Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Project

As I said in my previous post, this year I wanted to focus more on giving gifts rather than presents. My Primary kids were no exception to that. This is now my second Christmas as Primary President for the ward and last year we gave them candy canes for Christmas with a little note about the importance of the Shepherd's hook. I fine present, but I wanted to give them something more meaningful this year. In our Presidency meeting we talked about making them blocks for their room. Now I do not really enjoy doing crafts that much. I don't have the patience for them, plus I think I drew the short straw on talent with crafts. My sister has all the creative talent in our family. That being said, you know I must love all of my Primary kids to decide to make something for them especially something that involved mod podge :). Here are some pictures of what the blocks look like.

I told them all that we often build our testimonies one block at a time and we do it by following and having a knowledge of several different principles. These are the ones we focused on for their blocks.
1. They need to make choices to choose the right way.
2. They need to gain a testimony of the Temple and make it a goal to go there someday.
3. They need to know who they are and be happy with that.
4. They need to know that Jesus loves them and is there for them always.
5. It is important to follow the teachings of the Prophet and other leaders.
6. They need to always remember that they are A child of God. This will help them get through the hard things in life.

They can take this one block of teachings and principles and build on that to make their lives better and their testimonies stronger. It can serve as a reminder to them for the entire year and beyond. I hope that they know how much they mean to me and how much I enjoyed actually making these for them and see them as the gift they were intended to be.
Here are almost all of them once they were done. Many thanks to my counselors and secretary for all their hard work and talent in putting them together.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Life has been busy and I have been having fun with family and friends. I have a lot of thoughts to share with all of you, but it will have to wait until Christmas has calmed some. I do want to wish you all a Merry Christmas. This has been a special one for me since I have focused more on the reason for the season and less on the commercialism of it. It has been nice. I am so blessed to have my Savior in my life and to have been blessed for all that he has done for me. I leave you today only with these thoughts:
“This year, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and the speak it again.” -Howard W. Hunter

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gifts vs. Presents

It has been a couple weeks since I posted. I have been busy with getting things ready for Christmas. There just seems to be so much to do at this time of year. This year for Christmas, I wanted to focus more on giving gifts rather than presents. Think about what that means. Anyone can give a present and many people think that is enough. They think that you can buy or spend enough to make up for things or win someone's friendship. While it might work initially, it isn't something that is lasting. I think about perhaps the man who cheats on his wife or is abusive and goes out and buys her a new diamond ring, a huge bouquet of flowers, or a new car. In giving the present, this person is wanting something in return. They want the bad deed forgotten, your friendship/loyalty bought, or forgiveness. They think that expensive things can fix these kinds of things. That you are somehow indebted to them by accepting it. A gift is different. It is something that comes from the heart. It is thought out and given with all the love intended. The person giving the gift doesn't expect anything in return. It has required more thought for me and perhaps a little more stress, but so far it has been worth it. I have always loved giving gifts, even more than receiving them. I love when someone is touched by the thought that went into my gifts. I feel it is a way for me to show my love for them and not just express it. I hope that those more thought out gifts will be ones that my loved ones will enjoy this year. It reminds me of the story, "The Gift of the Magi" and how a couple sacrifice their greatest treasures to buy each other gifts. The man sells his watch to buy beautiful combs for his wife's beautiful long hair. The wife sells her hair to buy a chain for the man's watch, a family heirloom. They both sacrifice for each other. The story ends with this wonderful quote:

"The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi."

We all have been given a wonderful gift and that is our Savior and the true reason we celebrate this season. So while I sometimes get caught up in the presents, the parties, the shopping, and the like, I need to remind myself of the greatest gift ever received. My Savior Jesus Christ, his love, his forgiveness, and his sacrifice. I am truly grateful for him and his love for me. My favorite Christmas song for many years now has been, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and it is because of one line in the song. In verse 2, it says "light and life to all he brings, Ris'n with healing in his wings". My Savior has always brought me light even when my heart was drowning in darkness. He has pulled me up into the light and healed my pain. It has been the greatest gift I have ever been given. It wasn't just a present given to those who are worthy and good, but it was a gift to all. "Light and Life to ALL he brings". I hope not just this Christmas I can focus more on gift giving rather than present giving and can always remember the true reason we celebrate Christmas. Happy Holidays everyone!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Forgotten Holiday

I love Thanksgiving and what it represents. I do get frustrated though when it seems we go straight into Christmas from Halloween and it gets forgotten. For that reason, I refuse to celebrate any Christmas festivities before Thanksgiving has come and gone. It is one of those holidays where you can spend time with family, eat a delicious meal, and express gratitude for all that we have. I think we forget sometimes, myself included, that gratitude is so much more than just saying "thank you" to those we love. It is also giving to and serving them. It is really an opportunity to do things we should be doing everyday of the year. Today in church, one of the speakers spoke of gifts that we give. She  received advice to give three gifts during the holiday season. Give a gift to a stranger, to someone who doesn't like you, and give a gift to your Savior. I loved the thought of this. It is sometimes easy to give to those we care about most or those who are closest to us. How much harder is to to give to someone you know doesn't like you? It is so much more of a sacrifice. So many times during the holidays, we forget our Savior and all that he has given us. It is diluted into who is getting what and what present I should get for so and so. We forget that the best gift we can give to our Savior and those around us is a gift of service and a Christlike life. I am committing myself now to do better at serving those around me. I heard a quote last week on Music and the Spoken Word that has stuck with me.
"True Gratitude manifests itself in how we choose to give to others. When we truly feel grateful, we feel a compelling desire to help other people. Perhaps that's why "thanks" and "giving" so often go together."
I am committing myself now to do better at living everyday full of "Thanks" and "Giving". Who wants to join me? Here is a quote I found that puts things into perspective on what true gratitude represents and why I think Thanksgiving should not become a forgotten holiday.
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

 Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.

GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.

Women and the Salon

 I was thinking as I was leaving the hair salon a week ago, feeling all good about myself, how funny it is that women love the salon. In some ways, we live for the salon. Think about it, how many of us love going to the beauty salon? No matter what kind a day we are having, even if it is one of the worst days you have ever had, you leave the salon feeling better about yourself. We love to get our hair done, have facials, massages, or mani's and pedi's. We love it. There is something to be said about taking time to do something for ourselves. I feel like there are some who need to do it more. I have been thinking about so many of my friends who are so stressed out with motherhood and all that it entails and demands that they forget about taking care of themselves. We need to do something for ourselves even if it is only a simple pedicure. It is something. I think as women we feel the need to be perfect or live up to the pictures we see in magazines and it makes us feel worse about ourselves. We get busy trying to be the perfect wife or mother or caregiver that we stress ourselves out to the point where we feel bad about ourselves. We all struggle with it. I know I do. I was so stressed out trying to adjust to being a new wife and stepmother that I lost sight of a lot of things that mattered, important things. I was so busy trying to "be perfect" in everything that I did that when I made a mistake or failed at something it made me feel insecure and not worthy of love. That in turn made me lash out at those around me or I would just spend so much time trying to have the "perfect" everything that I didn't appreciate the simple or the little things. I had to learn a hard lesson about what matters and I would like to think I would do things differently now.
One thing I will never do differently though is taking some time for myself. I am sure a lot of people think that since I am single and live alone, I have so much time to myself. While that may be true some of the time it isn't always the case. I still need my spa or salon days when I can just forget about the worries of life and relax and rejuvenate my body, mind, and spirit and leave feeling better about myself. We all need to feel good about ourselves. So this is my advice to all of us, most of all to myself. We need to take time for ourselves whatever that might be that we enjoy and we need to stop trying to fit the "perfect" mold. It simply doesn't exist and will prove to be destructive to us and those around us. We need to love and accept ourselves for who we are and accept those darn imperfections. So let's all go to the salon and relax a little more :).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Love and Relationships

This is a topic I have been thinking about a lot this week. Last Sunday, I watched the LDS movie "17 Miracles" with my family. It was such an amazing story about the hand cart pioneers and all that they endured. It was a great example of faith, hope, courage, strength, and love. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried my eyes out. I am pretty sure I heard a sniffle come from my dad too. The part that touched me the most was the love story of George and Sarah. They were an engaged couple that was traveling together to the Salt Lake Valley so that they could be sealed together. Sarah got sick and George gave Sarah his meal portions so that she would get better faster. He had to have been so hungry, but sacrificed for the woman he loved. She did get better and then later on George was one of the men who helped carry the weak and the sick on his back across the freezing cold river. George got sick and was not able to recover and died near Martin's Cove. In the movie, it shows him dying and Sarah finds a love letter that George had written to her. It is one of the most beautiful love letters I have ever heard. I don't know if the letter is true or part of the script, but it touched me deeply. George never got to marry his love on this earth, but President Faust was so touched by their love story that he allowed for them to sealed in the Temple in 1997 despite the fact that Sarah later married someone else when she got to the Salt Lake Valley. I think we can all safely say that we all want our own George or our own Sarah. To have a love so deep that you would sacrifice and risk your own possible death for the one you love. I thought about this and wondered if I have ever had this in my life. I can honestly say I have deeply loved in my life and would have sacrificed my own life for love. I am just not sure anyone would do that for me. I want that though. I want to be someone's everything. Maybe one day I will get that. I am grateful for the wonderful examples of true love that are all around me.
Today is a particularly difficult day for me and has been for five years now. It never gets easier. I always feel the pain. I wish I didn't. Many people always talk about hindsight and it is so true. You learn a lot from your mistakes, unfortunately you wish it wouldn't cost you so much. You learn a lot from past relationships and you hope that one day they are going to not repeat your mistakes.
On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, I attended the annual Utah Hospice conference. It was a great conference and I learned a lot. The keynote speaker on the final day made me think a lot about people and relationships. The speaker was a man named, Matt Townsend. He is a relationship and communications coach. He has a book titled "Starved Stuff: Feeding the 7 Basic Needs of Healthy Relationships". He talked a lot about these 7 Basic Needs that we all have. They are: Safety, Trust, Appreciation, Respect, Validation, Encouragement, and Dedication. If someone isn't feeling all of these things in a relationship then they are "starved". As a result, starved people begin to starve the people closest to them. They become more selfish, reactive, hopeless, and more polarizing. They negatively interpret more and are more likely to abandon a relationship. As he talked about these things, I started to realize there were too many times so far in my life that I have starved people that I love. I think we all do it, but when you have that "aha" moment and realize you are at fault, it can sometimes be a hard thing to swallow. I hope I can one day be forgiven by these people and that somehow through forgiveness and God's tender mercy I can be someone who feeds rather than starves. Someone who loves without end and someone who like George in "17 Miracles" gladly sacrifices my portion of "food" to feed the love in my life.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Busy October!

October is always a busy month for my family just because there are so many birthdays in the family that we celebrate in October. My mom's birthday, brother's birthday, and my nephew, Austin, and niece, Kendyl all celebrate their birthdays in October. So we have a lot of family celebrating. Kevin is living and working in Wyoming now so we had to just celebrate with him in spirit. It wasn't just the birthdays though that made October busy and exciting. Here are some of the fun and exciting things that took place this month:

Temple Sealing of a dear friend and her family
So Stephanie that I work with and my work BFF had an amazing beginning to their month when she and her beautiful family were sealed in the Temple and I was able to be there for such a beautiful experience. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I almost did though. As I was leaving work that day to head to the Temple, I slipped and fell hard. It had rained that day and the sidewalk outside of work was slick. I was wearing my wedge sandals and I rolled my ankle, lost my balance, and took a face plant. It hurt, but the most upsetting thing for me was I had a beautiful framed picture of the Temple in my arms that I was giving to their family and when I fell I landed on top of it and heard the shattering. Devastating. But the place where I bought it was really great to replace it after I explained to them what happened. I was hurting bad, but had no time to realize how badly until I finally sat down in the Temple and my foot started to throb and swell. I knew I had really hurt it when I got up to move and couldn't put any weight on it. So after the temple, I headed for x-rays. Not broken, but a pulled tendon in my foot and sprained ankle= crutches and a special shoe until it healed. But again, I seriously wouldn't have missed the glorious opportunity to be with Steph and her family. I will never forget the beautiful scene of her children walking in the room all dressed in white and kneeling together, holding hands to be sealed forever. It was beautiful beyond description. So glad that they let me be a part of it.  

Boot camp
I started a boot camp in September and I have been really enjoying it. It even gets me out of bed at 6 AM three days a week to exercise and for anyone who knows me is aware that is a miracle by itself. I was worried when I hurt my foot that I wouldn't be able to do it anymore, but I stuck it out and though I wasn't able to do everything (particularly the running), I didn't quit. I felt good about that and was actually able to earn a dog tag. No easy thing. I earned mine by doing 300 full sit ups with no break longer than 3 seconds. My abs killed for a week after, but I did it. I even survived Hell Week which consisted of having no soda which meant no Diet Coke. I did it thanks to Crystal Light with caffeine. What I am liking about this boot camp that is different from other ones I have done is that they combine it with nutrition and healthy meal plans. All of the recipes I have tried are delicious and healthier for me and I am beginning to see some results. I like it so much I just started my second session on Halloween and now my foot is well enough to be able to actually do everything.

Trip to St. George with the family
So I mentioned that my nephew, Austin has a birthday in October. Since he and his brother live in St. George with their mom, we don't get to see them as much as we might like. So we decided to head down to St. George the weekend before his birthday and suprise him and his brother. So me, my parents, and Peaches headed down to see them. We had such a fun time. We swam a lot in the pool at the hotel, played, talked, ate, and laughed. It is so good to see them. I use to babysit them a lot when they lived here and I miss them. They are growing up so fast! McCrae, my oldest nephew, is now 13 years old and is 5'9" and actually probably 5'10" by now as fast as he is growing. He is definately going to be taller than his dad and my dad at this rate. Austin is still as funny as ever and has the greatest one liners. Ex: I was complaining that my boobs were too big right now and popping out of my swimsuit and Austin out of nowhere said, "Aunt Shannon that is not a bad thing". Seriously don't know where he gets it, that's not true. Anyone who knows my brother knows where he gets it from. Such a fun weekend with them. Glad we could go visit! Here are a few of our pictures from the trip:
Austin and McCrae in front of their house. They were all dressed up for a parade they were in about pioneers. Such Handsome boys!
Family photo. Seriously look how tall McCrae is!
Austin and Grandpa lifting some red rocks :)

Road trip and David Cook!!
Probably one of the best trips ever! So my friend Stephanie and I have known each other for like 6 or 7 years now, but we really started to get to know one another when she started working in the office and then our friendship really blossomed when we both discovered our mutual love of David Cook and I introduced her to Pandora and the David Cook station. We have been playing nothing but that station in the office for months gearing up for the release of David's second album. He then announced he would be touring and we decided that we would go to his concert together. Even if he didn't come to Salt Lake, we would go to the closest venue. He announced his co-headlining tour with Gavin DeGraw and we were sad to learn the closest place he was coming was Boise. Stephanie is pregnant so I worried the trip would be too much for her, but we decided to go anyway. The concert was on a Monday so we had to take Monday and Tuesday off from work to go but we made it happen (minus a few work calls I had to take as we were driving to Boise). We left in the morning so that we could get there and allow ourselves plenty of time. We decided to do the VIP tickets because it was only a little bit extra and we could get a t-shirt, autographed picture, guitar picks, and we got to meet David and be there for soundcheck. It was so worth it! We got into Boise, checked into our hotel, got all prettied up for David, and headed to the venue for soundcheck. We got lucky that there were not that many VIP's so it was a more personable experience. Boise city had a noise ordinance until 5 PM and since soundcheck was at 4 we got to have a special acoustic concert instead. He played three or four songs acoustic, did a question and answer thing, and then we got to meet him. I have met a few famous people in my life and most of them were rockstars and he is seriously I think the nicest one I have ever met. He was so sincere and was truly interested in each of us. He was funny, witty, and just all around adorable. I think I told him that I might, maybe just love him a little, okay a lot :). It was a fun night and a great concert. Another VIP perk was that come showtime they actually let us into the venue before everybody else and since it was GA we were happy to have first dibs on where we wanted to be for the concert. We met a couple of older ladies from Canada that became our concert friends, DeeDee and Marla. They loved their wine and Steph and I had fun laughing at how drunk they got as the concert wore on. Marla kept assuring me that they weren't driving home. It's a good thing too. We had so much fun and when we got back to the hotel we just layed in our beds with the lights off talking about awesome it was until we both pretty much fell asleep mid sentances. I am so glad we went and that Stephanie and the baby were safe (I had told her I would be her bouncer to protect the two of them if need be). It was fun and safe night though. Here are some pictures from the trip:
 Showing off the VIP lanyards

There he is!

Signing autographs.
I am blushing a little in this picture because he put his arm around me and then I went to put my arm around his waist and somehow I missed and touched his bum. I was so embarassed that I quickly moved it up to his shoulder. Not sure if he felt it or not but I sure did :).
Love this picture of the two of them.

I told him it was the baby's first concert and one of the band members said he should rub Steph's belly for good luck. He told them maybe she didn't want that and Steph immediately told him it was fine :).
Then David thought it was only fair she get to rub his belly for luck too. (Can I just tell you how jealous I was at this moment). I think that's why the picture is slightly blurry.

The only good picture I got of the concert was of Gavin DeGraw. The venue didn't allow picture taking and they were watching closely. Right after this picture, a big mean looking dude with a lot of piercings told me I had to put my camera away. So the only pics of David performing are in my mind :).
I'm with the band. Don't we make a good couple :)
One of the best nights ever!

A party and a maze

So I mentioned that my niece, Kendyl had a birthday this month too. She had a party to celebrate and then we went to the corn maze. My aunt and uncle have a corn maze they own so Mandy thought that it would be a fun place for her party. I was glad that we went before it got dark since it gets haunted after dark. I admit I am a wimp and hate haunted houses and the like. I just don't like to be scared. I am still traumatized from a few years ago when my cousin chased me with a chainsaw wearing a creepy monkey costume through their maze. It was a fun maze, although I may have cheated to get us out of the maze sooner. We pulled the map of the maze up from facebook on my phone. Had we not cheated though I am pretty sure we would still be in there. It was a great party. Here are few pictures of the princess, hamming it up for her birthday!

Love this girl!

Here's hoping November is a little less busy, but just as much fun!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why they gotta be so mean???

There exists this powerful way for people to express themselves. It is a way for us to laugh, to cry, and to just plain escape. It is the phenomenon known as YouTube. People can make a lot of money through YouTube and for many people it becomes a career. My family is proof of this. Many people may or may not have heard of ShayCarl or the Shaytards. Well I know them well. Shay is my first cousin and our family has always been a close one. We are one of those families that when we get together for our family parties we all have a good time and everyone competes for who is the funniest. Shay started just making funny little videos about himself and his family and put them up on YouTube. Little did he know it would become a business to support his family and become a very lucritive one at that. I am so proud of him and the whole family and love watching their videos. I mostly enjoy watching the videos that have the kids in them. When Shay and his wife were living in Logan for a time, I use to have the privilege of babysitting their oldest child, Sontard, when he was a baby. I love seeing him grow up and becoming quite the ladies man as well as good dancer. It is fun to keep up with the family this way since most of them have moved to California now. I am so excited for all of them. Shay's brother Casey, sister Carlie, and brother Logan all have their own channels now too. Their wives are also starting one with Carlie about the "mom's view". I am so happy for them.
What I have a hard time with though is reading some of the comments people leave about the videos. I finally told myself I wouldn't read anymore the other night when I read some of the mean things people say. I just don't understand why people have to be so mean! Seriously if you don't like the videos, don't watch them. Such a cliche, but I will say it anyway, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Seriously, leave your comments to yourself. Then it will make me less likely to want to punch you in the face. I am fiercely protective of my family and will always defend them against the "haters" or "meanies" if need be. I know a lot of people think that if you open up your life to the world you have to be able to handle what they say about it, but I just don't think it's right to be mean, degrading, or inappropriate. I think if people are willing to share their lives in this type of setting we should be positive or just silent. So you crazy inappropriate people leave my family alone or I will hunt you down and punch you in the face! There now I feel better :)
That being said, they do have a lot of fans and people that are positive and supportive. I do enjoy reading the positive comments. Especially when it comes to my cousin, Carlie. We have both been through some similiar heartbreak with our marriages and it is always nice to see her succeed and feel good about herself again. It gives me hope. I appreciate all those who support them and those of you who haven't yet heard of them. Check em out. Tell me what you think, but please remember to be positive or don't say anything at all :)

Links to their YouTube channels:

Jeez you think they have enough channels yet?? :) Love my little tard family! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011


This fall I started watching the show, Revenge, on ABC on Wednesday nights. It's on after all my comedies I love so much. I enjoy it and think it is a really well written show, but it is an interesting concept and always leaves me thinking and pondering about things. For any of you who don't know about it, it is about a woman who returns to The Hampton's where she lived when she was a small child with the plan to exact revenge on those who betrayed her father. He was wrongly convicted of a crime and betrayed by people he trusted. The daughter is taken away from him and he dies in prison. She returns, years later as an adult, to make those people pay. The need for revenge consumes her. This is the part that seems to leave me thinking. Can revenge really bring you happiness or that peace of mind you have always been seeking? I don't think so. I have never really been a vengeful kind of person and have never wanted to make people pay for hurting me or those around me. That isn't to say that I am not going to tell you if I think you are in the wrong or I don't lose my temper with those people because I do. We all do. But the idea of purposely trying to hurt someone else or ruin their life, I just don't get it. It just seems crazy to me. I guess I am not sure what drives someone to revenge. Is it hurt, betrayal, sadness, guilt, or just sheer pleasure? I do believe that guilt can be a big reason for many though. Some can't face their own mistakes or problems so they feel the need to take it out on others. This week on the show there was a quote at the end that I found interesting. The daughter is speaking about guilt and she says this:
"Guilt is a powerful affliction. You can try to turn your back on it, but that's when it sneaks up behind you and eats you alive. Some people struggle to understand their own guilt, unwilling or unable to justify the part they play in it. Others run away from their guilt shedding their conscience until there's no conscience left at all. But I run toward my guilt, I feed off of it, I need it. For me guilt is one of the few lanterns that still light my way."
That is a powerful statement and in this case it appears that the guilt that the daughter couldn't do more for her father all those years ago is what drives her revenge. I guess there has to be something that drives it. I will admit that I have had times in my life when I have thought "man I can't wait until karma comes around and bites that person" or I think "I want to be there and watch what happens on the day they are judged for what they have done", but I don't believe that is me seeking revenge. I think we all have thoughts like that sometimes when our natural feeling is that we want to see someone have to take responsibility for their actions. We want to see justice happen. I have never had the thought that I want to ruin someone's life or I purposely want to hurt them. I don't wake up and think I am going to see if I can hurt this person today, make them feel unsafe in their life, or see if I can get them fired. Maybe because I have been on the receiving end of someone's revenge, but I don't see what it accomplishes. I still think you have to deal with the reason that you feel you need to exact that revenge on them. Why do you want to hurt them so much? It doesn't make you a better person or make you feel good. It can't possibly. It can't give you peace simply because it isn't the Lord's way. He extends mercy to those that hurt him and he expects us to do the same. This can be so hard to do, to not react to it, to turn the other cheek if you will, but it is the better and the more Christlike thing to do. I always try to think that way even if I am not perfect at it. Sometimes I will admit I want the justice over mercy. I once heard a quote that says:
"In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior." I hope that I can always try to be a person who rises up over revenge and doesn't let it consume me because it seems to be poison to the soul and I for one don't need that. I don't share these thoughts to upset anyone, that is never my intention, but to simply express them since it is something that I have been thinking about the last few days. We have all heard the term "Revenge is sweet" but I say it's bitter and will only leave a bitter taste behind when it is exacted.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Power of Music

Anyone who knows me knows that I love music. Music is my therapy. There are days when I am feeling emotions that I just can't describe and I will hear a song and it will express exactly what I am feeling. I love all kinds of music. A few weeks ago, our ward had our Primary Program and serving as the Primary President, I always stress that everything is going to go well for the program. This year I wasn't stressed by it and when all my Primary kids sang the "Army of Helaman" song, it brought tears to my eyes. The Spirit speaks loudly through music. On 9/11 this year, I was deeply touched by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's rendition of "Amazing Grace" during the Music and the Spoken Word program. I was again brought to tears. But music doesn't just make me cry or feel the spirit. It brings a lot of other emotions out. I feel hope, courage, love, strength, remorse, sadness, and so many other feelings when I listen to music. I know a lot of my friends tease me for going to as many concerts as I do, but live music for me is the best way to feel those emotions. Too many of us keep our emotions inside and never express them. I think this can be destructive to our spirits and unhealthy in our relationships. It is so important to allow yourself to feel whatever emotions you need to and music helps me to feel those things. I love all kinds of music for this very reason. Different kinds of music allows me to feel different kinds of emotions. I believe that there is a power in music not just for the person playing or singing the song, but for those of us who just enjoy listening to it as well. So I ask the question, what kind of music do you like and how does it make you feel?
Many people will ask what music I am listening to lately so here is a small look inside some of the songs on my iPod:
1. BON JOVI- Many wonder why I love this group so much. It  is a long story, but let's just say many of their songs are about hope and overcoming things and they make me happy. A few of my favorites: "Born to be My Baby", "Superman Tonight", "In These Arms", "You Want to Make a Memory", and "It's My Life". I could go on and on and on :)
2. Adele- I love her entire new CD but "Someone Like You" and "Set Fire to the Rain" are my favorites.
3. Daughtry- Love all of their songs but really digging the new one "Crawlin' Back to You"
4.  David Cook- Love him! Been listening to his new CD to get ready for his concert that I am going to this week in Boise with my friend, Steph. Favorites: "Fade into Me", "The Last Goodbye", "4 Letter Word", and "Let Me Fall For You".
5. Lady Antebellum- "Hello World" and "As You Turn Away"
6. Lifehouse- "Broken", "Had Enough" and "Everything".
7. Matt Nathanson- "Kiss Quick" and "Run"
8. Neil Diamond- "Sweet Caroline", "I Am I Said", and "You Don't Bring Me Flowers".
9. P!nk- Love em all!
10. Taylor Swift- "Back To December" and "Ours"
11. The Script- "Nothing" and "First Time"
12. Kelly Clarkson- "Mr. Know It All"
13. Gavin DeGraw- "Not Over You"
14. Maroon 5- "Moves Like Jagger"
15. The Civil Wars- "Poison and Wine"
16. Breaking Benjamin- "Breath"
17. LMFAO- "Sexy and I Know It"
18. Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood- "Remind Me"
19. Evanescence- "Lost In Paradise"
20. Brandon Flowers- "Crossfire"

What's playing in your iPod?

Monday, October 3, 2011

The EX Factor

Tonight as I was watching the show Dancing with the Stars, I noticed Courtney Cox there watching her ex David Arquette. She was cheering him on and looking super supportive. It got me thinking about people like Bruce and Demi and other famous celebrities who are able to be friends with their ex's. Is this just a celebrity thing or do I just hear more about them? Maybe it is because they have children together? So it begs the question in my mind, Are people able to be friend's with their ex's?? For me, this is a hard one. I can only think of one former relationship that I have had in which I was able to remain friends with the person. However, the friendship, due to our past relationship, has had some rocky moments and much like our relationship was has been on and off again and again. I recall an experience back in college when I tried to remain friends with a guy I dated. I think the problem was that I still had feelings for him so when he asked for my address to send me something, I was deeply excited to see what he was sending me. It came a few days later in the form of a wedding invitation. I was crushed. I forced myself to go to the reception because that is what friend's do. I hated it the whole time. It didn't help that his grandma, who I adored, told me it should be me marrying him. Shortly after that awkward moment, he came over totally clueless and in my mind at the time heartless, and asked me to dance. I declined and needless to say we never spoke again after that. I can think of countless experiences like this one in which people try to be friends with those they have been in a relationship with and either there is too many hurt feelings, too much trust broken, or one is most certainly still in love with the other thus making it impossible to "just be friends".
I haven't done this very well in my life even though there are many I would have liked to have been friends with. It's just too hard for me. I am too sensitive and literally wear my heart on my sleeve. When I fall for them, I fall completely giving the relationship absolutely everything I can. When it doesn't work out, I am left hurt and usually with lots of "more than friends" feelings for that person. I just think it is hard to dial a relationship back when it has been at that high of a level. I know people do it though.
Like I said, I have been able to maintain one friendship out of a former relationship and I think he gets to take all the credit for that. He has put up with a lot of emotions from me and yet has chosen to still be a part of my life. There are moments when he will laugh or say something and feel that ping in my chest, but then it passes and I am glad that we can try and be friends. It's a work in progress I guess. I assume many people work at it for the sake of their children. While others, it just seems to come so naturally. I wonder how many of you have been able to maintain a friendship with an ex and how you did it? Is it really possible in some situations?

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I have never believed in people being psychic per se. I do believe in personal revelation, gut instinct, and spiritual promptings. These feelings have led me a lot in my life. There have been many instances where I trusted those feelings and I have been right in doing so, whether I wanted to be or not. Having said that, I had a different kind of encounter on Friday though. I went to see a patient of mine for just a routine visit. We talked about her disease, her concerns, and how she has come to accept the dying process, etc. Normal visit stuff. Then all of a sudden, she started to tell me things about myself that I really do not know how she would know them. I don't talk about any personal things with my patients. I am there to talk about them, not me. She started off by telling me I might think she is crazy, but she has a gift of sorts. She told me of the first time she remembered meeting me and how she was going into my visit with a "chip on her shoulder" because of the negative thoughts of what a "social worker" is. She thought I was going to be there to judge her, correct her, and do therapy with her to try and "fix" her. She said that all changed though when I walked in the room. She said my aura was so "bright". The brightest she has ever seen. She said she knew right away she could trust me and that I was a good person. That made be feel good. But, then she proceeded to tell me that I had been hurt before, and not just a little hurt. She said she knew I had been hurt so deeply in my life that it changed part of who I am and how I think. She then proceeded to tell me all about the person who hurt me, how I feel about them, and how this person feels about me. She then began to mention things I haven't ever told anyone. I sat there shocked not sure what to say. Most of what she said was true for the most part, although I have a hard time believing what she said about how the person who hurt me feels about me now. I was amazed at the things she knew and the nice things that she said about me and yet I am left wondering how on earth she knew all that she did. Even how I feel inside which no one but me knows. I am not sure what to think about the whole experience. I have never had any kind of experience like this and it has left me wondering and pondering. Do I believe in psychics now? Not really, but I do believe people and experiences are put in our path of life for a reason. We either have something to learn from them or they from us. I find it interesting and thought I would share my thoughts about it. I am curious if  anyone else has ever had something similiar happen to them? Or what they think about my experience? Please share your thoughts with me. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I must say I have never been a huge football fan like so many people in the U.S. I have always preferred baseball and basketball. However, there can be something said for live football when you are actually in the stadium with the crowd being surrounded by the sounds, the music, and the excitement of a game. I was once again reminded last week when I had the opportunity to go the Utah State Aggie football game against Weber State. I won the Intermountain Healthcare tickets in a drawing and I was so excited especially since I feel like I never win anything. My work BFF, Stephanie, went with me and we had a wonderful time. We were cheering, booing, high five-ing, and even dancing at the game. It was exciting and  I was so glad that I remembed why it is that millions of Americans love it. That being said, I think college football is exciting. I am still thinking that pro-football players are babies in a lot of ways. If you need proof, just watch an Australian Football League play a game sometime. Those pro players play football without pads and tackle just as hard. They get hit, loose a tooth, and go right back in the game. Our pro players get a hangnail and miss several games. Totally wimpy! Just my opinion. But I am learning to like it more and I realize that not all players are like that. My sister and her family are good friends with Eric Weddle, who plays for the Chargers and there are players like him who have a good work ethic. What do you think about football or pro-sports in general and is there a favorite team you cheer for? And please don't say it's your husband's team. Have your own favorite!

Steph and I before the game started dressed in our Aggie blue!

I had so much fun with her and can't wait until our getaway to Boise next month to see David Cook in concert!

The Mucky Mucks

I am not sure what I was thinking when I thought it would be a good idea to be a team captain and make a team for the Man vs Mud 5k run, but I am glad that I did. It was so much fun and I have never laughed like that while doing any 5K. It was the first mud run for Cache Valley and The Mucky Mucks (our team) had a great time. I think a lot can be said for pushing yourself to do things you would never normally do, trying new things, and acting like a kid sometimes. This was one of those days when it was okay to scream on a slip n slide, to get dirty, and to let the firemen hose you off. I made some new friends who I think are totally awesome and inspire me and now continue to inspire me as I do a boot camp with them. I like to push myself and have found that more things are about the journey rather than the destination or what place you might finish. It's about digging deep within yourself to do your best and to enjoy yourself and the experiences. So running is not my thing. I don't love it, mostly because of my asthma, but it pushes me so I continue to do it every now and then. I enjoy feeling like I accomplished something and I don't care what place I finish in a race so long as I finish. That is what is important in any race of our lives. We just need to finish and do our best. I am proud of myself and my team and look forward to doing it with them again next year! I now ask the questions to you what pushes you and what is your race you need to finish?

Some of the few pictures we took from the race.
 The Mucky Mucks pre mud

 The crazy starting line slip n slide.

 Just hitting the mud.

 I like to call this the stinky pit. Not sure it was just mud and as you can tell from my reaction in the picture, I wasn't a fan of this one :).

 This is the diagram that Cali did of the last slip n slide into the mud pit.

 The close up version of me taking out the side barrier.

 This was just before Cade totally drenched me with his huge splash :)
The Muck Mucks post mud. We are dirty :). I think I look the cleanest, but that is because when Cade drenched me with his splash he was able to wash most the mud off my face.

How many of you are now going to join our team for next year?

Friday, September 2, 2011


Just typing the title of this post makes me happy and I hear Oprah yelling WE ARE GOING TO AUSTRALIA! to her audience. Well Oprah didn't take me with her, but as I mentioned in my last post, I just got back from an amazing trip there. Australia has always been a place I have wanted to visit and is definitely on my bucket list. I wasn't sure if I would ever make it there. But I did! I subscribe to For those of you who don't know what it is, it is just a website that every Wednesday sends you an email of the top 20 travel deals of the week to various places through various companies. One Wednesday on my lunchbreak, I was looking at that day's email and there was such a good deal to Australia. I started thinking more and more about it. And it became a reality! I am so glad that I did. Today, while visiting one of my hospice patients, I was talking with him and his wife and we talked about bucket lists and things we always say, "someday I will go there", or "one day I would like to do this". Why don't we just stop thinking about it and dreaming about it and actually do it! So that is what I did. I went to Sydney to see the opera house, got to hold a koala bear, and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. All things on my bucket list. I truly feel so lucky and what an amazing reminder to me that we don't have to wait until we are about to actually "kick the bucket" to start doing things on our bucket lists. I know there are a lot of photos here, but believe me there are so many more. This really is just the cliff notes version of our trip. I hope to post more detail on my private blog sometime. So here are some of the highlights of the trip. Enjoy! And thanks to Carrie and Emily for going with me! Such fun girls and I love them both!

Excited for our 14 hour and 50 minute flight. This is us at LAX pre flight and awake :)

This is Darling Harbor one of my favorite places in Sydney

The Blue Mountains
Sydney's version of the Grand Canyon

The Opera House at night and how we first saw it. Also there was a full moon!

 Yes, we were this tired! Totally fell asleep on the train back to the hotel and Emily did drool all over my shoulder. Good thing I had several layers on :)

Sydney Harbor!

The Opera House!
 Outside the main hall

 Inside the main hall.

The ferry to Manly Beach

Our bike ride on the beach. Those two rocked the tandem bike and I fell in love with my little beach cruiser. Want to get one now :)

Manly Beach

Sydney at night

Wildlife Park: Snuggled Koalas and hand fed kangaroos

Chinese Garden of Friendship at Darling Harbor. They let us dress up like Chinese Royalty while we walked around the garden. So fun!

Sydney Aquarium at Darling Harbor. That fish was my little friend that followed me around the tank. 

Bondi Beach: Surfer's Paradise (It was a rainy day)

This is my Aussie surfer friend.

Whale watching on our way to the Great Barrier Reef!

The Reef!

 Carrie and Emily- the snorkel Queens

Rock on! I was there!

The sky rail that went from the city of Cairns through the rainforest to the city of Kuranda.


 My new best friend Chippy!

Could they be any cuter when they sleep :)

The Butterfly Sanctuary at Kuranda. Amazing hundreds and hundreds of butterflies flying all around us and landing on us. Just beautiful!

This little guy landed right on my hand and he didn't want to fly off so we hung out for a bit.

Last night in Sydney. Somehow they knew we were leaving and sent us off with a bang with a fireworks show over the harbor!

Such an amazing trip and one I will never forget!