Trish’s Blog

Matching Day

For the last couple of days, Zoe has been asking to make things in the kitchen. She made chocolate chip cookies yesterday, and when I was giving her tips she said, “Are you telling me this because you’re not going to help me?” And I said, “I’m telling you this so that you’ll know why.” I helped a little, but she measured everything. I found her trying to measure sugar with a rice cup, and had to show her that it’s not the same by measuring 3/4 cup in the rice cup and then pouring it into the actual measuring cup. Whew… glad we caught that before the mixing began, and now she knows.

Yesterday she wanted to dress in matching clothes, but I put her off saying that we could do it tomorrow. Lo and behold, tomorrow is here and she did not forget. I had to wait for her to go to the door of her room and yell, “OK!” down the stairs so that I could enter my room at the same time she entered hers when it was time to get dressed.

After we documented the matching clothes, she tried to eat cookies for breakfast. And when I caught her, she said, “Let’s make pancakes!” I told her that she could make them and she asked if I would help her. I told her that Seth was making pancakes at her age and she could totally do it on her own. She was scared to flip them on her own, so I told her I would show her.

She mixed up the ingredients and asked me questions while I sat at the table doing my own thing. She had learned from yesterday that the dry ingredients and wet ingredients get mixed separately. When it was time to cook, I got out the cast iron skillet and showed her how to flip. She’s very impatient with waiting for the bubbles to appear and the sides to get dry.

When she got us a drink of water, she used matching blue cups. When she brought the pancakes to the table she had plates in the other hand and said, “Guess what? Matching plates!” in her best singing voice. I cracked up. I had no intention of eating pancakes, but her enthusiasm and Chamorro insistence that I eat earned me two pancakes… one with Mrs. Butterworth’s and the other with Coco Real Cream of Coconut. She placed one more pancake on my plate and is now doing the dishes and singing songs from “Once on This Island” at the top of her lungs while I write.

I took some pictures and decided that instead of having a million pictures on Facebook, I would do a blog post and let the interested parties (grandparents) partake. Enjoy.

IMG_7520 IMG_7521 IMG_7522 IMG_7523

New Stake Calling

Back in May, I was sitting in the Kingwood Stake Center getting ready to pull a “double header” with one of my favorite people who happened to be a high counselor in the Stake High Council. This is a group of higher priesthood holders called to serve in the stake by offering support to the wards as a liaison between the Stake Presidency and the congregations. One of their duties is to give talks on a set Sunday each month on a topic given by the Stake Presidency. I never paid much attention to this particular organization of the Church, but on this particular Sunday, I was also set apart as the Stake Young Women President which is also a stake calling. I, too, receive my direction from the Stake Presidency and in different ways convey their counsel to all of the ward Young Women Presidents. I was excited to give a talk in a ward that was not my own and a little too calm to be giving the same talk in another ward just 45 minutes later–hence, the “double header” reference. I have never given a talk twice in one day and I felt the uniqueness of it. I knew that if I was willing to serve the Lord in this capacity that everything would go fine.

To prepare, I had just a couple of days to prepare for speaking twice, but I had been pondering my topic, reading scriptures and listening to conference talks for a few weeks. I was hoping that what the Lord wanted to say through me would be my focus. As a challenge, I also decided to employ a technique that my companion speaker uses. I had once watched him give a talk with just his scriptures and an itty-bitty piece of paper with notes. We were both in ward callings at the time, and I had written and agonized over four or five pages of a written talk that I read. I was inspired by his example and hoped that I could do as he did one day. So I decided to pick a few scriptures that stood out to me and have a post-it with notes and my scriptures. I felt it would be interesting to see if I could pull it off, relying on the Spirit.

I recorded my talks and later suffered through listening to them to see if I could learn from them. I noticed that I said, “Um,” a lot. It reminded me of my sister giving her maid-of-honor speech at my wedding reception. Josh has said that it was the best set of “ums” he had ever heard. She was in high school at the time, so I can hardly blame her for her nervousness. It has become a great memory, too. Despite the humor, however, I made a conscious decision to eliminate the “ums” from my talks.

This past Sunday, I was again sitting on the stand in the Kingwood Stake Center getting ready to pull a “double header” in the same two wards as before, only this time it was to the Kingwood Second Ward first and the Kingwood First Ward second. The high counselor who had asked me to speak was someone I did not know well, but I had spent time with his wife the past two years at Girls’ Camp and he was now the high counselor assigned to my ward. He gave me the direction to speak to the youth. He felt they should know that High Council Sunday sacrament meetings were for them, too.

I was amazed that I would give a talk twice in the same day and felt the uniqueness of being asked to do it again within a three-month period. I have since the first time been relying on the Spirit a lot. One Sunday, I was impressed to bring my scriptures with me to visit the Young Women in a particular ward because I might be asked to give a lesson. Well, I got there, and there were only two ward YW leaders and no one from the presidency. After the young women conducted opening exercises, I told them that I would be happy to give a lesson. And then, after consciously telling myself not to talk about the decision for the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage, the first thing out of my mouth was talking about that historic event. Many more experiences and miracles have happened at Girls’ Camp. I feel as if the Lord is still teaching me and preparing me for something greater. Maybe just a greater capacity to do things that I am not used to doing? So when I was asked to speak twice in one Sunday again, I figured that it was for a reason. I have yet to learn what that reason is.

Still, I press on, make mistakes, am humbled, and blessed. I learn and grow and I’m almost always in the face of some new thing with regard to my calling. (The next challenge being to host a dance where six stakes are invited… we are preparing for twice as many youth.) I’ve had some great examples to watch in this calling in previous years, and I’m glad that I paid attention. I also still text them when faced with a problem to see how they handled it in the past. This is something that I’ve slowly stopped doing as I have gained experience.

When I spoke on Sunday, I gave examples of the different ways that I study my scriptures. I have the same quad that I’ve used since I joined the Church. I remember that I could not wait to get my own set of scriptures. I was working at Bubbie’s Ice Cream near the University of Hawaii at the time. I shared an apartment with a Jamaican student which was above a Chinese restaurant across the street. I did not have a lot of money and often ate ice cream for dinner because the owner’s rule was that we could eat as much ice cream as we wanted as long as it did not hinder us from serving customers or doing our duties. I used a good portion of my first paycheck after I was baptized to buy my scriptures. I carried them around in the box that they came in for several months to protect them. I am now using a scripture carrier that I bought at the BYU-Hawaii Bookstore the Spring Break after I was baptized. My scriptures have always been a treasure that was worth all my effort to gain. I have some notes in the margins that are dated from 1993. Some show my lack of experience in the gospel, but I hope these last for my lifetime in order to show my progression from milk to meat.

Today, I read all the chapters in Second Nephi that quote from the Book of Isaiah. When I told my husband this, he said something like, “Wow, that’s hard core.” And I replied, “Well, I didn’t ponder them, really, I just read them.” And he laughed. I then realized that I had internalized something and shared it with him. I noticed that Isaiah uses words that no one else uses which makes him an interesting teacher. This reminded me of how I keep and record people’s testimonies on Fast and Testimony Sundays. There are words that everyone uses… like: “I know the Church is true.” Of all the testimonies that I have written in my journal, the most unique one was from a friend who has since moved away. In her entire testimony she did not use any words that anyone uses over and over again.

I’ve been keeping track of how many times “heart” is written in the Book of Mormon and how many different ways your heart can be. It can be soft, hard, can have imaginations, can be pricked, etc. Isaiah doesn’t use these expressions.

In 2 Nephi 16:10 it says, “Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes–lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted and be healed.” Apparently, a heart can be made fat, too, but I think it’s just a different way of saying to enlarge or to make soft. When your heart is soft, you are open to way more things of the Spirit as opposed to being hard and you’re unwilling to heed the commandments of God.

In 2 Nephi 17:2 it says, “And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of wood are moved with the wind.” Our hearts can be like a forest of trees moving with the wind… who else says that? It’s beautiful and there has to be a reason for using this metaphor.

I plan to do a more serious study of Isaiah, including the translations by the Prophet Joseph Smith. I realize there is more to his prophesies than just the words he uses, but it appears to me that he would be the equivalent of a sought-after speaker to give talks.

I hope to continue my scripture studying, BYU-Devotional watching, and steadily increasing the amount of time I spend on my knees praying. I feel like this is what needs to be done in order to be successful in my new stake calling.

Just thought I’d share it with you. What ways do you study your scriptures that really help you?

Lifestyle Changes Take Three

I read a Facebook status update of someone making changes in their diet and calling it a lifestyle change. It’s a joke with me. People want to make sure that everyone knows that they’ve had a paradigm shift in their whole sense of being so the word “diet” does not encompass the enormity of what they have done. Well, someone called them out in the comments telling them that they would need to physically move themselves to another state or country in order to call their changes a lifestyle change. In one sense, I get it. You’ve changed what you’re eating, so call it what it is–a change in diet. In another sense, who takes that amount of time to rebut in large paragraph form whatever someone else is going through? I certainly do not use social media that way, but if that’s your thing, that’s cool with me. I don’t tell people how to use the internet. But three months ago when I started using Isagenix saying “lifestyle change” was a tongue-in-cheek use for me.

I have since lost 25 pounds and dropped two dress sizes. This is changing my life.

All of the articles on the internet about the stuff we should and should not put into our bodies is overwhelming to me. I happen to like kale chips, but I don’t think I would have tried them if I had not discovered the recipe on Pinterest. I am, however, unwilling to do much more than that. (Being 50 pounds overweight for the past decade is proof of this.) If I were to rely on myself, I would still be drinking Coke everyday during Sonic’s happy hour and maybe eating something green when I craved it. Using Isagenix has simplified my life. I no longer schedule my day around what I can pick up in a drive-thru. This is huge for me. When I have some extra cash in my car, I am not thinking of what kind of “treat” I can stop and pick up real quick when no one else is in the car with me. I am, however, doing cartwheels on the way to the dressing room at Kohl’s because I am fitting into a size smaller than I was the month before. OK, that’s mostly going on inside me.

In the past, I never believed people when they say they have more energy, so I never say it. I have had stirrings of the need to run. This is also another huge for me. When we went to Nauvoo for a youth trip two years ago, I thought I was going to die. When I did zumba for the first time, I barely made it through the first song. When I play volleyball, which I love more than any other sport or activity, I quit after an hour because I can no longer function properly on the court. When it would take me the whole week to recover, I used to say that I was just getting old. And now… walking almost 16 miles over the course of three days for the youth Trek didn’t kill me. I can keep up in zumba for an hour and then go running for a mile afterwards. When I play volleyball, I have to make myself stop and go home at 11:00pm. I no longer take pain killers or the whole week to recover. This is changing my life.

I’ve been keeping a journal of the little things that have happened in the last month. So here they are after 3 months of Isagenix:

1. My wedding ring is loose! At one point, I had to have it cut off because I had gained so much weight. A few years ago, my husband took me to have it remade so I could wear it again. They had to make it several sizes larger than it was in order for it to fit me. I was saddened by that, but glad that I could wear my ring again. My knuckle keeps it on, but it moves freely on my finger above it.

2. My sweet tooth has diminished. When I eat something I shouldn’t because we’re celebrating, it actually tastes too sweet to me. I know from reading blogs that when you give up sugar, this will happen to you. There is sugar in the Isagenix products, but overall, it is very low in sugar. I have had zero temptation to drink a Coke which is surprising to me because I used to love it. I’m staying away in case it’s my kryptonite. I don’t really want to find out and I’m pretty happy without it.

3. I mess up all the time and I feel an immediate response in a stomach ache or a bloated feeling the next day, but whenever I get back into the game — disciplined use of Isagenix — I feel better again. Cleansing is hard, but so worth it. I bounce right back into feeling like a million bucks. I hope I stop messing up eventually, but we are so ingrained to celebrating little things with food that it can be hard.

4. In the last year, I think, I’m not sure when it started, my left arm was starting to be very weak. It was like I pulled a muscle and it wouldn’t heal. Three months ago, I thought to myself, I wonder if this stuff will make my arm better. I couldn’t lift anything with it by itself. It was that weak. Now, I feel like it is healing. I didn’t start Isagenix for this, but I believe my friend when she says, “When you give your body what it needs, it heals itself.” I know now that she does not lie and every promise she has made me has come true. I will be forever grateful for Cindy being willing to sound totally nuts in getting me on this product.

5. I can now cinch up my belt two more holes. I was using the very last hole on the belt, and now I am using the third hole. That is a visual that I love. It is an indication to me that reaching my goals is possible. I can now wear a skirt that I bought 15 years ago and just kept because it was my favorite. I also can wear a pair of shorts that I bought 10 years ago. Reaching my goals is possible. I almost didn’t want to have loftier goals. My friend Cindy reminded me last night that my only goal when I started was to see my toes. I can totally see my toes now.

I am loving the changes. My husband started Isagenix a month ago and lost 16 pounds and is shrinking. My daughter started using the products and lost five pounds in a week. I have noticed she has way more discipline with food. She really wanted to have seconds of chicken alfredo last night, but held back. This makes me so happy! I know she will reach her goals when she is making right choices. My brother and his wife are using the products and are doing so well in their discipline of following the schedule that I have no doubts they will reach their goals.

Everything seems possible to me. I feel like everyone needs this. So I’m going to sound just as nuts as Cindy. Call her. Get on this stuff. It will change your life.

Lifestyle Change: Two Months Update

April 25, 2015

I haven’t been running lately. My allergies flare up in March, so I can’t handle being outside, let alone run outside. My eyes water and itch like crazy. I developed chapped skin below one of my eyes from wiping my acid tears away. Gross, right? Anyway, I never got organized enough to hit the fitness center with Zack on the way home from seminary. So I didn’t exercise very much during this second month of my lifestyle change. It’s not a surprise that not much changed, but I am still progressing.

On Friday, I decided to attend a Zumba workout at my church where a friend leads the class for free. She does it because she loves it so much, and she knows workouts/dances for 50 different songs. I gotta say, that’s a huge deal to me because I can never remember line dance moves at the youth dances from month-to-month. Well, I can do the Cupid Shuffle because it reminds me of chaperoning the band during football season. Just imagine a line of band moms in the stands doing this dance–it’s my favorite. As far as remembering dance moves, I usually just ask my Sarah to teach me. Every time. She’s got a great memory.

I went to the very first Friday Zumba class back in September, I think. It was a while ago and way before my lifestyle change. It was brutal. I nearly died after the first song. I was watching some of the other ladies bounce around on the balls of their feet and wondered how in the world they kept up. I did not go back again because it barely fit in my schedule, but I think I was mostly too embarrassed.

Five months later, I make a lifestyle change, and two months later, I’m back for my second class of Zumba. I kept up with most of the moves… it probably wasn’t pretty, but I kept up! It was fun! I was sweating, but not clawing the air for breath. I kept thinking to myself that I was going to start getting sloppy from fatigue any minute. It never came. I was feeling so good and I didn’t want to stop, but Zack had a class to get to.

I jumped in the car all sweaty and warmed up, and when we got to the church where my kids do Super Friday classes, instead of sitting in the car and reading a book waiting on them, I went for a run. I thought of another friend who impressed me with a text in my first week of lifestyle change that she had just had a great run. I wondered if I would get to the point where I would consider running “great.” So I just did it. By the time I felt I should stop, I had run 1.4 miles without stopping. It took me around 15 minutes, so that should deter anyone wanting to join me. I’m as slow as molasses, but what a step up! I felt good and happy and incredulous that I was still going after an hour of Zumba. When I got home to have my shake, I still felt like dancing around. So I did. And then my husband convinced me to post the drop cam video to the private lifestyle change group page. I suppose if it’s for inspirational purposes, I may not live to regret it.

I have lost or released (I don’t know why they say it that way, but I’m trying it out) 20 pounds and a lot of inches (I am not sure how to add up the inches either). Technically, I’ve seen the scale dip down to 23 pounds after a cleanse, but I hover around the 20 pound mark, so I’ll use it for a while until I’m more solidly at the lower mark. I’m wearing clothes that I haven’t worn in years. And most all of my clothes are loose or falling off me. I got some hand-me-down pants in size 14 and 12 and shirts in size large because my “great run” friend is now in a size 8. Even those clothes are getting loose. Last August, I attended a homeschool conference and got a size L t-shirt that looked a little too tight on me, but I wore it anyway. I’m wearing it right now and it fits very nicely. If I can find any pictures, I’ll put them up to show the before and after. The battle between my belly and chest is ongoing because I am losing inches all around. My sports bras no longer fit, and my regular bras are hooked to the innermost clasp.

up and away two months

I am loving the way I look, but still have 30 pounds to lose. Actually, if I can get down to a size 10, I’ll call it good. I’m feeling very good about my body, but more importantly, I am happy with the way I feel like moving. I may not run 7-minute miles like I did when I was 13, but I am making large strides nonetheless. I don’t have any grand goals of running marathons, I’m still just set on seeing my toes. And they are steadily coming into view.

Notes from Time Out for Women San Antonio

April 15, 2015

The plan for last weekend was to have a three-generation party/time out with my mother-in-law and my newly adult daughter. Grandma set us up like queens, but when the time came to actually go, plans were falling apart. She decided to stay behind and deal with ongoing projects at home and Sarah had a UIL Choir Competition to attend until late in the afternoon.

I was optimistic that we would still make it in time to see John Bytheway, but alas, Houston traffic presented a greater hindrance than I anticipated, or at least, prayed would not be. We got to San Antonio after a quick stop at Buc-ee’s and checked in to the hotel knowing that the conference was just across the street. I was happy that there was a city parking lot right next door to the hotel and we scored a spot on the ground floor for $11 (in comparison to the $37 that we would have paid for hotel parking).

We walked into the room in time to catch the closing song and prayer. We later heard that the group performing, Gentri, had done a Les Miserable medley, and it was hard to not be bummed out. I would have loved to hear that having just watched the movie recently at a friend’s house. We were able to locate some friends from our ward and walked around the shopping areas. It was kind of a mad house with the mass of women and girls there. We made our way back to the hotel, prepared for the next day, and hit the sack pretty hard.


Everyone was on stage and took turns introducing themselves and telling what they would be speaking about.

Mercy River – trio sang a catchy song “Sing it Out”

Elaine Dalton – Excited to spend time and meet all of us, especially since she got there late and walked in with us when the doors opened. She said that her husband was a Texas missionary back in the day when the whole state was the mission. Her talk would be on “Becoming an Elect Lady.”

Lisa Valentine Clark aka “Info Girl” – Found out that mums is a thing in Texas and wants to bring it to Utah and the whole world. She would speak to us later on how we need each other.

Michael Wilcox – Loves Texas because when he went to a BBQ place there was a sign that said, “No Veggie Burgers Available.” He also loves the Alamo and grew up on stories of David Bowie and David Crockett. He went to the tour and when they came to the part where Santa Ana raised a blood red flag, he said everyone knew what that meant–even the people trapped inside the Alamo. It meant no quarter, no mercy, no forgiveness, and everyone would die in the attack. Later, when Sam Houston captured the Mexican General, he told Sam Houston that he should be proud for capturing “the Napoleon of the West.” He asked for mercy, but Sam Houston told him that he should have remembered that at the Alamo. Brother Wilcox said that the three most important sentences we can say to each other are, 1.) I love you, 2.) I appreciate you, and 3.) I forgive you. In our lives there are too many red flags.

Hank Smith – comedian of the group; his wife’s favorite phrase is, “No, we can’t afford it.” He let us know that he would be speaking to us after lunch so he asked us to pick the most responsible person in the group to make sure that we got back from lunch on time. His topic was going to be about the Plan of Happiness and what to do when the Lord changes the plan. He said that there was a time when his son was being raised by the DVD player and watching The Prince of Egypt a lot. He started to get a clue that he might be watching it too much when his wife spilled a cup of milk at dinner time and his son said, “Careful, slave.” (Probably the best line of the conference.)

Emily Freeman – her favorite state is Texas and one day she will live here. She started to tell the beginning of her story when her house filled up with teenagers… two daughters at home, two boys came home from missions, one boy came home from college, a boy asked to live with them, and the boy next door asked to live with them. She was saying yes before no, constantly doing dishes, and straightening up the house was the first thing to go, and then the laundry. Her talk would be on reminders, living proof or evidence of Heavenly Father’s love for us.

Whoopsy daisy, I forgot to post this. I have more notes to add, but time is flittering past with more important issues needing my attention. Sorry!


UPDATE 5/21/15

By the urgings of my favorite mother-in-law, I am sitting down to write more of my notes. 🙂

Elaine Dalton gave a talk that I’ve heard her give in Leadership Training when she was the General Young Women president. I was actually a little disappointed. Might have been good to take a picture with her or something, but I never saw her after she left the stage. I know one of the Stake Young Women presidents from the Houston area got a selfie with her because she posted it on Facebook, but I never shook her hand. 🙁

Anyway, she talked about becoming an elect lady. She complimented all the moms with daughters attending the Time Out for Girls in the next room. She had spent some time with them the day before he she said they are living proof of all of us being great mothers. She then clarified that she meant all the women in the room are living proof because even if we didn’t have a daughter there we are all examples to all of them and we have young women in our midst that we influence. Like the pioneers, we circle our wagons whenever someone is threatened and we as women do that for the young women. She encouraged us to encourage them and related how her mother always told her to “remember who you are.”

She said that even though she was released from her calling in the Church, she wasn’t really. It was the Lord’s tutorial for her to do what he wants her to do forevermore. “You are elect ladies,” she said and then rattled off different references in the scriptures when Christ called to those to arise and stand. The Savior beckons us to do his work to stand as witnesses and “shine forth thy light”. We should not be caught up in comparing ourselves with others or minimizing who we are, but be a little better. She quoted President Gordon B. Hinckley’s talk “Standing Strong and Immovable” from January 2004, “When you save a girl, you save generations. She will grow in strength and righteousness. She will marry in the house of the Lord. She will teach her children the ways of truth. They will walk in her paths…”

What we must do is to strengthen our faith, quoting President Thomas S. Monson: “Unless the roots of your testimony are firmly planted, it will be difficult for you to withstand the ridicule of those who challenge your faith. When firmly planted, your testimony of the gospel, of the Savior, and of our Heavenly Father will influence all that you do throughout your life.”

Sister Dalton said we need to be PROS. Pray every single day, morning and night. Never miss. Read the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon because it was written for our day, at least five minutes every day. Be obedient to the standards of the Church. S is not for service, but for smile. She said it’s the first thing she does in the mirror. We have the restored gospel and we have power available to us. She listed a bunch, but I only got that there’s power in personal purity. We are happy, joyful people. We were valiant in the premarital life and it has qualified us. We should defend the plan of salvation and think, “I know Jesus Christ” because I voted for the plan.

Opposition is greatest it has been, but so, too, is the opportunity greatest. Hasten the second coming of our Savior, walk the paths of virtue–why? Virtue is power. Personal purity is power because it enables us to have at the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. We are surrounded by things that are not suitable. Quoting President Monson again: Temptations to stray are all around you. Great courage will be required. The commandments are not negotiable. Ted Koppel: “We have actually convinced ourselves that slogans will save us. ‘Shoot up if you must; but use a clean needle.’ ‘Enjoy sex whenever with whomever you wish; but [protect yourself].’ No. The answer is no. Not no because it isn’t cool or smart or because you might end up in jail or dying in an AIDS ward—but no, because it’s wrong. …What Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai were not the Ten Suggestions, they are Commandments. Are, not were.” Sister Dalton was there when the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet was updated and said that the prophet requested that the ten commandments be placed at the front.

The Savior can help us return to virtue. You can be completely healed. Sometimes the road is steep, narrow, long, and hard. We must cleave to our covenants. She quoted M. Russell Ballard’s talk: “Popular culture today often makes women look silly, inconsequential, mindless, and powerless. It objectifies them and disrespects them and then suggests that they are able to leave their mark on mankind only by seduction–easily the most pervasively dangerous message the adversary sends to women about themselves.” And “Remember, sisters, God is the source of moral and spiritual power. We gain access to that power by entering into covenants with Him and keeping those covenants. Mothers, teach your daughters the importance of making covenants, and then show them how to keep those covenants in such a way that they will desire to live worthy to go to the temple.” Sister Dalton continued with doing family history work and taking names of our ancestors to the temple. I was busy writing that I should put pictures of those we took to the Nauvoo Temple up in Zack and Sarah’s room.

She concluded with admonishing us to keep our covenants. They are real. Keep them and you will drag your children away with you into heaven. How blessed we are to be women in these latter-days to be led by a prophet of God.

Mercy River took the stage and before actually singing to us, they talked to us first. I think it was Soni that shared that her friend texted her to tell her that she looked cute today and apologized for not saying it when she was with her. Compliments are often thought up in our head, but we forget to say them yet compliments are an easy way to uplift and inspire each other. She encouraged us to say our compliments and not just think them. Then Whitney talked about how she wasn’t “crafty mom” or “intricate hairstyle mom” and it used to bring her down until one night her husband put on some music and she began dancing around with her children. She discovered that she was “crazy dance party mom”. “I’m not ‘patient mom’ and by the way, we all hate you.” After we all danced around like crazy people, she brought the Spirit back into the room by saying that she may not be the perfect mom, but she was the perfect mom for her children because Heavenly Father gave them to her and he knows what he’s doing. She said we should mother authentically, not trying to be someone we’re not. Brooke had her turn talking about how crazy it was trying to teach her small children and saying to a primary class, “Hold still, little one, I’m trying to teach you about gratitude.” She was restless and weary and she was caught up in to and fro and craziness of the days when she prayed to ask for help she heard, “Hold still, little one, I’m trying to teach you about your daughter.” She quoted from Richard G. Scott and I made a note to read the talk “Trust in the Lord” from October 1995 rather than write anything down. Actually, the last thing I wrote was “Let Him give you rest.”

Lisa Valentine Clark, aka “Info Girl”, was next. She is dubbed “Info Girl” because she did all the video presentations giving us information about the particulars surrounding the conference. She was a surprising gift for the weekend. I actually got to meet her and take selfies with her afterwards. She impressed us so much with her humor and her honesty. We are resolved to watch her full series at She shared with us a clip from one of the episodes which describes how we can spend a lot of time “one-upping” with the overly capable moms we encounter. She asked us what we can contribute in an apocalypse, describing how much she loved theatre and improv. She said that she and her family would provide a show at sundown in exchange for hard red wheat. This was to describe how we all need each other. She then went into a kind of rant that started with, “Because I know what it’s like…” and ended with “…to be pregnant and cleaning up red vomit off new carpet when you get the call that your brother…” I can’t remember what came next, but it was some kind of an illustrious achievement. Her siblings are doctors, lawyers, interior designers, and the lead guitarist for Maroon 5. The audience audibly gasped and she bent down and said, “Let me just pick up that huge name I just dropped on the floor.” She spoke really fast, so I enjoyed the ride her presentation took me on, laughing a lot. I jotted down things like: What are your personal offerings? Self-evaluate what you love to do and see what it is you can contribute. We forget to be grateful for others’ offerings. We all need mercy/grace and not judgment. Listen. Learn about the other side instead of trying to be right (especially in comments on social media). Not seeking for validation from others. Get away from mommy specialization. Lower the bar of being awesome–not our standards, but our expectations on ourselves and others. Are we kind? Am I doing the best for me and my kids? Examine our choices and decisions, change if necessary. If we miss the humor in life, we miss the point. Celebrate our differences in order to relate well to everyone. Understand the atonement of Jesus Christ. Respect our journey and the journey of others. Constantly practicing. She had a funny aside about the phrase, “It takes a village,” because when something goes wrong with a kid the comments are, “Where is the mother?” There’s no village then. Mothers do what needs to be done. We need each other.

S. Michael Wilcox is the only presenter that made me cry. He said he was born asking questions and sometimes he’s given answers and sometimes not. When doing temple sealings he finds himself wondering, “What if they didn’t like each other in life?” On one occasion he suddenly had an answer, “There is much forgiveness here.” There needs to be more of that in the world and in our hearts. When the Savior taught he did not give long lectures. He simply told stories. We feel the forgiveness in the story so we feel the ability to forgive. Shakespeare said, “Mercy is twice blessed” because the forgiver is both receiver and giver. Genesis is a story about a family. Told of Jacob going to meet his brother Esau after many years and they both had families. Esau “came near”. Joseph takes Benjamin and Judah pleads for him to take him instead. Joseph said, “come near to me” and “they came near”. The prodigal son’s father went to his son when he was still afar off. “Then drew near unto Jesus the publicans and the sinners”. All of the forgiveness in these stories involve a “coming near”. William W. Phelps (wrote hymns) was key in sending the prophet Joseph Smith to Liberty Jail. He asked for forgiveness in a letter to receive full fellowship. Joseph Smith wrote back that he was welcome to come to him, ending the letter with a poem, which was how they had once communicated with each other. This was a greater show of forgiveness because he also extended to William W. Phelps his friendship.

Brother Wilcox then spoke of how he grew up without a father because for reasons that don’t really matter, he abandoned the family. When he was given the assignment to talk about fathers, he could only think of his mother and the things she had done to raise him. Just then, his two sons came in and he felt such love for them and thought, “fathers share things with their sons,” and he remembered times they had gone fishing together or played catch. The Lord then told him to write about his father. This was an invitation that he needed a “coming near” with his father. They began to include him in their lives. His father could not know him, but he could know his grandchildren. It was one of the sweetest experiences of his life to learn to love his relationship with his father.

He spoke of the parable in Matthew 18 were the king made an accounting and found that one of his servants owed him 10,000 talents. He brought the servant before him and told him that he and his family and all his possessions would be sold in order to repay his debt. The servant fell down and asked for more time and he would pay all. The king had compassion for him, loosed him, and forgave the debt. The servant left and found a fellow servant who owed him 100 pence and told him to pay it. The fellow servant fell down and asked for more time and he would pay all. The servant would not and cast the fellow servant into prison. When the king heard about it, he called the servant back and told him he should have showed the same compassion he had been shown, and threw him into prison until he could repay his debt. After telling this story, Brother Wilcox said when he takes an account of his life, he owes Him every time. His goal is that there be no debts to be paid by fellowmen. Get compassion and pity. The king loosed his servant = clear our own hearts. We forgive and then we help those to be relieved of guilt. We loose the debtor.

A daughter who had been given up for adoption grew up in a lovely family. Her birth mother later contacted her and after she made it clear to her adopted mother that she would do nothing to hurt her, she wrote back saying she would love to see her. The birth mother came and the daughter showed her how her life had been blessed. She “loosed the debtor” and helped her birth mother to not feel guilt about her old choices.

A pharisee saw a woman anointing Jesus’ feet with oil and asked Jesus if he knew that she was a sinner. He didn’t see the woman, but saw her sins. Brother Wilcox began talking about how men and women can be different and relayed a story about going to buy a bed spread for his wife a few days before her birthday. He thought that he was done giving her a gift, but when her birthday came he was indignant that she wanted to go to dinner, too. There was a fight and he said, “Well, I’ll never do that again!” He was saying that he would never buy a birthday gift and give it to her early, but what she heard was that he would never buy her a present again. She began to cry, and he asked her somewhat annoyed why she was crying. She said, “You said you would never buy me a present again.” And I saw the woman. He hugged her and corrected her, but he said it still pains him to remember saying that. (This is the part where I cried.)

He talked about Susanna Cibber who was involved in a scandal, but when she sang in the first production of Handel’s Messiah, Patrick Delany proclaimed, “Woman, for this be all thy sins forgiven.” Her career was revived.

He noted Jacob 2:35 and how hearts died or were broken, pierced with deep wounds. It’s hard to forgive. Sometimes when he’s not ready, he tells the Lord in prayer that he can’t give forgiveness now, but he will give him what he can; he will forget. He will chase it from his mind and not think about it. Eventually, he is able to.

If he asked what we must do to be forgiven, he would receive a doctrinal answer every time, but the answer is to just ask. Ask for forgiveness and be willing to forgive others. Bury the weapons – don’t dig them up again – it’s like 500 pence pain for 50 pence offence. He ended his talk with if the Savior did something for someone in the scriptures, he will do it for us. Like the healing of a leper who asked to be made clean. Jesus said I will. Be thou clean. May we do that for others. No red flags.

Mercy River then took the stage with “The Reason for the World.” You may not know the reason why, but you know the Savior.

At this point, it was time for lunch! We joined a group of about a dozen people for lunch at a Mexican restaurant on the Riverwalk. It was a nice spot, but the restaurant food was not all that great. Still, I enjoyed it! Even when we had to walk back in the rain.

Hank Smith’s presentation was standup comedy using the news of his wife’s pregnancy with baby number four which he renamed baby number last. When they went through the ultrasound they discovered they were pregnant with twins. His wife later described life with twins as “horribly wonderful.” There was a lot of laughter when he showed us pictures of the twins as they had grown. One of them had a perpetually surprised look on his face in every picture. The rest of his presentation was dedicated to the top ten things that happy people do.

1.) Happy people surround themselves with happy people.

2.) Happy people try to be happy. He gave a caveat that depression was a health problem and not a spiritual problem, so if you need to, go get some help.

3.) Happy people are givers.

4.) Happy people have deep in-person conversations. Not Facebook, not email, not texting.

5.) Happy people laugh. Pick the comedy over the drama.

6.) Happy people use the power of music.

7.) Happy people exercise and have a healthy diet.

8.) Happy people unplug and go outside. Even just 20 minutes per day outside increases happiness.

9.) Happy people get enough sleep.

10.) Happy people take time to meditate.

Then he told us to just pick one that we’re going to work on. He read two perspectives on the same situation using a voice for Nephi and one for Laman. (He does voices for the children when he reads the scriptures to them.) Nephi felt blessed and Laman complained that if they had never left they might have been happy.

Where is happy? It’s always elsewhere. If only this, then I would be happy. If only that, then I would be happy. Try to find happiness right here wherever you are.

Quoting Elder Holland, Ensign May 2007: “I have often thought that Nephi’s being bound with cords and beaten by rods must have been more tolerable to him than listening to Laman and Lemuel’s constant murmuring. Surely he must have said at least once, ‘Hit me one more time. I can still hear you.’ Yes, life has its problems, and yes, there are negative things to face, but please accept one of Elder Holland’s maxims for living—no misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse.”

He also quoted Gordon B. Hinckley, July 2001, when he said to accentuate the positives and that we speak more of one another’s virtues more than our faults. With our hearts and eyes wide open, find the positive, find the faith.

He told a story about Rodney whose wife was dying. They carried her through the house, giving a tour. The kitchen where she had given countless meals, the living room where they had held family home evening countless times, and thanking her for all that she had done. She died and later when Rodney was asked how he was doing, he replied, “I am a happy person and that is not going to change.”

After this there was a video presentation by Hilary Weeks about her friend Amy telling what what it means to become living proof. Amy’s husband was addicted to pornography and she had felt so hurt that she began drinking. It was to get back at him and also to cope. After the divorce, she began drinking every day. Her sister found out and went to their parents. With unconditional love they put together a plan and within four hours she was in detox. Amy, now clean, worked at the same clinic and a woman came in feeling so broken. She told her, “You are me,” and knew that moment was a gift to her because she exposed her rehabilitation for the first time telling this woman that God loved her. She told the woman that I’ve been here and I’ve overcome. She was also telling herself that God loved her.

Mercy River then sang to a video mash up of their song, “Move.” Afterwards, Whitney told us that her baby in the picture was now 5 weeks old and she expected foot rubs from all of us. She kept us laughing with, “I’m going to be a better person. I’m going to go outside for twenty minutes.” It was going to be hard to go back to the dishes, the messy house that was clean when we left, and laundry, etc. etc. She sat at the piano and said that being here at Time Out for Women is holy ground because whenever two or more people meet in His name, it becomes holy ground, and then they sang their song with that title.

My handwriting was starting get really messy at this point, with one speaker to go. Her name was Emily Freeman, and she made friends with the whole room when she said that Texas was her favorite state and she would live here one day. For now, she lives in Utah and shared how crazy her life became when her house filled up with teenagers. One of them was Ian who wanted to move in with them and prepare to serve a mission. He kept asking if it was going to be hard. When she said, “yes,” he wanted to know what would be the hardest thing. She said, “For you, it will be shaving.” She told of a hard week when two of his investigators got sick — one of them being a neighbor who had a seizure in front of them while walking to her apartment. She fell before they could reach her and she hit her head hard and began to bleed profusely. Their mission president came to talk with them to help them through the ordeal. Ian opened his scriptures and began to read about the Brother of Jared seeing the finger of the Lord. He got really mad and slammed his scriptures closed because he couldn’t see the hand of the Lord. When he calmed down, he opened his scriptures to read it again.

Emily said she was proud of him for going back to the scriptures. She said if we can’t see the hand of the Lord, to look for the His fingerprints. She referenced President Uchtdorf when he said that taking a step begins from right where you are right now. As a representative from Deseret Book, she began attending events where other denominations would be present. At one event, they were invited to take a rock and write one word on it that would represent their faith step. There was one woman that she admired a lot and she watched from above as she walked to place her rock on the table. She wondered what her word would be. The woman was called to the front and asked to share what her word was. She said that every step she had taken started with faith. “I want faith still, ” she said, and the word still was written on her rock.

Sometimes when we are in the depths of despair, it is possible to discover heights of peace; of heaven. In those moments, God reaches down to touch us. A lot of his fingerprints come when we are in the depths. She told another story of when she was flustered with preparation for speaking and she was in the bathroom tying the bow on her skirt and it kept coming undone. Someone came in the bathroom while she was in there and while they were in the stall she asked if she had a safety pin. The woman in the stall began to laugh. Emily asked her why she was laughing. There, behind the door, the woman was looking straight at a safety pin. Emily felt that the Lord knew her and what she was needing even to the smallest detail. It was a tender mercy and the fingerprint of the Lord. He is found in the little details when we are waiting for answers to bigger things, he is aware of what we need.

Like the stones the Brother of Jared presented to the Lord to touch, we become the offerings. Touch my life, oh Lord, so I may be able to shine forth in the darkness.

When David was young, he killed a lion with his bare hands and then a bear. It prepared him for Goliath. They were God’s fingerprints. He was not being forgotten. He was being prepared.

Last year, Emily got really sick. She was frustrated and upset. Her sister asked her if she was writing things down in a journal, but she asked why? She did not want to remember, but there are blessings received in unexpected ways, things we would not have chosen.

She told the story of the woman in scriptures who lived in the city that King David as ordered Joab to destroy. She was a mother in Israel and she became the Lord’s fingerprint. When Joab surrounded the city, she went out alone to find him and talk to him. He told her that if she could tell the people to give him the evil man gathering an army, he would leave. She went back to talk to the people, they found him and gave him to Joab. The city was spared because of one woman who knew who God was. God is able and exceedingly abundant. He not just makes promises, but fulfills them.

When we hold witness of lions we have faced, we become difference makers. What are you living proof of? Where is your ministry right now?

Her house filled up with young adults and then emptied out. Instead of taking caring of children, she is now taking caring for chickens. Her husband loves chickens and calls them his ladies. This year they are helping to raise other people’s chickens and they now have 39 chickens at her house. She always wants people to be able to come to her and ask her for help.

She asked us to stand up if… (I don’t remember the exact wording, but it was basically the following:) we had given service, received service, helped someone receive the gospel, received an answer to prayer, been an answer to someone’s prayer, etc. Pretty soon the whole room was standing. She said that we are living proof that the Lord keeps his promises one by one, evidence that God’s love is real. You are God’s fingerprints. Become a difference maker. Be living proof still. Jesus Christ lives.

Mercy River sang their last song which I do not remember the title to, but it was sweet. Afterwards, we took selfies with them and talked about Stephanie Mabey who wrote that last song. It was fun to be bouncy and crazy with them, and Sarah rolled her eyes and remarked that she was the adult now and I was the child.

It was a very uplifting way to spend the weekend. I remember the first time I went to TOFW, I was enthralled and was really craving the time out from my beloved children. It was a different experience for me this time now that they are mostly grown and do most things for themselves. I appreciated being able to share it with my newly adult daughter. In the beginning she said that Mercy River was not her kind of music, but by the end of the day she was begging me to buy her their CD. It was the only thing I allowed myself to spend money on and it was doubly sweet since we got all their signatures on it.

Driving home went a little quicker. We did stop at a restaurant supply store before coming home, but did not find what we were after. We also stopped at Buc-ee’s on the way back and saw lots of familiar faces heading home from TOFW, too. A couple of them were volunteers at the event and had received a couple of free tickets for their trouble. I think I would like to do that the next time they come around.


Tooth Powder

I wasn’t going to write about making tooth powder because it seems so prevalent online right now, but I guess I will go ahead and add my two cents. Here is the original post that a friend posted on Facebook. I went to her house and she demonstrated making a toothpaste that her children will use now that she has added honey to the mix. She used essential oils in place of clove and cinnamon powders. She said it decreases the grittiness which she does not like. She sent me home with a sample and it tasted just like toothpaste to me… sweet. While I appreciated her generosity, I did not care for the sweetness.

I’ve been using plain ol’ baking soda for the last year and now regular toothpaste makes me gag. It’s funny to me because when I first started using baking soda it was so salty that I gagged. Now I look forward to the way water tastes sweet when I rinse out my mouth after brushing. Baking soda is fine with me and my dentist and dental hygienist said there’s nothing wrong with using it. I was worried that my enamel would suffer, but apparently, I’m all good. Just have to make sure I’m flossing–that’s where 80% of oral hygiene should be focused, really.

They didn’t really have an opinion about oil pulling, either, as long as I flossed. I grossed out some of my friends when I went through my oil pulling stage… they couldn’t fathom putting a teaspoon of coconut oil in their mouths because it was akin to eating butter to them. And then I said, “Yeah, you’re supposed to spit it out because it’s filled with toxins, but after a while, I just started swallowing it,” and my friend gasped and covered her mouth in horror. Ha ha! I haven’t done the oil pulling in a while, but I did notice a slight whitening in my teeth when I was. Still, flossing is where it’s at!

For the last couple of days, I’ve been using a mix of the calcium bentonite clay, baking soda, and cinnamon, and I like it! My teeth are so clean afterwards. The clay is much finer than baking soda alone, so the difference is significant to me. I’m like that old 70’s commercial where the woman is licking her top front teeth repeatedly, only less vocal. I’m too scared to add cloves to it… I think I mostly like cloves when it’s in a gingersnap cookie.

I sent my friend’s honey toothpaste concoction to my sister-in-law who likes using all natural products. I hope she liked it. If anyone wants to try my dry powder version, come on over and mix up a batch. I am not sure how many years it will take me to use up this jar of clay because I don’t intend to use it for anything else put tooth powder. It says on the jar that it is the “world’s most powerful facial.” Apparently, “Cleopatra used clay in her beauty ritual in ancient Egypt.” If I ever do take that adventurous ride, I will be sure to write about it in the future.

UPDATE on Lifestyle Change: I’ve lost a total of 15 pounds, dropped a size, and intend to use this system for as long as possible. Originally, I told my husband 3 months, but I’m liking the way it makes me feel. I am happy and moving more and getting in better shape and health. I tried to eat normal on Easter Sunday with the family, but I paid for it the next day with a stomach ache and zero desire to get up and move. I think it’s funny that we all just throw stuff in our bodies that are not good for us, and we know it, but when it comes to good nutrition, we have to do more research before we take the plunge. I guess I was just ready. I love how forgiving this system is. The day after Easter, I felt better after a shake and I did some exercises because I felt like moving again. I’m actually looking forward to my next cleanse. I like my body better after six weeks of using Isagenix, but more importantly, my body likes me more for using it. It’s a win-win.

Trek Blessings



I’ve had an incredible weekend leading into my birthday. I was able to go on a Pioneer Trek with the youth as the photographer. My job description included going on Wednesday-Saturday to take pictures and then making a video that would be shown at a Sunday night fireside meeting. I knew the turn around time would be short and tried to prepare beforehand with a skeletal project with music already picked out, however, life kept me busy and I did not have anything done until Friday evening.

It was requested that the finished project be six to seven minutes long. With over 300 pictures taken on the first day, I knew there would be a fair amount of carving away. I also had some footage on the GoPro to work in–time lapses that I imagined would play with quick banjo music. There were 11 families created with a couple leading each as “ma” and “pa” which divided about 125 youth from ages 14-18. There were other adult leaders serving as logistics crew, trek master chef, family historian, nurse, and overall support including all three members of the stake presidency. Everyone worked together to create a spiritual experience for the teenagers who dealt with rain and mud, cooking meals in dutch ovens over fires, sleeping outdoors, walking and pushing handcarts for 13-15 miles over three days, and imagining what the Mormon Pioneers endured to get across the plains from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Each teenager was given an old fashioned name that they were called from the first day. It wasn’t until they received a letter on Friday afternoon that they discovered that their names were actual names of pioneers. In the letter, they were able to read the story of the person whose name they were given, and for some the pioneer was an actual ancestor. Some of the youth in one family discovered that they were all related pioneers and their stories coincided. Some youth were given pioneers with life stories that struck them as closely related to their own. On Saturday morning, many of the youth bore their testimonies on what they had learned and how the stories in the letters had touched them. I was unable to be there for it, but received many photos via Google Drive from ma’s and pa’s who had taken pictures of their family. The video would not have been complete without these contributions.

When I picked up my kids on Saturday afternoon they were tired, dirty and flying high on their experiences. It was great to hear them talking and laughing. I was giving a ride home to one of our neighbors and she exclaimed, “Look how far we’ve come already! And we didn’t have to walk,” and everyone started laughing just from sheer joy of driving in a car. My daughter was beside herself being able to sit in a chair and not on a 5-gallon bucket which had served as her luggage and her camp seat. All of them talked about how great their families were and how much they loved their ma and pa. None of them had any complaints. And once we got home, they all gloried in being able to be clean and dry. They were also very excited to be able to sleep in a bed.

Sunday night came and I was scrambling to make some last minute touches to the video. I showed up at the church only to discover that there was no cable to connect my laptop to the projector. We were finally able to find someone who had the right thing and she went back home to get it for us. With all the craziness, I was worked up and nervous, hoping the video would play, hoping everyone liked it…

I got the nod to come up and play the video and I was able to sit up in the front while it played. It was the best being able to sit in the dark watching all the faces upturned and lit by the projected images. There were smiles and laughter at seeing themselves or their children on the screen. Most of the images were still pictures, but I did interview a few people on the first night asking them what was for dinner. Plenty of laughter when those came up. The biggest roar of laughter came when a piano piece was interrupted by an instrumental of the children’s song “Book of Mormon Stories”. Some ladies complete with toddler in a papoose had dressed up as Indians who then traded with the pioneers. Ma’s and pa’s had beaded necklaces in their handcarts which the Indians were given in exchange for ice cream sandwiches for the youth–such a cool idea that was not deterred by the weather.

Many of the pioneer games planned were unable to take place because of the standing water on the ground. There were still stick pull competitions and I was able to get some pictures and a video of one bout in the project. The end of the trek was shown with Brigham Young greeting the pioneers in Zion. Because the youth walked the last leg so quickly, the brisket lunch was not done, so they were given an alternate lunch while the brisket was cooked completely and served on Sunday night.

Even before the video was done, I received a text that said simply, “Well done.” My project was actually almost 17 minutes long, but I was told by more than one person that it could have gone longer. I was so relieved at the response. Even the five or six second mistake where no music at all played with the still pictures near the end of the video could not dampen my spirits. I was so glad it was done on time, was able to be played, and was well received. My husband had to warn me about pride and getting addicted to praise. I came home smiling and unable to stop singing the music from the video.

Another thing that contributed to my high was that the thing that I was wishing for, happened. One of my friends came up to me afterwards and said that when I had walked across the front of the room she had noticed that I was looking really great and she wanted to know what I was doing. Cindy had promised me that after using Isagenix for two weeks I would have someone asking me what I was doing, either because of the weight loss or the high energy and happy disposition. So excited that it came true! Now I just need my toes to appear… that’s the end goal.

Oh! A cool thing happened that has nothing to do with health or church… my big brother moved to Texas. He showed up on Saturday night and rang the doorbell at 10:30pm. He has taken a job in a nearby city and is rooming with some friends who have also come out from California to work a job which may last anywhere from 18 months to 5 years. It is so weird for him to leave and say, “I’ll come back later,” and we are excited to spend time together.

We were able to have dinner together on my birthday, and I don’t think we have been together on my birthday since high school. It is so weird! But in a fun way. It’s too bad that my family lives so far away, but at least absence makes the heart fonder.

My birthday was such a great day. My Facebook wall blew up and I answered every single message left for me. I had texts and visits and presents… I felt like a million bucks. A couple of friends came by with lunch for my kids knowing that I would not be eating. Then they were able to sit and talk which we never seem to have time for. They also brought a homemade cake with coconut flakes dyed green covering the outside. I was told to enjoy it with my family later when I would actually be eating a meal. A few friends came by with thoughtful gifts and cards. I got a gift card to a beauty store. I got a beautiful wax melter thingy with different flavors of wax to make the house smell good. I got some green gum, green mints, and a green Gatorade drink with an open invitation that never expires to visit Utah. That takes the sting out of them moving away, but only a little. My friend who made the cake came back with the gift she grew from seed for me… cilantro, dill, and thyme in planters. To top it off, she brought her daughter’s friend who was not wearing green just so that I could pinch her and make my whole year.

I take great pleasure in pinching people on my birthday. I don’t have to know the people I pinch. Last year, I pinched some people in an elevator. They gave me some pretty strange looks, but I just smile and tell them that it’s my birthday and they should be wearing green. Duh! It’s St. Patrick’s Day! Show some Irish pride.

I know, I’m weird. I also love kitchen appliances. My husband looked around the table as we ate ice cream and cake and asked if anyone felt like there was someone missing. He went into his office and began walking backwards while pulling his office chair along. Sarah leaned to me and said, “This is creepy. Why is Daddy so weird?” When he turned the chair around, there was a big box with a Bosch mixer in it! I think I screamed for a full 30 seconds. Now I can be like my friend RuthAnn and bake ten loaves of bread in one go. She already gave me a kitchen scale for Christmas. Now I just need a grain mill, but I need to calm the kitchen appliance coveter inside me.

My children can further their pioneer experience by grinding wheat for me by hand. Ha!

Rounding Blood Cells

Monday, March 9, 2015

Now that I’ve had my second cleanse, it’s time to add to my list. Apparently, cleansing is the key to releasing toxins and fat. So even though I didn’t lose any weight all week long, dropping the scale 4 more pounds the day after a cleanse is totally normal. And then I watched a video of before and after blood cells of people who have been using Isagenix for 11 days. I guess my blood cells are rounding out while I’m rounding down. Yes, I’m still on the round side. If you saw me at church yesterday and read my last blog post, you were probably thinking it… “her belly is still winning over her chest.” And you would be right, but I feel so good!

Here’s something that showed up in a friend’s feed after she read my blog on Saturday. Super funny timing and a little too close to home. 🙂


Last night it was decided that my two oldest kids and our friends would go running at 7am the next day. I took my husband’s advice and started out walking quickly. My friend and I are both in our 40’s so we are the perfect workout couple–no pressure! I have to say that there is great benefit in attempting to exercise so early in the morning when it’s still mostly dark! No one has to see my struggle–the way my breath comes in gusts and how I can barely run half the track and then have to stop. I am pretty sure we only ran about 3/4 of one lap and then walked three laps. It’s not marathon numbers, but I ran! I speed walked! One mile total! In the rain!

When I got home, I took a shower, made a shake, washed the dishes, cleaned the stove, and began sewing trek bonnets. It’s true that this stuff gives you energy!

A few months ago, I tried walking on the treadmills at the fitness center in our neighborhood. I took my three young ones with me and we walked for about half an hour, messed around with the weight machines and then came home. I had to go back to bed because I was so beat. I think that lasted for a week and then I naturally strayed away from going to work out because I wanted to get more done in the day.

And here I am, almost 10:30 pm and I still haven’t had a nap. In fact, we went ice skating. Yeah, I know! I’m on fire!

Update after week 2:

I have lost 11 pounds total. I measured myself and found that I have lost an inch off my calves, an inch off my bottom, and a few around my waist. I’m very vague with that because I’m not sure if I’m measuring in the right spot. It might be two inches, it might be three, but I did wear a pair of capris today that I did not have to lie on the bed to button. And then once they were buttoned, they did not roll down. Another cool thing is that I wore my boots on Sunday and I usually have to put some umph into getting them zipped, but they zipped up before I could amp up my efforts. I made a surprised, “Ooh!” sound, and Josh looked over and said, “Not the calves!” I’ll admit that I had no goals for calf size, but now I feel like I should set some loftier goals.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Yesterday I cleansed in order to change my Cleanse Days away from the weekend and to avoid not eating during the Stake Youth Trek this week. Now that I know that you drop weight after Cleanse Days, I’m more apt to do them. I was able to follow the schedule closely this time. It’s amazing how doing something every two hours can make things go more smoothly.

I wanted to hit the sack at 11 pm, but needed to get more sewing done beforehand. I made the poor choice of ending my night with a cheesy movie while folding clothes. I ended up sleeping at 3 am and missed my 7 am walk/run this morning. So sad. I wanted to see how much easier it would be to get through that mile. I was bummed to stand up my friend, too. I’m lucky she is so forgiving.

Even though I don’t feel as good as I did on Monday, I still lost another pound and another inch off my waist. And man, did my shake taste good today. I’ve decided that I like rounding out my blood cells.


“Lifestyle Change”

I woke up at 5:30 am without an alarm today. On a Saturday. So here I am writing some things down about my new diet, I mean lifestyle change because I am never up this early on a weekend. My life is changing because of this stuff.

At first, I listened to my friend talking to another friend and noticed the signs of an MLM sale. The vagueness, the promises, the stories, and she’s a teeny, tiny, hottie mc hottie that runs regularly. She says things like, “this is the best nutrition you can give your body” and “you can’t even explain what happens to you, but you feel so good” and “I’m just too lazy to be good to myself and prepare and cook food that can give my body what it needs.” And nothing happens.

A few months later, we are in the car on the way to an assignment and she tells me that she’s cleansing and then eats chocolate and doesn’t share. On the way home, she explains what all she does, but I only hear her say the name of the company once and I think that was an accident. So when I get home, I Google something close to it and I see it pop up the correct name. I do some research and see the positive and the negative reviews. And nothing happens.

A few days later, I am on Facebook, and another friend posts a heartfelt and sincere thank you for getting her started on this amazing journey and life change. She has lost weight and inches in the double digits and feels great. So when my friend calls me, instead of telling her no, I tell her that I am interested, and I begin the process of convincing my husband that I need this stuff. He takes five minutes to text questions and offers alternatives and then finally I see on my phone, “You know I’m going to cave and get you whatever you want, right?” I love my husband. The only unspoken caveat is that I cannot sell this stuff because I promised him I would never join another MLM company when we were first married. Besides, I suck at selling. Anyway, I was feeling like it didn’t matter why or how this stuff works, if it works, it will be worth it to me.

So right before I started, taking this stuff, I was sick for a few days with a stomach flu. Food did not sound good to me at all. I wondered if I would only be able to drink two shakes a day and eat one meal because of my illness. Normally, I love eating–got the body by Blue Bell Ice Cream to prove it. I wondered if I would get sick of drinking two meals a day instead of actually chewing. I worried how everything would taste because I have protein powder in my pantry right now that tastes like grossness unless you blend it with milk, fruit, and sugar. No way would I drink that stuff with only water more than once on purpose. I was worried, but I told myself that this would be a test and I was anxious to get my box of goodies in the mail. The anticipation helped prepare myself mentally for the worst–I practiced telling myself that it might not work so don’t get too excited. I did not drink the happy juice and I was not expecting anything in particular to happen.

First off, I still cooked meals for my family. I noticed right away that I have the habit of shoving things into my mouth while  cooking. I also noticed that when I’m just standing around in the kitchen, I will randomly put things in my mouth whether I’m actually hungry or not. These things I didn’t know about myself until I repeatedly stopped myself because I was now following an actual schedule. Second, being on a schedule reminded me to take my vitamins morning and night. I need iron because I am anemic, but instead of remembering to take it, I usually take a nap at some point in the day because I just get tired. Third, I usually get a headache from driving too much so on the days when I drive downtown (an hour round trip) or when I’m just tired, I ask the kids to take turns rubbing my head and temples. If my niece wasn’t in another state, I would make her do it, too, because she gives the best temple massages. I would have to pay her in stove-made popcorn, though. My kids get paid in being allowed to live. I just ask them what they learned at church (on Sundays) and they tell me about themselves while they are massaging, so really I’m just building our relationships. Win-win!

I measured myself, weighed myself, took pictures with a newspaper, and then had computer issues, so I never entered the 30-day challenge where they give you the chance to win $200 in free product. That would have been a really good thing to enter, but I think I missed the window and I’m too busy with other stuff to check. Anyway, I am 50 pounds overweight. After each kid, I lost weight except for the last 10 pounds. So four kids, forty pounds… I usually count my husband, though, so… five kids, fifty pounds. I do not really care about how much I actually weigh. I do care about how my clothes look when I put them on and mine were starting to get tighter. I think my body was imagining I had another kid. I mean, I look two months pregnant anyway. My only real goal is to be able to stand up straight, turn my head down, and see my toes. That’s it. I want my chest to protrude out farther than my stomach. So many times have I looked at others who are overweight and thought, “See, they have the boobs to balance out that figure. They look great when wearing a belt.” Me? Not so much. I feel like Baymax without the capacity to deflate when necessary.

My box came and I started my new lifestyle on a Friday. When I tasted my very first shake, I was delighted. It was delicious! Granted, it’s not just a protein shake, it has carbs and fats and all that’s supposed to be a balanced meal. And I felt full after drinking it. There’s some other stuff you’re supposed to drink that tastes “nas-gusting” (how Zoe said “disgusting” when she was five which is an actual word in our household now to represent the grossest of the gross). I power through it, but I hear that it comes in powder form which tastes better. Totally looking into that on my next order. I drink lots and lots of water. I just fill up my water bottle repeatedly all day. I know I’m supposed to drink water, but I get lazy and then I hit Sonic during Happy Hour for a Route 44-ounce Coke. I haven’t had a Coke in two weeks and I don’t miss it. Haven’t been craving it or crying about it, and no one in my house was killed or harmed in any way.

So here is what happened my first week…

  1. I did not take a nap except on the second day of cleansing (which was also my 10th day), but I think I was tired from the weekend’s activities.
  2. I did not get a headache all week long and still drove to Houston a couple of times.
  3. I did not force anyone to rub my head. Don’t worry, my children still talked a lot to me.
  4. I cheated on my first night with a couple of scoops of Blue Bell, but I ended up not being able to finish it and gave it to my son, the human disposal.
  5. I drank water all day and took my vitamins morning and night. For an entire week! That never happens on my own.
  6. I lost 7 pounds and a few inches off my belly. My pants fall down unless I wear a belt. My crazy c-section scar looks smoother because the skin isn’t hanging over it. Sorry, TMI, but HA! It’s working!
  7. I ate the chocolates on cleanse days and didn’t share.

My second week…

  1. I am just now noticing that I have not been craving Coke. I did take a few sips of IBC Root Beer that Josh brought home for the kids. The temptation was too great, but I ended up not wanting to finish it.
  2. I am just now noticing that I have not been passing gas like a champ. I mean, you hit 40 and it seems like you go through a crazy amount of changes… farting all the time, getting food stuck in between every single tooth and not just between the ones with the unusually large gap between them–these days I can’t eat a salad and go into public after without brushing my teeth first, having to take pain killers after playing a sport you enjoy. I guess I haven’t had milk in two weeks either and I know some people have given up dairy in order to lose the gas. Maybe that has something to do with it? I haven’t played volleyball yet, but for the first time in many years, I feel like running.
  3. I am getting things done around the house because I cannot be still on a cleanse day or I will eat everything in sight–my appetite has returned in full force, but I get full faster at least.
  4. I cleansed on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday was Fast Sunday (no eating or drinking for two meals). I didn’t think I could make it through the day, so I ate regularly. I felt the worst ever and decided that I was no good on my own. I need the system and schedule.
  5. I am getting better sleep. I wake up at 5:15 am every morning to take my oldest two kids to seminary every weekday. I guess my body didn’t know today was Saturday, so I woke up on my own. I used to be able to do that growing up. I would tell myself what time to get up the next day, and my body would listen. Haven’t been able to do that in years.
  6. I didn’t lose any weight, but didn’t gain it all back either. I haven’t measured myself yet, so I don’t know if I lost any more inches. I don’t think so. Everything does look firmer in the mirror right before I jump in the shower, though.

So here I am starting my second week cleanse. They say you can do one or two days, but two days is better. I think I messed up on my first 2-day cleanse because it was a busy weekend and I was gone from home a lot. Today I am going to see if I can follow it more closely. I can’t wait to eat the chocolates.

Things are definitely happening.


I made homemade hummus for the first time this morning. I think the one pound bag of dry chickpeas has been in my pantry for a few months now. I checked Pinterest for a recipe and decided on following Alton Brown’s Hummus For Real recipe on the Food Network website.

It turned out pretty well. I mean, it looks like it does in the picture. It was really easy to make. The hardest part was stirring the tahini. Who knew that little tiny sesame seeds could bring out the blood, sweat and tears of a person when they are in a pureed form? It was tough!

I think it needs something… like a yummy topping similar to what they do in the center of the store-bought ones. Maybe some roasted garlic chopped up with almonds? Any suggestions? Time to go look on Pinterest again.

Too bad no one in my family likes hummus. Before he tried it, my 15-year-old said that hummus is one step down from Vegemite. I had to make him try it to see if a homemade version of the stuff would change his mind, and it did! He kind of, almost, just a little bit likes it now.

Still, one pound of dry chickpeas makes a LOT of hummus. It filled the food processor just about to the brim. Anyone out there want to try it? I’ll bring you some. Text me.

Really. I need help.