Monday, February 28, 2011


what i ________ about my job

emptying poop out of a plastic bag connected to somebody's stomach
pulling tubes out of and cleaning the body of a recently deceased woman with a highly contagious disease (so thankful she's in a better place)
assisting a woman of 370 pounds back into her bed and not being able to tell what part of her body is where ("you can sit down now" ... "i am...." ... "ohh...")
seeing multiple dimply, saggy bums through the open back of a hospital gown nightly
asking perfect strangers about their bowel habits, in detail
more experienced nurses treated me like nothing more than an incompetent little hassle to them and their ever so superior life (did you forget we have the same job and same position, and i would never want this job to be the culmination of my career?)
being nervous to call a doctor and tell him something to which he will probably say "uhmm.. okay... (youwokemeupforthat?)"
walking down the hall to leave the hospital and literally feeling like i've just been beat up, several times
just as i'm done helping my patient with whatever, i take my gloves off, thoroughly wash my hands... and as i'm half-way out the door they say "can you fix my sock?"
patients who say "open the blinds. empty my urinal. give me my medicine and then you can go." really?
trying so hard to do everything right that i know how and be a good nurse and it never being enough

it almost all makes it worth it when my favortie 80 something year old patient with the worst and cutest dementia has a harpers bazaar magazine in his room and when i first visit him he says "well, you better just pull up a chair and spend the night!"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

fantasy fort

valentine's day itself was busy with work and school... so when i woke up from my long day's rest.... i woke up to this!!

ssssiiggghhhh..... i'm so in love with him and thankful for his simple, real love for me.

we decided to celebrate on the weekend so we could truly enjoy it and not have anywhere we needed to be but with each other! so friday was the day. dan has a lab until 5:50 PM... that's kind of stinky for a friday. but it has it's perks. such aaaas.... i can SURPRISE him when he gets home!!! so i built a FORT in the living room, with nothing but my own brain power and big muscles. it was about the most engineering my mind could muster... but it was
a w e
s o m e

i was so busy building a fort and making homemade banana cream pie i had no time to make dinner, so i got all dressed up and picked dan up from class and we went to nick's in the stick's. it's kind of famous around here. back when tuscaloosa was one of the last "dry counties" nick's in the stick's was right on the county line so everybody would go there to get their dranks. it was just good ole southern back country. we got baked potatoes, onion rings, filet mignon, salad... it was just so fun. our waiter was hILARIOus. we loved him.

so we came home and i made dan wait outside, so i came inside and turned on the music, lit the candles, and welcomed dan to the RA SPA. he was so surprised and in awe of all i had done! i even moved the mattress into the fort, it was the most plush, comfortable, and magical little place. so then dan got a massage and foot scrub from the RA SPA. he seemed pretty happy about it. we then watched the notebook (aww) and had some homemade banana cream pie (even home made the pie crust thanks to you mama!)

we slept out in our fort and it was the greatest, we never wanted to take it down. we woke up on saturday at six am and went fishing with our one of our good friends josh mays in our stolen boat from 1960. the weather was beautiful and we just loved being outside! (especially me since i had been so cooped up in my BED and WORK only for 8 days! i never see the sun.) we had a lovely weekend. we had to take down the fort since the our friends josh, kimberly, and jonah were coming over for dinner (we didn't have to because i'm sure they would have loved it, but it was a little much). so we took one last [divine] nap and dan said we could make another one for our anniversary. YAY!!! but i don't know if i can wait that long.

i'm so thankful for such an unbelievably wonderful valentine's day full of so much love! thank you dan for loving me and i look forward to many more valentine's days together!! your love is all i need.

Monday, February 14, 2011

valentine time!

happy valentine's day to the love of my life!

i love it when we cuddle and giggle like two little kids. it is by far the best feeling ever.

i love him.
i love him.
i love him.
i love him!

my heart still jumps and my heart pumps when i see this sweet smile! ...

and happy valentine's day to everyone else that i love! i have the most precious family in the world. i love my mama. i love my daddy. i love my brother. i love my brother's sweetie. i love dan's mama. i love dan's daddy. i love my sweet, adorable sisters. i love my grandpas and grandmas. i love my aunts. i love my uncles. i love my cousins. i love my dear sweet friends that are so much more than friends. i love my...


did you see my new blog? it's :]

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

the ponderings of my heart

Luke 2:19 - "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."
I can relate to Mary. My mind has been one of deep reflection and pondering over the past few months, especially over the past weeks since the illness and passing of my faithful, strong, indescribably wonderful Grandfather. My father was blessed enough to receive all of my grandfather's books at his passing. I was blessed enough to receive a copy of my grandfather's autobiography... which is a complete gem and basically scripture to me. Let me struggle through this, because it is completely and surely impossible for me to even try to describe how I feel.
As the sun rose this morning I laid down with that precious book my grandpa wrote as I left my current existence and joined his. Every sentence, every story, every event in his life was... guided. And took him on a path exactly where he was meant to go. Every occasion that brought him the slightest bit of pain or hardship hurts my heart more than I can bear. But I know these events molded him into the unbreakable stone of a man he is.
When he was eleven years old, his older brother was beginning to attend priesthood meetings. Grandpa was not yet old enough but the bishop understood his need for the male companionship and so he allowed him to come along. Grandpa says, "I started to attend priesthood meetings early and still remember some of the lessons given at those meetings, one in particular on "The Fraternalism of the Priesthood." It had a profound impact on me as I contemplated then and even now as I think of the brotherhood of the priesthood."
This gives us even a tiny glimpse of the man my grandfather was even at eleven years old. The stories are endless. He has so many accounts of faithfulness and obedience in his life that have led to miracles where the Lord was able to extend His hand in my grandfather's life.
My grandfather was faithful. He was a rock of obedience and righteousness. He understood where happiness was found and what was truly mattered in life. He put the Gospel and his family above all else. As I eagerly read from page to page I was so excited for the parts about my father. My dear dad has such an unbelievably special place in my heart, and I know I do in his too. It was wonderful to read my grandfather's words about my father. "He has always been strong in body and spirit." It is clear to me that my father had a special place in his father's heart. And I feel that special love from my grandpa passed on to me (as I am sure every grandchild does).
As I read about my heritage and see how every little event leads to the next, how my grandfather's character was built little by little, but steadily, I have realized where I fit in. My father was a joy to his father. My father grew up at the feet of this noble and strong patriarch, seeing first hand his hard work and faithfulness to the Gospel. And this has shaped my father into the man he is today, who is also faithful and "strong in body and spirit." Somehow I am blessed enough to be his daughter, who was raised by the most loving and diligent parents, who taught me and raised me up in righteousness from the moment I was placed in their loving arms. It is my responsibility to carry on this tradition and honor the heritage of my fathers. I do have great responsibility because of what I know and all I am blessed with. I have these righteous men and women to look to and learn from and I would be shaming their name if I did not live the kind of life that they have and that would bring them pride in what I have done with their name.
I want to honor my grandfather. I will live my life always remembering the life he lived and all he sacrified to give my father a better life, who sacrified to give me a better life. How I deserve it I do not know. But I will spend my days trying to deserve it and trying to live faithfully to keep us sealed together and safe in our covenants.
The feelings I feel I can not quite describe, but I feel them. I am changed because of this. My heart is truly turned to my fathers.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


a few of my favorite things:

1. taylor swift's "you belong with me"
dan and i have been playing this song at least once a day,
he learned it on the guitar for me and we play&sing.
and our all-time favorite:
blasting the music video in our living room and dancing our hearts out!
spinning, dipping, twirling, slow-dancing, the whole shabang.
it. is. the. greatest.
you should try it, you will be sooo happy.

2. fruit&vegetables
are the love of my life.
the other dan day and i were talking about what it would be like if we had lots of money... like, millions.
i said... "our fridge would be stalked with an unlimited supply of fruits&vegetables."
i have a million dollars and i'm dreaming about fruits&vegetables,
they make me that happy.

in our kitch at this very moment:
bell pepper


3. dreaming
about what i want out of my life,
what things are most important to me,
what kind of world i want for my children,
and how i can get it.
it is my minds favorite thing to occupy itself with.
i think it is essential to have goals for my life and really, really think
about what kind of mom i want to be and how i will raise and protect my children in this world.
cuz it's KRAZY out dare.
i might even be starting a blog on this subject alone.
my own journal to refer to, inspire me, and help me in my journey.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

to honor and be inspired

Last weekend my husband and I had the opportunity to attend the funeral of my dear Grandfather. We never expected to receive all that we did. Funerals typically have a reputation of being very sad and mournful, with black outfits and flowing tears. Yes, this was all there in part, but it was significantly overshadowed by feelings of awe towards our incredible grandfather. And I know when I say this I speak for not only me but the rest of our truly special family. His life was one of great acheivements, all accomplished through his dedication and unwavering faith to the Lord. He just "got it." He understood what brought happiness in life. He was not tempted by the things of the world because he realized they meant nothing, yet he acheived more in his 84 years than most. He truly was the "superior man" as my sweet father described in his talk...

“The superior man is spiritual. He exemplifies simplicity. He abhors being conspicuous. He is dedicated to service. Superior people are never bitter. Pessimism is the philosophy of vulgarity. The superior person is clean. His fellowship is refreshing. He is above his pleasures…A superior man is gentle, Superior men are humble-minded, or teachable, and they learn from passersby. The superior man is one with whom familiarity does not breed contempt. The superior man lasts; he wears well.” (President Harold B. Lee about Dwight B. Einsenhower)

That truly describes my dear grandfather. His 7 children, 47 grandchildren, and 101 great-grandchildren have all been deeply touched by being a part of his life and we all felt so loved by him. I know I feel honored to have been one of those 47 grandchildren. I can truly say now I understand those scriptures that say the hearts of the children were turned to their fathers. I feel a strong desire deep within me to live a faithful life to honor the name I have been given. I want to live an honest and unwavering life to honor my grandfather and be a woman that he would be proud of. He truly led by example, never boasting, just constantly serving, whether in the temple or in the kitchen.

"Our father was the greatest man I have ever known. To us, his children, he was the very personification of a patriarch. He was our ‘Abraham’ who at a young age, in spite of having a father who was antagonistic to the church, sought for the blessings of the fathers. He desired to be a “greater follower of righteousness, to be a father of many children, a prince of peace, desiring to receive instructions and to keep the commandments of God.” Having been raised by a widow in the heart of the depression, he did not have the benefit of a righteous patriarch to train him and whose example he could follow. Consequently, he was acutely aware and desired that his children have a righteous example to whom they could look. I remember, from my earliest youth, kneeling down every morning for family prayer. When my father would pray, it was unlike other prayers I have ever heard. When he would talk to his Heavenly Father, the veil was thin and you felt as though the very heavens were making note of his requests. I once asked him, “How did you learn to pray like that?” He said that as a young boy, because he did not have a father, he learned to turn to his Heavenly Father for guidance and counsel."

My Uncle Whitney spoke at the funeral and gave the life sketch and it was soo incredible. The stories he told were priceless and wonderful! My grandfather was not only faithful, but full of life and so much love. I have a copy of his autobiography and I am so excited to read it and learn more about the inspiring life of my grandfather.

What a blessing it was to be with family. We truly are a special family. We are so close-knit and there is so much love between us. What an amazing posterity my grandfather has begun. We can only spend our lives trying to make him proud and stay close as he would want us to.

As the days after the funeral have continued to pass, I continue to feel such a sense of gratitude and humility for my blessings. To be a part of the family I am so blessed to be in, to have sat at the feet of such a faithful patriarch and learned from him, to be sealed be sealed to my sweet mother, father, and brother in the temple as the first sealing he performed, and to have him seal me to my eternal companion and best friend.

He has gone ahead to prepare the next great James family reunion with his dear wife, Grandma Norma James. I know he is with me now and my life truly is forever changed by his influence.

As my sweet father said, "God Speed and fair well Great Patriarch, we look forward to sitting at your feet again someday."

little Sydney, our love

the James gang :)

i just loved this picture for some reason, Sparky is the greatest :)


lovin the love :)

i had the most lovely time with my mother and dear grandma. from our costco/gelato trips to our girls day out with grandma... my love for my grandmother grew 100 fold times this trip! she is such a sweet lady. and i love you mom!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


dan and i were on our day long journey home from salt lake city from dear grandpa's funeral and we had a two hour layover in phoenix. i had just left all my family and my parents and i was just not having a good day. dan couldn't do anything right and i had a permanently furrowed brow and little frown on my face. we got to phoenix and walked across the whole airport to get to our gate... stopping on every conveyor belt and letting it slowly drag us and our one hundred pounds of belongings across the never ending corridors.

we wanted to eat something nutritious so we wouldn't be sick after a day of peanuts, soda, and watermelon sour patch kids so we decided to eat at a little mexican place. all the tables were taken so we were trying to scope out a spot to no avail. there was a 60-something lady sitting down at a table for four eating a wendy's salad with chili on top, we thought she looked nice enough so i asked her if we could sit down and share a table. she kindly allowed and as dan went to go get our burrito, beans, & rice, i set down my mountain and we began to talk. i quickly explained our story... in school, nurse, where we lived, etc. dan came back and plopped our meal down on the table.

"why do you only have one meal? are you not very hungry?"

"it's just so expensive here we are going to share..."

(pulls up out her wallet) ... "let me treat you"

we of course tried to refuse it but she insisted. as dan accepted the two five dollar bills i noticed tears streaming down my cheeks. i couldn't hold back! i did feel a little ridiculous, so i explained to her what we had been out in utah for and why i was a little "emotional."

she didn't know what a hard day we were having. she didn't know i was feeling down and sad. she didn't know that i had just said goodbye to my grandpa and then my sweet parents and grandmother at the airport. she didn't know how much she would touch my heart and help me realize what good people are out there! we had lunch together and had a really nice talk for about twenty minutes. what a nice lady.

thank you for being so kind and sharing your heart with us. thank you for helping me so much that day... i will never forget your humble kindness to me!