Sunday, October 31, 2010

. . . . . . Halloween Treats

The kids had the day off on Friday, so we got to start our Halloween weekend early, first with a breakfast outing to IHOP for Halloween pancakes! :) The kids had many fun adventures this weekend and all the costumes held out (some lasted longer than the kids!). Trenden was a "Pop Star", Lindi was a bubble gum machine, Casen was an Indian and Daven was a flashlight. They all chose their own costumes, then Mom was in charge of figuring out how to come up with their ideas. Ahh, all part of the job! :)

The truth is, I got all the treats! Yes, I got to help make their little dreams come true, by making them into whatever their hearts desired. Then I got to spend a fun day with them doing Halloween activities. Then I got to see the looks on their faces as they headed out the door for trick-or-treating fun. See, I was the one who really made out this Halloween! Enjoy!

 The sweetest little gumball machine you'll ever see!
 The nicest little 'injun around.
Trenden looking in total Pop Star fashion.
Getting turned "on" for the fun!

Ready to get some loot!

Heading out for a night of treats! Daven really did shine! ;)
It is no wonder this little guy is the light of my life! :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

. . . . . . Friends for Life

Thank goodness for wonderful friends!! It seems that good friends step in at the very moment you need them! I needed a few friends this morning - I was at the school for the kids' Halloween parties and I got feeling a little dizzy. This seems to be the way my body reacts now to *everything*, ie. not enough sleep, overdoing it, etc. Luckily, Michelle and Norell were there and noticed I was having a hard time. So, now I am safely back at home and getting the rest I need. I am so grateful for the friends that continue to be angels in my life!

Last week, our good friends, the Rhoads, invited us to hang out with them at their new condo at Solitude Ski Resort. These special friends have been in our lives since the beginning of the Brown family, and we continue to be grateful for their friendship. Our children are best buddies and we all enjoy hanging out together. Their new condo is so fun, and the perfect get away for fall, winter, spring or summer! The kids loved the heated pool, waterslide, hot tub, game room, theater room, and computer room and the adults enjoyed the fact that the kids were busy having fun! We got to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings! They call it Solitude for a reason! :)
The leaves were blazing with color in the mountains just a week ago, but now the snow is flying and the ski slopes are getting covered.This is what it looked like when we were there...beautiful and serene! (Of course, when our kids were in the pool and hot tub, it wasn't nearly as peaceful!) What would we do without good friends that help us enjoy life?

If this kind of escape sounds appealing to you, the condo is available for rent most of the year. You can visit the Rhoad's blog and check out tons of photos at:

Tonight I get to spend time with another group of dear friends. Every year for my sister Tami's birthday, we celebrate with all the girls by heading to the Cheesecake Factory! I missed last year's celebration, but I am determined to get there tonight. I am riding the train to Salt Lake and getting picked up by my dear friend, Suzy, for the rest of the drive. Ahh, one day I will drive again by myself, but in the meantime, thank goodness for friends!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

. . . . . Cold Outside, Warm Inside

It has been raining for 24 hours now. It is cold outside and the season seemed to change in a day. Yesterday, it seemed autumn was blazing, today it feels like winter is on the way. It is the kind of day you just want to stay inside, cuddle up with a blanket and a good movie.

I didn't stay home, though, and I am so grateful. Like every Sunday, we got everyone ready and went to church. Every meeting today seemed particularly good. Each speaker and lesson touched my heart. When the young primary children put on a program, tears filled my eyes as I heard them sing, "I know God lives, I know Christ walked on Earth with men, I know He said that we could live with Him again. We have a prophet to guide us, just as Christ did back then..." The words of this beautiful song, written by my friend and neighbor, Belinda Jackson, are so powerful. I was not the only one wiping the tears out of my eyes as 70 young children sang out this message of hope.

My 3-year old son, Daven, was on my lap as we watched the other children perform. He looked up at me and said, "Why did Jesus die for us so we can live with Him again?" Surprised and touched by the question, I told him how much Jesus loves him, how Christ wants us to find happiness and return to be with Him again someday. Content with the answer, he turned his attention back to the children's program. But my attention stayed.

Between the program and the sweet words of my young one, I felt so warm inside, filled by the Spirit of the Holy Ghost, testifying that God is indeed still part of our lives today. I am so grateful that my young children also know that they are beloved children of God!

Friday, October 22, 2010

. . . . . Getting Younger Every Day

A wonderful thing happened yesterday at the store. From across the parking lot, a neighborhood friend spotted me getting in my car. I noticed a man staring at me, then saw that he took his glasses on and off as he looked in my direction. Finally, as he came closer, I recognized my friend and we approached each other for a hug and a visit. What he said next, however, surprise me and made my day!

"I saw you and thought 'that can't be Jodi, she looks too young'!"

He hasn't seen me since my eye surgery in August and said that between the surgery and my improved facial muscles, I am looking younger and better, every time he sees me! Wow, that made my day! Not too many of us get to age in reverse, so I guess I am just lucky! :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Do They Know? -- Guest Post

I read this post on my cousin's blog the other day, and I loved it. With her permission, I am reposting it here. It is written by Nichole Giles, mother of 4, wife, and author of 2 (so far) books. Her post follows a previous post about encouraging children to pursue their talents and dreams, even if the world discourages them. It is beautiful. Enjoy!

"After last week’s discussion about encouraging—rather than discouraging—our children in their creative efforts, I started to wonder. Do my kids know how much faith I have in them? Do they truly understand what they can do if they really commit themselves?

My kids aren’t little anymore. In fact, they’re on the cusp of adulthood. As they make this transition, will they spread their wings and take off? Or will they burrow into a hole and be afraid of the desires of their hearts?

Granted, most of us end up somewhere in the middle and walk into adulthood on legs—and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I have to wonder. If we knew—really, truly knew—our own potential when we were teens, would we have chosen to walk? Or would we have run? Or maybe found wings?

I don’t know the answer to that particular what if, and I have no regrets. I love where I am in life. But I wonder about my kids. Do they know what they can do?

I don’t know for sure one way or another. But I can help them realize their potential. I can help them find the things they love most in life and excel at them.

I—their mother—have the power to give my children the ability to fly. I just have to remember to use it."

If you want to read more of Nichole's musings, you can follow her at .

As for me, it seems my parents always told me I could fly, I just had to believe it for myself and learn to flap my wings! Now, if only I can teach my children how high they can soar...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

. . . . . . Harvest Time

I love harvest time! I love to reap the rewards of my efforts. I love to see baskets full of veggies that I pick from my own garden. This late in the season, it is rare to find so many treasures still growing, but what a plentiful afternoon it was in my little garden today!

The wonderful thing about life is that our actions are like gardens, they produce long after the work has been done. Our friendships, jobs, family relationships are all the results of our efforts, both good and bad. Whether we spend minutes or hours, our efforts will be known by our harvest.

I need to work harder in many ways so that my all the gardens in my life will be overflowing with homegrown goodness!

BTW - My husband does NOT like to be in the spotlight, but I must take at least a sentence to tell my very best friend, and eternal companion, how much I love him and hope he has a great birthday today!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

. . . . . Confession

I have a boyfriend. His hair is short and blond, his smile is gorgeous and he is totally amazing. He literally shines with light when I look at him, and when he looks at me. His laugh makes me smile and his eyes make me want to dance. He also adores me, I can tell; he doesn't even try to hide it. He is not afraid to hold my hand in public or throw his arms around me and squeeze me tight. That is a feeling I will never be able to replace. It is a feeling of warmth, security, and love.

But alas, I know this won't last forever. One day my little boyfriend will grow up, and he will no longer be a baby. He will be a big boy, and then a man. When that happens, the cuddles and kisses will likely be less frequent, though I hope not. We will not always experience life hand in hand all day, but I hope that someday he will remember how much he is adored by this grown woman, who is totally and completely in love.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Stuck in a Sweet Spot

Wow, what a wonderful few days! Yesterday I started having "twitches" above my lip, in fact my lip was "stuck" in a "snarl" position on and off all day. Now, while many of you would be frustrated with such an event, I was thrilled. It means face muscle #4 (out of 19) is slowly returning!!! I have been "twitching" all day today, too, and I couldn't be happier! Today I can celebrate with laughter and joy, but yesterday I celebrated with tears. It is so emotional to continue to see miracles in my life, all these months later. Oh, wow, today is 18 months exactly since my diagnosis. Amazing to see how much life can change in such a short time. Hooray for continued miracles!

After a wonderful, but busy day yesterday, I fell right to sleep last night and slept for 10 hours. I woke up and felt GREAT! It was amazing, and I have felt good all day today. I have decided that 10 hours is my "sweet spot". If only I could get 10 good hours a night, I would be in great shape every day. :)

That is obviously not realistic (though I still shoot for it), and some days it is very hard to get out of bed and function when my body is acting against me. But, that is the point of life, isn't it? It is when we get up and make the best of the day, even when we don't feel like it, that we are truly living life!

Friday, October 8, 2010

. . . . . For All the Right Reasons

Today I wore myself out. Totally. Completely. But, it was for all the right reasons, so I am trying not to be too hard on myself. :)

The kids had an obstacle course walk-a-thon (run-a-thon) at the school and I went to watch and participate with them. They had 3 sessions, for different ages and grades, and it just so happened that each of my three students fell into a different session and time. So, I spent the whole day at the school, going around the obstacle course and track with the kids. Wow, they ran and played so hard! I ran, did the obstacles and cheered, cheered, cheered, while taking pictures and video.

Now, I am hammered. But, it was totally worth it. These are the moments that make life wonderful! I missed too many of them last year and I don't plan to miss any more! :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

. . . . . Steering and Sleeping

Yesterday I drove to Salt Lake for my facial therapy appointment. Yesterday I DROVE to Salt Lake for my facial therapy appointmet. Yes, for the first time in 18 months, I drove on the freeway! Happily, I can report that I survived, and so did everyone else. :) That is a BIG accomplishment for me, and a wonderful step in getting back my freedom and independence.

My appointment was good and Janene praised me for all the progress I am making. I got hooked up to the biofeedback machine and we worked for over an hour on trying to get my facial muscles to move in the right ways. I got a small movement back that I have been working on for months, a very exciting moment.

By the time I got home, I was worn out. The mental energy it takes to think about every small movement you want your muscles to make is exchausting. It is physically draining, too, which is a surprise to many people, since it is "just" my face. And yet, every time I practice these facial movements (every day), I feel like I have run a marathon.

Thank heavens for my understanding husband who took over things at home and let me go to bed. So, I climbed in bed at 8:30pm and did not get up until 7 this morning. To some, 10.5 hours of sleep may sound like a lot, but just like when you are sick, my body still needs all the sleep I can get.

Progress is good, but it only comes with time, practice, and in this case, lots of rest! :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

. . . . . . Soaked and Smiling

Today when I went to pick up my kindergartner and his friends, we were caught in the middle of a torrential downpour. By the time we got everyone loaded in the car and buckled up, my two little boys, our 2 little school friends and I were all soaked, through all of our layers!

We got home and all the kids put on PJs while I threw several shirts and pants into the dryer. There was one exception however. Our little friend Azlin didn't change her clothes. She said she didn't mind that she was a little wet (my pants were drenched to my upper thighs, so I think it is cute that she said she was only a 'little' wet). In fact, with water dripping from her hair and slippery socks on her feet, she declared with a smile that as soon as she got home, she was going to go outside and play in the rain. Her plans included collecting buckets of water and dumping them all over her backyard. :)

This sweet girl reminded me that feeling raindrops on your skin awakens the senses and enlightens the mind. And today, I am grateful for the rain, yes, even the downpour. Perhaps a "little" water was just what I needed!