Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Finding Happiness

Well it has certainly been a while since I wrote in my blog. Lately my life has been filled with joy and stress abounding. I was delighted to finally close on my house and get all moved in before Christmas and blessed to be able to marry my best friend on Christmas Eve. Things were a bit stressful around here trying to get boxes unpacked and get everything organized before our wedding in our living room in front of our Christmas tree.

I have found myself beyond happy at this time in my life and I have been reflecting a lot as to why now is different than previous times in my life. I have learned a few things about myself as well as other people around me. I have always considered myself the type of person that chose to be happy and convinced myself that every morning, no matter what happens, I would be happy. This choice has gotten me through some difficult times. Not that I was able to always be happy. Heaven knows dealing with changes like my baby girl growing up and moving out was sometimes too much for me to bear. I did however have some really great friends around me to encourage me to look forward and keep moving when my emotions stunted me. I am also very grateful that I was able to use my talents of music to work through my emotions at that time.

I am so very grateful that I have the friends that I do and even more grateful now that I have the wonderful husband that I do in Ryan. I learned that for me a true sense of happiness can only come when I am serving and nurturing others. When my amazing daughter Brittnie grew up and moved out I felt very lost and unsure of what to do with myself. I no longer had someone depending on me for their daily care. My mother put it pretty clearly when she said "It feels like someone cut off your arm when your kids move out". A huge part of my life was suddenly missing.

Thanks to a fun girls night out for karaoke I met the man that would fill my need for someone to care for and nurture. To those of you who do not yet know my amazing husband Ryan, let me tell you a little bit about him. Ryan is a wonderful man who always sees others needs before his own and would rather go hungry than see anyone else, whether he knows them or not, go hungry. I have seen numerous times that he has provided a meal for someone struggling or even just gave his last little bit of money to someone who needed it more than he did. I don't think there is ever a time when he passes a homeless person and doesn't wonder how he can help them right then and then act on it immediately. I also see him instilling these same values to his ten year old daughter constantly. Ryan is also a combat veteran who has seen some horrible things and lost 13 of his fellow brothers while deployed overseas as a soldier. This is caused my amazing husband severe PTSD. Knowing a little how this can effect you from my own personal past I understand him a bit more than the average person would. I understand that he needs to be encouraged and nurtured and loved more than a typical husband would need to be. Strangely enough I need to be able to encourage and nurture and love someone more than the average wife would need to. It's who I am. I must have someone to care for to be truly happy. I found my someone and my life has never felt more perfect.

Certainly caring for a combat veteran is not for the average person. I think you must be endowed with an extra spoonful of understanding and two extra spoonfuls of patience and you have to be able to function on less sleep than the average person. I have honestly been grateful that he needs me as much as he does. I found my perfect match, someone who needs me as much as I need to be needed. I am blessed that he is also incredibly grateful for everything that I do for him. Just typical wife stuff like cooking and keeping a clean home seem to be things that he really appreciates and he refuses to let me get the final word in who loves who more. He may think he loves me more but really I love him more and more every day for the wonderful man that he is and the wonderful example he is setting for his daughter about how to live life.

So in closing just remember that happiness is different for every person. For me happiness is having someone who really needs me and loves that I care for their needs. I need to be needed. Happiness is also found by doing things for others. Ryan has already earned every single thing I could do for him by his willingness to care for all the others he has helped in their time of need. I am truly happy now and very very grateful that I met the man of my dreams that completes my life.

I urge each and every one of you to find that one thing that you need to make you happy and seek it. Help others, give your time and your last dollar to someone less fortunate than you and you will find you get more for that time and that dollar than you ever would have if you had spent it on yourself.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Adventures In House Hunting (Where the hell is my home sweet home?)

I must admit that the title of this post is a bit misleading. The last thing I would call house hunting at this point is an adventure. It has become more of a nightmarish headache of epic proportions! I am amazed at how many houses are available in my price range. The only downside is that 99.9% of them are in severe gang territory. UMMMMMM I think I will pass on those ones. Call me crazy but maybe if everyone jacked up their prices in those areas the gang members couldn't afford to buy ten houses each and ruin the areas!

I am getting to the point that I am beyond frustration now. It seems that every single time I find a little home to suit my needs in a good area some other person has swiped it before I can get it. This is getting very tiring. I am now telling myself that it is going to take a miracle to actually find a house, and get it. That way every stinking time I don't get one I am hoping for I will just let it slide and be like " Psht yeah I didn't want that stupid house anyway!"

House shopping has got to be the closest thing ever to playing the lottery. Your odds of getting the one you want are slim to none. Actually I think that I have had better luck playing the lottery since there was that one time I won 1500 bucks on a scratch off ticket when I lived in Colorado.

Right now I am literally in a room so small with so few of my personal items which are all sitting in storage and it's driving me bonkers. I literally have to climb over myself to get to anything in here. You should see me do it, I am getting quite flexible. Big shout out here to Zach and Kelly for putting me up while I house hunt.

The saddest truth here is I am actually starting to miss my crappy little dive apartment in Brigham City. We all never thought those words would come out of my mouth. Like ever!

Alas the hunt continues, looking at two more houses tomorrow and I may just sit on their porches and beat off anyone who dares to think they can even view the house much less put an offer in before I decide or put mine in first. Murder while home shopping should be legalized. At least it would allow some way for the buyers to work out their frustrations over the hunt and failure to secure the homes they want that I am sure we all feel during this process.

So here I sit as frustrated as I could be with my lender just waiting to hand me a check since I've already done everything on that end to have the closing happen as fast as possible.

Will this hunt never end? I am not asking for much, just my own freaking kitchen to cook at least Christmas dinner in since Thanksgiving dinner has now been pushed out of the running. I would be so happy to have a new home by December that I would willingly put up my Christmas tree early rather than wait till two days before Christmas like my typical bah humbug self usually does.

But in all honesty if I can get a house before Christmas the tree is gonna go on the freaking roof since it's the only thing I will be purchasing for Christmas.


I just want a house................ why must the universe taunt me so..............


Monday, March 7, 2016

Things I never got caught doing as a kid and I am too old to be punished for now.....

Shooting the bull.

Certainly we have all had our moments of shooting the bull with a sibling or friend but for my family that literally meant shooting the bull with BB guns. I suppose I had it coming when I rounded the corner into the barn and the bull tried to climb the gate to kill me. He was pissed and scared the holy beejeebus out of me. Uncle Randy happened to be there and quickly got him under control with a two by four to the head.

Haystack Forts

Growing up on a farm we of course had haystacks everywhere and while we were sternly advised not to do so me and Jeremy always made awesome forts inside them. A piece of plywood here and some two by fours there to hold the weight of the "ceiling" and we were good to go and had the perfect place to hide when it was time for chores. Dani enjoyed these with us a little bit but poor Charlie with his hay-fever didn't join in the fun. So we always had a place to hide from him. As it turns out we all discovered that the man who yelled at us constantly not to make them, we call him Dad, did exactly the same thing when he was a kid.
This was information that we all were made aware of at my uncles funeral. I don't even want to hear about it Dad, you should have been out there giving us building pointers as far as I am concerned!

Making Mindy look silly on Sundays during sacrament meeting.

She loved to have her back scratched so if there were two siblings next to her one of us would scratch her back while the other one methodically ratted her hair small strand by small strand. She had long thick hair so it looked utterly ridiculous to have it long and somewhat curly with a huge snarl that was at least eight inches wide at the bottom and easily five inches high. You would think she would have learned not to let us do this. I guess she just liked her back scratched too much.

Killing the stupid rooster.

While unintentional I didn't like that little bugger so I was not and still am not at all sorry for killing it.
Each day we would be sent to gather the eggs. The moment you opened the chicken coop that stupid rooster would come after you and peck you to pieces. I had completely had it with him one day and when he came I booted him a little too hard, he hit the wall and slid down and didn't move again. I was probably about 12 or maybe 13 years old then. That night Mom had gone out to check for more eggs and I will never forget her words. "That damn rooster finally died!" I just kept my mouth shut. They know now that it was me. I believe they found out about a year ago.

I feel totally safe now letting the cat out of the bag so to speak regarding my naughtiness as a kid since the statute of limitations has passed on all my offenses. That and I can now out run my parents. Well maybe not Dad since he still has the energy of a 25 year old. Mom, just don't share this with Dad because I don't want him taking his ape like hand to the top of my head to "turn me around" to face the consequences. 






Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Traveler



THE TRAVELER 
By Janalee Peterson

LAST NIGHT I DREAMED A DREAM
WHERE I TRAVELED DOWN TWO ROADS
BOTH REQUIRED SACRIFICE
AND BOTH HELD HEAVY LOADS
WITH LOADS STRAPPED TO MY BACK
MY HEART HELD IN MY HANDS
ONE FOOT BEFORE THE OTHER
EACH JOURNEY I BEGAN
THE PATHWAY ON THE RIGHT
REMAINED UNCHANGED EACH DAY
THERE WAS NO FEAR NOR BEAUTY
AS I TRAVELED ON MY WAY
AND IN MY HANDS MY TENDER HEART
DID FIRMLY ALWAYS STAY
THE PATHWAY TO THE LEFT
LOOKED A DAUNTING TASK INDEED
BUT MY HEART WHICH I HELD IN MY HANDS SAID
TO PROCEED IS TO SUCCEED
ALAS MY HEART I HAD TO LAY ASIDE
ALONG THE TRAIL AND LEAVE IT THERE
AS ITS OWN HEAVINESS WITHIN
WAS TOO MUCH FOR ME TO BEAR
I CONTINUED ON AND UPWARDS
MY HANDS HELD TO THE STRAPS
TO THE BAG WHICH HELD THE BURDENS
THAT I CARRIED ON MY BACK
THE PEAKS WERE ALWAYS STUNNING AS I RESTED
EACH TIME MY BURDEN TO UNLOAD
BUT I WISHED MY HEART WAS WITH ME
INSTEAD OF LEFT THERE ON THE ROAD
AS I CONTINUED ON THE PATH
THE DEPTHS FELT LIKE DESPAIR
ALL I COULD DO WAS TRUDGE AHEAD
AND WISH MY HEART WAS THERE
AT LAST THE ROAD HAD ENDED
MY JOURNEY AT AN END
I SAT ALONG THAT DUSTY TRAIL
AND FELT THE EMPTINESS WITHIN
AS I QUIETLY REFLECTED ON THE JOURNEY
WHICH I HAD BEEN
THE BEAUTY THAT I HAD SEEN AND
THE JOYS THAT I HAD KNOWN
AND EVEN OF MY DARKEST THOUGHTS
WHEN I HAD FELT ALONE
THE JOURNEY DOWN THE OTHER PATH
HELD NO BEAUTY NOR DESPAIR
THE ONLY THING IT OFFERED
WAS THAT MY HEART WAS ALWAYS THERE
I HELD MY HEAD UP HIGH
KNOWING WHERE I HAD BEEN
AND THOUGHT PERHAPS THE STRENGTH I’D GAINED
COULD FILL THE EMPTINESS WITHIN
THEN I SAW OFF IN THE DISTANCE
ALONG THE TRAIL ON WHICH I HAD BEEN
COME A SMILING WEARY TRAVELER
WHO CARRIED MY HEART WITH HIM
MA’AM I BELIEVE THAT YOU FORGOT THIS
ALONG THE DUSTY ROAD
I DIDN’T MIND CARRYING IT FOR YOU THOUGH
BECAUSE IT HELPED ME BEAR MY LOAD

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Don't Make Me Turn This Car Around.....................

If you were ever a child then chances are you probably had at least one family road trip. If you weren't ever a child then please say hello to the mother ship for me and I hope you've come in peace.

Growing up with a mother from Virginia who had a twin in California we spent many summers on the road to visit her side of the family.

Adventures were to be had on every trip and the memories made were of course priceless. I will say that I am very lucky to have been able to have so many adventures as a kid. Mom and dad certainly did their best to take us kids to some really amazing places along the way that without them I would not even realize existed.

This post however is not about those adventures. This is about the time between the destinations..... the car...........

Family car trips generally started the same each time. Mom would wake us all up at the crack of 3 AM and we would all trudge to the car fully dressed because none of us bothered to put on pjs knowing what was coming the next day. In tow we would also have our pillows and blankets and something to entertain ourselves. That something was generally a toy or book and by day two in the car it was used mainly to hit other siblings with. I preferred books myself as they caused more damage to the other siblings.

Now six children attempting to sleep in the back of a Dodge Caravan required a Tetris like skill by mom to determine who sat where and how we slept. Our baby sister Danielle was only a small child so she sat on moms lap when she was awake and when she needed to sleep she slept on a tiny cradle mattress by the sliding door in the car. Safety first! I don't think we even had a car seat in the car with her on trips.....ever.

My older brother Jeremy would lay in the very back on top of bags and blankets. That was his precious area that none of us were allowed to invade. My baby brother Charlie however, managed to invade it from the front of the van with a slight flick of his wrist.

It had grown quite late and Jeremy had made his way back to his nest to sleep and was undoubtedly slumbering soundly. Once again, our family motto of safety first meant that Charlie who was about three at the time was wandering the front of the van between mom and dads seats. He reached up and began to fiddle with the radio which dad had turned down so low that it may have well been turned off. Charlie twisted the volume knob all the way with one swoop and at the same moment Jeremy, who's ear had been resting directly against a speaker, shot straight up, flat as a rail, and almost seemed to hit the roof of the van.
As his younger sister who he relentlessly pestered I found great satisfaction in seeing that happen and chuckled to myself. Dad shut off the radio and we all settled back down.

While on a different trip sharing the back seat with my baby sister Danielle who was probably seven or eight we had determined that just stretching out end to end would be the most comfortable way to sleep. I awoke to her snuggling my foot like a teddy bear and kissing it. Awkward to say the least. Being the good sister that I am, I remind her of that often. I mean, what kind of sister would I be if I let her forget such a precious memory?

Gross things happen on car trips, like really gross things, things we shouldn't talk about and yet I am gonna talk about them. I am a rebel like that.

Imagine if you will a place where smells collide one siblings odor to another and three days of funk permeates the air. Only the occasional stop for gas would allow us to sponge ourselves off in the bathroom. That is a task that few young children will do willingly or without having to be reminded. Things got pretty funky in the car for sure. The small two inch gap that the rear windows angled opened to was sheer heaven if you were lucky enough to sit by a window that you could put your face by.

After a particularly badly needed rest stop we were all in good form and we had all made a quick change of clothes since we would be arriving at Grandma and Grandpas house that evening. We wanted to look as good as you possibly could after traveling three days by car without stopping. As you can imagine we all arrived pretty haggard looking. But I digress. We had just made our stop and mom had grabbed a few drinks for us kids to go with our homemade sandwiches that she made us. Charlie grabbed his drink of orange juice and guzzled it rather quickly. It was quite a large drink for such a small three year old. Do you know what happens when you put 12 ounces of juice in a 6 ounce package and add a dose of shaking car to the mix? Yep, you guessed it. Tragedy!

Charlie leaned over moms shoulder and began to announce that he didn't feel good. What came out was "Mom, I don't feel very bleeeehhhhhhhhhh............." Poor mom! Covered now in stomach acid rendered orange juice and all she could muster was "Lovely, it's in my garments." Dad stopped as soon as he could for her to change again but the smell permeated the car the rest of the night. Charlie was forced to hold a garbage bag the rest of the way as well just in case he needed to open the floodgates again. Needless to say when we arrived we were all very grateful to get out of that van.

On a subsequent trip it was dad that grossed both me and Danielle out. Sitting directly behind him with Danielle next to me. Everyone was in a pretty decent mood. No children had been threatened to be "left in Kansas and picked up on the way back" if we didn't knock it of so things were going well. Dad was just driving along and sneezed into his hand and of course wiping it on his jeans would have been just gross so he instead wiped it down the back of his head. I glanced up and immediately my gag reflex took over. I tried to say Mom but it just wouldn't come out past Mo ugh Mo ugh Mo ugh. I tapped Danielle and pointed and she then saw the horror of what I was seeing. The big grey green booger in the back of his hair, and I mean BIG. She yelled out "Gross!!! Mom, dad has a giant booger in his hair!" Mom looked and all she could say was "Oh Rodney!", then handed him a napkin to wipe it out. Thinking back on that now still triggers my gag reflex.

On one particularly awesome trip to California I managed to get the worst sunburn of my life. I was ten and we had spent a fantastic day at the beach with my mothers twin and I ended up with blisters the size of quarters covering my back and down the back of my legs. It was incredibly painful. There was no way that I would have been able to sit on the ride home so I was grateful that this trip only had me and my two younger siblings in the back. Charlie was five and Danielle was three. I was laying face down on the center seat in the van. My back and legs were covered with burn cream and gauze. I was in quite a bit of pain and in that haze I didn't notice that my little brother was playing on the back of the seat and laying across it. All it took was one slight tap of the brakes and Charlie landed right on my back popping the majority of my blisters. I thought I was in agony before but I was quickly schooled on what real pain was. I screamed out and broke into tears instantly as the pain hit me and it was only worsened as he moved and scrambled across my tender skin to get off of me. I just sobbed and sobbed in pain. Dad found a rest stop and mom took me into the ladies room and ever so gently yanked the gauze off my back as quickly as she could. I almost fainted with that pain that caused. She did her best to cover the now open blisters on my back with petroleum jelly and once again covered me in gauze. Charlie was terrified to go near me the remainder of the trip. I hope you all see now why I tried to drown him in the last post.

So while this post is not quite as hilarious as my previous posts, I wanted to talk about my nightmares and get them out. After all, 9 out of 10 counselors say that talking about trauma helps you forget it.....


Monday, December 28, 2015

Living life in Neutral Five

So there I was, perched at the top of the hill overlooking Twin Lakes....


Wait, wait, wait... back up. We need to start at the beginning.

Growing up I was lucky enough to live less than a mile from Twin Lakes in Clifton Idaho. This quaint little reservoir was surrounded by gentle rolling hills on all sides. Which I might add are very fun to play on with motorcycles and four wheelers going up and around the burms created by other riders.

It was actually quite rare that we hit the lake as a family although many of us went on our own or with our ward youth groups. On this particular occasion we packed all us kids into the car with our cousins Jamie and Stacey and Erin and Aunt Tracey and headed to the lake.

It was sheer pandemonium as the water was invaded and screaming peals of delight from happy kids ensued while the beginnings of sunburns took hold. After a few hours boredom sets in when your mother has repeatedly yelled at you to not drown your sibling. You realize that no matter how hard you try you just can't get them to drown without splashing and drawing her attention. So for yet another day Charlie would live.

Since drowning Charlie was now off the docket, my older brother Jeremy and I decided to climb the rolling hill directly behind where we were enjoying our lake time and see what our house looked like from up there. Apparently in our mind this would be a grand adventure and surely our house would look like a tiny little speck from the top of that miniature Everest.

Off we headed and up we climbed, our feet slipping and sliding in the soft sand and weaving our way around the cactus plants and sagebrush till finally our ascent brought us to the peak of that massive ridge. Okay it was really more like a bald mans head halfway buried and not that much of a ridge at all. We stared down at our house, which for the record looks exactly the same from that peak as it does from a mile down the road from our driveway.

After that giant let down of a view and precious energy spent to climb that hill my brother decided to head back down. As he started walking he told me that when I come down to make sure I walk sideways.
AS IF!!!  Why on earth would I ever take advice from him? I was certain that he was just trying to make me look like a fool when I decided to come down and that he would laugh at me. If there was one thing I knew for sure it was that he could not be trusted. I had been locked in enough closets and been given enough wedgies by him to know that was the most sure thing. Never trust Jeremy ran right through my mind.

By the time I determined that I would head down he was about a third of the way down the hill so I just set forth one foot in front of the other, clomping each foot down, facing forward. Wow I was amazed how easy going down was and I was making great time! Like really great time! Hell, I was running! Oh crap I was running and I couldn't stop! Like a blur I whizzed past him trying to grab his arm and ending up only with a large portion of his skin under my fingernails as my hand tore into his arm in an effort to stop. It failed.

What I succeeded in doing was throwing myself off balance and now instead of running I was tumbling and sliding, end over end, cactus after cactus. It was at this time I could hear someone screaming at the top of their lungs in fear. Turns out that was me. My bruised and scraped body came to a stop at the bottom of the hill with one final slide into home that would make a professional baseball player proud. My thigh looked like hamburger and blood and dirt covered me.

From somewhere in the distance I heard my five year old brother Charlie scream out, "Wow! Did you see that! She came down that hill in NEUTRAL FIVE!!!!"

My ego was as badly bruised and as bloody as my leg. Jeremy made it down yelling, " You moron! I told you to walk sideways!" He actually had the nerve to say it like he had earned the right to be trusted!
"Shut up Jeremy", was all I could muster. Mom ran to me and as tenderly as she could she advised me to go sit in the lake. You know, she just wanted to make sure every possible bacteria and germ had its equal chance to enter my raw and chewed up thigh. Like a moron I sat in the lake as they packed up the stuff and we got into the car to head home and treat my wounds.

We arrived home and mom said, "Go run a warm bath and put baking soda in it with you and soak for a few minutes to get it clean". I followed her instructions and did just that. I found out years later that while I was nursing my wounds they sat in the car and laughed at me for quite some time.

Go figure, for some strange reason this nasty wound which covered then entire right side of my thigh got nice and infected and I wound up at the doctors office having it scrubbed and having gravel, yes gravel removed from it. Ouch again. I am very lucky not to have a scar on my leg from that incident but I will tell you this, I have learned that I can go through life in NEUTRAL FIVE and survive!!!

Neutral Five has now become a family saying to remind us to slow the hell down when we start acting out of control and patent is pending on the phrase. Okay not really but maybe I will look into patenting it.





Monday, September 21, 2015

Mouse Print Fudge

Growing up you could always count on Mom to make delicious homemade treats on a fairly regular basis. One of our favorites was ice cream and homemade fudge sauce. On one particular night Mom had made a particularly delicious batch of fudge sauce and I believe she had doubled the batch to save some for the following evening. Somehow it didn't manage to get put away before everyone went to bed.

It sat in the pan overnight on the stove and was enjoyed by more than just us kids. Now in the past we would have of course gone straight to the fridge to get ourselves a large spoonful to savor before Mom caught us (yeah we were sneaky like that) but this time we noticed a horrible sight of the fudge left out. When we approached we noticed a small divot out of the fudge surrounded by tiny footprints that appeared to have been dancing around with excitement at the discovery. Some little mouse surely had a tummy ache that morning considering it had gorged itself on all that fudge.

Alas with no desire to eat the fudge after seeing the tracks Charlie and Danielle started stirring it up.
After several minutes of playing with it we heard Jeremy coming upstairs and didn't think much of it. They continued playing in it and before we could say "Bob's my uncle" Jeremy had gotten a very large spoonful of the fudge and put it in his mouth.

We stood their silent and motionless and our mouths were probably slightly agape at the sight of our big brother eating Mouse Print Fudge.  I think I was the one who declared "EWWWW! A MOUSE WALKED ALL OVER IN THAT!"

A look of sheer terror crossed his face as he bolted for the sink to spit it out and attempted to sterilize his mouth with scalding hot water. After several mouthfuls of water he finally turned on us with a vengeance. Now clearly this was not warranted as we didn't have even a split second to warn him before he let his own gluttony put him in that situation but alas I still wound up with a dead arm because he had caught me when Charlie and Danielle manage to escape and he punched my arm till all feeling was gone.

Mom at that point had walked down and asked what was going on and I told her a mouse was in the fudge and it was bad and Jeremy ate some. She scolded him for eating it and I just kept my mouth shut as I really didn't want to lose feeling in both arms.