Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks 37 years since I married this guy. It is no secret that it hasn't always been an easy journey, but there is a saying that captures it well. "I never said it would be easy, I just said it would be worth it."

I have learned volumes through my experience in marriage. I have learned to be more understanding and forgiving and have had to dig deep to experience the kind of unconditional love that my Heavenly Father offers to me. I have learned to be more dependent on the Spirit and to transcend my personal desire to be angry, bitter, and act as a judge to punish in an effort to get revenge. I have learned not to take someone's choices personally as an intentional sin against me, and to look beyond the here and now and to see the long-term possibilities. It is realizing that people don't usually make painful choices in defiance but out of some aspect of pain. It is up to all of us to resist judging the choices and look underneath and have compassion on the pain.

The most important lessons I have learned, however, has been about my own faults and imperfections and my personal need for the Atonement. Some of us are gifted to be rule followers and others are gifted to love and have compassion at a deeper level. Someone like me that it comes easy to follow the rules might look down on and judge people that have to learn from their painful experience in bending or even breaking the rules because of my personal focus on rule following instead of just loving. Don't get me wrong, commandments are always important, but the greatest commandment is to love.

Being married to Kev has taught me so much about having more compassion and understanding because of his pure heart and love for others, maybe not just in spite of his aversion to "rule following," but possibly because of it. Those that break the rules seem to develop more love and compassion than those of us who are more Pharisee-like don't achieve as easily, and Kev's example to me has been life changing. I am learning that all the rules are just to help us love--first God, ourselves, and then others.

I have learned that the greatest lessons and growth come from great adversity; but in this marriage, I have also had great experiences of joy. Being married to Kev has been such a blessing. I have been able to be a full-time mother and homemaker and have had many rich and wonderful opportunities and experiences because of his hard work and abilities.

We have had such joy together raising six children and appreciating our grandchildren and establishing wonderful traditions that can last a life time and into eternity. It has been an exciting adventure to learn to communicate, understand, and appreciate each other at a deeper level. I know that I have learned lessons that I couldn't have learned being married to anyone else besides this great man. I am not only glad I stayed with him but grateful that he has hung in there with me as well.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

What a Week

This has been a week filled with incredible highs and lows. A couple of days before Christmas, our neighbors lost their son and daughter in law in a tragic death and then my nephew lost their baby girl to a sudden meningitis infection. Along with the sadness came an increase appreciation for the meaning of Christmas and all that the Savior's birth brought to us.

Although we felt the pain of our neighbors and family, we had a wonderful Christmas Day and found more appreciation for family. All of our kids were here for Christmas and my Mom spent part of the day with us along with Kev's parents.

In the days prior to Christmas we had joy in hosting a grand children's sleepover, going out to dinner with friends, having our traditional prime rib dinner the Sunday before Christmas, hosting another dinner for Kev's parents and siblings, hosting a Christmas Eve brunch for my extended family, another gathering with our kids Christmas Eve, and then Christmas day brunch with our kids and my Mom. It was a lot of work all week but it was so joyful and rewarding.

After Christmas, I took my Mom up to Mantua to visit her only living sister and my deceased uncle's wife. It was great to walk down memory lane with them and see the pictures of their families. We also attended the viewings and yesterday were only able to only attend little Ridley's funeral because it was at the same as our neighbor's children's funeral. The funeral was amazing. So comforting and sweet.

Since the funeral was out in Roy, my mom, sister in law, and I went to visit my Dad's only living sibling, Uncle Arlo and his wife Carol Mae. How fun to visit and reminiscence with them about the many summers going to Bear Lake with their family. I am grateful for the example of my mom. She is so good to stay in touch with relatives and go visit them.

One of the sweetest endings of any day was the opportunity I had to go to the temple last night and witness the sealing of sweet baby Ridley to her parents in the Bountiful temple. Because she was adopted and didn't live long enough for the adoption to be final and the sealing to have taken place, they still needed that ordinance done. They were able to get permission to have that done only hours after the funeral and it was so sweet to watch as Ridley's birth mother was the proxy for the baby. I decided that every funeral should end at the temple. It made for a very comforting place to be.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Living what I love

I haven't posted for a couple of months. That is because I have been living what I love to do and haven't been just writing about it. Sometimes living what I love to do is just simply giving myself permission to do that which I am drawn to and then boldly stepping out of comfort zones and making it happen. It is simply noticing what makes my heart sing even if it is just humming in a little whisper, and realizing that I wasn't meant to hold back but I am meant to take advantage of opportunities and savor them completely. For me, it is embracing that there really isn't an award for sacrificing what I love to do. The reward is in sacrificing what hurts or brings me pain and denying myself joy.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Enjoying the Moment

So I was sitting down to do a little filing. Boring job, I know. And that is what I started to think, and then because that is what I was thinking, the task became even more miserable and I just wanted to suffer through it and get it done. Then I realized, this is exactly what "being present in the moment" is all about. I can hate the moment and just wish I could hurry and perform the task, or I can enjoy it. It really is my choice.

It is amazing what a state of mind can do. It has been revealing as I have become more in tune with how my body is feeling and realizing, especially when I am trying to accomplish something, how I have become so use to stress and anxiousness that it has become a part of my body as if it is a second skin and it is pulsating through my veins. I know this is what an addiction to "doing" instead of just "being" has done to me. Some wise words in scriptures say it best. "Stay yourself and wonder," or "Be still and know that I am God," which to me means slow down and ponder and meditate especially meditating on enjoying the moment and realizing that I can trust God and that I am only in charge of aligning myself with His Spirit, which is the spirit of peace and joy.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Left Eye to Left Eye Connection

I have learned so much from my educational experience but some of the most important learning came from trying to find solutions to life's difficulties. It seems like education can fall flat because it doesn't seem very relevant; but when there is a real problem, I become a more eager student.

One of the most interesting ideas and practice that I have learned from a family counselor in California was what he called "the dialog of intimacy." He taught how it has been found through research that while looking left eye to left eye that there is a deeper emotional connection. This morning after watching a message by Robert D. Hales, "Parenting: Touching the Hearts of our Youth," I was reminded of this practice as Elder Hales talked about really connecting to our children while we converse.

Let me explain what the dialog of intimacy is all about. I do this not really for the benefit of anyone else, but for mine because I often forget to practice the valuable lessons that I have learned. As my granddaughter Kinzlee predicted, "I'm old and I'll forget." That is what teaching is all about. It actually blesses the teacher more than it does the student. I guess that is why a handwriting analyst once said about what my handwriting revealed--I take teaching to a whole new level, which translated means, I can really bore people to death. I think I was born to teach not because anyone else needed to learn from me but so that I could finally figure things out.

Practicing the dialog of intimacy includes looking left eye to left eye and then defending the other person and really feeling, understanding, and supporting what they are saying. It doesn't mean that we have to agree but that we understand and validate their feelings without stating or defending our own position. As we defend their position and feelings, we leave ourselves completely available to really see them and feel what they are feeling. I have discovered that when I am consciously doing this that people open up in a whole new way and I feel a greater connection and come to greater understanding. I just realized that this is a lesson that would be beneficial to politicians. Right now I am picturing myself at a table addressing a senate committee meeting. 

Because of this new education, I started to realize that I have often been too busy to have that heartfelt connection with my family. I bought into the pathetic notion that what I accomplish and can show for my accomplishments is more important than heartfelt connection. Not only do I get so busy with the task at hand but I even feel compelled to do two things at once thinking doubling tasking is a gift. It isn't. It is an ongoing problem and thus why I am revisiting this powerful lesson.

I also hope that anyone reading this, especially young moms can learn from my mistakes because I know that I didn't always see into the souls of my children like I wished I would have. Unfortunately there are even more distractions today. Luckily it is never too late and I love the realization that we aren't necessarily here to do things right, we are here to learn from our experience and hopefully others can as well. Thanks for letting me teach so that I can learn.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

60 Goals

My kids are some of my greatest teachers. Today we had our family Halloween party and one of my sons wasn't there because he had gone to Denver to watch a Broncos game. His wife told me that it was on his list of 40 goals to be completed before he turns 40 just like he had done with the 30 goals before his 30th birthday.

Since my 60th birthday (give me a minute to catch my breath) is just a couple of years away, I thought I should make a list of 60 things I want to accomplish before I am 60. My daughter suggested I put sky diving on that list. I don't think so. Instead maybe the list should include:

1. pick out a good nursing home-maybe put together that sorority house for women without husbands because lets face it, most of us will probably outlive our husband and we will need a place to socialize and party.
2. shop for support shoes-maybe start a design company for fashionable support shoes. I mean life won't be worth living without cute shoes.
3. make regular appointments to have random facial hair removed

Seriously, I think Gabe had a great idea and so I will start compiling my list of 60 things.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Words Have Power

I don't have to read very far in the scriptures before I come across a word or a phrase that jumps out at me as an important message that I need to reflect on. When I look up the definition and ask how that relates to me, I am filled with inspiration and direction.  No wonder we are encouraged to search the scriptures and ponder and pray about them. It is the best start of my day.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


 This morning as I turned on the computer, I discovered that I wasn't connected to the internet and it was interesting how limiting that was for me. I need connection in order to do many important and, unfortunately, unimportant tasks. I couldn't help but think of the important analogy to what had come to me about feelings I had just the night before as I am dozing off of how important it is to have  a greater connection to the Spirit and letting that guide my thoughts and actions. Just like I need to be connected to the internet on my computer to perform important tasks, it is even more important that I am connected to my Heavenly Father to find direction and perform worthy pursuits. Even mundane ones. I am limited in my thinking; but He is limitless. I need that source of power. I long to always be connected.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bad Attitude

I admit it. I was having a bad attitude about my primary calling. Until today. What a difference a change it attitude can make. I loved teaching them today and they responded so beautifully to my new attitude and recommitment of wanting to love this opportunity. My new state of mind helped me be more proactive and positive. I was able to look each of those sweet, rambunctious boys in the eye and tell them I felt it was a privilege to be with them and feel the Spirit together. I encouraged them to be more respectful and reverent so that we could have a very spiritual experience at the same time that we can enjoy fun little activities. Mandy Hale, you are right. A good attitude allows the love and blessings to flow.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


It is weird how this keeps happening to me. I was eating an apple and immediately had the thought that I should eat more apples--possibly one a day. I call it my personal little message of inspiration that, let's face it, had been previously programmed in my brain. I just feel like I got a little reminder to pull it up (something short of a miracle considering how foggy the old brain is getting).  Immediately after having that thought, I pick up a magazine and it randomly opens to a page with a little message entitled, "An Apple a Day" and says that those who eat apples are "less likely to suffer from some forms of cancer." Not only do a get that little inspiration but I get scientific validation--a second witness of sorts. Okay, so an apple a day it is! If only I can remember...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Passion for Reading

I love to read. I have always wanted to read anything I can get my hands on. I have spent a lot of time reading some great novels in the last few months along with my usual psychology books and have loved it. There is so much gained from reading a book from different places and time periods about people in all walks of life. I realize that often I spend way too much time reading stuff that doesn't create the magic that a good book can offer. So.... I took the facebook app off of my phone and will instead log on to my kindle app and all the wonderful books that I can read when I have that spare moment to read because that kind of reading is so delicious!

Monday, September 9, 2013

August Flew By

What a great month I had. It was so eventful that I didn't have time to post each day like I had planned to.

I finally did something I have always wanted to do. Since both of our husbands were out of town, Taylee and I packed our bags and headed to the airport and just asked the person at the desk where we could fly using our miles for just a couple of days. She suggested Newport Beach (which coincidentally we both wanted to go) and off we went on the next flight out. We had a grand time.

We came home late one night and I had to quickly unpack, do some washing, and repack for an early flight out to Seattle with Kev the next morning. I love to travel and so that little bit of late night "chore" was really my dream come true--unpacking and repacking all at once!

Kev and I had a glorious time in a quaint little cabin on the coast of Washington. We had the unique opportunity of learning from a doctor who is an adjunct professor at UofU medical school and oversees research on brain functioning and well-being. It was an enlightening and life-changing experience. Something I am going to learn more about and hopefully teach others.

We arrived home just a couple of hours before our 40th high school reunion (UGH, that is painful to write let alone publicly admit!) Unfortunately I didn't have time for some botox treatments and so I had to go looking as old as I am. Luckily I was able to leave my walker home and navigate without it for a couple of hours. Seriously, it was great seeing old classmates. Hard to believe it has been that long.

The next couple of weeks were filled with several one-day trips to Park City with friends and a weekend getaway with just Kev and I to Island Park. The month ended with a bang because on my birthday, we sailed away on a cruise to Alaska with my Mom and siblings and spouses. It was a spectacular journey filled with a lot of laughter and great walks down memory lane with my family.

I am now in love with August, and with any month for that matter because now I know everything is what I make it. If it is to be, it is up to me.  I now know that nothing can make me happy. I have to create it my own happiness. I just made August a happy month.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Great Teachers Series-Marvin J. Ashton

I happened to run across a blog that listed the author's 12 talks that changed her life. It inspired me to compile a list of my own. I know that a talk is meant for me when it pricks my soul and creates the pain of guilt but then inspires me to be and do better. You know that reading inspiring work can be traumatic to the soul.  If not for the healing power of repentance and the Atonement, I would have to avoid reading inspiring talks because I am so full of imperfection that it would just be too brutalizing and I would just have to spend my day eating chocolate.

This talk pricked my soul many years ago. It was given by this sweet man, Marvin J. Ashton and was entitled, "The Tongue Can Be a Sharp Sword." This is a talk that I need to read often as a reminder of the kind of charity I want to possess and demonstrate. I am grateful this morning that I had this reminder. It is way too easy to forget.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Serve it up

A few days before I set my intention to have a fabulous August, I had announced to my kids not to expect me to cook for the entire month because I probably wouldn't feel like it due to my hate relationship with the month of August. I would be on strike and enjoying my depression.

How good it felt with my happy new mind set to set out this spread for a Saturday brunch prior to hitting the pool. I really believe that presentation is everything. Not only for those that get to enjoy the feast, but it became more rewarding for me to make it wonderfully beautiful and inviting. I'm hungry for it all over again just looking at the picture.

We also had such a blast swimming. I stayed in the pool almost the whole time swimming around and treading water and even diving off the board a few times. With my new determination to enjoy the heat of the summer, it is certainly a blessing to have a pool, and especially to have a new pool maintenance service owned by Gabe Garn and Matt Read. Before they started taking care of it and fixing some major problems this last week, it was green most of the time and only inviting to a couple of ducks who took it over. Thank you guys (Matt and Gabe, not the ducks)!

It is so fun to have my family gather. I know I am an engaging personality and all but I realize that if I had gone the whole month without providing some sort of nourishment, they wouldn't have been motivated to come. Of course, I would have then had more reason to continuing hating August. Life can be a vicious cycle in that way.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Great Teachers Series-Stephen R. Covey

I read The 7 Habits of High Effective People in 1991. I had just had my sixth and last baby. It changed my life. From then on I made a commitment to Sharpen the Saw every day by doing something that helps me feel my best physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. When I start the day exercising, reading scriptures, writing and especially reflecting on what I am learning and grateful for; then I have a better day. No more excuses; even when it isn't my favorite month. But really; especially so.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The First Day of a New Mind Set

I am a believer in just changing a mind set to change an experience.
What a fabulous day. So far, so good. Instead of running around sprinklers on my early morning run, I ran through them. I took a pilgrimage up to my birth place, Brigham City, and attended the temple taking the very last spot in the session; and then spent some time in the cemetery visiting my Dad's and my grandparents' graves. As I ran my hand over their names honoring them, I was overcome with emotional gratitude for all that they did for me.

I stopped at one of my favorite places to eat and had shrimp steak while reading a book authored by one of our girls from the young married ward we were privileged to serve in. Maddox was always the place our family would go when visiting relatives so it is a nostalgic place for me. I avoided the rolls and honey butter because I figure if I am going to have a fabulous month, I have to eat healthy. I keep wanting to believe that eating the sweet stuff is being good to myself, but it really doesn't have long term benefits. Dang it. I am looking forward to heaven because that has to be our reward, right?

Driving back home, it started to rain. Now talk about a tender mercy. I guess someone who plans the weather reads my blog. I won't bore you with more details of my day but suffice it to say, it was a good one from morning until night time.  If I set the intention; it will happen.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Least Favorite Month of the Year

August is my least favorite month of the year because it is hot, rarely rains (I do love the rain), and by then I am ready to be back in school, get organized, and have structure again. I crave structure. I am a organized nerd and proud of it.

I also think my dislike for the hot month of August started when I was in my Mother's womb. I was born two weeks late on August 31, and I imagine my Mom was desperately miserable through the entire month, and I was right there suffering along with her and been suffering through August ever since. Not to mention that somewhere in my life I lost a natural zest for spontaneity and fun and staring taking life way too seriously.

Now on the eve of the first day of August of 2013, I want to change my mind set. I am setting the intention of having the most wonderful month ever. It is going to be the most spontaneous and joyful August ever and I am committing to blogging everyday this entire month recording the new shift I am making. Don't expect anything really grand because I really don't have to do much to improve my experience. I just got through cleaning my washing machine, and something tells me that there is a lot more spontaneous fun to be had than that.  

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Day at the Movies

We had a fabulous afternoon at the Broadway Movie Theater in Salt Lake where they feature independent films. I have to say that I have grown weary of the mega action films that seem to be the rage. The action scenes that go on and on and on exhaust and bore me, and I am totally unimpressed and disinterested with the creativity that goes into developing those scenes. I crave films about relationships and deeper meaning, and that is what this theater offers. Yesterday we watched and cried through the movie Unfinished Song while we snacked on edamame and water. That is the other bonus of this theater--they offer healthier and more gourmet snacks--a great sound system and seating; not so much.  We then savored a tasty hamburger smothered in glazed onions from the Copper Onion restaurant right next door while waiting for the next movie that we wanted to see--Way Way Back, which we watched while sharing a bar of dark chocolate with orange pieces. Again another great movie that highlighted the tragedy of divorce and trying to blend second families interlaced with some laugh-out-loud humor. Back home again and we continued our desire to be entertained with watching several episodes of Parenthood from Netflix while snacking on homemade nachos (my personal favorite) and chia juice. It was a full and wonderful afternoon and evening of substantiating the importance of family relationships and commitment, and of course, eating.  What a great day.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tap Dancing

Last night I started a tap dancing class. My oh my! So fun and so much more of a work out than I had ever anticipated. I had taken tap lessons as a young girl and so I felt like I was reliving my childhood a little--a blast to the past. There was a faint familiarity but it is a lot harder than I remember. I think in one night I was learning far more than I ever learned in all those young years.

It feels good to take advantage of doing these kind of fun activities while I still can (give me maybe three more days). It was especially great to do it with some fabulous friends and to be able to regain the weight lost from that incredible work out with dinner afterwards. Life keeps getting better and better.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Time for a Change

After a lot of years serving in the Young Women's program, I just got released and am now teaching 6-7 year-old boys in Primary. I am not going to lie. I didn't really want to go back to teaching Primary. My dream calling is being a Relief Society teacher. I would only have to teach every 5 weeks and usually women aren't a discipline problem. Usually (unless Meryl is in your ward). You can be as boring as heck and women will still be nice and polite. Young boys, however, let you know when you aren't cutting it. Like one boy said as I walked in to the classroom with his former teacher. He let me know that he didn't want me to be his teacher; he still wanted her. Their old teacher and I just traded places and now she has my nice, polite 16-17 girls (that I will miss immensely), and I now have the rambunctious boys she use to teach (one is our Stake President's son and another is our Bishop's son and another is the Primary President's son) who think farting is something much more important than the lesson. If I would have been called to teach Relief Society, they wouldn't tell me (to my face anyway) that they didn't want me to teach them. They would just politely be whispering it to each other, and they wouldn't be bragging about their bodily functions.

But now I have accepted a calling to teach these young boys, and I will be the best Primary teacher I can be and do whatever I can so that we will all enjoy it and learn a lot. And I guess enjoy the fart fest. But most importantly, I will learn to love these boys. I am already starting to. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Reaping the Harvest

This is my bountiful basket of goodies from my little garden. What a simple little pleasure it is to see my efforts produce something I can benefit from. I used the kale and parsley in my morning smoothie and ate one of the green peppers and some of the tomatoes. What feelings of simple joy!

I have been watching a lot of inspirational talks especially while I exercise. I was watching a taping I had of Super Soul Sunday with Oprah the other day and was really inspired by something Devon Franklin said. "We are only in control of two things: How we prepare for what might happen and how we respond to what does happens to us. The moment when things actually happen belongs to God."I love that.

Today I reaped the benefits of the preparation of my little garden. The miracle that my plants produced was because of Heavenly Father, but I had to do the preparation and I had to take advantage of the benefits.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Let's Get Physical

When I eat healthy, I have more energy, and when I have more energy, I want to play and be active.

This last weekend we had a family reunion with my Mom, my siblings and all of our kids and grand kids. Since I had been making healthier food choices, I wanted to do more than I usually do. I went river rafting, hiking, swimming, took walks, and even joined in for a little soccer game. You know that I am not getting any younger (big surprise) and I realize that I had better enjoy all these kind of activities while I still can. Usually I am content to sit and talk but I figure I can do a lot of that while I am in a nursing home (which I suspect my kids are plotting to put me in any day now), and so for now I will be as active as I can. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Inspired Healthy Eating

I always tried to encourage my kids to eat healthy. They would grumble about the fact that I didn't buy sugar cereals, white bread, and a lot of junk food. Now I have kids that are taking healthy eating to a whole new level and they have become my source of inspiration and encouragement. Weird to have the role reversal.

Watching some of the episodes of The Biggest Loser, I noticed that when there was a parent-child combo on the show that the child usually became fatter than their parent. So now I am wondering if we either get worse than our parent or improve upon but never stay quite the same. I am grateful that some of my children have taken healthy eating to a whole new level. Now I just need to step it up. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tingling Fat

When I am exercising vigorously, I can tell the places that I have a lot of fat because it starts to itch. I take it as a sign that that which I don't need will start to bother me when I am making the healthy choices. The same things kind of happens spiritually. The moment I start to try and be a better person, my faults seem to start itching.

Friday, June 28, 2013


When I feel in a slump and want to get my game back on, there are two things that I do that seem to jump start me--getting organized and eating healthy.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Inspiration

I had this propped up on my desk for awhile. It is a great source of inspiration for me to realize that I can actually achieve what I set out to do. In the past I have been better at starting something rather than finishing it.  I need this reminder as I go on to my next goal of writing a book and doing seminars. I can so so easily distracted,  (I sure need a manicure and those flowers smell wonderful), and I can easily put off doing something that will be hard. I look at this and realize I can do hard things and finish what I set out to do. It just takes commitment and persistence and deleting angry birds from my phone. Speaking of which...

Push It!

This morning I realized that I have been too soft and haven't been pushing myself hard enough and so I turned on my pedometer app and made sure I ran at least 3 miles. I was running with Coda and he was dragging a little because he has gotten use to my weak effort. Man it feels good to push hard. I AM stronger than I think.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fix It

I have spent the last few days fixing things around the house. It is amazing how long I can let things go before I fix it but then it is even more rewarding when I finally do. Broken or unfinished items are an energy zapper; but when I finally get around to it, I feel so charged and I keep going back to look at it because it is incredibly thrilling. Yes, simple minds just need simple pleasures.

Oftentimes I worry about and want to fix things that I really don't have control over. How much better I feel when I spend my time and energy on fixing the little things that I can. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

How Can I Make This Better?

When I find something that is frustrating or annoying, one of my favorite mantras is to ask myself, "How can I make this better?" So many times I am inclined to be content to be frustrated with something and complain about it instead of asking that important question. When I do ask that question, it is amazing the creative juices that start flowing and how satisfying it is to solve a simple problem with a creative solution. For example, I recently realized there was a frustrating and negative feeling in my office. I did some dejunking and a little reorganizing to make it work better for me, and it is incredibly satisfying what a difference changing how I organize or arrange something can make. Giving and throwing away stuff I don't need or use seems to clear out a stuck or negative feeling and opens up more possibilities. (Possibility to have more room to go shopping! Kidding, I have more than enough) Changing the position of my desk also created a whole new place to create a more conducive place for writing that feels a whole lot better.  I have done this kind of dejunking and reorganizing in several places in my home lately and life just gets better and better. The icing on the cake for me was when I decided that my desk needed some fresh, fragrant flowers. Love what that little touch did for the room and for me.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Great Teachers Series-Goldilocks

I have had some great teachers. There are so many people to learn from and one great teacher is Goldilocks. Now I am not talking about her shameful example of breaking in and entering, I am referring to her ability to seek for, expect, and find the happy balance in the middle--not too much or not too little. It is in the middle where I find joy, and I am better learning to trust my instincts in that little barometer inside of me that warns when I am doing or having too much or too little. There is danger in trying to be too perfect or allow too much imperfection. It is unhealthy to eat too little or eat too much. I suffer when I have too much help and when I don't have enough. I can have too much stuff or not enough to really enjoy myself. I can be too busy and thus stressed or not busy enough and then bored. I can have too many challenges or not enough to really engage my full potential. I can think too deeply or be pretty shallow. I can try to be too organized or not organized enough. I can even trust too much or be too suspicious. I love that I have the Spirit as my guide to find that unique place in which I feel joy and peace. The place where it is just right.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I've missed this

I've missed writing in my blog. I do still write in my journal but there is something about openly sharing my heart with others. It seems like I am offering a gift of sorts. I am opening myself up, and it feels good to be more transparent and real. I hope it somehow increases the universal connection we all share in our joys and struggles. At the end of the day, I trust that it helps us all realize that we all have highs and lows but that there is a unique strength that is available to us to find peace and happiness no matter what and to ultimately feel gratitude for all that life has to offer. I do feel immensely grateful and know that finding that kind of gratitude is a basic key to a happy heart.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Mother's Day Mom

Mother's Day is interesting. It a day that I am caught between two worlds. A world where I think back to the memories of being the daughter of a Mom and the world in which I see my own daughter as a Mom; not to mention realizing that I am forever a Mom.

Mother's Day is a day that I think of  the line of maternal Moms who went before me that I had the privilege to know here on earth. My Great Grandmother Leuvenia, my Grandmother Eva, and my Mom, Audrene. These are the women that helped shape who I am. (Blame them, not me) These are the women who taught me the importance of being a mom. They all made sour dough pancakes, homemade ice cream, created a beautiful home, planted gardens, served in their church, knitted and crocheted, exercised, and devoted their lives to their children.  They created cherished holiday memories and made family connection and togetherness their highest priority. They made their homes the best place to be.

Thank you Grandma Leuvenia for the fun memory of crocheting nose warmers with you. Thank you Grandma Eva for your example of exercising every day with Jack Lalanne. Thank you for coming and taking care of us that month while my Dad was in the hospital before he died.  Thank you for coming to see me when I didn't make it to come see you on Mother's Day that one year. You didn't complain that I was the only grandchild that didn't come, you just came to my home to see me later on in the week teaching me that it isn't about keeping score and just feeling bad that I didn't come, but how much I personally meant for you to come all that way just to see me. Thank you for staying on earth just long enough to meet my first little baby girl a few days before you died.

Thank you to my Mom for the many nights that you prayed by my bed. Thank you for making our home such a fun place to be with lots of fun toys, equipment, and books. (Unfortunately, it was a little too fun and attracted all those messy boys!!) Thank you for all the lessons and opportunities--piano, dance, baton, tennis, swimming, water and snow skiing, painting, sewing. You really gave it your best shot to provide me with an opportunity to find a talent--the failure to do so is mine not yours.

Thank you for taking me golfing so I could catch butterflies. Thank you for having us help make Christmas candy, put stamps in those books, and serving us every kind of food. Thank you for hiding those large chocolate bars from Dad that I would sometimes find. Thank you for the new clothes I would find on my bed when I came home from school after you had been shopping. Thank you for all the shopping trips to Salt Lake and Ogden together. I am a real pro at it now.  Thank you for the free haircuts. I'm sorry about my ingratitude at the time because I really thought that if you didn't always cut it so short I would have long, lusciously thick hair. I know better now.

Mostly I want to thank my Mom for provided the perfect environment for me to prepare for and learn the important lessons I have had to learn. Thank you for being a wonderful grandma to my children and making sure that we have had traditions and outings to keep us all close. And thank you for those times that you didn't give us money because it did help us find a way we could do it on our own. You have been the perfect Mom for me.

Lastly, a thank you to my daughter, Courtney, who is carrying on the tradition of her grandmothers. Just today I ran into her at the gardening store buying plants for her garden with her three little boys. She is just as devoted to being a mom as all those before her were. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I love this thought. I have found that the most miserable people are those that live with regret. Today I am going to my graduation ceremony. Originally, I was adamant that I wouldn't go because I really didn't need that final ending because I have enjoyed the process so much. As I was busy working on the final thesis and project, so many people would say that they bet I will be glad it is over assuming the final graduation would be a relief. Oftentimes I think we suffer through experiences thinking the ending is the best part, and so I was determined to be satisfied with my memories of the whole experience and stubbornly refuse that final ceremony because I didn't need it. Let's face it, I am really sad it has come to an end and that is why I dragged it out so long.

But then I woke up yesterday morning with this thought that I might regret not participating in that celebration. It isn't a matter that I can only have one or the other. I can enjoy the experience all along the way AND enjoy the celebration at the end.  I have to think that I can use my past regret to teach me to listen to that little voice that says that I might regret not putting on that cap and gown and getting my diploma. Today I will live in a way that I won't regret. I can learn from regret but I can also learn to enjoy the moment so I have less regret to learn from.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Obey Commandments-Prevent Addictions

This is the age of addictions. The best way to prevent an addiction that can take over someone's life is to obey the commandments. In  obedience; there is safety and peace. The commandments are not just Heavenly Father's way to control our lives or test us. He loves us and gives us commandments to protect us and provide the way to lasting joy and peace.  It is not a reward/punishment-based system inflicted on us by some outside authority, but one where a choice to obey naturally results in a positive outcome. Our choices naturally reward or punish us. A loving Heavenly Father would never hurt us. We can only do that to ourselves. But He will give us what we need to naturally find happiness. Keep the commandments and be grateful to Him for the blessings it brings.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Heart Sings

The more I focus on joy, the less I automatically focus on my prior accomplishment addiction. One of the greatest discoveries I have made is a new awareness of when my heart sings. It is the feeling I get when I am experiencing something joyful. Like the other day. I had to run an errand to Farmington and since I was near the new library, I decided to stop in and check it out. My heart sang. I loved the architectural design, I loved being in the middle of books, books, and more books. I loved the cozy reading spots, I loved seeing the big windows in the children's area overlooking a courtyard, I loved the art. I am going to take more time to seek out those simple little experiences that make my heart sing.

Friday, April 12, 2013

I am a Writer

I am a writer. I am not saying I am good at it. I am just saying I love to write. Something I didn't think I would ever say back in Jr. High and High School. I hated to write and as I think about it, I hated it because I wasn't given the freedom to really explore and record my own thoughts. I think I was too worried about punctuation, being graded, or pleasing someone else. I have found the best thing I have ever done when it comes to writing is to keep a journal and just reflect and write without worrying about a grade or evaluation. I hope in the process that it also makes me a better writer. But in the meantime, I enjoy the experience of putting my thoughts on paper. It seem to work better than leaving those thoughts continually bouncing around in my head and then being dumped on the first person I encounter when my brain needs a little decluttering. Not that that still won't happen; trust me.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


 2 Nephi 10:2-This scripture hadn't been marked until today. How had I missed the profound message of this scripture before? This morning I had said a little silent prayer that I would read something that would be important for me to know, and then I opened my scriptures and read this. It was a message just for me that obviously had just been added to my scriptures (kind of crazy how that happens). It is a message that says I can relax and know that God is merciful and that those I love will "come to that which will give them the true knowledge of their Redeemer." It is not a journey that can be forced. It is not a journey that is on my timetable. It is a journey that is dependent on God's mercy.

I have had a firm witness that my mercy and love will be one of the small ways that can help others understand and appreciate the infinite and perfect mercy of the Savior and thus the true knowledge of Him. It is nice to know that being merciful isn't really a lot of hard work. It isn't a exhausting checklist that needs to be followed. It is just relaxing into love--feeling God's love and compassion and letting that love consume my very being in such a profound way that it crowds out any feelings of regret or resentment and fills me with compassion.

I have this definition of mercy pasted in my scriptures.

"Mercy. That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being." Author Unknown

May I always be filled with mercy and love. A hard thing for someone who thrives on sarcasm, has a critical eye, and has an exquisite memory for past hurts. But let's hope God can work miracles even with a reprobate like me. I am grateful that I have been given unique opportunities to feel and understand God's mercy in such a profound way. I have been given sacred learning experiences that were specially designed for my growth. Yes, I have my own Spiritual Designer.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ordered Surroundings=Ordered Mind

I have exactly one week to go before my final presentation for my graduate project. I have learned a great deal about intrinsic motivation and optimal experience in education, but one of the most important rediscoveries I have made is the importance of order. In my focus for my project, it has been tempting to try and ignore messes and disorder but I realize, once again (being the remedial learner that I am), that it is hard to have an ordered mind when my surroundings are a mess. So whenever I feel confused or frustrated, I know it is time to take a minute and bring physical order to everything around me. It really does make a difference. So I just went and made my bed, cleaned up the dishes in the kitchen, and put away the stacks of books and papers I had scattered on my work table, and organized my desk, and now my brain can feel more relaxed and ordered.  Of course, there is only so much you can do with this brain of mine so there will never be enough physical order. Maybe that is why I am sort of OCD about organization. I am still trying hard to fix my brain.

I do find it interesting to note that before anything could be created when this world was made and even before there could be light, the first step was to organize. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Scriptures Fell Open-Truth Discovered

I usually read the scriptures every morning but how I read them changes depending on a quick feeling of inspiration. Sometimes I read the scriptures in order and sometime I read inspired words from talks that are considered scripture, and sometimes I just open the book and read randomly as I did today.

It was a tremendous tender mercy that produced tears of gratitude to read just one simple verse that had such a significant impact on me and that is just what I needed at the very moment. I can't deny that God loves me and that He is mindful of me and wants to bless me with truth that can change me and my experience. As I read those words, recent thoughts and experiences also validated that truth and helped me realize in a profound way that I had been prepared to learn that principle and given a simple little way to be reminded of it everyday.

I know this sounds vague but trust me that God does work little miracles in my life and I know that if I am prepared to receive the truth and spend some time everyday seeking for that truth found in scriptures, that I will be blessed to know. More importantly, I will be blessed to change my belief and then my behavior will automatically follow and ultimately relationships improve. Life is so much better when I rely on scriptures rather than my own unhealthy believes and practices. No I don't read the scriptures because I am righteous; I read them because I am wrongeous.  I need course correction everyday.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Day of Rest?

Being a member of a church in which we all have callings and have large families, the Sabbath isn't really a day of rest as many would define rest. I usually don't get to sleep in or take a nap but one of the meanings of the word rest is to recharge, and that is exactly what it does for me.

I am still really busy on Sunday but it is a different kind of busy when I worship and reflect on all that has been done for me. It is also a great day to be with all the other people I worship with that I have grown to know and love in such a profound way. I am inspired and energized by their goodness and am grateful for all the inspiration that I receive from them and the opportunity to hopefully turn around and inspire others.

One luxury that does feel more like rest is that I get up early and spend some quality time soaking, relaxing, and reading in the tub where I get some of my best inspiration. I try to exercise all the other six days of the week, but on Sunday I do give my body a rest. A change is a rest, and on Sunday my whole routine changes and I am spending my day in church and then spending time with our family as we gather. I actually cook more on Sunday than any other day, but it is worth it to have my children come.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


For my graduate project, I have been researching the kind of conditions and teaching style that promotes intrinsic motivation and passion for learning. One of the obstacles for that kind of internal passion, is external control through threats, bribes, rewards and punishment.

As I do more reading on control, I have learned that a desire for control is based on fear, and I realize that so many times I have wanted control in order to protect those I love from difficulties. If I am focused on fear,  I don't want people to make mistakes and experience pain and learn from their mistakes. It seems that schools can also act out of fear with too much control and not trust that inside of every student is a passion for learning if given the opportunity to learn how it best suits them and given enough freedom to follow their own passion and interest.

The opposite of fear is faith. What if instead of acting in fear, I teach correct principles, offering that wonderful light of love and example, and give the freedom to either follow those principles in how it works for them or even reject the principles all together having faith that they can still learn important lessons and eventually come to embrace those principles even if it is the hard way. What if schools had more faith in the internal passion for learning and set students free to follow their unique interests?