Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012


Christmas morning in Colorado.  

We woke up to a white Christmas, which is always beautiful to see the sun glistening on the mountains.  It's been a wild few weeks.  We had the Sandy Hook school shootings,  we had the Mayan end of the world predictions that did not happen,  we had shootings at a mall, shootings down the street and yesterday firemen were shot and killed responding to a fire.  There does not seem to be peace on earth, nor much good will to men.   My heart is sad.  It is sad for the people who have Christmas morning today with funeral plans, or empty places at the dinner table.   I can hardly stand to turn on the TV to see the news.  Heartache seems to be everywhere. 

But I am going to continue to look for the good.  I am going to dig deep to find positive in our world because it truly is everywhere.  If you are on twitter- check out the hashtag #RandomActsOfKindness and see what nice things people are doing for each other.  They are not huge things.  Little things.  Friday,  the cashier at Walgreens who asked me if I had used a coupon for my pictures I was picking up.  I said "no," so she proceeded to take 30% off my bill with an in-house coupon.  Did she need to do that?  Nope.  Was she busy, frazzled and working long hours at the end of the Christmas shopping rush? Yup.  But she took the extra few minutes to save me some money, and I appreciate that.  People are paying for each other's groceries, drinks at Starbucks and other fast food restaurants.  People are helping folks rebuild their houses from Hurricane Sandy.  My SCLA kids are making paper snowflakes for us to mail to the students at Sandy Hook.  There is good everywhere.  It just isn't as graphic to report on. 

Last night I was able to skype with my grandkids and read them "the night before Christmas."  How awesome is that?  Sharing a wonderful Christmas story with my three darling grandkids in Iowa is an amazing thing.  Thank you technology. 

 Good is all  around.  Good will continue to be all around us even when bad is ranging.  It is just up to us to look a little harder, stop and listen a little more closely and seek to find him who helps us find peace.  Our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Now I know not everyone believes in Christ.  I respect that.  For me, personally, he is the source of peace and joy in a troubled world.  No religious rants, no hellfire and brimstone sermons here, just me and my quiet knowledge that he lives.  My knowledge that babe born in Bethlehem and whose birth we celebrate today is real. He was born, he lived.  he died.  He rose again on the third day.  And he is painfully aware of our sadness, our trials and our trouble.  He is there ready to walk beside us, and if necessary, carry us for a part of the journey.  He waits at the door for us to invite him into our lives.  He is welcome in mine. 

His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful by Simon Dewey

Merry Christmas world.  Find joy. Find happiness amid the rubble and the trouble.   Let's take care of each other.  Let us look for ways to bring kindness back into our world that is so filled with hate, anger and sadness.  We can do it.  We can do it one random woman at a time. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thankful me

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. 
Time for my traditional "I am sure Thankful for" list.  

*In no particular order*

  • My new husband (Still fun to say..... husband..!!! )
  • My kids and their spouses 
  • My new step kids (and to not using the word "step" at our house) 
  • My grandkids 
  • My dad, Hank 

  • Toilet Paper 
  • Diet Dr Pepper 
  • Sunsets in Colorado 
  • Friends, near and far  
  • That I don't live in China where they took my shirt away

  • The Gospel of Jesus Christ and my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

  • Steak on the grill 
  • Wii bowling 

Silver Creek High School and my awesome job with awesome co-workers and awesome students.  (I work with teenagers, it's like, awesome!) 

  • music 
  • playing dumb games with my adult children 
  • airplanes that get me to Iowa in 1 1/2 hours
  • Skype / Facetime 
  • Cars 
  • Grocery stores with way more than I need 
  • DVR 
  • House Hunters International 
  • Hot Tamales 
  • Twinkies...... RIP
  • Hoodies / sweatpants (bless you!) 
  • Cell phones 
  • Sweet tarts 
  • Movie Popcorn 
  • smelly candles 
  • sand between my toes (again, soon??  Please?) 

There are way more things to list than humanly possible.  But this is a good, short list to work from.   

Happy Thanksgiving.  
Be Thankful for all the things in your life.  When you start counting, its amazing what that list looks like, and then you are able to make a difference, one random woman at a time.  


Thursday, November 1, 2012



The ones we love with all our hearts! The ones we can't live without.  The ones that drive us nuts.  The ones that evoke all the emotions we never knew we had.  We can't live with them, and we can't live without them!  All of the best jokes come from our family.  Today I am so grateful for them!  They truly make my life complete.    Two shout-outs to family today.

Happy Birthday Kelly!

Today is my sweet daughter's birthday.  I love her smile, her spunk, her passion, her fire.  I love her kindness.  She is a wonderful sister, aunt and daughter.  Our family is lucky to have her.  

Next- I just got back from helping my other daughter, Erin, and her family while she had surgery.
This was a fun filled week in Iowa helping out with grandkid carpools, dinner, shopping, laundry, hospital waiting, ball games, preschool, movies and fun.  This is what the true meaning of family is, the chance to be around when things get a little rocky and we need a little help.  I'm so glad I was able to be there! 

My new heroes for the kind of Grandma I want to be are Mike and Esther Kohn,  parent's of dear friends of mine.  I spent 11 amazing days in China with their son and daughter-in-law Adam and Lauren.  While we were traipsing around  China, Mike and Esther were holding down the fort in Colorado with their two grandchildren.  They didn't just keep the house from burning down, the kids from starving and out of the emergency room, they did cool stuff with them..... Library, museum,  swimming pool, ice cream, you know, cool grandparent stuff.  Then they made the kids a great book of all the fun times they had with them.  Grandparents like that should get an award or at least a few minutes on "The View."  I want to be them when I grow up.

So while I was in Iowa, I tried to be Mike and Esther.  I came up with a few random thoughts that I thought I would share with you.

#1 Mornings are not for everyone!

The first morning I was there, my daughter had to be at the hospital early for surgery.  I took over morning duties, getting kids ready for daycare, pre-school and school, then headed off to join my son in law at the hospital waiting for Erin to come out of surgery.   My grand daughter was happy, perky and all smiles as we got dressed and did hair.  My grandson, on the other hand,  would have preferred I was sucked off the face of the earth.  When we brought out the camera he was even less impressed with me.  Funnily enough, the roles changed by the end of the week, with my little man the happy perky one, and me having to drag my granddaughter out of bed and nearly get her dressed asleep (which is like putting jello in a ziplock bag.....)   I know exactly how they feel. Some mornings I am up and ready to tackle the world, and other mornings.....well, don't talk to me, and get me a Diet Dr. Pepper stat. 

#2 Do Things For Others  

When you get a chance to do something for others, jump on that chance.  It won't come around again.   My 4th grade grandson was celebrating "America Reads day" while I was in Iowa.  He asked me to come to read to his 4th grade class.  While I thought of all the the things I should be doing
(Laundry, helping Erin, cooking, etc)  There was really nothing more important than taking time to read "The Monster at the End of the Book" with furry, lovable Grover to my grandson's class.  The smile on his face as he introduced his grandma from Colorado......Priceless.

#3 Give Comfort 

Funny thing about spending time in Iowa... I was supposed to be there to help Erin and comfort her.  Guess what happened?  My soul was comforted and I was the one who was blessed and uplifted.

#4 Want to feel good? See what great parents your kids are when you see your grandchildren smile. 

Nothing fills your heart more than seeing your grandchildren, happy, healthy, smiling and loved.  With all the Chaos in the world, walking into my daughter's home in Iowa where it is a home filled with love and peace is an amazing thing.  Don't take that for granted.   Thank your children for raising great children.  We all know how tough a job that is, especially in today's world.   Stop what you are doing today and give them a hug and thank them for raising such great kids.

#5 Shout out to the one who married your kid. 

I can't tell you how much I love my son in law, John.  First of all, he married into our family, so he deserves a medal of honor just for that one, brave act.  He puts up with my daughter, who, occasionally acts just like me.  But the number one thing I admire about my son in law? He is a GREAT dad.  In an era where the importance of fathers is disregarded on all sides, I am proud of my son in law for the time and effort he puts in to being a dad.  He is a hands on dad who works all day and comes home and works all evening.   Heck, he put up with me being there all week, how awesome is he?

#6 Life is short, take a big bite 

 Buy the big, hand dipped corn dog for your grandson.  Buy one for yourself.  Life is short. Take a big bite out of it and enjoy every moment.  Look for chances to make memories, to show you care!  Don't pass up an opportunity by being "too busy" to help, to serve, to be happy.  

#7 There is beauty all around, when there's love at home

Who knew the sunsets in Iowa were so beautiful?  Who knew sitting out on the porch on a fall evening was so quiet and peaceful?  My trip to Iowa was a wonderful break from my hectic world.   I LOVED spending time with my people.  I love my daughter and my son in law, and my three grandchildren are amazing, spectacular and fabulous.  Kiss your kids today.  If they are far away, call them, send them an email, or a text and tell them you love them.  Look for the reasons you are proud of them and help them make a difference in the world!  I am going to try a little harder to see the opportunities to make a difference too, even if I am just one random woman. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Where the heck have you been?

It's almost embarrassing to have your blog alone and neglected for so many months.

 I suppose if I offer the excuse that I got engaged and married in the past few months maybe you will cut me some slack?  Well- a shout out to fellow blogger www.notthebabysmomma.com who motivated me to get writing again. So here we go! 

So what happened to me?  I was a happy middle age single woman.  I was plotting my trips to distant locations.  I was looking forward to hanging with my friends, taking my grandkids to Disneyland.   I had embraced the fact that it was more likely that I would be killed by a terrorist before I would get remarried.   Then a blast from the past came back. 

Jim grew up in Colorado.  We went to church together.  We went to Fairview High School together until I came to my senses and transferred to Boulder High.   I remember Jim driving his convertible with his blonde hair blowing in the wind.  We danced at a stake dance,  dancing to "Stairway to Heaven."   I knew Jim's parents.    We connected on facebook and began chatting.   I should have seen it coming! 

 Suddenly I am chatting on the phone, texting and becoming a sappy little girl.  On a trip to Texas to visit him, he smiles, pops to one knee and asks me to marry him and I knew then my life would never be the same, in a really good way. 

So catch you up to October.  I'm married, living in Colorado, and my husband lives in San Antonio, Texas.   We have 9 kids between us.  We have 4 grandkids.  I still am not sure of how many siblings, cousins, step siblings, aunts, uncles, and any other random relatives that I am not sure about.  (So yea, I have a LOT of material to cover now!)

So here we go.  My adventure begins and I will be dragging Jim along.  He has already shown he can tolerate my craziness by wearing orange converse shoes and leis to our Colorado outdoor wedding, So I am pretty sure there is not much more I can do to surprise him!

 I am grateful for my sweet family, Erin, John, Bodie, Brynlie, Brycen, Mike, Christine, Kelly, Levi, TJ and Travis.  I am grateful for my new family, Jim, Josh, Natalie, Kade, Jake, Joe and Jordan.  I am grateful for my dad, and for Jim's parents, Sam and Sally, and Caroline and Bud.  For his brothers and their wives, and children.    Thank you for being accepting, loving and rolling with the punches.   Just the few small steps I have taken in my new role as wife, step-mother and daughter in law among others has taught me we really all can make a difference, one random woman at a time.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons 

Sometimes life gives ya a couple of sour things to deal with.   I got to spend a great evening with the ladies of the Left Hand Creek Ward last week  sharing some things with them-

 So here they are for you!  For the next few blogs sharing my top 10 list!

#10 Throw them back and scream, 
"LEMONS??? Where is the Chocolate?? I wanted Chocolate!!"  -
 Having a sense of humor makes a difference. 

When I was a young mommy with three small children I scurried around one morning to get a quick shower. ( because, as we all know, showering is a luxury not available to mommies...) I left my 2, 4 and 6 year old camped in front of the TV watching Barney.  When I finished my short shower I opened the door of the bathroom and yelled down the stairs, "Erin! Is everything ok?" Hoping my 6 year old had things under control.  Just as the last word escaped my mouth, I heard glass breaking.  I grabbed a towel, (remembering that it would have been good to grab an actual bath towel before showering as this tiny towel was hardly covering anything,) and ran down the stairs.  At the bottom of the stairs I heard more glass shattering and this time heard the shrill giggle of my two year old.  I found 6 year old Erin and 4 year old Mike sitting dutifully in front of the TV with an empty diaper and clothing of the missing two year old.  I yelled, "KELLY!!!" and then heard more glass crashing from the kitchen.  By now the other two children have popped into action and we all ran into the kitchen,

 Just at that moment, I saw my naked two year old, standing on the counter, reaching into the cabinet, taking out a drinking glass and tossing it to the floor.  As the glass shattered, the two year old did a little naked happy dance on my counter.  She saw me and tried to run, but the wall and the sink were in the way, I didn't want her to fall into the glass covered floor so I tried to talk calmly. "Kelly honey, stand still."  The siblings were not as helpful.... "Kelly! Bad baby!" yelled the 6 year old.  Four year old Mike chimed in, "Kelly NO NO!"

I quickly said to Erin, "quick! Grab my shoes!" so she headed off and quickly came back with a pair of black church pumps.   Now, are you getting the picture? A naked two year old on the kitchen counter, a mostly naked woman with a very small towel and black pumps, two bouncing children and a floor covered in glass.  I walked slowly quickly to my naked una-bomber and tried to grab her, but but she was able to perform the difficult two handed- two glass toss on to the floor, causing me to let go of the towel and jump backwards to not get shattered glass on me.

 I grabbed Kelly, (both of us stark naked, her without church shoes on) and headed for the safety of the dining room and the cheering siblings when I looked up to see the meter man standing in front of my large dining room picture window.  We made brief eye contact when he threw his hands up in the air and ran back to the sidewalk.  (poor man, I am sure he was traumatized!!)

I was able to get my naked toddler dressed and down for a nap.  I put on clothes and opted for the gym shoes instead of the black church pumps and headed to the kitchen.  My mind whirled as I thought of what a stupid, selfish, bad mother I was!!  My two year old could have been seriously hurt because I was so selfish to think I needed to shower.  "Thats it!" I swore to myself!  "No showering until they go to college unless there is another adult in the house!"

And, then... I saw the glass all over the floor.  My mind saw the glee in the toddler's eyes as the glass hit the floor and shattered.  I saw her happy dance.  I thought actually how fun it might be to stand on the counter and toss glasses on the floor.  I thought of me standing there in a tiny towel and church shoes.  I thought of the poor, meter man with that horrible image burned into his brain.  And then, I laughed.   I laughed some more.  Everyone was ok.  My daughter wasn't hurt, and those were really ugly glasses.  We all lived to tell about it.

Moms have seen it all.  Faces covered in markers.  The beautiful "self" haircut that your little one does with the scissors.   Make sure they are alive, then have a laugh!

When life gives you lemons- toss them back, and ask for chocolate.  Have a laugh.  Don't take life so seriously sometimes.   Because that laugh may help you so that you too, can make a difference, one random woman at a time.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


So I'm going to take a couple of minutes and help all you new sports parents out.  It's almost spring time so pretty soon your little 4 year old Mia Hamm is going to be lacing up the soccer cleats and you will be heading out on Saturday mornings with your Starbucks and Lawnchairs to cheer her on.  Far too fast she is playing high school sports and the memories, pictures,  and plastic trophies are all you have left.  Some of you do the sports parent pretty well.  Some of you...... not so much......  Let me share some observations from where I sit. 

Let me share a quick resume with you.  I have coached high school basketball for 10 years.  I have spent 20 in the recreational ranks.  I have 5 children.  I am not brilliant by any means, but I do have a bit of a clue. So humor me!  And now, as my kids get older, and are  parenting their own little athletes, and three of them are entering the coaching profession its time to say some things out loud.  

#1 Someone is always better than your kid.  I'll hang on while you catch your breath.  My kids were pretty good athletes.  They collected 19 high school athletic letters between them.  They had all-conference, all-area, all-state honors.  They have a pretty decent collection of trophies, plaques, awards and other hardware.  One has a college scholarship.  There was and is, someone better than each of them.  And ya know what? It's ok.  For most of our kids sports is a great way to get them off the couch and doing something with other people.  Quit comparing your kid to anyone else. 

#2 Cheer on the entire team- Nothing grates me more than seeing the parents who sit in the stands reading a newspaper until their kid comes in.  Then all of a sudden they are cheering, the video camera is out and they are super fans.  When little Johnny goes back to the bench, Mom and Dad re-enter their coma-like state, with the only movement being to check their watch to see how many minutes their kid plays and sits the bench.  Cheer for the WHOLE team the WHOLE game.  If you want to only cheer for your kid, have them take up sports that are for one person.  Teamwork needs to happen from the parents as well as the players.  Oh, and sit with the other parents, get to know them.   When we build a community of support for our kids the better off they will be. 

#3 Don't badmouth kids on the team:  Maybe you can't see why someone is starting in front of your son or daughter.  Maybe you think the kid that is getting all the press in the newspaper is "not that good."  Teach your kid the bigger lesson by cheering on that kid.  Be complementary of the MVP that is not the fruit of your loins. My Daughter Erin played with Tasha Harris, Colorado 4A player of the year.  Guess what? She was better than Erin.   My son Mike played baseball with Stanford Standout and New York Mets baseball player Sean Ratliff. 

Guess what? He was better than Mike.  Daughter Kelly played against Baylor basketball star Melissa Jones for years.  Guess what? She was better than Kelly.  My son TJ caught passes on the football field from Washington State bound quarterback Austin Apodaca.  Guess what? He's better than TJ. 

  But you know what?  We were huge Tasha Harris fans while she was at Boise State.  We prayed for Sean Ratliff after a foul ball caused a major injury for him.  We got a thrill out of watching Melissa Jones at Baylor, and we can't wait to wear our Washington State Hoodies on game day and cheer for Austin.  Celebrate the success of others.  It does not mean you are a failure.  

#4 Quit coaching from the stands: I know.  The inbounds plays we coaches run are dumb.  The wrong kids are starting. The defense sucks. The offense is lame.   Why don't we call a time out?  It's a wonder we still have jobs!!  Here's the problem.  While you are yelling at your son to SHOOT THE BALL!  The coach asked him to set a pick.  He has to work with us all day and go home with you.  He can't win.  You want to coach your kid?  Great.  Take them out and shoot at the park.  Play catch. Go running with them.  But when your are at the game.  Be the parent.  He has a coach.  He would really like a mom and a dad.  Not an ESPN commentator who has no idea what we have been working on all week in practice.  And for heaven's sake! Let your kid listen to the coach during time outs.  If they look up at you during a time out, its a great time to stick your face in the box of popcorn! 

#5 Sports are for your kid. Not for you.   You had your turn.  Maybe you were the captain of the football team and the best thing since sliced bread.  Congratulations.  Your turn is over.  If you want to play still, go to the rec center and get a rousing game with every one else who is still living the glory days.  This is your kid's turn to have some memories.  This is your kids turn to have fun.  This is your kids turn to ride the bus,  and wear the jersey in the halls of the high school on Friday. This is your kids turn to make it or break it.  Unless you are really good with the magic 8 ball you can't control the future.  They are going to have joy, disappointment, happiness, failure, frustration, elation, and many other emotions.  Be there to LISTEN and support, and help them solve their own problems.  You don't have to step in and run to the coach if there is an issue.  Are you going to do that for them when they have a job? Call their boss? (The correct answer here is no....)  Sports are a great way to learn all of those skills in a safe, controlled environment.  Let them learn. 

#6 Sportsmanship Sportsmanship Sportsmanship.  Don't scream at the ref.  Nothing like being at a soccer game with 7 year olds playing and a 13 year old reffing listening to a Dad berate the kid on a missed call.   Clap for both teams.  Celebrate good plays on both sides.  Let your kid hear you thank the umpire on the way out.  Don't embarrass your kid, your team, your kid's school, and most importantly, yourself.  

Help your kid out- help them enjoy the game, help them learn from the game and help it  be the best experience it can possibly be.  This is supposed to be fun.  You be the grown up, have some class and help your kid become the person you really want them to be.  Because we all make a difference, one random parent at a time!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2011!  

It was a year full of travel- Madrid Spain, Costa Rica, St. Louis, Kansas City, Nauvoo Ill, Iowa, and Utah.

 It was a year of change- Erin and John moved to Iowa, I moved into a new house and my dad moved in with me.  TJ graduated from high school. 

It was a year of new beginnings- writing for the Time Out for Women website-

It was a year of challenges, growth, blessings and trials. 

Even though I got to Tebow on a Gorilla, my life is not complete yet!!!

Now on to 2012~

Some are concerned that the world will end this year.  I am not too worried, I saw the movie "Back to the Future 2" and Marty Mcfly went to the year 2015 and all was well.  So let's bite off a big chunk of 2012 and live life, enjoy our families, and become a little bit better than we were this past year.  I, of course, am going to do the proverbial New years resolution list- complete with the loose weight, eat healthier and manage my money better, because, really, it would not be a new years list without those items.  But one thing I am going to do this year that will be a bit of a challenge for me is to read  all four standard works of the scriptures.   Luckily, I am not left to my own to tackle this goal. 

Awesome LDS writer Emily Freeman is tackling this goal and letting us all tag along with her.  She has the reading schedule and posts thought provoking daily vignettes to help us think a little deeper and apply the words in the scriptures to our daily lives.

Will you join me on this 2012 journey to come closer to Christ? 

Emily's website is:


Be sure to let me know you are playing along and also I will do my best to post thoughts daily (or weekly)  :)
on how I am doing.  I would love to share your thoughts here as well. 

While losing a few pounds, eating more salad and having more money left than month are great goals, there is truly nothing more worthy of my time than becoming closer to Christ, and becoming more of the person, mother, daughter, and friend He needs me to be. 

Let's get reading!!