Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's a Christmas Miracle...Or Just a Good Book Giveaway

Awhile back I mentioned that a web-friend of mine had written an awesome book.

This is the first book review I'm doing based on a writer that is still living.  I'm a wee bit nervous.  She knows my address.

But no fears, Liz, I LOVED the book.

It was one of those Saturdays where you spend the entire day reading one book.  You read it at stop lights.  You stay parked in JoAnn's parking lot a little bit longer just to catch one more chapter (and to piss off the old lady honking at you to hurry.  What?  It's Mesa, people!).  You let your family starve to death.  You fake broken bones to get a few more minutes alone.  Just me?

Anyway, I've passed the book around enough times, now, and I just want it to sit on my shelf.  But I also want all my buddies to read it.  SO A BOOK GIVE AWAY IT IS!

Here's how to enter:

Read the review.  That way, you know what you're getting into.  Unless you're like me, who will enter for anything as long as "FREE" is involved.  I mean, really, why do I even need moon boots?

Follow my blog.

Leave a comment.

Boom, free book.  

And the best news: Only 3 people ever comment, so your chances are goooooood.

And you have until...oh let's say 11:56 pm on Saturday evening, until the moon rises with the goat and the animal crackers wax lain.  I'll announce the "winners" on Sunday.

Now on to the review:

I'm gonna sum it up for you.  This is a memoir of how Liz met, wooed and married her sweetheart.  It's about a friendship that is tested by the evil "C" word: cancer.  It's about sleep-poking husbands and explosive pipes.  It's about not being perfect in a world that demands perfection.  Liz is honest and witty throughout the whole book.

Angela and Liz were "later in life" friends, as I like to call them.  True love at the sighting of a book popping out of Angela's purse that Liz loved.  They antiqued together, carpooled, laughed, and really cried.  Their friendship is real.  It's heartwarming and heartbreaking.

Here is an excerpt:

"Is it possible to predict who our dearest friends will be?  Can we make a list of qualities and say, "Any best friend of mine will be outgoing and preferably drive a low emission car because, you know, the environment is very important to me?"

I think we all know the answer.  Friendships are no different than true love.  They can't be planned or predicted; they come into our lives like great gusts of wind that knock things off the shelves and force us to stretch ourselves in uncomfortable yet beautiful ways.  Sometimes friendship strikes like lightning and you know, instantly, that you and that person will be friends when  you're old.  You know that the two of you will be grumpy little old ladies shopping in Kohl's, arguing with the staff about sales prices and the proximity of the nearest parking space.  

It was that way when I met Angela."

-Elizabeth Owen "My (Not So) Storybook Life: A Tale of Friendship and Faith

Near the end, Liz asks God "why"?  I can't think of many people who haven't asked God this same question. And her answer is "to have gratitude".  What a touching testimony.  What a beautiful message.

This is an excellent book.  It goes on the shelf next to all my other hard backed favorites.  And I'm pretty sure it will be on yours, too.

Happy reading and good luck!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Physical Therapy and Gratitude Days...Many

I had a great time last night at a girls night.  I got high on Dr. Pepper and estrogen, it was awesome.  We stayed out until midnight.  I haven't done that since I lived in Utah and "watched" movies until 3 am, and then let my best friend walk home alone in the cold, dark, rapist-filled night.  What?  SHE INSISTED!

And then I stayed up until 2 in the morning talking to Brett about the meaning of life.  There was a lot of giggling...erm, and of course, manly chuckling.  We get pretty serious about the meaning of life.

Today I ripped off that stupid finger splint.  My finger is killing me, but I think typing is great physical therapy.

Tomorrow we spend 6 hours on the road to Mesquite.  Half way to our home-before-home.  Time with family, friends, and kid-free hotel zones...I'm so gonna be in heaven.

So I am grateful for cars.  For not having to spend 2 weeks to get home again.  For portable DVD players.  For a husband that jimmy-rigs the Wii to work in the car.  And I am SUPER GRATEFUL for my shaggin wagon.  Grateful that my children have oodles and gads of space between them.  Their own space.  Their own air.  They couldn't poke each other if they wanted to.  Awesome.

Have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING and black Friday.  Those two go hand in hand... fortunately...unfortunately?  Whichev.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gratitude Day 13 & 14

There were many things Heavenly Father wanted me to hear tonight, and so He arranged for a babysitter to appear out of thin air at the last minute so that Brett and I could attend our Ward in White tonight.

We got really spoiled in Utah, getting to go to the Temple 2 sometimes 3 times a month.  We haven't been to the Temple since we moved here, and it's been really rough.  Shoot, we haven't even been on a DATE since August.  Needless to say, we were in much need of a spiritual uplift.

I'm so grateful for the Temple and the peace it brings me when I'm there.  I'm grateful for the personal revelation and knowledge I receive there.

I'm grateful for my eternal companion.  I'm thankful to know that if I play my cards right, and endure all these trials, that I'll get to be with him forever.  It was promised to me by someone who held the keys and authority to promise me such a thing.  And for that, I am so grateful.

Mesa LDS Temple

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gratitude Day 9, 10 & 11 and 12, Why Not?

I have a lot I'm grateful for, but I also still have a broken finger.  So until next Wednesday and possibly a week or two of physical therapy, my posts will be short and sweet...and mildly crazy.  Possibly a lot of mistyped words.

I'm grateful today for morning prayers.  I love how they set the mood for the day.  I love laying down and going to sleep with the Spirit, but I love even more going through my day with the Spirit.

I'm grateful that I have funny children.  I love that they have a sense of humor, because I think that's super important in this day and age.  I'm grateful that my family and I know how to laugh at ourselves.

I'm grateful for the energy I've been blessed with recently.  Despite being sick, run down and burnt out, I've managed to stay upbeat.  I even managed to clean yesterday.  Cohen's response, "Wow, you're cleaning finally.  Good for you!"  (Please see "Sense of Humor" section of this post.)

Finally, I'm thankful for years and years of past posts.  I've gone through and read some, and was reminded about other "hard times" I've gone through, and it definitely buoyed up my resolve to endure to the end.  I really feel that was a special blessing from my Heavenly Father to remind me that I've been through hard times before, and I survived.  So did all my kids.  Really, a miracle in and of itself =)

I'm looking forward to being able to do my hair again, bathe the children, do the dishes and change a diaper without it being this huge production.  I'm looking forward to washing my right hand again!  Here's to next Wednesday and healed fractures!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Gratitude Day 8: "This, too, shall pass."

I am grateful today to know that even though rough times happen, they don't last forever.

I'm grateful I've had a few experiences that have been awful, but have passed.  So that now, because of those moments, I know I can get through hard times.

Just pop a couple Xanax and sleep through it all.

Just kidding.

Xanax doesn't even make me sleepy.

I can do sleepy all on my own.

And now we nap!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Gratitude Day 7: Tender Mercies

It is a well documented fact: I have a bad back.

This past week was awful, but it could have been made so, so, sooooo much worse if my back decided to flare up. 

And it had plenty of motive.  I carried around 28 and 38 pound children for three days.

Can anyone deny it is a pure miracle that my back didn't flare up?  

Tender mercies of the Lord, friends.  Tender mercies.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Terrible Awful WEEK

When Brett got into the mini van Friday evening after a 4 day conference in Texas, these were the words of welcome he received:

"You will pamper me until I feel better.  You will clean the apartment top to bottom.  You will find a babysitter and take me on a date when I'm better."

Now, I know it wasn't Bretts fault that Kembry was sick and unresponsive to antibiotics.

I know he didn't leave the window open on purpose so that when I tried to close it, it came down on me like a crazy Kamakazi, break my finger and partially (fingers crossed, pun intended) severed my tendon.

I know that neither he, nor the sweet and amazing woman in my ward, could have predicted that the Urgent Care would be closed, or that Chloe would wake up with a horrible cough and stridor, and not be able to breathe.

Or that I would spend the next three hours getting my broken finger attacked by a wailing, tortured baby receiving a shot, a breathing treatment, and another shot.  Or that my "Mommy Terror Levels" would reach "Code Red" as the doctor kept saying Chloe might need to be hospitalized.

While my husband partied it up in Texas.  And didn't return my phone calls or texts.

How on earth could any of us predict that I wouldn't get much rest that week, and hence be susceptible to the Flu.  103 temps were running in our family last week, apparently.

And I know Brett would have loved to have helped the continual flooding from our kitchen sink, had he been here.

So, at the end of the week, I've never been so mad at the man I married eight years ago.

He had no way of knowing.  Poor guy.

Now, I'm off to bed while he takes care of the rest.  I've earned a nap.

Gratitude Day 6: Haircuts

It's the Sabbath.  We're quarantined.  Flu, strep and croup.

Yesterday I forced my Beatles to get haircuts.  I didn't even know there was a boy under that red mop.  He looks so handsome.

Oh, and Brett, too.

I miss having Marilyn down the road to trim their hair every five minutes.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Gratitude Day 5: HE'S HOME!

Brett's home.  I'm in bed.  We found a house and are holding the keys in our hands.

But most importantly, Brett is HOME!!!!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Gratitude Day 4: Uuuuugh

Today I am thankful for Tamiflu and my bed and Cohen.

And 103 temperatures that aren't 104 temperatures.

Hey, it's the little things.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Gratitude Day 3: Being Humbled

This will be a short post because I'm sans a finger for the next two weeks, and it's a wee bit difficult to type.  How do people sit and look at the keys all day?

The last Sunday we were in our ward in Utah was a fast Sunday, and one of my good friends bore her testimony, which was a real treat because she's really quiet and doesn't do it that often.

She talked about how grateful she was for our ward, because of all the help they had given her and her family.  She said she felt like a burden on us.

And all I could think was, "I only got to help her twice.  I wish I would've done more."

She wasn't a burden on us at all. She gave us opportunities to do what we should be doing: serving each other.

Well, that's all fine and dandy for me to think those high thoughts when I was on the giving (albeit minor giving) end of things.  I had family to help me whenever anything happened.  I didn't really need help.

Well, last night I did.  And it was so humbling to let go of my pride, the "I can do it all myself because I'm so freaking awesome" attitude.  The Lord brought me to my knees and sent angels to minister.

And I'm thankful for that humbling experience and for those angels.  And even though I understand a bit more about what my friend said about being a burden (and it doesn't feel good) I know I'm stronger and less prideful because of it.

So, lesson learned, Heavenly Father.  Please stop the plagues now.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Gratitude Day 2: Many Things

Originally, this post was about my gratitude for technology.  It knows no bounds.  I love technology lately.

But, today, I'm grateful for so many things.

Like, the CVS Minute Clinic.  Free.  Fast.

I'm grateful for modern medicine, and the speed strep test.

I'm grateful for antibiotics.

I'm grateful for Ibuprofen.

I'm grateful for Wendy's and their Frosty's.

Can you tell what kind of day I've had?  And it's just getting started =)  But it's okay, because of all these conveniences, what could have been a really stressful, dangerous situation has turned into a quick, low key, stay-home-from-school kind of situation.  I like those situations.  I like nap situations, too.  I think I'll take myself up on that.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Let The Gratitude Begin!

It's that time again.

A month of gratitude.

Today has been peaceful, for the most part.  It's not now, but it never is in the evenings, and that's okay.  I guess. =)

Chloe wants to go to bed, but I'm refusing on the grounds that I just don't want to wake up at 5:30 in the AM.  She disagrees.  But I'm bigger, so I win =)

Today I am grateful for my children.

I'm alone with them for the next 4 days.  Outnumbered, 3 to 1.  Sometimes I think Kembry counts as two.  Luckily (unluckily?) Kembry and I are sick.  That really limits what we can do.  It also eliminates my feeling guilty for not doing anything.

What?  I'm sick.

*Cough Cough*

I'm grateful I have three beautiful, (semi)healthy children that are always (usually) healthy.  I mean really, when all the other kids are getting sick, mine are laughing their way to the candy bank (daddy's side table).  Nary an ear infection visits the Neff's, nor the flu or the sniffles or the run's.

They make me laugh.  They make me cry.  They make me clean.  They're good for me. I'm good for them.

And who knows...one day they may be smitten blessed with little angels just like them.


Dear Future Chloe,

Today you dumped out my entire purse.

And wallet.


You're super cute and super annoying all at the same time.  I don't know if I want to hug and kiss you, or tie you up.  Either way, I can't keep my hands off you.

I hope in the future I get a call from you informing me you've lost yet another debit card because your 15 month old child couldn't keep their gruddy mitts off your stuff.  I'll smile and say you deserve it.

And now I'm off to figure out where the heck you stashed my last debit card, and pray that you didn't throw it out the window.  Or in the poopy diaper bin, because, yuck.



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