Wednesday, November 24, 2010

An Attitude of Gratitude

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. The one day a year that we are required by law to take the day off from paid labor and labor without pay. See what I did there? I turned it arou.... Yeah. Nevermind.

It's 8:30 on Thanksgiving Eve. Four pies, 2 dozen deviled eggs, and a double batch of spinach dip were completed after my paid labor today. I'll rise early tomorrow morning to make stuffing, then stuff it inside dead poultry.

While I love the tradition that's been passed down to me--that of making mountains of food so the family can eat themselves comatose, that's not what I wanted to write about tonight.

Being thankful. Having a heart full of gratitude. My heart is indeed full and I am thankful for so many things. Here's a list, in no particular order of things I'm thankful for:

1. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (Remember, I said in no particular order)
2. My husband. Kindhearted, forgiving, giving, sacrificing, patient man.
3. Thankful that my oldest daughter has turned her heart to the Lord and to things spiritual.
4. Our kitty. So soft, so affectionate. It's my living stuffed animal :)
5. My job. I love what I do and that is just a huge bonus.
6. My Sunbeams. I look forward to their hugs and smiles all week long.
7. My cranky, cantankerous, curmudgeonly father who hides a big heart.
8. The scriptures that fill my soul when I read them.
9. For being bilingual.
10. To have grown up with a disabled sister and to have learned compassion for the
special people among us.
11. Warm steamy showers in cold snowy mornings.
12. Heated leather seats in a 4wd drive-fossil-fuel-guzzling machine.
13. My son, who has taught me how to love unconditionally and brought me closer to my Father in heaven.
14. The beach cabin where we've made such amazing family memories.
15. NCIS. Seriously. Who doesn't love Leroy Jethro Gibbs? C'mon.
16. My mom for giving me life and loving me so much. I miss her.
17. Navigation on my Droid. Honestly, I'm so directionally challenged I can get lost in my own house. Technology is AMAZING.
18. My Kindle. Ok, I don't have one yet but a girl can dream.
19. Answers to prayers---lifting of burdens and the knowledge that I have a loving Heavenly Father who is aware of my sorrows and my joys.
20. Old friends. We can be apart for years and then pick right up where we left off.
21. The ability to change the channel when Victoria's Secret model commercials come on.
22. Music.
23. The smell of fresh cut grass.
24. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I may have mentioned that one before.
25. Allison's sense of humor. That girl makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.
26. In-laws who are loving and kind and accepting.
27. A down comforter on chilly winter nights.
28. The fact that my 12 year old doesn't consider herself too old for snuggles and hugs.
29. A full refrigerator so my children are not going hungry.
30. The opportunities I have to serve others.
31. Phad Thai. Honestly--go to Thai Fusion near Northgate Mall. It's amazing.
32. Root beer. Icy cold root beer.
33. Kind people who don't base their personal assessments on someone's looks.
34. "It's a Wonderful Life". Always makes me cry.
35. Getting lost in a good book to the point where I can't put it down.
36. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Yeah, I know.

I'm stopping here. It's late and I have miles to go before I sleep.

Suffice it to say that I have been so blessed that my list could take up an incredible amount of pixels and still I would not have covered it all.

So happy Thanksgiving everyone. I'm also thankful for you. If you're an old friend, a new friend or someone who happened upon my blog by accident. Thank you.

Now go have a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup! :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snow instead of waves...

This is what it's doing today here. Snow. Lots and lots of snow. Freezing temperatures, hovering between 27 and 28 but sure to dip down lower this evening. My day was a hectic jumble of starts and stops. Drop kids off, pick them up. Slide here, slide there. Catch a few pictures of the elusive and infamous Ashley The Patrol Worker. See?

She really tried to avoid having her picture taken in all that garb, but I managed to do it anyway. See those ear muffs? Yeah, I bought them this morning. The boots? Yeah, those too. Also, that jacket she's wearing isn't hers. It's her daddy's lumber-jack-ish jacket. At first she was reluctant to wear it, but once she felt how very cold it was, she relented.

I'm wishing it was warmer and we were out here watching this instead of the snow :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"You look so happy"

This is what my brother-in-law said to me as we walked into his house tonight.


"I don't know, you just look so happy"

I smiled again and said, "I am. I really am"

And I am. As we were driving over to their house this evening I felt extremely content. Just having my two girls in the suburban with us, having them chat and talk and laugh with us, made my heart happy. I am blessed.

As we drove I held my husband's hand. I am blessed.

Then I turned on my heated leather seats. OOOOOH I am blessed. Seriously, if you haven't ever had the experience of sitting on heated seats, you MUST. Not that having leather seats is my most important blessing of course. It's lovely and it's cozy and I adore those seats, but that wasn't the main reason why I looked happy.

It helped of course. :)

It's family. It's love. It's listening to the sounds of my teenager laughing in the backseat with her sister. It's knowing our oldest daughter is at work and wants me to come by and keep her company as she closes up for the night. It's knowing where my son is---getting a haircut and knowing he has a job interview on Monday that has buoyed up his spirits that makes me happy.

I am blessed.

Trials come and trials go. The constant and most amazing joy I have in life is found within my family. And of course, sitting on heated leather seats doesn't hurt :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


It's 11 at night and my new neighbors are dumping their glass recycle into their bins under my bedroom window. It's noisy and just a little irritating. It's also their pattern. Each night it's the same. Each and every night.

It's not that I'm asleep at that hour----because I'm not---it's that my husband is. He has to go to sleep early because he gets up at the crack of holy-crap-it-can't-be-morning-already. And it's not. Morning, I mean. He gets up before the birds do.

My new neighbors are noisy but that's not why I'm tired. My baby girl keeps me awake. Or wakes me up. Or keeps me up. Worry about what's going on with her and why she's suffering so much.

The last three weeks have been less than fun. Doctors and tests and pain and angst and worry. Does she have blood clots? More damage? No, CT scan shows no more brain damage than what was already caused by the stroke. Small blood clots? Maybe. Ulcers? Won't know until the endoscopy. Sudden onset migraines? Dunno. Let's give her four more prescriptions and see if anything stops the pain.

Side effects from one med to be negated and treated with yet another med. Round and round we go...where it stops, nobody knows.

So, I'm tired. Though I did sleep a great deal today. Mostly because every time I got up the world went round and round like I was on a carnival ride. I don't like carnival rides. I actually dislike them. A lot.

It's an odd sensation when the world is out of whack.

It feels out of whack in more ways than just my equilibrium. I hope there's an answer soon.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A tiny white coffin...

Today I drove into the cemetery under a cold wet rain and saw the tiny white coffin sitting on it's stand under the canopy. Empty chairs faced the coffin.


I parked and walked into the mortuary where the mourners were waiting. I hugged the bereft mother and whispered how very sorry I was...

Sorry that she won't be up for 2 a.m. feedings and giddy delight over her girl's first smile. No potty trainings, no first steps or sticky kisses....No first days in Kindergarten and crushes on boys...Oh so very sorry...

We walked up the hill in the cemetery to baby land. Tiny headstones were spaced a foot or so apart in the green grass. I tried not to look down and read the names and dates as I passed them but I couldn't help myself.

Sweet Angel in Heaven....Cherished Baby Girl...Beloved son.... So many baby headstones, so much anguish accompanying each one...

My heart ached as I clutched my big black umbrella and listened as these words were spoken over that tiny white casket:

‎"Moreover, we can’t fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life."
~Russel M. Nelson

We cannot take love out of life. To do so would defeat our very purpose for being.

So much pain...difficult to understand from our limited mortal view, but oh....oh the sweet reunions to come when tears of pain and sorrow will be replaced with joy.

My heart and soul knows and believes in the reunions to come...but oh....the little white casket... oh...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Letting the Light In...

If you look closely, you can see the tiny patch of blue sky peeking from behind the dark clouds. It's not easy to see because the dark clouds surround the area where the light shines through.

I took this on Monday as Alli and I were driving up highway 2 towards Steven's Pass. For those of you that worry, no, I was not actually driving at the time. We'd just come out of a very small town grocery store with some snacks to see us through our morning adventure.

Yes, I was supposed to be working and she was supposed to be in school. Neither of us were where we should have been that morning....but we were where we needed to be. Away and alone and under threatening darkness with small patches of light shining through. I was looking for more light for her. And some peace.
Once we got to Skykomish, I turned off the highway and just....meandered. It's a postage-sized small town nestled in the Cascade mountains. Alli nodded off once or twice on the way there. I'd taken her cell phone and Ipod from her when we left civilization. I told her it was time to take a day unplugged. She agreed.

Driving from the center of Skykomish we found this overgrown cottage and thought it might be a little too much for a fixer upper and the commute would kill us but dreaming about what we might do to it was fun.

A bit down the road we saw a sign that said Money Creek Park. I turned left and began an ascent that took us further and further from people and abandoned cottages and stress.

We never did find the park. What we find was a road that was two lanes, then one lane and eventually dwindled down to a barely passable lane with a great deal of damage.

We also found this... This must have been Money Creek sans park.

It was beautiful.

Further up we came to a sign that said Lake Elizabeth. Again, no park and no discernible way to get down to the lake but a beautiful and calm lake it was.

Yes, that's snow dusting the evergreens. Twas a bit chilly.

We pressed further onward and upward. I put the suburban into four wheel drive. Alli was once again asleep by this time and missed the part where the road became incredibly difficult and nearly impassable. I found myself talking to myself and the suburban as we jolted and lurched our way through one bad section after another.

She woke up after the jarring parts were over and awoke to see this beautiful place.

We talked. Communicated. Unplugged is good. No distractions. All the background noise and stress was removed and replaced with the gurgling of the creek and sound of wipers brushing falling snow from the windshield.

So no, we weren't where we were supposed to be that day. We ran away and it's ok. Sometimes unplugging, four wheeling and talking is more important than other things. And it lets the light shine more freely through....

I so love my girl.