I Wasn’t Gonna Talk About This, But…

When I started this blog in January, I wasn’t sure how often I’d be able to post. Once a month was my goal until a few weeks ago when I had a ton of ideas, and decided I could do two posts a week.

There were only three things I decided I wouldn’t write about; sex, politics and religion. While they are important to me, and I have definite opinions on each, I know that they are volatile topics these days, and I don’t want to argue.

I’ve changed my mind for the moment. Not about the arguing, but about what I want to share.

I consider myself a cheerleader. I much prefer to build people up than to tear them down; I don’t call names even when I really disagree with a person. While I may point out that a person told a lie, even if I feel or observe that they lie more often than not, I will not call them a liar. I’m no model, but even if I were the most beautiful woman on the planet, I would not call another person ugly. If a person has a disability, this does not define them, so I don’t call people their disability, or describe them by it.

Lately, it seems that politics and religion are taking center stage in this country and around the world. There is a  lot that I agree with, and much with which I disagree. So when I sit down to write about how music affects me, or about my son’s wedding, or other important things to me, personally (which is what this blog is supposed to be about), I get sidetracked by the events of the day. It seems that it is easier for many to call others names and dismiss them than to talk it out and settle our differences. This has bothered me since I was very young.

And so, rather than go into a rage on my blog because a person in authority lied (again), or because some religious group presents their perception of persecution by actually persecuting a different religion, I stay quiet until I can get back to Cheerleader mode. I do the same in real life. When I become emotionally overwhelmed, I tend to shut down. I don’t want to “burden” others with my perceived problems, because they have their own. And besides, it’s much more interesting to be the sounding board than the sounder.

It is much more fulfilling for me to listen while someone works through a particular issue than to be the one with the issue. When my friends share their personal business with me, I am honored that they trust me enough to share. When I need to talk, I feel like a complainer. Instead, I tend to let things build up until I absolutely *must* say something, and then I sound like a raving lunatic.

This blog was, in fact, my attempt at getting things out of my system as they happen, to keep them from building up like a pressure cooker. But I guess there’s a learning curve, because I still find myself staying away when current events get to me. 🙂

Every day, it seems, there’s a new slight on a new group of people in the news, while important things go unnoticed and unattended. People are dying as a result of fires, floods and hurricanes, but the big deal on my Facebook feed is a peaceful protest, and how that’s somehow “un-American”. I ask you, what is MORE American than a peaceful protest (Boston Tea Party, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr)? This country’s very foundation was built on protests! Some not so peaceful, in case one needs to be reminded (Does the Revolutionary or the Civil War ring a bell?). Even the Constitution, by its very design, is a protest. One’s Constitutional right, as an American, is to disagree if you choose…but it is also your right to protest. One is not more important than the other, and both have their place.

I am an American, and I am proud to be. I know every patriotic song, and sing them loud and proud! I am the daughter and the mother of badass Marines. I LOVE this country, all that it stands for, and every opportunity it has afforded me. One of those opportunities is the right to say that I don’t agree with everything.

As a woman with a disability (that’s two strikes, right?), I have experienced marginalization. What this country stands for and how its citizens reflect those values can be very different. So when a man kneels before the flag because he feels that this country is not fulfilling the promise that flag represents, I support him. In the same way that I fought bullies with words instead of fists, he kneels. He’s not disrespecting the flag or the military any more than I am disrespecting my attacker by not giving him the fight he wants.

If you don’t like protests, then help take away the reason for them. Let’s make sure that all are treated equally, as the Constitution states that we are and should be. Let’s make sure that we allow all to worship the way they see fit – or not at all – as the Constitution guarantees. If you don’t like to be reminded that there are marginalized groups in this country who are treated as “less” than others, then stand up like a proud American who represents the promise of that flag and STOP ALLOWING PEOPLE TO BE TREATED LIKE LESS.

Puerto Rico is a US territory. The US Virgin Islands are a US territory. Their residents are US citizens, afforded the same rights and protections under the Constitution as anyone in the 50 states. Yet they are the most recently marginalized. Forgotten. Slowly attended to. God bless the first and continuing responders. God bless those who truly do represent this great country and all of the things it stands for, by giving time, resources and financial aid. God bless the dreams of immigrants that come here looking for safety and freedom. May all of those dreams come true.

It boils down to this: In this great country, with all of its promise and resources, I don’t have to take from you in order to have for myself. Giving a human being the same rights I have does not mean that I no longer have those rights. Respect is not cake. It won’t run out. We don’t run out of decency by extending it to another; rather, we expand it. Like talent, it only wanes if we don’t share it!

Give a person love, you change his life. Teach a person to love, you change the world.

In a world that seems to become more hateful by the day, I choose to love.

Please be love,
❤ Becca










Happy Birthday, Mom!

Dear Mom,

It’s been two years, 7 months and three days since I saw you last. That was the day that you were finally able to give the Breast Cancer that metastasized to your lung the ol’ Middle Finger, and free  yourself from the “surly bonds of Earth…to touch the face of God”. And as I sit with a vial of your ashes on the desk next to me…I miss you.

We sure had our problems, didn’t we? Hugs at Christmas, but few meaningful conversations; we never really took the time to get to know each other after you left when I was very young. No death-bed amends – it was enough just to be there, even though neither of us said much for hours at a time – no last minute reconciliation…

But today, I want to tell you that I really do remember some good things.

I can’t speak for you, like I said we never really got to know each other, but if you’re there, I want to share some things that made me smile. I think we forgot to remember those things, and I think I may not have told you often enough that I do remember.

My first real memory about you was Physical Therapy. I remember being in the hospital hanging on to those bars, trying to walk. And I remember you meeting me at the end with a big hug and that beautiful smile that I saw too seldom in later years.

I remember having to do that physical therapy at home and, one night in particular, when I was about three years old, laying on the floor ready to give up all together. My legs ached and shook from  the pressure and spasms, and it all seemed too much. I cried and asked if we could stop. You said no. Dad asked if we could “take a break”. You said no and sent him out of the room. I must have protested one too many  times, because it was then that you straddled me, slammed your palms on  the floor on either side of my head and put your face so close to mine. In sheer frustration, you shouted “Do you want to walk!?”
“Yes.” I whimpered.
“Then DON’T. YOU. STOP.”

I remember you strapping my right arm to my side with an Ace bandage and sitting me down to dinner, forcing me to eat with my left hand to strengthen the muscles in my left side. I probably didn’t get much spaghetti that night, but I’m pretty sure the table, chair and floor (along with my clothes) were a mess! It must have been fun for me (and a mess for you!), because I also remember you declining future requests to “do it again!”

I remember you sitting in the hospital with me when I was 7, after the second surgery which stretched the Achilles Tendon in my left foot. I remember laying there while you sang primary songs and held my hand. I remember sitting on your lap and snuggling into your chest just to feel the vibrations when you talked or sang. I remember that you stayed until visiting hours were over, even though you had three babies and a husband at home who also needed you.

I remember a day when all four of us kids were begging to go to Burger King for dinner. You and Dad were sorely outnumbered, but money was tight, and you tried to explain that we just couldn’t do it. And then you whispered something in Dad’s ear and we all piled into the car. We found ourselves at Dairy Queen, each with an ice cream cone; and I loved that you “talked him into” that little treat.

I remember driving to Idaho in the summer to visit Rex’s parents; digging potatoes and pulling carrots and then going to the lake. I remember singing the whole trip, and you never once asking me to stop, even when I made up dumb little ditties about the silliest things. I remember learning to float and driving the dune buggy.

I remember you trying to get me a “gig” with a band (which I chickened out of), by telling the drummer “she can sing anything!”

And I remember your laugh. It is the one trait we share. I hear it when my kids tell jokes and when my husband surprises me with flowers. I hear it when I think of one of the aforementioned memories. And for the last two years, seven months and three days, I am blessed to hear it – and you – in my dreams.

I remember “I love you, Becky.” after every phone call.

I love you, too, Momma.

Why Does It Take A Disaster?

I’m a very fortunate human. Although life has thrown a few curve-balls, it has been more good than “bad” so far. I live in Utah, so I’m far enough inland to be protected from hurricanes and Tsunamis; I’m surrounded by amazing mountains, so we very rarely have tornadoes (there have been two in my lifetime – and that was weird, because before that it had been 150 years! No lives lost, thank God!). It’s predicted that the “Big” earthquake will hit “soon”, but they’ve been saying that for as long as I can remember. I don’t doubt the science, I’m just not convinced that it will happen in my lifetime. And I’m not going to live afraid of it. We have done what we can to prepare, and life goes on.

I haven’t had a television since 2010. I’m not inundated with bad news 24/7, but I stay educated and up to date. I love the internet.

One of my best friends recently moved to Orlando with his job, so when Irma hit, I got video updates through Facebook. As much as I love the rain, I have decided that a video on Facebook is as close as I care to come to a hurricane.

Mr Rogers said that his mom told him to “always look for the helpers”. As Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, and then Irma in the Caribbean and Florida, I did just that. As I prayed, I watched rescuers of all races, colors, shapes and sizes rescuing people of all races, colors, shapes and sizes. I didn’t see one person take a second look. Black, white, Hispanic, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Disabled, LGBTQP; if someone needed help, they got help. Period. As it should be. And it made me wonder…

Why does it take a natural disaster or a terrorist attack to bring people together?

When (whatever kind of) disaster strikes, people band together. Through the crisis, EVERYONE is a person who MATTERS. People are rescued, pets are rescued (without regard to breed!), and lives are saved. Everyone is equal during those moments, and everyone mourns together, as one, in the event that lives are lost. Those who pray will do so, and those who do not will hope for the best. We donate possessions, money and time to assist in the rebuilding of structures and lives. In these times, WE ARE ONE.

Why can’t we be like that all the time?

No matter one’s beliefs of creation, we all come from the same place. Whether we are created from a loving God, or begin as a cell in the ocean, or whatever one’s belief about how we got here, surely that belief demands that ALL LIFE was created this way. The things we’re taught, the experiences we have and the influences around us all shape the individual that we become, but each of us begins and ends the same.

I am short, but my countenance is high. I am white, but my DNA spans the globe. I have a disability, but it does not have me. I am heterosexual, but I acknowledge a beautiful woman when I see one. I am a Christian, but do not subscribe to a particular religion. These are DESCRIPTORS of me; they are not who I am. I am human. Others present as black, Hispanic, Oriental, Middle-Eastern, Caribbean, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, LGBTQ (etc) and on and on. Whatever a person’s physical makeup, we all begin and end in the same place. NO ONE is better – or worse – than another.

I know what you’re thinking: What about the “Bad Guys”? It’s probably not a surprise that I have thoughts on that, too: The way a person behaves is, I believe, directly related to one of the three things mentioned above. The things they’re taught, their own experiences and/or the influences around them. I’m not a Mental Health expert, so I’m not going to get into that, but this also may play a part in a person’s perception of what is being taught them, the way they experience the world, and the influences that they allow into their lives. We have all heard the story of the serial killer who had everything; money, education, parents who were involved and raised them “right”, and still they chose to leave the “Path”.

Having a child who suffered at the hands of not one, but two of these types of people, I understand the anger, and yes, even the hatred that can be felt towards them. Maybe that’s why I feel somewhat qualified to write and share this post. I know first-hand what it’s like to wish someone would “just go away”, in whichever fashion God saw fit to take them.

Eight years later, I won’t say that I’ve forgiven them. What I WILL say is that these were two INDIVIDUALS who thought they could do whatever they wanted. One was a 35 year old woman, and the other an 18 year old repeatedly accused (but not previously convicted) sexual predator. Both are now convicted, registered sex offenders because THIS Mama Bear believes in justice.

What now? Do I hate all 35 year old women? Do I hate all snot-nosed 18 year olds? Having been a 35 year old woman myself, and raising two children up to and beyond the age of 18, that seems impractical. Besides, when I did hate these two individuals, it took away from who *I* was. It didn’t hurt either of them one little bit; but it robbed me of the ability to love and grow. Every time their names were mentioned, I was in a rage. Instantly. I don’t hate anybody, but I hated them. I was frustrated with the police for moving too slowly, angry about the short sentences (and early release for “good behavior” – seriously?), the judge and the prosecutor in the second case for not allowing my daughter to speak…and where did it get me? Angry. That is all.

My point is that, while there are “bad guys” who wish and commit the worst acts of violence on others, and while I agree that they should not be allowed to do so, there is no “specific group” of people who hurt others. I am fortunate to have worked with all of the aforementioned races and religions. None whom I have ever known would dream of hurting others. Welp. That blows that stereotype! Guess I can’t hate anyone. And look! As I type this, there’s not even a hurricane coming to Utah.  😉

What I’m saying, in short, is that we should treat each other every day as well as we treat each other in times of crisis. Being different is a GOOD thing. Other points of view and experiences are IMPORTANT for the growth of the planet, and for each of us as Human Beings.

Like that big earthquake, I refuse to live in fear that someone will hurt me because they come from a different background. As I said: in the beginning – and the end – we’re all the same. Let’s live the middle that way, too!

All the love,

❤ Becca





Letter to Younger Me

Dear Young Becca,

Greetings from 50 year old You!

It’s been a long road, let me tell you; but we made it! Half a century, no matter how slow time seems to pass now, really does go by in the blink of an eye. Dad was right when he said “It’ll pass fast enough, don’t wish it away”. Dad was right about everything.

I’m writing to clear up a few things that you got stuck in your head. You don’t have to hold on to the hurt and crap that happened to you. You’re allowed to be proud of yourself and to give yourself some slack. And forgiveness. This most of all.

Ready for the lecture? ❤

I wish I had been there to see you through it all then, but I’m here now. I LOVE YOU. I know that, often, you don’t love you, but you should. Really. You’re pretty amazing, even if some don’t agree. You’re not expected to be perfect, just the best YOU that you can be. Given the information you had at the time, you did pretty well at that.

First and foremost, I want you to know that God loves you. He will spend your entire life showing you that in a very personal way. Literally your entire life. Remember the stories about being born with Cerebral Palsy? How the doctors said we wouldn’t live through the night, and Dad gave us a blessing and the doctors called us a miracle? That was the beginning of a VERY PERSONAL relationship with God. Don’t be afraid of that. Always remember that He held you until you healed. Remember what it smells like to be in His arms and, when it rains, know that you are there again.

Sometimes you will feel that He has forgotten you. Your favorite question when this happens is “Did You go on vacation, God? Crappy timing, don’t You think? I need you!” I have learned that it is I who have “left the building”, so to speak, and that God is only waiting for me to open the door. Please open that door more quickly than you are now, because we need Him always.

You are NOT Schizophrenic. The “voices in your head” that come to you at the most important times –  as someone tells you that you’re worthless, that you’re not “worthy”, that if we weren’t related we wouldn’t be friends in life. Try not to listen to that. Instead, concentrate on those “voices” that you hear in your heart, that come to tell you “You’re so beautiful!” “You are exactly how I made you, and I love you!” “You’re worth loving!” “YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH!” And all the rest…they are very real. That’s God, and I’ll bet a dollar that he says that to EVERYONE (whether they choose to hear or not). Not because you’re not special, but because, to our Father, EACH of us is special. In a few years, you’re going to have two beautiful children. Very different from each other, but very much like different parts of you. Try to choose a favorite. I dare you. 🙂 Now times your love for them by perfection and unconditional love, and imagine God trying to choose favorites. Nope. So, you see? You are His favorite! As are all of us.

Always remember to see others as individuals and equal. As you will tell Dawn when you’re about 17, “I’m no worse than the best! And no better than the worst.” It was beautiful when you said it (and stopped her belittling diatribe cold!), but I think you forgot that later. Be humble enough to remember “the least of these”, but don’t forget the best of you.


Please don’t wait until we’re in our 30’s to realize that we hardly know anything about our mother. She didn’t tell very many stories about herself when you were growing up, and those that she did tell weren’t happy ones. Understand that, like me, her experiences made her who she was. She was probably called all of the names that she called you; was probably hit more often than she hit you, and maybe didn’t know any better for the short time that she raised you. Understand that “I did the best I could with what I knew at the time” is actually a perfectly good response. It’s not your job to hold her accountable.

She did scary things that you will never do, and was mean in a way that (thankfully) you will never be; but she also had experiences that you never had. Just love her. Remember to give her credit for what she did right, and don’t keep track of the hurtful things. The day will come when you sit at her hospital bed holding her hand (like she did so many nights with you when you had surgery), and she will say “You just being here yesterday, holding my hand…that meant the world to me”. For the first time that you can remember,she won’t follow kind words with an insult. And those will be some of her last words to you. Something that I will treasure forever. Please let go NOW, of all of the hurtful things she said and did. Her actions do NOT make you less of a person. She didn’t know you any better than you knew her, so don’t take her so personally.

That said, it’s okay to distance yourself. She didn’t want (or didn’t know how) to discuss the issues that separated you when you were very young, and you constantly worry about saying the wrong thing, or the right thing but in the wrong way, for fear that she will be angry, or worse, disappointed. It’s easier to love her from a distance; but LOVE HER. She, like you, is worth it.

Some people are mean. From the time I can remember, we were bullied. (By the way, that limp that other kids liked to make fun of so much will all but go away when you’re about 43 and you break your foot. Funny story.) As a kid, we were pretty good about shaking it off (speaking of one of the things that Mom did so very right – teaching us that “Crippled” was not a physical condition as much as a mental one. “At least I’m not crippled in the brain!” we shouted when someone called us names!), but as you get older, you will have less tolerance for being the butt of the joke.

Instead of laughing along, you begin to stand up for yourself and spend less and less time with those who think that your physical limitations are funny. This will include your brothers and sister; your most fierce defenders when others are picking on you as a child become the bullies as you reach adulthood.

Please keep in mind that they never knew their remarks hurt you until you said so, so it’s not all their fault. We teased as a family all the time and you laughed with them, even though it hurt, because you didn’t want them to think you were a “baby”. When you get to my age, you’ll realize that you don’t deserve to be treated like that, and you have a right to stand up for yourself, no matter what they think. But on that day, by the time you decided to speak up, you were so upset that you came across as “unreasonable” and were accused of overreacting. Their error was to allow it to continue after they knew. Even in front of our kids. On that Thanksgiving Day, you’ll decide that it’s not okay to have your kids learn that it’s okay make jokes about your limitations, and as much as you love your siblings, begin to keep your distance from them as well. It will be the hardest thing you ever do; but not a bad thing.

This is a common thing, even now. I tend to let things build up until I literally can’t keep them inside anymore and then blurt out whatever is on the tip of my tongue. For one who prides herself on her communication skills, we’re not very articulate when we let things build. Stop doing that. You have my permission to kindly and concisely speak your mind at the very moment you feel the need.

As you get older,  you will trust less and love those you do trust more. You will learn that it’s okay to love others from a distance. It’s okay to cut toxic people off altogether, no matter how close you are, how long you have been friends, and even if you’re related.

I’m not going to say that you have always made the best decisions. You are insecure and have anxiety and second-guess everything. (For the record, I still do that, and I’m a bit frustrated with you for it!) What I want to let you know is that it’s okay to do “the best you can with what you know”. Just be sure to keep looking for ways to know more and do BETTER. Keep learning. Keep improving. Keep loving and trusting others until they give you *good* reason not to. While moments of life can be quite overwhelming, in the grand scheme of things, ours has been much more good than bad. Keep the Big Picture in mind and keep being the best YOU that you can be, Keep growing, Keep becoming.

Oh, and that very personal relationship with God? That’s on purpose. Don’t ever let that go. There’s a reason that you’re able to “tune in” while others can’t. USE IT.

In closing, let me just say: I love you. God loves you. Listen to those “voices” and stop second-guessing. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that you/I do NOT know yourself/myself better than God knows you/me. Listen to Him. Listen to your heart. YOU ARE ENOUGH.

I love you/me,

50 Year old YOU






I Am A Writer

I am a writer. I have always been a writer. I love stories. Hearing them, telling them, making them up…I love stories.

Mostly I like real-life events. I was pretty good at Creative Writing in Jr High and high school, as long as someone else came up with the topic. Even then, it was hard to totally make up a story, without drawing on some kind of personal experience.

My grandma used to tell me stories about her life as she taught me to crochet. Stories of reading by coal-oil lamp, and of never locking the doors; of letting a passing stranger stay at their home because there wasn’t another farm for miles, and he and his horse were tired. Of the time one of those men tried to take advantage of her mother and my great-grandmother…well…made sure he could never do that again. To anyone.

These are the stories I love. True stories of all of life’s ups and downs and ultimate survival. Stories where the human spirit rises and ultimately finds joy. For Real. Stories that validate the difficulties we all face in life, in one form or another, from those who don’t let those experiences define or defeat them.

I’m a second-guesser by nature. Never quite as sure of a thing as others seem to be, but determined to learn to be. Attracted to confidence in others, but convinced that when I speak confidently about something, it comes across as arrogance. Or stubbornness. Or that I “think you know everything, don’t you?”

Maybe that’s why I write. Although the reader can hear whatever expression they choose, the reader can also hear whatever expression they choose.

I’d prefer to call someone on the phone for an important discussion than to text them, because words on paper have no inflection or emotion. On the other hand, if I’m worried that my inflection or tone may cause emotional harm, I prefer to write it out first. Deleting and rewording something on “paper” is much easier than recalling a hurtful phrase. Also, it gives me the opportunity to check my emotions. This, for me, is a good thing.

Since I can remember, I have written stories and poems (or, as I like to call them, song lyrics for my big break). My favorite was an assignment in Sociology class in my junior year of high school. The teacher wanted an essay (3 pages, two-sided) on some social situation or another that we were discussing. As soon as he said the topic, I heard a poem in my head. Never one to break the rules, I asked “Can I write a poem? It might not be 6 pages, but…” He said there would be “points for creativity”, but looked like he had his doubts.  Ha! I wrote the poem. One page. And got an A.

I did the same thing in 5th grade about the British-American war. I rhymed something with “pantaloons”, which made the whole class laugh…and got an A.

My hope is to give my readers some encouragement. Maybe a little bit of insight, and hopefully a laugh.

And so, I write. What I think, what I feel, what I see, what I hear. And yes, what I know. Which, it turns out, is kind of a lot. 😉

I hope you enjoy.

All the love,





The Diet So Far

So I started the “Diet With No Name” 4 weeks ago today. I said in the beginning that I would tell you what it was, only if it was effective, remember? Well, Nutrisystem, my hat’s off to you! In 4 weeks, I have lost 10 pounds and almost 5 inches. My clothes fit better, my mood is better, I sleep better (when the hubby isn’t snoring!) and I feel like I’m eating all day long.  Oh. And I love the food!

I know what I need when it comes to losing weight; portion control and eating the right kind of food. But my husband, who has done the majority of the cooking for the last few years, is such a good cook! There aren’t many restaurants out there that can compete with him. the problem? He cooks enough food to feed an army. Four people lived in our house when he took over the brunt of meal preparation, but for whatever reason, he cooks for 8 or 10. So this becomes dinner for the night, and lunch the next day. At the end of the week, we choose which leftovers we want and eat them all weekend. Still tasty!

I thought I was smart about eating (and I know there are a lot of other factors that cause weight gain), but portion control is a big thing for me. And of course, I didn’t want to do the work to count calories, so yummy food meant second helpings. And we all know that second helpings, even of healthy food, can be bad for us. As my husband says “It’ll just go to waist”.

Several years ago, we both tried Nutrisystem. It was expensive for two of us to do it, and because there are separate health requirements for men and women, we had to have different meal plans. It was a little confusing back then and, psychologically, eating food out of a box somehow made it seem less appetizing. (Really? Who doesn’t love TV dinners?)

Translation: We were not ready to make the change.

After trying a few other reputable options (and some less so), I decided to give Nutrisystem another look. Either they have changed a LOT in the last ten years, or technology has made it much easier to understand things. Certainly there is more support available online; support groups, blog sites…everything you need to know is available at the click of a mouse. I especially love the Facebook Support Group I found! But the thing that drew me back to them was the portion control.

I have learned that I totally suck at choosing the right foods in the right balances and amounts. Vegetables are all good, but they don’t have all of the nutrients we need to be totally healthy. If I felt something was healthy, I’d eat *more* of it. Less calories? Bigger helpings are okay, right?

The Nutrisystem “diets” (of which there are many; diabetic, vegetarian, vegan to name a few) are formulated by dieticians/nutritionists and the food is prepared by real chefs. There are counselors to contact via phone or chat. Customer Service is also available by phone or chat, AND…I get to choose my menu items! In addition to the packaged food, there are also frozen items (including, but not limited to ice cream!). I get to eat something substantial every 2-ish hours, so I am never hungry. Hence the word ‘diet’ in quotes.

My first shipment came with a lot of helpful literature so that every step is guided; but not restricted! I was given a specific calorie count for each meal, and suggestions for “extras” to help me match it without exceeding it. There’s a food tracker so that if I want to try something comparable, I can enter the information, which keeps me accountable for my choices. They even have a Restaurant Guide to make eating out simple. This is helpful to me, as Wednesdays are Date Night with the hubby, which I refuse to miss, and most weeks we try a new restaurant. We’ve been doing this for about a year now, and have only found one whose cooking he can’t match.

There are no weigh-ins, no meetings, no one that I feel like I have to “report” to if I have a bad week. But there are counselors available and online support groups; people who have GREAT ideas on how to spice up a meal (Did you know there was such a thing as Riced Cauliflower??), a listening ear and, most of all, encouragement!

There are LOTS of options here. Besides the “Shelf-Sustainable” (dry) entrees, snacks and desserts, there are frozen entrees, snacks and desserts. Yes, you read that right. Desserts. Breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner and dessert — I just add the fruits and veggies, string cheese and yogurt. (there are a lot of different things you can add, but these are my choices as I enter my second month.)

And the best part (besides the desserts that include orange and fudge sicles, red velvet whoopie pies and carrot cakes!)? If there’s something in my order that I like less than I want to, I can change my order for next time! Each month comes with 28 breakfasts, 24 lunches and 24 dinners. I’m not a fan of pizza (I got three each for dinner and lunch), so for my next order, I substituted with Mexican food. I can change it every day if I choose, up until the day before it’s shipped to me.

It’s not cheap ($200.00-$300.00 a month, depending on the plan one chooses), but it is, for me, a worthwhile investment in my health. There are online coupons and Costco even sells $100.00 gift cards at a discount.

I started this journey with 56 pounds to lose. After one month, I am down 10 and have lost 5 inches. I am NEVER hungry following their guidelines, I am eating the right foods in the right amounts at the right time of day…and I get ice cream (or a cupcake or apple pie) for dessert.

Oh, and they send you a little bear for every ten pounds you lose as a pat on the back. The picture is borrowed from one of the amazing ladies in our group, but my “10 pound Nutribear” is on its way to me!

So I have finally found a way to eat good food that’s good FOR me without overeating or starving myself. This truly is a lifestyle change, and a sustainable one. As I work to lose the remaining 46 pounds, I am learning healthy habits going forward. And I am learning, with the support of others, that a bad day doesn’t mean I have to quit, or that I “can’t” do this. I CAN do this. I WILL do this. Holy crap, I’m DOING it!

Love, Becca


I Never Really Got To Say Goodbye

When I was 6 or 7, my mom moved out of our house. It wasn’t the first time, but it would be the last. I remember bits of it as clearly as if it were yesterday.

Mom and Dad came home from work with groceries, as they did every payday; then Mom was fixing dinner. Spaghetti, I think. I remember vividly that she was standing at the stove when, as happened sometimes, my younger brother and I started fighting. Except I didn’t really fight. I usually tried to defend myself, but ended up screaming for my momma. I don’t see the point in fist-fighting, and I didn’t ever want to hurt someone who I loved.

This day was no different. For whatever reason, Dave was mad, and I was his target. Again. (Probably because our older brother or sister would knock him on his ass without a second thought!) I may have deserved the beating I was being handed, I don’t remember. But nevertheless, there we were. And Mom seemed oblivious to it all.

“Mom! Tell him to leave me alone!” I pleaded.
“You’re the oldest, YOU make him stop” was her reply as she turned and glared at me. And then she said: “I can’t take this anymore.” Without another word, she walked out of the kitchen, put on her yellow and blue coat and walked out the door. She didn’t even close it behind her. I remember that because it was raining, and I thought  that maybe God was crying, too.

I seem to remember Dad going after her for a minute, standing in the doorway or on the porch; I don’t remember if they talked or not, or if my dad had any idea what was happening, but the four of us kids were dumbfounded. And then the tears came. First from my sister, the one who was always closest to Mom; and then from Dad, as he tried to comfort her. Then my brothers and me and soon, we were all huddled together, hugging each other and trying to understand. Maybe she was afraid that talking to us about it would have made her change her mind; maybe she didn’t think it was any of our business, or maybe she was running late. I have never asked Dad whether he knew in advance. Whatever the case,she didn’t even say goodbye.

The actual story, according to her, is that she bought a month’s worth of groceries that day after work “to make sure you kids would be fed”. She planned it all and knew exactly what time she had to leave to meet the man who would become my step-father, who was waiting for her down the street.

This was all explained to me when I was about 21. In my memory, she blamed me for having to leave. She can’t take the fighting? Can’t take me asking for help? Can’t take…ME anymore?  I finally decided to ask: “Mom…did you leave because of me? You looked right at me and said you couldn’t take it anymore. Was it my fault you left?”

She was quiet for a long time. We were talking on the phone and I couldn’t see her face, so I was terrified. And then she explained that she and Rex had planned when and where to meet, told me that she bought extra food to see that we were taken care of, and finally, that it had nothing to do with me. And I believed her.

March 5, 2014 was my first day back to work after a week off for a hysterectomy (I was bored and didn’t want to take 6 weeks off, what can I say?). As we pulled into the driveway after work, my phone rang. It was Mom. Just a little bit of back-story; my mother and I didn’t talk much after the divorce, and when she called, it was usually with bad news. “Oh, shit, who died?” was my first thought. I answered the phone apprehensively. “Hi, Mom!”

She called to tell me that she had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She said that she had elected for a mastectomy, and that she would be starting treatment soon after that. She said that the conversation with the doctor was kind of a blur, but that he said “stage 4 something”, and that I had better make sure not to ever miss a mammogram ever. I promised I would take care of myself, and tried really hard not to fall apart.

I never knew what the “right” reaction was with my mom. It seemed that I could never say the right thing. And I’m quite positive that this was no exception. I didn’t cry or beg her to get treatment; I just accepted the news and told her that I loved her. I told her I would support whatever decision she made, and that I would be happy to accompany her to visits to the doctor, or pop over on a Sunday afternoon just to talk, or whatever she wanted. “I’m here for whatever you need. Or don’t need, even.” She said none of that was necessary, that my sister’s daughters were always available to help, that she just wanted to let me know.

Maybe I should have run to her right then and just let her talk. Maybe I should have let her hear me cry. Maybe I should have…something. I don’t know. I still don’t know. Maybe, when my sister called to tell me that my step-dad had shot and killed himself two months later, THEN I should have gone  to her. I asked my sister if I should. “I don’t know what the right thing is to do”, I said. She didn’t know either.

I called Mom the day after Rex’s suicide. She told me what happened and said that my sister and her kids had done a great job of cleaning up and, while she was sad, she also was a bit relieved. Rex had been having seizures and other medical problems for several years, and she took care of him. Now, she said, she could concentrate on taking care of herself and getting the treatment she needed.

During the conversation, I recounted something she and Rex told me when they first got together. It wasn’t mean, just a memory, but as is typical, it was the wrong thing to say. It set her off, she shouted at me, and then found a way to end the conversation. I guess I’m glad I called instead of going over. That would have been awkward for both of us.

February 2015: Mom calls while I’m at work. It was a Thursday. I wanted to be able to talk as long as she needed, so I waited until I got home to call her back. This time she called to tell me that she was dying. She said that she had seen the doctor that afternoon, and that he told her that the cancer had metastasized to her lungs, and that she had two months to live. And that’s IF she got treatment. She said that she couldn’t see extending her life by two months just to spend those two months getting chemo treatments. “I’m not going to wait that long”, she said, meaning that she was going when she decided to go, and no doctor was going to set the date. She told me that she was signing Power of Attorney over to my sister, and  that my sister had clear instructions to divide everything between “my four kids”.

And then I asked the question I had wanted to ask for years. The one that I knew would piss her off the most, but that I needed an answer to: “I’m not trying to be a smart-ass, Mom, but…what do you want from me? Do you want me to be there?”
Silence. For the longest 30 seconds of my life to date, I waited. And then…
“You do what’s best for you, Becky.”

She was angry. She was probably hurt. She yelled. My husband heard her from the other room. I knew this would happen, and that it really would be my fault that she was upset this time, but the last thing I wanted was to make her uncomfortable as she died. I persisted.

“Mom, please understand. This time it really IS all. about. YOU. If you want me to be there, I will be there. If you need me to stay away, I will do that. What do YOU want?”
Another silence. “You’re my daughter. I love you. Of course I want you there.” This time, I wasn’t sure whether I believed her or not. But it was the answer I wanted to hear. We made arrangements to see her on Saturday afternoon. I asked if she wanted me to bring anything and, after a bit of discussion, she decided on a pineapple shake from the best shake shack in the state of Utah. Yum.

Saturday morning, my sister called to say that Mom had been rushed to the hospital and was in ICU. She was having a hard time breathing, and they couldn’t do enough for her at the rehab facility where she had been for the last few weeks. We got ready and headed to the hospital.

I walked into her room and took her hand. I told her that I hadn’t brought the shake because I didn’t know if they would let me bring it into the ICU. “I can have anything I want!” She declared. So off we went to get her pineapple shake. My gosh, I have never seen anyone so happy to have ice cream! She sat herself up in bed, pulled the bi-pap up a bit and started eating. She ate almost all of it in a very short time. She smiled a lot, and that made me happy. I just sat with her, talking about nothing important, holding her hand. She drifted in and out of sleep, told me that she was at peace with one of my nieces who was having some problems; “No matter what anyone says, Keesha and I are good. Don’t let them tell you different.” I went home after a couple of hours and when I went back the next day, she said “You just sitting there holding my hand yesterday…that meant the world to me”.

On February 26th, as I left work to head to the hospital, I got a text from my sister: “Mom just passed”. We rushed to the hospital and I fell apart at her bedside. She was still warm. She really did look like she was sleeping, unlike any other person I have ever seen after they pass. I was fortunate to have time with her, but wanted to let her do all the talking, and so…once again…I never really got to say goodbye.


Dying or Dieting?

Right about three years ago, I had a hysterectomy. Not because of any immediate medical concern, it just needed to be done. I’d had an ablation on my heart a few years prior so, before surgery, an EKG was required to make sure I could handle the anesthesia. They said my heart was healthy, and the surgery was scheduled.

I checked into the hospital as scheduled and the nurse took my vitals. Blood pressure normal, weight too high (also normal since I had my first kid 20 years before), heart rate 110. All as it should be. The anesthesiologist got tired of waiting for the nurse and administered the medication himself. “This is going to sting a bit”, he said, “but you’ll only feel it for a minute”. The needle was totally painless…and then the burn. And then…

When I woke up, I was all alone. I heard some ladies talking from somewhere in the room, but couldn’t make out where, or what they were saying, so I exhaled and held my breath. I saw them about 30 feet away; three nurses huddled around a machine of some kind.
“It’s 65” said one.
“Now it’s 30. Which one do I believe?” What are they talking about?
“It was 110 when she came in!” OH! I took a deep breath and willed myself to breathe normally. They were talking about my heart rate. 65? 30? Holy crap! Keep breathing, I told myself.

Why was I concentrating on breathing? Why did I have to remind myself to keep doing it? Had I stopped during surgery? I assume it dropped because I intentionally stopped breathing to hear them better (I’m not sure it works, but I have always done that). But it was 65 before that and, for me, that’s awfully low. I laughed about it when the doctor said “You had us worried for a minute!” and I explained that it was my fault because “You know how you don’t breathe when you’re straining to hear someone talk?” He looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language for a minute and then moved on to the surgery and how it all went perfectly on the table, “but we don’t know what happened in Recovery”. Huh. Weird. They decided to keep me overnight to test for Sleep Apnea. No signs, but the nurse said she’s sure that’s what caused the “episode” after surgery.

When I went back to work, a coworker who had recently had the same procedure said “You’ll be sorry. Hysterectomies make you fat!”  We laughed.

Fast forward three years. I am now just two and a half pounds lighter than the heaviest I have ever been in my life. I’m sure it has more to do with stress than the operation, but I shared that only to share this:

This morning, my husband (who has Sleep Apnea) said that he woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep for an hour because “You jerked every time you inhaled”.  He couldn’t really describe it any better than that, but *I* can. On that day, almost exactly three years ago, I realized I wasn’t breathing and literally forced myself to breathe. It was always a sharp inhale, like “oh, yeah, I forgot!” Not a gasp, but sharp. And it would cause a little bit of a jerk. It woke me up the night before, so I knew exactly what he meant.

When he went to the doctor to discuss his snoring, the doctor set him up with a Sleep Study. The first suggestion from both doctors was that he lose a few pounds. They observed that, as one gains weight, their necks get thicker and can obstruct the airway as one sleeps. Well then!

Given this information, and a few other aches and pains that I’m convinced have to do with excess weight (and age, I’m sure…), I have decided to attempt a “diet”. Between the planned meals and the twice daily exercise program where I work, I am hoping to lose about 56 pounds in the next year. Hopefully, the first 10-20 will alleviate the potential problem.  If not, I’ll be off to the doc. I’m a firm believer in trying everything within my power before shelling out money to someone who will most likely tell me what I already know: I’m too fat.

I’m not mentioning the program on purpose right now; I will start it within the next week or two. But I will keep track of my progress here, and if it works as I hope, I’ll certainly give them a plug! In the meantime, I will keep breathing. And I hope you do, too!

It’s Not About Politics

I don’t hate anyone. I don’t make fun of people or call them names or say or do anything intentionally mean. I have been the recipient of that behavior and would never intentionally cause another to feel the way I felt. I wish I could say that it has never happened. That I have never said anything hurtful in all my life. That I have never caused pain – emotional or physical – to another human being in my whole life. But that would be a lie.

There was the time (or two) that I punched my little brother in the stomach. To be fair, my reasoning was not to hurt him, only to interrupt his pummeling of me. But I knew it would hurt him, and I did it anyway, because hurting him was the only thing I knew would make him stop. At least until the next time.

There have been times when I misspoke and hurt someone. There have been times when what I said, no matter how carefully worded or written, was misunderstood and hurt someone. So, no, I can’t say that I have never caused another pain. What I can say is that I have never intentionally hurt another human being in word, action or deed. EVER. 

Also, having known a few bullies in my day, I can say that I don’t take kindly to seeing someone else be hurt. Whether I like you or not, whether I know you or not, I will not sit by while you are treated with less respect than you deserve. I’m not talking about butting into every little disagreement that one is having with their spouse/significant other/friend in public; we have those, too, as much as I would prefer not to. I am a Taurus, after all, and sometimes I have to say what I think *right. now.* But I will call the police when I see a middle-school kid getting the snot beaten out of them at the park across the street from my house. I will speak up if someone is being harassed. I have even been known to engage a child in conversation when I can see that Mom is at her wit’s end at church or in the grocery store.

I very much dislike bullies. And I don’t care who they are. Their station in life, their celebrity, their title or position, all mean very little to me. As I have said before, we are all on the same journey. Each doing the best we can given our circumstances and level of ability.

I choose not to accept or tolerate bullying. I choose not to single out a group of people based on the actions of a few. I choose not to associate with those who participate in, or are willing to look past bullying by others.

– You may not be a bully, but if you are willing to overlook bullying, you are not my friend.
– You may not be racist, but if you are willing to overlook racism, you are not my friend.
– You may not be a misogynist, but if you are willing to overlook misogyny, you are not my friend.
– You may not be hateful, but if you are willing to overlook hatred, you are not my friend.

For the record, I will not even allow a bully to be bullied. I believe in Karma; I wish for my Karma to be peace. NO ONE “deserves” to be treated badly, and I won’t let it happen to anyone if I have the power to stop it…even if that person is perceived by others to “deserve it”. I don’t have to like a person to care about them as a human being. That said, I don’t have to like them, and I don’t have to allow them to be part of my life.

What it comes down to is this: I don’t support these behaviors, I don’t support the people who display them, and I don’t support the people who support them, even by omission. “I can overlook that because…” is not something I can support.

– I’m not taking a political stance, I’m taking a stance for human decency.
– I’m not angry that “my candidate” didn’t win, I’m angry that so many people thought a bully was a good choice.
– I didn’t stop being your friend over politics, I stopped being your friend because I choose not to be your next victim.

As any recipient of a bully’s fists/words/actions/hatred will tell you, it comes down to self preservation. I choose to love. I choose to accept. I choose to follow the teachings of Jesus, whose best friend was a prostitute, who made no judgments and excluded no one. I choose to surround myself with like minds. I don’t call names or deride or belittle anyone. Some – like those described above – I choose to love from a safe, self-preserving distance.




Tolerance vs Acceptance

Tolerance: fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry. (Dictionary.com)

Acceptance: The act of taking or receiving something offered. (Dictionary.com)

It occurs to me today that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Jesus taught the same principles. Equality, Love, Acceptance. Both were brutally beaten and, eventually, murdered. Why is that? What is it about loving each other that frightens people so badly that they must kill one another to stop it?

Based on the definitions in the dictionary I used, tolerance sounds like a good idea. However, I see it a bit differently. Tolerance is what I afford the guy who cuts in front of me in the passing lane to pass a semi, and then slows down when he realizes he is too afraid to pass. Though I might ask “what the hell?” in my head, I can tolerate going a bit slower while he takes a deep breath and forges ahead.

Tolerance is what I show to my husband when he spends a large part of the weekend playing video games. I love him unconditionally. I can put up with a few hours of Assassin’s Creed. That is called Acceptance, in my view. I knew about his penchant for video games before I married him. When he “offered” his proposal, I took it. Warts and all. Video games, driving skills (he’s a very good driver, by the way!), low balance bank accounts…I don’t just “tolerate” the man, I ACCEPT him. As he is, no questions asked. Because when you love unconditionally – like, say, Jesus or Dr King (and so many others) taught and teach us to love – it’s not “toleration”. It’s acceptance.

I don’t “tolerate” a person who has a different skin color/background/sexual orientation/national origin than I do, I accept them as a person. I “tolerate” a person who has control over how they act/react and does so in a way that I don’t understand and may not agree with. I don’t fear a person based on their religion or where they were born, I fear a person who has decided that one religion or country is “bad”, and should be eliminated. I celebrate and learn from the differences! I fear only those things that are a direct threat to my life or livelihood, and only when they are a direct threat.  I try to listen to all sides, research the pros and cons and make up my own mind.

For the record, accepting a person as he/she is does not mean that I have to be their best friend and subject myself to things with which I disagree. It doesn’t even mean that I have to like them. It just means that I allow myself to love them for who they are; even from a distance. I am not bound to burden myself with hatred just because someone is hateful toward me. I am not required to be angry – although it does happen – because someone is a bully, or passive-aggressively cruel. I am not forced to be mean just because someone else is mean.

Behavior is a choice. This is what we tolerate. And tolerance is good. Necessary, in fact. Where a person is born, who they are attracted to, the language they speak, the color of their skin…these are things that should be ACCEPTED, not just put up with or “tolerated”. I was born in Utah. When I was 3, my family moved to Nevada. When I was 6, we moved back to Utah. Shortly after that, my mom found a boyfriend and left my dad with 4 small children to raise. NONE of this was within my control, and I refuse to be judged by those circumstances. What’s more, I refuse to judge others by their circumstances.

If someone chooses to be a victim, so be it. I choose not to be, but I accept others’ choices. I accept a child who lashes out due to circumstances beyond their control, and tolerate an adult who lashes out despite the fact that they now have control of their choices and decisions. See the difference?

We don’t have to be hateful when hate is shown to us. We don’t have to judge others because others judge us. The fact is, we are all on the same journey. There are 7 BILLION people on this planet, and I believe that there is more love than hate. I also believe that “tolerance” is no longer a word that should be mainstream in the world. Accept a person for what and who they are. Keep your distance from those who you believe may mean you harm, but show compassion and love, not hate and fear.

On this day when we in the United States recognize Dr. King for the good he effected here, let’s just accept what is offered, and LOVE each other.




%d bloggers like this: