Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

Ah.  In the words of Dickens, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times."  Where do I begin to tell the tale of two Christmases?  Let's start with a couple pictures:

The first tale of Christmas began with the usual---beautiful decorations, beautiful music, and all the beautiful holiday traditions that make Christmas special.  Fudge.  Pie.  Turkey.  Ham.  Christmas Eve Pajamas.  Dominoes.  Beautifully wrapped presents under the tree.  And family--parents, children, grandchildren.  All the makings of a picture perfect Christmas. 

The second tale of Christmas tells paints quite a different picture, and it begins on day one of our Christmas vacation.  This is the the story of all that unfolded behind the scenes of our picture perfect holiday.
     *Day One--Grandma went to the hospital.
     *Day Two--Marshall fell and broke his hip.  The x-rays revealed a cyst on his bone & he was referred to oncology for tests.
     *Day Three--Taylor jumped down the stairs and sprang the same ankle that he broke last year.
     *Day Four--Ellen was in a car accident and her car is totaled.
     *Day Five--I go in for my hysterectomy.  Oh, and by the way, we got a letter from the IRS.  We are being audited for 2009 taxes.  Woot woot.
     *Day Six and Seven are pretty much a blur.  I was under the influence of some wonderful pain medicine, while Ron spent his every waking moment dealing with all the fall-out from Ellen's accident, helping my parents, taking care of me, and running errands.  Also on day six, my dad called.  He fell and couldn't get up.  He ended up hurting himself pretty badly and couldn't get around.
     Meanwhile, Raechel made the goodies for our annual friendship treats---peppermint bark, cookies, fudge, and toffee.  And pies, made with crust from scratch.  Why? Because that's the way Grandma always did it, and by gosh by golly, we absolutely have to do it Grandma's way!!
     *Day Eight--Christmas.  The clouds had spent the week aligning themselves in what can only be described as the formation for the perfect storm.  It was no surprise when the Christmas Express de-railed, and our Christmas dinner resembled what can only be referred to as, "a train wreck"! 
     *Losing count of the days---But now my dad is in the hospital.  Ron spent the night before his trip to Tennessee being insulted by the paramedics who could not understand why Ron didn't know my father's complete medical history or why my parents are still living on their own without assistance (this after my dad canceled lifeline, which Ron had spent hours setting up for them).  Raechel spent her last night of vacation caring for Grandma.  Andrew spent his last night sitting in the ER with Grandpa. 

     So here we are, and Christmas vacation continues.  I'm a little reluctant to think about what the next week will bring ;-)

     Now then, I cannot leave it like this.  In the end, even though this was undoubtedly the absolute worst Christmas we have ever had . . . it was also the best Christmas we ever had.  Why?  Because in spite of all the disasters, we saw and felt the hand of the Lord blessing us.  Grandma is home, and doing well.  Grandpa will be home tomorrow, and they have finally agreed to allow someone to come in help them.  Marshall's cyst is not cancerous and he will heal in a few weeks.  Ellen was not hurt in her accident (neither was anyone else).  Taylor's leg is not broken and he does not need surgery.  My surgery went well and I am healing.  Our stocking tradition was a huge hit and everyone felt the love as we sat around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning and shared our gifts with each other.  Best of all, is that my family . . . my parents and my children . . . now know how much Ron truly loves me.  In the words of my very wise father, "Mindy, he's a keeper, for sure." 

So, to my dear husband, your gift of service and loyalty during these past ten days, is the greatest gift a wife could ever ask for.  I love you~!! 

In short, these two pictures sort of sum of the tale of these two Christmases:

Merry Christmas :-)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A dream becomes reality

Three years in the making, and finally I hold it in my hands.  Beth and Jonathan's story has begun, and now others will share the journey.  That is pretty cool.  This is a preview copy of the book, available only to those who purchased a pre-publication advanced copy.  Soon it will go to national reviewers for a chance at a national review.  I say those words, but their full impact evades me.
To those of you who purchased a pre-sale copy, I offer my sincere thanks and gratitude.  I hope you like the story, and if you do, I hope you will spread the word to all your friends and family in time for the official release in April, 2012. 

Enjoy :-)  I would love to hear your feedback. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Yay!! Book update!!

Hello Friends and Family :-)
Just a note to update you on the status of my novel.  The publisher is now accepting pre-sale orders directly from their web site.  These are first editions that are limited to pre-sale orders.  The book will not be released to the public market until March, so those who order pre-sale copies now are going to have the book several months ahead of market.  This is the same thing as a pre-distribution test market. 
If you are interested in purchasing a copy, please click on the following link: 
This will take you directly to the publisher's page for my book.  It will take about 3 weeks for the book to arrive (plenty of time for the holidays :-) )  
Even if you are not interested in a copy for yourself, if you know of anyone who might be, please pass this link along to them.  If you have teenage daughters, nieces, friends, etc., this might be a fun gift for Christmas....especially if it is signed by the author :-)
I am so excited to finally be at this stage.  I appreciate all of you who have encouraged and supported me along the way.  This is truly a dream come true for me. 
Thank you everyone!@@!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why Learn Something New?

I heard something profound as I popped into a classroom last week.  The teacher asked his students the following question, "If all you have to think about is the stuff you already know, then how long do you think it will take before you get bored?  How long before you go crazy?"

I watched the reaction, and the look on a couple of the students' faces as they processed the words was priceless. 

We're all familiar with they saying that knowledge is power, but as far as I'm concerned, it's about being an interesting person.  Don't you love talking to someone who just blows you away by the amount of knowledge they have?  If they are also wise, that's all the better :-)

Day 462, But Who's Counting Anyway?

No, it's not Hawaii, it's Carlsbad.  And no, I did not go to the beach today.  In fact, I only made it to the beach two times this summer---I was a little busy, as you know.  I love the beach.  I love the breeze that comes off the ocean in the afternoons.  I love the way the sunset dances across the waves.  I love the rythmic sound of the tide as it comes in and rolls back out.  I love the smell of moisture and salt in the air.  Just being there makes me relax---I mean completely relax---mentally, physically, and emotionally.  That is just one reason why I cannot wait to return to Hawaii next summer. 

For now, I shall give you a glimpse into my new position as assistant principal of alternative education.  Hahahaha....It is an adventure for sure.  We've had three days of school.  In those three days, we've dealt with a marijuana bust, kids jumping over the fence---AWOL---cigarette smoking, more cell phone violations than I can count, an expulsion hearing, teenage attitudes, and a string of "F" bombs that put British films to shame.  All in a day's work :-)  And you know what?  I love it.  Not the attitude and the discipline, but being back at a site with kids and teachers.  I have had so much fun in the past two weeks; I am truly love what I do. 

Perhaps now that things are settling down---the move is over and we are back into the routine of work---I will be able to update my blog more often.  Better yet, my publisher says I need to get crackin' on my sequel.  Not only do they want the first chapter, like yesterday!!!!!, but they want detailed synopsi of both sequels.  I need to buckle down and get to work. 

One more thing.  I worked out five days out of seven last week.  Yay me.  I also gained 3 pounds in the process.  Hmmmm.  I don't think that was supposed to happen.  And by the way, just so you know, I did a yoga class.  Hahaha.... There is nothing natural about yoga.  If God intended for my leg to twist around my back and across my ear, surely he would have gave me legs without bones.  I'm just sayin' --- It ain't natural.  But it feels so good when you're done~!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day 461, Welcome Home

Figured I'd post an update on the house situation . . . Won't tell you about the fiasco of moving, PAINTING, and unpacking yet.  It's memory is still too painful.  Ask my children, they will attest.  Pour Raechel and Andrew who came home for a visit, hoping to enjoy some R & R and the 4th of July holiday weekend.  They ended up working their tails off trying to get our old house ready for the renters.  I discovered that Raechel is quite limber when I say her doing the one-legged limbo upside down while painting our upstairs bathroom.  Quite impressive~!!  I will say this, however, if it weren't for the army of angels who showed up to help us, there is no way we could have made it through.  We were blessed with these angels on several occasions; I will forever be grateful for their great service on behalf of our family.  We definitely felt the Lord's love at every turn.  God bless you all for giving up so much of your time to help us~!!

We had our final walk-through on June 15th.... Wow, has it been a month already?  Unbelievable~!!  Lennar greeted us with baloons, treats, and the red carpet treatment.  Very cool.

Now, I realize this is a bit pre-mature, but this is how my mind works . . . unfortunately for my family.  I am looking at my new home and thinking of how it's going to look after we have the concrete poured and plant our own trees and landscaping flowers . . .  and then the thought occurs to me . . . Good grief~~!!  How am I going to get Christmas lights on the tall part of the roof?  I am quite certain this will be a challenge.  I wonder if they will release Taylor for a week from his mission to come home and help me???  Yeah, probably not.  Am I pathetic, or what?  (Please don't answer that).

 Okay . . . These are a couple of comparison shots of the model home and our home.  Above is a view of the kitchen in the model (taken from the family room).  And this is our version of the same.

 This is one of my favorite shots.  I absolutely love our kitchen~!!!  Even though our fridge sticks out like an overgrown tooth.  I got used to it after a couple days.  Secretly, I figure that some day I will get one that fits perfectly . . . and this will become the garage fridge.  But please don't tell Ron that I said that.  I don't think his nerves could take it ;-)
This is a shot of one side of the family room . . . We call this the accent wall.  We chose blue instead of the orange color in the model (below).  Right now, this wall looks way to rigid for my taste... too symmetrical I'm guessing.  So , , , if any of you have a suggestion for how I can soften the server display and make this wall more appealing, I would love your suggestions.  It is definitely a work in progress.

Our house . . . vs. the model (below).

That's all for this round.  I have pictures of the other rooms, but I am waiting until the window treatments are added before I do my before/after shots and compare them to the model.

So, for now, suffice it to say that we are very happy to be here.  It will take a long time to finish unpacking, decorating, and landscaping, but as with everything, this is a work in progress.  Regardless, this place felt like home from the very first night we stayed here . . . Welcome home~!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day 460, A day in fantasy land

It's the happiest place on earth . . . right?  Good times with good friends . . . What could be better?  I love my friends :-)

I think this one is right
after our trip down Splash Mountain.  We were the only ones brave enough to get wet. 
We may look warm and toasty here, but our behinds and legs were soaking wet~!!

Ug!!!  My stomach hurts
just looking at this picture.  Okay . . . It could be possible that our eyes were far
bigger than our stomachs . . . Just saying it's possible.

What's a trip to the Tiki Garden
without some good old fashioned Dole pineapple ice cream?  I'm sure it couldn't have been
more than 500 calories, right?  We needed something to wash down all that lunch. 
Pathetic as this is, we had ice cream barely an hour after eating our humungous lunch feast.

On the Monorail . . . Four fannies
trying desperately to fit on one bench.  Some of us had a bit more trouble than others.

We stayed until the fireworks . . . and believe it or not . . . we actually ate again! 
I am never eating again.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day 459, Thoughts for a Sunday Afternoon

I love it when I hear a new spin on an old favorite story---particularly when that story comes from the scriptures.  I get so excited when something I have read numerous times . . . you know . . . enough that you can retell the story without blinking an eye . . . is taught from a whole new angle.  This happened today as I watched the "Discussions on the Book of Mormon" program on BYU TV.  Where do these guys get this stuff?

Today's lesson took 1 Nephi chapter 8---Lehi's dream of the Tree of Life---and compared it to Matthew Chapter 13---the Parable of the Sower.  Both describe essentially the same four groups of people.  The stories do not cross-reference each other, so I love that these scholars have made the connection for us. 

So . . . Looking first at Matthew 13 and then at 1 Nephi 8 . . . Here are the 4 groups of people decribed in the Parable of the Sower as they compare to those in Lehi's vision:

(1)  Matt. 13: 4, 19---Seeds fell by the waywside, fowls came and devoured them up.  This group is compared to those in 1Nephi 8: 31-32---Those who never pressed forward toward the tree, instead they are those feeling their way toward the great and spacious building.  Many drowned in the depths of the fountain or were found wandering in strange lands.

(2)  Matt. 13: 5-6, 20-21---Seeds sown in stony places.  They sprung up, but had no deepness of earth.  When the sun was up, they were scorched because they had no root.  They withered away.  These are those that hear the word, receive it, but when tribulation and persecution arise, they are offended.  This group is compared to those in 1 Nephi 8: 24-25, 28---They caught hold of the end of the rod of iron and clung to it thru the midst of darkness.  They made it to the tree and partook of the fruit, but those in the spacious building were pointing a finger of scorn at them and mocking them.  They became ashamed and feel away into forbidden paths and were lost. 

(3)  Matt. 13: 7, 22---Seeds sown among the thorns.  The thorns sprung up and choked them.  These are they who hear the word and embrace it, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the plant so that it becomes unfruitful.  This group of people is compared to those in 1 Nephi 8: 21, 23---They commenced in the path toward the tree, but never caught hold of the rod of iron.  They lost their way because of the midst of darkness, and they wandered off and were lost.

(4)  Matt. 13: 8, 23---Seeds sown in good soil.  These are those who hear the word, understand it, and they bear good fruit.  This group, obviously, is compared to those in 1 Nephi 8: 31-32, 33---Those who caught hold of the rod of iron and pressed forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron.  They fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.  When those in the spacious building mocked them, they heeded them not.

So there you have it . . . a new way to look at an old story.  Cool, eh?

Speaking of stories . . . Mrs. Malody, my 8th and 10th grade English teacher, called me tonight.  She is one of the reviewers of my book.  She had just finished the manuscript and called to tell me how very impressed she was.  She said my book was different, and she couldn't put it down.  She was amazed by how all the details connected.  She says when girls get hold of this book, it's going to go explode like Harry Potter.  Hahaha.... I should be so lucky, huh?  I appreciate her enthusiasm though, it made my day.  Heck, it made my whole month~!@@! 

Who knows, eh?  But wouldn't that just be the most amazing thing ever?????  I'll just have to keep my eye on that little villa in Italy after all ;-)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 458, Let the games begin . . .

It is time to say goodbye to another school year.  Is it my imagination or is time going faster the older I get?  Looking back, I would not say that this was a fun year.  It was difficult.  Painful at times.  Yet tremendous.  Growth is painful---but necessary if you want to achieve your dreams. 

One wonderful lesson that I take with me from this year, is that love truly is a power that can move mountains.  The situation I found myself in back at the beginning of Thanksgiving vacation ended up laying the foundation of what has become a very positive relationship between my co-worker and me.  Had I not turned to the Lord . . . had I not likened the scriptures unto myself . . . that situation would have festered into something truly ugly.  Instead, I now have a friend---someone who I admire immensely and who has taught me many things over the course of the year. 

And apparently, I still have some growing to do, because it appears I will be returning for another year in the TOSA position.  It is my goal to develop into a true "servant leader" during the next year.  Well.... and you know how good I am at serving others (cough cough).  Hey . . . It's a goal~~!!  Okay???

As for the house . . .
Here she stands . . .
We are getting very close~!!  Still, there is so much to do before it is finished, and before we are ready to move. 

Here is an updated picture of the kitchen . . .

and . . .

Yesterday, they ordered the floors.  Hopefully soon I will be uploading pictures of the finished product.

That's about it for now.  Oh, except for this . . .

I'm off for the next ten weeks :-)  Oh yeah!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 457, A Message from My Daughter...

This is actually a stolen post....from the My Friends Call Me Rae-Lo blog, but since it's about me, I figured it deserved top billing on my blog of the month.  In her own words, here is why my daughter loves her mother:

1. She gave me life.

2. She taught me correct principles and then gave me the room I needed to make my own choices, to learn, and to grow.

3. She loves Coke, and loves to use Coke as a way to bond with me.

4. She is 16 at heart.

5. She is talented! This woman is intelligent in all ways - mathematics, sciences, English, music, etc. She's got it all!

6. She is a great Grandma. Even though the only grandchildren she has so far are her step-grandkids, she still loves them as if there were no difference.

7. She is a Christmas Elf.

8. She has now perfected my Grandma's delicious chocolate cake (the only cake that I ever care to eat) so that we can keep it in the family.

9. She does the best Yoda impression I've ever heard.

10. She is MIN-DE-LICIOUS!

I Love You, Mom! 
Happy Mother's Day (yesterday)!

Posted By Raechel to my friends call me Rae-Lo at 5/09/2011 10:52:00 AM

Now... I don't know about you all, but I thoroughly loved this cyberspace Mother's Day card~~!!

Not to mention that she made me look thin :-)

I love my kids~~!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 456, Ocean of Estrogen...

Yes... Here we are at Women's Conference one again--and this picture only shows you one quarter of the stadium! Thousands of women gather each year for the annual event that has become a tradition for my daughter and me. It is a tradition I treasure. Looking forward to tomorrow's events.

Judi.... We miss you~~!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 455, Why I am glad to be a girl....

...Because boys have mouse duty....spider duty.... and bug duty.

This is what I saw when I came down the stairs this evening. Honey, the cat that is plotting Ron's murder, had a mouse trapped in the corner. She was taunting it mercilessly.

Moments after screaming at the top of my lungs...
In ran my hero, armed with a broom and plenty of determination. After chasing the mouse through the house (cat in tow), he was finally able to get it outside to safety.

This may seem like a small thing.... but if it weren't for Ron....I would still be stranded mid-stride on my way down the stairs,,,,, frozen in place.

I am very happy that my husband takes his man role seriously~~!!
It is good to be a girl.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 454, And so it continues...

Moving right along.....If everything continues to go on schedule, we will be moving in just less than 2 months. I can't wait.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 453, Nevermind

I have to agree with Raechel.... The rest of the prompts are ridiculous. I will have to figure out some other prompts for the blog.

This morning I sent my manuscript back to the final edit complete. I am very anxious to move into the next phase of publication.....and soon, I will hold the finished product in my hands. That is cool.

Now they want the first chapter of the sequel.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 452, Something You Wish You Hadn't Done in Your Life.

I wish I hadn't eaten that extra slice of pizza.
I wish I hadn't eaten that pound of candy.
I wish I hadn't watched "The Exorcist" when I was 12 years old.
I wish I hadn't snuck into my uncle's moonshine when I was 15 years old.
I wish I hadn't missed so many of my kids' sports games.

Why is my list so seemingly simple? Because most of the "bad" choices I made in my life, eventually led me to where I am today. I am the sum of all my experiences. I love my life today.....By changing something in my past, wouldn't I risk also changing the present? Instead, I say let's learn from our mistakes, enjoy the present, and look forward to the future.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day 451, (Scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

Isn't this a no-brainer? This prompt makes me think that its author is not very old... or at least not very mature. News flash. People fight. True friendships understand this. There was a time when I thought that fighting meant the end of a relationship----but that's when I was fourteen.

When the chips are down, nothing else matters. You stand by people when they need you. End of story.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 450, "Your Views on Drugs and Alcohol


Too tired to say more on the subject..... but given the topic, do I really need to say more?

Okay.... Nyquil good. Tylenol PM good. Tequilla bad. Very bad.

Got it?

Day 449, Your Views on Religion

I believe I have already posted this..... seems like I had a rant shortly after Christmas..... So I think rather than re-invent the wheel this late in the evening,,,, I shall thumb back through my posts and find what I wrote back then.....Here you go:

"Nothing like a friendly debate over the existence of God to get the blood pumping and the emotions rising. Well,,, I cannot say debate, because in my case, it is usually more like a trial. I'm the defendant, answering to the prosecuting attorneys. That's okay. I have God as my judge; I can live with that.

The debate is not God vs. science. That's absurd. The two are not mutually exclusive. A true believer is never threatened by advancements in science...rather, they welcome them. They know that many advancements in science are the direct result of God-given inspiration. No. The debate is simply on whether or not there is a God. Scientific proof is out of the debate. Science will never prove there is no God. Neither will it prove there is. That is not, nor ever was, the role of science in our Universe. Science is about questions. Faith is about answers. The two make marvelous companions.

My belief in God is not based on faith alone. It is also based on evidence. It is the evidence of things not seen which are true. And it has surrounded me throughout my entire life. In fact, the evidence of God's role in my life is so blatantly transparent, that to deny it would require a total disregard and lack of respect for the truth.

I realize that what I am about to say may offend some people. I sincerely apologize for that in advance. But this is my blog, so I don't need permission to speak from my heart.

Try as I might, I have a low tolerance for people who think they are doing me a favor by giving me permission to believe what I want to believe. Oh. Thank you. I was worried about that. As if!!

Here's the deal....You don't want to believe in God, that's your choice. We all have God-given agency to choose for ourselves what we will and won't believe. I don't need anyone to "allow" me to believe what I want. So do not patronize me by setting yourself up as someone who is superior and therefore has the right to tell me it's okay for me to believe how I wish. Kiss my San Antonio rose buds!

Here's something I find quite interesting, and I see it all the time---usually followed by a raised eyebrow and a bitten tongue. Someone on Facebook, or in a mass text or e-mail, asks that everyone pray for their sick friend or relative in one breath, and then in another, say they do not believe in God. Really. Are you serious? If you are truly an atheist, then it's hypocritical to ask others to pray on your behalf. These same people won't give God the credit if their loved one gets better. But oh man.... if they take a turn for the worst, then they will claim it is evidence that God does not exist. Am I the only one who finds this hypocritical?

Truth is, deep down, everyone knows there is a God. Something bigger than this world. They may not define him. They may not understand him. They may not know him. They may not give him a name, face, or image. They may want nothing to do with him. But in their soul, they know that God is. Period. They choose NOT to believe. It is not the other way around. Believers do not choose to believe. They just believe. Simple. It's not a choice. The choice comes in choosing NOT to believe. Non-believers always want to lay the burden of proof on believers. That's a cop out. And guess what? You don't get to make the rules. This is the way it works. If you attack somebody's beliefs, the burden of proof lies with you, regardless of which side you represent.

So that's my rant for the night."

Taken from my earlier blog entitled, "The Great Debate."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 448, Your Views on Gay Marriage

It's simple. I believe marriage is ordained and sanctified by God, and that it was intended from the beginning to be the union between a man and a woman.

That is all I wish to say on the subject in this forum.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 447, A Book You've Read That Changed Your View on Something

This year I have been reading a book called, The Speed of Trust, by Stephen M. R. Covey.
This book has led me through a process of self-reflection and soul-searching that has been, at times, enlightening, challenging, embarrassing, and down-right aggravating. I have had to admit to some personal character traits that are not very pretty. At the same time, this book has awakened me to a much richer understanding of how to build trust both in my personal and professional relationships. I discovered, after taking a self-assessment in the beginning of the book on the four cores of integrity, that I am very strong in the cores that focus on ability. People tend to trust that I am capable and that I can produce results. But, when it comes to character, I am lacking. This is true of my own personal integrity with myself and then with others. The question that hit me the hardest, was this, "If asked, would the people you work with say you have THEIR best interests at heart, or your own?" Sigh~~!! When I was in the classroom, it was easy.... I always had my students' best interest at heart.... but this year, working with adults, it became blatantly obvious to me that I was not putting the needs and wants of others above my own. So throughout the year, I have been working on this very critical character flaw. Some days I do well, other days I need to remind myself to get out of Mindyland and take a look at the people around me. Somedays I revert back to what is comfortable. It's frustrating when I recognize that.

Without a doubt, this book as been the catalyst for significant growth in my ability to develop trust-based relationships with the people I work with..... I can see that I still have a long way to go... but at least I am on the right path.

Thank you, Mr. Covey :-)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 446, Something or Someone You Definitely Could Live Without

Aye  carumba... Here we go again. We need to get a little more creative on these prompts people!!

Okay,,, let's see...

collard greens (um,,, that one's for you honey~~!)
cigar or cigarette smoke
rude drivers
violent movies
grossly pornographic movies
THROW UP scenes in every fricken movie~~!!! What is up with that?
Hearing the Lord's name in vain. That makes me cringe every single time~!
cock roaches
ants!! I hate ants!!!

There... how's that?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 445, Something You Know You Can't Live Without, Because You've Tried Living Without It

The Coke BottleI doubt there is anything I couldn't really live without---except maybe air, water, and food..... but let's face it, there are some things that I just don't WANT to live without. Family goes without saying---that's just a no-brainer. Same with my health. But beyond these biological and emotional necessities, there are some specific things I prefer NOT to live without.

(1) Bottled coke---in slush form please. There is  nothing like it!
(2) Plums---Santa Rosa variety, fresh off the tree. Fresh Santa Rosa plums are the one thing I rank higher than bottled coke. Now that says something!!

(3) Wind chimes.

(4) Access to water---the beach, a jacuzzi, a built-in swimming pool (in my own backyard preferably.)

(5) My piano.

(6) Scriptures

(7) Family pictures

(8) A rocking chair---I have to be able to move while I'm sitting.

(9) My toothbrush and Extra Peppermint gum. I detest bad breath!!!!!!

(10) Dogs. I love them.

(11) Books.

And finally,,,,

(12) Pen and Paper --- I love to write.....I must have a notebook with me at all times.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 444, A Hero That Has Let You Down

There was a time when I believed in Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

I lived millions of girls' dream through Princess Di. I believed in the fairy tale.

In Mindyland, it would have been great if they would have lived happily ever after. What a tragedy that turned out to be. I do recall feeling let down when I found out all was not well in paradise. I of course sided with the tortured Princess who had been duped by a cheating Prince.....but later I would discover that there were two sides to the story....and neither side lived up to the high expectations for which I held Royalty. I mean, heck, if you are to be stationed above everyone else in the country, shouldn't your morals, character, and virtue be beyond reproach?

My heroes are different now. My heroes are heroes because they don't let me down.
My mom and dad are heroes. They married young---ages 16 and 20 respectively---and have been married for 70 years. It's not that staying married in and of itself is heroic, but that they still love each other.

President Spencer W. Kimball is a hero.
President Hinckley is a hero. Sister Hinckley is a hero.
President Monson is a hero.
Jeffrey R. Holland is my hero, because he always speaks directly to my soul.

The pioneers who traveled across the plains are heroes.

My husband is a hero.
My children are heroes.
Those who face their battles with dignity and grace are heroes.
Those who rise each time they fall---those are heroes.
Those who push forward when everyone and everything around them says to give up---those are heroes.

If you think about it, there truly is no shortage of heroes. True heroes~!!
So why focus on the one that let you down?

Let's raise our glass to all the true heroes of the world :-)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day 443, A Band or Artist That Got You Through Some Tough Times...

Before I respond to today's prompt, I thought I'd share a brief update on our house....AND on my book~~!!

First, the house. Moving right along, wouldn't you say? This weekend we selected our flooring, and it won't be long now until they begin putting up the sheet rock. Today we decided a balcony is definitely happening~! Not right away, but as soon as possible. A balcony will kill two birds with one stone....It will give us access to an unexpectedly awesome view, and it will provide a cover to our patio (something we were already planning to do). Today I climbed the scaffolds and caught a glimpse of what the view would be from a balcony; that was the end of that!

Now, about my book. The publisher sent me the edited version to read through, approve, and add any last minute changes. I am nearly 200 pages into it, and I am blown away by the subtle, yet powerful changes that the publisher has made. In most cases, she used my own words, but changed their placement within a sentence or paragraph, and voolah! Awesome! Something else that is pretty cool, is that I am enjoying reading the book again. It has been a year since I worked on it, and I was a bit nervous about having to read it again....fearful that I might find it lame or "cheesy." To my surprise, that has not been the case. I actually stop periodically and think, Wow. I wrote that! That's pretty cool. It is great to get back into my character's heads, and to reunite with them. They are so real to me~!

It is still surreal to think I will hold this book in my hands someday soon. A real book. That is definitely one of my "happy thoughts."

Okay... So now to the prompt. There are more than a few songs or artists that have gotten me through some difficult times. Usually, those difficulties are self-imposed, and at my age, I can safely say I have had a few of them. Here are a few songs/artists that have helped to lift me up when I've been down:

(1) The Theme from Mahogany by Diana Ross. This was waaaay back in the mid-70's; back in my "trying to find myself" teenage angst days. "Do you know where you're going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to? Do you know?" Hahahaha... I swear I think this song pushed me to a near mental breakdown.... but one that had a profound impact. I did not like the person I was, or the path I was on, this song planted the seed for a life-changing paradigm shift. Thank goodness~~!

(2) Queen! Particularly, "Bohemian Rhapsody." I mean really, who can listen to that song without turning up the radio and singing at the top of their lungs? No matter WHAT is going on in your life, it will give you a few moments of joy (although, that's a bit of an mystery, since the words are not very uplifting).

(3) Amy Grant! Love her! Loved her very much in the mid-80's when her Age to Age album came out. That album made my Spirit happy, and it made me feel closer to God. Thanks Amy.

(4) Twila Paris! Can't name Amy and leave Twila out of the running. Her album, The Warrior is a Child, is one of the best albums ever! The title song describes exactly how it feels when you are discouraged from battling Satan's armies. "I drop my sword and cry for just a while, 'cuz deep inside this armor, the warrior is a child." But you know, we never fight that battle alone. "Fear not. For those that be with us are more than those that be with them" 2Kings 6:14.

Also from Twila was the song, "Praise Him." It is a song that always lifts my Spirit.

(5) The Mormon Tabernacle Choir! Ah yes!! Instant medicine for the troubled, injured soul. One of the songs that made a significant impact on me is "O Divine Redeemer." When I played this for Ron the first time, I spoke the words for him, and they moved me so much that I just cried. I knew the song had been written about me. Here are some of the phrases contained in the song (not in order)---"Oh, turn me not away. Receive me though unworthy." "Haste Thee Lord, haste to help me." "I pray Thee grant me pardon, and remember not, remember not oh Lord, my sins." "Oh Divine Redeemer, have mercy! Help me my Savior." 

(6) "Spirit in the Sky" Ah yes! Always puts a smile on my face,,,, no matter how dark the skies. Just gotta include the first two verses here.... You know you know the words... So SING!!!!

When I die and they lay me to rest 

Gonna go to the place that's the best
When I lay me down to die
Goin' up to the spirit in the sky
Goin' up to the spirit in the sky
That's where I'm gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that's the best

Prepare yourself you know it's a must
Gotta have a friend in Jesus
So you know that when you die
He's gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
Gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
That's where you're gonna go when you die
When you die and they lay you to rest
You're gonna go to the place that's the best

(6) And finally----Me. I am not a band, and I am definitely not a singer!! But I play the piano, and in that I find rest. It is great therapy.

I am sure I could go on about artists and/or songs that lift my soul and get me through hard times, but this post is already way too long. If you are still reading, then here is my closing statement: Music is such an important part of my life; it is no surprise that I turn to music for strength.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Day 442, Something You Never Get Compliments On

Nobody has ever called me "Christ-like." That is my ultimate goal, and one that is far beyond my current reach. I am working on it, and sometimes when I think I am making progress, something or someone comes along to humble me on the spot. I am afraid I am a rough stone with some very jagged edges.

Being Christ-like requires patience.

Hahahaha... Patience is definitely something I rarely get complimented on.

People have told me several times that I am extremely patient with my children. Really? I suppose to outsiders, it might appear that way, but if you ask my children if they think I am patient with them, they will laugh in your face. I am patient with my students. Most of the time. I am patient with my grandkids....pretty much always. I think that pretty much is it.

While we're on the subject, here are ten things for which I definitely have NO PATIENCE:

(1) people who text and drive;
(2) the drive-thru at Del Taco----Why does it take soooooo long to get a taco and a coke?
(3) gum that loses its flavor too quickly;
(4) people who insist on talking all the way through a movie;
(5) coke that has gone flat;
(6) warm milk;
(7) lazy teachers who don't really care about their students;
(8) people who constantly put themself and/or others down;
(9) people who cannot complete a ..... you know, they start to say..... like this one person, she will start to say something, but then she..... you know what I mean?
(10) not having a goal.

I had breakfast with a friend this morning.... She told me that when I have a goal, LOOK OUT.... because I will bulldoze anyone who gets in my way. That is a trait that may be effective in some settings, but can be horrible in others. I never view myself as this type of person. Goal driven, yes. Task oriented, yes. Determined, absolutely. But I never thought of myself as inconsiderate, uncaring, or disloyal. Suspecting that others may see me in this negative light makes me realize that I still have a long way to go in my quest to become a Christ-like person.

"And miles to go before I sleep."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 441, Something People Seem to Compliment You the Most On

Golly, this would have been much easier to answer 30 years ago ~~! Back then, I was complimented most on my flat stomach. Bah Hah Hah~~~!! Sadly, not anymore. Back then, I was complimented on having long, pretty eyelashes. Ugh! Yeah. Not so much after passing age 40. Back then, I was complimented on my ability to learn new things quickly. That was before technology. Back then, I was complimented on my piano playing---that was back when I actually played more than once a month.

Oh, I'm not feeling sorry for myself. This is just the effects of the passages of time.

Here are a couple things I get complimented on now-a-days:

(1) My beautiful children---This really has nothing to do with "me" per say, but it is my most favorite compliment.

(2) My organ playing---I play loud, and apparently it helps keep people awake during church :-)

(3) My ability to teach---both in secular and spiritual settings. I give all the credit to God.

(4) The softness of my skin---Yes! I am a Jergen's girl all the way. I used to pretend I was doing commercial for them when I was young. Who knew I would still be a Jergen's girl some 40 years later? Ron loves my skin.... And I LOVE that he does~~! I admit, it really IS soft :-)

(5) My enthusiasm. Kelli Sunderland calls them camera moments. Click, click~@! Sometimes it is very contagious.

(6) Writing a novel and getting it published. I'm pretty excited about this. Let's hope the reviewers find it worthy of a compliment.

Some things I will likely NEVER be complimented on:

(1) My driving
(2) My ADD
(3) RAKs --- (Yeah, you know, those random acts of kindness that I suck at!!)
(4) My driving (It really is worth two mentions.)
(5) My closets and drawers (Look out!! It's dangerous in there~~!@+!)

I suppose it is all about balance, right? Ya win some. Ya lose some.

I can live with that.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 440, Someone You Need to Let Go, Or Wish You Didn't Know

I got nothing on this one. There is probably someone I need to let go,,,,but I could never say I wish I didn't know them. I believe we learn from everyone who crosses our path; if nothing more than to give us experience. We are the sum of all our experience; therefore, to press the delete button on someone would change the outcome.

Nope. I can't think of anyone I would wipe out of my life.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 439, Somebody You Didn't Want to Let Go, but Just Drifted

When I make friends, It is always my expectation that the friendship will last forever. I never look at a true frienship as a temporary alliance. Over the years, there have been many people who were close to me, but later drifted. It is generally a result of them moving away.

Julie Clark. Tamela Mailing. Kimberly Dolan. Theresa Nielson. Tammy Hallberg. These are ladies who played a significant role in my life. They are ladies I still love, even though I haven't seen or spoken to some of them in over 20 years. They are women that I once felt as close to as any sisters could feel. I cried when they moved away; I did not want to let them go.

Then there is "Sue," (I will call her that to keep from using her real name). Sue is someone I used to work with. Thanks to a series of unfortunate events and misunderstandings, I have recently had to face the fact that she no longer considers me her friend. This week, I made a conscious decision to let her go. It is not easy for me; I don't make friends easily, and I don't like the feeling that I somehow let her down. Well, I wish her the very best, and who knows, maybe someday she will want to be friends again.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Day 438, Someone Who Has Made Your Life Hell or Treated You Like @@!#!@

There are two names that readily come to my mind with this prompt. Elaine, and Sundown.

I have already given Elaine some air time in a previous blog, so I will make this brief. Elaine was responsible for dragging me into court repeatedly. I allowed myself to be victimized by her, and that made my life hell for period of time. I got over it. I became stronger because of it. BUT,,, she hurt my kids and treated them in ways that no child deserves to be treated. I must admit that I am pleased that she is no longer in the picture. Good riddens I say. That sounds very un Christ-like, so I must apologize. Someday, perhaps I will be able to see things through her eyes.

The second person that comes to mind is Sundown Colbert. Aye aye aye!! He began his bullying tactics on me when I was Kindergarten. He used to push my friend, Nancy, and me down on the rocks when we got off the bus on our way home from school. My mother always dressed me in leotards and dresses, so this was especially problematic. I came home with torn stockings more than once. What was his problem? Oh, who knows. He was a bully. He would threaten me if I did not pick him for sharing time, which I never did. I would know that he was going to push me down after school, but I was not going to pick him!!

Later, when I was in Jr. High, Sundown's bullying rose to a whole new level. One afternoon he "summoned" me to his garage---sent his cronies to escort me (just like a true mob boss.) That's when he informed me that if I did not agree to go steady with him, he would rape the _____ out of me. Was I scared? Surprisingly not as much as you might think. There was a little part of me that worried, but for whatever reason, that part of me could not silence the part of me that told him to go to hell. Ah youth! In some ways I admire the fact that I never let Sundown's bullying scare me into some weak, submissive victim, but I resented the fact that I had to deal with him repeatedly from the ages of 4-15. He finally decided to focus his efforts on more important things like drug dealing and grand theft. His father was a Hell's Angels...His mother was a sweetheart. His little brother was a nice kid. Go figure.

I always wondered what became of Sundown. Last I heard he was in prison, or dead, or something like that. If I could spend ten minutes with him now, I would ask him one question. Was it worth it?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 437, Someone Who Has Made Your Life Worth Living For

I never thought much of my own mortality as a youth or young adult. I took chances on ski slopes, drove wrecklessly, accepted a ride from a total stranger, and did silly things that could potentially be harmful to my health. The idea that my life mattered was foreign to me. Don't get me wrong, I knew that my parents would be devastated if anything every happened to me. They had already lost two daughters; I was their only living girl, and I had no desire to cause them pain. Yet, I openly resented and rebelled against all their attempts to set boundaries for me. I'm not proud about that---it is proof of my stupidity and immaturity at the time.

But everything changed when I was 25 years old. Reason? Raechel. I remember, clearly, how knowing I was carrying a child redefined my sense of purpose. Suddenly, everything I did mattered. It mattered because I there was someone relying on me. Truly. It was up to me to keep my unborn child safe, healthy, protected---and then, once she was born, she was dependent on me for everything. Raechel brought to my life an entirely new dimension---that of being a mom.

Since Raechel's birth, and subsequently, the birth of all my children, my life has mattered in ways I could never have imagined in the ignorance of my youth. My children bring me inexpressible joy, and they have taught me how to love. Motherhood has given me a glimpse into Eternity and into the very reason for mortality. It is a gift for which I am forever grateful, and definitely makes my life worth living.

That's a good thing :-)