Monday, August 31, 2009

Lady....Do you know how lucky you are???

It has been one of "those"days. It didn't start out bad- seemed like the stars were aligned and I would actually get everything done that was on my "to do" list. I should know better.

Tonight, as I take a deep breath and try to sort out the events of the day, I am reminded of a morning about six years ago. I was a manager at McDonalds, which was one of the coolest, most annoying, greatest, dumbest careers I have ever had. This particular morning I was running the dayside shift, working normal human hours from 9-6. Part of the dayside manager's responsibility is to take the deposit from the bank the night before, and to make sure there is enough change in the store to get through the day. After wandering around the store, doing my pre-shift checklist, I grabbed an Egg McMuffin, my Diet Coke, the deposit, the change order and my cell phone and was out the door. This would be the last bit of quiet I would have for the rest of the day. I would enjoy those fifteen minutes!

As I pulled out of the parking lot and got to the stoplight I unwrapped my Egg McMuffin. turned on the radio and answered my phone. It was my wonderful friend who lives in Colorado Springs. I took a swig of my Diet Coke, the light changed. I shuffled my phone, my sandwich and my soda and as I was ready to pull out, a car ran the red light, and plowed into the car that was next to me. I hung up the phone and jumped out of my car.

The next few minutes were a blur of directing traffic around the wreck, helping the elderly gentleman who was the driver of the car that was T-boned, checking on the driver who ran the red light, chatting with police about what happened and basic, all around Chaos.

Another driver, who was across the road from me in the accident, was giving his description to the officer of the accident. When he finished, he came over to me and grabbed me by the arm and exclaimed,
"Lady! Do you know how lucky you are?"
My first thought was that I had now gotten out of almost an hour of work while we were standing on the side of the road, but I had a feeling that was not what he was talking about.
"That should have been you- the car that got T-boned. If you had pulled into the intersection when the light changed, he would have hit you! You are one lucky lady!"

My thoughts wandered. I should have been hit. But somehow, because I was talking on the phone, eating an Egg Mcmuffin and drinking a Diet Coke, I was not in a wreck. I was safe because I was distracted, and frankly, being a bad driver. How did that work?

I don't know why the cute little old man was in the wreck and I wasn't. I really don't think the Lord was in any way blessing me for being dumb in the car and trying to multitask. But I was lucky, or call it what you want.

Today, when my son got sick and needed to go to the doctor, when I spent more money than I had planned, when the battery went dead, when the printer called with changes and I found out the brochures are going to cost more than I planned..... I am not at the center of some conspiracy to "get Carrie..." I am just chalking it up to "just one of THOSE days."

But when the dust settles, and I look back at today, I remember my granddaughter in her car seat wearing her princess ball cap drinking out of a sippy cup and I know I have not seen anything so dang cute in the world. When lunch with a friend brings laughter that goes into "snorting" at the resturarant, it is a good day. When there is medicine to help my son feel better, when my grandson jumps on my tramp and his laughter fills my back yard, when my son-in-law comes with tools to fix something, when I see my daughter and know she is carrying another beautiful grandbaby.... I remember that morning years ago... and that man's voice echoes in my heart.....
" you know how lucky you are??"

And tonight, I say, Yes, this random woman knows exactly how lucky she is....and she offers a quiet prayer of thanks. so many women will random woman at a time.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Universe Changing Purchase

Ahhh, fall is in the air. The crisp mornings and small leaves falling to the land are a testament of things to come. I know it is also fall when the shopping list to Walmart included PANTYHOSE...... It is that time of year that the tan legs are going away and will be covered up with the nylon/spandex product we women so love... (Not.....) But this trip to Walmart to purchase pantyhose has forever changed my life. This purchase has made me a new woman. This purchase may be the single most amazing invention since....sliced bread, the washing machine, Bath and Body works ....and Diet Coke.

I found pantyhouse that actually REDUCE THE APPEARANCE OF CELLULITE. I know you are saying,
"Carrie, we don't even joke about cellulite...! Shut your mouth!"

And I agree! Normally, discussing how my once very thin thighs now look like cottage cheese in a zip lock bag makes me uncomfortable. NO MORE!! I will just purchase Leggs SHEER VITALITY panty hose. This has changed my life.

This is an exact Quote from their website:

Sheer Vitality Benefits Anti-Cellulite

The sheerest support from L'eggs. Sheer Vitality Benefits Anti-Cellulite hosiery enhances circulation to help maintain healthy, energetic legs while all-natural cellulite fighting ingredients help reduce the appearance of cellulite. Micro bead contents: Soybean oil, butcher's broom, rutin, horse chestnut, paraguay tea extract, coleus farskholii, gotu kola, grape seed extract. Remains effective through 5 washings.

This is true! The box says" "Tiny Microcapsules containing all-natural ingredients are gradually released to fight cellulite."

and THIS! "64% of the women in consumer testing noticed a reduction in the appearance of cellulite!"

(Clearly, the other 36% are those women who wear size 2 jeans and say things like, "Do these pants make my butt look big?" and they are NOT to be trusted.)

Women! This is cause for celebration!! Stop working out! Buy these pantyhose! Stop dieting!! Buy these pantyhose!

Well, this random woman is off, to Walmart, to by a years supply of these babies before the FDA recalls them, because I am pretty sure that things like "butcher's broom, horse chesnut, and coleus farskholii can not be good for you.... but in the meantime-
I am going to put on my pantyhose and eat a twinkie....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

He Knows Me

Last night I had the chance to go to the Denver LDS Temple with friends from Longmont. It has been a while since I have been to the temple, ( knee surgery etc...but I will save that saga for another day) It was the most amazing feeling I have had in a long time. It also reminded me that although I am just one random woman, the heavens are uniquely aware of me, my concerns, my frustrations, my battles and my victories.

It is easy for us to get wrapped up in the day to day living. Bills to pay, kids to shuttle from school to practice, how to handle this new event with an elderly parent, Coke or Pepsi, Chipotle or Qdoba, you! But in our busy-ness we often forget who we are. I am not talking about the strange phenomena I call "Walzheimers" that happens to me when I go to Super Walmart and for the life of me can never remember where I parked...I am talking about how we forget that we are daughters of God, and that he loves us, knows us and wants more than anything for us to be successful, happy and productive.

The adversary wants nothing more than the women of the earth to be distracted, depressed, and dumb.

So distracted by the details of day to day living, that we forget the important things, like our families, our personal worship time and and our time to improve ourselves.

He wants us depressed. He wants us to think of everything we don't have, the BMW in the garage, the perfect husband, the loaded bank account, the villa in Switzerland, and maybe more importantly, for some of us, just the basics. The job, enough money to keep the lights on and food on the table, and someone to love us. He wants us to be miserable.

He wants us dumb. He wants us to forget the divine nature of a woman, he wants us to blur our values. He would have us think that raising children is something trained monkeys could do, and that it takes no specific gifts, talents or abilities. He wants us to think that things that matter, really don't. He wants us to think that we need to be men to be worth anything.

Today, here is to all of us random women. We are random, different, amazing, and can accomplish anything we want when we put our minds to it. Today let all of us random women make a pact to remind each other how beautiful, dynamic, talented, clever, and awesome we are. Let's make a pact to tell the adversary where to get off.
There is no room in a daughter of God's life for us to distracted, depressed or dumb.
Let us gather together and reach out a hand to our sister who is struggling, pull her up, wrap our arms around her and help her back to seeing who she is.

I can think of nothing more satisfying than annoying the adversary by our good works. I think of the legions of women on the other side of the veil who have passed before us who rally to cheer us on. I see them grabbing their guardian angel laptop computers ( which work at lightning speed and never lose information) and showing cool PowerPoint presentations at their weekly angel meetings on how we are thwarting the efforts of Satan to drag us down. I see angel "high fives" when we succeed, and I feel the prayers of strength and support for when we falter, that we may be strong again.

Rock on random woman...... and never, never forget how truly awesome you are!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Must have been the Velvet Bow Tie.........

Last night the baby of the family stepped on stage, sporting slicked back hair, a baby blue Tux complete with ruffle shirt and bow tie, leaned into a microphone and belted out "The Hand-Jive." He was performing as "Johnny Casino" in the musical "Greese" at the local theater in front of a decent size group of complete strangers.....

I couldn't have been more proud.

While Travis is no stranger to entertaining the family, this was unexpected, even for me. Sure, when I was coaching girls basketball at Skyline High School, a three year old Travis would jump from the stands onto the basketball court during time-outs when the band would play and dance up a mean storm. The crowd would roar in support. One time, in a playoff game, Travis ran to the floor to dance, only to be met by a stern referee who chased him back to the stands. The referee was nearly boo'd out of the gym. Travis was the Falcons good luck dancin' machine.

But as the years have passed, Travis has gotten a little more introverted to the outside world. The family knows he can quote entire episodes of "The Simpsons." We know him as "tech support" for all our computer needs. He is clever and funny, but not a lot of people see that side of him. He is often overshadowed by his 6'5" older brother, whose sporting events take a lot of time and put TJ in the spotlight. Last night on the stage Travis was larger than life.

This morning, as I think my random thoughts, I stand in awe of a loving Heavenly Father who gives us different gifts and talents. How boring life would be if everyone was 6'5" and great at basketball. How dull events would be if every kid who stood on the stage was perfectly on pitch and never missed a beat.

Here's to the talents that are obvious, the musicians, the athletes, the artists.... For how beautiful is our world because of the things they create.

But here's to the gifts and talents that are less obvious. Here's to the people with the ability to make others smile. Here's to the people who have kind hearts, willing hands, and strong shoulders who carry burdens and make trials lighter for those they love. Here's to people who have deep and abiding faith, who are rock-solid friends, who are consistently and totally truthful. Here's to the talents of being able to forgive and forget, to see the best in people, and encourage and lift.

Today I will notice the talents of others. Today I will see the art, hear the music, stand in awe of the physical abilities of those around me. But I will be especially mindful of the talents that often go unnoticed. For thoseare the talents that bless my life daily in so many ways. Today, I will look in the mirror and think of my own talents and gifts that the Lord has seen fit to weave into me...... and see if I am using them as much as I should, for, truly, those gifts and talents are what make each of us unique, special, amazing and awesome.

I am proud to have seen my son in that ruffled shirt and velvet bow tie last night.... Proud to see him stretching, stepping outside his comfort zone and giving something new a try. Proud to see him using a talent he has been given. It was an awesome lesson to his mom to remember to go out and make a difference, to touch other's lives.... one random person at a time

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Gratitude Campaign

Got this website from a friend. It offers a simple, yet beautiful idea on a way to just say thank you to those serving our Country.

Isn't interesting that we need a "campaign" to help us express gratitude?

I know I need a reminder to focus on that which I have, and not dwell on what I do not have. I hope we all can be a little more grateful, not only to those who serve our Country, but to our God, who has given us everything. May we focus on the positive, take a second to count our blessings and truly make gratitude a part of our daily living. Saying "thank you," being grateful..... one random woman at a time!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

To the Girls

Today is the day I praise my girlfriends. I will write about them again, maybe even making a monthly tribute to the women who decorate my life with love, laughter, tears, trials and Diet Coke.

Where would I be without my girlfriends? Several thoughts come to mind:

#1) In a maximum security prison serving 5 consecutive life sentences for killing my children. OK, I never really wanted to kill my children, but there were times that I was at my wits end and a dear friend reminded me to look at how much I love my children, adore them, and that my universe revolves around them.

#2) In a mental institution wearing a straight jacket and drooling on myself. This needs no explanation, as we all have felt like this at some time or another.

#3) A bleach blonde (with roots showing) pole dancer with several ill placed, ill chosen tattoo's. Maybe this is a stretch, but here's to the times my girlfriends helped me decide something was a really, really bad idea.

I suppose I could go on and on choosing scenarios that I could be living out without the help of a dear girlfriend at the exact right time. Perhaps some call it fate, and random, but I think each person that steps into our life is there for a purpose. Sometimes they are there to help us, to teach us, and to guide us. Other times, they are in our life to stretch us, try us and make us better people by associating with them. Sometimes we are there to help them, to support them, to love them and to be the shoulder to cry on, the hand to hold, or the one to laugh with until Diet Coke comes out of your nose, and you almost wet your pants.

Sometimes these girlfriends stay in our life forever, some come and go, and some stay for a short season. For each girlfriend who has footprints on my heart, I am eternally grateful for you.

Today I pause to say THANK YOU!

Thank you for:
  • Diet Coke's
  • Picking up my kids
  • Grabbing items for me at the grocery store
  • Buying lunch when I couldn't afford to and never making it a big deal
  • Movie nights
  • Painting parts of my house
  • Making your husband's help around my house
  • Attending my kid's functions
  • Holding my hand when I am afraid
  • Telling me the uncomfortable truth
  • Laughing
  • Remembering my birthday
  • Fixing my mistakes
  • Loving spite of everything you know about me
  • Loving my children as your spite of everything you know about them!
  • Listening
  • Pushing me to be better

The list goes on and on. You know who you are. You are the women in my world. You are my friends. You are the ones who inspire me to be better every day, so I am a little more like you. Yea, I have a few of you. But each of you has a special place in my heart that is forever and ever uniquely dedicated to you.

I can only hope I have given you half as much as you have given me through your friendship.

You are always in my prayers, forever grateful for you- for helping out little 'ol me...... one random woman.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Time Flies.......

My two youngest boys went out the door today, together,in the car, to High School. The other three are out on their own, making their own ways in the world. The "little boys" as they have been called for years are now a 6'5" Junior and a not quite so tall freshman. Not so much the "little boys" now, are they?

Where did the time go?

It really was not that long ago that I was hauling 5 kids in a gold mini van all over the universe. The Oldsmobile Silhouette was dubbed "the space shuttle" by the kids. The arguments began way before the key turned in the ignition.
"I called shotgun" would be heard often. The heated argument over how early one can actually call shotgun and it count became a daily ritual.
"When did you call shotgun?" Mike would ask.
"When I was putting on my backpack." Erin would reply.
" That does not count!" Mike would whine. "You have to be on your way to the car, like I just called it for it to count."
"Nope, I called it first....get in the back." Erin would say, and she would win, because she is the oldest.

I missed a lot of this, because I was dragging a brush through Kelly' s hair, trying to put pants on TJ and trying to strap Travis into the car seat. Putting Travis in the car seat was a little like giving a cat a bath. He suddenly had the strength of the offensive line of the Denver Broncos and could bend himself into positions that only top Olympic Gymnasts can actually do.

I lovingly referred to my mini van as "my summer home." I did not have a cottage on lake Geneva, a cabin in Silverthorne, but I had a mini van with lawn chairs for soccer, baseball and softball games. I had a cooler with soda and water in it. I had at least one change of clothes in the car for each child and probably 14 pair of soccer socks. There was 64 various happy meal toys rolling around on the floor and usually a baby bottle with something petrified inside of it. If we had to, we could live out of the van for at least a week.

I remember thinking this would last forever, and I would NEVER have a moment to my self.

Those were the days.

Erin now has two children and one on the way. She will soon have to referee her own battles of "who gets shotgun" and if calling it at the breakfast table is a breech of etiquette. Mike is teaching school. He has an entire room full of interesting little people. Kelly is working full time and enjoying her apartment and her Independence, and me not dragging a brush through her hair, I don't have to make TJ wear pants, but he does ask for money and my car keys all the time. Travis walks out to the car and puts on his own seat belt without anyone wrestling with him. He will be asking to drive the car in a few short months.

My time to myself is here, and I miss the Chaos like crazy.


Today I will take a deep breath. Today I will enjoy the flowers, the way the sun shines on Longs Peak early in the morning and the feel of fall in the air. Although my "to-do" list is long, and must get done, I will relax a little bit and live today. I will call that friend I have been thinking about, and I will send that get well card. I will shoot a text to all my kids ( because I am tech savvy and they like texting) and tell them I love them and I am proud of them.

Time flies by way to fast! I won't wish today away. I hope the mommies in the middle of Chaos enjoy it. I hope they smile more and write down the funny things their kids say and really understand how short that part of life is.

I will enjoy the chaos of the two "little boys" in high school, and love every minute of it. And when I look at those 5 children, who stained the seats of the car by spilling things, broke my mother's china from Germany when playing basketball in the house, gave me stretch marks and wide hips, I will try not to cry with tears of gratitude for them in my life. I will take a second to say a little prayer of thanks for the privilege it is to be their mom, and hope that I have done a decent job. And hope Mommies everywhere remember that we all make a difference, one random woman at a time.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Guinea Pigs and Skittles

Last night I took my 6 year old grandson to see the movie, "G Force." A Disney movie about Guinea Pigs working as secret agents for the FBI. ( and I think my thoughts are random.....) He sat in the seat next to me sipping his cherry Icee, chomping on popcorn and digging through the bag of skittles, while laughing hysterically. I wanted to watch him more than the movie. When the Guinea pigs took off in their motorized balls in a zany chase scene he laughed so hard I thought he might actually choke, or wet his pants. It was like the Mastercard commercial- Tickets to the movie, $18, treats, $15, watching your grandson howl at rodents using a computer and a blow torch.......Priceless.

Bodie and I have been going to movies together for a couple of years now. He loves that I feed him "Junk for dinner" ( the above mentioned healthy meal of popcorn, icee, and skittles) and that it is time for just us. I have seen some pretty awful movies. (Space Chimps wins, hands down!) but I would watch even Space Chimps over and over again to see him smile, his eyes sparkle and for that amazing hug at the end of our time together when he says, "Thanks Grammie!"

Nights like that remind me how truly blessed I am. I have the chance to make memories with a young man who means the world to me. It also occurs to me that scenes like this one are going on all over the world. Grandma's spending time with their grandsons, and both walk away enriched and hopefully better people for the connection.

Thinking bigger, and a bit more random. What little daily interactions do we have that make us better people or allow us to touch some one's life? What has someone done for you? More importantly, what have you done for someone??

Maybe you gave the frazzled waiter (who really didn't give you great service) a generous tip anyway, in hopes that will brighten their night.
Maybe that cute teenage cashier at McDonalds went out of their way by giving your son another hot wheels car for his happy meal. (because you accidentally threw his out with the trash.)

I read in the paper yesterday that a woman had forgotten her wallet at the grocery store- but the few people in the line behind her chipped in to pay for her few groceries. Everybody walked away better from that, perhaps a little less cynical about the state of the world, and maybe a little more willing to do something kind again.

Go ahead. Let today be the day that you begin making a little difference in this world. Do something kind, and unexpected and walk away. Enjoy that awesome feeling of giving without expecting one single thing in return. And keep your eyes open for those who are doing the same thing and you are lucky enough to be on the other end of it.

It is like each of us is carrying a piece of string. As we interact and our lives come together we weave a beautiful tapestry that creates something amazing. Our lives are more wonderful and we are better people because we take time to look for ways to serve, to love and to make a difference- one random woman at a time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Waving in Wyoming

Wyoming.... The word itself conjurers up all types of images. Perhaps you have been stranded on I-80 in a blizzard somewhere between Rawlins and Rock Springs. Perhaps you have happy memories of $.25 ice cream cones at Little America. Perhaps you hear "Wyoming" and you think of hauling illegal fireworks over the Colorado State line, or eating a fried twinkie at Cheyenne Frontier Days....for me I hear the word Wyoming and I think of my dad.

Hank is now 81 years old and living in a little town in Wyoming. He is pretty spry for an old guy. He drives a Toyota Pickup ( which scares me to death). He has three pairs of Cowboy boots, Brown, Black and dress-up. ( Everyone needs a pair of Dress up Cowboy boots, don't you think?) Hank says that after 35 years of wearing Florsheim shoes to work at IBM he will not put a pair of shoes on his feet, only cowboy boots. Good for him.

I go to visit my dad and we head out a long, two lane road to the next town
(which is over 20 miles away) to go to dinner, to get groceries or go to the hardware store. It is beautiful and serene with rolling hills and livestock scattered across the land. And I have no cell phone coverage, which allows me to see the above mentioned scenery.

What has taken me a while to adjust to is that Dad drives down the middle of the road.
Several years of me saying....
"Um, Dad... you are driving down the middle of the road..."
He responds with,
Which I am not sure what that means. For many years I was sure it meant "Mmmm, it is all part of my evil plan to kill us in a fiery head on crash."

I am nervously watching ahead for on-coming traffic while Dad and the Tacoma chew up the yellow lines in the middle of the road like a human game of "Pac-Man."

But as years pass, and I have yet to die in a fiery crash with my Dad at the wheel I figured something out.

He does this on purpose.

I don't know why people drive down the middle of the road in Wyoming, but they do. And, they get over on to the correct side of the line as another vehicle, (most likely a pickup) get closer. Dad gets right over as soon as he sees the oncoming traffic, so gratefully, it is not like a sick game of chicken. The odd thing is the truck coming at us is getting onto his side of the road as well.... Then, as the two trucks pass each other, they do the strangest thing.

They wave.

For years after my dad would wave at the truck passing us I would say,
"Who was that?"
To which Dad would reply,
"Don't know"
"Well then, why did you wave at him?" I would ask?
"Just being neighborly" Dad would say.

Waving at cars with people in them that you do not know? What an odd thought. Or is it?

Today as I was driving and the person in the blue car who needed to get into my lane and I slowed down to let to let him, zoomed ahead. I sarcastically said out loud, " You're welcome...."

But then I thought of Hank. He just smiles and waves. Most always, they wave back, but if they don't, he doesn't mind. He waved, and that is all that matters.

Now waving at everyone while in the middle of rush hour traffic in LA on the 405 is probably not the smartest thing to do, and might even get you shot at.... but how about a little more of that theory of, "Just being neighborly?" I am going to give that a try......because we each make a difference, one random person at a time.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Beginning...well, not really....

The movie Julie & Julia inspired me. It inspired me so much that I went out and bought a $40 cookbook. ( If you know me, you know the only cookbooks I have are: from my mother, my wedding, and random church cookbooks that I have purchased out of guilt to send kids to camp.) Even more inspiring, I actually cooked out of it! Of Course, with a friend named Julia who was incredibly excited about it is did help stir the interest. Boeuf Bourguignon was as good as it looked and it was wonderful to sit down to dinner at the table, using the china and the cloth napkins.

But it also inspired me to start a blog. I have wanted to write a book for years. ( yea, I know, me and everyone else on the planet!) But when I see in my journal my "New Year's Resolution" list and it says "Publish (or at least try!) a book by the time you are 30"..... ( I am 47...) It was time to take matters into my own hands.

The title of the blog reminds me that I really am only one random woman wandering around the universe- trying to make a difference daily in the lives of my family, my friends, and people I come in contact with- and, that, is what makes it a never ending adventure!!!