Friday, December 23, 2011

From Our Home...With Love

Watch Adeline's eyes in the following photos.

too cute!

Here's to a magical & meaningful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Serenity (My First Ever Give Away)

As much as I love motherhood and the joy of being with my two little girls day after day, I must admit that there are moments I feel like I can't go on.

There are days when I feel void of patience...when facing their bickering, whining, and temper tantrums feels like more than I can handle.  
I have, on occasion thrown things.  I have yelled and carried on, scaring my children and adding to the chaos of those moments.
Then there is the inevitable regret that overwhelms me, and tempts me to label myself as a horrible, unfit mother.
The truth is I am  not horrible, nor am I unfit to care for these precious little girls.  I AM weak, and I am learning how to love and nurture both myself and my family, but the learning is not without mistakes.
Along with prayer and a few minutes to myself, I have discovered some amazing essential oils to help calm these feeling, and allow me to deal more peacefully with those I love.
There are three main oils I have used in these situations.  They are doTERRA blends, and they have become dear friends and a real support system in the middle of the occasional madness.  Elevation - a joyful blend, Balance - a grounding blend, and Serenity - a calming blend

The way I usually apply these oils is a drop or two of Elevation and Serenity on my chest, over my heart and then a drop or two of Balance on the bottoms of my feet.  It does wonders to calm me and it helps in my desire to be gentle with myself and with my children.

I have used this same combination on my girls when they are having a temper tantrum or wake up crying in the night.  Applying these oils to my girls and even my husband has helped them feel loved and nurtured.

My girls love having Lavender and OnGuard (another oil blend) applied every night before bed.  We have been learning how to incorporate these oils into our daily routine and they are blessing our family, and even improving our outlook on life!

So...I have decided to share the doTERRA experience and give away one of my favorite oil blends...Serenity!!

You can use this calming blend in any situation that causes you stress!  First day of school, or a new job.  You can apply it before giving a presentation to a group of people, or before a big test.  Use it for anything and everything, and then let me know what you think!!

In order to get in on this giveaway here's what you do...
Become a follower on my blog
Share the giveaway on twitter or Facebook
Leave a comment, sharing your own experiences with doTERRA essential oils
Leave a comment with your name and email address

You will be entered once for each of the above entries.

I will be choosing the winner on December 31, New Years Eve, and will mail it out to you on Monday January 2nd!

Here's to a new year filled health and wholeness!

Love, Michelle


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cardigan Empire

It has been over a month since I was featured on Cardigan Empire, and I totally forgot to post it on my own blog!  Sheesh, I must be distracted by a million other equally awesome things. 

So even though it's old news, I'd love for you to follow this link and check out Reachel's beautiful blog and support her weekly celebration of beauty!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Like a Queen

Tiny shoulders wrapped in fairest skin.  The lightest wisps of wavy hair.  Clear eyes and rose bud lips flutter and twist with the wonder of excitement.  There are dreams in these hearts and big ideas in these little heads!

I sit day after day watching this beauty of girlhood whirl all around me, and I hope with great confidence that one day these little infant goddesses will find a man like their father who will recognize who they are and treat them like a Queen!

I remember as a teenager feeling so angry and embarrassed when my dad would give my boyfriends that "disapproving" look.  What I didn't fully grasp at the time was this innate sense of protection and desire for your daughter to have "only the best". 

One of my very fondest, most tender moments with my father was in the Salt Lake Temple after I was sealed to Tyler for eternity.  He took both of us in his arms, and with tears in his eyes, told us how proud he was of us that day.  I could sense the difficult surrender of handing my care over to another man, but I could feel even more, his respect for and confidence in this man who just covenanted with God to treat me like a Queen!

While we were dating, Tyler handed me a note in church one day that said, "If you marry me, I will make all of your wildest dreams come true".  It was a funny note, but I knew he really meant it.

We just celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary and my sweet husband surprised me with tickets to see Andrea Bocelli in concert!  A dream of mine for 13 years now!  I first heard him sing on a PBS special while I was a nanny in California.  I was 20 years old at the time, and my young adventurous heart was spell bound by the powerful voice of a man who could not see his audience.  The beauty of his performance was not only in his voice, but in his presence.  He is blind, and if you've ever seen him sing, you will know that his disability is a part of what makes him great.  He is not a theatrical performer.  He stands in one place, hands to his sides and simply sings.

Being there in the same space as Andrea Bocelli was exactly the dream I envisioned it to be.  It was an experience, a witnessing of greatness -- something I will never, ever forget.

After the concert, Tyler and I sat in a romantically lit restaurant, surrounded by our fellow concert goers.  There seemed to be a collective reverence and excitement for what we had all just experienced.  I heard a gentleman sitting next to us whisper to his wife, "I hadn't expected to feel the emotion I felt as I heard him sing."

Our perfect evening was punctuated with the most perfectly delicious meal we have ever shared, and I knew, as I looked across the table, that my dad's wishes for his daughter were coming true.  Not just in fancy concerts and fine dining, but in a heart that is willing to give and sacrifice for my happiness.  A heart set on keeping his most sacred promise to love me, protect me, and "make my wildest dreams come true."

Happy Anniversary My Love.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Light

I have many memories of squeezing into a minivan filled with teenagers from my church youth group, cruising I-15 to the SLC, and laughing all the way there and back.  It was our holiday visit to the Christmas lights at Temple Square.  It would happen every year, and it was the event I looked forward to more than any other youth activity we had.  

I would wander around with my friends in the frosty air, surrounded by crowds of people smiling and laughing beneath the millions of twinkle lights, and every year there would be that moment my heart would swell with complete contentment.  It was the familiar feeling that told me it was finally Christmas!  

When cheeks were ripe with winter rosiness, and every site had been seen, we would load back up and beeline it to Crown Burger for cheese burgers, french fries, and my favorite part...fry sauce!
 The ride home would always be slightly less comfortable, but only because our bellies would be stuffed full of fast food and our toes were in that tingly defrost mode, but the warmth...ahhhh...the warmth was so comfortable.  The warmth of sitting shoulder to shoulder with my friends.  The warmth of belonging, and the warmth of having something to look forward to, something to celebrate, and something to believe in.

I love that Christmas is so full of tradition.  These traditions are little gifts wrapped in memory and filled with light that we can't wait to open year after year.  Even though we know what's inside, the surprise of how we feel never gets old.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?


Monday, November 21, 2011


I want to talk about my new passion...doTERRA!  

doTERRA is fairly new company (about 3 years old) specializing in certified pure therapeutic essential oils.  They are the only essential oils company delivering a COMPLETELY pure product, double testing every batch they produce to guarantee the highest level of purity.  

In April of 2010 I attended my first class with my mother-in-law and purchased a Family Physician kit and the Modern Essentials book that night.  I didn't really know what I was doing at the time, but have since discovered what a blessing these oils are in my home.  doTERRA means "gift of the earth", and though  I believe the medical profession is inspired and saves lives everyday, I also believe that God has provided the ingredients needed for health and healing in a more natural way.  In fact many pharmaceuticals are synthetic attempts at recreating the healing elements found in nature.  I figure why not go straight to the original source!

The mission of doTERRA is to have a healer in every home.  How empowering is it to know we can take matters into our own hands when it comes to the health and well being of those in our own homes!  We don't have to run to the doctor's office every time we are sick, and in fact, regular use of these oils can prevent illness and restore our bodies to a more whole and healthy state.

I am going to get really personal here for a second.  When I made my first doTERRA purchase over a year and a half ago, I felt something stir inside of me.  I knew I needed to have these "gifts of the earth" in my home, and I needed to learn how to use them to benefit my life, and the lives of those around me...but I kind of let that feeling fade over time.  I purchased only a few more oils, and tried to use them with limited education.  I felt their impact in my life, but never used them very consistently. 

All through the fall and winter months, and into the spring, my girls battled cold after cold, and flu after flu.  They were literally sick with something every couple of weeks.  On top of all of that there was a heavy and dark energy that seemed to hang over our home like a gloomy dark cloud.  I felt helpless, and struggled with feelings of guilt when it came to my family's health.  I knew some major changes needed to take place in our home, and so I prayed and prayed.  

My good friend and mentor, Cherie Burton, asked me one day if I was familiar with essential oils.  I told her I was, and that I had been using them on and off for a few months.  Over time she taught me about the gentle yet powerful influence these oils can have in our lives.  She explained how they have brought about miracles for her family, and she taught me how to incorporate them more fully into my routine.  I felt that subtle stir in my heart again.  I knew that in some way, these oils were calling to me, but I still didn't pay a lot of attention to it.

Cherie offered to come out to my small community to teach a class on the oils, so we made arrangements and held a very small class at the Garrison Elementary School.  Not many people showed up, but she kept telling me that in her experience those who need to be there, always show up, and she is willing to do a class, even if it's for one or two people.  I remember thinking, "Wow, what a generous attitude!", but she explained that teaching others how to heal their lives and their families cannot be a self serving effort.

After that class the stirring continued, and I asked Cherie if she would teach a class for my family at my parent's house.  She said she would, but asked if I would be willing to teach a part of the class!  I agreed to do so, but I was set in my mind and knew that selling doTERRA was not for me.  doTERRA is a multi-level marketing company, and I've tried my hand at a few of those over the years with no success, and knew I would never try that again.  I hate the feeling of trying to sell things and the pressure that always seems to make all of your friends, family and strangers feel uncomfortable in your presence.  No thank you on that!!  Not for me!

A couple of weeks before the class I started to study up for the part I would be teaching, and in the process I stumbled across a video of Natalie Goddard, one of the most successful distributors of doTERRA essential oils. If you'd like to watch it, here is the link  I was struck by her quiet non assuming way, and I felt like I was listening to my own struggle in her story.  That stirring in my heart became a whisper in my ear and I knew in that moment, that teaching others how to heal their lives is what I am here to do.  Suddenly it all made sense to me with the book I am writing, and the mentoring business I am starting.  Sharing the natural healing power of essential oils falls right in line with the kind of healing tools I am hoping to share with women.

We held the class at my parent's house last week, and once again only a few people attended, but that didn't trouble me at all.  Education was gained, oils were purchased and lives were changed, and the warmth and contentment I felt at being a part of it all overwhelmed me!  I was at my mom's house sitting across the table from her when her order arrived.  She pulled out all of her oils and opened them up, smelling them and reading about their healing properties in her new Modern Essentials book.  She rubbed some Deep Blue over her arthritic hands, the pain evident in her face as she rubbed it in.  Helping her arthritis was one of the main reasons she purchased the oils and I said a little prayer that these oils would be a solution to her need.  Within one minute, I noticed the expression on her face change.  She looked at me and said, "Oh my goodness...I can feel a noticeable change!  Oh my goodness...I can put pressure on my hand...look at this!"  Right there at her kitchen table, we witnessed a little miracle...we witnessed the beginning of healing, and I am so grateful to have found such a powerful tool!

I know these oils can do amazing things and I am on a mission to share them with everyone!  If there is anything that ails you, physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually, it can be helped and I would love to come and share doTERRA with you!!  If you'd like to learn more and possibly host a class in your own home, please contact me at  I am going to be working to set up a bi-monthly class out here near Garrison, and then I also want to begin doing a bi-monthly class in Utah county, so let me know if you are interested and I'll tell you when and where they will be held!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Baby Adeline

Ever since Addy was born, she has been referred to in our home as "baby Adeline", but recently she has started to protest saying..."I not a baby, I a big girl".  And it's true, she is a big girl.  

She follows Emilee around night and day, skipping, dancing, pretending and daydreaming - keeping up with all of the activity just as any "big girl" would.  I love to see the changes and the growth, but I begin to feel panicky, wondering if I will always remember the tiny squeaky voice and the petite-ness of her frame.  Has my heart fully captured the depth of her softness and sweetness?  I hope so, because someday when she is all grown up, stressing about life, money and love, I will need the reminder of these days when her greatest struggles could be cured with fruit snacks and squeeze hugs and a story with mommy on the couch.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Seeing Beauty at Last

I gave myself a gift. I let myself be pampered.  I gave myself love and encouragement, and I captured a magical moment in time.  A time when I decided to believe I was beautiful!  The good news is, it worked.  The reflection of that belief was captured in photographs.  Evidence of my belief, and of my beauty.

I am not saying all this to boast, or compare myself to anyone else.  I am saying this because I feel victorious and I want you to celebrate with me! I also say this because I have decided that every girl needs to dress up once in a while, get her hair and make-up done and then get some photos taken!

A good photo can show us something we often refuse to see...that there is a bigger picture of who we are and what we are all about.  We are incredible.  We are powerful.  We are divine, and we are worth it!

When we choose to believe it and embrace it...angels rally around us and lift us to that elusive place of surrender and love.

A big thank you to my loving mother Carolyn, my amazing sister Amber, my beautiful sister-in-law Jenny, Jamie at the M.A.C. counter, and the darling and incredible Heather Telford for introducing me to myself in a whole new light!  Love you ladies...Muwwah!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Shout, Shout Let it all OUT"

I am a picky reader.  I read less for entertainment, and more for education, self-improvement, inspiration, and for that certain thing that tugs at my heart and reminds me that everything I want to experience is available for the choosing!

I have read very few novels in my lifetime.  Mostly just the ones required in English classes.  The main reason for my fictional attention deficit, is my yearning for direction and purpose.  I am not suggesting that those things can't be found in novels....I'm sure they are there, but I prefer instruction and examples of what is possible through the experiences of those who have won the victory.....who have really lived it.

The problem is, I soak up every word and then set the completed book upon my crowded shelf, my mind brimming with hope and a heart stretched with determination, and then walk right back into a life of habit and "less than stellar" results.

I hate to complain here on my blog, but I kind of think of this familiar screen as a dear friend who will always hear me out.  Oh computer...if only you could reassure me that someday I will figure it all out.  Sometimes I need you to patiently pat my hand while I hang my head and cry it out.  Instead, I just type out my frustrations and allow you to hold on to them for me and keep them for future reflection and evidence of just how far I've come.

If you really must know, I am feeling tormented by my inclination to give up when things get hard or uncomfortable.  You see, I am trying to start a business.  My desire with this business is to show women how to see and believe in their own beauty, and quite frankly I am having the most difficult time living what I'm teaching.  Right now it is feeling impossible to see past the extra 50 lbs. I'm carrying around.  It is all I can see right now.  I know the beauty is there, and I'm tired of believing that I have to be a certain weight in order to be beautiful.  I thought I was past all of this....I wrote a whole book about it in fact - a book that I am hoping other woman can use to pull themselves out of this very place I am sitting in now.  

Sometimes I feel like a fraud.

Am I a fraud?  I really hope not.  I would like to believe that I am just a real woman, with real struggles and real inspiration and real triumphs.  Today, I might be feeling like throwing a pity party (you know how I love a good party)...and believe me, I do...but I haven't come this far to fall right back into the "I'm not good enough" way of thinking!  Even as an overweight woman, beauty is mine to claim.  That is what I really believe.


Please send positive thoughts my way!  I'm lacking a little bit of confidence right now.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.


Friday, September 16, 2011


This last month I have been on the go!  
I've had an event that required traveling for the past four weekends in a row, and three of those weekends I was on my own.

  I spent several quiet hours in the car, all alone without any distractions.  I thought I would spend the time listening to music or talks, but as it turned out I spent the time talking to God.  

I poured out every ounce of my heart.  I thanked Him for all of the exciting things happening in my life.  I told him about my progress.  I divulged my weaknesses and worries, and told him how grateful I am for the love and support that surround me, even when I feel alone.  I asked Him for help,and I shared my desire to better recognize His voice in my life.

I pictured Him there next to me in the passenger seat, and He carefully listened to everything I had to say.

The most amazing part was when I realized that I could actually hear His voice.  Or was I feeling it?  It's difficult to say, because He speaks in a whisper.  A whisper that comes from every direction and completely engages your senses.  I'm finding that it really is true.  If we want to recognize His voice, we just need to be quiet.

I know that He knows me.  

There is no doubt about that, and this month of insight and inspiration has reminded me that it's in the seeking to know Him that we discover the happiness we've been looking for in all the wrong places.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

Today I complete my 33rd year of life, and I must say that right here in the middle of life; you know....the day to day of things, it often appears to be nothing more than a bunch of squiggly lines and random flecks of color splashed around all messy and out of order.  Thankfully, over the years I have been able to step back from the chaos only to find that all of those lines and flecks actually make up something incredible. A bigger picture that makes perfect sense. 

Of course pain has been present through the years, drumming on my heart with its rapid beat of growth, and yet I have lived moment after beautiful moment wondering how God could possibly be so good to me.

Obviously He knows my heart.

He knows exactly what to do to make my life beautiful and meaningful, and in my constant quest of faith through fear, He has always shown me that He is there with this generous gift of life, and all it has in store.

I love that we celebrate the day we are born!  The beginning of our story, and every chapter along the way!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Flowery & Wise

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am writing a book!  This is huge for me, and scary, and satisfying, and intimidating, and a million other things. 

It has become evident that I am addicted to flowery words.  This is a problem because flowery writing has to be tamed when writing a REAL book.  It might be okay for my own personal journal, or maybe even this little blog, but the printed word, bound and ready for purchase....has to be more grounded.

I am a dreamer!  Just last night I was told that I live with my head in the clouds.  I suppose it is true, but amid all of my "daydreamy-ness", I actually know a thing or two about life.  A thing or two worth sharing, and my hope is that the truth and wisdom I carry in my deepest depths will tame my flowery heart, and what will eventually come out of this work, will be a little piece of me....the perfect blend of rose colored wisdom.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Something Creeps About the House

I remember huddling deep down in my covers while my best friend slept peacefully nearby.  It was a sleepover at her house, and she always had incredible stories of haunting and ghostly sightings that thrilled my senses and tormented my sleep!  I would lay awake forever after her stories, scanning the room for my own unearthly sightings. I have always been intrigued at the thought of spirits walking our halls and visiting us from time to time, but I am not at all excited by scary movies or books and I could most certainly do without anything creepy walking the halls of my home.  Friendly ghosts....sure.  Not so friendly ghosts.....not so much!

A couple of years ago, Emilee started into the "I'm scared of the monster in my closet" phase, but it quickly became evident that whatever was "in the closet", was very real to her, and caused her poor little heart a significant amount of concern and even terror.  We prayed for angels, we dedicated our home, we dedicated her bedroom, we cast out evil, and Tyler even gave her a blessing every night before bed for a period of time....and still the haunting continued.  There were several nights spent in our room in a little make shift bed on the floor.  We worked tirelessly to calm a troubled heart and convince a fearful girl, that she was just fine, and that nothing was going to hurt her.......and then it happened.   

3:00 a.m. my eyes opened wide to the sound of Emilee's bedroom door knob popping.  I rolled to my back and saw the door swing wide open and then quickly shut.  I waited for her pitter patter to hurry across the hall, but nothing.  I waited.....and waited, but no sound.  No movement.  My heart started to beat furiously as I realized it was not my sweet daughter who opened the bedroom door.  My mind trying to convince my own troubled heart that everything was fine...and that nothing was going to hurt me.  I finally woke Tyler up and asked if he would go with me to check on the girls, afraid of what I might find on my own.  We quietly opened their door to find both of them sitting up in their beds wide eyed with fright and confusion!

I asked Emilee if she had opened her door, to which she replied, "No Mommy, but my walls were moving!"  What??!!!!  We gathered both of our babies and brought them to our room for the remainder of the night.

The next day things returned to normal, and night after night remained as before with complaints of fear that gradually faded away.....that is, until this week!!  On Saturday night Emilee refused to go to bed.  Her poor little heart beating fast and her squeaky little voice pleading for a house that isn't so scary!!  " I want a room that isn't so scary Mommy!"  "I know sweetheart, and someday we will have one, but for now we need to be brave, and trust Heavenly Father to take care of us.  When we are afraid we can tell Him and He will send Angels to watch over us and protect us."  

Nothing could convince our poor girl that she would be alright and we endured a long night of fearful emotion!  Tyler eventually ended up sleeping right next to her in her bed for the majority of the night!  Then last night it happened again.  I was having a difficult time sleeping, tossing and turning and feeling uncomfortable when at 1:00 a.m. on the dot, the girl's bedroom door opened up and then quickly closed, only no one came out, no one cried sound, no other movement.  I laid there awake for a good 20 minutes waiting to hear my girls, but I must have drifted off to sleep, because when Emilee cried out it was nearly 3:30 a.m.  I hurried to her side to offer my love and comfort.  She told me she was scared, and I whispered words of assurance and rubbed her little feet.  She finally gained enough courage to finish the night in her room and I went back to bed around 4:00 a.m.

I've decided that doors opening and closing in the night is not my cup o' tea!  Even if they are friendly ghosts. I prefer peaceful nights filled with sweet dreams and content babies in their cozy little beds. 

I'm trying to be brave and content with where we are, but I must admit I am hoping to live in a "not so scary" house someday myself!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I think I can....

When am I going to get it all together? 

I have been trying for my whole lifetime to make the basic things like, exercise, vitamins, prayer, scripture study, going to bed early and rising early, and keeping a clean home into habits and it feels like as soon as I get one going pretty consistently all of the others fall apart.

I'm not looking for perfection, just consistency.  I want to be able to count on myself to do what I say I am going to know? 

I have a short attention span and a slow body, which is a strange combination, because my mind is busy and bustling with ideas and movement, and yet my body lags behind...way behind.  All of the fire inside only appears to be a tiny smolder when observing my daily accomplishments.

I am inpatient with how slow progression can be.  I want to be my best now!

I know I have plenty of emotional weaknesses in the mix, but today I am feeling fully aware of my physical limitations.  I want to be strong, fit, and energetic.....and yet I don't feel like I have the energy to make it happen.  I guess this is when I hit my knees and then do the best I can.  Somehow the Lord always gives me the strength to do what I don't think I can.

Friday, June 3, 2011


I am a big believer in finding out what God wants me to make of my life, and then with His help....making it happen.  I've tried to do so for as long as I can remember, however; for most of my life I have lacked the faith and confidence in myself to dream very big. 

We all have a dream.  I have dozens of dreams, and handfuls of things I desire for my life, and I have recently discovered that many of those things God also desires for me.  I have come to the conclusion that my Heavenly Father wants me to use my passion, my story, my experience, and what ever wisdom I have garnered in my nearly 33 years of life to create my own little message to the world.  My desire is to inspire greatness in the very least goodness.  And so I am writing a book.

This book is intended as a gentle reminder to myself, and hopefully every woman who reads it, that you are enough....just as you are!  Sometimes we find ourselves in a panicked and frenzied state of always trying, and never getting to that place of enough.  Or on the other end, we simply give longer trying to be our best.  Either way we are miserable.  The happiest place to be is that place of knowing you are enough, but allowing your hunger and thirst for life, experience and knowledge to propel you forward, always progressing. 

I am excited to share my story and the beauty that I am finally finding in myself, because if there is beauty in me and that beauty is enough....I am certain the same goes for you!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cinderella Goes to the Ball

A few weeks ago my darling sisters-in-law asked me if I would be willing to help them with decorations for their school dance!  We live in a small speck of a town, with little to no budget for things like this.  The dances are held in the small fire station and making it beautiful is kind of a challenge (a major challenge), but of course I was willing, and on the night of the dance we popped in for a peek at the fun!

I told Emilee that she could wear her Cinderella dress to the dance, but that we were only going to stay for a few minutes.  She didn't care that the time was short, both she and Adeline soaked up the magic, and like any princess at the Ball....they danced the night away.

Our few minutes turned into close to an hour, and I'm sure the high school kids were wondering why a couple of tiny tots were crashing the party.  But before long the clock struck bedtime and the magic faded as two sleeping beauties were escorted home in their royal carriage!

And luckily for us....they slept happily ever after!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Celebrating Mother

I love this print by j. kirk richards.

I decided a couple of years ago, that Mother's day would be a day that I would celebrate no matter who else chooses to honor me on that day!  

I remember being young, making a card, or purchasing a cheaply made gift for my beautiful mother.  My attempts to show my appreciation always seemed inadequate.....and they were.  The sad thing is, my mother always hated Mother's Day.  I don't know all of the reasons, but I think it had something to do with feeling like her children and husband were forced to thank her and finally acknowledge all she does for our family.  I am sure it felt so contrived and somewhat insincere to her. 

I remember a period of time where every year, when asked what she would like for Mother's Day (which we shouldn't need to ask anyway), her answer was always "I'd love just one day with none of my children fighting".  Then she would walk away with a deep sigh.

Motherhood is a tough job.  There is no denying that, but what breaks my heart is when we start to feel so under appreciated, and/or inadequate, that we would rather altogether avoid any mention or celebration of our role as mother.

The first couple years Tyler and I were married I would awake on Mother's Day morning with a buzz of womanly excitement.  I knew I wasn't technically a mother yet, but I was a wife, which put me on the right path.  

I would secretly hope for breakfast in bed.  A heartfelt note......even just a "Happy Mother's Day" would do.......but nothing.  I finally confronted my disappointment and asked my sweet husband, who is always so thoughtful, why he hadn't even wished me a happy Mother's Day.  "Well, you're not my're not even a mother at all!"  GASP!  Did my ears really hears such an unromantic response?  Wow!  I was shocked!  Could it be that we don't fully grasp the depth of meaning behind Mother's Day?  I could already feel a small part of the frustration my poor mother must have felt for all those years!  It was then and there that I decided  Mother's day would be a day of self celebration!  I would treat MYSELF like a queen that day!  I would take pause and honor the gift God has given me to create life, beauty, and well-being.  I would  look myself in the eyes and tell myself how valued and appreciated I am!  And I would spend some time alone, on my knees, seeking the validation that only the Lord can give.

I know that over the years, my family will celebrate Mother's Day.  There will be breakfast in bed.  I will come home from church with a pretty pink geranium, and read hand made cards from my babies, and my hope is my children will give me at least one day with no one fighting!  What I'm really hoping for the most though, is that I will always honor my role as mother and give myself the gift of recognizing how truly blessed I am.

I feel so fortunate to have been asked to share some thoughts on motherhood over at Empowering LDS Women, please go check it out!

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Five Cozy Cottages

I absolutely love a beautiful mansion with vaulted ceilings and high walls filled with great works of art.  I acknowledge the impact of a grand staircase and heavy looming doors with ornate handles.  I appreciate the vastness of a space filled only the finest pieces of furniture and decor, but I have recently concluded that that kind of lifestyle is not for me.  I am a much too cozy person to ever wish for something so grand.  What I do wish for though, is a beautiful cottage home.  Five of them in fact! (What? Excessive?)

If I were blessed with great wealth (which I am in many ways), I wouldn't build a mansion on a hill, I would instead purchase five cozy cottages.

a country cottage
a city cottage
a mountain cottage
a European cottage
and a cottage by the sea

They would all be filled with beautiful things.  Every room warm and lived in.  Lovely linens, inspiring art, color, softness, and surroundings that tell the story of a happy life.

When I was a child, I always loved the image of a fairy tale cottage nestled deep in the woods.  The coziness of a simple and happy life has always appealed to me.

Although five little cottages would give me a place to call home in each of my favorite places, I am completely content with one.  

A worn down desert cottage in a lovely shade of pink is where we currently live.  And I must admit, I have never thought of this place as a dream home, but it is sweet and cozy in its own little way.  Emilee loves the fact that we live in a pink house, and life is always a fairy tale to her.

I think that in all of my dreaming it is good to stop and realize that I AM living my dream.  It is less about where I am, and more about the way I see things.  From now on, everywhere we live will be my dream home, and I will be the creator of my cottage.

*cottage images from here

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Being a Latter-Day Saint (Mormon)

A few weeks ago, Joni Martin, asked me to write a post on her blog, Hope's Journey!  I was thrilled and honored.  The assignment was to answer a few questions about my religion and how my belief in God has influenced my life.

I love what Joni is doing!  She is highlighting several religions, as she looks into their beliefs and gains a better understanding of women around the world and how their beliefs guide them from day to day.  I have read some of her blog and have found it to be very very fascinating!

If you'd like to read my post visit Joni's blog, Hope's Journey!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

....than never to have loved at all

I spent a few hours in Cedar City recently, attending the bridal shower of my soon to be sister-in-law.  On our way to the shower we drove past an old apartment building.  The very same apartment building I lived in 14 years ago.  

A rush of emotion that I wasn't expecting, flowed through my heart, and suddenly, I could see my 19 year old self standing on the sidewalk watching our car drive by.

I realized that this little college town left a huge emotional mark on my life.  My short time there gave me my first introduction to living in the moment.  Somehow I was able to know and feel how amazing and meaningful my experiences were while I was experiencing them, not afterward, but right there in the middle of it all.  I think of myself with all of my insecurities and hopes.....everything that laid before me, and how excited I was to grow into myself.

I got to spend nearly every precious moment with my cousins that year.  I got to live out on my own for the very first time, and I got to feel love in a way I had never felt love.

He was a neighbor boy, and I adored him.  I laid awake at night thinking about his smile, and the way his blue eyes peered out from under the brim of his baseball cap.  He asked me questions about myself and he shared his french fries with me.  He was charming, kind and funny and my heart ached for him to love me......even just a little bit.  I think he knew, and I think a tiny part of his heart did love me, but always in a distant way.  He watched out for me, checked up on me, asked me my opinion, and I waited patiently for him to realize that I was the girl he loved more than any other girl.  Looking back now, I was so silly and young.  I wasn't ready to be that girl.  I loved, but I also pushed away.

The last time I saw him, was right before my mission.  I was visiting Cedar City, and my cousins and I made him some cookies, just like we used to.  We delivered them, and he was warm and kind and once again my heart ached.  After a while he gave me a hug and said, "I guess I'll see you in a year and a half".  When I returned home a year and a half later, I found out he was married, and once again I couldn't breath.  All of my hoping and waiting stared back at me, finally telling me the truth.  I would never be that girl....not for him.

I think it is funny that my first great love, wasn't anything more than a friend.  It wasn't some passionate love affair gone wrong.....I just simply loved him.  Something in our interactions always kept me hoping, that possibly he felt the same.  He always showed me just enough attention and emotional affection to keep me hanging on....and waiting.  I know it may seem silly, but there was something about this boy that bonded my heart to him.  I have since wondered if we are in fact bonded to some people in ways we are not able to remember.  If possibly that smile and those eyes were familiar to me before I ever met him here. 

Two nights this week I have seen him in my dreams.  I have been reminded that he is still there.  His memory still bouncing around in my heart somewhere.  

The good news is, I know how it feels to be loved.  Real reciprocated love.  My life is good and my heart is Tyler's, but sometimes the haunting begins and for a short time, I wonder where he is now, what he is doing.  I wonder if he ever loved me and just didn't know how to tell me.  I have made a few attempts to reconnect with him, but none have been answered.  And so I wonder.

Love is a much bigger thing than me, and I am so grateful to know what it feels like.  I am a feeling person, and when I love you.....I love you.  I guess it doesn't really matter if I have been loved as much as I HAVE loved.  Love can be lasting, even when it is not given back.  I have known rejection....a lot of rejection, and I think I have created more of it than I realize, but knowing love and knowing pain remind me I am alive. 

I have spent so much of my time guarding my heart over the years.  I don't want to be hurt.  I don't want to foolishly give something that isn't wanted, but the truth is love is a risky business, and at some point along the way I decided to be a risk taker. Who cares if I have to feel pain in the process.  

My discovery is that it IS better to have loved and lost, because when it comes the experience of love, there really isn't anything to lose.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wish List

I have a constant wish list in my mind and heart.  It consists of pretty things, books, places, flavors and experiences, and this week I have added two new items!

I found both of these things on the blog decor8, one of my favorite design blogs!  

The first are a handful of beautiful prints created by Katie Daisy and sold in her etsy shop The Wheat Field!  I love her designs.  The beautiful colors and especially the words!  They are bright and inspiring and I NEED some in my home!

The second is a book by Meredith Gaston called "Tucked In".  This sweet little book takes a look at all of the little things surrounding and supporting the blissful experience of sleep.

  I love this description of her book.

“Bed needn’t be a place just for sleeping. Whether you are young or old, nimble or wobbly, tucked into bed on the doctor’s orders or on your very own whim, you can use your time in bed to explore your creativity and heal your soul. Meredith Gaston, artist and passionate lover of all things bed, encourages us to discover that our tucked-in time can be as creative as it is restorative, enriching our days and bringing joy to our lives. We learn how to analyse our dreams and find out what our sleeping positions reveal about our personalities, as well as creating our own tucked-in haiku poetry, comfort foods and dream catchers. Simply snuggle back, relax, and be guided through a world of tea cup cosies, shadow puppets, favourite bed socks and eclectic sleepy facts. The perfect gift for the bedbound or balm for the world-weary, Tucked In is sure to uplift, soothe and inspire.”

Photos taken from decor8
It would be the perfect book to keep on my night stand and inspire me into a deep satisfying slumber!  Heaven knows I could use a deep and satisfying slumber from time to time!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

For the Birds

Photo with Grandma five years ago on my wedding day

I stood in a hospital room, dimly lit, quiet, warmed with the love of family. 

We drove varying distances to be there, each of us pushing our way swiftly down the road, trying to beat the inevitable last breath of a life we have all cherished, some of us not realizing how deeply until this very moment.

Just days before, I stood in another room..... her living room.  Hovering over Grandma as she pulled her weak shaky body to it's feet.  She paused half way up, holding tightly to her cane, "This getting for the birds".  She shook her head and looked up at me with tired brown eyes.  "I know Grandma".  She has been saying that for years. 

I helped her bathe, dress, and gather up the things she would need for her visit to the hospital for a sleep test she had been dreading for months.  Early the next morning she would travel on to my mother's house where she would stay....... maybe for good.  "Sharon isn't feeling well enough to care for me, and your mother refuses to put me in a home, so I guess I'll be staying with her".  I can tell she feels like a burden already.  "Grandma, you are at that point in your life where it is time to surrender and allow someone to take care of you, there is nothing wrong with that, just enjoy it".

Emilee plays quietly with Legos and Adeline lays on the couch sucking her thumb.  I water the plants and gather up Grandma's crocheting supplies, so she can finish up her last afghan when she gets to my mom's.  I ask if there is anything else she needs.  She takes my girls in her arms, one at a time, holding them on her lap.  She comments on their beauty, their growth, the differences in their personalities.  She tells them that she loves them, that they are special.   They smile and beam!

I give Grandma a small squeeze and a kiss.  I tell her I love her, wish her luck on her hospital test, and then, just like a million times before I turn and walk toward the creaky red door, only this time a feeling comes over me half way through the kitchen.  This is it.  This is the last time you will walk away from this familiar scene.  This is the last time you'll see her sitting in her squeaky rust colored chair.   The last time you will hear the T.V. filling in the silence of her lonely home.

I just kept walking refusing to believe it.  I knew Grandma would be coming back with my mom to gather up the rest of her things, and I would be with her then.  I would soak everything in and take millions of mental pictures.  I would be ready then, but not now.

The feeling was right.....and I was wrong.

The next morning when Robert called to tell me he was pulled out of his sleep to the sound of Grandma calling for help, which then turned into her passing out in his arms, her heart stopping on the way to the hospital, the paramedics bringing her back to life and her now lying sedated with tubes down her throat in the hospital, I felt my heart tighten into a painful knot of regret. 

Not just regret about not hugging her one more time, but a much much deeper regret.  I loved my Grandma deeply, but I have a little bit of her stubbornness in me, and sometimes I refused to love with all of my heart.  I held on a little too tightly to hurtful things that had happened in the past.  I was a little too judgmental.  I built a wall, and often justified my luke-warmness, as though somehow she, being imperfect, didn't deserve my complete and generous love.  I kind of kept her at a distance.

As I stood at the side of her hospital bed, I silently thanked the Lord, for his tender mercy.  For allowing me one more chance to show love, to give love.  To say I'm say good-bye.

The tubes were taken out, and Grandma was alert and able to speak in a soft whisper. We spent a long night, gearing up over and over for the end.  We sang songs, all of us, no matter what had happened in the past, we sang for Grandma, we shared memories.....good memories.  We laughed and cried.  We held each other and we held her hands. 

Grandma's heart was a heart that had been broken over and over in her nearly 86 years of life, and now she lay in a bed with a physically broken heart, a heart that was failing and yet I don't think her heart had ever been more filled with love and contentment.  I imagine her silently counting each of her family members.  She always did that at family gatherings.  Grandma loved nothing more than being surrounded by family, and that is exactly how she left this life and I'm sure that is how she was received into the next.

I got to be there.  I walked into her hospital room on Friday April 1, 2011 at 10:25 a.m. and witnessed her last breath.  The room was still, silent and sacred. I cried.

I miss my Grandma, and tomorrow I will go back to her home for the first time.  I am trying to prepare myself.  The empty chair, the silence, the memories.  My lesson in all of this is that holding for the birds.  Loving wholly and completely, even when we are hurt is what God intends for us and in the end the only thing that matters.