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Someone needs to take away my ability to write a blog post from my phone while tired.   Even typing >70 wpm my thoughts sometimes run faster than my fingers, pecking out a post on my phone does not do any kind of service to me getting across how I am feeling.

There are a few things that I can say with strong certainty right now.  Friends, family and neighbors care about me and my family and I have several people that if needed I could {and have} called before and after acceptable calling hours for something.  I am very grateful not even daily but hourly for them.

I don’t know if the last little bit I’ve hit a social “how are you doing?” but if I have I haven’t noticed.  I have noticed a lot of sincere faces with listening ears {I know, I’m not talking to kids here but it still applies} that have asked “how are you doing?”  often in those conversations include a just as sincere “let me know if there is anything I can do for you”  I know people care.  I know there are friends that know that the answer is going to be “not okay” if a bunch of new flowers show up in my yard.

I’ve had amazing help the last several years, from a well timed “want to go get a coke?” to muscle strength helping me move things I can’t move alone or helping me get rid of the infernal rose thicket.  Twice.  Wait, this year makes three.  A few Christmas’s ago before Gromps’ funeral my answer when asked what can we do for you was “I don’t even know”  Maybe I didn’t know, but they did — and they acted above and beyond anything I could imagine.

That doesn’t include the plethora of people who worry about the kids when I’m at work and are willing to give them rides here there and everywhere, including keeping them in line when needed and having them help out on their farm.  I don’t know what but I don’t doubt that there is a lot more that I could fit into this section.

I know people care, retaught so much when asked at one of the late night calls “what’s going on” and my answer was “I can’t say right now”  What was happening was definitely secondary to how I was doing.  That few minutes taught me more than I realized — I hope that farther down the road I can think back and get more out of that experience, and perhaps be that person for someone else.

What I wondered was does how really matter.  As long as the list of stuff gets done, why does the how matter when it comes down to it.

I don’t know the answer, but I’m past wondering now — filing it away into a file of things I wish I never was in a place to feel.  It’s turning into a pretty big file.

For everyone wondering how, I’m managing to get up each morning {or equivalent for whatever my shift is} and brushing my teeth.  My sarcasm is coming back at times and I’m playing softball this year on city league. I can even smile a little at the comparison of being told “we just need another girl on the roster” to being picked last for kickball in elementary school.  I still got picked, and I’m hoping softball proves to be a good outlet for me right now.  I do think I’m going to have more color in my front yard this year than I ever have before.

This is what got me out of bed this morning when I nearly turned off the alarm and hid under the covers.

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Tonight for FHE we had a mini lesson and activity.  There was no way I could put much else together, but it was something and something we were doing together and that’s the point right?

We talked a little about gratitude, specifically being thankful for the people in our lives from friends, neighbors, ward members, teachers and others who it’s their job to help us and perhaps a stranger who says the right thing at the right time that makes you smile.  It wouldn’t take long for me to make a really long list.  If you are grateful for something it’s only proper to say thank you in some way, right?  A plate of cookies seems fairly standard and honestly around this house is always welcome.

Waiting for me to have time and energy on the same day to be able to make said plate of pretty goodies that also tastes delicious?  Not going to happen anytime soon.

Sharing some of the eggs from the chickens?  That we can do without much stress or making it seem like another thing we have to do.  Right now if I have another ‘thing’ added to my list I may just crack and saying thank you really isn’t about stressing anyone out is it?  I’m fairly certain the people we delivered to tonight have done such a good job of helping me out at just the right time not so I could stress about an appropriate thank you later on.

Stress free we walked some eggs around the neighborhood, complete with glittered up egg cartons {why oh why did I buy glitter?!?!?}  to put into action our lesson.

In the past I’ve given service at times I’m stressed/depressed/etc. but it’s always been for someone who really needed something.  I don’t know that egg delivering counts as service per say, but doing something for someone else just because and thinking of them and how grateful we are for their part in our lives put smiles on all our faces leaving me with a couple hyper girls with big sincere smiles that made it so I couldn’t help but smile.

Tonight’s lesson was fairly spontaneous and pulled me out of where I was to where I needed to be, even if it’s just for the night.  So tomorrow if you see the opportunity do something small for someone else.  A small sincere compliment can make someone’s day and help turn yours around if you’ll let it.

So very grateful for all the ‘egg’cellant people in my life {yes, I know it’s not an original joke but it makes me smile}

Yeah, I know one is missing…



~Heather

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When I made the decision to get a divorce it wasn’t something I took lightly and came with an enormous amount of conflict, prayer and fasting.  Followed by the feeling of having failed all of which was painted on a canvas of peace.  I have no other way to describe how I felt at the time.  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that my marriage was over and in reality had been for a long time with me clutching onto the last string of hope that things would get better.  There was a stilling peace behind all of the fears and uncertainty that faced me every day.

There have been a few occasions since then when I have been in a position to get to know people who were in a similar position at one time, some behind me on our long road and others ahead of  me.  I learned a fair amount of things I didn’t want to do, attitudes I wanted to have, examples I wanted to set.  I don’t know that I always met my goal and I certainly didn’t always do it with my chin up and smiling.

There are a few stories that if they were to end at the point I heard about them would have sad endings.  I don’t know what the rest of the story was for any of them, but as I sat and thought about the similarities and differences in our lives it always came down to the difference in support systems.

Amazing friends, Visiting Teachers, Home Teachers, Bishops and Relief Society presidents who never once told me what choices I should make but that I knew they would be there for me.  From a well timed phone call when I needed it, to a friendly smile that I knew they cared how I was doing even though I didn’t feel strong enough to put into words how I was doing my support group while not large in number was strong enough to move mountains and even more impressive, keep me upright.  I also had a large group of friends offering me virtual support from pretty much everywhere.  I never realized that {{{hug}}} could have as much love and support with it as a physical hug, but they can.

At a fairly vulnerable time for me they changed ward boundaries and nearly all of my closest support system was on the wrong side of the boundary line and I was crushed.  I knew it was coming, I realized it would be hard but I remember sitting that first Sunday and looking around.  I knew our new Bishop from Trek and one of the counselors was in the old 2nd ward.  Scanning around the congregation from where I sat I could only see the family across the street that I knew.  Others were there, I’d seen them walk in but I sat there in that crowded chapel feeling completely alone.  I use to have people who would come sit by me when I didn’t have the kids with me — they were gone, and that small act had meant so much to me.  The next week in Sunday School my seat was taken.  My entire area of seats in fact and once again I looked for friends who were no longer there.  There began my feeling invisible.  I had no idea who my visiting teachers were, or if maybe I’d been left off of someone’s list.  I still don’t know who my home teachers were for that first year.

I was very grateful for trek, I’d been assigned to my new Bishop’s “family” for meals and sleeping.  Everything else I was making sure that blisters were cared for, kids were hydrated, and twisted ankles were wrapped and being iced.  I had almost no time to help cook or set up camp, but there was always food for me, my bedding was laid out at night, and a seat saved if I had the opportunity to listen to one of the firesides.  I had no idea how important the trust would become in just a few months.

For the most part my support system has changed faces and perhaps very appropriately, the things I need now  are vastly different than the things I needed early on.  I am very grateful for all of my friends and family, sometimes it was just a sincere smile on a bad day or laughing at a sarcastic comment I made that kept me going. I don’t know that I will ever be able to pay it forward for all of the things that held me up and kept me moving forward, but I have a full life ahead of me to try.

Late Entry:

I walked into the chapel today and my bench was taken. Kids are with their Dad and its not like I need a long row to myself. I scanned the congregation trying to decide where to sit when I thought back on this post. The chapel was filled with friendly faces I was happy to see. The last 18 months I’ve learned to trust and respect a new group that I call friends.

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The nature of being a nurse is seeing people and families at their worst.  I’ve worked Medical/Oncology, ICU, and ER.  I’ve never heard anyone say “hey, not much to do this weekend why don’t we go get admitted to the ICU”  No one wants to come visit me at work and families are often in crisis when they end up with us.  In those circumstances I often get the chance to sit front row seat to some of the unfairness that happens in life.  Single Mom’s dying too young of cancer, accidents taking a young father’s life, a new diagnosis that changes everything about how a family functions from being able to work and participate in their hobbies to even church callings.  A lot of unfairness is also dealt outside of the medical world, I’ve yet to hear of anyone who has the perfect life and hasn’t gotten the short end of the fairness stick at some point.

When I look at the kids and teens in these situations the weight of the situation seems a little bit heavier for them, consequences of having to navigate through the situation seem bigger and more looming.  There has always been adults around who love and care about the kids.  The closer to home it is and the more I know of the situation I wonder if all the people who love them can make up for the gap left and then it always comes back to home.

My kids have so many people out there who care about them.  Aunts, uncles, neighbors, scout leaders, YM/YW leaders, family friends, teachers, mentors {I could go on and I could list names specifically but I’ll stop} who all have a vested interest in my kids’ lives and have stepped up in very real ways to help them.  Can all of that make up for the unfairness they’ve had to deal with as we went through the divorce as a family?  I don’t know, I certainly hope so.  I wish there was some way to let everyone know how much I appreciate their part in our lives whether it comes from a lesson on how to tie a tie to loaning a can opener to the kids when they can’t find ours because I moved it.

I sit and think back to a recent meeting with my Bishop when he mentioned that somehow all of those injustices get accounted for and the peace that I felt when I stopped thinking “but HOW?!?!?” makes sense. I am grateful to have people around me now who help hold me up when I can’t myself, who step in where I fall short and am grateful that when it comes to an eternal perspective the Atonement will make up the rest.  No, I don’t know how for now faith will carry me along.

Picture is from the break in the storm today.  When you think spring is around the corner and winter reminds you very loudly that it’s still only February there are moments of a beautiful sky that help carry you on like a breath of faith that yes, it will all work out like it is suppose to.

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Christmas
Christmas season is fully here.  Do you know how I know?  The Christmas Devotional was tonight so my mind has officially clicked into Christmas mode.  I’ve had Christmas music nearby since Thanksgiving, been mmmhmmm’ing and taking notes about everything the kids want while admiring the Christmas lights going up {go ahead, make fun of the bananas–I know I do} but it still didn’t feel like quite like Christmas until tonight.

I watched the devotional with a group of new friends, and it made me realize one more time that this year is going to be the best Christmas ever.  I don’t have a why for you, I didn’t come into lots of money, things aren’t magically all falling into place and going perfect, in fact it’s been a rough several weeks for me.  Except it’s Christmastime.

Two Christmases ago after a very trying and emotionally draining time Michael said “Mom, isn’t this the best Christmas ever?  Look at how many people there are who care about us!”  That year I realized that no matter how well prepared or ill prepared we are for Christmas to come Christmas Day is magical.  Last year I still managed to stress and worry despite some conscious efforts to just enjoy the magic of the season but this year feels different, I haven’t even once thought of myself as Scrooge or muttered “bah!  Humbug”  I’ve felt love and support from friends and neighbors, I’ve not stressed over the “can I have?” {no I don’t know how that happened} and I’ve just been able to breath a little.  I don’t know that the whole season will be this stress free but I’m not going to question it I’m just going to enjoy it.

Did you know that CCPD wont’ shut down traffic on main street just so I can take a picture?  {no, I didn’t ask — I also didn’t ask them to move deer crossing signs near school crossings either}  This isn’t the picture I wanted, but I’m waiting until next weekend when the kids are here to put up our tree so this is the picture you get.

Now, I’m going to go find the story about the barometer, we were having some technical difficulties.

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30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 25 -- Simply Grateful

Friday when we were rappelling I started to get pictures of some of the knots in the ropes {yeah, that was when I realized I had the wrong lens on for what I wanted} starting to formulate a 30 days post in my head.  Trust.  Safety.  Adrenaline {nixed that one, I wanted this post to be more thoughtful}  Bounced back and forth between safety and trust.  We’re only safe when we’re obedient though, that should fit into there somewhere too.

I kept thinking of the list of things we do to help keep us spiritually safe, started to turn it into a mental check list for where I am at too. You know the list of Primary answers that answer almost everything {because the plain and simple answers are truly where our strong anchors are} I had those on the list and like every other time I made a list about things that need to be done I started to get overwhelmed.  I haven’t {anything} enough lately.  Things have been going well and of course habits starts to slip.  Fall asleep exhausted before evening prayers.  Rush out the door without spending some time to read and ponder.  Do I have to mention how easy it is to skip Family Home Evening when I work on a Monday?

I stopped brainstorming this post and made a mental note that those kinds of lists don’t manage to keep me on track.  I got my picture of the knot, well not the exact picture I’d hoped for but I’m happy with it anyways.  I was harnessed up, hair pulled back, gloved up and clipped onto the rope.  That safety line that would keep me tethered and safe not free falling to hard ground below.  I even had my camera with me, debated about having Kim stop me on the edge of the free fall to get a picture {frustrated at myself for having the wrong lens on}  I back up to the edge, grateful that my arm has healed to where I can go rappelling again, listen to a few jokes about the camera {I had it inside my shirt so it wasn’t bouncing around} and back up.

If you haven’t been rappelling the initially leaning backwards over the edge of a cliff is by far the scariest part, also important to note here is that your dominant hand is your brake hand {I’m right handed}.  The longer it’s been since you’ve been rappelling the scarier it is.  The list runs through my head.  Can I see red on the harness?  Does the figure 8 look right?  I don’t have the gloves with the wear spot in them do I?  Are the leg straps on the harness tight enough I’m not going to get that tiny bit of slip that makes your heart race?  Camera staying out of the way of the figure 8? {how do people secure their camera equipment who go rappelling with it?}

Soon all the fears go away and I’m having fun, thinking next time I’m leaving my camera elsewhere {besides, I don’t have a single picture of me rappelling ever I bet I could trust one of the older girls with it and get a picture of me}.  Maybe, it is my baby after all.  I’m at the edge where the free fall starts and you have to lean back just like you do initially and I take a breath and lean back.

In a fraction of a second I realize my right hand has lost it’s grip. I’m trying to figure out if I can move my left hand to be a brake since I wouldn’t have to step over the rope and WHY???  I have had very few gripping problems with my right hand.  How far from the edge of the free fall to the bottom?  Is that very big rock at the bottom below me or Felisa? Drop and roll, I can’t forget to roll.  Oh, what will rolling do to my camera.  I can’t break anything I don’t have anymore time off of work.  I don’t want to ruin everyone’s rappelling trip.

Then the rope goes taught and I slow down.  I realize I’ve only slipped a foot {if that, but I promise it was scary and a million things ran through my mind} and have my back to the wall.  I still don’t know if at that point my brake hand would work but I couldn’t figure out how to spin myself around.  Kim lowered me safely to the ground and all was well. I’ve never had to rely on the belayer to keep me safe, other than when going down with kids and having them help do some of the work but I’ve always been grateful they’re there.  This weekend the gratitude goes a little  farther.

Sitting up on the hill taking pictures I realized that one thing on the list that I’ve been missing is the importance of good friends.  Friends who know that a simple tug on a rope will lower you safely down, friends who know the difference in “can we go for a walk sometime, I’d like to talk” and “is there some time today we can talk?”  isn’t about word choice but something deeper inside.  A phone call to just see how things are going or a text on a day that could be extra lonely.  Good friends have kept me safe, stopped me from falling off the edge and kept me grounded.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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This one just so happens to be a part 2, watch for Sunday’s post for my philosophical ramblings.

I great big puffy heart rappelling.  On a bigger scale than softball when I’m rappelling all I’m thinking about is rappelling {really, I don’t want to go flying down because I was distracted thinking about something silly} and the adrenaline rush of falling backwards over a hill is wonderful.

I’ve never had to be belayed, until Friday when my right hand decided that it was through gripping just as I came over the edge where you start to free fall.  Those of you keeping track, my right hand is the one that hasn’t been operated on but had the more severe carpal tunnel.  Elbow was fine.  I’m fine {thanks again Kim for saving my life}  


30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 23 -- Rappelling

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