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.