Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's Time to Get Serious

It's time to get serious about....

FREEDOM - are we taking our freedoms so much for granted that we no longer even pay attention when their very existence is threatened? And not by terrorists, but by our own government?

MORAL JUDGEMENT and HONORABLE PRINCIPLES - are we lowering the bar for our children and grandchildren by lowering the bar for our standard of acceptance when it comes to elected officials, church leaders, community organizers? are we electing and approving poor role models for them to follow?

FINANCIAL SECURITY - are we trusting our future to someone who really isn't looking after our best interest first, after all, handling our money is how they earn their money. Sure, good management of investments is their job security but their bottom line remains their own.

FAMILY TIME - are we spending so much time making sure our kids can keep up with the neighbor kids through lessons, sports, activities, extracurricular events, tutoring and other things that take them away from home that they are not even familiar with what a HOME should be?

CHILDREARING - are we turning the responsibility of teaching and raising our children over to day care centers?

HOUSEHOLD BUDGETS - are we working so hard to balance the family budget that there isn't a family left? With both parents in the workforce, are our children losing any real sense of family and home to the necessity of a double income to buy wants not needs?

PHYSICAL CONDITION - are we eating while we work and working so many hours that we never have time to move, to exercise, to take care of our bodies? Are we sleeping enough?

SPIRITUALITY - are we taking time to say thank you, to reflect on the blessings of each day, to remember the miracles in our life? Ere we left our rooms this morning, did we think to pray? are we feeding our spirits as often as we feed our bodies?

RECREATION - are we giving ourselves time to rejuvenate? are we taking time to smell the flowers? has Calgon taken us away recently?

ENVIRONMENT - are we listening to the concerns about waste and pollution? are we recognizing that although some may take this issue too far, it is a reality we can improve? are we buying smarter, thinking green where it makes sense, disposing of garbage appropriately and recycling when we can? are we littering or do we stop to find a trash can?

MENTAL and EMOTIONAL HEALTH - are we looking for opportunities to relieve ourselves of stress? are we strengthening relationships by investing time in them? do we have date nights? do we listen? do we talk? do we find alone time? do we take vacations, if only for a one day road trip? do we let the house go for a day and do something fun instead?

THE SIMPLE LIFE - are we making choices to simply our lives? are we choosing the less damaging paths? are we seeking calm away from the chaos that has become a norm for so many?

BALANCE - are we working to balance the three-legged stool? are we finding time to serve others, to serve God and to serve ourselves? do we make time for church, work and family? can we find time for solitude, for family time, for community work?

So many areas of my life need improvement and I am working on them even now. It's too late to completely fix some of them but I am serious about changing what I still can.

I am sure I missed something, but this is a pretty good start, dontcha think?

I don't know about you but for me it's time to live life to its fullest. This list will help...

Live Your Life "T.I (feat.) Rihanna"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Omission: Not Just a Lie

Let's take a look at omission, something that is used in a self-serving effort to avoid or elude or deceive -

OMISSION: The act of omitting; neglect or failure to do something required by propriety or duty.

  • The omission of good is no less reprehensible than the commission of evil.  ~Plutarch
  • Three conditions are necessary for Penance: contrition, which is sorrow for sin, together with a purpose of amendment; confession of sins without any omission; and satisfaction by means of good works. ~ Saint Thomas Aquinas
  • While we lack recollection of our pre-mortal life, before coming to this earth all of us understood definitely the purpose of our being here. We would be expected to gain knowledge, educate ourselves, train ourselves. We were to control our urges and desires, master and control our passions, and overcome our weaknesses, small and large. We were to eliminate sins of omission and of commission, and to follow the laws and commandments given us by our Father.  ~Spencer W. Kimball
Now let's take a look at propriety and duty, since the lack of omission is required by both -

PROPRIETY: The quality or state of being proper; suitableness to an acknowledged or correct standard or rule; consonance with established principles, rules, or customs; fitness; appropriateness; as, propriety of behavior, language, manners, etc.

  • “A laugh, if purchased at the expense of propriety, costs too much.” ~ Marcus Fabius Quintilian
  • “Straightforwardness, without the rules of propriety, becomes rudeness.” ~ Confucious
  • “Study first Propriety: for she is indeed the Pole-star.” ~ C.S. Calverley
DUTY: An act or a course of action that is required of one by position, social custom, law, or religion; an obligation; the compulsion felt to meet such obligation .

  • “Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles, and kindnesses, and small obligations, given habitually, are what win and preserve the heart and secure comfort.” ~ Humphrey Davy
  • “Duty is the most sublime word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less.” ~ Robert E. Lee
  • “Duty is ours; results are God's” ~ John Quincy Adams

And finally, let's see what pole-star means -

POLE-STAR:  A guiding principle.
  • “He who governs by his moral excellence may be compared to the Pole Star which abides in its place while all other stars bow towards it.” ~ Proverb
So, an act of omission is basically a failure to feel any compulsion to meet a known duty, to act with propriety, to acknowledge truth as a guiding principle and to govern conversation and actions with moral excellence.

Omission is not just a lie, it's a way of life. It's a personality trait that most often permeates every nuance of the omitter's life. Unfotunately, it doesn't occur by accident or on occasion; it's an habitual and chosen method of dealing with issues and people. And equally unfortunate is the reality that some never get used to it, never understand it, don't even see it coming and always believe that things will change.

Omission is one of the most damaging forms of deception. It hurts everyone, because no one ever really knows the whole truth - only parts of it - so they are left with only half-truths. And yet, the omitter walks away embracing an undeserved self-justification, because in their contorted way of thinking - truth was told - just not all of it.

Jonathan Roy "Lies"

Monday, September 28, 2009

Family & Cookie Jars

Sometimes in life we lose focus of what's most important, we become disoriented and confused.

Sometimes those moments of confusion are fleeting and can pass by almost unnoticed and certainly without causing damage.

Other times, when the haze lingers longer it's more likely that damage will occur and when the fog finally lifts we are faced with the reality of our misstep. It was maybe even a fleeting sidestep, one that we didn't think would matter, but it took our focus off of what was important and we lost our footing on the path we were headed down and we didn't catch ourselves in time to get back on track instantly and save what was really important.

As I get older, and after moving a zillion times as an adult, it has become extremely clear to me that there are only a few things in life that really really matter. Family is right up there at the top of the very short list. If you lose your family, you have lost the second most important thing in this life, the first being your own identity, self-worth and self-respect.

Long ago a friend commented on "all the stuff" I had creatively arranged on a shelf in my kitchen (I thought it looked very artsy). He particularly mentioned an old cookie jar in the shape of a cocker spaniel and made fun of the fact I thought it was attractive to display. And he was right, it wasn't a very attractive piece to have staring out at everyone who wandered into my kitchen, but what he didn't know was that my brother had given me that cookie jar for Christmas the year before he died; it was important to me for that reason. My kids have most certainly made similar comments as they have packed and lifted and moved boxes of  "stuff" all over the western U.S. for me.

This past weekend as I was cleaning and reorganizing my office (and house), in anticipation of guests and in a complete overreaction to the Mickey-imposter who had visited last week, I took advantage of this unplanned wave of fall OCD cleaning to clear my house of "all the stuff" that didn't really have a purpose.

As I removed items and kept others, I realized that my house has unintentionally become a silent tribute to my family and friends. Some of the "stuff" didn't have a purpose at all, but I was still not going to remove it. Gifts I had received over the years, pictures of children, family and friends, furniture that belonged to my parents, needlepoint pillows created by my friends, unique gifts from my long ago wedding to the father of my children, and small items I have picked up in my travels...all of these things have become part and parcel of the world I live in every day of my life.

I am comfortable here, because I am surrounded by family and friends and favorite memories through "all that stuff". I can walk fom one room to another and feel the warmth of memories calming me, soothing me, giving me a sense of place and home, even when they are so very far away in reality.

At the end of the day, at the end of life, these are the things that matter, the people who we think of, the places we remember, the choices we made, the family we loved and the friends we made along the way...

I don't have the cookie jar anymore, but I remember exactly what it looked like and always will. And I remember Jim's face when he gave it to me, just a I remember bits and pieces of life with every member of my family and so many of my friends. I dropped the cookie jar when washing it one day. It had been cracked early in its life but I had glued it back together. When I dropped it into the sink that last time, I was multi-tasking and talking on the phone while reaching with one hand for a towel and holding the cookie jar  on my soapy palm. It slipped and before I could regroup and catch it,  it was shattered. The crack had weakened the jar to begin with and it didn't take much for it to shatter completely.

Life begins with family. Life is lived with family. Life is sustained by family. Life is endured with family. Life is learned with family. And life should be celebrated with family.

Don't we all hope for the day when we will be greeted by waiting family after our time on earth is over? I do.

There is simply nothing more important than a respect and love for self and for family, not differing opinions, not opposing views, not different lifestyles  - those are the small cracks that can leave us vulnerable.

I love my family, and I loved that cookie jar. We should be careful to focus on what's important in  life. Too many diversions can cause damage we aren't even aware of, small cracks that are vulnerable during those times when life's demands cause us to multitask or sidestep or not be quite as focused as we should be.

I am lucky to still have family and my friends - inspite of all the cracks in my life. I am lucky to have the memory of my brother, my mother, my father, and the hope of a future reunion with them at the end of my life, and of course, I am lucky to have had that ugly cracked cookie jar that I loved so much and that Jim was so happy to give.

Family and cookie jars. And friends. It's important to remember that the really important things in life aren't always perfect or pretty, sometimes they are even cracked, but those are the imperfections that make them real - just like you and me. Imperfections make us human and are often what lead us to perfection.

Jack Johnson "Cookie Jar"

Sunday, September 27, 2009


It's amazing that life just keeps moving, no matter what doors close in our faces. Remember the quote, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us, ” from Alexander Graham Bell?

Sometimes our lives are altered dramatically by choices we make on our own, but sometimes they're altered by choices others make. Either way, planned or unplanned, doors can slam closed suddenly and unexpectedly; and when that happens we can't just stand there and stare, or knock forever, we have to look around for another door that will open...or sometimes, we have to break in through a window!

Today, Kalen climbed through a kitchen window (not the first time this has happened with the two of us) because she had walked outside my house and locked the door behind her, unaware that I was sitting outside reading the newspaper without my keys, purse, etc. The door was closed and locked. There is not a hide-a-key. Thankfully the kitchen window was open, and so around to the side of the house we went, dragging a chair along for her to stand on. She climbed up,  tugged the screen off, pushed the window wider open, took several deep breaths and hoisted herself up (she wouldn't let me give her a push) and over the window sill, landing in the sink before dropping to the floor inside. Flexible, agile girl, that one, and a locked door was not going to keep us out!

Life is full of lessons, and today's silly mishap at my little adobe house was just another example of how we can learn from life's everyday happenings.

A door closed, but we found another way...we found a window. We were determined.

Where there's a will, there's a way. And as far as Kalen is concerned, her flexibility, tolerance, determination, smarts, optimism, agility, good looks, kind heart, bubbly personality and downright stubbornness will push through a lot of doors in the future - and maybe a few windows too.

Determination. It will break down some doors, close others and push open a few windows too.

Needless to say, my kitchen window now has a new lock and will remain closed, but as with life, it was open when we needed it. There's always another path if we will simply look.

Bob Dylan "Knockin on Heaven's Door"

Guns N Roses "Knockin on Heaven's Door"

Eric Clapton "Knockin on Heaven's Door"

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Words are something we often use casually, without much thought. We fling an exclamation one way and shoot a profanity another. We casually toss words like LOVE and HATE around with our friends and family.

Words can build us up or tear us down. In one syllable sometimes.

They can do more damage than a triple black belt in a dark alley. They can make us feel like a million bucks easier than a new dress can.

Words stick with us. We use them as throwaways, but they never really get thrown away. They linger in our minds. They lift our souls or dampen our spirits.

They hurt us, they anger us, they frustrate us, they enlighten us, they make us laugh.

Words are important. They are serious influences for good or bad.

We often want to have the LAST word. Sometimes we wish we could take hastily and thoughtlessly spoken words back.

But words, once spoken, cannot be erased. They were heard. They were felt. They were assimilated into someone's life. Words are like glue, they stick, and sometimes they stick in ways we wish they wouldn't.

Words can be uplifting and encouraging and hopeful.

Words can also be dangerous and harmful and degrading.

We need to be more careful how we use our words. We need to edit in our minds before we say anything.

Words - they can make us or break us, and they can make or break the person we are talking to as well.

It's easy to spit out words, it's not so easy to take them back.

Choose words carefully. One word can speak volumes, even more than the following 5 paragraphs of dialogue can.

Words are powerful and must be handled with care.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Phone Sick

Phone sickness. I was warned about it, but I threw caution to the wind and now look...

I am phone sick. Sick because of a phone. Sick from phone germs. Sick after a phone call, I think the germs came right through the phone, all the way from Cedar City, UT.

That narrows it down, doesn't it. Cedar City. So it has to be Karynn, or JR, or Kelly, or Logan,  or Daelan, or Kiel, or Jespen, or even Kierstyn. Who done it, you wonder? Can't you guess?

It was Kelly. She called, she sniffed, she coughed, she blew her germs through the phone and now here I am, phone sick. And then she called again, just so that I could "hear her sick voice" once more today. Yakety yakety yak..hack hack, sniff, sniff...yakety yak.

Kelly made me phone sick. And I think she is proud of it. I am sorry that she is sick, but she didn't have to share it.

After all, she has Logan to make her dinner, throw away her "snot-rags" and who do I have? Usually no one, but tonight I have Kalen. Uh huh. Kalen. She's here with me and needless to say, she isn't cookin' dinner or throwing away used tissues.

So, I am taking another packet of Emergen-C and I am going to bed.

Don't forget: Cell phones have germs. Be careful, cough and sneeze into your sleeve, drink hot fluids, get enough rest and take your Emergen-C. And don't spread your germs through phone conversations.

The Coasters "Yakety Yak"

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Why is it that to get organized you have to do all kinds of pre-organization and sub-organization? Sometimes I feel like all I do is organize one thing so that I can organize it with something else later. It's organizationally ridiculous.

Today I bought large 3" x 5" cards...which basically means that I bought 5.5" x 8" cards. And I bought a small clipboard to hold the cards. Then I created an Index on the top card and numbered the remaining cards. Each card is for an individual project and I wrote the name of the project at the top, then a list of things I need to do.

I then counted the projects that I have underway for the Rio Grande Foundation. I was thinking maybe 8 or 10 projects....oh no, not 8, not 10, but 28 projects. TWENTY-EIGHT.

No wonder I feel a pressing need to be more organized. I can't even remember how many projects I have on the RGF drawing board, let alone what needs to be done for each of them.

And that doesn't include my personal To Do list (as if I had a life). I don't even want to know how many projects are on my personal list and what I need to organize in order to accomplish it, if I did I might not want a life.

Organization is the key to accomplishment, but I wonder if I will ever finish organizing so that I can actually accomplish something? Let's get back to basics on this:


Pronunciation: ȯr-gə-nə-ˈzā-shən

Function: noun

Date: 15th century

Definition: the act or process of organizing or of being organized

So we need to organize to be organized which is organization.

Ok, that makes sense, it all ties back to "a place for everything and everything in its place", doesn't it? Yes? Well then, that leaves me no choice... the 5.5" x 8" cards are done, now I am off to alphabetize my spices, oh wait, they are already in ABC order. I will work on my closets and organize my clothes by color, oh wait, that's done - no, that's done.

Sigh. I guess it's the office. I was hoping to avoid it. I suppose I could work on my storage unit first..........

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mickey Mouse is a Fallacy

I will never wear a Mickey Mouse hat again. All past infatuation of my youth is gone forever.  I hate mice. Therefore, I have outlined the 10 steps below for anyone who needs to get rid of a mouse, these are based on personal experience.

Step 1: Purchase, bait and set mousetrap: SNAP, the mighty mousetrap finally did its job. The mouse is dead. (This may not occur in the first hour or day you have set the trap, PATIENCE, DETERMINATION and TENACITY is required). Wash hands, over and over.

Step 2: Discovering the dead mouse in the morning right after climbing out of bed: SCREAM & RUN out of kitchen where it was found. Shake head as if you did't really see a dead mouse on your kitchen floor with it's head caught beneath the ugly metal bar that SNAPPED in the middle of the night sometime. REGROUP, square you shoulders and try to deal, after all it's a very small mouse, but WHO CARES? I hate mice. Wash hands, over and over.

Step 3: Figuring out what to do with the dead mouse and mighty mousetrap: DEFER until heart slows down. TAKE baby aspirin to minimize chance of STROKE. Drink entire bottle of WATER to replace sweat dripping from brow and other places on body. DON'T eat, for fear it will not stay down. Wash hands, over and over.

Step 4: Preventing any further viewing of the dead mouse: THROW a large folded towel over the trap and mouse. Wash hands, over and over.

Step 5: Prepping to somehow remove now covered mouse and trap from the house without seeing or touching it: STRATEGIC PLANNING and execution of plan are necessary, including purchase of LARGE flat blade shovel. AVOID as long as is sanitarily plausable. Wash hands, over and over.

Step 6: Lifting trap, mouse and towel on blade of shovel and quickly dropping into nearby bag-lined wide-mouthed trash can: HOLD BREATH, SQUINT EYES, WRINKLE NOSE, and PRAY that dead mouse does not become exposed. SCREAM even though it does not become exposed to release tension. Do NOT save used mouse trap. EVER. Wash hands, over and over.

Step 7: Close and tie the bagliner without looking, in case mouse is exposed: DO "I HATE MICE" creepy dance with same squinty eyes, wrinkled nose and held breath as before; carry bag to the garbage can outside and drop in quickly. Shower, bathe, wash hair, and hands, over and over.

Step 8: Closure: Mouse is dead. Mouse, trap AND towel are disposed of. Shovel needs washing - use lots of strong stuff to clean it, floor where mouse trap was strategically placed needs sterilizing. SHOWER TIME again! Wash hair and body and hands, over and over.

Step 9: TRASH DAY. I want that thing OUT of here for good! Goodbye Mickey! Can hardly wait for Wednesday, trash day. Never stop washing hands over and over.

Step 10: SET NEW trap(s) again, just in case Minnie is around. REPEAT as necessary.

I really hate mice. I hate them alive and I hate them dead. They give me the creeps.

Mice are NOTHING like Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Why in the world did we sensationalize mice??!?!? They are icky.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Shake the Dust from Your Feet (Matthew 10:14)

Last weekend was a turning point for me.

With the activities behind me and life's challenges exposed  at more levels than I care to share here, I cried all the way from Lake Arrowhead to Orange County.

I cried for stolen lives and a half dozen young, innocent, and broken hearts; I cried over the folly of youth and the challenges ahead; I cried over a lost eternity and the weakness of mankind; and I cried over the lies that blatantly and brazenly live on.

But then I took a deep breath, lifted my chin and shook the dust from my feet.

I know great men and women. I recognize and celebrate truth. I believe in the healing power of God. I trust that what is good and right and true will prevail. I seek for light and avoid darkness. I have faith in my children and in my friends and in myself.  I recognize the tenacious and industrious determination of the human spirit. I honor life. I respect honorable choices. I treasure the principle of repentance. I embrace forgiveness and I trust eternity. I am not perfect, but I don't claim or pretend to be either.

And nearly two decades after it was stolen away from me, I have reclaimed my life.

I know who I am and it's good to be home.

Carrie Underwood "Home Sweet Home"

Firepit Blues

Last night I celebrated my 55th birthday with friends at the Pueblo Harvest Cafe in Albuquerque. The entertainment on the patio was Hillary Smith, an amazing vocalist who incorporates a collection of genres in her performance, but somehow always undercoats the sound with a bluesy depth that rattles around inside the listener until it settles in for good. I loved every minute of last night's 3 sets and am carrying those soulful sounds with me still.

Following dinner, dancing and Hillary, the plan was for all of us to regroup at my friend Karen's house for a firepit - one of our favorite forms of entertainment. I had arrived at the Cafe still dressed in a skirt since I had come straight from 2 days at the New Mexico Turn Around Conference, so I decided to go home to change before heading to the firepit.

I arrived home, slipped out of the skirt and into my jeans and then realized I was totally exhausted. I had just come off three solid days of events and more importantly, 6 weeks of travel, family and stuff that had drained me. I laid down on my bed for a minute and that was the end of that. I slept from 9:15 PM to 7:15 AM - 10 hours. I don't think I even moved.

I missed the firepit. And my friends. And S'mores. And even "some more".  I am disappointed. I wish I hadn't been so tired.

So today I have the firepit blues, but I did sleep well last night and that's probably a good thing.

Earl Gilliam "Texas Blues Piano"

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mouse Trap Poker (Or Happy Birthday to Me)

No more poker face. No more hedging my bets. No more bluffing. Let's just say it like it is: I will never be 110, so my life is at least half over. I am old.

It's time to just buck up and face reality. 55 has hit.

It's been a good life thus far, I can hardly wait to see what the next 30 or so are like. I remember birthdays with my parents, birthdays with my grandparents, birthdays with my sister and brother, birthdays with my kids, birthdays with friends, birthdays with coworkers, birthdays with spouses, birthday with family, birthday with grandkids...I remember my 9th grade surprize birthday party in Rialto with all of my best friends - the first coed party I ever had at my house (my friends threw the party, but coerced my folks into hosting it), I remember birthday serenades and birthday presents and birthday trips...I even remember getting a bright red Porsche Cabriolet one year - yes, a real one. I have had some amazing birthdays.

And this year, it's a bit different since no family is in New Mexico, but it's still good and  I really can't complain, I have dozens of Happy Birthday greetings from friends and relatives by email, in the mailbox and on FaceBook;  I even have my own little rodent who has taken residence in my house and seems to know all about mousetraps since he avoids them day after day (12 traps now). I suppose he will be more than happy to share my cake with me. :(

Anyway...I have to admit that I have had better birthday's, but it's a good day and I plan to celebrate. Tonight I will gather at St. Claire's Winery in Albuquerque with 20 or so other conference speakers and sponsors for dinner. And tomorrow night a bunch of us are heading out to hear some live music, so in reality, this is going to be a fun birthday.

But the best present would be to catch the darn mouse, so I think I will treat myself to another dozen mouse traps as a birthday present! Maybe I will tie balloons on each of them......who knows?

Happy Birthday to me....(ya old lady).

The Beatles "Happy Birthday"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Trash Day

Why is it that every day of the week EXCEPT trash day, I think to today trash day? And then I madly rush around, tugging my jeans on (since I am still in my pj's) and gathering waste baskets in my arms before dashing out to the trash can and then doing the 100 yard dash to the curb.

Trash day is a great example of how people work. It represents good and bad personality traits: procrastination, forgetfulness, the ability to rally when there is a need (remember hearing the truck rumbling down the street and knowing that you have not put the trash can out and are not even dressed yet? Are there other times of nonemergency that you can remember where you have hustled at that pace? I highly doubt it). Trash day is unique.

In some ways, trash day is a symbol of life at its best and worst. Piles of garbage thrown into a large box truck. Responsible people rushing to get every last scrap of waste out of their lives for at least one more week - kind of like communion or sacrament. Any spoiled food and torn pieces of paper are quickly collected and tossed into wastebaskets then carted outside to the trash can which is lugged behind you (thankfully on wheels now) to the curb.

We kick our trash to the curb weekly, just as we rid ourselves of the waste in our lives that needs to be left behind so that we can move forward.

And we need to kick some bad habits out too. And bad thoughts, and old anger, and hatred, and jealousy, and any inability on our part to be tolerant and to forgive. To the curb with all of it. Let's get rid of the trash!

And let's do it with the same energy and determination that we use on trash day, when we hear that rumble a few doors down the street. Let's clean out those closets, straighten our drawers, peek into those ignored dark corners, shine some light into the shadows and empty our lives of unnecessary waste and time-consuming, spirit-draining negativity. It's unsanitary, it's unhealthy, it's trash.

Trash day. It's today. Get rid of the cobwebs. Shake out the anger. Forget the wrongdoings. Toss it all.

Today is trash day, don't miss it. It won't come around again for another week and that's 7 more days of waste, of life lived incompletely, of limited spirituality because there is so much trash in the way.  Do we really have that much time on our hands? Seven more days to waste? Seven more days OF waste?

I don't. It's trash day, and I am tossing stuff left and right. It's time to get rid of guilt and anger, to let go of past mistakes that hurt others and past hurts caused by others. Fix what you can and get rid of the rest.

And I hope that on that last day of our lives, when we are forced to really examine even the deepest lint-filled pockets of our life, on that very last trash day on earth, we are not scrambling around trying to find hidden piles of trash in the hopes we can still toss it out; I think it might be too late if we wait that long. The old trash we never got rid of will have soured and festered and melded together and become part of who we are, or it will be in that darkest corner we never clean out. At that moment, I really think it might be too late. After all, I know that feeling - I have missed the garbage truck before, haven't you?

So, toss it out now. You will feel better. And trash day will be so much easier.

Weird Al "Trash Day"

Monday, September 14, 2009


A decade ago the word "closure" was unknown as something relating to relationships. It was what you did when you closed a bank account.

Five years ago "closure" was the buzz word and everyone needed closure on something...a relationship gone bad, a misunderstanding, a death....and everyone talked about "needing closure".

Today "closure" is part of everyday language and also understood as an important part of healing, but just as it was ten years ago, closure today is not always easy to come by. Some situations simply never go away - divorce, death, birth, some serious do you get closure on something that you face every day of your life, even when you try to avoid it.

And then there are the uncontrollable moments in your life when you are forced into the middle of something you thought you had closure on. Those are the real tests.

And that's when you need to take a deep breath, and suck it up long enough to survive the required experience, then step back from the fray and take a moment to sum up the situation in your mind, and finally, if all is really as you thought,  grab the door handle, stand up tall  and SLAM the door closed. Then walk away and don't look back. It's no longer your problem. It's not your issue. It's not yours anymore. Walk and don't look back, look forward. Remember Lot's wife?

Don't look back. It's painful and can prove damaging in ways you had forgotten you were vulnerable. So, look forward, remember who is important in your life, lift your chin, take another deep breath, and let go. Leave it behind and never look back.

Closure, slam it closed.

Boston "Don't Look Back"

Friday, September 11, 2009


What if after appropriate conversation and action and in an effort to allow both of you to close the issue and move forward, you sincerely apologize to someone for something you did that offended or hurt them, and their response is: "What if I don't want to get past this?"

The answer is simple. It's no longer your issue.

So, move right past them with love in your heart and keep smiling!

“To understand everything is to forgive everything” Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.

The All-American Rejects "Move Along"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Heavenly Symphony

It just started raining.

At first I thought someone was tapping on my door. The sound was hushed yet bold.

I looked outside to see huge wet circles scattered on my patio. Raindrops were falling slowly but steadily. Each one landed with a singular muffled thud on the cement outside my front door.

I stood for a moment and watched the pattern of raindrops spread to my gate, each splatter enlarging as another drop raced to join the others.

Slowly the soft percussions blended into a gentle symphony before lifting into a crescendo finale which still beats on my roof.

It's as if God is crying elephant tears. I hope they are happy tears.

Elton John "Tears in Heaven"

Sometimes Business is Personal

Today's business is personal.

A project I have been working on launched today and I am celebrating by sharing the news with everyone I know! I love the logo, don't you?

Today is 09/09/09 and the 9 club is live. Take a look, bookmark and follow us, and join the battle for freedom!

Lee Greenwood "God Bless America"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Of Mice and Men

I pride myself on being a fairly gutsy lady. There's not too much that can scare me away. I am determined, stubborn, fairly bright, curious and a redhead...I probably better just leave it at that; I imagine you get the picture.

Anyway, being a redheaded gutsy lady seems to matter not when it comes to the matter of mice, or mouse even. How do I know this? I have one.

One. Uno. Singular. Just one.

One tiny little gray mouse. He came to visit last Wednesday and has not felt it was time to leave yet. Obviously he (she?) is not familiar with the standard rule of houseguests - they are like fish, after 3 days they begin to smell and should just be thrown out.

So, I am striving to honor that saying and trying to throw the wee mouse out, attached to a mouse trap...but no luck.

Last night, about 1 AM, one of the traps snapped and it was LOUD, so LOUD it made me jump in my bed from a deep sleep. I spent a long time pondering how to handle this. Mice give me the creeps and dead mice are even creepier. I tiptoed to the linen closet (in slippers, no WAY was I going to go barefoot when a mouse might still be loose in the house) and grabbed two thick towels (old towels). I knew there was no way I could pick up the trap, or the mouse, or the whole package without THICK layers between whatever I was picking up and my hands. I grabbed a pair of gloves too.

It had taken over an hour to get up the nerve to climb out of bed in the first place, and after gathering my arsenal of towels and gloves, I VERY slowly leaned around the door with my hand over my eyes to peek out to see what I hoped was a dead mouse, and I was completely disappointed.

The trap had snapped, but there was no mouse in it. In fact, the damn thing had the nerve to race ACROSS the middle of my living room floor as I was peering at the empty sprung trap in dismay. And that was that...I was awake from 1 AM until just after 5 AM, just lying in the middle of my bed unable to nod off because of a mouse.

Exhaustion finally won after dozens of losses on the iPhone Checker's application and I collapsed in the middle of my bed to a mouse-filled dream-filled slumber.

This is an absolute example that men can be useful; this is one of those critical moments when a man would be very useful.

I hate mice and I would love a man to take care of this for me.

So much for the gutsy redhead...and a lot of good my pistol is doing me (not). I need a BIG broom and lots of cheese, peanut butter, bread and nerve!

Monday, September 7, 2009

iPhone iNsanity

Cell phones. They drive me nuts. iPhones included.

You can't live with them, you can't live without them. Either they are too much of a leash and you can't get away from them, or they are out-of-range or out-of-juice and more frustrating than opening a toothbrush package.

Or, if you are me, even with a florescent LIME GREEN iPhone, you still can't keep track of the darn thing (and as long as we are chatting, what's with the lower case i thing - it's creeping into everything, iMean really, everything).

And yet, as frustrating as cell phones are what would we do without them? My iPhone has all of my critical (but not private and personal) information stored in it, and until recently iMade the mistake of considering it my lifeline for phone, text and email conversations, as well as data management. But that wasn't bad enough, oh no, iCouldn't just stop there - even with all the frustrations iMentioned earlier in this post.

Two recent experiences with my iPhone have reminded me of how dependent we are (iAm) on cell phone communication and information storage).

The first unsettling experience occurred when iTravelled from Albuquerque to Salt Lake City but somehow left my LIME GREEN cell phone on the seat of my car in the Sunport parking lot in New Mexico and didn't notice it laying there as iRaced to the terminal - most likely late for my flight.

iArrived in SLC without my iPhone and had no contact information for anyone, and even worse, iCouldn't remember anyone's number except my daughter in Cedar City, UT (who was not home) and my friend in Las Vegas, NV (who was not home). This was an iOpening experience since iCan still remember phone numbers of my best friends when iWas in elementary school, yet iDidn't know even one of my children's cell phone numbers from memory.

iAm grateful that this is not something iCan blame on "oldtimers", iStill have some brain power left! No, ther reason iCouldn't remember their numbers was because they had all changed their cell phone numbers recently (for a better phone plan when they moved, or maybe a better phone plan on another carrier). And also, because iHad never had to dial their numbers - not even once. iJust entered their contact info into my phone and hit "CALL" when iWanted to talk to them. iEven had a cheat sheet in my wallet with everyone's cell phone numbers, just in case of a serious EMERGENCY (one that is so serious a movie could be made about it, maybe "iPhoneless in SLC").

Anyway, the cheat sheet, although fairly recent in creation, was outdated. NONE of the numbers were accurate. iNeeded my iPhone.

And during all of this time, while iAm frantically trying to figure out how to get ahold of someone, my daugher in SLC was waiting rather impatiently in the SLC airport cell phone parking lot - how ironic! iCouldn't even call her - iDidn't have a cell phone or her number for that matter.

iStopped at a pay phone (yes, they still exist, but they aren't a dime anymore), and iActually was able to find the correct change in my purse, but iStill didn't have anyone's number.

iTried to call my daughter's cell phone - the one in Cedar City - it was the one correct cell phone number that iHad, but when her phone rang she didn't answer because the CALLER iD showed: UNKNOWN (yet another downfall of not having my iPhone and calling from a pay phone). The more iThink about this, the more iThink it's a conspiracy. Cell phones are taking over the world.

Anyway, iWas finally able to reach my son-in-law who had wandered into their home in Cedar City, and he called his wife (my daughter) ON HER CELL PHONE (which thankfully she chose to answer because it didn't say UNKNOWN on her screen). She then called her younger sister who was still impatiently waiting in the CELL PHONE parking lot and once they connected my frustrated younger daughter cruised by the passenger pick up area at the airport looking for a frazzled cellphoneless mother.

It's clear that we are beyond dependent on these iThings! We don't even answer if they don't say what we want them to say on the screen! We can't answer if our hands are full. There are now signs telling us NOT to answer if we are in certain places. And we don't remember phone numbers any more! We need LIME GREEN and bright colored phones to help us keep track of them.

OK, back to the experiences. The second experience happened in Vegas, and thankfully this time what happened in Vegas didn't stay in Vegas. iWas in Vegas having lunch with friends and on my way to my daughter's wedding in Southern Utah when iLeft my LIME GREEN iPhone in the ladies room at the Paris Casino. Can you imagine my panic when iRealized that all my travel information was on my calendar on my cell phone, all my contact information was on my cell phone, every phone number, address, name, note and reminder of what iNeeded to do in the next 72 hours was stored on my cell phone AND, that in spite of the LIME GREEN, iHad once again NOT noticed that iHad set it down and once again iHad lost it? iDid have an emergency card in my wallet with updated numbers, but that wasn't going to work, we had a wedding to do! iPanicked; iHit Lost and Found; they appeared sympathetic and quickly looked through a drawerful of multicolored cell phones. There was nothing LIME GREEN, so they took my information. iAppeared composed, but inside iWas crumbling.

Cell phone loss is traumatic, it's like a death in the family, or worse yet, a kidnapping of sorts. iWas certain iHad lost LIMEY to a quick eBay sale by some dishonest woman who followed after me to the same bathroom stall and noticed the LIME GREEN phone sitting on top of the toilet paper holder (never EVER set your cell phone down like that!).

Thankfully, a lady did find it in the stall and turned it over to her husband who thought quickly and called the last number iHad dialed (my daughter in SLC) to try and locate the owner. After talking to my daughter, who called my friends in LV, iWas joyfully, ecstatically and almost tearfully reunited with my LIME GREEN partner (out of respect for any children who might read this iThink it best to not repeat the incredulous comments of this younger daughter when we finally connected again by iPhone- yes, the same one who had sat waiting for my call in the airport cell phone parking lot only a few weeks earlier).

Now, you would think iWould have learned, but oh no; it just gets worse. Last week a friend introduced me to "BUMP", an application you can download FOR FREE onto your iPhone. This amazing program allows two iPhone owners to literally BUMP arms and VOILA! personal contact info is instantly tranferred from one iPhone to the other and vice versa. You read that correctly, iAm not kidding.

Yes, we bumped, and iKnow it works! iBelieve! Just BUMP and name, address, phone, email of the person you bumped instantly appears on the screen of your iPhone.

Well, BUMP was my first real introduction into the world of iPhone applications, up to that point iHad only uploaded basic applications like Maps and Calendar and Contacts. But since my introduction to BUMP, iHave spent several hours (in the wee hours of the morning when iCan't sleep) downloading various FREE applications ranging from the scriptures to iMunchies, providing me with iGospel and iPopcorn, a great iCombination, iSuppose.

So iNow have...*drum roll*...six screens full of applications, ALPHABETIZED and in order, on my LIME GREEN iPhone. SIX. What in the world am iGoing to do with all of these applications? Just scrolling through them is an effort; iCertainly have no excuse to be idle or bored. (iCan just sing a hymn, pop popcorn, play tic tac toe, read a book, search Wikipedia, read any newspaper in the nation, study Socrates, etc!)

And after all, iCan also BUMP some stranger on the street who has an iPhone and VOILA! again - my own little Black (LIME GREEN?) Book. Well, not quite, but it won't be long...the i is taking over.

And speaking of i's, iNeed to go, someone's calling...but even LIME GREEN along with BUMP and myriads of applications doesn't help; iHave no idea where LIMEY is. i Think they need to create a new application to help me.

They probably have one, but it won't do me a darn bit of good right now, since iCan't find my LIME GREEN phone...and iThink iAm supposed to be somewhere in an hour but iDon't have the address - it's on my iCalendar, along with the details in my iWill list of what iAm supposed to bring and do....."


Stevie Wonder "iJust Called To Say iLove You"

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday Rumblings (as opposed to ramblings)

I dusted off my silver-edged scriptures this morning and gave them the start of a good run through (at least the first 20 pages or so). It's amazing how life can bring you full circle if you let it. Even when we are a little off course, there are signs and indicators all along the path showing us the way back to where we should be, to say nothing of the persistent whispers in the back of our heads.

Without becoming preachy or pretending to be a theologian, and while also admitting to a current life of self-described spirituality and faith but not overly active at any church...I simply want to say that I admire folks who are devout within their own beliefs and tolerant of others who see things differently. I am not suggesting that I want anyone to be tolerant of me; I am more hoping that we will all be more tolerant of everyone.

As I was reading earlier today, it dawned on me that there are many parallels between the trek to a new world and the many treks I have taken in my life.

More often than I want to admit, when others were looking at me as if I was completely nuts, I would pull up roots and head off to a new experience; causing upheaval to my children and inflicting all kinds of extra expenses on my already limited budget. I am still playing catch up today for all the moves and those related expenses that were incurred each time we pulled up stakes.

These moves were not something I planned, anymore than I ever planned to be a single mother of six, but they happened as a result of circumstances and choices (some which were mine, some which were not) and the reality of a life as a single mother with six children and very limited resources in time, money, support and energy. In fact, the people I thought I could count on the most, never bothered, but many that had no responsibility for me or my family whatsoever became my emotional support. It's because of them that I am here today.

As the years went by, I didn't always know why I was moving, but when I made a move it was always because I knew that I should. As I look back now, I can see turning points in my children's lives with each move, although tainted by the hardship of being the new kids (again) and wondering where we were ever going to land permanently, more often than not our moves pulled at least one of my children from harm's way.

And the few times that I did not follow those whispered promptings (when fatigue ruled and Evil won), and did not take necessary steps to change circumstances in our lives (it wasn't always a move that was needed), my children were sometimes hurt as a result.

Those are the moments I will cry over eternally, not the other moments in my life that may have been painful or downright wrong, but those times when my children were affected negatively because I simply ran out of time or energy are the moments that still keep me awake some nights. Those are the moments I have to answer for, not the petty mistakes, the uninformed decisions, the moments, days or weeks that I lacked clarity or made innocent mistakes.

I am eternally grateful for that someone who is so much greater than me (and you), who picked up my hurting child(ren)when I had failed to protect them fully, dusted them off and headed them back in the right direction; quietly, without pomp and circumstance, but with love and faith in who they were and who I was. He is the reason we are all here today.

So, in retrospect, I know that each move that I chose to make was for a reason. Only two moves in my entire life were moves I didn't want to make and would not have made had I not been overwhelmed by a threatening environment and unwarranted personal attacks. Those two moves are probably the two that were the hardest for me and for my children; in fact I believe the actions by others that lead up to those two moves affected us in ways that altered our lives not only in the short term, but for years to come and even still today and possibly eternally.

Every other move that we made was prompted by something I couldn't always identify or understand, but I knew it was real and it was important that I acted on those feelings and so I did; I followed the promptings and headed out again - with kids in tow.

And so we wandered into new territories, set up our home for as long as we were supposed to be there.There were risks, there were dangers; it was exhausting. There were those who whispered behind my back, there were those who outright denounced me, there were even those who predicted a dire future for me and my children based on my actions...but in the end, when all is said and done, my children, my life and my following of those whispered directions have prevailed.

I didn't follow the hidden whispers of men, I followed the quiet whispers of the spirit; I am extremely grateful for those whispers and moments of clarity (reached after much consideration and prayer), even if others didn't understand.

It takes a quiet faith to head off to uncharted waters against conventional wisdom and the whispered gossip of family and friends. Maybe it was because of those many, many "callings" in my young married life and the leadership positions that have always found me, that I was expected to be something I have never been, I don't know. I only know who I am and I can't be anything or anyone else.

What I also know is that I am not someone who is anxious to climb to the top of a tower and proclaim their beliefs loudly for all to hear. I will share them and whisper them, and try to live as an example of them, but I won't shout my beliefs, or force them, or deprive, degrade and denounce those who don't believe as I do. What I know too, is that a mother's intuition, and even a woman's intuition, is often spot on; and those flashes of intuition are also not typically something you shout from the rooftops.

I have never had a loud faith, mine has always been quiet; it was others who put me in the limelight and gave me responsibilities that would thrust me into the public eye. It was others who expected me to shout from a tower or share personal revelations or explain my actions to them and oddly, it was typically those who never called who had those expectations.

I don't criticize and I am not intolerant of others who believe differently than I do, I love them and accept them for who they are. Unless they present a certain threat to me or my family or the innocent's of this world, who am I to judge them? And more often than not, they are great people.But if they treat my children unfairly, or exercise unrighteous dominion, or act as if they and theirs are better - than watch out.

I have no tolerance for egos, self-righteousness, or judgmental gossip and when it affects me or my children you WILL see me climb up the tower if that's what's necessary to right a wrong. I am not excited when and if that happens, I don't enjoy it and I don't wish for it, but I can climb and shout if called upon.

I am happy in my quiet faith. I have trusted it my entire life and I still do.

There are many who have taken advantage of me over the years, many who feel they know what I am all about in spite of the fact that they never bothered to really get to know me, never even called to see how we were doing. I love them anyway and wish them the best; although there are wistful moments when I find myself wishing that they did know (and care) who I really was and am.

I am grateful to my handful of friends and family who have paused long enough and cared enough and had the patience to see beyond the rumors, the gossip, the assumptions, the judgments and taken the time to see the real me. These are the people who I can trust; these are the people who know me.

As I read the scriptures, I am reminded that the trek is not over - I have a long way to go, but at least I am on the right path. And "thus far" (as it says in the scriptures) I am obedient to those laws and principles which are eternal and universal, either by obedience or through forgiveness.

I am not perfect, there are a lot of things I can do better, or not do at all, which would help me to be more like I want to be, but I am a work in progress. And as long as I am progressing, I am heading in the right direction and I am excited about that.

And I am excited about my children. They are grown now, and they are the most amazing people I know, filled with love, compassion, tolerance, tenacity, ethics, honesty and kindness. And they are wonderful examples to me, I couldn't be more proud of them, every one of them - I don't think of one as better or less than another because of beliefs, employment, parenthood, companions, etc. - they are incredible human beings, singularly and collectively. I enjoy one-on-one time with each of them, but I love to see them together just as much - after all, they are just grown up little kids - my little kids.

At this point in my life, I am happy to say that I have no regrets except for any pain that my choices or actions may have caused for someone else.

My heart is full and as long as I am able, I plan to dance through life with joy in my heart and a smile on my face, and anyone that has the same desire is welcome to come along.

May the rumblings be with you...

Paul McCartney & WINGS "Live and Let Die"

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sheer Madness

I suppose that if I am going to continue cutting the few clumps of grass in my front yard with scissors, I should probably invest in a better set of blades. Surgical sheers have come to mind while kneeling in my yard; I suppose I was in the position of prayer, but I don't really believe it was inspiration.

On the other hand, if I am going to invest in newer, sharper, shinier scissors to cut the few blades of grass in my front yard, why in the world would I not buy lawn clippers instead? After all, I am clipping grass on my lawn...lawn clippers would make perfect sense.

Maybe it's the thrill of lurking in the shadows so that no one will see me on my knees with scissors. Or maybe I enjoy the thought of ending up on some neighbor's funniest video submittal to the popular TV show.

There was a moment of sheer excitement when it occurred to me that I could possibly end up on YouTube and become nearly as famous a Susan Boyle; well, maybe only a little famous since I don't have her voice.

But there was also the night that I was busily snipping away and had to duck behind a bush when someone walked by because I was afraid they might see me and think I was mad - aka nuts. (and I, of course, am not!)

In any case, I will be glad when winter arrives the and few clumps stop growing. If I had a lawn, instead of a dirt patch with a dozen clumps of tall grass, this wouldn't be an issue.

Ah well, life in the Land of Enchantment can't be perfect. And if I wait a little longer, summer will be over and the grass will stop growing and I won't have to buy a thing; who knows I might still end up famous. (although this is not the scenario I ever envisioned for my 10 minutes of fame).

One just never knows....

Bon Jovi "Living on a Prayer"

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dancing Flower Girls

A quick look at the dancing flower girls at Kelly's wedding! Check out this link on YouTube!

Makinlee, Kourtney and little Kayla...dancing angels. With their cousin Daelan watching from the sidelines...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

This picture of Kyle doesn't leave a whole lot to say... so let me simply add how much fun I had visiting with Kyle and Erin in DC last month. They were so much fun and it was great to see their darling apartment and spend time with them when we could make it work!

We found time to dine at several of their favorite restaurants and enjoyed wandering down U Street and window shopping while we chatted.

This picture of Erin says a lot too...these two are genuine, hardworking, comfortable in their own skins and darling together.

I had so much fun! I can hardly wait to visit again! I love these two!

Eagles "Hotel California" (guitar solo)

Come here, lil August, where are you?

I am a frantic mess. It seems that I have lost 31 days. Have you seen them?

I am serious. Somewhere between July 31st and September 1st a month disappeared.

You probably still think I am kidding, but the proof is everywhere: it's on my kitchen wall, in my day planner and even in my office.

Three calendars, still flipped to July, but I am told that it's September. How can that be? I never even turned the page to August!

If I had kids at home we would have missed out on all the before school sales and even missed the first day of school. If I wanted to sneak a last weekend at the beach into our summer it would be too late. And those 10 pounds I was going to lose before September are still with me.

I am almost 55 and I don't have 31 days to spare any more! So, I better scoot, I have 31 days to catch up with...I don't want to miss Fall!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Wedding

A wedding happened, I know it did, I was there. However, I have very little memory of it because I was coming off of 2 1/2 weeks of training in DC and then flitting here and there to make certain things that needed to be done actually got done before the bride walked down the aisle, the guests arrived, the music played, etc. I don't remember sitting except during the ceremony...

But in spite of the flurry, this is what I will always remember: Kelly, my beautiful daughter and Logan's bride, with tears in her eyes as she looked into the mirror just before walking out for the processional, holding her bouquet in her hand and turning her head away from the mirror as she said, "I can't look at myself, because when I do I cry. It's finally real, it's me, I am in my wedding dress, I am a bride."

I will never forget that tender and genuine moment. I also remember the look on her face as she walked toward Logan on her Dad's arm, and the look on Logan's face as he watched her coming toward him. It was a tender and mind-seering moment.

Later, Logan would capture his feelings of that earlier moment with a more brazen exclamation of, "She is smokin' hot!" (He didn't look too bad himself!)

From the two families that linked arms and worked their tails off to make Kelly and Logan's special day extraordinary, to the 200 leftover popsicles that never made it to the serving table (yes, popsicles and otter pops were a late request of the groom), to the four gorgeous bridesmaids including Kalen and Karynn, Kelly's sisters, and Shaina, Kelly's darling Cle Elum friend, and also including one awesome maid of honor, Daneile, to the two white swans gliding over Lichfield Pond as the wedding and reception were going on, and finally to Kelly's huge smile as she looked into Logan's eyes during their first was a magical night.

There were glitches, there always are, but that's what makes weddings real, andbecause they love each other, and because they are both loved dearly by their families, it all came together on August 29th, 2009 for Logan and Kelly Washburn.

So, yes, a wedding happened, but more importantly, two families united to support Kelly and Logan on their wedding day, and Kelly and Logan were united in love and respect and friendship and commitment as husband and wife.

Thanks to Kelly and Logan for their patience, their love, their example, and thanks to the families of these two newlyweds for their hard work and selfless efforts to make certain this once in a lifetime event was truly magical.

And, in fact, "magic" barely even begins to describe this wedding, but the picture above says it all.
A wedding happened and I am honored to have been there.

Music to be added later....