Monday, April 26, 2010


In December of last year, my friend Leisy posted about a little boy on her blog. His name was Gabe. He had cancer, and the prognosis wasn't good. In fact, he wasn't expected to live more than a few weeks. She asked the family how she could help, and they told her to ask people to send Christmas cards to Gabe, because he LOVED to get mail. I read her post, and became inspired.

I bought a couple cards. But I couldn't stop thinking about them. I wondered how I would feel, what I would do, if one of my girls had cancer. So I put together a box. I began collecting items that an 8 year old boy would like. Then a website was formed on Gabe's behalf, so that people could keep up with how he was doing. I was instantly hooked. There were pictures of him on the website, and I finally got to see the little boy who I was praying for, hoping for, wishing for. He was an adorable brown haired, brown eyed angel. SpongeBob was his absolute favorite, so I found a SpongeBob ornament to send him. Then I had another idea.

Trinity and Natalie's school has a theme each year. This year's was "Giving Back." They have been doing all sorts of things, including visiting the old folks' home and cleaning up the trash on the side of the road. With the school putting so much focus on the community and loving one another, I just knew they would love to help Gabe. I presented the idea to the teacher, and she agreed to have all of the students in the Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten classes make a Christmas card for Gabe. I was giddy with excitement. I knew that the simplistic box that I was sending wouldn't do much, but I hoped it would at least lend a smile. I don't know if he ever got the box, but I do know that Gabe's story reached thousands of people, and he received cards from as far away as Japan! Seeing such humanity in this world today is so inspiring!

Though the doctors only gave Gabe a short time to live, his parents decided to give chemo a try. It worked for awhile, and his tumor began to shrink. He got to go to Disney World through the "Make A Wish Foundation." And he had the chance to visit with several friends and family members. In an interview given to Gabe by his dad, he was asked what having cancer has taught him. He said "nothing." But I know that his cancer has taught many. It has taught me. Life is precious. Your children are precious. Appreciate what you have, while you still have it. Death is not the end. You can do hard things.

Gabriel died early this morning. He was 8 years old. Hours before his death, he asked his dad for a Priesthood blessing. He asked for one for his mom, too. He then hugged everyone in the room, and said that he was tired and wanted to take a nap. A few hours later, he passed away.

I don't know why I felt compelled to help this little boy. I have never met him, nor have I met anyone in his family. Maybe I needed to learn something. A few weeks ago, Gabe's dad posted a talk about faith, healing, and God's will. All things that are very prominent in my life. Recently in Relief Society, we had a lesson on prayer. One sister made a comment about how maybe the purpose of prayer is to help us align our will with God's will. I would like to end this post with that same talk that Gabe's dad posted...

Will of the Lord
Young men and older men, please take special note of what I will say now. As we exercise the undoubted power of the priesthood of God and as we treasure His promise that He will hear and answer the prayer of faith, we must always remember that faith and the healing power of the priesthood cannot produce a result contrary to the will of Him whose priesthood it is. This principle is taught in the revelation directing that the elders of the Church shall lay their hands upon the sick. The Lord’s promise is that “he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed” (D&C 42:48; emphasis added). Similarly, in another modern revelation the Lord declares that when one “asketh according to the will of God . . . it is done even as he asketh” (D&C 46:30).14
From all of this we learn that even the servants of the Lord, exercising His divine power in a circumstance where there is sufficient faith to be healed, cannot give a priesthood blessing that will cause a person to be healed if that healing is not the will of the Lord.
As children of God, knowing of His great love and His ultimate knowledge of what is best for our eternal welfare, we trust in Him. The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and faith means trust. I felt that trust in a talk my cousin gave at the funeral of a teenage girl who had died of a serious illness. He spoke these words, which first astonished me and then edified me: “I know it was the will of the Lord that she die. She had good medical care. She was given priesthood blessings. Her name was on the prayer roll in the temple. She was the subject of hundreds of prayers for her restoration to health. And I know that there is enough faith in this family that she would have been healed unless it was the will of the Lord to take her home at this time.” I felt that same trust in the words of the father of another choice girl whose life was taken by cancer in her teen years. He declared, “Our family’s faith is in Jesus Christ and is not dependent on outcomes.” Those teachings ring true to me. We do all that we can for the healing of a loved one, and then we trust in the Lord for the outcome.

**If you would like to read the talk in its entirety, click here.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

amazing thoughts.

It's no secret that I struggled to get pregnant. While my friends and neighbors were all having one, two, and three babies, I was left with none. It killed me inside. Terry had just been diagnosed with MS the year before, and now I was diagnosed with PCOS, or Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. So I had a diseased husband and was diagnosed as "infertile." Let me tell you, if you think I have been depressed now, you should have seen me back then. The day that I peed on a stick that read "positive" results was the HAPPIEST day of my life. Literally. Sorry honey-I love you dearly but getting pregnant topped getting married for me!

But my journey to my miracle baby Trinity is a long story, and I will write about it some other day. Right now, I just want to share something that I read on another blog. Rather, I want to remember it. I don't know if I will be able to have more children. I haven't tried. But I do know that the two that I have are a blessing from God, and I feel so lucky to have them.

I started following "The R House" blog awhile ago. A girl from my old ward found it, and shared it on her blog. From there I went to see it for myself, and then I realized that I actually knew Mrs. R's husband from BYU. Then I read their story, and I was sad. I understood how they felt. But they are survivors. And not only do they survive, but they also thrive. If you have ever been touched by infertility in any way, you will love the inspiring thoughts that Mrs. R shares. She recently had a guest blogger post, and that is what I am sharing here. It reminds me of myself, and it is comforting, I think.

"I’ve struggled with the loss of my dreams of a big family. The thought of just two kids hurt pretty badly. I’m a mother; I’ve got so much ‘mothering’ to give. Did my answer of “no” to more kids mean I wasn’t the mother I thought I was?

I found the answer one day while reading my scriptures. Genesis 24:60 reads:

“And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions.”

I read on. Genesis 25:21

“And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren.”

She conceived and bore Esau and Jacob.

And that was it.

She had two children. I read on.

Rachel had Joseph and Benajmin. She was infertile.

Sarah had Isaac. She was infertile.

Hannah had Samuel. She was infertile.

Elisabeth had John. She was infertile.

All through the scriptures, there are stories of women; righteous women, good, loving and faithful women who were infertile.

They had no more than two children each. Some only bore one.

But they changed the world."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

the flood.

"The foolish man built his house upon the sand,
and the rains came tumbling down.
The rains came down and the floods came up,
and the house on the sand washed away.

The wise man built his house upon the rock,
and the rains came tumbling down.
The rains came down and the floods came up,
and the house on the rock stood firm."

At least, that is our goal, to build our house upon a rock. But sadly, we have been building our house upon the sand. Now I know that this song makes a reference to our Savior Jesus Christ, but that is not the way in which I am referring to it. You see, my apartment flooded this past week. Yes, flooded. No, there were no big rainstorms. Instead, my lovely commode, which is always giving us problems, overflowed. And it kept going. And going. And going. And going. Like the Energizer Bunny. It happened in the master bathroom, located in the master bedroom, so I did not realize what was happening because I was here, on the computer, in the living room. I don't know how long it ran. I only know that Terry came home from school late that night, and immediately asked "Why is the floor all wet?" He was talking about the area right in front of the front door. No where near my bedroom. I had no idea where the water was coming from, so I got up to look. The outside of my front door was flooded too. I figured something had happened outside and that the water had just come in. Oh how I wish that was what had happened.

Then we walked into our bedroom and saw that the toilet was just pouring out water. AHHHHHHH! It was INSANE! The whole bathroom was flooded, and the water had seeped into the carpet in the bedroom. Almost the whole entire bedroom was wet. It then went down the hall, towards the girls' room and the other bathroom. Then the water started seeping into the carpet in the living room. So the water had literally seeped through the wall, into the living room/front door area, to the outside. We then knocked on our neighbor's door, who are also in charge of maintenance, and apparently the water had seeped through the walls into their apartment too! It was such a mess. And here is the worst part: I had not put any clean clothes away for a couple weeks. You know, I was lazy/tired/always on the go and didn't have time to do it. Basically, "building my house on the sand." Plus there was all kinds of other stuff on the floor, like boxes that we just can't unpack because we just don't have any place to put their contents. And LOTS of this stuff got wet. It was a NIGHTMARE. Sheer hell. And you know what? I figured I deserved it for not getting all my chores done. I'm good at putting myself down.

Well, we got as much picked up as we could. We started doing laundry. And the carpet cleaners came the next day at 8am. We were exhausted, because we couldn't sleep in our bedroom. Terry took the couch and I slept in a little twin bed with Natalie. Soooo uncomfortable. We got about 4-5 hours of sleep and then Terry and I had to go to the VA for appointments. But first, we met the carpet cleaners that morning and he helped us move everything but our dresser into the dining room area, along with all of the contents in the living room. They planned on cutting the carpet and replacing the pad underneath. I'm still a little worried about mold and getting sick, but I guess we will have to deal with that later. That night we came home to an apartment full of huge, super loud fans, plus an enormous dehumidifier. But the place had started to dry. We were able to sleep in our own bed that night, and though the fans kept us up all night, we were grateful that our feet were no longer soggy.

That day I went with the girls' school on a field trip to see the movie "Oceans" for Earth Day. It was a cute movie, but the kids from other schools were totally loud and annoying. Later that day the girls and I hung out with our neighbors Todd and Leslie, so that we could get away from the fans. Now here we are, all dry, and just waiting until Monday for the new padding to go under the carpet. Until then, we are still cramped and crowded with junk, but I have been inspired to throw more things away. I never want to go through this again. But if I do, at least I will have less stuff in my way. Look out Ebay, here I come!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

my AHA! moment.

(Me, 1997)

I took my Anatomy & Physiology Lab final a couple days ago. I aced it. In fact, I got an A in the class. I can hardly believe it. That class was HARD. But I made it. Now I'm preparing for my lecture final, and I think I'm going to get an A in there, too. Again, HARD class. Yet here I am.

I'm starting to realize something. Something that people tell me all the time, but I never believe them. I don't know why I lack self-confidence. I was a super-star in high school. Drama, dance, honor society, chorus, cheer leading, photographer, you name it. I lived for the stage. But I was prettier then. I was skinnier then. Boys chased after me, some girls wanted to be me.

What happened to me?

I don't know. I don't blame anyone for my self-consciousness but me. My husband is amazing. He tells me I'm beautiful everyday, that he loves me, that he appreciates me. He doesn't care that I've gained weight. In fact, he says he likes me better now-that I was too skinny before. My girls think I'm beautiful, too. My family loves me for who I am. But I hate me. And I think that is all that matters.

I never thought I was smart enough to be a Science major. I took the easy way out and majored in English. What a joke! Now here I am, needing to work, but can't do anything with my BA degree. So I went for it. This time last year, I went back to school. For Science. I wanted to be a Registered Nurse. Still do. I was so sure I would flunk out. But I didn't. I have consistently made A's and B's. I kept giving God and Lady Luck all the credit for my good grades. And I still think that they have something to do with it. But now I think I might actually be smart. No. I. AM. SMART. I. CAN. DO. THIS.

I can do HARD things.

A phrase I adopted from someone else, but it rings so true in my own life. I've proved it time and time again. I am STRONG. I am COURAGEOUS. I CAN DO HARD THINGS.

I was telling my bestie JenHeadJen a few weeks ago that I wasn't sure I could do this-be a nurse and all. But then she said something that stuck with me: "You already ARE doing it!" She's right!

So I've been toying with the idea of getting a tattoo for some time now. But I'm not sure if inking myself is really the way I want to go. There's the whole issue of permanence, plus religion, plus I don't want my kids getting inked too. I always thought that if I were to get a tattoo, it would have to be something really meaningful. Problem is I could never think of an image that meant enough to me. Now I have something. Something that represents my strength, my courage, and my smarts. So what should I do? Should I get a tattoo once I graduate, to remind me how I can do hard things? Or should I get a necklace made? What do you think? I've got time to think about it. After all, I still have two years. But now that I've had this personal epiphany, I don't want to lose it. I want to remember that I can do hard things in life. No matter what is thrown at me.

Friday, April 16, 2010


My heart is RACING. There I was, sitting quietly on the couch, almost falling asleep. I was watching the show "I'm Alive" on Animal Planet, and this guy had just been bitten by a Death Adder. That's a poisonous snake in Australia, in case you didn't know. Right before that one, there was a story about a guy who lost his arm to an alligator in Lake Okeechobee, right in my own backyard. So I had reptiles on the brain.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, I saw this:

Really, Chase saw it first. He's my hero. He totally would have taken it out for me, if I'd let him. I started screaming for Terry! It was 11:00 at night, and he was fast asleep. The girls were asleep too. It was just me and the cat. Terry finally came, and of course the snake went to hide. The cat was looking for it, and Terry told me to put him away. Then I called 9-1-1. The dispatcher thought it was a water snake, but she said she would send somebody out.

In the meantime, the snake reappeared, but quickly slithered its way into a tiny hole in my WALL! And there it will stay. The Po-Po came shortly after and there were three of them, all ready to do some snake huntin'! I told them it was now in my wall. They were like, WHAAAAT??!! Then they said it was probably a water snake, not poisonous, and that we could just plug up the hole and leave him in the wall. So we did. I couldn't find my glue gun, so Terry stuck a rubber band in the hole, followed by playdough. Yeah, we got that sucka good! Now the cat is still looking for the snake, and I have a cool Friday night story to tell.

one for the consumer avenger!

One of my besties, JenHeadJen, calls herself the "consumer avenger," and rightfully so. She studied fashion merchandising in college, and learned all the ins and outs of the responsibilities that retailers have to us, the consumers. She has blogged many times about her experiences (good and bad), and in my opinion, hits the "nail on the head" every time! I love reading what she has to say, and you will too, so check her out at In the meantime, I HAVE to share an experience that I just had, at the all-to-wonderful (NOT!) K-mart.

Yes, I did the unthinkable. I went to K-Mart. Why? Because it is closer to my house than their competition, if you can even call Target or Wal-mart their competition. I know. Not really a good enough excuse to go there. But hey, I guess I was lazy and didn't feel like driving that far. Well, guess what I got for being lazy...nothing but HASSLE!

You see, I am currently living in a cracker box, where we pretty much have no room for anything. My husband, as most of you know, has MS, and therefore has TONS of medicine bottles. We have an ENTIRE cabinet in the kitchen that is just medicines. But that wasn't enough. So we got a "lazy susan" to put my husband's meds on, so that they were easier for him to get to. Now I am taking many herbs, supplements, and allergy medications too, so I started using the lazy susan as well. And then the kids started needing allergy meds, so, well, now we are out of room and there are pill bottles all over the counter tops. Then I had this idea: "Why not buy a little stacking shelf for the counter top so that we can all have our daily meds on the counter, without taking up so much room?!" I thought it was a good idea. So I went to K-mart to look for a counter top shelf. I found one, and there were several under the $4.99 price tag. Yes, it seemed a little odd, but there were bigger shelves around it that were priced at $19.99, so I figured it must be right. There were a couple other options, but none as cool as this $4.99 one. So I said to my girls, "Let's get this one. I'm gonna hold them to this price, too." We went to checkout and of course, it rang up $19.99. WHAAAAAAT???!!! I immediately told the cashier that it was marked $4.99. She said "Oh, no, no, no," like I was a liar. She then ran around the front end looking for an ad. When she finally returned and started thumbing through it, I told her that I did not know if it was even in the ad, but that there were several on the shelf, all under the "wrong" price tag. So she wanted me to show her. We walked all the way back to the back of the store. She then rips off the tag, and starts comparing. Then she says "The skus don't match." I think "So?" Then she calls over a stocker, who agrees that the tags don't match and that I had the wrong item. Well, too bad for them I say. I asked for the $4.99 price anyway. She then says that we have to ask a manager, so we walk clear over to the other side of the store, looking for the manager. We found her, and she said "No." I said "Well, I did not see that the tags did not match. If there was only one there, I could understand. But there were several in that spot, so I want that price." She continued to say that I could have 10% off at the most, but I wasn't going to budge. It's not my fault they can't hire competent stockers. Finally, she agreed to give me the $4.99 price. Victory! We then went back to the register, where the cashier tried to ring me up but had to then call the manager over again to verify the override. What a pain! The whole thing took over 20 minutes, but in the end, it was well worth it.

I know I was a brat, and really could have seen that the skus didn't match myself, but as the consumer avenger would say, "It's the principality of the matter." I spent way too many years of my life working in a retail situation where the customer ALWAYS got what they wanted, and I feel that is mostly how it should be. They are in business for US. Without US, they would not exist. It is not that hard to put up a price tag, or stock an item as it should be.

Of course I won't expect this to happen all the time. Most times the consumer doesn't win. And I really won't be going back to K-mart any time soon. But I had to share my little victory dance. They are, after all, few and far between.

Monday, April 12, 2010

berry pickin.

Not too long ago, we went strawberry picking. I did it when I was little, and we always see signs to do it, so we said "what the hay" one day and did it!

We had actually gone out to campus, where I was planning on studying the muscle model, or as I like to call it, the Muscle Man! (Yeah, I sing a song about it too, to the tune of "Do You Know The Muffin Man?") But when we got there, the library was closed. Stupid little state-run school. (It was a Saturday afternoon. What kind of school closes their library on a Saturday afternoon?) I was truly disappointed, because I was having a test on the Muscle Man the following Monday. So instead, we walked around campus for a bit, then waited for Terry to do some computer stuff in his building, then we left. On the way home, we saw the strawberry picking signs that we always see. We decided that since I couldn't study with my model, I might as well go strawberry picking and leave my grades up to God!

We got there 10 minutes before closing time, but they let us in anyway. The price for the berries was much higher than we thought it would be: $4.99 per pound! But we figured we were paying for the experience, not the berries. Trinity and Natalie each got a basket and Terry and I just helped them. Both girls picked berries until their baskets were full, which really didn't take very long! We ended up only having two pounds worth of berries, and on our way out I got free recipes for freezer jam and other things. So the day turned out to be a success! And that muscle test? I got an A.


This adorable face belongs to Bella. She is an orphan calf on Great-grandpa Ralph's ranch. We first met Bella on Thanksgiving day, at Uncle Sean and Aunt Sharon's house. We heard there was a calf that needed to be fed, so we hopped on the mule (along with some other folks) and went out to pasture to find her. She was super shy and didn't want to come to us, even though we had her milk. But she eventually came and drank to her heart's content.

The next time we saw Bella, she was in a little pen in the yard, where she was more easily accessible for feeding times. We were delighted to find that she was still there (sometimes cows "adopt" little orphan calves, and sometimes they die) and eager to help feed her once again. Luckily, it was time for her to eat. When we got into the pen, she wasn't as shy as before. She eagerly drank her milk, and when it was gone, she still wanted to suckle. We were all petting her and loving her, when she found one of our hands and began to suck on it! Since we aren't really country folk (though I came from some), we were a little scared as to what Bella might do, but we soon learned that it was her natural reflex (just like a human baby), and that cows don't have top teeth! Who knew?! :) For whatever reason, we were in awe with this little sucking cow, and we let her suck on us again and again and again. She even tried to suck on our clothes, but we put a stop to that!

We have had so many wonderful and unique experiences because of this ranch. I am so grateful to be a part of a family whose history is rich in agriculture. The ranch is like no place on earth that I have ever been, and in the quiet, peaceful breeze when its just you and the animals, it almost feels like heaven.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Back in March, my little drama queen got her first real acting gig. She had been taking acting classes at the fancy local theater, where we learned about an audition on her last day of class. The play was "Pinocchio," and it was being put on by a traveling theater company. They pretty much let most anyone in who auditions, but you have to be really good to get a lead role.

Since it was her first audition, Trini was really shy and didn't understand what to do. I don't think she got the whole concept of how to audition. But she was cast as a toy ballerina in Gepetto's workshop! She was really excited, and so were we. I remember how awesome it felt to be on stage when I was younger, and now my little girl was going to get to experience it! She rehearsed all week long, and then the performance was on Saturday, at two different times. She got to wear a costume and get her makeup done, which I think was one of her favorite parts.

We saw the late show, along with Grammy, Gramma Katie, Gramma Hildy, and Uncle Jon and his girlfriend. It was awesome! The kids did such a great job for only one week of rehearsal. After the show we went to Chili's for dinner and to celebrate Uncle Jon's birthday.

Trini ended up LOVING being on stage!!!! Call me crazy, but ever since I have been asking her what she wants to do next-singing, more acting, dancing, etc! She told me that she wants to take dance, then singing, then cheerleading. And I am stoked. My first love was the stage, and oh yeah, I am totally going to live vicariously through my kids! hahaha



Natalie and I were out running errands a couple weeks ago. One of them included buying cat food for Chase. And since Chase is the pickiest eater in the world, he will only eat Science Diet brand cat food. This brought us to the actual pet store, where everything is over-priced, yet very tempting to buy.

Whenever we go there, we always look at the pets for sale, just because we love animals. Sometimes we hold them and think, "How cute! Let's buy it!" But then we come to our senses and put the critter back. This time, however, I did a mental check-out when I entered the store. I was sick and still am, and I just wasn't thinking clearly. I blame it on the cold medicine.

Natalie asked to go look at the fish. She loves fish. Whenever we are near the river, she asks to see the "nimmows." (Minnows) We oohed and ahhed, and then saw a little Betta fish. She held its little cup that it was in, said "Hello. My name is Natalie," and asked if we could buy it. I looked at the prices of the whole set up that we would need. It was only $10.00 for everything. By far the cheapest pet ever! So I said yes.

I asked her what she wanted to name the fish, and at first she said "Nathan." That is her favorite boy name. So I said "The fish is a boy?" Then she said no, so I suggested "Roxy." She liked it for a bit, but by the time we got home, it's name was "Sparkles," and has been so ever since.

At the time, I thought that Chase would not be a problem, because the fish bowl has a little lid on it. But Chase likes to knock things off the counter, the dresser, whatever, so he has tried to do that to Sparkles a couple times. But no casualties so far. Trinity does a super-cute impression of the fish, the cat loves to sit and look at it, and I have agreed to take care of it. Hopefully Sparkles lives a long time!

(Chase checking out Sparkles.)

(Natalie reading a book to her new friend.)