Thursday, June 16, 2011

Looking Up

Life is a roller coaster. I am really learning what it means to look toward the light at the end of the tunnel. There are many things that are really good in my life currently though, and I thought I would put them down so I can remember to be thankful today.

It is baseball season, and Zane is thrilled. He loves being on a team, and baseball is his favorite sport to play. I love watching my kids play sports. Nyah is more interested in gymnastics, and I love seeing her enjoy that as well.

I have such great friends! I have so many people that call me, text me, facebook me, and invite me to hang out, and it feels so nice to have so many real connections. I have a few friends that even send me cards, and it makes my day every time (thanks Beth, Liz, and Andy!)

Now that the weather has warmed up the kids and I have been going hiking. Hiking is one of my very favorite things to do. I get a good work out while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the hills, mountains, and valleys around me. The kids and I love to run up the steep parts and see how fast we can reach the top!

So many people are still looking for jobs or are unhappy in their positions, but I have a FANTASTIC job that I love. Working for the Marine Corps is such a blessing. I have been able to meet so many amazing people, and I feel like I am doing something to help college kids and grads. So many grads are struggling to find good jobs, and I get to be a little part of helping some of them start a career in the military.

Okay, so that is enough. I am feeling good and I am excited for what new things I will experience in the near future. Being happy isn't always about things being perfect. It is about looking for the silver lining, and continuing to strive to put yourself and others around you in a better situation. Lesson learned.

Friday, May 13, 2011

In the Eye of the Storm

This has turned out to be a difficult beginning for 2011. My life has been very stormy, with lightning bolts striking in every direction. Some of it was caused by me, some of it was out of my control. A good friend reminded me recently that I need to be able to let go of what I can't control, have the strength to change what I can control, and the wisdom to know the difference... or something along those lines. Either which way you might say it, that is exactly what I need to do. I know that I can't make other people change. I know I can't change the past. But I can decide how I let other people's decisions affect me, and I can decide to be strong enough to make better decisions in the future. It can be so hard to face the reality of my imperfections, or of my distorted thinking, but I must be willing to see what is in the mirror if I am truly going to make a change.

My father passed away on April 5, 2011. I was told by a police officer on April 6. It was completely devastating at that moment. I felt as if the wind had been completely knocked out of me and that I would collapse under the pressure of the enormous boulder that had just crushed my entire body. I have never felt so helpless, so completely alone as I did in that very moment. I knew that my father had taken his life, and in that realization I felt conflicted in being completely rejected while also being devastated at the amazing anguish he must have felt to commit such a permanent and devastating act. I have gone through a whirlwind of emotion in this past month, but I have been lifted by God, carried by the forgiveness and compassion of the Savior. I am getting through this, and I will be alright. I just need to make it through this storm so I will find the joy of the Summer days that lie ahead for me.

Many wonderful and loving friends and family members have been instruments in the hands of God. He has answered many of my prayers through them, and I will be eternally grateful that they listened to his promptings to be there for me, to love me unconditionally through the most difficult time in my life. There are many other very difficult situations that have been complicating my life lately, and some of them have been completely heart wrenching, but I know that I will figure this all out, and that through prayer, strength, patience, and diligence I will come out more whole in the end.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Walk MS 2011

I just signed the Hoppers up for WALK MS 2011 for our fourth year, and I am excited to get things going. Each of the three previous years have been such great experiences, and I am really looking forward to participating with the team again. There have been such amazing things that have happened with this team, and I thought it would be nice to share a few here.

In April 2008 the Hoppers were born. I had just been diagnosed with MS, and I found out that Walk MS was just around the corner. I was pretty scared when I was first diagnosed, and I had been through quite a bit the month or two leading up to it, not to mention the previous 2 or 3 years before, and I wanted to do something, anything to make me feel like I wasn't just sitting around feeling sorry for myself. So, I talked to my sister-in-law Jenny, and we came up with the team name and signed up. I really wanted to be involved as much as I could, so I got to work designing t-shirts and sending out emails inviting friends and family to join the team and/or donate in the team's name. I was overwhelmed with the positive response, and we ended up raising two or three (I can't quite remember) thousand dollars in a matter of weeks. Many of my friends and family signed up and came to walk with us, even on such short notice. As we were walking around the first corner during the walk, tears welled up in my eyes as I realized thousands of people were downtown Salt Lake supporting someone with MS, and were trying to make a difference for someone they loved. Needless to say, I was glad I was wearing sunglasses so nobody would notice my tears.

Hoppers 2008

In gearing up for 2009, some of the team decided to do a garage/bake sale to help raise money. Many members of the team and their friends donated items for the sale, and many people baked fresh breads, cookies, cakes, pies, etc to support the cause.That event raised about $450 for the walk, and it was a great thing to be a part of. Later in the year another team member baked and sold doggie treats to raise money for the team. It was fun to see how many dog lovers were happy to help the cause ;-)

Hoppers 2009

2010 touched my heart even more than I could imagine. The Hoppers is made up of people of all ages, and we love to have kids participate with us. In the past the kids would participate just by walking with us, but that year three of the kids on the team (none of which were mine) decided they wanted to have a bake sale to raise money for the walk. They made several different kinds of treats and beverages and sold them out by the park in their neighborhood on a busy Saturday afternoon. They made signs and everything, and I believe they sold every last treat they made. I could hardly believe that little kids cared enough to do all that work and spend a large portion of their Saturday to raise money for the cause.
There is a second story about last year that both surprised and humbled me. One day during the time that I was raising money online I came home to find $500 had been donated through my web page by an anonymous person. Generally I can't tell who made a donation when they mark it anonymous, but somehow I could see their email address on the list of donors. I don't know that person, I have never even heard that name before! Who would donate five hundred dollars using the web page of someone they do not know? I sent that person a thank you email, but since they obviously wanted to remain anonymous, I didn't hear back. Maybe I shouldn't have even sent the email, but I wanted that person to know how grateful I was, and how their donation had brought joy to my experience.
I will never forget either of those stories, and it still warms my heart to think of them giving so much.

Hoppers 2010

Every year has been fun, and I want to throw the invitation out to anyone who is interested in joining our team or donating to the cause. I know that many people have causes they volunteer with and/or donate to on a regular basis, and I also realize you can't be involved in everything... but if you are looking for a way to volunteer your time and energy to a good cause and want to have some fun while doing it, please sign up to join the Hoppers for Walk MS 2011. Follow the link below to either donate, or sign up, and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Making My Resolutions

I love making resolutions each New Year. I usually make between 1 and 5 resolutions, and each year I do well on 1 or 2, and drop the ball on 1 or 2. I have a particular resolution that I have made several years in a row now, and even though I have not been perfect with it yet, I have done better and better each year. Last year I did pretty darn well with it, so I think this is the year I kill it!

Resolutions are funny because we really should make them as life happens, as we realize we need to make a particular change. I think we do this occasionally, when something smacks us across the face and makes itself so obvious that we have no choice but to make a change. But at least for me, I make most of my serious assessments for change each new year. Maybe one of my resolutions this year should be to assess my life and tweak my resolutions on a monthly basis or something. Hmmm... I guess I will have to think about that a bit more.

Some of my resolutions are extremely personal, so I don't share them with others. But there are a few that I have had in the past that I don't mind publishing. Here they are:

Lose weight

Exercise on a regular basis

Read scripture every day

Run a half marathon

Write in a journal daily

Pay an full tithe each and every paycheck

Verbalize my appreciation each day

I am grateful for the tradition of New Year's Resolutions because I have become a better, healthier, more well rounded person by participating in it. I have enjoyed making exercise part of my daily routine in the past 3 years, and I have found it personally rewarding to verbalize my appreciation daily. I am going to ponder the needs and desires I have for the coming year to maximize the potential outcome of the resolutions I make for 2011. I haven't decided what will make the list this year quite yet, but I am sure I will have it together in the next day or so.

I am excited to hear if any of my friends that read this blog (meaning YOU!) make New Year's Resolutions, and what some of your resolutions have been in the past. Bring on the ideas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Music

I love Christmastime. I love the movies, the lights, the religious aspect, and the music. I asked each member of my family which Christmas songs they wanted on the blog this year. Nyah chose "Silver Bells" (she learned that song in preschool), Zane wanted something from David Archuleta, I wanted "Little Drummer Girl" by Alicia Keys, and Jeff wanted "Blue Christmas" by Porky Pig... yes, his favorite Christmas song is sung by Porky Pig. I have to laugh, it totally fits his personality. I added a few from Josh Groban because I love his Christmas album Noel, and Jeff wanted me to add "Stop Giving Me Crap For Christmas"... again, so him. Ha! I am sure that nobody really visits my blog anymore (who has the time, really), but I like to bring it up every now and then for the play list. The kids love to dance around the room when I put it on, so it is worth keeping up even if it is just for us.

Tonight I made baked potato soup for the first time. It was delish! I really need to get into finding new recipes and making new things for the family each week. I am so glad I did today because I found a new favorite. It had tons of flavor and was the kind of comfort food I was looking for today.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Trip to Cali

Jeff and I decided to take the kids to Knott's Berry Farm this year for Thanksgiving break because that was the only time we had this whole year to go anywhere. Both Jeff and I used to visit Knott's when we were little, and it was fun to go back as adults and take our kids. The week before Thanksgiving the kids and I stayed at my mom's house and visited with family and friends. It was so good to see Andy, Sylvia, Shannon, Connie, Amy, and many other friends while we were there. Unfortunately we missed several that we absolutely adore and miss like the Gublers and the Skylers. I have lots of pictures from that trip, but since I only ever have a few precious moments to post anything on this blog, I am only putting up a few.

Zane, Ny, and Grandma Deb on the Teacups

Jeff and Ny on some train ride

My awesome little bro RJ and me at my mom's

Zane, Me, Ny, Grandma Deb, and our life long friend Andy

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Half Marathon, MC Ball, and Ya-Ya!

I am sure that since I almost never update this nobody reads it anymore, which is totally fine. I have gone to some of my friends blogs lately and seen that they don't have time to update theirs either. I guess I just feel compelled to keep posting things every now and then for myself. This is kind of a journal of the events in my life, and I think that keeping up even now and then is good for me to do. So, here's a bit about my life recently...

I ran and finished the Halloween Half Marathon. I am super proud of it even though my time wasn't great. Honestly, who cares about my time, right? It's that I finished it. 2 hours and 15 minutes. I had 2 new years resolutions this year, and one of them was to run a half marathon. Thanks Captain Davis, Raquel, and Captain Turley for helping me make that resolution come to fruition. Since it was a HALLOWEEN half, I had to dress up even if it was just a little. Here is a picture of me and one of the Marine Corps Officer Candidates before the race.

This past Friday I had the privilege of attending the Marine Corps Birthday Ball. I have to say that it was completely AMAZING. I have always been patriotic, and I have always loved and felt supportive of our troops, but this really helped bring it even closer to my heart. There are pictures of Jeff and I together at the ball, but they weren't taken with my camera so I can't post them yet. All I have from that night is this...

One last little update... Raquel and I took Nyah to a Ya-Ya Sisterhood party at Thanksgiving Point. It was so fun to be around a bunch of crazy women (like me!), and my favorite part was burning our woes. Ha! That is something I could get into on a regular basis. We got a few cute pictures of the three of us all dressed up that I think are worth posting.