26 October 2011


                  Our perfect example of compassion

I have always believed, and have had confirmed many times through out my life, that if we are not humble, life will do it for us. Sometimes quietly, and sometimes with a great big fat kick in the backside.
I had a horrible experience recently. I saw someone who had been murdered. He was lying on the ground in  a puddle of his own blood from a gunshot wound to the head; right across the street in my neighbor's driveway. I never, ever expected to see anything like that in my life and pray I never will again. This man was well known to the police for illegal activities including drugs. The man lived a few blocks away and the police had no idea why he was in my neighbor's driveway, especially since our neighbors had never seen him before.
We live in a city with a population of roughly 150,000 people. Our city has many smaller communities within it and has a rich history. Some neighborhoods are beautiful with well large, kept homes. Others, are multi-family homes that are rented with the landlords living, sometimes, outside the state; sometimes, but not often, on the same property. Still others, like mine, have a mix of both multi- and single family.
I've always been annoyed, put off and sometimes, outright offended, when people have spoken ill of my home. I'm raising my family here! I don't want my children to feel inferior or embarrassed because of where they live. We put just as much effort to find a proper home for our family as others who may have better means and can afford to live in the nicer suburbs. We've lived here 14 years and have never felt we were in danger. We have come to the defense of our beloved neighborhood and city more times than I can count against many tasteless jokes and criticism. I have always felt justified in doing so. No one has the right to pass judgement or make criticisms regarding things based on second hand information or the skewed presentation of information from the media. I've always felt that if you don't live here or have never lived here, you have no business talking. I never thought I was out of place in doing so; it was my job to 'inform.' I never thought I was being self-righteous or cocky, although looking back I have to question my intent on some of those occasions. I just wanted them to focus on the good people who live here and who appreciate the diversity and beauty that the city has to offer.
There is a small 'shrine' in my neighbor's yard with flowers and many lit candles. I realized last night that this man had people who cared about him!! He wasn't just a druggie. He was some one's son, brother, boyfriend, cousin, uncle, friend. There are people who are mourning his loss. I have no idea how he ended up on the path he was on, but I do know that kids don't usually grow up saying they want to be druggies or thugs or thieves. There's a chance that he grew up here in the same city I am raising my family, my kids. The very same ones that are now nervous about being in any part of the house alone. The same kids who now jump at any little noise, especially coming from outside...

I have been thoroughly humbled by this experience on so many levels. I no longer have a desire to defend what I don't understand. I never should have felt the need to defend this city or my street against verbal assaults and insults. I'm sure I've made people feel uncomfortable in response to my bruised pride and for that I'm so sorry. I should have been more compassionate to those who were ignorant or mean in their judgements. I was guilty of the same thing!! What hypocrisy.
 I also need to remember that people who are lost in sin need my prayers, not my judgements. I want to remember the Savior's example of love and compassion. He loved. He loved the people around Him and prayed for everyone. He never defended or argued. He set an example for those around Him, and for me. May my Father in Heaven forgive me for my shortcomings and help me to continue to become more like Him.

12 October 2011

Hurray for 3 day weekends!!

Three day weekends means more kids, more fun! Now that they are in school, every moment counts even more. We made the most of our school break!! We went apple picking at Johnny Appleseed. They have dwarf trees so the kids are able to stand right in front of them to pick! The weather was ridiculously warm, but it was a fun time anyway! Corn maze, cider and doughnuts, tractor ride, pumpkin picking and home with a bag full of apples. What more can I say? Oh yeah, getting lost on the way... but without that part, we wouldn't have had the view!!
Thanks for taking the group picture Noel!!
Aunt Charlene joined us with bum leg and all.. What a trooper!
A hike to Heublin Tower on another ridiculously warm day for October, but it is Indian Summer! What a great view! Yes, the cast came too.
No warm day can be called great without Albano's Italian Ice!!!!

Mini pumpkins made at a friend's birthday party!! How stinkin' cute...

Cupcakes for Roci's fundraiser!! Thanks Mercy for decorating! I knew you'd come up with something cute! Roci ended up making $30 on 21 cupcakes!! I obviously undervalued them. I told her to sell them at .50 each =O

First days of school

The girls started school on different days. We have a tradition where I take pictures on the first day. Since my sister was living with us,I have one of Aalyia with Kaleigh:)
Rocquel couldn't wait to get going and I had to make her pose. I think Mercedes thought she was off the hook... HA! HA! I guess she forgot who her mom was...
I know school started ages ago, but at least I have the pictures up, right??

27 September 2011

I pray.

I would like to share an excerpt from my son's email this week: "Dear Mom, and everyone! It was a little bit of a weird week. I guess the only thing that made it weird was this story: Elder Villalba and I were walking on a street about 3 blocks from our apartment on Wed. night. A woman in a taxi came up and said: "Someone committed or was trying to commit suicide over there!" (I didn´t understand this though). Elder Villalba said, "oh. okay we´ll go see what´s up." (Because he thought someone had already died.) We walked quickly about half a block then he started to run. I still didn´t see anything, but then I noticed a silhouette of a person hanging from a TREE next to the street! It was right in front of a member´s house! I ran and started clapping in front of the members house to get them to come out. Elder Villalba lifted the guy up so he could breath again. (he hadn´t died.) I clapped so much until someone came out. A crowed formed around the street. It was a crazy scene. The kid was about 17 years old. When he finally came to, he just screamed several times : "Why did you save me?! WHY?? I wanted to die!" Everyone in the neighborhood was all around us and then suddenly, he gained more strength, got up, and took off running down the street into the dark. Nobody knew where he went. I felt very sick after and shaken up, and decided I can´t be a doctor or police officer. Now every time we pass that street or that tree, there´s a strange memory, or feeling there. I don´t like it." As a mom, I can only say that I was horrified, on so many levels, by this news. So many emotions and questions. First, why would my son witness something like this. Two, what had pushed this poor young man not just to think about killing himself, but that he actually tried. The fact that they were able to save this poor young man. I pray that this person sees this event as a sign. That God wants him to live. I pray that he finds his purpose in life. I pray that my son and his companion won't have nightmares about this. I pray.

11 September 2011

a funny thing happened on the way to the doctor...

I finally had surgery on my wrist. I was surprisingly calm while I was being prepped for surgery. All went well. The doctor repaired torn ligaments and cut a section of tendon that was apparently spent. He decided that my radius would stay intact because the injury wasn't near the bone and didn't feel it was exacerbating the problem, which is wonderful because that was supposed to be the worst part of the surgery.
Isn't this a lovely picture my mom took?? It is in the recovery room... she told me I looked great... She lied!

As I was home recovering, Bobby had an appointment with his chiropractor down the street from our house. He had dropped Aalyia off at school, which is why he was driving; he usually walks.
During the appointment, he heard a loud sound outside. Turns out that a young man driving home from work fell asleep at the wheel and drove straight into Gage's car!!!
Bobby has been using it while Gage is in Paraguay. The car was pushed from it's spot in front of the office, into a tree, then into a truck that had been in front of the car about 15 feet away.

Gage's car is on the right... It was originally parked by the tree on the far left of the picture. Yes, it was sitting in the road. Can you imagine what would have happened to Bobby had he been in the car or getting into it???

I am so sad for Gage. He told me he felt that with the latest string of natural disasters and bad weather, he wasn't sure what would be left of Springfield. Hmmmm....
I know he'll be happy to hear his father's okay, but what a crummy thing to happen:(
We joked about selling the car before he came home (like in the RM), but of course, it was a joke. Not so funny, huh?
Something good will come out of this, God is good:)

04 September 2011

For Sale

I love furniture! It took 5 years after we moved into our home before I was able to start purchasing furniture I really wanted. My style is very eclectic. I enjoy and decorate with a little bit of everything. I have flea markets finds, yard sale stuff, and things from beautiful furniture stores;) I also love all different types of fabrics and patterns, toile being my absolute favorite:) I have to say that my most favorite pieces are ones that have been gifts or was able to pick up for free!!

I have some items below that I, sadly, must part with. Why?? Because the rooms in my home are small and I have furniture that is just too big... or too much of it in one space. I plan to put these on Craigslist, but I thought I would put them here so I could have a journal of it as well!

The first piece is a Bradington Young leather recliner. It is espresso in color and is just too big for our front room. I purchased it for Bobby at CJ Sprong for Father's Day one year and dang if that thing didn't look nearly as big in the showroom as it did when we tried to get it through the front door. It is in excellent condition and a great quality piece...

The second piece is a settee, a fancy word for sofa. It doesn't have a pedigree like the first piece, but it is still nice just the same! The color is red with hints of sage in the plaid pattern. It seats two people and is in excellent condition. I purchased this at Country Squire Furniture. Sadly, they are no longer in business.

The last piece, (for now...), is an old fashioned telephone table. I purchased this at Brimfield Antiques show and used it in my daughter's bedroom for about two years. It is painted in white flat paint and it now sits at the end of my hallway waiting for a new home.

Wish me luck!!!!!!!!!!!

28 August 2011

After 6 Years...

After 6 long years, Mercedes FINALLY gets her braces off!!!!!!!!!
What a smile. We appreciate all Dr. Yanni has done for Mercedes, especially in the last couple of months... but we won't go into that;)
I am proud to say that Mercedes will flash that $12,000 smile on command. She should, she has my convertible in her mouth...

02 August 2011

International Bridge in Paraguay

This is Gage's view from his apartment!!
I look at this picture and it feels surreal. It is Gage standing in front of the International Bridge that connects Paraguay to Argentina. You may be wondering why he is holding a cut out of a lady...
Are you familiar with Flat Stanley?? Well, this is Flat Janice;) His orthodontist, Dr. Janice Yanni, is holding a contest and I'd thought it would be fun to have Gage take a picture to send back. He is a former patient of hers and she did a fabulous job with his smile.
So here is my dutiful son looking like, "Okay, mom! Here's your picture;is it okay??"
He's so sweet!!
Thanks Gage! Keep up the good work. We are so proud of you!!!!

23 July 2011

Suffield, CT Concert

As I've mentioned before, Roci is part of a group called The AT express. She's been with the group for over a year and enjoys it. I don't enjoy all the running around involved, BUT I love to watch her and her friends perform!! They have so much fun and sound great together. It has been a wonderful opportunity for her and Dan Kehoe is one of the most generous people I've ever met. He is responsible for forming the group and has been extremely supportive of them.
Todd Madison is responsible for the photos below:

Parade float

Roci performs 'Lean on Me'

A tribute to the Armed Forces. Roci represents the Marines... of course;)

If you look close, (but please! not too close!), You will see myself and my sister-in-law Joanne on that stage!! Yikes! We were picked to help sing Cher's Shoop shoop song... Oh my!


By the way, before I continue, I would like to say that our potential disaster was averted. God did hear our prayers of desperation and had mercy on us! I will just say that it had something to do with being potentially unemployed. We are one of the many American families that live paycheck to paycheck:(
I believe that this was a wake up call for us to get our finances in order and take control. We have been debt free before and it is a liberating feeling. I am ready to experience that again!
God IS good.

On a lighter note, here are some picture updates for July:

Rocquel turned 12 on the 15th of July and can now attend the Young Women's program! That leaves my little Aalyia in primary. It is only a matter of time before I have her picture here:(

Rocquel, with Bella and Isabella, make up the AT express. They are getting ready to perform at an outdoor concert in Suffield, CT. Aren't they beautiful??

Jenn Baird and her daughters joined us for the festivities,

This is at the Yellow Sofa in Northampton. They actually had a yellow sofa!! You can't really see it in this photo but it was YELLOW. Noel arranged for us, and our friend Janine from Cali, to hear Calvin Betancourt perform. I enjoyed the concert. He had a very calming voice. I, being one who can't carry a tune, am very envious of those who can!

18 July 2011


(I learn from my mistakes... most times. I decided to look for someone else's not-so-great picture to post on this entry. The last time I posted a not-so-flattering picture of myself it ended up being one of my most seen entries! Not so great.)

Why do I need a picture of a frustrated person?? It is how I have been feeling for a few days. You see, there is something personal I am going through and although I'm not at liberty to talk about it now, it is very stressful!!

I know that there are lessons to be learned from trials, but it is so hard to think about that during the trial and even harder for me to remain faithful and optimistic. I always feel like this will be the time that God decides not to help or comfort because He sees how often I screw up. He'll think, "oh well... too bad. Can't keep bailing you out. Tsk, tsk."
I know that fear is the total opposite of faith. I get it, but it is difficult to understand that God loves me no matter what and even bigger, that Christ's attonement works even for me. Every time I ask. Every time?? Really?? Hmmm... I'm feeling a lot like Peter when he denied Jesus. And Peter walked with Him and witnessed miracles first hand! And yet, he went on to become a powerful apostle.
To fear and doubt is to deny Christ. That is why Peter denied Him, because he was scared. And here I am doing the same thing, "Who Him?? Uhh, I don't know Him. He won't help me. I'm a screw up."

But then, I read a scripture that says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrightousness."
Or this one, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Or this biggie," For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
I think I'm feeling a little better... for the moment;) I think I'll have some yummy birthday cake that an angel friend made for me with some coconut milk ice cream that another angel friend gave me!! That will help remind me that God is full of love and mercy;)
Some prayers thrown our way would be much appreciated as well... Thanks for listening.
God IS good.

11 July 2011

Life is just a bowl of cherries..

What the heck does that saying mean anyway??? I love the E.G. Daily version of the song, but what does it mean? Soft on the outside, hard on the inside? Sweet and sour? Oddly shaped, but pretty color? I know the idiom means that life is carefree, but really, are cherries carefree?? Why not pineapples or nectarines? Just one of those things I think about that NO ONE cares about, but I can't help. In moments of poor judgement, I share them on my blog:)

I am in awe when my kids say we never do anything! Look at these pictures. Are they proof of being lazy and doing nothing?? I ask you? Really?

Roci's 12th birthday...

Aalyia's baptism

Enjoying the pool with friends on the 4th of July
participating in Melany's quince

celebrating Amanda's birthday

Strawberry picking for Family night

Visiting with family

Aalyia enjoying her birthday present... her brand new bike!
Waiting for her birthday breakfast...
Celebrating Seminary graduation... yes, that is Brother Bird