Easter in my Favorite Holiday

I love Easter. I love it more than any other holiday. To me it’s better than Christmas, Halloween, and all the other holidays put together, both secular and religious.

When I tell others that Easter is my favorite they always ask me why. I have found that most people name Christmas as their favorite holiday. Not me. I look forward to Easter all year.
Here is why:
1 – Spring. I hate the cold and winter and Spring reminds us that after the darkness, light and warmth will come again.
2 – What other holiday do you get a new dress and shoes? (If, you know, you’re into that).
3 – Easter candy. I love Easter candy more than Halloween and Christmas candy. Hello, can anyone say Cadbury Mini-eggs? Mini whopper eggs? Jelly Beans? Peeps? Okay, I hate Peeps, but a lot of people like them.
But most importantly I love Easter because on this day I celebrate the Resurrection and Life of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Yes, Christmas is important because we celebrate His birth. However, I believe that Easter is more important because it is when Christ fulfilled his mission on earth. I testify that he bled from every pore in the Garden of Gethsemane for me and you. He atoned for our sins. He prepared the way for me to return to live with my Heavenly parents some day. And then, he was betrayed by one of his own for 30 pieces of silver. He was beaten. Whipped. Tortured. A crown of thorns was placed on his head. He walked with his own cross on his back. Then he was nailed to this cross. First through his hands, then his wrists, and finally his feet. He hung there for three days before he finally died. But the miracle of this story is that three days later he rose again.
He is risen!
I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting a few years back on Easter. The most important thing that I learned from researching the talk is Jesus is STILL healing the sick, teaching the lame to walk, giving the blind their sight, and performing all manner of miracles. His mortal body died on the cross, but his Resurrected body lives.
Jesus Christ is the reason why I love Easter.
Please enjoy this Easter message from Elder Jeffery R. Holland.
God bless.

No more Drama

“There comes a time in life when you walk away from all the drama and people who cause it. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, and pray for those who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of LIFE; getting back up is LIVING.”

One of my besties, K, posted this on Facebook a while back when she decided to stop letting drama, and the people who cause it, into her life and cause her pain. Even if they share DNA.

I love this quote. This is how I feel. I stopped taking anyone’s crap a long time ago. The truth is I’m a very easy person to get along with. I forgive and forget quickly. I want to have good relationships with people in my life. I’m willing to overlook stupid stuff in others as long as they are willing to overlook my stupidity and foot-in-the-mouth disease. It’s funny, a few of my friends I started out having fights with when we first met, and then it turns around and we end up as friends. I’m a very, very direct person and that doesn’t come off well with some people when they first meet me. But once they realize I’m as cool as a Slurpee, they come to accept my direct nature.


and this is a big however,

I refuse to allow drama in my life. I’ve had enough real drama (i.e. cancer in multiple family members, death of my mother, etc.) that I don’t need petty, petty stuff clogging up my life. I don’t need immature, childish people who like to either start problems or hold onto grudges long, long past their expiration date in my life. I don’t want tattletales, drama starters, pot stirrers, grudge holders, unforgiverers, meddlers, back stabbers, etc. in my life.

I think everyone pretty much wants the same thing, except they’re too nice or will feel too much guilt to excise that person out of their life. Time to get the exacto knife.

That is why I love that quote. I only want to be a healthy person who attracts other healthy people in my life. I learned from Margaret Ruth that happy, healthy, joyful, whole people attract other happy, healthy, joyful, whole people into their lives. That’s why I’m constantly working on myself. I only want to put out good things into the world. And that is why I’m declaring “no more drama” in my life.

I heart the Old Grist Mill

Aw….the Old Grist Mill.
I love this place so much I go at least once a week. I guess you could call me a regular.
I had never gone there before until my office moved to another location. Now, it’s the office favorite. We even gave it a nickname…”The OGM” (pronounced o-gum). We initiate all of our new interns into the OGM love and convert our new employees. We keep an order form in the office in case someone is making an OGM run and we can add our order in.
The OGM has so much to offer. It’s a bread company that makes delicious, amazing bread. I can’t get enough of the cinnamon bread. Although I’ve had to limit my intake since I started Weight Watchers. Their soups are so delicious and you get a huge slice of bread with each cup. There’s nothing better than that on a cold, Utah, winter day. They have a million different pastries. The hubs loves the raspberry rolls. They also have cinnamon rolls, scones, pumpkin bars, brownies, cupcakes, and several different types of cookies (and so much more…you will drool standing at the counter). And the best part? They serve Mountain Dew. Ah….the sweet nectar.
I went there on Wednesday and this is my typical meal.

Turkey and ham with provolone and mayo on wheat bread (they have a variety of veggies…none of which I like ‘cuz I’m all wimpy like that). All sandwiches come with a 1/2 ounce of Lay’s Original Potato chips. Some of the combo meals come with cookies and I only go on Wednesdays when they have their sugar cookies available. I loooooove their sugar cookies.

I know several former Utahns who make the OGM the first place they stop to eat when they come back to visit. Every time I go at lunch there is a line out the door. I honestly cannot say enough good stuff about this place.
Here is the link to the Ogden’s Old Grist Mill’s Facebook page. Right now I’m trying to win a gift certificate there because that would save me a lot of money.
Author’s note: I was not paid or in any other way compensated for endorsing The Old Grist Mill. I just love the heck out of it and want to share that with others.

Self Worth

Favorite Quotations
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marrianne Williamson

I’ve seen this quote attributed to a lot of people. Most notably Nelson Mandela during his inauguration speech. I just love it. I honestly believe that most people do not know their own worth or power. I work with a lot of people in crisis situations and the first thing that they forget is that they are powerful enough to change their own lives.
Self-worth? What is it? It is defined as the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person. I believe that most people don’t know of their own worth. I recently met a women who kept apologizing for being stupid in her comments on a blog. When I had read her comments prior I thought she had great points and was very intelligent. Why did she feel the need to apologize? She didn’t esteem her own comments as being as intelligent or as thoughtful as everyone else’s and I just couldn’t understand that. So I told her she wasn’t allowed to call herself stupid anymore.
Is it that we’re so afraid of seeming stuck-up or arrogant or full of ourselves that we won’t even acknowledge our attributes? I refuse to demean myself so that others won’t think that I am not arrogant or whatever. However, some people mistake confidence for arrogance. Believe me, I’m deeply aware of all of my faults and I’m on a continual path of learning and trying to improve. But I refuse to, in the process, not acknowledge that some aspects of my personhood are pretty freaking great.
And you should too!
I firmly believe that everyone has at least one redeemable quality. Except for Donald Trump. Everyone has something to offer and give the world. It’s not all the same, and we all have different talents, but we all have something to give. And it is good. I love Katy Perry’s new hit song, “Firework,” because it’s one big dance single about acknowledging your own awesomeness.

You don’t have to feel like a waste of space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After the hurricane comes the rainbows.
Maybe your reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, you heart will blow
And when it’s time you’ll know
You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night like the Fourth of July
‘Cause baby you’re a firework!
C’mon show ‘em what your worth.
Make ‘em go “Oh! Oh! Oh!”
As you shoot across the sky, I, I
Love that song. Whenever I’m getting tired while jogging on the elliptical, I put that song in and remember that I can do really hard things because I have that power within me.
And so do you!
Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re not awesome. Don’t ever listen to the haters who have nothing better to do than to drag others down to make themselves feel better. Don’t ever tell yourself that you’re not good enough. It’s not true! Sure, we all have things we can work on in ourselves…but let’s acknowledge all the pretty freaking great things about ourselves along the way. If you’re not going to pat your own back, how can you expect anyone else to? You have to give to yourself, before you can give to others.
Today you are you!
That is truer than true.
There is no one alive
That is youer than you.
So, shout aloud, “I’m a glad
To be who I am!
Thank goodness I am not
A clam or a ham or a dusty old jar
Of Gooseberry jam.”
I am what I am
If I do say so myself,
“Happy Every day to Me!”
-Dr. Suess

On Death and Dying

The hubs’ paternal grandmother died Friday night.

I’ve been through this before, myself, many many times. And yet, I don’t know what to say to him except, “I’m sorry.”
I know that when my mother died, what meant the most to me, were those who actually acknowledged it. Those who didn’t know what to say, so they said nothing, well that hurt the most.
I lost my paternal grandfather in 1986 when I was 8 years old. My entire life he either lived in Ohio or Florida and I didn’t know him very well. Two months prior my family had driven from Utah to Florida to visit him and my grandmother. Driving 2,000 miles in a crowded station wagon is not fun, but I’m so glad we made the trip.
I remember praying that night when he died that I would be able to have just one more conversation with my grandpa. That night I dreamed that he and I sat in these director chairs and talked for hours. I can’t remember what we talked about in my dream, but it brought me a lot of comfort.
And then for 14 years after that I had 3 grandparents fully involved in my life. Yes, my paternal grandmother lived in Florida, but I wrote her letters often and we talked on the phone. When I was 20 years old, I was planning on calling my grandma on her birthday and proposing an idea of me coming and visiting her for Spring break. I wanted to just have some one-on-one time with my grandma, getting to know her better, as we lounged on chaises on the deck of her condo by the swimming pool as we listened to the waves of the Atlantic ocean roll in and out. However, a few days before her birthday she unexpectedly died. She wasn’t sick. She was still living on her own and refusing to let anyone help take care of her (independent women run in the family).
When she died in 1998, I was just starting to date the hubs. We went to lunch and had pizza and it was so weird because all I did at lunch was talk about how awesome my grandma was and how she lived in this condo right on the beach and how when I’m stressed out, I visualize myself lying in the Florida sun at her condo. That night, my mother called me to let me know she had passed away. She died at about the same time I was telling the hubs about her.
Two days later, my brother, parents, and I hopped into our minivan and drove for 3 days to her funeral in Ohio. I remember someone saying that grandma had a prayer list with every child, grandchild, and great-grandchild’s name on it and she prayed for all of us each day. That really touched my heart, that even though I always lived on an opposite coast as her, she thought of me daily and petitioned the Lord for my well-being.
Two years later in 2000 my maternal grandfather died. This about ripped my heart out of my chest. I was a grandpa’s girl just like most girls are daddy’s girls. No one ever made me feel more special, more beautiful, more loved, than my grandfather. Literally, every time I saw him the first thing he said to me was, “how come you get cuter every time I see you?” He even said this to me on my wedding day. And I wasn’t alone. My grandpa had the unique ability to make everyone who was lucky enough to come in contact with him feel special, cared about, and like they had a friend.
Seriously, people respected me more after finding out who my grandfather was. One time one of my college roommates had a male friend over to study and he was hitting on me the entire time. We got talking and I found out he worked at Sam’s Club/Pace/Price Savers at one time. When I told him my grandfather was a door greeter there for many years and told him who he was, his reaction was, “Your Vic D.’s granddaughter?! I can’t hit on Vic D.’s granddaughter!!!”
I remember at my grandfather’s viewing, my cousin read a letter that her sister had written to my grandmother expressing her condolences. My cousin was on an LDS mission in South America and couldn’t make it back for the funeral. This was a second cousin, and my grandfather was just her great-uncle, but she loved him like a grandpa. While I listened to this letter being read, it hit me that grandpa really was dead. I ran outside and started to bawl the minute I hit the parking lot. Luckily the hubs followed me and let me cry in his arms. The hole that my grandpa left in my heart is huge and sometimes I can’t wait to get to heaven so I can hear a corny joke, his chuckle, or him play the piano again. I know that when he comes to get my spirit when I die, the first thing he’ll say to me is, “how come you get cuter every time I see you?”
Two years after that in 2002 my maternal grandmother died. Yes, I lost my 3 remaining grandparents in the space of just 4 years. That was very hard. My grandmother and I didn’t always get along, but I know she loved me deeply. She didn’t express it the way I needed to hear it, but she spent a fair amount of my life taking care of me. So what if she called me fat? I know she loved me.
The hubs and I lived with her after my grandfather died. She needed a hip replacement and couldn’t take care of herself while she recovered. She was so distraught over my grandfather’s death, she literally wanted to die on the operating table. She was mad when she lived through the surgery. She was very depressed after she came home from the hospital. I think the hubs and I did a lot to ease her loneliness. I brought her flowers on Valentine’s day. She was the first person we told that our first pregnancy was going to result in a great-granddaughter for her. She was so delighted.
It was very hard for me when I saw my grandmother start the process of dying. I remember having an almost panic attack and calling my sister, who lived in Tennessee at the time, freaking out. When my grandma died, I had no grandparents left. I would be a grandparent orphan. And although our relationship wasn’t perfect, and sometimes it was rocky, and sometimes she deeply, deeply hurt my feelings, I didn’t want to lose her in my life. But I know she missed my grandpa so much that she just couldn’t take it anymore. I remember on her death bed her recounting all the angels that were filling the room: my grandpa, her beloved younger sister, her brothers, her parents. I believe they were there. I felt their presences.
And then five years later, I lost my Mom. I’ve written about that quite extensively and how it has altered the course of my life forever. Sometimes my loss of her is so painful, it takes my breath away. Even now, I want to call her up and tell her about Casey’s grandma. But she knew before I did.
Now all I have left of my elders is my Dad. That’s weird to me. All of the hub’s paternal elders are gone, and now he just has his Dad. His paternal grandfather died of pancreatic cancer when he was in high school. The hubs respected and loved him so much. Our second son’s middle name is his paternal grandfather’s first name. But, the hubs has gone a lot of years without losing someone that he loves (besides my Mom, of course).
And even though we all believe that grandma is in a better place now, it is still truly hard. She is out of all the pain she was in. Her health was deteriorating for a long time. Just a couple of months ago, she thought our youngest child was the hubs’ brother. Thursday night we went up to the care center, knowing that her time on this earth was short, so we could say goodbye. Again, I felt the presence of those who have past on before filling up the room waiting to assist Charlotte on her journey home.
The hubs is lucky. His maternal grandparents are very young and they have a lot of years left in them. He even has a great-grandmother who is over 100 who lives on her own and is very healthy, all things considered. He is lucky because I never even knew any of my great-grandparents and he got to meet almost all of his.
So I believe even though death is a hard thing, I believe it is just a separation of a little while. After the nurse had confirmed that my mother died, the hubs and I rushed over to my parent’s house to say goodbye. I remember going to her room and falling to my knees crying and holding her hand. It was in that instant I had a feeling burned into my heart that I can neither deny or ever forget. The feeling was that this moment wasn’t goodbye and that I would see my mother again. Knowing that is the only thing that gets me through some days.
As we lay to rest the hubs’ grandmother this week, I will remember that feeling I had when my mother died. This is not goodbye to grandma. This is very much a “see you later.” She lived a wonderful life. She has a posterity that she left a legacy of love with. She put her handprint on all of our hearts, and they will stay there until we meet again.
God be with you, Grandma, until we meet again. We love you.

The times, they are a’changing…

I wrote this back on October 10, 2010 and never published it.

This week my Dad was in town selling his house, my childhood home. My parents bought the house two years before I was born and I lived there until I was 19 years old. My parents planted a crabapple tree out in front when I was born. It’s a modest home…four bedrooms, two bathrooms. Nothing fancy. We did a lot of living, crying, fighting, arguing, dying and laughing in that home. I don’t even know how many hours I spent in that backyard playing with my dogs. Or the hours my brother and I spent in the family room watching TV and playing cards. Or the hours my sister and I spent fighting and talking. I remember all the times I spent on my Mom’s bed just talking. Or the Christmases, Easters, Halloweens we spent in that house.

Those times are gone. They are just memories now. And now that the house has been sold to a new family, I can never go back. I can drive by or sit out front like a stalker. It would be kind of obvious since it was a small street. I know that after my Mom died, it became harder to go home. She died in that house, where she wanted to. And I’m grateful that she did. If she had died in the hospital we wouldn’t have had the time to say goodbye that we did. And I know how hard it would be to live there. You walk out the front door and see the hill where the cemetery she was laid to rest at. Perhaps that’s why the 4 remaining members of the family all moved away.
So this week has been particularly emotional saying goodbye to the family homestead. We got to have a good visit with my Dad, whom we haven’t seen since May when he and his wife moved to a different state. It felt like no time had passed since I saw my Dad, but my kids talk about how much they miss their grandpa all the time. My Dad left this morning and I don’t think my sweet daughter realized that when we said goodbye last night at dinner, it was goodbye for a while. We went to my brother’s house after church hoping to catch my dad before he left, but he had already left. When my daughter saw that her grandpa’s truck wasn’t in the driveway, she started bawling.
It’s so hard when your child is emotionally hurting and you can’t just kiss the boo boo better. If she had scraped her knee, she would cry for a while, we’d clean it up and put a bandaid on it, and eventually it would heal and she would stop hurting. Out of my two children who knew my Mom, my daughter has taken her loss the hardest. Tonight we had a big talk and she is upset that so many things have changed. She wants her old life back. I know how that feels! I want my old normal back all the time. I don’t want a stepmother, I don’t want my mother to be dead, I don’t want my Dad to live half-way across the country, I don’t want my family’s home to be sold, and I don’t want my daughter to hurt so much. But I can’t change any of those things.
So I told my daughter that her grandma still loves her, even if she is gone. And that grandma is her guardian angel watching out for her. I don’t know that if it helped, but she gave me a big hug afterward and she knows I’m always here for her.
I think the hardest part of losing my Mom is watching it hurt my children so much.

I Heart Frogurt

I’m starting a new feature on my blog called, “I Heart…” where I feature local (Utah) businesses or just different things I like and talk about how much I like them. I’m not being paid my anyone to endorse these businesses or products. It’s just things I like.

I will admit, there was about a year and a half in my life where I worked at a Frozen Yogurt shop called “Golden Swirl.” I was 18, then 19 years old. We had frozen yogurt, ice cream, and smoothies. I had never really had frozen yogurt before and fell in like with it working there. It was a fun job. Most of the people who worked there were in college or high school. And yes, I was fired. Fired because I was sick, even though I had a doctor’s note. Well, I complained to the District Manager and I was offered my job back, but I decided to move on. It was the right thing to do since Golden Swirl went out of business several months later.

I have very fond memories of my “Swirly Girl” days. There were a lot of cross-business romances with the video stores guys in our same mini-mall. There was a lot of white gummi bear snitching from me. I made friends with co-workers that I’m still friends with today. I even had a stalker who came and visited me nightly and even held me captive behind the counter as he sang Journey songs to me. And people wonder why Journey makes me shudder.

Anyway, since that time I haven’t really seen any frozen yogurt shops around the Valley. Now they’re popping up all over the place. I’ve been to a couple and I have to admit that Frogurt in Riverdale is my absolute fave.

They have a million flavors and 20 billion toppings! Actually it’s only like 50, but when you can put fresh fruit, Capn’ Crunch, and peanut butter cups on your yogurt, you know there are a lot of toppings. I love Frogurt because you swirl your own yogurt. They have two cup sizes and you can choose how much or how little you want. And being a master swirler, I can always get my yogurt swirls just right. Some talents you just don’t lose. Then you can put whatever toppings you want on your yogurt. After you’re done making the most perfect yogurt and topping confection you can, you put it on a scale and they weigh it. They only charge 35 cents an ounce!

No matter how many cool flavors they have like Blueberry Tart, Pomegranate, or Pineapple, my favorite is the chocolate and vanilla swirl. I like to kick it old school. Then I top it with a generous helping of cookie dough.

The best part….four ounces of frozen yogurt is only 2 pointplus! You just can’t get a better sweet treat than that.

If you’re in the area, check out your local Frogurt. I’ll be the one hoarding all the cookie dough and/or white gummi bears (I only like the white ones).