Friday, June 28, 2013

I'll Never Get Married, I'll Be No Man's Wife

At the ripe old age of 27 I made the determination that I was never going to get married.  In my mind I was past my prime, and no man would want me.  It did NOT help when my beloved Papa sang to me, "She's just the kind of a girl that men forget.  The kind to enjoy for a while.  But when a man settles down he'll always get, an old fashioned girl with an old fashioned smile.  And your old fashioned sister will come into view, with her husband and kiddies, but what about you?  You're just the kind of a girl that men forget...." 

First of all, my Papa ADORED me.  He seriously believed that I was amazing.  He KNEW that I would find the right man at the right time.   One dark night as Papa and I were driving away from the wedding reception of one of my college roomies I was sobbing. I was so jealous.  Not of her husband, but of being married.  Papa said, "Your mission in life is different.  You will marry when you're older, and not have many children."  I then sobbed even harder!  That was NOT what I wanted to hear.  As the years came and went I did feel some comfort from what my Papa had told me on that dark night.

I finally made the determination that I wasn't going to get married so I WAS going to enjoy life and not worry about getting married anymore.  I had four proposals that year.  Five if you count the fact that Nyle proposed twice that year.  Something about my confidence...and NO desperation seemed to make me more attractive to men.  Go figure?

I love the folk song, "I'll never get married, I'll be no man's wife, I expect to live single, all the rest of my life."

I spent 27 years as Nyle Smith's wife.  I LOVED being Nyle's wife.  He was funny, brilliant, complicated, talented, everything I ever wanted in a husband and more.

If I had known from the beginning that I'd be single again at 55 would I  have NOT married Nyle?  I would marry Nyle again, any place, any time, any where.  I would have married him again if we only had a few hours together. 

On the other hand, now I'm my 50's.  What do I want to do with the rest of my life?  Some days staying in bed sobbing seems like the simple answer.  Yet, Nyle would expect more from me than that.  He was a consistent example of finding joy in life even during the hardest times.

There is a song from "The King and I," that describes well how I feel these days.  "Hello young lovers who ever you are, I hope your troubles are few, all of my memories are with you tonight, I had a love like you.  Be brave young lovers and follow your star, be brave young lovers and true, all of my memories are with you tonight, I had a love like you.  I know how it feels to have wings on your heels, and to fly down the street in a trance, to fly down the street on the chance that you'll meet, and to meet, not really by chance..."

So...young lovers, and old lovers, and any lovers forget the push and drive of day to day living for awhile.  Remember what a gift it is to love and be loved, at any age.   

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Do you have the courage it takes to be vulnerable?

Oprah Winfrey has spoken many times to huge audiences.  When one friend asked her what she thought the secret of her success was she said without hesitating, I have the courage to be vulnerable.  (The quote is paraphrased).

I recognize that sometimes in my blog posts I tell similar scenarios more than once.  I took a college class once that taught effective study.  They brought up the point that the human mind does not retain information for much longer than a week, unless the information is repeated multiple times.

Looking at the same concept from a different side, psychology teaches that it takes FOUR POSITIVE comments to erase the effects of ONE NEGATIVE comment.  I DO repeat myself in my posts concerning ideas that are important to me, and I hope important to others that read my posts.

One of my dear friends once paid me one of my favorite compliments of all times.  He said, "You are very open, and willing to be vulnerable.  That gives others permission to also be open and vulnerable."

I believe that we, as human beings, have a great many more things in common than things that divide us.  For example, most of us have two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and hair (well that differentiation just lowered the pool a great deal for over 50 

Now let's look  beyond the physical into the human psyche.  We all came to the world through procreation.  We all had parents (even if they were not good parents.)  We all have to eat to survive, drink to survive. 

We all NEED LOVE!  Many anecdotal experiences have been documented that show the negative effect of lack of love.  Babies, that are in the NICU and can't be held and touched much or at all show remarkable improvement just by human touch.  (When they can be held, touched, and loved).

This morning I woke up in a miserable place.  When I first awaken I hurt...everywhere.  Some mornings I am convinced that even my hair follicles hurt. (I have degenerative spinal disease, fibromyalgia, and arthritis.  I also have two terrible much damage from 10 car accidents, (I'm a great driver...I just made some very poor choices who I let drive.)    

To make things worse each and every morning I awaken to the knowledge that Nyle is dead.  My beloved, my sweetheart, my soulmate is gone.  The length of time before we are reunited feels as though it will last forever!

This morning I really, truly, wished to just turn over in bed and stay there.  There are times that staying in bed is a necessary decision for me due to physical health issues.  On the other hand if I can drag myself from bed, take my meds, eat, and exercise, I usually do oh so much better.  After all, medical science has proven that exercise stimulates Serotonin production in our brain.  We need that Serotonin to feel peace.

I do NOT share my infirmities as a means to gain pity, or to show that I'm just a little bit nobler than the rest of the human race (just nobler than MOST of the human race...hee hee hee).  I share my struggles in the hope that somebody will be enriched.  Somebody will think, "Hey if that red haired lady can fight this battle, and not surrender, so can I!"

A wonderful side effect of sharing my struggles is that in reaching out to others I can't help but lift myself as well.  You can't give without receiving in return...I'm NOT referring to receiving a return of a physical, material type of item.  I'm referring to a sense of satisfaction, a warmth that moves clear into your soul. 

The scripture, "It is more blessed to give than to receive," Is oh so true to me.  My greatest joys come from lifting and loving others with no thought about what I will receive in return!

So...I've cheered myself up.  How about all of you out there in Cyber Space.  Fighting with your spouse, divorcing, death of a loved one, mental health issues, physical health issues, financial woes...etc. etc.  Look around you.  There is ALWAYS somebody who needs support and love.  Take cookies to the red headed lady down the street who lost her husband.  Send a card to a dear friend or family member that has tough things going on in their life.

On the other hand do not try to "Fix" people.  Most people in need want someone to listen, REALLY listen to them.  They don't need platitudes, they simply need a hug, or to hear, "I love you." 

Don't say, "Let me know if I can do something."  Show up at their door with gloves on ready to work.  A house ALWAYS has need of cleaning.  Bring a meal that can be frozen if they don't need it right away. (AVOID taking tuna casserole...very few people in this world like tuna in a

Or if your health limits you to your recliner sometimes, find other ways to calls, emails, Facebook, all of these wonderful resources make it possible to serve in multiple ways.

Remember, you may only be one person, but you can be one POWERFUL person!  You have the ability to make your own space and place somewhere that people wish to be in.  Remember to focus on the infinite possibilities that all of us have, and not the limitations that all of us have.

Well, I feel better, I hope that you do too!

Monday, June 24, 2013

What Decision in your life was your Best?

The best choice I ever made in my life thus far was to marry Nyle B. Smith.  It was not a "smooth" decision or experience.  In fact it was far from smooth.  There was way too much drama and trauma around that decision.  We were engaged, we weren't even friends, we were friends, we weren't friends, we dated, we didn't...we had this dynamic for the first year that we knew each other.

I used to think that if a relationship was "meant to be," it would run seamlessly from friends, to dating, to engagement, to marriage.  I have now come to believe that the old cliche is ever so true, "The path to true love is never smooth."  I can't remember who said this originally but Kudos to you whoever you be!

If your path to true love was smooth...CONGRATULATIONS!  You are blessed.  On the other hand, if you are dating someone and every fiber of your being tells you that you should spend your life with this not deny those feelings.  Oh, not every "star-crossed," lover should develop their relationship into something committed and permanent.  How do you know the difference?

I personally believe that there is a God...and one of the most loving gifts that he gave to us...all His children (whether Jew, Christian, Taoist, Buddhist, etc. etc.) is the ability to communicate with Him.  When I pray I write my prayer in a journal.  I have a seriously compromised ability to focus.  When I write down my prayer it helps me to stay focused.

It was through prayer that I KNEW with every fiber of my soul that Nyle was someone special.  After years and years of fruitless dating I knew very specifically what qualities I needed in a husband.  Yet Nyle was far more than a missing piece in the puzzle of my life.  He was the edge pieces that frame a puzzle and hold it all together.

Don't let the blast heat of chemistry blind your eyes to qualities that a committed relationship MUST have.  Do they want to have children?  What kind of family did they grow up in?  Do they like to cook, help with household chores?  There are ever so many different kinds of questions that can show compatibility in a couple.  Don't EVER make the mistake of thinking, "I can change them.  They are perfect except (fill in the blanks) and I will help them change." 

Before I married Nyle I thought..."He's perfect, except he could eat in a more nutritious way, and lose a little weight.  I can help him do that!"  Within two months of marrying Nyle I ha d gained 10 pounds!  lol 

A great description of the ideal marriage is a simple building.  Each corner is held up by a column.  The columns are separate, individual, and yet they are united in a common purpose, holding up the building.  (A metaphor from Kahlil Gibran's book, The Prophet).

After the marriage you ARE a family.  You do not need children to make you a family.  For many of us children are a grand blessing.  A child can be living proof of the love that links you to your husband.  They should NOT be the main reason that you are married.  Long after your children are adults and gone into their own worlds you need to plan on your own marriage surviving. after you meet someone and feel the rush of new love KEEP PRAYING!  If you don't believe in prayer, then do meditate...list the things that are positive in your relationship.  List the things that are negative.  If that person NEVER changes certain behaviors can you live with those behaviors? 

NEVER go into a marriage thinking, "Oh well, if this doesn't work out I can always get a divorce."  That is a MISERABLE way to live.  This is a relationship that should and must survive ALL the trials and tragedies that life can toss at you.

There really are only a few very specific reasons for divorce.  One is somebody that you can't trust.  If they cheat on you sexually they are very likely to cheat on you in other ways as well.  You can't maintain a relationship without trust.  Two would be any type of abuse, sexual, physical, emotional, spiritual...don't just walk...RUN from this relationship.  The last reason for divorce is when you are married and discover that you have married the PERFECT person.  Well at least perfect in their own mind.  Somebody who blames everyone around them for any problems that arise.  Somebody who NEVER makes mistakes, any problems that arise are somebody else's fault.  There MUST be compromise and willingness to change and re-arrange for a long term committed relationship to survive.  Yet I love the quote that says, "A mediocre marriage is far superior to a grand divorce."

True love may NOT run smoothly.  Still there is NOTHING better in this world than loving someone enough to spend each and every day of this life committed to them.  Nyle, I miss you.  Long for your presence in my life, but I will remain committed to you each and every day until we are re-united.  I miss you honeybunch!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Happiest of Happy Birthdays!

24 years ago today a "Gooey iguana" (Nyle's description of our babies) entered this world at 1:10 p.m.  Her Papa laughed with delight, and I cried with rich joy.  They gave her a first bath and then put her in my arms.  She was NOT a tiny baby.  She weighed almost 9 pounds.  She entered the world singing very loudly!  We laughed and said that she would be a singer...we were so right!

Her name was Sarah Elizabeth, and we knew before she was born that she would be Sarah Elizabeth.  Her beloved Grandma was Sarah, and 2nd great grandma's were Sarah Ann and Elizabeth Jane.  I did not know until later that she also had a relative on Nyle's side of the family who was Sarah Elizabeth Smith!  In addition I was born on my Great-Aunt's birthday.  She had wanted me to be named Sarah but my parents didn't agree.  Now she has a namesake.

So...think of all those Sarah's and Elizabeth's that she honors as she travels her path through life.

In the evening her Father (who had mysteriously left for an hour) arrived with two dozen peach colored roses.  When I inquired why TWO dozen roses he said, "Because you have blessed me with two amazing daughters."  For whatever reason there seemed to be no peach colored roses in all of Utah County.  He had to travel 45 minutes each way to find a store that had them.  Peace or Salmon colored roses have always been my favorites!

Sarah was beautiful from the first breath she breathed.  Her eyes were large, and she had a tiny little chin.  She had very little hair in front, but lots in back.  The nurses would give her a Faux Hawk and then bring her to me.  I disliked the "faux hawk" look on our precious little girl so I would smooth her hair down.  It looked silly because there was almost NO hair in the front to faux hawk with and then the back was much thicker and longer.

She was greeted with rich quantities of love.  Her sister Ardis was fascinated with her.  She didn't want to leave her for one moment.  My Papa and Mama were there.  Papa cried when he held her in his arms.  (Guess where I got my tender heart and crying heart from?)  The look on his face was so tender and poignant I'm grateful we have it in a picture.

Aunt Alice and Uncle Norman (we were renting their basement) were there, with my cousins Richard, and Joyce and Ken (they brought their brand new baby Elizabeth Lynn to visit). 

The day after Sarah was born Nyle, Sarah and I spent most of the day alone, just the three of us to get used to our brand new beautiful babe.  There were two beds in the room.  I didn't have a roomie at that point so Nyle lay on the other bed holding our precious babe on his chest.  They napped together for awhile.  Sarah seemed to be so at peace lying on her Papa's brawny chest.

Ardis Kay was safe and happy with Grandpa and Grandma Cheney who were staying with her at our beautiful mountainside home. 

We went home the 2nd day after she was born.  Her Papa and sister Ardis Kay came to pick Sarah and I up.  They drove in our Cadillac.  We drove both of our babes home in a Cadillac.  Never mind that the Cadillac was a 1979 (10 years old), and a diesel that knocked constantly.  It was a Cadillac, and represented the luxury that we wished and dreamed for our daughters.

Salute Sarah Elizabeth!  You have brought such rich joy and happiness to our family.  I simply can't imagine what we did before you joined our family!  The moment you come home the energy level in our home rises in a positive way.  You are a force to be reckoned with.  I love watching you with the kids that you have student taught.  They adore you and call you AWESOME!  I agree with their assessment.  I love you my darling.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I got to be with my Mama for several hours today.  When I first arrived she was very confused.  She said in a small voice, "Do I really live here?"  The here that she referred to was the Retirement Home that she has lived at for many years.  Somehow it seemed that when I arrived her confusion left and she was clearer of mind.

In our usual conversational pattern we flitted and flipped from one subject to the next, and then back again.  Usually our communication is animated with hand gestures and very expressive faces.  If the world could just follow the patterns that we establish in our discussions we would have world peace, order in countries, and brotherly love everywhere!  Yes, we could heal the world!  :^)

It's amazing to look at my beloved Mom and see my youngest daughter Mother's namesake looking back at me from a 94 year old face.  I know how my youngest will look at 94 and she will be like her namesake, gracious, loving, and beautiful.  This comparison works the other way as well.  I look at our youngest and see how amazing my Mama was at her age as well!

We have two daughters and both are named for one of their grandmother's.  Who knew that they would look the most like, and act the most like the grandma for which they were named?   Oh they do have the characteristics of the other Grandma as well, thank heavens.  Both Grandma's are amazing ladies that I love dearly!

My Mama and I went for a ride in the sunshine in my beautiful little red car.  She ALWAYS comments on how pretty my car is.  My Mama always notices details of beauty that I often overlook.  She sees flowers that blossom, plants that grow greenly, new buildings, old buildings, people that she doesn't know that WILL become her friends, fluffy kitties, fluffy doggies...she sees it all.

I didn't mention two of her habits which I have always enjoyed.  She LOVES to identify license plates that are from out of state.  She gets really excited if a car is from somewhere that you don't see often, like Mississippi, or Kansas.  That's number one.  The number two activity that she loves is deciding what make a car is.  That car is an Oldsmobile.  That car is a Chevrolet.  (This last car reference is said with reverence.  For her entire life she has adored Chevrolet's!)  Remember "See the USA drive a Chevrolet?"  My Mama listened and believed their advertising.  Some of the newer cars stump her and she says in a puzzled voice, "What on earth kind of car is that?"  "A Hyundai Mama."  "A what?"  "A Hyundai, it's a Koren made car."  "Oh."  "Oh look there's a Cadillac..."

My Mama at 94 still has a childlike wonder about the world in which she lives.  She loves people, and appreciates life.  She does NOT focus on the pain that she lives with, or the negative things in her world.  She sees the glass as "Half full."

Thanks Mama for teaching me how to love this world, and the people in it by your example.  You, my beloved Mama are the very best Mama in the world!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Shop Til You Drop?


1.  Eat before you leave your home.  Shopping hungry is ALWAYS a bad idea.  You will definitely buy more than you planned on, and probably treats that are not good for you.

2.  Compare the per unit price on items.  Dannon had two different "Light and Fit" yogurts.  Both of them had four containers.  On closer examination one of them had 4 SMALLER THAN containers at 5.6 ounces, versus 6 ounces for the other four.  The larger ounce version cost 2 for $4.00.  The smaller container version was advertising at $2.99 and that was on sale from $3.99.  This is a trick that many companies use.  They sell the same product in different packaging.  They do this to earn more money.  After all if 1,000 people choose the higher priced item (even if it's only .99 cents higher) if you multiple 1,000 times .99 cents, brings in $990.00.  Add interest to that amount, and they are making money twice from our non-detail specific shopping.

3.  Watch for change in product size.  I'm disgusted with so many companies that don't change the PRICE of an item but DO change the product SIZE.  So as an example, look at the bottom of your yogurt container.  Have you ever noticed how more and more containers of yogurts, drinks, etc. put a bottom on the product that goes into the bottle a long way?  If they keep the price the same but change the product size (same bottle with more of a divot in the bottom), they will again make more money.  Even if they simply change the product size by 1 ounce that savings to them will add up.

4.  Use coupons.  I watch the show "Extreme Couponing," and I'm in awe of these Shopping Sheroes!  (Hero, shero...heroine sounds just like a drug!)  They do spend time doing this clipping, organizing, watching store sales, etc.  They save a bundle.  So if you have any propensity to this activity, get busy.  Clip those coupons, and watch those sales.  You can save thousands of dollars by this activity.  Or maybe you just use an occasional coupon or two...every bit helps.  You can find coupons in a Sunday paper, or online.  You need a printer or smartphone for that last option.

5.  Don't use coupons for things that you will probably never use.  Many times the after coupon value of one item may still be more expensive than a comparable item of a different brand.  Be observant and do not use a coupon for something that you don't really need.

6.  Check the product Purchase By Date.  Many outlets, and inexpensive stores sell products with expired Purchase By Date.  Some items are safe for long after the Purchase By Date.  For example, laundry detergent.  Another example is yogurt.  Yogurt is SUPPOSED to be spoiled! If you go to a store and they have an amazing deal on produce.  Chances are that the produce is about to spoil.  What that means to you is that you buy a huge amount of strawberries only to have them spoil before you can eat all of them.  If a sale seems TO GOOD TO BE usually is.  So....ok buy the about to spoil fruit and then make jam or jelly or a huge dessert (fruit crisp or cobbler), or fruit leather...there are many ways too utilize fresh produce about to go bad.

7.  Here is a method that guarantees you to save money, but it IS time consuming.  You make your grocery list.  You attach to that list the coupons that you have so wisely collected.  Then you go to grocery store number 1.  In that store all that you do is to write down prices of each item.  Then you go to store #2 and purchase the items that are less than the price of the first store.  If a product is less at the first store you do NOT purchase the item at store #2.  You purchase your less expensive products at store #2 and then go back to store #1 and purchase the items that were less than store #2.  This takes a great deal of time.  Many times you can find stores that will match other stores sales.  Walmart proudly matches price.  Of course, you must remember the item has to be the exact same brand, and quantity as advertised in another store.

8.  Another method that is similar to the above method.  You widen your search, and go online to check prices.  (This is not possible in small outlet stores, and that is where you often can find the best deals)

9.  Make couponing a game for your family.  Give each child (Child friendly scissors only) a pair of scissors and a newspaper and have them race each other to cut out 5 coupons.  Give a small treat for their achievement.     

10.  Benjamin Franklin said that there are two ways to make money.  One method is to earn it, and the other is to NOT SPEND it.  Gauge your priorities.  If ice cream bars are singing your name....STOP....THINK!  What other item that your family needs will be pre-empted by those bars?  How long will the pleasure of eating them last?  Seriously "One moment on the lips, forever on the hips!" 

I hope these thoughts will help somebody in Cyber land that may be struggling with ways to save money.  Let's face it, most of this planet lives from paycheck to paycheck.  Finding creative ways and means to use our assets (strictly legal creative ways of course) is a wise approach to a tight budget.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Invisible Disability?

In my lifetime I have seen certain speech phrases come, and then go.  Two of those started in my young years as crippled, or invalid.  I especially hated the later phrase which I was called by well meaning adults.  I couldn't understand how they didn't understand how demoralizing that phrase was.  Let's see in me that meant NOT VALID, or worthwhile.

Then the world kept turning, time kept moving forward, and I was older.  Now the phrase had become handicapped.  Well at least this phrase began with the word, "Handi," albeit spelled differently than "Handy," which is the usual method of spelling this word.  A permutation of this word became "handi CAPABLE." Which I definitely preferred.

The next to come along was physically, or mentally challenged.  In my mind that describes each and every human being on the planet.  EVERYONE has challenges either mentally or physically.  I have never met one single human being that did not have challenges in their life!!

In our "Politically correct," world we struggle to not offend, to never say anything inappropriate.  That is good...UNTIL.  Until we become so fearful of saying the wrong thing that we say, NOTHING! 

Balance...does NOT just refer to being able to walk upright without falling or running in to things.  Balance is the golden mean, the standard, that we should all work tact, honesty, in describing people who have faced unusual challenges.

It's easy to see someone in a wheelchair and know immediately that they are disabled.  On the other hand what if you see a 50 something lady with red hair park her car in the handicapped spot.  She walks and talks as though nothing is amiss. 

I've had so many people respond with astonishment when they learn about my "invisible" disabilities.  You can't usually see pain, or heart problems, or breathing issues.  You certainly can't see clinical depression, or Anxiety issues.  Yet those challenges are very, VERY real!  (I'm blessed enough to have many of these issues...please note the sarcasm in my statement :^)

Be very careful about your rush to judgement concerning others and their "disabilities."  For example I watched an "Expose," documentary.  They showed several people who were receiving "Disability incomes," of one sort or another.

One man was disabled by a terrible back condition that left him in constant pain.  They showed him outside riding his son's bike and playing with his boy.  They then used this as proof of fraud.  To anyone that IS disabled they completely understand this behavior.  The man probably took medicine for his chronic pain.  That medicine allowed him a short span of time when his pain was bearable.  He used that time to get out of the house, and to play with his son. 

I know for a fact that when evening came that short burst of outdoor activity came with a very heavy price.  The man probably couldn't move much at that point.

It's so much easier to judge someone from the outside of their lives.  If we dig deeper and try to understand the situation may be completely different than we have assessed.

Of course, there ARE fraud cases.  One man was shown roofing a house, and walking jauntily down a street.  He was also getting disability monies.  In his case there was the possibility that he too was taking medicine for pain.  That medicine gave him enough functionality to roof a house (probably not!).

Yet Social Security Disability understands that it's rather difficult to exist on $600 - to $900 dollars a month in our country right now.  So they allow people to earn a small stipend monthly to help with expenses.  Most of the people that I know that are disabled are disabled because they CAN'T work...they CAN hardly get out of bed a great deal of the time!  So this possibility is IMPOSSIBLE for them.

I don't want people to look at me and think "Oh she's disabled...poor thing."  I don't ever want pity.  On the other hand I don't wish judgement either if I walk my dog, or dance once in awhile in my basement.
One night I was late for a dance recital that both of our daughters were dancing in.  (This was many years ago).  I was ever so grateful to find one handicapped spot.  I pulled in and plopped my handicapped placard on the dashboard.  I started to get out of the car, (a very laborious exit for me, after sitting for longer than 15 minutes my body feels as though it has been encased in concrete...stiff does not begin to explain the difficulty it takes to get my body moving again, (Thanks a lot Fibromyalgia!~) 

A man passing by started to say in a rather snotty, superior voice, "You shouldn't park there.  It's for the handicapped!"  I was startled by his words.  I couldn't even think what to say.  So I silently continued to laboriously get out of the car. 

Finally I stood upright and had my cane in my right hand.  The man turned bright red.  He said, "Oh, I'm, I mean well, I'm sorry, I didn't know."  Then he shut his mouth and scurried away.

There is a wonderful song that says, "Judge not that ye be not judged..."  It's also a scripture in the New Testament in the Bible.  I don't know about you but I need all the kindness I can get.  I don't wish to be judged by any other mortal.  I in return do not wish to judge anyone else.  So...come on people, let's just get along!! 

Thoughts and Jots

It came...even though we wished that it wouldn't, Father's Day.  A Father's Day that finds us without my beloved husband, my daughter's beloved Father.  Each and every celebration seems harder as we strive to find a "New normal."  I have climbed through the "Valley of the shadow of death," many, many times before as friends and family have passed away.  I do know how this works.  At their death, the shock, the numbness, the ability to reach out to others seems enhanced.  Then everybody goes home to their lives, their families, and you have the task of trying to figure out how to live without your loved one.

At that point the reality becomes horribly apparent.  Often long past the time that others think you should be grieving you feel as though your heart is lower than your feet!  I have a personal witness that Nyle goes on...he still lives...and we will be together again.  The problem is that one night away from Nyle was too long!  I have a sneaking suspicion that I will probably live many, MANY more years and in this place and space I DON'T find that a happy thought.  Right now I take life one minute at a time, doing my best to not think about the heart wrenching separation that looms before me. 

I affirm the sacred and precious opportunity that this life gives us.  It brings us ways to learn even through opposition.  Learning about this particular type of grief is helping me to be more sensitive to others facing this challenge. 

Life is an oxymoron...we learn about joy as we grieve.  We recognize blessings after they have been taken away.  "There is an opposition in ALL things!"  There is always the choice of agency.  We can choose to wallow in self-pity, bitterness, or other negative choices, or we can make a conscious choice to reach for something higher.  I do love the little quote that says, "It's better to aim for the stars and miss then to aim for the gutter and hit."

 Of course my favorite quote comes from Nyle, "Happy Not Crappy."  That means don't let circumstances dictate your happiness.  You can choose to be happy in spite of those circumstances.

Well I've cheered myself up enough to go wash some clothes, (Today that took lots of cheering!  lol)  What does this Monday of sunshine bring to you?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Faith in the Principle of the Open Door....BY NYLE BRENT SMITH

I'm going to borrow an excerpt today from my beloved husband's book, "Flagpole Fighting and other lessons my mother taught me."  The excerpt is "Faith in the Principle of the Open Door."

So...sit back in a comfy chair and read the lyrical, poetic words of my honeybunch (who was also my favorite writer of all times)  There are some small condensations.  If you want to read the entire book I believe Ebay still has copies for sale.

Red Oak Lane was named very appropriately.  All of the houses had yards that were positively infested with oak trees.  In our yard alone, I'm sure the number of trees would have broken one hundred.  My mother actually counted them once, but that count escapes me now.  I was a member of an informal neighborhood group, loosely calling ourselves the "Flyboys," a name my mother dubbed us because of our undying interest in model planes.  After mom had made us a cake one afternoon, icing it green like an airfield, and putting our group's name across it, we voted her best mom in the neighborhood.  She was very honored, and to this day still doesn't realize that almost everybody's mom who made us a cake got the same honor.  (If you happen to meet her, please don't tell.)

The flyboys incorporated flight into everything.  When we would ride our skateboards down the hill, our arms would be flung out as wings.  When we rode our bikes, we would do the same over the smooth parts of the road.  On the rough parts, we flew wounded, with only one wing.  The other wing gripped the handlebars tightly.  When we ran, we ran with abandon, zooming through the trees of our yards, occasionally grazing one and scraping our young bodies.  It was okay then, we were resilient and still had lots of skin.  I must have earned dozens of Purple Hearts that way.

It was this humble practice that spawned the beginnings of the Principle of Faith on the Open Door.  The great yellow deliverer that the general population of the world calls a schoolbus ran its route up behind our house.  After being school-wound for the last six or seven hours, we would spring from the bus belly the moment that its door swung wide.  Rarely remaining standing, we would more often than not be carried by our forward momentum into a rolling impromptu wrestling match.  When we had tired of that, we would start the descent to my house.  Its backyard was the only shortcut to the rest of the street, so we would have a good number of children running down through it every afternoon.  Of course, the flyboys didn't merely run down it, we strafed it, with all the appropriate sounds and gestures of an airborne squadron.  I would be the first to peel off from the formation, and veer up my back steps to the kitchen door.

My mother had been noticing this from inside, and it wasn't long before she was ready for my dive bomb.  Timing it just right, she would fling open the door just as I approached it, allowing me safe entry into the home without having to fold my wings.  As the ritual escalated, soon my mother made sure she was there every afternoon, waiting for me to land.  It got to be a spectator sport for the rest of the kids coming down from the bus.  I started adding aerial flourishes and, growing braver, ran as fast as I could into the door with my arms flung wide, having complete faith that the door would open.  Entering the controlled airspace of the kitchen, I would flop onto the floor, completing a three point landing on my stomach.  Every afternoon I did this, having complete faith that the door would open wide, saving me from certain door destruction.  And every afternoon, guided by the sure hand of my mother, the door opened.

It was this experience that started me on the road to Faith on the Principle of the Open Door.  It wasn't hard to compare my boyish experience with my later life.  When it seemed at the last moment of despair that certain failure and destruction seemed imminent, I closed my eyes and flung myself head first into the doors of the heavens, mustering as much faith as I could that the doors would open.  More often than not, the doors would swing wide, guided by the sure but unseen hand of God.

Perhaps it was this principle my mother trusted in as she began her new life as a single mother after twenty seven years of marriage.  Perhaps it was her trust in this principle that carried her through the struggles that regaled her.  What strong inside force did help her, I'll never know, but I do know that God opened doors for her, and taught a lesson to the rest of us.  No matter how dark life becomes, find a door and throw yourself against it.  Have faith on the principle of the Open Door.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Fears or Faith

Is there one human being on this lovely planet that does NOT have any fears?  I believe that if you think that is true you are lying to yourself.  Fear is a natural method that our body has for self-preservation.  Fear coaxes us to be aware of danger and do everything that we can to prevent injury or accident.

Yes, there are even positive qualities in fear.  Fear can teach us to be prepared...for anything...for everything.  Fear can drive us to save food and water in case of emergency.  Fear can cause us to take a self defense class.  Fear can keep us from walking too far out on that cliff with loose rocks.  Yes, fear can definitely be a trait that develops self-sustenance.

I'm afraid of SO MANY THINGS!  The following is a list of my fears:

The dark      Being raped
Heights        Sometimes just leaving my house
Depression   Abandonment
Crowds        Diabetes
Theft            The death of those I love (like my sweetheart, Nyle)

I am no longer afraid of my own means reunion with my beloved.  I am not doing things to hasten my own demise, but I look forward so poignantly for that time.

To me, the truest definition of courage is to do those things that frighten you most.  For example, any sane individual would feel frightened when involved in direct hand to hand combat.  It takes very real courage to face your fears in this setting.  Indeed it takes courage always to face fear.

Some fears are rational...things that you can battle back by reasoning within your mind.  Nyle LOVED to go on Ferris Wheels.  They cause me to be nauseated and panic filled. (Fear of heights)  Yet, I would face that fear and go with my darling.  Of course, I had the benefit of his strong, masculine arm around me, and his gratitude for my going with him.  The other thing is that I could keep my fear within limits through rational thought.

My fear of the dark...has no bearing on rationality.  My mind alone can't conquer this fear.  It is, of course, much, much worse since my darling died. what point does faith come into this discussion?  Faith, in the basic decency of most humans.  Faith, in the regularity of the seasons.  Faith, that the sun WILL come up, each and every day.  Faith, that the sun will go down and let darkness embrace our weary bodies with rest.  Faith in the love we share as a family.  Faith in our ability to move through the very hardest of life experiences.  These are all grand examples of faith.

Yet the very grandest of examples of faith is faith in a Creator...the Lord of the Earth.  I don't care what name you call God, Elohim, Jehovah, Jesus, Allah, Quan Yin...for these purposes I will call him Heavenly Father.  I believe personally that he is the father of our spirits.  Using our agency to connect with God unleashes strength beyond our own natural strength.  This faith has come from my parents, grandparents and before them in their examples.  Yet, mostly this faith has come from my very own PERSONAL life experiences.

An example is shortly after Nyle's death.  Sometimes the reality of my loss would hit like a boulder had been dropped on me.  I couldn't breathe, I couldn't stop sobbing hysterically.  In those times I couldn't even muster a simple prayer, "Heavenly Father, please help me!"  All that came out was an anguished "Help!" exhaled from the depths and reaches of my anguish.

I was amazed that in those times I would feel such warmth, embracing love, and knowledge that Nyle was safe, and I would be also.  I will never doubt the reality of those times.  Those experiences were as real to me as the sun shining in the sky at noon. 

In this experience faith was not a simple belief.  It was not passive.  An action word, a verb, faith was and is a very real power, a force for good and blessing.

 If the fear will not bend to rationality, then get help...we ALL need help from time to time.  A minister, a counselor, someone who can help you sort the irrational, unreasoning belief that has stopped your progression.

Faith or fear...a choice that all of us make daily.

Friday, June 7, 2013

How do you feel loved?

Being really, truly, loved is one of life's greatest gifts.  The kind of love that embraces your...good, bad, and ugly, and yet loves you still.  I love the quote, "You are the type of friend that makes me better just for being with you."  They love you, but still help you to stretch, reach upwards towards being more than just average. 

There is a book that I can't remember the title but it's something about 5 ways to feel love.  It's quite brilliant.  It speaks of the ways that we feel loved.  Mine is most positively words of affirmation.  Nyle was wonderful at every single way of giving love...affirmations, gifts, and the other methods as well.

Imagine my surprise after his passing to discover that even though he showed, said it, every single way he gave love to me.  I just didn't seem to feel in...deep down inside my soul.  I had experienced so much of cruelty and criticism in my youth that even when my sweetie, or anyone send love my way it just couldn't quite reach all the way to my heart. 

Before I am with my darling again I WILL conquer that problem...the inability to feel loved.  Nyle was SO GOOD at being romantic and showing love that some of my friends asked if he would teach their husbands.

For my 40th birthday he was very sick, stuck to his bed 24/7.  I was at church teaching the Women's Group.  Suddenly there was my own personal incarnation of Sir Galahad, Sir Lancelot, and Arthur, all rolled into one giant of a man, Nyle.  He was in one of his beautiful pin stripe power suits, and he was so handsome the room grew lighter because of the power of his presence.

He lovingly interrupted my teaching, and handing me an armful of flowers, he announced, "Ladies, I apologize for interrupting.  CJ's 40th birthday is next week.  I want to invite all of you and your husbands to join us to party that night."  He then dipped me and kissed me.  "Oohs, and aahs, went all around the room."  Then he said, "We will see you next week," and left.

Well getting back to a spiritual lesson was pretty much impossible at that point.  I stumbled through, finished, and went home.

To fully understand how amazing what Nyle did was you need to know that he couldn't dress himself at that stage...he was too weak.  He couldn't really walk, it made him desperately sick to his stomach.  If he started to cough (he had incurable lung disease), it dropped him to his knees his cough was so deep and hard.  He needed oxygen, but he didn't have any.  He dressed himself, went and bought me flowers, drove the car, and came in and performed like he was the healthiest man in the world.

Then he orchestrated a huge party for me with printed banners, 40 balloons, cake, and food to eat.  It was a glorious party.  It is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life.  Then he asked everyone to come outside.  He gave each one a balloon, until 40 balloons were in 40 hands.  He explained, "CJ has experienced a lot of challenges in her 40 years of living.  Each of these balloons represent a challenge, or trouble that she has experienced.  Now we're going to release those balloons, and anything negative from the past will go with the balloons."

Up, up, up went the balloons and I had the impressive sensation of being BRAND NEW. that moment I DID feel cherished, loved, and precious to my darling husband.  Who wouldn't?

What makes you feel loved?  I would love comments, ideas, thoughts about those experiences and reasons for feeling loved.  Pretty please?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Can you hear a still, small voice?

I was traveling on a winter slickened road.  The speed limit was 65 and I was traveling a prudent 60 due to the weather conditions.  In my mind I heard a voice say, "Slow down and move to the right."  I thought, "Everything is fine, the cars around me are traveling wisely.  Why would I slow and move?"  I'm a little slow to catch on to "Spirit," or "Conscience," or "Intuition," whatever you wish to call that flash of knowledge that comes to all of us from time to time.

Three times I heard the same message, "Slow down and move to the right."  I finally (really I needed three times to listen?) listened.  I slowed down to 55, and wound my way through a very heavy traffic to the right lane.

Almost instantly to the moment that I reached that right lane I heard a sickening sound.  Metal, hitting metal, hitting metal, hitting metal.  A car had passed me going at least 70 and possibly 80 miles an hour on those snow-slippery roads.  I noticed that the car was from Nevada and thought to myself, "No wonder they don't know how to drive on slick roads."

His car had spun out, and began to hit other cars like a sick, horrible version of pinball.  I pulled to the emergency lane of the highway.  This was long before cell phone usage.  (OK, I was NOT alive when dinosaurs roamed the earth....well not very alive anyway!  :^)

It wasn't very long before emergency vehicles were on the scene...sirens screeching their sound of rescue.  I can't remember exactly how many cars were now twisted, and mangled.  I was in 100 percent shock.  If I hadn't slowed down exactly when I did, moved to the right exactly when I did...I would have been a part of that hideous pinball disaster.

The police combed the area looking for witnesses to try and sort out what had happened.  After they gave me the OK to leave, I slowly limped to the nearest freeway exit and called my husband.

Nyle asked "Honey do you want me to come?  If I drive over to you then we will both still have to drive home.  I could call someone to bring me but that would take longer.  Do you just want to drive, very slowly and carefully, and when you get here I will give you the biggest hug!"

I climbed aboard the (frontage road) that paralleled the freeway but offered much less traffic, and much less speed.  It took me twice as long to get home but it also offered the peace of mind that if someone went for a spin, I could get out of the way.

When I reached home, I wanted to bend down and kiss the ground....seriously, I just wanted to kiss my own personal soil sample.

I went in the house and was immediately greeted by our cute kitty Oozoos, and my beloved honey.  He engulfed me in one of his amazing hugs (he was six foot four inches, and built like a football player) I was five foot six inches, and slender.  Oh how I miss those hugs of engulfment.

Do you ever hear a voice in your head that says, "Slow down move over, or don't pass right now," and then you find out that the car you were going to pass chose that moment to pull into the left lane without blinking? 

Those little moments probably happen a lot more often and we don't even  know.  After all if a crash is avoided we don't even remember the incident.

My point is learn to listen to that voice.  One of my beloved neighborhood daughters read a book about fear.  It taught that intuition can give each and any of us a nudge along the path to safety.  It advises that you learn to listen to those warnings.  The writer claims that evolution has placed this warning system in us to insure the safety of the species.  I disagree with why we have those promptings but I absolutely believe they are there to protect us., if a little voice says, "Go home from work 30 minutes early to be safe and avoid traffic," I don't know if that's anything other than the fact that you're tired of work and want to get home.  If that little voice says, "Slow down and move to the right."  DO IT!  If that little voice says, "Put your seat belt!"  DO IT!

Learn to listen to your little voice, I don't care what you call it.  I believe that God has put in each of us an early warning signal to help this life be as crisis free, and healthy as possible.  That doesn't mean that we will sail through life untested, untried.  This life is intended to be a grand school...a place to learn from our mistakes as well as our positive choices.

Unfortunately the voice can't save us from our own poor choices.  Do you EVER need a small voice to say, "Don't even attempt to try's hideously addicting and you will spend the rest of your miserable life searching for your next hit, your next high."  No small voice should be needed.  That is just common knowledge.

You should not need a small voice to tell you, "Indiscriminate sex is a poor choice. (For teenagers.  Hopefully anyone 20 years old and older know this as a fact.)  Have you never heard that you can get pregnant after even one time of having sex?"  For adults, "Indiscriminate sex is a poor choice, it can cause all types of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, that you will have to cope with for the rest of your life.  It can cause Aids which may substantially shorten your life, and make the rest of your life a battle with your health.

We are not always protected from the poor choices of others.  We all have agency...the ability to choose in any and all situations.  My own family was in a terrible car accident when a young man was not looking at the road.  They were on the shoulder of the road having car troubles.  He hit them going 75 miles an hour.  He didn't even brake.  All three of my family were impacted for life.  I believe that it shortened my Nyle's life.  So...remember the use of your agency can cause others to suffer.  Sometimes that little voice, or early warning signal, can help protect you from spending your life in regretting the misery you caused in another person's life.

I love a simple children's hymn from my faith, "Through a still small, voice, the spirit speaks to me, to guide me, to save me, from the evil that I see."  Listen today...listen tomorrow...learn to listen!

Monday, June 3, 2013


Perhaps you should sit down to read this blog if you're not sitting down already.  Hmm...I guess you could be standing reading this blog on your smartphone but it would be complicated to stand and read this on your computer.  Anyway, I have something quite shocking to reveal...yes, I said, SHOCKING!  (Remember, you read it first here! :)

I (that's me, myself) am NOT perfect.  Did I just hear someone scream and say, "No, say it isn't so!"  It's absolutely true...I am NOT perfect.  If my family read this post they would snort and say, "I know that!"

To expand upon that idea...nobody is perfect...NOBODY!  Not even my late, great departed, adorable honeybunch was perfect.  (Perfect for me though)

Now why would I feel a need to express something that is so obvious?  I usually write my Blogposts in the bright, new morning.  A fresh, new start each and every day.  The day is untried, filled with possibilities, and it all lies within me.

Then comes the rest of the day, sometimes with great frustrations, disappointments, or sorrows.  As the day goes on it becomes harder and harder to maintain the "Patina of Positive."  As a matter of fact sometimes I am absolutely's the little things that trap me.  Little things like a computer that will not work as it is supposed to.  A software program that will not allow me to publish my book...tripping, falling, and hurting myself...little things like that.

Sometimes when I fail to "Act instead of react," I second guess myself.  "Why do you write about being positive when you are so endlessly weak, and capable of negativity?"  Actually that is the answer, I write about being positive BECAUSE it's a BETTER way to be.  We are all human, but we can all improve, and grow...progression lies along that climb.

If sometime we should meet in a grocery store, or at a movie I would not want you to say, "Gasp....she's not perfect!" (I conjured up that image to make myself smile).  Being imperfect can give us motivation.  With motivation we can set goals, to continue trying, to never give up.

I suppose we can be perfect in small ways.  Some people never drink alcohol, or never swear, or always smile at others.  (I said some people, not me, ok I don't drink at least).  Perhaps focusing on the ways we CAN be perfect might help when we feel weak or limited.  (The older I get the more I realize feelings of insecurity are universal). one way the human race is all equal.  Not one human being is perfect.  We are all born with weaknesses and flaws.   

A Rose By Any Other Name?

Georgia Leal was a lovely name.  That's what my dear Daddy thought.  It was taken from the middle names of my two Grandma's Lillian Georgina, and Alice Leal.  You ask, "What did the Grandma's think of that name?"  I'll tell you, "They hated it!"  Not disliked it and discreetly dropped hints, but full scale hated.

Grandma Cheney wrote to Papa (this was long before the internet) telling him about a scandal in the family.  A man named George Cheney had spent his life in and out of jail.  What if people confused my name for him?  (Good try Grandma but did you really think that I would look like a man?)

Grandma Howard was equally vocal.  When her pleas seemed to fall on deaf ears (My parents were both a little...well shall we say it nicely, determined!)  When they joined forces they were an undefeatable team.  They had closed ranks on this decision and no one was going to change their minds.

Grandma Howard went to buy a dress for me to be blessed in.  (In The Church of Jesus Christ of latter day Saints we do not believe in infant baptism.  Instead the Father stands in a circle of men who are family and friends, and blesses the infant and give the child a name.)  Grandma looked at lots of lovely little dresses.

I don't know if she saw the dress first or the tag first.  She bought the beautiful little white dress, and an elegant slip to go under (the dress was made of a transparent fabric...oh so lovely).  The tag on the dress said, "A Caroljoy Creation."

Grandma came home with a smile on her face.  She said to Mama and Papa, "Look at this tag.  Isn't Caroljoy a lovely name?  Much prettier than Georgia Leal."

Papa stewed and simmered until he went up to bless me.  Then he named me Caroljoy...Thank you SO MUCH Grandma's for not liking the name Georgia Leal.  Oh don't get me wrong, I think it's a beautiful name...for someone else.  Maybe even a Grand daughter someday.  (Like I have any say in those names...hee hee)

The story does NOT end there.  I have gone through life loving my name Caroljoy.  A Carol is a song of joy.  So I'm a song of joy, gives me something to aspire towards.  Oh I'm definitely not ALWAYS a song of joy.  Sometimes I'm a big, old, GRUMPY PANTS!~  Yet my name reminds me of who I WANT to be.

The story does not end there.  Thirty years later our first daughter was born.  The most beautiful babe in the world, with very fair skin, and dark hair (like her Papa).  She had tons of hair, but I digress.  My beloved sister in law suggested that the perfect dress for blessing our girl was my blessing dress.  After all this baby was truly a "Caroljoy Creation!"

I agreed, but the dress had yellowed horribly over the thirty years since I was blessed.  My wonderful sister in law did not let this dampen her enthusiasm.  Fels Naptha is her laundry weapon of choice.  It's an old fashioned miracle.  It's a humble bar that you buy at the store for about $1.50.  Wetting the dress, she then took the bar and rubbed it all over the dress.  Then she sat the dress in a bowl with more Fels Naptha and warm water.  She repeated this process two or three times over two or three days.  I was in awe when the dress came out looking brand new!  (I LOVE Fels Naptha...and I LOVE my sister in law).

On a beautiful Autumn day with tons of family looking on (I do not exaggerate, we both have huge families), Nyle blessed our oldest daughter in her Caroljoy Creation dress.

I don't think the story ends there.  Who will be the next little "Caroljoy Creation?"