The Crazy Crew

The Crazy Crew

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What is new in my crazy life!

Today is my baby brother’s birthday! Happy Birthday Dustin! You are loved more than you can ever imagine! Someday when we are both rich and famous I hope we live next door to one another.

What a crazy life! What was the building of a fantastic life for Lester and I here in the land of the sun has become even bigger than we ever expected. As l continue to have demonstrated to me, life is what happens while you are busy making other plans! I like to plan things . . . just ask Lester. I plan vacations with reckless abandon! However, sometimes you just simply can’t plan . . . and that, while crazy is also incredibly amazing!

My happiness and joy keeps growing as I spend time remembering who and what I really set out to be and do with this one life I have. I have blogged in the past about my desire to give back and the happier I am the more I feel that pull. I am excited about so many thing currently in this crazy life of mine . . . I have spent the last several weeks in a Soul Restoration workshop presented by the founders of the Brave Girls Club. Women if you have not looked into this website do so now . . . run, don’t walk and sign up for the daily truths, read the blog, check out Melody Ross’s blog (one of the founders), see that you can have a better life even if your circumstances are not what you wish they would be. Sometimes change comes from the deepest part of your soul, one small glint of hope and joy that you forgot you even had.

Sometimes a trip to say Hello to a friend turns into an opportunity you never expected. This is what happened just over a week ago when a fantastic lady that I worked with in Idaho came to Arizona for an event with the company she recently became the National Sales Director for, Jewel Kade. How I found out she was coming to the valley was a product of fate, luck, whatever you want to call it. I was already a huge fan of this woman, trusted her business instinct, and knew anything she was a part of was going to be amazing. I am a busy woman. I work a full time day job, I teach college classes, I volunteer and I like to spend time with my husband, daughter, and friends and puppies. I really was not looking for another activity or adventure to add to my list, but one look at the products of Jewel Kade and I was hooked. Anyone who knows me knows that I love reading, I love poetry, I love sayings . . . I love words. This jewelry had hand painted words . . .words that spoke to me. The company’s charms were little works of art, paintings set in pewter with words that were inspirational and made the jewelry even more beautiful to me. I was there for my friend’s opportunity meeting about Jewel Kade, just waiting for her to finish up so we could have a chat but again, life did its thing. I had been learning in my soul restoration to listen to my little voices, take chances, and be open to the opportunities that show up unexpectedly in life. I felt it . . . this was one of those times. After a quick call to my business partner in life (aka, Lester) I signed up to be a part of Jewel Kade. Currently there are less than 1000 Jewel Kade Stylists nationwide with less than 20 in the entire state of Arizona. Now that is an opportunity! I am excited to share the products and the opportunity with others. Both are amazing and you can check it all out on my website . The website allows for orders if you find yourself loving it every bit as much as I did and I am happy to answer questions about anything.

In addition to the fantastic amount of joy, I have above, Lester and I have an ever-growing household. First, we welcomed Alex back (see blog post “Sometimes they come back”) welcomed a new fur baby (see blog post “Miracles happen . . . anyway”) and most recently welcomed a friend from Idaho looking to start over and create a better life like we did back in the fall of 2009. Our house can be hectic . . . and loud at times but you know what? It is crazy, which fits me just perfectly . . . I do nothing that isn’t just slightly off kilter it seems . . . make life interesting, worth living and it is what makes me . . . me.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


It is Christmas! A wonderful day each year, that is filled with love and joy. It means family, great food and cuddling on the couch all day in our jammies. It is remembering back when we were little where the miracle of the season and thoughts of Santa made your soul just about burst open with anticipation. Each year I relive those feelings as I look at our tree, wrapped gifts, and stockings.

It has officially been a year since I adventured into blogging . . . not very many entries after 365 days. Maybe my goal for 2011 will be to have a few more than my previous year. I must remember that it doesn’t have to be a special occasion or special date on the calendar to have something good enough to share. Sometimes the more random the day the better the entry can be.

Today while my heart was full of blessings the day was also full of the following things:

Food: We have twice been in food comas today. First for breakfast, with a sausage, egg, and cheese casserole as well as pumpkin pecan French toast (thank you Brave Girls Club for the recipe.) Second with our Turkey dinner that included stuffing, corn, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and croissants. We cooked for 10 even though we are three!

Gifts: While we had the true gifts of this day . . . a roof over our heads, money to pay our bills, food on our table and a healthy family we also received presents from one another and our family. I received from Alex a silver open-heart necklace, a symbol that will remind me to allow love to flow in and out freely. From my loving husband Lester I received a silver key necklace with an open heart in it. I think that means I have the key to his heart, but to be sure, you would have to ask him. : ) I also received lamps so I don’t have to craft in the dark and a new baking dish to replace my favorite one that was broken earlier this year. I was lucky enough to be given a stuffed Christmas moose (they know I am still a child at heart), music and a movie (two of my favorite pastimes.) I was also blessed with wonderful gifts from my father and Sue, which included a beautiful shirt and jewelry for wearing to work. Lester, Alex, Moose and Penny also received many wonderful things for which they are appreciative and currently enjoying.

Family time: By far my most favorite part of Christmas is togetherness traditions. Starting with everyone getting into their Christmas Eve jammies the night before to watching holiday movies together, cooking alongside one another in the kitchen and laughing . . . I love the laughter as we do all the things of the day together.

I hope that each of you had a Christmas full of what you and your family find wonderful. I wish for each of you that the spirit of the season and the true reason of the day, Jesus, was found in each of your homes today as you tended to those things that make you feel just a bit more together than you do on the other 364 days of the year.

Merry Christmas to each of you!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Miracles happen . . . anyway.

I asked for a puppy for Christmas. We will be moving in the next few months so I knew it wouldn’t happen but as with all miracles they happen . . . anyway. Last Wednesday at 5 am my husband and I were heading to work and there was a little dog walking in very heavy traffic. My husband said you want to get that so I jumped out of the car, ran into the busy road and scooped up the dog. We took her home and put her in our back yard while we headed to work. I called my daughter who was sleeping at home and told her about the little dog. She gave it a bath and took it to the vet to see if there was a microchip . . . there was not. We checked with all shelters, local vets and all over Craig’s list, no luck finding anyone looking for this little sweetie. The next day we took her to the vet so she could be checked out while we still looked for the owner and found out that she was about 10, had an injured eye, which needed medicine, her teeth were bad and needed medicine and she was a bit dehydrated and underweight at 8.4 lbs. We left the vet with medicines and special food to help her gain weight while we continued to wait for someone to be missing her . . . It is now 6 days later, which in our state is the waiting period before a stray dog can be considered yours. It will be a little while before she is completely healthy, she heads back to the vet on Christmas Eve for her blood work, but she has perked up considerable with a bit of medicine, food and water. I don’t know if she was my miracle Christmas “puppy” or if we were her Christmas miracle family. It is funny how things work out . . . anyway. By the way, we named her Penny and she has a home for Christmas.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Recently I have been thinking about traditions. Specifically holiday traditions. Last year since we had just made the move to Arizona and we were exceedingly broke, we didn’t follow many of the normal traditions that we have had as a family in years prior. There was no shopping the day after Thanksgiving, we didn’t hold our annual Colcord Kringle Mingle, we didn’t have family near and couldn’t afford to go home to attend the festive events, our decorations were minimal and we all felt displaced and a little less holidayish in general. Of course, some traditions made it through. I am not complaining at all though. Chirstmas may have been lean but that does not mean that it was a lean Christmas. Does that make sense? We really reconnected last year with the meaning of Christmas and not the commercialism of the season.

I have a bit of experience with moving, changing, and letting go of holiday traditions. My Mother was the one who demonstrated changing a tradition will not kill you . . . even if you think it will. When I was little we used to open up our Christmas presents from family and friends on Christmas Eve. The thought was it was then less hectic when we went nuts over the Santa gifts on Christmas morning. Christmas Eve could be civil this way, we could take notes on what was received so our thank you notes could be sent in a few days. Christmas morning could be more chaotic because everything came from Santa.

Why am I telling you this? Well one year my Mother decided that the Christmas feeling was often gone much too soon on Christmas day and decided that now we would open one gift on Christmas Eve (it took us forever to choose the “one”) with the remaining gifts being opened on Christmas morning along with the Santa presents. My brother and I went along with this, we had no choice. It was a year later when my Mother decided we would all now go out to breakfast on Christmas morning BEFORE opening any presents. My brother and I thought we may actually die from the waiting! We still got that gift on Christmas Eve to open, but now we were told which gift we could open . . . new pajamas. I now understand this theory . . . with new pajamas you ensure your kids do not look like ragamuffins in the Christmas Eve and Christmas day photos. Well played Mom!

Now, this going out to breakfast thing turned out not to be too bad and I very clearly remember one snowy and icy Christmas morning when we were returning from our breakfast that we came upon a family who’s car has slid off the road. My Dad was able to help pull them out of the ditch and get them on their way. Talk about feeling Christmas spirit. I was still in grade school when this happened but to this day, that memory makes me proud of my Dad. My theory is that we went to breakfast that morning so we would be in the right place to help that family. Changing traditions isn’t so bad. Thanks to my Mom for this lesson.

So, let’s move years ahead and talk about how sometimes traditions change with marriage and divorce. Gosh knows I have been down both these roads, a couple of times. With my first marriage, I learned about Christmas Tree compromise. I like an artificial green tree, multicolored lights and a hodgepodge of ornaments, which I have made, been given, and collected over the years. My first husband wanted a real tree, flocked completely white with all blue decorations. I gave in because you just can’t blend those two tree dreams. Needles fell off, I had to water it, flocking was everywhere. To this day, I think it was awful. I have no doubt he thought it was beautiful. With the exit of the first husband also went the flocked and blue tree. In its place was a little 4 foot tree my parents bought for Alex and I. Perfect for our little duplex and lives. We had that tree and used it every year until . . . marriage # 2. With the second husband again came the real tree (Hate it) but this time no flocking and I was able to put my wide variety of decorations on the tree. Then shortly later bye bye ex and bye bye real tree. That year I upgraded to a 7 foot prelit tree. Multi-colored bulbs of delight on a fantastic green tree. This is the tree I use to this day.

My point? Well, the point is some traditions are really deep in you. The green tree with the multicolored lights and hodgepodge ornaments is what I grew up with. It looks like Christmas to me and that is what makes my soul happy. My mother also loved that stringy tinsel that you found around the house until Valentine's Day but since I didn’t I tweeked the tradition just a bit. That is ok too. Keep what you love, toss what you don’t. I know single parents who do or do not keep doing something because their ex did it even though they don’t particularly like it. You know what let you ex keep doing or not doing that thing . . . you do something else. Even if you have kids! Give your kids the gift of knowing the things that make you feel Christmas in your heart. If there is a special cookie, bake it. If there is a special movie (Miracle on 34th Street, Thanks again Mom), watch it. If there is something that makes you feel grinchy and not holiday (fruit in stockings), toss it. The sooner you do, the more of that Christmas joy you will feel.

This year the Colcord Kringle Mingle is back, the house is festive from one end to the other, we made it home to Idaho for Thanksgiving, did a bit of shopping the next day and those Christmas Eve gifts are waiting under the tree . . . only one for each person, you know what they are, they know what they are but it is a tradition worth keeping. We still have to figure out what our new traditons will be now that it is the three of us and Moose in Arizona. I may not know exactly what those will be at this minute but I can promise you if the idea doesn’t jingle my bells it will be tossed out. This time of year, I want all those festive words from my Christmas music obsession to be in my life. Holly, jolly, joy, holy, merry, faithful, wonderland, Rockin’, family and home.

Let your traditions stay a while or evolve with you. Know that traditions are not written on stone tablets they are written on soft hearts.

Wishing each of you a holiday filled with wonderful tradition old and new.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Final Countdown to 39 . . .

Halloween . . . and the final countdown of my 38th year. In just 9 short days I will be 39. This is my very favorite time of year . . . from Halloween through New Years. This time of year more than any other is about family, friends, delicious food, and crafting. How can you go wrong? But as we approach the end of another year of my life I began wondering . . . Have I learned much in the last year? I think so. I have focused on being less critical, more forgiving, and letting go of things (thanks in part to the TV show Hoarders.) I have worked hard to make sure and say I love you more, I am disappointed less, and no to buying things I don’t really want or need. This honestly is an accomplishment, thinking much more of others and a lot less of myself. I believe the older I get the softer I get on the inside, as well as the outside. LOL

Part of my softening up on the inside had me feeling like I needed to be more a part of something bigger than myself. I have always done volunteering in small bursts or when options came available at work in the past. I have put together Thanksgiving baskets and handed them out, adopted families or taken tags off of Christmas angel trees and bought gifts, participated in Rake up Boise and other community events but never done something that is continual . . . until now. Before I left Idaho I had looked at becoming involved with the Junior League there. For those of you who do not know, Junior League is an organization of women who better their communities through a variety of projects and volunteerism. My last several months in Idaho were a whirlwind and I did not end up joining.

My desire to give back was even stronger after those many months where my own family (with only myself working) struggled to make ends meet. I began to wonder how I could become more involved in a city where I was new and did not know many people, outside of work, my thoughts returned to the Junior League. I found the Junior League of Phoenix (JLP) online and as fate often does it stepped in. I happened to email them the last week they were accepting applications for new members this year. I attending my first provisional member meeting and quickly found out that JLP was a great place to get started giving back. The JLP president talked about being kind, humble, and about how an organization of women all choosing to better the community and volunteer was fallible . . . she spoke of how because we were all volunteers we must have extra kindness and care with each other. This struck me because often people coming together to do something good become angry at one another when things do not go as they themselves planned or pictured it to be. I liked that she was cautioning us to be aware of this and remember we each were part of the Junior League for our own personal reasons and to lift each other up, not tear each other down.

Since joining I have not only been involved with a variety of projects and volunteer opportunities with JLP but I have been introduced to many great organizations that run because of volunteers. I have been able to help out with book drives, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and Girl Scout events. I continue to find additional ways to be involved and love that the feeling to do and to give to others becomes even stronger. I have noticed my life blessings are so abundant, not that they weren’t before but I have a much higher appreciation and notice each and every one of them now, no matter how small.

So what will I do with my 39th year of life? I think I will spend the year doing my very best to love completely, give freely, be grateful and content, and remember every day to be thankful for the blessing of wonderful friends and family in my life. The rest will take care of itself . . . I have faith that fate and God have me right where I am meant to be.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sometimes they come home . . .

. . . and the return to the nest is bittersweet. Terribly sad that the dreams and hopes that were originally held have not come to pass . . . thrilling because a part of your heart returns to you even though you know it will not remain with you forever and you will feel the loss again in the future.

A year after dropping Alex off at college she decided the real world wasn’t as bright and friendly as expected. She decided to pursue new options and build a new path for herself back at home . . . another new home, in Arizona. So much big change for a new adult learning the way to fly on her own. I am proud she made the tough decision to change direction when something was not quite right in her life, so many people never learn that skill.

I always tried to make sure she knew that when you make a wrong turn or mistake in life, and everyone does, the best thing to do is reassess and find a new direction . . . a better direction. Heaven knows she has seen her mother make enough U-turns in life when it comes to relationships, education, jobs and any other subject. For so many of my moments blurred by some mini life crisis, mostly brought on by my bad choices, there was one thing that was a constant . . . for 18 years there was a bright spot even on my darkest days . . . that was Alex. She is a major reason that today I have the happiness in life that I do. Whether she ever knew it or not she was often the one reason to get out of bed and try again . . . find something better, be better.

Now that Alex has returned to my home and my heart is all plump and happy I am ready to help her to try again . . . my mother and father did it for me, so many times, and I will do it for her. I will bandage and help her strengthen her wings, encourage her to keep flapping no matter how harsh the weather is that blows her back, and I will be there every time squawking and flapping my own wings hoping the words I can share and the examples I set are helpful as she creates her own path across the sky.

Just in case any of you were wondering . . . I will tell you what I know from experience and what I have told my daughter often, Life allows do overs. Don't be afraid to use them. Some of the best things in my life happened on a do over!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Things that I thought may never happen.

My life has not exactly taken the most straight or smoothest of paths to where I am today. You could say I like to learn some, ok most of my lessons the hard way. Would you like some of my top examples? It took me 17 years to get my bachelor’s degree. In 2004 when I finally went back to finish what I started I realized I had wasted 6 years of time in classes and so much money and I had nothing to show for it . I have been married 3 times; one I can say I was too young to know better, blame it on young love, but that second one . . . man, I should have known better. I had a 2 year old when most people my age were looking forward to turning 21 with their whole lives ahead of them. I spent years jumping from crappy job to dead end job and needing the support of my parents into my late 20’s, they bailed me out of more dumb decisions than I care to even remember.

Do I regret all the wrong paths I took to get where I am today? No, I do not. Would I recommend my path to my daughter who at 19 sometimes makes decisions that make me want to beat my head against a wall . . . never in a million years. This was my path, good, bad, and hellatious though it may have been at times! It is the path that leads to me today, happy . . . a bit crazy, but ultimately pleased with what life looks like at 38.

So here it is, a list of some of the things I thought might never happen in my life.
1. A 5-year anniversary with a husband. There for a while I had three marriages that did not add up to 5 years!
2. Own a car that was not given to me but purchased brand new and completely paid off. Love that little ION!
3. Earn a college degree. I must give so much credit to Alex and Lester for their support as they picked up all the slack while I did schoolwork. Today I have 3 degrees and I am putting those degrees to work. In addition to my full time position, I also teach college courses.
4. That I would pass a math class. Thank you to Merla (the best math teacher ever) I passed both my college math courses with As!
5. Take my daughter on a real vacation. Anyone who knows me knows I have more than taken care of this area! Much to Lester’s dismay many times.
6. Move more than an hour from the town I grew up in. 33 years later, (I lived in Mountain Home from the time I was 5) here I am in Phoenix, AZ.

This is just a small list however; this is the list that makes me believe against all odds that things I think will never happen, do. It gives me hope that small miracles happen and life works out sometimes in a way that is more interesting than you could imagine. Did most of them also take a large amount of hard work? You bet your butt! I can honestly say that every one of these things meant something huge to me, no matter how small or simple they may seem to anyone else. To me each one meant I had achieved a level of success that came after a long path of stress, tears, laughter, and sometimes long talks over beer with some great friends. These were my dreams that have become reality. Therefore, to all of you I say, Never stop believing in things, people, and miracles, you never know what may happen.

Faith, trust and pixie dust can often take you places you never imagined! (Though I really think pixie dust is code for patience and hard work!)