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