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I Am... Mama and Writer

First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Gift

To my dear Savior,
at this time of year,
the very best and only real gift I can give
is to choose each and every day to fully live
focused on them and their way for me
to work really hard and begin to see
how to fill myself with Their loving bright light
and shine it forth into the world so dark as to be like  night.

How do I fill myself full of his light and love, I wonder?
It's simple to follow His command yet simple doesn't mean easy, I've learned as a I blunder.
Simple to read His word each day
and pray in a whole-hearted child-like way.
Simple to hear His Will and, His Word, obey.
As I leave my Will upon the alter each and every day.
It flutters about and years to fly like a bird
Not content to obey His Word.
I recognize this for what it is, for sure:
the natural man a constant temptation and lure.

Each day I must remember my covenants through prayer
and study the scriptures like it's some kind of dare.
Focusing my mind, heart, and soul on Him,
otherwise my commitment will grow dim.
And this gift of me is worth very little
if I don't mind every jot and tittle.
For Christ has shown me the way
and though I will not arrive today
My agency combined with consistent efforts toward who He would have me be
are the only gifts precious enough for the One who is Three.

Once I'm able to collect some of His bright and loving Light,
How do I shine it forth into this world so dark as night!?
Could it be a smile?
Shared with everyone within a mile...
Could I help another?
For each and every one is my brother.
Might I step out of my comfort zone?
And help someone find Him who did Atone!
Yes, all that and so much more
the options are like a door...
You open one and there's always another
God's Love is even more perfect than that from our Mother.

He desires the gift of ourselves.
And as we give, He doesn't put it on some shelves.
He teaches us how to more and more perfectly give
how to more and more fully live.
For His work and His Glory
Are the real purpose of our life's story.

December 5, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Dad... a poem

I love my Dad.
I used to think he was bad.
Not a good Father...
just a big bother.

But then I came to understand
that he was doing his best with the band
constricting and binding his mind, heart, spirit and hand...
and he didn't know to demand
that it release and submit, the whole strand.

I can see the bonds and yet they remain.
My hands bound and upon them a stain.
I see what he could not, yet I did, him, blame.
One cannot put out a fire if onecannot perceive the flame.
Yet I see and know the heat and it still burns as my shame.
My efforts puny to end the curse and break the chain.

Formed over generations the curses were made.
A debt in heart, mind, body and spirit laid.
I could never be enough to get this debt paid.
And I lack understanding of how to access the cooling shade
of our perfect provider and Savior who bade
consume of Him for all debts have been prepaid.
Yet still I struggle to cut loose with a dull blade.

My Savior has already done the work
through the Atonement, it's a huge perk
of being human, the gift was given if I will not shirk,
to accept it fully and no longer lurk
in the shadows of believing myself to be a jerk.
The weight of generations is enough to make anyone berserk.
Yet I hold on to past sin, pain, and other merk...
Rather than release it to God and let Him do his work.

Show me how.
To release the curses past and my sin of now.
I would be a new me, If I did I'd vow
to become new with a sprinkle of fairy dust and a magical POW.
But that's silliness, I know, holy cow!
I just want to be new, Father.  It's been here all the while.  Wow!
Please, Lord, before Thee, I bow.

December 5, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Wanting... a poem

Have you ever wanted
to be other than you are?
Another y me
than the one you see?

I have.
Oh! I have.

The Mother I've been
is not the one I'd be.
Using my emotions as the tool
with which I control and rule.

I'd rather be
other than me.

The woman I've been
is not the one I'd be.
Only moving from now to then
Not fully understanding the far-off when.

I must become
who I have never been.

The wife I've been
is not the one I'd be.
I must learn how to love
with God, who is love, up above.

I will yet be
who I've not yet been.

December 5, 2014

I've Learned a Little

I've learned a little about Generational Curses as of late.  What do you know about them?  I sure would like to learn more and both deepen and broaden my understanding.  Especially since what I have come to understand has helped me so very much!  tyia!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Another Story from our Moving Experience


The Soul
Our departure day, August 18, 2014 is the day the game began.  We didn’t plan it.  We didn’t really know it would become a game when it started.  It just sort of happened.

As we drove north heading out of DeLand after turning in the Brighthouse box, Jessie spotted three green Kia Souls at the intersection of 17 and International Boulevard.  Two were heading west on International and the other was turning next to us.
During the ordeal of the Blown Tire, Jessie saw a green Soul.

By 7:16pm Jessie spotted our fifth green Soul.  Five is supposed to be a big number for me, numerologically speaking.  I don’t know what it means, but it somehow seems significant to me- even without noting numerology.
I’m pretty sure we saw Souls between August 18th and the 25th, but I didn’t keep track of them until the 25th.  I think it was just sort of interesting at first… and then there were just so many and we would see them at interesting moments, that I started to keep track of how many we saw and what colors they were.

August 25th: gray: 2, green: 1, dark gray green: 1, white: 1, black: 2
August 26th: black: 1, green: 1, silver: 1

August 27th: gray: 1, white: 1
August 28th: white: 4, red: 3, gray: 7, black: 3, green: 3, eggshell: 1, orange: 1

August 29th: green 1, red: 1, silver: 1, black: 1
August 30th: black: 1, green: 1, silver: 1, white: 1

August 31st: black: 4, red: 1, eggshell: 1… of the black 2 had white racing stripes and 1 had red racing stripes
September 1st: red: 1, dark gray: 2, black: 2

September 2nd: green: 4, black: 4
September 3rd: silver: 2, white: 1, gray: 1, green: 1, yellow: 1

September 4th: silver: 1, black: 1, red: 2, white: 2, green: 1, gray: 1
September 5th: white: 2, gray: 1, green: 3, black with red racing stripe: 1, eggshell: 1, brown: 1

September 6th: silver: 1, gray: 1, eggshell: 1, green: 1, white: 1,
September 7th: silver: 1

September 8th: white: 1, white with tiger stripes: 1, green: 1, gun metal gray: 2, orange: 1
September 9th: black: 2, silver: 3, white: 2, eggshell: 1

September 10th: silver: 5, greenish brown: 1, white: 5, eggshell: 2, yellow: 1, green: 5, gray: 1, red: 1
September 11th: white: 1, green: 4, red: 1, gray: 2, silver: 1

September 12th: silver: 7, eggshell: 1, black: 3, gray: 2, green: 3, brown: 1, white: 3, yellow pea green: 1, orange: 1, jade (blueish green): 1
September 13th: orange: 2, black: 1, red: 1

September 14th: we were not out and about
September 15th: black: 3, white: 4, eggshell: 2, navy: 1, green: 3, yellow: 1

September 16th: Mama and the children stayed at the trailer.
September 17th: black: 1, eggshell: 1

The order of the colors is the order in which we saw them, but we may have seen a few of one color before we saw a new color… or one of each.  Sometimes, I’ve seen a color that seems to indicate that my thoughts or feelings are on the wrong track.  Maybe I was feeling upset about something and I then saw a red Soul.  Or the opposite, too… as in seeing the five green Souls on the first day… seems like we’re getting the “green light” to keep going even though the difficulties we were facing might cause me to think we’re doing the wrong thing.
It’s a silly little game, but it’s fun and something positive that Jessie and I did from the first day of our moving adventure.

“For the worth of a Soul is great.” Has come to my mind very frequently during this game.  ;)
The children made a pun… they said: What song would a Soul (car) sing most?  Answer: Then Sings My Soul.  Harharhar  ^_^  Love my silly punny kiddos!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Part of Another Story

Working Title: Sarah's Confession

Mommy…

Yes, cutie.

Mommy, Sarah told me something today.  Something really scary and sad.

Oh?  Won’t you tell me about it?

I want to.  But it’s really scary and she told me I couldn’t ever tell anyone else because something bad could happen to her and her family if anyone ever found out she told me.

Oh! Well, then you definitely need to tell me.

But what if something bad happens to her or her family because I told you?  Then it would be my fault!

No.  If something actually happened to them as a result of you telling me, it would not be your fault at all.  It would be the fault of the person or people who did the bad thing.  Telling me enables me to help you AND Sarah.  She needs help, doesn’t she?

Yes.  I think she does.  I’m just feeling sad and afraid.

You know what I always tell you about feelings, right?

I know.

Tell me so I know you remember it right.

Feelings aren’t trustworthy.  Especially if they are feelings like anger or fear.

That’s right.  And what do we do if we feel angry or afraid?

I should talk to you and Heavenly Father about it.

That’s right.  So, have you talked to Heavenly Father?

Yes.

And now you’re going to talk to me, right?

I want to.

You know, from experience, that you feel less afraid after talking to me and Heavenly Father.  So, tell me what Sarah shared with you.  I want to relieve you of the burden of her secret.

Okay.  Well… she told me that the boy that lives next door… the oldest one.  You know, Rusty…

Yes.  I know him.

Well, he’s been touching her for a while now and just the other day he made her hold his penis and put it in her mouth.

--little girl starts to cry roughly

Oh, sweetie.  I’m so sorry that has happened to your friend.  She cried when she told you, didn’t she?

Yes.  She just felt so horrible.  You’ve taught me so much about sex so that I can stay safe… so I know how horrible it is that this older boy is forcing her to do this stuff.  I mean, he’s taking part of her away… and she can’t ever get it back.  And she feels yucky and horrible about it all the time.  And I feel so sad for her.  And I’m afraid, too, mostly because she’s afraid.

Lily, you are such a brave young lady.  I’m so glad Sarah has you for a friend.  I know that sharing this with you has helped her.  She was able to share the burden of this horrible thing with you.  How long ago did she tell you?

Yesterday.

And you’ve kept it to yourself all that time!  You are so strong!  Thank you for telling me, sweetie!  I love you!!

I love you, too, Mommy.  Thank you for listening.  I feel so much better now that I’ve told you.  But what are you going to do.  I know you’re going to do something.

Honestly, I’m not sure yet.  I’ve never been faced with this sort of thing, personally.  So, I’m going to do some research and figure out just what I need to do.  I will do something.  I have some questions for you, if you feel like you can talk about all of this some more.  The answers will help me figure out what I need to do and when.

I can answer questions.  I think I’m really okay now.

Good.  If you want or need to cry some more, you just go ahead.

Okay.  I’m ready for your questions.

When is Rusty able to do the things he does to and with Sarah?

Well, you know how Sarah’s Mom works twice each week?

Yes.

Some of the times when she works, Sarah stays at Rusty’s house.

I see.

And since her Mom works really late at night some of those times, Sarah spends the night there.  It started one of the times she spent the night.  But he did it to her during the day, too.  And this last time… when he made her… you know…

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fault

This is PART of a short story.  If you're interested in the rest, let me know.

“Oh my gosh! It’s ALL my fault!”

“Pearl, are you okay?  What’s all your fault?”

“Did I say that out loud?”

“Yes, honey, you did.”

“Oh, well… I didn’t mean to.  I’m sorry, Mom.”

“Aren’t you going to tell me what you’re so worried about?”

“No, Mom.  Not right now.  I’m not worried about anything, really.  Just thinking through something is all.”

“Okay.  Well, you just say the word and I’m here to help you work through it.”

“I know you are.  Thank you, Mom.”

“It really is my fault.”

“What is?”

“What?”

“Umm… yeah.  That’s what I asked.”

“I’m so confused.  What do you mean?

“Well, just a sec ago you said, ‘It really is my fault,’ and since we were both sitting here doing our homework, I thought you wanted to talk about it.”

“Oh.  Well, I didn’t realize I said it out loud.”

“You did.  You want to talk about it crazy-head?”

“Stace, I know you say that jokingly, but I’m afraid if I told you what I was talking about that I didn’t mean to talk about, you’d think I really was crazy.”

“Umm… well, I already know you are crazy, so just one more bit of info to confirm what I know won’t make a bit of difference one way or another.”

“Really?  I mean, I don’t think I’m crazy.”

“Yeah, that’s what all crazy people say.  That’s what my Dad’s second wife’s therapist told her, anyway.”

“So… do you really think I’m crazy?”

“Aren’t we all… at least a little?”

“I guess so.”

“Pearl, are you going to tell me what you think is really your fault or not?”

*sigh* “I really do want to.  I’m so tired of keeping it to myself.”

“Okaaay…  Then do tell.”

“Before I share this with you, you have to be prepared to keep it to yourself.  Will you?  I mean, really truly keep it to yourself, Stace?”

“If it’s so important to you, then, yes, of course I will keep it to myself.”

“It really is.”

“Then it stays with me.”

“Okay… so… I’m the reason Felice was killed in the car accident almost two years ago.”

“Ummm… Pearl, you couldn’t possibly be the reason anyone was killed… ever.  You’re practically perfect in every way!”

“Stace… that’s Mary Poppins!”

“And YOU!  Seriously.  You didn’t kill anyone.”

“You’re right.  I didn’t kill her.  But it is my fault she died.”

“Why in the world would you say that, crazy-head?”

“Because it’s true.  I feel so much relief just telling you that… I haven’t told anyone since I found out and it’s been more than a year now since I realized.”

“First of all: it isn’t true.  Not as far as I can tell or imagine.  You’re going to have to do a lot better to convince me that you had anything to do with Felice’s death.  AND: what is it you found out or realized?”

“I don’t really want to convince you.  And telling you anything else really will.”

“Pearl.  I love you.  We are best friends and have been almost forever.  We’re getting married, for crying out loud!  We will be best friends for the rest of our lives.  Any trial that comes will eventually make us closer and stronger together – as long as we’re completely honest with each other and work to that end.”

“I believe that’s true.”

“Okay.  So, tell me why you think you are the reason Felice is dead.”

“Stace, I really don’t want to tell you.  But I’m going to trust you: my Mom got her liver.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Upon Attempting to Leave FLorida


August 18, 2014

We finally departed our De Leon Springs house, which was no longer ours, by 10:18 am.  Jessie was driving since he already had experience pulling trailers.  He was stressed while driving, but all was going well when a tire blew out on the trailer.

Although we did swerve widely and it was alarming, we were kept perfectly safe.  Jessie pulled off the road in preparation of changing out the tire that blew.  Thankfully all that was needed for that was readily accessible and he diligently set to work in the sunny heat at almost noon.  (The tire blew around 11:30am.)

After he’d been working for a little while, I started to feel sick and couldn’t ignore the impression that I had to get out there and help him.  Although I physically was not much help, it could be that my presence with him prompted a man and his wife to stop and help.  The fella, Daniel, a waste water worker for the National Forestry, was far more helpful as a result of his considerable upper body strength.  He’s a guy, after-all.  Additionally, he was able to counsel with Jessie over the spare tire we had… but which didn’t work!  In my observation of buys in stressful situations, counseling together is almost always as helpful as or more helpful even than the “helper” guy physically doing anything.

Susan, wife of Daniel, was a pleasant lady with whom I was able to have a chat.  She shared a bit about their experience on that particular road.  Though she did not say it, basically stopping to help people who seem stuck on the side of the road is a ministry for them.  Praise the Lord for His perfect timing.  Among other things, Daniel recommended a tire shop down the road.

After our road-angels departed, we headed to the tire shop with the blown tire.  It was more than 10 miles in the direction we wanted to go, but, of course, we had to go back to the trailer to put the tire on it.  On top of everything else, we saw rain and drove into some when we went to a gas station to use the restroom.

When we got back to the trailer, Jessie was able to get the new tire in place without any problems.  He went around the other side to check on the other tire and found it completely flat.  Praise the Lord!  I’d just been worried that we would get on the road only to have the other one blow out as badly or worse than the first one did.  So, he took that one off and we set out to the same tire place.  We were going to replace it anyway (Jessie had already paid for it), but were hoping to drive the trailer to the tire shop.  I’m sure this way was much safer, although significantly more time consuming.  On this trip, we drove into and through rain.

The fellow at the tire shop was worried about us because it took longer than he expected for us to return.  He was also worried that we were going to get drenched because the rain was fast and furious where it fell.  We’d definitely seen that and I think Jessie was just accepting that he would get really wet eventually.

The rain was falling hard when we returned to the trailer.  I hoped and prayed that somehow Jessie wouldn’t have to get totally soaked.  I didn’t know how that could happen since we drove into heavily falling rain as we returned to the trailer.  The rain continued to fall heavily as we u-turned to get on the right side of the road and even as we pulled ahead of the trailer so that Jessie could back up to it and get in place for reconnecting it to the van. The rain slowed a little as Jessie backed up and the Lord mercifully blessed us with a complete cessation of the rain as Jessie got out of the van to get the tire and put it in place!  We were both a little shocked and super grateful.  Jessie said, afterward, “See.  I told you I am His favorite.”  Yes.  Yes you are, Jessie… just as we all are.  And in a way that only works with God… It’s a fact that we are each His favorite and the truth that we are each His favorite doesn’t decrease the favor in being His favorite!

Replacing the second tire also went smoothly and we returned to our journey west without further incident… at least, free of the tire blowing kind!

Romans 15: 13, “Now the Go of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.”


If you are among those of my friends who have been waiting long for this story, I'm so sorry it's taken THIS long to get it onto my blog.  I have it partially formatted for a group I participate in - we share lessons we learn from our lives.  Pretty cool, right?  :)

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.

First


Second

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

Exhausted

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.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Saturday Soliloquy #28: Introducing My Mr. to My Family

Exercise was a big part of my life when I met Jessie.  I heard from his roommates that it was not a big part of Jessie's life.  Still, he wanted to hang out with me, I guess, because he agreed to come to the gym with me and my Mom.  So, he met my Mom within the first two days.

Very early on, he also met the rest of my family when I invited Jessie to where I lived in my parents' house.  He had a friend drive him because there was something wrong with his truck.

I saw that Jessie was shy at that point.  I thought it was sorta weird because he hadn't seemed shy at all to me.  He really didn't speak at all.  He answered questions that were directed at him, but he didn't volunteer any information.  I now understand why he does this, but back then I saw it simply as a manifestation of the shyness he'd told me about, but I hadn't experienced when it was just the two of us.

Perhaps it was the second visit to my parents' house when I decided that he was either going to sink or swim among my folks.  My family is pretty important to me.  And we tend to be a bit loud and fun and direct and can sometimes overwhelm others.  So, I left Jessie in the livingroom with some of my family to go do something that I didn't need to do because I wanted to see if he could deal with my family without me.

He didn't real deal with them much.  He continued to only answer questions directed at him, but he also didn't entirely sink, as it were, either.  I'm pretty sure it was after that visit that my Mom said a few things to Jessie.  My Mom was shy when she was young.  She told Jessie, "I like shy people!  No, I really do!  The world needs Toris.  It does.  But the world needs why people, too.  Who would pay attention to Tori if there were no shy people?"  hehehe

I'm pretty sure some who haven't known me very long may find that an odd thing to say.  You just haven't known me long.  I used to be very different than I am now.  Very very different.

Jessie really liked what my Mom said to him.  He told me, "I really like your Mom."  I wasn't surprised.  My Mom is really likeable.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Meditation Monday #63

I don't particularly like yoga, myself. Still, I do believe that yoga, like many other forms of meditation is a tool. The user of the tool determines the result of the tool's use.

Might the practice of yoga influence the practitioner to think in ways that the originators did? Probably. Is that bad an wholly unChristian? I think not. Why? Well, because I believe that ALL truth can and should and will be circumscribed into a whole unit. All truth fits together to reveal an awesome whole.

I know that the beast and his prophet will use this truth as a way of lying to and convincing lots and lots of people and creating the one world religion of humanism (or whatever)... but the: darkness precedes the light precedes the darkness precedes the light... and so forth, well, none of it decreases the truth that the man or woman determines the tool and not the other way around.

Those who believe guns are evil and bad are fooled... the gun is neither good nor bad. The gun is a good. The holder of the gun determines how the gun is used. So, too, with yoga and any other form of meditation. The person who is a righteous (striving to be righteous) follower of Christ will process the energy that is always around us more efficiently into Light by way of their Faith and using the tools available for that processing. Prayer is one of those tools. Meditation is another. Yoga is another.

Can it be used for negative and darkness? Certainly. Just as a gun can be used by a murderer to kill... or by a loving man to protect his family.

The tool does not define the man or woman. The tool may bring the true heart forward, but does not change the person.

jmo, of course... but I do think it is Truth.


One quote from the article (which is a quote of a Yogi explaining what yoga is), "What do we join through yoga? Two eternal beings: God, the Infinite Being, and the individual spirit that is finite being. In essence they are one, and according to yogic philosophy all spirits originally dwelt in consciousness of that oneness."

Doesn't this truth mean the same thing that we can find as we study the Bible? I mean, Jesus taught us that we are part of God. It's quite readily available to most Christians that we were once a thought in God's head. So... if yoga is joining the two who are one anyway... well, seems like it's very Christian because that's what we're meant to be doing with prayer, isn't it? I mean... we're supposed to be submitting our Will to God so that we can fulfill His purposes for us. The only gift we have that He has given, but will never remove from us, but that He wants very much is our agency... our ability to choose Him... or not.

Well, seems like, by the definition I quoted, that the purpose of yoga is to become one with God, with the further explanation that they believe what we do: we were once actually One.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Saturday Soliloquy #27: How I Met My Husband: The In-Real-Life Part

You'll have to read LAST WEEK's post to really follow this one.

I always went early to meet the guys I agreed to meet from matchmaker.com.  That way I could feel comfy and greet them.  It worked very well for me.  I'm still a bit like that, I think.  I'm pretty sure my time obsession (being on time) is a result of my time in Japan!

 So, I was seated in the waiting area.  I did wander around a bit, too.  He was late.  Not horribly late, but I did wonder if he was going to stand me up, too.  I'm relatively sure my fragile ego couldn't have stood up to that again.

I knew him when I saw him.  He looked very much like his profile picture.  That was a relief.  I'd met a few guys who looked NOTHING like their profile pictures.  Seriously, NOTHING like their picture.

When he came in, I hugged him.  I was very much into hugging back then.  I still like them a lot, but rarely initiate much any more.  I have loads of sort of sensory issues, so hugging can sometimes be a bit painful in a way that's difficult to describe to anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about by just the way I've already described it.

I told the waitress who seated us to seat us in the smoking section.  I knew Jessie was a smoker and he'd told me how shy he was, so I wanted to make sure he'd be comfy.  He definitely was, as I never felt any indication that he was shy at all.  (I've definitely seen manifestations of that since then!)

As soon as he sat down, I gave him a gift.  He'd turned 21 while underway, so I gave him a birthday present when we first met.  It was Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul.  I thought we had that in common (he said he liked to write).  I'd already read the book and loved it.  I made a cover for it, decorated with my lettering and some of my poems.  I also wrote in the book (some of my poems, too).  How silly a girl I was... and SO trusting!

He was very touched by the book.  I think I even saw some wetness gather in his eyes.  He told me no one had given him a gift and he couldn't remember if anyone wished him a happy birthday, either.

Yes, I was a thoughtful person.  Still am.

We talked for hours.  I talked a lot, it's true, but he talked a lot, too.

The only reason our date ended was because I decided I must get home so that I could wake up and go for my run.  I was running somewhere around 6 miles each day when I met Jessie.  I was pretty healthy and fit at that time in my life.  The smallest size 10 I've ever been.

I wish I'd continued to care for myself first... to take care of my body temple instead of waiting for him all the time.  Now, I'm a tight size 20 and XLG in my clothes and weigh a good bit more than 200 pounds (and I've shed some excess recently).  If you read my Super Sunday Slimdown, you can find out the exact numbers if you're really curious.

If we did anything before leaving, I think we may have hugged.  No kiss.  Just another hug.  That was very nice.  Definitely soothed my concern over the wrong answer he gave in the multiple choice section!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Prom... I cannot even imagine!

Me eldest daughter is now ten years old.  I cannot even imagine her going to a Prom!  It seems crazy to even think of it!  I'm not exactly sure why, but this step up into double digit numbers for her years on earth has brought with it some contemplation on my part that I've not really had much of before now.  I mean, I'd have a fleeting thought like, "I need to figure out what we're going to do when each of the girls begins to have her monthly visitor." or,  "Jessie (my husband) and I really need to come into agreement about dating rules for these girls," or some such.  But it wasn't a concern, per se.

Now, though... for some reason... with Ria TEN now... it all feel so very imminent!  And since she is SO beautiful, I can only imagine the number of invitations she'll either get or NEVER get for things like dates, dances, PROMS!  gah!!!  I have one sister born of the same parents as me and she is also Beautiful... and she wasn't asked out all that much BECAUSE she is so beautiful... but she did accompany a few guys to various Prom-like dances.

So, these thoughts have got me lookin' around.  If you've been reading here for any length of time, you know I have a few very specific beliefs about modesty and related.  So, I'm thinking about and trying to sort of plan for my girls (the special celebration when Aunt Flo comes the first time and the dreaded dates (PROM!)).

JenJenHouse is a site I've looked at for Prom dresses for my girls.  Obviously, not NOW... but these ten years have flown, I'm sure the next six will seem even faster!  I'm really impressed with the great selection of lovely and modest fancy dresses!  I honestly thought it would be unlikely to find really appealing (to me) Prom-like dresses, but there are quite a few options!  In fact, a large variety of styles AND colors that I think are both lovely and appropriate!

Here are a few, starting with the rainbow and a few extra:
  


  
 
 
 
Although I did share quite a few above, these are only the ones I liked.  There are MANY more optiopns.  And if you're not concerned about modesty in the way that I am, there are even more options!  I am very impressed with JenJenHouse.com.  I hope they will be in business when it is time for my daughters to find Prom dresses!
 
 Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with Mom Buzz Media.  All opinions are truly my own.

Incandescent Light Ban

Did you know that we soon will not have access to incandescent light bulbs?  I'm not very happy about it, myself.  What do you think?

I hope you'll take a minute to watch THIS video and tell me what you think of this potential option to incandescent bulbs.  I'm not sure what I think, so your opinion really does matter to me!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Good Natured Gourmet Giveaway

Do you love cookies? Would you like to win a delicious dessert mix? I sure would. Read the following and enter the giveaway!

Welcome to the Good Natured Gourmet Giveaway!

Sponsored by: Good Natured Gourmet

Hosted by: Dividing by Zero

Giveaway Dates: 3/12/14 to 3/25/14

Open to residents of the U.S. 18+

GNGGiveaway

Founded in 2012 by a baker and a registered nurse, Good Natured Gourmet offers a selection of dessert mixes that are made with natural ingredients and vitamins so that the resulting baked goodness is both delicious AND nutritious! Tara from Dividing by Zero tried out the lactation cookies and was thrilled to discover that they’re both sinfully delicious AND did in fact help increase milk production – almost TOO well! Make sure you check out Tara's full review of Good Natured Gourmet’s Chubby Babies Lactation Cookies!

Good Natured Gourmet’s “Live Collection” offers cookies for pregnant and nursing moms. There are four flavors of lactation cookie mix (double chocolate oatmeal, oatmeal chocolate chip, oatmeal cranberry lactose-free, and peanut butter oatmeal) designed with ingredients like barley flour, brewer’s yeast, flax seed, whole grain rolled oats and calcium to help nursing moms increase milk production ($11.50 per mix). Also available is the Perfect Pregnancy Double Chocolate Mint Vitamin Enhanced Cookie Mix, fortified with prenatal vitamins including folic acid and magnesium and with ginger to help combat nausea ($9.99).

Their “Love Collection mixes include herbs and vitamins designed to help set the mood for romance such as ginseng, Vitamin E, honey, and vanilla. Available cookie flavors are double chocolate mint, chocolate chip, and dark chocolate vanilla chip; there’s also a triple chocolate brownie mix ($9.99 per mix).

You can save 10% off your order with the promo code DVDBYZERO10 through April 30th! While the giveaway is only open to continental U.S. residents due to shipping costs, this promo code is good for anyone, anywhere!

One lucky reader is going to win two Good Natured Gourmet cookie mixes of choice! The giveaway runs from March 12, 2014 to March 25, 2014 at 11:59pm EST and is open to continental U.S. residents ages 18 and older. The winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond and claim his/her prize.

Enter using the Giveaway Tools widget below - good luck!



Tara from Dividing by Zero received products from this sponsor to facilitate her review; all opinions remain her own. Participating blogs are not responsible for prize fulfillment; sponsor is solely responsible for prize fulfillment.

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