Friday, February 24, 2012

Mine are gone :(

I grew up seeing life through rose-colored glasses. I believed if I lived a good life, followed certain rules, did what I was supposed to do...that life would turn out happy and perfect. It was a great way to live. And then I found out, that most don't spend their life looking through rose-colored glasses.

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, and you learn to see things differently.

I found that after my life began to hit some pretty hard skids, I needed friends who had also hit some pretty hard skids. I have been blessed in my life to have some really wonderful friends. They have been through much worse things than I have in my life. It makes me sad to see the suffering they have experienced and continue to have. When life gets tough, it is so helpful to me, to be able to talk and share and love and smile with someone who has known great pain and great loss. I know they can feel the depth of my pain. Together we become stronger and together we feel understood.

I wish everyone could wear rose-colored glasses for as long as possible. It is a nice way to live. Yet, at the same time, sometimes we don't get the growth we need or the knowledge we desire. Sometimes, when we are really young, we recognize the rose-colored glasses don't always work. So if you are fifteen or twenty five, newly married or with a new baby, I hope you can keep wearing your rose-colored glasses. The harsh realities of life will touch you soon enough...they seem to touch just about everyone at one time or another.

When we wake up in the morning, we have no idea what that day holds. It may be calm and happy. It might be fun and exciting. But it also may be filled with fear and tragedy. Those days we can lay down at night and feel peace should have our utmost gratitude.

I want to thank my friends who have walked the roads of my life with me. Sometimes you hold me up and sometimes I hold you up. Sometimes we collapse together whether it be in laughter or tears. But the important thing is we are together..encouraging and supporting each other through the good times as well as the hard times.

I hope the day will come - when we are old and grey - that we can put on our red hats, our pearls, and maybe even find our long lost rose-colored glasses! That would be wonderful...and probably very much deserved!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

First Sign of Spring

The past few days have been extremely hard for me. I have a friend who is hospitalized with two broken feet from a horrible car accident. I have a cousin who has been dealing with some scary medical problems. Suffering just seems to be swirling around me, although I am fine, the heaviness of my heart for them has overtaken me.

When I came home today from the hospital, I noticed this beautiful little crocus right by my front door. It gave me pause. I thought, "The Lord is good to us. He sends us these little reminders that even in the midst of tragedy, life can be beautiful and good." Spring is a renewal...of hope, of faith, of life.

I planted a couple of hundred bulbs this past fall. I am excited to watch them sprout and bloom, each year naturalizing and providing more and more color and beauty.

We do have much to be thankful for. I am thankful for family and friends who come together at times like this in fasting and prayer for those who need to be strengthened and comforted.

May each blossom remind me that this world was created for us...and that He is ever mindful of each one of us. That is my prayer today.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sometimes this is all we can do:

Heavy Heart

I have a heavy heart today. So many that I love and care about are struggling with burdens that seem impossible bear. I know God sees the big picture...and that is the only thing I have to hold onto right now.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Perspective and Inspiration

A few years back, I signed up for a BYU class titled "Self-Concept". This class couldn't have come at a more perfect time. My husband had just left me, and I was left to wonder how to navigate being divorced, being a single mom, becoming a bread-winner, etc. One of the early chapters in the class was about perspective. It said, "How come when you are at a football game, half the stadium is cheering and half the stadium is booing?" Then it asked, "How come when it snows half the people are happy they can go skiing, but the other half are mad they have to drive in it?" It is all a matter of perspective. Then the course told this story, "A teenage boy is in the elevator. He has just had his foot operated on. It is bandaged up and he is standing there with crutches. A man comes into the elevator and promptly walks towards the boy and steps on his newly operated on foot." The question was then asked, "If you were the boy how would you feel?" The story continues, "The man was blind." Now all of the sudden, your perspective changes. Sometimes we don't have all the information, sometimes we need to see things differently.

This class changed the way I thought. I knew I could be bitter or mad at my husband leaving. I knew I could think my life was ruined and poor me. I knew I could go into a depression and stay in bed feeling sorry for myself and my kids, but I decided to change my perspective. And it has made all the difference.

Inspiration has played a part in my life when I have needed it most. Sometimes I have made decisions that others did not understand. But when I pray, and I get an answer, I have confidence to go forward no matter what someone else may think or say.

I can actually put my finger on a few times when I have received that sure knowledge that I was to do something in my life. Today sitting in church, I had another one of those moments. When that happens, I go to work. I believe that personal revelation is for a reason and I cannot doubt it.

I am thankful for these two for the mind and one for the heart...but inter-locked so perfectly together.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Excuse me, your life is waiting...

As I was driving around a couple of days ago, I was listening to my Mary Chapin Carpenter CD. It is amazing how I can own a CD for years and then one day I hear a song on there I have never heard before. This song was titled, "Late For Your Life."

Two years ago this month I made a wild decision. I bought a home in La Verkin, a town I had never really heard of or been to. I didn't even see the house before I bought it. I just knew I needed to make a change...and here I am.

The lyrics to this song really hit home with me:

You've been saying for the longest time that the time has come
You've been talking like you're of a mind to get some changing done
Maybe move out of the city, find some quiet little town
Where you can sit out on your back porch step
And watch the sun go down
No one knows where they belong
The search just goes on and on and on
For every choice that ends up wrong
Another one's right
A change of scene would sure be great
The thought is nice to contemplate
But the question begs why would you wait
And be late for your life

Now you might never find that perfect town
But the sun still sets on a rooftop where the city
Sounds like a Gershwin clarinet
And you might still be searching every face for one you can't forget
Love is out there in a stranger's clothes
You just haven't met him yet
No one knows where they belong
The search just goes on and on and on
For every day that ends up wrong
Another one's right
Call it chance or call it fate
Either one is cause to celebrate
Still the question begs why would you wait
And be late for your life

Call it chance baby, call it fate
Either one is cause to celebrate
And the question now is why would you wait
Don't be late for your life.

So here I my life. Still wondering why I made the choice I did. Still wondering if it is in Southern Utah that a man might be living his life while I am living mine...just waiting for us to bump into each other. One thing I do know for sure is that La Verkin has been good to me and Brooklyn. And I am glad I didn't wait any longer. I don't want to be late for my life.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Count My Many Blessings Name Them Five By Five!

I didn't know when I woke up this morning that this day would go down in history as one of my best days ever!

For one thing, I stayed in bed working. I am so blessed to be able to work from home. Most of my work is on the computer so I logged in via my laptop and "went to work." My boss is very good to me. I have been with Georgia Carpet for 6 years now and I am very thankful for this job.

I also received my tax refund and was able to pay off all my debts (except my house). This made me feel so good.

When I got divorced, I lost my medical insurance. Thus, I haven't been to a dentist or a doctor in over 4 years. I found out I am now considered low income :) so I get my exam, cleaning and x-rays for $29.98 and I get my pap and mammogram for $20.00. Sounds great to me!

I had a ten page term paper I needed to complete and turn in by today. I received my grade back tonight...I got 100%. Go me!

Brooklyn's check engine light came on about three days ago. I took the truck to our local repair shop. When I took my car in a couple of weeks ago, they fixed the three things that were bugging me and didn't even charge me. So I was feeling they were an honest shop. Brooklyn's truck only needed $120.00 worth of repairs. Affordable...yes! Usually I don't get out of a repair shop for less than $500.00. Roadrunner, you got my business!

I had forgot to get the mail the last two days so I walked down to the mail box. Brandon had told me to be expecting my Valentine's Day gift from him, Amber and Brooklyn. I saw the envelope and opened it on the way back to the house. Out fell two Neil Diamond tickets. I couldn't believe it. I kept saying over and over again, "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh"...I couldn't even stop myself from saying those words over and over again. I was so excited! It is for July 28 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy. I have so much to look forward to!

Brooklyn is going to be participating in the Miss La Verkin pageant. Tonight we went to St. George to find her dress. She spent two hours trying on formals...sometimes the same one two or three times. In the end we bought the first dress she tried on. It is beautiful and perfect for her. For her talent she will be performing Katy Perry's "Firework" song in sign language, so we also found her outfit for that. It was a successful night. She will be spending the next 3 weeks practicing walking around the house in her high can do it baby girl! This is not quite the color of the dress but close...hers has a little more blue in it.

Even with all this good news, I have still not even said the best news of all. Brandon was accepted to the Police Academy. After 4 months of testing, he received the call today offering him the job. I am so proud of him.

It was a perfect day. One of my friends said, this is a time to count your blessing five by five. I feel so blessed and so happy. I don't remember what it feels like to live life on such a high. I am always waiting for the other "shoe to drop". I needed this reminder that I am still capable of feeling such bounteous happiness.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Defining My Dad

I was blessed with an amazing father. Having him die in 2010 has been a hard thing. I didn't realize how valuable just talking to him was. And that is what I did, talk to him. He pretty much just listened. He would pause the television and give me his undivided attention. He never said much, but when he did, I knew he saw inside my soul and was actually giving me in a few short words, meaningful counsel. My dad had some unique experiences in his life. I would like to share a few.

When I was small, my dad was in the Vietnam war. He was deployed for many months at a time, over and over again. Sometimes when he came home, I was not sure who he was. He was a navigator on the B-52 bomber and he flew over 360 combat missions. He didn't like to talk about his war service or the missiles the size of telephone poles that would come close to hitting his plane. Often when I think of losing my dad at the young age of 73, I think that I could have lost him much sooner with as many times as his life was in danger. My dad was a hero, and I am proud of him and his service to our country.

After the Vietnam War, my dad was rifted out of the Air Force by an illegal board. I don't remember seeing my father cry much, but I will never forget the day he walked in the door knowing he had a wife and four children to support and no job. It was heartbreaking.

But my dad did not give up, he went and got the coolest job a dad could have. He became a McDonald's manager. What kid doesn't want to eat at McDonald's whenever they can! I have never been a fan of pickles or mustard, but my dad would not let me order any specially made sandwiches. I had to take it like it came. I am sure he didn't want us kids creating extra work for his employees. I learned to take the pickle off and tolerate the tiny squirt of mustard on the cheeseburger. To this day, that is what I still do. When my dad would leave for work, we would say, "I love you all the way to McDonalds!" We still say this to each other...and even our children say it.

While my dad was working at McDonald's one night a couple of men came in to the store. One wanted to fill out an application. My dad gave him the paper and he sat down to complete it. When the man was finished, he walked behind the counter and to the back where my dad was. My dad told the man, "You can't be back here." It was at that point the man pulled a gun on my dad, put it up to his head and told him to open the safe." My dad said he always struggled with getting that safe open, but this particular time it opened on the first try. He gave the man the money. The man then tried to get my dad to go out the back door. My father refused. This was smart on my dad's part because the man very well might have shot him. The men left the store and the police were called. And my dad came home that night. Another time he could have lost his life much earlier.

While my dad was managing the McDonalds, he also began his own business of Home Security Shop. He would replace doors and locks on people's homes. He drove an orange VW van that kept his materials. He kept his small tools in a shaving kit and would often joke that he must have looked like a visiting gigolo when going to work on women's houses when the husband was at work! The van was a conversion van and had many nooks and crannies where he stored his tools. He would sometimes make the little kids crawl deep into the holes to retrieve something he needed. The back passenger seat held a foam mattress that we kids loved to play and ride on. We loved that van and thought it was so cool.

A few years later my dad was able to get a job at General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin. This job eventually moved us from Ft. Worth, Texas out to the Antelope Valley in California. My dad retired from this job and then joined my mom in Cedar City where she had moved earlier to get the house ready.

My dad was from a young age always active in church. He served in the Northern California mission. At that time you brought your own car on your mission. He remembers the last day of his mission hooting and hollering as he threw his hat out into the Pacific Ocean. He served in many callings through out his life, scout leader not being one of his favorites! He also served as bishop of the Lancaster 4th Ward. His favorite calling was that of membership clerk, a position he held many times.

My dad had a love for food. He never wanted very much, but he had his favorites. He loved steak, baked potatoes, and green beans with bacon. He made the best pancakes. When we were little he put chocolate chips in my sister's pancakes and crushed pineapple in mine. His favorite dessert was banana pudding. He could make a meal out of anything. We would often see him take a peach, add some cottage cheese and put the cherry on top. He had to make it pretty. Another one of his specialties was oatmeal and cinnamon toast. What I would give for him to make me breakfast again.

My dad loved to have fun. He loved to tell jokes, often forgetting the punch line. He talked to anyone he came in contact with...everyone was his friend. Once my dad got put on oxygen he would use the motorized carts to get around the stores. When Brandon had knee surgery and was hobbling into the grocery store, my dad challenged him to a race around the store in the motorized carts. Brandon got in trouble for riding in the cart...but once he showed them his knee surgery they let him continue on. My dad always had that cute little smirk whenever we would tell that funny story.

My dad was a lover of Western shows. He loved Bonanza and Gunsmoke. I think he had a crush on Miss Kitty :) I am sure this comes from his Texas heritage and growing up on a ranch. My dad was a cowboy. When he was little he had a horse named "Charlie" horse and his brother had a horse named "RB" horse. They rode their horses to school.

My dad loved to tell the story about being in class with Miss Bonnie Bell. He got in trouble with her when he pretended to drop his pencil just so he could kiss the girl sitting in the desk across from him as he bent down to pick his pencil up. Sneaky boy!

My dad went by many names in his life. He was Charles, Chuck, and Chuckie Poo. But to me, he was just Daddy. I love you Daddy and am so grateful you were with me as long as you were.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Smelling Sweet

We were born with five senses. But I think the sense of smell is one of the least thought about. When something smells bad, it is one of the first things we notice. They say the nose always knows...and I believe it. I love to smell good, I love my house to smell good, I love food to smell good.

My favorite lotions and potions come from Victoria Secret. I have a drawer of Lovespell, Romantic Wishes and other yummy smelling creams from Victoria Secret. There is nothing like rubbing that on in the mornings and lifting my spirit just by the smell of my skin.

I love to walk into my home and have it smell good. I burn Scentsy's regularly. In the front of the house is often warm vanilla brown sugar or welcome home or a yummy melon smell. But in my bedroom is my favorite. It is a plug in that burns flirtatious. It is so delicious and keeps my room feeling romantic...for who, I don't know, but it still makes me feel good!

I also like to bake delicious desserts that make the house smell good. It can be apple pie, bread or cookies. The smell of something freshly baked makes a house feel extra homey.

At Christmas time, we were having our Relief Society progressive dinner. The dessert was to end at my home. At the entree,the power went out all over the city. It went out and it stayed out. We sisters were still having a good time and decided to venture over to the darkness of my house. A friend brought some hurricane lamps (something I realize I now need to invest in) and some other friends helped me light candles all around the house. I had so many different flavors of candles, but since I don't burn them anymore because the Scentsy are safer, I had a full box of them. I joked that the house would smell like a fruit salad by the time the scents all began to mingle together.

I must say, it was a beautiful night, stories being read and music being shared by candlelight. When the power did come back on, I think we were all a little disappointed because it took some of the ambiance away. In the end, the house smelled scrumptious and the company was delicious. I was so grateful we didn't end our night early because of a little power outage!

I also love the smell of fresh flowers. I try to plant good smelling flowers by the front door so as I come and go I can get a waft of something beautiful. I also like to plant flowers that are mainly used for cutting...that way I can bring the beautiful smells of nature inside the house.

So whatever your day holds, take time to stop and smell the roses, or the Scentsy, or the pie, or the Lovespell. It will awaken your soul.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Flying High

When I was in high school, I lived in Texas. The high schoolers that were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints attended early morning seminary before school. Seminary is religious instruction given for an hour each morning to help prepare us for the day and for life. Early morning meant 6:00 AM - which meant getting up at 5:00 AM. For a high schooler that is a tall order. In Utah, seminary is a part of the daily school curriculum, so my kids got off easy :)

One year we had a seminary teacher named Bill Killpack. He was amazing and wanted his students to attend seminary each day. He decided that he would bribe us to come. I didn't need to be bribed because seminary was part of my daily routine, but some of the other kids were not regular.

One month he said,"Whoever comes to seminary every day this month will get to go on a hot air balloon ride." I was so excited. I knew I would be one of the ones to go. When the day arrived, my sister Lori and I had both qualified for this wonderful reward. Because of the number going, we needed two balloons. My mother requested that we go in separate balloons so that if there was an accident, we wouldn't both be in the same balloon. Comforting, right?

Well, to make a long story short, my hot air balloon ride went smoothly. The only awkward part was when we landed and tumped over in the basket. Lori on the other hand had a not so smooth ride. Her balloon bumped into a house, hit a tree and even landed in the water. I was pretty glad I wasn't in her balloon!

I have always been thankful that I had this opportunity.

The next month he issued another "bribe". Whoever attended seminary each day for the month would be able to go on a helicopter ride. I loved this teacher! Well, I don't remember who got to go...but I do know I did! I loved the helicopter ride. Helicopters are so much different than airplanes because they can go straight up and straight down. They are also like sitting in a fish bowl and being able to see out all around. This was a thrilling experience for me.

As I look back over my life, I am always happy when I think that I was able to go up in both a hot air balloon and a helicopter. But these were not my greatest accomplishments. For four years I had 100% attendance at early morning seminary. With our without the bribe, I knew where I should be and where I would be each morning at 6:00 AM.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Funny Valentines

I love Valentine's Day...well actually I love the day before Valentine's Day. I would always spend that day preparing and scheming for the surprises and gifts I would leave for my sweetheart. I no longer have a sweetheart to do that for, but that does not mean I am left without love.

Brooklyn and I took the time to decorate the kitchen hutch for Valentines. My mom always said that red and pink do not go together, but I remember being a preschooler and having a red swimsuit trimmed in pink. And who can argue that the blood reds and cotton candy pinks of February 14 are anything but perfect together!

I have the best Valentines a woman could ever wish for in my three children. They love their mama and take such good care of her. I have unfortunately found in my life that men come and go, but I am blessed to have my children stand strongly and lovingly by me.

My first Valentine is my son Brandon. I knew when I carried him in my womb that we would have a special bond. He is a good boy and never neglects to call and send texts reminding me how important I am to him. As I watch him grow and take care of his new bride, I am pleased at his maturity and desire to provide a life of laughter and security for her. As they share this first Valentine's Day as a married couple, I am grateful for the eternity they will have together. As a small treat, I mailed them a box of homemade Valentine cookies. It is a family recipe that we always refer to as "Christmas cookies" no matter the holiday. I hope him having a little bit of his childhood and a little bit of his mama brought him an extra dose of love on the lovey-dovey day.

My second Valentine is my son Justin. He is so far away. Nicaragua does not celebrate many holidays and I will be interested to know if Valentine's Day is celebrated there. However, I know it will be remembered because I made a homemade Valentine's box, the kind we make in elementary school, and filled it will all kinds of confections. A fellow missionary mom was going to Nicaragua to pick up her son from his mission and agreed to hand deliver it for me.

I hope that he knows how much I love him and how important he is to me. He never ceases to amaze me with his perserverence, his determination and his goofy pictures. He tells me countless times that I am his best friend. This means so much to me. I know one day I will be replaced by some young beautiful daughter-in-love and that is fine with me. When your Valentine is your child, you are grateful for the day when your son can replace you with an eternal flame. But as for now, you are my Valentine, Elder Moore.

My third Valentine is my daughter Brooklyn. We are enjoying this time being housemates, just the two of us. Her poor life was so chaotic with the divorce. Then my parents rushed in to rescue us, my sister moved in with her kiddos while she was also going through a divorce, and our life became a big party. We loved living in a house with eleven people. We laughed and had so much fun. But with all the people, our personal relationship got lost. Now it is just her and I living alone. We cherish this time together. We spend hours talking and laughing and preparing and playing. We tell each other all the time, "You are my best friend!" I love her and marvel at the beautiful young woman she is, so full of talent and drive and compassion. I could not ask for a better friend than her.

So although I may not spend Valentine's Day with the traditional lover...a boyfriend or a husband...I count my blessings that I have three valentines that I love. My children will always be my sweethearts!

Roses are red
Violets are blue,
This Valentine's blog
Is my gift to you.

I love you Brandon, Justin and Brooklyn.