Saturday, October 30, 2010


Halloween always reminds me of my childhood, what a great childhood it was! We have this tree in my parents front yard that is absolutely beautiful in the fall. It drops thousands of leaves every year. We would rake them up and take pictures in them. It was quite the chore to rake them up and took forever. There are many things that I loved as a kid but Halloween was one of my favorites. Mom always made sugar cookies and decorated our house almost as well as she does for Christmas. I remember this pumpkin tole painting sign that she made, it was so cute. What I really loved about Halloween was the Sunny Ridge Halloween Carnival. There is nothing that beats this. I loved the cake walk, cotton candy, nacho's and of course the raffle, where I never won anything. I hated the fact that we had to sell raffle tickets, dad and grandpa usually bought them all though. We usually had so many cakes and would share them with Grandpa and Jeanne. I loved that the whole town or at least everyone in the area would be at the carnival.
Halloween is usually cold in Idaho. Our day usually started out with wearing costumes to school. Yes, they use to let you do it. We would have a parade throughout the elementary school and we would always have Halloween parties at the end of the school day. After school Grandma Betty would bring us donut coupons from Albertsons. They use to have the best bakery. We would get our donuts every year. After we would fix our costumes up or change, because sometimes we would have two, we would go show them off to Grandma and Grandpa Johnson. We would then head across town to grandma and grandpa Youngs where we would have a hot dog roast, grandma's homemade hot chocolate, and then trick or treat around their neighbor hood with all of our cousins. There was one house where we would have the choice between a dime or a pencil. We would then go to Grandpa Swensens for donuts and cider. He lives across the street from the elementary school, where every one would park. So most people would start at their house. The yellow bowel was always full of candy for their trick or treaters. We would then head out and eventually end up home when we were too frozen to walk any farther. We would then go through our candy trading with each other what we liked and didn't like. I haven't been home for Halloween in years. I think next year just might have to be the one I go home for. Sure wish I was there today, but I will be in the ER when the kiddies come in from tripping over their costumes or puking from eating too much candy. I must say that I do love Halloween in the south. The weather isn't too chilly, the fall colors are at their peak, and their is plenty of fall left. Halloween growing up meant winter was around the corner. I remember a few times growing up it snowed around Halloween. Not something you would ever see in the south, thank goodness.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Humble Pie

This past week I worked 4 days in a row. I know not a big deal to most peoples 5 day work week, but 10 hour days make for a long week. When I get home I typically head right up stairs to change, put my hair up, and take my makeup off. Friday for some reason I decided to have a seat on the couch, turned the TV on, which I never do because there is never anything on, then I turned it off and just sat there for a few minutes. I don't typically do this. I was able to sense those things around me, including the refrigerator running. It seemed to be running longer than I had remembered the last time I sat and listened to it(I don't do this often). I went to the fridge and had a drink of apple cider and noticed it felt a little warm. I then opened the freezer and to my utter surprise everything was defrosted, like it had been that way for quite most of the day. So not what I needed at 9:45 on a Friday night. So what did I do? What anyone else would have done,I called home, because that is where answers come, but no one answered. I know now that I should have called to my Heavenly Home first, but didn't. I then called dad, mom, and the Middlebrooks and of course no answer, it was Friday most people have dates on Friday nights, everyone but me of course. Dad called back shortly thereafter but they were at dinner and didn't have much time to talk. I was really trying not to cry as he told me it was probably the compressor and it would be better to just go buy a new fridge. He was like are you crying over a fridge, no of course not I said as I was trying to fight the tears. So I started throwing everything into the garbage. Just as I took the first bag out, the tears began to flow freely down my cheeks and then the phone rang and it was Sister Middlebrook who at the sound of my voice was like what's wrong girl. She of course told me not to worry about it and we would get it fixed in the morning. Well then Nick called and just hearing his voice made me cry even more. He seemed to think this was rather entertaining that I was crying over a fridge. I mean really, if it was any other women I'm sure they would have been crying too. I think the reason why was the fact that I couldn't fix the fridge. My profession is all about fixing things and at this point there was nothing ERFIXITGIRL could do to fix this fridge. Typically I would have gotten on my knees and begged Heavenly Father to do something, but between the phone calls and hauling the spoiled food out I didn't make the time. Sometime at the beginning of the process I had moved the temperature on both the fridge and the freezer up one degrees. So with all of the food out of the freezer, phone calls made, and not feeling any better with every ones advice to just go to bed, I opened the fridge to start emptying it. I heard my neighbor come home and called her to see if I could bring some food to her house, just the things that were still a bit cold. She came over and saw that I had totally lost it with mascara smeared around my eyes. She opened the freezer and the fridge and was like girl this is cold and the food in the fridge is cold. Keep in mind this was about an hour or so after I had moved the temperature. To my delight and gratefulness she was right. I don't know how this happened, but I do know that someone said a prayer in my behalf and it was answered by a loving Heavenly Father who knew that I needed help. How grateful I was and am that some how it works just as it did before. It is only 3 years old and should work for years to come. Last night after Stake Conference Nick asked me what ended up being wrong with the fridge and I told him the story. He said to me, you must have needed humbled and you know he was probably right, dang him for being right. I have found in life, sometimes life sends you humble pie when you don't have time for it, when it isn't convenient, and when you think you could do without it. But that is all part of the growing process. It seems like I have felt stagnant in my life recently and maybe this was just what I needed to move me forward, to strengthen my faith, and remember that Heavenly Father is all to aware of me and my situation. Today in Stake Conference President Baker summarized the following quote that I so love from Elder Neil A. Maxwell, "Recall the new star that announced the birth at Bethlehem? It was in its precise orbit long before it so shone. We are likewise placed in human orbits to illuminate. Divine correlation functions not only in the cosmos but on this planet, too...God, who oversees the interlacings of galaxies, stars, and worlds, asks us to confess His hand in our personal lives, too (see D&C 59:21). Have we not been reassured about the fall of one sparrow and that the very hairs of our heads are numbered? (see Matt. 10:29–30; D&C 84:80). God is in the details! Just as the Lord knows all of His vast creations, He also knows and loves each in any crowd—indeed, He knows and loves each and all of mankind!...These words of Anselm are thus such good counsel: “Believe in order to understand,” rather than “understand [in order to] believe” (St. Anselm, trans. Sidney Norton Deane [1903], 7)"

And so this quote got me thinking about something that I think about quite often. Why am I hear in North Carolina? I have always been able to see Heavenly Father's hand in my life, maybe not always at the time I needed to see it, but always later. I know exactly how I got where I am today. It wasn't easy, it was hard with lots of detours, backtracking, and sometimes temper tantrum. But His hand has gently guided me here. But why? I feel that I know why, but also I think there are many different reasons, people, and experiences that I have needed in my life for purposes that I may not know why until after this life. But I can't deny this is where I need to be. As much as my parents, friends, and family out west try so hard to understand what drives me to stay here, I know just as Heavenly Father put the Star in orbit to be there when the Savior was born, He put the opportunities and experiences I have had to get me where I am today. No one can understand this or know this but me and our Heavenly Father. My mother told me to be faithful and prayerful when deciding where to start my career and so I was. However I was recently instructed that I needed to increase in my faith, something that I am working on, but seems to be much harder than in times past, or maybe it is just Heavenly Fathers way of helping me to work on humility.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mom and Dad Came For A Visit!

Mom and dad left yesterday after being here for a week and a half. We had such an enjoyable time. The best part was that I was off every day they were here, however I did work 5 hours for someone to attend a funeral, but other than that I was on vacation too. I picked them up on a Wednesday afternoon. It poured rain the entire two hours to and from Raleigh. In fact Raleigh got 10 inches of rain that day. Talk about a difficult drive, especially on our way home because it was dark and raining.
Thursday brought sunshine and so dad and I got our chores done early, winterizing my yard or rather pulling weeds. That afternoon we went up town to a hole in the wall called the Penguin. I only go there because I like their fried pickles, however I always feel sick after I leave and this time I wasn't quite impressed. Dad really didn't like them, but they do have great hamburgers. We stopped by the farmers market and I got some pumpkins for my front porch. That evening my friend Pamela who recently moved from Boise to Dallas, came over for a visit, as she was in Charlotte visiting a friend. It was so fun and seemed so weird to have my parents and my friend in my house in North Carolina. We had a great time though. I get to go see Pamela again in November when I have a conference in Dallas. Friday I worked half day and then we went shopping at Talbots. We attended Aladdin at the Children's Theater. They did an amazing job and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Saturday we went to visit the Bead Lady. Mom always has to buy more beads when she comes to visit , like I don't have enough. We also stopped at the Chocolate Shop which is kitty-corner from the bead lady. They have some amazing delicacies. We watched conference and in between conference we made an apple crisp to take over to our friends the Beachums. While the boys were at the Priesthood session the girls made bracelets, watched the Boise State game, and the Canadian Tenors on PBS.
Sunday morning I took my friend Carly's Bridal pictures. I think they turned out very nice for an amateur.

We found some great places in downtown Concord.
We listened to conference and Nick joined us for the last session. He spent the evening with us as well. We had a "wonderful evening" per my mother. We had a yummy Sunday dinner and played a great game of Quiddler.
Monday we drove to Gatlinburg, but took a few detours to see the scenery and through Ashville, so that mom could get her favorite grape lotion. I got some too. It does smell very fallish and reminds me of when mom cans grape juice in the fall. That night we ate at the Apple Barn. I think it is about my dad's most favorite place to eat. He loves their apple fritters and so do I. Tuesday we drove through the Smokey Mountains. The colors hadn't really changed much, however there was snow at the highest peak and it was freezing 41 degrees.
Mom of course still had her flip flops on.

We drove through some small towns and I especially enjoyed Waynesville, where we did some "window shopping"...

It is a very quaint little town with a darling downtown and a fun store called
I had always heard that the candy department was similar to Winco, not quite, but okay. At Winco candy is only $2.00 a pound here it was almost $6. We took a detour to go pick apples, but I saw a sign that had "Sale Apples $3.00 a box." That was way better than picking our own apples, cheaper, and they were so yummy. I bought 4 boxes of 3 different kinds of apples because it was such a great bargain.
Wednesday we went to Spencer to the Transportation Museum. It was quite interesting and enjoyable. We then met up with Nicks Grandmother in Salisbury for some shopping and Ice Cream. The rest of the day was spent canning apple pie filling and applesauce.

I have never made applesauce. It is so yummy and the experience was rather fun! However at the end of the day we were all tired and sticky.
Thursday we ran errands, cleaned house and then went to Relief Society. Friday morning we were up early, because my friend Carly got married in Raleigh. The coolest thing happened while we were there. Dad had forgotten his temple recommend (yes the Bishop doesn't carry it with him) and he went out to call President Jensen. Well our dear friend Connie Jones saw dad and was like, I know you what are you doing here. It was so wonderful to see her. She recently moved to Fayetville and the funny thing was I was thinking about her on my way to Raleigh. We chatted with here for a while and promised to meet up again soon.
So I again was the photographer for Carly's wedding and again, I think the pictures turned out quite well.

It was a long day though, which called for a pedicure. I really needed one too. Mom and dad flew out Saturday morning and I drove to Albamarle for the reception.

By that evening I was exhausted and glad to go home. We had a wonderful week and a half and it was nice that I didn't have to get on a plane. It really did go by way to fast and there was a lot more that I would have loved to accomplish, but I guess there is always next time.
Before coming to visit, dad was worried that 7 year old AmyLynne would pass away while he was gone. In fact one morning while my parents were in town I found dad typing away at his computer. I asked him what he was doing and he said that he was typing his talk for Amylynnes funeral, because it came to him while laying in bed that morning. I must admit that I prayed she would wait until mom and dad got home. Grandma Betty said she did too. Heavenly Father answered our prayers, because she passed away a few hours after mom and dad returned home. It is a sad time for our family and their ward, but she fought a long hard battle, but she is cancer free now and in a far better place.