Monday, October 31, 2016

Roll Call!

On this, the final day of October, the 31 day writing challenge comes to an end. I made it 30/31 days. If I were being graded, that would be a 97, and that's 'A' work. I'm pretty happy with that.

I thought that now would be a good time to do two things:

#1. Review my goals for blogging

#2. Guilt trip you into commenting

Review my goals for blogging.

As a blogger, I've always had some unofficial guidelines I've tried to abide by. They've adapted over the years as society and culture have changed, but there are a few things I'd like to always have as standards here.

1. I write because I enjoy it. If this ever changes, I need to have the courage to move on. (It's been 11 years since I started blogging, and I'm still here, so don't worry).

2. I never want this to be a place of contention.

3. I will not be ashamed of my faith or my beief system.

4. I will try to be an influence for good.

5. I will always "keep it real." I want my readers to be able to come here and laugh, to read my words and feel relieved, and to never perceive me as fake or intimidating.

6. I will not write negatively about my body (don't mistake writing "matter of factly" with writing negatively, I think there's a difference).

I do not live this creed perfectly, but I do my best! This will be my go-to post for when I need a reminder.

Guilt trip you into commenting

Okay, so we all know commenting isn't the "thing" anymore. I'm guilty, too. It's so much work, with our modern-day luxuries, to type words in a comment box on a blog post. 

I get it, I really do.

But here's the thing, I like to know you're here. It keeps me going! So just this once (and perhaps annually for the rest of time), I'm going to ask you for validation. 

So I'll give you some options.

You can comment "roll call" style and simply say, "Here!" (You don't even have to use capitalization or an explanation point - see how easy I'm making this)?

Or you can answer this question:  If you were going to give a TED talk, what would your subject be? 

Hmmm..... I'm not sure I laid the guilt on thick enough, but in all honesty, I don't think I have to. Because I know how awesome you are, and you don't need any of that guilt nonsense (is this a manipulative tactic right here)?

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hashtags I Missed

Since I didn't keep up with my hashtag posts, today I thought I'd do some of the ones I missed...

When I have a parking voucher on my dashboard and my belly honks the horn when I'm trying to lean forward to retrieve it. #makesmemad

As a teen, I met some boys at the ice rink. I told them I was a hockey player, and any time they called me to invite me to do something, I told them I couldn't go because I was practicing for the Olympics. #mydumblie

I've been waiting 12 years for skinny jeans to go away. #thereisaidit

I always rush my children into bigger diaper sizes because bigger diapers can hold more. #dontjudgeme

One time, one of our rabbits escaped into the neighbor's yard. She came over and made me give a full description of the rabbit before she would return it. I said it was brown, and she said, "Are you sure it's not gold?" #myweirdneighbor

My brother wears a kilt. Rumor has it that there's nothing on underneath. I'm not going to question this. #mysiblingisweird

I don't like reading to my kids. #myparentfail

One of my friends and I have matching mugs that say "Poop buddies forever." #myweirdfriend

"Finish your fries or you can't have any pizza." Yes. I said that. #momquotes

Rachael, I miss you! #hadtodoit

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Do Tell - Bad Borrower

Since I'm taking a statistics class this semester, I needed a decent calculator.

When the semester started, I dug through a basket of random electronics and came across a TI-86. I thought it was from when Scotty was in school, but as we discussed the calculator, he claimed it wasn't his, it was mine. I knew it wasn't mine because I've never owned a scientific calculator in my life!

...but I did borrow one in junior college for my algebra classes...

And that's when I realized that, for thirteen years, I've had someone's calculator, and I don't even remember whose it is!

Occasionally during my life, I've been a bad borrower.

There was the time in high school I borrowed a friend's dance shoes and never returned them. I kept them for a few years after graduation and then finally threw them away to purge myself of the guilt.

There was another time when I borrowed my cousin's copy of Write for College (apparently I've needed a lot of help in college) and never returned it (I took it to the thrift store last year) (cousin, if you're reading this and want your book back, let me know, and I'll buy you a new one).

And twice I've borrowed something from my in-laws (once a book and once a movie), and I've kept it for over a year, so I've snuck it back into their house and put it on the shelf as not to draw attention to how long I'd had it.

Overall, though, I'm a decent borrower. My worst fault is that I sometimes take too long to return things, but my track record is mostly clean. I try to not borrow things from people if I think I'll have difficulty in returning it.

However, I know some people who are terrible borrowers. In fact, I have two friends whom, if I let borrow something, I have to just consider it a gift to them, or I have to give them a date and time for when I will pick the item up from them, and then I have to text them a few reminders leading up to it.

So what kind of borrower are you? What has tainted your record? Do tell!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Updates to Previous Posts

I've kept up pretty well with the 31 day writing challenge, and I've gotten pretty pumped up about blogging again. I'm amazed that when I transitioned from the hashtags (which I thought would be just for a post or two) that I ended up continuing to write actual posts. I think part of the reason I've been able to do that is because I'm starting to feel passionate about things again. Hooray!

The month is coming to a close soon, and I probably won't keep writing at this rate, but I might write a little more often than I was prior to this challenge. I feel like I'm getting some of my blogging groove back, and as long as you, dear readers, are content to read my mindless banter, we can continue enjoying this journey.

For today, I have some updates on some of my previous posts...

Connecting to people through this post was an amazing experience. I don't often share my blog posts on facebook, but for this particular post, I did. The outpouring of love I received in return was incredible. I had a few comments here and a few comments on facebook, but additionally, I had a lot of people text me, message me, call me, and approach me in person. I heard from people that I never would have thought were struggling with the same thing - people I admire and look up to and want to be like! I also had a lot of men respond to my post, which was really cool.

I'm happy to report that my gross problem has cleared up really nicely. Antifungal cream is the bees knees! Who knew? (No, really, did you know? Because I really didn't know!)

I bought a new yoga mat and tried it our at PiYo for the first time today.

Target didn't have the accessory I needed for my Halloween costume, so I had to improvise a little bit. It worked out, though, and I wore my costume to a party at my mom's house last weekend, and I won a prize!

Right after I interviewed Scotty, he started interviewing me. Then he fell asleep. Right in the middle of Question 8.

So there's a draft somewhere of my interview that might be completed someday if Scotty can ever stay awake long enough to do so.

Our pack meeting the other night turned out really well. We had a lot of positive feedback. The kids really liked the science experiments, and our mad scientist brought a few bonus items - a cow heart and four cow eyes. I was a little nervous about this, but everyone thought they were really cool. The weird part, though, was when I had to leave an iced cooler on my porch while I took my girls to the dentist so the "scientist" could leave them at my house. I came home from the dentist and checked to see if I'd received a delivery, and yep - there was a bag of cow parts in the cooler on my porch.


(I feel like I need to add that these organs were obtained via permit for educational purposes)

Sadly, we didn't get a single photo from pack meeting. Scotty and I are both pretty busy during pack meeting, so I think I might have to find someone in the ward to be our pack meeting photo guru (our former one moved, and I thought I could fill the void myself, but it's not happening!)

There are a couple of pictures on my phone that would be really great in this post, but since I can't use my phone right now, I'll have to sneak them into another post someday.

Have a good weekend, everyone! I'll be back tomorrow...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Phone Woes

Last night my phone took a dunk in the toilet.

This isn't the first time I've dropped my phone in the potty, but it's the first time for this particular phone. I don't remember if I've mentioned it here on the blog, but in the spring, my trusty old Blackberry died (yes, that would be the spring of this current year... 2016), and I got an iPhone.

Quick side story: every time I went to the dentist, I would get my Blackberry out and set it next to me while I was in the chair in case my babysitter tried to reach me, and every time my young, trendy hygienist saw my phone, she would comment about how cute it was that I still used a Blackberry. I was really excited when I went to the dentist last month, and I got to say, "Surprise! Look what I have!"

Part of the reason I kept the Blackberry so long was because I knew once I upgraded, my phone would become a life line, and I wanted to avoid that as long as possible. I don't like the idea of being dependent on my phone, but at the same time, my phone has really enhanced my life. It's my alarm clock, it's my camera, it's my music source, it's my flashlight, and I even have my textbook for Family and Community Relations on my phone. My phone is extremely useful, and I never use it for frivolous things like making funny videos of myself or texting poop memes to my friends... ahem...

Anyway, I'm doing the trusty old rice thing, and in the mean time, since I don't have access to my reminders, I need someone to come knock on my door at 12:50 and remind me that my kids get out of school early today. How am I supposed to remember anything without my phone?!?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Currently {October 2016 Edition}

Reading: The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. I am getting through it so slowly but not due to lack of interest. 

Watching: nothing! Gasp! I am equal parts relieved and saddened that I don't currently have a show. I like to have something on while I fold and put away laundry, but I can't even handle laundry right now. If I showed you a picture of my bedroom, you would cry for me. 

Imagine this: eight baskets of laundry in stacks on the floor. In walks a three-year-old girl who wants a very specific pair of Minnie Mouse pants. The three-year-old girl empties every basket of laundry onto the floor, finds her beloved pants, and then decides to wear something completely different.

Yeah... that was on Saturday. Today is Wednesday. The mess remains.  

Procrastinating: making my children's well-child appointments for the year.

Wanting: pants that fit and look good. Is that too much to ask? I need to get about ten pounds off so I can fit in my pants from last year, but since I eat four pounds of Halloween candy every time I take a statistics quiz (which is four times a week), that ain't gonna happen any time soon.  

Craving: a big, fat cup of water.

Wearing: capris that have a crotch that's going to split any day now.  

Relieved by: having the worst of my homework for the week DONE so I'll be able to focus on pack meeting prep for the rest of the day (I have several things due on Wednesday nights, but look at me! I did it all early! Woot woot!)

Stressing about: pack meeting, November birthday poster, and a birthday.

Missing: Lost. Did I ever tell you that I finished watching it through from beginning to end? 

Well, the last season still sucks. I was hoping that changed after six years.

It didn't.

The rest of the show was really great, though.

Excited to: watch the Gilmore Girls next month. In fact, I am so excited that I'm currently coaching myself through a calming breathing technique. 

Neglecting: my appearance. I hate wasting time on hair and make-up right now. It's something I often forgo for other things. Then I go to the store and pray I don't run into anyone I know. Unless they are in over-sized sweatpants with greasy hair, too. Then, by all means, let's stop and chat for a while! 

Thankful for: my bed and pianos. 

You see, I really like my bed. I've never been a big napper, and sleep hasn't ever been one of my favorite past times until this year. I can not function without a nap anymore. And at night when I crawl in my bed, I am so happy to be there! I even pray about it and tell Heavenly Father every day that I'm thankful for my bed. No lie.

And the piano! There is something powerful about piano music. I think it's beautiful. At the Maroon 5 concert when they started singing "Sunday Morning," the piano in the song went deep into my soul. 

Looking forward to: GRADUATING!!! It is still a year away, but I'm starting to get e-mails from the school about graduation. Eek!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pack Meeting Prep


I realized at 4:00 this morning that I completely forgot to post yesterday. I forgive myself, though. This week is crazy, and yesterday was the kick-off.

I don't know if I've mentioned it here, but earlier this year, Scotty and I were called (asked by our Church leaders) to serve as Cub Masters in the cub scout program. The biggest of our responsibilities is planning pack meeting once a month.

In case I'm speaking a foreign language (and in case you actually care), the cub scouts are divided by age. Each age group is called a "den." All of the dens in a unit make up a "pack." Once a month, we meet as a pack (with families invited) and give out awards and do an activity.

Scotty and I have a lot of fun planning pack meeting, but I am always a basket case the week before. A few days ago, I finally came up with something to compare pack meeting prep to - it's like planning a children's birthday party every month.

I'm not complaining by any means; I'm just acknowledging that it takes some effort to pull off this monthly event.

This week, we're doing "Adventures in the Mad Lab." We have a guy from church dressing up like a mad scientist and doing science demonstrations. Yesterday, I spent a few hours gathering supplies and costumes and doing test runs of the experiments. Then last night, the "scientist" came over to our house, and we ran through some of the experiments with him.

Hopefully it will be a fun event, but until it's done (and cleaned up), I'm a little stressed.

In trying to plan pack meeting and get the Halloween festivities out of the way, I completely forgot that I have a child with a birthday next week, so I need to get to work on an actual birthday party!


Sunday, October 23, 2016

An Interview with Scotty

As I was getting ready for the bed tonight, I realized I hadn't blogged yet today. I grabbed my lap top and brought it in my bedroom, and then I told Scotty I needed to do some quick writing. Then I interviewed him.

I don't know what kind of impression I've given you about Scotty over the years, but he is a pretty great guy. Here is our interview:

1. What is your favorite movie? 
Charlie and Chocolate Factory (the original)

2. What is the hardest thing you do each week? 
Try to eat healthy

3. What is your favorite way to exercise?
Trail running or hiking in the mountains

4. What is your favorite book? 
Into the Wild

5. What is something you've done that you're really proud of?
Supporting my family and giving you the option of staying home

6. What is your favorite Hymn? 
"Onward Christian Soldiers" and "If You Could Hie to Kolob"

8. If you could win tickets to a concert, what concert would you want to go to?
Carrie Underwood

9. If you could study anything in school without worrying about how much income it would provide later, what would you study?
Forestry or ecosystems

10. Who is someone you really look up to?
My friend, Kyle. He's so uplifting and has a great outlook on life.

11. What are three words that describe you? 
Selfless, dedicated, and funny

12. If you could play someone in a movie or play, who would you want to portray? 
 Jason Bourne

13. If you had $1,000 to go wild with, what would you spend it on?
A gas powered auger and fishing supplies

14. If you could live anywhere in the world other than here, where would you want to live?

15. What current fashion trend bugs you?
Man buns

16. If you could be famous for something, what would you want to be known for?
Curing cancer

17. If you were asked to speak in sacrament meeting and could choose your own topic, what would you like to speak about?
The power of a positive attitude

18. If you could spend two hours one on one with a historical figure, who would you want to hang out with?
I'd like to hang out with Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, or Benjamin Franklin.

19. What's a song that makes you want to dance?
"Can't Stop the Feeling"

20. What's something you wish you could do everyday?
Eat a royal Red Robin burger

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Halloween Prep

It's been a while since I've perused the thrift store, but I usually end up there around Halloween. In preparation for my first of five bazillion Halloween events (when did Halloween become a season instead of just a day? I swear my kids dress up eight different times before the 31st even hits!), I needed to take care of the final touches on my costume.

The thrift store has always provided exactly what I need for Halloween.

When I was the lunch lady, it was like, BAM! Lunch lady dress! BAM! Lunch lady shoes!

  Lunch Lady
{Sloppy joe... sloppy, sloppy joe!}

And when I was Mary Catherine Gallagher, it was like BAM! School girl skirt! BAM! Blazer! BAM! Tie!

Halloween 2008

(Looking back on these two photos, I can see that I have a pattern of poking the lenses out of sunglasses).

So last night I went to the thrift store looking for a dress that I wasn't sure I could find. On one hand the thrift store has yet to fail me on Halloween, but on the other hand, the dress was kind of specific, so I wouldn't have been surprised if I'd had to leave empty-handed and scope out other stores. 

But the thrift store gods provided!

I found a dress, nay, the dress!

And I am pleased. 

But that's not all I walked out with. I came home with two pairs of pajamas for Nicky, three dance leotards for my girls, a set of panel curtains, a hamper, snow pants and a jacket for Daisy, a dress for Eva, unicorn pants for Daisy, Nike high tops for me (although, for the first time ever, I was a little hesitant to buy used shoes due to the gross thing), and a little something silly that I know will come in handy someday when I find the right person to give it to. 

So I guess you could say I got a little "spendy." But wow! It was fun! I went with no kids. Can you imagine the beauty of such a thing?

Anyway, back to the Halloween costume. There is just one final thing I need to find, and I have my heart set on Target. It's my last chance. C'mon Target! You need to have my back on this one!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Would You Rather {special confession edition}

Yesterday I asked a terrible question about which you would rather have between bed bugs, athlete's foot, water warts, or lice.

I am a horrible friend for making you even think about those things, but sometimes I have boundary issues.


I hope no one would choose bed bugs!


Is not what I have.


And since I've never had any of them before, I don't know which is worse between water warts, lice, and athlete's foot. They're all contagious and disturbing.

As for me and my grossness...

I was a little shocked the other day when I googled a phrase that I will not repeat here and found that it was very likely that I have athlete's foot. Fortunately it's mild (as far as I know), and the over-the-counter treatment I bought the next morning has already worked wonders.

But seriously?

Athlete's foot!

To be honest, I had it coming. I go barefoot everywhere. I'm not a germaphobe, by any means, and I probably won't be now, either (ain't nobody got time for that!) but I will be getting a new yoga mat, and I plan on keeping my feet under wraps until I am fully healed so I don't pass it on to anyone.

In the meantime, I live by the mantra:

Put the FUN in FUNGUS.*

*Courtesy of my sister-in-law (the mantra, not the fungus. Although...)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Would You Rather {special gross edition}

Here is a difficult truth...

The older I get, the grosser I get.

I was looking at a picture of myself from high school the other day, and as I glanced at my arm in the photo, I realized there is something drastically different between then and now: I've acquired hundreds of moles! My shoulders and upper arms are covered in them now, and in my seventeen-year-old photo, my shoulders were relatively unspotted.

Another thing I've started experiencing as I've entered my thirties is chafing. Nothing used to rub! Now I have to own products like Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel (which I used to buy to use as make-up primer, but now I use it for primer and chafing prevention) and Body Glide.

Those are just a few examples of the gross things my body has done. There are far more that I can't mention on the internet, but suffice it to say that there are rolls where there used to not be rolls, and there are marks where there used to not be marks, and there are things growing where there used to not be things growing.

Getting old? More like getting gross!

In my gross experiences, I've come up with a "Would You Rather" scenario.

Tell me...


Have bed bugs?

Have athlete's foot?

Have water warts?

Have lice?

All of my life, I've lived in fear of those four things, and I've never had any of them...

...until now.

Are you horrified?

Fortunately, I have the one that I would choose for "Would You Rather" if I had to choose between the four.

I have no idea where I got it from, but it's possible I brought it home as a souvenir from California.

Are you ready?

Well, you'll just have to wait until tomorrow.

(But if you're a grammar buff, you can probably figure it out).

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Disneyland Part XII*

The morning after the Maroon 5 concert last week, we loaded up the van and drove to California and spent a week vacationing with extended family.

On day 1 we arrived in the evening and settled into our condo. Usually we share condos with family, but we ended up having one to ourselves. This was equal parts awesome and lonely. Awesome because we didn't have to worry about our kids waking everyone up, and we had plenty of space, and we could sleep in our underwear and do laundry whenever we wanted. Lonely because we had lots of other family members who were staying on another floor in condos of their own. They were there but not there.

On day 2 we woke up early and headed to the California Science Center. I have plugged the science center before, but it's been a while, so I'll just throw this out there... If you are ever in the LA area with some downtime, go to the California Science Center. It is free (just pay $12 to park), and it is really cool!

California 2016

The museum has some interesting exhibits on space - the types of things that make me completely sure that I am not cut out for space travel, like 185 lb. space suits.

Space Suit

The space shuttle Endeavour is there, which is amazing to see and learn about.

California 2016

Have you ever wondered how astronauts go potty? You can watch a video about it, and see the toilet at the museum. This, above all, is the most fascinating part of the exhibit (I was so enthusiastic about it that I even taught a Family Home Evening lesson about it later that night)!

In another exhibit, there's a touch pool where you can touch star fish and other freakish creatures of the sea.

California 2016

But why would you want to? Cuz sea creatures are Ew!

(I have major starfish aversion. I can't touch them! I just can't!)

Day 3 was spent at the beach. It wasn't the warmest of days, but when you live in Utah and you have the chance to go to the beach, you go rain or shine!

California 2016

California 2016

California 2016

California 2016 

That night, we went to dinner at Ruby's (all 17 of us!) and I loved their deep fried green beans so much that I had to go back a few days later and eat two more orders of them (I left feeling rather ill).

Green Beans

On day 4 we went to Disneyland, and we learned an important lesson. Are you listening? DO NOT GO TO DISNEYLAND ON YOM KIPPUR! It's was crazy crowded, and a lady who works for one of the school districts told me that it's because a lot of the schools are out for Yom Kippur. When we first got there in the morning, it was great, but by 11:00, it was shoulder to shoulder.

Zoe is tall enough to go on the big rides, so she took her first ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. She liked it so much, she got off the ride and planked.

California 2016
(Everyone gets that urge, right?)

On day 5 we went to California Adventure. The crowds were much smaller, but the crowd patterns were really weird. I had to wait in line for 20 minutes just to get fast passes to ride Soarin' Around the World (formerly Soarin' Over California). Tower of Terror was shut down for most of the day, and Little Mermaid was unexpectedly closed for the entire day.

Luckily, Scotty was watching Tower of Terror like a hawk, so when it opened in the afternoon, he was able to grab fast passes. They ended up running out quickly, and the wait was 120 minutes for the rest of the day. Since Tower of Terror is closing soon, it would have been devastating if we hadn't gotten on for one last ride!

California 2016

Sadly, they have already started working on the exterior of the building. I felt like they were burying my grandma alive. Give the Tower some dignity! Sheesh!

Scotty took Zoe on Tower. She hated it (of course), but it was literally a once in a lifetime opportunity, so he had to.

Other than the strange crowd patterns, our day at California Adventure was really great. Oh! Except for one little thing...

Whenever I ride Screamin' with one of the kids, we wait for the front (it is seriously magical)! But when we rode at dusk, we ended up hitting several swarms of bugs with our faces. At the end of the ride, I had to pull dead bugs out of my eyeballs!

California 2016

So here's the lesson. Are you listening? NO FRONT ROW AT DUSK! Let someone else's face break up the swarms!

On day 6 we hung out at the condo for the morning, and my mother-in-law fell in the hot tub with her pants on (she'll be pleased I mentioned that). 

My in-laws flew out in the early afternoon, so it was just my family left. We went to the mall where we enjoyed foot massages at Brookstone, and I took Zoe and Daisy into Sephora and let them put on make-up. 

Day 7 meant it was time to go home. We packed up our van and took the long ride back to Salt Lake. 

This vacation flew by and seemed crazy fast! We feel like we didn't get our fix, so I guess we'll just have to go back again soon!

*An estimate since we have long lost track of how many times our family has been to Disneyland

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Beauty of Not Knowing

I almost let today slip by without writing, which would have been a bummer because, so far, I am on track with my 31 Day Challenge.

Today while I was indulging in my current reading selection, The Distant Hours, I came across a part where the main character, Edie, is looking at a photo from her parents' wedding and thinking about how young they were in the picture and how much they didn't yet know about their lives.

This made me think about Scotty's and my wedding photos.

Scanned Pics 014
(This is actually one of our engagement photos - our wedding photos, back from the days of film, haven't been properly scanned).

We were definitely young - I was 19, and Scotty was 21.

There was a lot we didn't know.

We didn't know what we would be when we grew up. We didn't know when or where we would buy a home. We didn't know what our education would end up being. We didn't know about our future jobs or our four children. We didn't know about the hard things we would experience.

Nor the beautiful...

Nor the sacred...

We didn't know that we would be overweight or that we would someday begin to spend a ridiculous amount of time craving sushi. We didn't know that our favorite restaurant would close or that we would love our mini van so much.

We didn't know how terrible we would be at yard work or that we would keep our ten-year-old carpet for thirteen more years (that number continues to rise). We had no idea that we would develop a deep love for strategy board games or that we would be very impatient parents.

The list of things we didn't know is endless, and in some ways, it makes us look foolish, but at the same time, if I could have known it all then, it wouldn't have done me any good.

After thirteen years of being married, we still have a lot of unknown ahead of us, and I like it that way.

"And he's so impossibly young, they both are; he still has hair, right across the top of his head, and no idea that it's not going to stick around... That photo is a frozen moment; their whole future lies unknown and ahead just as it should." 
-Kate Morton, The Distant Hours

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Other Side

I've had several opportunities lately to hear stories from people who have endured faith crises. It has been a common theme in my recent encounters, including speaking engagements I've attended, podcasts I've listened to, and books and articles I've read.

I can't help but think of the prophecy of the last days in Doctrine & Covenants 88:91, "And all things shall be in commotion; and surely men's hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people."

In a book I once read called 65 Signs of the Times, the author suggested that depression is part of men's hearts failing them. As you may recall, I've recently managed some depression of my own, and I know from experience that depression can bring about a faith crisis. I, personally, dealt with a heavy amount of spiritual darkness for about 2-3 years (read more about the spiritual effects of depression here).

Some people who suffer from depression or who face a spiritual crisis describe a feeling of God not being there. Some feel abandoned - like He left them, and others feel like it's their own fault - like they pushed Him away.

Remember the Del Parson painting with Christ at the door?

There is no knob, so all Christ can do is knock, and it is up to the person on the other side of the door to open it.

When I was in the thick of my spiritual funk, I felt like Christ (or Heavenly Father - I believe they are two distinct beings, but this description could go for my relationship with either one) was right there - just on the other side of the door. He was so close, and yet, I was completely incapable of opening it. This was a heavy blow to me because it made me feel like my dysfunctional relationship with God and my Savior was all my fault because it was my job to open the door. He was right there, but I couldn't do what I needed to do to connect (learn about one way we can shift our thoughts about our relationship with Christ here).

During that time, I lost my ability to pray. I thought about prayer a lot, and I pondered on the things I needed to discuss with God. The pleas were in my heart, but I couldn't kneel down and send them heavenward. My mind was so foggy and muddled that prayer felt impossible.

Additionally, I rarely felt the Spirit. I struggled to prepare my Sunday school lessons because I would study the topics, and I would feel nothing. I could recall times in my life where I felt such a strong conviction of truth, but I didn't have that ability to feel anymore, at least not anything positive. It was all behind the door with no knobs while I was left on the other side with a slew of negative thoughts and emotions.

In September, I went to an event called Time Out for Women with some of my in-laws. Michael McLean, a popular LDS songwriter spoke at the event about a faith crisis of his own. For nine years he had been in spiritual darkness. One thing he decided to do was to "Show up and shut up." He kept going to church, and after a few incidents with expressing some negative emotions, he decided to stay quiet for a while. Eventually he came across the book, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light. The book is a collection of letters that Mother Teresa wrote in which she expressed her own feelings of spiritual darkness.

For Mother Teresa, as soon as she began doing the work that she felt Christ called her to do, she stopped feeling Him near. She longed, more than anything, to have a relationship with God, but for over fifty years, she struggled to feel Him near (read a little more about Mother Teresa's story here).

Isn't it interesting how these things happen during crucial points of our lives? My own crisis began while I was serving as primary president. As I threw myself into service, I began to feel something leaving me. Soon after I was called to be the primary president, I took a leap of faith and went back to school while simultaneously taking another leap of faith and bringing my fourth child into the world. I didn't feel prepared to do either of those things, but when the Spirit pointed me in those directions, I decided to trust in the Lord. I believed with all my heart that I was doing what God wanted me to do, and yet, the door was closing between us. I was at a pivotal point in my life, and I found myself gasping for spiritual air.

Now, I wish I could say "the problem was THIS and the solution was THIS," but I don't have a foolproof formula for getting through depression or a faith crisis. Michael McLean didn't offer a foolproof formula, either. It's, indeed, different for everyone, but I've been blessed to have great results from medication. It has taken time, but I am ever improving, and I rejoice that I can feel the Spirit again. I am still working on praying, but it's getting better.

I felt extremely weak turning to medication. I truly believed that my crisis was my own doing, and that I just wasn't doing enough to get out of it, but now that I can see the difference it has made, I am not ashamed that I took the medication route. It helped get me to a place where I could act, and now I'm in a better emotional and mental place, and I am finally getting my spiritual groove back. I feel things again, and sometimes I feel them so passionately that I want to shout from the rooftops (I settle for texting my friends).

You know who else takes meds? Michael McLean.

In fact, he wrote a song about it. It's called "Pills," and you can read about it here.

I have a confession. For the last several years, I have not liked Michael McLean at all. I heard him speak a few years ago, and he came off as very pompous and arrogant. Little did I know, he was in the middle of his faith crisis. That just goes to show that we don't always know a person's heart. Now that I know Michael's story, I feel great compassion for him. Sometimes it's the person we least expect who is having the crisis.

One of the best things I've heard about depression came from a podcast from the Mormon Channel about mental and emotional health. In the discussion, a therapist explained that just because you have depression doesn't mean you are emotionally or mentally unhealthy. He said that some of the people he has helped over the years have had very severe depression, but they have been some of the most emotionally and mentally health people he has ever met. Recognizing you need help is a healthy skill.

I wish I could say I recognized it in myself right away, but I didn't. It wasn't until I heard someone I look up to describe her own struggle that I finally had the courage to question whether my spiritual crisis might be more than just my own shortcomings. That is why I've decided not to be quiet about it. Someone was brave enough to tell me that she needed help, and I admired her for it, so now it's my turn.

Another reason I'm writing this is because I want to share with you how much I have learned from this experience. I won't go into all of the specifics, I will just say that being on the other side of it has opened my eyes to so many incredible truths. I have learned by contrast - spiritual darkness vs spiritual light. This contrast has helped me recognize things in myself that I took for granted before. I am more aware of my strengths and abilities after losing them for a while. There was a time when I couldn't even go to the grocery store. Now, I am more capable, and I look at myself and think, "You bought milk today! You are amazing!" I find many more things to thank God for than I ever did before. I have not made a perfect return to my faith, I admit, but I am well on my way, and I know that I will continue to make progress. I'm very happy about that!

To those who may be facing a similar crisis, my heart goes out to you. I'm just beginning my journey on the other side of it, and I wish I could hold your hand and pull you over here. Please know that you are not alone. You are not weak. You are loved beyond measure, and there are good things waiting for you.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Maroon 5

I'm interrupting my hashtag posts to update you on some exciting events from the past few weeks.

I haven't discussed my love for Maroon 5 much in recent years, so you may not know that I adore them. I've been a fan since my senior year of high school - long before the name Adam Levine was recognizable.

His voice...

You guys...

I used to get in somewhat heated arguments with another blogger (who shall not be named) several years back about Adam Levine's voice. She said he sounded like a pansy, and well... she was wrong.

Last year for Christmas, Scotty got me Maroon 5 concert tickets. It was quite the scandal since he left me at a family Christmas party alone with our four children while he went to buy them. I didn't know where, exactly, he was going, but I knew it had something to do with my Christmas present. I just didn't understand why he had to go right then - and leave me at a restaurant with all the kids. "It better be good," was all I had to say.

When I opened salt and pepper shakers on Christmas morning, I wasn't very happy.

Fortunately, the salt and pepper shakers were followed up with Maroon 5 tickets. I was a little shocked. I never imagined myself going to a Maroon 5 concert. As much as I love their music, I have to admit, most of it isn't exactly, uh, "clean."

So, nearly a year later, we finally went to the Maroon 5 concert, and it was AWESOME!

Adam Levine is so easy on the eyes.

Maroon 5 Concert
{Yes, please!}

He plays the guitar like a boss and drags the microphone all over the stage. I do have to say that he does not have the moves like Jagger, but I'm okay with that. He doesn't need them. He has this little kick he does with his left foot (watch for it in the "Sugar" video), so that was fun to watch for.

Our seats weren't great - we were pretty far up there - but who cares? I was in the same (massive) room with Adam Levine for a moment, and it was beautiful.

Maroon 5 Concert

Saturday, October 15, 2016


My husband taught my kids to wipe their boogers on their socks. I rolled my eyes, but then I realized it's actually genius. I don't find boogers on the walls, and they go away in the wash.

Friday, October 14, 2016


My stern, elderly 5th grade math teacher once asked us all to plug our ears so she could pass gas (I didn't plug mine).

Thursday, October 13, 2016


In high school I drove an '87 VW Jetta that had been jimmy rigged to start by pushing a doorbell under the steering wheel (yes, a doorbell). I had to push the doorbell at least eight times before it would start.

  Scanned 026

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


One time I asked a guy at church if I could have his baby. I was referring to his chubby, adorable 6-month old son, whom I [jokingly] wanted to take home, but it didn't come across that way.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


When Zoe had really bad cradle cap, the pediatrician told me to put Vaseline on her scalp. It made her look like a flaky Jack Nicholson.

Read the story here.


This post if part of a 31 day writing challenge which I adapted to be a 31 day Fallon-inspired hashtag challenge. Make my day and leave a comment on the hashtag!

Monday, October 10, 2016


My dad says "oink" when he burps.


This post if part of a 31 day writing challenge which I adapted to be a 31 day Fallon-inspired hashtag challenge. Make my day and leave a comment on the hashtag!

Sunday, October 9, 2016


An older guy took me to prom my senior year. Everyone at the dance thought he was a chaperone, and the administrator kept trying to make him stand by the door.


This post if part of a 31 day writing challenge which I adapted to be a 31 day Fallon-inspired hashtag challenge. Make my day and leave a comment on the hashtag!

Saturday, October 8, 2016


I used to think cavities were formed by tiny bugs with pick axes. I taped my mouth shut one night so they couldn't get in.


This post if part of a 31 day writing challenge which I adapted to be a 31 day Fallon-inspired hashtag challenge. Make my day and leave a comment on the hashtag!

Friday, October 7, 2016


When I was first married, Scotty came home early one day and walked in on me trying to do the splits in the living room.


This post if part of a 31 day writing challenge which I adapted to be a 31 day Fallon-inspired hashtag challenge. Make my day and leave a comment on the hashtag!

Thursday, October 6, 2016


The other day my son asked if we could stop by the assisted living center because he likes the smell of old people.


This post if part of a 31 day writing challenge which I adapted to be a 31 day Fallon-inspired hashtag challenge. Make my day and leave a comment on the hashtag!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


A guy in my ward once told me that if my baby boy ever started peeing while I was changing his diaper, I could just "pinch it off."


This post if part of a 31 day writing challenge which I adapted to be a 31 day Fallon-inspired hashtag challenge. Make my day and leave a comment on the hashtag!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


I like to stick rose petals up my nose and and shoot them out like a confetti cannon.

Read more of my weird secrets here.


This post if part of a 31 day writing challenge which I adapted to be a 31 day Fallon-inspired hashtag challenge. Make my day and leave a comment on the hashtag!

Monday, October 3, 2016


One time I used the blade of the blender to cut the seal on a bottle of ranch. I sliced my hand and still couldn't get the bottle open.


This post if part of a 31 day writing challenge which I adapted to be a 31 day Fallon-inspired hashtag challenge. Make my day and leave a comment on the hashtag!

Sunday, October 2, 2016


In third grade I had a math teacher who would sit on a stool, take off his shoes, and rub his own feet in front of the class while he taught.


This post if part of a 31 day writing challenge which I adapted to be a 31 day Fallon-inspired hashtag challenge. Make my day and leave a comment on the hashtag!

Saturday, October 1, 2016


Today I noticed that some of my friends are participating in the 31 day writing challenge. I haven't done a month-long writing challenge for a really long time. I think I did NaBloPoMo a few times back in my early blogging days, but my participation has been minimal. Right now my creative muscles are really craving some exercise, but with school, there's no way I can keep up with writing every day (unless you want me to copy and paste my school assignments, but no).

Also today, I was perusing Jimmy Fallon hashtag clips on youtube.  I get a kick out of them, and I always think of what I would tweet if I did, in fact, tweet. That's when I decided that Fallon's hashtags would be the perfect prompt for me to use for a 31 day writing challenge.

So for the month of October, I'm going to post something every day based on a hashtag from the Tonight Show. I can handle posting 140 characters or less a day.