little bit of this a little bit of that

Monday, December 28, 2009

6 lessons I learned from my mom

A few months ago I heard a talk given in church that included 10 things that the speaker had learned from his mother. I started thinking about the lessons that I learned from my mother at first I couldn't think of any. Slowly I began to realize some of the lessons I learned from her and thus is the list that follows.

1. Hard work is part of life.
As a kid we all worked hard. We all had chores. We had a huge and I do mean huge garden. It all started in May with tilling and getting the soil ready. Then it was time to plant, weed and then harvest and of course after harvesting we canned! It seems like there was always work to be done outside. I hated it! I always tried to get out of the outdoor work by offering to do the house cleaning.

2. A can do attitude will help you throughout your life.
My mom was a high school dropout at the age of 16. She worked hard at many different jobs through out her life. When I was about 10, she decided to get her GED. She passed and got her diploma. Not only did she pass but she did really well getting a top score. At that point she realized that she wasn't stupid and that dyslexia would no longer hold her back. School wasn't easy for her but she persisted with a desire to gain education and make her life better. After her GED success she enrolled in a program through the state of Maine to get her LPN certification. Then she continued schooling until she got her RN and then a Masters in Nursing. School became a very important part of her life.

3.Hobbies are an important part of enjoying life.
My mom was an artist. She loved to paint. She wasn't able to paint as much as she would have liked as a younger women. She became more prolific in her later years. She adorned her home with her art. I gained an appreciation for finding that creative outlet that gives you joy and makes you feel alive.

4. I learned from my mother that I will not crumble, that strength is something you choose.
I live with pre-teen and teen girls I have heard way more than my share of Milley Cyrus. I must admit I love her song I learned from you. It reminds me of mom. My mom was strong. She had a hard and difficult life. Life was full of challenges and she met each one with determination and grace. Mom taught me that you keep moving, you get up everyday and you do what is expected and necessary.

5. Care for others.
My mom was always taking in strays. If you didn't have a place to go moms door was always open. She was always taking people under her wing, befriending and helping in any way she could. It was who she was. She nurtured and loved others.

6. You are never to old to change.
My mom was almost 30 when she got her GED and went back to school. Many would have thought she was too old. She changed her life again when she joined the LDS church at the age of 37. At the age of 41 she finally quit smoking for good.

At the very young age of 54 my mother passed away. She will forever be missed but she is a part of all who knew her and learned from her!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Challenge Dairy Shortbread Challenge Part Two

I thought I would try another recipe for the Challenge Dairy contest. You can view their website at and the contest at

Butterscotch Shortbread

The ingredients:
1 cup of softened unsalted butter
2/3 cup of sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups of flour
2/3 c of butterscotch chips for the shortbread
1/2 c chocolate chips and 1/2 c butterscotch chips for the frosting

Cream butter,sugar and salt till light and fluffy. Add flour and mix.

Add chopped butterscotch chips to dough.

prepare a 8x11.5 pan with parchment paper

pat dough into pan and bake at 300 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until the edges are golden. Cool 15 min and carefully place on cooling rack. Cut into squares while still warm. While the cookies are cooling place the chips for the frosting (1/2 cup chocolate and 1/2 cup butterscotch) in microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high 1 minute. Stir till completely melted. Frost cookies with the melted chocolate mixture allow chocolate to cool and harden.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread

I love food Blogs! I just came across , an awesome blog about cooking, reading and being a mom. You can check it out here- On her blog she and
challenge butter, (you can find them here- ) challenged her readers to come up with a variation on shortbread. Looked like fun so here is my Peppermint Chocolate Shortbread! Enjoy
1 Cup Non Salted Butter softened
2/3 C Sugar
3/4 tsp Salt
2 C all purpose flour
1-2 tsp Peppermint extract.
5 squares of Semi Sweet Chocolate
Crushed red and white candy canes
Preheat oven to 300
Cream butter with mixer, add sugar until light and fluffy. Add mint extract. I like mine really minty so I use two tsp of extract. Add salt and flour and mix. Line a 9 inch cake pan with parchment, press dough into the pan. smooth the top and cut into 12 equal slices. Bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 min. The cookies should be just golden brown. Be careful not to over cook.
Allow to cool. Melt chocolate according to package directions in a microwavable bowl. Dip cooled shortbread in chocolate and then sprinkle crushed candy canes on top. Set on parchment paper to harden.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

it's the climb

Monday While driving to the oncologist office Troy made the comment that this has been a long road. It has, but the thought came to me that it's been more like a climb or a hike up a mountain.We started out with a pretty steep incline as we did the first 9 weeks of chemo. We had a break where we were able to rest and enjoy life. Like a walk through a beautiful meadow, a respite in our climb. We were able to look around and feel the sun on our faces, see the wildflowers, the beauty of the trees. Next came surgery, once again we are climbing. Some days are steeper than others but we still have an appreciation for all that is beautiful around us.

We have had so many people serve us in so many amazing ways. Sometimes the extreme thoughtfulness of the act of service reminds me of how much Heavenly Father knows us and what are needs are. Truly so many have been his hands. We also have been the beneficiaries of countless prayers and fasting and we feel the sustaining power that is prayer. It is the beauty we get to view as we climb.

Now we are on our final trudge up the hill, as we move forward we can see the end of the trail. We know that around the final bend we will be able to see the view at the top. We know it's worth the hike.

At the top of our journey through cancer is the hope of being cancer free and being able to sit and enjoy the view.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Quick Update

Troy is finished with his radiation. It was not fun. The dr made it sound like it wouldn't be so bad then when it was he said " yeah skinny men tend to have a hard time". Yeah we know.
He starts chemo in two weeks. Then he will do that for 9 weeks and we will be done.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

a few of my favorite things

reading on the hammock

Toothless grins

Cute Aprons

fresh homegrown tomatoes

the view from my kitchen window

the view from my front door

My garden


Sunday, August 9, 2009

recovery and the next step

Troy has had a great recovery from surgery. He is really doing well. He can eat pretty much anything he wants. It is best to avoid stuff that has too much fiber and has too much sugar. So far mashed potatoes and gravy is his favorite. He is adapting and feeling good. He has lost some more weight and seems to have stabilized at 155. It is where he will probably stay. He needs new clothes.

Next up is radiation with some chemo. Starting tomorrow Monday the 10th, he will have 4 days of chemo with radiation and then 4 weeks of just radiation.

So when he gets his radiation he has to be in the same position each time. To make sure that happens he was put on a big blue bean bag. The bag is full of air and small pellets. Slowly the attendant lets out the air and shapes the beans around his body, making a cast of his body. Once all the air is out the bean bag is as hard as a rock and in the shape of his body. He will lie in the cast each time they give him radiation.

He also is now sporting three tattoos. Little dots, the Dr said he couldn't do stars. After radiation they will give him a two week rest and the awful 9 weeks of chemo will start. WE figure he will be done about Thanksgiving. We are all looking forward to that day. Maybe we'll have a party! Everyones invited!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


We arrived at the Huntsman Center at 11:15 by 11:30 we were in a pre-op room. Troy was getting poked and prodded for surgery. By 1:35 we said our goodbyes and the wheeled Troy into the operating room. At 2:30 the OR nurse called the desk in the waiting room to let us ( Troys mom and Dad were there too) know that things were underway.

There were several other families in the waiting room. We made the acquantence of Walenen Flannigan from Montana. Her husband was in surgery for a cancerous jaw. His surgery included grafting of bones and skin to remake the jaw they were removiing. People come from all over the west, to the Huntsman for cancer care. We feel fortunate that it is so close to us.

Every couple of hours the Or nurse would call and give a small update. The operation was supposed to last about 4-6 hours. We were wrong. At one point we hadn't heard from the Or nurse in several hours and were starting to get worried. Everyone else had left the waiting room. We were all alone. No nurses, no volunteers, no one. It felt very odd. Finally we got a call. They had taken his whole stomach and now were going to start working on the esophagus. It had at this point already been 6 hours. They had to go through his side to get to the esophagus. It was the scenario that the surgeon wanted to do.

By going through his side they broke a rib and had to deflate his lung. At about 11:30 the nurse called. They were almostdone. We waited for another hour for the DR to come out. She was positive they got all the cancer. The net day we got to talk to the DR more extensively about what happened in the surgery.

The cancer had gone through the walls of the stomach. They could see it when they first went in. They looked extensively for any matasis any where. They couldn't find any so they proceded with the surgery. The extensive amount of cancer is why the had to take his whole stomach. The good news is the cancer is gone! One more step in our journey is completed.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Redwoods part two

Along the Avenue of Giants are old kitchy places like this one. for 4 dollars you can drive your car through a tree!

One amazingly huge tree. Unfortunatly it fell a couple of years ago.

The Avenue of Giants, Humblodt State Park.

Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Redwoods Part 1

I have always wanted to see the Redwoods. Troy and I decided for our 20th anniversary and before his surgery to take a small trip.

This is in the State Park that is also part of the National Park. It is part of the Prairie Creek Trail. We hiked for 6 miles! It was about two miles too long but the scenery was incredible. We were amazed that there were so few visitors to the park. We saw very few people on the trail. It was incredible to walk among those huge trees in the silence of the forest.

We actually stayed on the coast in the small town of Trinidad. This was an early morning hike that we did in Trinidad at Patrick's Point State Park.

The view from our incredible Bed and Breakfast, The turtle Rock Inn. There is a den of sea lions that live on the beach and sun themselves on the rocks near our inn. It was really fun to look out our windows and see them out there.

The marvelous Turtle Rock Inn. If your going to Northern California this is an awesome place to stay.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Crafting with the Girls

Mariah needed to make something for her secret sister at Girls camp, so we headed to Ben Franklin for inspiration. We had no idea what to make. We found these cute unfinished boxes. As we were getting paint, paper and other goodies Clarissa and I decided that we needed to make one too. They turned out so cute!

Here is Mariah's for her secret sister

This one is mine, I made it for a friend and filled it with handmade cards that match.

This is the one that Clarissa made for her friends birthday! She is going to fill it up with candy.

Friday, May 22, 2009

mourning with those who mourn

On Sunday, during sacrament meeting, the High Council speaker gave a sermon on service. It's a topic that I've been considering a lot. We have been recipients of lots of acts of service over the last 8 weeks. We have had meals brought to us. People have sent up numerous prayers, and have fasted in our behalf. We have received many plates of goodies. (much to the delight of my children) The youth came and weeded our garden. A neighbor saw me struggling with putting up our new tramp and came over to help. Our next door neighbor who was diagnosed with Breast Cancer a week after Troys diagnosis looked up the ribbon colors for esophagus cancer and stomach cancer and made me a beautiful bracelet with those color beads. The colors if you are interested are periwinkle and light periwinkle. It was one of the most touching acts of service we have received. The list goes on. We recognize the love that is offered to us in each and every act of service.

In Mosiah 18 we are told to "mourn with those who mourn" and "comfort those in need of comfort" . It is easier to serve than to be served. Some of the service that has come our way has been hard to accept. It is hard to let your friends come in and clean your house. I was profoundly grateful. But also slightly embarrassed that I couldn't tend to all that needs to be done. I know I need help, but sometimes pride gets in the way. I have to remind myself that I am not super women. I've begun to wonder that as often as we are commanded to serve one another why we are so loath to let others serve us. Maybe we need a sermon about letting others serve us. Are we thwarting God's plan when keep to ourselves the trials we are going through. Do we deny ourselves the blessings that Heavenly Father would like to bless us with when we deny others the opportunity to fulfill God's commandment to love and serve each other. I wonder if part of the lesson of this trial is to learn to allow others to serve. To put away my pride and accept that I can't do it all and that Heavenly Father never intended for me to do it all by myself. Maybe it is part of learning to be humble. I have a long way to go. I'm still embarressed that my two sweet friends came and cleaned the boys bathroom, but I'm also gratefull for the amazing love that they have offered me!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lettered Cottage giveaway

One of my favorite decorating blogs is having a giveaway. The Lettered Cottage is worth a look even with out the giveaway! They are giving a wool pillow from Hudson Goods. Look how cute this one is! Check them out at

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pray not to miss the lesson

"Every trial and experience you have passed through is necessary for your salvation"
Brigham Young

I had the privilege of going to Women's Conference at BYU last week. My mother and father in law took over for me at home. They did it all from running kids to lessons, Dr appointments and cooking dinner. I am eternally grateful for all that they did to allow me the privilege of going away and being spiritually fed for several days.

Of course all the classes were excellent and worthwhile but I find myself reflecting on one. The presenter was Colleen Terry and the topic was The Atonement and Personal Revelation. She was very insightful and much of what she said really spoke to me and the situation that we in our family are currently dealing with. She talked about her own dealings with Lymphoma of the neck. To be treated with radiation you have to be perfectly still and in proper position. They make a wire mesh mask of your face and then when you lie down on the table, the mask is put on you and you are bolted to the table. You are then ready to receive treatment. One day as she entered the treatment room, she noticed that her mask was not on the table. The attendant opened a cupboard and there was her mask with her name on it among several other masks. She couldn't borrow a mask. Her mask had to fit her perfectly. It had to be her mask They got out hers and proceeded. The lesson was the individuality of the mask and thus the individuality of each of our trials. Elder Neal A Maxwell said this about our challenges...

"I believe with all my heart that because God loves us there are some particularized challenges that he will deliver to each of us. He will customize the curriculum for each of us in order to teach us the things we most need to know. He will set before us in life what we need; not always what we like. And this will require us to accept with all our hearts the truth that there is divine design in each of our lives and that we have a rendezvous to keep, individually and collectively."

My trial is my individual curriculum. It's what I need to become the person I want to become. To become a person worthy of exaltation. I realized that we can embrace our trials knowing that they are the refiners fire and that all must pass through their own fire. At the end of the presentation my friend turned to me and said "well that one was for you". You know it felt like it was it was all the things I needed to hear. I have thought about her statement and I wonder if she might have missed something that will help her in the future. She isn't currently going through a large crisis but she will, we all do. Hers will be different from mine but it will be hard and challenging nonetheless.

Another thought that was presented that really made a difference to me was the idea to pray not to miss the lesson. I think that goes with embracing the challenge. I really do want to learn what the Lord would like me to learn. Is it more patience, greater charity, service or maybe greater compassion for the suffering of others? I'm sure the list could go on. I hope and pray with all my heart that I will learn the lesson that is encapsulated in my challenge.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


On Sunday I was Released from my service as Relief Society President. I knew it was coming, I needed it to happen, I had been Relief Society President for 3 years almost to the day. And yet when they said the words in sacrament meeting. I began to cry. I cried through the whole meeting. Then I had to bear my testimony in RS and cried again. I was surprised by it, because I thought I was ready for it. The truth is I have a great love for every sister in my ward. I have been so blessed by serving these amazing women. I have been blessed to get to know sisters that I never would have gotten to know well. The three women in my presidency have become like sisters to me. I know I could call on them for anything! I have truly been blessed. I will miss every opportunity I had to love and serve. So now as I type the words I have been released I cry.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tales from the infusion room

Troy was dehydrated so we took him in and they infused him with a sugar water combo. While there I met this lovely women being treated for non Hodgkins lymphoma. As we talked she was eating cookies. She told me that she was excited to eat anything she wanted right now. She gleefully recounted how she had lost 58 lbs and had always struggled with her weight! What a way to look at it! This must be the silver lining!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Here I made you cookies

Women nurture with food. We are all about visiting and bringing food with us. Since Troys diagnosis we have had so many cookies, cinnamon rolls, bread, ect... brought over. The kids are in heaven. They love it and we appreciate the love that is behind each gift. The other day I had to explain to my six year old's friends mom why I could not invite her daughter over ( Troy has low white blood cells) I was trying to keep it light and matter of fact. I took Lydia over to the house to play with her friend. The mom who is so sweet, came running out and thrust aplate of cookies in my hands. " I made you cookies, I'm so sorry about what you are going through" It really made my day because not only did it make me laugh but it was one more person who said that they will pray for us, and who went out of their way to show love to us. I am gratefull for all of the love and prayers that we are recieving!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

How are you

Really I have no idea. I am constantly asked "How are you"
Me- Were good?
Them - No how are you
Me- Me? I don't know? I simply don't have time to think about me and how I feel . On Sunday someone asked me this and I started to cry. I really don't know. I'm so wrapped up emotionally in what is happening to Troy that I havn't stopped long enough to give some serious thought to how these things are affecting me. I'm not sure I want too.

Today during Troys Chemo we met a sweet couple. They were probably in their early 50's really not that old, maybe even younger. SHe came over to us and introduced her self and her husband. He has squamous cell carcinoma in the tongue. He has endured surgery, radiation and chemo and now the cancer is in his lungs. I felt so sad for her. Once it has metasisized like that it's the start of the end. As we left the infusion room, Troy simple said "he's dying" My heart just sunk. That poor family. Their youngest is 14. She was so serene as she talked about mortal life being full of trials, and the importance of relying on the lord. She told us that she and her husband think of it as their journey that they are on. She is an inspiration.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


When we first got the cancer diagnosis our lives became very chaotic and cluttered with the unknown, with fear, and with speculation for the future. It took a while for our heads to clear. Clarity comes slowly. Slowly we learned what we were dealing with. After a CT scan and a PET scan we learned that the cancer is only in the esophagus and the stomach. Very good news. Then we visited with the oncologist. More clarity and now we have a plan. We know that we are going to do 9 weeks of Chemo and then surgery and then more chemo. I feel more at peace as we know what we are dealing with in terms of the cancer and what we plan to do so that Troy can live a long life.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The day my life stood still

On March 16th my world changed. Troy had been losing weight. Lots of it. It was driving me crazy because I was sure it was his thyroid. About a month before he went to the DR he started having problems with food getting stuck in his esophagus. It only happened a few times but it was a scary experience. It was what drove him to see the Dr., even though I had been nagging him about it for some time. We all thought it was a simply stricture, a common throat ailment. Easily fixed. Troy was scheduled for a scope. As he was waking up from the scope the DR walked in and walked straight to Troy. I sat in a chair out of his view. He touched Troy's arm and delivered the words I will never forget. We found a tumor. We knew this was a possibility. We know how to google. When you google weight loss and difficulty swallowing, only one thing comes up. Esophagus cancer. I lost it. Troy being too smart for his own good knew all of the odds. My friends it was not good. Most people who get this cancer don't know they have it until it's too late. Only 5% live 5 years. As I cried in my corner Troy asked questions. The DR left and we were free to go. As we walked out of the hospital in a dazed silence I wondered if people somehow knew what was happening to us. Could they see it in our faces? How did we get to this place? How could this be happening to us?