Field notes

Anchorage, Alaska Temple

Anchorage, Alaska Temple

The last two years have been very memorable in my life. I had a daughter get married, I started a new career, I completed two Masters programs, and one of my sons served a mission. All of these events taught me lessons. Some of them included time management, patience, and strength, but the biggest lessons I have learned have come in the last week from my newly returned missionary.

A little background is needed. My son is incredibly smart. He is right up there with his dad the rocket scientist. He is the one I would go to for help with math, finances, science, computers, etc. I truly missed his wisdom while he was gone the last two years. He was also a bit self centered, lazy, and not interested in the affairs of others. I prayed that his mission would help him learn to love others and to be more compassionate.

I am here to say that prayers are answered. The boy that I watched get on a plane twenty four months ago was not the man that I saw come off the plane four days ago. He is strong, confident, loving, and a spiritual giant. I understand now the parts of the Book of Mormon when they wrote that words could not utter the feelings of joy. My joy was full.

My missionary has taught me many things since he has been home. Here are a few of them;

Being busy is good. Idleness is just the opportunity to lose your focus. Be anxiously engaged in a good cause at all times.

Confidence comes through effort. He was a super shy kid. He is still uncomfortable talking to strangers, he says, but he talks to people where ever we go and shows genuine interest in them.

Don’t assume. Just because his siblings might not have attended church in months doesn’t mean he won’t ask them to come today and actually succeed.

Less is more. Being a missionary is a practice in frugality. He wants very little and feels guilty for the things I buy him. (I’d love this to rub off on all my kids!)

Heavenly Father loves his children more than I ever could. This was an important one for me. I have friend that I feel responsible for. I feel I have to keep trying to help them, regardless of the way it destroys me at times. It’s okay to let them go. Heavenly Father won’t. He will keep trying to help them.

He didn’t come home to judge or fix us, but his example is already making waves. I love having him home!! He is talking about going to the YSA ward and I want to say NO! Stay with me! But I know his life is before him. I feel so blessed to have him in my life. I love what missions do for these young men!




shopping girl


Years ago, back when I did the kit toy parties to ‘earn free toys’, I remember getting a book that I loved. It was about a wombat that liked to try new things. He shouted, just to see how it sounded. He jumped, to see how much noise it made when he landed. He ran and ran and walked like a pigeon, all because he wanted to. At the end of the day, he just wanted to curl up in a ball and become very small.

“Some times I like to curl up in a ball, so no one can see me, because I’m so small.” Today is one of those days for me. I wish I could curl up in a ball so small and tight that I would not only be invisible, but there would be no room for my thoughts and the demons that plague me today.

Where do you turn, where do you run, when all you want to do is be different? I’d call my BFF, but he died six years ago. How do I make a new one? I never had a girl bff because I made my husband my BFF. I don’t know how to start over with that and have girl friends. Its sad. I think part of it is I want to appear to have it all together.

I know I’m not the only one with that pride issue. I look around school, church, the neighborhood…even WalMart and everyone is playing the game. If we really were honest, how many of us would put on make up and change out of our pjs to go to the store?How many of us would keep the living room clean while the rest of the house is a disaster? How many of us would paste on those smiles when inside we want to crumble?

It is slightly comforting to know that I can’t possibly be the only one in this situation, but then again, it doesn’t really help either. I don’t want to be in that group. I need to make a new BFF. I’ll do that tomorrow…or maybe Tuesday. I’ll need to go shopping and buy something cute to wear so someone will like me….

Cause I said so.

I love lamp




I love the weekends. That’s the only time I usually have to sleep. During the week, I stay up too late and get up on time. By Friday, I’m exhausted. Having very little social life comes in handy when I crash and burn at 4pm on Friday afternoon.

The problem with finally getting sleep on the weekend is that my body doesn’t know what to do with it. I wake up with crinks and cracks and pains in my neck. I’m rested, but I don’t want to move. I have to question if it is worth it to sleep if it is going to cause me pain.

I am probably like most of you in that I have certain room requirements for me to fall asleep. I need my room to be completely silent and completely dark. This can be a challenge since I have the computer router in my room with all it’s blinking lights. I also have a window to the backyard and a vent over my door; all excellent ways for light to sneak into my room.

As I was snuggling in last night, I realized the light in the hall was on and the laser beam of light was going to be right in my face. I sighed and climbed out of bed to turn it off. After I turned it off, I made my way back to my bed in the far corner. I walked confidently and carefully, avoiding the items I knew to be in the way and using a small red light as  guide. I thought the light was coming from my phone charger.

I touched the edge of a pillow as I got closer and my world was rocked. It was not where I thought it was. In fact, I was completely turned around. So much so, that I could not figure out where I was in my room. It was an incredibly weird feeling. I almost felt as though I had been put into an room that wasn’t my own. I kept moving forward, feeling as I went, trying to figure out where I was. I finally made it and lay down on my bed. Once I got there, the room spun and locked into place and I knew what had happened. I recognized the red light for what it really was, the air filter, and it all made sense.

This experience had a deep meaning for me yesterday. I had been going through some memories and talking with a friend about events in my past. Looking back, I can now see exactly where I went wrong back then. I remember how I felt at the time. I was going forward, sure about where I was headed and using the landmarks to guide me. I was stepping confidently and carefully as I went. It wasn’t until I got to the end and looked back that I realized how lost and misguided I had been along the way. In real life, the destination I reached was not the one I had set out for. In real life, the choices we make can take us into different rooms, houses, and even lives. Those little guiding lights we look for can be devastatingly misleading. Sometimes, we when get to the end of our journey, the life doesn’t click into place for a long time, if ever. Sometimes we end up lost.

In my room, I could have flipped on a light and looked at the path before heading back to bed. That would have made the journey easier and just as expected. I could have taken my phone with me as a flashlight. There were things I could have done to make sure I was on the right path. But I didn’t think I needed them. I had been down that path before, I knew what to expect, I didn’t need help.

In life, we have ‘lights’ to help us. We have trusted leaders, friends, family, and our Heavenly Father. Why do we think we don’t need them at time? Sometimes I see myself as a toddler saying, “I do myself!” and realizing too late that I can do nothing without help. My Father in Heaven knows the path. He has told us he is the light. He can see the pitfalls and math binders and misleading lights along the path. He knows how to guide us to safety if we will only let him. If we will only listen.

Pride is such a sneaky thing. Sometimes it comes in as fear and tricks us into a feeling of safety that is really a very dangerous ground.

I learned my lesson the hard way. I didn’t stub any toes in my room, but I hurt myself and others in my real life experience. I learned that as smart as I think I am, I don’t know anything. I need help. I need that light…..cause I said so.

Rain Bouys

Boat by a Finnish lake

Boat by a Finnish lake

To quote one of my least favorite villains, “Life’s not fair.” I never loved the Lion King, but I do like that one line. It’s true.

When I was pregnant with my first born, I was working or a small plastic company in Texas. I spent many  hours at my desk twiddling my thumbs because the owner’s daughter was afraid to actually give me any responsibilities. Her loss. I spent hours reading and writing. I wrote a short novel for that first born on this very topic of life not being fair. I have it somewhere…I think I even gave it to her at one point. The message in the novel was that no matter what we do, how awesome we are, and who we know…life isn’t always rosy. Sometimes it just sucks.

I visited a toxic friend today. I know, why do I do it? Why do we keep going around people that hurt us, make us feel bad about ourselves, or drag us down. Why do we love people that drive us crazy? Why do we listen to people that make our ears hurt? I don’t know. Sometimes I think it is penance for all the things I’ve done wrong in my life. Maybe, if I listen and suffer, the things I’ve done wrong will fade and I will somehow be made better. Maybe I like to suffer. Maybe, I think I can help. It’s probably the last one. I’m a worker, a helper, a fixer. I try to fix things and people and make them better. The problem with that is I end up breaking myself. Not the smartest move.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately doing a self inventory of sorts. Where am I? Where am I going? What do I need to do to get where I want to be, be who I want to be? It’s tough. There seem to be a lot of brick walls in my way, mostly built by me. Self-sabotage is a real thing. How do you fix that?

I was driving home today, thinking about these things and wondering what I should do next, when I got a call from a “friend” selling me something. At least, that is how it sounded. You know what I’m talking about. A ‘friend’ you haven’t never spent ‘time’ with calls you out of the blue and says they’ve been thinking of you and they want to ‘share’ something. A little light goes on in your head with “MMM! MMM! Abort! Zone out! Hang up! $$$$!” But, you guessed it, I listened. It was tainted listening, I just admit, I didn’t really understand what she was going on about. I kept thinking how great of a salesperson she was as she took every response I had and turned it into a selling point. She was good. I agreed to think about it and talk to her again in January when my life calmed down (HA!).

After I hung up, I continued my chat with Ben as we listened to his music. I noticed a rainbow off to the right of where we were going. I love rainbows. We appreciated it and went on. After a while, another rainbow appeared. Ben says it was the same one and that we just turned, but to me it was another rainbow. Another turn, another rainbow. There were rainbows popping up all over the place.

As I looked at one particularly bright rainbow, I felt the words “I promised” come into my mind. I thought about all the things in my life that have not gone exactly how I wanted. I thought about the temple covenants I’ve made and the promises I have in store. I thought about the feelings of failure, inadequacy, and sorrow I had been feeling today. Being criticized and hurt by a friend can do that to you. And then I thought about the phone call I had just endured.

A man is in a flood, his house washing away. He climbs on the roof to wait for help. A row board comes by, “No thanks, the Lord will save me. “A motorboat comes by, “no thanks, the Lord will save me.” A helicopter comes by, “No thanks, the Lord will save me.” The man dies and complains to the Lord for not saving him. “But, I came three times…..”

Maybe this phone call is just what I needed. The Lord works in mysterious ways. Who am I to turn away a rowboat? I guess I’ll call her back. What’s the worst that can happen? I may end up with 30 bottles of hand cream, but, I do have dry skin….

cause I said so.

Photo credit:

Hard thymes




When I lived in Florida, in my previous life, I dabbled in vinyl cutting. My dearly departed splurged and bought me one of those big industrial vinyl cutters so I could make signs and wall art and the such. I had big dreams to make loads of cash with this monster. There was just one problem. It wasn’t as easy as it looked. Sure, it was easy to peel off the back and slap a clever saying on your wall, but before that magical moment there was quite a bit of blood, sweat, and tears.

When you cut out vinyl, you have to know how to format your machine on your computer. This takes brains. Brains are not something I used regularly in that lifetime. Don’t get me wrong, I was good at mommy brain; organizing grocery lists, coordinating laundry, scheduling 5 million kid related activities weekly, but not computer formatting. I remember staring at the computer screen and just … not having a clue what to do. It was frustrating.

The other part of vinyl cutting is picking out all the parts you don’t want on your finished product. This is the equivalent of trimming your acre sized lawn to exactly the same blade length using dull nail clippers and wearing a blindfold. This could be why I need reading glasses now (which I don’t use). It was mind numbing.

After those parts, it was a breeze, kind of. I gave up on the idea after a while and sold the machine to a friend in Alabama. She has done great things with it. I was perfectly happy to say I couldn’t do that hard thing.

When it comes to doing hard things, I have learned over the years that I can actually do them, if I want to. Take child birth. I have survived every time because I wanted to. I didn’t give up because I didn’t want anyone else snuggling my babies. Then there is school. School has been a mixture of super easy stuff and stuff that makes me want to hold my breath til I pass out, kicking on the grocery store floor. That never really works, but it seems really appealing at times….

I can do hard things. I don’t always like to, but I can do them. I’m at the end of my masters’ program and I can’t remember being less interested in my classes since I went back to school six years ago. I am D O N E emotionally with it. If I wasn’t “this close” to getting those diplomas, I would say screw it and walk away. But, here I am…at the final home stretch…and I can do this.

I’m still tempted to offer cold hard cash to someone to finish this for me…Or to pay off my professor. I’m not above begging.

Cause I said so.

Photo credit:

Dopple Gang


I recently went on a trip with my youngest daughter to Atlanta, Georgia. I had not been to Georgia before. I used to live in Alabama and Florida (at different times), so I figured it would be mostly the same. What I didn’t know was that Atlanta is Gotham City. You may not have known this, and I’m sorry if I’m ruining some fantasy-other-wordliness aspect of Gotham City, but….it’s in Georgia.

Our adventure began when we got the rental car and headed out in the safe hands of GPS (aka evil maniacal devil guide) to our hotel. I don’t know when I decided Siri was a reliable source again. She has burned me way too many times in the past for me to have any sane reason to trust her, but here I was, across the country in the middle of a rainy night, trusting my life to the voice in my phone with a desire to kill me.

How do I know she wants to kill me? Let’s recap. I have gotten lost more times than not when using her. Usually it is because she decides to tell me to take U turns in the middle of freeways or busy roads. Other times it is because she leads me to my destination which actually turns out to be a lonely spot in the middle of nowhere, perfect for murder. This time, it was to the back side of a prison. Yes, just pull into the guarded driveway…don’t mind the guns…”your destination is on the right”….sure it is. I didn’t fall for it.

I had a feeling that no matter what Siri said, I should probably head towards the taller, better lighted buildings in the distance. By some miracle, we ended up at our hotel. I prefer to believe it was devine guidance. On the way, we discovered we were in Gotham. It wasn’t hard to tell, all we had to do was look up. The buildings were somewhat shrouded in fog. Did I mention it was raining? Constantly? The entire weekend? The fog swirled around the tops of the buildings. One building in particular had lights shining off the top, cutting through the fog, just waiting for the Bat signal to be blasted into the sky. It was Gotham. I’m sure of it. If that wasn’t enough proof, the sirens that screamed all night were the clincher. I didn’t actually SEE Batman, but I’m pretty sure I saw something dark and caped streak past my 9th floor hotel window in the middle of the night.

The rest of our trip went fairly well. We went to a Art walk/block party, very much NOT like the art walks here in Arizona. I expected to see cool art that made my mind scream, “How did they think of that!?” like what happens at the art walks here. Instead, what my mind was screaming was more of a, “WHY did they think of that? What is wrong with them!?” My daughter assured me it was all about the experience, not the product. That had to be the only resoning behind the live music in the “Mammal Bar” which turned out to be a very warm, over crowded room (bar), with a group of adult size toddlers playing on xylophones, recorders, and bongos….with no apparent melody in common. My brain hurt and I wanted to curl up with something familiar, like a cactus. It was painful.

All in all, I totally enjoyed my trip with my daughter. She is an awesome person. I’d want to be her friend if we weren’t related. She’s totally cool. She is also blessed/cursed with the same talent as I have. We both see celebrity faces in random people. On this trip we saw young DiCaprio, Ice T’s uncle, A white Bruno Mars, and the perfect blend of Bradley Cooper and Will Arnett. I admit to following the latter around with my eyes for quite a while and even snapping a picture. Is that weird? It’s not like I’m going to stalk him or google his picture online and find out his name and whether or not that girl with him was his girlfriend or send him bunnies or anything, it was purely for research.

Cause I said so.

Photo credit:

Rub Rick


steampunk watch

I saw a post on Facebook today where a woman announced she had been married to her husband for 10,547…(or so) days. It caught me off guard. I thought we had moved on to months or years for big stuff like that. I did make me think though, what if we did keep track of everything in days or hours or even minutes. I wonder if we would be more conscious of how we spent our time?

A week isn’t such a big deal to spend on a project. But what if we said we spent 168 hours doing something. Much more impressive. Looking back on my life, I had to wonder how much more impressive my accomplishments would look/feel if I changed the measurement device. These are all approximate…..Enjoy:

I was pregnant for 38,880 hours of my life.

I was married for 170,820 hours.

I did laundry for 2600 hours.

I went to school (college) for 5460 hours.

I was in the kitchen for 54,600 hours.

I didn’t want to add up the hours on Facebook or other pointless social media because I was afraid I would go into a severe depression and jump off something high.

I also didn’t add up the hours I’ve spent at the gym…it would be embarrassing. I don’t even know the hours my gym is open. I feel more like I should write the money I spend on my membership off as a donation. I pay, but I get nothing out of it.

When it comes down to it, I don’t think the time we spend doing something is really the point. I’m much more concerned with the quality of how my time is spent. I may have spent way too many hours/days/weeks watching movies, but I was usually with my kids and we were laughing together. I may have spent an obscene amount of time reading, but now I am extremely well versed and seemingly clever. I may have stayed up for hours watching netflix, but now I’m…well, tired. I don’t think there is really a benefit to that one, except I do leg lifts to justify it.

How ever you spend your time, it is yours. It’s really all we have, til it’s gone. So, use it!

Cause I said so.

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