Monday, April 30, 2012

Inspired and Refreshed

I was able to take a little (and much needed) sabbatical and go to Women's Conference for LDS women in Utah this past week. The stadium was packed with 15,000 plus amazing women. It is overwhelming. I looked around and contemplated all the good that there is in the world. The mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, etc. that filled the room with the desire to be better and to be inspired. I wish I could have taken you all with me! You come home with a motivation to be better and refreshed to handle the joys of motherhood.  

As part of the conference, you select classes to take each day on a myriad of topics. I had some wonderful speakers and came home with a great little notebook full of quotes and lessons to apply. The messages were basic but spoke to me in plain words that I needed to hear:

Choose Joy, no matter what circumstance you are going through.

We are here to unify and strengthen others. We should pray daily to be an answer to someone else's prayers.

We should never judge another. We should support and love.

Appreciate the daily gifts from God. 

Work. It is better to dig a hole and fill it in again then to do nothing. 

Be a builder, Emphasize what is positive in others.

The Lord puts us in the proximity of others on Purpose.

Exchange enmity with empathy.

I thought about how I may judge others when they don't think like I do or believe what I believe. I came home with my tail between my legs with a resolve to be a better  friend to those around me. I thought about how many times in my life people have been placed in close proximity of me for a purpose. We all go through trials in our life and it is up to us to use those experiences to help others. We need to pray daily to be an answer to someone else's prayers. We all need each other. 

Thank you my sweet family for letting me go, for keeping the house in order and the garden alive. Thank you to my Utah family for being such gracious hosts. I did nothing. They served me breakfast and dinner. Drove me and picked me up. I was spoiled beyond belief. It was pure heaven. 

I couldn't wait to come home and play in my garden. My fingernails are dirty but worth the payoff today. Here is a little glimpse of what was collected today:

Before I left, I had my first backyard omelet of the season. A fresh chicken egg,a zucchini, tomato and onion. It was so delicious and vibrant. Hope you are all having garden success! I have some struggling heirloom tomatoes but all else is going well. It takes daily attention to keep things growing right but it is so worth it in the end!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Planting Potatoes

Under my soon-to-be cantaloupe trellis, I have a patch of dirt ready for some planting. The ground is rich and fertile and really a perfect setting for some potatoes. I will pick them young so they don't need to grow too long. Potatoes take awhile. The best thing is that you have what you need to plant just sitting in the pantry!

You know those shriveled little potatoes with roots sticking out? Yep. Those are your seeds. Cut them into about 1 inch chunks with at least one eye (root) on each cube. I do this at night and let them sit out overnight to dry out a bit. 

In the morning, I dig a little 4-6 inch trench and space them about 5 inches apart. Cover them and keep them well watered.

A green little bush will emerge and the potatoes will grow underneath in clusters. As the potatoes start to get above ground, cover them in mulch, hay or more dirt. Keep doing this until the green tops start to shrivel and die. Then you know they are ready. 

So easy. You can use any kind of potato you want. I used some creamy gold potatoes that I had from the Backyard Farmer. I want to do some sweet potatoes as well but I might do those in some burlap sacks on the side of the garden.....just for fun. Everything is growing amazingly well. I give the credit to good mulch, my fertilizer from the Backyard Farmer and fish/sea weed fertilizer. The tomato plants are so full of tomatoes that I could probably live off one plant alone! 

In case you didn't catch this film I posted on facebook, watch it now! It is long but so inspiring about gardening. I can't wait to totally farm this way. I am on my way. I dug up more mulch that very day to cover my garden beds. Watch it here:

Sorry for the iPhone quality picture but I had to snap this. I had picked several long stalks of celery for our soup and had the tops left on the counter. When I came in to the kitchen, I saw Tate going to town on the tops of them. This was the 4th one. When he saw me, he thought he was in trouble! This is a testament to anyone that kids will eat veggies if you teach them. This is the child, with Autism, who had to be force fed for the first few years of life. I had to put food in his mouth and force it closed. Autism causes all sorts of textural and sensory issues. I wasn't going to allow that to be a crutch for him. He was going to eat normally come Hell or high water. We went through both but he came out of it strong and better for it. I have a friend who son has Autism and she brings him a corn dog to school every day , for years, since that is all he will eat. They can be taught. Same with every child out there. Make them eat their veggies! They will learn and they will learn to like them. Celery tops. Really. They were even bitter. He loved them.

As a side note, you know when the lettuce and celery get bitter when it gets warm? Well, soak them in water and some white vinegar and they taste great again! My celery is huge and still yummy! I am still cutting lettuce daily as well. 

Have a great one!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Women Stuff....yeast questions.

So I stirred up a few emails with my last post. Many found a good connection between health issues they were having and possible yeast issues. I have posted about this in depth before so you can read more about yeast here: (part 1)

And here: (part 2)

I had recommended some cleanses on those posts but there are a few more that I rotate in to the mix. Starting with the Feel Good Foods cleanse is great since it gives you a colon cleanse and glutamine as well. It will last you a couple months. I am huge into rotating supplements as the body gets used to a certain herb. I then go to a supplement called Kolorex which can be found online at Amazon for much cheaper than at my naturopath. She is seeing great results with this product on yeast and she does the tests to prove it. I did that for a month but would recommend two months. 

After that, I rotate in the New Beginnings herbal liquid drops or you can go back to the Feel good foods. There is a 4 pack of garlic, Uva Ursi, Golden Seal and Black Walnut from New Beginnings. You rotate those on a 5 day rotation. 

With yeast, if you aren't committed to sticking with it for months, you are just going to let it keep coming back to haunt you. You need a probiotic as well at night to help the good bacteria flourish and replace the empty yeast spots. 

Sugars and bread will feed yeast so eat a little better when trying to kill yeast. 

In addition to killing yeast, I take 2 B complex in the morning, 1 Milk Thistle capsule for a liver cleanse and 1 T. of Cod liver oil. 

At night, I take 1 milk thistle along with the yeast supplement and a probiotic at bedtime. You want to take the yeast supplement at dinner and the probiotic at night. 

Sometimes I forget and only take the yeast supplement in the morning. After you have done it for a few months, you can get away with just a morning dosage if you forget. 

So, there you go. That is my routine. 

I can order supplements this week if anyone is interested. 

B complex is $26
Feel Good Foods kit is $70
New Beginnings kit is $85
Cod liver oil is $32
Milk Thistle is $20
Probioitics $49

If funds are low but you want to do something, just start with Kolorex and a probiotic. I would highly recommend B complex for all my ladies! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Women Stuff.

As I have gone on in years, my special time of month has brought me more and more misery. I get grumpy, the house will never be clean enough, major cramps and the special time is twice as long and comes much earlier. Yuck. So, in my reasoning, I thought there must be two reasons this is happening. Most people will just say it just happens as you get older and leave it at that. My brain tells me there is always a reason and if there is a reason, I should be able to fix it. 

So, I went with two possibilities that are probably coexisting together: yeast issues and hormones. To fix it, I have been doing a yeast cleanse, liver cleanse and lots of B complex. Yesterday, after doing this for a few months now, I realized; hey! I haven't had any cramps, mood swings or bloating in 3 months! Nothing! I hardly even noticed my special visitor! Amazing and wonderful at the same time! I feel so much better.

Another connection to yeast has been my wrist issues. For several years I have had joint pain in my wrists. I even had an MRI done and they saw cysts in the joints. It was to the point where I couldn't even bend my wrists to push myself out of bed. I even had a cortisone shot in one of them; never, ever again! I asked what the cysts were and they told me that we just get them sometime. Whatever. Don't buy it. You could physically see bumps on my wrists. I had had them for a good 5+ years. In my reasoning again, I thought, hey! Why could that yucky goop filled cyst not be yeast? Yeast collects in our joints and that causes pain. So, after doing the yeast cleanse a few times, guess what? No cysts. No joint pain. Nothing! I just realized this as well a few weeks ago. I can do a push up without a closed fist. I can crack my kids back with a flat hand. 

I am amazed how the body speaks to us if we are listening. It can be healed. Arthritis, cysts, blood sugar issues, stomach issues, anxiety, allergies, acne, eczema, asthma, Autism, etc., all fixed by natural healing in this house. No drugs. A little dedication. Some supplements. Some research. Some inspiration. Some faith. Blessings. Health. Happiness.

The problem is most of us want the pill. We want it fast. Even if we do a cleanse of sorts, we end it too quickly (guilty) or give up if we see the unfavorable reaction of the body at first (guilty). I felt like I had the stomach flu for 2 weeks and I had horrible joint pain in my hips. It was a sure sign of the yeast being pulled out of my joints. But, this time, I stuck with it. This time I suffered through the misery believing I would see blessings in the end. Boy did it pay off. 

If you have yeast problems, a 2 week or one month cleanse won't cure you. You need to be on a treatment for 6 months at least and spot treating it after that. Yeast is stubborn. It will come back and must be monitored. 

Hormones are greatly affected by yeast and B vitamin deficiencies. Adding B complex to your morning routine along with Zinc and Cod oil will do wonders. If you are particularly stressed , you need more B complex. You can't OD on the B vitamins as they will come out in your urine. I take two capsules every morning. I take the Cod oil for my joint health and for  many other reasons. I take a couple herbal supplements for yeast in the morning and night and a good probiotic as well. 

Take care of yourself, ladies. Don't settle for feeling old just because you are getting older. You can feel good. I promise. It just takes a little work and determination. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hail to an open day

Today's moment of gratitude is actually yesterday's since I never got around to posting. So much for posting a gratitude moment everyday. I have been thinking about my happy thoughts, it just doesn't always get put to post.

Monday's are a lovely day for me. It is my catch up day but there is almost always something filling in the calendar just enough to stifle all the projects I want to get done. Yesterday, I woke up, looked at the calendar and the heavens sang. Nothing. Not one thing was on the calendar. I immediately started to compile a to do list. I rarely ever do this anymore since I don't really want to see what I need to do. Today I was determined to get it all done. 

I got to the gym and came home ready to conquer it all. I finished almost all on this list by noon. It is amazing how much you can get done with motivation, no kids at home and nothing else in the way. I made another list of to do's and got most of those done as well. 

Such a joyous day! I even had time to go admire my garden. Look what I found:

This cute little Amish Paste tomato is just about ready! I am so excited. First of the season! I have dreams of my kids having a little farmers market out front during the summer. Hopefully the garden will oblige. 

The peas are about ready to give out so the next crop is ready to take it's place. Since I didn't want to pull out the peas until the very last pea is ready, I plant pole beans under them so when the peas are pulled, the pole beans are ready to climb:

It is working out nicely.

Today was also a pretty good day. I have been trying hard to really drink in the daily moments of gratitude. There are so many and when you are looking for them, there seems to be even more. The preschoolers were well behaved today. My kids are all healthy and mostly happy, (Tate could be a little more pleasurable today), My car is ready for pick up with a much less repair bill than anticipated and my husband will be home to do the baseball thing tonight. I really don't know what dinner is going to be and it is already 5 so something magical is about to happen in the kitchen. I hope. 

Hope your day had happy moments as well. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012


A few short hours after I had written my post about Stephanie and her sweet new arrival, her new book arrived at my doorstep in the Amazon box. I was excited to read it but really had no idea how wonderful and inspiring it really would be. 

While dinner was in the pressure cooker, I started to read it and knew instantly that this was going to be a one dayer. Just like Twilight or Hunger Games, I was going to finish this baby in a 24 hour period. Diner was ready so I had to put it down, then went to the ball game then got kids to bed. As soon as the house was quiet, I pulled it out again and read until the early hours of the morning. I awoke with puffy eyes and rashy skin from the salt water tears that flowed down my face as I read. I awoke with the immense love for motherhood; something that echoed in everything Stephanie did and lived for.

I cried in this book not so much for what Stephanie went through in terms of pain (because I had already done that when I first learned about her accident), but for what she suffered from not being able to care for her family.

The only thing I really wanted to do in this life is to become a mother and a wife. I dreamed of my babies to come and my handsome prince that would give them to me. I couldn't wait to nurture them and serve them. I knew it was my purpose in this life and was ready to take it all on.

Motherhood is such an immense honor and privilege and a badge I wear with sacredness. My greatest fear in this world is to not have the ability to care for them. So, when I read Stephanie's book about how her crippled body left her with the inability to care for her children, I couldn't help but put myself in her shoes. I remember one pregnancy where the Dr. had told me I would possibly face bed rest for a few months. I came home absolutely devastated. I couldn't imagine not being able to do laundry or make breakfast. I couldn't imagine sitting there and letting someone else take care of my family. Stephanie lived this day after day. Because this was her sole desire in this life and divine purpose, she lived and became stronger and fought through the pain to be the mother she wanted.

So I awoke yesterday thinking about Stephanie and what an example she is to every mother out there.  I admired her dedication to the sacred role of motherhood and knew what an honor and blessing this role is for me.

It was Fathers and Sons outing commencing yesterday where dads in our neighboring church take the boys on an overnight camp out. My daughter and I look forward to this all year. It is our time to be alone and do the girly things. We started with lunch then shopping and I ran into my dear friend that I hadn't seen in 20+ years. As we talked, my heart became heavy as we talked about many of our friends right now who have put motherhood on the backseat, to say the least. They have sought the world and left their children in the dust. They have forgotten the sacredness of the role of motherhood and these children will pay that high price of their decision. I don't understand how that can even be possible. I try really hard not to judge, really hard, but family is the true treasure on this earth. It should be our driving force. It should be our purpose and our focus. Families are what will make us truly happy, not money or beauty. I am so sad that so many right now are forgetting this. 

I am beyond thankful this day for my ability to mother. I love my family more than words can tell. Sure, it isn't always a picnic. It can be hard, exhausting, overwhelming, frustrating, and just not plain fun some days but as I think about the happiness it brings to me to love them and be their mother, there is no other thing in this world that could bring me that joy and peace. It is a joy that will be eternal if we allow it to be. It is a choice to find happiness in motherhood. It shouldn't be a chore. It should be a privilege. We should never, ever forget that.

Anyone who is struggling with their role as women should read Stephanie's book. If they struggle with self image, motherhood, spirituality, marriage and happiness in general; read this book. If you want to be uplifted and hopeful; read this book. She had to choose everyday to be happy. She had to choose to overcome despair and depression and fight to keep her role as mother and wife sacred.

My favorite quote from her was in her epilogue:

     "Happiness was my choice, and though it is hard won, I am the only person who can stand in the way of it."

I love that. Happiness is a choice. It is not given to us by worldly things. It doesn't depend on how much we make or if our house is clean and our children are perfect. Happiness depends on choosing to allow it to be in our hearts. It is found in us serving others and forgetting about ourselves.

Today I am most thankful for motherhood. I miss my little father and sons and anxiously await their return (although the quiet house is pretty nice right now as well).


Thursday, April 5, 2012


Today I checked a few blogs to find that Stephanie Nielsen from Nie Nie dialogues had her baby. Tears filled my eyes as I thought of the perseverance Stephanie went through to get her here.

I am sure you all know Stephanie and her journey since she was burned over 80% of her body. She longed for more children on this earth. She was given the opportunity to leave this life when she was in the plane crash but she chose to stay here to be a mother with tremendous pain and disfigurement. It would have been so easy to give up. 

Carrying this baby was painful. Scars don't stretch very well. But, she wanted this little life no matter what the pain.

Oh how I love the strength of women. 

I have a deep gratitude for the example of others to persevere no matter what the trial. I am so very thankful for those who inspire me daily. I am so thankful that Stephanie has such a miracle to hold and kiss and care for. The Lord is merciful and so ready to bless us if we endure with joy and gratitude the lot we are given. It sure isn't easy but I know today, Stephanie knows how very worth it it all was.

Today I am thankful for examples.

Congratulations , Stephanie! She is beautiful!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Today.....Thank You's.

Today I woke thinking about gratitude. Last night I was at the ballpark for a good 5 hours. Tis the season with 4 boys. I am team mom for one of the boys and I had the duty of handing out the snack tickets (I won't go into how I think it is ridiculous that kids need a reward to play sports). I was curious to see how many would actually say thank you. It was about half of the group. That half didn't even make eye contact or acknowledge that someone was actually giving them something that was a gift of sorts. I was glad my son said "thank you" and I hoped that this is something that he would do all the time. They are usually pretty good about that.

I sat down and thought about how little we actually show our thankfulness to others. At that moment, I received a text out of the blue from a sister soul mate whom I have never met. We are kindred spirits and I wish she lived close. She is always good to show thanks. Here is the message I received: 

I mean who doesn't want to be told they are so great? I think she is so great too but I didn't send her the text. She took time out of her night to send me a quick text to let me know she was thinking about me and appreciated me. It put a smile on my face.

It made me realize while I do say thank you and I think about those I am thankful for all the time, I don't often send a random text or card in the mail expressing it to them. Maybe I am not much better than the boys grabbing the snack tickets without saying thank you. Maybe they too were thinking about saying thank you but just didn't do it. 

I need to do better. It is really so easy to express our gratitude for others. It can change someones day. 

Today I will try to show my thankfulness for others. 

Today I am thankful for kind friends and thankful hearts. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Today.....helpful children.

Today's joyful moment is watching my two T's (Tanner and Tallin) willfully doing their morning chores. 

I have given my younger kids much more household responsibilities than my oldest. You learn a few things as you practice motherhood. Kids need to work. They need to be helpful and do jobs that aren't just expected. 

I don't have a job chart. While they do have some regular jobs, they should expect some additional requests and do so with a willful heart. Sure, this isn't really the norm with kids but I have a few that are pretty great about this.

Tallin gets up really early. Every morning. He never needs to be told to get up. He just does it. Because he is up much earlier than he needs to, he gets lots of opportunities to help me out. I don't think he even realizes how much he does for me in the morning.

He feeds the chickens and cleans the poop out of the pen. He gets them fresh water and feeds the cat. He unloads the dishwasher. Today he made scrambled eggs and helped Tate with homework as well. 

He gets Tate's shoes and socks, makes the orange juice, cleans his room and anything else I ask him to do. He rarely ever complains. He doesn't get an allowance. He just helps because that is what families do.

Before I even see Tanner in the morning, I hear the laundry basket sliding across the floor. He always folds the laundry first thing in the morning. Well, at least sorts it and delivers it to the individual rooms. This is such a huge help to me. I really hate folding laundry. Tanner wants to earn some money so he comes home to ask what extra jobs he can do. My philosophy on jobs and allowance are that there are certain things we are just expected to do because we are in a family and shouldn't be paid for. If they want to earn money, they can do extra jobs. There is always an opportunity for that. Tallin never even asks for extra money so I make sure he is compensated when he needs some cash. 

I have learned to hand out more jobs with these two. I didn't need as much help with my first child so he didn't have as many chores handed out. Sure wish I did give him more. He needed that. You learn as you go. 

It is a beautiful day ahead. I could have used a little more sleep but there is always another day for that. 

Enjoy and look for something beautiful.

Monday, April 2, 2012

This Day, give thanks.

My car engine light turned on. My one-year-old dishwasher is on the fritz. My carpets need to be cleaned. And on and on. There seems to be a hundred demands outweighing the cash available. I am simply thankful. I woke up thankful for such beauty and blessings in my life. Really, things that weigh on me are pretty trivial and they always work out, always. Put aside the worries of the world. 

I decided that I needed to blog about the little happy joys in my life. Maybe there is someone out there who needs to be reminded of the little things. In any case, it will make me think daily about what blessings and joys are in my life. So, I am going to try to do a little post every day about my happy, joyful moments. Just a little picture or a quick though that reminded me that life is good. It is very good. 

Today, I was thankful that my friend made it to the gym with me in the early hours of the morning and that my body works, all be it, slower than I would like.

I am thankful for the little finger prints on my glass door reminding me of the fun gathering of family we had last night at my house. Food, family and music; the best combination there is. I have the best family. 

I am thankful for my little farm.

These lovely blackberry blossoms just appeared as I toured the grounds this morning. Gorgeous and full of spring life.

The tomatoes are starting to turn a little less green telling me that I am only weeks away from fresh tomatoes. Oh, happy day.

Beans are soaking, ready for a delicious dinner with fresh, homemade tortillas , Mexican Lime corn and spanish rice. Perfect.

I loved listening to a you tube clip about Ruth Stout this morning . You simply must watch. It is about her gardening but this feisty older lady has so many wise words to live by. There were several I needed to write down. I will have to listen again. If you have a little time, watch and learn. There are two sections and if you don't garden, just start listening at about the 10:50 minute mark on the first and finish with the second. Just listen between the lines to her wisdom. Especially part two.

Part two:

I hope you are having a great day. What are your joys this morning? 

Till tomorrow.