Some of my projects ...

Please be patient with my as I try to get this blog exactly how I would like it to look.
I am still waiting for the best header and color combination I can make/find.
Things will likely be changed up a bit in this process.
Please visit my Stampin' Up! blog at:

One More Angel in Heaven

Barbara Mary Nelson Fowles, age 73, passed away on September 1, 2006, in Orem, Utah, following recent surgery. She was surrounded by her family.
She was born on July 13, 1933, in Lehi, Utah, to Alfred Nephi Nelson and Estella Hannah Webb. She was the oldest of five children.

She married Don Mitchell Fowles on September 8, 1948, in Pleasant Grove, Utah. They were sealed for time and eternity in the Mesa Arizona Temple on March 21, 1990.
She was raised in Lehi and Pleasant Grove and lived in Pleasant Grove after her marriage. She lived full time in Yuma, Arizona, for five years, during Don's illness.

Barbara was an active member of the LDS Church and held many different positions, including seven years as Relief Society President; and, most recently, as Compassionate Service Leader. She was involved in various acts of service, including Pink Lady and temple worker. She will be greatly missed as a long-time employee of Allred's Ace Hardware in Pleasant Grove. She was well known for her humility, kindness, and selfless devotion to all who needed her.

She is survived by her children: Marilyn Fowles, American Fork; Vicki Smith, Pleasant Grove; Randall Don (Kathy) Fowles, Pleasant Grove; and Cheryl (Rick) Storrs, American Fork; 12 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild; sisters: Beverly (Bill) Millring, West Valley City; Carol Ehlers, Payson; and Kathleen Casper, Pocatello, ID; as well as many close and dear friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Don; her parents; her brother, Eugene; and great-great-granddaughter, Lexi.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, September 6, at 11 a.m., in the Timpanogos Stake Center Chapel, 800 North 100 West Pleasant Grove. Friends may call at a viewing Tuesday, September 5, 2006, from 6-8 p.m. at the Olpin Family Mortuary, 494 South 300 East Pleasant Grove; and, one hour prior to services. Interment will be in the Pleasant Grove City Cemetery.

We are mourning the passing of my aunt who was one of the kindest women I have ever known. She truly was the living example of charity. Her life was spent selflessly caring for all those she came into contact with.

Unfortunately, in her desire not to have others worry over her, she decided not to tell anyone but her children that she was sick. We had no idea and thus, had no time to prepare ourselves for her loss. It was quite sudden and unexpected. I am currently living less than ten minutes from her and never went to see her. I'm so sad that she is gone.

In the face of unfortunate circumstances, I was able to spend time with my little family. My wife and children came to visit for several days for the funeral. Luckily, I was in a situation to take some time off work so I was able to spend four days with my family.

For those who are following the saga, our house still hasn't sold. It has now been two months on the market. We have had a lot of people come look at it but no one has made an offer yet. I just heard that the mortgage rates went down a little so we're hoping that may spur some sort of movement - I don't know. But I am getting quite frustrated with the whole situation. I don't know how to pray any harder or show any more faith than I have been. We're just resolving ourselves to believing that this is our little test in patience and family strength. Hopefully it will end soon though!

All is well.


How Lucky Can A Guy Be??

I tried to write about this here and post the pics but the blogger photo system doesn't like me much.

So here is a link to a little story about how I got to meet the editor in chief of Creating Keepsakes today and some other very wonderful people too.

Check it out:

I had to remove the link because it was casing formatting problems here on my blog.

The Housing Market

Well, things have been busy since I got down here. I spent most of my first two weeks getting settled in and looking for homes in the evenings. Unfortunately, we are moving to a more expensive housing market. Finding a home in an area I was comfortable with and then finding a home I was comfortable with became quite challenging.

Work is going along well but it is quite busy right now. My supervisor is leaving the country in about 2 or 3 weeks and will be gone for about a month. We have a lot of training that needs to be done before she leaves but she already has so many projects that need to be done before she leaves, I just feel like I'm taking up more of her time and adding to how much has to be done.

Anyway, we're working through that. It'll work out.

Well, I was able to find us a house to live in. Unfortunately, it's a little bit further away than we had hoped but I think it will be just find. It's about 20 to 30 miles from downtown Salt Lake but it shouldn't be too bad. There is an excellent transportation system that I should be able to use.
Anyway, it's a wonderful deal!!

The house sits on a half acre of land. The first quarter acre is cultivated and has a VERY well maintained yard. The second half is a field with trees. My wife is absolutely ecstatic about finally being able to put a garden in part of this space. The house sits across the street from a small cemetary. At first I didn't like this idea much but then I got to thinking that it means we will never have neighbors across the street. It's an old cemetary that is already full so there won't be funerals happening there that we will have to worry about. It's a four bedroom two bathroom house with two family rooms. It was built in 1966. The entire house has just had brand new carpeting installed, brand new linoleum in the kitchen and bathrooms, fresh paint in and out of the whole house. There is a beautiful deck that spans the whole back of the house (it needs a new coat of stain - but that's no biggie). The backyard has a HUGE storage shed and a small basketball court. There is a living room and a family room that are about the same size - big. There is a large master bedroom (unfortunately, without a master bath) and a large bedroom on the upper floor. The bottom floor has the second family room and another bathroom and two more bedrooms.

So here's the plan: we will be putting our two kids in the one room on the top floor with their clothes and essential room stuff. We will be putting a nice sitting area in the family room on the top floor. We will be putting our tv and other entertainment stuff in the family room downstairs. We will be putting the office/scrapbook space in one of the rooms downstairs. The other room will be a playroom for the kids so we don't have to keep their toys in the room they're sharing. The kitchen right now doesn't have a dishwasher and there is only an evaportive cooler in the roof for cooling. We have asked them to give us an enough of an allowance to put in a dishwasher and a central air cooling system. They accepted that and the rest of our offer - we are ecstatic. Now we just have to get our other house to sell.

Our realtors selling our house did a search today in our area with the same paremeters as our house. There were 40!!! We're hoping and praying that someone will be led to our house and be ready to buy it soon.

I can't get the pics to load here (what's up with that??) so here is a link to view them. Just click on the word link.



Things are moving along...

I'm going to try to be more regular with writing here now. Now that I have a job where I actually have my own office, desk and computer that I work at everyday it may just be easier to do.

So yesterday was my first day of work. I can't tell you how excited I am!! Everyone around here has been so nice and friendly. My coworker and I get along so well and I have so much to learn from her. Yesterday was kind of a boring day - mostly just orientation. It finished much earlier than they had planned so I had time to come up to my office and get things situated and organized the way I wanted them. I have a totally cool computer with a 19" LCD monitor sitting on top of a brand new DVD player and right next to a brand new 19" flat screen LCD TV. I'm not trying to brag at all but I was totally excited! I plan to take some pics soon of the office if they'll let me.

I was able to get some projects done before I left to decorate my office with that I want to get posted sometime soon too.

The only major problem right now is that I miss my family. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." Heck yeah, it does! I knew I loved my wife and children but I didn't realize just how much I would miss seeing them everyday. I can't go home until next weekend - it might just kill me! I'm trying to find things to do to stay busy either with work or some other things so I don't just sit around and miss my family (quick and easy way to get depressed again).

Today I've actually started working on some projects. Unfortunately, I can't do much to practice my stenography skills because the machines and software they ordered for me won't be here for two weeks. So, I'm doing other stuff. My in-depth training will probably start tomorrow. My supervisor has a lot of projects she's trying to get finished up before she starts training me.

Anyway, thanks for indulging me. This is just the most official and professional job I think I've ever had and I am just so excited!!


Some major changes in my future

I can't believe it's been almost four months since I wrote here last. Oh well, life goes on and is sometimes more important than writing in my blog. Although, I probably should have been documenting the events of the past four months somewhere. Oh well, moving on.

So here's a quick run-down. I got the depression and anxiety under control with some very good meds. Fortunately, we didn't have to go through a lengthy process of findind the best meds. The first ones I got really seemed to do the trick and keep me under control. So things quickly started getting better for me emotionally and mentally. I was still out of work and still not yet feeling comfortable with the idea of going back although I had put out some applications. School started going much better and I returned to the positive, excited attitude I had about it when I started instead of hating it and wanting to find something else. It's a good thing that I did stick with it because that leads into what is now going on in our lives.

At the end of April (while I was still sorting out my emotional state) I got an email from a friend of mine. She does the closed captioning for the LDS Church. When I decided I wanted to look into this as a career, I met her and spent a day with her kind of seeing what she does and what is involved. She and I have kept in touch over the past year and a half, and I have depended on her during some of my schooling. Well, she started asking me how school was going, what speeds I was typing at, how I felt about it, if there was anyway I could finish the program doing a distance ed kind of thing or some other way, etc. The Church had a position open for a closed captioning specialist and had had it posted for over a month. They hadn't had much success with their applicants. Six of the seven had no experience at all on the stenography machine that is also used for captioning and the one who did was running a lucrative business in St. George and didn't want to relocate. The problem they are having is that any captioner working in the business would not give up the money they are making to go to work for the Church, which unfortunately, doesn't pay anything close to actual business world salaries.

So my friend started looking into the options of using me - a student who didn't quite meet all of the requirements they were looking for but was moving along well in school. It took many, many meetings and for a while it wasn't looking too positive. Then on the day that I was told I didn't get a job that I was sure I would get, I got a call from the Salt Lake people telling me that they wanted me to come down for an in-person interview. The interview went very well as far as I was concerned and I really enjoyed the whole opportunity. Unfortunately, things still moved rather slowly with many, many more meetings involved. This whole thing went clear up to the top of the HR departments in the Church headquarters for approval.

Well, on Wednesday, June 28, after two months of waiting they finally called and made an offer for the job. I was so relieved! There are quite a few contingencies placed upon me and some very strict time requirements in place in which I have to meet their requirements. But, they were impressed with me and felt like I had the potential to become what they need.

So, I'm moving to Salt Lake!!!! And to make this a little more clear to anyone reading this - this is exactly what we would hope for in our lives. After meeting with Church's captioner a while ago, I decided that when I was done with school I wanted to try for a job there. To have this come along so soon for us is a Godsend! We will finally be making enough money to keep my wife home with the kids (although, like I mentioned before, the salary isn't stellar). We will be moving to an area where we are more comfortable and have a lot more family. I will be able to work in an environment with coworkers who have the same belief and value systems that I do. And all of the material I will be working with will be of a spiritual, church-related nature. Not the worldly stuff that I would be captioning on television. The benefits are excellent and we couldn't be more excited about this whole thing!

So that's the long and short of it. I will be quitting school but will continue my education on a personal course with the other captioner as my mentor/teacher. We are hoping everything goes as planned.

I had some pictures to post of where I will be working, but I can't get them to post here - I don't know what the problem is. Oh well!

Thanks for reading this and thanks to all those who have been so supportive!


CRAZY! (Sorry - it's a long one)

So in case anyone was wondering - no I did not die! I can't believe how fast the time flies sometimes. Seems like it wasn't that long ago that I was enjoying being able to play on the internet while recovering in my bed and here we are like a month and a half after my last post. CRAZY!!

So crazy is a pretty good word to describe what's been going on with me lately. I seriously feel as though I have been going a little crazy. And I mean no jest when I say that. I also do not mean to make light at all during this post of anyone who suffers from or has any brush with mental illnesses.

So here's the story. I don't yet know entirely what caused everything but I quickly became an emotional wreck after returning to work and school after my surgery. The only thing I can think of is that it is just a combination of everything that has been happening culminating all at once. I literally have not felt physically well since before Christmas. I progressed from my "theory" into my highly tense, stressful and discouraging speedbuilding class within a week after returning to school. Being away from my job for ten days made me realize just how much I absolutely hate that place and hate my job.

So slowly and almost undetectably depression, anxiety and panic attacks started creeping into my life. I still can't pinpoint when I first started feeling it but it quickly started taking over and controlling my life. I would wake up in the mornings with a knot in my stomach. I would have so much anxiety as I got ready for school and work that I would literally start to dry heave as though I would vomit at any moment. I got to the point where eating breakfast was almost impossible. Soon that started creeping into lunch and dinner as well. I almost completely lost my appetite and rarely ate a full meal. During my days at school I started to withdraw from everyone around me. I no longer associated with the people I started school with and didn't really want to talk to anyone. I was always sad and sullen and really didn't want to be there at all. The worst of the day would usually happen right before I had to go to work. I would often get so anxious about it that I would start crying. Crying probably isn't a good description. I was more like bawling hysterically. During all of this my poor wife is having to deal with me bawling over the phone to her and complaining all the time about how I don't want to go to work and how I'm not really happy with school anymore.

It all got to the point where I didn't want to leave the house - especially when my wife was staying home with kids. I was skipping school every chance I got and going to work only because I had used up all of my paid time off for my surgery. So after many discussions with my wife we decided I would start by looking for a new job that would make me happier even if we had to make some changes with school and other things. Then this past Saturday I skipped work and stayed home so I could call a counseling service that is supplied by my employer. After talking with them for an hour and knowing the things I was experiencing were real and I was going to be getting help - I thought I would be okay and start on the path to recovery. I figured I'd be able to cope with life until I could make some changes - WRONG!

It started all over again on Monday. I had been pretty much in control for most of the day and was doing okay until I was talking to my wife right before work. Then just out of nowhere it crept up on me again and I was crying worse than I ever had. I decided I couldn't go on like this. I walked into work and I quit my job. I can't believe I actually quit my job! That's something I'm still trying to process. I had several chances to back out of it but the whole time I was doing it I felt right about it and I felt that was what I needed to be doing. The shock hit me later that night when I finally realized what I had done and what it implied.

I don't regret it though. I am sure I will find something else (hopefully soon) and life will go on. I have actually felt much better this week though. I have been able to go through my days without crying and without having a panic attack. I am still feeling like there is definitely some depression and anxiety left to deal with and I'm not going to give up seeking professional help just because I have felt better this week. A lot of the anxiety I feel now though is over trying to figure out what kind of job would be best and where that might be. Luckily the hospital is willing to give my wife extra shifts while we get through this and they pay quite well. I am feeling bad over her having to work so much more because of me but we both agree that I couldn't go on like that every day.

So now I'm trying to heal in more ways than one. The surgery healing is coming along but I am still dealing with some inflammation and nerve pain. The doc thinks it will only be about another six weeks before all of that goes away as well. I hope so. It will be so nice to actually feel good again. In the meantime hopefully I'll get this other stuff taken care of and be on the road to a full recovery soon.

We're not so sure that school is the right thing anymore right now either. I like the prospects of the career but there are also some things about the work and the training to get to it that I'm not so sure of anymore. This just may not be what I want to do with the rest of my life and I don't want to get through it and then want to change paths again. So I'm doing some evaluating of my goals as well as my other options and we'll see it where it leads us. I'm just not sure right now.

The family is doing wonderfully though! My beautiful little girl just turned one on the 15th. She is so cute and so much fun. It's amazing how much of a little girly-girl she is already. This one is definitely all girl!! She unfortunately got the chicken pox a few weeks ago while I was still recovering from my surgery. My poor wife had a houseful of sickies to deal with. I don't what I would do without her.

Anyway, I'm still plugging along just trying to find my place in this world. Not yet sure where that is but I know we'll find it someday.

I really am sorry to anyone who reads this that it is so eratic and so depressing when it is updated. Hopefully someday I'll be more regular with it.

Thank you for bearing with me and supporting me.


Just Healing Now

Everything with the surger went pretty well. I've ended up with a little more pain than I'd anticipated but I think that will soon be better or at least more manageable.

I'm spending a lot of time in bed getting stuff done on my laptop or doing other school work. I've had an opportuniy once or twice to get to work on my scrapping projects a little. My project for my wife really hasn't turned out the way I was wanting it to so I don't know if I'll post pics or not. I'm really not very happy with it.

My poor wife has been an absolute angel through this whole thing. She is taking care of me, our two sick kids and a sick cat as well! I know she has got to be so tired but she is handling it all quite well. I don't know what I would do without her.

If there's any more developments that come up I'll be sure to write about them. For now, I'm just dealing through the pain and discomfort and enjoying a very nice break from school and work. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers - I really appreciate them!


Going under the knife

So sometime (most likely during our move this summer) I strained something well enough to cause some hernias. I've been feeling some discomfort and sometimes pain in my left side on and off for a couple of months. Just recently I got quite sick with the "crud" and ended up coughing like crazy for 2 or 3 weeks. Towards the end of that I started noticing a physical bulge on my abdomen. A co-worker said it sounded like a hernia so I had it checked out. Sure enough, an obvious hernia on my left side and probably one on my right side as well. Oddly enough though, they are hernias which are more common among women than men. (I've always been weird that way).

Anyway, so the surgeon says the left one definitely needs to get fixed and he might as well fix the right one before it gets any worse while he's doing the other one. So tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. I go under the knife to have these little buggers fixed.

I'm not very happy about the whole deal. We are just about to finish paying off our last medical bill from 2005 and then this happens. On top of that, work will only pay me for part of what I'm missing and part of what they are paying me is only at a percentage of what I would normally be paid. Finances are rediculously tight as it is right now and this certainly is not going to help. Iwould put it off if I could but there would be more danger involved in doing that than it is worth. Not to mention the discomfort level is getting pretty high right now.

The doc is only expecting about ten days for recovery before I'll be back in school and work. I'm hoping it's shorter but we'll have to wait and see.

Just so any of the scrappers who read this blog know, I have been trying to keep up on your lives. I read as many blogs as I can and I do check message boards when I can too. I miss being able to participate but I still think of you all quite often.

I've actually been taking a little time to work on a Donna Downey-inspired project for my wife for V-day. I will try to get some pics taken of it and posted after I get it done.

Other than that life continues at its normal, busy pace right now. My two little ones unfortunately both have bronchitis right now. I feel so bad every time I hear the cough. I wish I could make it all go away. They've both been good little troopers so far though and have kept happy attitudes. My daughter will be one next month (I can't believe it!) and is starting to take her first few steps now and then. She is absolutely adorable and I really need to post some updated pictures of her so you can all see her.

Thanks for all your support.