Sunday, December 12, 2010

MY BOOK OF EXCUSES FOR NOT BEING A BETTER BLOGGER

I don't typically use this site to truly log in like a diary... but I have not exactly been keeping up on my journal either.

I committed to myself that all that was captured here would be the embers.. and all ashes would be left behind. I hope today's entry does not stray from that commitment too much.

Let me just take a moment to say... I hope to get back to blogging soon. My goal was one year. I did well... for quite a while... but I have been bad about it lately. Perhaps I need to update my goal to be 365 posts.

I don't mean to make excuses for my lack of writing... but I know my fellow widows will understand that sometimes life just hits you from all directions. I wish I could offer some consoling words that eventually it stops. I will say I am better equipped, emotionally and otherwise, to handle the storms... but the storms continue to rage.

In the last six months my oldest moved back home after a hiatus of living with his uncle and their family. He has on multiple occasions tested the boundaries, I am certain as a way of questioning if he will be 'sent away' again. He continually comments that life was better there. I know he loved his time there - but I think the comments are just a way for him to test and see if I am going to send him back. He is looking for reaction. His grades are not good. I made the decision to hire a tutor to come in every day. Financially it put a pinch on things - but the stress it has removed from me is huge. He has been vocal about his feelings / or lack of feelings regarding the existence of God. I treaded lightly on those waters, as for any who read here regularly know that my faith in God is unwavering. I credit Him for getting me here today. sane (or at least pretty close to it). I have felt his watchful eye and caring hand for me and my family. There is a part of me that would react with anger at the mere mention that God does not exist. For - how could my son be so ungrateful. We have so much. God has truly compensated in our lives for the loss of my husband. I bit my tongue... spent many hours on multiple occasions listening and did a lot of praying to know when to stop biting my tongue (it was starting to hurt) and when to open my mouth and what to say when I did. Currently we are taking a hiatus from his life of "atheism". He commented to me the other day that things are better at home. We are all getting along better. I could tell you the moment it changed. And perhaps I will someday. For now, I will just say that my Father in Heaven truly loves me. He is there for me and answers my prayers in time. I was given the strength to endure and the words to say when needed. I don't believe that battle is over - but it has quited for now. His behavior in church was such that he was "eliminated" from his Sunday School class. I feel badly for the poor Bishopric member who showed up at my house and had to witness my tears and pleading that SOMEONE would help me in my efforts of single parenting. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is perfect in its organization. As 'men' we are not always perfect in carrying it out. I 'should' have resources available to me... a home teacher.. a Young Men's president, something. I felt alone. I am tired of trying to do it alone. This poor man had to sit and endure my tears and pleadings for help. After he left I got a hold of myself and stopped feeling sorry for myself and realized that my oldest may not have 'local' support like I wish he did - but because of my calling at church he has the attention and interest of the Stake YM President and his councilors.. they seek him out.. they call him at home. They challenge him to complete things and to stretch himself. They have a relationship with him. We are not without anyone... God fills in where needed.

My calling at church has taken some time for me to begin to settle in to. I still feel very inadequate and out of my element... but I am starting to 'settle' and 'catch up' on all that needs to be done.

I have been given a date for my last day at work. Up and down... up and down...they have finally eliminated my position. This is not a surprise. I saw it coming for a long time. They have taken care of me on my departure... another blessing from above. I suppose I should be concerned... single mother and all... but even my kids are looking forward to it. My friend's eight-year old son asked me what I was going to do. I told him I am going to just be a mom for awhile. I miss that.

All this and more has encompassed the last few months of my life. The addition to it all is I am dating someone who is wonderful. Finding the time to dedicate to fostering that relationship is near impossible.. but as with everything in single parenthood it becomes a game of prioritization. Less gets done around the house in exchange for time with someone great. But - alas I am and always have been a bit of a 'freak show'. So, while the entrance of this person is wonderful... there are a slew of emotions to cope with along the way. Perhaps I will touch more on that another day.... I could say a lot about that.

My good girlfriend is undergoing chemo for breast cancer. She just started a week or two ago. My husband's cousin was just diagnosed with breast cancer. My friend from work is working on recovering from non-hodgkin's lymphoma, and a friend from my b.w. life (that is Before Widowhood) is battling cancer with her young son. I am looking forward to some time of not working.. perhaps will give me a chance to give back to everyone that has given to me.

I'd say enough whining!! On to blogging!!! But - really I hope you read this with the right tone. I am not whining. I still testify that my Father in Heaven loves and cares for me. He knows me. And He must see potential for more growth in me... cause the storms still rage. I am glad He has confidence in me! :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

My kids have developed a few bad habits over the past six years. One of which is, they feel as though they are - to a degree - equal to me. Now, I believe these precious little children are spirit children of a Heavenly Father and I have been blessed to be able to be a steward over them for a time - to help them develop and grow and be all they are capable of being. But, in their minds - what's fair is fair. So, when I chastise them for something - they retort by listing all my faults. They seem to believe that I think I am perfect. They don't realize I can list my faults better than any of them. I had enough of it a couple nights ago, as on occasion when one starts - they all start and it turns into one big Bash on Mom Fest. I was sick of it. I stood up - told them to cut it out and reminded them that I am trying. I have the responsibility of Mom and Dad and it leaves me unable to do either perfectly, in fact I am very far from perfect - but I am trying. They complained that I am never home after school. I pointed out the obvious that I have to work... so they can eat, and have a house to live in, etc. A great big life insurance policy would have been nice - but was not the lot in life I have been given.

There was a short time a year after Chris had passed that I was on the brink of insanity. I couldn't handle all that was going on with my job and my kids and maintain any sense of normalcy in life in general... in fact I don't think I could have maintained any sense of abnormal either. I had been able to put some money away and I quit my job and went back to school for a semester. My classes were all during the days and I was always able to be home when the kids got home from school. It was wonderful. I baked them cookies everyday for when they got home.

In retrospect, my hiatus didn't afford me a leap in terms of sanity. When I went back to work at a new job five months later I was still struggling to keep my head above water. I guess the only thing it did for me was make me realize that life was crazy. Working was necessary. And not working for a spell didn't help me 'gain control' in the long run. Now, not working at all... well... that would be nice. Being able to bake fresh chocolate chip cookies everyday would be nice. Being able to have my kids tell me about their day over cookies and milk would be nice. But being able to pay my bills is nicer.

Friday, November 26, 2010

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

It was an interesting Thanksgiving this year. I was very pensive and reflective. I was very much longing for "home". Longing for time with my sisters and parents (you too baby bro - but you are far far away). I spent a lot of my day thinking how things have changed over the past six years.

My mother-in-law used to live in town and holidays were always spent with her. She moved about a year after Chris' passing. Since then I have had an assortment of different ways to spend my holidays. I have had some with just me and the kids, one with my family, and others with friends.

I spent time wondering what I wanted. How did I want to spend my holidays - and wondering what the future would bring in terms of traditions. Would my kids feel as though we had any - or was the change so constant they won't be able to identify any traditions? Every year has been different. I may think I am going to start a tradition, but it only lasts a year or two. Is it time to settle in and create some substance? Some traditions? I think it is.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

REALLY?

I just had a weekend to myself. Kinda. Well, more to myself than I have had in my entire life I believe. It was weird... but so nice. I had so many thoughts and so much to blog... but my lack of internet access was a bit of a hold up. It was a milestone trip for me in more ways than one... stay tuned.. I'll share.

I returned home and it was great to see my kids. I get so used to them being around, I didn't know what to do with myself solo!! My daughter informed me that I needed to get water. Oops... I never did that. I had gotten a couple jugs - but they didn't last while I was gone. I immediately inquired how Kyle was. She informed me that she had refilled one of the jugs with tap water - and so Kyle didn't know. Brilliant. I gave her a high five for that quick thinking.

Unfortunately, I didn't think to check and see if we still had a bottle filled. We didn't. Kyle didn't eat breakfast this morning. He sat playing with his oatmeal stating it was too hard to eat when he was so thirsty! really? Dude!!! Drink the tap water! It is OK!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

INVINCIBLE SUMMER

Sometimes when you need a good thought for the day, may I suggest you pull out the chocolate? There are so many reasons for pulling out the chocolate - such as the advantage of increasing your serotonin levels.

But, sometimes you need the mental wellness that comes with it. It may take several attempts to find the perfect thought... just keep eating until you open the perfect one. I like this thought for today:

In life's winter, find your invincible summer.-Linda, New York, NY (Dove Chocolate)

Friday, November 5, 2010

FIGHTING

Often I feel like I am fighting to be able to keep fighting. That probably doesn’t even make sense… but there seems to be this fine line between letting go (with the kids) in a responsible and controlled way.. and letting go because I don’t have the energy to do it any longer.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I HAVE CREATED A MONSTER

I have written before about my 'changes' that I made after Chris' death. My youngest was five when all these changes took place. They have become normal and necessary parts of his life. Culligan water is a staple. He panics when we run out. We are out right now, and hopefully I will remember over lunch hour tomorrow to stop and pick some up. My son is very thirsty tonight. I have seen him in the kitchen repeatedly looking for water. No matter how many times he looks... we still only have the water that comes out of the faucet. It is past bedtime. I am actually finding a few minutes to relax this evening. I heard him in the kitchen grumbling about how thirsty he is but that there is no water. I assured him that he could drink the water from the faucet... he will be OK. A couple minutes later I heard the microwave running and heard him getting ice. I asked what he was up to and he revealed that he had a great plan! He was heating the water in the microwave to kill all the germs. Then he would put it on ice (I didn't have the heart to tell him the ice is made from water from the faucet). He even was planning to do some extra so he could have water in the morning! I commended him for his fantastic plan. He quietly asked that I would please get water tomorrow so he had something to drink. I'll try. I promise I'll try. In the meantime, thankfully he has some ingenuity.

Friday, October 29, 2010

SHAGGY

2009... a blind mouse
Like I never used dressed up for Halloween as an adult. But, like this is my like third year. Like, why the change? Like, I don't know. Like, perhaps it is just like finding new ways to have fun.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

IF I WERE TO BE ARRESTED...

If I were to be arrested, what would happen to my kids? Who would take care of them? This is just one of many questions you have as a widow. Where there is no back-up (spouse or ex-spouse) around to help out… what happens, especially when I don’t even live close to my family.

I am sure the ‘right’ answer here is that I should not get arrested, so I should not have to worry about it… but sometimes… that is not as easy as it sounds.

About three years before Chris passed I was driving along a highway in a small neighboring town. I was driving very slowly looking for a particular house number. After driving up and down through the town a couple of times, I ended up with a police officer behind me. I was certain he was going to ticket me for my slow speeds. Imagine my surprise when he instead accused me of being over the speed by ten miles / hr. Was he kidding? He had to have the wrong white van. But – none the less a ticket was written. After getting the ticket I happened to find the house I was looking for, finished my business and headed home. I told Chris about the ticket when I got back home. He guessed accurately that the person who wrote my ticket would be the brother to the husband of the lady whose house I was just at (did you follow that?). When I discovered he was right – I was sure to mention the ticket next time I saw my friend. She said she would talk to her brother-in-law regarding the ticket. I was told to re-schedule my court date. I requested the re-schedule and waited. I heard nothing. I waited. Nothing. I called and asked if a new date had been set. They told me it would be coming in the mail. Nothing. I called again. They told me the same thing. Nothing. I finally gave up. I don’t know how these things work… so I assumed my friend’s brother-in-law had seen the error of his ways and dropped the ticket.

Fast forward three years. My husband has passed. I received a letter in the mail stating that my license will be suspended in 30 days due to failure to appear in court. That is it. No info on how to contact the court, appear in court. Nothing! I call the court office. I leave a message. No one returns my call. I call again and again. No response. I call the town’s ‘emergency’ number. I leave a message. Finally, I get a call back. Court is on Thursday. I ask where. They give me an address. I show up at the address on the day at the time I was told. No one is there. My cell phone is dying. I start making phone calls to any person I know that knows anything about the town I am in, hoping someone can help. I finally reach someone who is able to tell me I am in the wrong location. They have built a newer building outside of town. I arrive before court is over and I am the last one called up.

The judge has no mercy. He doesn’t care about my story. If I want my case to be heard, I will need to reschedule. If I reschedule I will have my license suspended in the meantime and with that comes not only the loss of a legal right to drive (hello… single mom with kids here), but I will have to pay additional fines to get it reinstated. With all the frustration of the situation, I inquired if he could tell me what happened three years prior that caused me to not be notified of when my court date was. He looked at the paperwork he had and said it appeared the notice was returned. I asked what address it was mailed to. He told me. Their clerk had sent it to the CORRECT street address in the WRONG town. Well, it seems the judge’s wife is the clerk and he didn’t want to hear anything about her being wrong. And since the cop that issued the ticket was his buddy… a buddy that would never issue a ticket unless it was deserved, I was out of luck. I pulled out a check book and asked how much he would like to take from the widow and the fatherless. I wrote the check. He gave me a receipt. I left.

Fast forward three weeks later. I am driving to see Chris’ cousin. I am on a road I have never been on before. It is a country road by appearance, no lines on the road – just trees around. I am driving about 50mph. I look in my rear view mirror… a cop. I pull over. He informs me the speed limit is 40mph. He goes to issue me a ticket, only to discover that my license has been suspended. They are taking me in! I have the three kids in the car with me. He doesn’t care what my story is either. He calls for back-up so they can tow my vehicle. I plead with him to call the judge. I paid the fine, and I am certain I made a big enough scene that the judge will remember me. I should not have my license suspended (unless a certain clerk is again unable to perform the duties of HER JOB!!). I frantically search my purse for the receipt the judge handed me. I can’t find it. I am overwhelmed with emotion. Fear. Frustration. Anger. The cop requests us to get in the back of his vehicle. The kids are crying. My youngest who is playing his Nintendo DS asks through his sobs if he can take it with him. I tell him of course. Take everything you want out of the car with you. The kids start walking towards the police car while I am one by one helping them gather their stuff. I glance behind me to see my youngest sobbing and staggering with tears down the middle of the road. I chastise the ‘arresting officer’ that the least he can do, if he is going to take me in, is assist so that my son doesn’t get hit by a car in the process. He jumped in to help. We squeeze into the back of the car. They kids comment that there are not seat belts. I comment loud enough for the cop to hear that they aren’t concerned about us or our safety. OBVIOUSLY. We sit in the back of the car waiting for back-up to arrive so they can stay with my vehicle until it is towed (ain’t that nice of ‘em). My mind is spinning, wondering what I am supposed to do. I say a prayer. I search my purse one more time. I had it. I knew I had it. I never clean out my purse. The receipt HAD to be in there. It was!! I found it!! It was probably the tenth time I looked – but I found it!!! I started screaming for joy. I believe the officer was relieved as well. We were released. I left with just a speeding ticket, a very strong distaste for ‘justice’, and a realization that getting arrested is not easy when you are a single mom!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

FURNITURE

Don't feel badly about not sending my gift yet... I am sure you didn't realize that today would be my 17th wedding anniversary and the tradtional gift for 17 years of marriage is furniture. If you are still shopping, I'd like a sectional for my family room.

17 years. When I think of 17 years I think that in four years I will reach the center point. The day when I will have been married to him for as long as he has been gone.

Happy Anniversary. It is a happy day.

Friday, October 22, 2010

REFLECTIONS.... QUESTIONS...

It is late.

Autumn is in the air tonight. I celebrated with a fire in the fire place. I find peace in this spot. Sitting in front of the last few embers and hearing the crackling. The embers remind me of my promise. I want to look forward with faith. I want to take the embers and leave the ashes.

My emotions are strong this evening. Reflection of almost six years. My decisions and the consequences of them. Was I wrong? Was I selfish? Have I made decisions that have harmed my children? What could I have done better? Why have I not been stronger? Wiser?

Six years is a long time. Have I respected that time by making the most out of it?

I am not who I would have been. My children are not who they would have been. Perhaps there is a purpose in that? Were we meant to be the people we have now become or the people we were on the path to becoming before?

My boys do not know the things their father knew. They want to. I see in them that internal desire to have his knowledge and wisdom. To be a source of help to others, to be able to fix one of the hundred things that have and do go wrong around the house. But, who is there to teach them? So, days and years pass.... many of those broken things go un-repaired. That is not the kind of home we once had. I see their yearning for yesterdays now gone.

Which part is mine? Which part is God's? I spend so much of my life surviving... sometimes I feel as though my kids have lost their father and their mother.

I reflect on years of wanting the insanity to stop. Wanting to just breathe. Those moments came (as moments only) - but life still has a void. A void that was not filled when the insanity stopped. I wanted to be still - but by being still, did my children miss out on learning and opportunities for a full life?

We live life 'my' way now. I miss the life that was 'our' way. But, I have strove to make the present a good place to be. I stretch myself physically and financially sometimes to give my kids other things. Things they may never have experienced in 'our' life... buy in 'my' life they exist. Perhaps it is my way of attempting to compensate... to fill their lives to cover the void. I don't think that is all a bad thing, is it? It is not like the void was going to go away... why not fill it with new adventures?

What will my final reflection be? Have I chosen wisely?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

SPRUCE UP

I have mentioned before that when life isn't fun, ya have to have fun accessories. Perhaps life has been fun, or I have been too busy to think about it - 'cause I haven't bought any new accessories. But, my friends did convince me that I needed to pay attention to my look and freshen it up some. So - that was my evening... color, trim, and eyebrows. I am certain it was worth the $100 (or so I keep telling myself). But really... it took WAY too long. How am I supposed to keep this up? How am I supposed to have the time for such indulgences?

Before

Pick a color... hmmmmm..


getting started

In process

Eyebrows too!


Ta-Da!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

IF I KNEW...

“If I knew at the beginning of my relationship with my husband that I would be widowed at such a young age I would change only one thing. I would have kissed him twice as much.

The heartache of the end will never replace the joy that was the journey.

Now it is time to take a new journey instead of being afraid of the end. “
-My friend J

Saturday, October 16, 2010

WHAT ELSE TO MARRY...

Don't take yesterday's post to be too sappy... like I want to marry someone just like Guy #2. That is not true. Because there are other things of importance.

I have been assisting in conducting a training at work the last few weeks and one of the things we discuss is goals and the impact of declaring your goals. It makes us more accountable. So, I will continue the thoughts of yesterday... with thoughts and internal commitments I have made to myself.

Marry someone who makes you laugh like Guy #1 and someone spiritual like Guy #3. Marry someone like Chris who wholly supports your standards and sees who you are.

So, with the list I have created... and the specifics I want to see... Does it surprise anyone that I have not re-married?

Friday, October 15, 2010

WHAT TO MARRY...

Over the past several years I have had thoughts on what type of man I should marry if I were to re-marry. This particular thought I wrote in my journal exactly one year ago today. I capture it here, to make myself accountable for abiding by it.

"Marry someone who is as honest with you as "Guy #2" was and that embraces honesty in return. Someone who looks in my eyes with the softness that he did. Someone who is just fun... like he was."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

REAL

To my fellow widows:

Your trial is real. So are the blessings.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

TIME, TIME, TIME

Is it possible that I would ever NOT be a single parent again... during the years the hands-on daily parenting exists?

Don't read that line as if I write it with some sort of longing or loneliness. That is not the case. I am honestly just curious. Because in order to re-marry... I would have to date. And I have learned that dating takes TIME, something a single parent has very little of. And beyond dating, if one were to look to build a relationship that could lead to marriage... well that takes even more TIME. What single parent has TIME? And when you have time, is dating the way you want to spend it? There is so much to do in such a little amount of time.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

RETURNING TO FAITH AND FORGIVENESS

It has been time to re-group. How often do I need to do this? Could someone review the data on my blog and try to determine if I end up here on a regular cycle? I really have felt everything crashing down on me in the last couple weeks. Crabby kids, realization that the kids need much more than what I am able to give them in terms of time and assistance with homework, bad habits returning, worrying about my job, big bills coming in… I think I get a little weaker with every bit that comes my way.. and sometimes I feel that my children see my weakness and attack. I know it is not true – but I don’t know why they need to act-out when I am feeling tremendous weight on me. It just drills me into the ground even more.

I really would like to see a study done on children of single-moms. I think there tends to be some common attributes that many of them develop. Not all… ‘cause I see moms whose kids don’t act that way – but others I see a very common theme. Why? What is it, psychologically, that causes them to essentially turn on the very one who is sacrificing everything for them? It is a safety thing? Do they have their own hurt and anger that they need to work through, and mom is that safe person they can take it out on, who will still love them when they are done? I really don’t know… but I do know it can be exhausting.

We have made strides here… the kids behavior does not fit this profile as often as it once did. In fact, we visit this place so much less often, I forgot how incredibly draining it can be.

As I prayed and pondered over the many needs I felt I needed this past week… I started to see answers come… one by one. I felt myself sinking… and I felt God giving me a hand, pulling me back. A friend took my kids on Sunday afternoon, giving me a much needed mental break. My job has been extended, another friend has offered to come in everyday to do homework with the kids before I get home from work… I see the hand of God in my life. I chastise myself for those times of ‘sinking’ as I feel it represents a lack of faith. I know God lives and loves me. I know He watches over my every need, and that although I am tested, my needs are always met. So, I just ask Him for forgiveness for allowing myself to sink. And He does... He will forgive me, just like I forgive my children.

Monday, October 11, 2010

GOTTA DO IT

One thing I have learned in the past five years is that the old adage “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” is true. So, I need to take care of me. So much easier said than done... especially ‘cause I am a needy person. I have through trial and error determined the “must haves” in life. And on and off I do pretty well at making sure I am getting what I need… I don’t know why I DON’T… but sometimes I don’t.. and that is not a pretty thing.

This is what I have learned…
1.Exercise daily
2.Get enough sleep
3.Eat healthy food (and a little chocolate too)
4.Take time weekly for just me (get out and don’t watch the clock)
5.Go to the temple monthly
6.Read my scriptures and say my prayers daily… spend some time pondering.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

YES, I AM BETTER

Parent Teacher Conference was tonight. The news... sadly, was not so different than what past years has been. It is usually a very draining evening that has me in tears by the end - because I feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to make things better.

As I was headed out this evening, I stopped by the Guidance Counselor's office to discuss an issue. He is very familiar with my situation, as he has changed positions in the school and as a result has been the guidance counselor to one of my kids for about four years. He is very familiar with the oldest and all the history that goes with it. He asked how my evening was, to which I reminded him that I had just finished parent-teacher conference... and the news... was much like news I would have received a couple years ago. I thought we were going to be past this. BUT, I am NOT crying! The Counselor smiled, and acknowledged that at the very least I was handling it all better.

The child may not be better, but I am better.

And, on a positive note... said Counselor has offered the kill the kid for me~! (darn, there we go again with that killing kids thing that is going to get me in trouble!)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

DEFINE GET SOME EXERCISE?

This is what I fondly refer to as "Conference Weekend". It actually kicked off last weekend with a Broadcast from Salt Lake for the women - and wrapped up today after eight hours this weekend of being able to hear from the Prophet and Apostles. I enjoy it - but it can also be a challenge to keep the children engaged. In between the last two sessions of conference today - the kids were crowded around the laptop watching videos of babies laughing. I cringed, because I thought this was the worst way to spend their time - when they would be sitting for another two hours after just a little longer. I sent them outside. Told them to run around the block and get some exercise. I picked up my video camera this afternoon to show my friend something on it... and found this. I guess they didn't go around the block. And sadly, I was even HOME when this took place.
video

Friday, October 1, 2010

WANTED: ONE PERFECT FOR ME JOB

The company I work for has been sold. Due to the nature of my position (I assist the owner, who as a result of the sale, is no longer the owner), I need to find a new job.

I don't know how long I have left where I am, but I have been urged to start looking for a job.

So, how do I get a job doing something I have no work experience in? And where might I find a job?

I have done sales... but I don't like sales when I HAVE to hit my quota or else. Too much pressure.

I have been an Executive Assistant... I am sooo bored.

So, this is what I need. I would like to do training. One of two kinds would be my preferred. I would like to be a trainer for sales OR an employee development trainer.

The other option is for me to be the next Rachel Ray. I don't cook - but I would like to launch a little empire like she has. I love being on TV. It makes me happy. I would promise to entertain you all! I think you would like me. What should my show be on? And then HOW DO YOU DO THAT? How do you get THAT kind of job? Alright - I have posted the question for the world to see. I will be awaiting the response. It's time. I need a new job. Can I get a fun and fulfilling one this time?

On "P.S. I Love You", she had the job of her dreams within a year of her husband's death. I am coming up on six years. It's time. Who can help?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

AM I IN DENIAL?

I came in to work today to an e-mail from my oldest's guidance counselor. They are switching him out of the math class they put him in and putting him in a different one, as he is not keeping up.

I came home from work today to an e-mail from Christopher's computer teacher. He is falling behind in his work.

We aren't repeating history are we?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

CALL TO ACTION

This post is designed for all of you who are NOT widows.

Check your life insurance. OK. Number 1. GET life insurance. I have shared before that I didn't have much in terms of life insurance that covered my husband getting sick and dying. But, even what I thought I had - I didn't get it all. So, that is today's message: CHECK your insurance.

Let me briefly explain. I was working full-time at the time of Chris' death. As one of the benefits at my work, I was entitled to a $10,000 insurance policy should my husband die. Well, he DID die... but then my HR department (which was in a state far far away)informed me that there was an error in my paperwork that I had filled out upon my hire at the company - and therefore, my husband was NOT insured.

How crazy... a little goof, that had I not goofed, I could have the money to put a new roof on my house.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

KILL THE KID OR KISS THE KID?

I know kill sounds harsh. I am not sure where that phrase came from - but I can say it just fine. Writing it... now I feel like a bad person for even thinking I am going to kill my child (not that I actually thought that - just thought / said the phrase). Well, except for the time that my husband and I considered the advantages and disadvantages to killing our seven year old before he reached an age of accountability. We thought we could sacrifice our salvation for his... you know. It was not looking good when he was seven, what would the rest of his life bring?

In all seriousness, now having written that, I feel as if it could be used against me in some court of law. Like some freak accident will happen, and the words of my blog saying I thought about killing my child will be spread all over national TV. So, let me just clarify... there is not a piece of me that would hurt my child in any way... but sometimes... oh sometimes, I just don't know what to do with these kids.

My youngest is the culprit lately. Crabby, crabby, crabby. And I can not figure out why. Possible reasons:

1. His dad's birthday - makes us all a little on edge
2. He is tired because he is up listening to his ipod into the night instead of sleeping.
3. School has been in for a few weeks now, and he is still adjusting to the early mornings.
4. Football season is getting old and starting to wear on him.
5. He is right, I am the worst mother ever.
6. I am dating someone... (I will fill you all in one of these days) and for the first time in years, he is having to share me like never before
7. He is getting closer to those teenage years, and is turning ornery early
8. He is spoiled rotten

So, depending which of these reasons are correct, should determine my response. Does he need hugs and kisses and time with mom? Or, does he need some quiet time in his bedroom and doing extra chores?

Sometimes, I get sick of being the only parent and having to figure this out on my own.

Monday, September 27, 2010

BIRTHDAYS ARE MEANT TO BE CELEBRATED

Today would have been Chris' 45th birthday. Six years ago his birthday was celebrated with a Barium drink and lots of scans. We have continuted to celebrate his birthday every year. I feel like we need to. It is consistently a more emotional day for me. Years pass, but I still feel it inside. It does lessen, but it is still there.

This year, we are in the full swing of life. Kids have places to be and our evenings are pretty packed.

I called the pizza place and ordered the pizza from Chris' favoite place, with Chris' favorite wings. I can't remember the last time I ordered from there. Who knew so many memories could exist in a slice of pizza. I had hoped we would also make it to our favorite (and Chris' favorite) ice cream shop, but time just did not allow.

But, we (or perhaps it was just I) sang happy birthday and celebrated, in our rushed way, his life. We miss him. But life has continued. We are blessed. We will go on.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

SOMEONE IS GOING TO H***

Can you believe I made that my title? It is harsh, isn't it? And, it probably isn't even true... But SOMEONE... SOMEONE is going to realize what they did someday and pay the price of the sorrow they caused.

Chris loved trees. I am not sure why he had such a proclivity for the green things, but he did. He used to buy baby trees every spring and plant them. When I was mowing the lawn, in my careless ways, I would occasionally run over one. Sometimes I would analyze the scene and consider if I should take out a couple more - and then perhaps Chris would not even realize there was one missing. He would maybe just forget that row was there all together.

Unfortunately for me, that was not the case. He knew every tree he had. You would have thought they were like his pets. He cared for each of them.

One year Chris planted a few fruit trees, including a peach tree, along the border of our property. The following year, was the year Chris was very ill. It was so surprising that there were FIVE peaches growing on that tree. Usually fruit trees take much longer to bear fruit... but there were FIVE peaches. Chris would sit in his blue recliner every day recovering from surgery. He wasn't able to eat much at that time, but he would admire those peaches and was bound and determined that when they were ripe, he would eat them.

Every day, he would check on them. His body was struggling with recovery, and eating was difficult, but he maintained his position that he would eat those peaches.

One day he looked out the window to check on them. They were gone. All five. Gone. Someone had picked them. They took his peaches. He was so sad. He had spent so long looking forward to them being ripe, they were just about there, and someone took them. I felt so badly for him. It was his opportunity to enjoy the literal fruits of his labor, and his last opportunity.

I was in my old neighborhood today. My neighbor was out walking his dog. I gave him a hug and petted the dogs. I smiled with the memories of my kids laying on the neighbor's back yard letting the dogs lick their face. They had so much fun with those dogs. The new owner to the house was out painting the trim. I said hello and complimented the work he has done in keeping the place looking nice. I asked about the peaches. Did they ever get any? Never. I think even the tree was heartbroken that day his peaches were stolen. I just envision this tree working so hard to provide FIVE peaches to his loving owner... only to have them stolen. Now, the tree produces none.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

THE TRUTH

Yes, I committed that this blog would be a priority this year.

Yes, I have learned that I can write this blog on the 30th - but post it here as if I actually did it five days ago (such a handy thing I wish I could do to real life).

Yes, I am falling behind lately.

But, NO, I will no longer feel obligated to catch up when I fall behind.

I can't take the pressure.

Listen people, life is crazy busy. I am working full-time, am a single mom to three beautiful children, have a house that needs to be cleaned every now and then, and this really cute guy that I prefer to offer some attention to on occasion.

I have to let things drop sometimes... 'cause the reality of life is... I am so far from perfect! So, that's the truth. Can I stop the charades now?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

LESSONS FOR LIVING TODAY

I jotted a few notes down in church today that I felt specifically applied to me.

"When we are running for our lives it is difficult to hear the spirit." A good reminder to me that I need to slow down, that I need to find moments of peace and calm so I can feel the spirit and allow the Lord to direct my path.

"If you are not happy with what you are doing, repent and do it better." We are responsible for our attitude, for how we face our trials. We choose wether to make life a triumph or a tragedy.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

JOY IN OUR JOURNEY

My oldest has taken up MMA (mixed martial arts) since arriving back home in June. I have noticed he is more dedicated and committed to practice than I have ever seen him before.

I am proud of him. He is keeping a very busy schedule, in fact I sometimes don't feel I get to see him too much except to say goodnight... But, through it all he is effectively managing his time on his own. He gets himself to and from practices, has taken up being a teacher's assistant for the little kids and makes sure he is where he needs to be and also completing his homework.

His first kickboxing match was tonight. My boys are growing up. They are healing. We are finding joy in our journey once again.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A BASKET OF GRAPES

A dozen of corn and a basket of grapes.

It doesn't take much to lift my spirits at the end of a long week.

I still stand in awe that my Father in Heaven continues to send others to nourish me both physically and spiritually.

And to turn the tables, I am grateful others think to ask me to serve. I need those opportunities in my life to lift the burden of another.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

LATCHKEY KIDS

I have latchkey kids. Studies show that breeds behavioral problems, low self-esteem and depression. On the upside, it can also result in independence and self-reliance.

Today my daughter didn’t ride the bus home. I guess something about being a teenager, meant she needed to really start acting like one. Unfortunately, this was not information I was aware of when the bus came and left without depositing her, as I am not home to witness such things. I found out when she called and informed me that she was at a friend’s house. She and her girlfriend had decided to walk home from school and had stopped at another friend’s house to use the bathroom and phone home. At least they phoned home. My reaction to the situation was to tell her to go home. We talked about it later and I told her the answer will always be to go home. I don’t like them out and about when I am at work. I feel this complete lack of control, and an exaggerated sense of concern. My daughter felt that being away from her brothers was actually safer for her, as they are always close to burning the house down.

She didn’t take my petition for her to always come home well. I tried to explain my position to which she responded that it was not her fault her dad died, so why is she punished for it? To which I replied, it is not my fault he died, but I am punished in terms of having to be away at work rather than home with you. It is life. It is what happened.

How do I keep the negative latchkey effects from affecting my children? Am I wrong to make them sit home in a house with no parents for hours after school, rather than let them be with their friends? I don’t know the answer…

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

CHRIS, ARE YOU HERE?

I woke up this morning and everything in my world was different. I was facing the daunting reality that two of my three kids are now teenagers. How did that happen?



I know time goes quickly, too quickly sometimes. It was just strange to realize I am facing the most difficult and critical years without Chris. It just seemed a little unfair. Don't get me wrong, I don't question God. I know He is much wiser than I, and that He will compensate in these kid's lives for what they are missing... but some days I think of what they are missing and I feel a little sad for them. I still have the ability to call my dad and talk, and get wise advice when I need it.

When I finally crawled out of bed this morning, I walked into the kitchen. Chris' leather jacket was on the back of the kitchen chair. I looked at it at least five times, picking it up and looking closer. Yes, it was Chris' jacket.

I hadn't seen it in years. It was an odd sight on an odd day. Our daughter is thirteen... he should be here to wish her happiness and joy in her teenage years. Although, I know he will watch over her still and strive to help her be on a path that will bring her happiness and joy.

I was crossing the street from my office to the parking lot and someone drove by that made me do a double take. Weird.

After work, I ran downstairs to get some garlic bread out of the freezer. Chris' nose spray was sitting on top of the freezer. He had terrible allergies and that nose spray was a standard... in jean pockets, jackets, the car, everywhere he went, there was the spray. It made me take a look around.

My oldest must be missing his dad. I think he starts to dig his few remaining things out when he is missing him.

But, for it to happen today.... on our little girl's birthday, just made me smile even more.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

ANYONE HAVE TIME TO READ A BOOK FOR ME AND PROVIDE ME WITH A CLIFF NOTES VERSION?

On March 10, I posted with a reference to a book I was reading.

I was on my way to the doctor office last week with my son and I grabbed the book to bring with me, figuring there would be some spare time while I was waiting.

My son looked at my book and inquired why I was bringing it. I explained I was hoping to get a chance to read a little. With a very puzzled face, my eleven year old questioned the fact that I was STILL reading that book. I informed him, that yes, in fact I was still in the process of reading it - I don't get much time to read for enjoyment. He responded by grabbing the book, flipping to the last page, looking at me in complete disbelief and informed me it was only 133 pages. He could read that in an hour!

I grabbed the book back from him, and made no comment. Yes, it is pathetic... Six months later and I am not done with the book.

Monday, September 13, 2010

DINNER ANYONE? TODAY? TOMORROW?

Sometimes it just hits me. I go and go and go and feel like I am a human energizer bunny sometimes. Well, I suppose I don't really feel that way - but I act that way. Usually because, what choice do I have? There is much to do! But after going and going and going... sometimes out of nowhere, my body betrays me... and will go no more.

That happened to me yesterday. I hate the betrayal. My body should know I would give it rest if I could! I was enveloped in exhaustion and it spilled over to this morning. I was up and getting ready for work this morning looking at the house that was a wreck. It made me feel more exhausted. I headed out for work, promising myself that I would take lunch at the house and clean today.

I got about a mile down the road, when my friend KR called. She was confirming she would be able to get in the house - she was on her way to clean it. She had also made me dinner and would be leaving that in the fridge.

I was overcome with emotion. My whole body felt exhausted. I started to cry. Tears of gratitude mixed with tears of frustration that I wasn't keeping up.

I came home from work to a clean house. I heated some dinner up for myself and the kids, then went about the chores and running of the evening.

Words can not express the gratitude I felt. The blessing it was to me today.

I was then surprised by another visitor later in the evening. A friend that lives an hour away was the least likely person I would expect to show up with dinner for tomorrow. SG is a kind and generous person - but doesn't exactly live in my neighborhood.

As I lay in bed this evening, reflecting on the day... I see the hand of God in my life today. I see the angels He sent on an errand for me. And I am amazed, again, at how He loves and cares for me.

Lesson Manual: How to be a Widow
10. Angels don't show up at your door step everyday. They don't always come and clean your house and make you dinner, but take the time to see they are there. Sometimes they are a phone call at just the right time, or a smile at the grocery store... and sometimes we need to remember that we too need to be angels to others - and that can be just the boost we need.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

I attended another football game this weekend for my youngest.

I have found it peculiar over the past five year how few sports my kids have participated in. Up to and including while Chris was sick, we had the kids playing little league and whatever other sports were available to their age group. I was athletic growing up, as was my husband... so to have the kids involved in sports seemed like the natural thing.

Once Chris passed, the kids had no more interest in playing little league. When their grades started basketball teams, they didn't want to play. I didn't push any of this too much, because the reality of it is, as a single working parent - the challenge of getting them everywhere they need to be is huge.

I discovered swimming a few years ago, and I did push for the kids to get involved. The team ran from September to March and was a great way to exercise all winter. PLUS, they practiced every night, but the practices were not mandatory. A perfect combination for someone like me! I could get them there on the nights that is was possible. But, that only last about a season and the kids had enough and didn't want to do it any longer.

I found it peculiar though that the kids consistently showed no desire to get involved with school sports. So, when my youngest told me this summer that he intended to play football in the fall, I was surprised, but happy.

He was the new kid on the block, with most the other kids at least in their second year of play - some in their fourth. Enter, my son. Not only has he never played before, his exposure to watching games has been very limited (let's face it - not my favorite way to spend a Saturday). I don't believe he even knew the position names or anything. He was green.

I was not surprised when their first game came and he was put in (almost as a courtesy) at the end of the game.

I was not surprised when he came home from practice this week and told me how he was running drills against the best kid on the team (I am sure they rotate who you go up against).

He is a humble little kid. Doesn't make a big deal out of anything he does.

Friday night, I arrive home from work and start to prep some dinner. He needed to be at the field by 6pm, which is the start of the "JV" game. With my limited time, I was (no surprise) running a little late. As I drove him to the game... he sighed in frustration, "why do we always have to be late... I am starting defense tonight, I need to be on time".

"You are starting tonight?"

"Yes"

He just said it so casually. I vowed to be on-time for his game.

I was... and he started on defense, just like he said. The game began with the kid, known as the best kid on the team, scoring a touchdown in the first play. The entire rest of the first quarter was spent with us on defense... and my baby playing. He continued to hit the field on defense the rest of the first half and into the second, except during substitutions to the line.

I was so happy for him. So happy to see his hard work paying off for him. So happy that he was self-driven to be involved and to work hard. He only complained about practice when he felt they didn't work hard enough. He endured the heat and the bruises with never a comment. As I stood on the sidelines contemplating the man this boy was beginning to grow up to be, I was proud of him. And I knew his dad was there that night standing by him when they went back to offense and he was back on the line. I could almost envision his father's hand on his shoulder, telling him he was proud of him.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

BECAUSE SHE SAID SO...

Sometimes as a single mom... you just are busy. And tired. And things you may have thought to do under your 'old' circumstances (I can't say normal... cause life as is has become normal), no longer cross your mind.

My sister advised me a year ago that I needed to get my 'dating body' back. I think that was her way of saying it was time to work on those extra pounds. I will. Someday.

I got my hair cut a couple days ago, because I try to do that at least once a year. My friend who was cutting my hair informed me that our mutual friend had instructed her to tell me to get my eyebrows done. I couldn't believe that. If my friend feels that way, why wouldn't she tell me to my face? Not tell someone to tell me.

I made an appointment to get my eyebrows done... the results of that appointment are above.

Then I called my friend and told her (on voicemail) I thought we were close enough friends that she would say that to my face.

She left me a voicemail in reply telling me she has no problem telling me to my face, but she forgets (that made me feel better - because if my eyebrows were REALLY bad, how could you forget?). Then she continued on in her message telling me I need some highlights, and not blonde ones.

I made that appointment today.

It is part of getting my life together. I need to balance everything... including beauty.

So... now I just need to calendar "Lose 10 pounds".

Friday, September 10, 2010

TENDER MERCIES

I have a friend whose young son is fighting cancer. That is a trial, I cannot imagine. She wrote these words the other day, that I felt I could relate to. They took me back to those days.

“I think about all the people going about their lives down on the street. Is it really possible that there are people doing normal things like going to soccer practice and homework, etc? Once in a while I have a brief fleeting moment of being envious of the normalcy of other's lives. Then I come back to my own reality and be thankful of my blessings: I get to spend quality time with my little man, there is always someone with a worse story than ours, I have a husband and partner to help me through this instead of having to make the decision of leaving my child here alone, we have this wonderful facility right in our backyard. Yes, this is bad. Yes, it will get worse. Yes, I am blessed anyway.”

It evoked memories of similar feelings. There is something very precious and sacred about the quality time and relationship that can be developed while 'locked' in a small room.

I have come out the other side and find myself feeling very normal some days... and on those days I remember fondly, the 'abnormal' life that brought a different kind of pace and focus. I am grateful for these tender mercies from God. When He reminds us to see the good.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

LIFE

The flurry of life has sucked me in.

As much as I felt that I would make sure this blog was a priority for one year... alas I have dropped the ball. I suppose that is ok, as I had to drop one of my many balls I was juggling - and my children appreciate SOME attention... even when it is limited (for instance last night at 9:30 when I was putting my children to bed, it was revealed to me that I had fogotten to feed them dinner!)

The kids are back to school, they have some of the items on their long list of school supplies (the disadvantage of last minute shopping... things are sold out), my youngest is in full swing of football season, my oldest is anxiously engaged with MMA practice and working with the "little dragons" as a teacher's assistant, and my middle daughter is back in the swing of voice and piano lessons... while hoping I will add horseback riding lessons.

I have a new position at church that I am trying to get a handle on, while also finishing up projects from my last position. A very busy time of year for me there.

In the rest of life I am trying to catch up... and shall I say... just enjoying where life is these days. I am blessed. So blessed. I have had a wonderful summer and have often in these past few months had moments of feeling emotional when I look at how my Father in Heaven has blessed me. How He has heard my internal desires and blessed me.

This will be my focus, or so that is my hope, for the next little while as I 'blog'. The hand of God in my life these days. As He is there every day. I hope to be able to capture some of the simple ways He blesses me everyday.

There will still be moments of reflection, but I have captured much of the major events that have happened. I am certain in the craziness to keep up that my mind has not kept up with remembering it all, and perhaps as life is simpler I will continue to remember feelings, and events.

Thanks for joining me on this journey of reflection, of gratitude, of learning.

~KJ

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

PUSH AGAINST THE ROCK

A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.

This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing it with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore, and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.

Noticing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, the adversary decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man’s weary mind. “You have been pushing against this rock for a long time, and it hasn’t budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it.” Thus giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These troubling thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man. “Why kill myself over this?” I’ll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort and that will be good enough.

And that is what he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his thoughts to the Lord. “Lord” he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even been able to budge that rock. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”

The Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, When I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so?”

“Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in my wisdom. This you have done. I, my friend, will now move the rock.”

At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is simple obedience and Faith in Him…

Sunday, September 5, 2010

HE WILL PROVIDE

For you young widows with ever-increasing family responsibilities, know that God is aware of your needs and that He will provide. Continue to exercise faith and good works. Faithful family and Church members will assist. Be willing to receive assistance from others as necessary. Your children will know that you provide them with a double measure of love. It is my testimony that our Heavenly Father will abundantly compensate your family with eternal blessings because of the goodness of your hearts.
Earl C. Tingey

Saturday, September 4, 2010

GREATER FAITH

The term widows is used 34 times in the scriptures. In 23 of these passages, the term refers to widows and the fatherless. I believe the Lord has a tender feeling toward widows and the fatherless, or orphans. He knows that they may have to rely more completely on Him than on others. Their prayers will be more personal and lasting, service to fellowmen more genuine, and faith greater.

Earl C. Tingey

Friday, September 3, 2010

1 TIMOTHY 5:3

Honour widows that are widows indeed.

As a widow... I also need to open my eyes to the other widows around me. I need to find opportunities to serve them.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE

“As we pass through the trials of life, let us keep an eternal perspective, let us not complain, let us become even more prayerful, let us serve others, and let us forgive one another. As we do this, ‘all things [will] work together for good to [us] that love God.’ ”
~James B. Martino

Monday, August 30, 2010

CATCHING UP...

I fell off the blogging wagon... and now, in an attempt to re-create the past, the next 10 days of entries will be things (scriptures, videos, quotes) I love and need.

Feel free to reply to one of these posts with your own 'favorites' that you need and love in your life.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

PERHAPS IT GETS EASIER

As I sat in church today... they sang two of the songs that were sung at Chris' funeral.

It is hard to sing those songs without my mind's eye returning to that moment over 5 1/2 years ago that those very songs were being sung as a testimony to the life my husband led and the faith we had of what would come.

One of the songs, There Is A Green Hill Far Away, was sung by his youngest brother. A song that testified of our Savior's atonement. The other, God Be With You Till We Meet Again, was sung by my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. They came close to making it through the song without being choked up.

I sang them in church today. I was strong, void of any emotion except fond remembering. Perhaps it gets easier.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

FIRST FOOTBALL GAME

My youngest is playing football this year. I am glad. He is built for sports and has always had a good throwing arm, but has never wanted to get involved with sports. It is good to see him doing that this year.

I watched his first game today with mixed emotions. He wore his uniform proudly on the sidelines until the 4th quarter. They put him in. That is all I can tell you. I don't know what position he was playing and whether it was on offense or defense. I don't know if he did well or not. I don't know what kind of solid advice I should have given him as we drove home. And on these days... I am frustrated. Frustrated that I don't understand more of what my kids love. And frustrated that everything is my job to know. But, proud.. proud to see my little man starting to come out of his shell and develop and grow. Happy to see him beginning a life that challenges him and brings him happiness.

Friday, August 27, 2010

EVER BEEN TO A CEMETARY?

Visiting a cemetery was a new experience for my niece and four nephews who were recently in town.

The youngest in the clan, Zach, age 4, had a couple priceless comments:

Zach recognized the crosses on the stones as the cross he sees on the St. Luke's hospital near their home. He went down the rows saying solemnly as he pointed to each cross "Died from the hospital...died from the hospital" It was cute how after a while he then stopped and said, "Hey, do you know who died ON a cross? Jesus!"

When he saw a stone ...with an etching of Jesus he said, "Oh, and that's where they buried Jesus."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

BEING GRATEFUL

My sister was in town visiting this week. On their last day here she wanted to take the kids to the cemetary to see where Chris is buried. While attempting to capture the moment with her camera (which she is very good at capturing most moments in life...) my youngest son started running around. I called to him, but he was enjoying the game and didn't surrender. My sister called to him as well, with no luck. She then commented..."poor Chris". We come to his grave and the children don't behave. My sister's oldest son (11yrs. old - same as my youngest), found that to be an odd statement. "Why does he care, he is dead."

My sister seized the opportunity to explain how hard it must be for Chris. His body is dead, but his spirit is alive. She then asked her son what his Dad would do if he were misbehaving. Then tried to make him understand that Uncle Chris sees what goes on, but because he isn't HERE with a BODY, he can't say anything in the same way. She asked him how he thought his Dad would feel in the same situation. To which he solemnly pleaded, "Don't talk about Dad being dead."

When we arrived back to the house from the cemetary, my brother-in-law was greeted with a big hug from his oldest son. A son who was grateful to have a father to discipline him.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

SAYING THANK YOU

It is not often in life you meet someone you don't know who truly cares about you. Maybe that is a harsh statement, as most good Christians have a charitable heart and are loving, right?


Does that include the lady at the DMV? I don't know why most government workers get such a bad rep. But, they do.


When Chris was ill, we signed up for disability benefits with Social Security. He stopped working in April and we had been told it was best to file the paperwork, even if you were never going to need to draw on the benefits... so we did.


It turned out to be a good thing, as once Chris passed, the paperwork was mostly filled out. The lady I worked with at Social Security was nice. She seemed to be conscientious and wanted to make sure I understood everything. I liked her. As I left the office that day she had made a comment that perhaps she would review my case as it appeared there may have been a mistake in it.


I never heard anything... so that was that.


Now... fast forward five years. I start a blog. My friend reads my blog. My friend posts a link to my blog on her Facebook. My friend's friend is the same lady that helped me five years ago. She has since retired and had recently been asked to return to work for a limited amount of time. She sees my picture on my blog and reaches out to find out if that was indeed "me". It is and she expresses her concern that my case was never reviewed for errors as she sensed there was one.


This friend of a friend who I feel has since become MY friend... took the time upon returning to work to pull my case and review it. She was right. There had been an error. She took the time to correct the error, and file the paperwork so I could receive the due benefits. She sent me this little note...

I was looking down at my tablet while I was computing the benefit amounts . . . all of a sudden I felt someone watching me . . . I paused . . . I kept my head down but raised my eyes . . . I could FEEL Christopher sitting in front of me saying "Thank You for helping my family". I whispered "you're welcome".

I am grateful for my husband... who loved and loves me and the kids enough to watch over me continually. And I am grateful for angels like this lady who accept the errand of service.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

MY BIRTHDAY BOY

It is my youngest's birthday today.

Time and energy don't afford me much opportunity to make a fuss. I think that has come to bless the children. They have started to act less 'entitled'. My birthday gifts to them are predictable. It is a run through the ATM and a quick stop at the card store. It is simple.

I am grateful, truly, to be in a position that the gifts are possible.

I pray the children know the love I have for them and feel their father's love daily.

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11 years ago today.... My last little baby was born. He looks so much like his father. He has his build, his strength, his love.

Monday, August 23, 2010

MY HUSBAND WAS HEALED

Sacred are those moments of trial that my husband and I endured through his illness. Much of his trial was his to carry alone. Blessings promised healing... He was healed.

Sometimes we are ‘healed’ by being given strength or understanding or patience to bear the burdens placed upon us - Dalin H. Oaks

Saturday, August 21, 2010

D&C 58:3–4

Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.

For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

VROOOOOMMMMM

I know this is not the best photo... but if you look at the yellow part, you will see there is a part that has a larger seam. There is a reason for that.

I pulled out a saw for the first time about a year after Chris passed. This is my favorite one. I know I don't represent women well when I say I don't know what kind of saw it is. I usually call it the "vroom" saw. Now, I don't just call it vroom... I say vroom at the same time I pull my hand from high to low as if showing how to work the saw.

I like it. I can cut stuff that I need. I hope I never have to change the blade, because I have no idea how to do that.

But, the first few times I used it, I expanded the seam in the yellow plastic. I don't know how that happened, but I am certain Chris rolled over in his grave when it did.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

DO I STINK?

My lawn mower broke about a month ago. I decided to forget it and just hire a service to take care of my lawn.

I pay my bills.

I am nice.

It's a stinky economy... don't people want to make money?

I told him how often to come.

Did I mention I am nice?

And I pay them.... on time?

Do I stink?

Why won't they come mow my lawn?

And what will I do about it? Do I need to fire the poor man, and find a new one. If only I wasn't a widowed single mom who is working lots of hours these days... maybe then I would have time to fire people and find new ones.

Instead... My grass is starting to look like I feel.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

WHY I'M GLAD FAMILY IS COMING

I wrote not too long ago... about the man of my dreams. The man that will hopefully be able to fix all my broken stuff. Of course, as most good men are... they are worth waiting for. So, I am still waiting for some things. The first day he came, he did fix my door so that was done. He was also kind enough to show me how to swap out the glass for the screen... and by show me how, I mean he did it.

Our 18month old miniature schnauzer has wreaked havoc on the screen. Not destroying it - but he did either tear it or pull it out along the edges.

So, my door that was fixed is broken in a new way now. We can't leave the main door open, because the dog loves his new dog door and his ability to easily escape and terrorize the neighborhood.

tick tock tick tock....

My brother-in-law will be here in two days... Think he will fix it for me?

Monday, August 16, 2010

THE END

That is the end of this little tale. And the end of the relationship. I flew over 2000 miles back home... and Grettir... Well, Grettir blew me off once all this was over.

I did find myself back in the land of Utah a few months ago and my sister-in-law was quick to offer to set me up with him again. I wisely turned down this offer... as I am a strong believer that if Grettir had any interest in pursuing a relationship... he would have.

So, that is how it all began, and that is how it all came to an end.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

HE SAID the comments...

I Am Happy Today Because She Accepts My Dating: Part 3

July 31st, 2007

Sorry, folks…busy, busy weekend (and Monday): Play practices, outings with the girls, church, multiple after-hours incidents at work, incessant calls from press representatives wanting interviews about my date. (“Wake Up, Bangalore!” wouldn’t take no for an answer.) The comments have been piling up, so I thought I’d take my lunch hour and respond to a few of them here.


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Kate: Joy is me when I knowledge each gifts of Jobber’s Odd Lot live in forever with Happy DElight, so the snow is in the gentle flowerss of the cherry tree about the blossom not dead freezing it.

For those of you who are new here, Kate is referring to the origin of the title of these entries.


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Kate: Grettir, it is time to admit once and for all that Keira Knightley is NOT in your skill set — SORRY — I meant age set (and that is NOT an insult). Legal or not… Jennifer Aniston? She is SOOO not Kate Beckinsale. Or Claire Forlani.

For those of you who are new here, “Kate” is really Jessica Biel, who can’t quite accept the fact that it’s over between us!

Move on, “Kate.” Move on…


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apaperbackwriter: Okay, I am now reading this soap opera. But the characters are unbelievable. I mean, really — an eligible male remaining single in UTAH (hello, people — marriage capital of the world!) for 4 years?! No, no, no. You must give your audience a reason. He’s an ex-convict? He’s missing half his face? Or — dare we suggest such an abberation — he’s a democrat?

Actually, I think being a facially-challenged Democratic ex-convict would make things easier. (And there’s the added benefit of being able to claim the “single male facially-challenged Democratic ex-convict” exemption on my Utah state taxes.)


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brent: I will note with some impatience that it is tomorrow now…

Please keep in mind that all references to time on this site are based on SPT (Single Parent Time). In SPT, the day doesn’t begin until the kids are bathed and in bed and the first load of laundry is in the washing machine (roughly 23:00 MDT).

So, as long as I finish it by 06:30 MDT the following morning, it still counts as “today” in SPT.


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chronicler: Oh to be a fly on the wall at Chilis! Well, there were probably of few of them, but they don’t or won’t talk.

Who needs flies when you have sisters with bugs? From what I can tell, Kim’s four sisters arrived at Chili’s an hour before we did, wired our booth for sound, and were staked out in a van in the parking lot by the time we arrived. Meanwhile, my two younger sisters, having chloroformed two members of the kitchen staff, embedded wireless microphones in the guacamole before they sent our plates out.

Fortunately for us, the excessive amount of surveillance equipment in the room created so much RF interference that nobody was able to pick up a word we said.


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Christine: Chili’s is her favorite? You both need to get out more.


I agree. Chili’s is so bourgeois. I would have preferred Chuck E. Cheese, but I usually save the ball pit for the second date.


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Deborah Gamble: Kim is “hysterically funny”? We laugh at her jokes because we are family and it is the polite thing to do. Kimmy? Funny? Who knew?

Well, not funny ha ha. For instance, I thought her retelling of the classic “A Libertarian, a supermodel, and a marmoset walk into a bar…” was pedestrian, at best.

I was referring more to her delightfully droll take on life, which is both straightforward and oblique, modernist and postmodern, prosaic and piquant. Her wry observations on the day-to-day struggles of the single parent household had me in stitches for most of the afternoon. And when she started doing her spot-on impersonation of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl trying to put his kids to bed, I almost wet myself.

I’m just saying, maybe it’s the audience…


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Kim: It is quite evident we have scared this poor man. He must be feeling stalked to have said the things he said.


That’s not true. I would have said the things I said even if Ms. Gamble hadn’t been peering over my shoulder as I typed. As I mentioned to you earlier, I’m sure there were many people who were disappointed with my description of the events, but I think the level of expectation had been set so high that I could have written Pride and Prejudice and people still would have complained that it lacked romantic tension.


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Jack: And? Once again, still not saying much.

I was thinking of your “So many words typed and so little said” slogan. I wanted to see if the inverse was also true: “So few words typed and so much said.”


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chronicler: You must be the most agreeable guy on the planet and to think someone threw you back is beyond me.

Don’t kid yourself, I’m a crotchety old coot. As for someone “throwing me back,” I’m not sure I like these fish metaphors. People might jump to unflattering conclusions about my kissing.


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ames: Thank you, Kim, for making Grettir’s first date in a LOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGGGGG time a positive experience. We now have ammunition when trying to convince him that “getting out more” might just be a positive thing.

If by “getting out more” you mean “every four years,” then I agree. It’s like the Olympics: The subject of worldwide anticipation, heavily covered in the press, and everyone always feels a little let down by the host country’s performance.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

HE SAID part 2

I Am Happy Today Because She Accepts My Dating: Part 2

July 28th, 2007

The Details (or Lack Thereof)
As I rule, I do not divulge details of my love life on this site…since, as a rule, you cannot divulge details of something that doesn’t exist. But even if I had a love life, I still would not, as a rule, divulge details of said love life on this site. I am, if nothing else, a man of discretion.

In this case, however, discretion has nothing to do with it. In fact, the young lady in question has specifically requested that I divulge the details of the date. There’s just one problem: I can’t remember the details. Honestly, the whole thing was a blur.

So, for what it’s worth (which ain’t much), here’s the general sequence of events, though I’d never swear to any of it in a court of law.

The Date
So, there I was at Chili’s at 12:55pm.

Chili’s Greeter: How many in your party, sir?

Me: WHAT!?!

Chili’s Greeter: I’m sorry, sir. Did I startle you?

Me: NO! I’M FINE! I’M JUST A LITTLE NERVOUS, THAT’S ALL!

Chili’s Greeter: How many in your party, sir?

Me: TWO! THERE WILL BE TWO IN MY PARTY! ME AND SOMEONE ELSE! THAT MAKES TWO!

Chili’s Greeter: Is the other member of your party already here?

Me: I DON’T THINK SO! IT’S A GIRL! I’M SUPPOSED TO MEET A GIRL HERE AT ONE O’CLOCK!

Chili’s Greeter: Do you know what she looks like?

Me: SHE’S CUTE! AND SHE’S A GIRL! SHE’S A CUTE GIRL!

Chili’s Greeter: Well, would you like to wait for her in the bar?

Me: NO, THANK YOU! I THINK I’LL JUST SIT HERE BY THE DOOR AND LOOK STARTLED EVERY TIME SOMEONE COMES IN!

Chili’s Greeter: Well, I’ll leave you to it, then.

Me: THANK YOU! DID I MENTION SHE WAS A GIRL?

I was as stiff as a board. In fact, when she walked through the door (at one o’clock, on the dot) I could swear I made creaking noises as I stood up and walked over to say, “Hello.”

We took our seats and I stared blankly at the menu while I tried to devise something to say that wouldn’t sound stilted. I think it came out:

I am most pleased that with you I am undertaking this excursion. I have hopes that it will bring you pleasure also?

Since Chili’s is her favorite restaurant, I deferred to her superior knowledge of the menu. So when she raved about the Southwestern Eggrolls, we ordered some as an appetizer.

Here’s the description of the Southwestern Eggrolls:


Chili’s Southwestern Eggrolls
Soutwestern Eggrolls
Smoked chicken, black beans, corn, jalapeno Jack cheese, red peppers and spinach wrapped inside a crispy flour tortilla. We serve it with our avocado-ranch dipping sauce.

Sounds innocent enough, doesn’t it? But a more accurate description would be:


Chili’s Southwestern Eggrolls
Soutwestern Spinach Eggrolls
Spinach, smoked chicken, spinach, black beans, spinach, corn, spinach, jalapeno Jack cheese, spinach, red peppers and spinach wrapped inside a crispy flour tortilla. We serve it with our avocado-ranch dipping sauce.

Warning: May contain spinach.

Allergen Warning: Manufactured in a facility that also processes spinach.

Each eggroll had thousands…thousands, I tell you…of small shards of cooked spinach and on the very first bite I could feel one of the spinach shards adhere to my front teeth. So, for the next ten or fifteen minutes I had to carry on a conversation while simultaneously trying to dislodge the spinach in the least conspicuous way possible.

I think my side went something like this:

Can you tell me additional information? That is of great interest to me! What an occurrence! I am incredulous! Mmm, hmmm. Mmm, hmmm. Do continue the tale! I am intent to hear the rest!

For the first half hour she probably felt like she was on a date with someone with Tourette’s who shouts out random entries from German-English phrase books while obsessive-compulsively touching his front teeth every 1.7 seconds.

But after that first miserable (for her) half hour, I was finally able to settle down to the point that I could at least approximate normalcy, and the whole afternoon just sort of opened up.

It was, quite simply, the best first date imaginable, but it was entirely thanks to her. She was absolutely charming, infinitely patient, hysterically funny, amazingly insightful, endearingly self-deprecating, extremely thoughtful…you name the superlative and I’d second it.

As for the claim that she talked “way too much,” nothing could be further from the truth. She talked exactly the right amount, which sometimes meant filling in enormous gaps in the conversation left by her date who couldn’t construct a meaningful sentence to save his life.

Besides, the more she talked, the more I could just sit there and stare at her…which, quite frankly, is something I would like to have done for the rest of the day.

To be continued...

Friday, August 13, 2010

HE SAID

As much as I would like to give credit to the one who wrote these words.... I fear his technical apptitude may allow him to determine that I posted a link to his blog from mine... and I would greatly fear he would presume I have never recovered from our encounter three years ago... On the contrary. I certainly have... but this is too funny not to share. So... Here is Grettir's side.

I Am Happy Today Because She Accepts My Dating: Part 1
July 26th, 2007
All right! All right, already! Yes, it’s true. I went on a date. Yes, a date. Well, it was really just lunch…and we met at the restaurant…and she was there under duress. But it was lunch…with an unmarried female…in public. That counts, doesn’t it? Is everyone happy now? Can we all move on?



No, apparently we cannot. At least not until after the debriefing. But we got home late again tonight, so I’ll warn you right now that I’m not going to have time to finish this tonight. You’ll have to content yourselves with just the events leading up to the date for now.

The Background
Some people may find this hard to believe…OK, people who don’t know me may find this hard to believe, but even though I have been divorced for almost four years now, I have not been on a single date in that time. There are many reasons for this…none of which I’ll go into right now…but suffice it to say that I have been waiting for the right combination of opportunity, motivation, and energy before I made my move.

Now, I know people are going to ask what I mean by “the right combination of opportunity, motivation, and energy,” so let me give you some examples of situations that might have accelerated the dating process:

1.Jennifer Anniston moving into the ward.

2.Finding accommodations in an apartment complex that also serves as temporary housing for stewardesses.

3.Keira Knightley finally returning my calls.

4.Global nuclear annihilation.

I am as shocked as anyone that none of these very plausible scenarios panned out. (I had my money on #3.) But if fate doesn’t intervene, what can you do?

The Setup
Well, for one thing, you can get set up on blind dates by well-meaning friends. But I learned very early on that if you say “no” to one blind date, you have to say “no” to them all. Otherwise, you end up with this…

Blind Date Facilitator #1: I heard that Blind Date Facilitator #2 is trying to line you up with someone.

Me: Yes, she is, but…

Blind Date Facilitator #1: But when I tried to line you up with , you said “no.”

Me: Yes, but…

Blind Date Facilitator #1: Well, if you’re going to let Blind Date Facilitator #2 line you up with someone, then you have to let me line you up with .

Me: But I’m not letting…

Blind Date Facilitator #1: I can’t believe you’d go out with someone that Blind Date Facilitator #2 wants to line you up with, but you won’t go out with someone I want to line you up with.

Me: But I’m not…

Blind Date Facilitator #1: You know, I heard that Blind Date Facilitator #2 once lined someone up with an ex-convict. Is that who you want to go out with? Ex-convicts?

Me: No, of course not, but…

Blind Date Facilitator #1: Well, if you won’t let me line you up with , then you probably deserve to go out with ex-convicts!

Me: Now, wait just one minute here…

Blind Date Facilitator #1: You’re not good enough for anyway! I can’t believe I even considered lining you two up. You’re not worthy to kiss the ground walks on.

Me: I don’t think I’d want to…

Blind Date Facilitator #1: See if I ever try to line you up with someone again, you…you…EX-CONVICT DATER!

Then, the following day…

Blind Date Facilitator #2: I heard that Blind Date Facilitator #1 is trying to line you up with someone…

So, my answer is always, “No, thank you.” But this time, my friend Debbie (who, unsurprisingly, played a Jewish mother in last year’s production of Fiddler on the Roof) wouldn’t take “No, thank you,” for an answer. I don’t remember the exact course of our conversations last week, but they went something like this.

Monday
Debbie: I want to line you up with my sister-in-law. She’s flying in this week for a family reunion.

Me: No, thank you.

Tuesday
Debbie: She’s really cute.

Me: I’m sure she is. No, thank you.

Wednesday
Debbie: You can at least go out to lunch with her.

Me: No, thank you.

Thursday
Debbie: Why won’t you go out to lunch with my sister-in-law?

Me: Because, trust me, she has better things to do with her time than go on a date with me. No, thank you.

Friday
Debbie: You’re just being dumb. Lunch isn’t going to kill you.

Me: I’m not being dumb and I never said it would kill me. I just said, “No, thank you.”

Saturday
Debbie: Look, she’s only in town until next Wednesday, so if it turns out to be a lousy date, you never have to see her again. Will you at least think about it over the weekend?

Me: OK, OK! I’ll think about it.

Monday
Debbie: She’s really looking forward to your date tomorrow. She likes Chili’s. What time should I tell her you’re going to meet her there?

Me: But I didn’t say “yes!” I said I’d think about it!

Debbie: Well, it’s too late now. How about one o’clock?

Me: But…

Debbie: One o’clock it is!

So, there I was at Chili’s at 12:55pm.

And that’s where we will pick up the story tomorrow…

Thursday, August 12, 2010

MY RESPONSE

July 2007
May I just defend myself by saying I HAVE NEVER KISSED SOMEONE IN THE PARKING LOT (or anywhere) FOLLOWING A FIRST DATE OF ANY KIND - ESPECIALLY A BLIND DATE! Aside from that... Debbie, you did a terrific job! The only other hole... I had southwestern egg rolls (my personal FAVORITE) and a Cobb Salad. I'd go on... but I'd prefer not to live true to your comment that I take over your blog posts... All the further I will say is of my (too many) "lunch time" dates I have been coerced into, this was one of only two that did not leave me wishing I could somehow reclaim the time that was spent and trying to "learn from the experience" so I did not feel like it was a complete waste~ I have learned some good things – such as Never spend the entire first date talking about your wife who left you 5 years ago despite the perfect husband that you were… it makes the other party want to poke their eyes out. Never be so wrapped up in how funny you are that you don’t laugh at any completely obvious jokes the person you are with makes, it makes you appear to be self-absorbed…. Never profess your secret love and desire for this person to bear your children on a first date (this should be saved for the proposal many many months later if you make it that far), it will only make them forget they have a meeting they need to leave for right away! Yes… my lunch dates have been an education. This one though just goes to prove there are normal… fun… good-looking people in the world that are single! Go figure!