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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Not Gonna Take That Opinion

I went to the doctor the other day.
My arthritis has really been raging
and my allergies are LIKE
way out of control- which is causing
a whole myriad of issues that I
would like to get under control!
So I took this opportunity to try
out a new doctor...

I am desperately searching for a
local doctor that can handle my
health & my wellness!!

I take my health care a little like the good ole'
Donny & Marie song,
"I'm a little bit country,
and a little bit Rock n' Roll"
but more like,
"I want a little bit Western medicine
 Doctor_office : Smiling Confident Doctor and Nurse on doctor s office background Stock Photo
and a little bit Eastern thought"

Stack of stones,tissue salt and flower photo

I have a health issue-
but I don't want it to define
me in any way-
but it's there, and it has
to be considered when thinking
about the whole me-
but let me say again-

There is a very fine line,
and a very special balance
between the two...

So I am looking for a doctor who
can manage my lupus,
but more importantly can support my
personal health & wellness goals.

I had just such a doctor in CA,
and she was a gem,
but I just can't seem to find one here
YET! It'll come, I know!

But in the search,
I have found some real doozies!!
(is that a real word?)

The guy I saw a few days ago,
was one such doozie!
After making me wait over an hour
(that don't impressa me much)
and proceeding to talk about
everything that didn't matter to me,
he explained that the reason I don't feel
quite as well here in TX as I did in CA
is because of the constantly changing
barometric pressure,
especially here in North Texas!

Okay, okay, I can believe that weather
plays a PART to how I feel!
He should have stopped there,
I MAY have gone back for a follow up!

But poor guy,
opened his mouth again
(oh such a mistake)
and said the absolutely
to me-
"I'm afraid that here in North Texas,
this is as good as your gonna get!"
"Umm, what did you say??"
"Oh, sir, you don't know me very well,
this ain't as good as it gets BUDDY"

Don't, I mean, DO NOT
ever take "this is as good as it gets"
as an answer in ANY part of your life.
If I share one piece of information
that is very valuable concerning
health and wellness, it is this-
If you don't like the advice,
it isn't for YOU!!
What sounds ok to one person,
is not ok for another!!

You and ONLY YOU own your
health! Take control, be picky
about who you allow to handle your
Know your body, and if you don't-
get to know it.
 Austria,Salzburg,Flachau,Young woman smelling herbal oil photo
We get one body, and it is precious.

Being knee deep in flare ups for the past
10 years has taught me one of the most
important lessons of all-
this body is a gift,
a beautiful gift-
it houses a beautiful spirit
full of more good than any of us
can even imagine!
Treat your body good, respect it,
love it and NEVER abuse it!!
If you do that-
you will know NO limitations
spiritually, mentally and physically!

Take a minute and ponder that truth-
and maybe take a minute to think
of all the good that this body has given you!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Maple Glazed Almonds

Do you ever crave something?
I mean CRAVE something????

And then do you ever
panic when you go to make it
and you don't have what you need?

This happened to me today.
I wanted a salad with Glazed Cashews-
I toast them in a pan with a VERY small amount of butter,
when they are getting a pretty golden color,
I add in some agave nectar-
they get this yummy, crunchy, sweet flavor
and they taste AMAZING on any salad,

one of my favorites can be found here

I had no Agave,
and I only had salted cashews...

But I'd already made the salad
and I was hungry-

So I went made two substitutions
to a three ingredient recipe
(technically, is that even a recipe)
I used Slivered Almonds instead of Cashews
and Organic Pure Maple Syrup

I was NOT disappointed-
they were so Yummy!

I topped the salad with equal parts of
Grapeseed Oil and Cranberry Balsamic Vinegar

(I've mixed the Cranberry Balsamic with Black Currant
Balsamic and then used an equal portion of Olive Oil too)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Orange Zested Sugar Snap Peas

Oh sweet wonderful oranges,
and limes & lemons-
Yes ma'am, I do,
I love Citrus,
I love the colors, the smells,
the juices, the flavor.

I even love the smell
of the citrus trees in bloom!
Yes, yes it's true,
I love Citrus.

I love to add citrus zests when
I cook and prepare food.
We use it in our salad dressings,
we use it in our sweet treats,
and we almost always add
a zip of citrus to our fresh juices

Behold the ingredients to my favorite Juice; beets, apples, lemon & ginger
and smoothies!
Strawberries, Lemon & Banana!
I've been trying to increase my veggie intake
to try to lose the dumb 5 pounds I found during
a crazy, crazy August of travel, kids and school stuff.
This is one of my favorite, quick, easy and
wonderful veggie dishes.
I make a big batch and munch on them all day-
it keeps me out of the M&M's and Chocolate Chips
that have no place in my house anyway!
See 'em up there at the top! Oh, mummy, they're yummy!
It's another one of those recipes that
I feel almost silly sharing because it
is soooo easy-
but oh soooo yummy!

This recipe makes a wonderful companion
to a simple family dinner as well
as a delightful side for any special occasion-

I have served it at home, at church functions,
and for big groups-

it's a winner that's for sure!

Orange Zested Sugar Snap Peas

2 pounds Sugar Snap Peas
2 TBSP. butter
Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
1 orange

I use a saute pan;
Add sugar snap peas with 
a very small amount of water,
just enough to allow steaming,
add the juice of 1/2 the orange 
and the sea salt (I use Maldon sea salt flakes)
and cook for maybe 2 or 3 minutes.
I like my veggies al dente,
cook longer if you want them a little
more cooked.
When cooked to your liking,
zest the orange onto the beans
and top with butter.
Stir and serve!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Small & Simple

I read this quote a few weeks ago-
     "A life is not important
       except in the impact it
      has on others"

Two beautiful women enjoying the simple joy of being together
It has totally had a HUGE impact on my heart!

This idea is something I think about a lot-

My daughter is currently dedicating her time
to full time service as a missionary for our church-
But she's NOT doing anything HUGE or GRANDIOSE-
She is simply serving the people she meets,
showing beauty to people that they've forgotten they have,
and spreading a message of LOVE & HOPE!
Spreading this sweet smile across the Alps
My mom was AWESOME at the impact she
left on people's hearts.
I didn't realize this when she was alive,
but in letters I received after her death,
it became apparent that the one common
trait that ALL of her friends loved about her
was that she was always thinking of others,
thinking of ways to serve, to care
and to show her love for those around her.

No one was an underdog when my mom
was around-

I think people like this are a rarity these days.
It's a busy, all consuming world-

We've moved a lot in our marriage-
It's kind of easy to feel a little
unneeded when you are a lot unknown.
As a result I've really wondered if I will
leave the impact that I should
or that I would like to leave.

Hubby and I have been talking about this lately
as he is feeling WAY overwhelmed with new
work and church responsibilities. He feels a little
like the well for water is dry-
How do you give when you have nothing left to offer??

Well, today at the gym, I was hit with an overwhelming
gratitude for the simplest act you can even imagine!
It reminded me of the adage
     "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass"

A simple flower and warm, fuzzy socks helped when a very homesick daughter needed to feel loved
I was doing something and all of a sudden my neck
kinked up, my back locked up and I couldn't GET UP!!

As I struggled out of the gym,
a friend (who I only socialize with at the gym)
ran after me to see if I was ok-
Another followed with ibuprofen
and another followed with ice and advice to get
through the rest of the day-

To me,
at this moment in time,
these SUPER SIMPLE acts of service were HUGE-
but to these women,
I can almost be sure they seemed like NOTHING!

Taking flowers to a lonely and sad friend
When I got home,
hubby had completely cleaned up the breakfast dishes
that I created!
I was running late and left the kitchen a mess,
so he stayed long enough to get things put away,
dishes done
and counters washed off-

He knows I hate coming home to crusty dishes,
so he took the extra time to clean up for me.
He had no idea I would hurt myself at the gym,
no idea I would come home and want to rest-

When I thanked him,
he said it "Your welcome, it was no big deal",
it took him less than 5 minutes-

To me, this was worth far more
then the 5 minutes-
it was a priceless gift that allowed me
the ability to relax,
ice my neck
and recover from a massive migraine!
No Big Deal, MY FOOT!
Double Rainbows always remind me that great things ALWAYS follow a Storm
So I wonder,
how often do we give something so simple away
that we don't even realize we have just been
the answer to someones prayer,
the life line they've been pleading for,
the ray of hope that someone needs to move one step forward?
A quick hike to a beautiful place helped erase the emotions of a disappointing week
If you're like me,
stop underestimating how BIG
those Small and Simple things can be-

A million dollars couldn't have bought the joy we felt this unexpected SNOW filled day

Friday, September 13, 2013

My Mom's Kitchen

It is something simple,
but I had a huge hankering
for a BLT sandwich a few weeks ago-

It was completely crazy what your brain
can do sometimes,
in my case convince me to eat something
based on my memories-

Read about my BLT memory of my mom here

BLT on Steroids- Seriously So Good

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Grad School or Yoga?

I have wanted to go back
and get my Graduate Degree
for about as long as I can remember-
which nowadays, ain't that long

After years of praying and pondering,
it finally felt like the right time and I jumped.
I decided, applied to grad school, got accepted,
enrolled in classes and started my first day
all in a matter of a few short weeks!!

I was so excited,
I had dreams,
I had vision,
and I had nerves going everywhere-
but I was convinced I was
right where I wanted to be-

And then something unexpected happened
and I didn't LOVE it-
I was doing fine, learning lots,
getting good grades and
lots of commendation for my thoughts and ideas-
I am a FIRM believer that if you don't love
what you are doing-
you should stop doing it-
It's a mantra I live by wholeheartedly!

So I was freaking out a little-
actually A LOT-
like all summer long lots!!

After more prayer than I can count
more late night discussions with my hubby
PRO's and CON's lists a mile long-
I made a decision and offered up one final prayer-

I chose to NOT go back to school fall semester
and pour my heart and soul into OTHER things
that I have wanted to do for years.
If Heavenly Father has something He wants me to do,
I explained that this would be a good time to point me
in the direction He needs me to go-

If I find something
If not, I go back to school and

I have struggled with this decision
well, you know,
I am 43 years old
and apparently don't know what I want to be when
I grow up!
But I hear that's not too uncommon

So with faith, I moved forward
and within a few days I was drawn to YOGA
more specifically,
Yoga teacher training-
which I also have wanted to do for several years

yoga on the beach in destin, florida
Miraculously, there was a program that I could enroll in
and have completed before Spring Semester starts in January-
I'm super excited,
though I feel a little weird when I tell my
Academia focused friends-
they look at me like I've just announced that
I'm going to Pixie School to earn my pixie dust!

It going to take a lot of faith
to trust in some unseen path,
but this is something I learned from
my 17 year old daughter this year-

I am on a journey that leads to great and
wonderful things for me, my family
and each and every person that touches my life-

Now if you'll excuse me,
I need to go find my yellow brick road!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Day For Heroes

A few months ago,
my husband and I walked into a theater
for date night to see a movie that neither
of us had heard of.
It was a sport movie, so hubby was excited.
It was date night, so I was up for anything
as long as it involved a treat!!
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives" Jackie Robinson

The movie was about this athlete and
how much he had to endure to become
who he was- and he was one of the GREATS!

Last weekend we went to see another movie
that left me feeling a little cheated.
It was a movie that covered the life of a man
during the later years of Southern servitude,
segregation and racial hostilities.

I didn't feel cheated by the story line or the
accuracy of the film-
I felt cheated because at the very end,
when we had a chance to see the impact
this man's family had on history-
the producers turned the movie into
a political statement-

Now, I'm seriously not here to post about
politics, social issues, or even opinions-

But today, September 11, my heart has been
touched by some of the clips, songs and stories
of the attacks on America 12 years ago.


I have been pondering all day why I get so
emotional in movies that highlight the stories
of great people who overcame horrific hardship-
When I say I get emotional,

This morning I realized why I didn't like the
most recent movie I saw, why I LOVED the
first movie I mentioned and why I cry at
Country Western songs and so many other things!
I love a hero story-
I know there has been so much suffering in this world
and I don't have any intention of minimizing that-

but this is a world of heroes!! And that's what I love!
I love a story where someone took lemons
and made lemonade.
I love a story where the underdog comes out ahead.
Not rose colored glasses kind of love either-
I realize with 100% awareness that heroes are
made out of hardship
and most of the time, the hero in them
was a choice NOT because they had
super hero training
Pioneers hoping for a better life for their families

This is the admiration of someone who knows how
hard it is to wake up in the morning when all hope
seems to be lost!
But there is a choice group of people
who when all else seems to be falling apart-
they get to work and BECOME a hero. 

Sad as it is,
hardship happens to the best of us-
tragedy impacts or lives whether we like it or not-

but out of hardship, trial, adversity, sin,
warfare, cruelty, persecution and ignorance
HEROES are made out of normal men and women.

I ask myself every day,
would I have the strength and the courage to stand
for something when everything around me
was pushing me down

I hope I would
and I know we ALL could-

Happy Heroes Day
a day to celebrate the brave men and women
who often give their lives for something they believe in!

What I GET to be!

When I was a young mom,
in the days of feeling overwhelmed,
frazzled and exhausted-
Not all mine, but my house often had more people than we could count
I had a dear friend who told me
to enjoy EVERY day that I have
the privilege of raising my children.
Her reason-
'because one day they grow up and
move away

Proof that they do go away- leaving for an 18 month church mission
and you are left wondering how the
time slipped so quickly away'.
Many a day chaperoning field trips
I am going to be honest and confess
that at the time, I looked at her and thought
'buddy, you're off your rocker'

But not long after,
on a particularly frustrating day,
I stopped and thought about what she said.
And I realized that the wisdom in her
sentiment was the secret clue to mothering
(and parenting)

I changed my perspective from thinking
in terms of 'Everything I have to do in my day"
to thinking of "Everything I get to do in my day"

This helped me a ton to realize that being
with my kids; serving them, playing with them,
being present when they need it most-
all of that is a privilege, a blessing and a gift.
I met some amazing people through classroom volunteering
Just recently, one of my college kids needed
me to cover some expenses that had not been
adequately budgeted for. The money HAD been
there, BUT some really cute clothes, in some
really cute stores seemed to have gotten in the way!

I was a hair irritated,
(to say the least) and was a little less than
wonderful when I had to write the check-

As plain as can be, I had the realization that for
YEARS while I've been raising my children,
I have prayed that we would have the resources to
help them if they ever need it- time, money, talents-
whatever they would need, I pleaded that we
would have the ability to aid them in their
personal development-

Leaving two kids at USU this fall... man do I miss them
and here was a child,
who needed some help
and I had the means to help
AND YET, I was grumbling!!!

Boy oh BOY,
did this message strike me to the core?!

I realized that all the little things we do for our
children and our families can seem really
annoying and bothersome
and it's easy to feel like more like a servant than a
contributing member of society--

Just today, I had to take two lunches to kids at
school because they had left them on the counter-
This used to upset me so much-
I'd go the whole "natural consequences" direction
(if it was recurrent, I would try to fix it)
and refuse to bring the lunches!

The thing is,
I'm a stay at home mom-
have been for 20+ years-
I've played, frolicked, napped
and enjoyed so many WONDERFUL days
because of my MOMHOOD-
why would I have any time to fret
the times I am asked to be up to 
bat to score one for the team??
One more at USU
Mommy-ing can be a little exhausting and
it can seem very thankless at times-

but try to switch your perspective from
everything you have to do each day
(especially those things you have to do
EVERY day)
and focus your attention on all the great
things you GET to BE-
a friend, a confidant, a healer, a hero,
a day rescuer, a wiz at knowing the answer,
a game player, a sounding board
and more important than anything else

an example of EVERYTHING good & virtuous

Here's to MOM's everywhere!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hurry Up & Wait

I was in a big, all-purpose store the other day-
Maybe you've been there,
it's the one where no matter what's on your list
or how short your list is,
you can't make it out of there
spending less than $75.00!
strawberry pickin' circa 2004
I heard a mom say,
"Connor*, come on"
and cute little Connor replied with the phrase
that I hear more than any other-
"WAIT, mom"
He was occupied looking at something
or something else-
I'm pretty sure he didn't even know what he
was looking for,
he just knew something had caught his eye.
*Names have been changed due to my bad memory*

The word "Wait" comes out my youngest kiddos mouth
And sometimes it drives me crazy- 
Unfortunately, I catch myself a lot saying
"I don't want to wait- how about 'RIGHT NOW"
*not my finest parenting :(

There was an online article that traveled around
Facebook a lot a few weeks ago-
The post that went along with it read something like,
"What's the worst word you can use with your kids- 'Hurry'"
time to hang around!!
I'm going to step out right now and declare-
I didn't open the article, I didn't read one word-
but I have imagined many times what it might have said!

There is a lot that we tell our children when we say "hurry"
and it's not always the message we want to send.

So when I heard the same one word declaration, 
that I often hear from my own son
I couldn't help but think of the complexity of those two words
Elder L. Tom Perry spoke at the BYU commencement 
and encouraged graduates to seek balance in their lives 
as they move forward into adulthood:
        “The choices you make will make all of the difference in 
         what you want to achieve,” he said. “With all of these new 
         decisions and challenges before you, could I encourage you 
         to seek and find a balance in your future life.” 

Finding the balance between HURRY and WAIT is more important 
than we realize. I find it not at all surprising that you most often 
hear adults say "Hurry" and young children say "Wait"!

But there is beauty and wonder in "Wait"
A beauty that can only be seen when we 
slow down to take a minute to really live a
life worth living. The life worth living can
be found on walks in the park,

A special blessing to catch two kiddos sharing a little love & joy
or at the beach
Nothing to do but ride the waves

or in a garden
Nothing better than wild berries growing and bursting
 and even on the way to school,
I am so grateful for the people with green thumbs so I can enjoy beautiful flowers

Life is about beauty,

Duluth, MN- we would drive 2 hours just to enjoy some WAIT time!

it is about joy
... and don't ever forget it!

Don't let the HURRY up in you
get in the way of seeing the WAIT
that is there for our pleasure-

The WAIT is the tender mercies that 
The Lord puts in our paths
each and every day-
every moment of every hour
to boost us when we are feeling low
or give us hope when we are feeling fear!

Next time you get ready to say "Hurry Up"
count to TEN and LOOK around-
Take a moment to WAIT-
because I promise, that is ALL it really takes
to see the beauty of the right here and right NOW!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Save Me Some... Granola

I posted this Granola Recipe on
My other blog

I decided to share it here as well.
I really do love this  recipe for a
good, all natural, better for me

I have been avoiding Wheat and Wheat Products
for quite some time.
I can tell within two days when I am cheating
because my fingers and knees HURT,
my ankles and hands swell and I feel all over ACHY!

I can tell I've gone really too far outside of my
eating goals when my ears start to itch, my nose runs
and I break out in an all over rash (this is usually when
I am eating wheat and sugar). Add in soy to the mix
and you will quickly find me in an all over body rash
that has an itch to it that rivals poison ivy-
Though there is NO WAY
(at least that I know of)
to prove that preservatives and additives also make
me sick (its hard to find a food with preservatives that
does NOT contain one of the aforementioned products).

For me, this ain't NO DIET TREND-
it's a Quality of Life Trend!

But anytime someone asks me for menu ideas for
going Gluten Free, I panic just a little bit-
Gluten Free is a much bigger topic than simply
avoiding wheat products-
Gluten can be found in a wide range of products,
including make-up and deli meats.
For our friends with Celiac Disease (an auto-immune
disorder that causes damage- to the small intestine and
disrupts the absorption of foods; gluten is responsible
for the damage) being gluten free isn't a trend or a
dietary statement, it is a way of life.
I also highly advise those with Lupus or Crohn's Disease
to avoid gluten as much as you possibly can!

I can't guarantee the Gluten Free-edness of this
Granola Recipe-
BUT I can totally guarantee the YUMMY factor
that this recipe holds-

Really, granola is about as individual as the person
who makes it. Add whatever you like as fillers, I'm just
sharing my favorites.
I know you can buy granola at the store-
and it may even be comparable in cost-
But for me-
there is nothing like knowing what is in the food
that I eat and what I feed my kiddos!

It's a simple recipe, use whatever add ins you like best.
I love that this has no junk in it- it's just good for me,
good for you, good tasting...
It's simple Goodness
Now for Goodness Sakes go make some quick before
the kids get home from school!

Save Me Some... Granola

8 cups oats
1/2 cup brown sugar (I use coconut sugar or sucanat)
2 cups add ins *
*** Mix these ingredients together.

In a small pan, combine
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup water
*** Heat these four ingredients until butter melts
(P.S. The last time I made this,
I added some cranberry balsamic vinegar that I LOVE-
the granola had a darker color, but tasted so good)

Pour over the oat and yumminess mixture.
Divide between 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper
My 12 year old made this batch. How easy is that?
Bake at 300 for 30 minutes (I almost always
cook it longer than that!
Store and Enjoy

Makes me want to grab a ramekin and dish up...

Oooops! I guess I did grab a ramekin...
* Really, the sky is the limit for add ins.
If you like it,
I say it is fair game for granola!
My favorite mix ins include, but are not limited to...
Sunflower Seeds, Flax Seeds, Pignolias

Chopped Pecans & Large Flake Unsweetened Coconut

Coconut Oil & Pure Maple Syrup
Extra Thick Rolled Oats & Dried Berry Medley

The Complete Cast of Characters...