Monday, 18 November 2013

A Small Miracle.

Yesterday at church there were some awesome talks that referred to the idea of selfish service.  I think I've been afraid to post from the very beginning because it feels like bragging and that means that I'm guilty of selfish service.  If I do things knowing I will post them here for others to read, wondering and sort of hoping that people will think of me as a cool and giving person, then that just negates the whole purpose.  So I felt like I should just stop posting.  And after yesterday, learning more about selfish service, I wondered if I should take down the blog altogether. But I had to share an experience first.

On Sat a couple weeks ago, I had this almost fleeting idea float through my head that I should send one of my sisters-in-law fifty bucks.  An odd amount, kinda small, and I almost made it for a bit more but felt like it had to be exactly fifty bucks.  So I finished some work projects and I got her address and made the decision to send a check on Monday with some other things I had to ship.  On Sunday I taught the primary lesson because Brett was taking care of his father after a surgery.  In the lesson there was this great story about a man who was a bishop at the time that the Saints were just beginning the trek across Iowa and setting up Winter Quarters.  A single woman came to him and said that she and her children were starving and had no food.  He told his wife to give this woman some flour.  The wife said that she only had a small amount and that if she gave it away she didn't know what she would feed her own family.  The Bishop told his wife that they would be taken care of and not to worry but to have faith.  So the woman gave away the last of her flour to the starving family and later that same day a man drove a wagon over to her home and said, "The spirit told me you needed fifty bucks," and he handed her the cash. He also told her where a food wagon would be stopping nearby so she could go and buy some more flour to feed her own family.

In prepping the lesson I read this story and cried and then read it in class and cried again. It's always funny when I cry in class because the kids gets really confused, they always ask why I'm sad. They have no context for it.  Kids don't cry when they feel the spirit. (Don't get me started on that video with the baby crying while it's mother sings. Kids, let alone babies, just don't have the hardware to process feeling that way. But I digress...)  This story just solidified my desire to listen to what may be a prompting. So come Monday I sent the money off and then went to work, and kind of forgot about it.  I finally asked Brett if he had heard from her and if he knew if she got the money OK. He said she did and that she was grateful because she had to pay her property taxes that were late but she found she was fifty bucks short. 

Sometimes these kinds of things just bewilder me.  One thing that our youth speaker said yesterday that I had never heard before but made sense was that any idea we have that involves serving another person is a prompting from God.  This seems sort of obvious but I've never thought of it in such general terms.  I like it. 

Friday, 12 July 2013

I Think I Can I Think I Can I Think I Can.

I am losing steam majorly on this project.  I find that when I am not feeling well it's much harder to think of, or find the energy to accomplish, something.  I am relying right now on the small little day to day things, but I keep thinking I need to be making grand gestures.  I want to be spearheading a fund raising campaign for equal rights or organising a fundraiser for...something or...something.  But what I did was help a sweet neighbour girl with her Prom makeup and I took my sister out to lunch. And I gave a friend some curtains and the neighbour kids some clothes and bought a super cute coat at DI to give a friend who's toddler would look adorable in it.  I FINALLY made cookies as a thank you to a wonderful lady who let me borrow some of her daughter's soccer trophies for a shoot and also for the woman who took our Primary class when I was ill.  I installed our new dishwasher to save a few bucks.  In June I took my daughter camping on a mommy/daughter trip to Moab and I tried not to yell at her the whole week.  I bought my sister some jeans and I talked to my mom.  I also adopted a dog because my husband and kids are in love with it.

I sometimes feel like these little things are too small.  They're not enough.  I will think of the blog every day and tell myself that spending an extra fifteen minutes talking to my son one night shouldn't count because I should be doing that anyway, but then I remember that not every thing I do is going to be like when I was sewing costumes for the kids at Kids on the Move.  Sometimes service is as simple as picking up after my dogs when they poo on the neighbor's lawns.  Or logging into and making a small contribution.  WHICH YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DO because it feels so good and it's soooo easy.  Some of the things you will read on there are incredible.  Like today I went to help a local family who's home was destroyed by a fire. Their story is rough.  They are just nice people with a small child doing what they can to get by and then boom, one day they nearly lose everything they own.  To help them, go here.  Or to find them you can also go to the main page and just put Kylee House Fire into the search engine and their page will come up.  It's fast and easy and they'd be really, really grateful.  Their little guy lost diapers and clothes and they lost furniture...I mean everything.  You can read about it there on Go Fund Me.  I also read a compelling campaign today on that site, Go Fund Me, about a young woman named Landen Gambill who is fighting her college, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill over her right to speak up after a campus rape. They had the cajones to charge her with an honor code violation for speaking out. It's a compelling story that you can read about here.

I think about these people and the helplessness is painful and makes me feel frustrated and sad.  I think about all of those years when I had my health and I was selfish with it and I squandered it and I wandered aimlessly like a fool and I had no focus or goals or drive.  My 20's were an ugly decade on me.   I just think about those people that are young but still get "it" and are dedicating themselves to helping others and I'm so grateful for them.  And I hope I can help my kids understand how important giving is and I hope I can set a good example for them and I hope they'll be focused and giving young people.  I hope they see me trying.  I hope I can keep doing the little things and I hope that it turns out that the little things were enough in the end.  I hope that is my lesson in all of this.  I'm putting my faith in it.

Monday, 29 April 2013

K.O.T.M., Mindy Gledhill, and Chiilatariat.

I am super excited to be sitting at my new computer courtesy of the refund we received from the United States Government in conjunction with my almost one year old pacemaker.  I guess when you have heart failure, the mechanical item that you have implanted to keep you alive is considered a tax write off.  Makes sense, I mean, I can write off my sewing machine. Anyway I finally, FINALLY am able to download pictures of the fun time I had at Kids on the Move and share them.  The project I decided to do was something I found online.  The advert had to do with accumulating kids costumes for the Bridges program at KOTM. (The Bridges program is specifically designed for Autistic or developmentally delayed students.)  I decided rather than go and just buy a bunch of stuff at Party USA, (which is a great place for costume accessories, btw) I would make a bunch myself.  I took some time in between shoots and sat down with my tax free Singer and just started making things up.  I knew the kids would probably be all different sizes since I heard a couple of different things about the age groups receiving the costumes.  I figured they had plans to use them for a few different classes.  I had completed almost a dozen different sized skirts and vests and aprons, when I found on clearance a big huge black steam trunk at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  I picked it up and put the costumes inside, but the trunk was so vast it looked empty.  I made a few more skirts and aprons and then started worrying about the boys, what would they wear?  So I took a trip to everyone's favorite store, Dollar Tree, and bought a bunch of spy kits, hats, and cool dude sunglasses.  I intentionally stayed away from anything with actual weaponry. I also bought a bunch of fairy wings and tutus and of course jewelry and by the time I was finished I felt we had everything the kids would need for pretend time for a few years to come.  What I wasn't prepared for was the amazingly warm reception I got from the teachers who were so kind and gracious and made me feel like I had donated a million dollars.  I almost cried they were so kind to me.  The kids are gorgeous and the teachers were amazing with them.  The teachers said they would be able to use the costumes for a lot of different things so I was glad I had thought to make items to fit all age groups.  You can check out this awesome organization and even sign up for great volunteer opportunities on  Also I must say thanks to my bestie Julia at for donating some amazing fabrics that I used for this project. The other fabrics were found at Wal*Mart in the discount section.  Love me some one dollar per yard fabric.

This is a serious faux hawk up-do.  She said the tutorial can be found on Pinterest, ladies.

I also had the opportunity to do the makeup for my sweet friend Mindy Gledhill for some amazing promotional shots for her Pledge Music campaign, among other things.  Go check out and don't be afraid to donate towards her album because you get super cool stuff for it.  The following shots were taken by me, my daughter and the beautiful and fun Jefra Linn. The professional ones are Jefra's, of course. You can find her work at  She's really good people, I recommend her for family pics this year if you want a mind blowing Christmas card that will make everyone jealous.  She took this great picture of my baby girl and I.  Mindy's makeup details are pretty simple.  Ben Nye White Creme on the lids. My favorite cheek color, Hydrangea by Pops Cosmetics. My favorite red on her lips called Marilyn Red also by Ben Nye.  Her eye liner is a gel liner by L'Oreal in Blackest Black that is new and I'm kind of liking.  I did a similar look on Mindy for her amazing video Harvest Moon and she really liked it so I tried to recreate it here.  Mindy was gracious about letting my daughter hang out on set and even fed us pancakes.  Don't let it get out that I will work for pancakes, people. My agency wouldn't like it.  Naaaaw, they don't care.

Jefra and Mindy. How cute are they?

Last week I had a load of fun doing makeup for my gorgeous cousin Tiffany's daughter that everyone calls Chiila.  No one knows exactly why she's called that.  Anyway, she's not only beautiful and smart she's a gifted athlete and had just finished the BYU invitational with moments to spare before she had to get ready for prom. Tiff was teasing her and calling her Chiilatariat because she seems to just push harder and go faster when she is up against a really tough competitor. That's a gift I tell ya.  I ran from the age of three and I never had that kind of drive.  I hated competition because I knew if I won that would just mean I was making another person feel bad for losing.  Needless to say, I lost a lot. Unless I was in a relay and then I ran for my life because I couldn't let my teammates down.  Anyway, Chiila has a 6th gear.  That girl is fast. And as you can see, gorgeous. Like her mum.

Deets on Chiila's makeup: I used Urban Decay's eye primer on her lids first and then mixed four different shadows from the Urban Decay Naked palette number one.  The eye pencil is also Urban Decay, 24/7 in Demolition and then I added a bit of the L'Oreal gel liner but only on top. Her lips are Makeup Forever's Rouge Artist Natural, N4. She has on just a half false eyelash because her lashes are naturally gorgeous but I wanted her to have a bit of a wing so we did a great cat eye lash on her along with a little touch of a wing with the liners.  I used my favorite mascara that is hard to come by, Rimmel Lash Accelerator.  (The kind with the yellow cap.)  I also used an eyebrow pencil that was given to me by Pierce Brosnan's makeup artist, Bron Roylance, so thanks Bron and I probably should have mentioned that to Chiila and her mom, they'd have gotten a kick out of that. 

Next week I am doing more pro-bono Prom makeup.  Pics will follow.

As a side note.  I am still enjoying doing things for other people. Kind of. I don't feel the excitement or the urgency to do one thing every single week like I did in January, but I am liking saying yes to favors when asked instead of automatically thinking I'll be too busy and saying no. The only thing is, I thought I'd feel better than I do.  I mean to say, I thought doing things for others would make me feel better about myself in some fashion.  Like I would think more highly of myself for being the kind of person who would do nice things for other people but I don't really.  I don't know if it's because technically I am doing it because I made a resolution to do it, or because I know I'm going to blog about it and I'm still conflicted about whether that's right or not, but it hasn't really effected me the way I thought. I don't feel about myself the way I imagined.  Not that it's really a huge deal, I mean, I'm not doing this for me but I definitely felt better when I was ten and I spontaneously shoveled the neighbor's driveway.  I guess I thought it would be more of that kind of a warm feeling all over every time.  Maybe it's different when it's pre-meditated. Doesn't matter. Doesn't matter.  I have eight months of my resolution left.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

What I've Done So Far.

So December ended up being insane. I had two shoots and one of them was pretty big but I didn't mind all of the work that went into it because it was a rare opportunity to be really creative and I got to work with some friends I hadn't seen in a really long time and I love love love when I get to do wardrobe styling. We finished up right before Christmas so I was grateful Brett and I did most of our Christmas shopping early. And by that I mean most of it was done by him and most of it was done online. It's how we do.

The only dumb thing about the shoot was that I didn't listen to the very kind and wise people who told me I could go ahead and do returns after the Holidays. Instead I chose to go up to Fashion Place mall on New Years Eve and do a few returns. As one will do on a major Holiday, run to Salt Lake for a quick errand.  So here's me at H&M along with you, probably, because I'm certain that the entire state of Utah was there buying something to wear for the occasion. I am in line with exaggeration...three huge bags of returns from H&M and two from Express. I'm one thousand degrees Fahrenheit in my hat and puffer coat while waiting in line and my arms are tired from the load, so I set down the Express bags and my hat and coat and scoot them along with my foot as the line moves. It's like a little mobile camp site. It takes three years to get to the register. I pull everything out and create a huge stack on the counter and the shop girl takes a deep breath before diving in. I can just feel the hatred searing at me from everyone in my line. I can feel daggers being glared at my neck. So I turn and apologize. There are two girls behind me that I am instantly afraid of. They are not smiling and have many tattoos and piercings. They do not like to be cheerful. They find happy annoying. They hate blonde Utah-mom me and everything I stand for I just know it.

About 20 minutes in I turn and apologize again. I see that the girl on the right has a tank top on a hangar. 'A' tank top. One. And she's in line behind moi, super shopper of the year. So I tell her how bad I feel and she does not crack a smile and neither does her friend but they do say something along the lines of, "It's Ok." I immediately feel worse. About another ten minutes pass and I think of this blog. I realize this could be a good opportunity to do something nice so I get out my planner and I pass her a ten spot. I tell her that the absolute LEAST I can do is pick up the tab for her tank top. She cracks a smile. (Yessss.) She says, "You really don't have to do that." But she is smiling. And I say, "I know but I really want to," and then being the dork I am I say, "Meeeeeeeery Chriiiiisssstmas!" and everyone is immediately embarrassed for me so I turn back around hoping we can all pretend that didn't just happen. Another twenty minutes pass and I turn to the people in the line at the register to my right. I ask if they'd be alright with letting the trapped girls go ahead of them since they have one measly item and have been waiting for a reeeeealy long time. They cheerfully agree and seem super nice about it. Once they move over, the girl says that I can have my ten back since they aren't stuck behind me and I don't have to buy her tank top out of guilt anymore. And for a second I consider taking it back. But I say that I want them to keep it and that they earned it and I mean it. I really want this girl in this moment to know that I am glad that they were cool. I am glad they are going to go out that night having had something nice happen to them to kick off their New Year and I am glad that when she wears her tank maybe she'll think about the nice lady who kicked in to help pay for it. I like that thought.

This is around the time when I suddenly feel worse than before because behind me now in line is a very very beautiful and very very pregnant red-head who is waiting WITH HER TODDLER SON. I'm that person. There is a special place in hell for me.  I profusely apologize. I focus. I can only do my best to try and help the cashier move through my returns as quickly as possible. I can finally see the light at the end of this return tunnel. When I turn back around to check in with her I see that she is gone and I feel relieved because I assume that someone must have taken pity on her and let her go before them. Now behind me are a couple of happy-go-lucky guys who are not in any kind of a rush. We finally wrap it up and I thank the cashier for all her hard work and thank the guys behind me for being patient and decide that it would be selfish to try and do any more returns. I am about to call it quits but Express is empty so I know I won't ruin any one else's night by doing my huge return. Unless you count the store manager who's sales totals I jacked by doing a return at his store with merchandise I bought downtown. But let's not.

I count that as my first kind deed of 2013. It wasn't technically 2013 but it took place the first week of the New Year so it counts, yeah? I also helped my dear friend Carina. Many of you know her as @Jet_set. I found out via Instagram that she had had surgery and since she had been so kind as to bring me a big Oreo shake when I was in the ICU I knew I had to return the favor somehow. So I brought over some stew and rolls. I also had a Director friend you may know from his Liken movies, Dennis Agle, ask if his pug obsessed daughter could come visit Nigel and Rosie. I was kind of reticent, we all had not been feeling well, the house was a mess, the dogs stunk. I thought of making excuses, but I thought of this blog and put my excuses aside. Dennis had also been really cool to me when I was in the ICU and had brought over to our house a collection of every movie he had ever made. Seriously, how cool is that? So I adjusted my attitude and decided to can all the negativity. His daughter Alex came over with a friend and is, without hyperbole, the cutest 20 year old on this entire planet. She could have her own show on Nickelodeon, she's that level of cute. And it was so fun to just have people come and snuggle the pugs and love and appreciate them and listen to my stories about them. It brightened my whole day and I was so glad she came over. It made me really miss pop-ins.

 I also did something that may seem small, but for me was huge, because I did a favor for my Mom. You see, I try not to as often as possible. She is always getting other people to do her work for her and it has always made me uncomfortable. She would call my husband, when I was in my first marriage, and ask him to come put her luggage in her car. He'd drive across town to pick up her suitcase and put it in her friggin trunk. When she had a friend of hers come and clean our house it made me feel like she was putting on airs and I would always help them clean. It actually ended up being an amazing thing since Niki and I ended up building a good relationship and shared a lot of deep things while doing dishes together.  Anyway, my mother doesn't really ask for favors as much as she tells you what you're going to do and so when she said, "Go home and search for some houses for me on the Internet." I said, "Sure. And if you also get on and search as well then we can cover more ground. You know, if we split up." Later that night I was in bed and about to go to sleep and I remembered that I told her I would help her. And I thought of this blog and so I got out my iPad and I searched until 12:30am and wrote down all of the MLS numbers. The next day we went and looked at a house we both just loved. She ended up renting the house she's originally wanted for months now, so it was all for nothing. But...but I did it and I feel so much better about keeping my word and not flaking out.

Speaking of not flaking out I spent one of my days off sewing for Kids on the Move so I have not forgotten about them for one second. I still have a few more days of sewing ahead of me before that project is complete and I have a day off tomorrow so I have some sewing planned. I can't wait to post some pics of that service project once it's done. I'm hoping it will be as cute as I think it will be.  I'm also hoping I can figure out a way to download pics onto here now that our computer has crashed...

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Project One

Today I googled 'volunteerism' and 'local opportunities to serve' and a bunch of other stuff and I was surprised at how long it took me to find an actual site that could give me some actual jobs that I could do but I eventually found this great online resource called Points of Light.  And at first glance their website seems overwhelming/confusing but there is a little spot on the right with a green banner that reads "Find Volunteer Opportunities" where you can search for a specific type of volunteer work you are looking for or like me you can plug in your zip code if you don't have anything particular in mind.  The results turned up pages of service opportunities in my area.  Some linked me to the AARP site which also has an awesome online listing of opportunities and also The United Way has a great list.  I simply scrolled through and wrote down the information for a slew of things, whatever struck my fancy.  I do have some questions about the mentoring opportunities since I know nothing about that kind of thing and they ask for a year requirement.  I have a lot of reservations and fears, like what if I can't be there for a kid at the last minute because of work, I don't want to disappoint a kid who already may have abandonment issues, etc.  But I wrote down the info any way to investigate and in some cases I used the auto populated email form to send a pre-written form telling the person in charge of the project that I would be interested in receiving more info.  I think in those cases I really need to talk to a person to find out if I would be a good fit or not.

The first thing I would like to do sounds right up my alley, it is for an organization called Kids on the Move and they are right here in Utah County in Orem. I can not wait to expound more on it.  For now I will just say that it is a sewing project and it is for the children that KOTM serves.  Holly Bushnell is the woman in charge of their PR and we both are looking forward to bringing you info about who they are and what they do and all about their new site!  Just click on their name to go check it out right now and volunteer your time or give them some money!  'Tis the season, yo.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

This is Only a Test.

It is almost 2013 and good riddance to 2012.  2012 tried to kill me and my friends.  A High School friend lost her little nephew when he fell headlong into the washing machine undetected and drown.  Another friend lost her funny, smart, beloved husband to an aggressive form of brain cancer.  I, myself, had a Third Degree AV Block which is a serious form of electrical heart failure. I had a temporary pacemaker inserted. Twice a day they would turn the pacemaker down to see if my own heart would begin to beat, but it didn't, so twice a day I experienced what it was like to die.  My heart would stop and I would begin to lose consciousness. I now have a permanent pacemaker.  I was reliant on it for the first few weeks but now I do not use it and have it "just in case". I was home from the hospital for about five minutes before a freak storm came through and ravaged the flat roof over our bedroom.  We had to sleep on the floor in the living room for three weeks until it could be fixed.  My High School boyfriend had a seizure in the middle of the night because of his MS meds and suddenly passed away leaving two absolutely beautiful and adored daughters behind.  Another friend had a massive heart attack during a tennis match that she did not recover from and as if it couldn't get any worse for her poor family they were actually ROBBED during her funeral service.  Her parents' home, which was occupied alone by her very sickly father who couldn't attend the service, was robbed by a woman claiming to be a friend of their deceased daughter's and then her cohorts actually smashed and grabbed purses out of cars parked at the grave site service.

What is up, 2012, you big, big tool bag?

Hearing the doctor tell my parents that I nearly could have died was the oddest thing that has ever happened to me.  To see so many people lose their loved ones and yet to think that 'there but for the grace of God go I' is life altering, to say the least.  Why wasn't it me that died?  What do I have left to do here on Earth that I need to accomplish?  I feel like I owe it to those who passed away to use the time I have been granted to do something enormous. I am so blessed and lucky to still be walking around on this planet, to be able to kiss my kids, to walk my dogs and hug my husband that I feel obligated to use the crap out of the time I have left.

The other day I struck upon this idea.  The idea to spend 2013 focused on other people.  People who need help, people who need me.  Maybe I don't have much to offer and maybe because of my physical limitations I am not able to lift boxes at the food bank every day of the upcoming year but I should be able to do something.  Anything.  Just one thing every week.  Even if it is a small thing, like drop off cookies to a friend.  And maybe I can't fly to New York and go and help people who have lost everything to hurricane Sandy but I'd like to.  For now I can do what I can, with what I have, where I am.  And hopefully others will join me.  I'd like to think that over these deaths maybe a group of us can ban together to do things for others in 2013 and see a ripple effect for the positive.  Because there are people out there robbing people at their children's funerals and nannies hurting the kids they are hired to protect over petty arguments with their employers and personally I need something positive to focus on.  I need 2013 to be different.  We all need 2013 to be different.  Let's make it different.