Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful Again

 I can't believe it is Thanksgiving again.
 Where did this year go?  This year I am again grateful for so many things- Where to start?   Let's start with the fairly obvious:
First and foremost I am grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ.  We have taken quite a hit this year!  With so many people thinking that "my Jesus" is not the "right Jesus" It has caused me to think of him, what he has done for all of us, and how I need to do a lot better in 2012 standing up for him and sharing his message of love, peace and happiness with those around me. 

 I'm thankful for my awesome family, they are the heart and soul of my life.  I miss the part of the family that moved to Iowa this fall, but know they are doing great and it was a good move for their family.  I am proud of my kids and the human beings they are.  They are kind, thoughtful, loving and decent.  May we grow closer this next year. 

I love my job working with the coolest high school students in America, and I love taking them on adventures around the world!

 I love seeing my students helping others!

 I have amazing friends! 

                         how about the other, 
              non-obvious stuff that I am thankful for?  

  • Orange Fanta
  • Chipotle
  • Toilet Paper
  • Toothpaste
  • Cars
  • Mittens
  • Sunsets
  • Crunchy Apples 
  • Palm Trees
  • Airplanes
  • Oreos
  • Pillows
  • Nyquil
  • Washing Machines
  • Talented Musicians
  • Sports
  • Computers
  • Smart People Inventing Cool Things
  • The List Goes On and On!!! 
Everything that touches my life I am truly grateful for when I slow down long enough to notice how blessed I am.  Tomorrow, when you are pounding down the turkey, mashed potatoes and pie, take that second to truly be thankful for everything we have.  Imagine a world full of grateful people even for the little things.  Then, we can get together and start coming up with solutions on the tough stuff, one random woman at a time. 

Happy Thanksgiving 2011!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Never Ending Adventures of life with Hank

My dad is 83 years old.  He recently moved from middle of nowhere, Wyoming, to my house.  Although he has only been at my house for a couple of weeks- he is making an impact on me and my family.  He is also funny without trying to be.  I am keeping track of this new adventure in my life because there are so many of us in the "sandwich" generation.  We are busy with kids on one end, and busy helping our parents on the other end.  Let's enjoy this sandwich time together, it won't last very long!!

HANKISM- Definition-  1)Interesting things Hank says, or does that are unusual to the way I would say or do things. 2) A solid excuse for the reason I act the way I do.  3) Just too dang funny not to share.

I saw this book at a bookstore before Hank moved in and thought it would be interesting for him since he loves to read, and was part of the Berlin Airlift.  Here's how that conversation went:

Me:  "Dad, I found this book at the bookstore and thought you would like it! It's about the Berlin Airlift and I thought since you ....."

Hank: interrupting me "I saw it...all about the damn Air Force. Ohh! I am in the Air Force! I dropped candy to the little German kids! Look at me! Who do you think loaded the damn planes for the Air Force? That's right- THE ARMY.  There we are working our asses off 24 on 24 off to make that airlift happen and the book is about the damn Air Force...Well Whoop-de-damn-do." 

Me: "Wow! It's sure warm out today, isn't it?" 

Hank occasionally goes shopping and brings back treasures.  On a recent trip he located this "Hunter's pack of meat" for us...
It included:

2 lbs of summer sausage
2 lbs of ring bologna
2 packages of bacon
2 lbs of braunschweiger

Do you hear your arteries hardening? 

 Came home the other day and Hank had counted all his pills and made a spreadsheet on how many he has on hand and how long they will last. 

Old IBM habits die slow....

I recently drug Hank into the current century and got him a cell phone.  I worry about him, well, falling, and not being able to get up....So I thought the cell phone would be a handy feature for him.  Just yesterday we had this conversation:

Hank:  "This phone doesn't work."

Me: "What's wrong?"

Hank: (flipping phone open)  "There is no dial tone"

Me:  "It's not like a regular phone, you won't hear a dial tone, you just dial and it will connect you."

Hank: "That's crazy."

Last night's conversation!

Hank: "What day do you do your mending?"

Me: (trying to remember what the word "mending" means) "Um, it depends."

Hank: "I have a couple of things that need mending"

Me: "I will be happy to mend anything for you!  My mending kit is right in the cabinet" (where I keep my 3x3 plastic travel sewing kit containing 4 tiny spools of thread, 5 needles, tiny scissors and plastic thimble)

Hank: "You don't have to do it now, you can wait until your mending day." 

Me:  "Oh, I don't mind, besides, I might be really busy on mending day so now is great."  ( while I envision "Mending day" as January 20th 2179" )

I love having you here at my house Dad- I hope I can take care of you like you took care of me when I was little. I hope you have fun while you are here and we don't drive you too crazy.  You are the greatest.  Thank you for making a difference, one random man at a time. 

For those of us in the sandwich generation, if you haven't seen this- click and watch this youTube... thought provoking and soooo true!!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

OK Friends, I need to get on my soapbox.  

Please indulge me (or don't read this- ahh!! the beauty of living in America!!)  

Pastor Robert Jeffress of Dallas chose the Values Voter Summit to loudly proclaim that Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is not a Christian because he is a Mormon, and Mormonism is a cult.   First of all, to be clear,  I don't care if you vote for Mitt, Obama, or a little green man from Mars. I do take offense with my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being called a cult.  

I know my beliefs are "out there" to some of you.  I know you don't believe what I do, and you really can't understand why I go to church for three hours every week,  donate a portion of my income, wear the clothing I wear and spend the amount of time doing church-related things that I do.  You and I may differ on what Jesus looks like, what he wants us to do, and how to do it.  Does that mean we can't get along?  Really?  I think our differences make us awesome. I think our differences make us better.

But please, can we stop with the "cult" crap? 

 There are 14 million Mormons on six continents. We spend our time helping others, mostly not of our own faith. Since my church started keeping track of charitable donations in 1985 we have donated over 1 Billion dollars.  We are often first in line after a natural disaster to offer relief.  We have a program to assist training care givers in underdeveloped countries neonatal resuscitation.  We partner with the the Red Cross and UNICEF to help stop measles, and donate 1 million dollars a year to that cause.  Since 2002 we have helped 5 million people have access to clean water in 4500 communities.  We have provided vision treatment to over 180,000 people around the globe.  We have donated over 300,000 wheelchairs in 101 countries.  This is just the big stuff.  I am not counting the hours or dollars we happily donate to help our neighbors, our friends and our communities.   Jesus said, ( yea, the same Jesus you say I don't believe in) "By their fruits ye shall know them."  Sorry, but I think we have some pretty great fruit....if I do say so myself....  

Is my church perfect?  Nope.  Full of a lot of strange people.  But it is also full of amazing, talented, kind, thoughtful followers of Christ who just want to make a difference in their community,  and live a good life.  The leaders of my church are amazing men and women donating their time and energy to make our world a better place.  I don't follow a Charles Manson that wants me to climb around the Hollywood hills and murder people.

  I am not part of a cult.  I think, I choose, and I act.  All by myself.  

I follow Jesus Christ. Even if you don't like how I do it, or think I am not "really" a Christian.  

How about we stop all this nonsense of name calling and look to find what we have in common?  How about we work together as Americans to solve the problems that our great country is facing.  How about we learn to listen to each other- we might be surprised to hear a suggestion or a thought that actually might work.  Let's make our country a wonderful place  for our kids, our grandkids and all those who follow after them.  Let's stop pointing fingers at each other like snotty nosed kids on the playground who blame each other for everything that is wrong with little thought as to how we have contributed to the problem.  Let's dig out the ancient art of compromise to look for ways to solve the really hard problems.   Let's go out there and roll up our sleeves, shut our mouths, and get to work.... because I believe we really all can make a difference.... one random woman at a time!!! 

For more info on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints- go to

Here is the link to Pastor Jeffress' comments:

And this is a link to one of my leaders talking of Christ.... You choose!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

It's General Conference time again!

When I was younger I looked forward to General Conference weekend because it was a weekend I did not have to go to church. 

I missed the entire point!  Now, I look forward to General Conference weekend, and look forward to the talks arriving next month in my Ensign magazine for me to read and re-read.  What is General Conference? 

 This amazing meeting draws all of my church together.  The conference is seen in over 102 countries, and translated into 92 languages from Albanian to Yapese.  My church has held these conferences every 6 months since 1830.  We hear from our leaders on all topics to help us live better lives and become better people.  We are reminded on ways to be better followers of Christ. 

So while I love not getting up on Sunday morning and putting on my pantyhose every six months- I love even more hearing great messages about my purpose here on earth.  Why families matter.  Why I need to focus on the important things in life.  Most of all, I am reminded that Jesus lives.  He is my Savior, and yours.  He loves me and knows me, and he died for me. 

And when I have spend the weekend getting my cup filled up- I am ready to try to make a difference, again, one random woman at time. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sometimes ya just gotta trust

 Last week we took the Silver Creek Leadership Academy to the CU Challenge Ropes Course at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  It was amazing to see the kids working together, reaching out to help each other and trusting each other.  Too often in this world we think we have to make it on our own, or that we need to put others down to make ourselves feel better.  Wonder why it took hanging from a string 40 feet in the air to feel differently?

Wouldn't it be great if we all took care of each other?  What if I was strong when you were weak?  You were smart when I was dumb?  And we all just managed to cut each other some slack and treat each other with love and respect? 

I look forward to when we just reach out our hands to help each other. I don't care if you are my best friend, or someone I hardly know.  If you need help- I want to be that person.  

And when life seems unstable- or I am a little unsure of myself- you will be there for me. 

Because we all make a difference
one random woman (person) at a time!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

We lost a couple of great ones-


 "What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others." - Pericles 

Recently we lost two great people- Marie Drummond was a teacher at Silver Creek High School in Longmont CO. She did some amazing work with my son, TJ.  She helped him through some tough times in high school, and was his advocate in many ways.  She did that for so many students along the way in her 30 year career in teaching.   She personifies what is right with public education, and the kind of people who spend hours every day with our children.  Thank you Marie, for your impact on the world.



Brenda Bane amazed us all with her will power, her strength, and her faith.  After being diagnosed with a brain tumor, Brenda defied all odds, and lived an amazing 22 months.  Brenda, to me, will most be remembered for two things- her amazing faith and positive attitude, and her devotion to her two boys.  My favorite memory of Brenda is sitting at a basketball tournament in Denver that lasted all day and well into the night.  Our two oldest boys were playing, and our two younger boys were bored silly.  Brenda and I laughed at how similar boys were.  


Both women have left a mark on the Silver Creek High School community, and in the hearts of so many.  Heaven is a little cooler of a place to be with these amazing women there.  



Thank you......... We will miss you.....Thanks for teaching us that we can make a difference- one random woman at a time!




Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sleeping on the trampoline

When I was growing up we spent many a summer night sleeping on trampolines.  We thought it was the coolest thing ever! ( I have since come to believe our mothers figured out it was a good way to get us out of the house and not have  to listen to us and yell at us to shut up and go to sleep)  My kids were big on sleeping out on the tramp as well when they were little, so it only makes sense that I would want to share that tradition with my grandchildren. 

It's been hot as blazes here in Colorado the last while, so getting out of my house without air conditioning has been tops on my priority list.  A couple of nights ago, while watching my 3 year old granddaughter jumping on the tramp at dusk I knew we had to have a trampoline sleepover.   I climbed on the tramp with her and did a few rounds of "ring around the rosie"  (Which was more fun when I was younger....I was beginning to get vertigo) and we laid down and looked at the clouds and decided what they were.  (spiders, angels and monkeys...oh my!!)  and hatched the plan with her to sleep outside.  Her eyes were huge in disbelief that sleeping outside on the tramp was even allowed.  She smiled at me with the largest grin I have seen on her face in a long time.  It was as if in her little mind she was thinking-
, "I need to hang out more with Gammie.  She has some serious fun."
(Which thinking she wound be totally right!!)

We grabbed the blankies from around the house, made popcorn, and pulled out the laptop to watch a movie. (yea, we didn't do that as a kid)  The movie portion actually lasted only a few minutes, and I was thrilled when she said, "Gammie, can we turn off the movie and look at the stars?" 
"Duh" I thought.   My one minute to unplug and hang out with her and I organize more technology for her.  I made a note to myself not to do that again, and off went the movie. 

 We laid on our backs and snacked on popcorn.  We talked about stars and where they came from and what they were made of and how big they were.  I made up most of the stuff as I am not sure the exact molecular structure of a star, but she thought the answer that Heavenly Father and Jesus made the stars so we would have a beautiful sky to look at night was a great answer.  (And, frankly, I do too!)

We looked at all the airplanes flying with their blinking lights.   We guessed where the people in the airplanes were flying to.  She snuggled close to me and giggled. ( I hardly slept, and my granddaughter will probably get west nile from all the bug bites she has,) It was the best night in a long time. 

Too often we are so busy with the hustle and bustle of life.  We do what our Iphones and blackberries tell us to do when they tell us to do them.  I don't want to live my life like that.  I want memories that last into eternity.  I want my granddaughter to remember the night on the trampoline and I hope there are many more in the future.   I have learned something from the teachers I work with.  They take summers off still. While I continue to work every day and juggle all the responsibilities of the leadership program, they are not.  And they are smarter than I am.  They went on vacation for six weeks.  They are up in the mountains all summer.  They are bike riding, swimming, and making sandcastles.  That is why they are teachers, and they are smart to use their time to unplug.  Heaven knows they will spend the next nine months running with their hair on fire. Maybe we all don't get summers off, but we all get some time off.  Are we using that time to make a difference and build relationships with those who matter most, or are we bringing work home, shoo-ing off the kids to be quiet, ignoring our spouse for hours at a time to do a little more work? 

Don't forget why we are here- build those relationships that truly matter!  Because that is how we truly make a difference, one random woman at a time!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Good Karma

 On a recent trip to Las Vegas, Nevada with my two sons for a basketball tournament I knew I would have some free time.  I decided to sneak out of the hotel early while my teenage boys were still sleeping (thus they would never really know I was gone, and I would not miss any fun times with them! Aahh,  the beauty of teenage boys and their sleep patterns!)  and head to the Las Vegas Temple. 

I love to visit the other temples!  The are so beautiful and so unique while still being so similar.  (I know, that sounds silly, but it's true!) 

We were on a pretty tight budget this trip- in fact, I did not rent a car.  I knew the temple was a bit away from the hotel we were staying at on the strip, but I thought I could still get a cab ride to the temple.  It would be a little pricey, but certainly worth it! 

I got a cab with a lady who was from Ethiopia and had been in the United States for around ten years.  She had no idea where the temple was.  I was glad to have the GPS on my phone to make sure we were headed the right way!!  This sweet lady and I had a wonderful conversation about our families, and why I needed to attend a "church" that was so far away.  (she assured me she would help me find one closer, but I insisted this was the one I wanted to go to!)  I began to get nervous in the back seat of the cab when I saw the dollar amount for my ride continue to climb and climb.  I was nearing the dollar amount I had envisioned spending on the entire trip, and I was not at the temple yet.  My heart sank as I began to calculate the cost of a return trip.  Maybe this was a bad idea. 

We got closer to the temple and I began to contemplate walking the rest of the way when I saw Moroni in the distance, but I continued on with my sweet driver chatting about so many things.   As we got closer, my cab driver got quiet. 
She said, "Oh my, it's beautiful!  I had no idea this building was here!!"
We pulled into the parking lot and were met by the sign- "Las Vegas Temple- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."  My cab driver read the sign.
  Her eyebrows raised.
She said quietly, "You believe in Jesus Christ?"
I smiled.  "Yes, I do." I replied.
She said, "I do too."
I said, "It makes all the difference in my world."
We pulled to the front of the temple doors and she asked me how long my church service was, and how was I getting home.  I told her I would probably need a ride.  (with my stomach sinking, while I calculated the tip for with my trip) She gave me her phone number and told me to call her.   She marveled again at the beautiful gardens and I told her to park her cab for a couple minutes and enjoy the serenity of the temple grounds.  I thanked her for the ride, and headed to the front doors.

  I said a quiet prayer for my new friend from Ethiopia.

I walked in the front door of the temple.  It was beautiful, but I could hardly think because I began to worry about the costs of the trip.  How was I going to get back to the hotel?  Maybe there was a bus?  I was met at the front door by a sweet sister who welcomed me to the temple.  I must have had that "I am confused and don't know which way to go look" on my face, as she asked me if this was my first time at the temple.  I told her I was from Colorado and was visiting.  She smiled and told me she would help me navigate my way around.  We chatted quietly for a moment as we walked into the temple and she helped me find my way around to prepare for the next session.  I thanked her for all her help and went to the chapel to wait for the next session. 

My mind went from looking at the beauty of the temple to panicking about the cost of the cab ride.  I knew I needed to "put the world aside" so that I could enjoy the peace of the temple.  I said a heartfelt prayer that I would figure something out.  I knew the Lord loved me, and was mindful of my situation, so I needed to enjoy the time at the temple and put the worries of  the cab ride away.  I did my best. 

Towards the end of the session I began to think about the cab ride again.  "would that older couple think I was a weirdo if I asked them to drive me to the strip?" I thought.... maybe not, but probably.  So I decided not to ask total strangers for rides.
  I could ask the front desk if there was a bus nearby.
Or.......I  could just suck it up and pay the cab ride.
It was my sacrifice for attending the temple. 
That was it.
Stop whining Carrie! 
Put on your big girl panties!
You are not pulling a hand cart!!
You did not save for five years to pay for a boat ride to the temple thousands of miles away.
You have a cab ride that cost you more that you wanted to.
Deal with it. 
Yup, that was it.  I took a big breath, said a small prayer for the opportunity to serve in the beautiful Las Vegas Temple and I walked out the door to change my clothes. 

Just then Karma happened.

The sweet lady who showed me around in the beginning of my day was standing outside another door.  Her eyes lite up when she saw me. 
"There you are!" she said.
"What hotel are you staying at?" She asked me.
"I told her I was at Mandalay Bay, on the strip.  
"She glanced at her watch.  I get off my shift in 20 minutes, and I would be happy to drive you to your hotel.  It's silly for you to pay for a cab." 


I asked her if she was sure, and told her she was an answer to a prayer.  She told me she would meet me out front in 20 minutes. 

I changed my clothes and said a prayer.  That was an answer to a prayer.  It came swift, quickly and actually exactly how I would have liked it to be answered.  But only after I was willing to pay the cab ride.   I know all prayers aren't answered like that.  If they were no one I know would be dead, sick, divorced, flunked a test, needed surgery or wanted for anything.  But today in Las Vegas, I hit the jackpot. 

I met my ride in the front of the temple.  She apologized for making me wait. Really?  You are doing me a huge favor and you are apologizing....really?  Yup... your are an LDS Woman....

We headed off to Mandalay Bay.  We hit it off and had several things in common.  And the kicker?  Her name was Karma.  I'd say she was appropriately named.  She was good Karma today!  She dropped me off at the front of the hotel.  She, of course, would not take any money.  I thanked her and she drove away.  My boys were just waking up, I had a wonderful time at the temple, and I got a little reminder of how much my Heavenly Father knows me, loves me and is there for me. I also got a reminder that women rock.  The do amazing things for each other. My life was touched by my cab driver and sweet Karma.  Just goes to show you, we can all make a difference, one random woman at a time!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pura Vida!

Just returned from 10 days in Costa Rica with some of the greatest kids from Silver Creek High School.   As part of my job as the Program Coordinator for the Silver Creek Leadership Academy, we are working to give students the opportunity to travel internationally to understand other cultures, find commonalities, and become better world citizens. So, I  (being the kind, giving, and thoughtful person that I am) took time out of my life to donate to the cause.  (I know, dirty job.....but someone has to do it!)  

Manuel Antonio National Park

La Fortuna Waterfall 

The Costa Ricans have a saying.  "Pura Vida!"  Which, directly translated means "Pure life."  While it is easy to enjoy the pure life while sitting on a beach, looking at a volcano, enjoying the beauty of a waterfall, I found a deeper meaning to the thought of "Pure Life" while there.  

The group at Poas Volcano- and Jurassic Park size leaves

 Living a "pure life" is living a life that is worth living. 
A life that has purpose, direction and meaning.  Living a pure life is one where our values are not fleeting, and we are not swayed back and forth by popular opinion.  Living a pure life is knowing who you are- standing for it even when it is uncomfortable. 

Living a pure life
is the essence of leadership

Sunset at Jaco Beach              

Another view of the sunset at Jaco Beach

 How often do we pause to look at life with "Pura Vida" eyes?

How often do I reflect on the beauty of this amazing earth and breathe in the smells, listen to the sounds and just stop my mind for a few minutes and be grateful for all I have? 

Living life the Pura Vida way would allow me to do that. 

So while I was in Costa Rica, I kayaked, zip-lined, river rafted,  rode horses thru amazing countryside, watched kids dance their native dances, listened to birds, looked at flowers, swam in the ocean and loved every second of it.  But the best part was sometimes sitting quietly and thinking nothing. I loved watching the students soaking in every experience and knowing it was making an impact on their life and who they would become.
Getting ready for river rafting with the group (minus Lisa)

How amazing would the world be if we all added a little "Pura Vida" to it?  What difference could you make if every morning you woke up determined to live a pure life?  What would you become?  For me- Pura Vida changed me forever.  I am going to work a little harder to live life a little "pure-er"  and make a random woman at a time... 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

TJ signs on the dotted line....

Me, TJ and Coach Doty from Central Wyoming College
 Sometimes as a mother you worry about your kids.  Will they eat enough vegetables, drink enough milk, not ride their bike into the street,  and graduate high school.

We also  worry about bigger things like: will they be a decent human being? Will they give more than they take and will they get the big picture, and know who they are, why they are here and where they are going?

Each child of ours is not really ours.  They are just on loan from our Father in Heaven.  He would really like it if we don't screw them up too much.  He would like them to come back home to him when this life is all said and done.  So we as parents do all the things we can to give them experiences here in this life that will help them make decisions to get to the next life and be where they  want to be.

I am rambling, I guess we all get to do that when a kid graduates from high school. It's a changing time, and a time for reflection.  

TJ is headed to Central Wyoming College to play basketball.  I assume he will also attend classes in-between  gym time.  I am proud of this kid.  When he tore his ACL many thought his playing days were over.  He never quit.  He worked hard, helped coach the team he could not play with and gave all he had in a different role.  It's all anyone can ask.  They have no idea what they are getting at CWC.  They are so lucky. 

When the basketball banquet rolled around at SCHS they made an announcement that the award formally known as the Chris Johnson award was now called the TJ Adams award.  For the player that goes above and beyond for his teammates.  I don't know about you, but I don't have an award named after me.  I probably never will.  Way to go, TJ.

TJ really has made a difference- at home, at Silver Creek High School, and in the lives of so many.  And that is the best we can do, make a difference- one random kid at a time!!
TJ signing his life away

The Siblings

The whole family

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thanks Coach!

Tomorrow my high school track coach is being honored at the Boulder Valley Invitational track meet as the honorary coach of the year.  Mrs. C. from Boulder High School, this is long overdue!  Mrs. C was assisted by her husband, Ron.  Our Track team was a combination of real athletes, average athletes, and wannabee athletes.  I am sure you can not guess which pile I am from.  For some kids, track was a fun thing to do after school and a fun thing to do on a Saturday to hang out with friends and look at the guys in short shorts.  For me, Track was a lifeline.  To me, Mr. and Mrs. C were lifesavers. 

I "ran" track my junior and senior year at Boulder High School.  My junior year I was arm-wrestled into coming out for track by a good friend.  I loved the camaraderie and  the Carlson's were awesome, hip and fun.  Little did I know that summer would change my life. 

My mother was battling cancer on and off while I was growing up.  She had always come through a winner, even though the battles seemed to get harder and harder.  I was the typical teenager.  Self-absorbed, whiny and felt like the entire world was on some secret mission to ruin my life.  I was talked into going to a track camp at Adams State College ( I have no idea why I would do such a silly thing) but actually was looking forward to it.  I was enjoying a Sunday dinner at home before heading out to Alamosa with friends.  When I got in the car to go, my Mom gave me a hug and told me she was headed to the hospital that afternoon as well.  "Just for some tests" she reassured me, and told me she would be home when I got back the next weekend.  She died a few days after I got home.  She never came back home. 

Mr. and Mrs. C were on their usual summer vacation to visit family in Dallas.  Mrs. C. had a Texas accent that came out when she was being sassy or super angry, other times she sounded like a regular gal from Colorado.  When you heard the accent you were either going to get teased or ripped.  It was like a fire alarm going off.  It was good to have. 

I spent the week busily preparing for my Mother's funeral.  It was a whirlwind and my mind was blank.  One evening after doing all the busy little things that were needed to be done, I came home to a card on the table, addressed to me.  Now mail had been coming on a regular basis after my Mom passed away.  Cards from people who knew her from one of her 500 volunteer activities, church, the Avon lady, the folks at the bank and even the doctor's office staff came every day, addressed to my Dad, or our family.  But this was addressed to me.  It was from Coach.  She took time from her vacation to get me a card, write in it and mail it to me.  She had no idea what that meant to me.  It helped me breathe when I could not breathe.  It reminded me I had a life still.  I had no idea what that life would look like, but I had one.  And, I had people who really cared about me. 

Spring forward to my Senior year.  School seemed mostly like an optional activity, something to do when the ski slopes were not at their peak, or the reservoir was closed.  Mrs. C., however, kept the thumb screws on. I ate dinner at their house,  I ran errands for them.  She threatened my life at times when necessary.  In fact, I recall an evening doing a project for English class with several people working along side of me to finish some poster-board art project.  I knew I had better get it done, Mrs. C was speaking "Texan" to me.  And she wasn't smiling.  I best get it done.

Mrs. C. wrote me in college.  She wrote me when I was a young married mommy with a bunch of little kids.  I would see her and come by and hang out at her pool.  She was with me in the room when my youngest son was born.  She stepped way outside of "high school track coach" and turned into a life coach, a mentor, a friend, and a mom. 

When I began coaching high school sports, I knew who I would coach like.  It was simple, I would follow the lead that Mrs. C showed me, without speaking Texan.  She taught me to pay it forward to the future generation.  She taught me that winning was important, but creating winning people was bigger and ultimately, of infinite value.  

Thanks Coach. You are amazing.  You are a dynamic woman who had molded the lives of thousands of young women who walked the halls of Boulder High and put on track cleats.  Tomorrow at the BVI's I will be so proud to stand next to you while they honor you for your work .  It's long overdue, and its not nearly enough, but it's something. 

You show us we all can make a difference, one random woman at a time! 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Sweet Daughter!

Yesterday my oldest child turned 27.   How did the time fly by so fast?  Wasn't it just yesterday I was fretting over wearing elastic waist maternity jeans?  Today I share some memories of my oldest as I celebrate the woman she has become. 

March 1984....You weren't due until; April but you came early.  (I should have figured then patience was not your strong suit!)  We headed to the hospital.  Your dad decided  we should stop and put gas in the car on the way to the hospital.  (The hospital was a block away, I figured we could probably make it there even on fumes- but your dad insisted.....I began envisioning how  to give birth in a blue VW Bug.....luckily we made it to the hospital!)  You were born a little later, and were perfect!!!  I could not believe I was a mother.  I forgot to turn off the iron.  I left the keys in the car.  How could I ever raise a child?   I was terrified, but you made every minute worth the fear in my soul.  We started to figure it out! 

Spring 1986.... I was pregnant again with your little brother. You were sassy, strong-willed funny and smart.  We headed to K-Mart (because there were no other stores to choose from in our little town) and you were looking for toys.  I have been reading parenting books.  I am confidant in my parenting skills.  Then the dreaded K-Mart incident happened.   I squat down to look at you in the eye, so we have perfect eye contact and I am not talking "down" to you (yea, I read that in a book...)
"Sweetie, three more minutes looking at toys and then we need to go home.  Remember, we are not buying a toy, just looking today!" I say in my calm, perfectly capable parent voice.
"I want a toy!" You say to me. 
"No toy today." I say, firmly but kindly. 
Then what happened next will forever be etched in my mind.  You slugged me.   Not just a little sissy girl punch, you laid me out.  I didn't see the left hook coming.  I tried to lean back but didn't get out of the way.  You caught me right on the nose.  I fell backwards.  You looked at me defiantly and  said, "I want a toy!......please?"  I can hardly see you, as my eyes are watering.  I reach up to my nose and catch the blood on my hand.  My kid just cold-cocked me in the face and bloodied my nose.  I grabbed you and headed out to the car.  You sensed the gravity of the situation and didn't say a word.  I buckled you into the car seat and headed home in silence. 
I am driving home thinking of the kid in the car seat at age16.  Stealing cars, knocking off 7-11's, selling grandma's meds, prison.... What's next?? 
We head to the house and I am a mixture between fuming, confused and scared.  You put your arms around me, look me in the eyes and say "Sorry Mommy" and hug me tight.  Suddenly all my fears go away.  You are not going to jail- you are not Bonnie looking for Clyde.  You are a tough, independent woman who is not going to take any crap from anyone.  You will be just fine.  I do make a mental note to take away the punching bag in your room. 

The memories flood my mind this weekend as we celebrate your birthday.  Soccer games, basketball games, Disneyland, middle school kids in my backyard, the gaggle of your friends, the "camping" incident, the "door" incident (We will save those for another time!) A wonderful husband, and your own turn with your three wonderful children.   How lucky am I to be your mom?  I must have done something right somewhere to  be so blessed to have you in my life. 

The circle of life is a funny thing.  One day we are the kid playing on the tramp, then it's your own child jumping on the tramp, then a grandchild.  I don't feel any older, but the time marches on.  Hopefully we take some time to remember the little funny memories that make life so sweet.  Stop today to remember the wonderful people in your life.  While I won't take credit for the awesome person my daughter has become, but I do know I have made an impact on her life... good and bad...but isn't that what this life is all about? Making a random woman at a time!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

These are a few of my LEAST favorite things.....

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.......I declare....

I have a strong dislike for gnomes

 I am sorry. 
I know I will offend some people who have little garden art all around, and I don't mean to offend.  I just can't take them.  Gnomes are redneck cousins of Santa's elves. Why did we start putting creepy little people in our yard and nailing large metal butterflies to our house? 

I did my grandmotherly duty and took my grandchildren to see "Gnomeo and Juliet" and I suppose there were cute parts in it. 

I am concerned that Elton John is worried about college tuition for his new baby if he is letting a movie like this use his music. 

Gnomes dancing to "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" 

Help me.  

That is a lot for this Grandma to take.  
And I have seen "Space Chimps". 
"Beverly Hills Chihuahua". 

I am no wimp. 

Save the money and rent this movie from Redbox so the kids can see it and you can do something important.  

Like hose off the pink flamingos in your yard.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Operation McGyver

It was a bad week.  We had been sick all week with various illnesses and I was just plain worn out by Thursday night.  My son Travis wanted Manwiches for dinner.  (Because a sandwich is a sandwich, but a Manwich is a meal!)  We started out browning the hamburger and all was going along splendidly!   I grabbed the can of Manwich sauce and went to the drawer for the can opener.  This was no ordinary can opener.  My friend had given it to me when she moved.  It was slick.  I had never seen anything like it!  It didn't cut the can, it removed the entire metal top leaving no sharp edges.  This was like something out of a science fiction movie! Who could think that a can opener could be so amazing.  Anyway, I am getting off track. 

The can opener was broken. I looked around for another can opener, because we have to have more than one  laying around the house, right?  No such luck.  There I am, with hamburger reaching optimum browning stage and I can't open the manwich sauce.

  In a simpler time,  you would just run to the neighbor and borrow, right?  The one neighbor I would consider borrowing from was not home, and the grumpy dude who lives next store would probably meet me at the door with a chainsaw, so that was not an option.  The lady across the street seemed nice, I had never talked to her- just waved from the driveway.  The other older lady across the street seemed happy when I helped shovel her driveway that day, but me banging on her door at night to borrow kitchen appliances didn't seem right. 

"Wow!" I thought.  " I am a horrible neighbor!"  I resolved to be more active and meet my neighbors, but the bigger task at hand was the lack of can opener  and the delicate time issue of hamburger on my hands. 

Travis is now looking at me with those "sad eyes" that makes a mother feel like the worst parent in the world.  All my kid wants is Manwich.  Is  that too much to ask?  Shesh.  I am a horrible neighbor and horrible parent.  This is not a good week!

"There must be something we can open the can with!" I smile.  I start digging through the drawers.  Screw driver in the junk drawer.  Rolling pin.  My mind rolls back to some vintage TV.  Mcgyver could open the can of manwich.  Mcgyver could blow up a plane with a can of Manwich, a phillips head screw driver and a rolling pin....I can do this! 

I put the phillips head screw driver on the can with my left hand.  I take the rolling pin in my right hand.  I begin to pound on the screw driver with the rolling pin. After two sharp hits the screw driver busts through the can!  Houston! We have lift off!  This would be easier than I thought.  I began to pound the can poking holes in it with the screw driver and the rolling pin.  Travis looks at me like I have lost it. 

I envision the men in the white coats coming, to take me away.  Ha Ha.  He He.  I envision my son, scared for life, telling the therapist, "Then my mom took a screw driver and a rolling pin....."  I snap back to the task at hand.  

The can has several holes in it, and I pry it open and dump the Manwich sauce into the hamburger.   I smile and say, "dinner will be ready in a couple minutes!"  My son laughs as we wash the manwich sauce off the screw driver. 

Yea, my son may think I am crazy, but I hope he figures out that I am resourceful and that you don't let little setbacks deter you from what you want.  I hope he sees that there are a lot of ways to get something done. I hope he has a little "McGyver" in him to be strong enough to handle the tough stuff.  These goofy little moments that all add up as we make a difference, one random woman at a time!