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Cheers to the Mommas

Okay all you Mommas out there..or you lucky Stay at home daddy’s, grab a glass of wine or a bottle of Dr. Pepper..whatever it is that makes you relax and feel like a real adult and get ready.  Anytime I write/say the word cheers…take a drink.  Hopefully by the end you feel just a little better and more relaxed so here we go.

Wait..you are at work?  That’s okay…I’ll wait.  YOU ARE WORTH IT!!

To all the poop.  The poop in the diapers, the poop on the floor, the poop in the potty (Yeah!!!) that you then have to still wipe the poopy butt, and the poop near the toilet because they almost made it (I’m so proud of you) to the even the dog poop you step in because we love those furry critters too.  Oh and the pre-poop.  If you have a little boy you know, the air that passes before the poop (and after the poop and during the poop) and the laughter that ensues and the smell that follows. I don’t even have time to talk about pee or all of the talk about poop.  Cheers…..

To no sleep.  I mean who needs that afterall.  What I want most in the world is to be woken up three times a night because of scary puppies, sore legs, itchy ears, dry throats, sweaty heads, and stolen blankets.  Really…(Okay I do love them, I know these moments will pass but for the love of it all I just need a good nights sleep).  And when it’s time to go to bed, what I really want to do is get water because that H2O doesn’t fetch itself.  and that wanted doll..conveniently its always the one playing hide and go seek at bed time. And the questions..ugh the questions.  They hate me….they really do.  Cheers….

-To laughing. At their cute little stinking parasite faces.  To the funny things they say and the joy that they really do bring.  To the puddle jumping and the kitchen dancing.  To the fact that by their actual birth existence I actually have to watch the amount of laughter that ensues or make sure I use the bathroom 2194 times a day.  But they are funny.  Really, really funny.  I mean the knock knock jokes alone that make absolutely no sense but that they laugh and are so proud of is just about enough for me to call my entire life and parenting a success.  To laughing…poop covered so tired laughing.  Cheers…..

-To the Working Mommas. Whether you drop your kiddos off and head out to work, or work from home as a mom or with another job…that’s super multitasking ladies.  No matter which option you choose they are all hard.  You are Incredible.  In case you don’t hear it enough.  Go you!  So Proud!  To the juggling kids and jobs, deadlines and playdates, practices and meetings.  Hip Hip Hooray!  Cheers. 

To no means no.  But actually it doesn’t.  Apparently it means “mom please” or “in a minute”. Maybe it even means yes and we don’t even know it.  I’m not even sure what it means any more, but I think it means something between “Yes” and “You’re saying there is a chance.  Cheers….

To not being the yelling mom.  Nobody wants to be the mom that yells at their kids.  We all want to have a happy holistic approach to life.  We want them to grow up mentally sane and equal.  No therapy needed for my kid kind of life, but lets be honest.  There is only so many times you can say “please pick that up” before the voice eventually escalates to a level they actually hear.  Often times for me, it when I am laying on the floor after I have tripped over something.  I’ll try again next time not to be the yelling mom.  I’m sure they will hear me when I speak to them.  Or if I just take the time to put my hands on their cheeks so they can look me in the eye as they are cartwheeling past me at mock 2.  That’s when I will catch them.  Next time….I own this.   Cheers

Refill your glass….Not you?!?  hmmm…maybe a Cheers for being awesome then…now refill your glass.

To your bad ass dance skills.  You know you got ’em.  Or at least those tiny side kicks think you do.  Isn’t it the best ever when you are dancing and you see them doing what you do.  Then you laugh in your head and sometimes out-loud because you don’t have the heart to tell them to stop practicing that because it will never…ever….be acceptable in public.  nah….bust a move baby!   Cheers

To Story Time.  We all know it’s good for our kids and we do it.  That alone deserves a great big huge pat on the back.  Because if I am being honest, would I rather be reading llama llama or the newest Lisa Gardner I would be lying if I said it wasn’t Llama Llama with those cute faces..actually now I am lying it’s absolutely Lisa Gardner.  But I do it.  Because one day I want those big growing minds to grow up and read Lisa Gardner and then we can talk about it because I know in the future they are going to want to talk to me every single day about the books we read the night before.  Bammm….  Cheers.

To not swearing.  We are raising tiny humans and trying to teach them to become respectable adults.  But let’s be honest.  We all swear inside our teeny tiny heads every day and let them roll around in there for good measure.  If you don’t..I need a dollop of your patience….Cheers.

-To Books and Netflix.  The tiny escape that keeps your mind thinking.  Thank you text-to-speech on my kindle so I can move with my book from reading to listening in my car.  If only Netflix would default to my profile and remove that one extra click from the kids profile…is that too much to ask?  Cheers..

To Politics.  I don’t have time to even begin. You can’t fix stupid…and you know right now each side equally thinks the other side is stupid.  Agree to disagree and go about being a good human.   Cheers…Cheers….Cheers.  (need to refill after that..I know we all feel it)

In fact now might be a good time to just grab a straw and the bottle.

To personal space…Or no personal space actually.  To tiny minions in our back pockets.  To knowing there is not a single solitary space in your entire house that is just yours.  You can maybe slip in a closet or the bathroom for a moment, but you realize what a dream it is when you place your hand on the bathroom counter right into the middle of a big blob of kid toothpaste (Or your makeup that they were “trying” on without your permission).  They know the contents of your purse, your bedside drawers, your closets….They are like teeny tiny little spys.  You have no personal space.  Just get used to it.  Cheers….

To Amazon. I am all for the support of shop local, but if I can choose not drag the kids out to the store I’m all for the that.  Plus if I can purchase now rather than trying to remember to write it on the store list that I may or may not leave on the kitchen counter when I actually go to the store that’s another one.  Also I remember years ago discussion about the lack of mail being sent because of the introduction to email so the USPS was about to go out of business.. Amazon pretty much saved them. My sister works for the USPS so I feel I am supporting her. Using that as an excuse.  Cheers..

To the joy.  The pure and utter joy that the tiny humans bring.  The deliriously happy joy.  The heart full of gratitude that they are yours.  The overwhelming pride in every teeny tiny body fiber that calls out…Thank you.  Cheers to the little people!

To good friends. The friends and sisters that have already heard this and agree.  To friends who don’t judge.  To friends who come over when your in your pajamas and you don’t even feel under dressed.  Cheers….   Double Cheers….Cheers... to the friends who don’t have kids or have older kids and still let you come over with yours.  Who play with them and love them because they love you.  Thanks for those friends.  Cheers… Now buy them a bottle or a six pack and take it over and drink it with them.

-To the partners.  The awesome amazing partner who work their butts off to provide for the family.  To the true partners who know just how hard you work too and they lighten the load.  They go to the store, they help clean the house, and they pour you that much needed glass of wine.  Finish that bottle for them…Cheers!!

Bottoms Up! 

I bet you are feeling a little more relaxed about right now aren’t you.  Really we are all in this together.  Nobody is perfect.  “Aint nobody got time for that.”

Feel free to open another…you deserve it!

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Publishing a First Work

I have some very exciting news.  I have story that will be published in the Secrets and Doors anthology set to be released very soon.  It has been quite a journey for me and I have learned a lot.  If you are currently writing, or hoping to write and someday be published, trust me when I say it isn’t quite the way you imagined it would be.

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I always thought that the most difficult part was writing the book-all the way to the end.  When I finished my first book, I heard many times, “You wrote a book, how many people can say that they actually did that.”  The truth is, a lot.  There are so many stories out there just waiting to be published it is overwhelming.  The book market is incredibly competitive. I learned this very early on when I started to get serious about writing.

I have been writing for a few years now and finished my first full length novel in 2008.  I finished another novel a few years later and during that time, my family moved.  We moved to the back of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains.  I joined a writing group and met some wonderful people.  I have been very lucky because the authors in my group are more than just great writers, they are full of integrity.  As you begin writing you will find that trait is just as important as finding a mentor that can write a good book.  I look up to them and I am so lucky that I got to work on this project with them. Find them here: Lehua Parker, Christine Haggerty, and Angela Hartley.

I also learned that authors are their very own species.  Maybe it is artists in general, but surely authors.  Authors are creative minds with very sensitive souls.  When I first walked into the world I told myself that I wasn’t going to feel that way.  I was going to write because I loved it and not worry so much what others thought of me.  What I found, however, was that I am just another author.  As an author you are only as successful as the people who support you.

Thanks to the incredible group of people that I met, I learned so much and was able to submit my own story for the Secrets and Doors Anthology.  The process from there was a lot of work.  There is a lot of collaboration that goes into an anthology and I realized just how hard the leaders of our group work.  They spent hours marketing and selling, finding editors and options, while I, learning from the sidelines sent a few cheers while I worked over and over again with the editor, Callie Stoker, to make sure my story was just right.

I was on cloud nine.  Willing to put in the time and work hard.  Writing is hard work.  You need tough skin and a really big heart.  You also need a great support team.  I realized this when I received an email that asked to get a review of my story.

“No problem,” I thought.  “I have friends and family with blogs.  I know people.”  How disappointing it was for me to realize that when I posted and asked for a small amount of help, I was answered with crickets from all of my blogger friends.  Don’t feel bad for me, I did plenty of that for myself.  So much so, that my precious sidekicks, so in tune with feelings made me this incredible drawing of themselves “answering my blog.”

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I really do have a great support system, just most of them don’t blog or are already in the anthology so I strapped on my boots and did what I should have done to start with.  I asked a stranger.  Marketing 101 for a book, be brave, get out there, be willing to connect, and toot your own horn.  I did just that and found the wonderful Mandy Eve Barnett to read my story and write a review.  I will forever be grateful for her kindness and her ability to remind me that there really are great people in the world.  I sent my story off to her with my stomach full of nerves.

This is the moment I realized I was an author.  I had something special.  Something that mattered to me.  I shared my soul with the world. I was crushed when I felt a lack of support only to sit, waiting, stressed, scared to death and worried that I would get a bad review from someone who I never met.  Would my career as an author be over? Would my next book never see the light of day?

I took a breath.  I looked at my sidekicks and my husband with his thumbs up.  I called some family who said they had my back and I thought of my mom who would probably be more excited for me in this moment than I am for myself.  I moved on.  I read others blogs, supported some friends and family on other things and remembered that life goes on. I already have some pretty great things to look forward too.  Even if my reviewer hated the story, it was coming out anyway and this was a huge accomplishment.

I will let you see what Mandy thought of my story here:  http://mandyevebarnett.com/2015/02/05/meriann-boxall-short-story-anthology-review-5th-feb/ while you are there, follow her blog, send her a thank you, and vote her a 5 because she is an incredible person. She took a chance on me and will forever be in my circle of people who made a difference.  Additionally, this works out in my favor.  My story will be shared with many that it never would have been otherwise.  Had I have had a family member or friend help with my story, I would have reached the same crowd I would have anyway.  Things happen for a reason.

So as a first time author I would share that be prepared for a lot of hard work.  Know that just as any other job in the world, you are just one of many-learn to stand out.  Market yourself well with bravery.  Believe in your story and in yourself.  Learn from others, especially your mentors. They know what they are talking about and can help you along the way. Remember that your support may not be found in a blog post, but will be found in a letter from your sidekicks or those that took a chance on you to publish your book.

Don’t worry, I am over the disappointment I found early on. I am the lucky one to get to be one story of many that I share with some of the most incredible authors out there.  Make sure to grab our book.  The anthology proceeds will all be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  That is thanks to the great publisher Crimson Edge Publishing and all of the authors involved.  While you are at it, make sure to check out some of the other authors and buy their other books too.  They are good, honest, people and really great storytellers.

More about the Secrets and Doors:

Open the door and unlock the secrets in eleven short stories from The Secret Door Society, an organization of fantasy and science fiction authors dedicated to charitable work. All proceeds from this anthology benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in their quest to cure Type One Diabetes (T1D).

In these pages you’ll discover a modern woman trapped in an old fashioned dreamscape, a futuristic temp worker who fights against her programming, a beautiful vampire’s secret mission disrupted by betrayal, a sorcerer’s epic battle against a water dragon, the source of magical mirrors—and more. There are tales for every science fiction and fantasy taste, including new works from award-winning authors Johnny Worthen, Lehua Parker, Christine Haggerty, and Adrienne Monson.

Join us in the fight against T1D as you peek into a world of magical and mysterious doorways—if you dare.

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Secrets and Doors Cover

I am so excited about this book, what it supports, and how it came together. The stories are wonderful and the cover is so beautiful! You know you want to pick that right off of the shelf!

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A closer look at the back cover:

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Open the door and unlock the secrets in eleven short stories from The Secret Door Society, an organization of fantasy and science fiction authors dedicated to charitable work. All proceeds from this anthology benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in their quest to cure Type One Diabetes (T1D).

In these pages you’ll discover a modern woman trapped in an old-fashioned dreamscape, a futuristic temp worker who fights against her programming, a beautiful vampire’s secret mission disrupted by betrayal, a sorcerer’s epic battle against a water dragon, the source of magical mirrors—and more. There are tales for every science fiction and fantasy taste, including new works from award-winning authors Johnny Worthen, Lehua Parker, Christine Haggerty, and Adrienne Monson.

Join us in the fight against T1D as you peek into a world of magical and mysterious doorways—if you dare.

Make sure to order it today at Crimson Edge Publishing: http://crimsonedgepublishing.com/bookstore/

 

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Myths About Marijuana

After watching 60 minutes and many other shows on the issues now taking placing in Colorado after the legalization of Marijuana I thought about the article that my Mother once wrote about the issue. So intelligent and wise-here is a guest post from my mom.  Thanks Lucy!

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Drug use in America continues to increase among pre-teens, teens and young adults.  Despite major efforts from law enforcement and drug task forces, substances of misuse are available to anyone seeking them and too many others caught in casual situations who are encouraged to experiment.  Marijuana remains the most commonly used illicit drug in the country.  More than 1.2 million Americans ages 12 and over participated in substance use treatment for marijuana in 2006, making it the second most prevalent substance of concern behind alcohol.  The percentage of Americans seeking treatment for marijuana use more than doubled from 1993-2005.

Young people who use marijuana or alcohol tend to be more prone to denial, justification and rationalization than users of ‘harder” drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.    There are many individuals who have smoked without experiencing significant consequences, because many of marijuana’s effects develop gradually and are therefore difficult to recognize, and because societal attitudes toward marijuana are ambivalent.

Some individuals adhere to beliefs about marijuana use that make it more difficult for them to recognize the harmful impact of use on their lives.  Below are discussed four myths concerning marijuana and it’s use that will assist parents to generate in their children critical thinking concerning about the choice to use in discussions with their children.

Myth#1:  Marijuana is all natural; therefore it is safe and healthy to smoke it. (“God put it on the earth for a reason.’  “It grows in nature, so it’s fine.”)  Today’s marijuana is not the same substance as the plant that grew indigenously in nature.  The main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  The average THC content in seized street marijuana more than doubled in 14 years, increasing from under 4% in 1983 to 9.6% in 2007.  This increase is attributed to decades of cross breeding and cultivation techniques used by people intending to synthesize a more potent substance.

The belief that marijuana is healthy because it grows in nature presupposes two ideas:

If something grows in nature then it must be healthy.  Using this logic, one could argue that rubbing poison ivy on one’s skin or eating poisonous mushrooms is healthy.  In truth, some things in nature are healthy for consumption while others are not.

Plants that grow in nature were intended to be smoked by humans.  If marijuana exists for some cosmic purpose, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was intended to be smoked.  Perhaps human beings weren’t designed to smoke anything, since inhalation of smoke is a tissue irritant that is initially rejected by the body.  Tobacco, opium and coca all occur in nature, but I have encountered few marijuana users who believe that smoking those substances is healthy.  Historically, marijuana has been used for other purposes (e.g. rope, clothing, mats, fishnets and oils).

 

Myth#2:  Marijuana is harmless.  (“No one dies from it.”  “It never hurt anyone.”)  There is an element of truth in this belief, given the lack of strong evidence that marijuana use causes fatal overdose.  However, overdose is just one way in which substance use can be fatal.  In the 2002 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report, marijuana was the only substance involved in 2 overdoses, 35 deaths and 69 other drug-related deaths.  A national estimate of deaths associated with marijuana only is 581, but that figure might be low as some metropolitan areas do not include marijuana in toxicology tests and others do not report any toxicology results.  This number also excludes any deaths in which any substance besides marijuana was also detected.

Recent advances in technology have allowed scientists to unlock some of the mysteries of the brain.  THC molecules bind to receptor sites in areas of the brain responsible for the regulation of the functions found to be adversely affected by marijuana use, giving us an explanation for how marijuana does what it does.

For example, marijuana use can cause significant impairment when a person drives a vehicle or operates machinery, which undoubtedly poses a risk for accidents, legal problems and fatality.  Chronic use has been linked to cancers, respiratory ailments and immune system malfunction.  Marijuana causes sleep stage irregularities, affecting memory, immunologic functioning and subjective well-being.  Marijuana-related memory impairment can have vocational and educational implications.  Chronic use has been linked to reproductive impairment.  Young people with Axis I conditions (e.g. ADHD, bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders) are prone to self-medicating with marijuana, but use can exacerbate their symptoms.

Some teens used marijuana extensively during the pivotal developmental stage of adolescence.  They self-medicated with marijuana when they experienced aversive emotional states, whereas their non-using peers were developing healthier coping strategies.  Impairment emotional regulation and amotivational syndrome are often the results.  Having trained their minds to depend on foreign substance to achieve homeostasis, these individuals are left with few coping tools after they abstain.  Some individuals would consider prison, unemployment and even death as viable alternatives to life without marijuana.  Knowing the potential negative consequences of marijuana use might help clients make more informed decisions about use, abstinence and recovery.

Myth#3:  Most people smoke marijuana.  (Everybody does it.”  “You can’t tell me you haven’t.”)  Slightly greater than half of young Americans have tried marijuana at least once.  Findings from the 2007 Monitoring the Future Survey suggests that 42% of all 12th graders have used marijuana at least once, 32% have used in the last year, and 19% have used within the last month.  Findings from 2006 suggested that 57% of Americans ages 19 to 30 had tried the substance at least once in their lives, 26.5% had used in the last year and 14.9% within the last month.  However, most Americans do not continue to use the substance or use it regularly, as is the case with the typical client in treatment.  If it were true that most Americans used regularly, that would not prove that marijuana use was harmless for all people.  Nonetheless, individuals who present with cannabis-related disorders might be prone to rationalizing their use based on a belief that ‘everyone is doing it,” whereas knowing that abstinence is not atypical might be encouraging for some individuals who choose not to use.

Myth#4:  Marijuana makes you creative.  (“It expands your awareness.”  “It opens you up to new possibilities.’)  Some people think that marijuana use could enhance creativity given its enhancement of the senses and subjective nature of the concept of creativity.   However, when defined as divergent thinking, creativity is not enhanced by occasional use of marijuana and is diminished with regular use.  In a series of experiments in 1960s and 70s, participants evaluated their work as more creative when they were high than when they were abstinent, suggesting that people think themselves to be more creative only when experiencing euphoria.  Clients who value their creative works are encouraged by the fact that many successful artists are abstinent or in recovery, fueling confidence that one can be creative simply by using one’s natural abilities.

As parents it is important to be informed and have the answers to arguments before they arise.  An informed parent is credible and it is difficult for a child to argue with the facts.  Sharing opinions, values and beliefs is also an important part of parenting.  Have the conversations, someone will be, make sure you add your voice.

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In Honor Of Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

Today is Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.  It has been quite a year for law enforcement officers and unfortunately the negativity is continuing. We are currently on pace to lose an average of 1 officer per day in 2015.  It’s sickening and we need to make big changes.  In honor of the 118 officers lost in the line of duty in 2014 I am committing with my family to complete 118 miles of activities in their honor.  This includes running, biking, swimming, walking, rowing etc.  We are all doing it together.  I challenge you to do the same.  We are late into January so this month may not be enough time, but keep going and complete the miles in honor of the fallen.  Sidekick 1 wanted to participate so she helped kick it off with a mile of her own.  She named the officers that she knows and loves throughout the run.  We #runforthecops #runfortheblue #118for2014 #policelivesmatter #alllivesmatter #weseeyou.  I would love to hear your participation in this as well by using the hashtags on social media.

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I would like to take credit for this idea, however, it actually started with a 13-year-old girl.  Here is her go fund me page where she is hoping to donate $100 per officer for ballistic vests for current officers.  It’s a wonderful cause and you should check it out. http://www.gofundme.com/jkoro0

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I am so thankful to the men and women in law enforcement who put their life on the line everyday to keep my family safe.  I am thankful for their sacrifice, their tough skin, and their commitment.

I am also worried, everyday.  The risk is so high right now.  So although I think the above cause is a great one, I wish that those vests weren’t needed.  If you want to make a real difference I encourage you to donate to the following causes.  It would be better if we could remove the situations all together that put our officers in danger.  I would love to see a focus on changing mental health support, and drug treatment options take as much as a focus by the nay-sayers as the training of officers.  Here are some organizations to look into.

This is appreciation and support.  This is a way to make a change and better the lives of not only the officers but our community as a whole.

I have personally seen the success of Wilderness Therapy Programs for addiction treatment.  I would encourage you to familiarize yourself with the practice here: http://www.obhcouncil.com/ and donate to an organization committed to helping make these treatment options more affordable: http://loafund.org/.  If this doesn’t interest you-find one of your own.

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Then step on over and spend time researching and donating to mental health, where you can select and help in your own state at: http://www.nami.org/

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Jump over now and check out youth support organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs of America at http://www.bgca.org/

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Let me know what you do in the comments below.  I would love to see some changes being made and if you have more ideas or ways to support, share those too.  If nothing else, wear blue today and tell an officer that you appreciate their service.  It will make a difference in their day and show them that the silent majority still supports them.

For the others:

“You go ahead and sit back in your comfortable chair and you be the critic, you be the observer, while the brave one gets in the ring and engages and gets bloody and gets dirty and fails over and over and over again, but yet isn’t afraid and isn’t timid and lives life in a bold way.”
Diana Nyad paraphrasing Theodore Roosevelt

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Salsa By The Two’s

I won’t ever be a food blogger, but I have learned a lot about cooking and I really enjoy it.  There are a few recipes that I always get a request for, so I thought I would share a few.  This is my fresh Salsa.  It’s fantastic.  My favorite.  I have worked on this recipe enough to know that I very nearly have it perfect and I know you will enjoy it.

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You need: 12-Roma Tomatoes 2-Yellow Onions 2-Limes (juiced) 2-Cups of Cilantro 2-Jalapenos Salt to taste (Now you see why I call it Salsa by the 2’s-easy to remember right?) I have a food processor and I use it because I am lazy.  You could chop everything and it would be delightful as well. First– in the processor mix the onions, jalapenos, cilantro and lime juice. I don’t know why, but I read somewhere a long time ago that this should be done first. I have tried it both ways and this does seem to give it more flavor.  Add salt and stir. (more salt than you think you will need) FYI… the longer you leave the jalapenos on the counter after picking-the hotter they are.  You probably knew this already but I learned by doing it, so I just thought I would share.  You can add more, or let them sit if you like it hotter-up to you. Second: process the tomatoes and stir, adding more salt to taste. (Hey look at that-a two-step process-“Go 2’s, Go 2’s” waving pom-poms!!)

image (2)It will make just over 2 quarts, (what?!? another 2?-it just keeps getting better – shooting confetti canon) and yes, we eat that much before it goes bad around here.

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After just 2 days we only had this much left.  I promise you will love it.  Let me know if you try, and if it works for you too!

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Just a Drop of Juicy Gossip

It seems as if I have seen the side affects of gossip my entire life. Maybe  it was the small town, maybe we are just interesting. Recently, I saw this again and I find myself compelled to speak out. I am far from perfect, and know that I too make mistakes, but hope that I can strive to do better and be better every day.

Gossip is so easy to get tied up in. The fresh new story about someone else, and dare I say, an opportunity to feel better about your own self and your current standing. How sad it is that we look to others so often as a comparison for our own life and our own worth.

For me, living here in Utah, it seems that not attending one specific church seems to give others even more ammo to judge and speak out against another. It’s hard to be looked at equally in all things, to be included, and to be a part of. It’s difficult to find a place in a community so focused on showing others their worth, rather than feeling it in their own heart. I know this doesn’t fit for all involved, but certainly does for some.

You may be saying “not me” but reach deeper. Do you ever find yourself judging others and then speaking about their hardships in a negative fashion? Does this make you feel more worthy?

Gossip cannot be undone. Your actions in those moments cannot be reversed. An apology can go a long way. But even further, an acceptance of your own errors and faults, but mostly, a desire to do better and to change the next time around. Working for the hope that next time you hear a juicy bit of information, you bite your tongue, call the person involved, and learn for yourself the truth of the matter. Share only good news and good things. Your heart will change from the inside. I promise you will find more joy. Imagine your example to others. One drop in that very big pond of negativity. Let’s shake things up a little. Go forward with a kind tongue and an open heart. It is not our title (religious or otherwise) or the size or our home, but it is the intentions of our heart that make us who we are.3842161463_dca05eaa24_o

Theodore Roosevelt said: It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

To each their own battle.  I hope to help another rise above, not get lost in the fall. I am not casting any stones.  I know I too fall in the trap.  I want to be better.  It is just the sting of a family member causing another heartache that makes me sad.  It motivates me for more. I hope it will you too.

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Getting Older-In a Swimming Suit

Each morning when I look in the mirror, my body begins singing back to me.  I know I use a lot of music-but I love it.  Set the mood:

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At about 50 seconds is when it really begins:  “A little bit softer now,  A little bit softer now.”  You know the part.  Usually I, instead embrace the rest of the song and dance my way to a kiss and hug from sidekick one and two.  I revel in the amazement of what my body made.  Those two precious souls.  Thinking of it that way, the little extra, the scars, and even extra dimples are well worth the reward I have received.  Still…

We went boating the other day with a couple of really good friends.  Mom in the group is super in shape, hard body, Olympic hopeful.  No doubt she will get there and she looks amazing.  You can imagine my fear to be in front of this company in just my swimming suit. But alas, the skis were calling me and my kids were anxious to get in the tube.  So I peeled off the cover-up and embraced my own body-as it is-to live this life and enjoy this moment.  It was amazing and my kids had the best day ever.

I learned a lot.  In my pre-mom body, my confidence came a lot from my appearance.  The ability for me to be able to stand in front of strangers, unashamed in a bikini.  I was always fit and it mattered to me.  Now…my confidence comes from my mind, and ability to raise my children.  They existed together today, and I chose the confidence in me and my children to shine through.

As our friends left, my sweet Olympian, who is more than just a fit friend, said, “Let’s do this again soon.” and I realized that to her, It doesn’t matter anyway.  She sees me for who I am and is glad to hang around.

I will work on my physical well-being for my kids one day, but I would miss out on so much if I hid in fear of the thighs that are so smitten with one another that they are having a hard time staying away.  I would miss out on my life.  So I will continue to “Shout” and enjoy my day, love my kids and live my life.  A little swimsuit horror won’t last forever-but I guarantee those memories will.

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A Review: Eleanor by Johnny Worthen

I have previously reviewed another one of Johnny Worthen’s books, and decided to try another. I received a review copy of Eleanor and it didn’t take me very long to read it.

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Eleanor is magical.  She is so easy to connect to that I felt engrossed in the book right from the beginning. She comes from such a troubled past that the fact she is a loner outcast comes as no surprise, yet, there is something really endearing about her.  She finds new/old love and friendship with David who learns her secret and stands by her.  This is a paranormal story with a twist.  The idea of skin-walkers set in modern-day almost feels possible through Eleanor.

I really enjoyed it and it is not as dark as his others stories and could easily be read by a younger audience.  The best Johnny Worthen book so far!

You can find Eleanor on Amazon here.

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The Sacrifice

I had a few compliments from friends that outweighed some recent expressed concerns from others about the way I am raising my kids.  I admit, my kids may be a little spoiled.  Not so much with things, but with my time and attention. Not every minute of every day is filled with fun and games (even though social media often may show differently).  We live a very real life with real expectations.  Allow me, however, to defend myself and my position from my point of view.

When I left work and chose to be a stay at home mom, this decision was not for me.  No I didn’t want to miss out on my children’s life, that’s true, but I did love my job and the people who I worked with.  I chose to stay at home for my children.  I sacrificed my career, much of my social life, and the part of my life that really made me feel proud of my accomplishments.  I sacrificed.

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When I made this sacrifice I also made a commitment to myself.  If I am giving up so much of me, I am going to do everything I can to be great at it.  I owe myself that.  This isn’t just about them. I want to feel pride in what I do too.  I made a commitment that I would do something fun everyday.  It doesn’t have to be big, maybe it’s just a game of ball with my boy and a game of Barbie’s with my girl.  Sometimes, it may be a tree picnic or a day at the zoo.  One thing every day.  Why?  Because it’s my reward.  Not just for them, but it ensures that I get to see pure joy and happiness at least one time a day.  Plus, it allows me to do things that make me feel young.  I enjoy it too.

I may not be the perfect mom.  We don’t always do fun things.  My kids have chores and have to clean up after themselves.  They often play alone and sometimes they are even pulled from a dance recital because they failed to listen and be respectful to their teacher.  I am purely doing the best that I can, not just for them, but because I sacrificed so much-I deserve to do my best everyday at what I chose.

It’s my personality, maybe,  but I think they deserve it and so do I.  I wouldn’t make a different choice.  I am so blessed to be with them everyday.  For my blessing I say thanks in time.

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