Archive for October, 2012

In April 2012 General Conference Elder Baxter of the Seventy gave a talk titled “Faith, Fortitude, and Fulfillment:  A Message to Single Parents”  then the fourth Sunday of July I gave a Relief Society lesson on that talk.  I still don’t know that I’d call it a lesson exactly but I stood up and cried my way through.  Each day for a month I read the talk, often out loud so that I could just maybe get my way through it with minimal tears — that didn’t work.  The passage  that hit me the most was originally told by President Hinckley in September of 2006 from a single mom who had just delivered something to her neighbors across the street.

“As I turned around to walk back home, I could see my house lighted up. I could hear echoes of my children as I had walked out of the door a few minutes earlier. They were saying: ‘Mom, what are we going to have for dinner?’ ‘Can you take me to the library?’ ‘I have to get some poster paper tonight.’ Tired and weary, I looked at that house and saw the light on in each of the rooms. I thought of all of those children who were home waiting for me to come and meet their needs. My burdens felt heavier than I could bear.
“I remember looking through tears toward the sky, and I said, ‘Dear Father, I just can’t do it tonight. I’m too tired. I can’t face it. I can’t go home and take care of all those children alone. Could I just come to You and stay with You for just one night? …’
“I didn’t really hear the words of reply, but I heard them in my mind. The answer was: ‘No, little one, you can’t come to me now. … But I can come to you.’”2

 The first time I read this {and many times since} I pictured myself walking back across the street towards my own house full of kids with needs that I was certain I could never fill.  Today is one of those days.  It was a gorgeous fall day, I took the extra time to walk Kaede home from school, and then this evening we sat outside for a while went for a walk around the block and visited with a neighbor while Michael went out with Friends of Scouting.  I had hoped for some quiet thought collecting time.

All the while I kept hearing about the Halloween costumes that aren’t ready yet.  In my defense, Kaede and Michael have been constantly changing their minds. {I don’t know that would have changed much if they had} pumpkins that aren’t carved {and we wouldn’t even have them if it wasn’t for great neighbors} That book reports were due today and Kaede has lost her rubric for it {ahhh, can’t forget to email about that tonight} homework to make up from all of them from going hunting with their Dad and missing school on Friday {I’m glad they went, I’m glad they went, I’m glad they went} Let’s not forget the dose of self guilt on the side for a dinner of Mac ‘n Cheese {and it’s not like I’ve been making wonderful meals other days either — I’ve been working}, laundry not done {but, I kept my promise and haven’t wash/dried without folding}, a sink full of dishes {they keep rotating, it’s a fluid hot spot not a stagnant one}, bathroom that has gone unscrubbed.  To top it off, I spent an evening I could have spend doing housework painting my new wall and I’ve been considering expanding my social life {go ahead, laugh I understand} and that simultaneously makes me excited and nervous but that’s a post for another day or perhaps even a conversation.

How does it all ever get done?  I can’t not sleep, too many consequences for me when I don’t — night shift with sleep is hard enough.  I’m grateful when I go to work because leaving home stresses at home is required for me to be able to focus on my patients’ and their needs.  It’s a shelter from my storm.

It feels like it’s been a long time since we’ve had a normal schedule with the kids and skipping the details the back and forth just sucks and I don’t like it.  No, there isn’t anything I can do about it.

Chin up Buttercup, everything will be as it is suppose to be.

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There isn’t anything…

I remember when I was about Charlet’s age and there was some huge teenage disaster that had befallen on my life {I had no truly disastrous things happen to me, it was most likely along the lines of not being able to go to a football game because we had a volleyball game at the same time} Grandpa told me “there isn’t anything in life so bad that there isn’t some good somewhere”

Of course then he was wrong, surely the end of the world was just around the corner.  Right?

Well, the world didn’t end and life went on.  I no longer remember the devastating events that prompted the lesson but the lesson keeps finding ways back into my heart, typically with a smile on my face remembering how his big hands could completely cover mine, how comfortable it was sitting in his lazy boy with him {this went far beyond being a little girl, I don’t know how we both sat in that chair for so long but I wouldn’t trade it for anything now}, and how much better warm mush in the mornings tasted on a cold winter morning at his house than it ever did at home.

This morning was one of those times.  I worked last night, even did some computer work for the critical care modules that I have to do {2 am is not the time to try to be pulling facts about the RAA system and what tubule does what in the kidney} when I got home from dropping Michael off for band I was exhausted.  I almost had 2 hours that I could sleep before I went to my eye appt with Dr Albrecht.  I set 3 alarms and hoped that it was one of those days that 2 hours feels like 10.  It wasn’t.  It felt like about 15 minutes.

I force myself out of bed, rubbed some water on my face to make my eyes open and decided that I wasn’t getting dressed and put together for one appointment and was out the door.  As I backed out the driveway and looked over my left shoulders for college students walking to class I noticed the neighbors tree perfectly catching the morning sun on it’s golden leaves.  It brought a smile to my exhausted face and tired eyes.

Then Grandpa was with me and I knew no matter how tired I am, how expensive this week has been, how difficult the last 2 weeks have been there is going to be some good if you look hard enough and everything is going to be just as it is suppose to be.

A couple of disclaimers about this post.  It’s a life lesson that is important to me and has pulled me through a lot of things I didn’t think I could get through, I’m not telling anyone else that they should feel the same.  It’s also very important that I am the one who finds the good, if someone else points it out to me I’m likely to come back with some snarky comment {it may not make it out of my mouth, but I promise it’ll be there} and have an overall impression of “they just don’t get it” and that in general changes my views on whatever kind of relationship we have.

 If I don’t get called in tonight I’m going to see if I can find a similar scene tomorrow with my camera in hand.

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I rarely get angry.  I very rarely get angry that doesn’t go away with a few deep breaths and some physical space between me and whatever.  The one exception?  My kids.  The momma bear in me isn’t buried very deep.  I also fully believe that before I get offended over something, the person doing/saying/whatevering should be notified that what they are doing is not okay in my world.

Conversation today with a near stranger {I had no idea they had any idea about my situation, they surely don’t know me very well}

Stranger: “It won’t be easy finding someone willing to take you with your [pause] baggage”

Me:  Jaw dropping stare and deathly silence.

Stranger: “It’s not like that, it’s just that societ…”

Me: “My kids are NOT baggage”

Stranger:  “I didn’t mean it like that, it’s just a common way…”

Me:  “I don’t care how common it is, you should shut up now if you are only going to defend yourself”

Stranger:  “but…”

Me:  Turned and walked away

Argh!!!!  I’ve never liked the comment, and the past couple of years it hits a sore spot with me even when not being used in reference to us.  Use it referring to us makes any rules I like to play by about being nice, benefit of the doubt, fair warning fly out the window.

I know single never been married people with a lot more baggage than a visible ex-spouse and/or kids.  There are always things that will make any relationship difficult, some bigger than others.  Yes, kids change things and some people aren’t willing to deal with step-kids — that’s their choice and I’m not going to try to convince anyone that they should.  My kids are not baggage.  No one kids should be viewed as baggage. Ever.

I also don’t want someone who is willing to take me.  Could it be possible to work anymore offense into that one little sentence?  How can someone know that much about my life and know me so little that they think anything along those lines would be acceptable?!?!?

And it’s dark and I can’t go smack some softballs to cool off.

Bah!  Stupid people suck.  I wish I didn’t let them get to me.

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Life Goes On

I think it’s interesting how no matter what is flying around you life manages go keep going forward. {At this very moment I want to define life as laundry, dishes, etc but this works for a more realistic definition too}

Saturday of General Conference I was put on call.  On call hadn’t been in my vocabulary for a long time.  Working 4+ shifts a week and exhausted had though.  Gary had extra tickets to Conference and being home on call when I could be road tripping with them to General Conference was killing me a little inside.  I’ll skip the details but I called in every favor I held to be able to go and I think I am going to owe people for a long time.  It’s okay, it was worth it.  Did I mention the week leading up to that I got very little sleep?  Every thing my sleep was interrupted for was worth it.
End of September I started to get a mild winter is coming type cold.  A little stuffy, a random cough, once in a while a very mild sinus headache.  Sometimes it slowed me down a little but it was far from stopping anything.  The night of the 12th that came to a screeching halt when I woke up with non-stop coughing fit at ‘o dark thirty that lasted hours.  Two different flavors of abx, some liquid death cough syrup, couple of inhalers later I’m still sick.  I can at least function now, the exploding sinus pain is gone and feeling like I was hit by a train is just a memory {think, two years ago I was dealing with this chronically — yikes} I’m far from better though, I still cough constantly — liquid death or not and I’m exhausted from how much work it is.  But, life goes on. 

The last ten days haven’t been completely lost, I’ve spent insane amounts of time planning what I’m going to do with the wall I’m putting our pictures from P&G Photography on, which leads to what should I do with the rest of the room?  Until I change my mind again I’m painting the walls warm caramel and the bookshelves dark.  The front room opens up wide into the dining room.  What should I do in there?  Can you see where this goes?  Never mind the couple of hours it took to decide which images to print and I had a lot of help when picking.  Meanwhile as I’m living in some alter fantasy photography world life still goes on.
It was so easy to forget that I’m a single Mom and housework just doesn’t do itself, to toy with the idea of being someone I’m not, to experience what I didn’t think was possible.  Part of me wants to blame the cough syrup, but I’m going to refrain.  Dishes have to be washed, laundry needs attention, bathroom needs to be scrubbed.  The last two weeks have been a little surreal and unfortunately the must be done details of my life typically take up all of the time.  If I add anything in, from shopping for clothes for our pictures or daydreaming about what I’d do with the house with an unlimited budget {or even a limited one — having a budget for it would just be nice} something is being neglected, ignored, or just plain forgotten {hello class I had to go to St George to make up!} I don’t know if I’ll ever have a better grasp on time management, especially while I’m working night shift but I do hope that at some point not forever down the road I manage to have some kind of social life that doesn’t include working, meetings, or required attendance.  Meanwhile, life goes on — the dryer just dinged at me, time to go switch laundry around.

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I enjoy spring, it’s thrilling and exciting. Full of new life and finds me ready for sunshine and dirt underneath my fingernails.

I absolutely love fall. It makes me feel warm, safe and cozy. Soups {in a bread bowl, pretty please}, layers, hoodies, fire in the fireplace and warm blankets to snuggle under. It brings with it the need to pull everyone around me close and keep everyone feeling warm and safe.

Today was an absolutely beautiful fall day, I walked down to Little Brick House for the second day in a row {hey, we missed our regular lunch a few weeks ago I am just making up for that} and between finally feeling better and the warm fall air surrounding me it was just perfect. Leaves crunching under my feet, a comfy sweater and smile on my face. Welcome Fall, please feel free to hang around for a while. (photo from last years 30 Days of Gratitude, I plan on replacing it soon)

 Day 1 -- My Neighborhood

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New Rules

Single parents shouldn’t be allowed to get sick.  Ever.  I was up all night trying not to cough up my toenails. (Thanks Mom for giving me your coughing abilities)   This morning my face was puffy enough I couldn’t open both eyes.  Early afternoon I was able to drag myself into Instacare. The fact I was willing to go to Instacare is similar Charlet’s hand hurting enough she couldn’t text.

Verdict?  I’m sick.  Abx, inhalers and cough syrup — the kind that tastes like liquid death.

I ran to Wal-mart on Saturday to stock up on tissues and pick up stuff to do semi-homemade chicken noodle soup.  Came home and called Mildred to see if she would be able to make a few phone calls I promised Bonnie I’d make and she ended up bringing me some soup. I think her soup will do me more good than the liquid death syrup.  Definitely does my heart good.

After a nice nap there was a knock on the door and Joy had brought me some soup too. Yay!  It’s amazing what something as simple as soup does for chasing away the loneliness. 

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Nothing quite like being on the wrong side of the camera for a little while to want to get back on the right side.  Which leads to equipment jealousy (I am down to my 2 kit lenses.  My little 50 mm broke and the others disappeared) and frustration with the lack of photoshop.

It’s just in time for me to start thinking about my 30 Days of Gratitude anyways, and I’ve learned nothing past Novembers if it isn’t that I have to start ahead and just post on the day.  So here we go, me starting to play around again.

Red Cliffs, Fall 2012

Red Cliffs

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October Conference 2012

I won’t go into all the details of how crazy trying to pull it all off was, sufficient to say that I have awesome coworkers that make feeling as overworked and burned out as I’ve been feeling worth it — because they literally covered for me this weekend at the last minute to give me a wonderful opportunity.

I packed in about 15 minutes, made it with mostly everything and nothing vital was missing.  I was ready to go and had no idea how we were getting there, where we were staying or any of those picky little details that matter.  I just knew I was going.

Going to Conference instead of watching Conference is like going to a (insert your favorite sport) game instead of watching it on tv.  TV version you have a better picture, can see more about what is going on etc but the excitement that runs down your spine when you step into the stadium seating completely wipes out anything that the better view would give you.

Conference is the same thing, only magnified.  When I was a Senior in High School we went with seminary council and it was an amazing experience.  This was pre-conference center and I remember sitting on the hard benches in the Tabernacle listening to Music and The Spoken Word after having been up since what was 2 am in my memory to line up for tickets (who am I kidding, I didn’t sleep at all that night).  The tired left quickly when the stands started to fill with General Authorities and then President Hinckley.  I don’t remember any specifics of what was said that Conference, but I’ll never forget how I felt.

Being older, I was grateful for the extra leg room and comfy seat in the Conference Center — along with the tickets we had ahead of time so there was no line up crazy early to get tickets.  Long after I’ve forgotten what was said at this Conference I’ll remember the feeling of sitting in the Conference Center with family (my kids weren’t able to go — I was with Gary, Felisa, Mina, Jaron and the boys)  I’d love to take the kids up sometime, I don’t know how likely it is for me to be able to go to Conference again anytime soon but there was so much I’d liked to have been able to stay up and see if it wasn’t for the responsibilities for us back at home.

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I realize that I’m completely over the top happy — deal with it or go read elsewhere.

Remember my post about how to pick your photographer?  This is a follow up of how you know you picked the right one.  When I was more actively learning about photography (why oh why did I stop?  Oh yeah, nursing school sufficiently sucks the life out of you — I’d forgotten about that)  I’d hear other photographers talk about providing their clients with an experience, not just pictures.  I think it’s one of those vague things that is hard to say “this is how you do it” and for some people it just comes naturally.  I felt like that today.  It’s difficult within the bounds of how/why I started this blog to say just how perfect today was, even though after everything leading up to this made me wonder if today was the best day or not.

So, in list form.  How you know that you found The photographer.

  • Kids won’t stop talking about next time already.  Kaede’s practicing smiling again — I need to go find a picture of her picture smile to stick in here.
  • Walk away feeling more confident in yourself (I have no explanation for how this happens, it just does)
  • Gain a friend in the photographer.  I believe that in most relationships whether in your physician or your photographer and everyone inbetween that having that personal click is important.  Relaxing and feeling comfortable is important and I don’t know about you but I don’t feel comfortable around people that I don’t click with.  Or worse, if there is an anti-click.
  • Find yourself anxiously waiting to be able to see the end result.
  • You didn’t just get your pictures taken, you had an experience.

For now I sit and patiently {or not so patiently} wait for the end result.  I usually kind of dread seeing pictures of me because I know they’re going to be horrible.  I’m usually so much more comfortable playing behind the camera instead of in front of it but after today, maybe both sides isn’t such a bad thing?

If you want the full long version of why this afternoon was absolutely perfect I’ll share, but be prepared for 12 year old squeals.


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For those of you who aren’t on my Facebook or I haven’t talked to yesterday you may have missed the fact that I’m completely over the top excited about getting our pictures done next Monday.  We haven’t had professional pictures done since Michael was a baby and never since I started getting passionate about photography.  Or picky, either word is appropriate.

With everything we’ve been through the last couple of years I really wanted some nice family pictures, but the photographers work I was interested in the price range was out of my budget and those in my price range I wasn’t interested in (see picky comment above)  Last week while browsing Facebook I saw a picture my friend was tagged in and I literally stopped scrolled, stared at the screen and said “ohhhhhh”  It was beautiful.  Perfect DOF, scenery was beautiful (they live in Southern Utah so of course it was) and it was perfectly soft and focused at the same time.  I kept going back to it.  I wanted to pluck them out, and put me in their place.  I went to the photographers FB page and continued to fall in love.  I’ve seen their prints around town — they have some beautiful ones up at the Natural History Museum at SUU.  I had no idea they did people pictures too.  Not just “oh yeah sure, I’ll shoot cousin Jane’s wedding because I’m nice like that but really I haven’t shot people since I had to so wish us all luck!” but great people shots.

The more I looked the more I knew this is who I wanted.

I called and we’re set up for next Monday (yeah!) at Wood’s Ranch, Michael gets to bring his fishing pole.  Kids aren’t natural little models so I think this may be a fun adventure.


So, how did I decide on them?  How do I know that they are the ones for me?  (Ones because there are two halves to P&G.  G does the shooting, P does the editing)  It comes down to a few things, some more linear than others.

  • They fit in my budget, and are willing to work with me there.  No insane sitting fee with required $500 print purchase.  At the same time, you want to avoid someone claiming to be a professional and giving away their time.  I’ve shot for a few families and not charged much, but I don’t profess to be a professional — for good reason, I’m not.  You want someone who values their work.
  • You don’t want to change their portfolio pictures.  If what you see is close to, or in my case exactly, what you want it’s a good match.  I kept browsing local photographers portfolios and thinking “well, if it wasn’t hypersaturated, over processed, and every eye popping tutorial available online ran on the picture I might like it”  Not a good match.  At the same time if you are looking for that eye popping color dense style that is what you want to see.  A portfolio is where a photographer puts the work they feel represents them the very best.  If you want to change their very best to an entirely different style you might not get what you want.
  • What you want.  You should feel comfortable talking to the photographer and letting them know what you want and what you don’t want.  They aren’t mind readers and unless you let them know what you want you are likely to end up with their vision for you.  Sometimes people have unrealistic expectations too — communicating before hand is the best way to learn if what you want is realistic or not.  No one is going to make me some realistic looking teeny tiny model.  Just a tad unrealistic.  The kids will look like kids, Kaede’s smile is going to show crooked teeth.  It’s a photography session not a magic wand.
  • They don’t give out a high res CD.  The most beautiful pictures in the world are going to look like junk if printed by a junk printer.  I’ve opened prints of mine and been breathless for a minute with what specific printers have done with them.  Quality is in the details and one of those details is in printing.  It important to have someone value their work enough to follow it all the way through so that you have gorgeous art hanging on your walls, not just some CD with printing rights.  Screen resolution pictures so I can show you here, post on FB etc are an entirely different story — those just aren’t big enough to print.

I may come back and add to this, but I work tonight and need to find my way into bed.  Have a great day everyone.

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