Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Hunger Games

So a lot of people told me for a long time how good this book was, but a lot of people had also told me how great "Twlight" was and no offense Twi-hards, I didn't love those books. In fact, I couldn't even bring myself to read the fourth one. So despite all the great reviews for this book, I was a little slow in reading it. I finally decided it was time to read it when I saw the preview for the movie and I thought it looked really good. I started to read the book on the day my dad had his surgery. It kept me occupied while we waited for him to come out. It only took about 30 pages into the book before I was hooked. I would dream about it and make up my own storyline in my dreams. I stayed up until 3:30 in the morning on a Saturday night to finish it because I just "had to know how it would end". I really liked it which was kind of strange for me because when I would explain to people what it was about it doesn't sound like something that would be so good. It is though! Once I finished the book, I had to wait a month before the movie came out. I finally went and saw it on Saturday night with a group of 17 friends. Before the movie, we all went to dinner at the Coppermill and I had such a good time talking and laughing. Of course, since our group was so big, we weren't able to all sit together at the movie but I am glad that we all went together. It was so fun and we need to do stuff like that more often. I am grateful that all those couples allow me to be friends with them and don't make me feel like a third wheel. Great night, great friends, and a great movie. My only suggestion would be to for sure read the book before seeing the movie. You will love it more!


The crew at dinner before the show. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Matt Nathanson and Kelly Clarkson

 Last Tuesday, I went to the Matt Nathanson and Kelly Clarkson concert. I have seen Kelly a couple times in concert and she always puts on a great show and has an amazing voice. I have seen Matt Nathanson once when he opened for Lifehouse and I loved him live. He is not only a good singer and songwriter, but he is hilarious. He cracks jokes and makes you laugh. Humor is an attractive trait to me and I have a small crush on him. He's married though so it just has to be an innocent crush :(. I really love his music though and my Matt Nathanson station on Pandora is one of my favorites. Matt came in concert a couple months ago and I planned to go and then I got sick right before the concert and couldn't. I told myself that the next time he came I would go no matter what. It made it even better that he came with Kelly since I enjoy them both live. I am just sad that Matt didn't play longer than what he did. I could listen to him for hours.
Anyway, so my friends Mandy and Heather went to the concert with me. Mandy was with me the last time we saw Kelly in concert in Orem and we had such a good time. I knew she would want to go again. Another friend was going to go with us, but life got a little hectic and she was going to be unable to make it. Heather responded to a post I put on facebook about an extra ticket and I am glad she did. Heather has done many concerts with me: Bon Jovi in Vegas, Brad Paisley, Poison and Def Leppard, and Daughtry. She is always fun at a concert. Mandy and I drove to Heather's house in Farmington to pick her up and then we drove to the Maverik Center a little early so we could go eat before. We went to Applebee's and I devoured my Asian Chicken Salad. We had a good time talking and catching up with each other. Heather recently got engaged and so we were talking about her and her plans. Her fiance has four kids and she has two, so it will be a full house when they get married in June. I am so happy for her. She went through a lot of rough stuff with her first marriage and deserves to be happy. Mandy, Heather, and I have grown up with each other and have known each other since we were small. I remember riding my bike to both of their houses in the summer and playing until it was dark. I am grateful to have such great friends that I have known for so long. They are lots of fun and I love them both! The concert was wonderful and both Matt and Kelly put on a great show! It was a fun night and definitely worth the trip to Salt Lake. We need to do it more often ladies! Here are some pictures and video from the evening. 
Heather (w/glasses), me, and Mandy
Heather (w/o glasses), me, and Mandy
Matty!
Yes I love him.
Heather and I excited for Kelly to come out.
Kelly!





video
A little of Kelly singing a cover of The Goo Goo Dolls "Iris".
video
A slow version of one my favorite Kelly songs "Never Again".
video
A little of Matt singing "Run", my favorite song on his new album.

Great night that we for sure need to do again! What is one of your favorite bands or singers that you have seen in concert?

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Unreality Life of a Soap Opera

So after my last post, I thought we could use something more light and funny in nature. I remember growing up my mom would watch soap operas. In fact, for some reason I have a memory of my mom with the ironing board out and ironing clothes while she watched General Hospital when I was young. Such a random and strange memory, yet it makes me smile. As a teenager, I started watching them too. I think it started as boredom during the summer and I just got hooked. I currently still watch General Hospital in the morning as I get ready for work. Yay for the power of DVR. I have told myself several times that it is silly and I am not going to watch it anymore, but I continue to do so. There are so many things about the soap opera world that are just ridiculous and so unreal to actual life. I thought I would list a few of the unreality:
1.  It isn't uncommon for women to have children with more than one man. In fact, one character on GH right now has three children with three different men.
2. Paternity tests are more common than they should be.
3. People always cheat on their spouses. Hence the need for so many paternity tests.
4. Nobody ever tells the truth and the truth always comes out in some dramatic way.
5. Children age quickly on soaps. One day, they will be babies and the next week suddenly they are re-cast as a teenager.
6. No one seems to die of old age and almost every death seems to be a tragic one.
7. People come back from death a lot. Or their deaths were "faked" somehow.
8. People are instantly re-cast and look totally different and yet no one seems to notice.
9. It seems the good people in the shows even committ murder and rarely is anyone ever punished for one.
10. The mob are the heroes in the show.
11. Ridiculous stories of children they never knew they had, being possessed by the devil, cloning, dolls that come to life, and even aliens are not seen as odd.
12. Evil twins always seem to be more common than not. (There are a lot of things I wish I could blame on an evil twin).
13. Babies are frequently switched at birth.
14. One night can last a month on a soap.
15. There never seem to be working they are at work.

These are just some of the the ridiculous things I could think of. I am sure there is more. I think the reason I keep watching is that I can escape the reality of my life and watch the craziness on a soap and I can feel better about my own life. I can escape the reality and visit the unreality if not for just once a day. How many of you will admit to watching soaps and what are some of the most ridiculous storylines you have seen? What are your thoughts?


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Children

I love children. I love being around them and sometimes I love acting like one :). It is the reason I love going to a family ward over a singles ward. I just love seeing their trusting and smiling faces. I never thought I would grow up and not have children of my own. It is a reality though that I am facing and grows each day. The older I get, the more likely I know it is that I will not experience the joy of having children of my own in this life. It is something that I have mourned and had to come to terms with. I cry as write these thoughts and they are so totally honest and raw, but I always told myself that I would write what came to me. I never told anyone this, but while I was separated from my ex, before the divorce was final, I would have dreams of this sweet little girl who I knew was suppose to come to us and be ours. It was difficult to wake up from those dreams and face my reality and know that I had failed and that I had let her down. That I had let so many people down. I would have these dreams frequently and I always felt worse when people would hear about the split and say "well at least you didn't have children together". Please if you read this, never say that to someone when they are grieving the loss of their marriage. It doesn't help them feel better. I only hope and pray that sweet girl went to a family that would have loved her as much as I would have.

I know that is some heavy stuff to read. It is heavy to write. I know so many amazing people who can't have children and I know how hard it can be to be a member of a church so focused on children and family and not have any of your own. But, I put faith in knowing that God knows me, he loves me, and he puts me in positions where I can still influence children and have them be a part of my life. I am so grateful to all those around me who share their children with me. I am grateful to be "Aunt Shannon" to my nephews and niece and grateful to their parents for letting me be a part of their lives. Time with them is some of the memories and moments I treasure most. They are all such good kids and I am lucky to be around them. I am also grateful to all of my friends who have children and allow me to spend time with them. I love it. I love being able to teach and be around the 40 plus children in our primary as a serve as the Primary President. I love each and every one of them so much. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to be around so many children. It helps feel the void if even in a small way.

It is hard for me to watch children experience hard things. We have had several pediatric hospice patients the last year and those have been so hard to work with. It pains me to hear about children on the news who have been abused or mistreated in some way. I hate hearing about parents who just don't understand the value of being able to have children of their own and are horrible to them. I wish I could save and protect all those children out there who have bad things happening. I will never tolerate seeing a child abused whether verbally or physically, and I will always stand up and say something for them no matter what it might cost me. We must protect children by any means necessary.

I love the church and the gospel and the peace it brings to me heart to know that even if I don't get to experience motherhood on this earth, maybe I will in the afterlife and I look forward to meeting that sweet girl that use to appear in my dreams.

I cherish this quote from a talk given by Sister Julie B. Beck in General Conference years ago, "In my experience I have seen that some of the truest mother hearts beat in the breasts of women who will not rear their own children in this life, but they know that “all things must come to pass in their time” and that they “are laying the foundation of a great work”. As they keep their covenants, they are investing in a grand, prestigious future because they know that “they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever" (A "Mother Heart" April 2004 conference).

I love my Heavenly Father and Savior and am grateful for the "mother heart" that beats in my chest and for the children in my life that I get to be around and share in their lives. I am grateful for the faith I have that things will be okay whether I have children or not.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

An Amazing Man

This is a post that has taken me some time to write since I have been trying to figure out the best way to articulate it. I have wonderful parents. In fact, my patriarchal blessing even mentions that I have been blessed with very fine parents. That is extremely true. I love them so much and they have always been my support system. My dad and I have always gotten along well. I think it might be because we are a lot alike in the ways that make it so we don't clash. My dad has always been my hero and there isn't anything he couldn't do. My dad is a super healthy man. He always has been. He is 61 going on 62 and doesn't take any prescription medications. I take more pills than he does. I remember growing up the only time I saw my dad sick was after his first knee surgery. He hurt his knee on his job as a lineman and had to have surgery back in 1988-89. He had an ACL ligament transplant and had a screw put in. Well he had a bad donor ligament and got staff infection. They had to completely redo the whole surgery and he was so sick from the infection. I remember one evening he was so sick and mom called my Grandpa to come give him a blessing. As a child, it was scary for me. I thought my dad was going to die. But he fought it and despite being on crutches and unable to work for about a year, he got better. He has been going strong ever since. The only way you would know he had a problem would be to watch him walk closely especially at night after a busy day. He has always had a slight limp due to the knee damage. Slowly the past year, it has been getting worse. He never complains, but the pain got to be too much so he went to see his doctor, Dr. Goble. He was the one who did all his surgeries years ago. The news wasn't good. Dr. Goble told him that the knee had gotten worse and he was looking at bone on bone and the only option would be for a total knee replacement. My dad does not like to sit around and did not like the idea of such extensive rehab. I think the only reason he did it was because Dr. Goble promised him he would have him back to climbing poles in six months. Since Dr. Goble agreed that the surgery would be 100% related to the previous injury Worker's Comp was going to pay for it. After all the paperwork they make you do and all the red tape, they finally approved the surgery and he had it on President's Day. I waited with my mom in his room while he was in surgery. I tried to distract her as best as I could because she is worrier. After a few hours, Dr. Goble came in and told us that everything went "perfectly". He was in recovery and would be back soon. When he came back from surgery, he was still a little out of it. He took my hand though and then his lip started to quiver and I could sense he was getting emotional which in turn made me emotional. I think a lot was said to each other at that moment without saying a word. If that makes any sense. He knew I loved him and I knew he loved me. It is hard to see someone you love in pain or sick. I am not use to seeing him that way. So vulnerable. I mean my dad is Superman afterall! He doesn't get sick. He doesn't have to stay in hospitals. I think at that moment, I was hit with some serious reality. Just as I am getting older, whether I act it or not, my parents are getting older and they won't be around forever. I know death is a large part of life and the final process for us all, I see it everyday in my job. I just don't like to think about it with my family. Not that my dad is going to die anytime soon. He is doing well and is actually recovering ahead of schedule. More proof that he is Superman :). He is using the cane less and less and getting around pretty good which is nice since he used it mostly to tap us all with anyways :). It just made me start to think about what kind of caregiver I am going to be as my parent's age. I am going to be one of those demanding caregivers that I work with who challenge my patience at times. But I get it, it is your loved one and you will always demand the best for them. I will be there for them as they need me simply because they have done that for me. They have always been there for me. My parents helped me through the darkest and saddest time of my life when I got divorced. I didn't want to keep on going, but they gave me the strength to.  My dad held me and cried with me. His heart was breaking too. He loved my ex, as did all my family, and it was sad and hard for them too. We got through it all together and I know that no matter what might come as they age and get older, I will be there every step of the way. I treasure the time I spend with all of my family. Family is truly what matters.

I went to a viewing tonight for a dear friend that I use to work with that passed away. I so enjoyed the chats I would have with him in my office at work and all the laughs we shared. He spoke often of his family and you knew that was the most important thing to him. I am grateful to have known him and I am also grateful for the gentle reminder that people not things are what matters most. How we treat others and what we say are what matters. Life is too short to worry about the crazy people out there who try to sabotage life. I just need to remember and rely on those around who care and nurture those relationships because in the end that is all that we take with us. Our love is what goes with us when we cross over to the next life. I love my family very much and I am grateful that I was so blessed with them all. Life if precious and it can not be taken for granted. We should all live each day like it's our last and make sure that those around us know how important they are and how much we care.

Thanks to my dad for my being my superhero and for being the amazing person he is.

He made me take a few pictures in the hospital even though I didn't want to, but here are a few of him recuperating and then one of my favorite's of me and him. Love my ma and pa :).
Not long after surgery and totally drugged.
A little more awake and look at that new knee!

On his birthday a few years back.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Jon Bon Jovi!

So today is the 50th birthday of my favorite celebrity Jon Bon Jovi. A lot of people always ask me why I like Jon so much and I thought today to honor his birthday I would give you 50 reasons on why I love him.

1. Well hello, have you looked at him. He is a hottie.
2. His voice soothes my soul and makes me feel better on a bad day.
3. He isn't a druggie like a lot of rockstars.
4. He is confident, but humble at the same time. He remembers his roots and the blue collar way he grew up even though he is a billionaire now.
5. He loves his wife and has said on more than one occasion that "he got it right the first time" despite the fact that she isn't a model. They have been married now for 20 plus years.
6. He loves his kids and protects them from the media.
7. He isn't afraid to get his hands dirty, literally. He is frequently found washing dishes at the charity restaurant that he has that helps feed the hungry and the homeless.
8. He does a lot of service and uses his fame and money to do good.
9. He reminds me of my teenage years.
10. I love his laugh.
11. He doesn't take himself too seriously.
12. He writes songs that bring people Hope.
13. He is a talented musician and songwriter.
14. I love his hair now and back in the 80's :)
15. He ages well unlike some 80's rockstars who look all tore up now.
16. Have you seen that body? A very fit 50 year old.
17. He recognizes talent and has helped many famous to get their start.
18. He never went to college, but used life as his university.
19. He works extremely hard.
20. He is a straight shooter and doesn't baffle you with the BS.
21. He doesn't air his dirty laundry in public.
22. Yes he does look good in leather pants.
23. He knows how to get the crowd excited at concerts. 
24. He sounds amazing live.
25. He has a great sense of humor.
26. He is loyal to his friends.
27. His smile is contagious.
28. He isn't perfect and I like that.
29. He is great at business.
30. He has always known what he wanted to do and who he wanted to be.
31. He involves his family in his jobs. His mom and brothers have both worked with him.
32. He tackles things without fear. Like acting.
33. He has beautiful blue eyes.
34. His songs are like poetry.
35. He loves sports.
36. He isn't afraid to try new things. Like country music
37. He causes my mother to want to fight drunks at his concert. (If you haven't heard the story, I will have to tell you sometime).
38. He is extremely patriotic. Both of his parents were Marines. He loves his country.
39. He is very honest about how he went through a depression for a time and music saved him. Music does the same for me.
40. His music knows no age and even young kids like my niece and nephew love jamming out to his music. Kendyl is adorable when she sings "You Give Love a Bad Name".
41. He is most proud of his family out of all his successes.
42. He has one of those voices that you can just recognize immediately.
43. He is on the White House Council for Community Solutions. He wants to improve our country.
44. Has been voted "sexiest rock star".
45. He is a musical genius.
46. He is alive and well. Despite rumors to the contrary a month or so ago.
47. He just makes me happy.
48. He is #1 on my bucket list and hope one day I get to meet him.
49. He doesn't mind friendly stalkers like myself.
50. He is an all around great guy!

Yes I seem a little creepy, but I promise I am not a creeper. I love him like a friendly fan would. I am not going to go breaking into his house or anything like that. Happy Birthday to him and I hope he has 50 more :).