Sunday, November 16, 2008

Great Minds......

I have come to appreciate great minds, those who are creative, positive and willing to dream of the potential of a great team....I was invited to attend a "Power Week-End" with three amazing women...The four of us came together ...each of us filled with ideas and projects we would like to bring to fruition. We enjoyed the day spa at the Sheraton at Wild Horse Pass...I have come to appreciate the power of a turban thinking cap....while wrapped in a fluffy spa robe while being soaked, buffed, polished and massaged. There was lunch pool side, inside jokes and many many belly laughs.....As I was sitting with my feet dangling in the hot tub I was privileged to watch the colors of night fall on the desert. The stars were close behind sharing just enough of their light to create the perfect silhouettes of the cactus's just beyond the fence. I was amazed at how quietly the process took place around me. I was in awe at the beauty and the serene feelings I was experiencing.

As we sat by the fireplace in the spa lounge and planned our evening....Room service was at the top of our list. We drove over to the hotel savoring the memories of the day. That night we prioritized our list of projects and how we are going to achieve our goals. We brainstormed until late into the night....

I am blessed to be a part of such an extraordinary group of friends. Women who are passionate, inspiring, courageous and incredible facilitators for making life happen.

My dear friend Laura came in from Salt Lake. It was treasured time. She and I went over to see my mom. Laura had stopped to get my mom a few goodies...We had a wonderful visit and dinner with my dad and other friends Saturday evening. Good friends are good for the soul. Laura and I never say good by.....we look forward to our next adventure together.

which is coming soon............................

Who ever said....Great minds think alike......must have had girlfriends like me.....

Friday, November 7, 2008

Election Week......

Today is Friday.....as I set down for a quiet minute to gather my thoughts and share those feelings with you....The elections are over, the campaign signs have been taken down, the radio and TV are free from the relentless negative adds that were bought and paid for and we as individuals, families, communities and a nation come to grips with the outcome. As a child and young adult I was repeatedly told we live in perilous times and the last days. As I look back over the last 30 years....(which is a little scary to admit I have that many years under my belt....) I have been a personal witness to the change in human hearts. In my world today the epidemic of choice is the lack of personal responsibility. The lack of caring, compassion, serving others....I see examples daily of how the lack of personal responsibility has affected parents, families, schools, communities and our nation. I grew up in a home where information was important. My parents encouraged me to be not only aware of local and national happenings but to watch the news, read the newspaper and be informed. I find myself today joining the ranks of many who no longer read the local paper or watch the news.....It's a rare day when good news is reported...and repeated.... I find many of the goings on.....disheartening....

Working in the Funeral Business....I have witnessed first hand the devastation of individuals who left the path of personal responsibility and began their journey down the path of no return. I hold and comfort parents, siblings, grand parents and friends who are left heartbroken and shattered and asking what brought them all to this point of no return.

We live in very perilous times....However all is not lost......I find en light of what is going on around me....I feel calm, joyous and excited about today and many opportunities I will have to share my glad message. Hope is ever present...One of my favorite quotes if from Gandhi, " You must be the change you wish to see in the world..." If I want more joy in my world....I must share more joy.... As I was sharing my political views with a Bishop earlier this week, we were at opposite ends of the political spectrum....He called me Thursday to chide me about his party's victory.....and my response was....Bishop your right on the one hand....yet it's the Lord who is at the helm of this earthly ship.....finally we were in agreement with each other...We were both registered and active members of the Lord's party. There is much work to be accomplished regardless of the adversity, challenges and trials each one of us will experience not just once but frequently along our sojourn. As we hold to the iron rod, engage our personal responsibility and stay close to the Savior we are assured what our outcome will be....no need to fear....just expand our faith.

I also been blessed to witness extraordinary miracles of healing, forgiveness, kindness and the compassion of so many. There is countless good.....As we embark on the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas my heart if full. The older and wiser I become the more I cherish the gifts of the heart.....I remember as my children were in elementary school and would bring home the most incredible hand made treasures home for me. Today I find the same joy in listening to the beautiful music, those treasured moments when all of my children are together again, spending time with my family and hearing from my friends... What a wonderful time of the year....

As the retailers brace for a very bleak Holiday shopping season....and the media is driving the fear of the unknown.....into homes....I feel at peace....The joy of the season is not in the bleak Holiday retail forecast...The joy of the season is much like faith.....the little seed that if nourished will grown and produce an amazing outcome for each of us. Joy is very much the same....Joy in understand the Savior's unconditional love for each of us, his atoning sacrafice, knowing that life is eternal...Those are the most important gifts....

The final exit poll is the only poll that matters.

Carla

Monday, October 27, 2008

It all Depends.....

I had the opportunity to take my mom to church with me Sunday. Ethan went over to pick her up..she was excited and waiting outside. She had mentioned to Kylie and I during our visit Saturday she wanted to run away, she wanted to have something to look forward to, getting out, visiting, going to lunch. It was almost as if she was telling us. "I want to feel normal again, return to my old life of family, friends and routine if only for a little while..."

It was our Primary program. As we sat in the back pew, my mom commented as Haley, Maddy, Jackson and Jake all walked by to take their places on the stand. I smiled as I explained that Haley, Maddy, Jackson and Jake (who are my sister Sara's children) were not in my ward and they were not on the stand. Why say anything? But my cute mom was just sure it was Haley on the stand helping to narrate the program. As the children began to sing so did my mom. Ethan and I smiled as she sang with everything she had and those around me smiled as well. She remembered every word and knew every song. After 45 minutes she made up her mind she needed to go to the bathroom. I reminded her she was wearing depends and she wouldn't have to get up. Bless my mother's heart. She decided she was going...up she went, grabbing her walker and heading towards the exit. I grabbed my purse and off we went. In the bathroom she decided her depends was on backwards and she wanted it taken off and put back on the right way.....After 4 times of trying to put her depends back on ...every which way but sideways....she was very unhappy with me, she was down right mad...She told me I was wrong and I found myself....in the midst of a battle I was never going to win. As I patiently tried to explain the front from the back. To no avail. I knew right then and there I was not going to win the battle of the depends. She was right...after all it all depends on how we choose to look at life.

I felt the tears well up in my eyes. Once again my mother was teaching me an invaluable life lesson....another treasured moment. As I looked into her eyes I saw her frustration. My mom has always been fiercely independent, very successful, never choosing to complain and always willing and able to serve those around her. I thought how her life has declined in the past year. Most of the change is dramatic and life changing. I took my mom by the hand and conceded she was right....with a smile and said....it all depends how you look at it. She found the humor in my play on words and we both laughed....washed our hands and she decided she was ready to go.

Much like life, most situations are defined by the way we choose to see things. It depends on how we feel, could be the day, the hour, an unwelcome comment, stress or....depending on how we are feeling...it could be the most amazing day, experience, conversation, break through, discovery or moment of growth.

I received a call from Parker Smith regarding his farewell and reception. Parker is such a sweet young man, his mother had been a great friend who passed away this past April after a courageous battle with cancer. I asked Parker about his temple experience...and what it was like passing through the veil....he shared with me the over whelming feeling of his mother's spirit...he knew she was with him every step of the way. What an amazing mother Cyd was....and her legacy will be great as she raised righteous children.

In our family we have made the effort to take a daily inventory of our blessings. We take a Gratitude moment and share with each other what we are individually grateful for. As Kylie and I drove home...our list was overflowing.....we have been very blessed.....on every front.

My mom was right, it all depends on how we chose to look at it.

Thanks Mom....we love you!

Carla

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Belly Laughs.....

I have had the best couple of weeks...the minutes, hours and days have been filled with such opportunity and positive energy. I have been blessed with amazing friends. Girlfriends who are treasures...the kind of friends who are always within reach and always in touch. This past week end was a great example of ~Girlfriend Time~...getting together with friends I love. I have come to appreciate the power of laughter....not just laughter but BELLY LAUGHING...those moments when your eyes begin to water and you can't control the moment...you just laugh and laugh and laugh...until your belly let's you know....that is the most exercise your abs have had in months...

I have been blessed with a great sense of humor and positive attitude. I prefer to look on the bright side...the silver lining side, the glass half full side, the greener side of the grass....side. I have found I like to surround myself with friends who also choose to take the road less traveled....versus the path of least resistance, those who live on the sunny side of the street.

I also have come to appreciate the law of physics that says....you get what you give. I have been blessed with humbling experiences of forgiveness, courage and the strength to endure. Its no surprise we reap the seeds we sow. How many times have I been blessed with the opportunity to go back to apologize to someone I have offended, get the second chance to make that first great impression. Some would call it luck.....I call it personal growth and being in tune. Spiritually in tune to know when those precious teaching moments come my way...A chance for me to improve...to let go of hard feelings, a chance to empathize with an other's point of view, a chance to draw closer to my Savior. A chance to stop and savor the incredible moments in my life.

Monday evening after dinner with friends, Kylie, Ethan and I went to see Grandma Mannes. She was thrilled to see us. We had a couple of great belly laughs....we all gathered around Grandma and listened to her stories of her youth...as her memory continues to fade...we smile as we listen to the same stories...those times in her life that stand out as treasured memories...Grandma recounts the family vacations to Yellowstone. How much she loved to travel with her family. Her Grandmothers and spending time in Ogden with them. When it comes right down to it.....each of us are busy gathering those treasured memories that we will carry with us ....through our life and our life to come.... will we look back with regret wishing we had lived more and feared less...maybe even wishing we had belly laughed more....or live with such gratitude we are fearless about showing love, kindness, forgiveness and always looking for that sunny side of the street.

As I look around me I am grateful for the challenges that are mine. I am so grateful for goodly parents, my mothers courage not only raising me in the gospel but allowing me to share in this very difficult time in her life as she endures to the end. I am grateful for the optimistic heart I was blessed with...the ability to smile, laugh and carry on. I am so grateful for my strength of spirit....I am so very proud of my life's accomplishments....my children..who are my greatest legacy...I am grateful for those good souls who have loved my children and helped me in raising them. I am grateful for defining moments of courage in which I see those areas in my life I can improve...I am most grateful that I merited the opportunity to come down to this earth to gain my physical body, gain life experience, understand the power of agency, feel loved and be able to love those around me.

I am very grateful for those who love me unconditionally, those who have given me support and a shoulder when I have needed it, those who have been willing participants to share in my life.

I am most grateful...for the feeling of joy....which in turn.....is Belly Laughs...

Carla

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Wasatch Front.....

Fall Break surrounded by gorgeous fall leaves, the majestic mountains of the Wasatch Front and waking Sunday morning to huge snowflakes blanketing the ground....does it get any better than this? I would dare to say absolutely not. It was quiet an adventure taking the kids and spending our fall break up north. In July I was talking to my dear friend Laura when she said....come up for fall break....we would have a blast. Ethan and Kylie agreed so into motion our get away was planned. Ethan and I drove up and enjoyed every minute of our travels. Not only was the scenery captivating the conversation between mother and son was memorable. The leaves on the trees were indescribably brilliant with hues of red, orange, yellow and gold. We were experiencing fall in all of her splendor, crisp air, gorgeous leaves and snow capped mountain peaks. Laura's home is exceptional....complete with breath taking landscaping, deer running through her yard, a panoramic view of the Salt Lake Valley....her home is a sanctuary to all. Photo's of our Utah experience forth coming.....

Kylie flew up Thursday evening, she had a date Friday evening and for the BYU Homecoming football game on Saturday. It was fun shopping for the perfect outfit and accessories for her..

We spent time together and we spent time apart. My time up North was chicken soup for my soul....there is something wonderful about spending time with old dear friends....I have been blessed not only with great friends whom I admire but friendships that have endured the test of time, distance and life's defining moments. Laura and I always see a couple of friends for lunch....take in some shopping and drive the streets of Salt Lake looking for the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood....We compare the architecture, landscaping and unique qualities of each home...its a hobby we enjoy.

I have always loved the Wasatch Front...since my early days of traveling to Utah. There is a feeling of safety in the mountains for me. Memories of being a young mother came flooding back ....driving by the hospital were each of my children were born, seeing the Jordan River Temple illuminated in the west valley like a beacon drawing you near. Bumping into old friends, frequenting favorite restaurants and shopping hot spots. Driving through areas that use to be..farmland....now are very developed office buildings and strip malls. 27 years has past since I first ventured out west.... One thing is a constant it was amazing to see the snow...I felt the most festive I have felt in years on Sunday morning when I woke up to a winter wonderland......its funny how snow makes me feel like Christmas...like all is right with the world.

I am so grateful I was able to travel with safety and that my children had an exceptional time seeing family and friends....I am grateful we were able to share memorable conversations about life and relationships. I am blessed.

I stopped in to visit with my mom tonight....She was thrilled to see me. She was quick to offer a hug and kiss as she whispered in my ear.....so good to see you, I have missed you...and I love you...We talked about the Wasatch front....her growing up in Ogden...Grama Boyington's porch swing....and the summers in Yellowstone. We had a wonderful visit of old times and memories....I love my mom...and am so grateful for the example she set and raising me to persevere through life...to never give up....to be strong...It is through my mother's awesome example I am where I am today. She has been a cornerstone even in those times I couldn't appreciate her point of view.

Thank you mom....for everything....every talent you helped me develop and every fear you helped me over come. I want you to know....I know the best is yet to be....

Carla

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Count your many blessings....name them one by one..

My day was off to a fairly regular start when the first two calls came around 10:30 am. I was in a meeting but felt impressed to check my phone. I saw Cori's text message, "MOM CALL ASAP!" from Brett's phone. I felt immediate panic as I could not get them to answer or to respond by text message. When it comes to your kids...there is no time like the present to get the answers you are desperately seeking...so I called Cori's store. When I asked for her, they told me they would page for her. When she didn't pick up, I then asked to have Brett paged. (A huge benefit is having Cori and Brett working in the same store.) Brett did not respond either....Then a voice spoke...May I ask who is calling...I replied Cori's mom....can you please help me. Then the dreaded words no parent ever wants to hear...."Cori had a accident this morning at the store and is on the way to the emergency room".....I mustered the courage to ask what had happened....she replied..."Cori cut herself with a box cutter on her leg and by the looks of her cut, she would need stitches."...... Then a faint relief came over me....stitches.....on her leg.....

Memories flooded my mind of the time Cori had ventured down a large hill on a scooter one Sunday afternoon.....Cori was always my child who feared nothing...especially speed...as she raced down that hill she lost control and took a nasty spill and had a quiet neighborhood in an uproar as those sitting outside enjoy the afternoon saw her careening out of control towards a mail box and curb. When the phone call came, I was told to expect the worst...my heart stopped beating for a moment as I tried to summon the courage that only comes when your child is hurt. As I approached the scene...I was taken back by the large crowd of those attending to Cori. A very kind woman had quickly covered her chin which was completely split open with a wash cloth. As she assured Cori all would be well. I was in a state of panic, shock and disbelief.. I offered a quiet prayer as quickly loaded Cori into the van. As we drove the hospital I was feeling sick just looking at the damage that had been done. Would she have scars? Was her chin fractured? so many questions.....

While I was trying to keep Cori calm and comfortable a peace came over both of us. Her dad came to give her a blessing. A blessing of comfort, healing and peace. The minute he laid his hands on her head...she was completely relaxed and calm. As I contemplated that experience today.....I stopped to take stock in all of my blessings....counting each of them one by one.....The Lord has been most gracious in blessing my children with good health, strength, love for each other, open minds, unconditional love, each with a great sense of humor, a strong belief that anything is possible, looking for the good in others, educational opportunities, great friends..and on and on.....The countless blessings that out weigh the adversity.

Then my phone rang...it was Cori....as she retold of her unfortunate experience....she focused on the blessings.....she was ok...and she would adjust to life with 5 new stitches...she was going to finish her day back at the store...She is a fighter...never gives up...on anything or more importantly anyone. Cori is an amazing woman...I am so proud of her. She was lucky to find the man of her dreams early on. Brett and Cori make a great team....I am so blessed to call them both my kids....

Am I lucky? or am I blessed..... I AM BLESSED....and lucky.....I have it all......

Tomorrow I travel back home...to Salt Lake. I love Salt Lake and the majestic Wasatch Front. As Ethan and I are driving....he will be sleeping and I will be counting my blessings....

To each of you......may you have the desires of your heart, health and peace in your families and safety in your travels....

Carla

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Homecoming......The 1st Big Date.....

There are many milestone in a mother's life. There is that first blessed event of learning that you are going to have a baby....at times those days and months turn into years and wondering if the Lord really knew what he was asking of us.....then with all of the energy you can muster..just one more push......and then the little miracle appears on the scene...all I ever cared about was having a healthy baby...10 fingers, 10 toes and the final thumbs up from my doctor letting me know everything was well. Then as if your baby did come with instructions the most magical journey begins....with that little smile, a little goo.....that first roll over, sitting up, crawling and then walking. Running, riding a bike, collecting all kinds of wild life and friends its as if....the evolution is a blueprint of how creation really is intended to work....The child like qualities of faith, unconditional love, dreams, enthusiasm, passion and just plain believing that Santa Clause is coming and he is bring you everything on your list.

Last night I took the journey of a lifetime with my youngest son Ethan. He attended his first "Homecoming". This amazing little son of mine has grown into an amazing young man. Ethan is delightful. He chose his homecoming attire, the perfect corsage for his date, and planned the activity after the dance with such thought and precision. Reminded me of my daughters and how finding the perfect outfit for a big date became an event. We had a wonderful time shopping...laughing and then the dress rehearsal....He looked smashing.....His date was a beautiful girl named, Carolyn. The two of them together looked like Prince Charming and Cinderella.

After the dance my dear friend Lisa opened her home for the kids to come over hang out playing Rock Band, Movies and of course her world famous Swedish Crepes.....and they all came. Ethan confided in me with a huge hug and kiss the evening was perfect. The perfect first date....I am so grateful for the sweet relationships I have with all of my children....last night was just icing on the giant cake of motherhood for me. How cool that my son and his friends would come over and spend time with Lisa and myself. Its one of the most treasured moments as a mother...when your children not only see you as a mother, but a cherished friend, passionate supporter and the Kool Aid mom...The mom who kids accept as being an ok adult to hang out with.....

The evening is now past....just a wonderful memory in Ethan's book of life. Only one of many perfect evenings, perfect dates and great friends. I am profoundly grateful he was willing to share his big moment with me. There will be photo's to mark the event.....but no greater mark than was left upon my heart.

Life's magical moments...that are once in a lifetime..Moments so dear it would cause a mother to stop and ponder these precious feelings in her heart.

Carla

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The girls who get it......

I have often asked myself..why have I been so blessed with such great friends....Women who are extraordinary in their accomplishments with family, community and profession. I call these women..."the girls who get it"... The girls who get...the importance of faith, friendship, love, loyalty, encouragement and the power of intention. Friends who love unconditionally, always pray for my good and continually cheer me.

My week has been an incredible exchange of energy with "the girls who get it"....Women who understand the power of creation and intention. As I ponder the events, conversations and time spent with these great friends, I find myself embracing the realm of possibilities like never before. I have often told my children they have the ability to change world...I have seen their child like faith move mountains, I have witnessed each one of my children running towards the fence in playing out their dreams. Reaching farther and farther...never believing for a minute in words like...can't, shouldn't, won't...only focusing on the endless possibilities...

The more I am open to the realm of possibility..the more the world opens to me...I am guided and directed to those who are waiting to assist me on the next leg of my journey. It is with faith and hope I move on. I am continually learning..lessons that encourage me to dig deeper to develop my gifts and talents..lessons that turn hurt into understanding, lessons that are working to refine me..

I look for the Upside...I choose to see the positive in myself and others. I am a woman who is exercising my child like faith and running towards the fence of my dreams, creating my life and feeling joy and fulfillment. Having the courage to fill the measure of my creation.

I choose to be one of those girls who get it....

Carla

Monday, September 29, 2008

Popcorn and Inspiration....

Today is Monday September 29, 2008. I am just getting over "Strep Throat" which has taken its toll over the past 10 days. I have felt a little disconnected from the world and especially my mom. I decided tonight after dinner I would make her some popcorn(a favorite treat of hers) and go visit. My mom is adjusting to life in an assisted living group home. She is no longer capable of living on her own and the level of care she needs is more than anyone of us could give her. She is living in a wonderful group home with a staff of caregivers who are truly amazing. Her safety and care was paramount to each of us..

When I drove up to the house tonight I had to smile....The gorgeous cape cod style house was decked out in Halloween attire....Very seasonal....I was greeted warmly as always... I walked up the stairs and Bonnie was in with my mom getting her ready for bed. My mom was excited to see me and the first thing she asked was..."Carla, I am so glad to see you, you must have felt inspired to visit me tonight....I was hoping you would come." With popcorn in hand and feeling very inspired we had an amazing 90 minutes. We shared a connection, tears, memories and many good belly laughs.

I felt helpless when tears flooded her eyes, "I want to go home, I just want to go home, I am ready to begin a new chapter in my life." she said. I thought how profound...a new chapter in her life. As her Alzheimer's progresses I am astounded how clearly she thinks and communicates for those few precious moments. She shared her tears and frustrations with me, going as far as to apologize for feeling the need to complain, which is something my mom just doesn't do...complain....she reminded me complaining does no good anyway...because nobody wants to listen to a complainer. I tried to fight the tears myself but to no avail....the free fall had begun. As I listened to my mom express her concerns about her Alzheimer diagnosis my heart ached. How could this be happening? and of course why my sweet mom? She then shifted to a place of bravery. She reminded me life is no picnic and troubles come to all. We talked about many spiritual experiences and the most touching was her personal witness that the veil which separates us from our loved ones on the other side is very thin and not to far away. She expressed her love for her parents and the admiration she had for her mother. She shared her favorite childhood experience of taking the train to Yellowstone...or for that matter driving in her dad's old truck with the shell on top. She called those trips really living.... She would then revert back to her wall of pictures and say...there are a bunch of happy faces on my wall....I am lucky to go to bed and wake up every morning with all of those happy faces looking at me.

We talked about my children and how very proud she is of each one of them. We reminisced about heartfelt memories. I am so grateful my children will always have such fond memories of Grandma Mannes. My mom looked at me tonight and said..."I hope we take more good memories than the bad ones when we leave this earth." I told her I bet we do. I felt of my mother's sweet testimony and was touched when she asked if I would kneel in prayer with her at her bedside. What an honor to share that priceless moment with my mom.

I am most grateful for....popcorn and a mother's inspiration.

Carla

Friday, September 26, 2008

September and Christmas Music

Fall has officially arrived, which in any other part of the country would mean crisp cool air, a gorgeous parade of leaves as they start to fall from the trees, dusting off your favorite sweater, high school football games, apple cider and enjoying cooler weather. I actually miss the changing of seasons. I feel like I am missing an important signal that a new season is being ushered in. I have always loved fall and the symbolism of plenty, the harvest, gratitude and the onset of the Holiday Season.

Growing up in South Dakota fall meant beautiful Indian summer days, cool crisp nights and the turning of the leaves. My favorite tree is the Sugar Maple with brilliant shades of reds, golds and yellows. To this day there stands the most beautiful Sugar Maple on the corner of Phillips Avenue and 33rd Street in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I use to drive by that tree everyday and use to think....what a work of art. The huge branches seem to reach out to me and whisper...slow down and enjoy....I still take that drive everyday and imagine the grandeur of that tree this time of the year.

So tonight as I blog...I turned on tranquil Christmas music and feel my mind flood with such sweet memories and feelings of why the season of fall is so important to me. When I take an inventory of my life, family, experiences, blessings and opportunities its hard not to take pause and feel my heart flood with gratitude. I have been blessed with 4 really amazing human beings whom I am blessed to call my children. I am so very proud of them. Each one has been blessed with amazing gifts, talents and an enthusiasm for life, living and running after their dreams. It's so fun to watch them grow and know I have had a small part in their lives. One of the great blessings of motherhood....watching your children grow, experience the ups and downs, the love and tears and have the courage to pursue their dreams. A gift. I am also taking inventory on grand dogs....we have 5. Griffin and Jackie have (2), Cori and Brett have (2) and Kylie has (1). No grand babies...just grand dogs........

I have been blessed with great friends. Life long friends who have walked beside me during my darkest hours and have been so very present for my accomplishments, defining moments and a great big belly laugh. One of my dearest friends is Laura Robinson, she lives in Salt Lake City. I have always admired her drive, accomplishments, passion for life, willingest to take risks and her successes. She is generous, kind, honest and we are kindred spirits. There is never a judgement only encouragement. She has wiped many a tear away, helped me see the possibilities in myself when I was ready to give up. She is always cheering me on. I was blessed to meet another great friend in Stacy Beckstead who lives outside of Seattle. She is another noble soul who has a passion for life, motherhood, grand motherhood, a great red nail polish...and travel. Stacy is another who never judges..only encourages. We have been blessed to stay connected to each other... our plan is to all live in California one day....in an assisted living center so we can live out our days laughing and being girls.

I have been blessed with great friends in Mesa as well. There is something very wonderful about girls, dinner and 70's music we all appreciate. Sadly as time passes there are more single women about. I say only sadly because no one wants to see their family broken....on the other hand.....just think what the world could accomplish if everyone of us had a great wife at home.....there would be world peace, no divorce, stocked pantry's, spotless laundry rooms and literally no child left behind.... ha ha ha....it's just a thought....

I am grateful for the gift of family. Family in my opinion is the greatest source of strength and happiness but can be the greatest source of frustration at times also. I guess this could be what the Lord meant when he said...."There must needs be opposition is all things".... and this too shall give thee experience.

Its Friday night....tonight there are no football games I will be going to, no real crisp air to talk about...(That is coming next week), no pulling out my sweater tonight.....However there is Christmas music playing....candles burning and a feeling of gratitude as I take inventory of all of my blessings.....

Carla

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Upside....

Greetings,

My children will be so pleased to know I have catapulted into the age of Blogging and technology. My name is Carla, I have four amazing children Griffin 25, Cori 23, Kylie 19 and Ethan 17. I smile as I was typing Griffin and Cori's ages. It wasn't to many years ago I wondered if I would ever be out of diapers, sleepless nights, play groups, potty training and sibling rivalry which only continues with the next two in the family. I smile because I have come to appreciate how good every minute of life can be and on the other hand how short our time on earth really is.

I could and should write a book called "The 10 stupid things I did when I was 39". Something tells me it has the potential to became a national best seller...With that being said...I have been a life long student of this educational process called life. All in all it has been a great ride. If I were to complain about anything...it would be how quickly the days, months and years pass. Sometimes I wish I could hold out my hand to stop the quick progression. Since that won't happen I am learning to enjoy the journey instead of planning my stay at my destination.

My mother is a great source of strength to me. She is an elect lady. She has always been willing and able to handle the many challenges life has thrown her way. Her life is one great opportunity she has capitalized on time and time again. I smile as I share with you, her desire to eradicate warn and frayed under ware from female humanity. She always asked me prior to my leaving the house if I had on clean under ware. I was a Senior in High School on a snowy winter night in Aberdeen South Dakota when I was in a car accident. As I was being transported into the waiting ambulance, I remembered how lucky I was to have worn clean under ware out that night. My mom was waiting for me at the door of the emergency room...she look at me and then asked that tell tale question....I could look at her and answer honestly....CLEAN UNDER WARE.

My mom's kindness and generosity left imprints on many in our small community. Her charity never needed a reason or confirmation. She just acted.

As my mom's mind drifts into her past, I feel tears and sadness that this great women is now in the sunset of her life. There are so many times I want to call her to tell her about my day, feel her hug and encouragement for pressing forward. She was an ordinary girl, born in Ogden Utah. She lived an extraordinary life. The more I look back, the more I am thankful for my mom's legacy.

I would love when she would sit down at our piano and play "Alice Blue Gown". A song she still holds dear. A couple of weeks ago my older brother started to record her history, asking her questions and taping her responses. I was touched in many ways by hearing what she holds so dear. She commented to me on one of our outings, her greatest treasure was her family. She told me, the interest she has earned on her lifetime investment are her children and grandchildren..her comment was not a bad return...

I am blessed. The more I let go of the little things the more I see the hand of God around me. I am learning to have faith and believe that life does work out even better than we can imagine.

The upside...I have long put away the diapers, picked up the toys, shared my last car pool as I have entered into a new season in my life. As my children continue to live their own lives, I play a duel role in their lives as teacher and more importantly student. My children have taught me the most valuable lessons on forgiveness, charity, unconditional love and family.

I welcome these new years as my youngest children get ready to leave the nest. What a great time in my life to develop my talents and gifts.

I would like to look back at my experiences and say.....I took the road less traveled...and that by far has made all of the difference.

Carla