Friday, December 19, 2008

My Mom's Nativity.

This is what I will wake up to laugh at at 2am.

That's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My ugly Christmas cards are ready

want one? send your updated address to my email shel7by at mac dot com. they're grossy. the end.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I used beans, not gu & I think I PR'd it.

Happy, cold and nervous before the race... check out my new red racing stripes...

I'm not sure why we're laughing, but I'm laughing right now at Erik's face.


We are hardcore. Well, some of us are...

I did it. I ran more than 13 miles. I didn't walk at all. It was so crazy and so horrible and so fun all at once. I have never scored a goal. I have never shot a basket in a game. I have never spiked a volleyball in someone's face. I am not athletic. Before I got sick, I had never run more than a mile. I tried running for a little before my 10 year reunion, but I never made it past half a mile without walking. I can't say that I love running, but I am so proud of myself I could burst. Yay me!

I was going to go alone and when I arrived at the Charleston airport - there was Jaymeson waiting for me. He's a good boy. Maybe the pets weren't arranged for, lessons might not have been covered and kids didn't have clothes for their stays at friends' houses - but he was there and that was awesome. (Boys!) A few phone calls and all was well. (Thank you Mami and Amy for making that possible - sorry for the unnecessary stresses!) He was so supportive and made me feel so good. I'm so glad he came.

The night before the race I had planned on making a playlist. Unfortunately, I didn't have internet access and couldn't buy the songs I had been thinking of. (No minute like the last minute!) I decided instead to just dump every fastish song I had into a playlist and hit shuffle. Jaymee gave me a blessing the night before and it was answered in part through those songs. At mile four, I was done. D-O-N-E. I had not gone far enough to feel like it would be wasted if I quit. The first couple miles everyone pretty much ran together, but by mile four we had all spread out and I was being passed by everyone. It was very disheartening. I thought, "I knew I wasn't good enough to be here. I should have never tried this. Everyone else makes this look effortless and I'm dying. It's only mile four. I should just go back." I was being a victim. At that same moment "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley was playing.
It said:
And all I remember is thinking, I want to be like them
Ever since I was little, ever since I was little it looked like fun
And it's no coincidence I've come
And I can die when I'm done

Maybe I'm crazy
Maybe you're crazy
Maybe we're crazy

I thought - hey, I can die when I'm done - and I kept running. Slow and steady. My pace was very consistent. By mile eight, I was passing people. That felt awesome. Throughout the rest of the race, songs that I needed to hear and others that fit the people I was thinking about came on at just the right time. It was no coincidence. Jaymee promised me that I'd have help and I did.

I love the camaraderie amongst runners - even if you are a slow, slow newbie. My shirt had my name on it and people would cheer me on personally. People would ask if I was a survivor and then pat me on the back and tell me I could do it. I met an older man who was jogging and in obvious pain. (an older man jogging in pain = shelby running at her top speed) We got to talking and he told me it was his 92nd marathon. Seriously? He had pulled his hamstring ("pulled a hammy") and was going to quit at the half. We talked some more and got to know each other better. I told him my story and he was really sweet about it. When we made it to almost thirteen, I was turning to be done and he limped on the other way saying,"I'm going to finish the marathon - if you can do what you did, I can do this. I'm jogging the second half for you, Shelby." Of course, when I was sick - I didn't have a choice. He was crazy. Almost four hours after I finished he came around that same corner. I ran over and gave him a big hug and he said,"You waited for me! I can't believe you waited for me!" I said,"I can't believe you ran thirteen MORE mile on a hurt leg!"

I can't believe people can run full marathons. Or halves, really. During the race I made me promise me that I'd never do something so horrible again. "Look me in the eyes and promise me!!" I said to myself. "What? Of course I'd never do this again, Self!! This is a nightmare!" Ten minutes after the race was over, I was planning my Nashville run. I don't understand it either. When I saw Jaymee cheering at the end of the race, it was all I could do to get to the finish line. The tears started flowing and I couldn't see. (I have pictures of that, too, they're lovely) They announce your name as you come to the end. Everyone cheers! Then I crossed the line and turned into a gooey puddle of crying shelby. Unfortunately for Erik (my brother-in-law), he was there to catch me. I sobbed and sobbed. Partly because I had no physical strength to stop myself, and partly out of total disbelief. I had crossed the finish line. I was healthy and strong and I had proved it. I am now officially done with this whole cancer thing. I will print this blog into a book and physically shut it. (Of course, I'll still blog, but it's not a cancer blog anymore. It's just a boring shelby blog. Boring is good.)

I survived. I thought about that while I was running. No matter what your trial, you can be a survivor or a victim. Divorce, sickness, hard kids, financial troubles - whatever we go through we get to chose - survivor or victim. A person who gets cancer and dies from it can still be a survivor. Another could live and yet be a victim. It's up to us. A survivor uses everything he has to come through to the other side of a trial with his spirit intact. Maybe not even our bodies. Our spirit is what matters and that is the reason we're here. Heavenly Father will give us hardships our whole lives and then tallies up the columns when we are done. (it may be a little more complex than that.) I hope I have most of my check marks in the "survivors" side.

And now with the knowledge that I - the least athletic person ever who was at the weakest I could possibly be less than a year ago - could do this thing, who wants to join me in Nashville in April? If I can do it - anyone can.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Karen designed t-shirts for my run on saturday. She's the best!! I'm getting one and she thought we should open it up and see if anyone else wants one?? I don't know why you'd want a shirt with my name on the front, but I guess a lot of people buy cars that way, right? The back has the list of my 13 miles. It's pretty darn cute. Not sure about the cost yet, but my friend Jacqui at Artistic Promotions is making them, so I know they will be reasonable. They are ladies' shirts, so remember that for sizing. I'm getting Jaymeson a blue manly man's one... I could probably get a couple more? I dunno. I feel silly even putting this.

Lemme know.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thank you, Turkey Bunny! Bawk bawk!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! I have been pondering. Probably because I don't want to clean my house. That's why I did everything today. To get out of cleaning my house. It's avoidance behavior and I am the queen. I did 113 loads of laundry today because it was better than cleaning. I went to Sam's Club and winked at all the other ladies there who were also avoiding the inevitable. So back to pondering. 'Tis the season and all to be grateful. I'm grateful because you are greatful. That was a play on words. Homophone. ANYWAY.

So here's what it is. My race is next Saturday, December 6th. As I was running a "long run" (9 miles- yay me) I was very bored. Bored, bored. Running in a circle for a couple hours is boring, who knew? I thought that it'll be even more boring to run 13 miles. Brittany says the race is 90% mental and 60% of the time she is right EVERY TIME. So I tried my best to come up with some motivation. Something to make those miles fly by. And of course I pondered why I signed up for this crazy race anyway. I've never run before. I don't like it. So why? It's because sick people can't run 13 miles and I am not sick. I think that's really why. It's proof. Like when you give someone a t-shirt that you made and then you see them wear that t-shirt and think,"hey, I exist. If I didn't, they'd be naked." Proof. See?

So here is the rest: I've made the number 13 significant by having it be the sum of 12 weeks of chemo and 1 month of radiation. It's also the number of people who sacrificed so much to come and spent a week with me. These people all have busy lives!! Paid for their own flights, cleaned my house, played with my kids - basically my slaves and all because of love. My mom, Melanie W., Julene, Katie, Dave & Kristin, Amy K., Brittany, Jamey, Melanie S., Tami, Nancy and Andrea. It is still so overwhelming to me. So many other people and groups helped as well. I've decided to dedicate a mile to everyone that made my recovery possible. I know that doesn't sound like anything and it really isn't, but I promise that for that mile I'm going to think about you and what your service meant to me. Inevitably, I will forget someone. I almost didn't do this because I knew I would. A lot of that time is foggy for me. Please forgive me. I do love you, I promise!

(Of course, I owe all the miles I'll ever walk to the Lord, so that's just a given.)

These are not in order of love. This is long and boring and I don't think you need to read it all. Just do what I would do and skip to YOU.

Mile ONE: This mile is for Melanie. She was there at the beginning. She was with me when I found out. I've said it before and I'll say it again, that was no accident. Heavenly Father knows my needs and He let me be with her so we could laugh about it. She came right out and took care of me when Mom left and got me through losing my hair. She made this blog for me. There's no way I would have taken the time to write down this stuff without it. It is a treasure to me. (She also taught Mason how to do the dishes. Teach a man to fish - that's what that was.) She and Jeff paid for Jaymee to fly out and come get me. Jeff helped so much, too. He gave me a great blessing and would even call from time to time to see how I was. Those Wellmen really care. I'm hoping thinking about her will help me to not be afraid or have doubts about my abilities to get through this - just like it did before. I love you too much, Mel.

Mile TWO: Jaymeson. How tacky of me to put my husband after Melanie. He's the most important thing in the world to me. Truth is, however, it wasn't until mile two that he was able to start running with me and I couldn't be more grateful. When I first found out what was going on, nobody was more devastated than Jaymee. He knew too much. He'd seen the reality of cancer every day for the last four years. He was so shaken. I'm grateful. I never knew until those moments how much he loved me. I married up, you see, and so I always assumed I loved him way more than he could ever love me. He's closer than I thought. And we're closer now because of it. Poor husbands. They hear, see, and get in trouble for it all, don't they? I am truly myself around him and he's seen my dark side. I can neither confirm nor deny tears occurred on more than one occasion during this trial - but if they did, Jaymee was always there to wipe them away. He would have also held my hair back when I threw up, but that wasn't necessary, so he would pat my back. He told me what I needed to know and held back what I didn't. In that way, I think it was much harder for him. He told me I was beautiful with half an eyebrow and blue paint all over my chest. He was there for all of my chemos and all the junk that came after them. He is an amazing oncologist now and his patients are already benefitting from his struggle with the disease. Nobody, including me, gave him enough credit. He should have had help and a blog and blankets sent to him because it was as much of a trial in his life as it was mine. He's amazing. Mile two will be an easy one. I have lots to think about and be grateful for... not to mention the fact that thinking of Jaym will give me some extra adrenaline, if you know what I'm talking about and I think you do...

Mile THREE: My Price family. Before I even got home from the hospital there were packages and letters from my family and my cousins. Lexi sent us a bunch of toys and magazines and love. I know she wanted come out more than anything, but her trials are harder than mine and she couldn't leave them behind. I knew she wanted to and that counts as much as if she came. She was doing a better, harder work at home. Katie came out and stayed up all night with me when I couldn't sleep. We laughed and laughed. I'm lucky to have her as a sister. Jamey came out and worked his whole break on our sunroom and building forts for my kids. All of my extended family sent packages and letters and a freezer. Granddad was too generous yet again. My Aunt Nancy flew out and helped and I feel so lucky to have the chance to get to know her better. She's wonderful. I work full-time for Doug & Marti and they gave me the time off WITH PAY. That was so huge. They took away my worries so I could just think about getting better. Bazzill has always been so great. I love everyone there. Lisa is a good handler and made sure I was never overworked or had to work when I was sick. I was born into a goodly family.

Mile FOUR: My Stroud family. I know that I didn't even think twice about Jaymee's family when I married it because I was so focused on Jaymee. I certainly lucked out. They are all so good to me. They have always treated me so wonderfully and this was no exception. There are step-sisters and step-brothers and step-steps and I think maybe Jaymee and I are even related somehow but it doesn't matter because we all family. They sent packages and called and built rooms with their bare hands and bare money. Dave & Kristin, Melanie, Brittany and Andrea all came. Julene came twice! That's a lot of love. Melanie and I have been friends our whole lives and that was a week I will treasure because we stayed up reading our yearbooks and journals that we kept with each other. We were and are DORKS. I love you, dork. I'm glad we fulfilled our 7th grade dream of marrying "hottie brothers".

Mile FIVE: Shiloh/O'Fallon 1st Wards. Our ward split a couple years ago, but you'd never know it when I was sick. I got help from both. I had so many meals and pies and babysitting and love. I remember one day Denise called and said,"I'm going to the grocery store and to Target. What do you need?" Stuff like that happened every day. People took my kids to the zoo and to the park and to the pumpkin patch - their life was more fun then than it is now. Vivian came over once and said,"I have seven minutes, what do you want me to clean?" I'm amazed at what she can do in seven minutes. Karen sent me fun emails in the middle of the night when she knew I was awake. I always had babysitting when I went to chemo (which could take up to eight hours!) and dinner when I got home. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We lift and carry each other and mourn with those that mourn. It's another reason the church is true. This is how Christ's church would act. I love you all and I'm so glad I get to stay here and hopefully do some good for you.

Mile SIX: Old friends. I still can't get over the fact that Amy White-Knowlton came and spent a week helping me out when we hadn't seen each other in over seven years. That was so much fun and more kind than I can believe. (I hope that she's not still pregnant with her baby - i haven't heard and she was overdue by like a month last I checked). Tami Wellman-Gordon found a way out here as well. Unbelievable! I think about it all the time... would I be able to find enough babysitters and finances,etc. to take a week and go help an old friend? I would hope so, but I don't even know if it's possible. What a huge sacrifice. You guys are my sisters.

Mile SEVEN: New friends. What would my life be like without Amy and Mami? Don't think it's lamey that they rhyme with Jaymee. It's how I choose my closest associates. Rhyme. Amy was my personal assistant. She set up all the dinners, play dates, and anything else that was going on. She called or came over EVERY DAY. Without fail. Mason pretty much lived at her house and she ran my kids everywhere. I called her from the hospital in Arizona and she said,"Let's hope your plane crashes into an island with cancer-curing powers. It's the best we can pray for right now." That made me laugh and laugh and she continues to make me laugh. I'm a lucky girl. Mami took me to my chemos and pulled things out of her cleavage. That's love, mister. She listened to me complain and whine and yet still nodded her head silently when people said,"That Shelby is a trooper. She never complains." She knows all my deepest, darkests and loves me anyway. Her family and mine are one in a very annoying way. I really think of all the Youngs as my family. I love them all so much and they are so good to me.

Are you still reading this? What if I say,"love them all so much" again? Will that be the final straw? Or is it because I haven't mentioned you yet? We're past half way. We can do it!!

Mile EIGHT: Dr. Bartlett and modern medicine. We live in a day of rush in, wait forever, spend ten seconds with your doctor and then pay on your way out. Dr. Nancy Bartlett is probably the best Lymphoma specialist in the world. Really. And yet, she took the time to learn my kids' names, look at pictures, play with my wig and make me feel human in a time when it was a struggle. I am grateful for chemo. I'm grateful for doctors and scientists who thought of taking someone to the point of death and then bringing them back as a way of saving them. I'm grateful for radiation. Who knew that harnessing these scary powers could do so much good? Or buy me this great house?

Mile NINE: My Kids. They are better than yours. They loved everyone who came unconditionally. Sienna wrote me notes and poems and explained everything to anyone who wanted to know about "having cancer". Camryn was the one who brought me glasses of water all the time. Even without me asking. mason put away his mania for a few months and Preslie learned to not sit right on my chest. I think it will be interesting to watch her grow up, because she was raised at such an important stage by so many. She is the ward mascot now and is really spoiled.

Mile TEN: This BLog. Oh look! YOU. You made it. I love this blog. I love all of the comment and support. It kept me going and motivated me to write things down. Something about finding one's voice is healing. I found old friends and did better keeping in touch. I could access you day or night and there was always something there waiting for me. I made friends from other countries and have never felt so loved. Thank you guys. Really.

Mile ELEVEN: Brittany. By the time I get to mile eleven, I will have run farther than I ever have. I have Brittany to thank for that. She is the one who encouraged me to try it. She actually thought I could do it. She calls me and listens to me complain about how slow I am and answers stupid questions like, "when I'm running, I want to go forward, right?" She's been very patient. She also came out when I was sick and also got on Shelfari and found out all the books I've wanted to read and bought them and mailed them to me. That meant a lot because I love to read more than anything. She is a good sister and I want to be more like her. I get to run this race with her and I'm thinking since she is running the whole marathon that she'll probably be lapping me about this point.

Mile TWELVE: Mom. I put mom down here at mile twelve on purpose. By mile twelve I know I am going to feel so tired. I am going to think it's impossible and I'm going to be scared. That's how my mom felt and she came out here anyway. She's afraid to fly, but she got on a plane and came and took over my busy life all the while dealing with cancer yet again. I couldn't ask for a better mom. If there is any good in me - any fun, any service or any overwhelming love for others - I got it from her. Anything that I have accomplished in this life is because of who she made me. She is the ultimate cheerleader and I know thinking of her will get me through this hard mile. I love her with all my heart.

Mile THIRTEEN: Me. This last mile is for me. It'll be easy to think about me for a mile. I do it all the time. But really, this one is for me. There was a lot of icky stuff that I didn't want to do during this trial. I remember wishing on the wishing star that something would happen and I wouldn't have to go to my last chemo. I wanted to quit so much. I was sick and tired and miserable. But I did it. I found a strength I didn't know I had and the Lord increased my capacity for suffering. It made me better. Literally and figuratively. I did that and I can do mile 13.

So that's it. I bet you feel like you just ran a half. Good for you. Go eat an extra piece of pie - you earned it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Soundtrack of my life

The Truth about Cats and Dogs. Shreks 1,2 & 3. Reality Bites. So I Married an Axe Murderer. Lost Boys. Some Kind of Wonderful. All of these movies - even if they weren't all great movies - had great soundtracks. I love soundtracks because it is a bunch of different music by different groups or people - but they all have a similar somethin'. Am I right? Turns out, my life has a soundtrack. It's not a good one. Nobody will buy it in heaven. Even if somebody rents the movie of my life, it's not going to make them wanna buy the soundtrack. I want to kill it with a hammer. I have a quirk that allows me to remember any song or jingle I ever hear. The downside is that the dj in my brain will select from these songs and play them whenever he sees fit. I have no say. For example, every time I have brushed my teeth for as long as I can remember I hear,"I am the very model of a modern Major-General, I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral, I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical from Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical!!" Every time. Whenever I use the turn signal in Jaym's car I hear,"Drip drip drop little April showers humming a tune as you fall on the ground!" from Bambi. When did my brain record that one? When I was five?? If I happen upon twins or people dressed the same I think,"A double pleasure's waiting for you! A double pleasure from double mint gum! That double fresh feeling making you realize double mint's the one for you!" Am I crazy? Does anyone else do this? Does anyone else get a can of soda out of the fridge and think,"you put the can in your hand and just pop the top! Yo, Chris? Whassup, bro? What's that in your hand? It's the S to the P R-I-T-E! Why? Cuz it's a life saver when you need a thirst quencher - like a kiss with a lymon twist! Now you know that's kickin'. WORD! Drink up! Drink up is what you gotta do! Why? Cuz I like the Sprite in you." Make it stop. Maybe I should start a support group. I know Melanie, too, cannot say "It's delicious!" without following it up in her mind or out loud with "ask the dishes! They can sing they can dance! after all, dear, this is France!" Will YOU be attending our meetings?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hark hear the bells! So many bells! What's with the bells? Too many bells!

'Tis the season for saying 'tis. 'Tis also the season for bell-ringers at every store. I was thinking about them today. Thinking about them for a long time. Thinking about how they ring that bell allllllll day. Ding a ding a ling a ding ding ding ding. Does it give them a headache? Do they hate bells after they are done? Or more likely, are they eventually able to tune them out and hear less of that ongoing bell? Do they hear bells when someone else is ringing them? Can they go somewhere else in their brains and think about other things and not hear the bell at all? "It seems almost impossible," I thought to myself. At the same moment that I thought that, I became aware that the room was silent, signaling that Camryn was finished telling me another one of her dreams in excruciating detail. "Wow, Cams. That's really weird," I said - even though I hadn't heard a single word.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

500 MILES!!!

I did it! 500 miles! Woohoo. I have logged 500 miles on Nike+ since January. I can only log miles if I am doing a dedicated run in my shoes with my iPod. There were many runs where I forgot it, but I'm only counting the runs I logged. In January, my average mile was 18 minutes. I could barely walk up the stairs. Last month I ran 68 miles with an average pace of 11'07 min/mi. I know that isn't very fast, but look how far I have come! I have a healthy body now. 500 miles prove it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Tonight at activity days, the activity involved writing (anonymously) something you like about everyone in the room - including yourself. For herself, Sisi wrote,"She's always thinking of me".

The Dawning of a Brighter Day

Anyone who knows me probably can't imagine I would write a title like that on a day like today. Back in January when I was getting daily radiation therapy, I had to drive about 45 minutes each way. I became addicted to talk radio (we have a great FM station here). It was the beginning of the election frenzy and I was on board. Since then I have listened to and read everything I could get my hands on. I mourned when Romney had to bow out. I cheered when Sarah Palin and her big family and conservative values joined Mccain. I think I began to scare people a little with my obsession. I teared up as I voted yesterday and prayed hard for Mccain. I was angry with Obama and his supporters. Angry that abortion was fine with them. Angry that we didn't know what he was up to or what he really was going to do. Angry that that was ok with so many Americans. I love America. I didn't want "change" for change's sake. I love freedom of Religion. I want to be able to say that I am pro-life and that I believe marriage is between a man and a woman without being told I'm a bigot or that I didn't care about women. I love capitalism. I was sad that we had gone through 13 years of really hard times to get Jaymee into a practice only to have it taken away. I love that we are the most generous country on earth. I didn't like being told we weren't. But I have to stop right there. I've gotten off course and forgotten what I learned today. My point is that I was passionate about this election.

Last night when I saw that Obama had won I cried and cried. Unfortunately, Jaym was in a benadryl coma because he lost a battle with poison ivy making us a huge fire pit in the back yard so I was all alone in my grief. I came upstairs and began to pray. I prayed that my sadness could be replaced with peace. I prayed to know that this was indeed the will of the Lord. I don't like being angry. I don't like those dark feelings. I begged Heavenly Father to grant me understanding and then I went to sleep. It was a restless night. I tossed and turned and wrote a scathing blog in my mind about how it's the end of the world and it stinks. Also, every time I woke up, however, the phrase "perilous times must come" came to my thoughts. Over and over all night long.

This morning when I woke up, I went straight to my computer and typed in the phrase in to the search on A talk by President Hinckley came up called "the Dawning of a Brighter Day". It says that "peril is not a new condition for the human family." It mentions the war in heaven, Noah's day and other times in the Old Testament, the wars in the Book of Mormon and about poor Moroni wandering alone without a people because they had all been killed off. It talks about the apostasy and the plague where 50 million people died and those who were left worried whether humanity had a future at all.

But then came the Renaissance. Light, science, healing, art. The Restoration of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith. It didn't mean evil was gone - evil manifested itself as persecution and hatred. Charles Dickens was quoted saying,"It was the best of times and the worst of times... it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

We are in a great time. The work of the Lord is moving across the earth. Knowledge increases every day. People can be cured of cancer. The world is more educated than ever. President Hinckley said,"Man’s ingenuity knows no end when the God of heaven inspires and pours out light and knowledge."

These are also perilous times. It would seem as if many people are choosing evil over good. Or choosing not to care. The end of his talk was the part I was supposed to read the most. I'm just going to paste it here because I can't say it any better: (italics added because they are pretty)

"Do we really comprehend, do we understand the tremendous significance of that which we have? This is the summation of the generations of man, the concluding chapter in the entire panorama of the human experience.

But this does not put us in a position of superiority. Rather, it should humble us. It places upon us an unforgiving responsibility to reach out with concern for all others in the Spirit of the Master, who taught, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matt. 19:19). We must cast out self-righteousness and rise above petty self-interest.

We must do all that is required in moving forward the work of the Lord in building His kingdom in the earth. We can never compromise the doctrine which has come through revelation, but we can live and work with others, respecting their beliefs and admiring their virtues, joining hands in opposition to the sophistries, the quarrels, the hatred—those perils which have been with man from the beginning.

Without surrendering any element of our doctrine, we can be neighborly, we can be helpful, we can be kind and generous.

We of this generation are the end harvest of all that has gone before. It is not enough to simply be known as a member of this Church. A solemn obligation rests upon us. Let us face it and work at it.

We must live as true followers of the Christ, with charity toward all, returning good for evil, teaching by example the ways of the Lord, and accomplishing the vast service He has outlined for us.

May we live worthy of the glorious endowment of light and understanding and eternal truth which has come to us through all the perils of the past. Somehow, among all who have walked the earth, we have been brought forth in this unique and remarkable season. Be grateful, and above all be faithful. This is my humble prayer, as I bear witness of the truth of this work, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I am humbled today that even though I don't always do my part, the Lord reaches out and answers my prayers. He lead me to this talk and I do feel peace. I feel like getting over my feelings about the election and showing a greater love to all of the people around me. That's all I have power over. Our country and its fate is and always has been in the hands of the Lord. We need to do our best and be grateful to live in such an amazing time.

Sorry this is so long. I had to share.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Obligatory Halloween Pics

I have much to say. It was a sad and good and bad week. Maybe I can write about it tomorrow. But for now, HALLOWEEN!! My kids have lost the true spirit of Halloween, or maybe they never had it. They didn't run from house to house knocking over little dinosaurs and vampires in their haste. They didn't eat half their candy before even getting home. They didn't want to go to "one more house". When we got home they gave me their bags and told me I could combine them into one (or five) big bowls. Sharing their candy and not even weighing it? They didn't take the time to sort it or find which was the biggest. They didn't care if I ate all the best ones. I just did. I didn't have to pretend to "check it" or call "mom tax" or anything. It was pathetic. I'm not even proud of them. I am sad. 

I love Halloween.

At least they looked the part.

Mason never got the chance to "clean the boat". Unfortunate. Why is this underlined?

Cams is a very happy pirate. I don't know why. No candy on Halloween. I'd be a jerk pirate.

Sisi was a British Supergirl. Why? Because it's an English tradition. Whatever that means.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sometimes all you can do is pray.

My uncle Gordon passed away this morning. It was a freak thing. If what I've been told is true, he was playing racquetball and suffered a massive heart attack and died right there. So here I sit with my heart in my hand, watching it wimper out the beats. Sometimes when I look at it and it is so sad I wonder if it will ever be all the way happy again. Gordon was so young. They just met their first grandbaby a few weeks ago. His wife Rosemary is one of the world's perfect people. She is fun, sweet, knowledgeable, generous and good. She has tremendous faith and I know she can get through this but at the same time I think, "just because she can, doesn't mean she should have to!" She shouldn't have to. My heart is broken for her. My heart aches for their kids who will now wish every day for a dad to be able to hold their babies and watch them grow. It is too sad. I love you guys so much.

I am far away and of no use. I hope to get on a plane and at least be able to hug people soon. Until then, all I can do is pray. I hope my prayers are little threads in that blanket of peace that they will be using. Keep them in your prayers, too.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

come on baby wreck my fire

A gas fireplace is something of a marvel. It is so much more complex than it appears. At the bottom, there is a layer of fine sand. Then there is a mix of insulation/lint-type stuff with a smattering of what looks like fool's gold. Then there are various shapes and sizes of black lava rock. When it's all put together, it looks very realistic. The lint lights up like hot coals. The fool's gold glitters and shines. When it is all taken apart and strewn all over your living room, it doesn't have the same effect. I would have never known the trouble someone went through to make my fire look so darn great. Thank you, Preslie. Thank you for helping me to not take that for granted again. And thank you Camryn for spending a couple hours with me cleaning it up. Camryn said, "I think this is one of my talents! Picking out tiny rocks. It's like my running talent. Anybody can run, but I can run faster. Anybody can pick up little rocks, but I'm probably the fastest." Let her never hide that one under a bushel.

She is a fast runner. We found that out when we did our Rock Springs Park 5k (our third year!!) this weekend and Camryn stayed by my side the entire time. She was talking and laughing and I was huffing and crying. She took second place in the the 15 and under girls. (I also took silver, but there were few runners in my division.) It is a fun tradition. I can't believe my kids love doing it so much. I have never been an athlete (I'm still not) and I would not have enjoyed a run when I was young, much less paid my own way for the opportunity. Sienna was only a couple minutes behind us. She won a $25 gift certificate to a running store. I'll take that, thank you very much. I have about six weeks until my first (and only ) half-marathon. I am not ready at all and feeling like I shouldn't have ever signed up. I thought at the time,"I have five months to train. I can do it. It'll be a great way to once again tell cancer to stick it." Too bad in September I couldn't run much due to that radiation garbage. I'm still not back to where I was in the beginning of August and I have only ever jogged 7.3 miles. Will I be able to do thirteen by December? Any tips for me? Should I fake an injury? What kind of injury? Should it happen now or should I wait until I am there and have eaten the delicious pasta dinner? What kind of injury would get me out of the race but not out of the massage? There are no books with these kind of answers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ahhh, I feel justified

Left-justified, that is. I couldn't bear the sight of my centered-text site. That's why I haven't been around. It's not like I haven't been on the web, remember I've been to the end of the internet. I just have issues with the fact that I'm a designer and yet I haven't "designed" my own blog. I don't know how. There. I said it. I'm getting old in my field. I am a print designer and print is dying. I'm getting help, though. Not for my dying media, but for my blog. It will be a masterpiece. And I'll shout out my front door,"HEY ELDER UCHTDORF! LOOK WHAT I CREATED!!!"

(Today I ripped out all the dead stems out of my hostas and made a four foot tall ghost out of them. It is scary - but not in a Halloween way. I didn't even whisper to Elder U about that one.)

So while I haven't been on my blog, I have been ghost-writing a couple others as well as hitting "next blog" a few times just to see what the bloggods wanted me to see. I saw a blog about a guy in Argentina who has never been cared about and who was plotting his revenge. The Care Bear inside me forced me to write a comment about how I cared about him and maybe he could forgive and puppies and butterflies and hearts ... luckily, in the nick of time (what does that mean?) my inner-scrooge had concocted an entire scenario for me in which a bitter Argentinian followed my comment back to my left-justified blog and found a way to add me to his list. So I didn't post it. The next blog I saw was kept by a Japanese girl. She put "LOL" in between words, after all sentences and pretty much anywhere there was text. My first thought was that she didn't know what that TLA (three-letter acronym) meant only that it was "American" and maybe on her Hannah Montana notebook. Upon further investigation I noted the site was covered in pictures of the Jonas Brothers and using my time in Japan as a guide, she probably was LOLing the whole time - even if it was more like a tiny giggle with her hand over her mouth. That made me LOL in a similar fashion.

These girls look like they are on their way to Creative Escape 09.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It's because a favorite blog i read begins each entry with "it's because"...

Sometimes I get feeling guilty when I haven't written in a while. I get feeling sad when I don't have new comments to look forward to. But what can I do? My life can be pretty boring and that is good. Drama = yucky most of the time. I did get a ticket a couple weeks ago but I didn't have some cheeky way of getting out of it. I just agreed with the guy. I was speeding. I'll probably do it again. I didn't learn any great lesson. It was an unblogworthy ticket.

Hooray for October. It's almost Halloween. What's not to love? Halloween is the perfect holiday. You can do as little or as much as you want. No guilt. If you want to make yourself into a clothes dryer with a window so people can see the clothes moving around - GREAT! (Although hypothetically speaking, you'll only want to carry that giant box around for about a block and a half. You'll eventually go home and put on an old cheerleading costume to increase your aerodynamics and candy-getting ablilities.) If you'd rather put a "Hi my name is___" sticker on and write a name that is not your own - ALSO GREAT. And there's candy. You take your kids to strangers' houses, force them to tell you how cute they are and then they give you candy for your troubles.  I cannot get enough candy or kid-compliments. Hip! Hip! 

So far only Jaymeson knows for sure what he wants to be. He has been growing a bushy thick mustachio for some time now. Mason thinks he probably wants to be a pirate. I asked him why and he said,"they get to wipe the floors and clean the boat." Seriously. What is up with him? I told he could go as a maid. They get to clean everything all day long. "They don't get swords, though." When he's right, he's right. Right?

Then this is the part where I talk about conference. Ours didn't come through on tv and we had to go to the church. I loved it much but missed the jammies and the food and the nail-painting and the sending the kids to another room when they get obnoxious. (Did you know conference is a podcast? Sweet.) I think overall my impression was, "BUCKLE UP!" I think we have some tough roads ahead and that we will need hope and faith to get us through. I have been on food storage patrol ever since we moved into this house. It's tricky. Wheat berries don't look like berries at all! I think our friend Bruce Tieman had it right when he said,"I'm just going to get a bunch of Peanut M&Ms. People will get to a point where they'll trade anything for peanut m&ms." I have a large supply if you guys decide you're sick of wheat berries. We caught some fish our of our petite lake on saturday. I figure there's probably a thousand in there and they count towards our year-supply. Along with our 5 deer and one rockchuck. I sold my couches on craig's list and bought a wheat grinder. What I really want is a rug, but I'm sure if we were hungry a big, soft rug would bring little comfort. You can't eat a rug. You can't eat a kitchen table. You can't eat all the things I want for this house. That's why I gotta get that stuff first. I hate being disciplined. Isn't that the hardest part of life? (typed shelby while shoving gummy bears into her face)

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Last night Elder Uchtdorf gave me permission to neglect my kids. Not really, but it was so great to hear someone say,"Stop ignoring that intense desire to create!" It is something I have felt all my life. Luckily, I have a job that lets me tap into it frequently, but it's still not the same as creating something I want to. Almost every time I felt the urge I throw it into work instead of painting, decorating, cooking, laughing, drawing, sculpting, etc. I have done those things now and again but I have had guilt about it because I could have been cleaning my kitchen or ironing Jaymeson's pajamas. Camryn asked me to draw a hermit crab for her last sunday and Julene (my mother-in-law) said,"I didn't know you could draw!". I need to do more of it. After I got over wanting to be a whale rider at sea world, I wanted to teach Art in elementary school. When I got to college, my councilor told me there weren't any Art teachers anymore so I should try elementary ed or fine art. I decided I wanted to illustrate kids books. Just like you wanted to be in a famous rock band or in the moving picture shows. Not likely. But I did love my classes and was most happy when I was painting or drawing. Uchtdorf said that we feel that joy because it is God-like to create. Take unorganized matter and organize it in a beautiful way. Create and have compassion. That's where joy is. So I'm going to do it more. I illustrated a christmas book about ten years ago and I think I want to get it published. I want to paint a huge painting of "wishes" for my family room wall. So many things and only the rest of my life to do it. I am happy just thinking about it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


today i bought a bird necklace from a midget. jaymeson fixed our paddleboat and took the kids out on our mini-lake. don't call it a pond. it's a petite lake. in it resides at least one snapping turtle. don't rock the boat.

yesterday i went to the cardinals game and had a blast. i'm not going to lie to you, one of my favorite parts is yelling, "Go Pu!!!!". i also took my littlests to an apple orchard and picked many a jonagold. we fed some goats and were "chicken pirates" with baby chickens sitting on our shoulders. arrggghh! on a related note, last friday (not yesterday! sheesh) was "Talk Like a Pirate Day". we went to dinner with tami and scott that night and Jaymee said to me, "HEY! guess what today is???" and then at the same time we said,"ARRGGHHH! Talk like a pirate day!!" i love love. don't you just love love?

thursday I played with my mother-in-law and no kids all day.

in my kitchen right now are the following:
1. two dozen krispy kreme donuts
2. three dozen chocolate chip cookies
3. brownies from jaymeson's work
4. some sort of gooey ice cream banana fudge frozen bliss
5. fruit flies

my mom called me this smorning (you say smorning, too, don't you?) and told me she finished "The Book Thief". we talked about it and then i went out to my car and cried about it again. i'm a sucker for that book. it owns me. Zusak stretched and yanked my heart all different ways and puppets my tears anytime I think of it. i think I'm going to read it again now. not now, then - when I said "now" the first time.

you're up to date.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Honest to blog

Also, heavens to betsy. I went in for my PET scan today. It always makes me nervous. I feel like each time I'm being suspended over an icky bog of cancer. Will they drop me this time or will I walk away unscathed? Happily, I am still winning!! CLEAN SCAN! Phew.
Stick it, cancer.

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers yet again.

While I'm on the cancer topic (how rare), I thought I'd share a cool experience I had at Creative Escape in Arizona. The first night there, Heidi Swapp told the story of how after leaving last year's conference, I only lasted a couple hours before being admitted to the hospital... you know the rest. She also talked about how my uncle Doug's (Mr. Bazzill) mom Millie was diagnosed with breast cancer this past year. Then they said they wanted to use all those generous scrappers for good. They raffled off a couple tickets to a scrapper's cruise and made $6,000. They thought that wasn't enough so they decided to auction off Tim Holtz's shirt right off his back. If you don't know him, he's an amazing designer from Ranger Industries who came to teach at CE. All the ladies have a bit of a crush on him. And boy can that guy sell his wares. My aunt's store couldn't keep up.

Tim Holtz

Anyway, one of the gals there bid $6,000! Sheesh. That was four times the highest bid in the running. Her grandparents died of cancer, so it was a cause near to her heart. So overall, $12,000 for the American Cancer Society. I was really moved by the whole thing. Another great thing that came from this trial. I wish I could personally hug each of the people who donated. I tried but there are only so many hours in a day.

This is another survivor I met at the conference. (somebody buy me a new shirt!! Maybe this is my only one?) I'm in a cool club now with matching tattoos and scars and such. I'm not going to lie to you, it's pretty exclusive. Maybe it'll get more exclusive with all these donations. I hope you never get to join.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

PET Scan

Shelby is getting her PET scan on Wednesday and doesn't get the results until Thursday. I am sure she could use your thoughts and prayers these next few days that all goes well and that they don't find a single thing and that she is still cancer free. I know she just heads through this kind of stuff alone all the time because she doesn't want to worry any of us - but sometimes I think it's nice to know so that we can keep her in our prayers. They don't think there is reason to believe that anything is back - it's just a routine scan, but I know we always worry until we know for sure. Thanks!

She's two

Ms. P is two. Where's my baby?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why I shouldn't be allowed out of my house OR My Zany Adventure with Michael Mclean

Last weekend I went to Time Out For Women for the first time. Friday night was kind of strange. It's probably normally very good. I think maybe they just weren't on their game. Maybe the spirit missed its flight out here. I don't know. But it was a little bit, um, not so much? A lot of talk about prozac being holy and "don't EEEVEN get me started on women and chocolate, am I right ladies?? And your husbands, do they love the remote or WHAT?!! Ha ha ha!" Anyway, Michael Mclean was one of the ... performers (?) ... he spoke and sang. I guess it just wasn't my thing. A little too gooey or something. So to ease my yuckness a little, I started blogging in my head (you know you do it) and I was trying to think of a way of saying it wasn't really my bag, baby. I decided I needed a picture of him to go with it (you know you do that too.) So afterwards, my friend Kim and I go up to snap a little somethin'. I didn't want to be rude, so I thought of a fact that didn't reveal where I stood on his music that I could tell him. I said, "My senior year, I listened to Like A Lighthouse every day". That's true - isn't it Amy? He leaned over and whispered in my ear, "That's by Michael Webb. He's a friend of mine. I'll tell him." If he didn't have his arm around me I could have run away. Instead he held tighter and I got to bask in the embarrassing glow while he laughed about it. I wish I would have thought to say,"You didn't let me finish! I was going to say, 'I listened to that stupid song every day and I was so mad because it wasn't one of yours. Plus, I think that song is dirty.'"

Look at me. Sweet kid. I think he's about to tell me he's a big fan of mine or something that won't make me want to hide.

My red, red face. Caught on film. Thank you, Kim.

The next day was great. I'm so glad because I thought maybe I didn't have a soul.

Sorry, Michael.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

One year

On the way to the hospital in Arizona with Melanie, I yelped and then we hit a curb. She asked me why I knew to yelp before it happened and I said,"because I'm a precog." (Remember those psychics from Minority Report?) Little did I know that within a couple weeks I'd really look like one. And I had no idea what the real future held for me.

Last week I went to Arizona for the same "Creative Escape" weekend that I worked at last year when I found out I was sick. It was bittersweet. The first night we were there, I slept in the same bed that I had laid in the year before staring up at the fan wondering if the pain would go away or if I should go wake up Melanie. I was also wondering if the hit I could receive from Jeff (he's violent in his sleep and scary to wake up) would hurt more than the pain I was already in. I watched that ceiling for what seemed like forever. This time I went to bed in that room just about an hour after running my first 10k race (the Nike Human Race - why saturday night? long story.) I couldn't have done that last year.

Mel and I last year at Creative Escape

And this year at Creative Escape. Yes, that's my new hair. Dark, huh?

I feel better. I wake up every day grateful. I really do. I'm so happy to have energy and to be able to do everything for myself. I'm even happy when I have to shave my legs. Hooray for hair! I'm happy I get to be here for all the little monkey things my kids (including Jaymee) do. (Like when Preslie asked Sienna to open something for her and Sienna told her to go ask someone else so P went up to the cat and said,"Oscar? Open dis for me, peas?") I'm grateful to have more time to improve myself. More time to get better in the ways that really count.

So what else remains?

Physically, I have some weird scratch marks on my side, chest and back. From the chemo of all things. It looks like chemo has sharp nails and we got in a fight. I won, but the scars remain. I have a nice scar on my chest from my biopsy that has a dent under it. I can't help but stick my finger in it. As for my fingers, the feeling never came back to the tips. It feels like there is super glue stuck on the ends. Maybe my super power is being able to touch hot things and not feel it. Now that my nails have grown back, it doesn't really bother me because I don't touch as much with my fingertips. I wake up to my chest feeling like it's tight and can't expand. It's from the radiation. It takes about fifteen minutes and then I feel fine. As of this last week, I can't swallow breakfast anymore. My throat is too tight in the morning. Also from the radiation. But I just have a shake (which is what I want anyway) and by lunch I'm fine. Jaymee thinks that will heal itself. What else? I'm not sure if I can have any more kids and I have to wait another year and a half before I can even try. That's right. Can't even practice trying. Poor Jaym. Just kidding. I think that's all that's left. When I consider what my body went through, that's pretty awesome. Not bad at all. Hooray for modern medicine! (and blessings)

When I was looking through my pictures for that one of CE last year, I was able to see everything we had captured in the past twelve months. It truly was great. I wouldn't trade it for anything. (I don't want to do it again, but I'm glad for that one time) I'm kinda sad that I didn't capture more of everything. The people who came to help, all the stages of hair loss, etc. I was too embarrassed. By the end I didn't care, but I did at the beginning. Mel told me I'd want to see it later, but I didn't believe her. Here's some pics I didn't post while it was happening because I didn't want to freak my mom out.

Second chemo

My blistery feet (chemo side-effect)

While I don't have a lot of pictures, at least I have the blog. I'm so grateful to Mel for creating it and making me get on here. I wouldn't have documented it without her. It forced me to really contemplate what was going on and what it meant to me. All the comments and feedback got me though the tougher days. I felt so much support and like there was a bunch of people rooting for me. Thank you. I was talking to Jason Hall who was our motivational speaker at the conference. He's quadriplegic, funny and amazing. He interested me in making my blog into a book and I'm considering it. It'll be a short book, since I'm lucky enough to have only been sick for a short time, but I want to remember. I don't know. I was thinking of putting the blog and people's comments on one side and then kind of a bio of what was going on that I didn't say on the blog, i.e. doctors appointments, progress, side effects, etc. and pictures on the other. Would you guys care if I used your comments? I'm still tossing this around, but I think I might do it. If anything, I'd like to have a copy for myself and maybe a couple for Jaymeson's office. There really aren't a lot of things out there for Lymphoma. Breast cancer is the celebrity. I would have loved to have something that told me what I would go through and feel when I was sick.

ANYWAY. This one was really rambly. Sorry. It didn't really come together. I've been off my game for a couple weeks now. I've been wanting to post something about it being a year for a while now and all I got was a block. I've said everything all along though, haven't I? So what would be new? You still know that I love you, right? That's all I really want to say.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Price of Gas

Typical morning. Sienna had her first day of smart kid school and had to be at the bus stop at the school before 8:45. Normally that would be fine but my kids are still on Arizona time and have been playing "rag doll" for the last three days, forcing me to dress and feed their limp little bodies each morning. We hurried out the door only to find she had forgotten her precious papers and we had to go home and get them. When we got back to school the second time it was 8:40. That's when she realized she didn't have her backpack on. How does that happen? She takes after her dad. ANYWAY, we rush back the second time breaking all sorts of laws/land-speed records and got her back just in time to find out smart kid school was cancelled that day. Ha ha. By now my out of gas van is realllly out of gas but I figure the gym is on the way to the gas station, so I might as well stop there first. (I knew my van was really out of gas yesterday, but I like to live on the edge.) They kicked me out after I was just gettin' into my groove because Preslie has what they like to call "green boogers". They frown upon that. So we head off to the gas station and of course run out of gas. I get Miss P out of the car and walk up a long, long driveway to a house that is probably 200 years old. I knock on the door and it creaks open revealing a cobweb encrusted chandelier in front of a large staircase. All of my years of yelling at scary movies on my tv had prepared me for this moment and I knew just what to do. I didn't give my weapon and flashlight to preslie and go inside. I turned and ran away. When I got back to the car, I got the stroller and headed towards the gas station. We sang as we walked and walked and walked AND walked. I took my baby T-rex inside, bought a gas can and filled it up. On the way back to the car I flagged down a police officer and he said he couldn't help me because he has no car seat. I am barely able to carry the gas can and push the stroller through the dirt. Spirit of the law anyone? Oh well. I convince him to at least deliver the gas can. He comes back and asked me if the van with the expired tags was the right one. I told him to go ahead and give the lady who ran out of gas, survived a haunted mansion, pushed her baby two miles in the dirt in a broken stroller a ticket. "Do it", I said, "It'll make you feel great". He laughed and drove away. Phew. I got back to my car, filled her up and started to drive away. In my rear view mirror I saw my stroller still on the side of the road with my debit card in it. Ha ha. If I was intelligent, my life would be way boring. The end.

PS it is the one year anniversary of things and I have much to say. Later, I promise. (how presumptuous! You guys are all sitting by your computers - refresh! refresh! refresh! When will she ever write more about herself?? Hurry!)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

You think . . .

You think you locked me out of here, but you did not. Just and FYI to be nice and kind to me and send me chicks and rabbits in the mail the day after Valentines day.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sienna's in the Friend!

The poem Sienna wrote when I was sick is in the September Friend! Melanie S. submitted it without even telling me. Sisi is so happy.

Thank You, Melanie!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm Seriously So Blessed, too

So my new eBFF is TAMN from Seriously So Blessed. I might even be in her top 1,000 friends. In fact, we're such good friends that I got finagled into designing some tshirts for her. Well, maybe more like I offered because I think she is so stinkin' funny. She mocks the trendy young mormon mom blog and she is spot on. BAAAAAA! Like bananas, she makes me smile every day.

Anyway, check out her blog and the new shirts. I want the diet coke one since I, too, am "off diet coke" again, again and also the "materialism makes me cry" one.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

what would you give your life for?

Today I taught about the Army of Helaman in The Book of Mormon to my sunday school class. As I prepared I remembered hearing the story when I was a kid and thinking,"would I join that army knowing I could die for righteousness?" I also remembered thinking, "Sure I would!!" I'd go down in a blaze of glory and be remembered with the martyrs of the gospel. I'd be a hero, right? SO as I thought of that again this week, I thought "could I give up my life for the gospel now?" It's different now, I have much more to lose. I have my family to think about. My life is bigger than when I was a kid. But as I thought it over, I again came to the conclusion that sure, I'd give my life for the gospel. At that same moment the thought came to me,"So why haven't you??" Oh. Here I am thinking I'm pretty great to be willing to go through death when it's really my LIFE the Lord wants. I say I'll give my life but some days I can't find 15 minutes to read the scriptures or pray?? Sure, I'll die for you but don't make me do my visit teaching!! That's too much to ask! I need to be willing to serve and pray. Every moment of my life. He wants me to dedicate my life to Him. These young men who were called to fight were good kids. They not only were willing to die for the truth, they had already spent their lives living for it. They were raised in good homes full of love and a testimony that the gospel of Jesus Christ was true. "Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them." I, too, was raised in home where my parents knew and loved the gospel. I've had the same opportunities they had. I need to make more of myself. The best quote in the lesson today was from President Ezra Taft Benson. He said,“Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life”. What an awesome promise. So once again, I try to be nice and give something to the Lord and I find out He's standing there waiting to bless me even more.

Isn't God so good?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

my boy

i think he might be my best work so far.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kill me.

We found this in our storage room last night. it's all stuck to a sticky bug thing our Orkin guy put in there. It was still alive and ripping its skin off.

I showed the kids this morning (the picture) and Sienna was so sad that Jaymee killed it instead of being scared it was there.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sisi's Romantic Dream

Sisi is nine. She came downstairs all dancey-like and I asked her what was up. She said she had a very romantic dream. She said in it she colored a horse and then a boy put her up on the horse and then when he took her down off of it again he swung her around. She looked at him and almost fainted while saying,"I MUST BE DREAMING!!"

HA HA HA HA. Even better, who was this handsome stranger? None other than the monocled duke from Disney's Cinderella. What a crack up.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Still healthy - isn't it lovely?

"Worry is Not Preparation"
The keynote speaker at Creative Escape last year said that on the very night I went to the ER in Arizona. It made an impression. I even texted it to my sister because I thought it was so important. It does no good to worry all the time. Seems like we live in the "time of worry". It's too bad. I think it's because we know too much. We hear about every single thing that goes wrong in the world and we start to think it could happen to us. Worry is not preparation. It does no good. It takes away your joy and quite frankly, shows a lack of faith. The Lord isn't going to let something happen in our life that won't help us grow and achieve some sort of greater happiness in the end. I truly believe that. I don't think that means we're immune to pain and suffering and loss. Those things happen. They're supposed to happen. They make us stronger and more like God. So if these things are ulitmately good (though sometimes almost impossible to get through) why do we spend so much time worrying?

I have been having chest pains again and even some of the same symptoms that I had at this time last year and of course I got freaked out. (I got a chest xray and I am fine - they say the pain is costochondritis - from some broken up cartilage in my ribcage due to the radiation... no big deal.) I really hate this feeling of hunching down in cancer's shadow. I never know if it's going to turn around and face me again. I hate feeling like I'm some crazy hypochondriac because I get a pain anywhere and think it's cancer. I have been running a lot lately and part of me thinks I am running from cancer. If I'm running, I'm healthy! Sick people can't run. Look at me go! I feel like if I stop, it'll catch up and get me. Worry worry. Useless worry. Like I control my fate. Worry is not preparation.

It's not coming back. I promise I don't wander around writhing my hands worrying about cancer all the time. I'm very happy. It just isn't always rosy. It isn't over even though it's over. I think it will be over, though, one day. Maybe when I hit that precious two-year mark?

We're almost to one year. Can you believe it? My cute haircut girl measured my hair. Three inches. In a year? I expected better of my follicles. They have really let me down. But I forgive them.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

That's honey butter... SIR!!

So I went to my friend Dave's Air Force retirement on Friday. Wow. That was really cool. I'm a civilian. I don't shop at the commersary or the BX. I don't know the rules of engagement. I drive a POV. I've never been TDY. You get the picture. So this was only one of a very few times I have been on the base. Everything is very official. Dave's former colonel flew in from California to officiate his retirement. HE was very official. I really was moved by the ceremony. I had very strong feelings about the purpose of the military and how the Lord's hand is in it. I almost signed up myself on the way out, but they don't want me - I'm damaged goods - but I digress. They made a big deal about Mami, Dave's wife, and her contributions to the success of the air force because she has been such a support to him. Every company should do that. They gave his kids each a certificate thanking them for supporting him, too. I just can't say enough about how neat I thought the whole thing was. Congrats, David. 25 Years... I was six when you started... USA! USA!

So then there was food and a little linger-longer afterwards. Dave came up holding a plate with some of Mami's award-winning bread and two piles of some sort of spread. The Colonel was standing beside me and asked Dave what the spreads were. He thought one was honey butter and the other was mayo.(This story gets better, I promise) Then Mami says,"No, this one is mayo and that one is honey butter..." This went on for a while. Everyone has an opinion. Finally, I couldn't take it any more so I stuck my finger in one of them and licked it. "It's honey butter", I said. Dave proceeded to hand the plate over to the colonel who then thanked me for solving his dilemma. I thought the food was Dave's. I stuck my finger in the officer's butter. OH BOY.

If you ever need somebody to be really tacky - I'm your gal.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

No one understands me.

We went to a "grizzlies" game with the kids - they're a local baseball team - and i was standing in line with Mason for a jumphouse. There was a guy behind us with his little boy who was wearing a big spongy-foam grizzly bear paw with long foam claws sticking off it. I said,"Ooh, Nature has dealt your son a cruel hand." He said,"I bought it for him."


i AM NOT in love with a VAMPIRE!!!

Melanie is grounded from my blog.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Delicious and Fun

Got a wicked child? Trying to incorporate more evil into lunchtime? Here is an idea (surprisingly rejected by Family Fun Magazine) for you to try:

Babies for Lunch

Swaddle hot dogs in buttermilk biscuits, draw little sleeping eyes with your very favorite non-toxic marker and place in pan. Then have your real baby sing lullabies and give them each a kiss goodnight. Place in oven pre-heated to 375° while your four year-old laughs maniacally. Cook babies for ten minutes. Serve with blood-red ketchup.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Right on Target

There must be opposition in all things. Dark/light. Day/night. wal*mart/TARGET. We can't appreciate one without the other. I hate hate hate going to wal*mart. (You know this). TARGET, on the other hand, is my happy place. So I was dreading going to wal*mart today for groceries when my friend reminded me that there was a new TARGET and it was a SUPER TARGET. I thought, "That's a little redundant ... like saying Super Superman." But then she told me that meant there would be groceries there. So that turned my frown upside down and I was on my way. It was not as close as I would have liked but it would be worth it, I was sure of it. When I got there, there was a big sign that said,"Open July 27". Bummer. But there were cars in the parking lot so I drove up to the front and one of the heros in red was out front. I rolled down my window and he said,"you can come in and shop if you want - we could use the practice." It was like the Disneyland Dream Squad all over again. Seriously. So I went in. It was glorious. Clean and new. Other heros in red got excited when they saw me there and began to follow me around.

Can I help you find something?
Can I get something down for you?
Cool new carts, huh?
You smell nice.
Please let me help you.
No, me!

At one point there were four following me. I really thought they might of been dancing behind me as I walked - not unlike "I Think I'm Gonna Like it Here" a la Annie. I would turn around really fast and they would pretend to be straightening something on a shelf or tying their shoes. They were wish, wish, wishing I would need help. Too bad I could don a red shirt myself and tell people the location of any product in that store.

Unfortunately, however, the Super in Super TARGET wasn't so super. They didn't have many groceries and the ones they did have were overpriced. But it was worth the trip. One of my fantasies came true. It was like I got a Make-A-Wish even though I'm all better. I'll check it off the list. Now on to working in a cranberry bog...

Monday, July 21, 2008

New Greens!

Bazzill Basics Paper is rolling out two new greens: Granny Smith and Sour Apple. To celebrate, we blew a circuit breaker and let the pump and chlorinator have a vacation while we were gone. Here is the result:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

boys vs. girls

i've been around long enough to notice some subtle differences between boys and girls. I've even noticed some physical differences over the years. But that's not what I'm talking about. It's the other stuff that has got me thinking. I'm speaking in humongous generalities here, so forgive me. When we're little, the boys were better at sports - mostly - and girls were nicer - mostly. Boys played with dinosaurs and trucks - obligatory "mostly" - and girls played with dolls and dress-up. As we got older, boys would punch us and we would tease them. They would get a long by not saying much to each other and we would gossip ourselves out of as many friendships as we could in the time allotted. SO time goes on and the sexes separate more and more.

Then you get married. By then you're as different as night and day. He does the "boy jobs" and you do the "girl jobs". He takes out the trash and mows the lawn and goes to work. Occasionally, he lifts heavy things, opens jars or puts something together. He is in charge of your homes "technology" - anything from a little toy car that has a battery in it to the dvd player and YOUR computer. He takes care of anything that is high or dangerous. He must also wildly throw around any people you two have made together. His "poop" duties only include his own or a large dog's - if you have one. These jobs can be done when time allows.

As a girl, you get to make more people, feed and clothe those people (and your husband). You are in charge of all poop. You must remember all birthdays and maintain all family relationships. You have to organize a social calendar and provide babysitters so all functions can be attended. You have to look great all the time. You have to know the stars of your local sports team and why you love them SO MUCH. It goes without saying that shopping, laundry and dishes are girl jobs. If they weren't, there would be no really funny jokes out there about being kicked. These things must be done every day.

That's not to say that you can't help each other out once in a while. My husband is great, in fact when he's feelin' it - he's better than I am at most things. He helps out a lot when he's in the mood. That's the beauty of being a dude, I think. You can pick and choose what you want to do and when. If you choose to help out around the house, you get showered with praise and other valuable prizes. If you don't - you get in big trouble but you still get to eat and have clothes and people to throw around.

I sound like a hater. I am not a hater. I'm a lover. I just made the mistake of trying to pick and choose what I wanted to do instead of sticking to my girl jobs. I didn't want to unload the car and clean up the big mess that 3300+ miles can do to a van. I didn't want to make meals appear from a house that hadn't seen groceries in two weeks. So I thought WWJD? (That's What Would Jaymee Do, in case you were wondering.) So I jumped on the lawn mower and got to mowing the lawn instead. I was helping. I got to listen to music, drink something cold and refreshing and kids weren't even allowed near me. Perfect. Why can't I? I can sit on a machine and drive around like any man can.

Except that I rolled the lawnmower and wrecked it.

Anybody want me to make dinner?

Saturday, July 12, 2008


(look! it's a flake in the shape of illinois! I live there and I'm a flake!!)

thanks to all of you that emailed me and left comments - i feel loved - i've had a change of plans tomorrow and won't be able to make it down for lunch. I'm sorry. What a flake I am. I love you all, too, and wish with all my heart that we could get together to pull out our laptops and write to each other across the table at some yummy restaurant. I'm really lame in person, though, so it's kind of a relief. (the real reason for the change of plans? you'll never know... ) Also my hair makes me look like a dark chicken. Seriously - my hair is almost black. what is that all about?

Unrelated: I met a girl out here at church who has Ewing's sarcoma. She was brave and beautiful enough to go to church bald. She is one of THREE teens in that ward that has been affected. Why is that significant? One in about a million get that form of cancer and they have THREE in one ward. I can't believe it. I went over and talked to her for a little while today and she is amazing. She has gone through everything I have and and whole lot more. She was diagnosed last august ad is still getting chemo every couple weeks. She is going to have whole pelvis radiation too. She has already gone through radiation on her back as well as surgery and so much more. Poor thing. She acts like it's no big deal. She rules. I am so happy I got to meet her.

Oh, and most importantly, I need to give a shout out to my man for taking (and surely passing) his BOARDS today. He is done done. really done. I'm so proud of him and can't wait to see him tomorrow ... partly because I want Pres to sleep in his neck for a few nights .. but mostly because I love his smarty guts and have missed him like crazy.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Sorry to flake out and leave you hanging. So many rides, you see. You've all been to Lagoon. I know you understand. Terror Ride? Terror is an understatement. Wow. Maybe I'll have my kids make a face out of playdough and paint it with fluorescent glowy paint to terrify and horrify you.

About lunch... I was thinking of meeting saturday afternoon in Salt Lake about 12:30? Anyone know anywhere good? Anybody still available to go? Bueller?

Monday, July 7, 2008

greetings from utah

i survived the 3o hour journey mostly intact. Nebraska didn't impress me. It seemed like i was there for four days. We stayed in Ogaloogahellaballua, Wyoming at the stagecoach inn. What a beautiful resort. The smell of our room burned my nostrils... and not in a good way. (gil) My friend Kim came with me and I felt bad for her. I forced her to sing lullabies to Presto most of the way. Mason took the 1400 miles to perfect the most annoying sound. Why is there only Subway at every stop? There are other foods, right?

We went up to the cabin and I had no phone or internet until now. Luxury. Melanie and I tubed the river with our big kids. We hit our rear ends on many rocks and slabs of ice. Sweet. Our kids have been in "Fort" mode which is my favorite mode. They have an HQ and a dead moose carcass and a huge swing. Preslie took a nap with her Grammy on a blanket by the river. I learned a couple new card games and got to call my sister "IDIOT!" I love the cabin with all my heart. It is small and we are big - but it's worth it.

My brother Jamey (Yes, Jamey ... we reuse many names in my family - right Melanies?) and I took the big kids down to the lake to go boating, or rather, to be pulled on a tube behind a boat. I got married when Jamey was nine and so we don't know everything about eachother. I wanted him to think I was not a frumpy momoffour so I challenged him to a tube ride "gladiator style". Last one on wins. I won. I lost the use of my shoulders, got a mouth full of blood and woke up today with a stiff neck. But I won. I won, I tell you.

Tomorrow is Lagoon day. I am going to ride Colossus, win an oversized deck of cards playing skeeball and look at some old pioneer china from behind a plastic sneezeguard. Let me know if you want me to pick you up a plastic gorilla full of lemonade.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

you asked for it

I wanted to wait until i had taken a machete to all of the grounds and planted flowers and and and. But all of you know me too well and know that isn't going to happen anytime soon. One day during "open swim" i started hacking away at the bushes by the pool and cut through some big electrical wire. I didn't die but was forced to remember the old saying, "a husband doesn't see three hours of chop chop only cut wire." Therefore being a beast that can only survive on a steady diet of validation - i have left that project.

So here are just some quick pics I ran outside (and inside) and took. I didn't clean, i didn't touch up. They are just raw and naked. Exposed. Earthy. Weedy. Perhaps these photos are better explained through a lyrical dance. I'll call Mia Michaels. She's award-winning you know. She has won awards. She's a winner.