Friday October 31st 2008

Parents aren't' perfect. Mine weren't. But I still blamed them.

Parents are supposed to be perfect and know everything and handle every situation with divine knowledge and empathy.

As a child that's what we think. They are the adult. Their job is to protect and serve and be there for us.

As an adult I am really surprised at how imperfect my mother was.

I have come to a better understanding and feel genuine heartache for some of the things that she had to go through. I would like to write it down but it is her story to share.

Anyways back to the story...
I was sitting here thinking about a situation in a friendship of mine that has gotten way out of hand. I would really like to take care of it in an adult manner but the emotions have run high and I want to scream out "I'm rubber and your glue....."

Not to mention going to church and facing those involved and wondering what nasty things have been circulating.

IN CHURCH!!! Heaven's to Betsy! And I cannot deny my involvement in this!

What's worse is that the mother of one of these ladies is in my Relief Society where I have to give the lesson every third Sunday. And this mommy is NOT NICE!

She interrupted my lesson once to tell me that she disagreed with what I was teaching.
My response was to stand there with my mouth- open- wide- hanging- down- to- my-boobs kind of look. Thank Heavens that what I was teaching was straight from the good book and I was able to back myself up. So this mother already has it in for me. Her daughter has MS and I'm sure I am going to be looked down on for upsetting the poor little fragile thing.

But the sad thing is.... we haven't even said a word to each other. A mutual friend called her and told her a non-true thing and she believed it and sent me hate mail. Yes! Hate mail! It said "So, now I hate you!"

I, of course, replied and tried to tell her how things were misunderstood.
I then sent an email to the friend who had done the damage telling her that I was angry and to leave me alone for awhile.

Of course that just fueled the fire. In a response email this friend said it was all my fault and that she was just doing it because she loved me and was trying to fix a problem. (ONE THAT DIDN"T EXIST UNTIL NOW)

My hubby says to leave it alone and stop emailing. But I can't. You just don't end relationships over a little misunderstanding. I have learned one thing from this. I am way too sarcastic and not everyone can tell when I am being serious or not.

So my dear children, Your mother is not perfect or ever will be. One day the grace of God will fix every heartache and make everything right.

But for now I am just your earthly mother trying every day to be better than I was the day before and to learn the lessons set out before me. I hope I don't screw your lives up to much.

Thursday October 29th 2008

3 things I grew up with:

  • Michael McLean
  • Greg Olsen
  • Gipp Forester "It feels like Christmas"

Greg Olsen is an artist that is known for his paintings of Christ. His work is brilliant. When he was a little boy my mother babysat him. She said his parents recognized his talent and allowed him to draw and paint on the walls. We lived down the street from his parents and he was just part of my life. I've never met him personally but his work is awe inspiring.

Michael McLean: Hmm, where do I start? I fell in love with him one snowy blizzardy night. Our neighbors had an extra ticket for his concert at the BYU Idaho. Back then it was called Ricks College. Michael performed his Musical/Play "The Forgotten Carols."

I was a rebellious teen. My mother had recently been in an accident and was saved by a miracle and at that time there was so much hurt and sadness in my life that I wish she had been taken. One to relief her of her pain - both physical and emotional.

We had a hard life. Really hard. I don't think neighbors, family and friends realized what we were going through. And I was very angry at my mom for allowing my father to hurt us so badly.

To top it off I was doing some very dangerous things in my life and she didn't believe me. I had lied about a lot of things so I'm sure she couldn't figure out fact from fiction.

So here I was walking the streets and my neighbor pulls alongside of me and tells me to get in. I declined at first and they persisted. I think I went just to get out of town.

We were late getting there due to the road conditions. It was indeed a very awesome blizzard. The snow was coming down so softly and thick. It was incredibly beautiful.

We walked into the auditorium and the show was already started. There was not a seat in the house that wasn't full. We stood in the doorways.

If you haven't seen the play you have no idea what I'm talking about. It was one of his first shows and it was magical. Not like Santa kind of magic. But the kind that takes place in the heart and melts away all the hardness and pain. It wrapped me in it's warmth and reminded me of who I really was and that all the pain that I was going through didn't matter. The message of the play mattered. The reason for the season is Jesus Christ.

As the play ended, Michael got on the piano and sang "We can be together forever someday" He asked us to link up to the person sitting next to us and sing with him. Then he asked us to sing We WILL be together forever someday. Michael McLean bore his testimony through his music that night and it touched me deep in my heart. I wanted to go home and tell my family I was sorry and that I loved them. I wanted happiness in my life.

When we got home it was very late into the night. I crept in as quiet as I could and my mother was sleeping on the couch. That's were she slept. She didn't have a room so that we could each have our own. How selfish and unforgiving I had been. Her face was so swollen from the accident and bit's of glass was still in her face. From that moment on she became the most beautiful person in the world to me.

Michael changed my life. He changed my attitude. It was the spirit that came through in his music that touched me. I continued listening to his music and he literally carried me through my teenage years and still uplifts me today. My mother made sure she bought me every one of his albums as he produced them. She even took a poster out of the garbage to have him sign it for me.

Michael directed me to a new way of living. I get so excited about this time of year when I know he will be performing "The Forgotten Carols"

Wednesday October 28th 2008

So hubby came home last night and the house was cluttered. I usually do a mad 20 minute dash around the house cleaning up - right before he gets home but he surprised us and came home early. Dang it. BUSTED.

It took me a few minutes to clear the clutter and an hour or so later before emotions were calmed down. And I felt bad. I knew I should get off the computer and I got caught. Oh well.

So to add to the messes that happened yesterday....
  • Mascara,
  • red fingernail polish,
  • a bag of lucky charms,
  • almost 3 year old making chocolate milk
  • toilet plugged with 1-2 rolls of toilet paper
  • toothbrush in the bathroom sink
  • sink plugged with toothbrush and toilet paper

I really wish I was just making this up.

New goal. Blog in the wee hours of morning and late rays of sun at night.

Pictures of Michael McLean

Photo's used courtesy of Shadow Mountain Records

Just a few of Michael McLeans work:

1983 You're not alone
1984 Stay with me
1985 Celebrating the light
1988 A new kind of Love song
1990 One heart in the right place
1991 The Forgotten Carols
1992 You've always been there for me
1994 Soundtracks
1994 The Collection VOL 1
1995 The Collection VOL 2
1995 The Garden
1995 Celebrating the light Soundtrack
1995 Unspoken Song
1997 Father and Son
1998 The Ark
1999 Safe Harbors
2000 Michael Sings McLean
2001 Forgotten Carols Anniversary Edition
2004 The best two years
2005 As I am
2008 Changed
2008 The other side of sorrow
2008 It's not love 'til it's' been through a storm
2008 Hope Hiding
2008 See us shine
2008 Tender Mercies

LDS Living Magazine

Music from the Heart

Legendary musician Michael McLean has been touching lives through his insightful lyrics and beautiful melodies for a quarter of a century. From his debut album, You’re Not Alone, to his wildly popular Christmas album, The Forgotten Carols, Michael’s music has one common factor—it comes straight from his heart.

When Deseret Book came to Michael McLean in the late 1980s and asked him to write a Christmas album, he told them, “Nobody wants new Christmas music. I don’t have anything to bring to this table. I can’t do it.”

Interesting statement coming from a guy who eventually wrote one of the most successful Christmas musicals in LDS culture, The Forgotten Carols.

So how did a guy who said he “couldn’t improve on Christmas” come to write nine new Christmas songs, a story to go with them, and create a stage adaptation that marks the beginning of the holiday season for thousands? Well, in order to answer that, we have to back up a few years.

Childhood Years

Michael began taking piano lessons at age seven and found a great influence in his classically trained piano teacher, who had him learning Rachmaninoff by age ten. At his first lesson his teacher said, “What’s great about music is that when you’re angry, you can do this,” and he played Beethoven. “And when you’re heartbroken, you can play this,” and he played Chopin. “All of that is in your heart; you just can’t get it out of your fingers yet. The reason we’re going to practice scales is so that when your heart feels, your fingers will let you express it.’”

With that mentality, Michael would spend a full year perfecting one piece of music and even thought that perhaps he would eventually become a classical pianist. But after accompanying his teacher to a piano concert at the Tabernacle on Temple Square, Michael said he had a “bizarre thought for a twelve-year-old.”

“I watched this world-class pianist play this extraordinary concert and I thought to myself, ‘No matter how good he plays, he is going to die and no one will ever get to hear him play this again.’ And then I thought, ‘But Mozart is dead and we’re still listening to him. Maybe the way to leave something is to write something.’”

Not long after that realization, Michael wrote his first song. “I was about eleven or twelve,” he says with a reminiscent smile. “It was about the carrots and potatoes at Sunday dinner. And from there I just kept writing. It became this wonderful little outlet for me.”

Always ready to make his dreams reality, Michael wrote songs for school assemblies, his Boy Scout troop, church programs, and girls. In high school he was also student body president and played the lead role in the Music Man. He received his Eagle Scout his junior year, was a state qualifier for the varsity tennis team, was runner-up in the state speech contest for original monologue, and maintained an A average, graduating second in his class. Upon graduating, Michael was off to BYU to study music.

In 1971, he was called on a mission to South Africa and while in the Language Training Mission (LTM) learning Afrikaans, Michael would sit at the piano each night and play for a few minutes to unwind. One night found a note waiting for him on the piano that read: Elder, He who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom. Give up your music and really serve God.

Despite this discouragement, Michael was called by the mission president after only eight weeks in South Africa to be in a band that would spend the next eight months touring and playing music to help soften the hearts of the people. Michael described himself as “the least talented guy in the band.”

“But I’d written a song,” he says, “And I would sing it every night. In a matter of a few minutes I had channeled this truth that people could relate to, and it opened doors. I realized that maybe the guy at the LTM was wrong. I realized that maybe I was being true to my best self by doing music.”

Pursuing Music

Upon returning to the States, Michael reorganized the band as Light and threw himself into songwriting, writing one song every day for a year.

“I thought if I was going to do this professionally, I had to get the craft of it. And let me tell you, I wrote some horrible, awful songs! Other songs wound up manifesting themselves later. But at that point, I just wrote. I gave it everything I had, eighteen hours a day, and . . . I failed.”

Light disbanded and a well-meaning teacher told Michael that he should pursue other professional options and simply enjoy music as a hobby. So Michael transferred to the University of Utah to study business and marketing. By this point he was married to his wife, Lynne, had one daughter, and was selling shoes at a department store.

With money tight and a baby to care for, Lynne suggested he try writing commercial jingles. Michael, always quick to acknowledge his wife’s encouragement, took Lynne’s suggestion and found success writing numerous jingles for companies like Zions Bank (“People really do mean everything at Zions”), Major League Baseball (“Who will be the real hero?”), and milk (“Cola darkness covered me ‘til the Refresher set me free”). He recalls watching television one night years later, surfing between stations, and realizing that he had written every local commercial on TV that night.

Not long after, Michael was hit with a life-changing event when Lynne, pregnant with their second child, was in a horrific car accident. “She literally lost her face,” he says. “I got to the hospital not knowing if she was even alive. When I was finally able to see her she was unrecognizable. We gave her a blessing and I remember begging God not to take her. I just couldn’t loose her.” The doctors tended and repaired Lynne as best as they could, and she came home just a few days later. But, when Michael’s daughter begged Michael not to allow the witch-lady to come into her room, he realized he needed to do something more. “And so I dropped out of school,” he says.

Michael continued writing jingles, eventually pitched some of his ideas to Bonneville Productions, and was hired to work on the LDS Church’s Homefront campaign. He won numerous awards during his advertising career, including the prestigious Clio Award, the National Addy Award, the New York Ad Club’s Andy Award, two National Emmy Finalists Awards, and the Bronze Lion at the Cannes Film Festival. And at age twenty-four, Bonneville offered him a job as producer of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

He worked for Bonneville for seventeen years producing Music and the Spoken Word as well as writing and directing several films including, Together Forever, Our Heavenly Father’s Plan, The Prodigal Son, What Is Real?, Nora’s Christmas Gift staring Celeste Holm, and Mr. Krueger’s Christmas starring film legend Jimmy Stewart.

“I never thought I’d stay there though,” Michael says. “I still thought maybe I’d get a chance [at music].”

And chances did come—just not the right ones. ABC once flew him to LA and offered him an exclusive songwriter deal. But when they told him what kind of songs he’d need to write, saying, “You write good tunes, but you need more skin in your lyrics,” Michael said no. Not long after, a friend set up a meeting for him in Nashville, but Michael experienced another rejection and flew back to Utah crushed.

He continued in advertising and film and then one year after his Nashville trip, Glenn Yarbrough, lead singer for the Limelighters from 1959 to 1963, arrived in Michael’s office. He was trying to restart his career and had heard Michael was a songwriter. Michael played him the same song he’d pitched in Nashville, and by the end of the song Yarbrough was weeping and said, “You move me.”

“It was an eye-opening experience,” Michael remembers. Nashville had told him he was terrible, and Glenn had told him he was a genius. “But what was the truth? Well the truth, I learned, is neither. If I spend my life only chasing after ‘Glenns’ or only believing the bad, then I’ll be paralyzed forever. So, I decided at that point to just listen to my heart and trust that the source of all creativity, which I believe is God, would give me confirmation when I got it right.”

The Record Deal

Michael found himself at yet another turning point. “I’d learned this wonderful truth, and I had this song called ‘You’re Not Alone’ that I’d written for a friend who had gone through a very painful divorce. I’d also recently written [a] jingle for Deseret Book, so I pitched [the song] to them. They said no.”

But Michael continued pitching the song and in September 1983 the Church used it as the theme for Women’s Conference. On Monday morning following Women’s Conference, Michael got a call from Deseret Book. The album You’re Not Alone was released just two months later.

In a recent twenty-fifth anniversary in music concert Michael said, “Maybe songwriters really only write one song. And maybe mine is ‘You’re Not Alone.’ . . . Name a Mike McLean song that, at its core, wasn’t trying to tell somebody, ‘This is what I went through. Maybe you’re going through it too. Just know that you’re not the only one who’s felt this way. You’re not the only one who’s scared. You’re not the only one who’s wondering if there’s a God in heaven who loves you. You are not alone.’”

Due to the reception of that first album, Deseret Book took a chance on a second, and then a third album, and Michael found himself enjoying the success he’d dreamed of. His musical production Celebrating the Light was sold-out each season; his film Mr. Krueger’s Christmas had been seen by millions of people around the world, and he’d not only been asked to record another album, but the Church had asked him to produce another Christmas film. But to Michael it seemed impossible.

“I had some hits out at this point, and I was kind of the hot, new, young guy,” Michael says. “But I thought, ‘I can’t top this. How can I top Mr. Krueger’s Christmas? The songs for the next album aren’t coming. I can’t do this.’”

But on his way home from the studio one night, as he listened to outtakes of the song “Hold On, the Light Will Come,” with the stress and deadlines mounting, Michael had an experience; as he questioned his ability and worried about ultimately failing, he received peace and confirmation that as long as he worked to share “the light,” he wouldn’t fail. “It was overwhelming,” he recalls.

Soon after, his film Nora’s Christmas Gift debuted; his new album, A New Kind of Love Song, was another huge success; and he was offered the opportunity to record yet another album.

“All I could think was that I didn’t want to blow this opportunity,” Michael recalls. He remembered his experience in the car and wondered if he was trying to share light or trying to work for his own ends. “I had again become consumed with the franchise. It was about me being ‘the guy.’ And so, I made the adjustment.”

In ten days One Heart in the Right Place was complete, and its release became a watershed moment for Michael. For the first time, he let Deseret Book put his picture on the cover. It was also the first time he ever toured a record.

“My mother always says, ‘You can’t put in the art what isn’t in the man,’” Michael recalls. “The experience I had with that album changed the way I sold records. [It] helped me get out of the way and put my heart in the right place.”

By 1990, Michael had five bestselling albums, a flourishing film career, and countless successful TV and radio ads. Then, on December 5, 1990, Michael found himself at his piano with the thought, “What if I met the innkeeper who turned Mary and Joseph away?”

The Forgotten Carols

The innkeeper’s song, “Let Him In,” came swiftly, and Michael found himself intrigued with the idea of these “forgotten characters” in the Christmas story. Within a couple months, he’d written a few more, and in April the following year he pitched his idea to Sheri Dew, editor at Deseret Book.

Sheri was supportive, but Michael had only one week to finish the entire project so that it could be approved by the board and out in time for Christmas. By this time, he had decided that what the songs needed was a story to tie them all together. He wrote the first chapter on April 6, 1991, and by April 13, Michael had completed the rest of the songs and the entire story. That Christmas he performed The Forgotten Carols for the first time.

“It was just me that first year,” Michael remembers. “There was no tech crew and the set consisted of a three-foot tree. I made my own ornaments and performed for free. But I was so insecure. I had no idea that people would ever want to come again.”

For years, Michael unknowingly fought a battle with clinical depression. After performing he would sit backstage sick, convinced he was worthless.

“That’s the oddest thing about that disease,” Michael says. “You can’t find enough validation. No one can say anything nice enough. But I didn’t want to make anyone else uncomfortable, so I would go out there and pretend and try to be gracious.”

It wasn’t until his therapist read his journal (calling it “scary”) that he was able to identify his disease and get treatment.

“For the first time I understood that just because someone went to the bathroom during a performance, didn’t mean they never wanted to come back,” Michael says. “It didn’t mean I had let them down. It didn’t mean I had failed God. I was finally able to realize that people coming the show didn’t have anything to do with me.”

And people did come. In the seventeen years since that first tour, more than a half-million people have seen “the carols.” The cast has grown from a one-man-show to six professional players aided by a full-time tech crew of four. The show’s success also afforded him the chance to leave his job at Bonneville and pursue music full-time.

He has now, in his twenty-five years in music, released more than twenty-five albums, enjoyed a New York City debut of his musical The Ark, had his oratorio The Garden performed in Jerusalem, and authored three books. And while performing almost nightly for one month straight during the holiday season is difficult, Michael says he is able to do it because of the experiences people have with the show.

He recalls one time when a family gave him a small handmade ornament—a trashcan. “We saw this show for the first time when we were living in a homeless shelter,” they said. “You gave us hope.”

In Dallas, a woman told him, “I think I can like Christmas now.” She had been raped on Christmas Eve seven years earlier and had stopped celebrating the holiday after that. But during Michael’s performance, she reached over to her friend in tears and said, “I’m feeling Christmas again.”

On one recent tour, a family came to him weeping. They had buried their father earlier that day but had decided to come to the show because it had been their family tradition for twelve years. Their father had bought the tickets before he died.

“It’s sometimes impossible to know how to respond to stories like these,” Michael says. “But they don’t have anything to do with me. I know that. This show is powerful because every single song is ultimately about the power Christ has to change lives. That is the reason people experience the things they experience when they’re watching it.”

The Future

Over the years audience members have enjoyed the subtle additions Michael has added to each new season’s performances. The production now has two more songs than the original 1991 version as well as a revised ending. But the biggest change occurred in 2006 when Michael decided to present his son Scott’s adaptation of the story, and The Forgotten Carols became more of a musical theater production than a reading.

He explains that, in the new version, the songs, the focus, and the spirit are the same, but that audiences can see the evolution of characters and understand how it is that they change. “The Forgotten Carols is now finally the show it was always meant to be,” Michael says.

As to how long he’ll continue touring? Michael smiles. “The great thing about playing a guy that’s two thousand years old is that I’ll never be too old. I have no plans to stop and I’m not worried about it. We’ll keep going as long as people want to keep coming.

“There are people, I know, who have more talent than me and just as much passion. I can’t claim any special rhyme or reason to that. But to those people who’ve let me do this for twenty-five years . . . my gratitude is cellular deep.”

Michael McLean Celebrates 25 Years of Music
by Jamie Lawson
For the past quarter of a century, beloved music artist Michael McLean has won the hearts of countless fans through his inspirational and heartfelt albums, beginning with You’re Not Alone in 1983.

Since that time he has released two dozen albums and a new anthology fittingly called 25, which features some of the recurring themes in Michael’s music.

“When I first got started, I wrote a song every day for a year,” recalls Michael. “I figured if I was going to do this as a profession, I couldn’t wait for inspiration to come. Sometimes the stuff is just lousy and then suddenly the juices start flowing and I can’t turn the faucet off. I think the things I need most to learn end up showing up in my songs, and there are some themes I just can’t let go of.”

Michael says personal experiences are often the inspiration for his songs, but not always. “For me, inspiration either comes from somebody I know, someone I care about, something I’ve thought about very deeply, or just from the need to tell a story,” says Michael. The story of adoption, for example, is a story that Michael has told beautifully through songs such as “From God’s Arms to My Arms to Yours,” despite the fact that he has not been personally affected by it.

In addition being an extraordinarily successful songwriter and composer, Michael is an established author, playwright, and film director and producer. Visit to learn more him.

LDS Living

It feels like Christmas

I love Christmas and one of my favorite traditions is listening to KLCE Classy 97 fm in Idaho falls ID. I now listen on the internet.

Gipp Forster tells feel good Christmas stories with a music background and he ends the story saying "It feels like Christmas"

You are going to love it, love it, love it!

I finally found where to purchase the stories on CD.

You can thank me later.

Oh, it feels like Christmas. I am so excited.
I just purchased both albums - click the following link.

Gipp Forster "It feels like Christmas"

P.S. I just found where you can listen to a demo......Dale Baglo

Go to this website and scroll down to It feels like Christmas and click on Sponser demo.

Tuesday October 27 2008

To start off...
I am 32 years old. I am married to a wonderful man and we have 4 children. We have been married for almost 7 years. It's been rumored that the first 7 years are the hardest so we should be good to go from here on out.

I am a creative person but I don't always see my projects to the end. For example:
  • dishes
  • laundry
  • any type of cleaning for that matter...
  • losing the baby pounds (pfhhh, like that will ever happen)
  • I now have 7 blogs but only update 3 of them. (the other four are photo album memories)

To explain the name Messy Jess...
Well, just ask my husband. He will say things like

  • I never make my bed
  • I don't mind toys laying all over the house
  • I use a new towel every time (No re-using them for me!)
  • I don't change the kids if they spill on their clothes (come on, that means more laundry!)
  • I let the kids play in my office so I can play on the computer (YIKES!)
  • I let the dishes sit over night instead of doing them before bedtime
  • I never (well hardly) take the trash out. Hubby does it when he comes home.
BUT, I wasn't always that way. I used to bust my chops to have everything perfect when my husband arrived home. If everything wasn't clean when he got home he would start cleaning and he wasn't happy about doing it.

He said he was doing it because he wanted to help out. I think he did it because the messes bothered him.

So I would stress myself out to have everything perfect - but it never can be or will be. I stopped trying a long time ago. It has caused friction in our marriage because our idea of clean is on opposite sides of the spectrum. But I love him. He is a good man, a wonderful husband, and the best father in the universe.
(for all you sceptical people out there.... it's a process. We didn't all of a sudden land on planet perfect - we're still practicing.)

So - I'm messy Jess. Little things don't bother me and I let things slide off my back. Messes don't bother me because I'd rather be spending my time living and loving my kids. Kids who have now dumped a container of baby formula, emptied the contents of baby lotion on their bodies. Mmmm, smells good. And they have stolen the Cheddar Cheese Puffs. They think that I don't see them. Just wait - they will have kids one day and I will be smiling from ear to ear!

A story for you

My family moved alot when I was growing up. When we moved to Shelley we lived in a yellow house. It sat right in the middle of the old highschool and the bus parking lot. It was a busy place. That was my 38th move. We would move 4 more times in Shelley before I graduated.

When we came to Shelley my mothers father drove her down to Blackfoot and made her get State Welfare. It was significant to my mom. She is a tough ol' bird and it brought her great shame to accept help from the state and from the church. I know she didn't mean to make me feel like we were bad people for being on welfare but I felt that way. Even in church I could feel the clicks and the circles and saw how differently we dressed compared to others. But that is not my point of this story.

When we lived in that yellow house on Fir Street we were new. We did not have any friends. We did not have alot of substance or meaningful belongings. What my mother did have was stored in the shed. Fancy restaurant equipment, our bicycles and other stuff. It burnt down one night in the middle of winter. It was soposed by the firefighters that it was lit by a cigarette butt - teens smoking behing the shed.

It wasn't a significant event other than the excitement it caused.... the middle of the night, a hot roaring fire that lit the house up with it's light and caused my poor mother to think the entire house was on fire. The kind soul that saw the fire and came bursting through the door to get us all out to safety. The frail couple across the street that took us into their home while this was going on. And last but most importantly...

It was Christmas. Someone? Some organization? Whoever it was, bless their soul... came to our house and left gifts for us. Clothes, bikes, toys,food. The list goes on.

It was the first time I realized that someone cared about us. Only 12 at the time I felt my first glimmer of hope for the future. It was speculated that maybe the highschool sent the gifts or maybe the church but it gave me a respect for the gift of service.

Now I think that my life has had more heartache and saddness than most others and there are parts of it I will never share but the most blessed times in my life were surrounded by good people that helped me raise above it.

To those of you who are hurting right now - find peace and comfort with the good people in your life. Those who inspire. The ones who love and care. The people that mean the most to you in your life. Be the person that someone can turn to.

If you haven't heard this song before listen to it. It's by Michael Mclean. It is the last song on my playlist at the top of this page.

Off my pedestal

We have had an event in our life's. The kind that changes your life forever and life as you know it will never be the same.

Our youngest daughter had a seizure and was hospitalized. The doctors found an infection that may explain the seizure but they are not positive so we have to take her to a neurologist. We brought her home and she has been vomiting with no fever.

What makes this worse for me is that a family friend just lost their daughter from complications due to a seizure. No amount of pain or emotion that I felt while going through this compares to theirs. None. The fact that my daughter is home and alive and with us is a great blessing and I have nothing to complain about. Absolutely nothing.

I need to start listing all the things I am grateful for and stop complaining about my life and having to deal with my autistic son and now my daughter with whatever is going on with her.

I have a wonderful family. We live freely. We eat what we want when we want it. We have so many freedoms. And we complain so freely. Let me hang my head in shame for the way I have been thinking and then let me get off my pedestal and give back to the world.

Thank you for your comments

Baby Valorie is in ICU and will stay until Monday. We will then be taking her to Denver to see a specialist for more tests. She is back to being her bubbly happy self and the scare is over for now. I will blog again when we get home.

I don't want to be here

I am feeling very angry. My husband is in the hospital with my infant. She had a seizure last night, vomited and became unconscious. We rushed her to the ER and they have been doing some tests, x-rays, cat scan.... It could be something as little as a infection or something major. But my husband sent me home. I don't want to be here. I am here because my 3 oldest children need me. They are worried about their sister and it was scary for them to see her like that.

Time has never marched any slower than this and I can feel each tick of the second hand. But I must stay busy. Finish organizing the house....pack bags in case we are transfered to Denver. Call family and let them know. Or maybe not. Maybe I shouldn't call until we know for sure.

I am a nervous wreck. The kids keep asking where baby Valorie is. They want hotdogs for breakfast. I don't want to be here. I DON'T WANT TO BE HERE.

things to accomplish today

In the Office:
get off the computer
take out the trash
organize and file bills - pay bills
organize and file daycare papers
sort trains, Lincoln logs, blocks
lock up all markers, crayons, pencils, pens, scissors, stapler

start a load of laundry

In the daycare:
organize toys and sanitize them
windex windows
sanitize door handles and stair rails
remove all blankets to be laundered
clean bathroom (see In the bathrooms)
stock diapers, wipes, toilet paper, paper towels, soap

start another load of laundry and fold clothes from dryer

In the kitchen:
do the dishes
wipe off the counters
clean fridge, stove, microwave (inside and out)
sweep and mop the floor
windex sliding glass door and window
take out the trash

Switch laundry again

In the front room:
remove clutter
clean and organize coat closet
leatherize the couches
windex t.v.
windex windows
dust shelves
vacuum rugs
sweep and mop

Another load of laundry

In the bathrooms:
remove dirty clothing
clean shower and tub area
clean toilets
windex mirrors
wash counter top and sink
take out the trash
sweep and mop floor

Make the kids put the laundry away

In my room:
make bed
sweep and mop
organize closet
windex windows and t.v.
remove dirty laundry

Help kids put the laundry away correctly

In the girls room:
make beds
organize clothes
windex window
paint walls (from previous blogging damage)
give toys to good will (ha! ha!)

Switch laundry again

In the "boy" room:
organize toys
organize clothes (remove outgrown clothing)
make bed

Is there anymore laundry?

Phew! I'm tired already.

Print list and mark off one by one.

Run around cleaning up the messes children are making right behind me

Turn off phone

Lock front door

Collapse in overstuffed chair with box of Swiss cake rolls

Remember that I didn't get my exercise routine in today.

Make dinner so that the family can sit down and eat together.

Reach out and touch someone

Last night I went to the library for some good ol' training for my daycare. Subject: child abuse

It was a rookie cop doing the demo and let's just say that a serious subject got turned into a rip roaring good time. There were about 40 of us gals and one of him. When the comment/questions were allowed we really had him cornered and sadly he confessed that when it all boils down we have to use our good judgement and make the call - or no call.

What ended the night was this comment....

We all are responsible for reporting abuse if we see it, suspect it or know about it. We all affect others in our life and can do something good by mentoring a child in our lives.... or adult for that matter

- so as our rookie cop says _
"Reach out and touch someone.......Er, Um, Uh, Or report someone that does. "

Needless to say we were laughing at the Rookie clear out to the parking lot.

Halloween Party Today!!

Halloween Party! Over at Tanya's blog. She has a ton of fun ideas and things to do and you should see how she has decorated! Fabulous!!!!! Trick or Treat!!!

I will not play online all day

I am punishing myself today,
I need to get my chores done
and I've been very very naughty.

I will not play online all day
I will not play online all day
I will not play online all day
I will not play online all day
I will not play online all day
I will not play online all day
I will not play online all day
I will not play online all day
I will not play online all day
I will not play online all day
I will not play online all day
I will not play online all day
I will not play online all day
I will not play online all day
I will not play online all day

Christmas in October

I am putting together a playlist of CHRISTMAS music! Yeah, that's right! It's October 11th and I've got the holiday cheer just streaming out of me like a overly wet sponge (Sorry spongebob)

So tell me! What is your favorite Christmas song? Album? Artist?
I will add it to my playlist if I can and up to 200 songs.
So, on your marks, get set, GO!

My favorite one right now is Chris Botti with The First Noel - take a listen!

Jons playdate with JK

Jon got to spend Friday afternoon until Tuesday morning with his
beloved "JK" JK is a brown stuffed doggy that his Pre Kindergarten
class takes turns going home with. He comes with a journal and his own backpack
The kids have to write and draw in the journal and then take it back.
Jon took him everywhere! Bless his tender heart.

let is snow, let it snow, let it snow

Love-ly Snow!

It snowed all night. I opened the blinds and watched it fall so softly to the ground. The pure whiteness of the snow lit up the night like hundreds of tiny fireflies. Wrapped in my warm blanket with a new chillness in the air I fell asleep with dreams of sleighrides, snowmen and hot chocolate prancing around in my head. The words to Silent night drifted across my lips and deep sleep overcame me. Old Man Winter is officially here.


Monday nightmare! School is out - who knows what for this time???
My three Eldest, ages 5,4,and almost 3 were playing trains in their room. I thought as long as they are being good (not fighting with each other) I won't bother them and the daycare will be peaceful and happy. Phhh yeah right.

My autistic son pooped his pants, my almost 3 yr old pooped in her training pants and instead of coming to tell me like they usually do.....and I can't blame this one on blogging - honestly! They finger painted. They had a glorious time of it too.

After bathing the children, redressing them, sending them to time out corners, stepping outside and screaming "God why do you hate me?" (I know that he doesn't) I came back inside and washed my hands thoroughly (there is a e-coli outbreak in Denver). I finished preparing lunch, put kiddies down for naptime and here I sit watching the kids from my desk to make sure they don't get up and escape. UGH!

Oh yah, this is good.... Mommy, I have to go potty!!!!! I'm sure you do sweetheart.

Warning: this post has body parts in it.

Sarah has been full of it this week.
While changing baby Valorie, she comes up to me and asks:

Sarah: Where's baby Jacob?

Mommy: Who's Jacob?

Sarah: The one in your tummy!

Mommy: No, that was Valorie. We thought she was a boy.
We had to change her name because she came out a girl!

Long silent pause.

Sarah: Mom, did Valorie's penis fall off?

Mommy: No. No! of course it didn't. Valorie was a girl. She came out a girl.

Sarah: Yeah, her penis fell off.

It took 10 minutes to convince her
that Valorie was always a girl and always will be.

Big decision

I have a really big decision to make today. Should I watch conference? Listen to conference? Listen to conference while I blog?

Then there's papers to be filed - my office looks like a bomb went off in there.

About 14 -20 loads of laundry. Most of it is daycare bedding and my own kids blankets.

The girls room needs to be painted..... yah, um, black magic marker. My husband is blaming that one on blogging and has absolutely banned me from the trip suggested for December when bloggers get together in real life. I am all for that one girls!

I have only been blogging since 4th of July.... I can't remember how I found it?
I feel like I have my own social network with new friends and I feel like I've known some of you forever. Like Alice in Wonderland falling into a black hole - except it's not crazy, it's wonderful.
Thanks for being my friend here on this blogging world.

If I don't post for the next few days, I'm playing catchup and watching the conference.

Do any of you play the conference game with your kids where they have to watch and listen for specific things to check off?