Wednesday, December 24, 2008


So I am the daughter of an accountant. That probably doesn't really explain anything but I pretend that's the reason I am obsessed with money. Or rather with the control of it.

I wasn't always this way.

We used to not really have a lot of money and we just spent it as it came. That was until we had to pawn a wedding ring to pay for medicine because the next paycheck had not arrived yet (a story for another time). Since then I have been a budgeting queen. I have to know where all the money goes - down to the penny.

I thought I was doing pretty good. We were able to start saving and we had what we needed. Then we started making a little bit more money and I was able to spend on more than just needs.

It was nice.

But I didn't realize how much money controlled my life until it all went away. We had almost 3 months with no income.

Talk about an awakening.

But the awakening was not so much the lack of money; it was the freedom that I felt.

I had never realized how much money was suffocating me. Not having it was almost like being able to breathe again. I didn't have to worry about where my money was being spent or how I wanted to spend it, because there was none.

I told myself then, that I never wanted money to take over my life again.

Well, now we have some money again. Not as much as we used to, but some money. I have to be wise about how to spend it. But I am trying hard not to let it take over my life.

I realize that everything I've been given comes from God anyway. And being a good steward over my money does not mean being miserly.

The reason I have been thinking about this is because we are the recipients of the '12 days of Christmas'. It has been so exciting for the kids each night to hear a knock at the door and see what has been left for us.

It has been even more humbling for me to see how generous our "secret friends" are. It amazes me that they would spend so much money on us. So generous.

Now, I believe that I am a generous person . . . in some things. I give freely of my time and my talents. But when it comes to money, not so much. I have done the '12 days' for others before. I was not so generous.

I realize that being generous does not mean overdoing it (going into debt). But I do not want money to be the controlling factor in the decisions that I make in life. Its said that the "love of money is the root of all evil". I think that obsessing over it like I tend to is not far off that same path.

I am happy for the lessons that I am being taught now. Thank goodness that I have examples to help show me the right way.

Thank you secret friends.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Does anyone else ever feel like they just haven't "arrived" yet.

I look around at my high school friends, college roommates, family, etc. and they all look like they have it completely together. They seem settled, happy. They seem to have a real life.

But then I look at my own life and wonder why am I so late doing everything? My life seems so far behind where everyone else is.

I guess it's a matter of expectations. What does "arrived" look like to me?

Unfortunately, I'm probably mostly thinking of material things. The nice house, the nice decor (not things taped to walls), a steady job, the right kind of toys, the money.

But I also know what really matters.

 Its the question: have I "arrived" spiritually? Am I where I should be now?

When I think about how much I have learned and grown in the past few years I definitely see improvement.

In some ways I will never really "arrive" spiritually because its the journey that counts.

And I can't do it on my own anyway.

Luckily, I have a lot of really good examples of people "arriving": high school friends, college roommates, family, etc.

Its always good for me to remember these things and know that I'm doing ok, even if it may not look that way with my own "material" eyes.

And to make sure that I look at others this way as well.

Because hopefully someday we will all "arrive" at the same place anyway.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Roles

No that is not a misspelling. I'm talking about the role that I always seem to fall into when I'm around family.

I'm the 4th in a family of six and I have always considered myself the middle child. My role, so it seems, was to be the 'funny' one. And therefore no one ever takes me seriously.

That seems so incongruous with my real life though. I mean I still like to think that I'm funny, but I think most people take me seriously now.

What I wonder is, is it my family that keeps me doing this when we all get together? or is it me not allowing them to see me any other way?

Of course, the next question is, are there ways that I'm expecting certain other siblings to act that's not allowing them to change and be different than they used to be?

We all grow up and mature and if we are lucky enough to move on from the past, we can make needed changes to our personality. But within the family, its harder to change. We pigeonhole each other into certain roles to play: funny one, serious one, baby, princess, etc. But I think that especially in a family we should be willing to allow for growth and change in each other.

My goal this thanksgiving is to be 'me' and let others be 'them' and see if we can't get past this roles thing.

Friday, November 14, 2008

8 Things

1. I almost always wear socks. I can't stand barefeet.

2. I still dream about playing professional soccer some day.

3. I used to hate to shower and now I can't really start my day until I do.

4. I hate changing my clothes. (that is once I've finally decided on what to wear)

5. I have no desire to work.

6. I never watch tv.

7. My husband cracks me up with his songs. (he makes them up all the time)

8. I totally wish I homeschooled my kids.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Candy

So I'm looking for comments here. What do you do with your Halloween candy?

When I was a kid it was like a huge trading post. We separated our candies into their piles and then commenced making deals with each other. "I'll give you two tootsie rolls and a squirrel nut for a snickers - what are you kidding?"

In my family we have tried several strategies. You get 10 pieces of candy a day, but they get taken away as a punishment one piece at a time. "That's ok I still have 6 pieces left!"

Then there was the weaning one. You get 10 today and 8 tomorrow, then 6 the next day, until we are down to the normal one or two pieces a day. but that just seemed to drag out the sugar high. "Hey we're supposed to get 6 today - waaaaaahhhh!"

Now we dump all of our candy into one bowl (or two) and then we sort it. (what did we get the most of? the least of?) Then we dump it back in and dig in. For the last two years we just go for it. Everyone can eat as much as they want, whenever they want, until its all gone. "Mom, I don't feel so good."

This year I let everyone choose out 10 pieces that are just theirs. They can trade them for something else from the big bowl, but they cannot replace them. "Hey I don't remember eating one of my special ones but now there's only 9!"

Anyway, what are your ways. And don't tell me you just eat it slowly and it lasts for months. Whatever.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tunnel Vision

So lately I've been thinking about age. It's been coming up a lot in conversations. It seems to be that at some point everyone goes through a type of awakening. I guess some would call it a mid-life crisis. One of my friends says it happens around 31 or 32 and that sounds about right to me.

So this is what my "awakening" was like. By the time I was 32, I had 4 kids. But I kept wondering when being a mom was going to start feeling real to me. I felt like I was just pretending. I also felt like I didn't know any one who was in the exact same situation as me. I just didn't fit in anywhere.

I have come to believe that most women around this same age feel exactly the same way. "I just don't fit in. Everyone else seems to have it together or know what they're doing and I'm just winging it here."

And then comes the flip.

I'm not sure what happens, maybe life just gets so busy that you stop thinking about yourself and move on and before you know it, it's different. You no longer walk on a college campus and wonder if you still fit in. You walk on it and think, "these kids are so young". You no longer are one of the younger people in your ward. You are in the group that the younger moms look up to.

The reason I call this tunnel vision is because at the beginning of a tunnel you still have the light from behind you to guide you (the way things have always been). But somewhere in the middle that light is too far away to see and you have to start looking for the new light which lies ahead (the way you want to be).

I think of the women I look up to. Moms, grandmas, "older" sisters. And it must be that the closer you get to the end of the tunnel the more sure you become. I'll call it wisdom.

I'm not in a hurry to get to the end of the tunnel, but I am looking forward to that wisdom.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

You Have 362 Friend Requests!

Facebook. It’s a drug.

It all started because my sister got on it. She got on because our other sister was on it. Then my mom got on and my brother. My niece was already on it, because, well, I guess she's young and cool and that’s what they do. I decided that I would be very selective about it. I’ll only use it with close family. Meanwhile, more and more of my “close” family was getting on: nieces, nephews, in-laws, cousins . . . college roommates. I know they are not close family, but they’re just like family. It won’t be bad if I use it with them. It was getting so much fun.

Then the day came that I got a request to use it with someone I knew in high school. I didn’t know them really well. But I was curious.
Here I am reminded of a poem my mom used to always say to us:
Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As, to be hated, needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

Look what curiosity got me. (see title) I was so selective at first. What happened?

So now what do I do? Is there a way to use it responsibly?

Maybe the placebo could be:
“Hey! I remember you. It’s so good to see you! What have you been up to? Oh, remember when . . . Yeah, it’s so great to see you too! We should really keep in touch. OK, Bye!”
No side effects.

Maybe I could just use it as a medication.

I don’t think there’s anyway I could just go cold turkey.

Facebook. I tell you, it’s a drug.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Our Best Selves

There are two sides to me. 

The "good-guy self" where I try really hard to be nice. 

And then the "bad-guy self" who, well. . . doesn't.

Right now I'm waiting for my husband to come home so I can vent to him about all the things that happened today that I was nice about that I didn't want to be.(take a breath now) 

And I thought, why should I let him see this "bad-guy" side of me? Shouldn't it be more important to be my "good-guy" self to my loved ones than to others? Will my "good-guy" self implode if I don't have a down time for it? Should I even have two sides to my self? So many questions. Here's my answer:

I will try harder to be my "best self" to my family. Because when, not if, I fail they will still love me.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I smelled onions on my hands today.
It reminded me of my Mom.
I don't cook with onions much.
Tom doesn't like them.
But I clearly remember being hugged by my mom as a child and smelling onions on her hands.
What smells will remind my children of me?
Just one more thing that makes me feel like a real mom - the smell of onions on my hands.
I could take it off with neutralizer soap . . . not a chance.
I'll keep the smell for a while.
Hopefully no one minds.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

To Be Proud or Not to Be?

Ok, here's a dilemma.

I have a child (I will refer to her as A) who has started being sarcastic.

Why the dilemma?

Well, part of me is worried that she is going to end up being snotty like her father and mother.

But the other (bigger) part of me is just proud that she is finally getting it!

It's kind of weird the things I get proud of as a parent.

For instance, one time at parent teacher conference this same child had given herself low marks in respects authority. When her teacher asked her why the low marks, she replied, "well, if someone in authority told me to do something bad I wouldn't do it."

Unfortunately, I couldn't high five her in front of the teacher. But I really wanted to!

What kind of child am I raising?

Apparently, one who thinks for herself and is funny, finally.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I'm trying so hard to be a good blogger. 

I'm trying to make my page look not so boring. 

So I'm looking at all the cute backgrounds I could get for my blog and they all have flowers or cute little things on them that look like scrapbooks stuff. 

I am not a scrapbooker. Unless you count putting pictures on a white page and then writing something about it next to it. That's at least a step up from cutting out sayings that I found from magazines and putting them with the pictures. 

Of course, now I don't even print my pictures off of my camera or computer. At least, I try to leave my computer on so we can at least see some of the pictures on the screen saver (for 3 seconds). 

But back to the cute blog thing. I don't really want a cute blog. 

I just want it to look the way I feel, which if there was one with sweatpants and chocolate maybe I'd be all about that one. 

Actually, maybe my problem is that I'm not really sure what I'm doing here!!!! Help. Any tips or comments are appreciated! 

As for now, I will just continue on . . . you know . . . NEVER GIVE UP!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Myrtle Budge

Here's an explanation for my computer name.

Back in the days when I was fun, our group of friends decided to make up names for ourselves.

We had our "cool" name and then we had our "nerd" name.

Our cool name could be whatever we wanted, (mine happened to be Brittney! which could be a whole 'nother blog) but our nerd name had to be the same initials as our own. (My apologies to anyone out there with nerdy names.)

Here are some nerd names I remember:
Delilah Pipin, Sylvia Nixon, Regina Sue.

I'm trying to remember why we did this.

I guess when you are a teenager, you don't really have to have a reason.

But I think it had to do with stake dances.

I think we would use those names when we were asked to dance by boys we didn't know or like.

What's funny is,it's not like we got asked to dance very much anyway.

Maybe these names gave us the idea that we could actually be nerdier than we really were already. Who knows?

But now, I kind of like the name. Unfortunately that might be because it fits me now more than ever.

But also because it brings back great memories.

May Myrtle Budge live on forever!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Title

So, a little explanation for the title of my blog,
"Never Give Up!"
Several years ago, when we lived in Tooele, my oldest child entered a citywide coloring contest. She had her hopes up that she would win. So to get her prepared for any result I told her that "Cluff's never win." I thought it was kind of a harmless little thing for her to learn at the age of 4, because face it, most of the time we lose. When some of my friends heard this little saying they thought it was sad - so we added "but at least they keep trying".

Well, she ended up winning something.

The next time there was a contest, we couldn't use the first mantra, so we changed it to, "we might not win, but we'll never give up". Well the last part of that has just developed a life of its own. Cluff's never give up!

When this started I had no idea the impact it would have on my family.
  • This is too hard - Cluff's never give up!
  • I don't want to . . . - Cluff's never give up!
  • That's not fair - Cluff's never give up!
  • But everyone else . . . - Cluff's never give up!

Its effect has not just been for the kids either. Right now we have some major obstacles looming in front of our family. Major decisions that must be made. It would be so much easier to take the road well-traveled. To just go the way its already going. But what do I keep hearing in my head -

Cluff's never give up!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Beginning of Something Great

I guess its about time I started doing this. I constantly have a running blog in my head, so I might as well share it with the world.


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