September 29, 2015

A Man Trip

Every year Dad tries to plan a man trip to Alaska. Last year, Andy was able to make the trip up to Ketchikan and he had a great time! This was his first experience ocean fishing. Needless to say, he was excited to learn that there would be another man trip this year and he was excited to go.

A fishing boat in the harbor.

The harbor.

The end of the rainbow.


Isn't it majestic?

The group that went up this year was a lot smaller. It consisted of Dad, Andy, Jake and little Russell. They spent just under three full days out on the water and caught 31 keepers. Most of the fish caught weighed 10-12 pounds on average.

The Big One.

See how big he is?

Playing with fish eggs. Something only a boy would do.

Dad & Jake with his rockfish.

Russell waiting for a fish to bite.

Love that toothless smile!

The Boys: Dad, Russell & Jake.

Dad & Jake.





Andy caught the largest fish, a salmon weighing in at 16 pounds! He was super proud of himself.  Russell caught about half of the 31 fish! Crazy right? I talked with him on the phone one day and he told me he caught a "hog". He is such a funny boy, I don't know where he comes up with all this stuff.

I'm glad the boys were able to get away for a few days and have a great time bonding and fishing, despite some of the rainy weather. 

September 28, 2015

Weekend In Review

Andy spent several days up fishing in Alaska. I knew he would be flying back into Washington sometime over the weekend, but didn't know what day or time (one of the perks of flying standby). I had really been wanting to make a trip home and the fair was going to be going on, so that was a little more incentive for me to go up.


I got off work a little early and spent more time than I would have liked to driving home. Getting stuck in Portland traffic is the worst! I think it is comparable to Seattle rush hour.

On my way up, I drove past a chicken walking on the shoulder of I-5, I literally laughed out loud. When I was about an hour away from home, I called my sister and she asked me to stop by and see her new place. She even offered to make me dinner, she is an amazing cook so I couldn't turn her down.

When I arrived, she was waiting for me on the front porch with a kitten. We weren't sure who the kitten belonged to, but it walked right in the front door when she opened it to let me in. It was funny! The kitty made itself right at home, by jumping up onto the kitchen table and counter tops. We named it Bentley because its tail was bent at the end.

Sadie cooked me a steak and steamed veggies for dinner, it was amazing! We hung out and talked for several hours.

Her new place is cute and is the perfect size for her!

It was getting late and I was supposed to have a sleep over with my other sister, so I decided I should probably head out. As I was driving down the highway, two state troopers past me headed the other direction (towards I-5). As I approached the next on/off ramp I couldn't help but notice several cops with their lights on. At this point I started thinking, "Something big must be going on". I happened to glance in my review mirror and saw a long line of flashing lights, way down the road. It seemed as though they were headed to I-5. Now, I was starting to think, "Something really big is going on."

A minute or so later a dark car came flying up on my side followed by a long line of cops with their lights flashing. I quickly pulled over and waited for the line of cops to pass.  I would guess their were 20-30 state troopers. I attempted to pull back onto the highway about 3-4 times only to have to pull back over because another line of cops came flying past.

Eventually, I was able to get back on the road. As I was driving I couldn't help but notice cops blocking all of the on ramps, I was passing. Something huge was going on and somehow I managed to be caught in the middle of it.

I proceeded to drive toward my sisters house and hopped onto another highway. As I came around a bend in the road, traffic came to a complete stop. By complete stop, I mean put your car in park and turn it off cause it's going to be awhile. I sat there for a good 20 minutes or so before the traffic started to move.

As luck would have it, the high speed chase ended on this other highway that I was on. I'm not sure what happened but the car looked like it had crashed and the cops had it surrounded. I tried to look the chase up on the news the next day, but couldn't find any information on it.

I am so grateful that I was kept safe that night and that I didn't end up getting hurt in the chase. I know the Lord is aware of me and he watches and protects me.


Saturday Megan, Mom, Daniel, and I went to the Puyallup Fair. Sadie was supposed to join us, but she woke up too late. I loved looking at all of the animals and eating the fattening fair food. The only time, I really eat corn dogs is at the fair. Mmm Krusty Pups, they are serious so good! I ate so much food, even Andy was surprised when I told him. It's a wonder I didn't get sick.




Flower Man on stilts.

Daniel, Megan & Me.

The Face.

Megan & Me.

Big lips and the face.

Megan, Mom, & Me.

Something about the fair just makes me happy inside. Maybe it's all those childhood and teenage memories of time spent at the fair. Or it could be all the cute baby animals.

I wish we had had more time a the fair to look at all of the art and floral exhibits. Maybe next year.

The rest of the evening was spent with my sister's and their boyfriends. We ate yummy Zuppa Tuscano Soup that Sadie made and I made a huge salad. We played games, talked a lot, looked at old childhood photos, laughed a ton and stayed up later than I would like to admit watching the Cokeville Miracle. Which has fast become one of my favorite movies.

Sadie playing the air keyboard.


My sister offered to let me sleep in her bed, she claims she actually likes sleeping on the floor. What a nice sister, huh? When we woke up in the morning we just talked. It was like when we were teenagers. She would come in my room in the morning, sit in my beanbag chair and we would just talk. Then we headed to Daniel's and went on a four mile walk.

After our walk she headed to church and I went to pick up my husband. It was so good to see him! We quickly loaded up his stuff and hit the road and made the five hour drive back to Eugene. 

September 24, 2015

Thursday Thought

Well, I think this Thursday Thought is going to be slightly different from some of my previous Thursday Thoughts...Are you ready for this? I'm not sure that I am, but here goes nothing.

I don't know if you are like me or not, but I am the type of person who internalizes criticism. If someone tells me I'm doing something wrong, or I'm not good enough, or simply that I could be doing something to better I really take it personally. I know this probably isn't a good thing, but I have always been this way and I probably won't change. This internalization happens to go right along with a fear of being reprimanded. I hold myself to high standards, I know when I mess up.  When I really mess up, I feel REALLY bad and often times embarrassed. So, to have someone point out a flaw or a mistake I made, just makes it all the worse. It's like pouring salt in the wound.

In the not too distant past, there was a period of time where some person(s) decided that they were going to critique and criticize what seemed like everything about me. This went on for some time and I started to feel really down on myself. Was I really that bad of a person? How could someone treat   another person this way and think it was okay? This is still a question I ask myself. I just don't seem to get it and I don't think I ever will. I have never been the type of person to intentionally tear someone else down.

Back to the story...

So, I was feeling really down on myself and I wasn't sure what to do. Then one day, I began doing what I call channeling my inner awesomeness. Yes, you read that right, I began channeling my inner AH-SOME-NESS.

How does one being to channel their inner awesomeness?

1. Stop caring about what other people think, especially those who are critical. Who cares what they say or think? What do they know? Obviously, they don't know you and how awesome you really are.
Note- this can be really hard to do but it is so worth it.

2. Make a list of things you enjoy doing or want to do and begin making those things happen. Maybe they are things that you used to do and for some reason you just stopped doing them.

3. Remind yourself everyday that "You are awesome!" because even though you might not know it right now, you really are AWESOME!

4. Exercise and really push yourself when you workout. After a good workout your body will naturally release hormones called endorphins, they make you feel happy. If I'm not in the mood to workout, I tell myself that "I am freaking awesome and now it's time to go kill it at the gym." Music with a faster beat always helps me keep a pace while I exercise.

5. Eat healthy food. You just feel so much lighter after eating a healthy meal. I don't know how else to explain this.

6. Get a good 7-8 hours of sleep each night. It's hard to be positive and happy and awesome when you are tired.

7. Get out in nature and enjoy the beauty around you. I'm often reminded of God's love for me, when I am hiking or visiting the ocean.

8. Talk with someone who really loves and cares about you. Ask them to tell you why they love you and have them remind you about the things you are good at.

9. Count your blessings. There is something about gratitude. For me thinking about all of the things I am grateful for, reminds me of how prominently the Lord's hand is in my life.

10. Think beyond yourself and give service. Maybe this means sending someone a message of love and support who is having a hard time. Or you could visit with the residents at an old folks home or volunteer at your local soup kitchen or food bank.

I know life can be challenging and people aren't always nice. But you aren't one of those people and you won't succumb to their level and tactics. You are kind and beautiful! Did I mention YOU ARE AWESOME? Well, you are!

The world is yours, now get out there and keep being the awesome person I know you are!

Carpe Diem!

September 23, 2015

The Cokeville Miracle

Recently my sister called to talk with me on the phone. While we were talking she mentioned this movie called The Cokeville Miracle. She said that our family had gone to see it while they were visiting Utah and they liked it so much they went and saw it again (I can't think of a time my family has ever done that--that's saying something).

She said they watched the movie one evening for a church activity and it was amazing! She told me that Andy and I needed to watch it sometime.

When we were up in Portland one weekend we picked it up at Deseret Book. We got home late that night and popped it into the DVD player. We didn't really know what the movie was going to be about and we didn't have any expectations going into it.

We were both floored! The story was very powerful and moving. This movie is definitely in our top 5 for movies.

Without ruining the movie, the premise is about a small town in Wyoming. The elementary school is taken hostage by a mad man with a bomb and guns and the bomb goes off.

We watched the movie with the Young Women one night and they laughed and they cried. They thought the movie was super good. For a few of the girls the movie really hit home, their aunt was one of the children in the school when the bomb went off.

If you haven't seen this movie, it is one you need to see.

September 21, 2015

Weekend In Review

This past weekend was a lot of things: awesome, spiritual, fun, awesome, spiritual, fun. Did I mention awesome, spiritual, and fun? I think those words might sum it up pretty well.


We woke up early Saturday morning (who does that?) and drove to Portland. Our first stop was the temple. I have spent a lot of time over the last year working on genealogy and had quite the stack of family names that needed sealings done. I had scheduled an appointment for us,you can't just go in to the Portland Temple and do sealings. I think they had planned to have us join a ward for sealing, but we had so many names that they found some temple workers to help us and had a sealing room all to ourselves.

There was such a peaceful feeling in the temple. I loved being able to knee across the alter from my husband, it reminded me of when we were married. It was such a neat experience to seal our ancestors to each other, there were many times when it felt like they were there.

I am so grateful that we have a temple relatively close to where we live. I am grateful for the gospel, I don't know where I would be without it in my life. I am grateful for families and the love and joy they bring into life. I am especially grateful for my family and all that they teach me, for their love, support, and laughter. I am grateful the sealing power and the knowledge that families can be together forever.
My favorite temple.

Pretty flowers.

Aren't they beautiful?

More pretty flowers.

And some more.

One tired and happy girl.



Me + You = US!

Love him!

I just love my crazy, goofy husband. He really is the BEST!

As we went to leave the temple, we took some time and walked around the grounds. The flowers were so beautiful and they smelt amazing! Just another reason to go to the temple I suppose.

We grabbed some lunch at Wendy's (they don't have any in Eugene) and then headed to Powell's. We perused the books and I found one I had been after for some time. We sat down and read some of our favorite children's books to each other for awhile: Fancy Nancy, The Rainbow Fish, and Everybody Poops. You can't help but laugh while reading these books, we had a lot of fun!

Then we hit up the Good Will. I found the coolest thing at the Good Will-- it was a Mason Jar turned seasoning shaker. I seriously need to start a thrift store find section on the blog.

Next stop, the Asian store where we stocked up on some of our favorite unhealthy snacks.

Our final stop was Sportsman's Warehouse to get some fishing gear for Andy's upcoming trip.


Sunday was just a good day! We went to church and were spiritually fed and spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging out with each other. I love Sundays!

September 17, 2015

Thursday Thought

I can't believe it is already Thursday! Where has the week gone? I feel like it was just yesterday that I was sitting down to write last week's Thursday Thought. Crazy!

I think a lot, I mean like a lot! I can be in  room full of people and be quiet as a mouse, but I can promise you that I am thinking about something. For some reason my brain just doesn't like to turn off. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing-- for now though, we will call it a good thing.

I have had so many thoughts this past week that it is hard to pick just one thought to share. Tonight though, I think fear takes the cake.

What is fear? Fear is defined by as "A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid."

What are you afraid of? Over the course of my lifetime I have been afraid of a lot of different things including: bees, the dark, fish, falling, drowning, certain people, police officers, peanut butter, fire, the unknown, being reprimanded, etc. I know some of the stuff on my list may seem ridiculous, but at some point in my life I was really afraid of it and in some cases I am still afraid.

One day, I realized that fear holds people back. Fear keeps people from living life to its fullest and reaching their true potential. I very much believe that fear is a tactic that Satan uses to keep us from progressing. I also believe that people will try to instill fear in others as a way to gain power or dominion over them-- in my opinion this is wrong.

I have worked really hard the past few years to face my fears. I still have fears, but I learned that a lot of the things I was afraid of aren't that scary or bad after all. Words can't describe how liberating it is to do something hard, scary or dangerous and survive. After facing said fears I often feel empowered. It feels as though a weight has been lifted and like I can take on the world.

Andy had told me on more than once occasion that I am one of the bravest people he knows. I can't say that I don't have any fears, but I do like to face them.

I like to read and I read something by Oprah earlier this year, that was just too good not to share. It's a little long, but is sooo good!

     "What I know for sure is this: Whatever you fear most has no power-it is your fear that has the      power. The thing itself cannot touch you. But the fear can rob you of your life. Each time you give in to it, you lose strength, while your fear gains it. That's why you must decide that no matter how difficult that path ahead seems, you will push past your anxiety and keep on stepping. 

     A few years ago, I was writing this question in my journal ever day: 'What am I afraid of?' Over time I realized that while I had often seemed brave on the outside, I had lived much of my inner life in bondage. I was afraid that others wouldn't like me. I was terrified that if I said no to people, they would reject me. Everything I did, thought, felt, said, or even ate was connected to the fear I carried around with me-and I allowed it to block me from ever knowing who I really was. 

     Dr. Phil often says you can't change what you don't acknowledge. Before I could challenge my fear and begin changing what I believed about myself, I had to admit that, yes, I had always been afraid-and that my fear was a form of slavery. Author Neale Donald Walsch says, 'So long as you're still worried about what others think of you, you are owned by them. Only when you require no approval from outside yourself can you own yourself.

     It's true that when you summon the courage to cast a vote for yourself, when you dare to step out, speak up, change yourself, or even simply do something outside of what others call the norm, the results may not always be pleasant. You can expect obstacles. You'll fall down. Others may call you nutty. At times it may feel like the whole world is rising up to tell you who you cannot become and what you cannot do. (It can upset people when you exceed the limited expectations they've always had for you.)  And in the moments of weakness, your fear and self-doubt may cause you to falter. You may be so exhausted that you want to quit. But the alternatives are even worse: You might find yourself stuck in a miserable rut for years at a time. Or you could spend too many days languishing in regret, always wondering, 'What would my life have been like if I hadn't cared so much about what other people thought?'

     And what if you decided right now that you will stop letting fear block you? What if you learned to live with it, to ride its wave to heights you never knew were possible? You might discover that joy of tuning out what everybody wants for you and finally pay attention to what you need. And learn that, ultimately you have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself. That is what it truly means to live without fear-and to keep reaching for your best life.

Wasn't that great?!? I just love Oprah!

Take some time and think about the things you are afraid of. Why are you afraid? Is your fear holding you back? Why not face it? You'll be amazed how you feel, once you have faced your fear. It may not be easy, but I know you can do it!

Now, get out there and start facing those fears!

Carpe Diem!

September 14, 2015

Weekend In Review

It's been a little while since I have done a weekend in review. Why? The honest answer is we have just been busy. Nothing too exciting has been happening on the weekends lately. Unless of course, you think cleaning the garage, canning, cleaning out the garden, and going to the gym are a blast!

In other news, the doctor finally gave me the go ahead to start hiking again. Yay! I am so HAPPY! So that means, I can walk, bike, swim, and hike. It's not much, but I will take what I can get. Who would have thought a stress fracture would take this long to heal? Not me. Trust me, you don't want to get a stress fracture.


Was more of a get things done day for us. Get things done means, just that getting things done around the house that we weren't able to do during the week.


I drove up to Dalles, to hear my cousin Cooper give his farewell talk. Cooper is going to be serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He spending the next two years in Alaska and the Yukon Territory. He did such a good job on his talk! I'm so excited for him! He will be a wonderful missionary.

There was some extra time after the talks were given and a few members were asked to share their testimonies. One young man said one of the funniest things I have ever heard over the pulpit. He said, "Seminary is like medicine. It tastes gross, but it's good for you" This just made me and my family laugh.

So glad I could be there to support him and say good bye. It's always nice spending some time with my family too!

My Dad took pictures of everyone, I need to get copies of them.

September 10, 2015

Thursday Thought

When I got home from work yesterday, I was feeling very creative. All of these thoughts and ideas were just swirling around in my mind. There is so much I want to do, write, and accomplish but I just seem to run out of time. A lot of my time lately has been taken up with canning-- that should be coming to an end soon. I have almost run out of space on my shelves. How is that even possible?

This year I have canned pickled beets, dill pickles, blackberry jam, strawberry jam, mild salsa, tomatillo salsa, pears, tomatoes, and applesauce.

I dehydrated apples-- Andy says they are the best and has to stop himself from eating them all. I tried eating a bunch of dehydrated apples once, they tasted great but I didn't feel so great later. I ended up throwing up at Andy's feet-- he stills laughs about this.

I shredded and froze zucchini and squash.

We also picked a ton of berries. By a ton, I'm talking 44 pounds of strawberries and 46 pounds of blueberries. We also picked blackberries and raspberries. What does one do with that many berries? We freeze them to enjoy during the rest of the year. We also froze about 20 pounds of peaches. I think it's safe to say it has been more than a little crazy around here. I hope to put up some of my recipes once things slow down a little bit.

Aside from canning life is good. Life is far from perfect and it isn't always easy but life is so good. I feel incredibly blessed and I am so grateful to be alive and that I am able to experience this thing called life-- even when things aren't going my way.

We have had our fair share of struggles lately. It seems like every time I take a step forward I end up taking two step backwards in some other area of my life. I guess it's true what they say, "When it rains it pours." Sometimes I wish I could just catch a break, you know?

Back to yesterday-- I had all these thoughts and great ideas swirling around in my mind and for some reason I was reminded of a mirror that hung on my wall as a teenager. I honestly don't know where this mirror came from, I think Mom may have picked it up at the fair. The mirror was painted blue and it had quotes in yellow paint on it's borders. One of the quotes on it was from Helen Keller and until yesterday, I didn't know what it meant.

Helen said, "Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. It's what the sunflowers do."

As this quote ran though my mind and I contemplated some of my struggles, something clicked and I realized that what Helen was really saying was, "Focus on the positives and not on the negatives". By focusing on the positives it will cloud out the negatives in your life. Be like the sunflowers, who follow the sun.

I don't know what challenges you are facing and I'm not sure if I will share mine on the blog, but I do know this. Challenges and struggles are part of the human experience. Challenges help us grow and become better people. Are challenges fun? No way! It's okay to cry. It's okay to feel sad, hurt, scared or disappointed sometimes. But it's not good or healthy to be unhappy on a regular basis. The storm you face will eventually pass. If you can think positive thoughts it will help. Think about all of the good things in your life, write them down. Give service to someone else. Exercise. Do something you enjoy. Be one with nature. And don't forget to smile. Life really is beautiful!

Carpe Diem!

P.S. Helen Keller was an amazing woman! She is one to be admired.

September 3, 2015

Thursday Thought

As I mentioned in this post, the Thursday Thought this week would be from Anne Frank.

"People who are religious should be glad, since not everyone is blessed with the ability to believe in a higher order. You don't even have to live in fear of eternal punishment; the concepts of purgatory, heaven and hell are difficult for many people to accept, yet religion itself, any religion, keeps a person on the right path. Not the fear of God, but upholding your own sense of honour and obeying your own conscience. How noble and good everyone would be if, at the end of each day, they were to review their own behaviour and weigh up the rights and wrongs. They would automatically try to do better at the start of each new day and, after a while, would certainly accomplish a great deal. Everyone is welcome to this prescription; it costs nothing and is definitely useful. Those who don't know will have to find out by experience that 'a quiet conscience gives you strength'!" - Anne Frank

I love this! These words written by Anne ring true with me. I believe "upholding your own sense of honour and obeying your conscience" can change a person for the better and I strive to live my life this way. Typically I weigh my options before making a decision. After a make a choice, I reflect back on the choice I made and ask myself if I did the right thing. More often than not I feel that I have made the right choice and I feel a sense of peace. When the moments arrive when I feel that I have made a bad choice I pray to God, to help me to be better and I do what I can to correct any "wrong" choices I made. If everyone were to really live the Anne talks about, I believe the world would be a much better place.