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I hope you all enjoy my efforts here!

Jul 31, 2008


I caught myself feeling guilty that I hadn't blogged in here for a while. I apparently caught some kind of bug this week. I ended up spending 2 full days pretty much chained to my bed. I don't know what I had, I only know that if I stayed in bed and didn't move, I felt fine. If I left my bed, I was hit with waves of nausea and dizzyness. The said nausea and dizzyness wouldn't go away until I was back in bed. If the dizzyness and nausea wouldn't dissipate after returning to bed, then I just had to go to sleep. When I woke up, I felt great....as long as I didn't move! If I tried to read or watch TV, the dizzyness would often return. Of course, my cure for that was simply going back to sleep. I think I probably ended up sleeping around 20 hours during the first 24 hours of being sick.

Tuesday I pretty much lost everything I tried to eat. I lost all motive to get out of bed, to get food as a result. The good thing was, that if I didn't eat, I didn't feel at all like I would need to vomit. I experienced no twisting, turning abdominal pains that I've experienced with other stomach flus. Wednesday, I managed to keep all food down, but still had some residual dizzyness and nausea. Today, I decided to try a return to life! Other than being tired and a tad dizzy once or twice, all was well during the entire day. We celebrated one of my nephew's birthday this evening at the Texas Roadhouse. I managed to enjoy both the food and the company!

I hope no one else out there experiences this weird "sickness". I keep wondering if it's really something contagious, or something weird my body does. This is the second time I've had the exact same sickness in the last 3 or 4 months. It might even be the 3rd. The last time I was a little sick, it didn't mimic this as perfectly, but it was close. So three times in the last four months seems a bit much. A bug, or something upset in my body chemistry? Only time will tell.

I guess the good thing is, that after every time that I've come down with this, it's the one sickness that I've not seen anyone in my household come down with. I don't like being sick at all, but I can be grateful that at least I don't feel miserable while in bed! By day two, I could read, watch TV, play games on my pager and keep myself pleasantly entertained. While it may not be a horrible illness, I'm crossing my fingers that I don't experience it again in the near future!

Gratitude Entry:
  1. I'm grateful to be feeling all better!
  2. I'm grateful that all it took to feel better when I sick, was just a nap.
  3. I'm grateful to be able to be around people today. I was missing the people in my life during the last couple of days.
  4. I'm grateful for family and enjoying time with them. We celebrated Mike's birthday tonight, and I did enjoy being with everyone.
  5. I'm grateful for good food! Texas Roadhouse has become my new favorite with some of the delicious food they have!

Jul 25, 2008

It's all about Jenny...

Last week, I had thought that my Jenny Craig local center manager was trying to get me an appointment to meet with some national Jenny Craig people. I was more than a little disappointed. When I told myy Jenny Craig counselor of my disapointment last Friday she told me that that would be in the office this week, who was the boss of the local center manager. She said she'd help make it possible for me to meet this person.

I received an email from my counselor, telling me that the person could meet with me today, after my regular appointment. Needless to say, I was really looking forward to going in today! I dressed up to the nines, wore a blake and white skirt/blouse combo, where the blouse is tucked in, and the great belt with the skirt is showing. I felt it made me look even skinnier! :) I added black and white accessories, that I thought added to the outfit. To top it all off, I did my makeup and curled my hair. I hoped to make a great first impression.

I think I was successful! I met a woman named Carmen today. She was so warm and friendly, just exactly the type of person I click with so easily. She asked me right off the bat if she could hug me! Of course she could!!! :) She had been training a bunch of new Jenny Craig employees. They all came out and listened in while we talked, so I ended up having an "audience". I thrive when I do public speaking. It's my "thing"! It's my life's dream to be a public speaker. Someday, I hope to do that full time, but for right now, my dream is to be a Jenny Craig National Spokesperson. I talked to the audience, told her what I wanted to do, and answered some questions people threw at me. I had Carmen in tears at one point. She actually reached for kleenex, as I'd touched her. One of the women told her, I'd much rather have been listening to her today (meaning me), than watching the film we just watched!!!

She took some pictures of me, and was taking them with her to something in Denver, and then I think the next place was something in Las Vegas. She's going to be back in the area in 3 weeks. She is apparently going to talk to people for me! We will see where we can go with this. I feel very positive about the interaction today. I don't know where this is all going to go, but as I told her, "I'm not afraid to dream anymore, and I have a dream." I think I can inspire, and I want to do that. So everyone in my corner out there. Send out good positive vibes and thoughts out to help reach me on my way to my goal!

The events of today caused me to think of how nearly 3 years ago, after Dick's death and under his inspiration I decided to "start over". The steps I took led me to Jenny Craig, even though I only hoped at the time for some success in the weight loss area. I think I was guided there. If I end up being able to change careers and continue making over my life by a career of some sort with Jenny, I will be going in directions I couldn't have even envisioned at that time. My vision was much to small and narrow. Now my visions and dreams are exciting and life affirming. I actually believe in having a dream and going for it. I can't wait to see what unfolds for me in the weeks and months ahead. I know one thing. I'm EXCITED for my future.

Gratitude Entry:
  1. I'm grateful for direction my life has been going, and for the role Jenny Craig has played in my life.
  2. I'm grateful for sales. I caught a good deal at the mall today, and managed to get a blouse for $6.00! Loved that.
  3. I'm grateful for innovative products. At the mall today, my feet were aching a little on my too thin soled sandals. I saw a pair of foam sandals at a steal ($9) and got them. The whole rest of the day I felt I was walking on clouds.
  4. I'm grateful for chocolate dipped strawberries. I treated myself to two of these delicacies at the mall. Mmmmmmm good!
  5. I'm grateful for good books. I've rarely made time to read in recent years, despite always enjoying good books. I started reading the Twilight series and am having a great time! I'm almost ready to start the 2nd of the 3 books, even though I just started the first book of 500 pages yesterday!

Jul 22, 2008


Reader's of my blog have notice I try to do a "Gratitude Entry" every time I post. If you click on the "Gratitude" title above, it will take you to Oprah's website, where you can click on her interview with the author of a book called "Simple Abundance". This book is what turned Oprah onto gratitude logs, and gave me the idea to look for things to be grateful for. If you're deaf, you can click on the "cc" version (also on the same page as the regular version).

After watching Oprah's interview with the author of this book, I've decided to revise my "Gratitude Entry", as I wasn't getting the full picture. What the author recommends, it finding 5 things every day to be grateful for. She states that doing this, causes you to "attend" more to your life and appreciate it more. Not only that, but it makes you be more positive, especially on the days when you're struggling to find 5 things to be grateful for. I'm not saying it as well as she did, so you can watch the video or listen if you want by clicking on my title above. It's over 20 minutes long, but I found it very much worth my while. I can't promise that I'm going to post every day with my gratitude log, but I'm certainly going to the 5 things I'm grateful for on any day I post!

Gratitude Log:
  • Mackie practicing falling into my lap from the arm rests, followed by the cutest smiles and giggles!
  • Dalia helping me eat my dinner, which remind me of just how good my Jenny Craig food is!
  • Cami replying to my comments in her blog! Loved that!
  • Jaimee being willing to ask me for a favor to help her out tomorrow. I love helping.
  • Dalia and Mackie helping me to load the laundry into the machines today. The four little hands at work to help me are so precious.

Jul 21, 2008


Despite being deaf, there's one thing I love, and that is a good musical! Sounds pretty unbelievable, a deaf person who loves musicals? No, not possible! Yep! Possible! Me! I guess you can all understand why I found it worth my while to have not one cochlear implant but two! I've always loved music, and I've always loved musicals. I'm not above singing, "Food, Glorious Food" (from Oliver) when I'm getting ready to eat something wonderful. Or even, during a beautiful morning drive up the mountain, "Who could buy this beautiful morning", also from Oliver. There are many other show tunes from other muscials I love and am apt to belt out in the privacy of my own car (so as not to inflict pain on the listeners).

Last Friday, I was invited to go see "Mama Mia" for a special girls night with my sister, my niece, my great niece (the little cutie), and my sister's friend. I'd not heard about the movie or known anything about it prior to the invitation to go to the movies. This movie turned out to be AWESOME! It was quite a treat. Tonight, at my great nephews birthday party, we were all talking about the movie and how great it was. My nephew, who's a movie buff, was quite surprised to find that he loved it and even bought the soundtrack. Guess who will probably do that now?

For those of you that don't know anything about it (like my deaf friends), there was a music group called ABBA, back in the 60's or 70's I think. Apparently 20 or so years later, a Broadway musical was created around the existing songs from ABBA. Mama Mia is that musical. Apparently it's a very successful Broadway show, from the research I saw on the Internet.

This show I saw was the movie adaptation of that musical. I had a great time, even without captions! Obviously, I don't know the music, never heard any of the songs before, but still enjoyed myself thoroughly. Bilateral cochlear implants certainly allowed me to get the most out of the movie. I was surprised at how much of the songs I actually understood. I was also thrilled that for the most part, I was able to follow a lot of the movie. There were still a few things that I had to ask questions about later, because I didn't quite understand. However, it was very little and not enough to prevent me from having a rollicking good time!

Gratitude Entry: Today I'm grateful for the technology that touches my life. Other gratitude entries have said the same thing, but I was talking about different technology, like the Internet, pagers, cell phones. However, today, I'm grateful for cochlear implants. I love the things that I'm able to hear with mine, whether it's beautiful music, or the sweet voice of a child. The things I hear today, I once would never have imagined hearing. I'm also grateful to Cochlear Corporation for making a great reliable product and for always continuing to improve their technology through continual research to make the processor I wear better, and better. Each upgraded processor adds tons to my life. Sound is never something I take for granted! With the little children in my life, I call them my "special ears". I'm so grateful from my "special ears" and the beauty of sound I get to revel in.

Jul 17, 2008

Blogger's Duel

Step right up everyone, the show begins. Over here in the corner is Cami, mother, chef, entrepreneur, and niece extraordinaire! In the opposing corner you find Ann, aunt, teacher and life renovation expert! Are these two ladies facing off in competition? No!!! We're here to enjoy how the other person blogs about the same pictures and and the incredibly awesome time we got to spend together connecting after years of not seeing each other! Ok readers, relax, I've finished trying to be clever! :)

The world of blogging has been heaven sent for me. The thing I enjoy most is the connections that are strengthened, and the abilities to share lives with friends and family whether near or far away. In the months of reading Cami's blog, I ached to get to know her kids. Her sister Ang, who lives even further away, brings the same ache as I read her blogs as well. My desire for time with my far flung family is strong.

One of the best ways I thought of to just hang out and have a good time while in Idaho, was a pool party at the hotel. When I finally got to see the great nieces and nephew I had in Idaho, I treasured every single moment and second with each of them. I did go to Cami's house, before even checking into the hotel. I was thrilled to see how warm and welcoming and OUTGOING every single great niece and nephew was! I felt so welcome from the moment I stepped foot in the door. After dinner (delicious Papa Murphy's pizza), the party moved to the hotel and the pool. I was so intent on the fun, I never even saw the sign below!!! I heard about it from Cami as we enjoyed chatting it up in the pool while she was holding sweet little baby Leigh! Trust a mom to notice these things! Cami, ever so practical had a good solution, "Fine, we will take her diaper off!" Works for me! :)

The four older kids played to their heart's content with their dad, and eventually with their mother while I held the 5th little one, who was nowhere near enjoying the water that was really a little too cold for her. Leigh was so precious and seemed content to let me hold her and gently sway her body back and forth in the water. While I treasured the precious little girl in my arms, I enjoyed watching the interactions and fun all of the kids had with their parents in the water. It reminds me of all the family swimming events when I was a kid, and of how much I enjoyed and remembered them. I hope that evening was one of those where the kids were building some priceless memories.

After the swimming ended, we all moved to the jacuzzi relaxing in the warmth and the swirling jets. Ahhhhhh, bliss. I was as relaxed as a day at the spa, but with much better companionship! :)

When it was time to go home and get kids to bed, the family moved to our hotel room to get everything together. While there, Sallie and I got together and posed for a picture with all the kids. I wished my arms and lap was big enough to wrap every single child into my embrace as we posed for the picture! Kudos to Cami, also photographer extraordinaire, for managing to get all of us in the picture, even though we are all in a small space sitting on a bed. For the reader's who haven't met my Idaho family, in my arms you see sweet McKay, who managed to snuggle in close for the picture. At the other end of the bed, you see Taylor next to his sister Kymball, who is holding Leigh. in the background you see my sister Sallie, who drove with me from Utah, holding precious Hunter. The only thing missing from this picture, Cami and Joshua, parent's extraordinaire!

All of you look at my face. Is my smile big enough? I don 't think so. The room wasn't big enough to encompass the joy I felt throughout all of my moments with family that day. I got to spend joyful conversation with my brother, get to know my nephew Kory's kids, and then party and spend time with Cami and family. The way I felt right then, I'd rather be in a million pictures like the one below with precious family members, than laying on the beach in Hawaii (and my dream is to some day go to Hawaii). I think that tells you everything about what this trip meant to me

Gratitude Entry: I'm so grateful for the love, joy and openness of little children. I don't know if I just never knew how much I loved children until recent years, or if the personal growth I've made has opened up a capacity to love more. All I know, If I treasure the little ones in my life, whether actual family, or children of my heart. My heart sometimes feels like it's going to burst with joy when I'm spending time with a little one.

Jul 16, 2008

I'm in love.....with life!

On Tuesday I took brief but wonderful trip to Pocatello to see my family there. I plan to another do another entry about my trip and the wonderful family moments of pure joy I was fortunate to experirence on my trip, but I'm waiting for some photos (hint, hint Cami!) Actually to be fair, we're both waiting for the photos from the PDA that was has supposedly already sent them to our email, but the email failed to arrive.in our inboxes It's not like there are a lot of photos....it was one or two. However, Cami and I are looking forward to trying something fun. Both of us planning to use the same photo in a blog entry, and then looking at what we come up with! Doesn't that just sound like a hoot!!!!! I'm so excited about the wonderful trip and connections I just experienced, that I'm having a hard time containing my excitement to write until we can get Josh's PDA to find an email with those photos, into our inboxes.

Last night as I was laying for hours, struggling to fall asleep in my motel room, I kept thinking about my wonderful day. I found a problem! I can't find enough adjectives (superlatives?) to describe how awesome everything is. I found myself repeating too many times in conversation/thought and email the same words over and over: awesome, wonderful, amazing. I need a larger vocabulary. I want some more descriptive words beyond those words. I remember hearing many times before, that the Eskimos have many, many words for snow (I can't remember how many words, but for some reason I keep thinking it's a hundred or more, but my faulty memory might be overestimating it!). Anyhow, I lay for hours in bed thinking we need more words for the joy I feel, for the incredible people in my life and in my family. I am feeling like I'm already in heaven these days. Heaven certainly can't be any better than the life I'm living. I get a high from the people in my life and from the moments, and more moments, and MORE moments to treasure and to enjoy as I live them, then remember them and relive them again and again in my memory. I couldn't ask for more.

Anyhow, in thinking about my need for more of these words to describe my emotions and feelings, famiy, friends and everything else of joy in my life I've come up with: Amazing, Awesome, Wonderful, Incredible, Blissful, Nirvana, Inspiring, Joyful, Blessed..... I'm stuck now! I had to spend some time thinking before I could come up with some of them, just now. They're just not enough!

Anyone that reads this and has positive words to add, please do! I think I'm going to have to study some thesaurus' websites or something! I want to be able to be a wordsmith, able to come up with and select incredible words, that perfectly encapsulate the meaning I'm desperate to share of all the positivity I'm living.

Gratitude Entry: I'm so grateful today for the richness and pure joy that my loved ones bring into my life. I think of all the years I wasted, feeling lonely, alone and isolated. I never realized, or appreciated, or even saw what was there. The love that I feel, the joy I'm experiencing through my very core, is such a stark contrast to what I felt just a few short years ago. What changed? Me! Now I can see it, live it and feel the moments of heaven in my life. I'm also grateful to be on this internal journey to renovate my life. Thank you to all the wonderful people in my life, family, friends, children of my heart and etc. just for enrichening (ah! another good word) my life.

Jul 14, 2008

Does life suck?

You know, I've had various people in my life tell me, "Life sucks". I've always hated that phrase. In my mind, when someone says that, I'd think, I hate that phrase. No matter how bad my life was, and it was bad at times, I didn't want to allow myself to think, "Life sucks". I have to admit that towards the last couple of years, of my bad years, I finally let myself think that.

Recently a friend was telling me about how her life usually sucks real bad, but doesn't suck so bad right now, and they want to keep it that way. Me, with all I'm learning about how we influence our life just by how we think, shared with her that being positive would really help.

While keying mail yesterday, (which I do in my 2nd job), I was thinking about this phrase. Does life really suck for some people. I can think of people that have had some really hard and horrible things happening in their lives and have seen people go through things I couldn't imagine dealing with. I have gone through some periods of my life where my health was terrible, work was terrible and there was nothing else in my life. But did life really suck?

I feel that life is meant to be a learning and growing experience. If we don't treat it that way, I don't think we really find happiness. I think that we can do what I've done in earlier years, where we say, "Woe is me". "Why does this have to happen to me?" "Life isn't fair." and we can feelings fester, feel sorry for ourselves, whether in pity parties, in anger, or in blaming life for being so awful. When we do so, we're not learning and growing. We're not "getting the lesson" that we are supposed to learn or grow from.

One of my "daily quotes" that I got from the Rev. Run that I've referred to in previous blogs quoted Oprah as saying something about "Get the lesson and move on". If we refused to learn and to grow, we stay mired in the crap. If we are mired then we are stuck, which truly sucks! (Like my play with words, stuck/suck)!?

Sometimes the part of life that "sucks" may be from bad choices we made. We all know that for every choice we make, there is a consequence. Bad choices beget stuck/suck, good choices beget growth, learning. I was thinking of some of the bad things that have happened to people in my life, including myself, and analyzing them. Some of the bad stuff was simply a consequence, and we're responsible for where we are/were. We needed to have the courage to look at our life, figure the changes and make them if we want a different result. This is hard to do, but CAN be done, as I'm repeatedly learning.

Some of the bad stuff in life we had NO control over. Life handed us the stuff. What was important wasn't trouble or tragic stuff we had to deal with, but HOW we chose to handle it. If we can get ourselves together, find a way to learn and grow, as well as to be positive, we can come out of everything as stronger and better people. We can learn to be happy in the "now". I refrain from saying we will be happier, because deaths happen, permanent disabilities happen, and I don't feel I can say we are happier after that. However, we learn, grow, and go on whatever journey it is we need to go on.

In every journey, if we are determined to be positive, we CAN be positive. I remember the story I heard from one of my sisters who was visiting in Seattle with our other sister and her husband Dick, one weekend during the last year and a half of his life, where his body was deteriorating day by day, hour by hour. One morning when she was there, they were all trying to figure out how to brush Dick's teeth, as he discovered that morning he could no longer hold the toothbrush in his hand and do it. Dick was laughing as they tried various things, with the solution being for his wife to hold the toothbrush, while he moved his mouth around it. They laughed and laughed through this. Dick chose to find joy over something that represented his body's deterioration. He would never say it "sucked". He couldn't change what happened, but he could live with positivity and find a way to laugh about it, rather than cry and go on a pity party.

I have a "vision board" I've been creating. If you've watched any Oprah, she's had a show dealing with "The Secret" and with "vision boards". I'm creating mine, as a PowerPoint, since I love PowerPoints much more than the gluing and pasting. In the wall paper that I've created for my PowerPoint, I've put the quote I found somewhere, and can't remember where, but it says "If you change your thinking, you change your life". I believe that so strongly now.

Really, if your "life sucks" isn't the truth that "your thinking sucks"? Life never "sucks". Life can have tragedy, can be have immense difficulty with challenges we would never chose, given a choice. So much of life has beauty, love and joy and most importantly, hope. If we can't find, appreciate and treasure those, we might not be able to find the strength to "get the lesson" or to "learn and grow". We can't create more joy in our life if we're unable to find the joy that's there and to be grateful for what we do have.

Gratitude Entry: Today I'm grateful for the little ones in my life. There are times where they try your patience. However, in the midst of that, I'm finding that when they sit next to me, cuddle with me or just give me a hug; they give me a precious moment of joy that would be missing without them in my life, trying my patience! I'm reminded again and again in these moments, how truly lucky I am.

Jul 12, 2008


My best friend came into town from St. George with her daughters, for a bridal shower her local relatives were throwing for one of her daughters. They came and picked me up after they arrived in town, allowing me to spend a blissful day hanging out with her and her daughters.

We stopped at K-Mart for her to pick out a shower gift for her daughter (didn't want to shop at home and have to bring it on the plane). On our way out of the store, we stopped at the little photo booth, you know, the one where you get four pictures on a strip? I haven't ever done that. First her daughters had fun posing in there, then we did.

I think the pictures you see here at the side show just how much fun we were having! At one point, I thought we had broke the photo booth!

We spent the day laughing over one thing or another. Her daughters brought the balloons in the car with us, that had been used as markers to help people find the home where the party was. They would inhale the helium from a hole they would make in the balloon, then break into song. I'll never forget their renditions of "Mr Lonely", "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree" in their helium voices!

I turned today into a giant cheat day, as far as my food program goes. It was a day to just let loose and laugh, not to worry about every little morsel. We enjoyed Icees, Crown Burger dinner and etc. though I did refrain from going for a chocolate dipped cone. I was having so much fun, I wanted to hop on the plane with them and return to St. George! Alas, I'm not family, and can't fly for free as they can since Connie works for the airline.

I realized that one thing I need to add into my life is visits to St. George to hang out with another family of my heart! What a day full of joy. Life is meant to have joy, and I was thrilled to experience that today!

Gratitude Entry: I'm grateful that I have some of the most awesome friends in my life. Some are far away, or so busy I can't enjoy them and their families as much as I'd like, however, they are there in my life. My friends are family and my family is made up of friends. You can't beat that!

Jul 11, 2008

Friday and Jenny Craig!

Yep, it's Friday, and it's Jenny Craig time as usual. I've been pretty quiet about Jenny Craig for the past month or more, as it's been more of a struggle for a few weeks prior to my vacation to keep myself on program. I was just barely getting back on track, when I went on vacation at the end of June! Of course that put me off program once again. At the time I left for vacation, I was still a pound or more from my lowest.

I returned from vacation on the 3rd. The next day was the 4th, which should've been my "date with the scale" day. Due to the 4th of July holiday, I had to wait until Monday to weigh in. I was panicking a little before I went. The longer I was on vacation, the more relaxed I became about food, and the more I ate. I was so worried that I had gained 5 or 10 lbs. However, good news! I only gained about 2 and 1/2 lbs! Not bad for such a long vacation, and basically my first time of being off program for this long!

Even though I was just in on Monday, I went in again today. I need to keep Friday's as my Jenny Craig day. I get paid every other Friday, which is why I choose to make Fridays my Jenny Craig days! I pay for two weeks worth of food on payday, not one week, as most people do. I started doing this because once a couple of years ago, I ran into financial problems. I couldn't afford the food on the Friday that was NOT payday. I'd not only run out of money but the bank cancelled my check card. That was AWFUL. So I learned I had to make it my FIRST financial priority and each payday, I pay for my food for the next two weeks. I pay my bills AFTER I pay for two weeks worth of food. After all, it was my health that was in question. I knew I had my priorities straight. My creditors would more likely get paid back in full by me, if I managed to stay alive long enough to do it. With the way my health was falling apart before, I think chances were high I'd never be alive long enought to pay them. Don't you think?

Anyhow long explanation, just to explain why I went two Jenny Craig twice in one week. Today I figured, that though I'd been good, there wouldn't be much loss, as it had only been four days. I don't know how I did it guys, but I lost 4.3. I lost the vacation weight, the weight I'd gained before vacation, and some NEW weight! Whoo hoo!!! So now I've lost 207.5 lbs. I'm 22.5 lbs from my goal! Ya Hoo!!

Jul 5, 2008

The Golden Rule

Have you ever thought about how we treat those we are closest to? Most especially, have you every thought about how you treat the members of your family? I think many people will agree with me, that we frequently display our very worse self to the members of our own family.

I had an incidence happen yesterday that has caused me to think a bit. Jaimee hosted a barbecue last night for the 4th. I was attempting to help her in all the hosting duties, despite the fact that I'm terrible in the kitchen. This is mostly because I've no experience in the kitchen or preparing food for others. I guess if I had kids or spouse, or was a frequent entertainer, the situation would be different. I've always been reluctant to help out, since I can be more trouble than help, which the host/hostess doesn't need during a stressful time. Usually I'm asked to do something I've never done before or have no clue how to do. It's not a teaching time, so I'm usually given some other task.

At this event, I was asked to cut the watermelon into pieces and put in a bowl. I've never bought a watermelon for myself, nor have I been a watermelon fan. I found spitting out seeds took enjoyment of the watermelon away from the experience. At some point, I'd heard of seedless watermelon, but never bought one. Anyhow, I had the usual sinking feeling when asked to cut the watermelon, and I didn't know how. Jaimee, displaying her usual amount of endless patience, actually took the time to show me not only how, but an easy way to do it. I was quite amazed. I actually cut up the whole watermelon.

I was pretty excited since I had learned to do something I had never done before. I told a family member who first walked in to the kitchen with some pride, "That was the first time I've ever cut up a whole watermelon". She looked at me, showed a very negative facial expression and said, "I'm not surprised." I happened to know she has a lot of negative opinions of me (as she's shared them before), so I felt pretty demeaned and judged. I started to remember all the negative things she believes about me. Nevertheless, trying to bounce back, I managed to still be happy at what I'd done. When I shared that it was the first watermelon I'd ever cut, with the next family member, much to my gratitude, she was able to smile with me and share in my pleasure with me. That really helped me to feel better, after I'd been sort of put down by the response of the person before.

As I worked today, I thought about last night. How often do we do what the first family member did, resort to judging our family members, and instead of reveling and celebrating the good with them, resort to squashing their joy and judging them. We always talk about the golden rule, and how we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us. I wonder though, "Do we really "get it"? I've seen people be rude to spouses, kids, siblings, make comments that are put downs (sometimes disguised as jokes), yell, scream and otherwise engage in behaviors that we would never exhibit to strangers. I think I myself have been less than kind on occasion in the past, though I hope not anymore.

It's kind of the same principle as something else I learned at one time, regarding how we treat ourselves. I've always believed we need to be our own best friend, and to treat ourselves as good or better than we treat our friends. If I found myself starting to be unkind to myself in my thoughts, I've gotten in front of the mirror and talked to myself, to reinforce that I am a real person, and to remind myself to treat myself as well as I treat those I care about. It has helped me on more than one occasion, to bounce back from some very difficult things.

I suspect so many of us think that we're good with the golden rule, in how we treat people. However, that may only mean, how we treat our friends, acquaintances, or even strangers. Our biggest priority with the golden rule needs to be how we treat ourselves, and our family members. Catching our tongue, stopping our judgments and just find the good and the joy in the moment to celebrate, or just to love and uplift. I suspect that true growth may be when we can treat ourselves and those we love, those we share our lives with, those who try our patience just because they're in our lives every day as well as we treat the casual friend or stranger. Food for thought.

Gratitude entry: Since celebrating the 4th of July, I'm realizing tonight how grateful I am for the freedom that we have here in this great country. Many billions of people don't have the freedom to live, love and enjoy life in quite the way we do. I'm eternally grateful for this.

Jul 2, 2008

All's well that ends well!

As I write this, I'm resting on my last hotel bed, before I return home to my own bed! My grand adventure is almost over! In the last 8 days we've stayed in 4 hotels and put about 1200 miles on the rental car. We've navigated those same 1200 miles, and gotten everywhere we planned to go, despite never having been in this part of the country. Tomorrow, comes our final navigation challenge to the airport. I'm pretty sure we will do fine on that final challenge, just as we did all the others. At the end of every great trip, comes the anxiety to get back home to your own bed, your own pillows, and having things already set up for your comfort. I've reached that point.

I don't know how many of you've driven around in Illinois. My recommendation to anyone going to Illinois, always travel with a roll or two of quarters. I can't believe how many toll roads there are. If I lived here, I'd be trying to get some laws changed to eliminate all the ridiculous toll roads and put taxes on the gas to pay for highway projects, like Utah and other states that I'm familiar with. We'd pay $1.90 for a toll, then down the road a bit, another $1.90, then .80 and etc. We paid a small fortune in tolls during the last 100 miles back to Chicago. They even charged people .30 to get "OFF" the freeway!

I guess typical of all tourist, we have been going, going, going constantly. This last leg of the trip was to see the things Paula wanted to see, since the first leg was to attend the convention I wanted to go to. I've gone "along for the ride" and managed to enjoy myself in the process. The Mississippi River is absolutely awesome. When we drove from Nauvoo to Carthage, we had the most scenic beautiful ride along the Mississippi. We drove back at sunset, which added to the beauty. I did fall in love with how beautiful parts of Nauvoo are. I love shores, and the view of the river that could be seen from higher ground. I never in my life imagined that I would get to see the Mississippi River, and now I have. In this trip, I've gone to Illinois, Wisconsin, and very briefly to Iowa. Those are three states I never thought I'd see as well.

I started to become sick on Monday, during the drive from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Nauvoo, Illinois. I knew I'd done a lot at the convention, but I guess I ran myself down enough to get sick. Despite this, once we got to Nauvoo, we hit the ground running, and never stopped. I realized last night as we got to our motel room that we were both so exhausted. Probably due to the exhaustion, I felt even sickest I had all week. On top of this, my legs were swollen and hurt. I realized that despite all the weight I've lost, my "leg pillows" for elevating my legs is really important for me. I suffered damage to my blood vessels when I had blood clots in my legs years ago, and I guess the damage will always be there. Due to the swelling and discomfort, I had charley horses (aka leg cramps) in the night. This part is not fun!

When we found our hotel and checked in, here in Chicago, we were both too exhausted to do anything else but pass out on our beds for the rest of the afternoon and evening. We even ordered ridiculously expensive room service, so we didn't have to push ourselves any further. My mind is also lethargic, hence this hilariously entertaining blog (tongue planted firmly in cheek)!

Gratitude Entry: It's simple tonight. I'm grateful to have a home I'm looking forward to returning to! Home is definitely where the heart is!