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This Phoenix Speaks

Seven years in the making, my first published book, This Phoenix Speaks , is now a reality. The tireless and tiring work invested to ma...

a slice of Easter

A new day. The sun is shining, and I actually do hear birds singing outside my window. I am awakened by the delightful sounds of Spring--not my children babbling about what the Easter Bunny brought them whilst they slept.

It is the first time we are not together for Easter. I am certain God knew I would feel heartache because as I arose the music and words to one of my favorite Easter hymns "He is risen!" came into my mind at the very first. Not any self pity. Not any emptiness. Only a feeling of fullness of joy and of the holy spirit.

There were moments during church that I felt their absence pinch at my heart, but my Father in Heaven would not have me be anything but of good cheer today. In celebration of Easter, I had the pleasure of conducting an adult choir and a girls choir during our Sacrament service. So, between all the spiritually uplifting messages and doing my part, I was filled to the brim with no room for sadness.

This day is not done, but I want to tell you of a transformative experience I had after church. While preparing for the Easter Bunny's late arrival tomorrow, I was wishing the children were with me. I even allowed myself to entertain a few tears, but then I recalled all of the beautiful messages of peace and Christ's sacrifice and resurrection that I received earlier in the day and could only feel gladness. Instantly, I felt glad that I had received comfort, that I have a testimony of Christ and his atonement. And then the transformation occurred. I began to feel glad that my children's father did not have to be alone this Easter. The fact remains that we cannot be together which means someone will always need to be apart from the children on holidays. From one moment to the next, I was transformed from selfishly sad to reveling in compassion. I have been happy from that moment on--completely filled with God's love for me.

Many times in our lives, we are apart from those we cherish, but the good news is that Christ can be our companion as we allow his atonement to heal our hearts. We can sing a song of redeeming love by reaching past ourselves and recognizing that God has a plan and it is one of happiness. I know Christ lives and loves you and me even all of us. 

I hope that my experience might reach someone in need of it today. Have a blessed Easter, everyone.

Laura and Oscar: Week 9

Blondes and Bleachers continued...

She called out to me, and I winced for now my schemes were going to collide with truth. I waved to her as the rest of the band watched--inside I was screaming, “Noooooo”. I told her I would come down at halftime and we could split a coke. In her enthusiasm, she disregarded my plan and began climbing up the back of the bleachers to reach me. I could not believe she was climbing the steel cross beams! As I think of it today, it is one of the most romantic gestures I have ever been gifted. In that moment I saw Tabitha’s face then asking me “who is that little girl?” Once she reached the top (she must have been 25’ off the ground), she squeezed her head in between the bleacher seats and begged me to kiss her. To which I obliged. I remember the kiss, and it was the last one we would have. After being teased by some of my friends and feeling wholly exposed the entire week following, I wrote her a letter telling her my feelings had changed, although I left out the part that I was working my way to long walks and dates with Tabitha.

Laura was heartbroken. She made one last overture by enlisting the help of my sister who drove her to my house. She carried with her a cream colored teddy bear and a purple envelope stuffed with tiny, shiny, metallic heart-shaped confetti. I was furious with my sister but could feel Laura’s pain and I hugged her and we talked and she left in my sister’s beat up ‘77 Mustang II. As it puttered down the block and the putter disappeared, I realized what I had done. I tore open the letter; the confetti exploded all over my room; and I read page after page of a wholehearted letter freshly speckled with the hopes and dreams of a tender hearted girl.

Laura always wrote me beautiful love letters which I saved for many years until finally bringing myself to let them go almost as a right of passage into another era of my life. Gosh, I wish I had at least one of those letters...I can still remember the scent she would spray on them and it has always made me smile whenever I pass a woman who’s wearing that familiar scent.

...to be continued next week. 

Happiest Time

In an effort to get my mind off of the waiting, I decided to watch an old show I had watched with my parents. One of my children was home sick, so he and I started it. Then, when the rest of my gang got home from school, we decided to keep on watching instead of doing chores. I was okay with the idea since I haven't been feeling well with all my lovely anaphylaxis adventures and having a sick child to worry about just added to the pile of cares. We needed a mental health day, as my mother would call them.

Our entertainment was the 1989 TV mini-series "Lonesome Dove". There is a scene when Gus asks his friend, Captain Call, what is the one time when he was happiest. Woodrow replies that he couldn't pick just one of the many times. The question posed and answer given caused me to ponder for myself.

Is it possible for there to be one time when we are happiest? How would I decide? What criteria qualifies it as such?

As I pondered these questions, a sensation came over me, even a knowing. I looked around at my children and knew that seeing my littlest, who struggles with reading, doing reading time with my oldest who is more like a toddler; observing my third teaching herself how to sew (and multitask) a little something for her brother; recognizing my oldest son comprehending the weight of some of the hardships that were dramatized; and relishing our quiet moment at home were pieces of the stuff that makes the happiest of times.

The feeling overwhelmed me as a mother.

Captain Call had just caught up with his friend and could see he would be dying shortly, so it was a sad part. The combination of this along with my vision of happiness pushed tears from my eyes.

There will never be time enough for all we ever want to do, but we must fill the time we are given with the stuff of happiness—true happiness—if we are to make something of it. I am certain the years will fall away quickly enough for they already have begun to do so, yet I can keep a look out for the happy times and make them the happiest times for which anyone could ever wish.


It can be nice to enjoy some quiet. But, for some reason, this sort of quiet doesn't feel right to me. Maybe I'm uncomfortable with it because I'm used to having so much more whirring about and wanting to get out. Really, I usually have so much I want to say all the time that I could go on forever once the cap gets taken off by an innocent bystander asking how my day is going.

But lately. Lately has been different. I can sit pondering, and next thing I know I am run out of time and haven't shared not even one of my thoughts or done anything with any of it. Writing ideas and plans down would be really nice if I could get back into the habit of it all.

As I write now, I think about all the moments I wanted to write about yet didn't because I let the idea slip through my quiet fingers...

Ice Skater In Training

My slice is made up of the air I'm breathing since I can't seem to figure out how to do much better than just breathe. If I concentrate on relaxing, everything goes to the wayside, but at least I'm not stressing out on things I cannot change. Waiting is consuming my brain (if that's even possible). Nothing takes more precedence than embracing nervous waiting until I recognize I'm filling up space and time with nothing more than nothing and force myself to snap out of it. And even then, I'm not so sure about the depth of my interactions. I feel like I'm skimming the surface--sort of how ice skaters glide across only the very top layer--except this is so way not graceful, like, not at all.

I'm not sure if you get my drift on this one, but the air and ice are getting thin over here, so it's all I've got for now.


Every heart has thought the words "I wish we could be together" at least once in more than one context. As I think of what I wrote on the back of an envelope as a way to express what I cannot say, I realize what a universal sentiment this carries with it.  Children, parents, friends, lovers, brothers, sisters, families. We all have someone we wish to be near, someone we miss.

It can also be metaphorical in nature--to have more unity of mind and heart. Lack of unity can create this wish to be together because it isn't happening. People can be the equivalent of a thousand miles apart while sitting in the same room when their hearts are not knit as one.

My wish is to create a sense of unity with others through love and friendship that we may feel togetherness. And maybe some day I will find a significant other who wants this togetherness, too.

friend exposé


Five friends who highlight some of the magic (and less than magic) moments that influenced me

Tammy: General mischief making, mud pie baking, barbies, and Christmas tree flocking. Oh yeah, and how to bypass her house alarm's wiring on her bedroom window.

Diana: Barbies, homemade Orange Julius smoothies, Smurfs, piano playing, roller skating, pretend make out sessions with pillows

Sarah: Tea parties with Tang, fancy dancing in dress ups, trampolines, scones, swinging in the grape arbor, and the high school's Environmental Club

Melissa: Boys, crash cymbals playing, Dinosaurs pasta, church dances, foster care, walking, how to be a friend

Kathleen: Dish soaping and other forms of revenge, Under 21 club dancing, Asian home cooking, Lollapalooza madness

and then I grew up.

Answer to Prayers

As many of you know, I have been in the midst of a highly contested divorce and life has been difficult--to say the least. So anyways, I have struggled a great deal to keep moving forward in positive directions. I want to feel like I am accomplishing things and doing something with myself despite the stupid stuff that keeps stifling progress. The past couple of weeks have been especially challenging for many reasons, so I have been pondering and praying to know what I can do to keep positive, to stop allowing myself to resort to sad negativity. My conclusions were discouraging. I couldn't see anything more to do. But then, something outside of what I could do happened within just a few days of my realization. My sister-in-law who lives 400 miles away decided she needed to come visit me. No longer would I have to face the weekend without the support I have been truly in need of.

And it has been an absolute miracle. I have felt happier and more energized than I have in too long. Being able to talk openly and feel appreciated has been refreshing beyond my ability to communicate.

This weekend visitor has been an answer to my prayers.

Laura and Oscar: Week 8

The High School Years

Blondes and Bleachers

It’s just weeks before school starts--freshman year--during my first band camp, and Tabitha, a tall skinny blond Junior flute player, introduced herself to me in front of my friends. I was glowing. I felt important....Like a big-shot. A Junior classman flirting with me made me feel like a stud. I loved the attention. As I think about it now, it was a bonehead move. What can I say? I was fourteen.

Then, I thought of Laura. And a twinge of guilt pinched me, but as Laura would say, not hard enough...

Fast forward now to the first football game of the season.

I didn’t tell Laura when the game was, so I could spend time with Tabitha. But as Laura’s house was only a couple blocks from the school, she could tell when the game was on since the entire surrounding area was illuminated with the stadium sound and white lights of the football field.

With the sound of the band playing, I imagine her hearing the brass warming up in the cool fall air from her window that faced the high desert mountain. Perhaps she plucked the white oval push button phone in her room and rapid fire dialed her best friend and partner in crime, Tammy. Slipping on her tight faded jeans and snug white top, fluffing her hair as she flitted down to the end of her street for meeting Tammy at the crossroads, then continuing on together until they reached the high school stadium. This particular stadium is where we had shared many kisses, long walks and deep thoughts.

I can clearly remember her approaching the back of the bleachers where I was sitting next to my newfound flute player Tabitha. I recall Tabitha slumped over, holding her flute with her knees and me trying to sound witty and keep her attention. Then, in the backdrop of her blond crimped hair and green of the soccer field in the distance, I see Laura coming into view. Actually, it was the bundle of that unmistakable curly hair attached to her soft, pale face. (The one I’m looking at right now as we write.)

...to be continued next week. 

Night Whispers

Words come to her through the softness of his whispers
A million emotions fly to and through their breaths
Gliding through stories, written and untold, only to hide
Behind the tears that rise and spill over
Salt in unbeknownst wounds, wet on wet, uncomfortable
Sliding quietly onto her care worn, war torn cheeks

Perceived these, he did
Enough to send them gushing
Reached out the best he could.

Briskly wiping them away
Whisking away her feelings
As promptly as they arrived.

Tell me your stories that I may find mine, she says.
Share with me my broken heart that's been long forgotten
Yet beckons, even begs, to be reclaimed. 
Give me back the part of my heart I gave to you
That I might have it to lose again another day.

Memories breed, forging new ones in their moment.
The night whispers of love and friendship tried and true.
Every breath spent recounting this broken heart's start—it's end.

Lollipop Swing

I'm in class--dance class--and this song comes on. I don't know what is about it that gets me going more than the other songs, but it does. Energy seems to come up through the floor into my feet and out through a smile as it overcomes my face.

Up to this point, I had not found the swing in my Swing--that bit of bounce and style that combines to make Swing swing. I came to class anxious because my Swing test is right now and I just don't have it down. But then, The Chordettes sing through the sound system like a magical trance and I discover I always had that springy swing in my step. I just wasn't allowing it to surface--until now.

I will never forget how the "Lollipop" song sang to me and forced me to let go and find my swing.

Going Nowhere in Neutral

I can't seem to stop holding my breath and idling away my days with waiting.

The divorce decree has not been handed down from the bench yet, and it has been almost two months since the trial.

Excuses prevail in circumstances such as these, but I really ought to figure out how to get myself moving forward. I can't seem to gather enough strength to do it. So I shall carry on in neutral for a bit longer.

I never realized how far one could go in neutral. It can drive one right over a cliff after awhile.

Dancesport: a spectator sport supreme

Without a doubt, I love dance. There have been a few experiences over the past several months that have shown me just how much. When I walked into the Dancesport arena the other night was another one of them. 

I wanted to compete like I did last semester, but with no partner it is impossible. The sheer disappointment that ran through me as I sat down as mere spectator proved it was more of a big deal than I had let myself feel. It was torture to not be able to be part of the scene. However, the glitter and glow that I remember from my first experience began to soften the blow, and I soon found myself just glad to be there and thinking how if I had never taken that first class, I’d have never heard of Dancesport. Inspiration is a beautiful thing.

So back to this particular night. 

The Under 21 crowd was amazing. Couples from sea to shining sea made sure their presence was felt by the crowd. There was a dancer from New York or New Jersey, I think, who had these feathers and bead work on the backside of her dress that made her seem all the more like a prancing peacock than anyone else in the room—and she could dance. (I think the purplish hue of the dress might have played a part in creating some bias, but whatever. It was gorgeous.) To the untrained eye, they can all dance immaculately though. They all danced better than I ever will. That's a fact.

Surprisingly, I gave my allegiance to a few couples even though I did not know them. I wanted them to win. I think that’s part of dance’s magic. You get entranced by the shine and flair until you love the dancers and want them to win, and it all happens within an evening. Just like magic.

Disappointing as it was to not be in the show, I still felt part of it as the room needed me to add to its energy. I won’t ever forget how it felt to get pulled in, alone yet not alone, to cheer for perfect strangers—and love it!

to be worthwhile

What would you want to be remembered for?

I'm not sure how to narrow this topic down. What I perceive and what is actually happening in my life sometimes doesn't match up. I have scads of people who appreciate me how I am, yet there are still factions, within my family at least, who detest me. It's actually quite a loathsome situation, and I wish it just weren't true, so that will have to be enough about that. So anyways, I don't know what is realistic.

I hope that people might remember me for being someone who helps and gives. I want to be known for passing along important and valuable lessons--things that matter. I hope I am known by at least a few people for changing their lives for the better in a tangible way. I want to be a great wife and mother.

One last thing would be writing. I want to be known for my writing. From a teenager, I dreamt that people would read my poetry and love it. My hope of publishing a book some day lingers in my heart. I keep thinking that I'm on the path and some of my writing dream has come true through this medium. Although, I do wonder about the depth of this thought. My brothers won't even read my stuff. What's up with that? I read their stuff. I support them any way I can in their creative endeavors. But they won't even take a real good look at what I'm trying to accomplish here. It hurts more than I should let it. In moments like this, I remind myself that my mom would have read my blog and commented every day if she were here. Even if it were just to correct my grammar. And I'm not joking.

At the end of the day, I just really want to be considered good at something worthwhile.

a book slice

Getting the book into my hands felt like being that kid in the candy store who just got the last everlasting gobstopper from the jar.

I'd been on the library's waiting list for about a month, so I'm sure at least a few people behind me wished I hadn't remembered to pick it up before the 7-day hold period was over.

But whatever. Suckers! I did remember, and it's all mine! Mine, I say!

Well, until the due date in 3 weeks.

Laura and Oscar: Week 7

Kissing continued 
A moment before it ends   

We started our new school year--he was in high school and I remained at our junior high. My school days were lacklustre. I couldn’t ever hold hands or steal a kiss between classes anymore. We saw each other so little in comparison to our first few months going steady and it was difficult for me. I entertained an irrational sense of abandonment at times.

And on one of those days when I wished I could have skipped a grade, he came for me...

My senses are heightened. The sky is muted into gray. The street, the desert in the distance along the ditch, too. Even the green grass between the sidewalk we were standing on and the school emits a greyness against this fire I have in and around me. I am overflowing with love and care and bliss. He stands so close I am magnetized, drawn in by his will and mine. Realizing we are out in the middle of open air, I hesitate yet only for a fraction of a moment most likely unperceivable to my darling lover boy. I close my eyes in order to better feel his breath upon my face and inhale the scent of his skin. I allow my heart to melt into the hand he slides along my shoulder and neck. And once my head is cradled in that dear, gentle, loving hand, our mouths and hearts join in an ethereal moment of connection. Though kissed by him a hundred times before and since, my lips know nothing better. They know this is home.

This young heart grew old with experience in a flash. It now knew what tangible love should be.

...to be continued next week. 

broken record

You've heard it all before
The sad song being sung
So loud and long and overdone
Again and again.

I can hardly breathe
Hardly live
Hardly know
Where to go.

Running in my dreams to empty arms
Of a someone who doesn't care
Skipping heart beats.
In time, it all goes away
The scratches fade
Skipping the memories.
The love, the love, the love
Repeatedly undone
Skipping past happiness.
Songs full of witty nonsense
For all the vinyl wear and tear
Skipping the best parts.

Fake it 'til you make it
Fragmented personality
Fake, fake, fake it
Skipping over the real me.

Standing like an island,
Brilliant in the sun,
Midst an ocean of people
Who want to love and be loved but don't.
Like an island. An island. An island.

Unapproachable, radiant me.
Waiting for the future
To begin yesterday. 
Approach. Approach. Approach.

Dancing with this song
Running on a loop through my head
It won't go away
For all that skipping
All I remember is
The love, the love, the love.
It's gone, gone, gone.
Fake, fake, fake.
Brilliant island in the sun.

Skipping to the end
The radiant end.


You might recall me telling you a bit about my mom's piano the other day. Well, this piano wouldn't be anything special except for the fact that it was hers. One of my fondest memories of her and the piano is how she'd faithfully practice daily when I was young, working most specifically on Mozart's Rondo Alla Turca--over and over and over.  I thought it was a little crazy actually. Why would anyone play the same song over and over? She would mess up in the same spot pretty much every time. No lie. The same spot. Like, every time. Sometimes, when this would happen, she'd bang the keys, and we'd laugh because mom was being so funny.

What I didn't realize at the time was the lesson she was teaching. Mind you, my parents didn't really do any traditional sort of teaching (except where pulling weeds and putting new roofs on the house go). The bulk of their parenting was done by example. This piano represents to me the perseverance it takes to develop any talent. Practice every day and a willingness to face defeat are two main ingredients. 

My mother allowed me to quit my piano lessons a couple of times. She rarely reminded or even made me practice. So, I don't really know how to play this piano. There are many talents I have let go to the wayside because I never was guided to stick with them. My young mind couldn't hear her example louder than my desire to play. I wish I could really play this piano though. Maybe some day.

For now, I take action in my other areas of talent. I like to write. I have found that others like what and how I write, so to develop this talent, I write every day. I write on my blog, social media, in my journal, and even letters from time to time. I have also been cultivating a few other talents such as baking, gardening, and photography. None of these are performed fantastically--yet. I plan to keep at them though even if I make the same mistakes over and over and over because that's just how it goes.

For your listening enjoyment:

A Social Experiment

The other day, I was perusing Facebook and liked a bunch of awesome statuses from my friends--stuff like running marathons, singing national anthems for baseball games, their children winning trophies, and other accomplishments. I have been pondering lately on how we simply do not have any super amazing stuff going on in my immediate family, and this got my mind going again. I can't afford to put anyone in dance or gymnastics or soccer or baseball. (And, to be honest, I don't really want our life's schedule being dictated by the all-powerful Game/Competition Scheduler.) After doing an indoor cycling class, I had thought it would be a healthy fun thing to get into cycling as a family. Then, I saw how much the bikes cost. I can't do that either. Also, I simply don't have the support necessary to do more than what we already have going on. (Divorce and college are my hobbies.)

So, I began to go down the list of things we are doing individually and as a family and concluded that we aren't over-the-top excelling at much of anything.  Well, until my daughter started up some negativity about her grades. She said to me that everyone in her class got straight A's except for her, and so she is a poor student. No way was I going to let her think that! I told her that B's are good grades too; Straight A's are nice and it feels great to get them, but A's and B's are something to be proud of.

This brings me back to Facebook and feeling my mediocrity. If I'm going to tell my daughter that A's and B's are awesome, I need to take my own advice. Hypocrisy is not acceptable. So, I decided to write a snapshot of our day and see if people would appreciate our version of fabulous. This is what I wrote:
Shameless Brag Update: My 16-year-old with Autism totally went down the slide at the park about five times, and said, "TagYouIt" to her siblings. My 13-year-old is still alive after forgetting who he was talking to when he blurted out, "Be quiet.". My 9-year-old got A's and B's on her report card. My 7-year-old is really cute and quiet.
My friends did not disappoint. I have 27 likes and counting as well as the best comments telling me how I'm a good mom for seeing the little things, they couldn't do it without me, and one friend who understands what TagYouIt means did a metaphorical cartwheel in celebration of our "accomplishments". 

This social experiment proves to me that it's all about perspective. I could have said all of those things with bitterness and sarcasm. I could have friends who look at it and think What a weirdo. (Actually, I think they already do that, but it's not because of my family being lame or lesser than.) If I want to feel like what I'm doing is important--no matter what it may be--I only need recognize it as important and worthwhile.

After all, I have found something we are doing smashingly. We are excelling at living, and that's quite an accomplishment.


Ten Years Ago Today

Ten years ago today, I awoke to a distant cry coming from my living room. Disoriented, I stumbled down the hall to see what was going on. It took too long, much too long, for my brain to register what the noise was. But then it did. The noise was coming from the answering machine. One of my brothers was yelling frantically...

I had just seen her the day before. Happy. Hyper. Helping. Normal.

She was gone when my little son and I arrived for a quick visit before heading to the neighborhood library. We used to pop over at least once a week, if not more often, while big sister was at school. My dad said she should be home later, so we headed over to the library first instead.

He looked at books and chose a few dinosaur ones. Then, we moseyed over to the movie section and spent a few minutes scouring for appealing movie covers that we had not seen already. We then made our selections, got in line, and were checked out quite promptly. With our library excursion over, it was time to visit Grandma again. He loved our visits to Grandma and Grandpa's house. He always got treats and hugs.

When we arrived at the house, mom was gone again! Dad said we had just missed her.  We talked for a bit. He said that she finally went to see a doctor today and got some medication. This was great news. She had been feeling sick for months. Said she had bronchitis or a developing wheat allergy and nonsense like that. I'd been so frustrated that she wasn't taking care of herself.

Then, we see her car come racing down the street toward the house. She tears into the driveway, gets out of the car saying how she forgot something for one of her patients. When she came out of the house again, I told her how we were almost going to leave and how fortunate it was that she needed to come back for something. She and I gave each other a big hug and we said I love you, then she got back in her car and drove away. I walked out to the street to watch her leave and waved good bye to the back of the car, standing there watching until she turned at the end of the street. I think she waved back...

I never did that, you know. We rarely hugged or said that we loved each other. I never walked out to the street to watch her turn the corner until that day. We were big on showing each other by giving time--writing letters and mailing them even though we saw each other at least once a week and only lived ten minutes apart, making each other's birthday cakes, and stuff like that. But this time was different. In hindsight, it was as if I knew somehow but still in the moment not knowing this would be the last time.

And then that call around four o'clock in the morning.

Wake up, Laura! Answer the phone! Pick up the phone! Mom is dead! Wake up!

After this point, what I tell you is from a 6 1/2 months pregnant woman's perspective who just found out her mother has died. 

Running up and down the hall crying. Somehow not knowing what to do. How does one get clothes on at a time like this? How does one drive a car in this condition? Why? When? How did this happen? I saw her yesterday!

Then, I am there. I have no memory of whether I just went in my pajamas or got dressed nor do I recall the drive over to my parents' house. I remember not being there and then being there with my father and brothers and two of my great aunts, then my grandparents, neighbors, family friends. My best friend came immediately. So many people kept urging me to go see her, but I'm telling you, I could not. I had no desire to see my mother sans life--sans the spirit which made her who she is. I sat there crying, then quiet, then crying, then talking, then silent, and so forth.

After a long while, I began to plan the funeral. Having that to do gave me purpose. I had to give the eulogy. I couldn't imagine not doing it. We needed music--lots and lots of music. We ended up with a large choir and musical performances by two of my brothers. It was beautiful.

In the following days and weeks, I cleaned to keep busy. I sorted through every single pile of papers, photographs, keepsakes. Everything. I made myself sick some days with work (remember, I was pregnant at the time). Somehow I felt close to her by taking care of her worldly possessions--sending care packages of photos and old letters to her siblings and other family members, writing letters to those whom I found addresses for amongst her things. The hardest thing, and I cry as I think about it, was giving away her clothes. I sat with one of her favorite dresses and smelled it and cried for a good long time. I kept a few of my favorites, gave some to family who might fit them even sort of, and then gave the rest to Deseret Industries, the local thrift store. I cried driving home. So hard.

To this day, I do not regret anything. She and I became the best of friends. I helped her and she helped me. We talked on the phone almost daily, at times more often. We made dinners for each other. We had parties together. I helped her organize their 25th wedding anniversary party. I put on a fabulous surprise party for her 50th birthday with the help of her brother, David. We marked the milestones with style, not allowing them to casually pass by.

So on this day, I shall mark ten years without her. I can say I have felt her influence every step along my path since. Her vibrancy and loving way she had about her continue to teach me. I used to think we were so different--that we had so little in common. Yet, as I grow older, I realize I have always been my mother's mini-me. And I am proud to carry on in her footsteps in so many ways. I only wish I were better at some of the things she used to do so effortlessly. I use her sewing machine, but only at 1% the capacity that it used to handle. I play on her piano, but still at the level I did when I was ten. I sing and lead the church choir with enthusiasm, but with only a mere fraction of knowledge that she did. My inadequacies keep me trying though, reaching out to be close to her. Whenever I sew, sing, plunk around on the piano, bake her bread, teach, write, speak of good grammar, play Scrabble (or even Words With Friends), or say things to my children that she used to say to me, I think of her and smile. She was wonderful.

Writing this has called so much to remembrance, and I miss her poignantly at this moment. Even so, I will always have that last hug showing me how God knew he was taking her home and wanted me to have that goodbye embrace to cherish. And I do. Every single day.

related links:

In Her Footsteps

Missing Her and Waiting

The Snow Lay On the Ground

The Moon

to good health


I have been relatively well until recently. I had severe allergies as a toddler, chicken pox when I was eleven years old, but other than that my fainting spells when I hurt myself were the worst I had to deal with as a child. Now, I would definitely rate anaphylaxis as the worst. It's so sudden and it takes so long to recover. And it's anaphylaxis for crying out loud.

Thinking about how well I have been for most of my life, I count my blessings. Many people have such struggles with their health, but I have had it very good for a very long time. I am grateful.

ten things

In an attempt to overcome my negativity toward a certain someone, I decided to ponder on the good things--the things I will miss--the things that made a positive impact on me despite the undesirable times. So, I came up with a list of ten good things about him that were (at some point) or still are true, and I shall not add any qualifiers whatsoever no matter how much I might want to do it.

Ten Things I Have Admired and Will Miss About My Ex-Husband

1. Inexhaustible ability/desire to learn new things
2. Funny
3. Romantic
4. Hard-working
5. Very compassionate when my parents passed away
6. Excellent at vehicle repair
7. Outdoorsman
8. Impeccable personal style
9. Kind-hearted
10. Appreciative of good cooking

related link:
Seeking to Become - March 2013

Laura and Oscar: Week 6

We used to walk everywhere since neither of us were old enough to drive. During one of these countless walks, I remember going past the Wendy’s and the homes along Harris probably on the way to my house or the notorious library. Many of the older trees in the front yards overhung the gravelly dirt walkway (there wasn’t a sidewalk) making it shady and cool in comparison to the scorching hot sunlit sections.  We were strolling along, holding hands, talking, laughing, and then we paused for a moment and kissed.  A friend or two were walking with us and cars were barreling down the road past us, yet somehow none of that mattered. Lips on mine, hands still holding mine. Transcending all the noise, I was left with a sense of pure love.

...to be continued next week. 

adventures with anaphylaxis

You'd think I would learn. After going through the hives and swelling of my face, tongue, and throat as many times as I have, you'd think I would be a little more paranoid about my food allergies. But noooo. I have to live on the wild side. I have to forget how chili has tomatoes in it--even if they are pureed into sauce. And I have to forget that if I am to enjoy any tomato sauce whatsoever, it must be in a very limited amount. And most certainly, I must forget that food allergies are not to be messed with. Because it's so amazingly fun to feel like someone is stabbing my left eye out (yes, that sensation is one of my tip offs), have my nose, throat, and tongue decide to close off (only partially--thank Heaven), and worry about whether or not I'm going to be forced to stab that epi-pen into my leg (needles make my palms sweat and my blood pressure rise).

Can you feel the fun yet? I mean, it's just so great to think about whether or not your throat will close off completely which equals that you SUFFOCATE to DEATH. Anaphylactic shock is something I would have to pick up since it is so dramatic. It's like I was born to experience it on a regular basis. Keeps things real.

I can't believe I did that. On top of all the stupid stuff going on in my life right now, I had to eat freakin chili. It's not like I was eating some fabulous Italian food or something like that. Nope, just the Plain Jane out of the can with beans variety chili.

I am irritated with myself.

There is good news though. I didn't die. And I didn't have to shoot my leg up with epinephrine. I feel truly blessed for these two things, all sarcasm aside.


Questioning my questions
Wondering what there is to gain
Hoping for the best
Worrying to no avail
Crying tears that dried up last year
Giving strength to weakness within
Considering the circumstances
Watching for white flags
Exhausting every avenue
Bearing unnecessary burdens
Letting go of nothing
Reaching out to everyone I know
Stifling the heartache
Watching it well up and explode
Gasping for freedom's breath
Grasping at an unbroken song
Holding on for happiness
Wishing every wish
Loving despite love's tainted kiss

Friends For Infinity and Beyond

My best friend gave this magnet quote to me a few years ago.

When I think about friendship, I think of talking on the phone, sharing a confidence, shopping, watching movies, and helping each other. (There are more things we could add to the list, but these rolled off the tip of my fingers.) Friendship, even at its simplest, is balm to the soul. The feeling that someone other than your mother actually wants to interact with you has a magical effect changing each person at least a little bit for the better.

It's no mystery that I am grateful for my friends. I blog, talk, tweet, and facebook about it too often for people to not know the depth of my gratitude for my entourage of support and kindness. Well, if you didn't know already, I hope you have a feel for it now. If you like, look up friendship in the table of contents to see what else I've got on the topic. Making new friends and spending time with any sort of friend (even friends of my friends) makes me really happy.

Looking into the future, I see all of us looking back recognizing how far we've come and relishing these times of new found friendships that last. I see ties that bind lasting forever.

the moon

I was reading a slice of life last Friday by Mandy and it caused me to reflect on my own relationship with my mother. She and I didn't always get along like peaches and cream, but since her passing nearly ten years ago, I have been able to realize what a beautiful (although imperfect) relationship we had. It truly has been a treasure for me to look back and see what a selfless example of love I was given. I hope you enjoy the poem inspired by this most recent reflection:

The Moon

Me asking for the moon
Her trying to give it
Me taking up her time
Her getting frustrated
Yet giving it gladly
Her loving me
Her sacrificing
Her giving and giving
Because somehow
What I managed to accomplish
Gave her the moon

Her patiently watching
Waiting for the day 
When I could take over
Her teaching me
Just before she left
How to receive the moon
From the bright eyes of a child 

fried chicken picnics

What was a favorite place to go with your family when you were young?

When I think about my favorite places to go with my family when I was really young, my first thought is of Disneyland. But after pondering it a little longer, I'd have to say that the park was my favorite place of all places. We went to several parks around the Las Vegas valley. Some were nicer than others. Some had duck ponds, and we'd feed the ducks then head over to the playground.  Most trips to the park included a picnic with fried chicken from KFC or possibly sandwiches. The one memory that I have making the park the best place to go growing up is at a park that no longer exists.

It was called Lions Park and it was pretty much a long straight shot from our house up Washington. On this particular occasion that I recall, my parents wanted to do a Family Home Evening at the park with fried chicken dinner for our picnic. I remember us driving to the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant down Nellis to get a couple of those huge buckets of chicken then heading up the hill to the park. My mom spread out blankets on the grass. My dad started throwing a frisbee with us. Then mom called us over to the nice picnic spread with piles of warm fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and biscuits. Everyone was so happy to eat, but once mom started to attempt to teach us a gospel lesson as part of the family time, my little brothers whined and fidgeted like nothing else. (Looking back, I know my mom was trying to use the fried chicken as a sort of bribe to get everyone to pipe down and listen for a little while.) Well, she was always outnumbered, and therefore, overruled. We all got sent off to romp around on the tallest slide I ever slid down as a child and swing and run. There was also an old train engine on display which we would stare up at in awe every time we saw it. 

Although I don't recall any part of the lesson my mom tried to teach that day, I do remember the example my parents set of family togetherness. So even though they might have thought nothing sank in on those family nights, the hidden message always came through loud and clear. Family is important. Also, I miss those simple days of picnics and parks. 

Once it warms up, I foresee a fried chicken picnic in my children's very near future.