Thursday, April 25, 2013

Over a Year - I'm still here!!!

Well, it's been over a year and I am a horrible blogger. I always think to myself "I should blog about this" but never do. So here I sit once again, attempting to blog. We'll see how long this lasts.

This last year has been full of change, growth, stress and happiness. Funny how life just goes on - the sun always rises and sets; no matter what happens. (unless you die; but then it's still on to something better........unless you were a bad person and then well, you'll get what you deserve. We always do.)

I've had the opportunity to meet some really incredible people this year. I was once told that I was a "collector of friends" and I believe that is true. I have added some great friends to my collection!! It is a priceless collection of people with various ideas, dreams and realities that have certainly helped me to become a more fulfilled person. My tried and true friends remain by my side; a fierce force of strength and comfort and I know that I am truly blessed.

My family is still my rock and God is still my foundation. Not that I expected that to change in a year, but you never know what can happen. I look around at the world and I see what is happening and I am comforted to know that I can find peace through prayer and constant conversation with my Heavenly Father.

"The Keeper of my Heart" still carries that title. He is now 10. He is an amazing little man with amazing talents and he is constantly surprising me with his determination to do his best at ANYTHING he does. I love our special relationship and he knows that he melts my heart. He's good not to take advantage of that.....usually ;-) He is still protective of me and reminds me of our deal that HE will take care of me when I get old~ which according to him "is like in a couple years"...ha!

Hannah, the first child to make me an Aunt, is getting married in less than a month. I can hardly believe it. I still think of her as a little girl. I am proud of who she has become and am excited for her to begin this chapter with the many exciting things that come with her new life.

Of-course a lot has happened over the last year - some really funny stories that I will include in some of my next posts. I am going to try to do better this year....TRY being the key word there. Stay tuned.....

Monday, April 16, 2012

I am a Mormon

This blog entry is in no way meant to spark a political debate (regarding Mitt Romney) or to start an argument on whether Mormons believe in Jesus Christ, whether we are polygamists, whether woman are not treated equally or whether we are a cult and believe that we are the only ones who will be in Heaven. OF COURSE we believe in Jesus Christ. Any one who tells you differently is misinformed and ignorant. The name of our church is The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints. We believe in and read the King James version of the Holy Bible. We do not believe in or practice polygamy. Women are absolutely created and women have different roles in our church but neither is more important than the other. It's like having two Vice Presidents in a corporation......both have different roles but they are equal and work together for a common
purpose. Do you really think I would belong to a church that I was not valued or treated unequally or more importantly a cult? It's laughable......especially if you know

me. I am a self-determined and independent woman with a healthy self esteem and my religion
has a lot to do with that.

I love being a Mormon and I'll tell you exactly why. My religion has made me who I am. I have seen and experienced miracles in my life because of
the personal relationship I have been able to cultivate with Heavenly Father since I was a child. My mother joined the church when she was 16
and my father joined when I was 4 years old. I have been going to church literally since I was born. As a young girl in Sunday School, I learned to pray to God, to know the importance of baptism, the importance of being honest and treating everyone with kindness and respect.

As a young woman, I learned that I was a daughter of God. I learned to live my life by values which were: Faith, Divine Nature,
Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, Integrity and Virtue. I learned to study the scriptures and to find answers to my questions within them. I learned about repentance and forgiveness. I had Personal Progress goals that I
worked on and passed off and I attended a religion class every morning BEFORE High School. I firmly believe that the teachings I learned kept me safe and out of trouble. I was not perfect, but I stayed away from the dangerous things that some of my friends were involved in. I learned the importance of service to others and felt the first feelings of true joy when I was doing service for others.

As a young adult, I really began to understand the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for ME and that He is my advocate to the Father and that through Him I could be forgiven of my sins and short-comings. That I truly could lay my troubles at His feet when I had done all I could and know that He would take care of them. I learned to trust in His love for me and that prayers do get
answered.....maybe not how I thought they would, but that it was always for my greatest happiness. I learned that trials can be great learning experiences if I humbled myself and tried to figure out what it was that I was learning.

As an "older"adult (yah....not SOOO old, but old enough) I am learning the greatest lesson of all.......patience. I am learning that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are involved in my every day life and that as I pray and counsel with them, I can receive guidance and answers on how to live my life and that is the greatest know that I CAN receive guidance and answers to prayers. I have learned the importance of fasting coupled with prayer and that miracles still happen when you ask and have faith and IF it is the will of God. Most of all, I have learned to trust in God and to believe that He knows what will make me happiest and not to fight against it.....because sometimes I think my way is better....but it NEVER is.

I love that my church teaches that family is the most important thing and that we can be together for ETERNITY. It just makes sense. I love that my church is concerned with my welfare and that I have people who check in on me once a month to make sure everything is ok. I love that there are programs in the church to strengthen the children, young adults and adults and that all of the programs bring you closer to Jesus Christ. As in every church, we are made up of people from all over the world, with different situations, personalities and experiences that have made us who we are. No one is perfect and quite honestly, I can't say that I love every person that I meet at church BUT, I do know that they are there doing the best they can in this life....just like me and that God loves them just the same. I know that I am in charge of my own salvation and although there are people to help me along the way and teach me principles to help me, it is up to me and my decisions and actions ALONE that will determine my eternal progression. I love that I can go to church on Sunday and be uplifted and taught the teachings of Jesus Christ and learn from His example. It helps me focus on the coming week with the knowledge that all I have to do is to pray to receive comfort, guidance and peace in dealing with life.

Yes, I am a Mormon and I love my religion. It has taught me the principles that I need to know to return to Jesus Christ and has helped me to be a better person, a repenting person, a forgiving person and a more patient person with an inner peace and joy even in the midst of trials. I love my Heavenly Father and I know that He loves me. I am his daughter and just like my earthly father did, He protects, guides and teaches me and all I have to do is listen. I look at my nieces and nephews and I am so happy that they have the church at a young age and can have the teachings that I did to help them through their lives. It comforts me knowing that they are armed with a powerful armor against all of the assaults this world will surely bring upon them. Life is hard but that doesn't mean you have to be unhappy. As President Gordon B. Hinckley once said "Life is to be enjoyed, not endured". I love my religion because it brings me true joy.

You can find out anything you want to know about Mormons on There is a lot of false and ridiculous information on the web about Mormons so if you are curious, go directly to the source.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Keeper of My Heart

Robert Umberto Spadetti is my nephew and we have been close since the day he was born on November 14, 2002. Seriously..... since the day he was born.

My sister Dori and her husband Brian lived in the apartment above me and I would get home from work and two minutes later my sister would be walking through my door with baby Robbie. Every night I would take Robbie into my arms and dance with him until he fell asleep....EVERY NIGHT. When he got a little older he knew the drill and he would nuzzle his little head into my neck and we would dance to Kelly Willis until he was out. He couldn't say "Kara" and started calling me "Yaya" and to this day, that is what he calls me.

The older he got, the closer we became. If he was sick or got
hurt, he would call me and all I had to hear was his little raspy voice asking for me and my heart would melt and I would drop anything to be with him. I have cancelled dates for this kid. He has figured this out and he knows he has me in the palm of his hand.

He started spending the night with me at a very young age (I think he was 8 months old the first time he spent the night with me!) and we were kindred spirits. When he started talking I was amazed that this little boy could make me laugh.......truly laugh and we loved spending time together. He wanted to be with me as much as I wanted to be with him and we talked every day. I would call him or he would ask his mom to call me.

On many occasions I would spend the weekend with him (once they moved) and many times we would lay down in bed and talk and laugh for HOURS. One time in particular I remember that I was struggling with a broken heart and I went to spend the weekend with him because I knew just seeing him would make me feel better. We were sleeping on an air mattress in his living room and after about an hour of just talking (he was 5) we started laughing about something so hard that I had tears streaming down my face and he was covering my mouth with his little hand so we wouldn't wake up the house and I knew he was a blessing in my life and would always be able to make me feel better. It amazed me that this little 5 year old could have the conversations we had and how he was really fun to be around.....I really loved to be with him all of the time.

Robbie is a very special boy. Not only is he my nephew but he is also a light in my life and when I see him, my heart smiles. We have a very sweet relationship. I can't adequately put into words how he makes me feel......there is a "knowing" between us and we both realize that what we have is an extraordinary bond that will be something we cherish for all of our life.

He is "The Keeper of My Heart" because he loves me with a true and sincere love and already protects me and looks out for me. Even at nine years old, he gets it. I can't wait to watch him grow, to be a part of his impressive life, and to see who he becomes. He is an amazing little soul......wise beyond his years and I am lucky to be his Aunt.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Life is Precious

"It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth -- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up -- that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had."- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

My sister Dori and I sat down tonight and listed everyone in our family who has passed away since my father passed in 1986. We counted 13. Nine of the thirteen were unexpected and tragic and seven were under the age of forty when they passed away.

Death is no stranger to my family. We know it well.....a little too well. We know the shock, the sadness, and sometimes the depression that follows. We know what it feels like to miss someone so badly that your whole being literally hurts with a physical pain and all you do is exist from day to day as you try to figure out how to heal the gaping hole in your heart. You think about the last words spoken, last actions and the last time you were together and you realize......Life Is Precious.

Precious means "of high price or of great value; dear or beloved". Recently, I have begun to realize on a much deeper level how precious moments are spent in my life. I found that the most precious moments is time spent with my nieces and nephews, my family, my friends, my service to others, meaningful conversations and uplifting experiences. I cherish my time on this earth because I don't know how long I will be here. I try to be a good person, a good example, a kind and compassionate person, a generous person and one who helps others. Sometimes I fall short and I am thankful for another day so that I can try again.

I know that life on this earth is a gift. A PRECIOUS gift. One we should all be thankful for no matter what our circumstances are. Count your blessings and realize that there will ALWAYS be someone who is hurting more, suffering more, dealing with a trial they don't know how they will make it through. Seek to recognize and cherish the precious moments in your life and be a grateful person. Even our trials make us stronger and give us experiences that help us grow as a person. These experiences may also help you to understand and give comfort to someone else who is going through a similar trial.

Death has been a trial my family has had to endure....time and time again. We are blessed however, to know and understand that we are an ETERNAL family and that we will see our loved ones again. My family has grown closer and stronger through each of our losses. When we talk on the phone, every single one of us says "I love you" at the end of EVERY conversation and we mean it. It is not a sentence we take lightly or throw about. We love each other and understand the importance of showing this.

I have come to understand and appreciate the people in my life. I do not think that people meet and are brought into each other's lives by chance. I believe we are in each other's lives for a reason..... to strengthen, uplift, support, comfort and teach each other the importance of treating those dear to us as gifts that are fragile and should be treasured. I hope that we remember in our daily associations with people that we are all "of high price or great value; dear or beloved".

Yes; life is precious and should be treated as such. We know to cherish today because we do not know what tomorrow brings.

Friday, March 9, 2012

My Mother

I am working on a lesson to teach to the Young Women in church on Sunday. It is about honoring parents and supporting family members. I dedicate this post to my mother.

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. ~Washington Irving

I have been truly blessed to have the mother that I have. It is not by fate that I am her daughter~ God designed this; so that we could go through this life together, learning and sharing in each other's happiness and sorrow.

I have mentioned in previous posts, that as a child I loved to be with my mother and my friends even loved to be around my mother. Some of the greatest memories that I have with my mother was time spent running errands with her. It was fun and I always enjoyed our conversations.

My mother taught me that I could do and be anything that I wanted and I believed her. She showed confidence in me and in my ability to make decisions and if I made a wrong decision she was ALWAYS there to help pick up the pieces and begin again. I remember one time in particular I was living in Utah.......I had an extremely painful break-up. She knew I was barely functioning and she flew me home for a couple weeks to help me regroup. I cried almost the entire time on the plane ride home (4 1/2 hours) and as soon as she met me at the gate; I broke down again. I don't think I said anything for the next hour. My step-father was driving us home and she got into the back seat with me and put her arms around me and let me SOB on her shoulder all the way home while she kept telling me I would get through this and giving me words of encouragement. At home, with her, I was able to be strengthened, fortified and to be reminded of the capacity that I had within me to move forward.

My mother taught me about strength and self-determination by watching her example. My father passed away when I was 16 and she was left alone at age 40 with 6 children ranging in ages from 8-18. After the day of the funeral, I never saw my mother cry about my father. Even though I never saw her, I knew that she did and years later I asked her why I never saw her cry. She said it was because she didn't want us (the children) to have the added burden (with all that we were dealing with) of a sad mother and that she wanted to "keep it together" for us. She was the epitome of courage and of forging forward.

She is an exemplar in teaching me to love Christ. She taught me to pray always and to thank my Heavenly Father for every blessing that I have. She taught me to recognize that I am not perfect but that I can be forgiven and to keep trying to do my best. She taught me that trials are lessons and to learn from them. She taught me to be strong in my faith and that faith always precedes a miracle. She taught me the value of paying an honest tithe and I have often marveled at the blessings that come from paying tithing. Through her example and counsel, I have learned to depend on my personal relationship with God to carry me through this life.

I could go on and on about all of the things I have learned (and continue to learn) from my mother. She is an extraordinary woman. I think the three words that best describe my mother are FAITHFUL, DETERMINED, and ENDURING. She has buried two husbands, raised 6 children, served a mission for our church, sacrificed for our family and continues to be the formidable matriarch of our family. She is a very involved grandmother and my nieces and nephews are blessed to know her as their "Granny". She is still the person I cry to with heartaches, with trials, and with sorrows. She is also the person I still go to with accomplishments, to share happy experiences, and to talk about spiritual things.

My mother is an amazing woman. She rarely gets accolades for the things she does and I know we don't express enough how much she is admired and loved. She is my mother by design.....this I know without a shadow of doubt.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Thoroughly Disgusted

I own a cleaning and concierge business and every now and then I have to step in and clean when an employee is out. Today was a traumatizing day.

We went to a two bedroom apartment to do a move-out clean. Well actually, the tenants were sub-leasing and the new tenants are going to move in tomorrow. I walk into the apartment and immediately wondered if I was cleaning up after some HUGE hamsters because there was shredded paper EVERYWHERE.....all over the floor in every room. Seriously, like they put it down to sleep on it or something.

I started in the kitchen - it took TWO HOURS!!!! All of the cabinets and cupboards were empty; well, except for the hair, stuck-on food, something that looked like the orange sand you see in sandboxes and sesame seeds.......IN EVERY SINGLE CABINET AND CUPBOARD - and in one cabinet I got to clean what looked like an entire spilled bottle of honey mixed with sesame seeds. I mean, who eats that many sesame seeds? Was the Hamburglar hiding somewhere? Plus, they use a lot of Turmeric.....and so there were yellow stains everywhere. It's like she opened up every container of food or spice she owned and just dumped it into her cabinets and drawers.

The stove was covered in a couple of layers of cooked oil, burnt rice and hair. That was fun. She looked at my face (I do not have a poker face and I am SURE I looked disgusted) and she said "how often should I clean my stove? Once a month?" REALLY LADY????? I said "if you cook every day, then you should wipe it down every day".....she looked at me so surprised and like I was crazy. Clearly....I'm the crazy one.

The best/worst part of the kitchen was the fridge. It too was empty, except for what looked like grass, gardening dirt, some red sticky stuff, of-course sesame seeds and...wait for it.....wait for it.....2 DEAD FLIES! I looked at the lady and said "you do realize flies have been in hibernation since the middle of October....right?" WHO HAS DEAD FLIES IN THEIR REFRIGERATOR?????? And then I thought maybe they eat them. I mean, why else would they be in her fridge?

I found out that they have lived in this apartment for 3 years; the couple, their two small kids and her parents. I realized that they have NEVER cleaned any part of the apartment and I came to the conclusion that they must have lived in the desert before this because there was sand everywhere. She also asked me what should she do when her kitchen sink overflows. She said it overflows every time she does dishes. I told her to turn off the water once the sink was full. Again, she looked surprised.

So then I moved into the bathroom - please stop reading if you have a weak stomach because this is going to get graphic. I walked into the master bathroom and let out a small shriek. The tub looked like it had not been cleaned EVER and like they take mud baths and never drain it. I am not even exaggerating. HAIR everywhere, red dots stuck on the door frames and again with the honey and sesame concoction...... ALL OVER THE WALLS. I didn't even want to imagine how the (blank) that got there. The toilet was covered in dried urine. I triple gloved my hands and put a mask on. Urine was all over the floor and the wall behind the toilet too. Like......can't this man see where he's going?????? He just aimed in the general direction I guess. And maybe she stood up when she peed - I mean I wouldn't put anything past this group of people. gets better! My poor, poor employee who had to clean the other bathroom (I guess the parents and kids used this bathroom) looked like someone had explosive diarrhea - many times. It was down the outside of the toilet, on the side of the tub, on the walls and the vanity. I almost threw up and actually gagged a couple of times. It had been there a while...make no mistake about that. The tub had a black ring around it as thick as tar. It was unbelievable and I couldn't believe that people actually lived like this...with CHILDREN! How did they bathe them? Did they stand and hold them? Maybe they just rubbed some dirt or sand on them and called it a day.

The rest of the home was filled with shredded paper, sand and colored paperclips......everywhere. When I take a deep breath I can still smell and taste the cleaning supplies we used today. I would've rather set the place on fire - but sand doesn't catch on fire. She asked me if we would come and clean her new town home. HAHAHAHAHA.......yah, maybe if I invest in some Hazmat suits and gas masks. I'm pretty traumatized by the whole thing and just can't believe people live in such filth. Don't call us, we'll call you!

Monday, February 20, 2012

What do you know?

When I was a young girl, I came to know 4 things about myself that were true:

  • I am dearly beloved of my family
  • I understood “grown-up” things on a level way too mature for my age
  • I was born with a self-determination and strength that I could call upon
  • I could feel (to a very large extent) the pain and suffering of others

Realizing this at a fairly young age has largely shaped who I am today. I can look back on the many times in my life that knowing these truths has helped me in one way or another.

I remember when I was about 10 years old; overhearing a conversation my father was having with his mother about me. He was telling her about a couple of things I had done to help around the house and some things I had done for my younger brother and sisters and what a special little girl I was. He then said something I will never forget. He said in a tearful voice, “She is my beloved Kara, my beautiful girl, and I know why she was sent to me.” The word “beloved” has always stayed with me. I knew that this was a unique term of endearment. When you know you are loved so dearly, you can make it through anything that comes your way.

Growing up, I was my mother’s shadow. I loved being around her and I loved that my friends loved being around her. She was my mother but she was also fun to be with and I could tell her anything. Many times I would choose to run errands with my mother rather than be with friends. I truly enjoyed her company and I loved the talks we had. Children learn at the feet of their parents. It was with her that I realized that I understood “grown-up” things. Right after my father passed away, I was able to step in and almost co-parent with my mother because I had been with my mother so much and really did understand exactly what was going on. There were many times my mother would come to me for advice and we actually talked things through and made decisions for the family together. It didn’t seem odd to me, it seemed natural.

Now, this is kind of gross, but it’s the very first time I realized that I had self-determination. I was born with extremely dry skin and for some reason at night my legs would itch so bad that I would scratch them until they bled. We tried baths, creams, and steroids….everything. Nothing seemed to work. I was five years old and I wanted so badly not to scratch my legs anymore – they were covered in scabs (told you it was gross) and would bleed and I HATED it. One night I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to scratch my legs anymore. I said a prayer and I lay on my hands and cried ALL night because the itching was unbearable but I was determined not to scratch. The next night was the same scenario. I prayed and I lay on my hands and cried but would not scratch my legs. Every night I felt a little stronger and that I was going to break this habit and for a little five year old mind, this was remarkable. At the end of the week, my legs were almost completely healed and the itching was ALMOST gone. I realized that if I prayed and was determined to do something, I could.

I have always known that my heart is tender, especially when dealing with children or old folks. Sometimes it is very annoying because I tear up easily. The earliest memory of really feeling someone else’s pain was when I was 13. I was volunteering at a Special Olympics at the gymnastics section. I absolutely loved it. These kids were so amazing and so thrilled to be there and it was a humbling experience for me. There was a little girl – around 10 years old whose balance beam routine consisted of walking across the beam and jumping off at the end. She fell off the beam probably 8 times as she was trying to finish her walk down the beam. (The beam was not far off of the ground). Every time she would fall we would cheer her back onto the beam until she finally completed her routine and was grinning from ear to ear. I turned around just in time to see her run into her father’s arms for her congratulations. He completely broke down and I knew that he was proud of her but I also felt the pain he was feeling and I understood. I have been able to not only sympathize but also empathize with people who are in pain. I am grateful that I am able to do so because it has enabled me to help people in a way I wouldn’t be able to if I couldn’t experience for myself what they are feeling.

All of these things I learned about myself at a fairly young age. All of these things have helped me throughout my life in the various roles that I play as a Daughter, Sister and Friend. These are just my first memories of attaining this knowledge about me; I have been able to grow and expand these truths and have experienced amazing things.

I have also learned an even greater and deeper truth. That is, that everyone is given gifts that they can recognize and then cultivate so that they can help serve others. Figure out what your gifts are. You have them. I have been able to love others as I am loved. I have been able to go into dire situations and show maturity in order to handle things for people that they were not able to handle at that time. I have been able to call upon my self-determination and strength in order to show some that anything is possible and lastly, I have been able to comfort the sick or grieving because I am able to feel what they feel.

Everyone has gifts that can be used to help others. I challenge YOU to figure out what gifts you have and then go forth and serve.