Sunday, January 11, 2009


I just woke from an awful nightmare. The last images in my head from this nightmare were of Lauren drowning and me pulling her out of the tub. I will spare the rest of the crazy details of the dream. Now I am having trouble going back to sleep. I am scared to dream right now. Every time I almost fall asleep I am back in that dream, about to lose a second child. 

But being awake is not so easy either. I am tired. It is hard to keep my mind from sliding down the slippery slope of grief when my mind is tired. I can no longer just shake off such crazy nightmares. I wake to a living nightmare that never ends. 

So I thought I might blog my mind into a new direction and then try to go to sleep with better thoughts in my head. Julie Andrews tells us to think of our favorite things right? Well maybe that will help tonight.

Here are a few of my favorite things:
Just about anything from Fresh When Jon and I lived in California, he had a conference at the Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara. I decided to join him on this short overnighter. I went to the spa while he went to his meetings. 

The first thing I noticed about the Bacara was the smell. It smelled WONDERFUL. There were fresh flowers and big displays of fresh fruit everywhere. It was really lovely. The time I spent at the spa the next morning felt like an over indulgence. I really felt like a princess. I was completely pampered.

The products they used in the spa and the shampoo, conditioner, and body gel in each room were Fresh products. I fell in love with the smell of them. Ever since then, I have had a bottle of Soy Shampoo, Pomegranate Conditioner and Lycee Sugar Shower Gel at home. 

They are way pricy. So, I only use them once in a while. Once bottle can last me a whole year that way. On days that are hard I use these special products in my bath or shower and suddenly I am back at the Bacara being pampered. 

Several months ago, I sent Sabrina and Annie up to take a bath. When they came back they smelled ... WONDERFUL. I went upstairs to discover they had used the remaining half of my fresh shampoo and shower gel to make a bubble bath and to wash their hair. In return, they got to do chores beyond their normal chores around the house to earn enough money to buy me new bottles. Hopefully they will stay away from the bottles they bought me for Christmas.

Ice Cream - specifically mint chip from Baskin Robbins or 31 Flavors is another one of my favorite things. Although sometimes I do love a scoop of chocolate peanut butter from there or by Hagan Daas. It is funny how pregnancy alters our tastes however. This pregnancy, my baby craves fried savory food like onion straws and french fries or avocado egg rolls from Cheesecake Factory. I do love all these thing normally but to crave them over ice cream or chocolate? ... well that is just the pregnancy talking.

A really good CLEAN (no sex descriptions) historical fiction novel. One of my favorites is These Is My Words by Nancy Turner. I am looking for a few good novels to read on an upcoming trip so if you want to leave a suggestion that would be great! I love historical fiction. Mysteries can be okay. I enjoy a well written biography like John Adams by David McCullough. The last book I read was Sister Of My Heart by Chitra Divakaruni. It was pretty good. Right now I am a couple of chapters into The Pilots Wife but I am not sure I will finish it. I have a hard time reading about other people going through the grieving process still. 

Falling asleep in the warm sunlight from a window on a cold winter day. Have you ever had this happen? On a day where you are just tired and can't stay awake and you lie down in the warm sunlight streaming in a window and feel yourself being carried off to sleep. That sounds really lovely right now.

Guittard Chocolate Chips in my chocolate chip cookies - preferably milk chocolate. If you haven't ever tried this brand it is wonderful. 

Listening to my husband play the piano - especially the song he wrote for me in the month before he called me to date him when we weren't communicating at all. It is a song he wrote about our friendship and how much he missed me. He played it for me on our first "romantic" date. Now that is the way to woo a woman.

A low full harvest moon. I just LOVE this sight. I always have. I love the beauty of the full moon rising in the evening sky.

A brand new outfit. I love new clothes. I never buy them for myself anymore. But I love clothes the first time you wear them. I wish they could always fit and feel as good as the first time you wear them.

Well I think I am going to stop there. Most of my other favorite things including most of my favorite things to touch involve my kids and I am purposely avoiding going there. I just can't think about them right now without sliding down that slope. 

So I hope I will be able to go back to bed and think of the feel of warm sunlight, the smell of Bacara, the taste of warm chocolate chips cookies and the sight of the full moon surrounded my a billion stars. With all these wonderful thoughts maybe I will find a happier dream to dream.

Update: That apparently worked. I just woke from a wonderful dream about an adventure to Toronto Canada (to which I have never been) with a dear old friend from high school. Thank heaven - literally. 


Tamara said...

Books...I have a few I love love love: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is a Historical Fiction novel based on the book of Hosea. Francine Rivers is my favorite Christian author, I think you might enjoy them!! :) Sending Sweet Dreams your way!

Donna said...

I really enjoyed Anita Stansfield's Barrington Family Saga. They are all quick reads. I couldn't put them down until I finished them. There is quite a lot of grieving in the books; however, being LDS literature, they are rich in the promises of eternal life and some church history.

Amanda said...

Those are some really wonderful favorite things to have. I'm so sorry that fear has been riding you I really hope you were able to fall asleep and only think and dream of wonderful things...

Books I really enjoyed Saint by Orson Scott Card, it's a fictionalized story about Joseph Smiths first spiritual wife. He also has some books written about the women of the old testament, Rebecca and Sarah they are also the titles of the books. The Hundred Secret Senses and The Joy Luck club by Amy Tan. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. And although, not historical fiction I really enjoyed The Devil Wears Prada and Confessions of a Shopaholic. Hope there's something there to interest you :)

Colleen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colleen said...

I just read this quote and thought of you especially since your rough night.
"The more shared past there is in a relationship, the more present you need to be; otherwise, you will be forced to relive the past again and again."
Having recently gone through an unexpected and painful end to my marriage 3 years ago it is a constant struggle for me to follow Eckhart Tolle advice and stay in the present.
I admire your ability to focus on the positive and the things that make you smile. Your blog is a part of my day and I look forward to reading everyday. I hope you made it to church today and can have a nap in the afternoon.

Mimi's Toes said...

You did the right thing by blogging your favorite things instead of keeping your mind on the nightmare. I so admire you! I would love to smell your favorite spa delights.

Susy said...

You are one of my favorite bloggers!

I am glad that you slept! Makes a world of difference!

Jennie said...

I haven't read the other comments, but some of your favorite books, are some of mine as well. One of my favorite books is called "Left to Tell." by Immaculee Ilibagiza. It is about a survivor of the genocide in Rwanda. It is intense- and has an uplifting message, even though the events are horrifying. I am glad that your other dreams were peaceful. I hate waking from dreams like that. I know when I am the most tired, things seem the worst for me. I can always look at things with a fresh perspective, when I feel rested. I hope all is well with you today.

Claire said...

Have you read the other books by Nancy Taylor? There are a few more by her, about Sarah and her family. The first is still my favourite, but I enjoyed the others as well.

RandiSue said...

Books by Bodie & Brock Thoene.
My favorite would be Shiloh Autumn, which is about family of cotton farmers during the depression.

Anonymous said...

Pregnancy often brought me crazy dreams...everything is magnified and things at night are especially mangini fed. Your post made me think of Julie Andrews and the the Favorite Things song :)

Anonymous said...

I read your blog everyday. You have impacted my life more than you would know. I lost a son this past Sept. Your entries have helped me find peace through this tumultuous time. Thank you. You have given me so much strength to carry on.

Rachel H said...

I am truly sorry to hear about the nightmares..I have scary nightmares sometimes like that for no reason at all and I know they are horrible to wake up to!

I have a new indulgence that you will just adore...a local ice cream company in our area has these signature kind of chocolate chunks they put in thier ice cream that never gets stays like a soft gourmet chocolate bar. It is something that you have to try even come close to understanding how addictive and delicious it is!! haha~! can have it shipped to your house and it is WORTH EVERY PENNY! =) Here's the link!

Hugs and happy dreams,

The Gray Family said...

I am not a fan of pregnancy dreams! They are so VIVID it is hard to shake them off sometimes. Sorry you had a bad night! I too loved These is my Words...have you read the next two? They are called Sarah's Quilt and Star Garden. LOVED THEM!!! Hope tonight is a bit more peaceful for you!

Lori said...

I am so happy that you were able to go back to sleep and sooth your weary mind with happy thoughts. Hang in there. I love your favorite things. Mint Chip Ice cream sounds yummy right now :)

Stacy said...

I'm glad it worked for you!! I will try that! I love the series "Children of the Promise," by Dean Hughes. You can get it at Deseret Book, and the first one is Rumors of War. It's about this family going through WWII in America, and how each child is sent to different parts of the world. I love love love this book, because it is romantic, full of action, and you fall in love with the family.

Olsens R Us said...

I'm sorry, Stephanie, to hear about your nightmare. I think you handled it remarkably well, and made such a positive choice in thinking about your favorite things. You have a remarkable ability to stop your mind from going down dark roads. I don't think it is an ability that comes easily either, and know how hard you must have to work to keep doing it.
I love that you loved "These is my Words"- one of my all time favorites. Another book that I loved, and that is a lighter read but fun is "Papa Married a Mormon" by John D Fitzgerald. Another series that I would recommend to read to your girls is the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. The first one is the Lightning Thief. They are action packed and teach about Greek mythology. Hope you enjoy them!


Ann Traynor said...

I have to admit that haven't read your blog in a while, partly because I've been busy and partly because it always bring me to tears. I grieve with you. I imagine you will grieve your whole life. I can only have faith that our Just God will somehow, in His own time and way, grant you blessings and joy that will swallow up your pain. I think change in general is so hard. And this is such a big, awful change.

Regarding your blog a few days back about Anne Marie... have you considered homeschool? We have, but eventually decided against it. We also struggle with what do to with Sarah because she is so far ahead of her grade. She's too young and socially behind for double promotion. We don't have the money for private school. I'm too busy for homeschooling and she really needs social development. So for now we just hang in there, but it's a tough dilemma, I think. As she advances in grades she is getting some more opportunities in the gifted program, which helps somewhat.

cynphil6 said...

Sending wishes for sweet dreams your way!

Becky said...

Mint chip specifically from Baskin Robins is my favorite as well.
I hope you sleep better tonight.

Anonymous said...

That dream sounds much better. Smells are SO evocative aren't they? Strawberry jam and fresh fish (not together!) remind me of being 4 in Tokyo. Always.



elizabeth said...

One of my favorite authors of historical fiction is Jane Kirkpatrick.

Plain Jame said...

Those things all sound wonderful. I am going through the phase in pregnancy with crazy dreams too. I wish it would pass. Even taking Unisom doesn't make dreams go away. They usually happen between 4-7AM. I do love it when it's a great dream. (I served my mission in Toronto CA, so that wouldn't be too weird for me.
My little fetus doesn't like sweets either.
I had homemade fried chicken and fries for dinner and it was the best thing ever!

I have a hard time reading when pregnant, it stimulates my already out of control imagination. PLus I get tired waaay too fast. Movies I watch with my little girls are working out juuuuust fine.

Nathan & Michelle Watabe said...

As a fellow lover of "These Is My Words," I would NOT reccomend you finish "The Pilot's Wife." It had me down for days. Did you read the sequels Sarah's Quilt and Someone's (I can't remember the name)Garden? I haven't, but heard they are good too.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Historical Fiction, and I also love Historical Non-fiction that reads like fiction. These are some that I highly recommend.

Owls in the Family by Farley Mowatt (this is rib-hurting funny, and a great, short-ish read-a-loud for the whole family!!!)
Men to Match My Mountains: The Opening of the Far West, 1840-1900 by Irving Stone
Two Years Before the Mast: A Personal Narrative of Life at Sea by Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
All Creatures Great and Small (series) by James Herriot
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Centennial by James A. Michener
Sarum by Edward Rutherford (very long; one explicit scene, easy to skip)

Have you heard of If not, you would probably love it. It is a place where you can share ratings and opinions of books with your friends.

Good reading,

Katie said...

I'm sure you've already read them... but if not, anything by Gerald Lund. I loved the Fishers of Men series about Christ.. I learned SO MUCH!

renae said...

stephanie, did you know that there is a sequel to "these is my words"? it's called "sarah's quilt," and i loved it maybe a teensy bit more than the first, if that's possible. B&N had it in paperback just before christmas...

Susan Anderson said...

I love Georgette Heyer. Her books are sort of "Jane Austen light," and they really satisfy my need to escape sometimes.

I had a recurring dream once after a severe trauma, and my therapist said it was part of the healing process. While I was sleeping, my subconscious mind was helping me work through the fear and loss I had experienced. I'm not saying I liked the dream...I did not!...but over time it evolved from me being in a frightening, helpless position where I couldn't affect the outcome to me realizing that I could absolutely affect the outcome. After the final dream, where I was able to act upon the situation with a feeling of control, the dream never came back.

She also told me that if I didn't like dreaming the dream at night, I needed to talk more about the feelings experienced in the dream during the day. I did try to do that, mainly with my husband and my sister, who were people I knew I could trust with my deepest fears. (It was still hard to "go there," though.)

Anyway, take it for what it's worth. One thing I do know. If you really dislike a dream you are having, it helps to plant a thought that, the next time it happens, you will remind yourself that you are only dreaming and wake yourself up.

A case in point is how, once you've had that dream where you are using a restroom and wake up to find out that you were nowhere near the restroom (heehee), it never happens again! You just remind yourself in the dream that you are dreaming, and wake up.

Anyway, it sounds like what you did worked wonderfully as well. You seem to be blessed with considerable insight when it comes to figuring out what you need and how to be comforted. I'm sure all the prayers sent your way make a big difference.

Whew! Too long-winded!! (sorry)

April said...

Glad you got a good nights sleep! I think that is one of MY favorite things, good sleep, I love it.

I would recommend "The Time Traveler's Wife" it's a good book.

Or "Same Kind of Different as Me", I'm reading it right now, altough it is non fiction.

Or "The Blue Bottle Club", this one is my new favorite book. It takes place during the great depression.


Hope you and baby boy are doing good!

Rachel said...

That's a great list, and a great way to change your mood. As for books, I'm reading Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution by Natalie Bober right now, and it's pretty good. I also really enjoyed Eighty Years and More by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Not exactly a biography, but I loved First Mothers: The Women Who Shaped the Presidents by Bonnie Angelo.

Anonymous said...

Bummer--I couldn't get that link to work.

I'm glad you had better dreams after posting.

And what great book recommendations---I'm going to peruse these myself! :)

Ruthie said...

For historical fiction, Anthony Trollope has written some excellent novels. I love the Barchester Chronicles, the first of which is my favourite, called, 'The Warden'. I think it's also the shortest. I believe he's a contemporary of Dickens but his characters are more real. He illustrates very well the inner struggles we have when we want to do what's right, find ourselves influenced by others, or simply aren't always sure how to go about it. It has some characters I could really connect with.
I don't know whether you've come across Alexander McCall Smith and his No 1 Ladies Dectective Agency series set in Botswana. They are lovely gentle books, with a perceptive humour which often makes me laugh out loud.
Happy reading & happy holidays!

Amanda and Michelle said...

I highly recommend "The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahari. It is about an Indian family in America. I liked it so much more than "Sister of My Heart". It is a wonderful story about a loving family and a compelling picture of people coming to this country. Brilliant.