I am hiking a mountain trail. It is steep, I have to watch my footing with every step. The trail is unmarked and I’m using a guidance system I’m not used to.  I think I am headed in the right direction but I’m very concerned I will get off course. It is cold, I’m worried that I’m not prepared enough. The way is shrouded in fog, I can’t see how far I have to go.

This is how 2017 feels to me; unsteady, off balance, indefinite, uncomfortable and hazy.

My goals are not clear, which is unusual for me. Everything feels unpredictable and that makes me indecisive.

2016 was not my favorite year. I feel nothing but relief as I watch it disappearing in my rearview mirror. Most of 2016 did not work out as planned and I am still reeling from many of those disappointments.

With all that in mind, as I take my first steps into 2017 my emotions are a mix of caution, worry and dread.  I am trying to embrace the year and to think of it as experimental, with unpredictable failures and successes. As usual, I’ve made a million goals but I am definitely more wary than normal. I hate that, it feels uncommitted and wishy-washy.

The picture of Paul up there, is my inspiration for 2017.  For me, like the mountain behind him, Paul is unwavering, protective and constant. More than that though, and like the mountain behind him, he inspires me to be adventurous, curious and to challenge myself. As long as he’s nearby, I can face anything.

Inspired Market and Me


A couple of months ago, we were driving around Thomas Winery Plaza, which is a little shopping center near our house. We were playing Pokémon with our kids. Yes Pokémon, you heard me. We go there to load up on potions and poke-balls. No judge.

Anyway, we came upon a little outdoor, artisans’ fair called Inspired Market, set up in the one area of the parking lot.  There were 15-20 booths and everything sold was handmade or reclaimed vintage. Really great stuff, beautiful paintings, old-timey tools, gorgeous handmade jewelry, wonderful smelling soaps.

It made me so happy! For the first time in months, the creative part of my brain started moving. I thought about what I might sell. I thought about quilts and table runners that were sitting in boxes in the garage.  I thought about quilts I wanted to make. The woman in charge of the market gave me some basic information on how to get started.

Paul, as usual, we encouraging and urged me to act on the energy I was feeling.

I went home and researched what kinds of products sell at markets like this. Then I applied for a space and was accepted. Yay!

Next I got a business license and California seller’s license and then I started sewing. Oh my goodness! I’ve sewn more in the past two weeks than I think I have in in the last two years.

My first night is Thursday December 1st and I’m super excited and nervous! If you’re in the neighborhood, please come by and say hi!

Hello From California

rc-mount-11-16I took this photograph from our yard in Rancho Cucamonga.

So, I’ve been on a blogging hiatus of sorts. Over the past couple of years, both our family and I personally, have gone through some major changes and blogging was forced to make way for more pressing matters.

Things are finally settling down now, for all of us. It feels good to be at a place where I have the time and energy to blog again. I have some fun projects on the horizon and I can’t wait to share them with you.

On that yes . . .

One of the many fascinating, creative people I met at Alt this year, is named Tammy.  She is from Iowa but currently lives in Australia working as a designer for a bank.

She and her firm use design to help the bank interact more effectively with their patrons.  Some of the examples she shared with me blew my mind.  Like instead of calling a department Mortgages, they renamed it Home Ownership.  Although they are prepared to talk about amortization and loans, they are also prepared to advise about other things people think about when buying a home, such as what kinds of things will improve a property and what things don’t.  I wish I could remember more details it was fascinating and so forward thinking.


She gave me her beautiful card which she had made at an SLC letterpress company on the Monday before Alt.  I didn’t understand the reference.  She told me it came from a poem by Walter Stevens and recited to me the fist two lines.



I’m not sure why but it resonated deeply with me and I’ve recited it over and over since that night.

It is one of those things that I will be mulling over for a long time.



Usually I like to take advantage of our summer days by packing them full of activities and field trips.  I have found in the past, if I don’t at least have a loose plan in place, nothing seems to get done and everything gets put off until tomorrow.

Last year was a little different, I over-planned.  We traveled and quilted and practiced instruments and traveled some more and did crafts and grew tomatoes and went to sports camps and swim meets and scout camp and band camp and girl’s camp and cousin’s week.  It made the time go by quickly, which was the point, but by the end of the summer I was beyond exhausted.  It was too much.

This year is different as well.  The year, up until now, has had a lot of challenges, some big some small but all emotional.  It has taken toll and I just don’t have the energy to do the extras I usually like to do.  Luckily, the kids are much more independent this year.  Dan is driving so he can get himself to his activities.  We live two blocks away from the pool so the girls can walk to and from practice.  They all want to be with their friends more than in the past.

They each have a list of things that need to be done each day; things like reading a chapter in a book, practicing the horn, knitting a square for a blanket we’re making.   As soon as they are done though, the day is theirs to be with friends or sit in front of screens.  I’m okay with that.


The only thing really different is that my friend Sue and I are getting together with our kiddos (her grandkids, my kids) to do some sewing projects.  She and I made little pouches awhile back (above) and that is going to be our first project.

She told me the only rule, no more white zippers. Ooops!


Did you know that I love to fast.  Well, I do.  I’m not exactly sure why but the last few hours of a 24 hour fast is the best. My mind is a peace, I can see solutions to problems more clearly, my priorities are well defined and my plans are more precise and logical.

I really love the feeling and for almost 20 years I have fasted more than the one time a month it was expected of me.


While Paul was gone I always had my phone with me.  In my hand, in whatever room I was occupying, in my purse next to me, plugged into the car while I was driving.  Calls and texts from Paul were too precious to gamble with.  I never took a chance at missing any contact with him.

When I am already in survival mode, a missed phone call had the power to send me into an unrecoverable tailspin.

Since he’s been home I’ve tried not to be so connected but it isn’t easy to walk away.  Facebook, Instagram, blogs, email, phone calls, texts, even Words With Friends, I love them all.  Those are all ways I stay connected to my kids, my friends, my siblings and I feel like I’m being left out when I’m not checking in all the time.

At the same time.  I’m tired of always being on alert, on call. I find myself feeling relieved when I am running errands and realize I’ve accidentally left my phone at home.  And I was surprised at how pleased I was when our book for book club this month “On Hundred Years of Solitude” was not available on the Kindle and I was going to have to order the actual book.

Lately, I have been feeling a little off too.  I am distracted when I should be paying attention to my kids, I’ve been getting headaches and I’m not sleeping well.  There are other factors as well, but I feel like the phone/kindle/computer is a big part of that.

I need a break.  I need to clear my head and realign my priorities.  I feel like some kind of  ‘technology fast’ is in order.  Any suggestions?

The transition from school year to summer is a good opportunity to make some changes, don’t you think?  The last day of school is tomorrow.

The photo is the home screen on my phone.  *Sigh* What a hunk!

Pat’s Run

This week has been very introspective for me.  I have a lot on my mind.


Everything I’ve been feeling and thinking about came to a head yesterday when I went to register Paul for Pat’s Run.  If you don’t remember or are unfamiliar with the Pat Tillman story, click here.

If you’ve been there before, you know that the atmosphere surrounding a race is electric with excitement and is so intense, it is almost tangible.  Whether they have been working for months to put the race on, training for months to be in it, working to help make the race run smoothly or are just there to cheer someone on, all that positive energy is being put toward one thing, a successful race.  There is just something so intoxicating to me about all these small parts suddenly become one amazing thing.

When I went to the Pat’s Run Headquarters yesterday the feeling was different.  The excitement I described was there, people were happy and helpful.  At the same time, there was a quiet reverence underlying everything.  Every tent, sign, t-shirt, handout and person there, seemed to act as another reminder of a heartbreaking tragedy.

I can’t tell if I just identify with the story or if I was surprised by the emotions but it was overwhelming and I sat in my car and cried before I drove home.

I don’t know which part of me identifies most.


Is it the “mother of sons” part of me?  Do I see Pat as a beautiful boy with a future so full of hope and promise; the epitome of health and courage and character that I wished for when I smiled at my baby boys?


Or is it the “wife of a soldier” part of me, who is familiar with the feeling of sending the most important thing in the world to me, into harm’s way?  At best, knowing that he would be uncomfortable and exhausted and lonely.  At worst, that he would return changed or not at all.

Either way, I have a visceral reaction when I think of Pat’s story and I ask all the same questions.

What did his wife say when they told her?

How did his mother react?

Why did he die?

Does his death have meaning?

Is anyone/anything really directing these things?

What other paths did President Bush have to choose from?

Does America really understand or appreciate or even simply acknowledge the treasure that has been lost in the deaths of these valiant men and women?

Pat Tillman represents everyone who joined the military after 9/11 to serve their country.

He represents everyone who joined with friends and brothers or because their grandfathers and dads served before them.

He represents every beautiful boy or girl whose life was cut short in the most violent ways imaginable, far from home and the people they love.

He represents those who returned home with horrific injuries to body, mind and/or soul.

His death represents the stupidity and utter waste of war.

I remember when Pat joined the army and I recall a man on a morning talk show saying, “I can’t believe he left a professional football career to join the army!  I don’t know anybody who would do that.  I didn’t know people like that really existed.”

I guess I’m just lucky because I know hundreds of people who are just that extraordinary; the very best our country has to offer.  Educated, accomplished men and women who could be captains of industry, making great deals of money but instead chose a life of service and discipline. Men and women who think it a privilege to be a part of something bigger then themselves.

Photos found on various websites, not sure who to give credit too.




1.  While he was gone, I missed Paul playing the guitar and singing to me.  He bought this red cord because he thought it would make me happy.  It makes me smile every time I see it.

2.  My mom brought this sugar bowl back from Russia.  Mine actually has course salt in it and I always keep it on the counter next to the stove.

3.  I gave this hat to my grandmother one of our first Christmases in Texas.  It returned to me not long ago.  I wear it on the beach so my surfers and boogie boarders  can find me easily.

4.  I found this big clothes pin while shopping with my sister Sara.  I use it to hold pictures on the book shelf or piano.

5.  I bought several dozen of these red plates in Waechtersbach in Germany.  I planned to use them only at Christmas but I use them all the time.

6.  When I was morning sick with Robin the only thing I could eat for a while was garden tomatoes.  I can eat them in some form or another every single day.

7.  Regina gave me these earrings.  They belonged to her very sophisticated and super stylish mother.  They are also clip on’s because I can’t wear pierced. I cherish them.

8.  Ah! Jane Austen. My favorite book of her’s is Persuasion, I read it about once a year.

9.   I bought this barrette in a little boutique near the Russian Tea Room on my first trip to NYC with Regina.

Some scattered thoughts about the new year.

I know it is extremely wasteful to have wished a year of my life away but that is definitely what I did in 2013.  If I accomplished anything it was because I was trying to nudge time along and get it to move a little quicker.  Doesn’t time move faster when we’re busy?


On New Year’s Eve I played with Flipogram and iPhoto for hours and made several slideshows highlighting different things that happened this year.  I found it very satisfying to see my year laid out in front of me like that.

I have always taken pictures of our family and things we are doing but it was sporadic.  Because I always have my phone with me now, I take a lot more pictures, as I’m sure is the case with everyone.  It’s so useful to be able to take pictures so easily and I love that I have several platforms (Instagram is my favorite.) to share moments of our life with friends and family who are far from us.

Not only do I get to share my life, even better is the fact that I get to see their lives too.  I love knowing that my brother and sis in law are always hiking the cliffs around the beaches near San Francisco and it warms my heart to see their new baby snuggled close to one of their chests on those outings.  I adored getting a peek at my sisters’ lives as they moved into new houses this year.  Jordan has a chocolate brown wall in her bedroom and a swinging reading chair.  Gabby has whitewashed hardwood floors and her kids love to climb the trees around their house.

In years past we would all gather and talk, we’re a pretty close family, but I never got those kinds of details.  I think it is magical!

Have I said lately how much I love social media and technology?

Now I turn to 2014 and this morning my head is full of nothing but Paul’s return.  When will he be here?  Will he fly into SLC or PHX?  How will we all adjust?  I need to order more yellow ribbon. Will he want solitude or will he want our attention?  I need to get the treadmill tuned up.  Will he want to eat all the foods he’s missed or will he want to eat like he’s been eating?  Will I be able to balance Paul’s needs and the children’s?  I need a new calendar.  How soon can I get him into the ocean?

I am looking forward to a year of lovely moments, challenges to be overcome, creative projects and facing fears.  I hope that you are looking at the same kind of year and wish you the very best.

Happy 2014!

Photo by Photography By Design

23 Reasons 2013 Rocked for Robin

Robin started the year with a bang when she was chosen to do an internship in NYC for the New York Daily News. While she was there she saw lots of cool NYC things . . .


. . . and she ate lots of NYC pizza . . .


. . . and she only slept with a few bed bugs.


When she finished her internship, she hopped on a plan with Pauly and flew to Europe where they visited 11 countries in 9 weeks . . .


. . .  and only got lost a little bit.


After nine weeks together, their relationship became a little strained.


Okay, maybe more than a little.


But don’t worry, they are friends again.


She sold her car to pay for her trip to Europe so she was very relieved when she finally got a new one.  Robin, knock that off.


Robin loves TV and movies and 2013 did not disappoint.  She wished a heartbreaking farewell to Liz Lemon but not before Liz bestowed upon her a parting life lesson.


After observing a proper period of mourning, she was thrilled when the 4th season of Arrested Development was released.


Then Iron Man 3 was released so that Robin could watch this guy.


Then, Star Trek was released she could watch this guy . . .


. . . and this guy . . .


. . . and this guy . . .


. . . and this guy some more.


Robin moved in with Salem and Megan to act as both freeloader . . .


. . . and slave labor . . .


But that ended up working out well because Salem got to see some of Robin’s talents up close . . .


. . . and hired her for do PR and social media for his race company, Vacation Races.


being gainfully employed and feeling confident Robin walked off the BYU campus for the last time, degree in hand, ready to face the world!


As Robin heads out into the world we are excited to see what she does with the rest of her life!


Good luck Robin!  We love you to the sky!