Happy Halloween!

I have this document where I paste “clips” from other things I have typed, for ideas of future posts on my blog/website.  It saves me tons of time, so I’m not slowly re-typing something I told to someone already, & I don’t have to decide what to talk about–a BIG deal for me (I never liked having to choose what to eat or wear, so I always made Mark cook, & now he chooses what I wear, too!  Haha)

Anyway, while I haven’t posted in FOREVER, I have been keeping these “clips,” & now I’m so overwhelmed by them, I never post!  I will try to remedy that now…

The last time I posted, I shared a link that has scrapbook pages I’ve done (which I still add to, btw, so check it out—I add about 4 or more pages a month).  Since  I post my scrapbook pages, I’ve had several people ask why I scrapbook.  Often I answer that I scrapbook because I find it therapeutic by reframing my thoughts, but I have other reasons as well:

—it is a way to express myself artistically

—it is a way to “hold on” to my past self

—it is a way to re-live former experiences

—it is a way to share my life w/posterity, & show that life can still be enjoyed admits trial

—it can be empowering to see my accomplishments

—it helps me find & feel gratitude (which I need daily!)

—it can help me to see God’s hand in my life

So to update everyone, this COVID-lifestyle has been good to me (of course I can find negatives, but u know I don’t like to think about those, so here are the positives):

–I always can potty now

-people have more free time to help me

-restaurants now have tables spaced so I can get around—& stores have more room too

–while masks are annoying, they can also keep me warm (when I’m cold in bed, I essentially do the same thing, by pulling the sheets over my nose, so my own breath keeps me warm)

–being a “homebody” is what I like to do anyway

–I can get food delivered from ANYWHERE now…

I am now an empty nester (& under 50 years old!)  It had a rough start for me—since poor Mark only has me now, I got all depressed thinking about how his life was so different with only me here, & I had to reface issues from 16 years ago, as this was not how I’d envisioned life after my kids grew up!  I always planned to go back to elementary school once all my kids left.

So, I started thinking about how I wished I was different…for me, for Mark…But in talking to a friend, I realized that I had to change my focus–I realized that I know better than to dwell on what we can’t do–I get so depressed when I think that way about myself, so why would this be different???

So, I started thinking different.  & while I didn’t miss disciplining whiny, moody kids, I did miss the fun (as any mom does–each child– even my new daughter-in-law, who spent the summer here–brings something unique…in fact, the 1st time I heard a recording of Sophie singing, I bawled!)  So with all of the kids gone, the house became eerily quiet

But now I LOVE being an empty nester, & I LOVE all the time I have with Mark again!  It is so nice to see Mark more the way I saw him 26 years ago, & for me to t feel as anxious all the time (part of that is oddly a thanks to COVID)!  Plus, I think I was someone’s mom for long enough to forget who I am—or maybe I never took the time after my stroke to figure out who the “new me” was.

I had a plan all laid out, & while I thought 23 years ago that I’d be a teacher now, God had another plan…& because He has a sense of humor, he brought school to me: for a while, my helpers’ kids came here w/them, so one day there was a kindergarten class in my craft room, & the next day there was a 2nd grade class in my craft room… haha

With all my new “free time”, I signed up for a nutrition/weight-loss class that focused more on my mind & changing my habits & thoughts.  It’s a 10-week course that focuses on these 6 “pillars.” In “Target 100,” I like how she does more with re-wiring the brain, & has a focus on emotional eating (which I do).  Since I’m learning how to change some thoughts & habits, I’m hoping that some of the stuff I learn will seep into my OCD-personality, as my recent focus has been on managing that & my anxiety better (it wouldn’t hurt if I lost weight, too)!

But I was having a hard time managing my new phase of life, & I realized that a lot of my thoughts get in my way, so I got a “time coach” (a life coach, who specializes in time management).  Seemed a bit crazy to start this (of all things!) when I was already busy, but our course doesn’t even start until my other class has 1 week left, & I sorta’ get “bonus help” in the meantime.  Already he’s challenged some thoughts & helped me to take ownership or something with things I already knew from Mark. 

I have more things I could talk about, but this post is long enough…Oh!  No costume this year.  So sad!  I love to dress up, (it’s a whole new ballgame now, in a wheelchair!) but we celebrate our Halloween by going to our ward’s trunk or treat (which was different this year), but since I had no kids wanting to go, I stayed warm at home!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  This year, I didn’t do anything “fancy” for a costume, but I did get to finally do a long awaited costume that I keep asking to do: doctor/patient.  To me, it’s such an obvious & easy thing to do!

Mark has been out of town a lot lately, which makes things a bit crazy for me, cuz I have to then be in charge: Which wouldn’t be a big deal, if I could just “step in”, but I can’t, so instead of doing what I usually do, I type a lot of schedules & texts, in order to find & coordinate people to not only help me “be me”(get up, get dressed, potty, & do therapy), but also find people to help w/stuff Mark does (like make meals, transport kids, etc.).  The schedules are necessary to keep it straight in my head, & I also use them to help me to more clearly communicate with those who are helping me.

On the bright side, one of the girls who helps me, scrapbooks a lot with me, so since she has been here more often, I have posted a lot of new traditional scrapbook pages that I made for Jessie (& I copied some of them for Zach).  My favorite page we made is a “tradigital page” (meaning it was partially made digitally, as well as traditionally).  It has the most awesome photo, & I have been wanting to scrapbook this photo since the day I took it, but I could never find the embellishments I wanted…so, I finally just made my own embellishments—which  I couldn’t have done 15 years ago, so I am so glad I waited to do this page!:



I posted several new traditional baby book pages for Zach & Jessie, as well as one of the few pages I made for Zach’s missionary album that I’m keeping:

My son, Zach, is serving a mission for our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in san Diego, CA for the next 2 years. He can only call home on Mother’s Day & Christmas, & he can only email us on his P-Day (“preparation day”, for him, is on Tuesday, every week), which is his “day off” to grocery shop, do laundry, run errands, & “have fun” (usually play basketball, I think!).   The rest of the time he is sharing the gospel & the message of Christ, often in ASL.  (If u are ever interested, there is a link to get a free Book of Mormon, which is what he is sharing as well, on the right hand side of my blog).

My youngest, Sophie has never been sure of the career she wants…I remember her feeling distressed in elementary school, cuz she wasn’t sure how to dress for career day…I suggested “a mom”, & was so proud of her for doing it!  Maybe something sank in that day, cuz last night, Sophie had a choral concert.  In the program, it listed “empowerment statements” by the show choir.  I was touched by Sophie’s, that said, “I want to be a loving mother.”  Sophie just rolled her eyes when I told her that I loved her empowerment statement, but motherhood is the most important job a girl can ever have, yet now-a-days, it is ignored, & they all want these fancy professions instead!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for learning & knowledge (I was a teacher, for crying out loud!), & I love that girls believe that they can be in male-dominant professions!

The concert was to support breast cancer, so when the sponsor was speaking, & mentioned some of her favorite empowerment statements, I thought for sure she’d mention Sophie’s…but she didn’t, & it made me so sad to see how little motherhood is valued now-a-days!  Some of the girls even were chosen to shout out their empowerment statements in one of their songs…Of course, Sophie wasn’t one of them!

I am thankful that I was raised in a way that I could see the nobility behind the calling of motherhood, & I am grateful that my daughters have recognized it as well (my middle daughter, Jessie, has always wanted to be a vet, but not at the expense of being a mom).  I am thankful that my son is sharing the gospel with others, which also teaches of the nobility of motherhood!  & finally, I am grateful that when all was “said & done”, two things remained after my stroke: my free agency & my family (mother/wife).

How’s my memory?

My son left on his mission this week ( — the “about me section is old, but the rest has been updated), & if we are Facebook or Instagram friends, u may have seen a post & a scrapbook page I made about it!  I am often asked about my memory now-a-days.  It is 100% in tact, but when I had my stroke, while I did not loose my memories, it is like the “bridge to memory land” was burned…so many of my memories are triggered.  Luckily I’m an avid journal writer & scrapbooker.  I never dreamed that I’d profit by doing these things, but I have!

I am in the process of re-reading my old journals, & it has been an interesting process. I began writing just because I was told to, & became more frequent a writer because I wished that my anscestors had kept journals, so I had a connection to them, but since they hadn’t, I decided to keep mine for my future posterity… I thought that was it. But as I re-read things, I can see the Lord’s hand in my life 20 some years ago, preparing me for people & events in my life today!  & as I read, I feel that my stroke was no accident!

Scrapbooking provides me with the pictures that accompany the stories I write about.  (& if u like to look at my scrapbook pages, I added some new pictures of traditional pages I have recently made for Zach & Jessie).  Pre-stroke, I slowed down on making pages that might involve more than 1 kid…I wasn’t quite sure how to do it until scanners became so big in the scrapbooking world, & now that “the stars have aligned”, I have worked on finishing Zach’s baby book, & then I did Sophia’s baby book–I had never scrap booked my baby book for Sophia, the one kid who scrapbooks & would appreciate a scrapbook.  (Soph has seen her book & seen Zach & Jessie’s nearly finished baby scrapbooks, & though she has never said a word, it has always bothered me that her scrapbook wasn’t made!)  Now it’s Jessie’s turn…

After my stroke, I tried traditional scrapbooking on several occasions, but often felt discouraged or frustrated unless I “dumbed it down.”  It’s just so hard to explain the picture in my mind!  So I was thrilled to discover digital scrapbooking, cuz I could do my hobby without any help or need to explain the “picture” in my mind, & it was only up to my own abilities to see “my picture” come to pass!  However, I still had all those pages I had organized to do.  My mom gave me a glimmer of hope: she began scanning all of my scrapbook supplies & preparing them for me to use on digital pages–a huge job (which I appreciated SO much, cuz I’d been trying to do it myself, but with my double vision, it took me hours to do what should take me minutes, & I couldn’t see me scrapbooking traditionally very much in the future, so I might as well use what I had bought!)  That took care of everything after the year 2004 (when I had my stroke), but I still wanted to somehow traditionally scrapbook at least Sophia’s baby book.  I decided to give Angie a shot, anticipating to really “dumb it down”, since she doesn’t scrapbook.  But, boy, was I in for a surprise!

I don’t know if Angie just thinks like me, so she “gets” the picture in my head, or if it’s cuz I don’t allow myself to fully form a picture in my mind, so I’m not disappointed (I have been working on my OCD & anxiety, & it helps if I don’t let my OCD take charge) or if it’s both: But I will give Angie a basic idea, then just let her do her thing, & tell her to “make it  awesome”, & she does exactly what I’d do! ( For example, when Sophia was a baby, I came up with an  idea for a Cracker Jack scrapbook page, so pre-stroke I scanned all the stuff from a Cracker Jack box, & kept the wrapper–yes, I held onto that trash for 12 years!  The idea was a fuzzy picture now & I wasn’t sure how the page would work, but I did my best to tell Angie my jumbled thoughts, & then she said she’d find a way to make it happen!  The page she made is exactly how I would’ve made the fuzzy picture clear in my mind!)  Additionally, since I had journaled about the things I was scrapbooking, I could scan it, & still include my handwriting on the pages!

In  the past it wasn’t necessarily the people who helped me that made it harder, I just have evolved in 2 major ways:  1.  I’m a control freak, & I’ve needed to learn how to let go, realizing there are more ways than 1 way to do things, & the other ways may even be better than my way.  2.  My stroke affected my ability to process & use words well to express myself.  It didn’t take away my ability to communicate, just “slowed it down”. (For example, when I think I’ve written a post, I wait about 24 hours, so it can “stew”/process.  Usually I think of corrections &/or additions.  Often, I recall more “colorful” words, fill in the “blanks,” & re-arrange things to make more sense).  However, I don’t have time to process when someone is helping me that instant!   I’ve given in to that, which has been easier to do, since my helper just happens to have the talents & abilities that have helped me to evolve!