falling, failing.

I’ve slipped.

I haven’t gone down yet, but I certainly feel as though I am falling in slow motion.

I’m still not sure if I’ll catch myself or not.

The thing is, reaction to stress and fatigue can feel very similar to depression.

Regardless, I’m not doing well.

Seeing my Aunt Cheryl’s death certificate was a bit too much for me today.

I’m really not going to see her again in this life.

Hallway at Hallmark, Kansas City

Grief is the price we pay for love.
-Queen Elizabeth II

I’m ready to be back home in Indiana.

“you’ve just ruined my life!” -addie, age 5.

Hi Addie.

It’s hard to be your mom sometimes. You’re very opinionated. You’re very smart. A little too smart.

Addie and her Daddy.

Well, okay. So maybe it’s not hard to be your mom, just a mom in general.

You touch me a lot. Especially the soft spot on my belly. Part of me is glad I have that little soft spot because who wants a hard mom? Also? That soft spot is from you. So really? It’s okay. It’s just awkward out in public (and I mean awkward in the proper sense of the word.)

I think every day this week has gone from the worst day of your life to the best day of your life in a matter of hours. You have told each of us (including sissy’s new boyfriend) that we have ruined your life at one time or another not to mention you have pestered me within an inch of my life with questions.

Breakfast with Addie (and her pearls.)

You’ve become a picky eater, you’re about to lose a tooth and you’ve started using the word “appropriate” in inappropriate situations. You suckered grandma in to buying you Barbie Bandaids and you insist that Grandma and Grandpa’s new dog is yours. So needless to say I’m not looking forward to the moment we pull away leaving the dog behind and you go on a rampage demanding a dog.

But you’re funny. I’m going to be keeping you around and working on my patience. You could never ruin my life. And no day could ever be the worst day of my life if it involves you. You love me so much, and most of the time that comes through in you touching me and hugging me and touching me and squeezing me and petting me a lot. A LOT.

Not to mention the questions. And the rebellion. And you’re only 5 (and a half.)

Breakfast with Addie (and her pearls.)

But still. I love having you around. Sorry if I get frustrated and threaten to pop your head off…you laughing at me when I threaten such a thing is the proper response. Keep it up. xx

this is who you are.

I recorded this late one night after a particularly wonderful day. I’m so glad that I did.

Maybe you’ve heard talk of a new reality show that’s casting, and they’re looking for moms in the social media realm.

The requirements were that we post a vlog about the story we have to tell and that it be under a minute.

Well, I think I got my story across, but the whole minute thing didn’t quite pan out. Sorry about that TV people.

Ah well, it’s not necessarily about the TV show. It’s about me (hello) and it’s about helping anyone I can with my story.

Indillmissokansoradowyomah.

Leaving Indianapolis, 1:00 am.

Headed out of Indy.

Crossing the Mississippi (4 am maybe? It’s all kind of hazy.)

Crossing the Mississippi A random hallway in Hallmark headquarters, Kansas City. (10 am.)Hallway in Hallmark, Kansas City.Kaleidoscope in Kansas City. (10:30 am)Kaleidoscope at Hallmark Sarah, Addie and Molly…our Hallmark lovelies. (12:00 pm)Sarah, Addie and Molly at Hallmark headquarters.Hot dinner in Kansas. (5:37 pm)Kansas Heat.Kansas was boring, but the clouds were dreamy.  (7 pm)in Kansas.Cheryl saying hi. (hopefully the rest of my life.)Kansas Clouds. Sunset in Kansas. (9 pm-ish)

Kansas sunset.

(Photos of Colorado should be here. But I forgot to take pictures of Colorado. Sorry Colorado. If you’re curious what Colorado is like imagine the following pictures of Wyoming married the following pictures of Utah and they had a baby…)

Wyoming. I don’t love Wyoming. Sorry Wyoming. (10 am)

Wyoming. Boring.

Wyoming wind farm. (2 pm)Windmills in Wyoming We finally made it to Utah. Gosh Utah is pretty. (4 pm)

Keg Runner Freeway (Utah.)

Home. Finally. Well, yeah. It’s home. (5:34 pm exactly.)
Finally home.
Driving across the country (well, 7 states) is not for sissies.

But when you’re able to sit outside under the stars with all of your family in one place for the main reason of celebrating one of the greatest people in all of our lives?

It’s totally worth it.

(If I haven’t returned your call or email? Please be patient with me. xx)

conflicted.

I wasn’t quite ready to enter the world of obituary writing.

It’s not very much fun.

(But I still rocked it IMO.)

And recently I’ve just kind of been stuck in a weird place.

I mean, Cheryl’s gone. But she’s not.

Aunt Cheryl and I were kindred spirits. I feel closer to her now than I did when I knew she was hanging out in her apartment in Salt Lake. My morning prayers have turned to “HI CHERYL! SO GLAD YOU’RE UP THERE! DO YOU LIKE IT? WHAT’S IT LIKE? OH! IS JESUS AROUND? I REALLY NEED TO THANK HIM FOR LETTING ME BE YOUR NIECE. WHAT’S IT LIKE RUNNING AND DANCING? CASSIE AND I DECIDED YOU WERE MORE OF A GAGA FAN THAN A MANILOW FAN...”

Anyway. It’s hard, because I’m so happy she’s happy now. I do have a set of beliefs that leaves me with an absolute feeling of peace and comfort with her passing. But I’m headed to a funeral where not everyone has the same beliefs I do. And that? Is tricky.

I have people around me apologizing for my loss, which makes me think maybe I should be more sad. So I get more sad. But then I get stressed out. And when I get stressed out? I get weepy.

Well. Bawly.

It’s ugly.

But I’m not really sad. I may have lost an aunt but I gained one hell of a guardian angel.

Guess that’s the whole kindred spirit thing. Crap I love her so much. She left me so many memories.

love love love.

Anyway, I don’t expect anyone to care much, I mean, she wasn’t your aunt.

But oh man she was great.

And she’s not gone.

She’s still throwing down heavenly gang signs. I love it.

****

Do you have a kindred spirit?

goodbye aunt cheryl.

I sat in a parking lot on the phone tonight and listened to my favorite aunt die.

There wasn’t much to hear, my family and cousins surrounding her bed, my uncle offering a prayer of which I could only hear the word “smile.”

My cousin gave me the play by play, my sister was holding her hand, her heart rate had slowed from 35 to 21 BPM in a matter of moments. She said she looked peaceful (my sister later added that there was a lot of snoring involved. Way to be Cheryl, way to be.)

I cried a little. I mean, every quality attribute I possess can be traced back to Aunt Cheryl.

Aunt Cheryl and me.

Then remembered that I had never seen Cheryl cry. Ever.

This is a woman who spent nearly half a century in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic.

She’d be ticked off if she knew I was crying. So I quit.

You see, we Mormons have a different view on death. And Aunt Cheryl? Was totally a Mormon. Maybe the best one there ever was or will be.

Death is a separation of spirit and physical body. It is not the end. Her spirit is still very much alive and it was still very much alive as my dad held the phone up to her ear and let me say my earthly goodbyes to her.

Her spirit just happened to be stuck in a very broken and very tired body.

The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame.

Alma 40:23

And what was the first thing she did with that proper and perfect frame?

Threw gang signs from heaven.

Yeesh Cheryl, I get it. You’re happy to be there. No need to show off.

Then all of a sudden there were rainbows over the cornfields on my drive home.

You win Cheryl. You win.

I will love you forever.

Until we meet again.

why cooking is important to me.

Today I chose to cook instead of nap after church.

It’s stormy outside and something about my kitchen called to me.

I’m not sure who or what planted the craving for candied nuts in my brain today, but when we came home I set out to produce the perfectly sugared pecan.

making candied pecans

If I were to write a cookbook it would be titled something along the lines of “How to Win Friends with Food” or “How to Cook so People Will Like You.” There seems to be something about making someones favorite food, and making it well, that breaks down any walls they may have built up around them (which is why I have such a soft spot for the ending of Ratatouille.)

I’ve noticed that when I have someone over who is going through a rough time my first instinct is to head to the kitchen. I listen better when I’m cooking. When my sister in law is around it’s grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. When tiny gramma was out here last time I made lunch as she told me about the huge changes about to take place in her life. As we sat together at the table, my mom and me, eating what I had just made, it hit me that this was one of those moments worth growing up for.

Being able to cook for your mom when she’s going through a rough time.

Being able to produce the perfect tiramisu for a friend’s birthday (even when you think tiramisu embodies everything wrong with food. Soggy cookies? Please no thank you.)

Being able to cook means that even when you can’t do anything else for someone who is suffering or lonely, you can show up with something warm, that proves that they are loved and that someone was thinking about them.

Or it can simply mean having the ability to put together a meal that doesn’t come from a box that will bring your family together around the table after being apart all day.

In the time our new Frigidaire appliances have been in our home they have baked birthday cakes, chicken noodle soup, an Easter ham and many experimental gluten free recipes including a chocolate cake made with garbanzo beans and orange juice. The microwave has heated hot chocolate as well as heating pads. Our stove has satisfied Cody’s long standing craving for authentic buffalo wings and my desire to make things from scratch instead of a warmed up bottle (home made hot fudge sauce FTW.)

Knowing how to cook has Addie by my side at almost every meal. It means she knows the difference between a boil and a saute and even more importantly the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon. It means she sees what goes into food instead of which bag it comes out of. It means I use the word morel more than I use the word moron and it means that I’m never going to give into those mall kiosks with the candied nuts again.

candied pecans

Because when you can produce the food you love at home? There aren’t many reasons to pay someone else to do it for you. (Except for dishes. Dishes are always worth outsourcing.)

I wrote this review while participating in a Test Drive Campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Frigidaire and received a Frigidaire Range/Microwave to facilitate my review.

candied pecans that may heal society. a recipe.

In a large lidded container combine:

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

freshly ground nutmeg (optional)

Cover the container and shake until well mixed.

In a large bowl beat one egg white and a teaspoon of vanilla until frothy.

Pour in a pound of halved pecans and stir with a large spoon until all the liquid is coating the pecans.

Pour the pecans into the bowl with the sugar mixture, cover the container and shake until the pecans have been coated by all of the sugar mixture.

Spread the pecans in a single layer on a large rimmed cookie sheet covered with parchment.

Bake for one hour in a 250 degree oven, stirring the pecans every 15 minutes.

Cool.

candied pecans

Attempt restraint, share with people you love.