June 22, 2017

Thanks, Donnie!

Over the last several years, I have had many conversations with people who did not vote for, did not like, etc. Barack Obama.  Living in Utah, it was the norm - especially after Obama won over Mitt Romney in 2012.  Romney is not from Utah, but since he's Mormon and has great hair, we claim him as our own.  And, to be fair, he currently has a house in Utah which makes having those elite, posh $1,000/plate dinners in Park City that much more convenient.

But, I'm getting off track here.  {See, I told you we Utah Mormons are obsessed with Mitt Romney.  Seriously, look at that hair?}


I have asked my less-than-thrilled-with-Obama friends if they could think of one positive thing he had accomplished.  Like, literally, anything.

Much like the NRA with regards to Philando Castile, the response was always silence.

And, that really bothered me.  Still does.

Surely, one good thing happened over the last eight years, right?  Osama bin Laden, anyone?

After Donald Trump was elected president {#2,864,974), I decided I was not going to be one of those people.  Because refusing to find the good in something you didn't choose is gauche.

My goal is to post once a month about one positive aspect of the Trump administration.  This is not going to be easy, but I find the exercise to be somewhat necessary for my overall well-being and sanity.  Plus, I expect it will foster a lot of creativity.

So, here we go.


Donald Trump's presidency has reminded me of the importance of being involved in local government.  I have learned exactly who represents my area, what their stance is on certain issues and how I can get in touch with them.  I also belong to a women's caucus for my county which provides opportunities for me to learn what is going on in my community in terms of volunteering, rallies, meetings, etc.  And, I've met many wonderful people along the way.

And, for that, I say "Thanks, Donnie!"

June 16, 2017

solicitors WELCOME

Years ago, a 20-something man came to my door asking if I would like to purchase a magazine subscription.  When I politely declined his offer, I assumed our conversation would be over.  I was wrong.  We continued to talk and he asked if I was Mormon.  I told him I was.  He then told me that Mormons never buy subscriptions {clearly, he'd never heard of the Ensign, New Era, Friend or Liahona} and attempted to make me feel like I was not fulfilling my Christian duty by purchasing 12 months worth of Sports Illustrated.  Once he left my house, I spent the rest of the day being mad and frustrated that this person had so unfairly judged me.

I decided a NO SOLICITING sign would be a worthwhile purchase.  I contemplated where I'd put the sign so that it was noticeable, but not tacky.  After a few days, I gave up on the idea and resolved to just not answer the door the next time a solicitor came knocking.

Fast forward to today and I officially made the decision to never display a NO SOLICITING sign on my house. 

As mentioned above, I am Mormon.  Officially, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  For the sake of simplicity, I'll refer to myself as LDS and my religion as "the church."

As of December 31, 2016, there were over 70,000 LDS missionaries serving worldwide.  Missionary service is strongly recommended for all able young men beginning at the age of 18 (after completing high school or its equivalent).  Young men (referred to as Elders) serve for up to two years.  They have no official say in where they serve, they pay their own way, and, besides weekly e-mails, they do not contact their families except for on Christmas and Mother's Day.  Young women are welcomed to serve missions beginning at age 19 for up to 18 months.

We Mormons love our missionaries.  We take pride in the fact that we send our young people all across the world to preach about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We love the missionary program so much that when the Broadway play The Book of Mormon hit the scene {you know, the play that mocks missionaries, an entire religion with over 15 million members, and then some} the church simply made this one official statement:

"The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ."


When the production made it's way to Los Angeles, the church bought space in the playbill with ads like "the book is always better" and "you've seen the play, now read the book."  Considering the importance of the Book of Mormon and the missionary efforts to those of the LDS faith, these responses were pretty brilliant.

See, so not even an offensive, perverted, vulgar, yet acclaimed, Tony Award winning production brought to you by the same industry that demands inclusion from Mike Pence can sway us from sending out and loving our missionaries. {To be clear, #I'mWithHer}

But, here's the ironic part of it all.  Missionaries are solicitors.  One of the ways they meet, connect and eventually teach people is by going door-to-door.  Missionaries, of course, can and do meet people under different circumstances, but the fact remains that most of them knock on doors in hopes of finding someone who will listen to them.



My parents both served missions in Germany.  My husband served a mission in Canada.  All three of them went door-to-door practically everyday.  How, then, can I openly deny solicitors at my own house?

Believe me, I've thought of a plethora of reasons how to justify displaying a sign:  it's illegal, it's dangerous, it's inconvenient, people make cute signs now (seriously, google "Cute No Soliciting Signs") so I don't have to worry about my house looking tacky, etc.

But, then I think about my parents, my husband and the thousands of missionaries currently serving for a religion that I belong to.  When I think about them, an outward, physical declaration denying solicitors on my house just seems......unnecessary.  Wrong even.

I know I'm probably in the minority when it comes to this.

But, at the end of the day, I feel best inside when I say, "Solicitors, Welcome."

May 30, 2017

the CHAIR

Several years ago, Dustin and I bought two brown recliners.  At the time, they were super comfortable, roomy and the perfect chair to sit in while binge watching your favorite show.

After awhile, the "no eating on the new chairs" and "don't let the dogs on the chairs" rules relaxed.  Then we added a few kids to the mix.  Combined with a handful of moves, over time the chairs began to look....less than perfect.

We eventually sold one of the chairs, but the remaining kept getting less and less cool.

I would spot clean it.  And sometimes I convinced Dustin to deep clean it.  But, for the most part, it looked like crap.  And, it started to break, which added to the already pathetic-ness of it all.

But, we didn't get rid of it.  It was like we took pity on it or something.

But, a few months ago, we finally decided the time had come and we took the chair to the dump.  We rearranged our remaining furniture and added pictures and decor to the walls.  In a matter of minutes, the room had a completely different feel to it.  It was like a brand new room.  Over the next few days, I would admire the room and wonder why in the world we put up with that ugly brown chair for so long.  It was broken, dirty and made the whole room feel blah.

Unfortunately, I know the reason why we put off getting rid of it.  It's a pathetic reason, but it's true:  it took effort.  Plain and simple.  And since it took effort that was beyond our usual day to day routine, we dealt with it despite it's negative consequences.

Now for those of you who may be wondering why I consider having a brown chair in my house a negative consequence, you have to understand that I am a HUGE believer in the power of furniture placement.  When I say the room felt better, I mean that literally.  I don't say literally when I should say figuratively.  I mean literally literally.  Rooms have feelings.  I promise.  :)

One of the great things about humans is our ability to resist in tough times.  When I hear stories of people who have survived hardships, I'm in awe.

However, that same spirit of resistance can lead to complacency.  We're prone to live with "whatever" just "because."  Maybe we see something within our community we think could be improved.  We think one voice won't make a difference, so we deal with it rather than speaking up.

When my daughter first started kindergarten, I noticed a particularly busy intersection by the school that would really benefit from a protected left light.  After mulling over it for awhile, I finally decided to e-mail a city official.  To my surprise, I received a response and was told the city wasn't in charge of this street, but that they would relay my concerns to the company in charge.

In the meantime, I found a new route to school thinking my efforts had been in vain.

Months later, I found myself at that same intersection and noticed my suggestion had come to life!  I was so surprised and happy.  Sure, there's a REALLY good chance my suggestion had nothing to do with the change, but it felt good to know I had at least said something.

Last year, as I was going through my day planner, I noticed on September 11th, there wasn't any mention about it being Patriot Day.  September 11th of that year also happened to be Grandparents' Day.  I knew this because the company that made my day planner had the date labeled.

I figured, if you can mention that it is Grandparents' Day, you can certainly mention that it's Patriot Day.

So, I logged on to Twitter and tweeted the following:


When I got my new day planner for 2017, I checked the month of September and was pleasantly surprised that the 11th had been appropriately honored.


Again, I really don't have any proof that my tweet made any difference at all.

But, I also don't have any proof that it didn't.

To me, the important thing was that I saw something that I thought could be improved, and I said something.  To me, the effort, the action is what matters more than the actual result.

Of course, there are plenty of examples of people who take this idea to the extreme, and raising your voice should never result in harm.  #disclaimer

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that we don't always have to conform or get used to the way things are.  Because the way things are isn't necessarily the way things should be.

If you don't have to live with a dirty, brown chair...don't.

March 10, 2017

my FRIDGE

In 2010, Dustin and I were living in Idaho Falls.  Isabelle had just turned one year old.  All of my family was in Utah, all of Dustin's in Wyoming.

We both had great jobs, lived in a nice house and had made a pretty nice life for ourselves.

We soon realized it was time for us to move so we could be closer to family.  As you may recall, in 2010, the housing market was at an all-time low and there really could not have been a worse time to sell a house.

Despite all of this, we put our house on the market and hoped for the best.  To help make our house more enticing, we decided to include our fridge as part of the sale.  While this may not seem like a big deal to some, it was for me.  That fridge was $3,000 and the only reason we bought it was because it was the only one that would fit properly in our kitchen.  I absolutely loved that fridge.

Five months later, our house sold.  And we lost a lot of money.  Like, a lot of money.  And I left my wonderful fridge behind.

Soon, we were in Utah and living in Ogden.  When we learned that Dustin's new job would not offer health benefits until after six months, we knew he had to find something different. 

After one month, we packed up all of our belongings again and moved to Bountiful.  Dustin found a new job.  The responsibilities, the pay and the hours were less than desirable, but we had awesome benefits from day one.  He dealt with working a job he hated for the benefit of our family, and I spent my time scouring the internet in search of something better for him.

During this time, I found a part-time job at a local reception center.  I washed dishes for next to nothing.  I would come home from work soaked to the bone with sore hands, feet and back.  As a dishwasher, I was considered the lowest of the low and had to deal with snotty high school girls (I was 30 years old at the time) who were servers (which was considered a big step up from being a dish washer) on a regular basis.  For whatever reason, they, along with the rest of the staff, decided they were better than me, and I spent a lot of time biting my tongue.  I was there for a paycheck.

Dustin and I both acknowledge this was the lowest time in our marriage - both working pitiful jobs for pitiful pay.

But, we both had faith things would eventually get better.

And, they did!

Dustin found a new job with a local bank.  We moved out of our crappy apartment and purchased a new townhouse.  We made new friends.  We belonged to a wonderful church.  And I stopped washing dishes for a living. Things were definitely looking up.

But, we always seemed to have a mediocre fridge.

Over the next few years, Dustin did what he does best by being awesome.  He worked the hours no one wanted to work, and we saw very little of each other.  But by being flexible he proved his value and he worked his way up the corporate ladder.  I found better job opportunities as well.  Slowly but surely, our financial situation was getting better.

I often thought about our old house, that beautiful fridge, and wondered why we felt inclined to move when it meant losing so much money.  Even today, I don't regret a thing, but that doesn't mean the past doesn't sting a bit.

Now, nearly seven years since this story began, I feel as though I am closing that chapter of my life.  We are coming up on three years in our newest house.  We live in a great neighborhood and have made great friends.  Our daughter attends a phenomenal school and, thanks to another amazing career change for Dustin, I was able to quit my job to be home full-time with our youngest child.

And, just a few days ago, we purchased a new fridge.  It's not the same fridge we had before, but one that is very similar.  



As I stare at our new fridge, I'm almost brought to tears.  As silly as this sounds, this new fridge is a symbol of the satisfaction that can come from working hard, putting aside your pride and doing things that may seem beneath you for the benefit of others, sacrificing your wants for your needs and realizing that even though things may be less than perfect now, they will get better.

I consider myself very blessed.

MARCH goals

February ended up being an interesting month.  As you may recall, I had set a few goals to read two books, write four blog posts and cook dinner at least 4 times a week.

Well, I"m here to report that I did cook dinner at least 4 times a week, which is a HUGE accomplishment for me.  I'm actually pretty proud of myself.

I only did one blog post.

And I only finished one book, The Book Thief.  Technically, I didn't finish it until early March, but I'm calling it a win since that book is 550 pages and I'm a slow reader.

I'm a bit frustrated that I didn't hit these goals out of the park.  I actually quit my job, and my last day as February 3rd, so I've had plenty of times on my hand.  I guess the saying "If you want something done, ask someone who is busy" is true.  Because I had so much time to get stuff done, I, of course, didn't.  Makes perfect sense, right?

MARCH GOALS

Write four blog posts

Read two books

Go on three 30 minute walks per week

I'm excited to accomplish more goals this month.  I'm getting a late start, but I'm not going to let that get in my way.

February 8, 2017

my FAVORITE way to use OILS

One of my goals for the month is to cook dinner at least four times a week.  For those of you who cook dinner every night, this goal may seem super simple.  But, for me, it's a challenge.

I absolutely love Indian food, specially chicken tikka masala.  I would love to make it from scratch, but I rarely have all of the ingredients at home.

I managed to find a decent sauce in a jar.  Blasphemy, I know.  Ina would be so disappointed in me.  Regardless, it's a family favorite and easy to prepare.

The only thing I don't like about Indian food is that it leaves a lasting smell in my house.  As great as it tastes, I don't want to smell it for the rest of the evening.

{I may have a slight obsession with how my house smells.}

Insert:  essential oils.  

I realize everyone knows someone who uses essential oils.  Please don't mistake this post for some ringing endorsement for doTERRA or essential oils in general.  I like oils, and I use them daily.  But, to be honest, I use them mostly to help my house smell awesome.

My go-to blend is Purify, Lemon, Lime and Wild Orange.  I could diffuse those oils together all day long.  And, I usually do, especially after eating a dinner like chicken tikka masala.

I also use Lemon and Wild Orange to wipe down my countertops.

And, I make my own air fresheners by blending Wild Orange and Peppermint. 



Let me tell you, my house smells AHH-MAA-ZING.

And, as a side note, someone once asked me why my house doesn't smell like I have dogs.  I honestly don't know why my house doesn't smell like dogs because we have two little fluffys who are usually always inside.  It could be the breed.  Or, it could be that the main living area of our house is pretty open.  Like I said, I don't know.  But, it's possible the oils help eliminate the smell.

So, if you're in the market for make-my-house-smell-good products, give oils a try!  Everyone will have an opinion about what brand of oils to use, and I'm not here to convince you of one brand over the other.  But, I am a satisfied doTERRA user.

If you use oils, please pass along your favorites.  I also enjoy trying out new blends.

February 2, 2017

FEBRUARY goals

January is over!

Here's a recap of the goals I set for myself:

Read Attachments and Room
Write four blog posts

I easily read Attachments and Room.  Attachments was cute, but a tad cheesy even by my standards.  If you're into RomCom novels, I would recommend it.  It has a unique plot and is entertaining.

Room I was a bit disappointed with.  Let me start by saying it wasn't nearly as difficult to read as I planned.  Yes, the plot is disturbing, but since it is written from the perspective of the little boy, the difficult situations seem to be softened a bit given his innocent point of view.

I would have enjoyed the book more had the author chosen to write from Ma's point of view as well.  I think it would've thickened the book, if that makes any sense, and added a depth to the storyline that I felt was lacking.

As for my blog posts.  I technically wrote three, if you count the one that I wrote about my January goals.  I was hoping to write 4 posts after that, but only go around to writing 3.  One notable thing happened in January (the 20th to be exact) that sort of sucked the life out of me, and, in fact, inspired one of my goals for February.

Speaking of February...


This month promises to be exciting.  And here are the goals I have set for myself:

READ
The Book Thief


Crossing to Safety


WRITE
Four blog posts

AVOID
Facebook
Because Facebook sucks.  Big time.

PREPARE
Dinner 4 times a week

Since I am a little behind, I'm officially starting my goals as of February 6th.  If you have any ideas for me as far as posts go, please send them my way.

Happy February!
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