J is for Journaling

Although I’m sure I kept some sort of journal in my high school years and earlier, I have none extant to show for it, and don’t remember it being a major focus. The earliest journal I still have is one I began when I went away to college at BYU right out of high school. It was a hardbound red volume and I tried to use it for my deep and cerebral “college” thoughts–haha!

Since then my journals have taken various forms:

  • A monthly newsletter called “The Park Herald” mostly documenting the amazing accomplishments of our children to inform their doting grandparents.
  • Four large hardbound journals I kept from 1984-2010, writing at least once a month.
  • From 20111-2014 I used an online journal called Oh, Life. They closed down in 2014, so I had to copy and migrate all my entries to a Google doc.
  • Since 2014 I’ve kept a daily running journal in a Google doc. It’s been a great resource to the whole family who invariably will ask me, “When did we….?” or “Where was that place we went….?”
  • I’ve kept a blog since 2009, which is somewhat like a journal. I started at Blogger.com, then moved to WordPress after a year. I kept a separate blog for the 14 months we were serving our mission.
  • I have several “special” journals that are for specific purposes:
    • A dream journal
    • A scripture journal
    • A favorite quotes journal

Total Investment: Time, and the cost of the journals, though many of them were gifts.

This is a “thing” I hope I can continue up to the end! It gives me an outlet for creativity, a sounding board, a place to blow off steam. It also is a memory keeper–Family members have forgotten some amazing experiences that they neglected to record, but because I recorded those events, the experience was not lost, and was brought back to them with a renewed impact.

The spiritual nature of many of those experiences has meant that the record of them has become a type of “scripture” to our family–a record of God’s tender mercies and dealings with our family. Reading them renews our faith and strengthens our testimony of the reality of God and his love for us.

Posted in A-Z Challenge, Books, Family, Life Lessons, memories, Spirituality | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

I is for Investigator

I have been an investigator my whole life. I like the challenge of solving mysteries and finding truth. I guess that’s why I like to do puzzles and read detective books. Back as a pre-teen I had a detective company called Instant Investigations that was a partnership with my best friend. Later, as a teen in a new school, I made friends with a Mormon (I’d never heard of such a thing!) who invited me to investigate her religion. I did, and found it embodied the truths I had felt in my heart all along, but my own religious upbringing did not address.

But joining the LDS church wasn’t the end of the road for truth-seeking. Thus, as this A-Z challenge theme reveals, I continue to search for truth in all good things and incorporate what is worthy into my life and leave the chaff behind.




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H is for Hula Dancing

My friend wanted to take this class, but didn’t want to go alone, so I signed up with her. We met at the lodge for our housing community along with about 10 other women and the two instructors. Their credentials were impeccable, both from Hawaii and had taught and performed Hawaiian dance for many years. They took it very seriously and were tough task-masters, giving us homework which included memorizing the names of the steps and practicing to a cd.

Two and 1/2 weeks into the class I fell while roller-skating with our grandchildren and broke my wrist. I continued to attend the class in a cast, which made me feel even more uncoordinated and ungraceful than I had before my fall; but four weeks after my fall I was feeling overwhelmed with how difficult life seemed with my dominant hand out of commission that I decided to call it quits. I wrote an email to the instructors bowing out, and learned the next day that they decided to cancel the class entirely, as “too many of the participants were uncommitted.” I felt badly that I was a contributor to their decision to pull the plug on the class, but one has to do what is in one’s own best interest…

Total Investment: $30.00 for the two month’s worth of lessons, plus about $10 worth of fabric to make my hula skirt.



Ungraceful Hula Hands

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G is for Grass-fed Beef

I worked with a woman whose family raises grass-fed beef for slaughter. I’d heard about the benefits of eating grass-fed beef, so, in my typical “jump in with both feet” style, we purchased 1/4 of a cow. Any idea how much space 140 pounds of beef takes up in a freezer? A lot. And we don’t own a standalone freezer…We are not huge meat-eaters to begin with, so eating beef maybe 3-4 times a month it took us close to a year to finish it up.

It tasted good, and I felt righteous eating it, but we only went that route the one time. Now I will shop the Co-op and buy grass-fed beef by the package or even can more easily find it nowadays in the local grocery store.

As I said, we don’t eat red meat very often, so it just didn’t seem worthwhile to invest in a large purchase like that again.

Total Investment: $490.00 (From the Colvin Ranch website: “A beef side, either a half or quarter beef, is a good buy. It is priced at $3.50/pound, hanging weight, (this includes the harvest) plus cutting and wrapping of about $.70/lb. ( $.75/lb.for quarter).The hanging weight is the weight after it is butchered, but before it is cut and wrapped. While weights will vary from one animal to another, a good overall average would be 280 pounds hanging weight on a half, and 140 pounds for a quarter.”)

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F is for Fasting

I like to fast. I like the “spiritual over temporal” challenge and the feeling of power that comes through conquering the cravings and desires of the body. But there’s a catch…I’ve heard it said that “fasting without prayer is merely starvation.” I believe this. Fasting for me is a spiritual experience and not a tool I can use to lose weight. In fact it seems that every time I fast, I usually don’t lose any weight and have even gained a few ounces, as at the “break fast” meal I tend to eat as many calories as I would have throughout the day!

So this type of fasting is defined by the Guide to the Scriptures as:

To voluntarily refrain from eating or drinking for the purpose of drawing closer to the Lord and requesting his blessings. When individuals and groups fast, they should also pray to understand God’s will and to develop greater spiritual strength. Fasting has always been practiced by true believers.

How does it work? For me, I can only get through a 24-hour fast comfortably if I invoke Divine Assistance in the venture. When I am prayerfully fasting, I rarely even feel hungry or think about food. On the other hand, If I am just going without food,  I get very hungry after about 4 hours!

I’ve been reading the book, The Infinite Atonement, by Tad R. Callister, and came across some interesting insights into how fasting works.

Fasting…does much more than make us hungry; it does more than refine our spirits; it has within it a certain inherent motivational power that can change and soften the hearts of others, particularly when they know we are fasting for them…In the words of the missionary evangelist, E. Stanley Jones, suffering has ‘an intense moral appeal.’ Jones once asked Mahatma Gandhi as he sat on a cot in an open courtyard of Yeravda jail, “‘isn’t your fasting a species of coercion? ‘ ‘Yes,’ he said very slowly, ‘the same kind of coercion which Jesus exercises upon you from the cross.'” (Callister, Tad R., Infinite Atonement, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, Utah 2000. page 213)

As a Mormon, I fast regularly on the first Sunday of every month, but for times of special need, I have fasted every Sunday for months, or periodically as situations arise wherein I could use some extra blessings from heaven.

Total Investment: The cost of the two meals not eaten each month are donated as an offering to be used to help those in need. You could be nit-picky about it and say an egg and toast costs about $2.00 and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich costs about $2.50 and donate about $5, but we are encouraged to give a “generous” fast offering to relieve the burdens of those less fortunate. We typically give about $50-100/month.

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E is for Emotion Code

Okay, this one is going to sound a bit weird, and “out there…” I thought so too, at first, but being the open-minded person that I am…

I can’t remember how I was introduced to this, but got the book (the Emotion Code by Dr. Bradley Nelson) out of the library and gave it a whirl. It is really quite fascinating.

The Emotion Code is a system of tapping into your inner subconscious as a tool to eliminate unseen baggage that may be negatively affecting you physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Basically, your body or subconscious knows things about yourself that you don’t know or don’t remember. As you apply this method of “asking” your body questions and recognizing the answers, you can then take it to the next step of ridding yourself of negative memories or scars that you’ve been unconsciously holding onto and which are holding you back and could be the cause of physical pain and disorders as well.

I’m not one with a lot of “baggage” but I did find it enlightening and interesting, as I had seen something along these same lines taught and applied with the use of essential oils. In that application, one “asks” one’s body which oils it needs for a particular situation.

The book explains the science (yes! science!) behind the process and it makes sense, at least to me.

Total Investment: Borrowed the book from the library, spent about $2.00 making copies of the pages I wanted to keep; spent about $15.00 on magnets; already had a utensil that was applicable to use with the magnets. (have I intrigued you enough to investigate?)


Do I still use it? On occasion I have done an “internal check-up” to get in touch with my body and do still find it useful.


A few days after I wrote this post, I got a text coupon that my Prima Plants supplements (See A is for Apple)  were on sale for 48 hours ending today but I was way over budget on my credit card and I didn’t feel like I could order them. They are pretty spendy so to get them at 60% off was amazing. I’d only been on it for about 3 weeks and I wasn’t sure if they were doing what they were supposed to do for the price I had to pay, so…I decided to ask…my body. I invoked the Emotion Code and got a surprising result. “No, they are not really helping my body.” What? Are you sure? I asked 4 times varying the question and got the same response each time. “Not worth it.” Also not the answer I was expecting or necessarily wanting, as I wanted them to work. Well, saving us some money this way, but I must listen to my body! It’s back to basics of homemade Greek yogurt for my probiotic and lots of kale, spinach and other “real” greens. 


Posted in A-Z Challenge, Books, Health & Wellness, memories, Spirituality, Synchronicity | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

D is for DoTerra

I was sitting in a church meeting one Sunday about three years ago, suffering with some ailment, I can’t remember what, when the woman sitting next to me said, “There’s an oil for that…” Thus my introduction to DoTerra Essential Oils. I became a “consultant” in order to get the benefits of the discounts, but haven’t really gotten into the pyramid scheme of seeking acolytes to join up under me.  

I have seen the benefits of essential oils as an alternative to chemical medicines and other treatments.


I use Lavender oil for all my burns (that oven temperature on my bread recipe is 475 degrees and I have an array of scars to prove how often I’ve made it) and skin issues, and as a sleep aid.


I’ve converted my husband to using Melissa and Frankincense to heal his cold sores in a day.


I couldn’t get through the colds and flu season without Breathe and On Guard in my arsenal.

And on and on with the many uses for essential oils; and not just medicinally, but in food preparations as well (Cilantro, Ginger, Fennel, Lime, Lemon, Grapefruit oils to name a few of my favorites).
This is a “Definitely still using” thing!

Total Investment: Initial order, $200 kit. Over the years I’ve continued to put in a monthly order, but those have ranged from $200/month to the minimum of about $15/month, with the average somewhere in-between.

Essentials update

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C is for Cleanse

I read something about Candida and of course (hypochondriacally) I knew I had it. Without sharing too much info, I had many of the symptoms. I found a Facebook group (Kickin’ Candida Cleanse) which was affiliated with DoTerra (see D is for…coming up tomorrow!) and bought the program. It came with a manual of recipes and a list of what foods to eat for a full month. I faithfully followed the program and felt better afterwards, but am still not convinced at this point that I had been afflicted with Candida. I did learn a lot of good information about nutrition (although mostly just reinforcing what I already knew–basically that sugar is bad), picked up some good recipes for smoothies and salads, and learned a lot more about the science behind digestion and nutrition.

Total Investment: $200.00 Essential Oils order required; $20 to register to join the group.

Will I do it again? No, probably not. Although I still have the manual with all the recipes and instructions…

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B is for (My) Bread

“My Bread” is actually not my bread at all, but Jim Lahey’s bread, the author of the book, MY BREAD. I was introduced to this book via my son-in-law, and all it took was one loaf to make this MY bread as well as Jim’s. Virtually foolproof and amazingly delicious in it’s simplicity, (only 4 ingredients), this bread does require forethought: it takes 17-24 hours to achieve a finished product.

I’d make it periodically for our family, but when we got to England to serve our mission, we ramped up production and made it a staple of many of our visits to the families on our list. (It was especially good at opening doors that had otherwise been closed to us!)

After a while, when I noticed that the four ingredients were also mentioned in the scriptures, I created a handout for a mini-lesson to accompany our offering. It went something like this:

Our Bread:

And Jesus said unto them, I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. John 6:35

Flour: All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life D&C 89:14

Yeast: A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Be an influence for good to raise up those around you. Galatians 5:9

Salt: When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men. D&C 101:39

Water: But unto him that keepeth my commandments I will give the mysteries of my kingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life.  D&C 63:23

If you are interested in trying it out, let me know!


Total investment: Each loaf costs around $1.00 to make, but I did purchase a ceramic dutch oven specifically to make this bread, for an investment cost of $70.00

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A is for (Green) Apple

The first subject on my list is actually the most recent of my “things.” It was one of those “Infomercials” that use fast-drawing cartoons to tell their story and sell their products, which I thoroughly dislike, but this one I was “drawn” to for some reason. I’d heard it all before, and it does make sense, so, right product, right time, I guess.

It’s called Primal Plants–Essential Superfoods Blend and the creator of the product is a Dr. Steven Gundry, MD. Also as usual, it is probably overpriced, but with the “first-time purchase discount” it was within budget. This product I actually got my husband to try as well, and after only one serving he said he amazingly felt like he had more energy, and this from such a skeptic!

Ingredients include spinach, broccoli, kale, cinnamon bark and various other leaf extracts for the Superfood blend; Green tea, ginger root, white tea, Turmeric, bitter melon and black pepper for the Metabolic blend, and probiotics.

Well, with said Husband using the product as well, my initial 2 month supply was about gone in one month, so I was stewing over whether to reorder. My decision was influenced by two things:

  1. The price of the product and a timely “sale” price
  2. My “thing” for the Letter E. So…you’ll have to wait a few more days to learn what I decided.

Total investment: $120.00


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