Our life is good, not perfect, a work in progress – but good.

Klien Irons passed away early this morning.  His sweet daughter, Jane, has taken such good care of him, always by his side.  She and her husband Curt had a trip to Hawaii planned, for quite a long time.  Klien has been semi-comatose for a while now, so he’s not been too aware of those around him, so it was a good idea for Jane and Curt to go.  Anyway, their cute daughter, Mary, was with him him.

It reminded me of us losing little mom.  I’m not sure I will ever completely understand how truly blessed we are to have her as our mom.  There was one really good day before we lost her.  We planned her funeral, WITH her, her cute grandkids and great grandkids came down and she shared Skittles with them.  She wanted to talk to all her grandchildren, so we called those that weren’t in town and she got to visit.  Her positive attitude was present that day for sure.  Each one asked her what she was doing, and without exception, she answered “planning a funeral”.  I’m sure those grandsons she spoke with were in tears on the other end of the phone, but had to be so happy that she was – and still is – their sweetheart grandma. Her positive, happy attitude shined brightly right up to the end.  She truly endured to the end with dignity, JOY and grace.

St. George Marathon

Justin and Chris have been running fools for the past couple of years.  Justin works, currently as assistant manager, at The Running Room in Vancouver, B.C.  Neither of these boys were much interested in physical fitness until around October 2009 when they both started working out and eating healthier.  There was no special diet involved, just healthy lifestyle changes.

Now, 3 years later they just completed their 3rd marathon.  The were selected in a lottery to run the St. George Marathon, which just happened to be on Justin’s 40th birthday.  I still can’t believe that my baby boy is 40.  Anyway, the lottery is used to limit the number of participants to 7,500.  Imagine how that looks running down the road, 7,500 runners, a sea of runners.  They both said it was a hard course and they ran the same times as they did the Vancouver Marathon in May.  However, this course was much harder and higher than sea level, so all in all they were pleased with their times.  Chris ran 3:53, Justin ran 4:24 and Todd (Rick’s brother) ran 4:41.  Great times in my view.

Here are some pictures from race day, Justin’s 40th birthday.

Flowers love fall too

Last night I was tired, just plain tired.  I remembered that my flowers needed watering, I whined to myself, then took Baxter out with me to water.  Being outside on this beautiful fall evening rejuvenated  me, not to the point of going out for a run, but I felt uplifted and happier when I was done.

Have I mentioned I love fall?  So do my flowers and Baxter.

Favorite Fall Recipe

Salsa – spicy salsa – yum.  Since we don’t have a vegetable garden anymore, this year I raided a neighbor’s garden and bought other veggies for salsa.  I used to make this every year – no tomato vines – no salsa.  This year I really wanted to bottle salsa again, so here is the recipe and a couple of pictures of during and after the process.  It turned out yummy.
10 cups chopped cored peeled tomatoes

5 cups  chopped seeded green bell peppers

5 cups  chopped onions

2 1/2 cups chopped seeded chili peppers (yellow wax, hot banana, serrano, jalapeno)

1 1/4 cups cider vinegar

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 T sea salt

Chop and mix together.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Reduce and heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2″ head space.  Remove air bubbles.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar and screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process jars for 15 minutes from time water boils.  Remove canner lid.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars.










Here is the work in progress and the finished product.

Fun Fall Memories

Growing up on a tree lined street brought many, many leaves.  I don’t remember raking leaves growing up, I think the trees were growing up at the same time.  I do remember, however, raking leaves as the grandsons (my nephews and son) got old enough to help grandma and grandpa Cowan.  It seems that there was a never ending supply of leaves.  Colby, Cameron and Justin would help rake the leaves, mostly after dad had passed away.  It was a weekend affair and they would rake and rake and rake.  Of course there were always leaves to be re-raked, the boys loved playing in them.

I also love the cooler nights of fall in Southern Utah, when you can leave windows open overnight and wake up to the house be cold enough that if it were really winter, the furnace would be running.  I used to love running outside in the cool, crisp fall air, before sun-up.  I don’t so much enjoy dark running anymore.

I love the more relaxed feeling of fall.  I don’t know why I feel more relaxed, I’m just as busy as any other time of year.  And I love decorating for fall, whether it’s because I can leave the decorations up longer, from now until Thanksgiving OR because I love the warm colors of fall.

Candles, I’m a candle junkie, I probably need an intervention.  I have a linen cupboard in “moms” room (another post sometime) that is filled with candles I’ve ordered from Bath and Body.  Fall scents are my most favorite of all, but I delay starting to burn them, trying to hold onto the last vestiges of summer. 

Fall – I love fall, I may even take Baxter for a walk tonight, after all it’s cooler in the evenings now and we both could use the exercise.

Happy fall y’all!

I keep forgetting to update the blog in the evenings.  I guess I work on the computer enough during the day that I don’t want to at night.

Today I have 3 pictures to share.  I’ve noticed lately that I take pictures mostly of sunsets, flowers, clouds (lots of clouds), trees, etc.  I’ve decided that I’m simply in love with nature.  The pictures I have here are things that remind me of fall.  Clouds of course, and a picture of a flower pot at home with Zinnias, which happen to be my current fav flower.  So enjoy.

I remember when I was in Jr. High School I wasn’t very big.  Well actually, I’m still pretty short, just over 5′.  Anyway a friend and I were joking around one day and I climbed into a floor level locker, you know the old ones, about 3′ tall and about 8″ wide?  I folded myself up and fit quite nicely.  I was pretty okay – until – you guessed it, he wouldn’t let me out.  Now I’ve never considered myself claustrophobic, but that was a pretty small space.  It only lasted a minute or less, but that was enough to teach me to not play that game again.

Another memory from Jr. High was the school store where we could spend our parents hard earned money rotting our teeth.  One of my favorite candy bars then was a frozen Butterfinger.  I’d bite just through the chocolate and have the yummy peanut butter left to enjoy.

I also remember that “back then” it was THE thing to wear girdles.  Remember those?  Being just over 5′ tall and I’m sure weighing around 90 lbs. I’m sure I NEEDED that girdle that pinched my tiny waist until I thought I’d scream.  But I didn’t scream, that wasn’t popular, I endured in silence.  Glad that fad is over!



I love fall.  It seems to be a more relaxed, laid-back time of year.  I love flowers.  At our previous home I had a lot of flowers beds.  I would plant and plant and plant, sometimes all summer long.  When fall came I was always a little relieved that I didn’t have to worry about the yard anymore.  The weeds usually got the best of me by the end.

I remember that Rick would come home from work and mow the lawn about 3 times each week, in the fall.  He did this because it was easier than raking up all the leaves from our 40 foot cottonwood (cotton-less) trees.  I took this for granted, he was always done before I got home, so I didn’t realize just how many leaves those beautiful trees produced.  That is, until he was in Iraq and I faced the daunting task of removing those leaves from our yard (we had about 1/4 acre of grass and landscaping alone). I remember hearing about a service project that was being offered by Southern Utah University was offering.  I called and arranged for a couple of groups of college students to help with my yard and also my moms.  I remember the day they were at my house, how we filled all the garbage cans and still had numerous bags waiting, not to mention the leaves remaining on the lawn. When I talked with Rick that week I apologized for not helping him better in the fall, with the leaves.

We now live in a home with only one flower bed to plant each year, not as much lawn to mow, more decorative rock, more bushes.  Rick spends time spraying the weeds in the rocks, I still plant a little and our yard is easier to care for.  I still love flowers and have several planters with beautiful pink, purple and yellow flowers.  I love the flower pots, but I admit it will be okay when they are put away for the winter and we spend our nights in the warmth of our home.

I enjoy writing, and would love to keep this blog more up to date.  I need inspiration.  I will be spending this week blogging using suggestions for Fall Blogging on the SITS Girls website.  I’ll be thinking today of an event from my school years that I haven’t written about.  Maybe the time I got locked in a locker in Jr. High School.  We’ll see.

Happy Fall Y’all.

Whew, lots has happened within our family recently.

About 10 days ago we found out that Rick’s cousin’s son had been killed in a truck accident in Texas.  He was getting his life more in order, had just visited home for his dad’s 60th birthday, was engaged to a cute girl with 3 cute kids, and he has 3 cute kids of his own.  Life was looking good.  He and his dad were rebuilding a relationship, and it was getting better and better.  Then – WHAM – he’s gone, leaving his dad, and the rest of his family grieving, wondering how this could happen.  The family had been divorced, the kids moved with their mom about 20 years ago.  The mom wasn’t up to much as far as setting a good example for the kids.  We have our free agency and thus make our own choices, but it sure helps with we have good examples around us.  The services were good, I’m sure Cole was watching and was happy.  His family had a special, natural, casket made and they provided pens for everyone to sign the casket after the service.  I have never seen this done before, it was awesome, it totally fit Cole.  Cole loved expensive, nice things, especially expensive shoes.  On friend purchased a new pair of Nike shoes, to the tune of $200, these were put in the casket with Cole, he’s smiling about that too.

Then the day before the service for Cole, Rick’s brother was arrested for distribution of drugs.  He has struggled with addiction since he was abut 12.  We have known for some time that he was selling drugs from their parents home, but couldn’t do anything about.  We feared internal family problems if we were too involved.  Again, free agency and how we use it.  It is his choice what he has done with his life.  However the choices from now on will probably be made by the legal system, and I’m sure he won’t be happy with them.

We make choices every day.  Some days my choices make me happy, others not so much.  Am I choosing the best actions, the best goals, the best path for the rest of my life.  Am I keeping in mind that my choices, whether I want them to or not, affect others in my life.  I’m not living up to “A new beginning”, my first WordPress post, like I should.  I’m recommitting today, starting today, to be a better me.  I chose today to use my free agency to better my life and hopefully the lives of those I love.

I am trying to read blogs and get ideas of what to write about.  I am checking out 365 suggestions on A Year of Blogging and Journaling Ideas.  You can read all about it here:  http://www.cynthiasblog.com.

A new beginning

One year ago today I lost my best friend, my sweet little mom.  She was 89 years young and one amazing lady.  I have always said that I want to be just like her when I grow up.

On August 1, 2011, I posted on Facebook “Happy August first.  Today would be a great day for a new beginning”.  I had a feeling that mom was ready to leave and join her family and friends on the other side.  She had been spending time in both places for a while, more and more away than here.  Sometime I’ll copy and paste things that were going on at that time, I”m not in the mood today.

There have been many, many changes in my life since losing little mom.  I’ve felt abandoned, I’ve felt free, I’ve doubted my testimony, I’ve been shaken and weak missing her.  With the first year without her having come to an end, it’s time to move forward, not on, but forward.  This makes me sad in a way, it’s almost like forgetting her, but that isn’t what I’m doing.  I’m trying to make some positive changes in my life, get my physical and spiritual life in order and be happy, not scared about the future.

I ran this morning, which I will do daily, when possible.  I will try to not make excuses to stay in bed and neglect my run.  I will be more faithful in saying my prayers, I will attempt to make them more meaningful.  I will read the Book of Mormon, starting where I currently am, by October General Conference.  I’m starting this new blog and will write at least one post weekly.  I enjoy writing, so I will practice and hopefully get better. I am currently attempting to be more responsible at work, meaning I am trying to be more effective and stay current on tasks.

I have the best family ever.  I don’t usually like the phrase “soul mate”, but that pretty much describes how I feel about Rick.  My relationship with him over the past year had blossomed.  We are closer and enjoy being together (at least I think he enjoys being with me).  I think that is partly because I am more able to concentrate on us.  Don’t get me wrong, I so loved spending time with little mom and helping her, but I have more time on my hands now.  Just after mom passed away I was released as Relief Society President of the Enoch First Ward, also giving me more time with Rick.

And Justin, what can I say about him.  He is my absolute best friend.  I can cry, complain, laugh, whatever the mood is and he’s so willing to help me, cry with me, laugh with me, whatever he situation calls for.  I’m so very proud of the man he has become and I rely on his advise so much.  He can give me advise without making me mad, he is just that way. He is running the St. George Marathon on 40th birthday, October 6, 2012.  What an exciting day that will be.  And Chris, he is such a blessing in our lives too.  Chris is always so willing to let me invade Vancouver and camp at their place.  I totally enjoy my time spent with them.

So-today is a new beginning, a sad day-but a new beginning none the less.

Happy August first everyone.

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