{ thankful }

 Last night I took dinner in to a dear friend who is just beginning the fight for her life against breast cancer and who had just returned home after a double mastectomy.

It surely makes all of the 'Black Friday'
hype seem downright silly.

I think tomorrow I will hug my grandchildren a little longer, call my dear dad,
kiss my sweet husband, express thanks for my four children and their great spouses and let someone else get the deal of the season.

I already have the gold.


{my bank}

I'm not sure BUT I think if you're wearing a ski mask 
AND entering a bank . . . 
it's not good!
(and I don't think you're reading the signs on the door . . . )


{ wisdom }

Maybe it's the shorter days and longer nights,
or maybe it's the lengthened streams of sunlight
in the late afternoon
or the quietness that comes
with children back in school
and frost on the grass
but whatever brings it on,
I find myself more reflective in the fall
as I think about my life,
my struggles, my triumphs,
my life lessons learned.

I gained empathy while experiencing loss,
freedom while breaking crippling bonds,
gratitude while holding my children,
reverence while honoring my mother's life,
testimony while applying the Atonement,
healing while seeking forgiveness
and laughter while remembering to look up.

I heard this song and was a little taken aback
by the term 'beautiful heartbreak' but
as I listened and thought of my own journey
I was grateful again for lessons learned,
testimony deepened,
understanding broadened
and the healing balm
of my Savior, Jesus Christ.


{my life story}

Me in DC circa 1990
Our daughter, Elizabeth, has expressed an interested in 
Mr. W and my life histories.  
I have narrowed the list of titles for my autobiography down to two.  
I can't decide between calling it "My Fancy Nancy Life" 
or . . . . "A Series of Unfortunate Perms".  
I'm sure it will be a fascinating read.

Anyone have a favorite?

On second thought, I think I should consider 
"A Series of Unfortunate Outfits".

Hmmm, this is a lot to think about.  
I'll tell Random House to hold the presses.  
(I actually think it would be fitting to have 
Random anything print my life's story.)

{Pumpkin for President}

This may explain some of the Pumpkin/Mr. W conflict -
they're both running for president!
Move over Mitt & Jon . . .


{34 years . . . and counting}

Thirty four years ago this July I told Mr. W. 
that even if we lived in a tent, 
I would marry him.
I was completely smitten with this man (still am)!
Well . . . 34 years later (and likening the scriptures
to myself)

1 Nephi 2:15

And my father (I) dwelt in a tent.

I spent my 34th anniversary in a tent!
Loves of my life - my dad & Mr. W.
Instead of the traditional opal gift,
I received a new air mattress, perfectly cooked s'mores,
the lullabies of pine trees, the rush of a clear mountain stream, listening to ghost stories around the campfire,
Fun is mandatory!
marveling at the mountains majesties and sipping hot chocolate in the early morning hours as I directed
lost joggers (who stared in shock at my 'bedhead' hairdo - 
hey, it was early and I was sleeping on the ground in a tent) towards the Timp trailhead.
Jason & Mr. W. - July 2011
Best of all, I'm still head over heels in love with the
same man that I promised to follow in thick or in thin,
in mansion or tent, to the ends of the world.
And that (as Mastercard would say), is priceless!



Kathy, Nancy & Carolyn - 1957

It's hard to be responsible,
adult and sensible all the time.
How good it is to have a sister
whose heart is as young as your own. 
- Pam Brown -

Nancy, Carolyn, Dad & Kathy
Happy 60th Birthday, Carolyn!


{ * i * am * special * }

Daniel's in the green shirt - May 2010
Yesterday my neighbor, Daniel, said
(with great thought & consideration),
"Sister West,
the most special thing
about you is
(our anxiety ridden, hair pulling, crazy cat)."

* Please excuse me while I go
work on broadening my 'specialness'.*


learning my times tables

A little over 18 years ago on February 19th I was in the recovery room after delivering my third baby, Jason.  I had a (barely) three year old and a thirteen month old (January 19th) waiting for me at home.  I was overwhelmed by the task ahead of me but grateful for the safe delivery of this new baby boy.  As I laid there, I sensed the presence of another child destined for our family.  Obviously, fertility was not an issue for me and I assumed that in a couple of years (once I got my feet back under me and my brood a little older), we would welcome that child in to our family.

But God had other plans for me.

I recognize now that God had me feel that child at that moment so that I would have the courage to endure what was ahead of me.  I think that had I felt that at any other time I would have written it off as being 'baby hungry' but, because it came at a time when I was definitely not planning my next pregnancy, I knew it was a quiet prompting that I would need to reference back to in the years ahead.

During the next eleven years and as a result of an infertility work-up, I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis.  I went through laparoscopic surgery, Lupron hormone injection therapy, miscarriages, D&Cs, tears, heartbreak, grief, pleading with God, frustration with women who were carrying unwanted pregnancies and long stretches of not being able to conceive or conceiving only to lose the pregnancy at two months.

One night, after yet another ultrasound showed no heartbeat, I sat in my rust velvet swivel rocker and rocked and cried and cried some more as I grieved the end of a pregnancy and prepared my heart and mind for yet another D&C.  I had come to know all too well the look on the ultrasound techs' faces when they are unable to find a heartbeat.  Each time they would look and look and look, then place the call to the radiologist to come to the ultrasound room to confirm their findings and then the news that this pregnancy, with all of it's hopes and dreams, is over.  I even had one radiologist look at me and say, "Don't go buy maternity clothes.  You won't need them."

But still I clung to that feeling in the recovery room and I pressed on.

Ten years later, I was 35, my endrometriosis was severe and I had an appointment with my doctor to schedule a hysterectomy.  I felt like God knew my heart and I had tried.  Two days before my appointment, I found out I was pregnant.  With guarded optimism, I went to my appointment and prayed for the best.  Because of my age and medical history, I was considered a high risk pregnancy but I was praying that this pregnancy would be blessed and that I could carry this baby to full term.

On February 19th, exactly eleven years after that day in the recovery room (and two weeks before my due date), I delivered a healthy baby girl with big blue eyes and curly hair.

God had kept His promise to me but it was in God's time, not mine.  And in doing so, I learned that God keeps His promises, He is aware of me, He knows me by name and He knows the righteous desires of my heart.  He was always there - through heartache and triumph.  But in the process, He allowed me to grieve and grow, to trust and love, to wait and listen and to always show faith.

My baby girl is know grown up and graduating from high school on Thursday.  She is a daily reminder to me of God's miracles and promises.  During a very hard time in my life, she was a reminder that God's time table is not always mine but He is there - always.

I thought I had learned all of my times tables in 3rd grade with Mrs. Shoell but I have found that I had one more to learn from God and, in learning that one, I have been blessed.



Grovecreek orchard - April 2011

There is a destiny
that makes us brothers,
no one goes
his way alone;
all that we send
into the lives
of others,
comes back
into our own.

- Edroin Markbam -


S{n}o{w} Long Winter . . .

April 30, 2011

 Hello Spring!!!
May 1, 2011


Who is Jim Dandy?

Fancy Nancy's dad . . . of course!


where's the beef?

I have a pretty hard and fast rule about attending 'parties' that sell things.  I don't go.  I am also very reluctant to buy things from door-to-door sales people (my apologies to the very nice Asian women selling egg rolls from the trunk of her car).  I am gracious up to the point that they get obnoxious and then all bets are off.  With a quick "no", "thank you for stopping" (now get off my porch), "do you have a business license for Provo", I close my door and they're on their way.

As with all of life, there are some exceptions.

Last year I needed a gift for someone who has everything and so I agreed to my second Cutco Knife demonstration.  I saw it as a win/win.  I really like the young person selling the knives and I thought a $60 paring knife would be the perfect gift.  I sat through the demonstration, ordered the knife, put Amie one demonstration closer to quitting her sales job and presented Bonnie with the perfect gift (unfortunately, she already owns the perfect knife but I'm holding out hope that she will leave me the second knife in her will).
Last night as I used my $2.99 grocery store paring knife to cut up tomatoes for dinner, I realized that I will probably be able to go through life just fine without a Cutco knife unless . . . I plan to start serving cut up pennies or rope for dinner because we all know you need a Cutco paring knife to do that.



Love one another
you will be happy,
it is as simple
and as difficult
as that.
- Michael Leunig -
Jensen & Brad - March 2011



Saturday . . .

Sunday . . .

To:  Mother Nature
From:  Me

I don't know much but I do know this - I would not make a good Alaskan/Norwegian/Siberian/North Poleian/Anywhere North of Provonian.  This has been a loooonnnnggggg winter!  I think my mental fingernails are worn out from 'hanging on'.  Come to think of it, that kitty poster - the one with the kitty hanging on to the rope - has always bugged me a little bit.  I think a picture of some glorious chocolate would be much more motivating.  And could they come up with a different acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder?  Do we really need to call it SAD?

Well, I'm off to dig out the snow shovels.  An optimistic Mr. W. put them away yesterday.


A Little Green & Gold

* A moment of silence for all red/green color blind people in the world.  Let's just say that St. Patrick's Day was a very rough holiday for Mr. W. growing up.  He could never quite be sure he had green on - it all looks brown to him. *