Thursday, November 17, 2011

"The Golden Sky" Blogfest Celebration

    My dear friend Elisa at EC Writes has released her first book today. It is a tribute to her son, Zeke, who left this world at the tender age of three months. Her book, "The Golden Sky" is her journal from when she found out there were problems with her child during her pregnancy, all the way through to his loss and the hell her life and marriage went through trying to cope. 

    This post is based on an event in my life that was nearly fatal to me. It is interesting enough to note that this event happened almost exactly three weeks before little Zeke was born to Elisa. I urge you all to read her book. It is full of the most poignant of emotions and as her title would suggest, ends with love and hope. Because after every storm there is a golden sky.  I love you Elisa. I know Zeke is smiling proudly upon you this day, and forever.       

EC Writes
           Sadie glanced over her shoulder at the road behind her. Not a single car. Why, then, was this car in front of her? The only car in a half a mile radius and it was chugging away in front of her.Don’t these people realize that it’s fifty through here?” Sadie exclaimed. She gripped the steering wheel, locked her elbows and pressed herself into the back of her seat in an effort to release the frustration. At the sound of a chuckle in the seat next to hers, she turned to see what was so funny. “What?” she asked Genaveve. “What’s so funny?”
You are,” said Genaveve, turning away to stare out the window again.
C’mon, they are going thirty-five. This is ridiculous.” That instant, Sadie had an idea that would solve their dilemma. The brake pedal slammed to the floor and Sadie brought the car to a crawl, calculating distances in her mind.
What’re you doing?” Genaveve’s voice went up an octave when she saw the smile spread across Sadie’s face.
I’m going to pass them,” Sadie said. This wasn’t going to be legal, it was a solid double yellow line and only a tiny turn lane anywhere within sight. Sadie didn’t care though, no one was around to witness it.
The adrenaline that was released like a flood gate opening during a rainstorm when the accelerator pedal touched the floor again momentarily. Left foot, right arm and right foot worked effortlessly in unison to move through the five gears. Blood pumped through Sadie's veins, making her hands pulsate against the steering wheel, drowning out all noise save for the roar of the engine and the beating of her heart.
You... are... crazy,” Gena yelled at Sadie before her eyes closed tightly and she gripped her chair for dear life. But the words fell on deaf ears.
When Sadie made the decision to pass the vehicle, her brain swiftly began calculating the distance from the car in front of them. Additionally, she had to factor in the distance of the cars in the opposite lane of oncoming traffic, through which they would be passing. Coming within feet of the car in front of them, Sadie maneuvered the Toyota swiftly into the two-hundred foot stretch of turn lane. The oncoming vehicle honked it's horn and swerved a little, more out of fear than necessity. With the fortune only luck can provide, the little Toyota jerked back into the correct lane, now in front of the previously offending car.
Ha ha, that was great.” Sadie’s smile was so big her cheeks were hurting. She turned to look at her cousin. Genaveve’s face lacked color and she looked as if she might pass out. “You okay Gena?” Sadie asked. Gena managed to compose herself just enough and began ranting and raving at Sadie.
You lunatic. Never, ever do that again, especially with me in the car. We almost got hit.” Gena's face changed color from white to red allowing her strawberry blonde hair to accentuate the fury behind her tongue lashings.
Oh, calm down Gena,” Sadie smirked. “I knew we’d make it just fine or else I wouldn't have done it.”
Gena scowled at her and “I don't believe you” etched itself in every line of her face. Trying not to laugh, Sadie altered her attempts at soothing the lion she had created of her cousin.
C'mon Gena, you know I wouldn't do something stupid enough to get us into a car accident. Besides, that was freaking awesome, you have to admit!”
At least we are almost there, I can’t stop shaking. You scared the daylights right outta me.”
James is going to be there, he should be able to calm those nerves of yours,” said Sadie. She knew how much Gena liked James and this would be a sure way to get her cousin’s thoughts off the car ride and onto a more pleasant subject.
Oh good, I was really hoping he would be.” Gena’s mood brightened visibly.
Score, it worked. Sadie didn’t like upsetting her cousin, so she was glad to be able to put a smile back on her face. They had been best friends for nearly fifteen years, and since Sadie was a few weeks away from her seventeenth birthday, that was like eternity.
As much as Sadie loved her cousin, she couldn’t help herself when it came to driving her car. She really enjoyed the power and control she found when behind the wheel of her little sports coupe. There weren’t many places in her life where she felt like she had control so she would take it where she could get it. The adrenaline she so often triggered when driving kept her spirits up when she was having a hard time and gave her a momentary escape from the mundane pull of everyday life as a high school student.
There was only one thing she craved more than dashing down the freeways at alarming speeds,only one other thing in her life gave her a greater feeling of intoxication than her car and that was her boyfriend, Ryan. She had been with him for eleven months, one week and three days and never tired of seeing him. When she was with him she felt like she could loose herself and be content to never find her way on her own again, as long as he was there with her.
Sadie’s blissful reverie was interrupted when her hand yanked on the emergency brake and turned the key, pulling it from the ignition. They were here.
Sadie and Gena piled out of the little car and made their way up three flights of stairs to apartment number 716. Sadie rapped the door sharply to announce their presence and the two girls swiftly adjusted their clothing to make sure nothing was amiss before the door was answered. The lock clicked open and the door swung in, allowing the two girl's entrance.
Sadie wrapped her arms tightly around the neck of the guy who had let them in.
Hey sexy.” His voice was playful as he leaned in to give her a kiss. “You two ready to hit the pool or do ya gotta change first?”
Nope, we're ready.” Sadie confirmed with a quick glance at Gena, then remembered. “Oh, is James coming?”
He’s down at the pool with Shawn already. He wanted to get his tan as dark as he could before winter.” James was Ryan’s older brother whom he shared an apartment with and Shawn was their cousin. He didn’t live there but he may as well have. Shawn was over all the time, resigned to the boredom of single life. But a few weeks ago he finally hooked a girl and Shawn couldn’t stop talking about her.
The three of them grabbed towels and headed out to the pool. Genaveve led with a slightly more urgent pace than Sadie and Ryan.
I can't believe the pool closes tomorrow.” Sadie moaned, seeking sympathy for her lack of control over the weather. “It feels like summer just started and it's already over.”
Welcome to Utah!” Ryan jibbed sarcastically.
Letting her lower lip protrude in dissatisfaction, Sadie leaned into Ryan's side a little as they walked. Gena stood at the entrance gate of the pool, her foot tapping impatiently waiting for Ryan to arrive with the keys. When the gate was unlocked Gena let herself in without further ado.
Sadie watched Gena for a moment, silently praying that her cousin wouldn’t over do it. Gena had been know to be exorbitant with guys she liked, but when Sadie saw her take a seat next to James and begin lite conversation, she relaxed and followed Ryan over to a few unoccupied chairs.
Ryan seated himself and removed his sandals and shirt. Sadie couldn’t help herself as her eyes lingered on his bare chest, well-shaped from many years of martial arts. Her eyes momentarily caught his and she smiled a little, realizing her stare didn’t go unnoticed, then looked down and kicked off her flip flops. Ryan leaned back in his chair and made quite a show of himself, watching Sadie shimmy out of her tight shorts and shirt.
When she was finally in only her swim suit he grabbed her hand and pulled her onto his lap.
“You make me think bad thoughts,” he whispered into her ear.
Sadie shook her head frowning and turned away quickly as the smile replaced itself on her face. Changing the subject Sadie turned to look at Ryan again.
My parents left out of town today. They went to California for a week to visit my grandparents. My brother, Carson, is in charge of me while they’re gone and he doesn’t care how late I stay out as long as I let him know when I’ll be home.” Sadie loved it when Carson was in charge, she could do as she pleased without having guilt trips hammered into her by her mother and father for disobeying.
Great,” Ryan said. Feigning distraction for dramatic effect until he pulled his eyes up to meet hers. “So how late do ya wanna to stay over then?”
Well, I can’t stay all night, but I was thinking one o’clock would give us some time and get me home without any troubles from the family.”
Okay, I’ll try to let you go by then.”
Sadie trotted up to the pool and dove cleanly under the water. The small ripples left by her nearly flawless entry were followed by a cannon ball wave as Ryan jumped in after her. When Sadie surfaced, the mixed sensations of the hot sun and the cool wind sent shivers through her whole body. She spun in the water to locate Ryan, anticipating an attack from behind. Just as she presumed, his arms secured themselves around her waist, pulling her momentarily underwater before releasing her.
You turd,” she said, wiping the water out of her eyes.
What? You weren’t wet enough, thought I would help you out a bit.” Ryan’s eyes were teasing, daring her to contradict him so he could advance his play.
Whatever,” Sadie retorted and swam up close to Ryan. Her legs wrapped around his waist for stability in the ruckus and splashing all around them. Placing one hand on his cheek, her other arm encircled his neck bringing his face closer to hers until their lips met.
When Sadie released the kiss she whispered in his ear, “I forgive you.” Like shifting gears in her car, Sadie’s loving demeanor turned to revenge and her hands positioned themselves on top of his head, pushing it underwater while simultaneously pulling his lower body out of balance with a jerk of her legs. She began swimming to the opposite side of the pool. Being within arms reach of Ryan when he recovered himself was out of the question.
Sadie and Ryan chased each other around the pool for nearly an hour before calling a truce. Sadie was exhausted, though it appeared that Ryan could have continued for another round.
I’m gonna go lay out for a bit if that’s alright. You wanna join me?” Sadie knew the offer would be turned down, but she felt it polite to at least ask. She was here to spend the day with Ryan, after all.
Nah, I’ll go see if James and Shawn want to play some ball or somethin’.”
Sadie and Ryan exchanged a quick kiss before she climbed out of the pool. She walked as fast as she could to her towel, determined not to break the pool area rule that had been ingrained in her since she was little, “Don’t run in the pool area.”
The slight breeze made the warm summer air absolutely frigid against her wet skin. Grabbing the towel she cleared away most of the moisture from her body then made herself comfortable on the lounge chair, basking in the sun.
Ryan called her a reptile, saying she could never be warm unless she was soaking up the sun. Sadie often wondered if there was more truth to that statement than anyone realized. It was the only explanation she could come up with herself for why she was always so cold. Well, that and it was genetic, her mom was the same way. When they were kids, Gena always complained that Sadie would leave the pool before her. Sadie couldn’t stay in the water that long, she got too cold and she hated being cold.
As if on cue, Gena called to Sadie, “Getting out already?” Sadie nodded at her then closed her eyes, enjoying the almost melodic hubbub that always accompanied a public pool. She drifted in and out of a light sleep, shifting her position occasionally so she wouldn’t get too much sun on one side or the other.
A small splash of cold water on her cheek shocked Sadie out of her dozing. She sat upright wiping the water from her face and glared at Ryan. He was of course, smiling, happy to be able to tease her, just enough to get a reaction out of her.
I was wondering if you were done sunning yourself and wanted to get back in with me?”
Sadie looked around, trying to decide if getting into the water again was a good idea since she was now completely dry. Her gaze halted when she saw Shawn helping a girl onto his shoulders, getting ready to launch her in the air. She was very petite with dark skin and hair that marked her as Hispanic. A hot pink string bikini was the only thing attempting to cover her butt and large breasts. Shawn was all smiles. Wiping the dumbstruck expression off her face she looked up at Ryan to answer his question.
No, I really don’t want to get all wet again, I would rather go up to the apartment and figure out what to have for dinner, I’m getting hungry.” The statement didn’t tell the whole truth, but it was convincing enough for Ryan.
Okay, I’m getting pretty hungry myself. Maybe we could order some pizza.” Ryan reached for his towel and dried himself off.
Is that Naomi?” Sadie finally asked. She didn’t want to bring attention to the fact that this short-legged super model was making her uncomfortable, but she had to know whether this girl would be coming up to the apartment or be left at the pool.
Ya, she got here about an hour ago. Shawn can get her launched pretty high in the air, but not as high as I can,” Ryan boasted.
Sadie’s heart cramped. That was just the type of thing she was trying to avoid. This little sprite, Naomi, was a tramp, it was written all over her body language, from the way she giggled to her bust-out posture. Wanting to leave more urgently now than before, Sadie jumped to her feet, grabbed her sandals and began walking towards the gate, beckoning Ryan to follow her. Ryan nearly had to jog to keep pace, trying to get to the pool gate before her so she wouldn’t be waiting on him. He was a gentleman like that, even when Sadie made it difficult at times.
Back in the apartment Sadie and Ryan changed into some dry clothes. Not wanting to be around when Naomi and Shawn ventured out of the pool, Sadie suggested that they go out to eat instead, maybe go see a movie too. She knew Gena would be okay without her, she had James to keep her entertained for a while and he would be good enough to drive her home when she needed to leave as well.
Ryan insisted on driving, he always did. Sadie was okay with it though, even if Ryan’s little truck smelled like an ash tray. She knew that he would gladly drive her coupe instead, but that was one of the things she had, that he wanted. Keeping it away from him was her way of teasing him, and maintaining a little bit of control in the process.
Reaching into his pocket, Ryan pulled out a pack of cigarettes and lit one. Sadie hated the fact that he smoked, but he kept promising her he would quit, so she didn’t make a fuss about it very often. She appreciated the fact that he tried to keep the smoke out of the truck, but it was less successful than he realized. It was the thought that counted, right?
So after dinner, you want to go see a movie? I got paid today so I will cover it.”
Sure, I will pay you back one of these days, when I get a real job.” Ryan chuckled a little embarrassed that for all of his chivalrous efforts, his girlfriend was always the one paying for their dates.
Sadie didn’t have any bills or commitments for her money so she usually spent it on Ryan. He didn’t make much money working part time and he was paying part of his tuition, his dad was paying the rest. Sadie had even paid his half of the rent once and his truck insurance a few times.
She didn’t mind though, Sadie was just happy to help. It was probably genetic as well, like the being cold all of the time, but at least this wasn’t a bad thing. Almost the entire time during her childhood there was someone living with them, someone her parents were helping out until they could afford to live on their own again. Even now, Sadie’s oldest brother Carson was living with them. Carson, his pregnant wife and their three kids. It made for a chaotic existence, but her parents enjoyed helping people out, so Sadie never complained.
After a fast food dinner and a rather comical movie Sadie and Ryan returned to the apartment around midnight. Sadie hated this part of the day, when she had to say good-bye, see you tomorrow. They would say goodbye and then stand there, not wanting to be the first one to walk away. Reluctantly, Sadie climbed into her car and began to drive away. Looking out the rear view mirror her last sight of Ryan was the cherry burning on the cigarette that he held fast between the fingers of his right hand.
The night felt cold as Sadie drove out onto the highway. She shivered and turned up the music so that it would drown out all noise and all thought. The cold wasn’t the temperature in the air, but in her heart as she drove away from blissful freedom and towards reality. The music would keep her mind off that though, so the louder she cranked it, the better she felt.
Looking at the clock Sadie realized she had only fifteen minutes to get home before she would be in trouble with her brother and without a second thought, accelerated her coupe to about eighty-five. The car in front of her was moving too slowly so she flipped on her turn signal momentarily before adjusting to the new lane.
A loud crack reverberated through the vehicle. The A-arm of the small coupe had severed completely. Lacking a forward right wheel assembly the car wrenched to the right. Terror filled Sadie. Any and all other emotion in her body fled as the steering wheel jerked from her hands.
Force is calculated by the mass of an object multiplied by the velocity which it travels. At eighty-five miles per hour, the amount of force the car created when it hit the guard rail tore at the metal like paper. A sudden inhibition of forward momentum redirected itself as inertia had not yet been sated by friction. The car twisted into the air.
There were three collision that happened within split seconds of each other. The first was the car’s front tire to the guard rail, the second was Sadie’s head on the driver’s side window and the third was Sadie’s brain to the inside of her skull and her internal organs to the rest of her body. Agony tore through Sadie.
The airbag deployed against her chest. Unfortunately, the torsion through the air combined with the lack of a seat belt succeeded only in the airbag thrusting her to the side. Her upper body slammed against the window. Shattering glass and tortured screams engulfed the scene. Her helpless body flew through the air. A momentary freedom from the contorting metal disrupted as she descended again. In seconds her body hit the ground. The right arm came into contact with the empty field first. It snapped under her weight. Sadie slid several feet across the rough dirt and weeds before it ended. The masticating metal went silent only a few yards away. The calamity played it’s melody out to several vehicles on the highway. The only thing Sadie heard was pain.  Blood poured down her face from the many gashes through her forehead and hair. Her arm felt as though it was no longer attached to her body. Punishment wracked her entire being.
Ryan, help me. It’s so cold, it hurts.”
Sadie lay in the empty field, unable to move when three cars stopped. The occupants ran to the coupe to see if anyone needed help. A minute passed before the people realized where the driver of the car was. Horrified they called 911. No one went near her. No one wanted to be the one to say, “She’s dead.”
An ambulance arrived and emergency medical technicians went to work binding her securely to a transport board and triaging the wounds. She was fading quickly. The Life Flight helicopter picked her up and transported her to the nearest level 5 trauma center.
Police on the scene took a report of events from the witnesses and were able to find the information necessary to contact Sadie’s family. Gena received the news around six o’clock in the morning and was asked to please, tell Ryan what happened.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

To Be Proactive

If I could just . . .

       If only I . . .

             I can't . . .

                  I have to . . .

These are the reactive words of many a lost soul.  They are words of damnation and condemnation.  When these words are uttered, people fail and loose hope.  Responsibility is shunned and fingers are pointed.  " It isn't my fault.  I have no control. " are the thoughts behind the expressed words.

"Between stimulus and response lies our power to choose."  ~Stephen R Covey

Responsibility is an intriguing word.  People try to make it out to be complex and even frightening.  When in fact it is an act of freedom.  Responsibility is exactly what it says it is.  It is our Ability to Respond.  This is something we have surrendered in the effort to simplify our lives.  We have given our ability to respond away to others.  Sometimes to people we don't even know because we don't want to make our own decisions, we don't want to be response-able

This is a sad thought.  Free agency (or our ability to make decisions), is an inalienable right given to us by God our Father, and we don't want it to use it?  We want to shun it, and hand our lives over blindly to whomever will take it and do as they please with it?  Shame on us.  What a reproachful use of such a wonderful, God-given gift.  I do not want to squander this incredible gift any longer.

I control my ability to respond and take ownership of my thoughts, words and actions.  I will make and keep promises, set and achieve goals.  I will read my children a story every night, as a goal for myself and a promise to my children.  I am responsible for this goal and promise.  The only thing capable of making it fail is me, and I will not allow myself to fail.   

If I make a mistake, I will admit it, correct it and learn from it.  For if I made a mistake and tried to cover it up, it would be more damaging.  The following moments would be affected and driven by that mistake.  Chasing the poisonous snake that bit me would only succeed in driving the poison more quickly through my system.  Instead, the better thing to do would be to take immediate steps to get rid of the poison.  It was my response, I am accountable for it and will make the best of it because it cannot be taken back and will not be placed on the shoulders of another.  If my mistake hurt another, or creates distrust I will have to work even harder to mend the wounds.  Though I must not break promises, for too many apologies will earn even more distrust.  An apology does not mend lost trust, only fulfilled promises.

"It is not the mistakes of others, or even our own mistakes that hurt us the most, it is our response to those things."  ~Stephen R Covey

I will do as Dr. Covey suggests.  I am going to set my first goal at thirty days.  I will be a light, not a judge.  I will be part of the solution, not the problem.  I will be a model, not a critic.  I will make small commitments and uphold them. Then make larger commitments and keep them as well.  Then even larger ones.  I wont argue for other people's weaknesses, I wont argue for my own.  When I make a mistake I will admit it and correct it immediately.  I will not get into blaming and accusing.  I will work on what I have control over, and that is me.

Inside of this thirty day goal I will have three other smaller goals.  The first is to listen to my language and to the language of those around me and see if we are using reactive language such as: "If only . . ." or "I have to . . ." If I do then I will correct it and replace it will proactive language such as "I can . . ." and "I will . . ." The second goal is to identify an experience I will most likely have in the near future, based on a past experience, were I would behave reactively.  Review the situation and figure how I could respond proactively.  Envision it and take control of it, remembering that the gap between stimulus and response is the power of choice.  And third, I will select a problem in my personal life and determine if it is a problem that I have direct control of, indirect control of or no control of.  I will identify the first step I can take to solve the problem, then I will do it.  As the serenity prayer goes,

~Reinhold Niebuhr 

I will remember to look upon others with compassion, not judgement.  It is not what they are doing, or what they are supposed to be doing, but how I react to it, and what I am supposed to be doing that are important.  If I am cleaning my room and keeping my end of the chores done, my children will be more inclined to do their chores without whining and arguing.  But I must do my part first.  I must lead by example, not by intimidation and force.

How I respond makes all the difference in the world.  If I can just keep that in mind, this principle of being proactive alone will have a dramatic effect on my life and my family.

May patience and grace bless us all.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Brief Pause

I do apologize for not having posted again recently.  I just got back from visiting my sister in Kansas.  We had a wonderful time.  Our week visit was full of family, fun and fireworks.  I had my ear perked by my brother about a book I am going to go purchase tomorrow.  It is called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey.  The book should give me a little better insight on how to accomplish all that I want to and so I will be better able to keep track of my progress here.  Thank you for your patience and support.  I will not be posting again until after I have read this book.  Have a wonderful weekend!

And in the meantime, you all may see the fireworks finale that my Brother-In-Law put together for us on the 3rd and 4th of July!

Thursday, June 30, 2011


This is the ad I just listed in the online classifieds of the local newspaper. Check it out!
"My husband wanted a new tool box to be with the "in" crowd at work. They were all spending more money than they were making. Their toolboxes were new and shiny, overflowing with all the latest and greatest tools.

It would have been one thing if he wanted a Craftsman toolbox, or even a moderate SnapOn toolbox. Or if he had so many tools that they would no longer fit in the toolbox he had, but none of these things were the case. His toolbox was just fine. The only thing that was "wrong" with it was that is didn't say "SnapOn" on the front of it.

After months and months of his abhorrent begging I thought he finally got the hint that we couldn't afford it and that his job was supposed to be making us money, not costing us.

One day as I was cleaning out our car I found a stack of invoices. Had they simply been receipts I would have tossed them away without a second thought. But they were invoices, so I looked at them and to my great horror I saw that they were from SnapOn Credit. I scanned them briefly and as I had feared, they were for a toolbox. And not just a toolbox, but lots of tools and toolbox upgrades to go with it. The total bill was $7500 with a 36.29% interest rate!

I called my husband on the spot and flung more profanities at him than I even realized I knew. I fumed all day long, just waiting for him to get home from work so I could lay into him again.

Fortunately for him, by the time he got home I had calmed down from exploding volcano to seething and sizzling volcano. To make a long story a little shorter, my husband lived and we even kept the toolbox. It was a bitter compromise, but it worked for the time being.

Fast forward three years to the present day. My darling husband no longer works as a mechanic and so I get my revenge. The toolbox must go. We are keeping the tools, as they still come in handy with our own vehicles. But the toolbox in unnecessary. A smaller, less expensive one will be more than adequate.

Please call with reasonable offers. This is what is included in this sale. Thank you for your time and interest.

KRA series model 2411
It also has:

Armor Edge coated Steel top
Creeper Hanger

Serious offers only please.

p.s. I do have my husband's permission to sell this, as much as it breaks his heart.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Designing my Dream Home

My house project is getting closer to the starting line.  The repairs have been categorized and priced.  I picked my colors, planned the layout of my kitchen and bathroom and I have bids in from general contractors and sub contractors.  I am getting really excited.

The main color in the house is going to be Homestead Resort Tea Room Cream (which is a lot more yellow and less pink than on the monitor).  The kitchen is going to be Homestead Resort Olive (which is actually a green and not grey).  The bathroom is going to be Tranquil Bay (which is actually a light blue-green and also not grey).  The girls room will be Purple Hills (which is surprisingly close to actual color). The boys room will be La Fonda Sombrero (which is more orange and less pink).  The master bedroom is staying Homestead Resort Tea Room Cream for now and later I will add some artistic detailing. 

Total cost is looking like $12,000-$14,000 which is perfect!  I have a few more contractors looking at the house today and I hope that they give me some god estimates, and quick.  I am hoping to have them in to the lender by Thursday before I leave to Kansas for a week to visit my sister and brother-in-law and have some fun 4th of July fireworks!  I will also get to meet quite a few people I used to play World of Warcraft with for five years. 

I will check in with you all later. 


Monday, June 20, 2011


I apologize for the lack of posts this weekend.  When my husband is home I tend to steer clear of the computer so I can spend time with him.  Father's Day was fun and the weekend all together was great.

My husband and I put an offer on a house and we found out this morning that the offer has been accepted.  We are extremely excited and I can't wait until we officially have the house.  It has five bedrooms and two bathrooms.  It sits on a half-acre lot with an enormous willow tree in the backyard, the kind you could imagine fairies living in, creating their magic.  I have named this beautiful tree.  Her name is Sailee, which is Gaelic for "willow tree."  It is a beautiful name and fits the tree wonderfully.

This yard is perfect.  The half-acre gives me plenty of room to have the garden of my dreams.  A vegetable garden and an herb garden.  I could even have a chicken coop so I could have my own eggs, fresh everyday.  We will be closing on the house within a few days of my two eldest children's birthdays and so we are going to buy them a play set for their gifts.  The neighbor's houses and yards are all immaculate.  The home to the right even have a gazebo in the yard and the home on the left has a beautiful deck.  In fact, all of the homes in the neighborhood would make any homeowner proud.

The home we are buying, however, isn't in such great shape.  Right now, you would probably go walk through it and think we were crazy, just insane for buying this house.  It is one of those homes that when you read the description on the MLS listing it reads something like this.  "Lots of potential!  Needs some TLC.  A fixer-upper! Handy-man special!"  But the location and price are well worth putting some work into it to make it our own.  We are looking at a project about the size of this one.

We are up for the challenge!  I can't wait to get started.  I get to design my own kitchen and bathrooms.  I get to pick out the flooring, wall textures, colors, window, doors and make the house into my home.  When the project starts I will post pictures and keep you updated on the progress.


Thursday, June 16, 2011


Dealing with sick children will always be a challenge, no matter how experienced we are at it.  Every time my children get sick I find myself searching for where it originated, how did they get this ailment.  Interestingly enough I very rarely can come to a definite conclusion and most of the time I can't even figure a possibility of the source.

It is that way right now.  Both of my boys have a stomach ailment, the likes of which I have not experienced or seen before.  They have their episodes in the bedtime hours then they are cheery and healthy during the day.  After nearly two weeks of this pattern on and off, I took them into the pediatrician, hoping she would be able to shed some light on the matter.

I only take my children to the pediatrician if their sickness is something I feel like I cannot handle and overcome without the help of the physician.  However, sometimes I wonder if they really have anything to offer me that I don't already know myself.  My children's doctor told us they don't know what is wrong with my boys, their health seems just fine at the moment.  I could have told them that!  This is the reason we went to the doctors office, because they were just fine during the day, and even on some evenings, it seems to be an evening illness.  The only comfort I received from the visit was that they offered to do some lab work to find out what is wrong with my boys.

Collecting the specimen they needed for the lab wasn't easy and I hope to never have to go through that again, but it is done and in the labs hands now.  I called the pediatrician to let them know that lab had what they needed and to let me know when they have the results in.  The receptionist told me with a smile in her voice that the labs will take up to five days to culture before they will have results.  Five days! This has already gone on for over two weeks! I do not want to just wait for five more days while my children continue to be ill without any action on my part.

This is why I am going to try and fix the problem on my own.  I have done some research on herbs and have found the ones that are known to help with the digestive track.  I will purchase these oils and apply them topically to my boys with a carrier oil.  I may not know the specifics of what ails them, but I can treat the areas, just as many have done before in times before pharmaceutical companies.  That and a priesthood blessing from my wonderful husband.  I will then be able to say, "Lord I have done all that I can, it is in your hands now."


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

House Hunting

Searching for the perfect house is a huge project that takes a lot of time.  Over the past three years I have looked at close to a thousand different online house listings and walked through well over forty homes that I was extremely interested in buying.  My husband and I had decided to buy a home, then reconsidered that idea multiple times.  This time, we are ready.  We have no debt, we have three months expenses in savings and we have money for a down payment.

However, even with all these things in place, we are still looking at the low end of price range for our state.  Because of the price range we are looking at, we find ourselves pitted up against investors.  They want to buy the house cheap, fix it up and resell it for full market value.  My husband and I want to buy it cheap, fix it up and live in it.  Unfortunately, in the eyes of the seller, that doesn't make any difference.  Most of these properties are bank-owned, HUD homes, or short sales.  In the case of these distressed properties, money and the ability to produce it is the only thing that matters.  We have our pre-qualification letter from our chosen lender, but many investors are fronting cash.

Even with all of the drama and stress involved in finding a house to call home, I still enjoy the process immensely.  I have the opportunity to step into some bizarre homes and the bizarre people and stories involved.

With the first house my husband and I purchased in our second year of marriage, we bought it from a couple who needed to move south to warmer weather for the health of their young daughter.  It was an honor to alleviate them of the stress of selling a home when they already had another mortgage to pay.  Our second home was purchased in our forth year of marriage and we purchased it from my eldest sister and her husband her were looking down the difficult path of bankruptcy.  Again, it was nice to help them out while obtaining a nice home in a nice neighborhood.

Both homes we had to sell because we did not have our feet underneath us financially.  Now that we are financially fit, I have been emotionally touched by the stories behind the homes I have been walking through.  Most of these stories are sad, and I drive away, shaking my head in dismay, knowing that someone struggled in that home, struggled and lost.  Some homes were abandoned when the people felt it was easier to walk away than to try and sell the home.  Some homes have renters still occupying the residence, still paying rent to the landlords who have stopped paying the bank the mortgage.

One such home made me smile.  There wasn't anything about the home that stood out.  It was much the same as the others; carpet, paint, sheet rock repairs, landscaping etc.  But this home was a rental and the renters were home when we arrived.  My realtor spoke with the elderly Hispanic lady with some quick Spanish and she let us in.

The house was filled with a wonderful aroma of homestyle Mexican cooking.  I love Mexican food and I could almost taste the food in the air.  Three young boys sat watching the television until we stepped in.  The grandmother told them we were here to look at the house.  At least that is what I could pick up from my limited understanding of Spanish.  They got up and began pointing to anything and everything around the house.

"Look this! Look this!" the leader of the little boys would say, pointing to a pair of shoes on the floor. "Those my shoes!"  The excitement on his face was heart melting. "Look this! Look this!" he said as I walked into the bathroom. "This toolit! Where you go pee!" I smiled and acknowledge his observation.  "Look this! Look this! This sink, where wash hands!"  Everything in the house had been named and described.

All the while, grandma continued cooking in the kitchen, preparing dinner for her son and daughter-in-law who were hard at work to supply the money to pay rent on the home that would soon be sold out from underneath them because their landlord no longer made mortgage payments.

I will never forget those darling little boys, excited to show me everything.  Not understanding that they were close to loosing this home they were so fond of.  And the grandma, diligently doing her part to keep the house a home for the precious short time that remained for them.  I am not sure that I will ever know the entirety of their story.  Perhaps they are already prepared to leave.  Perhaps they have another rental property lined up for them to relocate to.  Or perhaps they don't have any place to go and are extremely stressed with the impending eviction.

My prayers go out to them.  I hope they are prepared, for preparation keeps fear at bay.  Regardless of their future accommodations, they will go through trying times and I know those little boys and their endless excitement will see their family through.  The joy of a child knows no bounds.  May we all learn from their example.

Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself." -Mahatma Ghandi


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Success for Today

I was able to get some things on my list done yesterday!  I did my laundry, cleaned my kitchen, made breakfast and dinner, took my sick boys to the pediatrician and put in an off on a house.  Even though I still feel like my house is a mess, it is better than it was, so I am making progress. 

Today my main goal is to get the kitchen floor mopped, which means everything else in the kitchen needs to be spotless first.  While I am doing that I will have my daughter work on her schoolwork and perhaps even see how good her teaching skills are and have her start on some stuff with my kindergartener.  She has been successful in teaching him to count to ten and a few other things without my prompting, so it is a possibility and I think she will enjoy it.  If it doesn't work out, that is okay too because I wouldn't mind the one on one time with my son.

There are a few things that might get in my way today.  First is that my pediatrician has order some stool sample cultures from my boys and the lab needs them "fresh," within 30 minutes.  The lab is 10 minutes away and it usually takes me 15-20 minutes to get the kids in the car, so I will probably be doing that twice today.  Additionally, I have another house I want to go look at with the realtor because the house we put an offer on has two other offers as well, so there is a large chance we wont get it. 

Anything that requires me to leave the house seems to disrupt my entire day so I need to get as much done this morning as possible.  No lounging around and watching television today.  If I want mindless entertainment I will have to listen to some audiobooks while I get my housework done. 

One other thing I want to do if I have time at the end of my day, is some research on herbs and which herbs do what for your health.  I have always been fascinated with herbs and with the stomach ailments my sons have, the allergies my husband has, as well as the myriad of problems that come up on a daily basis, it would be nice to know what natural remedies are available.  It would be nice to use essential oil to cure my headaches rather than ibuprofen.

May your days be happy and healthy


Monday, June 13, 2011

Tomorrow Is Another Day

"Life's real failure is when you do not realize how close you were to success when you gave up." -Unknown

So yesterday wasn't bad.  I had the kitchen cleaned in the morning, fixed my children pancakes and cleaned up the house.  I fixed lunch and dinner.  I washed, dried and put away most of the laundry.  I tended to my sick little boy and managed to keep my baby happy.  I didn't accomplish everything on my list because I was distracted by the television.  Ah well, such is life.  Tomorrow is a clean slate.

I know I will never accomplish my goals by not focusing on them.  This is a rut that I have been stuck in for quite sometime and I need to give myself a bit of understanding that it will take some time to break free from.  But I do not want that to be an excuse to let myself continue to do what I have been doing.  Because if I do that, I will continue to get what I have been getting.  And that is not what I want.

"Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard at it." -Unknown
This week I was able to take time to refresh and enjoy the company of a good friend, spend time with my family, and even found a house that my husband and I are putting an offer on.  Tomorrow I will conquer the challenges I have been facing as a homemaker.  I will get all of the laundry cleaned and put away, the kitchen cleaned and the floor mopped and the rest of the house vacuumed.  I will start my daughter in her second grade courses today.  I will make a list first thing in the morning of what I wish to accomplish in the day, and using the advice of my sister, the list must fit on my sticky note.  If it does not fit, it will have to be done another day because there is simply not enough time in one day to accomplish everything I wish to.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Spending More Time at Home

Again I have not been able to get any housework done or any of my list done at all really.  First thing this morning, (after breakfast of course), I went to look at a house my husband and I will be placing an offer on come Monday.  Since my husband works out of town I needed to take pictures of it for him.  I wont go into details about why it took nearly two hours longer than it should have, suffice it to say that it did.  By the time I left I had to stop to get lunch at a fast food place for me and the kiddos before taking an hour drive down to my family's place for my niece's baptism.

When I spend an hour driving somewhere, I am inclined to stay as long as I am welcome.  We didn't leave until nearly nine-thirty this evening.  It is now eleven in the evening and the baby just fell asleep for the night.  I am currently uploading the video footage of the house for my husband and simultaneously naming still photos I took of the house.  I decided I am too tired to finish naming all 115 photos so it will have to wait for morning.

But, to keep myself on schedule, I needed to enter a blog post for the day.  And the morale of the lesson I have learned today is that I need to spend more time at home.  I should have left my family's place after dinner so that I would have some time to clean up my house.  I do not believe I will be able to get myself out of bed in the morning for church tomorrow, I am that beat.  But perhaps I should make an extra effort because I could really use some of the Lord's help in getting my home in order.  I am certainly falling short by myself.

Much love


Thursday, June 9, 2011


These are my aspirations, not yet prioritized.

As a Wife-
I will have to house cleaned for my husband when he comes home and to maintain its cleanliness while he is home.  I will not talk to him like one of the children that I spend all day and night with, instead I will remember to use my adult language and mannerisms.  I will cook all meals for him or with him.  I will call him at least twice a day while he is working out of town just to tell him I love and appreciate him. 

As a Mother-
I will wake up in the morning with my children and make them a healthy breakfast, not just cereal.  I will be more diligent in creating and maintaining personal hygiene routines with my children.  I will create a commissions chart for my children's chores, differentiating between chores they must do without pay because they live in this house, and chores they can be paid for because they are doing more than the minimum required.  I will read my children a book and the scriptures every night before bed.  I will be more constant in our family prayers and encourage personal prayer.  We will go to church and be on time every Sunday. Saturday evenings we will have a Family Night to teach our children of Christ and His gospel in our home.  I will strive to understand the personal needs of each of my children individually. 

As a Homemaker-
I will have the kitchen cleaned every night before retiring to my bed.  I will do at least one load of laundry each day so that it will not become piled up and difficult to deal with.  I will vacuum the house at least once a week, or as often as necessary.  I will plan out meals a week in advance to ensure I will always have the ingredients available.  I will bake more often and have healthier foods served at my table. 

As an Educator-
I will begin schoolwork studies with my children shortly after breakfast and ensure all subjects are understood.  I will pre-plan all lessons to ensure quality, creativity and fun in their learning.  I will help my children discover which extra-curricular activities they wish to pursue.  We will go on field trips whenever possible to introduce them to the application of education in the world around them.

As an Artist-
I will spend at least thirty minutes drawing every day.  I will save money to be able to purchase a tablet to begin learning to draw on the computer.

As a Seamstress-
I will sew all of my clothing and all of my girl's dresses.

As an Entrepreneur-
I will write down all business ideas that I have, but only act on the ones that I love, and let the ones that I like rest aside for now.

I am sure this list isn't totally complete, but it is a start. 

May peace fill your soul.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What I want to do when I grow up

As a child I had many aspirations.  In third grade I wanted to be an archeologist.  In seventh grade I wanted to be a genetic engineer.  But when I finally took my first art class in eighth grade I found the love I had loved from the beginning.  Unfortunately in my junior year in high school I also became infatuated with cars.  I never lost my love for art, but cars would be a more lucrative career.  So I began my first semester of college in the automotive field to begin training for my ASE (Automotive Standard Excellence) certification.  That semester was the beginning of the end for me.

I enjoyed learning about cars and in this semester's courses I would learn about their electrical systems and how electricity in general works.  Unfortunately I also learned that I was not willing to put up with the constant sexual harassment I would be subjugated to in the automotive industry.  My second semester of college I was pregnant with my first child and I felt lost about what avenue to pursue and so ended up taking a bunch of miscellaneous classes.  I only had one art related class and it was airbrushing.

When my baby arrived, I knew then that I had really found my calling.  I was to be a mom.  I still tinkered with art here and there.  I even dabbled with the idea of trying to become a portrait artist.  It was a wonderful idea, but I lacked the confidence and motivation to do anything with the idea.  So it stayed just that, an idea.

Many years and many ideas have come and gone since then.  I have wrote up business plans for restaurants, started my own vinyl sticker business, managed a pizza delivery joint, designed, sewn and sold custom boutique children's clothing on eBay, started writing a book, wrote and sang World of Warcraft parodies for YouTube, tried my hand at being a NuSkin distributor, along with a million other ideas that never made it out of my head.

It should come as no surprise however, that none of these ideas worked.  I would get bored with them, or decide they weren't worth my time.  I am still in the process of trying a few things.  I have a gamer-style recipe blog I collaborate with my wonderful sister, Rill on.  I am still trying to write my book, but utmost priority in my life is being a wife and a mother.

I want to be all that I can be (without having to join the army).  I want to be a wife, mother, artist, educator, seamstress, designer, musician, author, along with a million other things.  At this moment I feel like I am nickle and dimeing myself to death.  I am a decent wife and mother, but everything else has had so little time allotted to it's success that it is getting no where.  So my goal for the week is to write down everything I have ever really wanted to do when I grow up.  The list will be prioritized, from the things I am most passionate about, down to the things I simply have had a fascination with.  Over the next few days my list will formulate itself and I will post it here.

I will re-read my post "If I could just be a little bit more" daily, to keep my motivation up.  I will pray to God every day for the strength to remain on course and I will not falter.

May your warm days be blessed with shade and your parched mouth always have sweet water available in abundance.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

If I could just be a little bit more

I feel like I have lost control.  There are so many things in life that I want to do.  So many things in my home I want to have done on a daily basis.  And many more things I want to have time for.  I see the people around me as an inspiration for where I want to be.

If I could just be a little bit more like my sisters.  I could always have the house cleaned and a home made dinner on the table every night.  My imagination would make mundane activities into ones filled with wonder and joy.  I would still have time to devote to my education and my children's educations.  Yet at the end of the day I would still have the love and patience necessary to be the kind of mother and wife my family deserves.

If I could just be a little bit more like my best friend.  Nothing could stand in my way.  I would have an idea to do something and be able to put forth the effort to get it done.  Not just 100%, but 150%.  I would not be subjugated to procrastination or excuses.  I could be what I wanted to be and do what I wanted to do.  Effort and hard work would be my middle name and I would scoff at the idea of not being "able" to do something I wanted to.

If I could just be a little bit more like Mrs. White from my favorite blog, The Legacy of Home.  I would be peaceful and diligent in my role as a wife, mother, and homemaker.  My children would be hardworking and responsible.  I would have the energy and passion to make my home and family my priority.  Anything else that would like to be included in my life would have to be included with my family and home, not to the exclusion of them.

If I could just be a little bit more like my parents.  My faith would see me through everything.  Nothing would hold me back because the Lord would be on my side, and I on His.  The importance of putting God first would never slip my mind.  I would never lack faith because I would be able to see the glory of all He does in every thing I experience on a daily basis.  The warmth of His love would sustain me and uplift me in all my righteous pursuits. 

If I could just be a little bit more like my cousin.  I would have a passion that would be unquenchable.  My God given talents would be exercised and glorified, not abandoned.  Releasing emotions through my art would be far more important than bottling them up.  I could persevere through hardship like a rod of iron, never relenting.

If I could just be a little bit more like my eldest daughter.  I would love to learn and be diligent in all I wanted to do.  I would never say "I'm too tired now, I will do it tomorrow."  Routines would not scare me and would instead be a fast friend, keeping me on course.  I would always remember what I needed to and maybe even more than that.

If I could just be a little bit more like my eldest son.  My heart would be open to everyone.  The love of life would fill my soul until you could see it sparkling in my eyes.  There would be nothing in the world that could dowse the light of my optimism.  I would eternally seek to help those around me, wanting the best for everyone.

If I could just be a little bit more like my youngest son.  I would be tough and not let little things get me down.  The ability to bounce back would lift my heart and protect my soul.  I would still be able to cry if I was unhappy, but the sadness would not hold me prisoner and I would be able grasp the first smile that was offered to me.

If I could just be a little bit more like my youngest daughter.  I would trust my Creator with my whole being.  I would understand that there is nothing I can do without the love and support of those around me.  I am incapable of life without the love of my parents and support of my family.  I would always eat the foods that were best for me and sleep enough to be happy and smiling while I am awake.

So why can't I be all of those things?  It is not that I can't be, it is that I haven't been.  Excuses and rationalization have barred the way, not allowing me to reach my potential.  For years I have dreamed of being the perfect wife, the perfect mother and the perfect me.  I am now making that dream a goal.  The difference between a dream and a goal is a plan.  This blog will hold me accountable to my goal.  Tomorrow I will be just a little bit more of what I can be.

I will reach for my potential.  And if I don't obtain it, at least I will be reaching. 


Monday, March 28, 2011

Grocery Shopping on a Budget (without coupons)

There is a lot of hype out there about how much money you can save by buying five newspapers and clipping coupons until your hands bleed . And to a point, this is true . I know my sister, my mom, my sister-in-law , friends , and many many people I don't know that do this . They come home from the grocery store with their car overflowing. At the bottom of their receipt it says something like :

Total : $45 .00 Amount Saved : $200 .00

While I agree , paying $45 .00 for $245 .00 in groceries is a big savings , I have to ask . Is it really worth it ?

Before you roll your eyes at me and say I am crazy for even suggesting that "saving $200 .00" isn't worth it , hear me out .

I get coupons in the weekly mailer . Every week I flip through them to see if there are any coupons for items I normally buy . Extremely rarely do I find those . If it isn't something I would normally buy then spending any money on it at all is a waste of money . Yes , you heard me . It is a big fat waste of money . So when you come home and brag about the awesome "deal" you got on buying foods and snacks and goodies that I wouldn't even consider buying , even the store brand of , save your breath . I am not interested .

If there is anything I have learned since spending 3 years desperately trying to dig our family out of debt and break those bonds , it was this . Just because it is a good deal doesn't mean you can afford it . This is a terribly hard idea to wrap your head around . It took me a long time to cope with this simple phrase . I would walk past the clothing stores and see 75% off signs posted all over . I would tug on my husband's arm and say , "But honey ! It is such a good deal ! I can't pass it up ." He would put his foot down and tell me , it isn't in the budget . And of course he would be right . I would do the same things for him , when he would see a new tool , shining on the Snap-On truck at work . He would call me and say "But honey ! It is such a good deal ! I can't pass it up ." And I would gently remind him of the same lesson he reminded me of the day before .

It sucks being broke . It sucks not having money . But life sucks even more when you let your money have control over you . Remember the old D . A . R . E . slogan ? "Just say no". Well , with money , it's the same thing . It can have control over our lives if we let it . We work so hard , our husbands work so hard to bring that paycheck in . Let's keep it . Let's tell it where to go and what to do . Because if we don't , it's going to go anyways , and we will be left with the bill .

Sorry to have gotten a little off track there . My simple question to you is this . Do you need the things you are buying with those coupons ? Are they healthy ? Do they fulfill a spot in your weekly meal plan ? Do you even have a meal plan before you hit the grocery store ? If you answered "No" to any of those questions , I suggest you sit down and take a long hard look at your income and outgo with both food and money . Do this with your spouse or significant other . We aren't very good at holding ourselves to commitments unless someone else is on board with us .

I am a mother to 3 beautiful kids . I am 8 months pregnant and I have a wonderful , loving and hardworking husband . I homeschool my children and am a stay-at-home-mom . My financial contribution is to make sure we don't squander the precious income my husband works so hard for . I prepare and cook twenty-one meals a week on a budget of $60.00 . (Mind you this amount was only $30.00/week when we were trying to get out of debt and we still managed without coupons !) It is possible , just look at what you have , plan your meals , and don't buy superfluous junk foods . If you want treats , bake them, or get them from what is in-season in the produce isle . If you want to go out to eat , make sure you budget for it , and don't make any exceptions .

Now I don't think everyone shouldn't do coupons . There are plenty of things you can get with coupons that are useful . The most common thing I hear is getting free toothbrushes or hand soaps etc , by using multiple coupons , or matching coupons with sales . So yes , coupons can save you money . For me , taking the time to go through the coupons to save a dollar on toothpaste isn't worth it because that is likely the only coupon I would be using . If you buy all those miscellaneous items , (The frozen dinners etc .) anyways , then yes , please coupon .

I guess I just want people to evaluate themselves here . Figure out if you would really be "saving" all that money with coupons or not . If the coupons aren't for something you would normally buy , then don't bother . It would be much more beneficial to spend your time planning meals that match up with your local grocery stores weekly sales .