Resolved!

http://www.billionclicks.org/blog/2013-12-31/resolve-to-have-a-good-day-day-by-day/

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Miracles and Clickers for All

me

It has been a long time since I have posted on my own blog page. So to catch you up, I have been busy writing for Billionclicks.org and Familyshare.com. Stacy is helping me with a project rewrite. (Yup Stacy I am working!)

This month Hilary Weeks gave me a special opportunity to share a passion with my friends and family. She is letting me give you a coupon for a free clicker, wristband and sticker when you buy a clicker kit. (Just in time for Christmas!) Pass it on. The free clicker offer is good from November 1st to the 30th of this year.

Clicker Kit Coupon

Order you Clicker Kit HERE

Use the code: SHANNON445 and receive a free clicker, wristband and sticker, a $4.99 value

Let me tell you how I learned about clickers. I have a very special family. I have been blessed with cousins, aunts and uncles who are dear to me. My cousins, Kristi,  Jamie and my Aunt Joann and I went to Time Out for Women in Portland Oregon.

Joann Sappenfield, Jami Kelly, Kristi Johnson-James and Me!

Joann Sappenfield, Jami Kelly, Kristi Johnson-James and Me!

While we were there we heard Hilary Weeks talk about clicking.

I loved her story! We all went home with clickers. It didn’t take me long to become a believer. Life can be tough. This year, as you know has been the worst. On those days that I don’t think I can make it another minute, when I feel like I can’t run, write, paint or even breathe you will find my clicker on my wrist or in my pocket.

A few months after Time Out for Women, I began writing for Familyshare.com. I wrote a piece called “Life is Hard, How are you Coping.” I used one of Hilary’s videos,  Beautiful Heartbreak.

Just to prove that miracles happen, she found me and asked me to write for her. The universe is small and we never know where we will find our friends and opportunities to serve. How grateful I have been. During one of the toughest years of my life writing and clicking have given me something positive and uplifting to focus on.

Here is just one of the many reasons Hilary is a hero and changes hearts every day.

And so in the spirit of “Say Love” I want to share Billion Clicks with you. Clickers take my days from survival to growth.

Life doesn’t get easier, but the view from the end will be amazing. Today, I choose to find joy in my journey no matter where it takes me.

The view from my world

The view from my world

  • So…Help us reach a BILLION clicks!  We are on a mission to change the world for good…one click at a time.  We have almost 3.5 millions clicks and hope to reach a billion!  Think of the difference one positive thought makes, then multiply that by a billion and watch the world become a better place.
  • Get a Free Digital Kit.  When people enter their clicks at BillionClicks.org, they can receive a free digital kit with downloadable quotes, wallpaper and more.
  • Stocking stuffers, etc.  The Clicker Kits make great stocking stuffers, neighbor gifts, employee gifts,  teacher’s Christmas gifts.  Also, clicking is a great way to prepare for Thanksgiving.  Last November Hilary Week’s family placed a community clicker in the kitchen.  They clicked over 5,000 times for things we were grateful for!  Clicking is a great way to achieve New Year’s resolutions too!

Last year I gave Joann Johnson a Clicker Kit for her 29th plus xx years birthday. She and Kristi shared their clickers with Anthony and Jackson their Great and Grandchildren. The boys learned to click. Kristi said that one day after a near traffic accident and a little “Holy Cow” from her, the boys wanted to know if there was a way to minus numbers. Nope, no negative here!

So, to Anthony, Jackson and all of you – Stay focused on the positive. Count your blessings, happy thoughts and be grateful for one more day to do a little better, be a little better and love a little more.

Because Joel Symonds went away….

Because Joel Symonds went away…..

Tender Mercies of the Lord

Grandpa's Wild Ride

There are some things in life that are necessary to our survival, air, water, food (Okay, not as much as I eat), love and for me quiet conversations with my Savior and Heavenly Father, moments out of time, filed with inspiration. Life should be what we choose to make of it. Sometimes, we are what is left over after life is done with us. This last Sunday, when I finally knelt at the end of the day every cell in my body was exhausted. Life had been a roller coaster and no one was going to save me from the ride.

As I prayed, I remember something I had heard at church, and I included it in my prayer. I asked for the Lord to give me the time I needed to serve, and fulfill my role.  When you are doing everything that you can, you can ask the Lord to help you when you truly can’t do anymore. And, if you remember the true attributes of God, you will remember, that with God, nothing is impossible. If he chooses, the sun will not set, and the waters will part. I asked for more time. I promised that I would do everything that I could to be a good wife and mother, to fulfill all my church callings one hundred and ten percent and would give my earthly obligations at work everything I had. I didn’t make a bargain. I just promised to give it my all, and asked if he could find a little time in my life for me to ponder, pray and write. Time to create, to paint or work on my book. Time to breath, because for me writing, painting and breathing are all the same thing. I knew that if there was no time left over, I would still give it my all. And, as I looked at my schedule, it was full.

Monday, I woke up so sick I couldn’t go to work. Great, I thought. This is a fine way to start my week. I went to the doctor immediately and spent the day trying to stay awake and pay my bills in between naps. Everyday I woke up on the roller coaster and wanted to just get off the ride, but every day I hung on and worked. I worked on camp, and after a ten-hour work day, including a community training, made it to a seven o’clock camp meeting. I showed up at the Astoria Ward Building, to be let in by sweet Sister Jolly. No one on this end of the stake came. Taking Penicillin, sucking on cough drops, I plowed on, while Sister Jolly went above and beyond the call of duty, with the kind of grace I dream about having and kept me company. I hung on and rode.

Grandpa...what a ride....

Today, day two of no voice, I pushed myself out the door, happily. It was Friday. Believe it or not, the ride didn’t seem that bad. I loved everyone I had came into contact with, and realized my job gave me great joy. Life was doing its best to throw me off the roller coaster, but I was starting to ride with a smile. I had made it.

Great Grandpa...rather be fishing...

Then my boss called and thew me off the ride. She told me I sounded terrible and was too sick to work and sent me home. I drove away miffed. But after a few minutes at home,  safe in my haven, I realized it was a gift. Two months ago I had downloaded a book by an old acquaintance Gerald Lund, a great author called, “Divine Signatures”. I had been grieving the fact that I didn’t have time to listen to it. I had just been given the gift of time. I turned it on and was washed with the spirit.

After just a few short stories he had me crying with joy. He spoke about the tender mercies of the Lord and I realized that when my work day had been shortened, I had been given the gift of time to ponder, time to think and time to write. I had been a recipient of the tender mercies of Lord. I had been kicked off the ride and allowed to just be, for a moment. As I looked back on the week, I realized how much I had accomplished. I realized that despite the fact that I had gone to bed nightly, sick and exhausted, on antibiotics and wheezing like a freight train, I had somehow managed to pay the bills, complete the most important goals I had set and I had served the Lord to the best of my ability and still put in forty hours on my job by the time I left today. How grateful I was for the gravely voice and wretched sore throat that allowed me this moment to think ponder and pray.

I remembered something I had always known. If I let go of my expectations and desires and serve others, the Lord takes care of me. Brother Lund, in his book spoke of faith, and the importance of writing down our miracles. Today, my miracle may seem small, but the joy I feel when I think about how much our Father in Heaven loves us and takes care of us is immeasurable. The only time I have is his, and the moments I take off the ride fill me with the spirit and allow me to get back on and ride with joy.

Family Car in Redwoods

The Family Ride...

Scotty Symonds be our Valentine!

Symonds

Symonds

What kind of man wants to marry a woman and adopt her five children? Scott Symonds is the answer. Scott Symonds was the oldest of seven children born to his seventeen-year-old mother. His mother taught him absolute unconditional love through example, and in my opinion, by letting him live. His father taught him a work ethic that would put most young men to shame.

Scott was a good big brother who loved his brothers and sisters. Although they were known as “those Symonds kids,” Scotty would fight anyone who said anything bad about his family. His family always included one or two more of the children’s friends. When I met Scotty I overheard someone at church talking about, “Those Symonds.” They said, “Why you know she has an Indian sleeping on the trampoline and a black man living in the garage! I wonder how many others she is going to take in.”  They were going to take in my five children.

I moved next door to the Symonds in 1987. I was a single mother with five kids. I rented an old house with a large piece of land. Clareen immediately offered to help and was kind in every way. Whenever anything was broken (and with five children under age six things were broken a lot) she would send one of her boys over to fix them. She kept telling me about her oldest boy who was coming home from Texas – Scotty. Eventually Scotty came over to fix the screen door.

My oldest girls, Erin and Jamie, plotted with Scotty’s sister Shannon (not to be confused with me) to get Scotty to marry Shannon. It worked! From day one, my children loved Scott and Scott loved them. Some of Jodi’s first words were, “Wait Scotty Potty…wait!” every time he tried to leave a room. Scotty spent endless hours building a bicycle for Joseph and a bat mobile for Christmas. There was not anything the poor man was not willing to build for the kids.

What kind of single man with a truck and motorcycle, living the good life, gives up everything to raise a family? The answer is a man with endless love like Scotty. Scotty sold everything he owned without complaint including the motorcycle. He even gave away his hunting gun because I was afraid Joseph would shoot his eye out.  He worked harder, longer and went to school and eventually stood in court, interupted a judge, and offered to adopt our children.

The work did not stop there. But, the fun had just begun. Baby Trish joined our family and pulled us together through nights in the hospital and days with the feeding tube.  It has been over twenty years of happy marriage and a journey I would take again in a heartbeat if you asked me. This may be written in haste and secret, but it will be the best thing I have ever written when I say, “Scotty I love you eternally and am grateful you are my Valentine.”

Now my children and friends, care to comment?

 

From Consumer to Creator

The fire of Sappenfield's Creation

The fire of Sappenfield's creation

There are days when I wake up and consume. I start by consuming breakfast. Then I get in my depreciating vehicle and consume fuel, while consuming news and consuming cell minutes, cursing my blue tooth. I consume lunch and something shiny from the thrift store. I drop off my paycheck so I can shop at the big box store and consume in large quantities so I always have enough food to feed a small nation during any unexpected epic event. I consume water while I sweat at the gym my flex medical spending plan paid for. I consume dinner, while laundering with water, changing plastic garbage bags out and running my pretty electric fireplace. I consume sleepy time tea and television before a midnight soak in the ever ready hot tub. I lie in my new pajamas on my pillow top mattress and wish my mind would please just stop.  These are the days that sleep eludes me and I go to bed hungry.

Then there are the days that I wake on fire. I walk the beach while my mind spins with stories, words and brush strokes and I ache to start. I bring my journal, my pencil, my book, my camera and I capture a thought, an impression, a spark.  I walk and fan the flames until the vision is complete and then I rush to my computer or easel and dance in the flames of creation as it pours down from on high and lights my soul with its Heavenly fire. Time is irrelevant as I try to put on paper the overpowering vision. My spark may start small and my fire may be weak, but when it is part of a righteous cause, there is a power that takes over and ideas flow with passion and heat until I am lost in their flame. When I finally surface for air, I feel like a person out of time and place. The sun has set, the day has passed, and I have been in another universe; in the past, in the future, walking in a story of storms, or dancing in a painting of sea and sun. The feelings are real and I am energized and smiling as I realize I have found perpetual motion. I seek to inspire and am inspired. I seek to uplift and am uplifted. I seek to copy creation and am created.

When we consume, we cannot keep from creating. We look for things that are, “me.” When we shop we say things like, “That is so you!” And we paw through racks of ideas and concepts and feelings and search for that color, that shape, that expression of our true selves.

Moving from consumer to creator is like waking from a deep deep sleep and shedding light on ones soul; opening and exposing your inner heart, thoughts and feelings to others, hoping, waiting, wanting to connect,wanting people to be moved. Wanting to see their expression change, realization cross their face and unexpected tears come to their eyes as they read what we’ve written or reach out to touch what we’ve painted. To connect, to move, to touch, trash, change, teach or simply reach the human soul is the goal of every author or artist.  The need to create consumes us.

These are the thoughts I had this week as I walked the beach, wondering why I had been so sleepless. I had been spending too much time consuming and my creator was screaming for attention. I had paintings to paint, and words to write and had felt too tired at the end of every day. Too tired to even drag my sorry body out of bed before three hits on the snooze button. So tired.

No more, I declared as I pushed my wretched self home and brought all the paint, all the brushes, all the paper, pencils, easels and pens down to the center of my living room and began to create. I began to paint my unborn granddaughter her first painting, so that when she came into the world, a small piece of it would be created just for her. I began to feel the waves on the paper, the light flow from the brush. I felt a spark and fell head long into the flame. I swam in it; I bathed in it and wallowed in the luxury of creation. When I emerged, I had become energy. I was on fire with joy and I knew that I had created what I needed. I knew that someday a little girl would look, and touch and remember me long after I was gone. I had created connection.

Is it any wonder we Facebook, we Twitter and blog? We create and search for friends. We post videos and pictures like artist of old painted paintings. We look at each other’s souls in black and white, and color for connection. We want to belong, to read it and say we get it, to see it and say we’ve been there, to feel it and know they’ve felt it. Are we not all creators? Is it not as close to Heaven as we can come?

And so, when I walk I look at Gods creations, and I begin to know him. I connect and I want to create as he does. I want to be one of his greatest creations. And I realize, I have found perpetual motion.

 

Sense of Place…Sense of Self

 

Lassie Hame

Lassie Hame

At two thirty this morning I found myself working on my cell phone, on a crisis call, standing at the window in the dark listening to the storm on the phone, watching the east wind and the west wind wrestle with the pine tree in my dark yard. The December wind gave my wind chimes syncopated rhythm and pushed its way into my hundred and ten year old home, through the ancient wood framed windows. When the call was over, my cold feet crept over creaky wooden floors, and I slid silently back into bed, next to my warm husband and waited for the storm in me to calm and let me sleep. Firelight shimmered on the walls and thoughts and worries flickered in my mind, fighting to sleep and losing. I closed my eyes and went to the place that I am, to the place that overwhelms the dark restless worries and carries me joyfully to sleep.

My young fleshy feet are running on hot sparkling sand in staccato steps to the cold pacific water under blue skies, in the warm summer winds of my childhood where some shells are miracles and sand dollars are everyday things left by Heaven for me. The tide is coming in and the water is shockingly fresh and salty when I run into the waves with jubilant delight. I am home, the place of my birth and rebirth, the tides that pull me, the rhythm that defines me, the beautiful Seaside Oregon Coast Beach that nurtured me and I became. Sometimes I dream I am alone and other times they are all there, including my Grandmother and her sisters, who were called Eight-o-four after the Peacock Lane winter address they shared when we weren’t home at fourteen twenty one North Prom with me and the cousins, thirteen of us and our parents, a family. I began before I began. I began with them, and their history is mine. I know it like I lived it because I am surrounded by it. I live in a museum of love and was raised in a beach house filled with the past, living and breathing, alive with the present and making me who I am today.

The Pringle Girls

The Pringle Girls

My Great Grandmother Mamama, and her five daughters, each a unique and beautiful school teacher, bought a roadster, packed up their life and in nineteen twenty one and crossed the United States alone to buy a large piece of land that would become the North end of the Seaside Oregon beach, a sandbar north of the board walk. People said they were crazy adventurers’. They took their pictures on the journey and the girls made the papers. They were unusual women, independent, fun and fearless, sure they could do anything together. People said they had lost their minds when they bought a house and had it moved on rolling logs to beachfront property. No one wanted a house so close to the water, it weathered and was simply not practical. The house became a home, a place, they called Lassie Hame, or girls home, and fourteen twenty one or Lassie Hame began to create us.

I have video taken in nineteen forty two. Lassie Hame sits alone on white blowing sand, with only one strange lighthouse like beach cabin in site on a sand bar, with blue skies and smooth sandy beaches, no beach grass and no rocks to cut bare feet. A little picket fence surrounds the yard and my Uncle Jerry, still a little boy, and tiny Uncle Joel, are shirtless in overalls, painting the fence while a smiling Mamama, is looking on. My ten year old Aunt Joann is stirring something delicious in a large mixing bowl and laughing while my father in diapers tries to help. The Aunts are sitting on the porch looking on and talking while a collie dog stands by. Sixty eight years later little has changed. We fix things and paint things and preserve the heritage within us as side by side, a larger group shares the same home, one the same spot in the ever evolving place.

My birth was in Portland, but my life began on the beach, eating sand, tasting salt water, learning to talk surrounded by laughter and words and love, in a crowd called my family I was raised in Heavenly chaos. Thousands of times I have walked the beach, with grownups to protect me, with my father walking on his hands to entertain me, with my beloved cousin Jana, three months older than me, reading my mind and giggling with me, with my wise Grandmother and Aunts, with my first love, with my best love and with my babies. Endless moments of scanning the sand for treasure, walking while the waves wash in around my ankles and the sea tries to make me her own, tidal, salty, sparking one minute, churning and gray the next. Forever walking with the wind and the beat of my heart matching the rushing sound of a thousand waters, talking to heaven while holding chubby wet hands and carrying plastic bags filled with sand dollars. Walking with the smell of salty fish mixed with musty sand and moisture on sunny days that rain, or in rain that falls down, blows sideways and pushes me along curling my hair, chilling my skin and mixing with my own salty tears or bringing me inward to my conversation with my Heavenly Father.

Sometimes we have to leave Heaven to recognize it, or be thrust into the dark, to realize we have had the light and want to return. I remember driving away crying in the back of the station wagon while my Jana, the person who knew my soul watched and cried as I was taken to the desert to live. My mother said it was beautiful, and it was to her. At the time, I hated it. Where are all the trees I cried in anguish?  They pointed to scrubby small oaks, clinging tenaciously to the majestic mountain that was our back yard. Life went from a walk on the beach to a daily hike of arduous ups and downs, and I grew muscles and strength and direction on my hero’s journey. I found my quest and I fought my dragons and developed my inner warrior until exhausted

But it was in the dark dessert nights that I turned toward the light and met my Savior. It was in the battle that he became the voice in my head and the burning in my heart as I learned to love him and filled my lonely places with him. He heard me, and I learned that in the dark, light is so much more precious and obvious. I learned to recognize miracles and instead of searching for seashells, I found myself daily, startled by the evidence of God left lovingly at my feet. The greatest of which was hope and new love. I told my new prince charming and my gaggle of children that it was time to go home, the tide was pulling me in and I had to answer the call of the sea. He began his hero’s journey when he turned to the west and took me home.

We packed the car and drove in the hot dry air over brown mountains toward Lassie Hame. When the deep green forest embraced me, the road narrowed and began to wind I knew I was almost home. I rolled down my window and the hot oppressive air was washed away by cool fresh winds saturated with briny water and I could smell the place of my beginning, the return, my home. Paved roads became the last gravel road and I parked in the shadows behind Lassie Hame, pushed her heavy wooden door open loving the familiar sound of sandy footsteps on linoleum, the smell of musty linens and the view of views. I pushed the front door open and without stopping ran the sandy beach, falling into cold pacific waters and rejoicing in the push and pull of the waves while my children tumbled around me. I was home, I am home, home is a part of me. Its history is written on my face.

If you put a picture of my Grandmother and me side by side, you would know that we are a set, a pair, a part of something with crooked noses, blue eyes and ridiculous curls. When my arms began to be old, I knew what they were becoming, because I had been hugged by them before. When you put a picture of my father’s childhood next to a picture of mine you will see he was rocked in the same rocker as my child and fed at the same table as my baby, and so now two blocks away I build a new history. I no longer have the aunts and my Grandmother to mentor me, I am the mentor. I sit in my hundred and ten year old home with wooden floors and old windows and room for family, on the same couch that sat in my Grandmothers bedroom, a few blocks from Lassie Hame where my loved ones come in with the tide, as my family ebbs and flows around me. Here, in the stormy winter months I wait, by the fire listening to the soft snoring of my love, wishing for sleep and waiting for the tide to come in and the grandchildren to return for a Christmas at Lassie Hame.

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