Friday, November 14, 2014


The struggle is real. That's a phrase that kids (at least my kids) are throwing around these days.  This last little while it's been pretty true to life for me.

The struggle is real.

I have been struggling with a deep down sadness.  A feeling that is relatively foreign to me.  In general I am, or have been, a fairly upbeat, happy person and I have noticed over the past few years a steady decline in my outlook on life.  And I am unsure why.

I don't even really want to write about it but who knows, maybe it will help to put some of it out there.

Wednesday was a pretty low day.  We have been considering selling our house and moving to a larger home.  I had even begun packing up the "craft/junk" room.  We also had our house and a storage shed painted, and were looking to do some other "fix it up" projects in preparation to sell.

To be honest with you I never thought we would move.  I grew up a block and a half away from where we live now.  We did have plans to build on to our home when my mom moved in with us.  It looked like we would be adding on to our home fairly quickly and that would make things more comfortable for everyone.  We planned on installing a walk-in tub for my mom and I had "drawn up" some plans of what I felt would work to give us the extra space that we would need.  After getting excited about the prospect of this happening sooner rather than later, we found that financially it would be better for us to do it later rather than sooner.  Plans for an addition were pushed four years out.

I know that doesn't seem like a long time, four years, big deal!  But for me, it was. I have wanted to add on for a long time and Tyran never really was on board, finally he was.  Mom was moving in our house is small on space as it is.  I was very angry and sad and I cried.

It ended up being a good thing because we would have been in the middle of everything, or at least at the very beginning when my mom passed away.

With the death of my mom I felt something shift inside.  Something that said "It's time to move on." So I suggested to Ty that we look into buying something bigger instead of doing the addition. I was both excited and scared at this prospect, but more excited.  Our home isn't very large and I was looking forward to getting into a larger place. So were the kids (I haven't had the chance to tell them yet and I am not looking forward to it.)

It wasn't like we were thinking of moving far away.  We still wanted to stay in town so that the kids wouldn't have their lives totally disrupted. On Wednesday Ty messaged me saying that the price of our home on Zillow had dropped and had been dropping for some time and that he didn't think that we should move any time soon.

That message was so hard to read.  It felt like before with the pushing back of the timeline on the remodel.  Like I had been offered something amazing only to have it snatched away just as I reached for it.

And I feel guilty.  Guilty for feeling this way. Our home is a nice home and I am thankful for it.

And I miss my mom, she feels further away now.  And I miss my dad.  And I miss my sister.

And the holidays are coming up.  People are asking about family traditions and every time that discussion comes up my heart just breaks and the tears start to flow.

And there's just so much more going on that is too personal to really put out here.

 I feel so overwhelmed by every. little. thing.

Wednesday night was also our Relief Society Holiday dinner.  I was feeling pretty down heading to the dinner after getting the information about us not moving.  In fact, after the opening announcements I was trying to come up with a way to make an early exit in the most gracious way that I could so I wouldn't have a break down and have to leave in a flurry of tears. And then I was asked to give the closing prayer and I said yes.  Heaven knows why I said yes, but I did.

We had a wonderful speaker who spoke to us about being strong and positive and using our challenges to grow and learn.  She spoke to us about things that she had been through, breast cancer, a radical mastectomy loss of her husband's job, running for a council office and trying to push through some sensitive legislation.  All of these things combining at the same time for her "Perfect Storm".  As I sat and listened to her I knew what she was saying was good advice.  Wise words from someone who had been through her storm and come through the other side...

You are strong.
You can control your attitude.
You can choose to be happy.
It's takes more work to be miserable than it does to be joyful.
Be grateful for what you have.
Gratitude will make things easier.

I know all of these things, I try to practice all of these. On Wednesday, however, I felt that I was failing miserably at all of those things.  I said the closing prayer thanking Heavenly Father for the message that was shared and asking that we would be able to take it and bring it into our hearts and our lives. I helped with the clean up, drove home, got ready for bed and knelt down to pray and I cried.  Cried out to my Father in Heaven. Then I climbed into bed with my husband and he asked me what I was thinking.

All I could say, in between sobs, was that I was sad.  And that I felt guilty and ungrateful for feeling this way.

Thursday, wasn't as bad as Wednesday, although I was very tired and did not feel really well.  I came home from work, made dinner and went to my bed to pass out so I could drive Ty up to the airport later on that night.  He is in Florida for the next ten days.

Today is a little bit better.  I had the morning off work to take George to a Dr.'s appointment and so I went and played volleyball after I dropped him off at school.  I had a very real struggle even getting there.  There are so many things that need to be done at the house that I almost didn't go. Walking into that "craft/junk" room and not knowing where to begin putting things back gave me such anxiety that I almost crawled back into bed and pulled the covers over my head until it was time for me to go back into work.

I was struggling. Hard.  But I didn't give in. Even when I (still) couldn't find both of my knee pads, and even when I had to search a good ten minutes to find my workout pants (that almost sent me over the edge). I didn't give in.  I made it to play volleyball with a great group of strong women, who had no idea how much they helped me. And the sadness subsided for a couple of hours.  Though towards the end I could feel it working its way back to the surface.

I know that I am not alone in this.  Everyone of us has something in their lives that is a struggle.  It may be sadness, anxiety, loneliness, dealing with the loss of a loved one, illness, relationship problems, problems with children and a million and one other things.

And I guess I just want you to know that you are not alone. It does and will get better even if it seems like the "better" is infinitesimal, it is still "better".

It is a struggle.

And, as my daughter says...

The struggle is real.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Always and Forever

This post is about my mom dying.

And that makes it one of the most difficult things on earth to blog about but I know that it needs to be done. I need to get it out before the details get too fuzzy but I've been procrastinating.  I don't know why.  Maybe because if I write it all out that makes it all the more real?  Maybe yes.  Maybe no.  Maybe I just don't know why.

My mom was 77 and her health hadn't been the greatest this past winter.  She had battled with some pretty harsh medical issues that had left her feeling depressed and a little bit defeated.  On top of those things she had scoliosis and severe arthritis in her feet that made it difficult for her to walk for some time.  She was living in the house where I grew up and that sits on a half an acre. It was very difficult for her to take care of the house and the yard and even though my siblings and I live close by it was difficult for us to go over and help out with the yard as much as was needed.

My husband I approached my mom about selling her home and moving in with our family.  I told her that it would totally be up to her but to think about it and pray about it and we would love to have her come and live with us. The decision was made and she was able to move in with us on May 23.  She kind of lived in between the two houses for most of the time because we were trying to get her house cleaned out.

Mom brought with her the most amazing spirit.  I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to feel that in my home.  Her wit and humor.  Her unconditional love.  She seemed to be doing really well and feeling better than she had in a very long time.  She was out and about driving her car and visiting her kids and grand kids. She and I went to the Strawberry Day's Rodeo.  Things were looking really good.

And then she and Jillian and I caught colds just before the 4th of July. She was coughing and just wasn't feeling well in general. She didn't go right into the doctor because she wasn't sure if it was viral or what so she waited about a week.  She couldn't get in to see her regular doctor so I took her in to Urgent Care where my family goes.  We filled out all of the paper work, me asking her health questions and filling things out. When we went to the room to see the PA he wanted to do an X-Ray of her chest because he could here some crackling.  An X-Ray was done.  The PA came in and said that, yes it looked like she had pneumonia, but there was also something else.  It looked like her lungs had a bunch of fibers in there that had been stretched and pulled. My mom looked up and said "Oh.  I have Pulmonary Fibrosis."  I remembered her telling me something about that a few years back and looking it up online. Angie also remembers the doctor saying that this disease is what she would die from.  I remember reading that there was no treatment and there was no cure.  I also remember not being super concerned about it.  The doctors didn't seem too concerned and neither did mom when she told me, so I guess we had all put it out of our minds.

They gave mom a shot and put her on some antibiotics and sent us home.  That was July 3rd.  On Sunday July 6th mom said that she felt really short of breath, especially when she would get up to walk just down the hall or to move about the house.  I told her that we needed to take her to the hospital but she didn't want to go, so I told her I would take her to InstaCare and see what they had to say.  She agreed to that and she slowly got dressed.  Just getting herself dressed was very tiring.  At InstaCare before they took us in to see the doctor they measured her oxygen levels, which were at 88, and informed us there was nothing that they could do and we needed to take her to the hospital.  By the time I drove from Lindon to American Fork, maybe a 15-20 minute drive (because I had to drop McKenna off at home first) her oxygen levels had dropped to 85 and the triage nurse immediately started her on oxygen.  I called my sister Angie on the way to the hospital and she said she and Russ would meet me there.

The ER was pretty crazy and we had to wait a bit before they could take us back.  Once they  had us in a room in ER they put an IV in and took some blood and started her on some IV antibiotics and stuff to get her hydrated a bit more.  She was fine if she was laying down but she had to get up at all it was almost too much.  They did another X-Ray on her there and then we waited.  It was getting late so mom told me to tell Angie and Russ to head home.  After a while the doctor came in to tell us that her sodium levels were really low.  So low, in fact, that she needed to be admitted to the ICU. Mom was not happy about that.  In the ICU room the doctor asked me how many liters of oxygen she was on at home and I said "None, she isn't on oxygen at home."  Which seemed to surprise him.  He said that one of the side effects of Pulmonary Fibrosis is that your sodium levels drop.  He said that it would take some time for them to get her levels of sodium up safely because if you bring them up too quickly that can be bad.  Brad and Roger came and gave mom a blessing and she sent us all home.

Angie and I went back to the hospital the next day and they said that she was doing really well and that her sodium levels had come up much more quickly than expected and they were transferring her to a regular room.  I headed to work and Angie stayed with mom.  We thought she might be coming home later on that day but the doctor said that he wanted to keep her one more day.  Tuesday came and Angie went over the hospital again while I went to work.  I drove over there after work and sat with mom while she had dinner.  She was sitting up and talking and joking and enjoying her dinner. I left that night thinking that I would be bringing mom back home on Wednesday.

I went to work Wednesday morning and I sent a text to Angie about 9:30 to see how mom was doing. I got side tracked and didn't see that  she had sent three texts back asking me to call her.  I called and Angie told me that mom was really weak.  Weaker than before.  They had been talking about sending her to a rehab facility but decided against it because when mom had got up to use the bathroom her oxygen levels had dropped into the 60's even while she was on oxygen.  Angie was very worried so I sent an email to my supervisor asking if I could get off work and go over to the hospital to be with her.

When I got there Angie said that doctor, a Dr. Sires had pulled her aside and said "I don't mean to make you sad but this is terminal."  He was very kind.  I just wish I had been there with her so she didn't have to take in that news all by herself.

They had been giving mom breathing treatments to help her breath better off and on through the night and that morning.  As the day wore on we could tell that things were not getting better.  They had her on 9 liters of oxygen but they wouldn't up it any higher because he lungs just weren't absorbing any and her sats were sitting in the high 70's low 80's. My sweet niece who lives in Canada sent me a message on Facebook saying that she wanted to call and have her kids talk with Gramma Norma so I gave her the direct number to the room and she was able to call and mom was able to listen to those sweet kids and talk with them just a little bit.

With everything that was happening Angie and I decided that we needed to call a family meeting so we got on the phone and told all of the siblings and their spouses to meet up at mom's house at 8 p.m.  I asked mom if there was anything that she wanted me to relay to everybody at the meeting.  She told me to tell them that she loved them and to tell them to love one another.

Before we left the hospital there was a shift change of the nurses.  At this time I think I was still hoping that mom would somehow pull through and she would be able to go into a rehab facility. As we spoke with one of the nurses she pulled us aside into an office and I asked her flat out if she thought mom was going to recover. She was not very optimistic and she tried to be as kind as possible as she told us that in her experience when people got to the point where mom was they usually didn't.  We told her we were having a family meeting and asked if she thought we should tell family to come over and talk to mom.  She said that if it was her she would.  We informed her that we had a very large family and wondered if that would be a problem, without hesitation she said let them come over.  She told us that they didn't have specific visiting hours and as long as we were quiet and respectful of the other patients people could come and go at any time.

I left the hospital and drove to mom's house.  We all gathered together in the living room and we sat on folding chairs because the house had been emptied out getting it ready to sell. We had a prayer and I proceeded to tell them that it did not look good for mom.  I know that it came as quite the shock.  It still hadn't sunk in with me either.  I told them that they needed to get a hold of their kids and have them come over and tell Gramma Norma that they loved her.  I didn't tell them to have them come and say goodbye because I still wanted to believe that this wasn't going to be a goodbye.

When we returned to the hospital we found that they had put her on a different oxygen mask one that had a bag attached and this along with another breathing treatment had brought her SATs back up into the low 90's. Which was wonderful because when we told people to come, come they did.  The grandchildren and the great grandchildren all that could showed up.  The hallway outside of her room was lined with folding chairs that the hospital staff provided for us.  The chairs in the small waiting area at the end of the hallway would fill and empty.  Those who loved her came and surrounded her bed, gave her hugs and whispered I love you's.  My sweet nephew, AJ, came with his ukulele and played and softly sang for her "Over The Rainbow / What A Wonderful World" in his beautiful voice.  And mom was able to enjoy them all.  Our family came and went until about midnight.

Angie, her daughter Kailee, Ty and I all claimed chairs in the small waiting area at the end of the hallway while the nurses gave mom some meds to help her sleep.  At about 1 or 2 am I moved from the waiting area to the chair in mom's room next to her bed.  I wanted to see if her sats were still up hoping against hope that they were.  They weren't.  They had dropped into the 80's.

 I asked the nurse for a warm blanket and settled down in the chair.   I didn't sleep much, just fitfully dozed in the chair for a while.  I have always been able to use music to calm me thankfully I had my iphone the Pandora app and the hospital provides free wi-fi so I opened up Pandora as the music began to play it was if the playlist had been created just for me in that very moment.  The very first song that began to play was an piano instrumental of "Time To Say Goodbye" and it was then I knew for sure.  I knew that mom wouldn't be coming home.

As Wednesday slowly turned to Thursday we watched and waited.  My brother Andy and two of his sons were working on a job in Vernal, Utah and we were sending him texts keeping him updated.  He asked in the early hours of the morning if we really thought that he needed to come.

I went in and sat by mom's bed.  And I said "Hey mom, I think that there are people waiting to meet you on the other side." and she popped her head up and said "So soon?"  And I said, "I don't know.  Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe the doctor will tell us differently when he comes in." She answered with "Well, let's see what the dr. says."

I knew that mom did not want any extraordinary measures taken to prolong her life.  In fact we had just had conversations about it on Tuesday as I sat with her as she ate her dinner.  As we sat in the little waiting area that morning the breathing specialist came to speak with us.  I knew that the next step up from the current oxygen mask that they had on mom was a CPAP mask.  And that basically forces air into your lungs.  It is what they use before they intubate.  He asked if that was something that mom wanted and I told him that I wasn't sure.  He said that we needed to go and talk with mom and find out because before too long she would not be able to make that decision.

After that discussion with the breathing specialist the answer we sent to my brother was Yes, you need to come and you need to come quickly.  We also were trying to get word to mom's brother and her sister-in-law that if they wanted to come and say goodbye then they needed to come over quickly.

I then went back into mom's room and told her that they wanted to put her on the CPAP mask and asked her if that would be okay. She said yes she was willing to give it a try.  They put the mask on her and she was doing okay until she started to cough. (At this point she was coughing up phlegm and there was blood).  She took the mask off and said she couldn't keep it on because she needed to cough we put the other mask back on but her oxygen levels were falling.  The breathing specialist came in and asked why she didn't have the CPAP on and we explained about the coughing and he told us to just take it off when she coughed and then put it back on.

So we put the mask back on and I looked at mom and said "You realize that you aren't going to be with us for much longer, don't you?"  And she softly nodded her head yes.  I took her hand I told her what an amazing mother she was and how grateful I was that she was mine and I told her that I loved her.  I also asked her if she would like a blessing once Andy got there and she again, nodded yes.

A nurse came in and asked mom if there was anything that she would like and she said "Yes.  A Dr. Pepper." The nurse said that all they had was Mr. Pibb and would that be alright.  I told them that yes that would be fine so they got her a Mr. Pibb and we took the mask off and let her have a small sip before putting the mask back on.

The nurses came in to check on mom often and we discussed what would happen once my brother and his sons arrived.  That we would take the mask off put the small canula back on and give her some medicine to help her relax and be able to sleep.

Each of the family members were able to speak with her and tell her that they loved her, give her a hug and let her know what a wonderful mother she was.  Andy arrived and he and his sons gave her their words and hugs and love and then the siblings and the spouses gathered in the room and she was given a blessing.

She was ready. She wanted the mask taken off.  The CPAP was replaced with the canula and we let the nurse know that we were ready for the medicine that would help her to relax.  Her brother and his wife and my dad's sister and her husband both made it and were able to see mom and be there.

Her family gathered into the room around her.  I knelt by the side of her bed and held her hand and stroked her beautiful white hair.  And then I sang her a song.  "I Often Go Walking"

I often go walking in meadows of clover
and I gather armfuls of blossoms of blue.
I gather the blossoms the whole meadow over;
Dear Mother all flowers remind me of you.

And then the rest of the family joined together singing other songs, "Families Can Be Together Forever", being one of them. My husband retrieved his a small hymnbook that he had and began singing the hymn "Abide with Me; 'Tis Eventide" and we sang my mother to the other side. It was very reminiscent of saying goodbye to my dad just 6 short years ago.

My sweet nephew, Landon who lost his mom two years ago, came to mom's bedside and with his voice breaking told his grandma to give his mom a big hug from him and to tell her he loves her. Outside the window a grounds keeper for the hospital passed by with a weed eater going full force. Another family might have found this sound incredibly intrusive because it was quite loud.  For us it was a sign that our Dad was there.

Mom passed away on July 10, 2014 at 11:12.  It was peaceful and I feel unimaginably blessed to have been by the side of both of my parents as they have continued their journeys. Not everyone gets that chance and for that I am so grateful.

July 10 also happens to be my wedding anniversary.  Some of you may find this sad.  And at first I did too.  But then the thought came to me, and I am certain it was mom sending it, I get to share my earthly anniversary with my mom and dad's first anniversary of forever. 

I know that my mom lives on.  She went for a walk with me on the Friday morning after she died.  I got up early to go and started heading East to a walking trail that is in our town.  It felt wrong and an knew that I was supposed to be going West.  So I went around the block and as I came around the corner that started me heading in the western direction I saw the most beautiful full moon hanging in the sky.  A sight I would have missed if I had continued on my original trajectory. 

As I continue walking I knew that I was supposed to walk out to the Mt. Timpanogos temple.  Mom loved that place so very much.  I felt her with me that entire walk.  Mom loved walking and when I was younger her early morning walks were her sanctuary.  I saw her in a Peace Rose, her favorite flower.  She was there in the wildflowers and in the finches.  Someone had left a flag up in there yard and there was an apricot tree that was laden with apricots.  I walked to temple and then headed back home.  Mom was there. I could feel her spirit, vital and alive and young and beautiful.  I was tired and she wasn't.  She was ready for more. What an incredible experience.

I still feel mom very close.  That feeling has been a buffer for me in many ways.  A buffer for which I am eternally grateful because mom's death was very unexpected.  Her mom lived to be 99 and we kind of figured that mom would be around for many years more.  That was our plan.  But it wasn't THE plan.  THE plan was different than ours, as it usually is.  

I am grateful for that plan even though it takes unexpected twists and turns.  I am grateful for the knowledge that I will see my mom again.  And my dad and my sister and my grandparents and other family that have passed on will be there as well.

Mom is an incredible spirit.  Her love was, and is, unconditional. She is watching and guiding her children as best she can from where she is now.  I know this.  I feel her.  I know she loves me and my siblings with all her heart and soul.  

Always and Forever.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Because Of Him

This coming Sunday is Easter.  They day that we celebrate the resurrection of  Jesus Christ.  Take a moment to watch this video.

Because of Him I have the power to be forgiven.  And to forgive.  I can start all over again.
Some days it feels like I am taking the same step over and over and over again.  Trying to learn what I need to learn from that repetition.  I am so thankful for the chance I have to repeat things to learn and grow.

Because of Him I have peace.  I have knowledge that this life is not all there is.  That I will go on.  That I will be able to see those loved ones who have died.  I will be able to feel their arms wrapped around me and see their smiles, hear their laughter.

Because of Him I can be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend.

His love makes me want to improve and be better.

And He lives.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Struggles with Trust and Forgiveness

Trust.  Forgive.

Two powerful words. Two powerful ideas.  Two powerful emotions.

Two things that I struggle with...especially within a specific relationship in my life.

The trust just isn't there.  It hasn't just been shattered it's been ground down into sand and blown away. There may be a few grains that remain here and there, but by and large there is no trust.

Words come out of this person's mouth and I do not believe what is said.  So many untruths and lies have fallen from those lips that it doesn't occur to me that they might be speaking the truth.

I want to believe them. I want to trust that what they are saying is real. I reach for those grains that are left only to feel them slipping through my fingers as my trust issues come raging forward like a whirlwind to whisk them away.

And then I feel guilty.  Guilty because I don't believe them.

Then comes the anger because it's not my fault that they lied.  It's not my fault that their actions over years and years and years and years AND YEARS have eroded that trust and their actions continue to sweep away whatever minute amount is left.

There are mitigating factors.  Oh yes there are.  And I work really hard at viewing those mitigating factors to put things into perspective to help me work towards that second word.


Have I extended forgiveness to them?

I ask myself this question on a regular basis.

If I have forgiven them then shouldn't trust come more easily?  Is that trust then restored because of the forgiveness?

I don't know.  I don't feel like that is the way it goes down.  I truly don't.  They haven't changed.  I am the one who has changed.  Not them.  They are still going about their lives exactly as before.

It's kind of a cycle.  They tell me something I want to trust them but then things just don't add up. And it's strange how that happens more often than not.  Then comes the trust issues, the doubt, the remembrance of all the lies that have been told before, the mitigating circumstances come into play and I try to remember them.   I get angry.  I get sad.  I feel beaten down.

I try to forgive.
But I really don't know if I have.

I often think of the stories of the Prodigal's Son and of Joseph who was sold into Egypt.  Both great stories of forgiveness. Wonderful stories.  Partial stories.  We don't know what happened after the great feast that was held at the return of the son.  Did he straighten out his life and stay on to help his father and his brother? Did he work to rebuild that trust that had been broken?  Was he truly repentant or was he just saying what his father wanted to hear because he had nowhere else to go?  Did Joseph ever truly trust his brothers again? Was he afraid to be around them?  Was he able to forgive them completely?

These are questions that I ponder as I struggle with trust and forgiveness.

Monday, March 17, 2014

New Calling and a Birthday Shout Out

Last week we got a call from the ward secretary telling us that the bishop wanted to come to our house and talk to us.  Which isn't in and of itself weird...except it is.  When you are asked to meet with the bishop it's typically in his office at the meeting house, he doesn't come to your house.  So, yeah, it was a bit strange.

We weren't quite sure what it was that the bishop wanted to meet with us about.  Well Ty wasn't.  I was pretty sure what was going to go down.  I just didn't know which part of the deep end I was going to be thrown in.  

Our ward Relief Society presidency has been serving for four years now.  And our president had actually been in the previous presidency for three years as the secretary so I knew that a change was coming. Thoughts of this kept coming to my mind. I could feel that I might play a part in this change and in a conversation with my Heavenly Father I told Him that I could feel this.  I also told Him that if this was where I was supposed to serve then I would do so willingly and with a happy heart.

I have never served in a Relief Society calling before.  I have served multiple times in the Young Women's and Primary organizations but not in Relief Society.  

So when the bishop showed up on our doorstep Thursday night I was pretty sure why, but like I said I didn't know if I would be called as the president or what.  I was extended the call to be the Relief Society secretary.  When those words came out of the bishop's mouth I was highly relieved and nervous at the same time.  I was told that Nan Atwood was going to be the President but they couldn't tell me the counselors names because they hadn't extended the callings to either of them.  

I tried calling Nan on Saturday but I couldn't get a hold of her.  Sunday came around and I went to an early morning choir practice.  Our choir organist is Laurie Ellington and I got the feeling that she might be one of the counselors but I couldn't exactly ask her...turns out she was called to be the second counselor.  The first counselor is Colleen Christensen.  She is a newer member of our ward and I don't know her really well but I am looking forward to getting to know her better.

Things are going to get busier with this new calling but I am thankful for it.  I know that this is where I am supposed to be serving.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about it but it's not a big nervous because I know that I am not in this alone. I have the Spirit of the Lord to guide and direct me. I have three fabulous women that I will be serving with and the women in our ward are amazing.  I look forward to getting to know all of them better as well.

And coincidentally today is the birthday of the Relief Society!  Relief Society is the oldest and largest women's organization in the world.  It was founded 172 years ago today!  Happy Birthday Relief Society!!

If you would like to learn more about this organization of the women in the L.D.S church you can go here...

and here

Friday, March 14, 2014

Listen! Do you smell something?


I smell change.

Change is in the air.

I feel like life has been picking up speed lately and it doesn't look to be slowing down any time soon.  I am not a fan of a fast paced life. Which is one of the reasons why I don't run.

 (HA! Do  you see what I did there?)

But I don't mind change (most of the time). Do you?

One of the bigger changes coming my way is that my mom is going to be moving in with us at the end of April.  I am nervous and excited and happy about this change all at once.  I know that it's going to be a big adjustment for everyone and I also know that this is a change for the better.

I love my mom.  She is one of the most selfless, kind, generous, Christlike people that I know.  I look back over the years and I am amazed at everything that she did.  Her life has been one of sacrifice.  She selflessly gave of herself and always put others before her.  The time has come where she needs to be put first.

I am genuinely looking forward to having her sweet presence in our home.  One of the hardest parts of this all is that in doing this my mom will be selling her house.  The house where myself and my seven siblings were all born and raised.

That will be a difficult change. Thankfully we have a lifetime full of memories.

Memories of sitting on the back lawn snipping beans, the years and years of breakfasts on the Fourth of July, filling up the canoe with water and using it as our swimming pool, playing in the irrigation water, watching my brothers wrestling on the living room floor and hearing my mom or dad yell "Take it outside!", memories of the fires in the fireplace and dad sleeping in his recliner, chopping wood with my dad to feed that fire, the metal shopping cart from I don't know where that held the wood for the fire, mom making homemade bread and scones on a Saturday afternoon, sitting at the top of the stairs and yelling down to my brothers "Get up and milk the cows!" so we could open our presents on Christmas morning, the pocket door that was closed on Christmas morning so we couldn't peek in and see what Santa had brought, the ironing board built into the wall, listening as the guys sat around the kitchen table and planned out the deer hunt, waking up in the Spring and looking excitedly out the back window hoping that the sheep in the back pasture had given birth during the night, memories of kneeling down as a family in the front room and having family prayer of blessings given, memories of laughter and memories with tears. and so many, many more.

I am grateful that I had the childhood that I did.  It was a lovely place to grow up and seeing it change hands will not be easy.  But it is definitely time for this change to happen.

Yes, change is definitely in the air.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


So much has been going on that I really haven't made the time to keep this going like I want to so I will (try to) do a quick update.

Things are going along.  After the (first) accident...FIRST you say?!?

Yes first, keep reading.

So after the first accident I took the Durango to my amazing brother-in-law Russ Hiatt and his two boys, Nate and Paul, who run Triple R Restoration.  When I told my insurance guy that I was taking it to them his response was "Well I can't guarantee their work." And in my mind I thought "That's okay.  I can."  

It was at the beginning of December and my nephew Paul called saying that the Durango was finished but he was wondering if I would do them a favor and bring my camera down and take a picture of the guys at the shop for a Christmas card.  Of course I would!  Then he asked if my kids wanted to come down because they were working on a really cool old Camaro and they might want to see it. I asked the kids if they wanted to come and check it out and George and Mckenna did. Ty was on his way to teach a yoga class so he dropped us off at the shop so we could pick up the Durango and take pictures.

When we got there they took us back into the back to show us the Camero and which was behind some sheet of plastic to my left.  It looked great.  Then I looked to my right and saw this...
 And I let out a scream.  A very loud, very long scream.  They had not only fixed the damage from the car accident but they had painted my Durango for me!!!!  A customized bright red paint job with HAND PAINTED pin-striping and the drum and feather logo from the University of Utah!!
I love the U of U!  I attended school there on a track and field scholarship in the early 90's and loved every minute of it. Being a University of Utah fan in the sea of BYU Blue that is Utah Valley can be difficult but this new paint job makes it a little bit easier :)
See that right there??? That is NOT a sticker or a magnet.
That is hand painted.

As are these cool lines on the back!

That is my awesome brother-in-law, Russ walking
behind the Durango.
Look how pretty and shiny it is!!

Not only did they paint it they got me cool new rims and tires as well.

It was so amazing.  I went around laughing and crying and hugging everybody.  I even hugged the guy that did the pin-striping.

When I asked them what I owed them they just told me that it was my Christmas present. Seriously it was so awesome.  I didn't need a single thing more.  That was enough.

That was on December 6th.  I really wasn't feeling well.  I had started up with a cough the night before at George's Christmas concert but I was fighting to stay well.  December 7th was Ty's work party and I fought my way through not feeling well so we could do to that.  

During this time Jona had his mission farewell and was getting ready to go through the temple.  I knew that and I asked for a blessing to be able to feel well enough to go through with him.  December 15th came and I was still coughing and coughing and not feeling the best but I was able to go and be there as he received his endowment. What a wonderful, beautiful experience.

But I still wasn't feeling well.  They doctor put me on Prednisone to help the inflammation in my lungs from the cough and antibiotic as well.   I did my best and tried hard not to get any sicker but my poor body just couldn't do it.  The stress from the accident, the water main break, trying to get Jona ready to start his mission, and just getting ready for the holiday's...everything had worn me down and the Sunday before Christmas I got sick. We are talking really, really ill.  I went to church that morning because Ty was the narrator for the Christmas program and I wanted to be there for that.  I'll be honest it was hard to feel the Spirit because I just did not feel good at all.  I came home after sacrament meeting and crawled into bed.

Later that afternoon I came upstairs and burst into tears.  I asked Ty to give me a (another) blessing because I just did not feel well.

At. All.

I was coughing and had a fever of 102.  I felt horrible.  We went into the the doctor the next day and found out I had the flu.  Influenza A.  I don't get the flu shot because I rarely, and when I say rarely I mean RARELY, get sick like this.  Yes I deal with sinus infections and colds and feeling bleh but it's never serious.  There has only been one other time that I can recall being like this and it was back in my Jr. High years.  I had never been like this in the 20 years that Ty and I have been married, so he was concerned.

The doctor prescribed Tamiflu since I got there within the time frame that it's supposed to help. That stuff is evil. I took it for two days and it actually made me feel worse.  I ended up just stopping it and dealing with the flu.  My sweet McKenna helped out on Christmas eve.  She was very happy because she was finally free of her neck brace!!  She cleaned the kitchen and made the dinner.  I moved from my bed to the couch and tried to enjoy Christmas Eve but didn't make it very long.  Christmas day was very low key because George and Jillian weren't feeling great at that point either so they stayed home with me while Ty and the other two went to visit grandparents.

Thankfully I had already taken some time off from work so I ended up only missing one day which I had a doctors note for.

New Years rolled around and I was slowly feeling better.  Jan 2nd Ty's dad ended up in the hospital with severe chest pains dealing with a series heart attacks that they could do nothing about because to try and open the blockage wasn't an option. He came home on the 6th and is doing okay.

Jan 3rd, Jona was supposed to begin his mission serving at the Orem Digital Processing center but he got sick with a cough (probably the same stuff I had) and ended up not being able to start until January 13th.  Here he is on his very first day.

I couldn't take him over on his first day because I had to work but his Grandma Connie and Grandpa Scott were able to and they took that picture for me.  They are so wonderful and helpful. And I am SO very thankful for them.  They take Jona over every morning and pick him up in the afternoons when I am unable to.  They are invaluable to Jona being able to serve this mission.

January 9th saw Ty leaving for Florida so that he could teach yoga at the Amrit Institute.  He would be gone for 10 days.  I miss him when he goes but it really is such a great thing for him and he enjoys it so much that it's not much of a sacrifice.  

When he is out of town we eat a little differently because he is a pescatarian, (basically a vegetarian but he still eats fish).  I had a card for $25 for a place called Wallaby's which is a meat and potatoes place so I figured I would use that while he was away.  It was the day before he came home and I had been cleaning the house all day.  I was also concerned about some other possible health problems that were looming on the horizon so I figured, hey I could use a break from cooking I'll go pick up some dinner.

Remember what I said at the beginning about the "first" accident.

As I sat in the turning lane to make a left hand turn into the parking lot I noticed an car that was waiting to make a left hand turn out of the parking lot.  The traffic cleared and I turned in.  As I did so the car that was making the left out of the parking lot started pulling out towards me, accelerating quickly.  All I could see was the back of the drivers head as he looked to his right and I knew he was going to hit me.  I don't think he even knew I was there until the collision.
See the tire sitting there in the left corner of the photo?  That is my tire.  He hit me with such force that he completely broke the tire off of back axle.  I felt the car rock back and forth and then I watched in my side view mirror as my tire rolled away.

And then I screamed.  
Very loudly and long.
And then I started crying.
And couldn't stop.

After the first accident, as one of my status' I put "Sometimes I wish I was a 'fall apart in the moment' person".

Be careful what you wish for.

I fell apart.  Big time.

The young man that hit me came and opened the door to ask me if I was okay.  I told him through sobs that yes, I thought so, (one of my knees was hurting and ended up being pretty badly bruised).  He asked me if I could move my vehicle and I told him no that the tire had come off.  He actually worked at Wallaby's so he ran in to see if he could get someone in the restaurant to come out and help me.  There must have been a nurse there because a lady came out and tried to talk to me.

She told me it was good because I wasn't hurt and neither was the other driver but I still couldn't calm down.  She had NO idea what I had gone through up to this point.  I kept sobbing into my hands and tried to apologize between sobs for being so hysterical.

I just kept repeating over and over, "I can't do this. I just can't do this." She asked me what my name was and where I lived and if there was someone she could contact. I told her my husband was out of town and I thought of calling McKenna but I didn't want her to see me so upset.  So I had her call my mother-in-law to see if she and Ty's dad could come and pick me up.

The police showed up and I was still was sobbing.  I told them what had happened as best as I could.  They let me sit in my vehicle because it was so cold outside. So I just sat and cried.  I didn't even want to get out of the Durango to see what damage had been done.  I knew that the tire was off but that was about it.

My in-laws showed up (did I mention how thankful I am for them?) and we got the groceries that I had purchased earlier moved from the Durango into their car.  I had my mother-in-law run into Wallaby's to get the dinner that I had come for in the first place and the manager gave us a free meal.  

Amazingly enough the only damage done was to the axle.  There was no damage at all to the body of the vehicle.  The tire that he hit was slightly damaged and they tried to find a new one but they couldn't.  Thankfully it wasn't damaged badly enough that they couldn't still use it.  The other driver's insurance company took full liability and they did it fast.  The paid for a rental vehicle for us to drive while we waited for a new axle to get here and they were willing to work with us so we didn't have to "total" the Durango.

So that's the update.  Ty got home and things have slowed down a little bit.  They are picking back up now because we are preparing to have my mom move in with us at the end of April and so we are shifting rooms around.  It will be an adjustment for sure but I am looking forward to having her there in our home with us.  She needs to have someone taking care of her instead of her taking care of everyone else.

Many other things have happened.  Good things.  Kenna went on her first date and to her first dance.  Jillian turned 11 and George turned 15.  I started playing volleyball and joined a rec league. It's crazy.  Life just keeps on keeping on.  And I am trying to as well.