Saturday, December 22, 2012

Traditions-Blessing or Burden?

As Christmas is fast approaching, I realize that there are two ways to look at traditions. They can either be a rewarding and joyful blessing, or they also can become a burden that can feel like a sort of bondage. As I seek for more joy, I become acutely aware of the difference. Mostly the difference is because of my own attitude, but sometimes there are traditions that simply given the permission to let go of can be liberating and that make room for something else more joyful. I realize that giving up a certain tradition one year doesn't mean it has to be gone forever. It is just as I seek for that internal peace and joy then sustaining that feeling becomes my priority and not necessarily the traditions that I might feel compelled to carry out especially if it interferes with those feelings.

For example, this year I never got around to decorating my fireplace mantel, but instead of lamenting that I didn't carry out that tradition; I can joyful say that I have received joy in doing something else with my time instead. As I listen to people lament about all the things they feel like they HAVE to do for Christmas with a sort of attitude of stress; I realize that I want to take a hard look at all the so-called "have tos" on my list and give myself permission to let joy be my guide, and in the process, say good-bye to the tradition of Christmas stress.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Step Inside

I have inherited an uptight state of being. I know that I have been programmed to accomplish and achieve, but with that focus there is a level of tenseness that is out of harmony with what I read in the scriptures this morning. As I reflected on the words, "entering into the rest of the Lord" (Moroni 7:3); I realized that the Sabbath isn't the only time to rest and that in my quest for peace and joy, that I need to loose the uptight sensations that I carry throughout my body and truly enter His rest. I must truly embrace that He is in control; not me and all the tenseness that I allow thinking that it is all up to me. 

As I have been sitting at my computer writing and organizing information for the book I plan to write, I felt that anxiety that is now starting to feel out of place in my quest for joy and peace, and I knew that I needed to step inside my heart and breath deeply as I let go of the pressures that I used to believe would be my best motivator. Now I want to be motivated by joy. I really don't HAVE to write a book. I want to, and in the wanting, I can feel relaxed and joyful. All I have to do is step inside my heart and enter God's rest.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Close Encounter with a Star

I saw this magazine cover and I had to take a picture and reflect on my little encounter with Jamie Lee Curtis that relates to her fears. Years ago, my kids and I took a little snorkeling cruise on a catamaran in Hawaii. There were only about 15 people on the boat and one of them was Jamie Lee Curtis and her husband and daughter. Her daughter was about the same age as my daughter Courtney and Jamie's daughter was afraid to get in the water.  My daughter and her sister that is 5 years younger bravely went out and snorkeled. My sons were also diving off the boat and one did a back flip. Jamie commented to me that she was surprised at how brave my children were.  I found it interesting that this magazine cover talked about tackling her fears. Maybe my children inspired bravery!!

I also have to share the other interesting thing that happened on that little cruise with Jamie (first name basis, you know). I was sitting by her on a bench as we ate lunch and she called out to our whole group that it was so fun being with us she wouldn't mind getting stranded with us on Gilligan's Island. I quickly claimed that I would be Ginger, and she responded that she would be Mary Ann. It took me months to realize my faux pas.  What was I thinking? I claimed the star status with a genuine star and relegated her to the country girl, which is the obvious role for me. Forgive me Jamie. You can be Ginger.

PS She was as nice and down-to-earth as can be. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gift From the Sea

I just reread this book and it has even more meaning for me now that it did when I read it as a young mom. It is a book that deserves to be read with a pen in hand to do my own writing and reflection while reading her writing and reflection. The messages from this book can be life changing if only I can capture the inspiration in my very soul where my life will naturally reflect the new learning, new beliefs, and desire for living life in a whole new way.

It is interesting to me that she wrote this book in the very year of my birth, as if she knew that at the start of my life I would eventually need this kind of message to guide me. She knew early on that I would need help. I am now reading it again at about the age she was when she wrote it. I feel such a infinite connection with her as if I knew her and she knows me, and we made some sort of agreement of what she would offer me and I in turn offer others. (Okay that might sound like I am in touch with dead people, which I'm not, in case you're worried, I am close to the edge of insanity but haven't fallen all the way over quite yet!)  Anyway, my offering is that you read this book and find your stillness in the center--your inner core. I offer this book as a vehicle for you to do your own soul searching and writing about what it prompts you to belief, think, and eventually do.  I also know that my humble and inadequate offering is also to write and share like she did, realizing of course, that I am not nearly as gifted with the use of words and imaginary as she was. At least you don't have to pay to read my writing, so remember, you get what you pay for!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Move Out of Pain

Sometimes I get so used to the pain of poor posture that I start to think pain is normal. While swimming this morning I noticed how much pain I feel when my neck and head are in the wrong place. It is a pain that I have grown accustomed to and so I just suffer without thinking of making that small adjustment that relieves the pain. Kind of like I tend to do in life. I can get so use to doing things that aren't that rewarding and maybe a little painful but since I am use to a little misery because of that false belief that I have to be self sacrificing to be "worthy," I just endured without considering I could move out of pain.  I must have believed that "Men are that they might have joy" but we women need to SUFFER.  I guess I must have believed that pain of childbirth that Eve was "blessed" with had to last throughout my life.

I am now converted to a new belief.  I can move out of pain and be a good person. In fact, I was created to have joy.  Pain is telling me something needs to change and is NOT something I should ever just get use to. Every time I do a posture check to relieve the physical pain, I will remember to keep doing that in all aspects of my life. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hard Things

Doing something hard that is good for me brings me joy. Today I went to Bikram yoga for the third time and made it through without feeling light headed at all. The second time going earlier this week about did me in. I spent half the time so light headed that I had to lay down. Right now it feels so good doing something hard. I am glad that I pushed through and stuck with it even when it got hard because now I get to feel this successful feeling and my body benefits also.  Good for me.  Now if I can just get the kink out of my arm from patting myself on the back. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Running Up Stairs

Here's a simple joy for you. I love running up stairs, and on the landing half way up the staircase in our home is this magnificent view from the window.  Not only do I get a little thrill from the view but I also get a little kick out of the fact that I CAN run up stairs. One reason is that I grateful that I am physically fit enough to do so but also because when I was a teenager, I would have to consciously stop myself from running up stairs. You see I was sick of being too skinny and being told that if I stick out my tongue and turn sideways that I would look like a zipper. Not the mention the guy that brought a bundle of toothpicks tied with an elastic and handed them to me telling me to have a family reunion, and so I read an article about how to gain weight and one of the suggestions was not to run up stairs.

Now that I have valiantly overcome that weight issue and actually gone overboard, I now want to run up stairs and need to do so in order to keep from escalating the weight gain. It is also fun because since my dog goes wherever I go, we have a little race as I run up the stairs with JOY (Joy isn't the dog, just the feeling)!                   

Renaming the Purpose of my Blog

The old purpose of my blog was to discover truth. I have discovered some revealing truth that has been liberating, and I will want to always be searching for truth; but now my main focus is to choose and experience JOY! My new emphasis is going to be aware of and focus on what I have done that has brought me true joy and the kind of experiences and habits that will continue to sustain a joyful life. After all, "Men are that they might have joy." (2 Nephi 2:25) The really interesting thing is that finding joy is also finding truth. I get to kill two birds with one stone; or should I say, I get to lift a bird with two discoveries. Killing something somehow doesn't feel appropriate.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

False Beliefs

I have embraced a lot of false beliefs and one of those is that to take a day off and just rest when I am not sick is selfish and wrong. In other words, if I am trying to be the ultimate self-sacrificer and earn the Martyr of the Year award that means that giving myself permission to rest and regroup would be a violation of monumental proportions. (Are you impressed with the intellectual expression thus giving me more bang for my buck--not only am I a martyr but an articulate one)

Mind you, however,  if I get sick, then going to bed is justified. Oh wait a minute, I have even been know to suffer through the sickness and still rise to that super woman ideal, but trust me, everyone knows about it.  But if I get really really sick then I can still go to bed and keep my claim on that over zealous title.

Okay, so now I know I don't have to get sick to give myself permission to do what my heart is calling for, and voila, I don't need to get sick and incapacitated anymore. I can just crawl in bed or in the tub feeling great and not needing any excuse. Wow, I just had a big sigh of relief. I am going to continue to explore my false beliefs and nix them.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Prayer-The Best Stabilizer

It really goes without saying, but prayer is the best stabilizer to rescue any of us from our addictions. Even one as seemingly mild as mine. I realize that one of the steps in overcoming a addiction is reliance on a higher power. In that way, an addiction can really be a blessing because it turns us to God. It is so much better if we can always turn to our Heavenly Father in the good times, but it does seem to be a fact of human nature that we can become complacent when life is easy and think we are okay on our own. It is in the desperate or painful times that we know we can't and that force us on our knees to call out for help. That is a blessing that addicts have that anyone free of addictions don't. But let's face it, I think we all suffer from some sort of addiction.

My personal quest is to always remember (something I am reminded of each week at church) that I need His Spirit to be with me to stabilize my life and to put my trust in my Savior and not some substitute that will only give me a temporary euphoric feeling. I will continue to turn to prayer throughout the day because it is so easy to jump back on that roller coaster ride and get that sick thrill. I will continue to seek His love and peace that is my great stabilizer.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Life Stablizers

As I stabilize my life and get off my addiction to the roller coaster ride, I have discovered that it is all about the basics. I have found great stability in cooking and cleaning a little more than I have been doing. That means that I finally start using those recipes and cleaning tips that I have been pinning on pinterest. Really. You mean there was more of a purpose for those that just filing them away on my board?!

This makes me think of Adam and Eve. I know, you're thinking; "What a stretch!" Stay with me here. As they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, Adam was told that he would have to start working for his food for his "sake."   The definition of sake is benefit.  There you have it. Work is for our benefit and now it can become my road to that smooth sailing boat ride.

Eve was also told that she would have to go through pain to have children, and let's face, even with the pain, having children is for our benefit. But I will go ahead and work for my food instead of having more children. Right now a new recipe from pinterest is baking in the oven. I am floating along.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hot Yoga

This morning I did hot yoga for the first time. Wow! Such a great experience--not just physically but mentally as well. The instructor was so sweet and kept an eye on those of us that were new. At one point, I became very light headed and thought I would pass out and so I put my head between my knees. The instructor saw me and knew what was happening to me and told me to just enjoy the light show that I was experiencing. It was the perfect description of what I was feeling,  and I found the comment to be an interesting commentary on life.  Yes, just enjoy it. It is all beneficial.  


There is peace that surpasses all understanding. At the moment of the stark realization that I know I am responsible for someone's pain and done damage to a relationship by sinning against my true nature to be loving and supportive and becoming controlling and critical, it can be quite gut-retchingly painful. I think it is the depth of this kind of pain that makes it harder to want to take personal responsibility for the damage that has been done and to want to defend and deflect, but that avenue is just an artificial means to try and feel more comfortable but won't ever lead to true peace.

It is only when I have faith that my pain can be swallowed up in Christ's Atonement that I know there can be some relief from that excruciating pain. It is that faith that allows total humility and accountability that will eventually lead to forgiveness and healing and allow that pain to be replaced with peace. The peace that surpasses all understanding. It is with deep gratitude that I express appreciation for my Savior that He was willing to suffer for me so that I don't have to continue to feel the full depth of the pain of my responsibility. I have faith that He can heal all damage that I have done.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


After a friend read my roller coaster post, she sent me a text worried about me. In response I told her no need to worry, I am fine, but I wanted to share an epiphany that I had AGAIN. Yes, I am in the remedial life course and it takes a lot of repetition for me.

I realized that I have gotten so use to the adrenalin rush from the roller coaster ride, that I might have become somewhat addicted to it. Yes, as this definition says, I have developed a sick liking for it; and because of that desire,  I might be attracting the wild ride in order to feed that addiction.

What this realization does for me is first and foremost put me in a position of facing the truth about myself which is humbling and calls for the need to seek forgiveness and course correction by drawing on the strength of my Savior to heal.  It really leads to assuming more personal responsibility, drawing on the Atonement to overcome, and ultimately resulting in more personal power and freedom.  It is only when I acknowledge that I am not the victim but the driver of my own ship, that I am able to take the helm and allow my Father to direct me as I find healthy and productive ways to find fulfillment. Writing in this blog being one of them.  I will reserve the roller coaster ride to my visits to the amusement parks.

There you have it; my true confession. Yesterday I had over hundred hits to my blog. I hope this helps someone out there who might be having their own struggle.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Roller Coaster Ride

Yup, this is my life. In the pre-earth life, I obviously got in the line signing up for a roller coaster ride. Why or why didn't I get in the line for long, thick hair, a great singing voice, and a nice, smooth ride on a boat in calm water. Silly me, I thought I was up for the thrill of a dysfunctional life!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Where there is a will...

Recently we have had a little remodel projects done on our home. One project was removing old wallpaper and repainting my exercise room. We also had a door put in separating the play room from the exercise room so I could lock the grandkids out to protect them from getting hurt on the equipment (and to save my room from their search and destroy mission). Having room for the door to swing open necessitated moving all the machines, weights, etc. and I took that opportunity to clean the carpets as I moved things. Our treadmill is pretty heavy and I knew that I would have to wait until Kev came home to move it. Well, when I want something done, I want it done now and I will find a way. Sure enough, I figured out how to move that heavy machine all by myself. Just call me He Man. When there is a will, there is a way.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Artist in Me

I might not paint a picture or create a magnificent sculpture, but I've realized there is an artist in me. My artistic expression is putting together outfits, decorating, arranging flowers, taking pictures, or just enjoying anything aesthetically pleasing. Window shopping can be fun and being in a naturally beautiful setting is thrilling. Making something in my home more interesting and artistically pleasing is such a simple little pleasure. I find that I love being surrounding by beauty, and I appreciate that artistic expression at a whole new level. The older I get the more I realize how much there is to enjoy, and the importance of giving myself the time and permission to truly experience it all. Gone is the self-sacrificing martyr that was afraid to really let myself enjoy what is available to me. I no longer believe it is worldly to enjoy anything that is artistically pleasing and expressive for me. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

God Bless the USA

I just spent an amazing two weeks in Egypt, Israel, and Jordan with Kev and all of our kids and two of our daughter-in-laws seeing two wonders of the world and walking where Jesus walked. We saw and did some incredible things, but I have to say, however, that I have a new appreciation for the bathrooms in the USA. We are spoiled. Coming home and using a clean bathroom with an ample supply of toilet paper seemed like a new wonder of the world and is something I hope I won't take for granted again. If I start not being as appreciative as I should be then I will plan another trip overseas. It's a small sacrifice to keep me grateful.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Name Dropping

I love the Relief Society session for General Conference, especially since my good friend Carole Stephens was one of the speakers. Our husbands served in the Utah Legislature for 9 years together and Carole became one of my dearest friends. Since our husbands served side by side in leadership, Carole and I also spent a lot of time together and the four of us became great friends. I love Carole and cherish the time we spent at meetings, events, dinners, and traveling together. I have to say that I saw Carole up close and personal laughing and crying together, and she is as sweet and wonderful as she seems. Kind of surprising that she would hang out with rif-raf like me, huh?

One story I wanted to share about Carole that made a lasting impression on me. While on a business trip with our husbands and while the guys were in meetings, Carole and I took a little tour into Amish Country. On our tour was a sweet lady traveling alone that was blind. Carole took it upon herself to be this lady's personal guide staying at her side the entire time. She is a remarkable woman and I am so grateful for those years we spent so much time together and for her wonderful example. No big surprise to me that this cute and sweet lady is now helping direct the largest women's organization in the world.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Where to Turn for Peace

I have watched people go through hard times. I have watched those that turn to some sort of medication whether it be prescription drugs, illegal drugs, alcohol, food, shopping, facebook, etc. Personally my comfort of choice for boredom is shopping, food, or pinterest, which actually combines the two. However, what I have found when I have gone through hard things is that there is really no lasting comfort or peace in anything besides getting on my knees and praying for help, praying for peace. It is the only real comfort. It is the only real solution. Anything else used in place of can ultimately end in a unhealthy dependence on the substance or activity because it really doesn't truly bring peace, it just numbs and then we keep on having to numb with greater and greater amounts of it until it becomes an addiction. It is happening a lot to people.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Akaline Breakfast

Here is my trustee Vitamix filled with fruits and vegetables and greek yogurt that I mix in the morning and drink for breakfast and then for my 3 pm snack. I pack in almost all of the highly alkaline foods--cucumbers, kale, spinach, parsley, and broccoli and add some carrots and fruit such as fresh pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, etc. It looks weird but tastes wonderful. Even my 9-year-old granddaughter was surprised how good it is and she wanted more. Since this picture, I have started to add even more of the green stuff.  I have been doing it for a couple of weeks and I can't believe what a difference it has made.  My hair is growing faster. I am about ready for that Farrah Fawcett style I wanted years ago. Well not exactly, but it is growing faster than usual and I feel great and have lost weight and inches and most importantly lost the craving for most of the unhealthy stuff. Well, almost.  Just goes to show that it is better to yes to the healthy stuff and then there isn't room or need for the unhealthy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Word of Wisdom

Since I am into preventative medicine, I have found great guidance for good health in what we Mormons call the Word of Wisdom. Most of the time the don'ts of this commandment are accentuated more than what we should be eating more of.

Recently I realized that I often had an acid taste in my mouth when I woke up in the morning signifying to me that my diet had been unhealthy the day before. I have since been more committed to making sure I am eating a diet lower in acid foods and therefore I have been concentrating on eating more of the high alkaline foods.  I have found that the foods that have a lot of acid are the very foods that the Word of Wisdom tells us to avoid altogether or eat sparingly--meat, tea, coffee, and alcohol; and the foods containing more alkaline content are fruits and vegetables and whole grains which the Word of Wisdom encourages us to eat. (I just need to clarify that my unhealthy days didn't include the tea, coffee, and alcohol. Luckily I was indoctrinated years ago to avoid those, but now I am finally understanding that it wasn't because I would be a bad person if I indulged, but that it simply wasn't good for my health.)

As I focus on what I should be eating more of, I have found that I automatically want less of the unhealthy foods such as sugar and artificial sweeteners, which are also highly acidic. Not only am I losing body fat but I feel so good and energetic. The promise of "run and not be weary" from the Word of Wisdom is true. Also, it has been found that disease and illness thrives in an acidic body but cannot live in alkaline one, so now I will be better at staying well. For me, health care isn't something Obama has to be in charge of because it is up to me to take care of my own health, and so I will follow the Word of Wisdom with a new focus on eating more of what is good for me. Tomorrow I will post about some things I am eating that have made such a difference for me.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Holistic Medicine & Religion

What is Holistic Medicine?

"Holistic medicine is the art and science of healing that addresses care of the whole person - body, mind, and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and complementary therapies to promote optimal health, and prevent and treat disease by addressing contributing factors. Holistic healthcare practitioners strive to meet the patient with grace, kindness, acceptance, and spirit without condition, as love is life’s most powerful healer.

"In practice, this means that each person is seen as a unique individual, rather than an example of a particular disease. Disease is understood to be the result of physical, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental imbalance. Healing, therefore, takes place naturally when these aspects of life are brought into proper balance. The role of the practitioner is as guide, mentor and role model; the patient must do the work - changing lifestyle, beliefs and old habits in order to facilitate healing. All appropriate methods may be used, from medication to meditation."

I am a Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) and my religion is also a holistic practice for me. It incorporates all aspects of the whole person promoting not just spirituality, but a focus on taking good care of the body, striving to always be learning especially by studying and teaching, and being connected in a social network in which we take care of each other. Finally it emphasizes a loving Heavenly Father and Savior who are full of grace, kindness, acceptance, and love; and offers the ultimate healing through the Atonement at the same time encouraging us to do our part.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Balance in Marriage

Just like I am always striving for balance in my personal life, I realize that in the oneness of a marriage relationship there is also an effort to find balance. I have discovered a tendency that when one partner gets out of balance in a certain direction, that the spouse might have a tendency to go in the opposite direction to find that equilibrium. It is like when one parent is being really strict and mad at the kids, the other parent will want to be really nice and permissive to compensate. It isn't healthy to do but seems to be a natural phenomenon that being individually balanced can help to avoid.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


This morning, once again, while I was doing yoga and specifically doing this pose, I was reminded that in order to have the balance necessary to sustain it, I have to keep my eyes focused on a spot in the distance. Such a great reminder for life. If I don't keep an eternal perspective then it is easier to loose my balance. If I look in the distance and see the long term consequences of my current decisions then I am better able to make better choices that will help sustain a healthy balance.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I am a Mormon

I am a Mormon. I was born a Mormon and raised a Mormon and here are some of the reasons why I love being a Mormon.

I am grateful for the wholesome lifestyle I have been encouraged to live.
I am grateful for a health code that encourages me to be good to my body, mind, and spirit.
I am grateful for loving boundaries that help me avoid the short term pleasure to more fully embrace long term health and happiness
I am grateful for a supportive and loving community that becomes another extended family.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to give talks as a child that have helped me feel more comfortable in public settings later in life.
I am grateful to be able to teach and serve because as a teacher I have learned the most and as a servant I have learned to love and care more deeply.
I am grateful to have so many inspiring leaders that have taught me valuable principles and lessons of life.
I am grateful for programs and activities that provide wonderful experiences and help me grow.
I am grateful for the encouragement to pray and read scriptures everyday because I now know the source of truth and am better at finding personal inspiration.
I am grateful to have a clearer understand of where I have been and where I am going. 
I am grateful that I have gained a personal relationship with my Savior and with my Heavenly Father. 
I am grateful for temples where I can go to help other people and to feel even closer to God.
And ultimately and most importantly I am grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and I am grateful that everything that is asked of me leads to Him. I know that even though I have made mistakes and will go through hard things;  that I can be forgiven and those mistakes can work for my good, and I will always be supported in my trials.


Politically speaking

Beware, I am going to talk about political philosophy.

I was sitting in my healthy communities class (something that is required for my Master's) and the professor was talking about ways to fight obesity. After a lengthy discussion about suggestions made by our weekly reading, I offered a couple of suggestions.

First, how about as an incentive for healthy lifestyles choices, we require those whose health issues due to obesity and unhealthy life styles be required to pay much higher premiums for health insurance?  I was intrigued by the reply by a fellow student that it isn't fair to punish the poor because they are caught in a generational cycle of poverty.

Now, here is what I find interesting. First of all, a foreign comedian once joked that he wanted to live in America where the poor people are fat.  I guess this student assumed that I was wanting to just punish poor people because evidently they are the ones struggling with obesity thus proving the comedian right.

The second interesting element of this student's response is the viewpoint that would suggest that allowing people to be responsible for the natural consequences of their choices is considered punishment. Interesting. So if I don't do my homework and do poorly in a class, then if the professor gives me a bad grade, he is actually punishing me and I am not responsible?

What I have found in raising six children that if I keep on protecting them from the consequences of their choices so that I won't "punish" them, and continue to bail them out and take care of them, I have created irresponsible children that won't learn from their mistakes and thus it will become a generational pattern, just as one political party seems to want to do.

My second suggestion. Stop allowing food stamps to be used for junk food and pop. They should be used for only nutritional food items that sustain a healthy lifestyle.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Anniversary of Dad's Death

Today marks my Dad's death just two days after my 16th birthday 41 years ago.

Today I want to record all the wonderful principles and lessons I learned from my Dad.

Work hard and do your best
Learn to do it yourself
Expect a lot
Go to church
When you have a calling, be committed
Be honest
Read, Read, Read
Get a good education. Get a degree
A B isn't good enough
Whatever you commit to, do it well
Be self reliant
Save and don't get into debt
Don't borrow
Volunteer in your community
Learn as much as you can about as many things as you can
Develop talents (or in my case, try and find some)
Get mad at refs if they make a bad call
Sports is everything (I have family members that have carried that torch)
Have lots of books and a study with desks to encourage learning
Have lots of fun things to do at home
Make the home a place that the boy's friends will gather and where the youngest sister will learn how to nag
Shut the cupboards after yourself (he taught it, I have yet to practice it)
Make family your highest priority
Vacation together and make wonderful memories
Keep a clean home and yard
Never, ever litter
No matter what presidential candidate you voted for, respect the president
Get up early (I still practice this and this habit has served me well)
Stay active and physically fit
Don't eat a lot of sweets
Don't waste time
Take good care of your health
Apologize when necessary
Love unconditionally

Because I know he wants me to learn even from his bad example in addition to the good example as I want my children to learn from mine, here are some things that I want to do differently from my Dad and that I know he expects me to improve upon.

I want to relax more and enjoy life. I believe my Dad's early death from cancer could have been accelerated by his stressful, uptight and perfectionistic personality.

I don't want to be a workaholic. I realize that my Dad died before he had a chance to reach an age when you automatically realize that you don't want to work so hard and you don't have as much to prove.

I want to be silly sometimes. He once told me not to be so silly, but I know he feels differently now.

I want to live a long life so I can enjoy my grand and great-grand children because I feel bad that he didn't get that privilege. He died a month before his first grandchild was born.

I want to be emotionally connected to my family. Times were different then and with a focus on achievement rather than feelings, sometimes we didn't connect in ways that I now want to connect with my children and grandchildren.

I want to praise more and criticize a whole lot less and focus on what is done right instead of what is wrong. I want to be more optimistic. 

I love my Dad. Forty years is a long time to be separated, but I am grateful for those moments when I know he is with me and the ultimate promise to be together again forever.


Last night we had the most incredible rainstorm and after the initial burst, the sun was setting and casting a florescent green glow horizontally beneath the clouds and light rain. The color from trees and plants seemed to be reaching in through our windows as a form of deep gratitude signifying that something truly miraculous was happening outside. When I walked out to experience the magic, I saw a double rainbow and felt the wonder of God's creation and knew the plants had been generously blessed by the rain.

This morning as I continued to savor the memory of that unique brush with nature, I knew that there was an important lesson for me. Just like the plants need water, we all are in need of some kind of replenishment. We all need love and validation, and we all will glow just like the plants when we receive that kind of watering.

From both of our families, Kev and I have been trained in sarcasm and teasing. While that can be fun in small doses, what I really need is to express and feel that kind of love and validation that makes us all truly shine. Is all teasing and sarcasm really does is make me feel funny for a moment but it doesn't really nourish and replenish someone's soul. As cheesy as it sounds, last night I experienced the joy and gratitude of the plants when they were abundantly nourished. I want to do that with people.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


I had a fabulous birthday yesterday. My friends and family were so kind and generous. This morning I looked at some flowers that my daughter brought me that I had quickly put in a vase of water as we hurried off to a concert, and realized that they didn't look very appealing because I hadn't taken the time to arrange them. After I took a few minutes to place them in a more pleasing and artistic way, I realized what a difference a little arranging can do.

Because I am weird like that (and in so many other ways), I can see the analogy to life. Everything is better when I take the time to do a little arranging. Being better at arranging and organizing my time is a big priority for me right now. I know that I want to do more service and make more valuable contributions, and so that will big a focus for me--to be better at arranging my time and life. Given that my birthday was yesterday, today is the start of a new and better year. I love fresh starts and a chance to make fresh arrangements.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

For Women Only

I have been reading a national best seller book entitled "For Women only; what you need to know about the inner lives of men"

In the chapter "Keeper of the Visual Rolodex--Why it's so natural for him to look and so hard to forget what he's seen" the author found that even happily married men struggle with being pulled toward live and recollected images of other women that can be a big temptation.

The author surveyed hundreds of men and was surprised to learn how visual they are and how women that have a great body especially if they are dressing to show it off are difficult to avoid, not be distracted by, and not to dwell on.

She says that for the 25% of women who are "visual" (which is me, by the way) this revelation doesn't surprise them but the other 75% who don't understand that visual attraction can be such a powerful temptation don't truly understand.  The author says that "the assumption is that all the trouble starts because 'men have roving eyes.' A better understanding is that there are roving, under-dressed women--and men can't not notice their existence! because of how they are hard wired."

So what's a women to do? the author asks.

One of the suggestion she gives is to "champion modesty in yourself and others."

She goes on to say, "Let's fact it, women who are totally clueless about this problem can also thoughtlessly contribute to it. After all, the images in a man's mental file come from somewhere--and it's not just from pictures.  The eye magnets on the street are choosing to dress the way they do and the women who are totally clueless about this problem can also thoughtlessly contribute to it. Unfortunately, because women aren't visual, we may not understand what we are doing to the men around us--a fact that men find hard to believe, by the way. One father asked me why his cautious college-aged daughter dressed in a tight little top and skirt around a particular guy she found attractive. "Surely," this father said, "surely she knows what she's doing!"  "Yes," I agree, "she knows she looks good. But she doesn't realize what is actually going on in that guy's head. What she's smugly thinking is, He thinks I'm cute." "Cute has nothing to do with it!" the shocked father replied. "He's picturing her naked!"

The author goes on to say, "Unfortunately, I can also guarantee that many adult women reading this book are unwitting fodder for the mental file of some devoted married man just because of how they dress. You're cluttering up a good husband's mind and tempting him to dishonor his wife.  It is our responsibility to ensure that, as much as it depends on us, this doesn't happen."

Jesus was clear that it isn't enough to just avoid adultery but that men should avoid lusting. I know that we as women can intentionally or unintentionally dress in a way that can either help or hinder that avoidance. I stand as being one that wants to help. Count me in as one that wants to champion modesty.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back To School

This week, after what seemed like the shortest Summer ever, I am going back to school. People often ask me when I will finish and get my Master's Degree, but they have to know that it really isn't about finishing. For me it is all about the journey. The piece of paper and the initials behind my name will be meaningless. I am in school because I love to learn, I love being on campus, I love having access to all the research, and I love the discipline and structure that being in school provides me. I am not in any hurry to be done. In fact, the closer I get to getting my Master's Degree (which I admit has been drawn out way too long), the more I think about getting a PhD. Nerdy, I know, but that's who I am. So Tuesday night I will be laying out my clothes for my first day of school on Wednesday and hoping I make some friends in my class and that I will be the teacher's pet. Wish me luck.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Honoring Self

The other day a friend of mine told me that she was starting to understand her limits and realizing the need to draw boundaries so that she could honor those limits. I was impressed and inspired.

Sometimes I have played the martyr and haven't honored myself by knowing and honoring my own limits. Lately I have felt empowered by stating my preference without apology or explanation and not being concerned if others agree or are judging me, and it feels good. I know that the way I honor my own limits by setting boundaries will also help me to honor other people and their preferences without judgment,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Do you ever wonder how many times you have been misunderstood? At girl's camp, someone misunderstood something I said.

I was introduced to someone that looked like someone I grew up by and I thought she might possibly be her daughter. I asked, "Is your mother a Cutler?" She replied that she had been asked that before and I should see her baby pictures. I thought it was a weird response but we then went off doing our own thing.

Later I learned that when she saw me from a distance, she pointed me out to someone and told them that I asked her if her mom was a colored. The person replied, "Who says that these days?" She then said she wondered why I didn't ask if her father was a colored and why I would just assume it was her mother.  

Well luckily they found out from the person who introduced us what I really said and came to find me to have a good laugh about the misunderstanding. We laughed so hard that later I felt like I had overdone my ab work.  She did show me a baby picture from her iphone because she actually did look like she was African American and told me that she had been questioned several times on her ethnicity, just not quite like she thought I had asked her. I was just grateful that we were able to clear things up. I would hate to have her going through life thinking I was a prejudice person stuck the 60's.

It really does make me wonder how many times I have been misunderstood in this dramatic of a way and it never got clarified. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

5 People

I love this thought and it definitely gives me something to think about. Lately I've been hanging out with Olympians (yes, I am just watching them on TV but its the best I can do) and they have been a sweet source of inspiration. The other morning I took on my Saturday hike with more gusto, and at a point when I was exhausted and wanted to head back; I could hear my Olympic BFFs saying, "Tanya, push yourself and go for the gold!" Spending each evening with my athletic friends has made me want to be better and exercise harder, and it feels great! Now I am just going to build a podium and put a gold medal around my neck and play the national anthem.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Saved from the Pain

I've still been thinking about the thought from the tea bag that every moment should be enjoyed. The biggest reason that every moment is not enjoyable is because this world is going to be difficult at times but it is just those painful times that force us on ours knees and make us dependent on our Savior. Because of Him and His sacrifice, those moments that we don't enjoy can work for our good.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


For most of my life, I haven't paid very close attention to how many calories are in the foods I eat; but now that I have an app on my phone that tells me how many miles I've run and how many calories I have burned, I have started to notice the calories of the foods I eat. HOLY SMOKES! To realize that when I work my guts out burning 300 calories for an hour and then see that I can eat that many calories in a few seconds now gives me a moments pause before I eat. Just a moments pause, mind you; too bad it doesn't actually stop me. 

Being Good to My Body

I know that I am being good to my body when I cut out sugar, and the interesting discovery is how that small little decision ripples out and affects all aspects of my life. I am suddenly drawn to other ways that I can be good to my body and then I am motivated to honor other parts of myself as well as take good care of other people. Eliminating sugar is one small step for me but one giant leap for mankind. Brilliant thought. I am so original--just don't tell Neil Armstrong.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Enjoy Every Moment?

Some mornings I drink the Yogi brand of herbal tea and it has a little thought attached to each bag. This morning this was the thought about the purpose of life. Because I am a seeker of truth, I also want to know what is the truth, and this morning, I questioned whether this thought was the truth.

My understanding is that we are here to learn from our experiences, and let's face it, there are a lot of experiences that I don't necessarily enjoy. Can I learn from them? Yes, but enjoy them, no. In hindsight I have learned that I can be grateful for painful experiences because of what I have learned from them, but I don't believe I am expected to enjoy them while in the moment. I know that there have been so many moments that I enjoy but those moments don't have the depth of learning that the painful moments have. I do want to learn to enjoy all the good moments, but I know that isn't my sole purpose. I am here to learn and although I want to get better at learning from all that is good and wonderful, I also know that I must know the pain in order to appreciate the good.

Maybe I will get to the point when at a really painful time, I can say, "Wow, I am enjoying this because I am learning so much." But I doubt it. The best thing I can do is enjoy the comforting Spirit that will come during hard times and trust that I will see the blessings later. Maybe that is what this thought is talking about.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Last year I finally realized that August is my least favorite month because I am usually kind of depressed and lethargic the entire month. Maybe it was that I was born two weeks late on August 31 (start shopping now), which had to make for a miserable month for my Mom, and so I started off remembering August as a painful time. I also know that I really don't like being hot (beside, of course, my physical presence) and I really don't relish the end of three months of Summer and the lack of order and structure that it deteriorates to. I mean, by the end of Summer, I am totally laying around bored and lazy.

So...I decided that started today I was going to reclaim August and spend the month detoxing from sugar. I know that how well I am disciplined physically has a huge impact on the rest of myself, so I am counting on how great I feel being sugar free to carry me through and make for a better August. Wish me luck. One day down.

Monday, July 9, 2012

What will I give up?

Yesterday in Sunday School the teacher asked what sins we would give up to become a better person. I appreciated what someone in our class said about the fact that sometimes it isn't a big sin we need to give up but just a little thing such as how we use our time. Timely because I had been pondering all weekend about using more of my time to try and make a difference instead of the insignificant time wasters I often engage in. That ultimately means that I have to give up something so I have more time for something better.

Friday, July 6, 2012

I Crave Order

Yes, I crave order and when things get too disorganized, it is dangerous for me. This is the tricky though because just like it is uncomfortable for me to have too little order, trying to have too much order is equally dangerous. Balance is always key. So my life-long quest is to achieve just enough order to stay sane but not get too obsessive and become OCD. Right now, I just created enough order that I am better able to relax and let my ideas flow as I type. I feel peace and as I have said so many times before, it is the feelings of peace that help me know that I am in a good place but honestly it doesn't have to be the conditions around me that create that peace. It is something I can generate from within. With God's help.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Winter Garden

I just finished reading this book late last night. I read a lot of human development and psychology books and my book collection rivals any psychologist's library, but I am committed to reading more novels. The interesting thing is that not only am I entertained and transformed to a different place and time, but I also come away feeling like I have also learned about human behavior because it is always interwoven in the story line. I not only get an education about human behavior but the historical aspect is also compelling. I marvel at how much research goes into a good novel and appreciate the variety of ways that I can be educated while being entertained. I would highly recommend this book and invite my friends to sign up for Good Reads where we can share what we have read.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Pity Party

I have had so many pity parties in my life that I should become a caterer. The truth is I can whine or I can do something about it. I want to choose to do something about it.

Take for instance, the heat of summer. I don't like it when it gets too hot. I guess I had better live a good life because hell will be too hot for me.

With that said, I can either whine about the heat or I can creatively problem solve. It hit me that what I use to think of as a curse is really a blessing in disguise. If you don't want too much information, STOP READING NOW.

Okay now I know you have an inquiring mind, so... It's no secret that I am still waiting to develop into a woman and the only reason I need to wear a bra is for the padding. So, the good news is, I have discovered how much cooler it is when I don't wear a bra and just rely on my religious undergarments to be my underclothing. Nothing shows anyway.  Wow, I am liberated not just as a woman but I am liberated from the heat. Couple that with a skirt and the heat is a lot easier to tolerate. Who knew!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When Nice isn't Nice

  • Repeatedly bailing them out - of jail, financial problems, other "tight spots" they get themselves into
  • Giving them "one more chance" - ...then another...and another
  • Ignoring the problem - because they get defensive when you bring it up or your hope that it will magically go away
  • Joining them in the behavior when you know they have a problem with it
  • Joining them in blaming others - for their own feelings, problems, and misfortunes
  • Accepting their justifications, excuses and rationalizations
  • Avoiding problems - keeping the peace, believing a lack of conflict will help
  • Doing for them what they should be able to do for themselves
  • Softening or removing the natural consequences of the problem behavior
  • Trying to "fix" them or their problem
  • Repeatedly coming to the "Rescue"
  • Trying to control them or their problem
My walking friends and I were talking about when being nice just isn't nice, and I found this great list of ways that what we might think is being nice that actually hurt instead because it enables people to be stuck in destructive behavior. The greatest cure is love but love often has to be tough and speak the truth. The truth might not seem nice but it is the best help.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Starting Over

I was reading a little thing about ways to be healthier and it said that if you have been eating unhealthy and want to start over to just drink a big cleansing glass of water.  Even if I keep veering off from my healthy eating habits, at least I get a lot of water when I start over. I'm glad I get to start over not only physically but spiritually, emotionally, socially, and mentally. Grateful all the people in my life have a lot of patience with me.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


It's weird sometimes how stars just seem to line up.  In this case, maybe it isn't a big enough deal to refer to it as stars.  Maybe just flashlights. Anyway, when I was watching my 7-year-old grandson make pancakes and he at first asked me to pour the batter onto the grill but then took the plunge and did it himself, I realized that he was learning by the first mistake of pouring too close to the edge. It came to me that being a perfectionist (recovering, sort of) that I was sometimes afraid to let my kids do something that might lead to a mistake. But watching my grandson this morning taught me that mistakes are a great way to learn, maybe the only way. T

After my grandkids left and I had my relaxing moment visiting pinterest. I found a pin from a friend about this children's book. Timely. Being too impatient to wait and visit a bookstore, I downloaded it on my ipad. It is a great book with a great message. Life is a lot more fun if we aren't worried about mistakes. Teaching that to my children and grandchildren is easier if I embrace that for myself. Using a mistake as an opportunity to learn rather than a stick to beat myself with is the best way to relax and enjoy life rather than fearing a mistake. I love to learn but I don't relish being abused.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Downton Abbey

I love this show mainly because I use to think I was lazy if I hired help.  Now I realize I am giving people a job.  How nice of me.  I am just baffled by how long I have gone dressing myself.  I am going to hire someone to do that and insist they call me "Me Lady."  The problem is they will never know what time to actually get me ready. Could be 6 am, could be noon, might even be 3 pm. 

The bells in the movie do remind me of living in the Chi Omega house and ringing the bell at dinner to summons Chuck to serve us. Chuck was our house boy from a local fraternity. Everyone needs a house boy. Why I got married and left that set up, I will never know!  (A little side note. For most of the time Chuck worked there, he had long, scraggly hair; but one day he showed up with a handsome haircut revealing how good looking he was. We started ringing the bell more often!)

Whoops, I got a little sidetracked with college memories. Seriously, I love this period piece because I enjoy being placed in another place in time and learning about history.  The show also demonstrates how much we can buy into traditions that need to be questioned and possibly changed.  The tradition of a male-dominate society in which daughters couldn't inherit the title and money is crazy.  Even a guy to inherit an unearned title is weird. How many of our traditions that we embrace right now will seem equally bizarre in the future? Like boys wearing their pants below their butts. Wait, that already seems weird.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Late last night I was reading CNN news and came across the story of the bus monitor being bullied. I watched what happened and then read some of the comments. It was incredibly sad and disturbing to see the boys treat someone like they did, but I have to say that not only did the boys that bullied and taunted her seem to lack compassion, but also the comments about the boys on this news story lacked compassion. Nothing would ever ever justify their behavior but to turn around and bully and taunt them seems so brutal. I felt a great deal of compassion all the way around and realize that often those that are so cruel have been lacking in feeling real genuine love themselves and are just giving out the only thing they know. The only way to break that vicious cycle is with love and compassion. Loving the sinner but hating the sin.

Doing a google image search on the word compassion restored my faith in people and their ability to love. I saw pictures that moved me to tears and to want to act more compassionately. Because the pictures I find usually come from a blog post about that word, I have been reading some inspirational writing. There are so many good people out there that are contributing so much that is enlightening. It seems the negative and bitter people are writing hateful comments on news stories but there are amazing people writing in countless blogs, and today I was especially grateful to read about and be motivated by the compassionate people.