Tender Mercies and Monetary Miracles

Life is Strange. But I must follow that up by saying, “Life is Beautiful.” I know I’m not the first one in the history of the world to say those words, but the past 7 months have been as unpredictable as being blindfolded on a rollercoaster.

When I started an exciting job at a fairly prestigious university last January, I had no idea how short lived the position would be. After 6 months, I was out of work. I didn’t qualify for unemployment in neither Georgia, nor Utah. We’d been barely getting by as a dual income family, drowning in our student loan debt despite two paychecks. We have gone from money in our savings account and some open credit on our American Express, to paying cash only and living paycheck to paycheck like never before. In October, my husband bumped up to 3rd year First Officer pay, which now gives him slightly more income than a full-time fast food restaurant worker. Seriously.

In late June, Rosie and I drove cross-country from Georgia to Utah. We filled up our car with clothes and few other things to make Grandpa’s house in Spanish Fork feel like a home. We have been so fortunate to have a cozy place to live (despite all the complaining I do about its proximity to the SLC airport). Rosie’s surrounded by many children her age, and I’ve made some great friends in the neighborhood. I never knew I could adore a laptop and an unsecured WiFi connection so deeply. We haven’t had much, but it honestly hasn’t been so bad.

At times when I’ve felt my life was lean on blessings….

Something would happen to remind me of how incredibly blessed I am.

I discovered this quote through my bloggy friend Janessa by Elder Scott:

“Father in Heaven knew that you would face challenges and be required to make some decisions that would be beyond your own ability to decide correctly. In His plan of happiness, He included a provision for you to receive help with such challenges and decisions during your mortal life. That assistance will come to you through the Holy Ghost as spiritual guidance. It is a power, beyond your own capability, that a loving Heavenly Father wants you to use consistently for your peace and happiness.”

Amazing counsel, don’t you think?

December was particularly trying, yet amazing, for our family. As a challenge would come up, such as my back injury and being drastically overcharged by our moving company , someone would shovel the snow in our driveway, bring us dinner, slip an envelope with cash into our door jamb, or offer to fill up my gas tank. We had more medical expenses in one month than we’d encountered in the rest of 2009, but we have excellent insurance and manageable copays. On an emotionally overwhelming day, I confided in an acquaintance how exhausted and hopeless I was feeling about my situation. A few days later, a “Secret Santa” had been set up for our family…giving Rosie a bounteous pile of gifts under the tree, and cash we needed to pay our car payment. My eyes still tear up about it as I think about it.

I’ve tried to give personal thank you’s to all those who have helped out my family…but I know several anonymous TMI’s (Tender Mercy Instigators…I just made that up) have blessed our lives. To you, I say Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.


Today I’ve felt really happy. I spent a few days in California (more details to come) and flew back early this morning. I arrived in SLC, picked up my car, and drove home. I got there about 20 minutes before church started. I threw on my dress, made sure I had the stuff for my primary lesson. Sacrament meeting was awesome. It was one of those “burning in the bosom” meetings. I felt light and happy. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude for all the varied blessings in my life. I bore my testimony and felt even better. Primary went well (as well as it can with a room full of 8 year olds) This evening I spent a few hours with my family in honor of my father’s birthday. I was surrounded by people I love, and it doesn’t get much better than that (except having your husband around, but he’ll fly in tomorrow)

I’ve been reflecting on the blessings of my life, and I don’t think I express my gratitude often enough. Despite the recent trials our family has been facing, there is definitely an abundance of blessings, I’m unemployed, but still have a roof over my head. I have a husband and daughter that adore me. I have many friends within driving distance, and the rest are just a phone call away. I’ve been working through some big decisions and trials, and as I resolve them I feel peace. I know hard times are surely ahead. But on days like today, I am really happy with life.

(Must be the post-Halloween sugar high. Heaven knows there is an abundant supply in this house)

Happy St Patricks Day!

This morning, my twitter message was :

Cuteculturechic feels pretty lucky today: I’ve got a job, got the gospel, got a great family and great friends. The rest is just icing on the cake!

This year’s St. Pat’s will be a lot different from last year in Boston. I’ll be working for the day (with my Irish coworker), then taking off an hour early to go to GREENville, SC to the New Kids on the Block concert with Rosie and Mariesa. It’s going to be a good day. I know it.

Best wishes to all for a happy day!

Accident Update

– The estimated repair came back at $2600, but we’ll only have to pay the $500 deductible. My car should be back in my possession around February 16th.

-The only car that Enterprise had available to rent is an F150 truck. This would have come in handy for moving.

– My grandma called to wish me happy birthday, and informed me that she put a check in the mail to help pay my deductible. Bless you grandma!

– Accident lady called me me back, sweeter than I could have imagined. She apologized for the way she treated me at the accident scene. She took her car in for an estimate, and the damage was so superficial that the repair shop said there wasn’t much they could do. She told me that she wouldn’t hold me liable for the damages, and wished me well in my repairs.

My Gratitude List

Rosie is thankful for mom, me, cats, food, dad, toys, dog, and … sister?
(No, that’s not an announcement. She says she meant the turkey’s sister)

This Thanksgiving is the first one that I’ve ever spent away from extended family. Taylor, Rosie and I are chilling in a chilly house in Georgia without any cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, siblings, or grandparents. Today we celebrated by watching ‘The Four Christmases’ and having our Thanksgiving feast at Golden Corral. It’s been pretty understated and relaxed, but I can’t help thinking about all my family I’m away from. And in “Me Too!” blogger style, here’s my gratitude list:

My amazingly loving husband

My creative, sweet and beautiful daughter

Supportive and loving extended family

Many friends around the world, including my bloggin’ friends

Employment, in a time of financial crisis

Shelter, in a time of foreclosure

Faith in the Gospel that keeps me on the straight and narrow

Culture and fun to keep me interesting and sane

Technology to keep me connected

Delicious food and drink to keep my clothes tight

Reliable transportation, by way of car and airplane

Blogging to let me get things off my chest and make new friends


The Blessing of the Day

The maintenance people fixed our A/C today. It is a comfortable 75 degrees. Balance has been restored to the force. I’m going to keep it on all night so I can wake up shivering.

More good things…

The 40 minute walk I took on my lunch break in sunny, 75 degree weather

The free tickets to the Ann Arbor symphony from one of the doctors I work with

The daffodils and crocuses that are finally in bloom (still haven’t seen any tulips though)

Taylor’s bonus check that covered this month’s car payment

Finding a store that sells Coke Vanilla Zero and diet Vernon’s ginger ale consistently

Putting on capris and sandals after work

Rice Krispy Treats made with strawberry flavored marshmallows