Monthly Archives: November 2014


Where does a week go? Issac Winder’s Story

Man, I had good intentions of getting out three posts last week, but apparently my life had a different plan. And isn’t that how it will always go? Our life, set out on it’s divine course will always have it’s own agenda only slightly altered by our choices.  Today I need to do my part in sharing a story about a young man whose plan was probably a little different too.

Not to let the title deceive you, I don’t presume to know Issac Winder’s full story. I am sure his life was full of many amazing things, hidden secrets, deep loves, and untold adventures. All I can share with you is the small parts I have read online, and sadly this is only the story of his death and a plea to help his family.

I had a friend from high school, his name is Issac. Issac lived on a farm in a cemetery. Issac and his best friend, and cousin, Clay loved practical jokes. After a creepy evening walk through the cemetery we went back to Issac’s house where they proceed to scare the living daylight out of my friend by using a gorilla mask, cruel but hilarious. He and Clay also planned the most epic scare I had ever seen as a Birthday surprise, for the same friend. Issac and I were not close friends but I knew that this kid loved adventure. As it often goes with high school acquaintances, you don’t do much talking when high school is over.


Issac, Candalyn and Adair photo taken from

Apparently Issac went on to get married to a beautiful woman, and have an adorable daughter. This small family went to China on a grand adventure to teach English. Two weeks ago Issac contracted food poising, this and possibly some other complications led to his body shutting down. While the U. S. healthcare may not always be the best, it sure seems better than China, where his family had to pay for treatment everyday before it would be administered. A daily bill in the ICU was $1,700, I believe he spent over a week there, and on top of that the payment for dialysis was $10,000 every day for at least two days, in advanced. Issac passed away Sunday morning. Can you imagine how monuments that must be for this new widow who was teaching English in China for minimal wages to fathom paying for, (loans were accrued)? I know we all have financial trials but please if you are able please visit this blog of Issac’s sister, read his story and donate whatever you can. People have been generous already but I am sure they could still use more support.

Issac and his brother and father, the day before he died. Photo taken from

Moments like this remind me of the fragility of life, they remind me that while my kids may drive me nuts I still had today with them. This is such a heartbreaking story and I hope this family can feel all of the love, peace and comfort God in Heaven is able to pour down upon them.




A raw emotional aside-

I rather hate condolences. What can I, a person unacquainted with grief, offer to this family in their time of deep loss? The only loss I have ever known is a distant adolescent memory of the loss of my grandmother, which was easily overshadowed by teenage egocentricity.

It seems simple to offer some spiritual affirmation of peace and hope when you are not the person enveloped in the grief of death. But it also seems somewhat trivial and trite. I do truly hope they can evetually have a lasting comfort about this situation, but I also feel like I want to tell them it is ok to be pissed off, to be angry for all your family is loosing, for all that his wife will have to pick up and make a life from. For her immense loss. And for all that Issac will never see or do, namely for and with his little girl. It makes me mad that she will never deeply know the man whose genes she bares. I would hope they allow themselves to feel each emotion, let it run through them, accept each emotion for what it is. Eventually let the bad go, release anything that cannot help them advance. But never be ashamed for how they feel, for the moments of self-pity, they are warranted.

And if they are able, be patient with the rest of us who are in a distant way trying to make sense of this situation, trying to grow from it and realizing our fears and regrets.


Greek Food Bazaar

When we were children my parents loved taking us to cultural events. Some of these events have been to see the spiritual practices of other religions. Our yearly favorite was the Sri Sri Radha Krishna celebration, just seeing so many people express their faith and come to celebrate life and culture was so enlivening. I have grown up as, and am still a practicing Mormon but I love learning about all faiths and religions. So when on my busy day of running errands I saw the Greek Food Bazaar at the local Greek Orthodox Church I decided to take a break from our busy day and swing my kids over to see something new.

IMG_0404 Their church building was so beautiful, especially with all of the iconography inside.

IMG_0399If I would have had reinforcements with the two wild monkeys on the bottom left, I would have loved to sit through a guided tour and explanation of their religious ceremonies. But I did gather many bits and pieces of the societal aspect while I waited in line for 45 minutes to get into the food court. Many times I felt like I was on the set for My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the people all looked so Greek, I just loved how they wore their culture in their features, it was so wonderful.

IMG_0394Check out these yummy pastries, I bought some baklava (of course, who wouldn’t?), koulourakia (butter twists), Kataifi (a shredded phyllo baklava) and ahhhh mouthwatering so delicious want them in my belly now Loukoumades (deep fried bread dough slathered in honey) oohhh man sooo good, like I want 20 more right now.

I have always wanted to try a nice Moussaka (eggplant and meat lasagna of sorts), Pastitsio (pasta, meat and beshamel bake) and Spanakopita (spinach ad feta pie), however with the new diet I was off meat and dairy, though I did try the spanakopita and the pastries, which I am sure were slathered in butter.

IMG_0405I also bought Ky a dolmathakia (rice and meat stuffed grapeleaf). Dude that was such good food. I love trying new foods and was so thrilled to take my children to see that beautiful church and interact with some many people who were celebrating their culture.


A Week of Firsts

This past week was a fun week of firsts, I learned a lot, had some really fun cultural experiences and had a wonderful holiday with my family. I have felt something lately that just makes me want to try all sorts of new things and I just love it. The “old” me used to love having new experiences, I was usually up to trying anything, Heather of late seems to be a little more stuck in her ways, going along with hum drum. But I am so excited to be finding new experience to immerse me and my children into.

This week was:

my first week on a plant-based, wholefood diet


my first time making dinner in a pumpkin


my first time making sushi


my first time going to Greek Food Bazaar


my first time needle felting and learning to puppet

and my first time leaving Kacen at a Birthday party

I’ll chat a little more in detail about each of these events through the week. I just realized that most of these revolve around food, hopefully that doesn’t bore you. Hope you had a wonderful weekend and a happy Halloween, check in tomorrow for the first, first: plant-based wholefood eating.