Project Elf

Project Elf! Cedar City Edition

“The Christmas Box International partners with local, national and international communities and groups to prevent child abuse and to improve the quality of life for children, teens and young adults who have been abused, neglected or are homeless.

Our motto is simple: every child deserves a childhood.”

I have been blessed to interact with Christmas Box International through volunteer work at The Christmas Box House. The Christmas Box House is a haven for children who, for one reason or another, have no other place to live in safety.

Reading bedtime stories to the children was my favorite activity. I spent time each week after dinner with a group of younger kids who were living there, and I was able to witness first hand the good that comes from the staff, children, and clients who make up The Christmas Box House.

This year, I am in Cedar City, away from the hub at which I first began to volunteer. I have maintained contact however, and it has come to my attention that there is a real need for additional new Christmas gifts for children/teens in foster homes in the Cedar City area.

Please join us in Project Elf!

We are partnering with the Foster Family Resource Room in Cedar on this project. Please contact me directly if you would like to help.

Here’s a “wish list” with ideas of gifts these children would really enjoy.

Santa ListSanta Page 2


Loving Yourself is Key

Loving Yourself is Key

I’ve come back from a terrible depression, and I’ve learned through several bouts of it, that I need medication regularly. If I stop taking it, I fall into the pit again. And I fall deeper, into a darker darkness than I have known before.

Loving yourself is key. Somehow, I have taken back seat to other causes in my life when I am my most important cause. I form the foundation for all of the things that I do, and when I don’t take care of myself, I can’t fulfill my passions or do anything else worthwhile for long. So, I’m learning (still) that when I prioritize my self-care, I am happier. I make stronger connections, and connections are my purpose. I’m able to care better about others. I’m able to help others too. As a matter of fact, I’m sharing this in hopes of helping others who may struggle with similar issues. Today is World Mental Health Awareness Day, and mental illness is something I know a little about.

Mental Illnesses are diseases. They are life threatening and scary, and treatable and always there. It was an enlightening moment when I realized that my depression is similar to my dad’s diabetes. He needs to take insulin for his body to function properly. I need to take medication in order for my mind to operate properly. It’s a simple enough concept, but we are far from fully embracing it.

I am lucky. I have a wonderful group of family and friends who support me, and love me… even when I don’t love myself. They carry me when I can’t move. I am thankful for their patience and care. I am alive today because of it. I am grateful that I’ve been able to find an amazing doctor, and that she cared enough to provide the services (through a grant) that I so desperately needed when I was out of a job and out of money. I was at the end of my rope.

Not everyone has what I have. Not everyone survives the battle. Suicide is the most preventable killer. It takes courage to speak up, speak out or just be there for someone, but conquering that fear just may save a life.

Awareness, education, and just talking about the issues makes all the difference in the world. I have loved, lived with, worked with and served people with many different types of mental illness. And the thing is, mental illness can be scary. The unknown is scary, BUT by talking about our illnesses or to others who have mental illness, we bridge that gap between the unknown and the known. The gap between fear and understanding.

We must educate ourselves, educate others, and decide what we must do to make things better.

Below are listed some links to websites that support mental health awareness, mental health care and the mental health cause. If you’re reading this, chances are, you have made a difference in my life. Chances are, you know someone with mental illness. Chances are, you can make a difference in the world.

I love you,


The National Alliance on Mental Illness

US Department of Health and Human Services on Mental Health

To Write Love on Her Arms & Always Keep Fighting

Project Semicolon

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Please share links – if you have them of sites that you’ve found helpful in the comments section.

Listen up! Lift Him Up, Old Crow Medicine Show


Workin’ 9 to 5

I love this song, but my favorite lyrics are:

They let you dream just to watch ’em shatter
You’re just a step on the boss man’s ladder
But you got dreams he’ll never take away

In the same boat with a lot of your friends
Waitin’ for the day your ship’ll come in
And the tide’s gonna turn
and it’s all gonna roll you away

Something about the hope. I always cling to it. This is my round about way of getting to writing about my new job. It took a few tries and a few false starts, but I think I’m where I want to be right now.

I’m working for one of the Housing Authorities in my area. I’ve only been working for two weeks and already, I feel right at home. It’s exactly where I have my experience and the people I work with are great.

I feel that tide turning…

If you’d like to watch the great music video from 1980, well… here you go!

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Moving Right Along

Yep. I’m moving again. This will be the 5th time in 8 months. Just a phase in my life. I’m the type who likes to grow roots. I like to stay in one spot for years at a time, so this past year has been an adventure for me.

I’m learning to travel light. I got rid of most of my larger possessions, lots of clothing, and odds and ends. Thanks to a few friends I have some valuables in storage. That doesn’t change the fact that I have to pack and box up everything I have with me… again. It’s a little stressful.

I’m getting better at organizing and separating and packing. My life has slowed down enough that I actually have time to prepare to move. On one of my several recent moves, my friends, family and I finished packing as we were moving. My job was sapping every last ounce of energy from me at the time. I’m learning more about what motivates me versus what causes me to procrastinate. So, yes, I’m moving right a long. And, as ever, I’m searching for the meaning – the lesson in all of this. Albert Einstein has a great way of putting life in perspective.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

— Albert Einstein

Balance is something I could use more of in my life. I tend to do a little swaying. With all of this moving, I have to be getting steadier, right?

Let’s just say I’m working on my balance.

Shut up and listen: Movin’ Right Along, The Muppet Movie

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A million things to see.

The Opportunity’s On!

We are always creating, whether we realize it or not. So why not create with purpose and joy?

Joy has been elusive. Seems like it’s just around the corner… every corner, and I never quite catch it.

I feel like I can value and enjoy a moment: a dinner with friends, a Saturday at the lake, karaoke, camping with family, writing with passion and purpose. I can capture that joy. It’s when I’m left alone to motivate myself, to decide what I want to create, that things get overwhelming. I sometimes have no desire to even get out of bed. Why move? Why live?

That brings me back to those moments, the ones I share, in love, with others. It’s that love that brings me joy, basking in the diversity that only together we exude.

I can sense myself coming to a conclusion, but I resist. I don’t want to be cliché. I don’t want to admit that I need to learn what so many have learned before.

I need to be me and continue to grow, continue to care for myself and learn, progress. Why do I hate these words?

Maybe I feel like I’ve failed. Maybe I have tried enough and never achieved. Maybe. But then there’s hope…

Advice (that I need to take) put to music: If you want to sing out, sing out, Cat Stevens aka Yusuf Islam

When the Work is Done

Goodbye, So Long, The Road Calls Me Dear

“Tonight, as I walked alongside the evening sun, the road fell away, and the light revealed more land, and the land invited me to leave all else behind, like dust, scattered amongst the weeds. So I did. And it was suddenly beautifully effortless to breathe.”
Victoria Erickson

For some this may be an early goodbye, for some it may be late. It is a change in direction, nonetheless. It is a time of endings and of new beginnings. Friends and family are moving far away… and some are not so far away. Some are starting families. Some have new careers. Some are traveling the countryside. Some are traveling the world. We are living on our terms, building our dreams, and taking in the world a day at a time. What this boils down to is change, BIG CHANGE.

It has been coming for some time now. One change at a time until a culminating of many people shifting at once. Some of the change I took in stride, and some of it broke my heart. I cried, struggled, said it was okay, did nothing, buried my head in the sand, felt a little peace, dug my heels in, then finally let go. I didn’t realize that I was holding on so tight until I let go… And it was suddenly beautifully effortless to breathe.

These relationships we have built together will not go away. The struggles we’ve faced together have strengthened us and helped us to grow. The joy we’ve shared has bonded our souls. We have flourished as we have learned from one another. United, we are amazing, but it’s time to grow. It’s time for change. It’s time for saying goodbye. We’ll meet again and it will be beautiful and right and better than what we have now. Until then:

Wishing you always…
Walls for the wind,
A roof for the rain,
And tea beside the fire.
Laughter to cheer you,
Those you love near you,
And all that your heart may desire.

With love,


Just Listen: Old Shoes & Picture Postcards, Tom Waits

15 things I've never told you part 2

15 Things I’ve Never Said to You (Part 2, nine years later)

I used this writing prompt 9 years ago on this blog. I liked it so much that I’ve decided to do it again.

TRY THIS: Write fifteen statements about fifteen different people without saying who each statement is written about. They can either be things you wish that you could say, things you wish that you would have said, or things that you would never say.

  1. Despite my unconditional love for you, you keep me at a distance and make me feel judged. I long for a closeness that you just might never be capable of.
  2. I don’t tell you everything because I value your feelings more than the truth. I value your friendship above others because you are loyal, true, you give me insight when I need it, and you bring out the best in me. Thank you.
  3. You sometimes belittle me and make me feel intellectually disabled, and that hurts my feelings. You used to make me feel smart.
  4. I love you, but I’m incredibly frustrated with you. I mourn the friendship that we once had. I accept you. Can you bring yourself to accept me as I am?
  5. You’re super annoying when you’re drunk… or maybe you’re just super annoying when you’re drunk and I’m not. :p
  6. We could have our happily ever after together. Consider the possibilities.
  7. I love you in spite of our differences. I love you because of our differences. I’m sorry if I stress you out.
  8. I wanna have your baby.
  9. Thank you for accepting me and making me feel at home. I know it’s not as easy as it looks.
  10. I’ve known you for a long time. You are interesting, smart… and a smart ass. I find myself strangely attracted to you. For some reason, I never considered you an option. Maybe I thought that the feeling wasn’t mutual when you were available. Are you available now? Wanna go out?
  11. You did wrong. You hurt me deeply. I struggle with resentment against you to this day. I want to freely say that I wish you and your family the best. I do wish you the best. Wishing it without having to convince myself? Still working on that.
  12. Thank you for facilitating one of the best phases of my life. Together we experienced the perfect combination of factors to work with passion, create lasting friendships, help numerous people in need, and learn about what it takes to joyfully succeed.
  13. Please don’t judge me based on what I consider the lowest point in my life. I’m not lazy or inconsiderate. I was just trying to survive.
  14. When I told you that I just liked the attention, what I should have said was this, “I loved you as much as I could love any boy back then. I remember that I didn’t want to take boys too seriously because we were so young, and I knew nothing was long term back then. I did however, love to flirt!”
  15. Don’t hold back. Don’t hold on. Don’t stay where you are because you’re comfortable. You deserve the best even if that means leaving something good behind. (Because we both know the resentment is building.)

Music for the mood: Roll Away Your Stone, Mumford and Sons

This picture was painted by George Frederick Watts, who said, "Hope need not mean expectancy. It suggests here rather the music which can come from the remaining chord".

Audacity to Hope Day

Today is the day to grant yourself the empowerment of optimism, the day to have the audacity even… to hope.

There is beauty in George Frederic Watts’ art and also in his interpretation thereof. He said, “Hope need not mean expectancy. It suggests here rather the music which can come from the remaining chord.” Sometimes hope is all we have, even if we are just holding on by a thread. Hope is the difference between a willingness to continue, to fight, to believe, and the decision to resign, give up, and surrender. Humanity is the essence of hope.

Hope is what keeps me going. When I am in a pit of depression so deep I can barely see the light above, that little glimmer of light is the very thing I cling to, climb towards and finally find in abundance. We all have hope. We live by it, and through it we emerge from the darkness.

“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers 

I fell in love with the Lord of the Rings Trilogy for this very reason: I was able to draw many parallels to life as we live it today, and it’s always worth fighting for.

Melody of Hope: Reason to Believe, Aimee Mann & Michael Penn

Almost At the Top


Writing for me is a way to unravel life’s mysteries. It is a way to climb to the peak of that enormous mountain and have a clear view of the world unlike any other.

So I write, for now, for therapeutic purposes: to learn, to grow, to evaluate, to understand, to elevate. I hope one day to find my niche in writing as a profession, but for now, I write for myself.

I’m 35 years old now, and adult by all definitions of the word. Yet, I find myself far from the life I always envisioned growing up.

As a child, I thought I would marry at 21. I never had aspirations for a career, but never thought of the alternative either… or maybe it was a given in my mind that I would be a stay at home mom. I don’t remember.

Depression has played a huge, unexpected roll in my life. It has thwarted me and wriggled it’s way in when I never, knew or had an inkling that I might need to defend myself. I never imagined that I would come to know it, live with it in the close quarters of my mind. I sometimes wonder what my life would be like without it.

At my low points, I dwell on thoughts that I have made my fair share of foolish choices. I have wasted time when, deep down, I knew I should be doing different. When I’m doing well, I can look back and see those choices and times with a clarity that brings knowledge, happiness, and confidence in my decisions moving forward. I find it interesting that both points of view are true, but one carries with it hope, the other despair.

Often, I can’t clearly see what depression’s effects have been, and maybe by writing about it I will be able to see.

Groovin’ on the feeling: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell (Click to listen)

He Lied

Lyrics to a song I’m writing:

He hugged me like a mountain and told me he would keep me satisfied
And now I must admit that mountain of a man, he lied.
He chased me like the breeze, told me that he’d stay right by my side
But now I must admit this wanderin’ man, he lied.
He kissed me like the sun, told me that I’d never have to hide
So, now I must admit this sun burn of a man, he lied.