Thursday, January 28, 2010

Group Blog Thursday - Spread Some Joy!!

I love the topic for this week's Group Blog.  This week's challenge is to share a video of something, whether it's a song, commercial, movie...whatever, that always makes you happy, no matter what you're feeling. 

Those of you who know me probably know that I have a dog named Daisy, who is a Dachshund.  This girl brings me so much joy and happiness.  If you have ever owned a dachshund, you know they have special characteristics that make them such cute, and loving dogs with wonderful personalities. 

And so I want to Spread Some Joy by sharing this video, in particular because it always seems to bring a smile to my face and I find myself giggling every time I watch it, and because I hope that it will make you smile and laugh as well. 

** You will have pause my playlist so you can hear this video (sorry).  You can find it at the bottom of my blog. 

If you want to join in the fun or just see what others are posting, head on over to Stephanies' blog

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Not Me" Monday!

Well it's here!  The day of the week to share our "Not Me" moments from last week.  Let's see what I can come up with. 

I have spent the last several weeks looking for a job.  I think most of us hate looking for work.  But "Not Me"!  I love it! (Not really).  That is why it was Not Me who on the one day last week when I was supposed to go into job service to take my application package for a particular job, chose to stay home instead.  It was "Not Me" who would sabotauge myself and it was "Not Me" who just wanted to stay home and do nothing but lay on the couch and watch TV.  It was Not Me who just could not bring myself to do anything towards finding a job that day.  It was "Not Me" who was so tired, bored, exhausted from all my efforts into looking for work that I would definately not sabotauge myself and my efforts on that particular day.  I swear, I would never do that! 

It was Not Me who ended up with extreme back pain on Saturday that I thought I was having a Kidney Stone or Kidney Infection, and then realized the next day when the pain wasn't quite so bad and the symptoms of either stones or infection never appeared, that it was probably just a pulled muscle from shoveling snow.  It was Not Me who would totally forget she shoveled snow that day.  It was Not Me who would automatically think that it must be something other than just back pain.  It was Not Me who would jump to conclusions like that even if it did feel like something worse and different than a pulled muscle.  Nope, it couldn't have been me.  I just would never ever do that! 

This blog carnival was created by Mckmama.  If you would like join in or read what other's are saying, hop on over to her blog to link up. 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thanks to some amazing friends

I have some amazing friends.  Friends that I have known for a while and friends that I have met by blogging.  To every single one you, THANK YOU.  You are amazing and I am so grateful for your kind words and thoughtful remarks that touch my heart and inspire me.  You have lifted my spirits and have helped me to see and feel that things will be okay.  The words "thank you" just doesn't express enough of how I feel about you.   I want you  to know that I know how blessed I am by your friendship.  I love you all. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Out walking with my camera

I decided I wanted to practice with some photography and editing.  So I decided to go out walking with my camera yesterday.   And these are some of the pictures I took of the winter foliage around my neighborhood.  Then I played with them a little just to see what I could do and how they would turn out.  There are several pictures here and I hope you don't mind viewing them and letting me know which ones you like and/or critiquing me and giving me some comments or suggestions. 

I am a novice at this and just want to learn more about digital photography, editing, as well as learning all the functions of my camera. 

I did have fun and the getting out and breathing some fresh air made me feel so much better.

Added color and a soft focus

B&W with Focal Color

Original - No Edit

Soft Focus

Graduated Tint

Lightened it up a bit

Soft Focus

Added more color to the sky

B&W with Focal Point


Graduated Tint

Full Tint with Soft Focus

Focal Point

Soft Focus

Added a little Shadow

Lightened up a bit


Color Saturation

Just a Random shot of this crow w/focal point

Footprints in the snow

Thanks for taking the time to review and to comment. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This, That and the Other?


I think today I just need to get a few things off my chest.  Things that are overwhelming me, depressing me, worry me, as well as things that are good and bring me joy.

Today I was reading a post written by one of my bloggy friends, Mindy, who blogs at "Ponderings of the Heart", about "Soul Clutter".  It's an excellent post and I would recommend that you hop on over there and read it for yourself.  The definition of soul clutter in this post is being described as "the collection of emotional, relational, and spiritual issues that we have been stepping over."  And it got me thinking that I do have a lot of "soul clutter" that I need to start dealing with and stop stepping over in hopes they will just go away.  That being said, I think I will take this into consideration and begin decluttering my soul.  I have had so much emotional baggage this past year that I think if I could just confront some of these issues I would probably feel a lot better about myself and definately my load would be a lot lighter.  But confronting some of these things is rather scary and confusing and I don't even know where to start. 


I teach the 14-15 year old Sunday School class at my church.  And while I enjoy teaching this class, it also scares me.  We are teaching from the Old Testament this year and I have always struggled understanding the scriptures.  I feel like some of these kids probably know more than I do.  And trying to find ways to teach the lesson on their level and to keep it interesting for them is sometimes really hard for me to do.  I know that being asked to accept this calling and teaching this class is more for my own benefit. I have prayed for help in understanding these scriptures better and I know that having to teach these lessons will help me to do just that.  So while this worries me greatly every week, I am also very grateful for what I am learning.  I just hope these kids will learn something from me too. 

Can I just say that I hate PMS?  Maybe thats why I have been feeling so down this week.  Maybe I shouldn't even be writing this post while I am going through this hormonal week.  I hate all the normal symtoms of moodiness, headaches, and things of that nature.  But I also have PCOS (polycistic ovarian syndrome) which causes all kinds of bad stuff especially cramps.  These cramps are the worst and often times puts me right down in a fetal position.  I get so frustrated with doctors who just want to treat my sympoms with birth control pills when all I want is to have all my female stuff removed!  They have served me no purpose except to cause me much grief each month.  Both of my kids are adopted because I have never been able to conceive.  So tell me what good is all that miserable equipment inside of me?  Just to make me miserable I guess! Enough said on that subject.  (You're probably breathing a sigh of relief!)

So the past few weeks I have spent many hours every day searching and applying for jobs.  The job market here is very competitive with many many applicants.  In fact there is a new hotel in town who was hiring for several positions which they listed in the paper and mentioned you could either apply on line or attend the job fair they would be having at end of this month.  I put my application in for a couple positions and then I read in the paper the following week that "due to the overwhelming response all job openings are closed and the job fair is cancelled."  It also said do not contact them, that if they are interested in interviewing you they would do the contacting.  That's how most job openings are like.  You really have to be on top of the game and stand out in order to get any kind of call back.  This has been very frustrating to me.  There are a couple jobs that have opened this week for which I have applied for and I am very excited about.  I am hoping I will at least get an interview. 

One of the greatest blessings in my life and also one of the most worrisome is my kids.  I love them so much, but I am so worried about them.  They are currently living with their dad while they are attending high school.  This was their wish even though I had many reservations about it.  But I was moving out of the state and did not want to disrupt their schooling, friends, or their happiness in the community where they live.  And because it was their wish I really didn't have any legal say in it.  All I asked for was that they continue to attend church, and maintain good school grades. Needless to say, their grades have slipped to an all time low and they do not go to church, and my son has gotten into a bit of trouble with friends.  In confronting the Ex husband about their grades I ask that as long as their grades are lower than a C average that all extra-curricular activities be stopped, that skateboards and phones be taken away.  He just says that he tries to motivate but won't be the bad guy.  So my kids can basically do whatever they want, get into whatever trouble they get in, and their dad won't be a parent that may have to put his foot down. Instead he is more worried about being "liked".  I don't mean to do any EX bashing but this is so frustrating to me.  It is causing me great stress and anxiety and I feel helpless.  I just don't know what to do! 

I just realized I don't even have a 2010 Calendar yet.  And so far I am late on birthdays for this month.  I have felt so disorganized and discombobulated lately that I really do need to get myself together.

I really think that I have lost myself.  After spending 15 years of being a mom to my kids and being actively involved in their activities, and then suddenly having to move so far away, and not having them part of my every day life; I truly feel lost.  It's like I have lost my identity or something.  Having to leave my job, my home, my family and moving so far away has been difficult to get used to. Making new friends and finding a place where I fit in has been hard.  Don't get me wrong, I like living here, I have enjoyed meeting new people, I love my husband's job, and the time we get to spend together and having the opportunity to explore all the sites around here.  It's just been hard to decide which direction to go and what to do with myself in this new life.  I know it will just take some time.  It's still gets me down though. 

Which brings me to this...

I think the doldrums of winter has set in. I am experiencing S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder).  I need the sun! I need to get my lazy butt outdoors and walk but its been so cold that I don't want to most days. I have gained a lot of the weight I lost 2 years ago back and that adds to my frustration and depression. I know what I need to do, but just getting started back up is so hard. Why is that? I guess it's lack of motivation! I definately need to find my motivation and soon!  The warmer, sunnier weather that brings the first hint of spring can't come soon enough. 

The Other.....and on a more positive note....

I made the best sandwiches the other day.  I got the idea from my friend, Rae's blog, who got the recipe from The Pioneer Woman.  It is called the Marlboro Mans Favorite Sandwich and you can go here to get the recipe.  I added green pepper and mushrooms to mine and broiled some swiss cheese on it before serving.  And boy it was so yummy!  My mouth is watering right now for more!  You have got to try it, the men in your family will love you! 

We are trying to fit in a few trips this year.  We would like to go to Arizona and see our beautiful grandkids and we would like to go to Texas to visit my in-laws and my sister.  We also want to go to Utah for the Highland Games in June and I also have my 25 Year Class Reunion in August.  Did I just say 25 years?  OMG!  I'm getting old!    I don't know how or if we will be able to fit it all in, but it gives me something to plan on and look forward to.

Here is a thought that keeps coming to mind as I have been writing this post. 

I really need to be more grateful for all the blessings in my life.  Because I am very blessed.  I have a wonderful husband who loves and adores me; I have wonderfully, smart, talented and beautiful children and stepchildren; I have 4 precious grandchildren; I have a loving and supportive extended family; I have a nice home to live in; and my husband's job provides for all the things we need; and above all I have my faith and testimony that God lives, that Jesus Christ is my savior who died for me so that I will someday be able to live with him once more.  With these blessings I have everything.  What more do I need? 

I think this also means I need to stop being so hard  on myself.  I need to be grateful for who I am, what I do accomplish, and just be happy and enjoy life.  I think this is how I begin to get rid of that soul clutter. 


Friday, January 15, 2010

How many people does it take to make a difference?

As I watch the news and see the devastation the earthquake in Haiti has left behind, my heart becomes full of sorrow and compassion for these people.  Aerial photos of Port-au-Prince shows that most of that city has been flattened.  Video news coverage show many bodies of the dead lying everywhere you look.  The look in the eyes of these people just tear at my heart strings.  And I find myself mourning for these people who I don't even know. 

There are so many buildings and homes that have crumbled to pieces with many people inside.  And many of these buildings and homes people have not even been able to get to, to check for survivors.  Time is running out for these people that may still be alive underneath all that rubble.  It breaks my heart.

The need in Haiti is huge.  Not only do they need things like medical supplies, doctors, rescue workers, police, and military to assemble order; they are in dire need of the basic needs like food, water, clothing and shelter for these people.  I am also sure there will be many, many children who will be orphaned who will need families. They will also need many people to help them rebuild.  This could literally take years. 

I am so grateful that I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who provides humanitarian relief when calamities such as this strikes.  It also makes me feel good to know that my donation of time in making needed items such as quilts, clothing and toys are sent to people who are in need no matter where they live or what their religious beliefs are. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has once again answered the call and needs of the Haitian people.  They are sending thousands of pounds of food and water, tents, tarps and medical supplies as well as emergency supplies, including personal hygiene kits and supplies for newborns.  They are also sending a team of doctors to assist in Haiti. 

I am so blessed to be a member of this church.  And I am glad to know that my small donations of time, money or items can do some good for someone else who is in need.  If you are interested in donating to the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint's Humanitarian Services you can go here for information in how to do that. 

No matter what God you serve or how you worship, it is imperitive that we take care of one another. Not only during times of great calamaties, but everyday.  "When ye are in the service of your fellow man, you are in the service of your God". (Mosiah 2:17)

There is much you and I can do to make a difference in someone's life each day.  It doesn't have to be during times of great hardship.  It could be a simple smile or a listening ear.  How many people does it take to make a difference? "To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world." - Josephine Billings.

Will you stop to help someone in need, or will you turn away? 

Albert Schweitzer, humanitarian, once said "I don't know what your destiny will be, but this I know: the only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve."

I have given the subject of serving others a lot of thought lately.  I know there is so much more I can do for others around me whether they are family, neighbors, friends or people in my community.  And so I have decided that my goal for this year will be to find ways to serve others more.  And I would like to encourage you to do the same. 

What do you think?  If you would like to join me in making this your goal this year, let me know.  And let me know about ways you have given service to others or some ideas of ways I can be of service to others.

I may not be able to do something as huge as going to Haiti and volunteer my service there.  But I can definately do more here at home, in the community where I live. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Not Me", Monday! - Backseat Driver

Well it's that day of the week again to share our "Not Me" Moments from last week.   So lets just get to it, shall we? 

Last weekend we had to drive the kids back to Idaho Falls to meet their dad so they could go back home to Cedar City, Utah.  It was cold, it was snowy and the roads were very icy for about 50 miles of our trip.  But it was "Not Me" who was sitting in the passenger seat all tensed up, seriously scared, and covering my eyes.  Those of you who know me, know that I would never do that.  I love driving on icy roads in the middle of winter, I never get afraid and seriously would never cover my eyes.  So that couldn't have been me. 

It was also "Not Me" who was told to cover her eyes rather than continue telling the driver to slow down, or don't get to close to the edge, or your going too fast.  Nope, that would definately not be me.  I would never think of being the "backseat driver" sitting in the front passenger side of the car telling the driver what to do, probably making him more nervous about driving in those conditions.  No, no, no.... that was "Not Me".  It just couldn't be.

This blog carnival was created by Mckmama, so if you would like to join in or just read what others are writing head on over to her blog here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Jibber Jabber from a Blog Slacker

Well maybe I'm not necessarily a complete Blog Slacker, I have just been so busy that I haven't done my regular posting this week and I haven't had a chance to do much catching up with you on your blogs.  Mix that with completely taking last week off, it makes me feel like I am slacking.  I am just going to have to get used to that and not feel guilty.  I really have come to love blogging.  And I have tried to at least post something at a minimum 3 days per week this past year, as it is my way of journaling my life.  But things are going to be changing for me to where I may not have that kind of time anymore.  What am I saying? 

Well lets start off with this......   I don't usually make New Year resolutions per say but this year I did create a list of tasks or "to do's" that need to get accomplished.  So without further ado here is the list.  The first on the list will tell you why I may not have time for regular blogging. 

My 2010 To-Do List

  1. Get a job. 

  2. Spend at least 4 hrs each day doing something towards getting a job. 

  3. Purchase clothes for work.

  4. Create our 2010 Budget and stick to it.  Find ways to save more money.

  5. Exercise daily and eat healthier.

  6. New Transmission for the Buick Rendevous. 

  7. Window fixed on Mercury.

  8. Piano repaired and tuned (as of today, the peddle maneuver thing broke)

  9. Purchase New Computer (ASAP-ours is a dinosaur and is wreaking havoc, causing great stress and wasting valuable time.

  10. Get taxes done ASAP. 

  11. Find and take class on digital photography.

  12. Copy all pictures from computer to a CD. 

  13. Plan trip to Arizona to see kids and grandkids.

  14. Plan trip to Texas to visit Bill's parents.

  15. Crochet at least 2-3 aphgan's this year.

  16. Practice piano daily.

  17. Study sunday school lesson earlier in week and find ways to improve teaching.

  18. Order credit report and find ways to improve credit score. (credit history really sucks since my divorce)

  19. Find out why the heck I still have not received my portion of my ex's retirement as stated in divorce settlement now going on 2 years.  What a joke!

  20. Begin organizing and scrapbooking pictures . 

Well that just about covers it.  Just by looking at my top 9 items, you can see why I need a job.  Since moving to Montana I have not had a job and have enjoyed staying home and being able to do what I have wanted.  The job market is still a little scary.  There are lots of people competing for the jobs that are available.  So we will see.  I am looking for a part-time job and I have extensive experience in many areas. 

So this week all I have been doing is updating my resume and applying for jobs, as well as starting on that budget thing.  This all takes time and that is why I have been so busy and quiet from blog world, and why I feel like a blog slacker. 

Wish me luck in the job hunt!   Hi-ho-hi-ho its off to work I go!  

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas 2009

Most of you have already written your posts about your Christmas.  I know I am a bit behind all of you organized people.  But even though it may be a little late, I am still going to write my Christmas 2009 Review if for nothing else but journaling purposes.

Bill and I had a very nice and quiet Christmas together.  This is the first Christmas I have not been with my kids or family.  We opened the traditional PJ's on Christmas Eve.  On Christmas Day we slept in until about 9:00.  That's a first for me.  In Christmas's past we would have had Christmas over with by that time.  Anyway, we ate the traditional breakfast of my pull-apart bread with scrambled eggs and bacon.  And then we opened our gifts to each other.  I recieved some very nice gifts.  One of the things he gave me that is the most treasured of all the gifts is personalized cards he wrote in for me to open each month of the new year.  I can't wait to open my next one.  Thanks Babe!

We spent the day watching movies, going for a walk down main street in Bozeman, preparing and eating our Christmas dinner of prime rib.  Mmmmm!

The next morning on December 26th we drove 4 hrs to Idaho Falls and back to pick up my kids.  It's the halfway point between Bozeman and Salt Lake City.  We got back home around 9:00 pm and had Christmas with them.  They got to spend the rest of the week with us until Jan 2nd when we drove them back to Idaho Falls. 

During the week they were here we mostly just hung out around the house.  We did venture out for a walk down main street.  Shellise loves the look of all the old buildings and she wanted to use the camera she got for Christmas to take pictures of old town Bozeman.  We went and saw the movie Avatar.  This movie was awesome!  We all loved it and I would recommend you go see it too. 

Bill had to work on New Years Eve so the kids and I prepared a few fun snack foods and planned to play some games and watch movies.  However, by 9pm Shellise was asleep.  She was too tired to stay up to ring in the New Year so Jessie and I just watched a movie and then watched the Dick Clark Time Square Special.  Jessie had never seen the ball drop.  On New Years Day we did a little more celebrating with Bill and watched movies.  It was a quiet but nice New Year's for us. 

I can't believe how quickly the time passed by.  Before I knew it, it was time to take the kids back.  And then the hard reality set in.  There is nothing to look forward to anytime soon. No big Holiday's coming up and  I probably won't see the kids again until summer.  Instead I get to continue looking for and hopefully find a job very soon.

We had a wonderful Christmas even though it wasn't what we would call "normal".  We missed being surrounded by family and friends.  However, I am very thankful for the wondeful memories that were made and that I was able to make those memories with those I love the most..... my dear sweet husband and my awesome kids. 

Here is a slideshow of our Christmas....