around like a "sack of 'tatoes." She loves to play hide and seek with him when he gets home from work. It just brings me so much joy to me to share this love for a child with him.

Charlie is also an innovative chef always experimenting and trying new things. He has introduced so many new recipes and foods in our home that the boys and I never knew could exist. I love seafood now and have learned so much from Charlie on how to cook. I now know how to taste the spices in food and identify them and most of all how to host a good party where everyone leaves full. I have yet to learn how to put them all together the way he does.

I am really thankful to share my life with someone as talented and diverse natured as my husband is.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Job - Thanksgivng's 14 days of 14 blessings

#14 - I am thankful for my job. My job I have now has been the most consistent positive influence for me in my life thus far. I started my job 8 1/2 years ago as a single mother/customer who was receiving food stamps and Medicaid that needed some job skills and fast. My ex-husband had just left me two years prior just after I had started college to get my accounting degree. After winning a two year battle with depression and identity issues including self medication to cope with the loss - I decided it was finally time to become self sufficient and finish what I started. I went to DWS, Department of Workforce Services, to receive help. Part of the financial program assistance I applied for requires an employment plan to help get people like me make goals to achieve employment in a job that could grow economically or to help them get the skills necessary to find such employment.

I expressed to my counselor my interest in accounting - that I have been interested to work in the field since high school. The counselor immediately thought of an option for me to better myself through a worksite learning experience. There was a couple positions short at the time on their own administration staff so they were able to place me as an unpaid intern to help them out. I remember my mom thought I was crazy to want to work for free. I guess at the time she didn't realize that in my mind I was not worrying about the money since I had great support from my family and really wanted to focus on getting some skills while I had the time. I guess you could say I was looking to the future and taking all the advice from DWS staff that they gave me, after all they were in this business a lot longer than I was.

I was nervous but excited! I was really going to work in an office setting and was there just to learn rather than work at some call center or sewing factory just to try to make ends meet. I started out with basic filing and coding the accounts payable documents along with tasks to help others on the team with imaging and copying for the Regional Director's secretary. These duties of course got old, but as usual I would always ask plenty of questions to keep myself occupied. Before I knew it an actual opening came up and I was offered a position as an accounting technician. I remember thinking to myself I was finally "important" and that I did it all on my own. Working for the government became a great way for me to support my kids as well - the benefits are awesome!

Since then many more opportunities have come further up the ladder. I had proved myself to be a quick learner having great organizational skills. Eventually I became a state financial analyst but after a couple of years working at the state level, my job became mundane and boring due to less empowerment given by management to their staff. There was no creativity or ownership for me working at that level so I decided to move back to the region. To do this I would need to become an eligibility caseworker - issuing food stamps, Medicaid, child care, and financial assistance to the public all the while helping the office I worked for to conduct a pilot for the new database management system that will be moving to production next year.

About a month and a half ago, one of the supervisors in my office hand chose me to be their new employment counselor specializing in SSI Navigation. While I was flattered I knew I'd need to have the desire to get out of my comfort zone. Sure I am organized and a quick learner, but I have always needed to improve my social skills. Well here was my chance. He hand chose me for a reason, I took the job and have decided to do my best at it. I wasn't sure at first that I liked it but each day has become easier and easier and I am finding that I am starting to genuinely care for people, that working with them directly rather than on the phone as I have in the past is very rewarding. To see them smile and to help them the way I can makes my job much more worthwhile.

It's funny how life opens doors that you never knew you had a desire to enter into and once you do, you find you are right where you belong.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gobble Til You Wobble!

Can I just say that thinking of the Thanksgiving menu and planning for it just makes me sooo hungry!? The food is great but what is even better is that it is a good excuse to get with family members. I can never get enough of that.

I am so excited for the holidays to come this year. Which is surprising. I usually am somewhat excited and anticipate everything to be mediocre. Maybe this is because I know how depressed I can get when it's all over, I dunno. But this year I don't care what I feel later, I am more concerned with how I feel in the moment. I guess I am in good spirits and have hope for good cheer. Starting to sound like a Hallmark card, aren't I?

My sister Monica and her family are coming to my house this year, last year she had us at hers. I am looking forward to her various pies she makes -the crust is always made from scratch! And it is always good to see her friendly face.

We have some friends who love to fry their turkey each year and when they asked us if were going to fry ours I thought they were kidding! I just can't bear to do it. We both love the traditional meal that must include my apple cider stuffing and gravy made with drippings - you can't get that with a fried turkey. I guess if you have a large enough party and needed two turkeys you would do it both ways, just like my brother Matt and his family do.

Some people I've known in the past make all kinds of food, even spaghetti. Blah! Ick! I just love the traditional stuff. I always like a relish tray full of pickles, olives, and other fresh veggies to munch on while the sweet smell of the bird lingers in the air. I am definatlely making Jennifer's (my sister) recipe she gave me a few years ago for candied yams, Charlie's wonderful smashed potatoes, fresh rolls, and this year we are looking for a new vegetable to serve. Charlie says his mom has a killer green bean casserole recipe that he remembers as a kid. We'll somehow try to replicate it or procure it from her as it must be on the menu!

Not sure if Monica and I will do homemade cranberries this year. She and I are the only ones that like them and at a small portion. I'm sure there is a use for leftovers that some of you all can share with me? Also it would be great to hear from you of what your favorite dishes for Thanksgiving are that have become a tradition?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

So it's about time!!!

I know I know, I never write anymore. It's a good time for me to start up again. It is healing and helps me sort out my thoughts. I admit I have been lazy about doing this and have become a negative person. Think about it. When a person blogs they are usually blogging about the good things in life, the things that are positive. When they do this, a person can only tend to become positive them self. Who needs a counselor after all!? I don't. I just need to get my head back into this game.

I will admit to you that I had been feeling depressed. I have been letting myself go with this pattern of negative thinking and allowing myself to dwell on it. Drinking too often hasn't helped in fact I think it was the culprit. So I decided I would come out and admit that I have tendencies toward abuse rather than hide it. I told my mom, I told my husband (for which he already guessed), I told my son, I told my friend, and I decided to tell my doctor. Rather than lie and come across to him like I'm normal, I talked to him about it. He prescribed me some medicine that I had no idea was out there...this stuff helps those who are determined and have the desire to reduce their drinking habits. I have found that it is working. If I know that the beer in my hand will not do anything for me and make me feel worse (almost instantly) then I will have more willpower to not take that first sip at all. In the past I have self-medicated, so therefore I do not trust myself to this day. Makes no matter if my alcoholism began 10 years ago or not, I realize I will always have the tendency but the good thing is to nip it in the bud.

Now that I don't drink every night (granted I'm only referring to 3 or 4 beers a night) I notice that my mood is more stable. I feel more consistent and the guilt of drinking is no longer there as well. I have also done well in the last two months to not sneak smoking. I used to smoke a pack a day about 10 years ago, quit about 7 years ago and picked it back up a year ago. In my head I thought that one wouldn't hurt to smoke per day - well that progressed into a 5 a day habit. The only one that really knew how much I sneaked smoking was my friend and my mom. Others knew I was doing it off and on, but not the extent I was. Time to come clean and tell you all how bad I was being when no one was around- no matter how embarrassed I am by it and what I think you'll think of me. I am glad I no longer stink or depend on something so bad. To do this on an ongoing basis, I realize, will be a lifelong battle - both drinking and smoking. But what would be worse is battling the sickness later on in life that these habits will cause.

I MUST NOT LET IT WIN. I am just a walking self help book, aren't I?

People sometimes drink to hide their pain but for me I think it brings it out. It makes things worse for me by allowing me to forget about my thoughts rather than process them. My family may no longer be close, but they are all doing okay and alive - Michael may not be in the best place but he can only grow from this experience and has the chance to reflect on what he needs to do even if it takes him a few more tries - My job is no longer busy work, I have been given an opportunity to help others and have a real purpose for coming here. In fact I think my new job has really opened my eyes a lot to keeping my story a success just as it was 8 years ago when I started with this department - I think getting this new job happened for a reason - I will elaborate on my experience soon.

So now I choose to start my good habits again. Including blogging. My outlook on life and perspective changes when I do not have the gloominess lingering inside my mind. Telling people that I have these problems helps also, no matter how embarrassed I feel about myself for them, it helps. My husband and I have also started attending church services again. Things are getting better for me emotionally.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

New addition.

So we adopted a 4 month old kitten from LOST He's a sweetheart. His name is "Jefferson" but we are thinking of calling him Bud or Buddy cause it just fits I guess.

I have been wanting an orange tabby for a while, just cause it seems that you don't always see them around much and I would like to have something different than the others around me. He looked unhappy in the pet store, but when we took him out to play he was so lovey that we fell in love with him.

The first night he kept us up all night loving on us. He was a little scared to come out but during the night he was in need of attention I tell you. Savannah loves him and if she isn't careful she may just carry him around a little too much. He doesn't mind Bear at all, doesn't even get bothered that the dog is even there.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thank you for a great birthday!

It's been too long since I took the time to post anything and for that I am ashamed cause a lot has actually happened in the last few weeks.
Thank you Jacob for the cool treasure hunt for my birthday! You were so creative and tricky posting notes all around in the middle of the night for me to find. I loved it!
Thank you Monica for coming and spending some quality time with me! I'v been needing some of my family around!
Thank you to my husband for the beautiful card, cake, candles, and dinner oh - and long relaxing back rub!
Thank you to my mom for inviting me to a hilarious play and yummy candles.
Thank you to my brothers for all thinking of me and calling me.
It was a great birthday "month" this year. Seems like I was continuously celebrating. Even Michael colored a cute picture for me and sent it in the mail.
Normally I would have more pictures but wasn't sure if my camera was still working or not since the dog mangled it, but that's another story!

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Meet Witchy-Poo!
A little late in posting this, with my camera being chewed on by the dog (my fault) I thought it was toast so didn't take any pictures on Halloween, but I found that the display is the only thing not working and it still takes pictures!

Halloween was fun, I got up early to make chili for the crock pot, we made carmeled apples, chex mix, and corn muffins. Charlie's foot was sore that night from working so he stayed behind to hand out the candy but now realizes he should have only given the kids one piece rather than a handful. We were out by 7:00! I think he was just so flattered with all the compliments on our fish tank that he wasn't thinking straight.

Savannah enjoyed herself but it is funny how she has so much energy to play at home and yet when we run around to trick or treat she is pooped around the first block.

This year instead of asking people if she could come in their house, she would yell "Trick or treat smell my feet" when the door was opened.

Holidays just wouldn't be the same without kids!

Friday, October 03, 2008

My sister & me

So I skipped writing about this...I think I had read my sisters blog and thought for some reason I also wrote about it but then didn't. I dunno.

Anyway I went to visit my sister on Labor day weekend. Needed to get away and I don't get much time with any of my extended family anymore so I was craving to see her you could say.

When we arrived, she showed me some cool scrapbooking tips and later that night we saw Mama Mia, I loved it! She and I also made some good comfort food like we always do. Savannah and I spent the first night there and met up with Charlie the next day. Savannah was scared the first night and wanted to go home but the second night she was fine and cried when we left.

I am looking forward to her coming this weekend for my birthday. I enjoy spending time with my family, probably more than any of my other family does.

Something new to talk about...

Can you believe I skipped the full month September? Yeah, yeah, my husband's been getting on my case too to get something in blog too.

I have recently been offered a different job at work, I call it a promotion even though it is the same title and pay. I think of it this way because it is a much more personalized job. I will be working as an employment counselor for folks on the GA program, or general assistance. I simply meet with them once per month and ensure they are "participating" in the goals that we set together toward self sufficiency. The thing about this job is that it has an emphasis on working with people to help them get their social security approved. So I am an employment counselor/SSI Navigator. My caseload is basically people with disabilities that can't work and are looking to either get SSDI or SSI to help them out. The program we offer for cash assistance only lasts 2 years so they do have a limit and they know it and are more apt to stay on the ball with what they need to do to get the help they need before time runs out.

I feel pretty impressed with myself that I was chosen for this job, I mean I knew it opened but I didn't apply. I was actually approached by a supervisor and was told I was the best fit out of 45 others to choose from. They even had 70 people actually apply for it, but the chose me. Now that is flattering.

At first I was nervous of course, but after one week so far, I think I will really like what I'm doing. What's more is they are leaving me with some food stamp and medicaid cases so that I won't lose all my knowledge I've learned thus far. I like having ariety and feel like my job is "special," it's been a long time it seems since my job felt as rewarding. I find I am looking forward to what the future holds again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kids' interpretation of their parents language...oh and Fridays with no work!

So I have been telling myself this summer to post all the funny things Savannah has said so that I will never forget. Like the time we went to the lake with some friends and took their canoe. She would ask, "Can we ride the coccoon?" And then there was the time she promised she wouldn't wake daddy and would "tic-tac-toe" past the bedroom to get her toys. Oh and the time we mentioned we were thinking of going to the movies to see the Incredible Hulk? Well she thought we were going to see "Captain Hook."

I just love it. I still remember all the things Jake used to say too, like how he wanted to watch "Nugrats" and that he needed to do his "extrasize." And that he needed to do something "becunz" instead of because. Oh, and at the dinner table when he'd eaten his fill? It was always said, "I'm fold mommy."

Speaking of Jake and Savannah, school has started up again. Jake is now a junior in high school and Savannah will be in her second year of preschool with Miss Karen. She and I went to her assessment last Friday where she took many tests to get an idea of whether or not she retained most of what she learned last year. I think she did pretty darn well!

Oh did I forget to mention I have Fridays off now? Ch-yeah! Thanks to governor Huntsman the whole state government is taking the day off. Still adjusting I might add, but LOVE it. I have to admit it is hard to come back Monday, even harder than before. I really want to stay home all the more.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Boys will be boys...

So you'd think a 17 year old would have broke his hand a long time ago with all the playing boys do however Jake can officially say he has broken a bone now. I on the other hand can't. But I don't skateboard either. This is when the appreciation really comes for a good health insurance plan! Glad it was only his wrist bone and not his whole arm.

Silly kids, maybe tricks are for rabbits after all.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

5 Years...

(These pictures of us were taken prior to our meeting in 2002, they were the ones that were posted on our profiles from the the website where we met....and yes we both have gained weight!!!)

Not sure if you all knew how we met, but it was one night while surfing on MSN chat...well he started talking to me and told me how nice my picture was. Of course I immediately thought to myself, "Yeah sure, just another one of thos pervs out there..." Needless to say I wasn't much impressed with MSN Chat, there was a lot of garbabe. But this was my first time and as he continued his conversation with me I realized he was harmless.

So we talked online, on the phone, and through email for about 4 months before we actually met in person. The day we did meet time went so fast and I just felt so natural around him. It was odd for me since I have the tendency to want to either hide from new people or drink around them in order to feel comfortable with myself. I guess talking all that time I knew him emotionally and so it didn't bother me.

He was living in Wyoming and I still here in Utah where I always have been...I was glad we were as close as we were. After several visits between eachother we decided to just make life easier and so we moved him down here. My boys were alright with it and loved having someone around to tease and play with, so that is how it started, that is how we became a family...and here we are still today. Don't get me wrong, it hasn't always been easy. It is hard to learn to live with someone and yet that is the only way to really know someone, but we are still going strong.

So we celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary down in St George. We saw the musical, Les Misérables, wined and dined, and took a dip in the pool to cool off. It was a lot a fun. I would like to do more, but vacation time restraints at my job and our strict budget from our recent remodel, other home projects, and the hobby of marine aquatics, will not allow. Ahh but to enjoy some fun for a bit is only encouraging to me for what we can really do when time permits us in the future.

On the way there we stopped at Cove Fort, a historical viewpoint that is quite interesting and really makes you think about how life has changed. I would love to go back in time and live like a pioneer. Even though their life demanded so much hard work, I think they were very disciplined yet simple people that were much more genuine than a lot of folks that live today.

On the way home there is nothing better than to stop and get a bit of squeaky cheese. Pretty cool that such a little town as Beaver would have so many visitors here, but then again maybe it is a local hotspot for the community especially for the ice cream goodies in the mid day heat of the sun.

In 5 years Charlie and I have gone through a lot, good and bad...sure we were married in a quaint courtroom, but that doesn't make our commitment any less than those that marry with a big production. It was nice to get away from friends, work, and kids and just talk like we did when we met, just get to know each other on a different level again other than the mundanes of life and it's responsibilities. I don't think he always understands this and why I am always wanting to go out on more's like recreating ourselves and I hear it is one good part to keeping a relationship anew.

I can only wonder what the next 5 years will bring.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dog Days of Summer

Yep. They're here was only 103 yesterday. Weird thing though, the nights are still very cool.

Not much going on with us, we just try to keep busy and sane for the most part. Last weekend we visited one of the many Payson lakes, canoeing on the mirror-like water was relaxing and the pine trees were a sight for sore eyes. It seems I don't get out into the wilderness much now that Dad is gone, he used to be the leader of the pack when it came to getting the family out into the fresh air. I also drove by a rodeo the other day. *sigh* I miss him most in the summer. The fresh produce stands along the street only remind me of his garden and when I buy the tomatoes and corn there they will never taste the same. I look at my memories of him and realize too that I am quite lazy...why shouldn't I grow my own corn and tomatoes and pass on his example? Why do I have to wait until someone invites me to camp at a lake or drive up to the mountain for a picnic along side the river? I have compared myself many times next to my father and still do not like how I can be so idle in my daily life when he would spend hours doing these things and more in addition to working in a steel factory getting dirty every day and not getting paid what he was worth. Yet I don't do anything to make permanent changes. It was just who he was, I wish I had more of that in me is all.

I miss ya dad. I really do.

What's been going on at our house?

Well I'll show you!
Savannah at preschool graduation, Bear in his soon to be dog run, and the kids having fun at the Hogle Zoo...

Monday, June 09, 2008


So summer has come, luckily it's not gotten too hot in this desert as of yet. We have had a lot of precipitation and wind it seems. But you wait, as soon as I say this it will be just as soon for the dry heat.

We have finished our remodeling project (except one transitional piece to the hallway closet that I keep reminding my husband about and he seems to not take me seriously) and we have replaced the trees that were destroyed by vandals and dogs who have too much time on their hands and not a lot of brains. In fact we added an extra tree since we have the space, why not?

Now that the dog run is built, we were able to do some much needed landscaping in the back yard. We planted some colorful bushes along the back of our garage and put some wooden mulch down that I just love the smell of. On the side along the back by our bedroom we will plant some rose bushes. I am not sure how I will do at keeping them alive however, but I have to give it a shot. How can I deny having fresh roses avail at any time to my hearts desire?

In regards to the much neglected front landscaping, we are looking for a stone mason to complete our flower bed border. We have the brick, all we need is it put together with concrete. Charlie is not so sure he has the skill for this one (which is amazing cause he has been so overly over sure of himself on all the other projects) so we are looking to hire someone to do the masonry. Wouldn't you know it that we just happened to meet a neighbor who works with a local construction company? So it should be finally happening! Imagine after 5 years of living in this house, we are still doing construction. I am beginning to see the money we put in to complete the needed work is probably pretty comparable had we purchased a home already finished with no work needed. Only difference is this is much more fun though. Charlie and I love to debate and choose what we both like and are usually please with our end result. We also love to go shopping together.

We took Savannah to see the city's firework show over the weekend. She was scared of the loud noises and asked to go to the car. She was so funny how she was so amazed at the beautiful display. She would say things like, "I can't believe this is happening!" and then cover her eyes and say, "Tell me when it is over!"
Another reference she made to a quite large firework was, "That's a big fatty one!" It was so cute!

We had planned to go to the Zoo this past weekend, but Charlie was sick so the trip is postponed. After seeing her reaction to the fireworks I can't wait what this next year will bring. She is getting so much personality I just love it!

Jacob is currently working at an auto dealership as a lot boy. He loves getting to drive all the neat cars that come in and out of there, especially the ones that are sports cars. I almost never see him anymore and as a result am feeling the empty nest syndrome more and more as time goes by and I get older.

My job is going well. I have been taken off of edits which to me seems a little too soon since I have only been here for a couple of months working on actual cases. I must be doing something right I suppose. The job is quite stressful however and I find it hard to go home and wind down sometimes, especially after a day working directly with the public on the phone or at the front desk. I found that my old job with the finance division is so slow that they have no work at all, so this was a good move for me in the long run. I wonder what will happen to them however...

I hope you are all having a nice summer so far...I have yet to catch up! Enjoy!