Category Archives: Challenges

Pain Is Your Friend

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Day 24~

Really?  Pain is my friend?  Are you crazy Wanda?  Yep…. I’m a little crazy for sure, but I have learned over the years that pain IS my friend!

As many of you know that have followed me for a few years, I had a battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2012.  It was pain that got me to the emergency room that led to my diagnosis.  And it took several weeks of pain before I finally gave in.  I kept thinking (and hoping) the pain would go away.  By the time I got to a doctor and was completely diagnosed, it was at Stage 4 and in some of the vertebra in my back.   I don’t know if maybe it wouldn’t have gotten that far had I paid attention to the pain weeks earlier…. but it does make one wonder.  Luckily, it was very treatable and I am now in complete remission.  If you’re interested in reading about my journey with Hodgkins Lymphoma, go here.

o-BACK-PAIN-facebookPain is usually an indicator that there is something wrong that needs attention, perhaps even medical attention.  While some issues cause chronic pain and there isn’t always an easy solution to them, other pain is our body’s way of communicating to us that it’s time to admit, “Houston, we have a problem!”.  Like take for instance the pain signals the body sends out when it’s thinking about having a heart attack or a stroke.  Pay attention!

I’m by no means an expert on what physical pain is trying to tell you….. I just know that in most instances for me, my pain has indicated I needed some kind of help.  Even if slowing down and taking it easy was the answer for instance for a strained muscle.  It’s still not something to ignore.

Now, I’ve been talking about physical pain here….. but with time, most emotional pain can be a friend and a blessing too, if you allow it to be.  It’s usually a great learning lesson, though we may not see it at the time.  Very often, emotional pain needs help and attention from others too.

Today, I’m grateful my body gives me signals of physical pain.  It makes me know that I need to pay attention and try to figure out the problem.  What an amazing thing this body is!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

 

Story Day 7 — Rudolf — That Amazing Reindeer

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Almost didn’t get a story up today.  It’s been quite a day.  Not used to being at the doctor or hospital for anyone but me lately…. but today it was hubby’s turn!  But all is well…. not to worry.  He will be fine.  Thankfully.

Once again…. thanks to the internet, I found a story online that I have had in my files for years.  Boy, does it ever save me time typing them up!!!

This one is about how the story of Rudolf came about.  It’s a sweet story told with love about how we are all different, but special!

I hope you enjoy it.

Rudolph – That Amazing Reindeerrudolph4

On a December night in Chicago several years ago, a little girl climbed onto her father’s lap and asked a question. It was a simple question, asked in children’s curiosity, yet it had a heart-rending effect on Robert May.

“Daddy,” four-year old Barbara asked, “Why isn’t my Mommy just like everybody else’s mommy?”

Bob May stole a glance across his shabby two room apartment. On a couch lay his young wife, Evelyn, racked with cancer. For two years she had been bedridden; for two years, all Bob’s income and smaller savings had gone to pay for treatments and medicines.

The terrible ordeal already had shattered two adult lives. Now Bob suddenly realized the happiness of his growing daughter was also in jeopardy. As he ran his fingers through Barbara’s hair, he prayed for some satisfactory answer to her question.

Bob May knew only too well what it meant to be “different.” As a child he had been weak and delicate. With the innocent cruelty of children, his playmates had continually goaded the stunted, skinny lad to tears. Later at Dartmouth, from which he was graduated in 1926, Bob May was so small that he was always being mistaken for someone’s little brother.

Nor was his adult life much happier. Unlike many of his classmates who floated from college into plush jobs, Bob became a lowly copy writer for Montgomery Ward, the big Chicago mail order house. Now at 33 Bob was deep in debt, depressed and sad.

Although Bob did not know it at the time, the answer he gave the tousled haired child on his lap was to bring him to fame and fortune. It was also to bring joy to countless thousands of children like his own Barbara. On that December night in the shabby Chicago apartment, Bob cradled his little girl’s head against his shoulder and began to tell a story…

“Once upon a time there was a reindeer named Rudolph, the only reindeer in the world that had a big red nose. Naturally people called him Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” As Bob went on to tell about Rudolph, he tried desperately to communicate to Barbara the knowledge that, even though some creatures of God are strange and different, they often enjoy the miraculous power to make others happy.

Rudolph, Bob explained, was terribly embarrassed by his unique nose. Other reindeer laughed at him; his mother and father and sister were mortified too. Even Rudolph wallowed in self pity.

“Well,” continued Bob, “one Christmas Eve, Santa Claus got his team of husky reindeer – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen ready for their yearly trip around the world. The entire reindeer community assembled to cheer these great heroes on their way. But a terrible fog engulfed the earth that evening, and Santa knew that the mist was so thick he wouldn’t be able to find any chimneys.

Suddenly Rudolph appeared, his red nose glowing brighter than ever. Santa sensed at once that here was the answer to his perplexing problem. He led Rudolph to the front of the sleigh, fastened the harness and climbed in. They were off! Rudolph guided Santa safely to every chimney that night. Rain and fog, snow and sleet; nothing bothered Rudolph, for his bright nose penetrated the mist like a beacon.

And so it was that Rudolph became the most famous and beloved of all the reindeer. The huge red nose he once hid in shame was now the envy of every buck and doe in the reindeer world. Santa Claus told everyone that Rudolph had saved the day and from that Christmas, Rudolph has been living serenely and happy.”

Little Barbara laughed with glee when her father finished. Every night she begged him to repeat the tale until finally Bob could rattle it off in his sleep. Then, at Christmas time he decided to make the story into a poem like “The Night Before Christmas” and prepare it in bookish form illustrated with pictures, for Barbara’s personal gift. Night after night, Bob worked on the verses after Barbara had gone to bed for he was determined his daughter should have a worthwhile gift, even though he could not afford to buy one…

Then as Bob was about to put the finishing touches on Rudolph, tragedy struck. Evelyn May died. Bob, his hopes crushed, turned to Barbara as chief comfort. Yet, despite his grief, he sat at his desk in the quiet, now lonely apartment, and worked on “Rudolph” with tears in his eyes.

Shortly after Barbara had cried with joy over his handmade gift on Christmas morning, Bob was asked to an employee’s holiday party at Montgomery Wards. He didn’t want to go, but his office associates insisted. When Bob finally agreed, he took with him the poem and read it to the crowd. First the noisy throng listened in laughter and gaiety. Then they became silent, and at the end, broke into spontaneous applause. That was in 1938.

By Christmas of 1947, some 6,000,000 copies of the booklet had been given away or sold, making Rudolph one of the most widely distributed books in the world. The demand for Rudolph sponsored products, increased so much in variety and number that educators and historians predicted Rudolph would come to occupy a permanent place in the Christmas legend.

Through the years of unhappiness, the tragedy of his wife’s death and his ultimate success with Rudolph, Bob May has captured a sense of serenity. And as each Christmas rolls around he recalls with thankfulness the night when his daughter, Barbara’s questions inspired him to write the story.

I am Grateful!  How are You?

The Journey To Be “Me”!

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I have discovered the last few weeks that I am embarking on a journey to be me.  With the recent challenges I have been faced with…. it has been a real awakening to what’s really down deep inside of me.  A me that has always been there and longed to come out but maybe hasn’t known how!

With my recent diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma, I have done some real soul searching and praying.  There’s always those questions running through your mind…. “Why me?”  “Why now?”  “Why NOT me?” and many others that really start you to thinking.  Luckily, this is a disease that can be cured.  So I know I have a long life ahead of me.

This is me! I’m on a journey to find what’s deep inside me so I can share it with the world!

I have come to know deep in my heart this last week that this has lead me to the beginning of this journey of who I really am… and what I have to offer the world.  I’ve realized that I haven’t really ‘believed’ as strongly as I know I can of my divine worth, of my true magnificence and that I am truly a child of God….. and as such…. what a great inheritance I have and am and should be!

It’s amazing how the Lord puts people in our path for a reason.  I have met people just these last several months that are playing an integral part of this journey for me right now.  I had another overwhelming feeling from my Heavenly Father this morning that I am on the right path…. but it has only just begun.  I know there are many people that are and will help to lead me there, for which I am so grateful!

I have much to read and study and pray about and oh so much to dream about!  Part of what I am being counseled is to get really clear on what I want out of my life, both short term and long term.  This too has been things I have known and read about but haven’t taken the time to write and down and be clear about.  Oh…. I’ve attempted writing out goals and dreams…. but following through with a daily affirmation reading of them has not been very good.  Probably because I felt they weren’t complete so I needed to wait till they were.  I’m learning that it’s always a work in progress….. and that just getting started with it AND reading it everyday is going to make a huge difference for me.

I don’t know how long it will take me to become completely clear on what my specific personal purpose is.  I have vague ideas… but not sure they are right.  I know that by getting clear on everything I will be lead to an answer.  I truly believe the Lord is just waiting for me to ask!

In a crazy way….. I’m so grateful this challenge has come to me!  It has blessed me so much already.  I know I am taking the right steps to heal myself.  I know that my diet and supplements I am taking will help me to hyper heal.  I also know that I was lead to feel OK about taking chemo along with it.  I fought it for a long time because I also know that many people are beating the cancer fight without chemo.  But I felt I was lead to a peaceful answer for me.  Though I know I may have some tough days ahead of me…. I also know that most of them will be wonderful!

I also feel that this is a blessing in disguise to those around me.  I know that it will bring us closer in a way we’ve never been.

So…. as I embark on this journey to be me…. I hope that I can inspire many of you to do the same!  We all are so much more than we allow ourselves to believe and can give so much more to mankind than we have any idea we are capable of!  So…. join me in this journey!  I’ll try and keep you posted on what I’m doing to make that journey happen for me.  Perhaps it will inspire you to do some of the same things!

I am grateful!  How are You?

P.S.  If you are interested in hearing ALL the details of what my life has been like the last few weeks…. you can go to my page here on the blog called “When Life Hits A Wall”.  It’s right there at the top of the page you are looking at.  Clicking on that link will take you to my first journal entry where I tell everything ( and I mean everything….) about my experience.  I will also be updating those journal entries which you can look at by hovering over the “When Life Hits A Wall” tab.  It should give you options to scroll down to.  That way if you want to follow all the gory details you can.  It’s a pretty open book here.  Kind of crazy that I’m making it so public… but perhaps it will help someone else!

Judge Not!

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This is a post I’ve been needing to write for quite a while.  I don’t know why it seems so hard to make a post now that I’m out of the ‘habit’ of a daily post.  Honestly…. I liked it better when I was disciplined to do it daily!

Because of several recent events that have happened, I’ve had a real awakening about judging people.  I’ve always thought I was a pretty open and accepting person, but I guess when you have some things slap you in the face, you become aware of just how judgmental you really are.

Last week we spent several days in Vegas.  Let me just preface this by saying I have never liked Vegas.  It’s not my kind of thing.  I don’t like the smoke, I’m not into gambling and I just don’t care for the all and all feeling of the atmosphere there.  With that said… we went to Vegas for my husband to play in a softball tournament.  At the time we booked the hotel we stayed in, we were not sure what softball diamonds they would be playing on so we got something sort of central to a couple of different softball parks.  Knowing what I know now, I would have booked a hotel very differently than I did.

The tournament ended up being in Henderson and I would have much preferred to stay there!  But alas…. we took the advice of the softball tournament people and stayed in one of the hotels they recommended.   Big mistake…. but it was very cheap.  Much cheaper than we could have got on our Choice Hotels card.  But then again….  we kind of got what we paid for.

Actually, the rooms themselves weren’t terrible.  The bed was too firm for me but that’s not that uncommon in a hotel room.  The rooms seems fairly clean, but we were suppose to be in non-smoking room and you could tell the room had had smokers in it.  So…. it wasn’t really the room itself that made me, shall we say….. nervous?  It was what I perceived to be going on around me in the hotel area.

When we first arrived at Arizona Charlies on Boulder Hwy…. we went to find a parking place without having to park in the parking garage for the Casino.  Since the hotel rooms are separate from the Casino, we drove around that end of the building and ended up in the back of the hotel room area.  Now, I realize…. I wasn’t in Utah anymore….. but before we got to the back of the building, we saw a few young ladies in the vicinity that I may have wrongly tagged as hookers….  but what we saw next made me feel very uneasy and think that perhaps my ‘tagging’ may not have been wrong.

As we approached the end of the driveway in the back of the hotel…. (which meant there was no other way out other than turning around and going back) ….  we passed a group of men…. (or should I say boys?)…. standing outside a hotel room area.  OK… here comes my third point of judging right off the bat….  I just kind of felt like they were there passing the ‘girls’ around…. if you know what I mean.  I haven’t got proof… nor did I want proof….. it’s just what I perceived.  Now a lot of that perception came from me judging what they were wearing and the color of their skin…. which is not fair….  but it’s just what it felt and I didn’t like the idea that that sort of thing may be going on in the hotel we were about to check into.   And…. of course…. when we check into the hotel, where does our room end up?  Yep…. pretty much about 2 doors down from where they were.  What are the chances of that, considering it was a fairly large hotel with lots of rooms?  No…. I was not a happy camper!  Luckily, they had all gone not too long after we had checked in.

Again…… I know I was passing undo judgment without knowing all the facts.  I guess I didn’t expect to see that kind of thing happening outside of the Las Vegas strip.  Probably a pretty naive assumption on my part……  I know that those things go on in Vegas all the time….. but I’ve never had to deal with it right under my nose before.

As we were coming back from finding the ballpark so we’d know where to go the next morning…. we were stopped at a light when a group of people crossed the street.  Again…. my judgement falls in!  Based on what they were wearing and how they carried themselves…. I was passing judgement on the kinds of life they lead.  One man in particular that was covered in tattoos and pushing a stroller made me concerned for the child in the stroller.  All I could think of is, “What kind of life is that child going to lead?”  Most of us are a product of our environment, and I became concerned about the environment that child was in.  Before you going bashing on me….. I realize that tattoos do not make a bad person!  Again….. it was just my first impression, which probably came because of a conversation I had had with my niece several days earlier.  She fears for her little grandson because of the environment he is being raised in.  I think that was fresh on my mind when I saw this man with the tattoos.

The next day, at the ballpark, as I was comparing stories with some of the wives of the ball players, I was told that one of them had gone to McDonald’s for breakfast that morning and were ‘hit up’ by beggars.  Hence, when we ended up at McDonald’s a day or so later because that was one of the few places I could get free wi-fi, I was very aware of what was going on around me.

The first thing I looked for when we walked in McDonalds was if anyone else was using their wii-fi.  One older man in the corner seemed to be very consumed with what ever he was doing on his computer and seemed oblivious to what was going on around him. However, another young man sitting a few tables away from him made me nervous.  If you’ve ever used wi-fi in public places like that, you know that you aren’t always protected from someone else stealing your information.  This young man, while using his computer, seemed to be scoping out the place and was using his cell phone a lot while on his computer.  I became a  little suspicious and therefore closed a few of my pages I had open before I connected to the wi-fi.  I felt he had his eye on me.  Again…. I was passing judgement, but I wanted to take precaution.  Then… as we were leaving McDonalds and had just gotten into our car, we were approached by a young girl trying to give us some story about how she was just trying to get her sisters some food and she only had $3 to her name.  Now…..she wasn’t dressed shabbily, which was my first suspicion…. but it was her poorly delivered ‘canned’ speech that made me pretty much know she was lying to us.  However, we gave her a couple of dollars anyway and then drove away.

So far, I’ve told you some examples of things I passed judgement on that probably many other people may have felt the same way about.  It doesn’t make it right….. but it’s a fact of what happened to me!  However…. because of those things I had mentioned…. I think I was allowing myself to be a little coldhearted about other real possibilities going on around me that deserved some understanding.  The second morning of the tournament, we decided to try and find some breakfast a little closer to the ballpark area.  Since the ballpark was in Henderson and the surrounding area seemed very nice and clean, we figured we wouldn’t see the beggars around that we were seeing down on Boulder Hwy.  We finally stopped at a Subway close to the park to have one of their breakfast sandwiches.  When we walked in the store, there was a very shabbily dressed man with a long beard, sitting in the corner with only a cup of water in his hand.  My first thought was…. “Oh, great!  Here we go again!”

I ordered my sandwich and then my husband went to order something different from me and the girl behind the counter said, “Are you sure?  It’s two for one on the sandwiches before 9am.”  So my husband decided to just order the same thing as I did.  Now….. if I had been on my toes and realized that the man sitting in the corner was not coming up to us an asking for anything…. he was just sitting there with some water and trying to keep warm (it’s a little brisk in the desert in the mornings…)  I would have totally changed my attitude and taken that ‘free’ sandwich we got, ordered my husband something else and given the man the other sandwich.  But no….. I was still in the mode of this man being a beggar and being tired of what I had been seeing.

I realized that morning that I’m not as Christ like as I hope to think I am.  I felt very guilty after we drove away.  We did get our order to go, so it’s not like we sat there and felt guilty eating in front to him….. but I sure felt guilty after we left and I realized that I could have taken the opportunity to feed someone in need.  I told my husband I don’t think I passed Christ’s test very well that morning.  “As ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”  Matthew 25:40

I still feel guilty about that even now.  How could I give $2 to a girl that I was pretty sure was lying to me and yet ignore this man who was most likely legitimately in need?   It did help to bring an awareness to me about how judgmental I really had been during this trip.  It’s not something I’m very proud of.

I’m grateful for the awakening the trip to Vegas gave me., but I realized when I got home, that I wasn’t doing much better with the things around me here.  I’ve been very judgmental of the guy my daughter is dating.  They’ve been through some really rough times this last year or so and it hasn’t left me with a very good impression of him.  At least his record hasn’t been improving much and because of that….  I haven’t been his biggest fan.  Only because I’m worried about my daughters happiness.  I realized that I was passing undo judgement on him as well.  Everyone deserves a chance to improve their life and become a better person.  Don’t get me wrong…. he’s a good guy in a lot of ways…. he was just raised very differently than my daughter was and therefore his value system is very different.  It’s only what he knows.

This whole thing has made me very aware of the fact that I’m very guilty of passing judgement on many things and many people.  It’s something I’d like to not do any more.  I don’t think it will necessarily be an easy thing to do…. but at least by being aware that it’s something I need to improve on, I can hopefully catch myself doing it and make myself STOP!  In fact, it was re-listening to a talk given by Dieter F. Uchtdorf at LDS General Conference this last April Conference titled, “The Merciful Obtain Mercy” that actually brought me to tears and made me realize how bad I’d been.

In his talk he said:

“This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:

Stop it!

It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”

We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Haven’t we wished with all the energy of our souls for mercy—to be forgiven for the mistakes we have made and the sins we have committed?

Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others any measure of the grace we so desperately desire for ourselves? My beloved brothers and sisters, should we not forgive as we wish to be forgiven?”

Wow….. pretty powerful words!  And they did humble me as I listened that second time.  In fact, how easy would it be to change out some of those words on the bumper sticker?  “Don’t judge me because I have tattoos”  or  “Don’t judge me because I appear to be poor”.  There are many things we could put in that phrase.

I know I have a long way to go, but I am so grateful for the experiences that I have had lately that have made me realize how much I need to work on this area of my life!  Don’t you find yourself judging someone for something as simple as they way their outfit looks…. or we may pass judgement on someone for their behavior.  Perhaps it’s not the way they always act…. but how are we to know that with one meeting?  I know I’ve behaved badly in a store before when I’ve been upset by something the clerk has or has not done…..  I’m sure when I walked away from that situation, the person I was dealing with thought, “What a witch!”  It’s not something that happens all the time, in fact, I think it’s been on rare occasions that I have allowed myself to ‘react’ that way to a situation in public.  And yet…. for people who don’t know me….. what do you expect them to think of me?  That is how we are with others…..

It’s not an easy thing to do….. not being judgmental…  but it’s something I do want to work on it.  After all….. isn’t that what we are really in this life for?  To learn to become more like Christ?  It’s a life long task….. but who better than to try and emulate our lives after?  No one that I can think of.

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Here is President Uchtdorf’s talk in full.

If you’d rather READ it…. click here.

 

Here is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing one of my very favorite Primary (Children’s) songs, “I’m Trying To Be Like Jesus”.  What a beautiful message!

Here are the lyrics:

I’m trying to be like Jesus;
I’m following in his ways.
I’m trying to love as he did, in all that I do and say.
At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice,
But I try to listen as the still small voice whispers,

“Love one another as Jesus loves you.
Try to show kindness in all that you do.
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
For these are the things Jesus taught.”

I’m trying to love my neighbor;
I’m learning to serve my friends.
I watch for the day of gladness when Jesus will come again.
I try to remember the lessons he taught.
Then the Holy Spirit enters into my thoughts, saying:

“Love one another as Jesus loves you.
Try to show kindness in all that you do.
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
For these are the things Jesus taught.”

Green Smoothies — Give it a Try!

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Since some of you may not be aware of my 30 Day Challenge tab at the top of this blog…. or even be aware that I was updating my readers with those challenges….. I decided today to link you to the update I posted yesterday on Day 30 of my Drink Only Green Smoothies challenge.

I think many of you will be interested in what I have to say.  If you want more information than the link I’m giving you, just hover over the 30 Day challenge tab, then the Drink Only Green Smoothies tab.  It will show you the date of each update that I gave the acronym of D.O.G.S. to.  Here is the link to the Day 30 post I wrote yesterday.

I’m so grateful that we gave this challenge a ‘whirl’.  Though we didn’t complete it entirely as planned…. it still made an impact on us.  (When I say ‘we’…. I mean my husband and I).  It’s taught me to be more aware of what I am eating and wanting to eat more healthy choices on a consistent basis.

I’m so grateful for the internets ability to link me to information on healthy eating and recipes to do so.  You’ll find in the link above of yesterdays post that I posted links within that post to a few other websites to give you more information as well as the giving the Basic Green Smoothie recipe we use.

If you are interested at all in making a change for the better for your health…. I would suggest incorporating Green Smoothies into your diet.  It’s a perfect way to start making a difference.

If you want additional information for another way of making a huge impact on your health…. follow this link on a post I made back in August for info on something that could potentially change your life or the life of someone you love.

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Facing the Facts

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This is not going to be easy.  Not at all.

As a family, we don’t really think she is ready for this move…. but try as hard as we could to talk the Director of the Assisted Living center into letting her stay if we promised more family visits, etc, to see if that would perk up her attitude…. she pretty much said “No… I’m sorry.  I just can’t have her treating my Aids that way.”  So…. now we have reached a cross roads that brings us to a very difficult decision.

My Mom has been living in an Assisted Living Center since she had her stoke 5 years ago.  She made the adjustment fine in the beginning.  Though she was very reluctant to do it…. she knew that none of us were in a position to give her the 24/7 care she needed…. particularly that first little while after her stroke.  But she adjusted well.  Like my sister said last night as we were talking…. it’s because she had someone else to take care of.  Meaning…. that she felt a big concern for many of the friends she made in her first Assisted Living center.  She wanted to make sure they got down to dinner and such and would go ‘pick them up’ on her way.  She was like a little Mother Hen to many of them.  Most of those people have passed on now.

Then we had to move her about 3 years ago.  She was needing more care and the facility she was in was forcing her out of her beautiful 2 room apartment.  She would need to move to another section of the building that was ‘licensed’ to give her the level of care she was needing.  Unfortunately, those rooms were very small!  She would have had to get rid of most of her furniture (which was one of the reasons she adapted to Assisted living in the first place, because her own stuff was around her).

Consequently, we checked out other facilities and found one that had a lovely room … not quite as big as the one she was in…. but much bigger than the cracker box we would have had to move her in at the first place.  Plus, they gave the level of care she needed.  We felt very blessed to find another place we were able to make a ‘home’ for her.

Now…. she is starting to show signs of getting dementia and seems to be treating the girls that work at her facility unkindly, so they say.  If only it was as easy as telling her to quit being mean….  then perhaps we could keep her there.  She is very demanding and wants things done her way.  She insists the girls stay with her longer than they should be, which cuts into time they need to be spending with other residents.  It’s a hard situation to be facing.

I hate to see my Mom like this.  When we were faced with the first decision to put her into Assisted Living….. she not only adapted well but had a great attitude about it.  She knew she could either be miserable or choose to make the best of it.  She chose to make the best of it and was a pretty pleasant resident to deal with.  This ornery attitude she seems to be getting, is very hard for everyone to handle.  If only she could ‘choose’ to be happy again…  Then again…. the recent fall she experienced would be enough to make anyone ornery!

I can see it’s time for me to do a little studying up on how to deal with dementia.  It’s so hard to see someone turn into someone they are not!  Her older sister had major problems with dementia before she passed.  We are just praying that she doesn’t get that bad.  Hopefully it’s just being a little forgetful.

My sister has been a Saint through all of this.  She’s been through more than any of us siblings have any idea about since she’s been in charge of Mom’s care!

Though I’m very saddened at the thought of having to move Mom again….. I’m so grateful for the time she’s had at both facilities!  They have been so good to her.  It’s just hard to face the facts that this is happening.  I’m a believer that everything is put in our path for a reason….. I just need to learn the lesson I’m suppose to from this…… but that doesn’t make it any easier!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

I May Not Always Be Right! (Gasp!)

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I was playing a serious game of Tangram on my iPad last night.  (Which, technically, for the iPad is called TanZen)  It’s a free app.  If you don’t have it you should try it.  It’s a very good game to get your brain thinking and seeing where the ‘puzzle’ piece goes. I guess it could be considered mathematical too…. but I don’t see it that way.  I made a post about Tangram one day last year,  You can check it out here if you’d like.  It seems to be one of my more popular posts.

Have you ever bee absolutely sure that a puzzle piece just HAD to go where you were sure it went? Didn't work did it!

Anyway…..  I was playing a game…. and by game I mean trying to complete each puzzle on that page…..  There were a few puzzles I was struggling with.  Most of them come pretty easy to me because I seem to be able to see fairly easy where the large triangle pieces will fit and then it’s usually pretty easy after that.  But there were a few games I was getting hung up on.

It occurred to me as I as playing those more difficult games that I was being so insistent on thinking that I knew for sure where those puzzle pieces fit, that I didn’t want to try and see that I might be wrong.  After all…. many times those triangular pieces fit right where I thought they would….. but the rest of the puzzle wouldn’t come together with them in those spots.

Finally….. after fussing and trying to make it work my way, I had to turn to for help to get my first ‘hint’ on the puzzle.  This is done by double tapping on the puzzle silhouette.  Sometimes those hints aren’t very helpful, but usually they are.  Once I placed the piece in the puzzle in the area that was given to me as a hint…. I can usually figure it out from there…. but I often feel a little dejected that I had to resort to a ‘hint’ instead of figuring it out on my own.

It occurred to me that many things in life are that way, aren’t they?  Sometimes we are so insistent that the ‘puzzle’ is suppose to go together a certain way that we don’t allow ourselves to try and see it in a different way.  We’ve been so trained to think that things will happen a certain way or in a certain order….. we are so stuck inside our little ‘box’ of thinking, that we don’t allow ourselves to step out of the box for a moment and see that it just may take a little ‘help’ or ‘hint’ for us to figure out the puzzle.

Maybe we are even afraid to step outside that box.  There is always a little fear in the unknown.  But isn’t that what life is all about? To learn to stretch and grow?   Getting over our fears and moving into a place of love?  I guess I could keep insisting that the puzzle will only work one way… but by doing so, I allow myself to get very upset or confused in the process of not being open to the fact that there actually might be another way.  Not just a better way…. but another way.  Our way isn’t working after all!

You know what?  Maybe I’m not always right!  Maybe I need to be more open to the ‘hint’ that’s trying to come into the picture.  And maybe that hint won’t hurt so much after all….. especially if it makes all the pieces of the puzzle fit!  Don’t be so stubborn sometimes!

It’s funny how playing a little game can bring about such deep thought!  I guess I’ll take that as a moment of learning…. one that I can be grateful for!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

My 1 Year Challenge Met!

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Wow…. what an emotional day!  Today is the official last day of my daily posting challenge for my Gratitude blog.  Though I technically started my blog on Dec 27, 2010, I wanted to take it to the end of the year because it just felt right to do that.

This started as a quest for me to attract more good things into my life by being grateful for what I had.  Having become a student of the Law of Attraction, I’ve been trying to implement it’s philosophies into my life.  One of the big things that is taught is to be grateful for what you have.  Hence my pursuit to begin this blog.  It started as a fleeting thought that it might be a good idea and was confirmed to me that I should do it as I sat in church a few days after the thought had come.   The brother that was speaking in church that day used the term “I am grateful!  How are you?” as part of his talk.  He said that was how he decided to answer people when they asked him how he was doing.  The phrase jumped out at me so profoundly.  I turned to my husband and said… “I think I just found the name for my gratitude blog!”  Hence…. the blog was born with a fabulous title… if I say so myself!

There have been so many things I have learned over this year.  Many of them are things I have learned about myself.   It’s interesting to me to go back to the first few weeks and months of my blog and see how my writing style has changed.  My posts in the beginning we very what you might call ‘matter of fact’.  They were usually very short and didn’t contain much commentary.  It seems that as I grew as a blogger…. I had a tendency to add more commentary or opinions and thoughts to the things I was blogging about.  You might even consider it rambling!

One deadline met! Now to the next challenge!

Honestly…. I have gone back and read a few of my posts and been amazed at the things I said!  I read it and think, “Where did that come from?”  Oh…. not all of my posts are profound and wonderful….  some of them are still matter of fact…. but there are some that have been very good.  I have much to learn about how to use WordPress to be as effective as I know it can be…. but I hope to take some time to go back through all my posts and get them all categorized and tagged.  That’s one thing that I didn’t know how to do for the first several months.  In the process of doing that, I hope I can figure out a way to mark my personal favorites so that they are easier to find.  When you have over 370 posts, it’s harder for your visitors to sift through!

I have many people to thank for helping to make my blog more public and noticed.  Oh… I have a long way to go to be considered one of the top blogs on my topic…. but I’ve been amazed at the traffic that has picked up on it.  Once a couple of friends ‘promoted’ my blog to a group of their friends back in July, my daily visitor number increased a bunch.  Thank you to those of you who have taken the time to tell others about my blog.

I guess the most important thing that has come out of me doing this is how I have grown as a person.  Taking the time to be aware of the things around me…. thinking back on each day and what I had experienced that day has had a profound effect on me.  I truly am so very blessed.  Though my long term goals would take me out of the particular circumstances that I am currently in….. I am perfectly happy where I am!  I have everything I need and am well taken care of and loved.  I couldn’t ask for a better husband or family.  I have intentions for this next year to focus even more on how good my current circumstance are even more than I have!

So…. you may be wondering.  Am I done?  Is this the last post for I Am Grateful!  How are You?  The answer is a emphatic NO!!  I have many plans for expanding some new pages on my blog.  One of which will be titled W.I.L.T..  As I mentioned, I have a lot to learn about how I can best use this WordPress blog of mine to my best advantage and I haven’t discovered yet how a new ‘page’ on my blog can be a daily post like the main page is…..  I’ll figure out how to do it, but those of you that follow my blog may not get daily emails to let you know I’ve posted something in the W.I.L.T. area…. you’ll just have to come back and check it out!

Oh….so you are wondering what does W.I.L.T. stand for?  I guess I should tell you!  It stands for What I Learned Today!  It hit me the other day that if we are observant…. we can learn something everyday!  Now these posts will not be long drawn out philosophies from Wanda…. at least that’s not my intent…..  These post will be short little blurbs about something I learned that day.  They could be funny or profound!  It will be what it is!  That is the section of my blog that I want to commit to posting in everyday.  They can be quick and short.

As far as my regular posts go….. while I’m not abandoning posting…. I won’t be posting daily as I have been for the last year.  My commitment to you as my followers is that I will post at a minimum of once a week!  There may be weeks when I post more… but I promise to post at least once a week.  I’m planning on putting a reminder in my cell phone every Thursday to ask me if I have blogged yet this week….

One other area that I hope to expand on is a 30 day challenge area.  There are a few things I would like to accomplish this year that I’m hoping that by focusing on it for 30 days will make a difference for me.  These will change often…. we’ll obviously the challenge  will be for 30 days!  I’m not promising 12 – 30 day challenges this year…. but I hope to get several in.  Again…. this blog will grow with me and what is going on in my life.

I’m so grateful to all of you for visiting and supporting me on this blog.  It’s the fact that I have visitors actually reading my posts that keeps me motivated to keep going!  I’m amazed that I’ve had people from far across the globe pay me a visit and sometimes make comments….  how grateful I am to all of you!

I believe that so much in our lives will change for the better if we just take time to be grateful for what we have!  There is so much value in how are attitudes can look at things!  I made a comment on Facebook the other day that I think explains this pretty well and I’d like to share it with you.  It’s a quote from Louise Hay, who is the author of You Can Heal Your Life and many many other books…. here’s what she said:

Whenever there is a problem, repeat over and over: “All is Well. Everything is working our for my highest good. Out of this situation only good will come.
I am safe!” 
~ Louise Hay

We really can find gratitude in all things!  Sometimes it may not be easy!  Somedays I had to search hard to find something to blog about….. but I did it.  I forged through.  I’m so grateful I did!  I have grown so much as a person this year I wouldn’t trade it for anything!  One of the best things I learned about myself is that I can make a commitment that is hard to do and keep it!  No one forced me to do it…. no one even suggested I do it.  It was my idea and one that I felt was important to keep.  Now I know there are many other things that I can do if I want it bad enough!  I can’t tell you how many times this year my husband mentioned he was proud of me!  I think I’ve even amazed him!

Thanks again to all of you who faithfully read my blog and thanks to those of you who are just discovering it!  I hope you’ll find some words for thought here!

I wish you the best in this upcoming year!  May you have a blessed and prosperous year!   Just keep in mind that prosperity is all in how you look at it!  Even the meekest of circumstances can be a life of wealth if you look for it!

I hope you’ll continue to join me here and even follow me on Facebook….  (See the “Like” button over on the right hand side?  Go ahead!  Join me on Facebook!)   One of my new goals is to get set up with Twitter.  I may use that to post my W.I.L.T. posts so stay tuned!

Thank you again and have a wonderful New Year!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

25 Random Things About Me

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I was going through some of my Facebook notes and came across this one I sent out almost three years ago.  What an eye opener in some ways.  It represents my personality very well…  though there have been a few changes in circumstances that I’ve updated with an editorial note… or not….  but I thought it was still pretty accurate about me.

It was originally sent out as a challenge from your Facebook friends.  You were suppose to list 25 thing about you and tag your friends and they were suppose to do the same thing with things about them.  After I read it today…. I was actually very grateful I had gone through the challenge!  It’s kind of a nice thing to have a record of.  It’s pretty insightful to how you were feeling at the time.  I thought it might be fun to share it with you here.  I hope you enjoy learning a little more about me!

Here I am 'pretending' to sign autographs at the Hale Theater 25 Year Gala party last year. They made us feel like stars as we arrived. Very fun

25 RANDOM THINGS ABOUT ME

1. Performing is a passion of mine. It’s true that it can become an addiction. And it’s not just hearing the applause……. It’s the joy of sharing your talents with others.

2. I’m proud of and thrilled that all my children are performers and love to perform too. I think they caught the bug! And gosh dang it…. If I say so myself…. They are GOOD! So are their sweethearts! How lucky is that!

3. My husband is a peach. The best. Patient and loving and just the best person. I’m awfully lucky and extremely grateful.

4. I adore old movie musicals. Have since I was a kid. Boy, if this generation only knew how lucky they were to have all of that at their disposal!! I remember being soooooo excited at Thanksgiving time just anticipating “The Wizard of Oz” coming on TV!! It was like a Thanksgiving tradition! We had to wait a WHOLE year to see it again!! Sure glad for channels like TMC and AMC! Anything at our disposal on DVD??? Pretty amazing…. And fun!

5. It’s hard to believe as athletic as my husband is that I don’t’ really enjoy sports much. Except for softball and probably volleyball. Basketball is ok too, but football!!!!! I HATE it!! Drives me nuts that it takes 3 hours to play 40 minutes of a ballgame! I’m glad my boys never played football. Although they harass me that I didn’t let them. Too dangerous of a sport in my opinion! Oh, I’ll sit through a big game just to be supportive of a family activity…..but I don’t really enjoy it much!

6. My favorite candy bar in the world is an Almond Joy. I’m a coconut fiend!! Couldn’t ask for a better treat! Except maybe a good soft macaroon cookie! Of course…. I’m happy with anything with chocolate and caramel too! Oh……and don’t forget BLACK licorice!! The REAL kind! None of this black vines stuff…. I mean real licorice. Twizzlers is great, but my new favorite is the kind Costco sells. I can’t remember the name but it’s an ‘Aussie” licorice in a red bag. Mmmmm… good! Soft Licorice Allsorts….. (Bassets) are good too. Especially the ones surrounded by coconut!  (There goes that coconut thing again!)

7. Since I’ve lost weight, I’ve come to enjoy salads quite a lot! Which is good…..since we all should be eating at least one a day for better health! PS…. I DID NOT lose weight eating the above mentioned favorites!!

8. I wish I could get addicted to exercise like I used to be back when I taught an aerobics class! I remember loving to exercise back then……just can’t get the fire under me anymore. Maybe if I was in charge of helping others exercise regularly like I used to be, I’d feel more responsible about doing it. It’s too easy to make excuses! And I have a lifetime membership to a gym….so that’s even worse!

9. I enjoy decorating things. My home, (though you wouldn’t know it right now!!), crafts (which I don’t take much time to do) etc.. Obviously I’m not doing well on bringing that joy into my life right now!! Maybe it’s because I don’t watch HGTV as much as I used to!! (LOVE that channel!)

10. My mother is lovingly referred to as ‘Grandma Shit’ by her grandkids. She swears a lot. As a young kid I was embarrassed by that though my friends loved her because of it. I SWORE I would never swear! Then I had children. Dammit! Really though……I’m NOT happy that I do it so much. Unfortunately by children think it’s a natural part of the English language! Who do I blame for that? The media maybe????…..maybe???

11. I have great in-laws! How many people will say that?? It’s true. John’s Dad is an amazing man that I love and respect dearly. Very wise and loving. ( I wonder where John gets it from…) His Mom makes me laugh. She’s a great lady with a HUGE heart.

12. I didn’t really realize how well off my family was as a kid. We didn’t live up on the “hill” in a big house (though by Dad tried to sell our house one time so he could build one up there and us kids wouldn’t let him..). The house I grew up in is probably one of the biggest in the neighborhood. It’s odd to have my Mom still own it but not live there. I guess when it comes time to finally sell it, it will be easier now that it’s had renters in it for over a year and we haven’t had family gatherings there for a long while. Though I miss that terribly!!  (Editorial note:  Since I first wrote this… we HAVE sold the house, and it was easier because we hadn’t been there in a long time.  Still hard, but easier.  And I STILL miss those family gatherings there!)

13. Christmas used to be my favorite holiday. Actually it still is…..it’s just VERY different that it used to be. I’m trying desperately to come up with some of our own family traditions since we don’t really do the ones we did growing up since my Dad died. It’s never been quite the same since we all quit gathering on Christmas Eve….. I long terribly for those old days and pray that it can become a habit with my own children…..once we have GRANDKIDS!!

14. I’m probably one of the few married people my age who is NOT a Grandma!!  I always tell people I have grand ‘puppies’ not grandkids!! They do refer to us as Grandma and Grandpa (via their parents….. our children…..) But I look forward to the day of REALLY having grandchildren. It would help if I had married children!!  🙂

15. One thing good about having grand ‘puppies’ (besides the fact that I really do adore them…) is that we can babysit and still sneak out for a few hours and not have to take the ‘kids’ with us. They tend themselves pretty well. Unless we’re gone TOO long. Then they can get mischievous.

16. I’m really glad we have our own dog as well. Though we came by him by default…. (huh, Mandy). He’s the best little dog ever and he loves us a lot! Sometimes I think it is ridiculous how much you can love a dog!! It’s crazy! Makes me sad that we didn’t have that relationship with our past dogs. They were ‘outside’ dogs and never got quite the attention Scooter gets being an indoor dog. I’m sure they loved us just as much as Scooter loves us…..we just never got to see it! How sad for us AND for them! I regret that.

17. Why do I love clothes so much?? I like them even better now that I’m thinner and I look better in them! I guess I should have known I was in trouble back when I spent hours dressing up my Barbie dolls!! I love being in ‘fashion’ but I don’t necessarily think I have to have ‘name brands’ to do it!! Thanks heavens!

18. I HATE getting old!! I can’t stand it when I wake up and look in the mirror and I look ‘tired’ after a good nights rest! Sometimes it feels like all those eye creams aren’t helping!! Other days I think they are. Hormones. That’s all I can say. Hormones. I guess I’m pretty vain, huh? (Editorial note:  things have improved dramatically for me since I started consuming ASEA and spraying it on my skin…..   I actually think I look younger!)

19. I wish I was better organized.  I have so many things to do around the house (like finish decorating….) and things that still need to be ‘put in their place’ since we moved almost two years ago… (now 5 years…  and it’s still not done!!) but I just can’t seem to get myself motivated to do it. I spend WAY too much time on the computer!!

20. Though you wouldn’t guess it sometimes…… I’m really grateful for the things I have. I’m very blessed and lucky. I have a wonderful husband… three great kids, and I have a lovely home with many nice things. I really couldn’t ask for more. Very blessed. (Editorial:  This was written almost 2 years before I started this blog!  Now I’m much more observant of my blessings.)

21. I need to be more disciplined in my business. Treat it like a business, you know? Give time to it every day. I guess that might be a little easier to do if I didn’t have three different businesses I’m trying to do!! I know I can make money in all three….. I just have to work them!! Sometimes I’m lazy…can you tell?  (Editorial note…. things have changed…. a little….. I’m not really working 3 businesses right now….  but I still need to be better disciplined!)

22. I enjoy traveling. For enjoyment. I still want to take a family vacation with the kids somewhere. I think a cruise would be the best.  Then we can play together at sea and still sightsee on shore. What a kick. Someday.

23. I won’t hesitate to say that I’m glad I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and that I have a testimony of it.  I’m grateful to be able to work in the temple, though I HATE getting up EARLY to work the early shift! I love the sisters that I work with though! Patrons and fellow workers. What a wonderful experience.

24. Someday my husband and I will own a couple of ‘vacation’ homes. One in St. George and one somewhere else in a cooler climate. Like Heber City or Eden. Man….those are pretty places in the summer. Branson would be fun too. It would be fun to go there more often. I guess we just need to do that one through our vacation club that we never use!!

25. Someday I would like to record an album that is not Christmas. Though I had a barrel of fun doing the Christmas album….it’s not marketable in its current state. (I need to get permission to ‘use’ the tracks that I recorded it to so I don’t currently ‘sell’ it.)  I would love to have something ‘marketable’. Not that I think I would become some big famous person….. I would just like to be able to sell it….. if I felt like it. An album of standard jazz tunes would probably be my first choice. Then a theater album of songs of roles that I’ll never get cast in for one reason or another. Probably a church album too. Someday. (Work those businesses girl!)

Well…. I hope you enjoyed that.  I’d love to have your comments below.  It might be fun for you to do the same thing…. take a few minutes and write down 25 random things about yourself!  You can do it.  I remember when I started it I didn’t think I could come up with 25 things!  But I did……  Try it!  Go!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Auditions

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I’m not a big fan of auditions.  They can be vey nerve racking at times.  But it’s a process that has to be done when you want to be in a show!

One of the best parts of auditioning, however, is seeing theater friends that you’ve worked with or just know being in the theater world.  It’s like a reunion of sorts.

The bad thing about auditions is that you end up competing against your friends for the same part!  And it doesn’t always turn out the way you’d like for both of you.

Auditions are always a chance to grow.  To sharpen your skills or realize what you need to work on to improve.  It’s something I try to do with a good attitude.  I’ve certainly had disappointing results from auditions before …… And I’ve been upset about it too.  But I usually get over it in a day or two.  Auditioning is a time when our egos can really get the best of us.  We have our own ideas in our head of what the role should played like or look like and sometimes our vision isn’t what the director sees or wants.  That’s always the catch!

I was up against some talented ladies tonight for the same role.  Unfortunately, we all won’t get cast and it’s not a show where there are many other parts we could play….  but that’s the name of the game!  At least this is a theater that double casts so at least two of us will get the chance to play the part we auditioned for.

I’m always grateful for the process of auditions, even though I don’t necessarily look forward to the ‘being nervous’ part.  I’m grateful for the challenge and for being reminded at how many talented people there are out there!  It would be fun to be cast, but if I’m not…. I wish my friends well who do get it!

Even though we had to hang around till the very end tonight……  it was great fun visiting and we gave them a killer ending to their evening!  Way to go ladies!

I am Grateful!  How are You?