Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mom Always Knows

The past couple of months have been a bit challenging for me. About two months ago I found a mass in my breast.

It's true...I'm going to talk about the ta-ta's! 
(Check yours ladies!! It's so important!)

At first, I was determined to handle things with courage and optimism and just carry on with normal life. But, the more time that went by, the more I thought about the reality of my situation. And the more scared I got.

When I first told my mom, I was calm, cool and collected. I was still determined to be optimistic. But, inside I was fighting that battle to be calm and optimistic...and it was getting harder.

The best thing about my mom is that when I entered this world, I believe my mom was given the blessing of REALLY knowing and understanding me. She always knows. I can be smiling and have a cheerful voice, but she always knows my heart.

So, she did what she does best...and she came to town.

And I'm so very grateful she did.

She knew that I needed her.
Somehow she always knows.

And it makes me so happy.

We have laughed, we have cried. We have cleaned and shopped. We have stayed up late talking. And we have just sat in silence, just enjoying being together.

Today, the mass is gone, and my ta-ta's are just fine.
(Did I mention that you should check yours?!)

Lucky for me, my mom is still here.
So now I get to enjoy her with no worries.

I'm so happy that mom always knows.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Getting to Know You Blog Hop!!

I'm so excited about this fun Blog Hop hosted by Mariel at "Or so she says..."!  It's a fun way to get know a little bit more about me and the other contributors on her fantastic blog! Mariel is someone I have grown to love, admire and respect a great deal. I love her blog. Mainly because she tries so hard to have something for everyone. If you have not followed her yet, you are missing out. You can follow her here on Facebook also.

To get to know us all better, Mariel asked us to answer these few questions.

What inspired you to start your blog (or shop?) I started my blog as a type of journal, but also a way to keep my family out west connected to my crazy bunch. 

What's your favorite and least favorite thing about blogging? My favorite thing about blogging is just sitting down and putting thoughts, memories and emotions into a post. My least favorite thing is not having enough time to do it all!

Tell me with only 20 words, 20 things you love. God, hubby, kiddos, snuggling, helping, thunderstorms, tickles, flowers, hope, laughter, hugs, chocolate, family, memories, friends, creating, reading, Sunday's, photography, piano.

What is the one recipe you are most often asked to share?  Please share it with us! 
My homemade caramels. But, I've been sworn to secrecy. The second most requested one would be my buttermilk bread. It's so yummy and easy. You throw it all into the bread machine and go!

For a TWO pound bread machine

1 1/2 c. + 2 TBL Cultured Buttermilk, 80 degrees F/27 degrees C (the buttermilk should be warm enough where it's almost uncomfortable to leave your finger in there)
1/4 c. oil
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
4 c. flour
2 1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast OR 1 1/2 tsp. Quick Rise Yeast

Put all the ingredients in your bread machine in the order of the recipe. After you put the flour in, make a small hole in the flour and put your yeast in it. 

Select your normal White Bread Cycle. I choose light crust, because anything else is too done. At least for my cute little bread machine.

For a 1 1/2 pound bread machine:
1 c. + 2 TBL Cultured Buttermilk, 80 degrees F/27 degrees C
3 TBL oil
3 TBL sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 c. flour
2 tsp. Active Dry Yeast OR 1 1/2 tsp. Quick Rise Yeast

For a 1 pound bread machine:
3/4 c. + 2 TBL Cultured Buttermilk, 80 degrees F/27 degrees C
2 TBL oil
2 TBL sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. Active Dry Yeast OR 1 tsp. Quick Rise Yeast

5 favorite beauty products, right now... what are they? EOS lip balm, Maybelline The Volume Rocket Express mascara (BEST mascara...especially if you have thin eyelashes.), Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain, Pantene Expert AgeDefy hair products (mama's got lots of unruly grays!), and Bath & Body Works Orange Ginger body cream.

What's your personal mantra(s)?  Something you tell yourself on a regular basis? All is Well. Or at least it will be soon. :)

What movie made you laugh more than any other? The Proposal! Oh my goodness...I was recently reminded that this movie makes me laugh!! ...and laugh, and laugh, and laugh!

If you could recommend one family vacation, what would it be? I think mine would be Yellowstone, state parks, or anywhere else we can explore. No long lines, no expensive hotels, lots of exploring to do. We have so many kids, so these are the ones we've always gravitated towards. 

What goals are you currently working on? There are always SO MANY! Right now, to be happy in the moment, to come up with a rock solid meal plan for the next 2 weeks, find time to read a good book, love on my family like crazy, and get my desk organized.

Please share links to 3 blog posts (or items from your shop) that are special to you (or favorites of yours), and explain why.

My Friend "K"  Ahhh...this is one of my favorites mainly because it just gives me major gut giggles.  My friend "K" truly is one of my greatest joys.

I See You  I love rereading this post, because it was such a POWERFUL reminder for me to stop and enjoy my kids. It's always amazing to me the things you can learn from your children.

The Dentist...Gone Horribly Wrong  Why this post? I think it's so important to be able to laugh at ourselves. very important!  

My Etsy Shop  This fun little shop on the side makes me so happy. It creates a bit of stress when orders are crazy, but I love it. I love that I can sit in my home and make something that people want to buy. I can take "love on my kiddos" breaks and then get back to work.

Take a minute to hop on over to the other contributor's of "Or so she says...". They are SO GREAT!

Participating Blogs: Cooking with Ruthie Blissful Roots Lemon Tree Dwelling Tips for Family Trips Five Heart Home Double the Deliciousness Nine a Plenty Creative Carmella So Festive! Family Volley Bits of Everything Kiki & Company Additional Contributors (not in blog hop): Packed with Fun Darling Darleen Prepared Housewives Kleinworth & Co. Blahnik Baker Shopgirl The Connection We Share

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dancing in the Rain

Recently I've had some scary medical issues that were going on. And for a time, it consumed me. All I could do was look at my kids and wonder what would become of them if I wasn't here to take care of them. My mind went crazy.

Then one day, we had a hard rainstorm come out of the blue. I was sitting on my couch, when Lucy went RUNNING out the back door with an excited screech that sounded something like, "I'm gonnnnaa pllaayyy in the rraaaaaaainnnnn!"

She ran out to the trampoline and started bouncing, dancing and singing.

As I watched her for a few moments, my mind went back to the fears that I was struggling with. Then I noticed something. The longer I watched Lucy, the more peaceful I felt. I loved watching her find joy in this little rainstorm. I started thinking about my own life then. I was facing a potentially scary storm, but here my little Lucy was teaching me to find the best in it.

I loved her so much in that moment.

It has been a good reminder to not let my trials and challenges get the best of me. I believe that even during out hardest times, we can find joy. We can dance in the rain.

Thank you Lucy LuLu!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Little Miracle

Today I came home early for church because this little guy had a headache.

As I sat in my quiet house and watched him sleeping, I started thinking about this little guy. He was born with a gentle soul, and still has one. He came with a spirit that was ready to love and had the power to heal all of our broken hearts. He has made us laugh, he has made us all feel like we have a special connection with him and he has a giggle that is contagious and healing. I believe that God knew that we would need Luke. And I believe that this amazing spirit was chosen specifically for our family. 

To be told I would never have children of my very own, and then to have this incredible miracle take place, has taught me many things. I have learned that we really don't have a clue about what is best for us, in spite of what we think. I believe that we have a very loving Heavenly Father who sees our lives much more clearly than we can. I struggled for years with the thought that I would never have children of my own. That pain is hard to describe unless you've been asked to endure it. There were moments when I didn't understand, and I would struggle to have enough faith to accept it, and then would try to find ways to still have joy and fulfillment. It was so hard at times. Honestly, there were times when it felt unbearable. In spite of how hard that challenge was, I feel very grateful for it. I'm grateful for the way it taught me to trust my Father in Heaven. I am grateful to know that I can do hard things. I am grateful to know that when we exercise our faith, we are blessed with strength and peace. I am grateful for the way our challenges draw us closer to our Savior. I'm thankful to know that I only have to stress so much about my challenges, and then I can turn them over to someone who can see the whole picture. 

When I look at Luke, those are the things I think about. And I am thankful for this little reminder who is around me every day. When I look at him, I'm reminded to have faith and not fear. When I look at him, I'm reminded to trust. I'm reminded to be patient. I'm reminded that I am loved perfectly. 

Today, I'm grateful for my little buddy.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mother is Always My Dreams.


I had two conversations with Lucy LuLu in the past two days.

"Oh, MOM! It's California! I LOOVVEE California" we were driving to a friends house.
"It's not California Lucy, it's Portland."
About 10 minutes later..."Mom, YOU are wrong. It's California. 
I just know it."

Admitting defeat and wanting to avoid an argument.....
"OK Lucy. If you say so."
"Thanks Mom. I knew I was right."

This morning.....

After Lucy smacked her arm on my desk.....

"Did you hit your funny bone Lucy?"
A look of heartbreaking sadness mixed with dismay.....
"MOM! It's not funny!! And it makes me sad you said that!!"

"Lucy, sometimes we call that our funny bone."

Said loudly, with even greater dismay - and with big tears.....

You win Lucy LuLu.
Mommy isn't always right.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Be Happy...and Grateful.

There is a lady in the small charming town I live in, who has recently taught me a great lesson.

I see her walking around town all the time.

But, it isn't that she's just walking, it's that she can hardly walk. I'm not sure what the story is with her, but she walks with an extreme limp. I have watched on many occasions as she has struggled to move a body that is twisted and bent. Literally every step seems to take all the energy and strength she has. 

I have stopped and given her rides before, to which she has expressed immense gratitude.

During these rides, we have had some nice conversations. Nothing serious or deep, but I have enjoyed getting to know little things about her. She seems rough and worn by life's challenges, but has always been so grateful for the help when given.

The other day, I stopped again to offer a ride.

And on that day, this sweet lady taught me something great.

After I offered to take her where she needed to go, she looked at me with a smile and said, 
"Thank you! But, it's so beautiful out today, so I'm ok walking."

I was shocked.

Here was someone who struggled so much with just the simple act of walking, and yet, on that beautiful day, she was completely content to deal with the challenges of the life that was hers.

We smiled and parted ways.

As I drove away, I found myself counting the blessings that are mine.

I have a wonderful life.
It is a happy life.

And on that day, I was reminded of that.

As I watched her walk away, I didn't see a smile on her face. I saw a face that showed every ounce of effort it took to move her twisted body down the road. But, I knew that at that moment, she was managing to be happy with the life that was hers. She had passed up an opportunity to make her challenges easier, and seemed content to deal with them. 

What a great lesson.

I love those moments that teach us and help us to be grateful for what we have. 

Is my life perfect? No.
But, I know the world is full of people who have managed to be happy with far less than what I have.

I have been humbled and have been reminded to be grateful for all that is mine.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Keep Laughing

A little while ago I had a dear friend give me a gift.

I have thought a lot about this gift since receiving it.
She knows me well, and I think she knew that I would use it.
But, I also believe that she knew the quote on the front would be something that I would find great meaning in.

And she was right. 

There are so many reasons that I love this. 

But, mainly because it was a reminder that even when life gets challenging, we need to laugh.

Laughter works magic in my crazy little world. 

And there really are moments in each day that can make us laugh.

The choice is ours.

I never want to be so serious about life that I forget to laugh.
And I don't ever want to let the struggles, pressures and day to day responsibilities get so overwhelming where I don't laugh.

Thank you, my dear friend.....for reminding me to keep laughing.
Thank you for reminding me to keep finding joyful moments.

Thank you for my gift.

I'm laughing.
I really am.