Saturday, June 7, 2014

Saturday Soliloquy #33: Being With My Sister and other wonderful things about being in Utah

My children were the greatest impetus for the trip to Utah.  If it weren't for them, I wouldn't have worked the way I did for myself - regardless of how much I wanted to visit my sister and meet her newest baby.  I'm so grateful for the gift and blessing of my children's desire and the fire it lights in me!

So, seeing my sis again was awesome.  Meeting her youngest babe (and re-meeting her older two) was simply heavenly.  Enjoying her company as much as I possibly could was a treasure.  I miss her very much.  It's been difficult to bring myself to writing about the joy I felt while with her for the sadness of missing her.  I'm finally doing it now, though.

I'm so grateful that we were blessed by someone who loves us very much to be ABLE to visit my sister.  I can only imagine the sacrifice this person and family made to help us... I'm just so grateful!

My Kitty Kat was the biggest surprise.  Her reaction to General Conference was far and away more wonderful than I ever would've expected.  She was just thrilled to have been there in real life.  When I saw her, during the break between the two sessions, I really thought she would tell me she didn't want to go to the next one.  I was blown away when she practically threw herself at me in a bubbling effusion of excitement and declared, "I LOVE GENERAL CONFERENCE!" almost yelling.  I was shocked and thrilled and still feel an amazing rising of joy whenever I think of it!

I worried about Kat a lot before this trip.  I worried because I felt in her such a huge desire to be like her Daddy (smoking, drinking coffee, drinking tea) that I would lose her to those habits as a teen or older.  I acknowledge that it could still happen.  I'm just not worried about her if it does because now I know she has a solid foundation to which she will return if she does stray.  I felt in that experience after the first session a sort of "game changing".

Ria loved it as she knew she would.  The whole trip fulfilled many items on Ria's bucket list.  I had no idea she HAD a bucket list, but she definitely does.  Visit the mountains, go to General Conference, see the Salt Lake City temple, see the Conference Center, and I think maybe another one or two I can't recall right now.  It's such an honor, as her Mama, to be able to have facilitated the fulfillment of a few items on her list!  Another reason I'm so amazingly grateful to those who helped finance the journey!

Tea and Jmy were cool with the trip.  They didn't seem overly excited about much.  Jmy definitely gravitated more toward the guys (his Uncle and his Uncle's Dad and brother-in-law).  Tea was all about having un with her cousins.  EmJ... well, she didn't want to have anything to do with any adult other than me.  She does tend to be that way, generally.  I was sad that she didn't let my sister (who she was named after) hold her at all.  *sigh*

We loved every bit of our time with my sister and her family.  It was a joy and now joyful memories!

Monday, June 2, 2014

I Get It aNew

My husband once told me, after I found out he's started smoking again after attempting to quit again, "It just doesn't feel natural."

At that time, I almost immediately thought of a particular verse, "The natural man is an enemy to God and has been since the fall of Adam and will be forever."  Okay, so maybe that's not a word-for-word quote.  I'm not checking it.  I've written it straight from my heart.  Feel free to correct me.  If you do, make sure to share the actual book, chapter and verse number because I don't have that memorized yet.  Thank you, in advance.

As I begin June, I approach the same day in June that, to me, officially culminates 1 month of work toward shedding excess weight.  I'm very pleased with what I have accomplished to this point and hope and pray the success will continue.

If you haven't yet heard, I hope you'll read THIS  (make sure to read my comment underneath) and watch my two YouTube updates, which I am embedding here.



I get it... in a new way.  What my husband was saying.  Eating this way (much less amounts and different food) doesn't feel normal.  And I rejoice in it when I'm focused.  I work hard not to think about it too much, really.  Normal, for me, has been super unhealthy.  And to become healthy... in pursuit of optimal health... I must become something new.  Just like our awesome Savior says!

I'm going to share more about how I've decided to tackle this whole subject in my next YouTube.  I've sorta broached the subject in one or both of the two above... I'd love to hear what you think!

Thank you, by the way, for sticking with me here and reading what I have to say.  I'm working hard to get more balanced and re-regularize my posting here.  I appreciate, more than you can know, those who read what I share.  :)  Let me know what you think.  I really do enjoy real comments.

Friday, May 16, 2014

So Sorry the Silence

I've been busy... and busy not thinking... thinking does get in the way of allowing sometimes.

I've been told I think too much.  Generally, I wholeheartedly disagree.  However, there ARE times...

So, there are some great things coming up for me and my family.  Difficult and rather scary things, but truly great, too!  I'm really excited to share them with you, but must forebear.  Not entirely sure why, but I'm sure that'll be made clear at some point in the future... at some point in the future.  :)

One thing I can tell you is: I am happy.

This seems to be the Spring/Summer of my 'seasons' and I am striving to enjoy the sun and warmth available.  Sorta storing up spiritual nourishment for the dark night that will eventually follow.

Wonderful seasons.  I love seasons.  Both the kind that we can look out the window and observe AND the kind that can be compeltely unknown to the casual observer in some people who do not show emotions much.  I'm not one... even when I attempt to play it low-key, I'm relatively sure it's quite obvious what season I'm in.  I don't always love this about myself, but I'm working hard to remain accepting of it.  I AM grateful for seasons.  It sure is difficult to bare the winter sometimes, I admit freely.  But always ALWAYS worth it.

Do you remember that I write over at One Roll at a Time?  I do!  Make sure you check in there.  I'm one of the writers for the first week each month!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Saturday Soliloquy #32: Our Recent Travels (the way to General Conference)

Ria told me more than a year ago that she wanted to go to SLC, UT for General Conference so much that she was going to earn the money up to take our family there.  She was determined that we would make the trip October 2013.

She didn't earn money as quickly as she expected.  When she did sell a painting (her primary avenue for earning the money for the trip), she turned to me and said, "I'm so excited!  We'll be able to go to General Conference for sure!  I only have to sell a few more paintings!"  I wanted to encourage her, but didn't want to mislead her, so I asked, "How much do you think we need to drive to Utah from here?"  She said, "I don't know.  But we've got almost as much as need now, right?"

Obviously, I need to focus a little more on financial information in her homeschool!  :)

I did inform her about how much the gas would cost and her hopes were dashed.  She said, "Oh!  I don't think I can make that much by next Conference."

By that time, I'd started a business and determined that I would take my girl (children) to SLC for the next General Conference, if at all possible.

I did work hard toward that goal and was able to earn enough to pay to rent a van.  My husband wasn't willing to allow us to drive our own vehicle for concern over it's viability for such a long journey.  However, I did not have or make enough money to pay for the fuel to get to Utah.

We were blessed by a wonderful benefactor who gifted us with enough money to pay for fuel!

So, we departed in the evening of March 31, 2014.

It took right around 24 hours to reach Jessie's Dad's house: Pop.  Jmy was able to meet his name-sake.  That was probably more important to me than anyone else.  It was nice to see and photograph them together.  I'm glad all the children got to spend some time with him.

From there, it took us around 34 more hours to drive to SLC, UT.

I'll share a story or two from that journey, in the future.  For now, though, I have to tell you that I would not recommend doing it in the way I did unless you absolutely must due to circumstances.  And, if you decide to go ahead with it, you should probably make sure you do a few things I did not do before you depart.

First, make sure to get enough sleep and/or take a nap before you leave.  Sleep is really helpful when dealing with 5 children cooped up WAY too long.

Second, if you can afford it, it would probably help to sleep somewhere on a bed.  I like driving at night because the children are sleeping.  It is definitely my preference.  However, I would've liked to sleep on a bed instead of the floor boards of the van.  But circumstances being what they were, the floor was WAY roomier and comfortable than I expected (with both front seats pushed as far UP as possible and both middle seats pushed BACK as much as possible).  And EmJ (almost 10 months old at the time) didn't mind the floor one bit.

Third, let school go while traveling - whether you homeschool of public school, don't worry about school.  Deal with it when you return from the trip.

Fourth, hopefully you can either get off TV entirely (as a regular habit) or "TV/electroncs starve" your children for at least a week (probably better to be longer) before you leave.  (I DID do this one and it's SUPER helpful.)

Fifth, keep sugars ingestion SUPER low before and during the trip.  I was not as mindful of that as I should've been before we left and I definitely paid the pieper for that one.  BLECK.

Finally, if you believe in it, have your favorite priesthood holder (or three) give you and the children blessings.  I did not do that before we left our home, but I did do it before we left Utah... and the two trips were like night and day.  Night on the way there, and day on the way back (day being glorious and wonderful in my opinion).

In the preceding, I alluded to the difficulty of the drive TO Utah.  Honestly, though, I cannot figure out how to adequately describe how horrible it was.  Hellacious doesn't cover it.  Seriously bad.

I took my own advice on all points above for the trip back to our house.  So, I'm sharing from experience!

Next time I'll share about our time IN Utah!  :)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Meditation Monday #67: Back into a Groove

I'm happy to relate that this past week has been back to daily meditation almost every day.  Yeay!  :)

My routine is different... tending toward evening meditation.  I really prefer morning, but I have not scheduled myself well, so night has worked best.  I'm just glad to make sure to get it in each day.  I think I did miss one day in the last seven, but I'm still super happy about getting back to almost every day.  :)

I've had some great insights during meditation.  They are mostly "DUH" but seemed to come into my understanding in a profound way... like, maybe I've actually REALLY learned it now.  I sure am hopeful!  Hope is such a wonderful gift, isn't it?

Have you been meditating lately?  Any good experiences you'd like to share?  I'd love to hear!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Meditation Monday #66: Full Week Back

This first full week back (sorta) did not see me meditate daily.  In fact, I have to admit that last week's post was written in advance, expecting better than I actually performed.  I actually meditated, but not the way I'd become accustomed and not every day.  :(

This past week was also very spotty.  I'm focusing on getting my habit of prayer in the morning and evening more solid (back to how it used to be).  However, I did begin my customary meditation practice again by the end of the week.  Yeay!  :)  It does feel good to do this one thing for myself really consistently.

Have you been meditating?  Are you finding many obstacles to your practice?  I'd love to hear!

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Travel is exhausting, isn't it?  Even though all I had to do was stay awake and steer the van, I'm as tired as if I was doing a lot more!  I feel like I could lie down and sleep for a week!

The children, Jessie, and I really enjoyed making the trip to Ft. Lauderdale to enjoy the Temple Open House there yesterday.  It was a pleasure to make it possible for my children and non-member husband to see more of the temple than just the waiting room and restrooms.

The girls seemed most impressed with the Bride's room and Sealing room.  They were really lovely.  I was most impressed that there are two instruction rooms, so those attending the endowment ceremony will move during the process of it.  I thought that was super cool.

We enjoyed an amazing meal when we stopped in Boca Raton.  I'll share more about that later.  We also went to Miami and got nicely lost.  I was grateful to have a map app then because we did not get lost in a nice part of town.

Life sure is amazing, isn't  it?  Whether we see it as positive or negative, life is amazing!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Meditation Monday #65: Traveling and Returning Home

It is good to leave what is comfortable and venture into the unknown.  It is good to return to what is known.  It is good to change and become more!

These things are only a small sliver of what I've been through lately.  It's been difficult and horrible (some of it) and wonderful and amazing (other parts).  And such is life!  :)

I was not able to maintain my consistent practice of Kundalini Yoga even though I had reduced expectations.  And I'm really quite okay with it.  I experienced so much and did so much... it was a wonderful 12 days (even when it wasn't)!  I'm grateful for the time with my children and extended family and travel... I feel too grateful for all that was to regret what I wasn't able to do!

So, back to work on being consistent in meditating!  I'm pretty sure I'm going to change my routine up a LOT!  I'm going to move Kundalini Yoga practice to 1-3 times each week and develop my own way to meditate upon the Word the other days.  I will still complete at least 12 minutes each day (at least, that's the goal).  I'm excited to try new things!

Have you been meditating?  Experiencing anything special?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Soliloquy #31: Our Wedding

December 31, 2002 at midnight

Masquerade Ball (reception first), then ceremony, and a little bit of the reception at the end.

In the same hotel, there was a murder mystery dinner going on.  Our wedding was famous there... we kept having visitors from it come to see our cake!  That was a little disconcerting, but also quite cool.

Jessie had long dreamed of dressing up in an orange tux with a friend wearing a blue tux as the "Dumb and Dumber" characters.  So, that's what he and his best man wore.

I wore a blue gown reminiscent of a long-ago time... Renaissance-ish.  I love it still.

The rest of our colors continued the blue and orange theme including orange roses in vases, my bouquet, and other places throughout.  They are still "our" colors.  The children refer to them often, even.

My Dad helped us exchange the vows Jessie wrote.  My Mom was my matron of honor.  My parents were dressed as Santa and Mrs. Clause.

Our favors (decorating the tables and expected to be used by guests) were masks.  All sorts of masks!  We still have some.

The whole thing was really fun and, in many ways, very representative of us.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Meditation Monday #64: Traveling

I changed my expectations of myself in preparation for traveling.  I love to read a chapter in my Bible and Book of Mormon each morning and night, but decided that during our travels, I would be happy with once a day reading.  I also love that I've been able to complete 30 minute meditations for the most part lately.  I reduced my expectations to completing open, 7 minute kirtan kriya, and close for the first half of April.  I'm glad I did.  Because I was reasonable with my plans and goals, I was able to experience success with maintaining my meditations this past week, for the most part.  There really are seasons for all things!

During the rest of our travels, I'm going to continue the decreased expectation for myself and I hope I will continue to be successful!  :)

Are you meditating?  Have you experienced the need to reduce expectations in this way with anything in your life?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Saturday Soliloquy #30: Before We Were Married

Before Jessie and I got married, we were engaged for almost 2 years (by my count).  During that time, Jessie went on a 6-month cruise and I went to Australia as an exchange student.  It was also during that period of time that September 11th happened (while I was in Australia).  You can read a tiny bit about that here.

It's interesting to remember how long it seemed to take to get to our wedding day!  It seemed interminable.  It definitely wasn't, of course, but it sure seemed that way.

We planned everything for our wedding.  I'll tell you all about that next, probably.  We scheduled everything together.  I thought it was a great experience of increasing unity and our ability to work together.  I am very decisive most of the time and some folks don't like that much.  Thankfully Jessie did.

Before we were married, we spend all the time together that we could.  Of course we did.  We believed we were deeply in love.  It's interesting how perspective is altered after 10+ years of marriage.  Very interesting.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Meditation Monday #63: Thinking About Dreams

This past week I missed one day, which I actually feel okay about since it was a really busy and rather rough week.  I'm sad I missed, but basically okay with it.

I have had lots of dreams... which, I think, has added to the feeling of hectic-ness for the week.  Mostly they are all dreams that hang in my mind without real details to remember.  I can remember having many very poignant and memorable dreams, but I can not remember them.

Have you ever had that feeling?

It's like knowing exactly what you want to say, but not being able to because you can't get the word to come out of your mouth.  *sigh*  Maybe I'm the only one...

In addition to all this (maybe because of it?), I feel like I'm on the verge of coming down with the crud my children had.  Not a good time for it as we leave for Utah tomorrow!  Oh, it's going to be so exciting!!!  :)  And nerve wracking.  And long.  It's going to be a very very long drive.  These are the times for which I study scriptures, pray and meditate... to carry me over the difficulties.  And man!  I've had a good deluge of 'em lately!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday Soliloquy #29: When We Said, "I Love You" and Another Big Deal

It was right around two weeks into the relationship that we told each other, "I love you."  It wasn't all that big a deal, I think... but it was Valentine's Day... or maybe the day before.  Anyway... I think that was THE only truly special Valentine's Day ever for me.  Jessie may have done something for one or two Valentine's Days after that, but not really since then.  ahwell

Add another few weeks to get us to two months together... we were talking and somehow ended up in his bathroom.  I was upset about something.  Then we were talking about our relationship and getting married.  He was sitting on the toilet (on top of the lid) and I was sitting on his lap facing the tank of the toilet.  That was some time in March of 2000.

As far as I'm concerned, that March is when we got engaged because we set our wedding date: December 31, 2002.  That's when we gathered all our friends and family together for our wedding.  It was lots of fun.

I didn't get a rink at that time.  He "proposed" with a ring the Christmas after I returned from Australia.  That was nice, I guess... but it felt uncomfy for me because it was with his family and I'd only just met them.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ozeri Green Earth Textured Ceramic Nonstick Frying Pan

 Have you heard of Ozeri Ceramic Nonstick Frying Pan?  If you have not, you will probably not believe what I'm going to share with you... you'll have to buy one and test it for yourself.  I hope you'll share your experience whether you already have one or you get one!  I definitely want to hear what you think!

Okay, so... I'm married to a Chef.  As a result, I know a little about cooking and kitchen tools.  My husband, the Chef, dislikes non-stick cookware because it cannot tolerate high temps.  The nonstick part of most nonstick cookware is also toxic (especially at high temps).  In our home we have transitioned to either stainless steel (which does have it's own problems, specifically because of the nickel content) and cast iron.  We definitely prefer cast iron.  If you pre-heat it correctly, there is really little sticking, so cleanup is easier than the stainless steel cookware we have.

I may have been expecting a cross between stainless steel and the regular non-stick cookware I have experience with.  I may also have been really shocked when I read that the Ozeri pans require almost no oil for cooking, that they are seasoned, AND that cleanup would consist mostly of wiping out the oil and a few crumb-like bits in the bottom.  Okay, honest, I really didn't believe it could be true.

And then I tried it.  I decided to go with one of my favorite foods that is also quite messy when re-heating.  Cajun enchiladas!  YUM!  They are a mass of gooey tortilla as a result of being coated in delish tomato sauce and those wrap around amazing cheese sauce in the middle and topped with shredded cheddar that melts in the oven.  Yes, I do make them myself, thank you for asking!  Anyway... that is what I put in my Ozeri for my first test.  Melted cheddar, whether melted for the first time or re-heated and, thus, remelted, has always been a bit of a mess in both stainless and cast-iron.  So, I was curious to see what would happen in the Ozeri.

First of all, the heat time IS really fast.  I was very skeptical about that claim when I read the information sheet about my new pan.  It is faster than any of my other pans, regardless of thickness (one of my cast iron pans is significantly less dense, so it heats up faster than the other on).

Second, there was almost no stickage!  Seriously!  The cheese on the outside of my enchiladas picked right up whether it was melty or crunchy!  This pan would be fabulous for making cheese crackers out of fried cheese!  Make sure you check out the picture related to this.  You really do have to try this out for yourself!

I made and/or heated up a few things in my pan and it worked remarkably well with all of them.  I enjoyed using it to make scrambled eggs for yummy egg wraps.  Again, almost nothing left on the bottom or sides of the pan upon completion!  I've never had SUCH great nonstickage from any pan - ever.

The only negative I could come up with... and I really had to stretch on this one because it's not an issue for me, but I guess it *could* be for some people: the raised bottom pattern of the pan (the part that looks like a honeycomb) will leave a sort of imprint on some things (including cheese crackers made out of only cheese). I actually think that's kind of cool, but I can see how someone who is either super finicky or has problems with visual textures (?) may not prefer it.  The textured bottom helps with heat conduction as well as nonstiction (yes, I made that one up, of course).

Now, my only problem is how to get the other Ozeri pans available into my kitchen tools collection!

Disclosure: I was given an Ozeri pan to test so that I could write this post. I get to keep this amazing pan as a form of compensation.  All opinions in this post are completely and totally my own.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Meditation Monday #62: Wave Pendulum and Life

Another week of daily meditation completed.  Doesn't it feel GOOD to regularly do something you've set your mind to do?  It just feels good to me.

Okay... so it's taken me a while to actually get INTO this... I hope you find it worth the wait!

So, if you haven't viewed any of the pendulum's I shared, please make sure to do so before you read more... or go back to view to better understand the connections I'll make.  I hope you will and then tell me if you see what I'm saying AND what connections YOU see/make!

I really like watching the snakey portions of the wave.  I think it's my favorite... it feels really smooth and even and orderly and... well, it just feels RIGHT to me.

The first time I watched any of these videos (recently-ish), I could only see the order in the snakey-like portions of the wave.  In between each formation of the snakeyness, it just felt totally chaotic to me.  Unattractive, uncomfy, messy and definitely not the best part.  I pointed out the easy order of the snakeyness and the uncomfy chaos of the messy parts and he said something like, "I don't see it that way at all.  I see that all the parts have order.  It's just a different kind of order in the parts that aren't snake-like."

Well, that helped to change my perception, for sure.... and in far more than just viewing a Pendulum Wave!  What a gift to me.

I think it's important to point out to myself and you that my discomfort with the parts I saw as chaotic was totally subjective.  It was completely opinion based.  All of it does, of course, have order.  There isn't emotion in the swinging of those balls.  And, really, if we think about it hard enough, we'll recognize that there is perfect order even in the chaos of emotions gone awry.

VW Bug
The snakeynesses are easy for me to enjoy watching because they are smooth and rounded.  My eye likes this sort of thing, generally.  My favorite car is a VW Bug.  I'm relatively sure there is not a single model of that car that has many boxy-sort-of-parts.  My husband, on the other hand, prefers angular trucks and SUVs.  Yes, yes we are quite opposite in very many ways so this difference between our preferences in vehicle shape is very representative.  I think that's also why the parts that are not snakey were so obviously still ordered to and for my husband.  They are more boxy, most of them!

The kind of squareness my husband would sure love!

I've realized, through this tiny seismic experience, a larger paradigm shift.  I can now see how the times in my personal seasons when I'm not able to *make* my schedule what I would prefer... well, I've been able to see more order in the routines than I could before.  I've also realized that *fighting* to get back to what I prefer doesn't help the process or change of seasons.  In fact, the change in my personal seasons feels like it has sped up since I've released the *fight* and am striving to walk toward something better instead of fighting to go back to what I liked.  I wrote about this sort of thing before.... and here.

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