Monday, August 10, 2015

All Over the Place Today!!!

Two Things I am Grateful For:

1) Some time to get some things done around the house.

2) My coworkers and most especially my back-up who takes care of things while I am away.  I appreciate all they do.

From the Camera:

It's official!  We took Lexi down to get registered for her Junior year today!  No more online school for her!  She is going back to Public School!  We even took her to the Seminary building to get her make-up work so she can still graduate and get the 4 year certificate.  The school did not have a schedule for Lexi yet.  In fact, she won't get that until Friday.  So, her official first day doesn't start until then.  Lexi wasn't very happy about that because she doesn't want anything causing her to fall behind.  Lexi ran into her old volleyball coach who came right up to her and sat down and said hello and we talked for a bit.  We also saw Mr. Coosaboom too.  He is the Vice Principal and a member of our ward and he is awesome and always loves to tease the kids whenever he gets the chance.  Today was no exception.  Seminary took the time to get Lexi set up to cover the time she missed and even gave her all of the study work and a course manual to help her make up the 33 days she needs to make up, and finish reading the Doctrine and Covenants too.  She can do it!  Then she can turn it all in and be all set for her 4 year certificate when she graduates high school.  She wants to get that.  All of our other kids have that and we want Lexi to get it too.  I'm just glad she is back at school.  Lexi still wants to take a couple online classes to make keep up and not have to take an a-hour, so I'm sure she will just have duel enrollment for the last two years of high school.  I'm okay with that.  Then in the summer if she wants to work ahead and take another class she can.  It's not a bad thing at all!  I love that there are options because it sure helped with Lexi.  She fell behind with being out sick with her migraine headaches and with her arm.  We still do not know exactly what the complete issue with the arm is.  In fact, just yesterday we were given the name of a couple of new doctors that work out of Barrow's that will see her.  So, we plan to check into that for sure.  I asked Lexi today if she could, would she go back to playing volleyball again.  She loves playing volleyball!  She said if she could get back to where she was she would do it in a heartbeat.  We will see what happens, but first the arm.

From the Craft Room and Other Cool Things:

For a while now I've been looking around for ideas on how to personalize my office at work.  Right now the walls are grey and I don't have any photos up or any kind of personal items.  I use to have some personal items on my desk, but I took them all home about the time we switched buildings and never took things back.  In fact, I never really decorated, decorated my office.  I had a couple pictures, but that was it.  Well, I am coming up on my 2nd sabbatical (4 weeks straight off with pay.  Plus you can add 2 weeks of vacation time to this too, for a total of 6 weeks off straight with pay!)  and have been with the company now for 10 years.  I think it's time to make my office my own and personalize it a bit.  Don't you think?  I have been searching the Internet for some ideas, and her are some of the things I have found...

I like this!  It looks feminine, doesn't it?  I think that is what I like best about it.  
I like the photos of pretty scenery and things, with some cool 
nick-knacks too.
Yellow would just be an easy color to do with my grey walls.  I still think this looks a little too office space like and childish for my taste, do you agree?

This one still looks like an office space, but a little more grown up.
I think I like this one because it doesn't give you the sense that someone was trying too hard to personalize their space, know what I mean????  It just happened this way.
Now this, I LOVE!  Especially the old wood on the walls with the clean lines of the modern shelves and furniture.  LOVE IT!
I think I like this one because of the lamp.  I could go searching for a battery operated lamp.  That would be cool!  I already have a fan that is battery operated, it weighs a ton, no joke.  Then I also found a mini fan that plugs into your computer and is powered that way.  

We can't plug anything into an outlet at work, which makes it tough to personalize things.  I get why we can't do it.  If we all plugged things in we could have one big power surge causing all kinds of issues.  So, we have to find alternative ways to deal with thing.  Know what I mean?  
I have a few ideas now.  Time to put some of these things into motion.  A little here and a little there.  I have a few things around the house that I plan to take down to the office.  It won't take me long.  And besides, this gives me something to get my mind off other things.  Even if I don't get my office completely revamped right away, at least I'll start moving towards this, right?!  And that's all that matters.  

From the Heart and Spirit:

As I mentioned several times before, I have been seeing a therapist. I see here because I tend to take on everything and internalize everything.  Things go in but NEVER come out and as you probably know, that is never good.  It's not that I don't want things to come out, I just haven't had the chance.  My therapist is awesome!  She has been helping me to deal with all kinds of things and I really do appreciate my time with her.  NO, I don't have a problem telling anyone that I am seeing a therapist.  In fact, I believe it is a good thing.  I do not believe that a person is weak for talking to someone like this in any way.  

So, back to why I brought this up in the first place....

Today was the first time seeing her since Kevin's recent spinal cord injury and she talked to me a little bit about going through the grieving process with this whole thing with Kevin.  I told her that Kevin and I have had one moment, and that I have had a couple alone, and I am certain that Kevin has too.  She wanted me to be clear that we both needed to take the time to grieve, because we need that.  I agree and I was so glad she made sure I knew that.  
I was also glad she helped me to understand a few other things as well too, but as I was pulling out of the parking lot from her office, this story came to mind and I felt that I needed to read this story again and I thought it was appropriate to share again here.  

The Parable of the Divers 

Many years ago, when I was somewhere between nine and eleven, I participated in a community summer recreation program in the town where I grew up. I remember in particular a diving competition for the different age groups held at the community swimming pool. Some of the wealthier kids in our area had their own pools with diving boards, and they were pretty good amateur divers. But there was one kid my age from the less affluent part of town who didn’t have his own pool. What he had was raw courage. While the rest of us did our crisp little swan dives, back dives, and jackknives, being every so careful to arch our backs and point our toes, this young man attempted back flips, one-and-a-half's, doubles, and so on. But, oh, he was sloppy. He seldom kept his feet together, he never pointed his toes, and he usually missed his vertical entry. 

The rest of us observed with smug satisfaction as the judges held up their scorecards that he consistently got lower marks than we did with our safe and simple dives, and we congratulated ourselves that we were actually the better divers. “He is all heart and no finesse,” we told ourselves. “After all, we keep our feet together and point our toes.” 

The announcement of the winners was a great shock to us, for the brave young lad with the flips had apparently beaten us all.  

However, I had kept rough track of the scores in my head, and I knew with the arrogance of limited information that the math didn't add up. I had consistently outscored the boy with the flips. And so, certain that an injustice was being perpetrated, I stormed the scorer’s table and demanded and explanation. “Degree of difficulty,” the scorer replied matter-of-factly as he looked me in the eye. “Sure, you had better form, but he did harder dives. When you factor in the degree of difficulty, he beat you hands down, kid.”  

Until that moment I hadn't known that some dives were awarded “extra credit” because of their greater difficulty. . . . .

Whenever I am tempted to feel superior to other Saints, the parable of the divers comes to my mind, and I repent. At least at a swim meet, we can usually tell which dives are the most difficult. But here in mortality, we cannot always tell who is carrying what burdens: limited intelligence, chemical depression, compulsive behaviors, learning disabilities, dysfunctional or abusive family background, poor health, physical or psychological handicaps—no one chooses these things. So I must not judge my brothers and sisters. I am thankful for my blessings but not smug about them, for I never want to hear the Scorer say to me, “Sure, you had better form, but she had a harder life. When you factor in degree of difficulty, she beat you hands down.” 

So, enduring to the end doesn't have much to do with suffering in silence, overcoming all life’s obstacles, or even achieving the LDS ideal (“pointing our toes” and “keeping our feet together”). It just means not giving up. It means keeping—to the best of our abilities—the commitments we made to Christ when we entered into the marriage of the gospel. It means not divorcing the Savior or cheating on him by letting some other love become more important in our lives. It means not rejecting the blessings of the atonement that he showered upon us when we entered his church and kingdom.

(Stephen E. Robinson, Following Christ: The Parable of the Divers and More Good News [Salt Lake city: Deseret Book, 1995], 34-38.)

From the Kitchen:

Just a few party ideas today......

Cucumber Tiers... Soften two 8-oz cream cheese and mix with 3/4 cup Peppercorn Ranch dressing.  Cut bread of choice into flowers or heart shapes (I used Sunflower wheat and white).  Spread a tablespoon of the dressing mix onto bread, layer a chilled sliced cucumber.  Garnish with freshly milled spicy pepper!

Turkey Wraps... Roll out a package of Pillsbury Croissants flat.  Use a rolling pan to form one rectangle from two triangles.  Spread Caesar Dressing onto dough.  Chop thinly sliced deli smoked turkey.  Sprinkle it on croissants.  Shred Swiss cheese over top.  Roll up so that you have 9" rolls.  Cut one inch slices.  Bake until golden brown.
Petite cherry cheese cakes... Place one vanilla wafer in the bottom of a medium size cupcake paper.  Mix 2 - 8  oz. cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 T. lemon juice, 1 t. vanilla, 2 eggs.  Pour over vanilla wafers, filling 2/3 full.  Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until golden.  Top each with a spoon of cherry pie filling.

English Crumpets...This one is not really too much work, once the batter has risen, but sounds harder to make.  Definitely worth it!
1 T. yeast
1 T. sugar
3/4 cup lukewarm water
Mix together:
1 cup milk
3 lightly beaten eggs
3/4 cups melted butter
Mix together in large container:
3 cups flour
1 1/2 t. salt
Make well in the flour.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Mix well.  Cover.  Let double in size.  Drop by teaspoons onto hot buttery griddle.  Cook 3 minutes, turn and cook 3 more minutes.  (that's what the recipe said but they didn't take much longer to cook than a pancake.)
Serve with preserves or this tasty spread:
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup strawberry banana yogurt
1/2 cup strawberry jam

The most tasty and simple drink!
Mix 2 cans frozen white grape juice concentrate as directed on can.  Add a 2 liter bottle of Ginger Ale.  Slice lemons and limes, strawberries as a garnish.  Fill the punch bowl with Sonic crushed ice!  Pretty, tasty!

Stuffed Strawberries!
Slice strawberries into fourths, from tip to the cap. (Leave the cap on as a garnish and something to hold on to.)  Mix 8 oz. cream cheese, 2 cups powdered sugar and 1 t. vanilla.  Chill.  Using a decorating tube, open the strawberry and fill with cream cheese!  OH MY!
From the Schmidt's:

As I type this I am waiting to hear from Kevin.  He has had a busy day, and I have had a busy day.  We got Lexi registered for school and seminary is all a go.  BUT....when we got home from the school she found out that she has to take a district test for each online class she took and she was not a happy camper at all!  In fact, she freaked out, cried, and now she is in bed asleep.  The poor girl has been through enough.  I can kind of understand the reasons for the test, but she is just not having it right now.  I'm sure she will come around...she will have to if she wants credit for any of those classes.  I think they make the kids test so the district can be sure she didn't have someone else take the class for her, which makes sense, right???!!!  Anyway, it's been a rough afternoon.

I had planned to run over to the mall to get my wedding ring in for a check.  The center stone is lose and I need to have it tightened up again.  Arg!  Last week when I tried to take it in they told me I would have to wait a week because their jeweler was out.  So, I wait until I can find a chance to get there.  In the meantime the ring is tucked away someplace safe.  I don't dare wear it right now.  I am so hard on rings.  I guess I should just wear a band.   That would solve all of this for me.

As I mentioned before I saw my therapist today.  It's been a couple of months since I saw her last, partly because I kept forgetting when my appointment was and I would miss it.  One time we were in Urgent Care for me and my knee when I fell.  I just need to put a sign up in my bathroom to remind myself or something because calendars do not seem to be working.

Tomorrow Kyle and I (and Lexi too, if she wants) will be going back up to the hospital to learn a few more things.  I measured our bathroom doors today and the opening is only 27 inches wide, which isn't good because the wheelchair is at least 30 inches wide.  I can't exactly cut a whole in the wall, now can I?  So, Kevin is going to talk to the therapists about getting a lighter and smaller wheelchair, which is what he wanted anyway.  Time will tell.  

We still need to learn about how to move Kevin from the car to the wheelchair too.  That will be done on a weekend sometime and Kyle and I will go back again.  I like that the hospital takes the time to schedule these training sessions around our schedule.  That makes it great for us.  It's a lot that we are taking on, but I will say it again....Things could be a whole lot worse.  We still have Kevin, and that is ALL that matters!

I pulled out my Patriarchal Blessing the other day to read it again.  I was feeling a bit down and I needed a pick me up.  Normally I do not turn to my blessing for comfort because I have always felt that mine was just blaw.  Nothing exciting.  Nothing interesting.  


As I read my blessing I was reminded of certain things.  Things that were always there before, but somehow they stood out more to me this time as I read.  I am always in awe of how that happens to me.  But, I love that!  It is at times like these that I feel so very grateful for those moments when they come and I am left starving for more of them.  I love that learning process and being taught by the Spirit.  It has become my most favorite thing!  Honest.  The most favorite.  I love those tender moments when answers come and when they come, they mean so much to me.  I am so glad I made the decision to get my Patriarchal blessing.  Sure, it still reminds me that I will do all of those things I thought before to be blaw, but after reading my blessing I am reminded of just how blessed I am to be able to say that I am able to do these things and that I do love the Lord.  As well as countless other things.  Isn't it awesome to know that our Heavenly Father loved us so much to give us all of these things to help us along the way?  

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day who is not of my faith.  In fact, she is Catholic.  This friend of mine grew up in the holy land and most of her relatives still live there, and she returns home from time to time to visit.  You see, I had always thought his friend converted the Christianity at some point in her life and that she was taking a big risk in doing that because the punishment in her native country was death, but that was not the case.  She was born and raised Catholic, but we talked about some people she knew that had converted from Muslim to Christianity.  She said they were living here in hiding because they feared for their life.  As my friend was sharing this story I was thanking my Heavenly Father for this land that we live in where we are free to worship how, where, and what they may!  What a blessing!  What peace this brings.  I am grateful for my friend for taking the time to share these things with me.  She has opened my eyes and I am grateful for that.
All in all, today has been a good day.  Busy, but good.  Here is hoping tomorrow is just as good or better!  I still have some laundry and a few other things to get done before I nod off the bed.  I hope you all had a great day too.  I'm leaving you with a few tips on how to manage your finances...courtesy of Dave Ramsey AND a funny thought.  I should also mention that Dave Ramsey's outline isn't too much different than the one the LDS church puts out called  One for the Money...except, Dave's does not mention tithing at all.  ~smile~smile~

The same principles that Dave Ramsey suggests are right there in the pamphlet from the LDS Church.  Imagine that!!!  ~smile~smile~

Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Management Makeover".  What an awesome approach to being "together" on your money management!   Here are a few of the money saving tips:
  1. SAVE FIRST!!!  If you have a savings account of $1000 for emergencies, you won't have to use the credit cards to pay for car repairs, unexpected expenses.  Saving the $1000 emergency fund is priority to paying off high interest credit cards because with the savings, the credit card balances won't have to continue to increase as you are paying them off.
  2. Add extra payments to your debts, even if it's only $10 a month.  Giving up one meal out a month , a bad habit such as smoking or soda pop or one movie night and adding that savings to your debt will get the balances down quicker!
  3. Pay off the highest interest loan first, then apply that amount that you'd been paying on that loan to the next highest interest loan until they are all paid off.
  4. Use the great outdoors as your gym during the warm months.
  5. If you want to purchase something for over $75, contemplate the purchase for 24 hours to see if you still want it. 
  6. Review your cable and magazine subscriptions.  Are there any you could cancel?
  7. Make sure that your cell phone plan matches your needs.  Increasing the plan (adding text messaging services or more minutes) can actually be a savings to you in the long run if you go over often.
  8. Buy used instead of new from cars to books.
  9. Exchange DVDs and books with your friends or check them out at the library.
  10. Unplug electronic devices when you are not using them.
  11. Use rechargeable batteries.  The cost of the charger will be less than the cost of replacing 8 AAA batteries.  Once you've converted, you'll buy batteries annually instead of monthly.
  12. Close the doors to keep from heating and cooling unused rooms.
  13. Offer your services or talents in lieu of buying a gift.
  14. Draw names for your family and friends, instead of buying for all.
  15. Limit your trips to the store.  Shop from a list.  Shop alone and not when hungry.
  16. Work over-time one shift a month and save the earnings.
  17. Empty change from your pockets, purse or wallet at the end of each day into a jar.  Put it in the bank every few weeks.
  18. Raise your deductible on insurance.
  19. Save your raise.  Save the increase and live on what you've been living on.
  20. Involve the whole family in a savings plan.  They'll catch your enthusiasm.
  21. Arrange for bills to be automatically deducted from your checking account, saving on late fees, mailing expenses and time.
  22. Always send in for rebates, even if it's only $1, it adds up.
  23. Reduce the size of your storage unit or better yet, get rid of it and the stuff you aren't using.
  24. Attend matinees.  Go to the 5:00 show.  Don't go to the movie hungry and the popcorn won't be as tempting.
  25. If you entertain, have potluck.
  26. Vacation off season.  Some places are less than half the cost in the off-season.
  27. Wear slippers or socks.  Add an extra blanket to the bed.  Turn the head down.
  28. Use small appliances rather than heating up the oven.
  29. Clean the lint filter in the dryer every time you use it to decrease drying times.
  30. Shop for Christmas all year long.  Make sure to write down what you buy and where it's stored.
  31. Avoid leasing cars!
  32. Don't speed.
  33. Get a home energy audit every few years from your power/gas companies to see if there are ways to cut costs.
Here is something funny that comes up each time I bake these.....

Several years ago, I decided that whenever someone asked me for my Grandmother's sugar cookie recipe, I would apologize and then invite them to my funeral.  Each time I did this I would get a strange reaction and then I would explain that when I die, printed on the back of my funeral program will be this super secret sugar cookie recipe.  When they asked why, I jokingly would tell them this way, I know that someone will come to my funeral!  A little silly?  Maybe.  I hope that when I die and people are sitting at my funeral (hopefully having come for more than just some recipe) that they will turn the program over and it will bring them one last smile directly from me.  It's not a legacy, I realize.  BUT, it is something from my heart.  In the meantime, I'll gladly share a great Salad recipe, or any others I have with anyone that wants it.  

From the Missionary:

Sorry folks, nothing from Elder Schmidt yet this week.  Soon though.  I promise.  He should have a couple baptisms to share soon.  Isn't that super exciting!  I love that!

Quote of the Day:

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