Sunday, December 18, 2016

Our Bowlby Family Christmas Letter...A bit about our Crazy year.....

Merry Christmas Friends and Family,
    I have to say that "A Charlie Brow Christmas"  is my favorite Christmas movie.  So most of the people who received Christmas cards from me got something that looked like the above card...Though some people got one of my own Christmas card creations....I love receiving mail this time of year and it's been nice to actually go to the mailbox and not have anxiety about what might be in the's lovely to receive cards and see how peoples families have changed and read all about the lives of friends who live far away.
So here is a little of the craziness of our little family.  In the spring I quit my job that I had worked at for 5 years.  I jumped right off the cliff so to speak and decided to let Heavenly Father take my life where he wanted to.  It was not at first the easiest thing I have done in my life but looking back it was worth it.
I started a new job a couple of weeks after leaving the old job.  It was really the Hand of God I'm sure.  I wasn't really looking to start working, I had thought it would take me a few months and many interviews to find a new job. And I was looking forward to resting.  The people who helped me put my resume together did an impressive job, as the first place I went to hired me on the spot without even asking any real interview questions.  I have since enjoyed the blessings of more pay, better benefits, and so much less work I sometimes just want to laugh.  I often wonder why I did not leave so much sooner...But I know there were things I needed to learn in the leaving process.
I spent a lot of my spring and summer at the Ashton Gardens. My favorite spot was "The Secret Garden"  I enjoyed taking photo's throughout the year and sending friends cards and letters.  I hope to put my favorite photo's together this year and make a coffee table book with my favorite quotes and photos.   I also enjoyed taking many of my friends for walks in the garden.  My plan is to get my house super organized this winter so that I can spend my days off this spring and summer in the garden or at the Temple.  For those are the places where I find God.
This past Monday which seems already so far away my husband and I went to a "Gentri" Christmas Concert.  I met one of the singers in the Secret Garden this past summer and have to say I've become a fan of  their "Boy Band".. Their music is beautiful and listening to it helped heal my wounded soul.  I was so glad for that chance meeting.  As I look back on this year I can say that it was a most wonderful year and I'm sorry to see it ending.  I'm thankful for the lessons I learned and for the Lord being there for me.  I love my Savior with all my heart and know that he lives.
Jim my Prince Charming had a busy year at work.  I think he had many many hours of overtime this year.  There were some weeks where it seemed as if we were ships passing in the middle of the night. He was my champion this year allowing me to make changes and helping me to stand up for myself.  He also has helped many people with their cars...He has again found friends with a love for old cars and they have found that person who has the ability to figure out the problem no one else seems to get.  I like to call him "The Sherlock Holmes of Old Cars"...And when he goes off "Sherlocking" it is easy to understand that it's just something he has to do..
I think Jim looks forward to the new year and new car projects. But we are also planning on spending more time going to concerts, the gardens and the Temple together.  I also hope to fly him out to New Jersey this Summer, He misses the ocean and all his friends and family.  Maybe not quite in that order....

Gabrielle is now a Junior...Her favorite class is Japanese which she excels at, her least favorite class is English...Oh the headache of having to deal with figuring out what that poet meant when they wrote their poem...She took a photography class and now is giving me advice on how to take better photos...
Soon after her 16th birthday she earned her "Red Jacket" in karate...The Red Jacket is given to those who are teachers at the Karate school.  Soon after that she became an employee of her Karate school and she now teaches at least twice a week for about 4 hours a night.  The Karate school owners would love to have her there 4 days a week, but I am not yet allowing all her time to be consumed by her job, as she needs to have time to just hang out with friends.  I love driving her back and forth to her Karate school and listening to her "work stories."...She used to hate my work stories and not understand why I needed to tell about my job, but now I think she understands..Some days you just have to tell someone what happened at work... She is looking forward to some trips in 2017 and moving up to the next belt level which I think is Red/Black..
Jacob graduated this past spring...How can that be?  He also quit one job and started a new one this spring.  He now works for McDonalds and despite what the world says he really loves his fast food job.  He never comes home smelling of grease or fries and he has a very consistent schedule..And lucky for him it is always morning hours...He chose not to attend college this fall but to put in his church mission papers.
It took many months to get those papers filled out...And so Jacob got a little taste of what being a working person was all about.  I have enjoyed watching him move slowly into adulthood.  I sometimes listen to him talking and wonder where did my little boy go, as this is a much more mature person I am listening to.
We had fun this Thanksgiving walking around Salt Lake City and loved this outdoor art display.  I can say to my children...You are here...You are in Utah...But soon Jacob will not be here.  He will leave for his 2 year church mission.  He is going to Tampico, Mexico.  He is excited and nervous.  Isn't any leap of faith exciting and scary?   We now have a few months of getting visa's, passports, clothing and time to enjoy each others company until he leaves..Oh how hard that will be...

Merry Christmas to all of our family and dear friends...May you have a wonderful new year too...I look forward to another crazy year...I'm getting used to it...I hope to soon start blogging about Jacob's mission so that you can all share in his adventure....

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Reflecting on the path I took this year and planning my new year....

As the holiday season starts to surround us, I took time today to go out into my garden and reflect on this past year.  I want to be more prepared for next year, and in thinking about the state of my life and where I have been, and where I would like to go.  I realize that I accomplished many of my goals that I had last year. I also feel I have changed in major ways this past year.  At the beginning of this year my goals were to find a new job, to draw closer to the Savior and to understand his life and teachings more, to improve my budget and enjoy my time with my family.
When I thought of my spirital walk I thought of myself being like Mary, sitting at the Saviors feet and learning about him.  I remember recieving an e-mail in January from my Sister in Law about how glad she was that the previous year was over and that she hoped for a clam, storm free new year.  I wanted that too.  A year of Calm.   Looking back I realize you don't learn when life is calm.  I began my year reading the New Testament and thinking of the Savior, how nice it would be to say I sat at his feet and learned and it was a calm experience.  Instead he took my hand and asked me to walk into the refiners fire.  I took his hand and said I would do as he asked me.  I walked through Hell for a very good friend.  I often hear a song on the raido that says "I'll walk through hell with you, and if your wings are broken I'll give you mine."  I'm not sure of the whole song but when I hear it I think of this dear friend.  I would walk through Hell again for them, and I know they would do the same for me.  I stood in that buring fire and knew the Savior was changing me, and I trusted him.  I did not blame anyone for the pain that happened.

One thing I have always wanted is to see an Angel.  I have always thought seeing an angel would be this great thing.  As I went through the refiners fire this past year the Savior taught me one lesson after another.  One was that we are Angels.  Each of us has the ability to be an angel to someone in need.  When I was in need, friends were there for me.  I was given blessings, I received phone calls at the most perfect time, friends constantly cared for me through e-mails, texts, phone calls and visits.  These people were God's angels.  Every part of the trial I endured, every turn on the rocky path of change brought a new person in my life who cared for me. I was surrounded by Angels.  I also realized that I was an angel to others.  One of my desires is to bring sunshine into this world.  To bring hope to others.  I was able to help many even as I learned and suffered with my Savior.  I learned about issues that made me more compassionate, and allowed me to be of help.  In the process of refinement I realized that my soul, and the standards of God were the most important to me.  I learned that I could not walk with blinders on and pretend all was right.  I realized that Integrity was important to me.  I had gone so long feeling that I was slowly lowering my standards, and at some point I realized my standards and my integrity were what were important.  My desire to always be worthy to attend the Temple and be near to God was most important to me.
I spent this year changing.  I'm thankful for that.  I'm thankful for a new job where I can work with integrity.  I was glad when I went to orientation and my supervisor said "This is not a glamorous job, it is hard work, but it is honest work."  I want honesty, and integrity in my life.
My new job has helped me reach some of my goals.  I am better off financially.  One of my goals was to save money, and to stop using credit cards.  I have done both this year.  I look forward to the new year where I hope to save more, and to rid myself of credit card debt.  Now that I no longer use Credit cards I am paying what I have down faster.  I also look forward to making even better budget decisions.
I have been blessed to have more time with my family.  I have had more energy, and I no longer have stress that came with my old job.  I walk out the doors of where I work and leave every thing from work at work.  I never realized how much I was bringing home in my old job.  My daughter recently said how nice it is that she sees me leaving for work happy.  That I don't say "pray for me I'm going to Hell"  as I walk out the door.  I wonder why did I stay so long.  But I think perhaps it was for that friend, I was supposed to help that one friend get out of hell with me.
I have to say I am thankful for it all.  I'm thankful I took the Lord's hand and walked a rugged path.  I realized that you can have "Calm"  in your life even in the middle of a storm.  You can make your own calm when all the world around you seems out of control.  You do it by caring for yourself.  By finding quiet.  By holding onto the Savior.  The blessings come after your trial of Faith.  I have seen so many blessings, and continue to receive more.  One thing I know is that Blessings from God are not wealth or material things.  Blessings are revelation, increased knowledge, and the spirit guiding you.
As the path of this year comes to an end, do you find you have changed for the better.?  Have you had a challenging year?  Have you moved closer to the Savior or have you moved away from him?  Are you planning your next year out?  As I cleaned my garden today I thought about this year and how quickly it has gone.  I have felt gratitude for my trials.  I have realized I changed in large ways and in good ways.  
My path this year began in the Temple, and I'm glad to find it is ending with me still attending the Temple and Learning more about my Savior.  I hope next year to attend the Temple more often, to cherish every moment that I can with my family.  
Have you started to think about your goals for next year?
Let me know what you plan to do. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Black Friday Black Out...How my trip to the hospital last November changed my life....

Fall is here and we seem to be rushing towards the holiday season.  As we head towards November I have been reflecting on all the changes in my life.  I think it all started last Black Friday.  I used to work in a retail clothing store.  I was a supervisor and the hours and schedules were always crazy.  The stress was crazy, there were always impossible goals to try to meet.  The week of Thanksgiving had arrived and I was as usual "The Closing Manager On Duty."   I didn't mind closing the store, but the one thing lacking in my store was a schedule that allowed the night time manager to take breaks or lunches.  Looking back I never thought much of how wrong this really was.  I was so loyal to this store and the people that I worked with that I never questioned or thought that things were not right.  I am the type of person that doesn't think much of caring for themselves and tends to care too much for others.  That week I did not get breaks or lunches it was just too busy, and I did not take care of myself.  I ate the standard stressed out supervisor food...chips, soda, and energy bars..Thanksgiving came and I was scheduled to work 4pm to 12 am and then was scheduled to be back Black Friday at 8:30 am. I never got a break or lunch Thanksgiving night, (oh I was sent for a break, but a register broke and I had to go fix it. I remember getting everyone else their breaks and lunches, even being yelled at for not getting certain people their breaks on time, which was actually not my fault.) I remember telling my supervisor that I would like to come in a bit later, that having worked so many late night shifts I did not think I would do well coming in early the next day.  My supervisor didn't seem to get it and said be in at 8:30am.  I got home about 12:30 am crawled into bed, and when the alarm went off in the morning wished that I could sleep longer.  I arrived at work at 8:30 am and soon after began to feel odd... I felt like I was a human ice pop, I was so cold that I was shivering and people talking to me made absolutely no sense...I remember saying over the radio that I felt funny, and needed to go have a break...A customer was talking to me about something and I just could not understand what they wanted.  I remember walking by another employee and she said you are probably really dehydrated.  One of the supervisors put me in a wheel chair and they took me to the emergency room.  It took an IV of fluid and lots of warm blankets to make me feel better, and I ended up staying home most of the weekend.  I was so tired and drained.  The only thing the doctors could say was that I was severely dehydrated.  That weekend I vowed I would find a new job before Thanksgiving.  I promised myself I would not work another Black Friday at the store that I was at.  It was also the beginning of my promise to take care of myself.
My first step to a Healthy me was to drink water.  I left soda, juice and other drinks behind and only drink water.  I carried a water bottle with me.  At first I thought drinking one 8 oz bottle of water was a lot of water.  I'm now drinking 9 glasses of water a day.  I recently bought this "Fit Happens" journal at Target.  I plan to start using it next month.  For some reason I want to start at the beginning of the month.  I love it though because it doesn't just focus on physical fitness, it focuses on you as an entire being, physical, mental and spiritual. 
My next step and promise to myself was to find a new job.  This process actually began last November.  I believe that what you think and put out to "The Universe"  or "God"  is what will happen to you.  My first step was thinking and telling people that I was looking for a new job.  I kept thinking that I wanted to get a new job, and told friends this.  Many of my co-workers said "Don't leave, we love you here"  But I kept thinking of my Black Friday Black Out and reminding myself that I needed to leave.  Some of my good friends that I worked with did help me though.  One even helped me to get my resume together and consistently asked me if I'd applied for new jobs.  As much as I wanted to leave, one thing that kept me working for this store was that I knew I was helping others.  The great thing though is "God and The Universe"  always know what is better for you, they made sure I left.  The other great help was my Doctor who wrote me a prescription to get a new job, and on it was the number of an employment agency.  He was tired of me coming in due to work anxiety.  I think at some point I got tired of  it too.

This past spring as I began working with LDS Employment services and searching for a new job, I also came across some great books.  One of my favorites was the "MOJO" book. MOJO was my word at my previous job, It was my magic and  it was cool to find it's definition..I realized I had Lost my positive spirit at the retail job I was at, my MOJO and Magic were gone.  I realized that my health and wellness were more important than a job.  This book helped me begin to reevaluate my life and look at what brought me joy.  Everyday I evaluate my life and think does this make me happy or do I need to move on.  On March 11th I walked out of my old job and never walked back. (There is more to the walking out story but that story will be part of my retail memory blogs that I'm slowly working on putting together.)  On the eleventh of every month I celebrate my leaving.  I went to a job fair the next week and had a bunch of interviews lined up, and with in a week of leaving my old job I had a new job.  It was amazing, I had really hoped to take the whole spring and summer off and just focus on me.  But a good new job just happened to fall into my life.
Over the past few months I have slowly been working on a healthier me...Body, Mind and Spirit.  I call it
"My Slow Steps To A Healthy Me"  and I hope soon to share things I have been learning with you.  One of my favorite magazines to read is "Dr. OZ THE GOOD LIFE"  These magazines are geared towards making small changes in your life.  I'm not a cold turkey type of person, every change I make is small.  This magazine fits right in with how I want to change.
One small change I'm trying to make is to eat healthier snacks.  I really like this book, it has a lot of good information on Raw foods and how they are healthy for you.  Do I still eat cookies, cakes, and sugar treats..Yes..but am I eating more fruits, and vegetable yes.  I hope to share some of  my "Foodie" adventures with you.  I'm a pretty picky eater, so trying new foods is hard.
I'm also searching for the right exercises to do.  Now that I don't walk nine miles a day, like I did at my old job, I need to figure out how to keep my body healthy.  So as I check out different work out routines I'll let you know what I think.. So far on this journey I have found some nice stretching routines that I like.

I have also found my perfect life organizer...It is a weekly planner that has a coloring page for each week.  I plan out my life, write the things that happen, and spend time relaxing by coloring.  This helps in my spiritual walk as coloring is a form of meditation.  I often sit and listen to a Conference talk and color.  Taking care of your whole self is so important.  I'm glad that I experienced my "Black Friday Black Out"  It was the beginning of a whole new life for me.  I'm thankful for those people who were there for me during this change in my life, the ones who supported me.  I'm thankful for the doors that closed and the doors that opened.  As the weeks go on I hope to blog more and share the new things I'm learning and to also share my "Retail Memories".  I have a lot of good stories to tell from the last 5 years.  And I'm collecting new stories at my new job.  I actually carry a book around and write stuff down.  All the people who work with me find it entertaining, they all come to me and say "Kimberly I have a story for your book....."
Have a great day.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Growing old together...thoughts about my wedding twenty years later... Part 1

21 years ago I fell in love with my opposite...That's what they say isn't it "Opposites attract"...And 20 years ago we planned and had a whirlwind wedding...One of our good friends took our wedding photo's and I'm forever grateful for that gift, I have a beautiful album that I look at every August.  This is me on my wedding day.  I recently showed a friend some photos and she exclaimed.."you are like a princess...You look like Cinderella.."  If I could have found a small Cinderella figurine for my wedding cake that is what would have been on my cake.  That is what I wanted to look like, so twenty years later to have someone still see that is wonderful.
As I think back I realize that I didn't really understand how opposite my husband and I were, young love has a way of making everything seem perfect. As life goes on those differences have a way of either pulling you apart or pulling you closer.  I think we have been lucky because we have found how to live together and stay true to ourselves and enjoy our differences.  I'm quiet, I need a lot of solitude, I don't try to make any thing in life be perfect.  My husband is loud, he is the life of the party, he wants everything to be perfect.  I often look at him and think I could never live in that type of brain.  I could live with very little material items and my husband attaches memories to every item he has.  He collects things and I throw things out.  We even say words differently.  To the point that I stopped saying certain words so that I would not be corrected.  I like thick milkshakes he wants them thin...why would anyone want Ice cream in a cup...
I have a need to be places 15 minutes early and my husband doesn't feel the need to leave until you are supposed to be somewhere...We typically get places just about on time, I learned to just say we need to be someplace a half hour earlier than we really needed to be there.  My husband will talk and say whatever comes to his mind without thinking, and I think about what I'm going to say before I say anything. My husband has learned over the years how not to say things that will cause me stress, and I have learned to be more social. It is not easy being married to your opposite.  We are also not close in age.  We grew up in totally different time periods, and I worked for everything I had, while most of what he had was given to him.  He would talk of his summers at the beach as if everyone had that, and how after this summer of fun he then got a special weekend treat before school started.  And I would think of working all summer and the special treat was using my money to buy school clothing.  I talk budget, saving, and being frugal, and he is eating, and buying as if there are no worries...I will not lie to you finding our middle ground is not always easy.  Good friends have looked at us and asked "how did you ever meet and end up married...
Meeting and getting married that is the easy part of life...Learning to live with someone and love them for who they are and not try to change them, but allowing them to be their true self that is the hard part of life and marriage... But in our 20 years of marriage we have found ways to stay close, and yet be ourselves... And we have done what our wedding song talked of...We grew old together...Not that we are really old yet...but we are 20 years older....We still have to work everyday to grow in love together, to keep connected, and we laugh often about how different we are from each other....
One thing I have done over the years is find songs that fit our life and our story, as I share our stories and our wedding photo's this month I'll share my favorite songs too.
Our wedding song was "Grow Old Along With Me"  sung by Mary Chapin Carpenter.
A new song that I find I love that fits our life is "Lucky"...I feel lucky to be in love with my best friend.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

How we met and my conversion story....

On August 24th my husband and I will have been married 20 years. I'm not sure how 20 years went by so fast, our children are both almost grown up, and we have a lot of grey in our hair.  Every year in August I get our wedding album out and look at our wedding photos.  I thought I'd share the photos and the stories this year.  I imagine that someday one of my children, or grandchildren, or great grandchildren might find this crazy blog site of mine and read about the things I've done.

This photo was taken on my Baptism day.  I Joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in September of 1995.  I was looking for God, and praying for the right church to join.  At the time I was living in a small apartment in Plainfield New Jersey.  My brother and his wife had a little daughter who was very sick in Vermont.  I had started to pray for her to get better.  I hadn't really prayed to God in years.  But with the thought that this beautiful little girl could die, I knew I had to at least pray for her to get better.  Then the thought came to me that praying wasn't enough, that I needed to also go to church.  I lived across the street from a Catholic church, and my drive to work was one that had a different church building on every street corner.  I was quiet and shy and really wanted to attend a church, but I wanted  to go with someone.  So I then began to pray for a friend to go to church with.

My Husband was a customer of the bank that I worked for.  He would come in and talk about his ideas about life and sit and talk to me about the beach.  When we first met I had been dating someone else, and then when he came in a few weeks later I told him that I was now single and he could ask me out on a date.  He asked me out for that night to go to a party and I said no.  I had just left a relationship with someone who was only interested in parties and drinking and I just didn't want that in my life anymore.  I wanted the date to the beach with lemonade that he had talked about.  Eventually we did end up going out on a first date.   We sat on a park bench and talked about ourselves, and we talked so much that my husband got hungry and decided even though he wasn't going to spend any money on me that we would go out to eat.  He said to me that night "you are like a pot of gold, but I'll find the tarnish"  He was never going to get married, and was sure I had issues and once he found them it would be his reason for not dating me.  I did get my beach date which was wonderful.  And then my husband asked me to go to church with him.  He told me he was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I didn't realize it at the time, but he had just joined this church.  I thought he had always been a member of this church.  He told me that church was 3 hours long.  I agreed to go, but thought I would die being in church for 3 hours.  Yet this was what I had been praying for a friend to go to church with.
That Sunday  morning in late August we went to church together was the first time we went to church together as a couple and we never stopped going.  I loved the church, the feeling I felt there, and knew I had found what I was praying for.  I had found a good friend and God.  I met with the church missionaries and was baptized into the church in early September of 1995.
My husband and I  continued to date and he continued to tell me he would never get married.  I was OK with that because I had my own plans.  He had car projects and things that he wanted to do in his life, and I was planning to move back to Vermont.  While I liked New Jersey, and going to the beach with this nice Guy, and he was cute and fun I was always planning to move back to Vermont.  I didn't tell him this.  I just said that I was fine with him never wanting to get married.  I told him that I was OK with just being close friends, and that I too was not ready for marriage.  And then in April he came home from his trip to the Washington D.C. Temple and asked me to marry him.  I laughed at him.  I thought it was a joke, as we had both said we were not going to get married.  And yet he was serious and said he wanted to marry me.  What had changed this man?  The man who had told others " he would not get married even if the hand of God pointed down from the sky and said Bowlby you get married or else.."   Well I guess God told him in the Temple that day that he better marry me.  What is funny is I was almost to the end of my apartment lease, and was planing to move back to Vermont that August. After much confusion and disbelief I finally said I would marry him.
I think that we shocked a lot of people.  His best friend came to my work and said to me " I thought you said you didn't want to get married.  What are you doing?"  Here we were two people who didn't think we wanted to get married setting up a wedding.. So he proposed in April and we were married in August.  One year after we had met.   We were the first convert couple in our ward to go from Baptism to sealing in the Temple... I wouldn't change any of it.  I like to connect songs with our life and I recently found a cute song that goes with our meeting.
I Colie Cailat
How did you meet your spouse and do you have a conversion story?

Monday, August 1, 2016

Missing our Manasquan Beach days....

Summer makes me miss our beach days...When the kids were little and I was a stay at home mom every weekend we went to Manasquan beach.  We would drive down around 3pm and stay till about 10pm... It was my husbands job to watch the kids and I got to sit with my feet in the sand...or walk and collect sea shells..
Our kids loved the beach...At first they just loved to play in the sand, and get their toes wet..
As they got older they learned to swim, and ride the waves...We always had dinner at the beach, either Carlson's "Cheese burgers and fries"  or GEE GEE's Pizza...
This was our summer, week days at the pool and weekends at the went down for a few hours and felt as if you had been gone for days.  We haven't found that favorite spot here in Utah, that place where when you go you feel relaxed and time seems to go slower.  I hope at some point we find that, as life just seems to fly by here and we never really feel like there is time to rest.
I love looking at all our old photos...We had some wonderful summers...Hope we get to go back in a year or two...
Do you have a favorite place to go in the summer where time just goes slower and life is just perfect for a few hours?