Life is Great in Mesa Arizona

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Starting a new year . . .

Out with the old . . . in the with new. Are you thinking New Year's resolutions like I am? I have been doing a lot of contemplating and soul searching about those things I want to continue to improve on, those things I want to change, and those new things I would like to work on this year. I am grateful for this new year and the opportunity it gives me to look at my life in future and in retrospect, and to do a personal inventory about where I am, where I have been, and where I want to be going.
Life is a series of ups and downs, highs and lows, happy and sad, and good and bad days. I have learned that we can't appreciate the good days without experiencing a few bad ones along the way. One of my favorite quotes has always been: "We don't have problems, only challenges and opportunities". I truly believe that the perspective with which we live our lives helps us to navigate and manifest the outcome. Sometimes it feels like we are rowing against the tide, but just think about the strength we gain when we continue to row and fight and work hard to accomplish our goals.
It's not easy accepting that we have weaknesses or that there are things we need to change. It takes a lot of courage to look ourselves in the mirror and be honest in making a list of resolutions or goals. But there is great satisfaction in doing that, and in setting out on a task to make change or to improve upon the positives in our lives. AND, it doesn't have to be a January thing . . . it should be an ongoing evaluation and introspective review. If we wait a year to evaluate how we have done or how we are doing, we will probably lose sight of the goal and not accomplish as much as we could have.
I most want to strengthen my spiritual self so that I am prepared to meet life's challenges and handle them with my emotional and physical self. It takes physical, emotional, and spiritual energy to live in the world today. My goal is to keep life in an "eternal perspective", to live my life in a manner that will bring me peace and help me work towards the ultimate goal of perfection. That probably sounds a little self-serving or maybe even overwhelming, but that is my goal. To work with my creator to make of myself all that I can be, and all that I am meant to be.
So . . . some of my goals will be very personal, and some of my goals will be family related. Some of my goals will deal with work, and some of my goals will be more task oriented . . . BUT, the ultimate purpose of all of these goals will be to help me become the person I want to be. We are all a "work in progress" and what a wonderful work we can all become!
Happy New Year! I know that my life will be great this year in Mesa, Arizona. And may it be great in your part of the world, too!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas . . .

Just wanted to share a few pictures from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day . . . we had fun decorating plates, creating a Christmas tree village, eating, playing, and opening gifts. We missed our Utah cousins who were not able to be with us this year. We spent a great weekend with them over Thanksgiving, but it just isn't the same without everyone at home to share the magic of the season! We did talk to them on the phone and I am going to visit for a long weekend in January.

Traditions play an important part of our holidays . . . here are just a few of our favorites:

. Homemade chili
. Homemade soup
. Decorating plates for Santa to leave our goodies on
. Creating a Christmas tree village out of ice cream cones
. Making reindeer food to sprinkle on the front lawn before we go to bed
. Hot chocolate with whipping cream
. Christmas breakfast with heart shaped waffles & cheesy potatoes
. Tamales, homemade rice, and guacamole
. Quarters in the toes of our stockings
. Watching movies-we went to see "Night at the Museum" & laughed a lot
. Opening presents one at a time - starting with the youngest to oldest
. Staying in PJ's all day long
. Taking naps
. Lil' smoky sausages on Christmas Eve
. Reading the Christmas story
. Listening to Christmas music
. Calling/visiting with family and friends
. Fried oysters - a favorite of Grandpa Wood's
. Afternoon naps
. Listening to the kids play concerts on the piano

I'm sure there may be a few others that I forgot . . . hope your day was a good as ours! Blessings and love to all from Mesa, Arizona.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Joy and Thanks!

JOY . . . because Christmas is just a few days away and THANKS because of the many things that bless and touch my life.

It is a perfect "stay-at-home" day with the colder weather, sprinkles of rain, and gifts to wrap. I have Christmas movies on, the tree lit, packages, paper and ribbon spread everywhere, and a grateful heart.

My dear daughter recently brought to my attention the need to stop and re-evaluate my priorities and to remember what is most precious to me. We have been so caught up in life . . . working and operating the store . . . running from one place to the next . . . and trying to keep some type of sanity at home. You can only burn the candle for so long before it burns out, and I am grateful for a wise daughter who has the courage to realize that fact and wants to do something about it. After all, when this life ends it won't be how many hours we worked, or how financially successful we were, or how stressed we let ourselves be that will matter. What is the final test is how well we lived our life, what values we treasured and kept, and what we did to bring love and hope and joy into the lives of others!

I know that we need to be responsible for meeting our earthly needs, i.e., food, shelter, etc., but ultimately we are accountable for our stewardship and what we did with our time and our talents and with the promises we made and kept. I am grateful for this time of year and the reminder that "Jesus is the reason for the season". I am also grateful for children who love me and care about me and help me be the best "Sandy" I can be!

Enjoy the holiday season. Take time to be with those you love and take time for yourself. Afterall, if we get burned out we won't be able to help those who need us most! Life continues to be GREAT in Mesa, Arizona.

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like . . .

Not that Christmas is only nine days away but, I finally put up some decorations and with the twinkling lights, the stockings, and the tree . . . it does feel and look a little bit more like the holidays! I must admit that it is an abbreviated version over past years, but my favorites are on display where all can enjoy them. I love my wooden tree. A friend of mine made it for me several years ago. The picture doesn't do it justice because you can't really see the angel or the pine cones or the holly berries or the sweet Baby Jesus in a manger. When the white twinkle lights are one, it really is a great tree! I collect bears, and snowmen, and Santa Clauses! Only a few of them get to share Christmas with me this year, but some of my most favorites are tucked around the fireplace.

We had our Devine Memories employee party last week and I just had to share a picture of Jenna . . . so proud of the "white elephant" gift that Amy (reluctantly) gave to her. We had a great time and laughed alot while we were stealing or coniving on how to get the presents we wanted.

I now have a "Personal Assistant" which is the most exciting thing I have accomplished this week. It is a Sprint Pocket PC 6700 and I am in love already. The "most bestest" part is the calendar function . . . I now know where I am going, where I need to be, and who or what I want to see! I spent last night putting in all of the phone numbers, adding dates to the calendar, and learning how to text message. My only question is WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG?

There is a fun "Make 'n Take" at the store tomorrow. I have two different samples to choose from. We are altering a star gift box that can be filled with candy, goodies, or other fun stuff. Stop by the store anytime between 2 and 4 p.m. Cost is only $7.50 for each gift box you make.

Hope everyone is feeling the holiday spirit. As for me, Life is Great in Mesa, Arizona!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Merrily all the way . . .

Why does life seem to get sooooo busy just before the holidays? I know there are the same number of hours in a day, the same number of days in the week, and the same number of weeks in the year, but for some reason I have lost some of them and am trying to play the catch-up game. The best thing I can do right now is keep rowing and singing and hope that you are doing the same!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Rusty Pickle F A M I L Y Album

Here's a quick peak at the F A M I L Y accordion album being taught this Saturday at the store. The talented design team for Rusty Pickle put this great class together and I am lucky enough to be teaching it. What a wonderful gift for parents or grandparents. There are a few spots left, so call Devine Memories and reserve your space.
As the week is almost over . . . at least the Monday through Friday part of it . . . I don't know where the time has gone. Can you believe it is less than three weeks until Christmas? I have most of my shopping done, but haven't put up any decorations yet or had a chance to get my cards put together and mailed out. I love this time of the year and the change in spirit it brings with it. I am enchanted by all of the twinkling lights and can spend hours driving around at night looking at all of the transformed houses. They look like MAGIC! Every day a few more houses are decorated and the neighborhood is turning into a fairyland. My ten year old neighbor stopped by to help me unload the car yesterday and volunteered to help put up my lights . . . he was amazed that I hadn't done that yet! I just need to take the time and do it.

The weather has turned warm again, and I was just getting ready to change over the closet and get out all of the sweaters, flannel jammies, and fleece blankets. The warm spell is not supposed to last . . . and I'm hoping it doesn't. Otherwise, I will have to turn down the air and pretend like it is cold outside. On that note, I'm off to bed in hopes of sugar plum fairies dancing in my head. Maybe they will give me a hint of what I will find under the tree on Christmas morning . . . if I ever get the tree out!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Homemade Soup!

There is nothing better than a pot of homemade soup. I made a pot of turkey rice soup this afternoon . . . the weather is just perfect for this type of venue. I love to make soup . . . and I love to share my creations with others. In fact, I have some people who call me to say that "they are sick" just to get a pot of my homemade soup! I know that Michelle has not been feeling well (I sent her home early yesterday from the late night crop) SO, I gave her a pot of my soup with a plate of buttermilk biscuits. That was a good thing because sharing always makes the pot taste better!

To make the night even more perfect, I had a fire in the fireplace while I was working on my class samples for this week. The F A M I L Y album created by "Rusty Pickle" is dang cute and with a few added embellishments, it is sure to make a great gift for any member of your family. You can see a partially finished sample on the Devine Memories website.

It was a wonderful Sunday. I was spiritually fed with sacrament meeting, sharing of testimonies, and lessons taught. A central theme was having the courage to do what you know is right! It's always good to have that gentle reminder to help put your life back into perspective. I am so grateful for this time of year and for the remembrance we have of the life of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The holiday season seems to calm the soul and bring the end of a year to full circle, ready to start again with the new year!

I went Christmas shopping a couple of nights ago. It was FUN! I have to admit that I did splurge a little on myself . . . some new clothes, shoes, music CD's, and other stuff. I found some really, really good hot chocolate mixes. Right now I am sipping on a cup of Mexican Chocolate . . . great chocolate taste with a hint of cinnamon. Again, the hot chocolate is another great companion to the homemade soup and the warmth of the fireplace. I even bought myself a new snowman mug!

From my perspective, LIFE IS GREAT IN MESA, ARIZONA! Have a wonderful week.