Thursday, November 7, 2013

Have you seen YOUR miracles?

I recently read Elizabeth Smart's new book, written about her experience during her kidnapping. It was extremely heartbreaking and, at times, disturbing reading what she experienced. But something she wrote really stuck with me. In the middle of one of the darkest experiences I've ever heard of, she would write about miracles she experienced. Moments when she felt angels surrounding and lifting her. And, in the course of the story, she challenged the reader to look for and recognize the miracles  in their own lives. Since then, I've been paying attention. And what miracles I've seen! Here are a few of my recent miracles:

1. Tori and I are getting along. We haven't had a knockdown, drag out fight for weeks! My house might be a mess, but we're busy being our own little family. And that's ok. The more we fall into being on our own, the cleaner the house will be able to stay...hopefully. ;)

2. I was able to stretch out my gas until tomorrow...when I get paid. I'm currently on empty (as is my bank account).

3. Tori is doing GREAT in school! She is getting "in trouble" (they just don't get in trouble often in this school) for reading when she isn't supposed to and she does her homework with a minimum of fuss. She's happy when she comes home and she's happy when we go to bed. We're reading Little House in the Big Woods right now. She loves it.

4. I have wonderful parents who are always willing to help me out when I need it. And an ADORABLE nephew who I love to smother with kisses.

This leads me into my "thankful" post for today. Tori was in her room listening to her "Spotifie" playlists on the iPad while I cleaned up the main room. Suddenly, she ran out of her room saying, "I don't know what I did! I didn't mean to, mommy!" I, of course, asked her what was wrong. She said, "I don't know what I pushed, but I saw an inappropriate picture of a music woman and it scared me! I turned off the iPad!" Cue the sobbing. I hugged her and told her she did exactly the right thing. She saw something that scared her, turned it off and came and told mommy. I was so grateful she did that! Once she saw the chocolate chips I had out she calmed down. I then asked her if she could describe what it was that she saw. She said it was a woman lying on a cloud, naked, with a cloud covering her bum. Damn you, Katy Perry. So today, I am so very grateful for the innocence of children.

That ends my post! Now I challenge you: at least once every day, look for the miracles in YOUR life and write them in your journal. And if you don't have a journal, get one. You'll be amazed at what you find when you look.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What can we do?

(This is a follow up to the question I asked on Facebook. I've linked my sources if you're interested in reading them.)

I don't have cable. I need to get an antenna so I can get local news channels, but I haven't done that yet. So I'll be the first to admit that I haven't been keeping up with local news and what's going on in the world. In fact, what I hear and read about frustrates me so much that I start avoiding just to keep my sanity. This morning for the first time in months I turned on Glenn Beck's radio program. Now, the guy can be a little extreme. He goes off on his rants and sometimes I don't agree with everything he says. However, he's also the one who is absolutely determined to push the important news stories that the other big news outlets don't always push. Usually you can find articles, they'll cover these stories, but it's usually not front page news. Apparently hundreds of deaths in Egypt isn't spectacular enough for the front page. Anyway, so it was this morning, through Glenn, that I heard about what was happening in Egypt. I immediately got on the internet to look up this story and see what other news sources were saying about it. What I found was extremely disturbing to me.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been a focus of Glenn's for some time now. I haven't followed it incredibly closely, but I know he accuses several people in office of being in bed with them. And now, in Egypt, they are showing their true colors. For some reason, they are blaming the Coptic Christians for their chosen Muslim Brotherhood president being kicked out of office. What followed was a bloodbath. While going through the articles and stories, I saw an extremely disturbing similarity to Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass. Dozens of Christian churches throughout Egypt have been burned or destroyed. Christians have been raped, beaten and killed just for their faith. An orphanage was attacked. 3 nuns, women who have dedicated their lives to Christ, were paraded through the streets, abused and harassed, and probably would have been killed had a Muslim woman not given them refuge. Their shops were being marked with black or red x's, so the rioters would know which places to destroy.

After reading all these horrific stories, I began to reflect on WWII and the Jewish genocide. Or, as a friend of facebook pointed out, the African American oppression and enslavement that was going on right here at home. I began to consider what my reaction might have been, had I been alive at that time. Would I have gone with the status quo? Would I have disagreed with the slavery, murder, torture and rape silently? Or would I have spoken up, making it clear where I stood? And what am I doing about our country today?

There are some serious problems in our country right now. The racial divide is only growing bigger, certainly being helped along by our celebrities, people whom so many in our country trust and look up to. Our own president gave a speech that also created a "them" vs. "us" situation. Was he wrong in addressing some of the problems facing black men of today? Certainly not. Could he have done it in a less inflammatory manner? I think the answer is a resounding yes. Unlike this man, our president didn't acknowledge the areas in which young black males help further the negative view of them he mentions. Overall, I was not impressed. For a man who claims he wants to unite our country and bring us together as one people, all he seems to do is make it worse.

There are people in our country who are standing up for pedophiles. There are teens as young as 15 who commit murder "for the fun of it". In over half the states in our nation, people on welfare are making more each year than those hardworking individuals who are supplying that welfare. There's a group in California who will deliver free condoms to children as young as 12. Instead of focusing on the decline of family values and the divine parental responsibility we have to raise our children to respect and value life, we blame guns and race when murder happens and turn it into a political platform. Is it a coincidence that as the value of marriage and the nuclear family declines and divorce rates and single mothers raising children alone rise, so is the violence in our country? I don't think so. As a single mother myself, I know that I cannot do as good a job raising my daughter as I could if I had a partner to help me. God has been evicted from our schools and we wonder why we have children killing children? With evil now being portrayed as good and good as evil, I don't know how anyone can be surprised.

I'm sick of it. I'm sick of being a part of the silent majority. I'm sick of sticking my head in the sand and ignoring the problems that are happening around me. We have a responsibility to help to shape the direction our country is headed, and we need to stand! I'm still not sure how I can help change things, but I know I'm going to start with my daughter. I'm going to teach her about the way things used to be, and how damaging it is to follow the status quo. I want to raise her to be her own person, someone who knows what she believes in and stands up for it. I hope you'll stand with me on this. I hope you'll be able to see that it's not about whether you're a democrat or republican, a progressive or libertarian. It's about morals and values, and the basic understanding of what is right and what is wrong. It's about hope for our future and the courage to see it through.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bored at work...

Today is Thursday, which means that the doc I work for is in Brigham City seeing patients and I'm here in Logan covering phones. And as the phones hardly seem to ring on Thurs mornings, it means I'm generally left with a shortage of things to do. Therefore, I decided to utilize this time to update my friends on my life! Isn't that just the best idea ever?! :-)

First, work. I'm actually really enjoying working at Alpine, despite my slow Thursday mornings. I've been trained to work with two different physicians and next week I start training on the billing side. I'm a Jack of all trades! Hey, it's job security. Most of the people I work with are great. Really friendly and welcoming. There are a couple people who are a little standoffish, but maybe they're just shy. Or stressed. Or whatever. I don't let it bother me, you get those in every office. I'm LOVING having Fridays off! It's like I get two Saturdays! I never want to go back to a 5 day work week.

The apartment is growing on me. It's still seriously small, but I'm finding ways to work with it, and I'm sure I'll continue to find more. I still hate having to beg ask people to use their washing machine, but it's ok. I need to figure out something for Tori's room though. I think I might get a small bookshelf for her room. Right now all her books (you know, the ones she never reads) are in the bottom dresser drawer. But if I could clear that space I could put the toys that find themselves scattered around the periphery of her room in there. But that's what KSL is for! I'm still dealing with the "old house" smell and freaking nasty ancient carpet. I'm planning on carpet cleaning probably next week on the 4th. Then we can go camping and let it dry all weekend. I have been seeing spiders around too. Which shouldn't be a surprise, we had about a million ladybug eggs laid right outside our front door. Tori was super excited about it because she learned about ladybugs and their life cycles in school. She immediately became the "mommy" and now has little grubs and ladybugs everywhere. It's a full on feast for the spiders. I'm about to go kamikaze on those bitches. I need to go to Home Depot and see if they have anything for spiders that's safe to use indoors. In the meantime, I've got a gun fly swatter. I'll get em.

Tori's still managing ok. It's hard for her to be missing all her friends, but she's actually doing better than I'd expected. She's all about the running away right now which is driving me crazy, but we'll get through it. My parents are coming out today, which I think will really help. Once she makes some friends close by we'll be golden!

I'm going to finish with some pictures. I know I still haven't posted that vlog of our apartment I promised, but as soon as I get the carpets cleaned and stuff I'll do it. I swear! :-) Until next time, loves!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

My first week

Well, I've officially been living in Utah for a week and it's been...interesting. Can I just start by saying how much I hate unpacking? Wait, I don't think you caught that. I HATE UNPACKING!!! My closet at home was wonderful. My dad had outfitted it Classy/California Closets style, and I had almost more shelving than I knew what to do with. So going from that to an old attic apartment with almost no storage to speak of...I've got a lot of crap that I don't know what to do with! It's fun. :-) Thank heavens I have an amazing sister in law who is a master at tackling projects head on that I would rather avoid. She and Adam came down last weekend to help me move in and with their help I got my kitchen completely set up and my front room done! Well, until I started unpacking my DVDs and realized I have WAY too many. Good news on that is I found some clear DVD storage cases that can be zipped up and stored under a bed. I got 4 (they hold 35-40 each) for $11. Can't wait to get those so I can get the rest of the mess out of my front room!

So the first night we spent at Haley's house. We showered there and headed over to the apartment to start unpacking. Gotta say, there are some great people in Utah. We were counting on Adam to help with the heavy lifting, but that morning he decided to be a dork great husband and let his wife sleep in because they'd been up late. So they didn't get down till around 2-3. But we weren't willing to wait around for that, so the guy who lives below me was fortunately willing to pitch in with mattresses and bed frames. My cousins stopped by and made short work of the boxes, and then some random guy on a walk with his girlfriend stopped and offered to help with the dressers. Milly made me laugh when she commented that he was just showing off for his girlfriend, but hey. I was the one benefiting so I was good with it! Anyway, at this point it looked like my dad's truck had vomited all over my tiny apartment. (The girls made fun of my awesome Buffy obsession calendar, but I forgave them.)
Pregnant chick was whining politely requesting some food by this point, so I ordered pizza. Haley took Tori and picked it up, and Adam and Nykele showed up soon after. They and Dad left for the storage unit to get the rest of my stuff, Haley went to the store to get me some basics, like toilet paper (only a little important), and I continued to avoid unpacking. Anyway, to make a long story short, Adam and Nykele helped me get my kitchen put together and I got my room to the point where Tori and I were able to sleep there that night.

Ok, now for my awesome bathroom experience. So Saturday night I stopped at hell Wal-Mart on the way back from Haley's house because I didn't have the ability to shower. Seriously, you should have seen the shower head on this shower. There was more lime than plastic showing. I had a shower head I'd ordered online, but when I went to install it, the pipe was 3/8" and the shower head was 1/2". ARGH! So I knew I'd need to go to Home Depot and get an adapter, but hey, I need to shower. So I figured I'd deal with the nasty one until Monday. I got a cute shower curtain and some hooks and figured I'd be set...until I got home. I went in to get the curtain up so we could shower the next day and just stood there staring in dismay. The "curtain rod" was a stick of wood freaking 2" in diameter. My shower hooks just laughed at me when I tried to get them on it. I almost started crying. Keep in mind, at this point it was about midnight. So Tori and I had to go back to Haley's to shower before church the next day. Sigh. Side note: that night we went to Grandpa and Nana's for a Memorial Day BBQ. I walked in and remembered Ben (my downstairs neighbor) saying he'd better be nice to me since I'm the landlord's granddaughter. Made me chuckle.

So onto Monday. Haley was an angel and took Tori with her up to the mountains. Allen's family all went up and played all day so she had tons of kiddos to play with. On the way home after I picked her up, she kept going on about her "cousins" and "other grandpa". She's totally adopted Haley's in-laws. It was pretty cute. So anyway, I had a whole day to keep going on organizing. Obviously I didn't shower. I actually turned on the shower to see if I might be able to shower without a curtain if I was careful...and the water immediately started spraying straight out to the sides. So much for that. Adam and Nykele helped my dad organize the storage unit that morning, then came back with him. He grabbed my empty boxes and took them back with him, and Adam and Nykele helped me organize my front room, including getting my tv stuff set up. They're awesome! I went with them to Bed, Bath and Beyond where I kicked off my errands by picking up a new shower rod (I decided to simply ignore the monstrosity) and a wall mirror. From there I went to Wal-Mart where I found fans for our bedrooms and shower hooks, then stopped at Home Depot where I found my adaptor! I was able to hang my shower curtain and use my new shower head just in time for my new job! Yay!

So now onto my new job. My first day was Tuesday. It was the first day back after a holiday weekend when the doc was on call. His nurse ended up adding 9 extra patients to an already packed day. By the afternoon, people were laughing at me when they found out it was my first day. Toward the end of the day Kathy (the nurse I work with) admitted that this was the worst day she's ever seen there. So with that back actually hasn't been too bad! That first day (morning) I followed Christina (office manager) around, watching and observing. By that afternoon, the entire office was so nuts that I was taking patients back by myself. Good thing I'm so awesome! By the time the last patient was *finally* being seen, I was sitting like a zombie. Christina told me to go ahead and leave (around 5:35), I went and picked up Tori (Ann took pity on me and fed us) and we were in bed and asleep by 8:30! It hasn't been quite as crazy since, but it's definitely never boring.

One factor of this that will be interesting is seeing how and where to draw the lines. Ann's watching Tori for me right now while I'm working, which is actually really nice because it's only about 5 min from my house, then 5 min to work from hers. But we've never lived near Ann, we've only ever visited. And when we visit, we're over there all the time. So now I get to try and manage a balance between being able to be there to visit and spend time, while also not overstaying my welcome. And trying to help Tori appreciate the difference between visiting and living here and how that affects her ability to go over to Ann's whenever she wants. Wish me luck! 

So anyway, that's my story so far! Once I get my apartment to a non-embarrassing stage, I'll do that vlog I promised. Love to you all! <3 p="">

From University until almost Fort Collins...this is what my speedometer looked like on I-25! What a great way to begin my trip! :-P

Yep, Wyoming is pretty awesome. This was at Little America.

Tori has the BEST bedhead! This was the morning after we got there.

Freaking love this picture.

First thing Tori finds a place for in the new apartment? Her bow.

Haley = 3.5 months baby, Adam = 3.5 slices of pizza.

Adam got to be a human jack while we placed the bricks under my mattress.

Adam and Nykele got this dress for Tori from Ghana. GORGEOUS dress, but Tori wouldn't stay still for a dang picture! :)

Some of the girls at work gave me a fortune cookie on Thursday. I opened it up at this is what it said. Pretty appropriate, I thought! :)

Tori and I went with Ann and the fam to Second Dam for dinner on Thursday night. It was SO beautiful, and literally just up 4th North from my apartment. I'm thinking it's a place we'll have to go often. :)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Peanut Butter--A new way of living.

Whenever I've found a disc that looks like there are more scratches than not, I pronounce it DOA and pitch it in the trash. Most of the time I'm a little disappointed, but forget about it soon after it's gone. Tonight I was going through my old CDs while packing up my closet and I found my POPS Concert CD from 2002. Holy crap. I couldn't wait to listen to it! I stuck it in my computer and waited for the amazing sounds of high school singing to ring in my ears. But all the came out of my computer was a horrible squealing sound! I took out the disc and looked at the back. Scratches. All I could see were scratches! I was so sad! Then, in the back of my mind, I remembered something from my Pinterest-obsessed days I heard once. That peanut butter can help fill in those deadly scratches and allow a CD to play again. I decided I had to try it, for this CD at least. So I dug into my dad's sacred supply of Skippy.

Guess what? IT WORKED!!! I was able to save all those off-key wonderful songs. Ahhh, the memories it brings back! Choir is definitely the only part of high school I really miss. 

**UPDATE** The peanut butter only lasted me through 12 tracks. I'm guessing it wears off because track 13 got stuck. So I tried toothpaste. Worked a treat, with the side effect of smelling minty fresh! Love these household tricks!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Update from the past year!

My last post was in 2011?! Someone should slap me! Boy do I have some catching up to do! Here we go:

We're moving! I've been accepted to USU in the fall and we'll be out there by late June at the latest. And I've changed my I'll be in school forever for another 2 years. I haven't found a job yet but all I need is to find something to tide me over for 6-9 months and then I'll be able to work for my dad. Pray for me! I REALLY don't want to end up working in the food industry!

The house is going on the market on Thursday (thank you Uncle Kent) and we could be out there as early as mid-May. Second piece of exciting news: Tori and I will be in our own apartment! I can't even describe how excited I am to FINALLY be on my own! Living with my parents has been very cost effective and great for Tori, but it's beyond overdue for me to be living on my own. The apartment we'll be living in will be available middle of next month, so instead of living with my aunt as was the original plan, Tori and I will be able to go straight into our apartment. Thank goodness. I was dreading the idea of moving, living with Ann, then moving into the apartment and starting school all in a couple weeks. Tori needs adjustment periods, she wouldn't be able to handle that. So I'll keep everyone updated with pictures, and maybe even a vlog once we're settled! :)

Tori's been doing well in school, and she was accepted to Thomas Edison for 3rd grade, which I'm really excited about. Haley works there and Ann's kids go there as well, so she'll be in good company. She'll have a lot of catching up to do since they don't do ability grouping, but I know she can manage it. She recently did a huge Ellis Island project at school where she had to pick a country her ancestors were from, write a report and make a doll with the traditional clothing. She chose Scotland and did such a great job! I was very proud of her. :) She's still struggling to enjoy reading, but I have faith that we'll get there eventually! I'm hoping the Spaulding method used at Thomas Edison will help her comprehension level increase. We'll see. She's getting more excited about moving! Ann was here for about 2 weeks and Tori had a mental breakdown hard time after they left. She loves having friends to play with and I used that as an example of why she should be so excited to move! :)

Um...what else happened in 2012? Let's see...

  • Broncos made it to the play offs only to lose badly to the Pats, but the Tebow fever led to David Boreanaz doing the "Tebow", which was pretty much the most amazing thing about January 2012.

  • I decided to try the Primal lifestyle. I failed.

  • Tebow was fired from the Broncos. 'Sob' Oh yeah, and I turned 27.

  • Learned about Ramin's new CD, immediately became impatient. And I discovered TBBT!

  • Great quotes from Tori including:

         Tori: why are they called potstickers?
         Me: because they stick to the pot.
         Tori: why do they stick to the pot?
         Me: because they're potstickers.
         And on and on...

         Tori: "You should get me some wheat Chex."
         Nana: "We have wheat Chex."
         Tori: "No, I mean the ones with frosting on it."
         Nana: "You mean mini-wheats?"
         Tori: "Yeah. Those are supposed to help keep me focused."
         Advertising 1, Nutrition 0.

  • Discovered that May 4th is Geek Star Wars Day. "May the Fourth be with you." 
  • Tori had a sleep study at Children's Hospital. They found out she's completely normal for the low, low price of $1400. Awesome. 
  • Found out Ramin Karimloo was going to be in Chicago for a concert. Immediately bought a ticket to visit Margo in Chicago.
  • Discovered the amazingness of Juice Plus...and haven't had a bad illness since.
  • More Tori quotes:
         Taylor: "Tori, you need to listen to your mother."
         Tori: "No I don't, she's not my mother. She's my step-mother. She's mean."
         Me: "Oh really? So who's your mother?"
         Tori: "Taylor." ...well, naturally.

         Tori: "I'm the most specialist girl in the whole entire world."
         Me: "You're the most specialist girl in the whole entire world to me."
         Tori: "And everyone in Virginia." ....ok.

  • Started summer classes
  • Colorado was set ablaze and it seemed like the entire state would burn.
  • I WON A FREE IPAD!!! Because Mary Jane Ogle is freaking awesome! :)
  • Time for Tori quotes!
         Tori: "You scream like a girl!"
         Taylor: "No I don't."
         Tori: "Yes you do. Because you are a girl! ...hey, do you want some of my hair for free?"
  • Got my Tower Garden! Didn't work out so well, but I have high hopes for this year! :)
  • BRAVE!!!
  • Discovered the amazing YouTube video where Buffy kills Edward. Hell yeah.
  • Aurora shooting. :(
  • Olympics!
  • Discovered the amazing delights of Diamond Candles
  • Started full-time school!
  • Discovered the wonderful world of Fringe.
  • RAMIN!!!!!!! And I got to hang out with Margo! Such a great week! :)
  • Presidential election time: "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." --MLK, Jr.
  • Tori made a beautiful Harry Potter for Halloween!
  • Devastated when Obama won for another 4 years.
  • Had tons of fun in Utah over Thanksgiving.
  • Tori decided to start answering to Alice instead of her own name.
  • The world didn't end.
  • Saw, and loved, Les Mis.
Now for something that deserved more than a bullet in a month. In November one of my closest friends, Ashley Simmons, went back to heaven. She was a wonderful person with a huge personality, and had one of the most difficult lives of anyone I've ever known. She fought a good fight and finally went home. I love you Ash, and I miss you every day.

Now an overview of the year in photos and videos:

Thank goodness for Facebook! I need to blog more, but at least I have that to help me remember what happened last year. :) I'll update more tomorrow, got lots more to share!