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A Police Officer’s Wife

A tragedy has befallen our local community.  Sgt. Cory Wride of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office was killed in the line of duty.  A routine stop to help a motorist in need.  Something done every day, a kind act, resulted in the loss of his life.  It breaks my heart for his family, and it terrifies me.

I have sat today, glued to the television waiting for every update.  Wanting someone to say, this is isolated and it will never happen again.  But it does, over and over again.  Officers responding to a call, trying to keep the public safe, are all but safe themselves.  Every stop a risk, every call a game of roulette.

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I am an officer’s wife.  I am not noble.  I do not give my life to the service of others every day.  I do not vow to work any hour needed to protect and to serve.  No I do not do that, but, my husband, he does do that and so much more every single day.

I have not been an officer’s wife for very long.  My husband just joined the force a couple of years ago.  I was somewhat un-supportive of the decision at first.  This was a big change for our family and I was nervous, but I came around so my husband could follow his dream, and I am so glad that I did. He was made to be a cop.  He is protective, supportive, kind, caring, and most of all he cares about the community as a whole.  He wears his uniform with pride and class.  I am very proud of him.  I know when he goes to work every day that he is doing something that he loves and something that really matters.  He is an amazing example to our children, and I am proud of him.

I am also fearful.  He is not in the most dangerous department in the country.  It is not common that he will be in a high risk situations, and he is probably in one of the most community supported departments in the state.  This is good.

However,  this is also bad, very bad, because high risk is not always common, the level of protection may not always be there to keep my husband safe.  I know my husband is good and takes precautions just Like Sgt. Wride, but, he may be the only one to respond to an all too common, driver in need of assistance too.  I worry about him and those that he works with.

Every day our officers put their lives on the line.  They do it willingly, it is a part of the job. They are the first called when something goes wrong, the first to respond to an accident, and the first to walk into dangerous situations to the protect the lives of citizens of their community. Every day they go to work knowing there is risk.  They are amazing individuals. I respect them.

I also have great respect for Sgt. Wride’s wife and family. I cannot even understand what they are going through at this difficult time, but I am sure there is a lot of anger.  Anger at the man who killed their loved one, their hero.  Anger at the job for not keeping him safe-it isn’t supposed to happen this way.  Anger for all the missed moments while their husband was working swing, then grave, then day, then weekend, then weekday….so that their schedules made it difficult to spend quality time together.  Anger.   I am also sure that there will be a lot of pride coming soon.  Pride for the man who gave all to others.  Pride for the sacrifice that each one of them made so that he could save the lives that there is no doubt that he did.  Pride for the man that showed all of us what humanity looks like.

To all the police officers and their families….Thank you!  Trust me, I know it can be hard, but it matters…and it is appreciated.

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My Ten Moods, Oh, and Then There Is Me

It has been said that women are moody, inconsistent, and certainly hard to read.  I have taken classes and read many books on the differences between men and women.  I have seen countless ideas and suggestions on how to better communicate and improve relationships.  Much of them, I have found to be useful.  Why is it then, that we as women are built this way?   Why am I so moody?  Why can’t I just make up my mind and stick with it?

I think I figured it out, well maybe…

The decision to be a stay at home mom was a very difficult one for me.  I loved my job.  I loved the people that I worked with and I loved challenging myself.  I loved my children more.  I found myself at work, wanting to be home.  Needing to see their faces and know what they were doing.  I felt displaced.  So, my husband and I decided to take the jump and this is where I found that moodiness, can actually be a gift, dare I say, my survival. Luckily for me, he supports and understands me-no matter what.

Within a day I have found myself trying to walk just four steps across the kitchen, but failing to do so because of the small paperweight perfectly placed between my legs wrapping his chubby little meat clamps around my thighs.  I have had to end a telephone conversation due to incessant crying of a tired baby or the ever present full fist shoved carelessly in my mouth(and down my shirt).  I have had to peak out of the shower to put shoes on a doll, and been woken up 13 (+) times in one night because of a scary dream about a skeleton.  I need a break.  I need some time to myself.  My husband offers that I go and do, and how do I respond…”It’s okay.”  Why?  Because even though I am about to pull the hair right out of my head, I love these sidekicks so much that even when I am away for just 2 minutes, the silence about chokes me.

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I lost a dear friend recently.  It made me sad for him, but the thing about loss, it also brings back every other loss that you have had and I couldn’t help but think of my mom.  I miss her so much.  The news came in the middle of the day.  Just me and the sidekicks at home.  I shed some tears and was encouraged by my sidekick number 1.  She sings a pretty good “be happy” song, and then hands me a Barbie to play.  I’m breaking on the inside, but this sweet little angelic soul just makes me the happiest mom in the whole world and I am overwhelmed with being blessed too. I feel them both, at the same time, and equally.

Cleaning the house often consists of  sweep, sweep, “stay away from the doggie door,” sweep sweep, “oh no, not another spilled cup -stay off of the counters,” sweep sweep and so I find that at the end of the day, I am proud that I was able to sweep the whole floor, (even if the first half probably needs to be done again).  It is an accomplishment.  Go me!  I had a shower, I swept the floor, and the kids are alive-I am the best mom in the whole wide world!!  (someday’s that’s about it).  Compare that to my previous job where I was accomplished, awarded, successful, and really felt that I mattered everyday.  I may not even remember some of the techniques I once used when I finally return to work outside of the house.  I traded all that for my sweeping success?  Yes, yes I did, and I would do it all over again for those sweet smiles and “I love you”‘s, but I still miss it and sometimes want that too.

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I have to be moody, because I am full of emotions.  100 different emotions battling inside me at any given moment.  I need this ability.  I need to be able to feel everything or I am afraid I would crumble.  This is the gift of a woman.  The gift of a mother.  It is the reason that I am able to hold a crying baby in the middle of the night, covered in puke or diarrhea and think-“Thank you, God, for this blessing that is mine.”  It is the only way that I spend 24 hours in a day in only the company of two sidekicks under 5 and say, “Please, bless them with safety that I can do this all over again tomorrow.”  It’s the only way I can get up on only 4 hours of sleep and still smile and say, “Where’s my kiss princess, and I love my little man,” and mean it.

I have to be moody.  I have to change my mind, because I am choosing someone else (my family) over my needs, and I want to, but sometimes it is a battle.   By choosing their needs, they become mine.  I am changing.  I am so much more now, because of them and the choices I have made.  If I didn’t have the ability to do this, inside of me, pre-wired, I wonder if I would have been able to make these decisions.  Would I be good at this new job?

All at the same time: I want them to grow to be respectful, kind, and happy, but I want them to stay my tiny little kids too.  I want them to learn to sleep through the night on their own, but I want them to still run to me when they have a nightmare.  I want to take a weekend and get some peace and quiet, but I don’t want to miss a single important thing-like tucking them in at night. I want to read my own book, but I also want to see their faces when I tell them a story about a Llama. I want to still learn and grow and achieve, but I want to be the one to see them reach their next milestone. I am battling every day.

I am embracing my gifts and talents in very unique ways.  I am seeing how things that once were a hindrance can play a role in my life.  I am realizing more every day, as I watch the perfect souls of my children, how we are made, just…..as……we…..should…..be.  I AM WOMAN (WO-MOM), HEAR ME ROAR!

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Medora

I haven’t read a Zombie book in a long time, since I finished the Forest of Hands and Teeth Series, which I loved. But Nerf recently released a group of weapons specifically for the hunting of Zombies, so I decided it was due time to read another one, so I selected Medora by Wick Welker.

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There is an art to writing a book about Zombies.  A high level of intensity must be kept throughout the entire account. I think this is what leads to a very specific personality of the  Zombie book lover.  If you love this type of book, like I do,  Medora will not disappoint!

In Medora, you are introduced to a group of individuals that will stick with you. Keith and his family and friends are the typical American family which all of us can relate to, but the circumstances in this book make me want to stock my vehicle with food and supplies so I can run at the drop of a hat.  It also made me very wishful for more antennas on top of buildings and grateful for all those silly neighbors that leave their Christmas decorations up all year round.  Medora is creative and inventive bringing new thoughts and ideas to some very old, and often hated concepts of life.   I promise not to spoil.

If you love Zombies-you will love Medora, but be prepared to double check your neighbors eyes (and smell), when they tell you they are feeling a little under the weather.

You can find Medora here: http://www.amazon.com/Medora-Zombie-Novel-Wick-Welker-ebook/dp/B00HGMQKZE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1390410654&sr=8-2&keywords=Medora#

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Remembering Who We Are

One of my very cute cousins inspired me today. She is darling, with an infectious laugh and tons of personality.  She also loves dragons-so what’s not to love about this lady.  Ms. Dragoness herself recently completed this beautiful work of Art.

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Isn’t it Lovely!

So is she, and whats so great about this painting is that she just decided to start doing it again.  I for one am so very glad that she did.  Like me, she remembered something that she once loved doing.  She got so busy working and being a totally amazing mom, that she forgot to make time to keep her art alive.

It was so hard for me to get out there.  Hard for me to say, I wrote this, and I hope to get it published one day.  What if I don’t.  What if I told all of these people about something I wanted to do, and I fail?  I worry about this all the time,  but thanks to Ms. Dragoness, I am reminded that I am writing because I love it.  It was something that mattered to me once, and still does.  It has become an outlet for me in so many ways.  I have also been able to meet great people and even make attempts to open some doors for others in the process.  Maybe, even if I don’t get where I want to go with my writing, there is something more in store for me.

Ms. Dragoness, you are an example to me.  Reminding me that we always need to find time to do the things we love, to share our inner creativity.  I challenge each one of you to remember something that you …once loved to do, that you haven’t done in a while: sports, writing, reading, painting, or music…anything… just see how it makes you feel.  Let me know how it goes!  I hope you find that it is just as much fun as you remember it being.

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Plugging In

There are so many posts and so many articles on the use of the “handheld computers” we so love and how they make us miss out on life-that really, just make me feel crummy.  I myself recently was informed, “No texting while playing Barbies.” Touche little one, this is not the proper way to train a sidekick.   Along with my other many shortcomings, my phone may be one of them.  I am also, though, trying to find the good in all things, or maybe just justifying my actions.  I loose my phone at least ten times a day, I know this, because I am looking for it.  Why then do I still have it, well it is just this.

It’s a connection that I have to world.

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I just moved to a new place.  I don’t live near my family or friends (but working at making some new ones), and I am not employed out of the home.  I love my sidekicks.  They are my whole world, but sometimes I need a little something more. I need to keep learning and growing too, so I look to others in my life for that.  I need inspiration and motivation and I have many people in my life that help provide that for me.  I think I am pretty good at face to face conversation and can still hold my own.  I am not out at lunch in a restaurant, ignoring my family while on my phone, but I realize that I have learned new skills and new conversation options by “plugging in”. Again-a belief in all things in ration.

With my business background I understand the importance of global conversation and how the world is changing-technology skills are important too.  Historically, I talked with extended family, once a year at our family reunion, but now, I get to see new babies, and new jobs with the click of a button.

So I agree to disagree a little here, I will put down my phone while playing barbies, but I will probably check in on people a couple of times a day, because being honest with myself about my limitations makes me feel better.  I don’t feel like a failure if I set realistic expectations.  By not comparing myself to others and just doing the best I can everyday I think I will grow, and hopefully get better at this training thing. Maybe this post should really be about self expectations, and not my phone, but I digress.

(I sure hope my phone and I don’t get struck by lightning–okay, not really but I thought this picture was neat)

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photo by: David Blaikie

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First Guest Post

I contributed to my first blog, other than my own the other day.  The post is located at:

http://hebervalleywriters.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/more-than-a-book/

Go check out this blog and all of the great writers!

More Than A Book

                When an author says, “Hey, buy my book!” What they are really saying is, “Hey, please support me so I can keep doing what I love!”  After all, what you are buying is more than just a book.  Yes, you will take it home and read it, and it may be only that to you, but to the author you support through your purchase, it is so much more.

Authors are artists in their own way.  Just as paint is carefully placed onto a piece of stretched canvas, each word that an author places into their story, represents something to them.  Words placed in such a way, to make everything make sense, to make magic.  Countless hours are consumed in crafting of the perfect story, representing something beautiful they see in their own mind.

So when you purchase their book, their art, you are not just purchasing a group of pages to be placed on a shelf, you are purchasing their time.  You are buying their energy, their joy and all of the sacrifice that went into creating that story.  You are buying an opportunity for them to continue to do something that they love.

Next time an author says, “Hey, buy my book!”  Show them you support them, and believe in them and that most of all, you want to see their joy.

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                For those of you who don’t read, buy the book anyway, it would be unfortunate if all of the trees surrendered for the writing of a novel had sacrificed their lives for nothing.  If you don’t do it for the art of it, buy books for the Trees!

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A Quarter and a Penny in my Pocket

In the past three years, I don’t think I have passed a fountain without being asked if I had any money we could toss in for a wish, equally, I am pretty sure not a single gumball machine hasn’t been coveted by small eyes.  When possible, we stop for a wish and a bubble, often we are just too busy or I don’t have the required tokens.

I am trying to embrace life, knowing that time is so short, and it is still Ja”nu”ary.  I am also trying to improve my posture (or at least my overall well being) by reducing some of the stress and tension I carry in my shoulders about life.  I can’t think of a better way than throwing pennies in a fountain and blowing then popping bubble gum with my sidekicks.photo (8) Going forward, I will always carry in my pocket a penny and a quarter.  The touch will remind me to embrace life and just breathe!  I will always be ready for the next stipend that a wishing well requires, full of hope, patience, and just a little more calm.

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21 Steps-Chapter 1

The very first manuscript that I finished, I titled, 21 Steps.  It needs work, and I like to think that I have come a very long way.

Update: After planning to share the entire book here on the blog, I have been encouraged by a very wise woman, not to do so. She’s pretty smart, so I think I should listen-however, if you are interested in more, let me know!

21steps

Chapter 1

December 2008
Derrick Sterling sat on the edge of his bed in the middle of the night, knowing that tomorrow he would be in a jail cell and the view would be very different.  The light from the moon cast his shadow onto the floor below him.  His hands, with their long fingers and bluntly cut fingernails, were shaking as he made the loops with the dark gray shoelaces of his running shoes.  He was angry at himself and scared thinking of what had just taken place.  A single tear fell from his left eye and onto his cheek. He quickly wiped it away with his hand.  He knew what he needed to do and nothing was going to stop him this time.  He quietly exited his room and started down the stairs.  He nearly tripped and fell as he stepped over the one step that creaked and nearly missed the step below.  He caught himself against the wall where his elbow banged into the railing that sent a painful sensation up his arm.  He stood quietly hoping that it didn’t wake up his two sleeping sons or his parents who were staying in the nearby guest bedroom, from out of town.  He continued walking to the front door where he stopped and took a deep breath, then let it out, he repeated this over and over. All of the familiar scents of this place filled his nose.  He turned to take one last look at the place that he called home, thinking to himself that he may never see it again.  He took one more deep breath and turned to open the door.

As he opened the door a wave of cool winter air filled the room.  Derrick stepped out into the cold, descended his front steps and then began his journey down the cracked sidewalk, singing in his head “step on a crack and you’ll break your mothers’ back” out of habit, and he placed his left foot right on the center of a large vertical crack in the cement.  He could feel the frozen humidity as it bounced off his nose and teeth.  He was clothed in a worn out black t-shirt, jeans with a hole in the left knee, and pair of running shoes, but even with the frigid temperature he didn’t feel cold.  His eyes were open but his vision was blurred by the tears. He walked along the sidewalk moving away from his home toward the center of town. He couldn’t focus, he felt like he never would be able to again.  He passed a small Gas ‘n’ Go station on the corner of the street and could hear a couple arguing in their car parked by the pump.  The street light was bright as he passed underneath it and he focused on his shadow.  He noticed how dark it was, and how lifeless it seemed.  He thought to himself maybe that was what his soul looked like too, dark and lifeless.  He pushed the thumb nail on his left hand into his index finger just to see if he could feel it.  Maybe if he could just make it hurt enough it would take away the pain he felt inside.  But he pushed enough to break the skin, and he didn’t feel a thing.

He continued to walk, placing one unfocused and clumsy foot in front of the other, looking up at the moon that was a small sliver of light in the constant dark sky.  He couldn’t see very many stars out tonight, so he again focused on the darkness, thinking that maybe it might represent something.  He tripped on a crack in the sidewalk, he tried to steady himself, but fell to his hands and knees.  He tore the knee of his jeans further open, and made a small cut that ran a drip of dark red blood down his leg, but he couldn’t feel it, so he pushed himself up and just kept walking.  He just needed something, wanted something that could make him feel normal again.  Something that could help him sleep at night, help him to trust other people and to trust in himself. He wanted to feel like a normal person, he wanted to be anybody but Derrick Sterling.

He thought back to the last time that he had truly felt happy.  It was in the summer time and he and his family had left town to go camping and fishing.  He and his wife had loaded their two sons into the back seat of their brown station wagon that his mother had given to them after they got married. With his hands on the wheel they had driven over two hours, up the mountain.  His wife sat in the passenger seat her long brown hair covering her shoulders.  She looked so small with her big dark eyes set deeply into her face.  If you didn’t know her, you would think her eyes always looked a little sad, but that’s just how they were and Derrick knew that, and loved that about her.

Their two boys were in the buckled tightly in the back seat of the car.  The baby was sleeping.  His head was rolled to the side and a small drip of drool was running down his check.  His other son was four years old at the time playing with a small blue truck in his lap, using his legs as roads and opening the doors and closing them again.  He was wearing a blue hat with a green truck on the front and his brown curly hair poked out in all directions under the bottom.  He had big dark eyes like his mothers, and they often looked at Derrick like he was the coolest person in the world.  They played games in the car, sang, and his wife read to them. They camped by a small river that cut through the mountains like a snake and when the sun reflected off the surface of the water it caused a sparkle like the surface was covered in diamonds. He remembered his son casting his red snoopy fishing pole into the water and waiting.  He was so impatient at first and wanted to catch one so badly.  He kept asking Derrick if he was doing it right and what he could do to catch one.  After a few times though, and encouraged patience by his father, he brought out his first fish.  Derrick’s wife cheered from the side of the river.  She was holding their other son tightly in her arms and feeding him a bottle.   At that moment he was truly happy, he felt normal, and felt that he had everything.

He snapped back to reality leaving the happy dream behind, and realized that he was not happy, he was not normal and that he needed help.  Picking up his feet again from where they had stopped he continued to walk through the town.  He had to shield his eyes with his hand as a car came down the road pointing their headlights right at him.  It passed by him but Derrick had to wait for his eyes to readjust to the darkness.  He continued on passing by the local grocery store, the clothing store, the pawn shop, and the bakery outlet.  He could see his destination up ahead and he continued to move forward putting one running shoe in front of the other.

The building stood like a castle against the dark sky.  It was white and tall with a domed ceiling and a large staircase escalating up to the front doors.  He took a forced deep breath again and then another one. Derrick began to climb the steps, he could feel his heart racing in his chest and he thought to himself that this was the first time he had been able to feel in so long.  He reached the top of the steps and stopped to stare at the large wood doors before him.  The glass window in the door read “Hanover City Police.” He reached out his hand to the large brass handle.  The handle was cold against his hand and he almost pulled away, but he didn’t.  He knew what he had to do.  He repositioned his hand and pulled open the door.

A wave of warm air passed over him as he stepped into the room.  It was a small entry room that led into a long hall.  There was a small plant in the corner that was turning brown on the end of the leaves and curling over.  Step 1: He moved forward walking on the concrete floor toward the end of the hall.  He could hear his footsteps bouncing off of the walls as he stepped 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…  He could hear his breath slow and deep and could feel the pounding of his heart. For a brief moment,  step 15,  he stopped terrified at the decision he was making.  He wasn’t sure if this was what he should do.  He wasn’t sure if it would really change anything.  He looked back at the door and thought of the reason that he had come.  He thought of his two boys asleep, safe in their beds at home, and the life that they deserved.  He turned back around and continued to step.  He thought about placing one foot in front of the other, and nothing more.

At step 21, the end of the hall was a long desk with a bullet proof window separating the desk from the hallway.  Derrick looked at the desk to see a woman with gray hair pulled up in a bun.  She looked kind, like his grandma, with pudgy cheeks and soft hands.  She looked up at him and Derrick noticed that she had really deep blue eyes and nice teeth.

“Can I help you?” she said.

Derrick took a deep slow breath and looked her right in the eye, “I did it, I killed my wife” he said.

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That Which Shall… “selfie”… Not Be Said

In 2013, Selfie topped the list of Oxford’s word of the year. It also topped many a list of words “please oh please” don’t ever say in 2014.  With that in mind, and the focus on my writing works, I decided it was the perfect time to take an affirmation “selfie”.  So to share with you my new author “that which shall not be said” photo op!  Professionalism at it’s finest!  Now I just need a cover to place it in….Here’s to 2014!

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Finding Courage in the New Year

My family and I recently went to the movie Frozen.  As we left the movie theater my daughter ran in circles flinging her hands into the air as if she was Elsa and had the power to freeze things.  She was unaware of the gawking eyes that followed her every move.  I watched this angel in awe.

As you know, I want to publish a book.  I am already an author as I write and have completed manuscripts, but I want to actually have my book published.  I am afraid though.  Afraid of what people might think of me, and what they might feel.  What do they say about my writing in their own homes, I wonder.  This blog is the first step in the direction of losing my fear.  I sat with my mouse hovering over the post button the first time I shared something that I wrote and questioned my own abilities.  I thought of my mini Elsa and clicked the button.

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Now, I hate to admit, it is still not easy. I am still fearful of what others think. I wish it were not this way and I wonder how this is happens.  My young daughter loves to sing.  She loves to share her art and creativity with the world.  She is so confident in her abilities that she once asked me, “Mom, do you think Jewel is mad at me?”  I asked her what she meant by that, to which she responded, “Well, I can sing better than her, but she is pretty good too.”  Will she loose this too?  Did I once love sharing my words?

So in my New Year I will make a resolution to find my courage.  The courage to believe in myself.  To find joy in my own art and to share it with the world, no matter what they might think.  I may never reach the place where I wonder if Lisa Gardner is mad at me, but I sure hope I can overcome the point where I wonder if others will like me.

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