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Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Dear Puerto Rico: 
It is NOT your fault that the budget is "out of whack". 
It is not even the FAULT of Hurricane Maria that the budget is "out of whack". 
It is life. We are family. We should take care of each other, no matter the cost. No matter if you live in Florida or on island surrounded by water, big water, ocean  water. I'm glad your death toll wasn't in the thousands like Katrina, but every one of your 17 lost lives matter. 
WHEN? When will America be great again? 

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

 I'll never forget the first time I went to Vegas. I was 20-something. I couldn't get over the fact that waterfalls turned into volcanoes every 15 minutes. I went to Vegas atleast once a year after that. Took my kids to see Aaron Carter in concert and Tyler slept through the whole noisy show. I'm addicted to Pepsi because they served it at the Knights of the Roundtable Show at the Excalibur. Magician Lance Burton gave a shout-out to Zack on his 8th birthday.  I saw "Phantom of the Opera" for the first time in Vegas. Spent my honeymoon there just 6 years ago. Finally ate at Wahlburgers when they opened one in Vegas last year. I love that city. I've been going to Vegas even more than once a year since my kids moved to Hurricane, less than two hours from Vegas. In fact, I was just there last month, buying school clothes for my grandson Riken to begin pre-school. I had a life-changing experience in Vegas that day when I bought myself a sleeveless shirt to wear in the 112-degree heat. 
So the news of the massacre that occurred two days ago in Las Vegas left me in shock. 
9/11 was tough. It stole the innocence of American children. I worried about the world my children were living in. But they were still little. I felt that I had some control over keeping them safe in 2001. 
In 2017, my children are adults. If they wanted to go to a Jason Aldean concert in Las Vegas, I might not even know they were there until they posted a picture on facebook. They don't tell me where they are every day of their lives anymore. 
So they could have been there.
 And they could have been killed.
 And I couldn't have protected them. 
And I feel helpless in making the world a better place for my grandchildren. 
America is not great again. 

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Outside > Inside

Sometimes I'm kind of embarrassed that it took me until I was nearly 50 years old to finally start thinking outside of the box. I was talking to my life coach about this the other day, and she said that's it not that unusual when you consider that I didn't get my college degree until I was in my 40's and just barely started my first "career" job 5 months ago. In many ways, I'm thinking like a 20-something because I'm living like a 20-something. I sort of skipped those years in my emotional and intellectual development because the minute someone opened the ring box when I was 20,  I jumped into the life box. Culturally, I did exactly what was expected of me, and it didn't seem weird at all to stop developing personally so I could be a mom and help three little people develop. Now it's my time. And I'm changing so much. I hardly even recognize myself anymore. Not only do I NOT have to inspect photos before I allow anyone to post them on social media, I'm the one posting some of the worst photos of myself because the grandbabies look cute in them. It's not about how I look in them. I put my swimsuit on and get in the pool with everyone else. I don't like WEAR the cover-up thing right up to the edge of the pool, slide the bottom half of my body into the water before removing the cover-up completely. I toss it on a chair and walk over to the pool just like everyone else. No, I haven't lost weight. I don't suddenly LOVE my body so much that I want everyone to see it. It's just that I've ACCEPTED my body. I'm at peace with it. I've spent SO much time worrying about it. I'm trying to eat healthier so I can be healthier. What a concept. Not because I want to look better in a swimsuit. I monitor my blood pressure, take really important steps to manage the stress in my life (of which there is a lot in this social work career!) and have started saying "NO" to all of the things that took up too much time of my time for the past 40+ years. I don't fit in any box anymore. Not physically or figuratively. It was too restrictive and I couldn't ever see more than that teeny patch of sky. I was always promised that some day I would see the entire world, not just that little patch. Well, I decided I want to see the entire world NOW, not someday. I want to go swimming NOW, not "when I lose weight".  I want to go on vacations NOW, not "when I can afford it". I want to enjoy my weekends with Ken without having to worry about something else taking up my time. Yeah, I really, really like it out here. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Love Warrior

I really hope this link works for you. But it's this:


just in case it doesn't.

This is a gay, Christian woman. 
I first stumbled upon her last summer when I downloaded her book "The Love Warrior" from Audible and listened to it as I walked 5 miles a day in the Southern Utah heat. So when she talked about the "hot yoga" class, I kind of got it. Then when she got to the chapter on the pain she felt when she found out her husband was cheating on her. Wow. I lived in this book. It only took about three days of walks to finish it, but the thoughts lasted far beyond my daily walks and even months afterward. Then I got busy with other things and kind of forgot about her. Until I again stumbled upon her today in the form of this talk. And was like "Wow! Christians aren't supposed to even support gay people, much less BE gay people." I have never, ever cried when I heard a non-LDS person talk about Christ. I LOVE Mother Teresa but her books don't make me cry.  Then when this gay, Christian woman said "There is no Resurrection without the Crucifixion", I can tell you that I felt the Spirit tell me it's true. I cried. Right here at my computer.  When she first started talking about Christ at the end of this talk, it seemed disrespectful. I was a little bit uncomfortable. But THEN, WOW! She loves the Savior. And she's gay. WHAT???? Is that even possible? And then you realize, "Well, duh. That is EXACTLY what  being a Christian is."  Accepting EVERY single person on this earth. Gay, straight, black, white, alcoholic, teetotaler, even these damn neglectful or even abusive parents I have to deal with in my work as a DCFS caseworker.  We have a chance here to REALLY be like Christ. Not just go through the motions that religion teaches us. But really like emulate Him. Let's all just do that, OK? If you're a Christian, be Christ-like. That would be a way cool world to live in. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Today's Political Post

So, last week, I changed my Voter registration from "Republican" to "Unaffiliated". I'm not even sure it matters, except that it matters to me. I'm finally, at 49 years of age, thinking for myself. In lots of areas. Politics being one of them.  I'm not really a Democrat either, and I'm still more conservative than I am liberal. But my thoughts aren't 100% in line with every single policy the Republican party represents. And I'm most definitely not 100% in line with Donald Trump. 

That being said, the yearbook staff at a high school in New Jersey allegedly edited the above picture when the yearbook was printed.  The same staff also failed to print a senior student's chosen statement because it was a Trump quote. I couldn't find anything about this on Snopes, but just assuming that its true..This is not OK. Unless it's vulgar or offensive,  high school yearbook editors don't get to impose censorship.  

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Social Worker Woes

Remember this guy? From the Adam Sandler movie "Big Daddy"?
He is the image I have always had of a social worker. 
Two months ago, I became a social worker myself. 
And I get it. 
I'm BARELY into this job and I already feel like this guy. 
Social workers see people at the LOWEST points of their lives. Day in and day out.
We have this saying
"We're not in it for the income, 
We're in it for the outcome."
The outcome isn't always exactly what we want it to be. We have very limited resources.
But we do the best we can with what we have. Isn't that all we can ask of anyone? 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Staten James Allred

On Tuesday, March 22. 2017, my daughter-in-law Kieonah gave birth to my 3rd grandson, Staten James Allred. Staten was born at 10:57 PM, weighing 7 lbs 15 ounces, 21 1/4 inches long. His name was chosen for Staten Island, because my son Tyler met his wife Kieonah when they were both serving as missionaries for the LDS church in the New York New York North mission. 
Kieonah had invited me to be in the room with her when she delivered the baby, and while I was honored that she asked, I really didn't think I wanted to be there. Her Mom would be there, Tyler would be there, and I just wasn't sure I should. But once her contractions started, I knew I couldn't leave. It was an amazing experience, watching this teeny little girl go through 15 hours of labor to bring my son's son into this world. 
Every time a contraction started, she reached for Tyler's hand. And hour after hour, his hand was there for her. 
My kids drove 6 hours to be there, and seeing them hold Ty's baby was a moment I will never forget. 
Rogue was fascinated that there is someone littler than him. I think they will be good friends as they grow up. 
Ken was amazing. He waited in this tiny waiting room all 15 hours, going out for food when Ty needed something. We are so blessed to have Ken in our lives. 
And now I'm excited to watch my youngest child raise his own family. 
Life is good :) 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Only Constant is Change

About 8 months ago, I started commuting 3 hours each way twice a month to tend my two grandbabies, Riken and Rogue, while their Mom and Dad worked. It was SO good for me!! I loved the time I spent with them, I loved the weather in La Verkin, and I even loved the drive. I listened to Audible books and seriously just got into a routine that worked for all of us. I missed my husband for the 14 days a month I was away from him, but we FaceTimed two or three times a day, and it was OK. He would go down to La Verkin on the weekends when he could, spoil the grandkids and hang out with me.
Then my son-in-law got a BIG promotion at work. Schedules changed, the dynamic changed, and although I continued being their Nanny, it was just different. I had a feeling that even bigger changes would be coming, so one Sunday night, I decided to just  look at the Workforce Services website IN CASE my days of nannyhood were coming to an end.

I came across a job announcement for a caseworker at DCFS, about 60 miles from my home in Ephraim. I got my Bachelor's degree two years ago and haven't really done anything with it, so I decided to just go ahead and apply for the job. It closed at midnight on the very day I pulled up the job description, and I finished the online application at about 10:30 that night. 
The next morning, as I was headed to La Verkin to tend the boys,Tammy from  DCFS called my cell phone and we set up a job interview for the following Tuesday. So I had a week to prepare for the interview. And prepare I did! I had little recipe cards where I would write a common job interview question on the front and key points I wanted to hit in my answer on the back of the card. I studied those cards for hours each day. I was SO prepared. 
Got my roots done on Saturday, got a blessing from Ken on Monday, and headed to the interview on Tuesday. The candidate before me was a young guy, early 20's, full of vim and vigor, confidence and poise. But I held the tentative grip I had on my own self-confidence, and gave them answers that highlighted what would make me a good candidate.... my 15 years experience as a Primary President, Counselor and teacher, my blue qualities of compassion and empathy, the fact that if I were hired, I'd be  there to stay for the rest of my working life. Which, ironically, is 20 years to full Social Security retirement age, and Utah state retirement benefits also happen after 20 years. 
They called Wednesday and offered me the job! I start on April 3. 
I go into this knowing full well that it will not be a "feel good at the end of the day" type of career. I will see some heartbreaking situations with children who deserve better, and parents who want to do better but are limited by circumstances or addiction.  I will have to rely on the mentors I find in the field, and on my own training and life experiences. I'll be making great money, get great benefits, and make a difference to the people with whom I come in contact.

Monday, February 13, 2017


My son-in-law's little brother, Dallen, left his broken body and passed on to the other side last week. His mom, Amy, broke my heart at the funeral. Even though it's a blessing for him and for her, really, she loves her little boy and she has been his lifeline for his entire life, feeding him through a tube, bathing and changing him. She will miss his constant presence by her side. Amy is a very special person. Dallen was a very special person. There is so much love in this family.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Perennial Partners

So I restarted my "lifestyle change" this past week. I was really, really good last January-May, losing 28 pounds. I've gained about 11 of it back, so I determined this past week to get back on track. 

Part of that means I walk 5 miles each morning. I listen to "Audible"  books while I walk, and this week, I'm listening to "Love Warrior" by Glennon Doyle Melton. Wow. This is a very powerful book. I am currently in the middle of a chapter that I can really relate to. Glennon is trying to decide whether or not to divorce her husband. They have three young children. Glennon talks about her thoughts on love, and says that maybe some loves are perennials. They go through the hardships of winter, but still bloom again. And some loves are annuals. They just don't survive winter. Those loves, however, became a part of the soil that makes future loves grow. 

I LOVE this!!!  No love is ever wasted. Either it will last forever, or it will help provide the base for future love. Yeah, this was really powerful to me. I think mine is perennial. We haven't had a really tough winter in the 5 years we've been married, but I think we could handle it. I hope so. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016


It happened again last week. Someone who seemed OK committed suicide by hanging. She was close to my age. Mom. Grandma. Wife. Sister. Friend. I first met her when I coached her twin boys in tee ball almost twenty years ago. As the boys got older, we had to start traveling to baseball tournaments. I thought it was weird that she would never stay in hotels. Once we were at a weekend tournament three hours from home. She and her husband attended the Friday games, drove all the way home to sleep and drove back for the Saturday games. She told me then that she never stayed in hotels because she couldn't be sure how clean they were. Now I know that this lady has been suffering from debilitating anxiety and depression for probably her whole (too short) life. 
I get it. I was finally diagnosed with anxiety in 2007 and I'm usually fairly well controlled on medication. Though not always. When depression sneaks in, I absolutely have suicidal thoughts. But my husband has helped me understand the permanent damage caused to those left behind. He has three stepkids from his former marriage who lost their dad to suicide when they were young. I only know one of the kids well and she is really damaged emotionally thirty years later. So I think I'm pretty committed to NOT taking my own life no matter how low I get.  
Not everyone can make that commitment though. After four years of collegiate Psychology courses and many years of having my own mental health issues as well as a deep family history of mental illness, I have my own thoughts about why someone who is loved and supported would take that final step. 
When I'm in a panic attack, the world shrinks down to just me. That must be compounded 1000 fold for someone in a suicidal crisis. It's not that they're selfish, like many people say. It's that they literally cannot think of their parents, spouses, siblings or children in that moment. The world becomes very small in a mental crisis. 
I've been thinking about how common hanging has become. It used to be that men killed themselves with guns. Women took drugs or slit their wrists. Hanging is the most common method around here now. I googled it. There are websites that tell you exactly how to hang yourself. You are told that it is virtually 100% guaranteed to "work" with no mess for your loved ones to clean up. I believe that people think about suicide many, many times before they actually do it. They have a plan in place for the next time it gets really bad in their own heads. And I believe that no one could have changed it. The daughter of the lady I started this post with said "I'm sorry I wasn't a more perfect daughter". You can be the most loving, supportive family ever and you won't cure anxiety and depression in your loved one. There is no cure. Only management techniques that work sometimes. Maybe even most of  the time. Preventing suicide is not impossible. But there are no outward signs that it's about to  happen. Just be kind. Listen when people speak. Love your people. That's all anyone can do. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The 2016 Election is In the Books

 So this guy is the President-Elect of the United States. Donald J. Trump  has spent his life making and spending money, doing reality TV stints,  and really just doing whatever he wanted to do because he has billions of dollars. He is certainly not the candidate that most of us thought would end up in the White House. When we left work Tuesday afternoon, we thought  that we would wake up Wednesday to a nation where we had elected the first female President in history, Hillary Clinton. And it didn't happen. As I watched the results come in Tuesday night, I was in shock like everyone else. Clinton never had the electoral lead throughout the night. Finally at 3:00 AM Eastern, Donald Trump was announced the winner. I stayed up for every minute of the whole thing. I didn't really think I cared. In fact, I stated here on my blog that I wasn't going to vote at all. 

But I voted.

Independent candidate Evan McMullin came into the mix and one of my friends started a conversation about him on facebook that REALLY got me thinking. I researched McMullin, I entertained the possibility that he could actually win in  a few states and force both Trump and Clinton to fall short of the needed 270 electoral votes. I had conversations with people about what a third party vote would actually mean, and if it was a "thrown away" vote. I learned a lot about the political process this year, about the implications of voting for one candidate or the other, or even for a third choice.
The future of our nation depends on so much more than which individual is elected  President. If we only looked at candidates as individuals, issues aside, it was an impossible choice between Trump and Clinton. They're not likable people at all. They're not warm and fuzzy. We wouldn't want to be friends with either of them and we don't have a burning love for their families, like our nation did for the Kennedy clan. Barack and Michelle Obama, sure. They're friendly and seem approachable. The first Mrs Bush wore her pearls and seemed like a Mom, Grandma or even a favorite Aunt. This year, our candidates were loud, boisterous and in- your- face defensive about their own individual weaknesses. So, in elections we have to consider factors other than if we "like" the guy (or gal).
If a particular candidate is elected,  who will sit on the Supreme Court, who will be the advisors to the President, who will fill the Cabinet? These are all questions we should be asking ourselves and taking more seriously  in any election year.
Obviously, you don't know during election season  who will be appointed by any Presidential candidate to fill the Cabinet, but you can get a general idea about the kind of people it will be. Bernie Sanders? Ben Carson? You know that with an open seat,  the next Supreme Court justice will be either a Republican or a Democrat based on who wins the Presidential election. So the vote this year had long-term consequences for our nation. 
And now it's over. A lot of things were interesting to me in this election.  I traveled through rural Pennsylvania two weeks ago and saw hundreds of "Trump/Pence" campaign signs in yards, on the sides of the road and so forth. I was in the heart of Amish country. 
I was surprised to learn that the Amish people are respected members of their communities, and very surprised to learn that they are actively involved in politics. They don't drive, so they have neighbors drive them to polling locations. And they do vote. Just after I returned from vacation, I read an article that said Amish voters nationwide had pledged their support to Trump.
On Tuesday night, the election came down to a close race for Pennsylvania, which eventually went to Donald Trump. Trump took Ohio. Pennsylvania and Ohio are the two states with the greatest concentration of Amish people in our nation. Though Trump seems like a buffoon, campaigning hard in Amish country was a brilliant move. I don't actually know the number of Amish American citizens, but I do know that there are 35,000 in Lancaster County alone. Enough to make a difference.
I'm not sure we can give Trump credit for the brilliant campaign move in Pennsylvania though. Credit  his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway. Trump has definitely shown misogynistic tendencies over the years, yet he trusted this woman with his campaign. Go figure.
I think we underestimated just how deep the distrust of Secretary Clinton goes, among voters. She has the political experience to be the President of the United States. Trump has NONE. Maybe that helped him. Maybe people are so tired of politics that they elected a non-politician hoping for the "change" that we've been promised for decades from Washington. Under Obama, we were getting very close to Socialism. Maybe people want a return to Capitalism. Who is more of a capitalist than Donald Trump? 
The results of this election will be talked about for centuries. This election will change the course of America. Whether that is for good or bad, or some of both, is yet to be seen. 
What I hope is that we see some significant changes to the "Affordable Care Act' which has not been affordable for most Americans. I hope we see some sort of protection for the millions of Americans who are planning on getting their Social Security contributions back when they retire. I hope we see a robust economy. I hope people go out and get jobs, pay fair taxes and maybe even enjoy a little prosperity again. That's what we all need.

Monday, October 10, 2016


Last week, I alluded to the fact that I've been kind of inactive in church lately. Since July, when I started commuting three hours to La Verkin from Ephraim twice a month, it's been difficult to get to Sunday meetings at either location.  Sunday is my travel day, coming and going. I got released as the Primary President from my home ward in Ephraim in July, and, to be honest, it's been really nice to NOT have a church calling. I know that's not really cool to say, but it's the truth. My life is kind of crazy right now and it's a relief to not have one more thing to worry about, getting a sub or whatever if I can't be to church. So I started kind of justifying my inactivity, thinking

"Do I really believe in this stuff anyway, or is it just a habit from my childhood that I attend this church?"

 I was getting kind of irritated that the church promotes family values, but people with church callings spend SO MUCH time away from their families, it seemed like a contradiction. 

I'm not sure I'm opposed to gay marriage. 

I've been really passionate about the missionaries who come home early lately. I've talked to the Mom of a young man who came home early, and talked at length with a young woman who came home early, and it seems as if the church just drops these kids off at home and promptly forgets about them. The church doesn't offer mental health counseling, medical care or any sort of follow up for them. I'm pretty upset about that. 

But last weekend was general conference, and I was particularly moved, as I always am, by Dieter F Uchtdorf during the Women's session. 
When I hear him speak, there is just no doubt in my mind that he believes what he is telling us. I haven't had a chance to watch the remaining sessions of conference yet, but I will this week, now that I'm back up here in Ephraim. 
So, anyway, I just really wanted to go to church yesterday. I was in La Verkin, so I went to that ward for just the third time. And loved it. A Grandpa gave a name and a blessing to his newborn granddaughter, and he blessed her to have "A good self image throughout her life". Ah, I LOVED that. I have heard a lot of baby blessings, and I don't recall ever hearing that phrase in any of them. But what better gift can a young girl receive? Yeah, I loved it. 

 So I guess, even though I'm kind of sporadic in my church attendance right now, being a Latter Day Saint is not just a habit from my childhood.  This is where I fit, for the most part. I'm not perfect, and I don't agree with every single minute detail that every other Mormon on earth believes, but I really do believe in eternal marriage and the power of the Priesthood, which are the only two aspects of the church that differ significantly from any other Christian church's teachings.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lesser of Evils?

I tend to go for so long between blog posts that I have multiple topics to blog about once I finally sit down to do it. Today, I'm thinking about Early Returning LDS missionaries, my own recent inactivity in the LDS church, racial tension and the upcoming presidential election. The presidential election is the least emotionally intense topic, so I'll focus on it.
Just over a year ago, when Donald Trump first announced his intention to run as President, I joked with my friend, a staunch Democrat, "So, we could theoretically have a Presidential election between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton?" as if it were the biggest joke in the world and would never really happen. There are far too many qualified Republicans in this nation to ever have a crass, bigoted, non-politician like Trump make it to the actual election. I didn't think our nation was ready for a female President, so I thought Clinton would be out of the running early on.  Yet here we are. I've been a registered Republican for years, so as such, have hated all things Clinton. I've also been a human being for years, so as such, have hated all things Trump. Where does that leave me? 

People have recommended writing- in someone like Mitt Romney. Yeah, that's all fine and good, but A. He lost the election as an ACTUAL candidate, so certainly would not get enough write-in votes to win an election, and B. He didn't run again, so he doesn't even WANT the job if he did miraculously get it. 

People have recommended a vote for the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, so I read the Libertarian platform. Aside from the fact that the wording is unprofessional, the Libertarian platform is unrealistic. I haven't even considered Stein from the Green Party because they focus so much on climate change that other important issues are an afterthought. 

So I took a look at issues like Social Security.  My husband will retire in 9 years. Yes, we have SOME money put away in a retirement account, but not enough to sustain us if we were to live 20-30 years past retirement. We have  also paid into Social Security for the 30+ years we have been working. People of my generation used to get an annual statement of what your monthly Social Security income would be were you to retire at age 62, 65, 68  or 70. So it was part of our retirement planning to just assume Social Security was a given, after years of being forced to pay into it. 
The Libertarians want to "privatize" Social Security. Trump says he will fight to keep Social Security, but the Republican party in general warns that benefits will be cut by 21% in 2034. Clinton says she will do whatever it takes to ensure that Americans continue to receive their Social Security benefits. Chalk one up for Clinton. 

I don't care that much about gun control. My kids do. My husband does. I'm not a hunter. I don't go out and shoot clay pigeons or soda cans for fun. I take pictures of them while they do it, but it's not something I'm passionate about. I believe that criminals will get guns if they want them, no matter what the gun laws are. They're CRIMINALS! They don't care what the law is. This doesn't play into my decision about who to vote for. 

The War on Drugs. Now, THIS I do care about. I have a stepson, siblings, a nephew and friends  who have all been addicted to drugs. All candidates want to legalize marijuana either for medicinal only or recreational purposes. All want to end the War on Drugs, presumably to end prison overcrowding, so no help there in my decision making process.

Johnson has become  infamous for not knowing the name of the Syrian city Aleppo. I forgave him for that. Yesterday he was asked what world leader he admires and he couldn't think of one, so he said "I guess I'm having an Aleppo moment." Oh my gosh. Really?  Unforgivable. You're running for President of the United States. You probably ought to be familiar with other world leaders.

Trump doesn't even apologize for his derogatory comments about women, foreigners or anyone else who happens to be on his insult radar that day. He simply justifies or denies his comments. He is SO offensive that I'd be concerned about international relations with this guy at the helm. Even if he were qualified to lead the free world, he doesn't have the poise or social skills to do so effectively. He is the unattractive  poster child for Capitalism. THIS is what we aspire to? This guy lives the American dream.  We could all be him!! Do we want to tell our children "You can be a billionaire! You can even be President of the United States! Like Donald Trump!" Fortunately, there were better role models for my children when they were growing up.

So that leaves me with Hillary Clinton. 4 more years of Obamacare. Americans have the  lowest home ownership percentage and highest percentage of  food stamp usage in recent history. Democrats foster a sense of entitlement in people. People don't want to work, just collect unemployment and welfare benefits. Just the fact that I want to receive social security benefits puts me in that category. If Trump is the poster child for Capitalism, then Clinton is for Socialism. It takes a village and all that.

I'm abstaining this time. People always say "If you don't vote, then you can't complain about who is elected." I won't complain. I don't want any of them in the White House. Why complain about whoever it is, when the alternative could have been even worse?

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Passages Through the Veil

On May 22, 2016, my daughter Ashli gave birth to my second grandbaby, Rogue Dallen Brown. 6 pounds 13 ounces, 20 inches long, he is a perfect baby. I love him so much. Big brother Riken wasn't thrilled with his arrival, but got used to him and even started kissing his forehead once in a while. 

About a month after Rogue was born, our family friend Kellen Nielsen committed suicide. It was devastating for all of us. 29 years old. Seemed to have everything going for him. The Nielsens are a loved and respected family in Nephi, and Kellen's death was so hard for so many people, myself included. He didn't die immediately and I cried buckets of tears during the week that he spent in the hospital, putting myself in his Mom's position, and putting my sons in Kellen's brothers' positions. It hit really close to home. 

During that week, Ashli asked me if I would be willing to be Riken and Rogue's nanny when she goes back to work next week. I have a job that I LOVE, but I truly am not going anywhere in this position. I've kept the same job, working for $12.00 an hour, 25 hours a week, even after I got my Bachelor's degree. I've applied for a few full-time positions at work, but haven't gotten them, so it's not like I'm really going to be missed or hard to replace. 

But a Grandma? Yeah, grandmas are missed and hard to replace. So I've decided to do it. I will travel 3 hours to Ashli's house to be her live-in Nanny while she and Mack both work 7 days on/7 off. On their 7 days off, I will come home and be with Ken. He can't retire for about 9 years, so he has to stay here and work in Ephraim for a while. I'm going to miss him SO much. We haven't spent more than a night apart ever since we got married. Even when he's had surgery, I sleep in his hospital room. 

So I will miss Ken, but I already miss Riken and Rogue every single day, and Kellen's death just made it so much more acute for me. We have to take every moment we can to be with our loved ones. Nothing else matters as much as that. I desperately want to be a part of my grandkids' lives, and this is an opportunity for me to do that, even though it means giving up a job I love and being released as the Primary president. 
We had Activity Days girls day camp this past Thursday, and I had such a great time. I love these kids so much and I will miss working in the Ephraim 2nd Ward Primary. But I just keep coming back to the thought that I need to be at Ashli's. They need me. I need them. 
Also this week, Ken's uncle Lorin Stone passed away. He was 92 years old. The feelings around his passing are so different from the feelings surrounding Kellen's death. Lorin's funeral was a celebration of memories of a loving husband, father and friend. The service was so peaceful and although our hearts went out to Aunt Maurine, it wasn't really a time of grieving. He will be waiting for her on the other side. Maurine is Ken's Mom, Eva Deon Jones Carlson's, sister. I never got to meet her, but my husband loved his Mom so much. Meeting Maurine was kind of like meeting Deon. Maurine has the sweetest spirit, and she was so happy to meet me, as were all of Ken's cousins. They were so kind and loving to me, loving me just because they love Ken. It was a beautiful experience to spend the day with them. 
Even Steven, I guess. lol. Ken is the baby of the family and Steven is the next older of the five boys. He and I clash most of the time, but I am so glad that these boys get together in important moments like this. The only brother missing was Donald, who is working in California this week. 

So, all in all, it's been a really emotional time for me. My life is transforming yet again. I've never had a career. I thought Snow College would be it. But the truth is, I've never really wanted anything more than being a Mom and a Grandma. My first husband used to get so mad that I'd quit really good jobs every few years. When I had a new baby or when one of our babies started liking the babysitter more than he liked me, I just couldn't drag myself away from the kids. And now it's happening again. With the grandkids. I've changed a lot over the past twenty five years, but this hasn't changed. When it comes right down to it, a job is just a job. Necessary, but certainly not the most important part of my life. I hope we can make it work financially. Wrote out the tithing check this morning. Hoping for the best! 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Moments I Live For

 So, yeah, having kids that live in St George means that summer starts like three months earlier than we're used to:) We spent the weekend at the OUTDOOR pool in FEBRUARY in La Verkin. WHAT??? 
 Mack made some awesome outdoor Yahtzee dice. 

 7 months pregnant with her second son, Rogue, Ashli just soaks up the rays. 
 Kenna keeps score:) 
 We love it when Mack cooks. This weekend we tried his grilled sweet potatoes for the first time. YUMMY! 
 My man:)
 My middlest child:)
 All of the kids have told us how great Dixie Rock is, so we finally hiked up there. It was AWESOME!!! 

 A couple days before Easter, Ashli and Riken came to Ephraim for a quick visit. Too quick, but it was good for my soul to see them:) 

 Haha. Ashli and I did our pedicures, so Riken filed his feet too. 

 Easter egg hunt in Nana's backyard.
 Lunch at Rodgers at the very table where Ashli told me she was pregnant with Riken four years ago:) 
When Ashli and Riken left to go home, Riken and I both cried. I love this little guy more than I ever though possible.