November 3, 2017


The first Harry Potter book was released in the United States on September 1, 1998.  I was 17 years old at the time, and didn't have any interest in reading the book.  Over the years, as more books were published and the movie franchise began, I still had little to no interest in reading more about The Boy Who Lived. 


When the first movie was released, I was in college.  A few of my friends that had read the books invited me to see the movie with them.  I enjoyed the movie and decided I had a better idea of why the books were so popular.  Over the years, I ended up seeing the first four movies in the theater; however, the desire to read the books was still not there.

My curiosity was piqued when my niece read the books, nearly 20 years after the first book was published in the US.  It was obvious the characters and stories meant a lot to her.  I couldn't help but wonder why these books continued to appeal and be loved by each generation of young readers.  When considering the millions of adults that enjoyed them too, I decided that the books MUST be good to survive decades of adoration with no end in sight.

I'm happy to report that I finished reading the Harry Potter series this week, and I totally and completely get why these books have stood the test of time.

Simply put, these books are amazing.  They are beautifully written with astounding character development.  The story-lines are full of twists and turns and surprises, yet are deep and personal and emotional.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) is my favorite of the series.  The relationship between Harry and one other main character is so wonderful that it was all I could do to keep it together as I read the final few chapters.

If you have even a spark of interest in the Harry Potter series, I would suggest you give it a try. Because, to be honest, these books are not going anywhere. I never in a million years would have thought I would love these books as much as I do, but here I am...planning my first trip to Universal Studios to see Hogwarts.  {Just kidding}

My thanks to J.K. Rowling for sharing her talent and gift of writing with the world, and I look forward to re-reading these books again and introducing them to my children.

November 2, 2017


A few years ago, I was processing orders that customer has mailed in.  At the time, I was working for my church.  We handled orders for people needing materials for weekly church services, but also sold other items like food storage and tools used for family history.

I came across an order from Sharon.  She requested that we send her a variety of family history supplies, like pedigree charts.  Included with her order was a small amount of money.  Once upon a time, these items were free a charge, so the fact that Sharon had not sent a lot of money with her order was no surprise.  I knew I wouldn't be able to complete her order, but decided to enter it into the computer so I had an idea of how much the order would cost.  Once all the items were entered, I learned that the total was over $100.

I decided to give Sharon a call so I could explain the situation.  She was very understanding and asked if I could send her a catalog that showed pricing information.  I explained that we no longer provided catalogs, but that all pricing could be found on our website.  I had worked with enough people from the pre-pre-pre-pre-Internet generation to know that a website would be useless to her.

So, I told her I would send her as much of her order as I could using the money she had sent.  I also told her I would send her a separate letter listing all the items she originally wanted along with the price and corresponding item number, hoping this would help her with any future orders.

As I was putting the letter together, a very distinct thought came to my mind that I should write using my very best handwriting.  I have what some might say unique handwriting, and sometimes it's not the easiest to read.  Depending on who I'm writing, I'll often modify the letters so they're more legible.  I affectionately refer to it as my Grandparent Handwriting.

Anyway, I sent the letter off to Sharon and hoped the information I gave her would be of some use.

A few weeks later, I came into work and found a letter addressed to me.  Actually, it was addressed to "Emily ?" because the person writing did not have my last name.  The letter was from Sharon.  And it was LONG.  She told me she had received my letter and absolutely loved my handwriting.  She wanted to know all about me, where I was from, whether I was right or left handed, and what type of pen I used.  She included a pre-addressed, pre-stamped envelope for me to send my reply, but also said that she would not be offended if I chose not to write her back.

I took her letter home and showed it to my husband.  I told him I wanted to write her back, but knew that would lead to another letter from her and so on.  I knew receiving personal mail at work was frowned upon, so my husband and I decided we felt comfortable giving Sharon our address so we could continue to send letters to each other.

Over the last two years, we have remained pen pals.  She is so thoughtful and puts so much detail into her letters to me.  I know a lot about her personal life, children, etc.  It really has been a pleasure getting to know her, and even though I don't provide quite as much detail about myself, she is always quick to tell me how much my letters mean to her.

I don't think it is a coincidence that Sharon and I crossed paths.  I also don't think the thought for me to use my best handwriting was a fleeting, random thought.  I think it was intentional, and I'm glad I listened to it.

Who knows?  Maybe we'll meet in person one day.  For now, though, I'm enjoying the letters.

August 26, 2017

DRESS wars

In January, Isabelle turned 8 years old.

Being eight is kind of a big deal because it means you can be baptized a member of our church.  Isabelle decided she wanted to be baptized, so we started to plan for the special day.

Traditionally, girls will wear pretty white dresses after they have been baptized.  It's not required (I wore a black dress after my baptism), but Isabelle expressed an interest in getting one, so I began the search for a dress she might like.

After a lot of online browsing, I went to an actual store to see some dresses in person.  I absolutely fell in love with the dress pictured above, top row, second from the right.  I loved the pleats and the simple broach on the waist. 

Not long after, I brought Isabelle to the store so she could try on the dress I knew she'd love.

With wide eyes, she glanced at all the dresses and focused in on one that I did not like at all.  I tried to redirect her attention to my favorite dress, but it didn't work.  Eventually, we took both into a dressing room and it was obvious which dress we'd end up buying.

Her face glowed and her smile was so genuine as she stared at herself in the mirror, wearing the dress she picked out.

The glow faded and the smile disappeared when she tried on anything else.

When we left the store, her smile had returned as we carried her favorite dress out to the car.  I, on the other hand, was disappointed and then felt guilty for letting it bother me.

On the day of her baptism, Isabelle looked beautiful.  She was wearing the dress that she loved so much, and I could tell she felt special.  

And that is what I ultimately wanted for her.

So, mission accomplished...just accomplished differently than I expected.

August 23, 2017


I always thought politics is what would ultimately end my relationship with Facebook.

I never thought my final straw would be a conversation regarding the apparent "no big deal" aspect of drowsy driving.  But, here we are.

It all started when a person I highly respect{ed} posted a picture of his car that clearly had been damaged.  He said:

"So, while I was napping yesterday, my car spontaneously ran into the car in front of us.  Weirdest thing."

He then made a game out of it, offering whoever came closest to guessing how much it would cost to repair his car a copy of one of his books.

I found myself not knowing what to say or do.  On the one hand, for obvious reasons, I found absolutely no humor in post.  On the other hand, I did not want to "start anything" on Facebook.

But, after talking it over with Dustin, I decided to make a comment.

"{Name}, I think you're a great person.  But with all due respect, I just have to ask why you find it appropriate to joke about falling asleep at the wheel.  I'll admit, I'm uber sensitive to this due to the fact that a family member of mine was killed by a drowsy driver.  With that said, I'm baffled why drowsy driving is still a light-hearted matter as compared to drunk driving or even distracted driving.  Can you imagine the outrage if people said things like, "I was totally wasted and randomly hit another car..." My hope is, that one day, we're just as outraged by drowsy driving.  I hope the people in the other car are ok and am glad you're ok too."

He replied back to me and said, 

"I'm sorry for your loss.  Obviously, it is still painful for you."

Then someone else said,

"Sorry for your loss also.  I don't think {Name} was making light of the situation.  I think he was making fun of himself.  As in, "Oops I did a dumb thing."

Another comment: 

"I'm so sorry for your loss, and I can understand that your comment comes from a place of pain; but while drowsy driving kills many people every year, there will never be the same outrage as there is associated with drunk driving.  Anyone can fall asleep behind the wheel, even people with a good night's rest.  Highway Hypnosis is a real thing, as is road fatigue.  He did not go out and consume a substance that he knew would impair his driving.  It's totally different.  I say that having gone to funerals for students and friends killed by drowsy driving and by drunk driving.  And I do not think {Name} was trying to make light or belittle the seriousness of what happened.  He's a funny guy, who uses humor. Sometimes, you have to laugh at yourself to keep from crying."

Dustin said:

{Name}, the fact that drowsy driving can happen to anyone is all the more reason that we should never make light of it.  We all need to be aware of our limits and pull over before we find ourselves in this situation.

{Name}, you dodged a bullet here.  I'm glad no one was hurt.  And while you didn't go out and consume a substance that you knew would impair your driving, you still put yourself and everyone else on the road in danger."

And then an over-rated editorial guy quoted George Bernard Shaw by commenting:

"Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh." 

And then someone thanked that over-rated editorial guy for his comment.  That's right - she thanked him.

My final comment was:

"I fail to find the humor, but clearly I am in the minority.  I hope none of you are asked to find the humor in a family member's death."

And then while I was writing this post, the wise over-rated editorial guy said directly to me:

"Been there.  Done it.  Probably do it again here in less than a year.  We all cope with life/death differently."

I decided not to reply back

People who know me best know that I love to laugh.  They also know that I hate to cry.

This whole situation did not make me laugh, but it sure did make me cry.


I'm so incredibly over being viewed as the weird one or the dramatic one when it comes to this subject.  

Under no circumstance, literally under NO circumstance, is drowsy driving funny.  

Any opinion to the contrary is just plain ignorance and wrong.


Congratulations, Facebook.  You finally broke me.

August 18, 2017


I decided to take a few moments to learn more about myself.  And what better way to learn more about yourself than through BuzzFeed quizzes?

I'm not sure how I've managed thus far in life without knowing what chain restaurant I am.  I mean, how come no one told me how important this information is?  Just call me Brad's Wife and order me some cherry pancakes!

It turns out, I was born 50 years too late.  Oops!  Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Thanks to this quiz, I can now plan my life a little bit more realistically.  Looks like I'll be able to take that trip to Branson, MO afterall.

Whoops!  My bad, Isabelle.  Looks like I should've named you Holland.  Sorry, but the quizzes don't lie.

No complaints here.  Jennifer Garner's wardrobe is the best, Mark Ruffalo is hot and that Thriller scene cannot be beat!

Okay, you twisted my arm.  I'll go to Stanford.  But, only if Chelsea Clinton and I can share a dorm

Phew!  No more wondering what number I'll pick when someone asks me, "Pick a number between 1 and 5."  Seriously, my mind is so much more at ease.

I still have my Rachel haircut, so this seems fitting.

If you ever find yourself wandering aimlessly or feeling unbalanced, be sure to check out BuzzFeed.  They have the answers to all of life's burning questions.

August 11, 2017

my NORWEX review

I made a big-ish deal about buying a new refrigerator a few months ago.  The newness of the appliance hasn't worn off yet and I still consider it my third child.

Speaking of children, stainless steel appliances and children do not mix.

I know.  I was shocked too.

Luckily for me, my pantry is next to the fridge and my girls love to eat peanut butter on a spoon.

I'm sure you can imagine what the end result looks like.

Anyway, I found myself constantly wiping down the fridge.  But, it never looked good because every product, cloth, etc., I used left streaks.

And streaks are the worst.  Literally, the worst thing in the world.

Like, literally.  I'm only 20% joking here.

Not unlike that one time my floor never "felt clean" {true story}, I went on a mission to find something, anything, I could use to leave my fridge looking clean and streak-free.

It was around this time my friend had a Norwex party on Facebook.  Even though I had never purchased anything from Norwex, I was familiar with their cloth products that clean your entire house using only water.  I also heard they cure cancer, but that may just be a rumor.

Anyway, I decided it was worth selling my first-born child so I could afford to buy an EnviroCloth and Window Cloth.  

When my cloths arrived, I was skeptical.  I knew Norwex did not accept returns of used products {Side note:  why is this an acceptable return policy?  How am I supposed to know if a product works for me unless I try it?}, so either way I was keeping these products.

Well, I'm happy to state without hesitation that the Window Cloth worked.  Like, legit worked and left no streaks on my fridge.  I'm still in awe, and somewhat annoyed, that I was proven wrong.

I also noticed a few positive results when using the EnviroCloth on my countertops and glass top stove - they not only looked clean but also super shiny.  I also noticed they felt different - just cleaner, softer.  I feel like this part of the post is going in a weird direction, so I'm going to stop now.

Oh, yes, and in case you're wondering:  my kitchen looks like this 100% of the time.

So, if you've ever thought about trying Norwex as a way to keep your fridge streak free and your countertops looking shiny and feeling soft (which is NOT a weird thing to want), I'd recommend you give these cloths a try.  

Given the fact that this is not a sponsored post, and I have since lost the website I used to make my purchase, I'm afraid I do not have any useful information on how to buy your own besides Norwex's homepage.

If you do decide to try out Norwex, please be aware that there is possibly a package of the EnviroCloth and Window Cloth.  I added them to my cart separately, and I'm pretty sure I paid more than the package. 

Here's to streak-free fridges everywhere!

August 3, 2017


"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
-Romeo & Juliet

Several years ago, I was experimenting with a new medication for my epilepsy.  Dustin and I had decided we wanted to have a child, and my current medication was not recommended for women who were pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

After a lot of trial and error, I began taking a new medication that not only controlled my seizures but also had the least serious side effects while taken while pregnant.  And, it wasn't long after that, that I found out I was pregnant.

Not long into my pregnancy, I went to the pharmacy to pick up a refill.  I noticed that the price of my prescription was significantly less than it had been before.  When I asked the pharmacist about the price difference, he said it was because I was given the generic, not name-brand, medicine.

I was confused and concerned about any changes being made while I was still pregnant, and promptly called my doctor.  I was told that the generic medicine had the same ingredients as the name-brand and was safe for me to consume.

I've been thinking about that experience a lot lately and how it relates to labels.

Everything in our life has a label.

Products are labeled.  People are labeled.  Places are labeled.

And we put a lot of stock into these labels.

Sometimes a label really does make a difference.  For example, spending $$$ on a table from West Elm will more than likely lead to owning a higher quality product as compared to a table you would buy from Target.

There is nothing wrong with wanting products from high quality companies, especially if your budget allows for it.

The problem with labels come when we use them to elevate our own status or worth.  Am I a better person because I own a table from West Elm as compared to the person that owns a table from Target.  The answer is, obviously, no.

I think it's sometimes hard to remember that.

Owning a certain product doesn't mean you're better or worse than somebody else.  It just means you own a certain product.

Product labels are one thing.  But, what about labels we put on ourselves or other people?

For example, politicians.  How likely are you to justify a political leader's behavior so long as they belong to the same political party as you?  From my perspective, we will justify or shrug off or accept or even deny facts so long as the leader is labeled correctly.

The same is true for our family members, friends, celebrities or well-respected community members like doctors. 

I happened upon a conversation on Facebook between a man running for mayor and a voter.  The man running for office had a lot of great things to say.  He had good ideas.  He was well-written and appeared to have a genuine concern for the city.  The voter was only interested in one thing:  what party the candidate belonged to.  It was obvious the voter would only consider this candidate's ideas or concerns legitimate so long as he belonged to the correct party.

The candidate eventually disclosed his political affiliation and the conversation was over.

Keep in mind, his ideas for the city had not changed.  He still meant what he said.  But, because he now had a labeled attached to him, he was either liked or disliked regardless of the details.

I don't think there's really any way around labels in general.  Certainly, not when it comes to products.  But, it would be nice to see some changes with labels when it comes to people.

Some people with all the right labels aren't necessarily good people making good decisions.

And some people with the less-than flattering labels aren't necessarily bad people making bad decisions.

Some labels are inevitable, like our race or ethnicity...unless you're that white woman living in Seattle.

Other labels, like being cool because you shop at Trader Joe's, are meaningless.  A great example of this is when some frozen food line was recalled from Trader Joe's and Walmart stores.  I had a good laugh at that one.

I'm trying really hard to look beyond the labels we give ourselves or other people.  Whether we're rich or poor, male or female, married or single or divorced, we all have value.  We all have strengths that are needed in our society.  And we all have weaknesses that other people can help us with.  We're more similar than we realize.

And, at the end of the day, whether name-brand or generic, I'm not having seizures.  

And that's all that matters to me!

July 29, 2017


I made a goal for myself to read 24 books this year.  I search for new books and keep track of my progress using Good Reads.

Do you use Good Reads?  It doesn't seem like a ton of people I know use it.  I love it.  It's the main way I search for books.  I've read a lot of books I probably never would have had it not been for this website.

Anyway, below are the books I have read so far.

Rainbow Rowell is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.  Her books are charming, funny and unique.  Of the two I have read so far this year, Attachments was my favorite.  Fair warning, Rowell's books can have a bit of language.

The Life We Bury, Everything We Keep, The House We Grew Up In and The Serpent King were all books I found by browsing through Good Reads.  With the exception of The House We Grew Up In, I would give them all 2 stars.  They weren't anything exceptional and I wouldn't ever recommend them to other people.

The House We Grew Up In was an interesting read.  I'm not exactly sure why I liked this book.  I remember thinking about the characters as if they were real people and looking forward to reading any chance I got.  Simply put, it's a story about how one woman's hoarding habit affects the rest of her family.

The Book Thief and Kite Runner are two books I had heard numerous good things about and figured it was time for me to read them.  Of the two, The Book Thief was by far superior in terms of story, writing, characters, etc.  But, to be honest, both left me feeling a little underwhelmed.

I enjoyed Room.  The fact that the author was able to convey the horror of the situation while still maintaining a level of innocence (due to being written from the perspective of a child) was quite remarkable.  I think having a chapter or two from the perspective of an adult would have added an element of depth to the story that overall was impossible to convey with a 5 year old as the narrator.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, I'll admit, was a fabulous and delightful read.  But, I really only read it so I could keep on track with my reading goal.  It's a short read, but very profound and thought-provoking.

I really like Anna Kendrick.  Her book, Scrappy Little Nobody, was a fun read.  It's interesting to learn more about celebrities and how they came to be these famous people.  I especially enjoyed learning about her experiences as a child working on Broadway.  I will admit, though, that her sense of humor, at times, was vulgar.

And, last but not least, the classics:  Lord of the Flies and The Bell Jar.  I've talked a lot about my experience reading Lord of the Flies.  It was such a slow read for me.  I felt like the words were dripping with symbolism and I was afraid I'd miss something if I wasn't careful.  I referred to Spark Notes a lot during this read.

I loved The Bell Jar.  It is the best book I've read all year.  I can't even explain why I loved it so much.  I just did.  This is not a story for everyone, but if you have an interest in psychology, mental illness and feminism, I think you'd enjoy this book.

My current read is Murder on the Orient Express.  I remember watching the movie from, like the 70s, and really liking it.  When I learned a remake of the movie was coming to theaters soon, I decided it was time to read the book.

Let me know if you've read any of these books and what you thought of them.

Isn't read the bestest thing ever?

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


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


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?


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


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:

The Book Thief

Crossing to Safety

Four blog posts

Because Facebook sucks.  Big time.

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!

January 30, 2017

MUSIC mondays: the SOUNDS of SILENCE

This week's version of Music Mondays is a little different.  Usually I like to use this time to talk about a new song or artist I've discovered, but this week I'm sharing an oldie, but a goodie.

I was listening to a cover of The Sounds of Silence the other day, and was struck by these lyrics:

"People talking without speaking.  People hearing without listening."

Holy crap!  These lyrics resonate with me SO much right now.

This last week I have been bombarded with the opinions of others by way of articles, memes and quotes.  And, I've done my fair share of reading and listening to what other people have had to say.

But, at the end of the day, I don't really feel like much is being said.  And there's definitely a whole lot of selective hearing going on.

I guess I just wish that when I logged into Facebook, instead of a plethora of never ending "shares", my feed would be full of actual statuses written by my friends who are writing about whatever floats their boat that day.

Our country is so divided right now, and I'm genuinely curious how people feel.  But, instead of telling me how you feel via the New York Times, how about just tell me in your own words. 

Of course, there are going to be exceptions to this.

But, in general, I think if we start to talk using our own words, we'd really start to speak.  I think we'd notice a difference in our conversations with each other, and I think we'd feel much more understood.

Likewise, if we're going to find common ground, we need to start listening to each other.  I'd be willing to bet if we engaged in more meaningful conversations, ones where we're actually listening to each other, we'd find that we have so much more in common with each other than we ever thought possible.

But, I'm just one person, and my opinion doesn't matter all that much.  But, I'm glad I'm expressing it in my own words rather than letting some article express it for me.

Now, please enjoy this AMAZING video of Simon and Garfunkel singing The Sounds of Silence.  It's breathtaking.

January 15, 2017

INITIAL reactions

Several months ago, I read an article that had been shared by a friend on Facebook about what traits parents of successful kids all have in common.  According to the article, the traits ranged from having a college degree to learning math at an early age.

One trait in particular stood out to me:  a working mother.

After reading the article, I went back to Facebook and reviewed the comments.  Everyone loved all of the traits, and agreed with them, with the exception of the working mom.

I didn't know any of the women that made comments.  I barely knew the friend that posted the article to begin with.  But, because of their comments, I allowed myself to make all sorts of assumptions about them.  And what I assumed was not too great.

I consider myself a working mother.  While I am in no way the bread winner of our family, I work five days a week and contribute to our family's income.  I work to make money, of course, but also because I enjoy the satisfaction I get from completing a task that is separate from my motherhood responsibilities.

I took my anger and frustration to my blog and wrote a post criticizing these women for their comments about working moms.  But, before I published my thoughts, my mind was suddenly filled with doubt.  I started to wonder if the assumptions I had made about these women had any merit at all.

What I heard these women say was, "Successful children are not raised by working moms."  

But, maybe they meant, "Stay-at-home moms raise successful children, too."

I had a variety of different thoughts race through my mind.  I wish I could articulate how my perspective on this article, on the comments changed within a short period of time.  It really was a remarkable experience.  

And, basically, what I learned is this:

My reaction to something is not necessarily a reflection of intent.

I can think whatever I want, but that doesn't mean that I'm right.

Living in a world where it is so simple to respond to virtually anything within a matter of seconds, it's easy not to get caught up in our initial reaction.  

And sometimes our initial reactions are spot on.  

And sometimes they're not.

And so long as we're all aware of that, I think we'll all be okay.

January 1, 2017


I love Mondays.  Seriously, Monday is my favorite day of the week.  It's possible my love for the day stems from the fact that it is my day off from work, and even though that is a definite bonus, I'm pretty sure it's more than that.

You see, Monday is the day that we get to start fresh.  Typically, my Monday includes a renewed commitment to cook dinner.  Unfortunately, I never succeed.

But, that's besides the point.

Given my love for Mondays, it's probably no surprise that I love beginning a new year.  I've lived through enough new years to know that I'm pretty pathetic when it comes to resolving my new year's resolutions.  I'm awesome at making such resolutions, but the awesomeness stops there.

Given my track record, I have decided to make monthly resolutions in an effort to be more successful. For now, my resolutions will be simple and small.

Here are my January goals:

READ two books
The two books I have chosen to read are "Room" by Emma Donoghue and "Attachments" by Rainbow Rowell

WRITE four blog posts
I already have two posts in mind, and I think you will like them!

Those are my only two goals for January.  Small and simple and, given that I love to read and write, hopefully easy and enjoyable.  

Welcome, 2017!
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