Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sew There

Holy Cow, it's cold outside.
I know, it's cold everywhere, New Jersey isn't even close to as cold as other places right now. Utah is colder than it ever was the entire time I lived there. The pipes in our old house froze and the poor Philpott family has had a nightmare to deal with there. 
John Philpott goes in for a major treatment today to help prepare his body for his upcoming stem cell transplant.  
Our prayers continue to ask for healing for our "time neighbors." (That's a nerdy phrase I hear that describes the people who lived in your house before and after you did.)
Their blog is located here if you want to send them your love and keep updated on John's battle with cancer:

I know that it's hard when your house has things go kaput on you, and that house...... we loved that house, but Oy, it was in terrible shape when we bought it. We put so much time and money and love into it, but we couldn't even come close to fixing everything or doing everything right. They have the house with the crooked tile counters, we had the house with the chipped bright orange Formica. They have a house with the baseboards missing from most of the walls. We had the house with blood red carpets with black specks in it. They have the angst poetry that Parker wrote in Sharpie bleeding through the paint, we had lavender walls, and a living room that was used for cooking and had oil splatters all up the wall. They have a yard that looks like it barely survived a nuclear war. We had....well, we had the same yard. Actually, I think we made the yard worse. yeah, we ruined that back yard, sorry John and Noelle.

We live in an old house, too. 
There is a brand new addition on it, that was one of the selling points, but the guy who built it didn't insulate it any better than the 80 year old parts of the house. It's either freezing or a billion degrees- it's like the house has menopause.

The cold seeps into my bones and it's hurting to move right now. 
There is no amount of medication that will make my joints feel awesome right now and allow me to live my life without feeling like a crack head. 

I'm dealing with it by informing the family that they can do their own laundry and dinner is usually a loaded baked potato. 
I'm spending my afternoons bundled up and indulging in my latest craft obsession, embroidery.

Matt got me a big supply of flour sack towels for Christmas and I am really having fun spending a couple of hours on a towel and then giving it away as a cute, personal gift.

I love this little lady I made with a copy of the woman in "The Art of Homemaking" book. That right foot is wonky, I re-did it three times and for some reason, my brain would not allow her to have feet that matched, so I gave up. 

I participated in a little challenge on facebook where the first five people to sign up and extend the challenge to others would get a handmade item from me- sometime in the next year. Last time I made birdhouses that held pictures. This year, I'm doing dish towels. I finished my first one last night, for Melina Moore, my old Visiting Teaching companion in Utah. She's a photographer, so I sketched out this little camera and I think it turned out really cute.

I have really been struggling with lettering, I want to do nice clean cursive and I'm lousy at it. My normal handwriting is awful and I haven't been too good at copying cleaner stuff. I'm not going to the trouble of getting out the iron to do a proper transfer, it's much easier to just spend hours on something and then get annoyed with how imperfect it looks when you're finished.
 I finally tried a technique I saw online where you trace the word on tissue paper and then stitch right through the paper.

Madeline Y. is going to get the first CTR pillowcase of the year that doesn't look like a moron stitched out the name. 
I think I'm doing the split stitch backwards, but I don't know why it matters that you have the needle come up through the bottom as opposed to the top. It does the same thing, doesn't it? Aunt Lynnae? Kaylynn? 
Can you tell me why that stitch is supposed to come up and split from the bottom where it's harder to position it instead of just split from the top side? 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Update on The Great Rut of 2013....

Lately, I have had some bad days.

Nothing Earth shattering,  I needed to get some new understanding of some things and I am thankful that I am never alone when I need a little perspective. I have the Lord, I have the words of the Prophets, I have family and I have great friends both in Utah and in New Jersey to help me get my head on straight.
Thank you, Ruth, for reminding me that people communicate in different ways and that I need to look on the heart, always. 
What I thought I was seeing, was not what was before me.
 I was the person not seeing things clearly, I was wrong. 

And isn't it great to be wrong?

No, seriously- it's awesome. We're here to learn and how can we learn anything if we believe that we know everything? Realizing you are wrong means that the Lord thinks you are ready to learn something RIGHT. It means he is trusting you and showing faith in YOU and he is helping you to grow.
The atonement is for everyone- even you- so when you've messed up and gone astray and you realize it.....YAY!! The Savior is right there to help you get back on the path you want to be on! He loves you and is helping you to grow. 
That doesn't mean that every hard thing you get is awesome and you just shout for joy when the trials come. It means that when you learn that you were wrong about something, you can feel relief and learn what is right. It isn't a shameful thing or a bad thing to be wrong. It's bad to think you are always right and that admitting you were wrong somehow makes you less. 
There are so many things about me that I just can't seem to fix, or even begin to work on. I have so many bad habits and wonky ways I see things. I make so many mistakes, but every so often, I get that clear understanding that I was completely wrong about something and most of the time I am glad. It takes the pressure off to fix it and allows me to give myself permission to lay the whole mess at the Lord's feet and say "Hey- will you deal with this ball of mess? I thought it was for me to solve, when it wasn't. Sorry I wasted so much time on it."

If you will do just that, give the Lord back the ball of trouble that wasn't your's to begin with, you just thought you were responsible to fix everything- he'll always take it and work it out in the way it needed to be. And you'll usually glance around and see the ball of mess that IS your problem to work on.....

Most of the time, it's all okay and there is peace to be found in the process.
Some of the time, it's so hard you just don't think you can do it.
Some of the time, you just want to stop swimming and sink to the bottom of the sea and soak in quiet, dark  hurt. 
Growing is awesome, but so very hard and sometimes it is pretty ugly.

Before you take in that deep breath and go under, just do this one thing:
 Reach out.
Reach out with your heart and your ears to the Lord and listen. Hear the voice of the Good Shepherd who knows you are lost and afraid and His voice and words will bring you to a safer place. Reach out to the people in your life, in your ward. They can't solve all of your problems, but I'll bet my bum that there are people who are in your life right now who can help you solve the day. Sometimes, a lot of time, if you can just get through this one terrible day- you will be okay with the rest of the hard ones ahead. Sometimes, just being able to cry and break down and not worry that your family is going to see it and freak out is a huge help. Sometimes, just hearing the humor of another person, or the trials they are going through help you get through. There are always lifelines, always hands that are there to grab onto and keep your from going totally under. 
Reach out.

I am forever in awe of how when I reach out, I do not go under. 
Oh, I still feel like I'm drowning and I'm scared beyond words, but I don't actually go under. I don't sink and cease to be. Always, there is someone there.

I am so thankful to those who have been there for me when I was almost determined to drown in a sea of troubles and problems that weren't even my own half of the time, I just needed to be right and in control of everything. I am thankful that I know people who will lovingly tell me that  if I would just make a slight adjustment, if I will remember that the goal is to see things as the Savior sees them- that I will have a more accurate idea of what is really going on. I am thankful that I'm often wrong and that the Lord trusts me enough to let me see that and do something about it. 

So, yeah, I'm having some bad days.
'The rut' is still here and I'm really sick of winter. 
I continue to make so many mistakes that I have lost count of the second chances life has blessed me with.
But I am still here, bra'd up and trying my best.
Right now,  in spite of the piles of laundry on my sofa and the petrified french fries on the floor of my car- in spite of the fact that today is a scrunchie and fatpants day and in spite of the fact that we are having chicken nuggets for dinner for the 3rd time in a week.... I believe the Lord is smiling upon me and calling my works 'good.'
 I am blessed so much it's crazy. 
I really am.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Rut

I am in one.
A rut.
What kind of a word is "rut" anyway?
It rhymes with "butt" and I usually deal with my ruts by sitting on my butt and wondering why I'm stuck in a rut.
(If I weren't so stinkin' lazy, what a poet I might be!)

I'm not lazy, but I'm kind of stuck.
FINE..... I am a little bit lazy.
Monday I think I was a raving lunatic.
I'd read after I had been talked back from the edge of the cliff that it was "the most depressing day of the year" according to some study some scientist did that some random expert put on the internet.

That made me feel better in the same way that reading your horoscope gives you hope. You know it's hogwash, but you'll take whatever boost you can get.

Later I read that it's actually next Monday, so all of us who used the "Blue Monday" excuse this week just need to adjust our meds or stop thinking that eating Cheet-os and watching Ink Masters on Netflix all day will make everything better.
Blue Monday was an awesome song, wasn't it?
How is New Order and old person band? 

How are they not still edgy and awesome, just like all of the bands I still love.

Matt said Erasure released an album in 2011 and that they have been recording all these years, they just are terrible now.

  My brain exploded when I learned that, I knew it was going downhill when they covered all of those Abba songs, bit I had no idea they were still giving it the old 90's alternative effort. I wonder if Andy still wears a tu tu while he performs....

(Angel wings and bell bottoms. Thank you Google Search.)

Blue Monday and ADHD Friday.....
So, that's why my blog has been a dud lately. There is some post Christmas let down, a large workload to get things on the right track for the new year in Primary, and it's cold outside so every joint in my body hurts.

I am, however, getting a lot done for Primary and I had a great Sharing time this week.

I did two different activities, one for Junior and one for Senior.

For the Junior Primary, I had a bunch of these that I removed the color from and printed up, 4 to a sheet:

I read a story that talked about God's plan for his children and every line had the word 'happy' in it somewhere. Their job was to raise up their paper and whisper as loud as they could "happy" when  I said "happy."

It was adorable, and they had a blast. They whispered nice and loud but did not shout, which was what I was going for in the loud whisper. About halfway through they could tell by the look on my face when the next word would be "happy" and I stopped saying it, they would say it instead.

Tessa Z. was in the front row with Julia T. and they both got really into it. It was the cutest thing I'd ever seen. They started to do jazz hands whenever it was time to say "happy."

After the story ended, they colored the papers to use up the rest of the time.

Fun, reverent and hopefully, I got the doctrine shared:
Happiness is a choice and I want the kids to know that no matter what they do or life brings them- they can choose happiness. No matter how many mistakes a person makes in life, they still deserve to be happy.
Senior Primary had it's own activity because coloring sheets just isn't going to cut it.
For the bigger kids, I worked really hard on the activity we'd do. I think I got the idea from something similar I saw on Pinterest. 

 I printed up the story from the lesson, cut it in strips and put the strips in plastic Easter eggs, making sure they stayed in order. One by one I wrapped the eggs in layers and layers of Saran Wrap- in order.  When I was done, I had a ball of plastic wrap about the size of a soccer ball.

I didn't take a picture of it by itself, but it's here in this picture:

We talked about the Lord's plan and how the goal is to be happy. We follow his plan because he has promised us that if we do, we will be happy forever. 

I called up the kids one by one to help follow 'the plan' and they'd unwrap a section of the plastic wrap until they got to the next egg. The way it ended up working was that I'd hold the ball and they pulled on the plastic and the next egg would go flying out and crash open onto the floor.

The kids loved that and would get excited trying to guess what color was coming next. 

The person would then read the words, the next part of the plan.
The last egg said "Congratulations on following the plan. You have earned a great reward that will  make you happy. Please go and collect your treasure from under the piano bench." and that child walked over and under the piano bench, I had a box with treats inside for everyone. I told them they could come get their treat after Sharing time was all over.
We talked about better or faster ways to get to the treasure as we did the activity, some kids suggested we just rip it all apart and I told them that if we did that, the order of the clues would get mixed up and we might not be able to get the treasure. Another child , Isaac H suggested we just get a chainsaw and cut the ball in half- again, what if we miss the clues to the treasure? We all agreed that the best way to ensure we got the treasure that we all wanted was to just follow the plan and unwrap the ball layer by layer.
There were plastic eggs everywhere and Saran Wrap, which the kids thought was awesome.
I was happy that the point was made that there are many ways we can choose to find happiness, and that God has a way he designed as well that he has promised us will lead to happiness. We can choose whatever way we want, but this is one way where the results are promised.
I was also happy that it was fun and didn't get out of control. We were able to laugh, all of the kids were engaged and we actually did the activity.
No insecure post Primary apologies from Sister O.
In spite of my rut, life continues for me and my family.
 I am learning so much.
I never thought I'd ever be even okay in Primary, let alone happy there, but oh, what a joy it is. What amazing kids we have and what incredible teachers we have. I am so amazed by everyone and I know that the Primary program is inspired by God. What a positive and loving environment it is for our children and it is healing some things in my soul as well.
I have been feeling so old lately.

Turning 40 knocked me on my butt emotionally.
 I am super aware of the fact that music I still think is cool, is a quarter of a century old and I am that old lady who will still hear it and think I am edgy and awesome for listening to it. My clothing takes into consideration gravity more than trend setting and I have to use the hand rails when I go up and down the stairs in my sexy high heels that I need to stop wearing because I am too old. I keep mini packets of Kleenex and old lady hard candy in my purse because I need them. I own a pill splitter and I use it. I get excited by needlework patterns and sales on Ovaltine. I don't drive after dark unless I absolutely have to because even with my glasses, I can't really see. I am relieved that most of the local roads have a speed limit of 35, there's no reason to ever drive faster than that ya bunch of speed freaks.....

Eh, I feel OLD.
I do not feel "fabulous forty."

(Nothing like a bathroom self-portrait to make you feel  young and hip... Is 'hip' still a thing?)
 Primary is actually helping with that. It is giving me a purpose an a reason to stay a part of the world outside of the little nest I knitted for myself. I am aware that when I choose to focus on how old I feel- everything in my soul creaks and aches. When I choose to focus on LIFE- somehow the world is all new and fresh. Life feels better.
And Depeche Mode is still cool in both of those worlds, no matter what you say.
 PS--We're thinking of you today, Dad Olson.
I am sorry that you are old, too.
We love you very, very much. Heal quickly.

Monday, January 14, 2013


And after I published my last post and started on my day, it immediately started to feel wrong to me.
I went to the Lord about a few other things and felt a strong impression to remove the blog post.

It wasn't a 'bad' post, at least I don't think it was, but it is not the right post.
 I know that it will come through in reader to some and when you click to see the whole thing, it will be gone- that's why.
I need to start from a different place than that. 
I'm off course by just enough degrees right now that I'm not headed in the direction that I want to be, really. 
Thank you for your patience during times like this.
 I am not quite myself right now and I need to re-set.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sharing Time Is Not For Sissies

Today Matt went with me to the church to help put up some new decorations for the new Primary theme. We talked about how things are going this week and I admitted to him that I'm really intimidated by the calling. It's been so long since I taught children who were not in my own family.
Last Sunday was a big wake up call for me in regards to that.
It was the 5th Sunday, so no lesson to follow and we decided it would be good to do a meet the teacher Sharing Time and I figured we'd figure out a few things and mostly play it by ear.
Anyone who has not been living on another planet already knows what happened next.
It was chaotic, noisy and kids were either acting up or bored.
Some of the teachers were not happy.
Mittens were flung in faces, cute little handouts were torn and the Senior Primary enjoyed some 'loud laughter' when they were supposed to be listening.
I started out confident and quickly fell into a repeated dialog of saying "I'm sorry about this...I'm I became more and more self- conscious and panicked on the inside. I wasn't losing my composure or anything, but I was in way over my head. I have so much to learn and one of those things is that winging it in Sharing Time doesn't work. You can't just bring a bag of chocolate and everyone overlooks the dumb things you do or say and you can't just plan on the Spirit taking over in the same kind of way it does in Relief Society of Gospel Doctrine. You can't do it without the Holy Ghost, but of you don't have a plan and something for the Lord to help you with, it's not going to be the kind of experience you were hoping for, and the kids won't get what they need from Primary, either.
And we all survived it, but I was struggling to not just run away last week by Singing Time.
At one point, I sat with a class in the front row, just to listen to the songs. From behind me, a little  4 year old girl with blond hair and a plaid dress came up to me. I didn't know her name, just what family she was from. She came up to me and cupped her little hands and sweetly took my face in them and looked me directly in the eyes and said "You're okay."
Then she said "I'm going to sit right here." and she moved my arms and sat on my lap and started to sing with the other kids.
My heart stopped racing like a rabbit and I stopped being so aware that I was screwing up so badly. I felt the Holy Ghost and the peace that comes when he tells you in the middle of a storm that you're okay.
When they started to sing "Once There Was a Snowman" and we needed to stand, she took my hand and said "I'm right here." When the song ended, she hopped back on my lap.
Sharing time was a disaster, but I was okay.  In spite of everything, I knew that my Father in Heaven had sent sweet little J over to calm the storm I was feeling and feeding in my soul and to bring me back to peace.
As I've spent the week trying to figure out the changes I need to make and the work I need to do so that Primary is the kind of experience it needs to be and so that I can learn who I need to become through this- my heart is led by Little J's kindness. Her simple act of love to the tall crazy new lady in 6 inch  heels with no clue what she is doing did more for putting me on the right path and in the right spirit than any of the teaching helps I have studied or Ensign articles I've read. She was touched by the Holy Ghost, and she acted on it and that simple act has made all of the difference for me.
Tomorrow is a new day, a new year and a fresh start.
I am okay.
He is right here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


On this, the first day of the year in which I will spend 365 days being 40 I hereby announce my resolutions, dreams and plans that will undoubtedly go awry for 2013.....

I'm not going to be able to maintain my 'announcer voice' for the rest of this post. I'm too hopped up on Christmas Chocolate that we bought too much of because it was 70% off at Target. 

Did you know they make peppermint M&M's?
They were marked down to $1.45 a bag.
You're welcome.

They also had all of the Hickory Farms smoked sausages on clearance and while I think the stuff is vile, at a dollar and a half for almost a pound of smoked meat that normally costs almost 10 bucks, we stocked up and put a bunch of it in the freezer. That will either work or it won't, I guess we'll find out. 

So, what do I resolve this year?

I resolve to make sure my family hears that I love them every day. 
(Okay, that's an easy one because they hear it probably 20 times a day, but I need to communicate with those still in Utah more of my love for them. )

I resolve to listen more, especially in Primary. Sister O isn't the best example of reverence. I am going to work on this, big time. 

I resolve to read the Book of Mormon, and to read every day.

I resolve to snail mail at least one letter or care package a month to either family or a missionary.

I resolve to open up my home more and stop being so freaked out about that. I have issues, I'm working on them and resolve to make greater strides in that.

I resolve to not watch any TV shows with the word 'housewives' in it. 
I resolve to index names at least once a week- even 10 minutes is good, I just need to make it a stronger habit, because I really enjoy it, I just forget to do it when Pinterest is seducing me with pictures of bacon wrapped goodness and dream homes made out of wooden pallets. 

I think that's really it for resolutions.
 I've done a 'one little word' type of resolution every year for a long time, but I can't really think of one today. 

Maybe, after the long and painful day I had yesterday, my one little word should just be "floss."