Thursday, January 5, 2017

2017: SMILE

from Brook:
 The thing I love most about this (finding a "word" for the new year... a theme to live by, grow with) is how personal it is and how words speak to each of our souls and what we need, love or crave.  A friend actually had a beautiful bracelet engraved for me that said, "Find the half smile".  It meant that in every situation there is something to find to smile about, or even just a half smile..... Stick with it (the word SMILE) if it speaks to YOU (!) but if it feels like it isn't quite right, sit with it and see if a different word comes.

This year - this 2017 I will hit a milestone I've yet to meet.
In May I will graduate.
This last semester of school is terrifying.  Beautiful.  Anxiety ridden.  Hopeful.
As I began seeking for something that gripped at my soul - this word - SMILE - enveloped me.

I keep a small notebook in my purse where I write small thoughts, reactions, quotes, - anything that speaks to me at any given moment.  As I thumbed through it during a moment of desired enlightenment, I came across a page which I had scribbled down what I was feeling at a moment of relentless frustration:

"I thought I was strong -- had made it past difficult paths and unyielding trials - only to find myself callous toward that which once lit the dim path I was treading on."

2016 was a dark year.
my "silver lining" failed to enlighten my path beginning around March, completely dissipating by June, possibly July.
I had given up.
They contained a shadowed shell of what I once was.

I don't recall when the tide turned.
When hope slithered in.
It did.
It has.
It is....

Elder Nelson came and spoke to our Stake in December.
He declared:
"There is always effort with Heavenly Father.  He had Moses climb the mountain.  He could have met him half way, be he wants US to chose.  WE make the choice - there is always effort... But we have the choice to give up or persevere. "  ---- *not quoted word for word.. I was writing as fast as I could in a dark room

Whitney Lundeen, an LDS clothing designer stated:
"Someone told me - 'if you don't see a place at the table for you, you have to pull up a chair and make your own spot.' - so that's what I'm doing.  Chugging along.  Wrestling.  Not giving up.  Setting my own place at the table..."

This is my hope for 2017
To set my own place at a table that has been solidified well before my physical presence was made..
and the first small minute step begins with something as simple as

a Smile.

for in every situation, there IS something to smile about
that person who is making a fool of themselves - giving course to recall your own stupidity, thus empathizing with said person
when you're at your last thread of hope - hold on, smile.  it will work out
when you're home.  where you're unconditionally loved.
when you receive a text, a call, a hit on social media.
when you have to laugh, because if not, you'll cry.
when you realize... that this.... this small moment will someday be a learning experience.
when you walk up the isle, cap on your head - graduation certificate in your hand.
when you give of yourself for that one person who's silently pleading for help
when you finally sigh.... in a moment of calm serenity
you can - if even half way - smile.
in 2017
*via amywaltz
*via LayeredAndLong

oh soul

oh soul.
you worry too much.
you have seen your own strength.
you have seen your own beauty.
you have seen your golden wings.
of anything less, why do you worry?
you are, in truth, the soul of the soul of the soul.

For future reference,
here is a list of ideas, thoughts, steps from dear Brook Andreoli:
Here are a few ideas to get you started if you would like to choose a word of the year.
 What do I want to become this year?
What attributes do I want to possess?
What gifts and talents can I grow and share?
What word would help me grow into my divine potential?
In 2017 I want to feel more. . .?
What would this time next year look like if I learned to live from a place of . . .?
up*carry*soft*ponder*rock*first*north*spirit*one*happy*holy* healthy*still*peace*yes*hold*rise*evolve*share*possible*shine*wisdom*explore*dance*start*refill*well*deep*strong*expand* reflect*finish*refuge*renew*calm*power*retreat*soul*present*hope*create*center*plant*mend*focus*hope*life*brave*thrive*vision*order*open*invite*forward*belong*follow*collect*serve*ask*search*invite*breathe*gather*inspire*today*faith*walk*
play*start*moment*here*now*rise*stand*delight*charity*next*explore*home*reach*content*capture*progress*reflect* close*listen*whisper*love*path*give*gift*bend*dream*fresh* guide*divine*order*prepare*seek*study*depth*shift*kind*calm*safe*heart*nourish*expand*space*gentle*grit*connect*
serene*close*ever*fill*learn*teach*honor*fly*adore*art* align*action*heal*ignite*stretch*smile*focus*shine*know*wonder*rest*vision*whole*grace*dig*nurture*hope*support*north* restore*tend*glow*bless*gift*flourish*color*right*true*

Sunday, June 12, 2016

fam reunion prep

This summer my parents will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.
We, as an entire crew, will be participating in this celebration with them, low key - cabin/camping it out in Zion's National Park - in a reunion sort of way.
(my all time favorite photo of my Henry & Trudy: )

So naturally - I needed to add some stressful crafting into my schedule, which came about thanks to my rummaging through pinterest skills:  I decided to make a customized "guess who" game
after pleading with my family to send me any photos of themselves... unsuccessfully of course, I had to scavenger my way through facebook/instagram/old photos - all of which were too fuzzy to use.  So, pleading, I begged them all to send me a "selfie".

Mike did away with date night (no movies - & he was in deep fear that I might sucker him into a dreaded movie or a night looking at historical dresses via a Phoenix museum... what a scoundrel!) So as the selfies came pouring in - my dinner mates texted my family their ridiculously talented selfie skills...  we are clearly marvelous at this whole selfie thing...  (no photo editing applied)


We haven't had a family Saturday night out (other than for birthday dinner's) in a while.  It was nice.  Today was nice, even though the house looks like it hasn't been swept/vacuumed/dusted/cleaned in a month...  the boys spent almost the entire day swimming, while I was able to work on this game, as well as do some laundry and get a workout in.  Mike swam with the boys/did some work/watched the D-backs lose....  Sydney Leigh came home from work and swam with the boys...  and then spent the evening out laughing at my dorky siblings, reminiscing about my dad's old horse Cash, and shooting guns with my dad - which was brought up because of a guy Sydney is dating, who comes from a gun obsessed family....  quite the opposite of her own.  

So tonight, I came home and after working on my Sunday school lesson, I worked on my photo shop skills (thanks to lessons from my 13 year old Pudge - who taught himself the ways of photoshop....) so I could finish the selfie's I finally received from my siblings.  They are AMAZING...  

OBVIOUSLY some of these I was able to scoop off of the internet (Annie's - since she has her fancy photo attached to her official CPA place of work) & Scott's I pulled off of a photo I had...  the rest, they are total ROCK STARS!  

(this project has been a looong process, but will be well worth it when my siblings, who stubbornly sent horrific   these fantastic selfies see what all this pressure was for.  

&...  for my brother Nate:  he sent the absolutely best selfie when this text came through (after I finished pleading with him to resend a different photo):
with the tag:  "Here's a better one.  I cleaned up a bit"... 

ahhhhhh --- Mr. Darcy...  

Nate wins "best selfie" award of the year for sure!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

 Tuesday Lunches with Sydney Leigh.
 Last High School Pics with dad....

Sydney & I went out to lunch every Tuesday her senior year. Usually Cafe Rio - here... chick-fil-et, because that's where she wanted her final senior meal to be.  I can't believe our baby girl is a high school graduate!  And Thank Heavens grandma knows how to take photos of our feet -

*** rummaging through the blog, I realized that even though it consists of just our small, regular family life, reminiscing via old posts is my favorite style of journal keeping.  Finding adventures of the past shown in photo and the written word --- it's something that I hope to continue doing, no matter how busy or slow life may become (I don't see slow in our near future) --- this is a challenge I'm seeking to grasp onto.  (and if you know me and a challenge... this might be short lived ;)  )

Monday, May 25, 2015

Monday, October 13, 2014


while the world around us seems to venture away into exotic lands during fall break
we -much to the chagrin of my charming children - stayed home bound.

to shake it up a bit - i daringly took a roady w/ my 3 amigos and ventured into the northern territory of AZ 

Montezuma Castle

the history of this's amazing!

obviously my children were in complete awe..........

 daughter was more excited about the
eating in the tree above us.....
 & peacing out.
while I was busy pointing out
those caves ---
we did find a giant beehive
inside this cave....
that intrigued child #3 -- for a moment.
this palace in the wall is 800 years old....
 hangs on a cliff....
 and is still standing at attention

rather than read the historical facts
we posed
posed again
and read our phones....

I - apparently - am a slow mama bear who "had to read every freaking sign we came by" - said 11 yr.old child to his father upon our return to civilization (aka: complete internet access on phone)
 the inside:
you seriously could not ask for more charming children.....
but I do love their faces

.... @ least they can say they did something. :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

mid life crisis ---> full swing

it could be that i am...
stuck @ home most of the time.
in a lull.... not in school
in a lull.... not working
doing mommy day care for my eldest who is still in recovery mode
getting chubbier BY THE SECOND. ( peanut m&m's - you've become my nemesis)
life in general is @ a stand still
and i might possibly be pms-ing
or it could be the lull in life
or it could be my utter mental disability
brought on by....
the nada in my slight existence @ this moment in time

so in these times of tribulation.....
my desire to make a drastic change take charge.

my dear Mike... hold your guns!
don't hyperventilate...  bags are located in the kitchen... lower cupboard w/ paper plates... 
breath deep...

my hair.

it's falling out like my body is living in a constant state of autumn.
however instead of turning luxurious shades of cocoa and auburn,
it's fading into a scraggly witches gray.
stress + old age
has sucked out all the luxurious shiny ambiance that my once bountiful hair possessed.

it might be time.
to end it's misery.
for a while anyways.

my dear sisters....
like my hair it's glorious brown (ps.  it's not so glorious any longer)
(could be that they are all blond bombshells)
while every hairdresser opts for a lighter - goldish - blondish me.

now that family pics have been taken
i can experiment ...
either relish in my newly confident self
cry in a depressed state of being
after jumping the gun.....
and making a change.

either way.....
I.  Joan.  do swear. I.  WILL make some change.

which shall it be?
OBVIOUSLY my hair is not long and flowing...
those photos... they are there more for the color.
me + hair extensions = not. happening.

& yes.
I have been on pinterest.
for hours.

& yes.
I do understand that
i have a chubby face.... and i am not photoshopped every day .... & i will NOT look like these gals.

that said.
am taking opinions
kind of.

can i be brave?
is this seriously something totally prideful
and unecessary to stress about....

i mean
we just went through a traumatic life changing stressful experience.
which i truly believe has altered everything about me...
even my body
my thoughts
my stress level
etc... etc... etc...
which might very well be why i'm downing my happy pills
(thank you marja for the constant "herbal" advice)
and breathing deep .... a lot....

taking serious opinions here folks.
bring it on.....

Thursday, October 2, 2014

a portrait

Before David ventured into the realm of surgical happenings
I contacted an old friend
@ ryfoto
(seriously... his fashion stuff & senior portraits are amazing!)
asking if he'd suffer the 115 degree heat
to possibly take our family photos
before our stay @
le suite de hospital
in dear kindness
he agreed
agreed to lose 20 lbs of water weight
while we drenched ourselves in our own presperation
taking photos....
pre surgery
just.  in.  case.

David held up
til about 10 minutes to go.
seizure on-set
this photo
is the right after:
I suppose only we would know.
his seizure brought on by heat
it lasted a bit longer than a minute...
only time will tell
if this will be the last of these happenings.
6 weeks.
that was the magical # the doctors gave 
for some normality
to return.

6 and a half weeks ago he underwent his first procedure
and looked like he got into a ring...
with Mike Tyson
was phase one.
grid on the brain.
modern science is 

6 weeks ago the final procedure was done.
producing this sweet photo

the following photo was taken
the afternoon before
the most difficult, unimaginable 24 hours 
exposed it's ugly head.

dread.    anger.    frustration.    confusion.
all wrapped up in a rigid bow....

tho I don't think David remembers all that went on
it was a firestorm of mistakes, mishaps, & seizures.
that scared us beyond belief.

however on the other side of this dreadful day was
unthinkable kindness
My Mike (as always) rescuing me
& my mom... in my house... waiting to comfort me.

all this - wrapped up.
in a 24 hour thrashed package.....

but this photo....
undying. eternal. familiar. 

 looking forward to seeing this guy back.
it'll happen.
look out world!
we are making baby steps.
lots and lots
of baby steps.