Broken Down

I work part-time as a secretary in a mechanic shop, this we know.
What we don’t know is that this mechanic shop is exactly like something out of the movie, “Cars.” It’s just off I-40, plopped in the middle of a town that used to bustle with the traffic of Route 66.
I can’t tell you how many interesting people we meet who break down in the middle of nowhere (read: here).

Today I find myself in their shoes, figuratively.

Lots of things in my life are broken right now: my cars, my house, my body, my computer, my phone.
It’s a domino effect thing, really. My computer is crashing and burning slowly which means I can’t move my data from my phone to it which means my phone is FULL. No more room in the inn. No more pictures! No more Google backups! No more apps!
My wrist is slapped with every on-screen warning.
And it’s a real pity because I’ve been spending A LOT of time with my phone because I’m spending a lot of time with my recliner because my body has HAD it. I don’t know exactly WHAT it’s had, but The Good Doctors are passing me around, Hot Potato Style, trying to figure it out.

My car is slowly limping me to every appointment, faithful until the end.

And I’m just tired. Tired, tired. Tired because I’m sick. Tired because this has felt like the story of my life for the last few years.
I’m also grateful. Grateful for the help we’ve received. Grateful because God is very aware of my life, and I’m more aware of it when I’m in pain than any other time.

So let’s raise a glass to tourism -may I only be passing through!
And if I’m here to stay? Let’s toast to the amazing people who live in the middle of nowhere.

Also, here’s a few pictures from my life these days:

Our first fishing trip in over 2 years!

fishing collage

Is there anything sweeter than a boy and a fishing pole?

Brownie Baby

“Mom, Elly can make brownies and cookies without her mom’s help.”

I knew where this conversation was going. It was going the way of The Ear Piercing Conversation from last month.
“I am ready to get my ears pierced,” Lacy said.
“But I thought you were scared to.”
“I WAS. But my friend’s been wearing her earrings and…”
“And you’re feeling jealous?”
“Wellllll a little,” she scrunched her face up in the little grin I love so much.
“Do you think the BEST way to get rid of feeling jealous is to pierce your ears too?” I raised one eyebrow.
She looked me dead in the eyes, “It is for me!”

That’s when I lost all sense of sense and actually said the words, “If your friend jumped off a cliff…” you can guess the rest.

So when Elly made brownies without help, I knew Lacy must make brownies without help as well.
“Just as soon as the counter is cleaned off,” I said, pointing to the kitchen counter covered in dried flowers, crayons, papers, bags full of stuff taken from the car, a few socks (compliments of Alice who has made a great hobby of playing saboteur in many-a-sock-couple relationships)…
As we cleared the counter off together, I could FEEL her excitement.
“What’s the first thing I do?” She asked, bouncing on her toes.
“You find a recipe,” I handed her my over-stuff 3-ring binder, filled with my favorite recipes.
“What next? Bowls and a mixing spoon?”
I had her turn on the oven. She melted butter, measured out sugar. With every ingredient she moved farther down the counter.
“Don’t measure salt over the bowl because it always spills over.”
“It does?”

It does:
The mess did my heart good:
And her mouth good:
They turned out really good (from what I hear -they are packed full of the kind of flour that makes my joints breathe fire). She shared with everyone who walked through the door!
Lacy and the kitchen have always been together:

And something tells me they will continue on like that unless Alice manages to split them up like a pair of old socks.

Take Care

In the past few weeks with all the wedding stuff and seizure stuff and ulcer stuff, I let the way I take care of myself fall by the wayside. I’ve picked my sugar habit back up, and because I’ve been nauseated off and on (never quite knowing when a spell will hit) I’ve quit taking my daily walks. My scripture study has halted, my prayers have become Spare Tire Prayers.

Two days ago, I tried to pull out of my funk by using Alice’s nap time to paint my nails and listen to Conference talks. I felt such a difference in how I felt that it helped inspire me the next day to say my prayers more Steering Wheel Style. During Alice’s nap time, I sat on my bed and took some time to listen to affirmations and color.
Lacy asked to join me.
“Sure,” I patted the bed next to me, “But you can only color if you do this with me.”
“What IS it?” she cocked her head and listened to the strange voice floating from my iPad, saying things like

I am happy.
I make my own decisions.
I have everything I need.
I create my own satisfaction.

“Brain exercises!” I said, and then repeated after the man, “I feel joyous.”
She giggled and then joined in.
“I learn from my mistakes,” she repeated after the man and then added, “HEY! That’s what Dad says about when I play chess!”


We took an evening walk before dinner in the which Alice refused to walk unless she saw an ant by her feet… in which case, she RAN.
“Bugs NASTY” is her main motto.
Also, lizards nasty.
This is the girl who FROZE when a stink bug happened to crawl past her, narrowly missing her tensed up little feet.
“DAT NASTY DAT NASTY DAT NASTY!” She shriek-chanted as it calmly meandered by, completely unaware.

And as there is no such thing as a peaceful evening walk, so I ended up bug-bitten and achy from carrying the toddler. So when Lacy argued with me about something I’d asked her to do, I snapped.
I walked the toddler back home, put her in the house with her brother and went back to apologize to Lacy.
She cried a good cry, and I told her I messed up and was really sorry. She told me she wanted to run home and hide in her bed. Oh, how well I know THAT feeling!

After dinner, I lit the oil lantern, smothered us all in bedtimey essential oils and the kids joined me for a round of bedtime yoga which means Lacy very earnestly did the moves AS BEST AS SHE POSSIBLY COULD while Trent giggled and complained and truthfully only did it because I promised him he could put his feet in the foot massage bath Danny was using. And Alice jumped on ALL of us.
And scratched us.
And bit Trent so hard he ran to his room and cried.

Say it with me, “Namaste.”
During the final stretches, Trent cried out, “YOGA IS PAINFUL” and Lacy gushed, “I think I should teach this yoga.”

And so we see that Alicia MUST NEVER slack on her self-care. Because if I do? I cease to live fully and begin to get lost in the blankets by the couch.

Even with all the self care in the world, I still snap, still find it hard to surrender my will to God. I still bump hourly into my defects of character that keep me from running to God with ALL of me.
Isn’t it ironic? Since it’s those very defects that bring me closer to Him, if I’ll let them.

Today I’ll give it another go. I’ll work on being present -to enjoy whatever is in front of me, acknowledge it as ENOUGH, accept myself as ENOUGH and then I’ll do whatever my gut says to do next.
But I do want to go on record as saying:
The affirmations worked.
I learned from my mistakes.
The sun salutations happened BEFORE the children woke up.

Namast THAT, Universe.

Sister Wood

For over 20 years, I’ve had a sister named Julianne Hansen, and it’s been one of the most blessed blessings in my life. Yesterday, after returning from her honeymoon and attending her last reception, she officially CHANGED her last name.
Official meaning -of course -she edited her Facebook Profile.
She’s now Julianne Wood, and I keep staring at it. Julianne WOOD. The more I stare, the more surreal it seems.
We woke up (slowly again) Saturday morning and got us all to the Temple on time.
As I waited for Julianne and Steven to come into the sealing room, I was plagued with “Sunrise, Sunset” playing on repeat in the back of my cultured mind.
I literally prayed for the song to LEAVE LEAVE LEAVE while I tried to absorb the beauty of the sealing room in the Brigham City Temple, and while that helped… all I could really focus on was.
“When did she get to be a beauty?”
“Swiftly fly the years…”

I barely made it through, man. BARElee.
After the sealing, I was in charge of helping Julianne Wood get all fixed up for pictures outside of the temple which means I got to play in the most gorgeous bride’s room I’ve EVER seen and only had to put up with one person thinking Ju was my daughter.
I almost shouted, “I’M TWENTY NINE!” but decided in the end to take the lady-like route of complaining about it later. Also, I’m trying to adopt the higher thinking of James Allen.
I’m also working on the whole, “no man can hurt you without your consent” thing. I’m going through a growth spurt of sorts.

As I followed Julianne through the Temple as she prepared to see her brand new husband and greet the crowd outside, people kept talking to me. They handed me an umbrella because it was raining outside. They gave me directions. They told me where to stand and why to stand there.
I blinked and nodded and grinned like a fool and listened to NONE OF THEM because I was too busy watching my gorgeous sister. I was able to see her husband’s eyes when she walked in and he beheld her in all her bridal glory. How could I listen to PEOPLE when I was too busy living in the present? I ASK YOU!
As a result, I totally bunked at whatever it was they wanted me to do and wherever it was they wanted me to do it. But hey. Life goes on.

I want to share so many photos, but the best ones belong to my sister -my brother Mike and his wife, Brittany, took the pictures. They are pretty amazing. I’ll ask permission to share them later! But this one is mine. The picture, the girl, the awesomeness… all mine:

We got in a few really good ones while the rain drizzled around us, and then we ate a luncheon in an old church while the rain poured outside. With the few hours between the wedding and the reception that night, we slept at Tia’s house. We ate ice cream. We packed up and headed toward Riverton, UT.

It was so good to see family we haven’t seen in years and old friends from good ol’ Joe City. We met Julianne’s mission president who we’ve heard SO much about.
“I’m so glad to finally meet you,” I said. Lacy came up and tapped on me and I added, “We feel like you’re part of the family.”
“Is that your daughter?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I stroked her pretty blonde hair.
“We’re already friends,” he smiled, “I know all about her baptism and her school and everything.”
Lacy reminds me a lot of Will Rogers. She never met a person she didn’t adopt, or something.

Julianne designed a sign and Danny’s sister, Darah, brought it to life. We displayed it at both receptions. And I loved Julianne’s cake -cheesecake!

I got as much Steve Time in as I could:
And then Danny and I took a Prom Pic:

By the end of the night, Julianne was tired from getting up early and greeting people, so she gave up on the bouquet toss and gave it to the little girl who was stalking the “toss” bouquet with eagerness:
And she shared because she’s Lacy and her heart is made of pure gold mush:
Julianne sent her bouquet home with me, saying, “I know it’s just going to get thrown away, but I can’t bear to do it.” And I thought as long as it was getting thrown away, I might try pressing it. I’ve never pressed flowers before, but I took on my mother’s well-taught, “Why not?” mantra and googled a bit. I ended up pressing the flowers and greenery between coffee filters, and I used an iron. It sizzled the moisture out of the flowers, and quite frankly: ended up COOKING them. But hey! As long as it’s being tossed into the trash, why not? I spent a few hours pressing, pressing… watching Netflix and pressing, pressing. Because I didn’t get ALL of the moisture out, I left the flowers in their coffee filters and smashed them in some cookbooks. Friday night, I pulled them out and arranged them in a frame, clenched my eyes shut, took a deep breath and opened them up for the big reveal:
I’m so happy with how it turned out (and RELIEVED that I didn’t ruin it!) and now I want to iron ALL OF THE FLOWERS.

Julianne and Steven left their reception in proper style:

We stayed the night with friends and then headed back to Sunny AZ in my mom’s new van. It has a built-in DVD player which means we watched what Alice wanted to watch 70% of the drive.
I can quote “Despicable Me” from memory now.
Alice calls it, “Bee doe’s.”

Danny was a champion driver and my brother, Jim, kept Lacy and Trenton entertained with Pokemon.

One week later, we set up the Joseph City reception and I had a good laugh about it all. Seriously, we planned for MONTHS. We crafted, schemed, shopped, dreamed and THEN! We set up for 6 hours, partied for 2 hours and then took it all down. Ha! And it’s ALL WORTH IT. Humans are crazy, folks. Plumb crazy.


Julianne designed everything, so it made it all the decor really easy!


I burned their names and initials on wood slices, and they turned out good! We used them for centerpieces and decorations:



There was ice cream and TONS of toppings.  Julianne and I giggled when our niece walked by with her BOWL full of goodness.  “Go show your dad,” we said.

He didn’t laugh as hard as we did.  Dads…

0530151832Alice dug in, ran around and crashed hard that night.alicecollageAnd where food is, there boys are also:


It has been such a wonderful experience all around -being around family and celebrating is definitely at the top of my favorites list.  Family, celebrating, eating… something like that.