Friday, September 28, 2012

Little House on the Prairie

Today was going to be an easy, cake walk of a day.  I had no where to be, and the kids were going to be at school for part of the day.  Oh what a treat.

So I went about my lazy morning.  I walked around and made beds while listening to music.  I made it down stairs to straighten up the kitchen.  Then, as luck would have it I decided to water the tomatoes, since I skipped watering yesterday.  To my shock and amazement, several tomato bushes were absolutely brimming with beautiful red fruit.

My veggies have yielded a huge amount of produce this year.  I had picked all the ripe tomatoes just two days ago, leaving only the really green ones behind.  So suddenly my lazy day turned into a canning day.

While I peeled and canned tomatoes, I had some great alone time to just think.  There is something therapeutic in being elbows deep in tomato guts.  I quickly realized how far I have come.  Just a few years ago, I couldn't have spent a day alone without ending up in the fetal position.  Just a few months ago, I didn't have the energy to tackle canning on my own.  Today, I put up tomatoes, did four batches of jalapeno jelly (watch out at christmas for that little prize to surface), and helped the kids make banana bread (Okay, Ethan and Averie made the bread, but it was totally my idea).

I am actually amazed at myself.  I may be getting back to my old self, or better yet, a way better new self.  Would you look at that.  I guess there is a better place to end up after great hardships.  I have endurance now that I never had before, and I enjoy my life.  I love my kids and all that they do (minus the endless messing up of the house).  I have the sweetest brothers.  I adore my parents.  I love to pieces every member of Johns side of the family.  I have the best friends a girl could ask for.  Hallelujah!!!!!!

For those who want recipes for the jelly, I did four kinds, HOT, Pineapple, raspberry, and apricot.
  Click the blue link on each for the recipe that I used.
 *be aware, that I change everything just a bit.
  I am against following any recipe to the letter.*
 (just don't strain you peppers out.  It's prettier with the pieces left in)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Birthday Girl

My dear friend Charese celebrated her 33rd birthday today. What an amazing woman this is. She has been my strength, and my cheerleader, even in the middle of her own chemo treatments. How I love you my sweet friend.

Watch My sweet friends journey through cancer.
part 1
part 2

Part 3

I was thinking all day about the wise man who built his house upon the rock.  The rain came down, and the floods came up.  The wind beat down upon the house, but the house stood strong on the rock that it was planted.

I was listening to some of the ladies talk at chemo today.  They were discussing heart failure, hair loss, bone pain, major nausea, bleeding noses, hearing loss, and all manner of scary topics.  They were talking about these things in the same way that I would talk to my mom about my shopping list.  It was typical conversation, like nothing out of the ordinary.

They have been dealing with so much, that this next little thing was just that...a little thing.  That brings me back to my thought about the wise man.  The man wasn't spared from the storms that came his way just because he followed what he was taught.  He did everything right in building his house.  Those storms still ravaged his home, and probably caused damage.  However, he still did what he was meant to do and his house stood strong.  He learned to fortify his home against further damage, and lived a good life.  He never questioned why God would send the rain, instead he thanked God for keeping his home standing.

These amazing people that I spent the afternoon with, did nothing wrong to end up with the horrible diseases that they have.  They are good people, doing good things.  They have build their houses upon the rock, and they will be blessed with the kind of unbreakable strength that the Lord can provide.  Sometimes that happens in our eternal life, but it always happens.

*I have included a link to Charese's blog.  She has a donation tab at the top right of the page.  Please give what you can, anything would be a major help.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Life Is What Happens When You Are Making Other Plans

I am continually amazed by how time can just fly by.  I remember vividly my first day of kindergarten. I was instantly head over heals for a red headed, freckle faced boy named Cash.  I recall with complete clarity the birthday party that I was invited to when I was 6.  I had to go right after dance, so I had bright red tights on under my pants.  After a red rover injury, it was discovered that I had my tights on under my pants and everyone teased me.  Later, I got passed up when ice cream cones were being passed out.

I remember seventh grade.  Every last rotten day of seventh grade is burned into my memory.  I remember being so proud when in 10th grade, I was named English Scholar.  I remember a phone call at work when I was 21 from a nervous sounding young man named John.  He told me that he was given my number, and wondered if I would do him a favor by going out with him that night.

I remember that same young man, getting down on one knee holding a white box in his hand.  Then later, I remember looking across at him as we were pronounced man and wife.  We hugged for so long that everyone started giving us grief about it.

I remember the stunned look in his eye when I showed him the positive pregnancy test.  We were studying for school tests, and every few minutes he would stop and say, "No...Really???"  Then I remember the absolute gleam that radiated off of him when his son came into this world.  I thought that he was going to be airborne with the amount of joy that was billowing of him.

Now, I look at that same baby boy, who is now a young man himself.  He didn't get to have that amazing man around for too long, but you better believe that he has learned from him every single day since.

Just today, he was getting ready to go to a young mens activity.  It suddenly struck me how much he is like his dad.  Not so much in looks, but more in how his mind works, in the things he says, and the way he moves.

Just yesterday I was holding my newborn baby boy, and now that sweet little boy holds his mom.  I'm going to take a mental picture of this day, and this time, and hold it in my heart forever.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mama Mia

Moms are the greatest!  I got to spend the afternoon with my mom today.  I love that kind of time.  We have been able to share so much together as adults.  Without sisters, I have relied on my mom for all things girly.  We enjoy going to lunch, getting pedicures, shopping for fabric, and any number of crafty do dads.

Today was the kind of day that we both needed.  She was dealing with some difficult emotional situations, and I was dealing with avoiding house work.

When I dropped her off to her house, we sat in the car for several minutes and just talked.  How wonderful it is to have someone who knows you so well that they can guide you through tough situations and difficult emotions.  I love my mother so much.  She is the reason that I am a mom.  She is my archetype for motherhood.  She is the reason that I sing to my kids to wake them in the morning.  She is the reason that I make breakfast for dinner when everyone is cranky.  She is the reason that the kids get to sleep on the couch with a bottle of Sprite when they are sick.  She is the reason that we pray every night.  She is the reason that I first loved the Savior.

Thank you mom.  I wouldn't be me without you.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


The crisp air
The smell of a fire burning off in the distance
Warm, soft fleece
Harvesting all the wonderful tasty produce grown to maturity
The beautiful colors on the mountains

Oh how I love fall.

Sunday drive to Snowbasin

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Last night I had a surprise visit from some of my dearest friends, John and Charese Foster.  Isn't it great when you get a wonderful gift like that?

The Fosters are such an inspiring couple.  They have been through their fair share of adversity, but they are the most fun loving, happy, hard working people you could meet.  Charese was diagnosed with breast cancer last october.  One week after her double mastectomy, doctors found the cancer had spread to her liver, lungs, brain and bones.

Through the last year, the Fosters have gone through highs and lows, but have always stuck together.  I have been uplifted and edified by their examples of strength and faith.  I have shed many tears, but have also shared much laughter.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to share a life with the bravest of the brave.

Please Fight With Charese by clicking the link, and if possible donate.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


In contemplating what it was that I wanted to write about, I realized that I am dang tired!  Seriously, fall down and can't get up tired with a side of a bad headache.

During my running of the kids this afternoon, I was going over my list in my head...

  • Put fourth of July decorations away (I am painfully aware that it is mid September)
  •  Put fall\halloween decorations out
  • Work on book
  • Help Averie with reading
  • Help Ashton with spelling
  • Help Ethan with art project
  • Cook dinner
  • Clean up
  • Read
  • Practice piano
There were about 60 other thoughts flying around in there. After trying to force myself into checking items off the list, I realized that maybe I'm a little sick. That thought kinda made me laugh. How many times had I gotten after one of the kids for being ornery only to find out they were sick. Apperantly, I'm like a two year old in that way.

 I just want to keep going, and I get really bugged when I can't do it all.  I did need to do most of the things on the list, but not all of it. I prioritized, did the most important and took some ibuprofen and headed to bed. 

Days like this can really get me down. I think about all the things that I have to do on my own, and I can get really angry. Tonight though, I chose to think of the things that I am the most grateful for, and I realized that I'm in a pretty great place. The kids are happy, we live in a great neighborhood, we have wonderful friends and family, and we are safe. How lucky are we?

Now, if you'll excuse feather pillow is calling.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Gardner

Today, this message hit me.  My heart tells me that I have been wondering the same things that the little current bush has.  I know that I am in constant need of protection, correction, and shelter.

Though I am frightened, I prayed for my own divine corrections.  I don't know if I'll be cut back, or staked up to be stronger.  Either way, I'm ready to become what I am meant to become.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Snowboarding in Heaven

There are certain dreams that feel so authentic, that they must be the real deal.  That is the very situation that I found myself in last night.

Kids were sleeping happily, the lights were down. 
 I opened my eyes to see my sweet John standing in front of me.
He had come specifically to talk to me about the kids.
We discussed many issues that had me worried, 
frustrated, and joyful.
It was natural that he would come to work with me on these issues,
after all, he's still their daddy.

After we talked for a little while,
we walked past a table that had skis laying on it.
I said, "Oh, did I tell you I bought season passes this year?"

He responded in a perfect John-esque way, "Yes!  Seriously.  I have wanted passes my whole life,
and now that I'm gone, Snowbasin comes up with a sweet deal!"

In a sympathetic tone I said "Well, I bet they have snowboarding in Heaven."

"Ya, maybe." John said in a dejected tone.

"Have you asked anyone?" I offered
"I mean, there should be something like it up there."

He shrugged, and then his eye's lit up and he said, "Let me peak in at the kids one more time."

We walked into the room all three kids were sleeping.
  Quietly, and very gently, he caressed each of the kids heads.
He stayed silent for several minutes as he watched his sweet babies sleep,
 then with reverence he said,
"They grew so fast."

I told him how they think of him every single day, and how
they always want to hear stories about their dad.

John just folded his arms and smiled. 
 When he turned to face me he had tears streaming down his cheeks. 
 He told me that he was proud of the way I was raising the kids.
He told me how proud he was of the amazing people they were becoming.

Then, in the characteristic style of dreams...I woke up.

At first, the only part that I could remember was the conversation about snowboarding.  I struggled to remember all the things that he told me, but this was all I could put together as of this post.  Even though the recall isn't what it should be, I am so grateful to know that he is still so very involved in our lives.

I recently met with the bishop.  He offered to give me a blessing, after which he ushered me directly out his door.  At first I thought he was in a hurry, or just didn't feel what I felt in that blessing.  A few days later, he set Ethan apart as Deacons Quorum president.  The blessing that he gave Ethan moved everyone in that room.  

The Bishop pulled me aside and said that he was so impressed with the spirit that he felt around Ethan and me.  He said that he had a very moving spiritual experience when he had blessed me earlier, and felt it again just then with Ethan.

Several weeks later, I was called back into the bishops office.  He sat me down and told me a little bit about what he had felt in those blessing.  He said that he knew for a surety, that these kids would be raised in the same, if not better way as they would be if John were still here.  He told me that he knew that John was with us every single day.  Of course I didn't need to be told that, I've always known.  Thank Heaven for tender mercies, and profound dreams.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Live For Today

In the quiet of the morning, I sat down to study.  I am touched by the way the Lord works.  The last four years have been plagued by worries of tomorrow.  I am realizing that I have missed out on today, because I was so focused on tomorrow.

There is no tomorrow.  That is the lie of the procrastinator.  It's easy to think, plan and obsess about what might be, because it means that I don't have to deal with what is now.

 Was I wrong?  It was a great way to deal with a really trying situation.  I believe that we are given an amount of leeway when it comes to defining moments.  However, that leeway isn't total, and it isn't a free pass.  If we were to eat a carton of ice cream after a break up, then that is probably a non-issue.  If we were to eat my way through the entire Farr's ice cream menu?...probably one of those 'uh uh' moments.

So taking some time off of living in the present probably isn't too big of a deal, but taking four years off...I'm feeling a bit of an 'uh uh' coming on.  Stubborn as I am, I'm willing and ready to live for today. I may need some gentile reminders from time to time, but hey, I'm not perfect!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Holy War

Today is the big game between the rival schools, University of Utah, and Brigham Young University. The whole state is covered in red and blue.

It's the funny time of year where friends agree to disagree, or in some cases, deface each others property.

I of course love a reason to throw a party, so I put out the blue, and rolled out the red carpet.

Isn't it fun to have a team to root for. Doesn't it make you think about how awesome it is to have a family team?

I'm going to put signs in the yard, paint my windows, and wear team apparel Go Carter's!!!!
Cut cookies from The Bun Basket
How dare you!!!
Our awesome spread and we even let Utes in.
Now that's a friendly rivalry

Friday, September 14, 2012

Life is good!

Often it is easy to get overwhelmed or down. I have two simple words that will change your life forever...STOP IT!!!
"Made with real unicorn juice"
Andy Warhol would be proud
Amazing what a few years will do.
There is beauty all around
Wisdom is usually simple
Know what team you are on
Sometimes pain is part of feeling better
Enjoy the moment

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sleep Deprivation

Today was a fun, yet busy one.  I got to watch my sweet niece (4 year old Bella) and nephew (2 year old Riley) for a little while this morning.  We did some clean up (I'm sure it was the best part of their day), then we ran some errands, played at a playground, and had a little lunch.  There was even some shopping that had to be done after all the other running around.  Around one my brother came, and I begrudgingly let him take his kids home.

When my kids we little like that, I was a crazy person.  I felt like all I did all day was clean, cook, clean, change diapers, wipe up spills, cook again, and finally...clean.  I don't remember really taking time to notice how cute it was when Ashton and Averie would break out the Guitar Hero, and play rock star.  All I saw was the mess.  I didn't notice how dang cute it was that Ethan loved to take his pants off and wear my high heals around the house (The outfit usually also included a crazy hat of some kind).  I was overwhelmed and tired all the time.  I missed out big time!

What did I miss out on?  The joy of being a mom.  That storybook moment of holding sleeping children on my lap and reveling in the joys of parenthood.  I figured there would be nothing but time.  I planned on teaching the kids important things like cooking, coloring, singing, reading, spelling, etc.  I just never had time...or so I thought.  I figured that there is a season for all things.  Let me tell you now...Time is ticking by, don't procrastinate.

I'm now approaching the age where people are moving to the next stages of life.  I have forever felt like I didn't get to properly experience this one.  John and I were hoping to have more children, but that wasn't meant to be.  I figured that I would still have the opportunity at some point, but that may very well not be in the cards for me.  Sad?  You bet!  Should I take a holiday in Whine country?  I wish!  The only problem is,  I don't like to be sad all the time.  I have instead decided to take every opportunity to soak in this time in my kids lives, because as I have mentioned before...Life is incredibly short.

I sometimes just watch them play from a window above.  I like to listen to them invent games, and dialog for said games.  I love that Ethan is so into comedy and all things funny.  It makes my heart swell with pride when I hear a sweet little voice say "Bye mom.  I love you."

Let the good times roll.  I'm going to try to live in the present and enjoy what I have, instead of mourn what I don't.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Who am I?

I use to identify myself by those who surrounded me.  I was my parent’s daughter, my brother’s sister, so and so’s friend.  Soon, I became a wife and mother.  There is nothing wrong with being these things, but for me they were a crutch.  

I believe that sometimes we jam our spirits into a box and lock them up tight for safe keeping.  In my case, it was a well meaning protective attitude.  It was also, very unintentional.  I was not allowing myself the freedom of growing and blossoming, because I was afraid of, well I don’t know what I was afraid of.

It took a major jolt to my comfortable world to force me to dust off that box, find the key, and unlock that beautiful spirit within.  There was so much time wasted wondering why it took such a painful trial for me to see what I was doing.  The truth of the matter is, we all become complacent.  It is the refiners fire that helps us to become who we were always meant to be.

One of my favorite quotes is from the beloved LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley, he said, “Without work, the only thing that grows is weeds.”  The same can be said of life.  We need to constantly struggle and learn and fight.

If we look at all the great leaders of the world,  they didn’t get where they are because life was easy for them.  They struggled, and overcame many adversities, and critics.  They felt something deep inside that there was the need to explore the world, or create, or lead.  Without the ability to learn from failures, Columbus would be just some guy that lived in the 1400’s.  Without trying over and over again, Thomas Edison would just be a man who loved to tinker with little tools.  Without adversity none of us become that noble person that we are meant to be.

Not to say that all adversity has to be severe.  I’m talking about any kind of situation that makes it hard to just float gingerly through life.  That can be anything from a flat tire, to a life changing accident.  As long as we allow for it, we can use these experiences as critical character building exercises.  I was recently told, “If we could see just how much these adversities teach us, we would ask for many more.”

We each came here to this earth to learn something specific to ourselves.  Only I can learn what I came here to learn.  I can’t expect to learn what Jamie came to learn, or Micaela, or John, or Ethan.  It puts unfair pressure on me to try to live a life that wasn’t meant for me to live.  Heavenly Father knows exactly where I am now, and where I should be every step of the way.  He has placed his trust in me to make the right decisions, and He even has contingencies for when I make the wrong ones.  I may think that I know which way to go, but only He can see the end of the story.  It takes trust on my part, and lots of it.

 When the direction of life takes a turn that is not expected, it can be hard not to dig in our heals, and even push back.  It may take some time to realize that we are just kicking against the pricks.  Eventually though, we face the precipice and take that leap of faith.  After all, look at what the Lord has trusted us with so far.  The least we can do is to return that trust.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

911 - A Call to Action

Today, I woke up in a very thoughtful state.  There is much that this day represents in history.  The day our innocence as a nation was taken.  The day that my sweet niece was born.  The day my good friend died.  Understandably, this day has much emotion involved.

Surprisingly to me, I found that my thoughts were turned to my own place in this world.  Why am I here, and what should I be doing with my time here on this earth?
I love sounding like a deep thinker, when really I'm not.

So, with that said, I have decided to set some smallish, but lofty goals for myself.  The list is still being formed in my head, and I will continue to add to it.  As of now, I have...

Be happy with NOW!
Blog everyday (I love this one, because it forces me to think deeply)
Get up half an hour early to study
Write, even if it's a brainstorm, everyday
Say NO occasionally to lunch (I have a major problem with going out when a friend calls, and thus shirking my responsibilities at home.)
Learn something new everyday
Set up the family economy and stick to it
Do something special for the kids everyday (i.e. note on their bed, a thoughtful complement, a special night out)
Love myself
Stay home at least 3 days a week (again, you may laugh, but that is my preferred way of not dealing with being alone.)
Practice the piano
Read with the kids
Cook Dinner at least 4 nights a week (I use to be a gourmet chef, but when John died there was no one left to appreciate my hard work.  The little ones don't like food!)
Add cardio to my workout (I'm quite religious with my Pilates workout, but I'm missing the crappy, ridiculous running part of the day)
Be Still (That is probably going to land me in the psych ward)
Love without fear of being loved back

That list sure looks bigger in writing than it did in my head, but there are life changing goals there.  I intend on living this life to the fullest, and being able to share lessons learned along the way.

I leave you with the look of surprise that I will be getting when I tell the kids that they are finally going to get an allowance.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Highway to Heaven???

The past few weeks, I have realized that I took the car out of drive and put it on auto-pilot.  I was no longer in charge of what road I was on, or the stops that I would make.  I was sitting in the backseat, hoping that someone responsible was at the wheel.  Actually, most of the time, I didn't even realize that I was in the car, or paid attention to who was doing the driving.

Even now, as I type my thoughts on my sticky fingerprint laden laptop, I realize how dang frightening that is.  How could I take a backseat in my own life?  Why do I think that the right stops would be made, or the right turns will be taken, or the laws will be followed the way that I like to follow them?

To remedy this situation I have taken to my favorite form of self change, and I bought many many books...on CD (I have no time to read at this particular time in life).  I have stumbled upon some of the most wonderful advice, solace, comfort, and even criticism.  I have learned to cry unto repentance in a more humble, more meaningful way.  I have learned what it is to be a Daughter of Eve.  I have even learned to work for happiness.

I am taking my rightful place again in the front seat, and committing to never give it up again.  I will stay as a constant, and vigilant commuter on the road of my life.  There are times that I may navigate.   There are times that I must hold on to that wheel and plow through the construction, traffic, and potholes by myself.  Sooner or later though, there are patches of soft, freshly paved road, and breath taking scenery.  That's what I hold on to.  How better appreciate the calm, then to experience a storm?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Leap of Faith

It is a true leap of faith to put pen to paper and write down the thoughts and feelings that are flooding your mind.  I tend to think that if you are doing all the things that you are suppose to be doing, those thoughts and feelings are promptings.  When we write those promptings down, it's as if you are telling the Lord that you understand and are willing to act on those instructions.

I also think that perhaps, it works a little in the reverse.  What if I write down those things that I'm hoping, praying, and yearning for...will that give me the faith that they will come to me?

 Have you ever heard of the Law of Attraction?  It states that whatever you put out to the world, it will come back to you.  For instance, if you are putting out to the world that you are insecure, scared, unhappy, and sad, then that is the type of people that you will attract to you.

So here is what I want to attract back to me...Strong follower of God.  A confident leader.  A great parent, unselfish of time and talents.  A great friend who knows what you need before you need it.  A kind, giving person.  A hard worker whom shares their skills as well as their knowledge.  Someone with the ability to love unconditionally, and fully.  Someone who has complete faith in our Father in Heaven and in the plan of salvation.  Someone who radiates safety and security, who enjoys keeping their loved ones safe and happy.  Someone who communicates well with words and actions.  Someone who is looked up to and well liked, yet down to earth.

This list seems to go on and on.  I'll cut it short there.

After having recently experienced a false relationship post widowhood, I have found that I need to be really specific about everything is extremely important.  There are too many things that can seem good, and turn out to be completely manufactured.  However, I still crave that togetherness that marriage brings, and so I'll continue to try to find that person who exhibits all the traits that my family and I need.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Power of the Spirit

Okay folks, sit down and prepare yourselves.  I'm about to blow some minds.  I don't know if I'm the only one who feels this way, but I have spent my whole thirty-seven years feeling like I'm not close to good enough.  It took some real serious soul searching to figure out where this negativity was coming from.  I found a pretty interesting thought/idea.  I realized that my spirit (the person that I was before I came here to earth) is absolutely, without a doubt amazing.  She stands tall, she is a leader, she knows who she is, she has power in her convictions, she is admired, and loved by all whose lives she touches, and she got saddled with me.

I imagined that my spirit self was so frustrated by my lack of initiative, and my shyness, and my lack of confidence.  I figured that the reason I feel so unpleased with myself was because I wasn't living up to my spirit self's expectations.  This really made me think hard for a while.  I felt unhappy, ashamed, not good enough, and every other pitiful emotion that you could guess.

After much prayer and soul searching, I realized...I am NOT two separate beings.  I AM my spirit!  Yes my body has some distinctly different qualities from my spirit, and of course there is the whole memory block problem.  All in all, however, I am the same person that I have always been.

I have felt like it is prideful to think highly of yourself, but in this context, why not!  I am pretty great.  I have made it through a lot or really difficult trials here on the earth.  I have learned mysteries, and mountains of information.  I have raised three children on my own for the last four years, and they are good kids.  I have met so very many people who have impacted my life for the better.  These are people who came into my life because of the change of direction that my life made.  I have overcome so many fears, and confidence barriers.  I have learned to do things on my own.  I have learned that it's okay to make mistakes.  I have learned that I will continue to make mistakes, even though I should know better.  I have learned that we are never alone.  I have a lot to be proud of, so why not bust out the pom pom's and shout for joy.

It is the life that learns little that fails.

Be proud of the lessons that have been hard learned, and the battles that have been hard fought.  We become closer to our divine destiny with ever tear drop, and every prayer, every hug, every morning that we wake up and fight for what we know to be right.  It is hard, but so very worth it.

-if you fight every battle on your knees, you will win every time.