Saturday, October 18, 2014

Forever Young Club with Nerium AD Giveaway


forever young
i want to be forever young
if you are a child of the 80s you have already begun singing alphaville's synthesizer led ballad 

i feel so privileged to be able share products with my family and friends that contain natural ingredients that have been scientifically proven to improve the overall health of your skin by an average of 30% in a 30 day period
yep, you heard that right...30%
you can't get much closer to forever young than that
the products you are buying from your dermatologist or local department store, even the high end ones
are only improving your skin 2 - 7%...what?! 
yep...30 vs 2 - 7 
i haven't taken a math class for awhile but i know my greater than and less than equations
30 > 2 - 7

a few bloggers joined my Forever Young Club this month and had the chance to try out Nerium AD
for two weeks
hop on over to their blogs and Facebook pages to hear in their own words what they experienced and loved about Nerium
it is so much fun to be continually adding to my photo gallery of before and afters from people that i know and are experiencing incredible results with Nerium

check out a few of the participating bloggers and their before and afters
i love how the array of results shown below really represent the spectrum of improvements you can get from our products 
  • reduction in deep and fine lines
  • reduction in pore size
  • reduction in discoloration and age spots
  • evening out of skin texture
  • tightening of aging or loose skin

then head to the bottom of the post for a chance to win one of the 2 Nerium Age-Defying Night Treatments up for grabs


"No makeup! Circles gone, overall skin tone evened, deep lines are softened."
Frieda from Frieda Loves Bread


"I did see a big difference in my overall skin quality and it seemed to really brighten up my skin tone."
Lara from Hapa Girl


"I had a more even skin tone and better color.  The creases by my eyes really improved too!"


"I’ve always hated the size of my pores and that’s what I noticed the most change in and also the even-ness in my skin."
Lindsay from Frenchie

now you can become part of my Forever Young Club with Nerium AD
click over here if you would like more information  
click over here if you can not wait another day to start getting your own phenomenal results

enter the NERIUM AD Giveaway
TWO lucky readers 
will WIN ONE bottle of Nerium Age-Defying Night Treatment

a Rafflecopter giveaway

this giveaway will close at midnight on Oct 21st MST
this giveaway is opened to US residents only
the winner will be chosen using Rafflecopter 
they will have 48 hours to respond to the winner notification email. after 48 hours another winner will be chosen
2 winners will win 1 Nerium Age-Defying Night Treatment valued at $110


Monday, August 25, 2014

why you should write stuff down


why you should write stuff down keeping a journal family history biography memoirs

i get it
some of us made it through college vowing to never write another thing
some of us wonder what is so special about our life and thoughts that we should record any of it
some of us feel like we just don’t know where to start

but i’m here to tell you that writing down the experiences you traverse will be one of the most cherished possessions of your life
truly all of us have gone through something in our life that was hard, that was stretching, that was building
and it should be documented 
if for no one else, but for your future self
because as we all know hard stuff doesn’t just come around once in our lifetime
the likelihood of us battling difficult events in our future life is certain
and there is nothing quite like rereading your own words telling you
that thing was hard
that thing tore you up
but you made it through
and here’s how you did it

you will now know that you can get through this new thing too

i declare to you that any effort you make to throw your words down on “paper” will be of tremendous value to you
time after time i have revisited my own words 
words which seem so wise and couldn’t have possibly come from me
but they did

writing is a form of clarity
a clearing away of the fog of the heavy circumstance and channeling a crisp communication that lends to perspective
whether you believe in God or not
writing is a tool that is given to us to still our busy lives and allow us to listen
listen to yourself 
and listen to God’s Spirit

i am so grateful tonight to have come across a blog post i wrote back in march 26, 2012
entitled
for the days i just can’t get out of bed
this post included part of a speech i gave to a large body of women in my church
these words were the clarity and comfort i needed today

"I am grateful to a loving and merciful Heavenly Father who provided me with an opportunity to speak so that I could be still, and sit and reflect on the lessons that He was asking me to learn when I just didn’t think I could be stretched any more.  Who’s gift to me of the Holy Ghost brought to my mind in just that instant the words of one of my favorite quotes from the ever eloquent apostle of the Lord, Elder Neal A Maxwell, from his powerful book “The Promise of Discipleship”

Even if and when we seem to have squeezed out the last full measure of our devotion, an omniscient and perfectly empathic God not only knows the difficulties through which we have passed and are passing but also knows if any residue of unused devotion still remains to further the process!

Heavenly Father knows what we are capable of and of our potential for greatness - He knows our heart, He is our creator, He sees our life, He sees it in its complete form.  He knows what we are to become.  And through his wisdom and mercy He will utilize any residue of unused devotion to refine us and raise us to levels of faith and testimony that we didn’t even know we were capable of.

I pray that these thoughts will continue to bring comfort, peace and joy to me
even, and especially, on those mornings I just don’t feel like getting out of bed.

Being stretched is hard and flat out painful.  Naturally, I desire the easy route; whether that be the least work, pain, or thought.
Let us be careful that we do not resent the very things that help us put on the divine nature - whatever form they may come in: whether it is someone, a health issue, an unyielding obstacle, our own weakness, or the absence of something or someone in our life.


Elder Paul Johnson spoke directly to me in his April 2011 General Conference address. 

Sometimes we want to have growth without challenges and to develop strength without any struggle.  But growth cannot come by taking the easy way out.  We clearly understand that an athlete who resists rigorous training will never become a world-class athlete.  We must be careful that we don’t resent the very things that help us put on the divine nature.
Oftentimes my trials and struggles blind me, they are that pebble that I have held up to my eye that prevents me from seeing beyond it.  I have had a beautiful and blessed life and I allow fear to take over in imagining the tolls disease may take on my Daddy and my husband and what our life together may become.  I find myself like Lot’s wife looking behind because she could not imagine that her future could have been better than her past.  If there is anyone who we can look to on this earth for optimism, it is our dear living prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Pres. Thomas S. Monson who proclaimed in his closing testimony in the April 2009 General Conference, 
The future is as bright as your faith
I would encourage each of you to turn to writing as you travel along your journey, especially during times of difficulty. It does not need to be published or for others to see, simply in the act of recording your experiences your eyes will be open and you will gain a grander perspective as you create a moment of quietude that can allow the Spirit to work through you.  I can not count the number of times that I have felt compelled to write about a struggle in my life, only to have the love of my Heavenly Father communicated to my heart through putting the words down on a page.  They have also served as an invaluable source for comfort and strength as I return to reread what I have passed through. "

friends
you will not know today, or tomorrow, or perhaps even a year down the road if what you write today will become just the words you will need
for that is only a portion of the treasure

writing will bring a sense of clarity and gratitude to your life right now that may be exactly what you need
so tonight 
just write some stuff down
and feel the power of your words

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

i decide


choosing happiness multiple sclerosis

this week has been brutal to say the least
torturous may be a word i would use
the disease is making an ugly appearance this week
some of our greatest fears made manifest
and it scares me that these new ugly things may take up permanent residence in him
tests being run
new treatments being explored
every action analyzed

and in my mind battles are raging
questions
why more
why would his last means of giving purpose to his 'duty driven heart' be taken away
how much longer must this go on
how much more can he endure
how much more can i be pulled
when will things get better

there are defining moments 
when you find yourself in places you never thought you would be in 
paths you never imagined being on 
choices you never would have wanted to have to make
witnessing seeming injustices that you never would have wanted to witness  
in those moments you have a choice 
how are you going to react   
who are you going to become
what feeling are you going to give into

after a period of feeling very justified in my anger 
feeling deserving of a reprieve for my husband and myself
a chance for us to breath
i began to recognize old habits of thinking in myself
old habits of reactionary responses
old habits of letting the air get sucked out of my lungs as the weight presses down

today i had to make a hard choice  
i fought it hard  
i have good reason to be angry 
i held on tight to it
but i began to see that i was going down a road i didn’t want to be on again
i was becoming someone i didn’t want to be
someone i fought hard to break free from
and pleaded with my Savior to help me change from
ungrateful
self-absorbed
justified in anger

i am grateful that i chose not to let myself fall back into despair for too long
but to decide that's not who i am
not anymore
to decide
to decide
to decide

i choose happiness
that's who i am and 
that’s who i want to stay

its not easy
those thoughts flood in
my circumstances scream loudly in my face
my husband's suffering blaring 
he fighting the real battle
i will fall 
and fall again
but i won’t let myself stay down there for very long

for i decide
i decide to choose happiness
that’s who i am and
that’s who i want to stay

and as we wait
we wait and watch
i will turn my heart to a place that will serve Mike best
a place of trusting
a place of peace
a place of humility

until my next fall comes
and then i will decide
i will decide again
to choose happiness

prayers my friends
i ask for your prayers
as we seek for answers

{to read more about our journey with Multiple Sclerosis click here}

Sunday, May 11, 2014

moms living happy: our new adventure, you and me



every once in awhile something seems to fall from the sky and land in your lap that was just meant to be
i know better
what would seem like some random fruit falling from the tree 
is more like a heat seeking missile with your heart's signature as its target
something designed for an impact just for you

this is how i feel about Moms Living Happy
a project that will change the way we look at ourselves as mothers
and which will reach out to the corners of the earth and bring together a community of moms who despite life's vicissitudes choose happiness

i am honored to be a co-founder in this brilliant endeavor 
to step into the homes of countless such moms 
and tell their courageous stories in video form
your story
you
and you
and you

so how are we going to hear your story
or the story of your inspiring friend, neighbor, or own mother
we need to hear from you
email us your stories at momslivinghappy@gmail.com
and who knows we could meet in your living room with a film crew 
to tell a story that needs to be told
of Moms Living Happy



so hope on over and see what we are all about
subscribe to our newsletter so you won't miss a single inspiring story
head on over to 

Thursday, March 06, 2014

the book that saved my husband


what would you do if you couldn't think
no really
you couldn't think critically
ok so i hear some of you sleepless moms of littles saying, that's me everyday
trust me, i get it
but what if you had had a photographic memory, could recite passages of scripture and literature poetically, were fluent in cantonese, and knew every line in every single Seinfeld episode and 80s movie 
and now could not force your mind to complete simple tasks, remember what you did this morning, remember who you spoke with about what, or form words properly when you spoke
to have a ghost of a memory that you once knew so many beautifully rich things 
this is just a mild taste of what my brilliant husband deals with on a daily basis

so when i tell you that Mike just finished a novel
it is with absolute elation that i tell you that my husband just completed his first novel

you know of his passion for books
his thirst for reading
his in depth studying
his fascination with word choice
being drawn into other worlds
living life through the eyes and passion of another

this same passion was born into the soul of our son
for years Mike has had a story in his mind to write for Owen
a story that explored ideals that he wanted our son to seek after
ideals he felt were lacking in the world our son was growing up in

Mike wasn't able to dedicate time to write this story before
well, because he had been busy with so many other things

now his daily life is quite different
a type of different that tears at my heart leading me to often times turn my head from Mike's view so as to hide my tears as i witness his daily struggles and see his brilliant mind dormant
i turn away so he does not witness my moments of inner battle that read on my face, 

but as always the Lord has extended mercy through something very simple 
imagination

imagination flows from dreams
from ideas of our own making
without limits or the necessity for critical thinking
for this reason and a miracle that the overall idea for the story was stored in a part of Mike's long term memory that has been unaffected by his Multiple Sclerosis
Mike was able to write his book

now the process of writing for him was quite different than it would be for you and i
every morning he would forget what he had written the day before
he would forget the storyline, the characters, the direction
every day he would have to start anew, rereading what he had written the day before
learning to take exhaustive notes of any upcoming details of the novel, knowing that in a few short minutes or hours he would forget them
day after day this routine repeated
until nearly 100,000 words were written
a novel completed

out of this process came something beautiful
something life-saving
this book saved my husband

as i sure you can imagine 
having so much of what you would consider your identity and role taken from you
having limitations hinder you from fulfilling those duties you delight in performing for those you love
then battling extreme fatigue and intense pain to carry out those things that remain for you to struggle through
experiencing all of this would throw anyone into a period of questioning your worth 
into period of self doubt and dare i use the 'd' word

being able to write gave him a purpose again
a feeling of contributing
even a feeling of meaning
it brought excitement and structure back into his day
even life
something to look forward to
and although it was difficult to have to start over every day, he could look back at what he had written the day before and see that he was accomplishing something
i loved seeing that passion and vibrance for life return
you could see it in his face
you could hear it in the way he spoke
you could feel it in the energy of our home

he was writing something of value for our son
which became something of value for himself
and something he hopes will be of value to many youth and parents out there 
for he is planning on self-publishing it before Owen's twelfth birthday in May

i want to have Mike tell you more about this experience himself
i know how much you love hearing from him

he has just begun sharing his first draft with family and friends
and is looking for a few others who would be interested in reading it to give him feedback before he sends it to a copy editor
if any of you are interested in reading a copy of his first novel, please contact me
it is entitled, CHOSEN, the quest for the eight keys
and is a young adult novel full of adventure and hilarity as only Mike could write
it is brilliant and we have already received incredible praise from those who have already finished it
including one speed reading son who absolutely loved it and can't wait for the next one in the series
i am beyond proud of what Mike has accomplished and am so happy to see him move forward with self-publishing
i am so grateful for this gift that God has granted him
this opportunity to free his mind and spirit
in a way that will be immortalized for his children and generations to come

Friday, February 14, 2014

everything is awesome: my valentines day crew


everything is awesome

happy valentine's day 
from my growing crew
amidst the complexities of life, little tate's sweet inquiry as to if i was going to make them valentine's day shirts this year, ensured that the simple things that preserve the structure of family life as they know it remains strong
traditions
traditions keep our family identity alive
and give so much to look forward to

to read about out how our family valentine's day tshirts tradition began, read here 


our traditional jump shot
their absolute favorite
eyan definitely wins this year's best jump


felicity steals the show once again for her daddy
this little cutie pie is daddy's best buddy


simplicity was the name of the game this year
but its always a challenge to come up with a design the boys will wear
i have strict instructions are our first year's design, that no hearts are allowed

so i stuck to something that has been chiming repeatedly in our house for months
as i am sure in so many of yours as well
can you even say it without singing

everything is awesome
everything is awesome

i used my silhouette cameo to design this stencil i cut out on freezer paper
you can see my freezer paper tutorial here


as much as i love seeing changes in my children from year to year
i secretly or not so secretly wish for them to be frozen in time

happy valentine's day to you and your crew


our past year's valentines t-shirts:

check out my tutorials for tshirt appliqué and free hand cutting & freezer stencils

Sunday, January 26, 2014

putting my inner voices in time out




there is always some fight within yourself when you are nearing a major breakthrough in your life
your current self just doesn't want to let go of the good thing you’ve got going on right now
good defined as 
comfortable
familiar 
expected
not necessarily good defined as
good for you
change is hard
especially when you keep having that loud and intense inner battle of two voices within yourself 
that you wish you could just rip out of your mind 
tell them to play nice and work it out 
or they are just going to have to just stay there in timeout until they can get along

one voice tells you 
that you are ready to take that next step
you are strong 
you are capable
you’ve got what it takes 
you can rise above
the other voice laughs at you and says
who are you fooling
you can’t change 
look at what you’ve done in the past 
what makes you think that today will be any different
my head is spinning right now just thinking about it
because that has been the battle going inside my mind for months
and i am here today to tell you that as loud as that debbie downer voice has been screaming in my mind 
she has now faded to a whisper
that duct tape must have done the job
no in all fairness i cannot pin point one major event that has triggered this most incredible quieting of the mind and propelled me on to my next level of growth
it has been the compilation of many, many little efforts and the surrendering of myself to faith 
faith in me 
faith in my God
and faith in the circumstances I have been currently blessed with
it has been a loooong fight 
and i have no doubt that that duct taped voice in my head may find her way to a bullhorn once again but next time she’s going to find a new me
one that will have grown in my inner debbie downer silencing skills
change is in the air once again
so watch for some tremendous growth coming on all fronts over here as i climb to that next level of achievement

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

charge into the new year with the paper antler party cracker - a tutorial

this is it
the very single last final caboose day of 2013
can you believe it

i give one final raised glass to this year
by presenting a tutorial inspired by the symbol of the year
the antler

here is a quick diy to allow your New Year's Eve party to go out with a bang
and to charge into the new year
the paper antler party cracker
designed for the Paper Crepe Company challenge mentioned here in my previous posts
merry and bright christmas and
hipster baby boy's first birthday


new year's eve paper antler party cracker tutorial


SUPPLIES

{all decorative supplies provided by the Paper Crepe}
tp tube
9" crinkle or thin textured paper
glitter paper
high quality patterned paper
twine
adhesive or hot glue
small prizes and candies

party cracker form

FORM

cut your crinkle or thin texture paper to approx 9" x 9" 
place tp tube on the inside centered
apply adhesive
since my cracker was made for a company party display and not to be opened it was not filled with special prizes
to create a functional pop-able cracker add just a couple more steps found here on this tutorial by


tie up party cracker with twine

TIE UP

carefully gather up each end and tie the ends


soften paper by crinkling

CRINKLE

here comes the fun part!
remember when you were a kid and you made your own leather by crinkling up paper brown bags until it became so soft
that is the same concept here
this is why you need a high high quality paper so it will crinkle and mold in your hand and not tear
crinkle away
it starts off rough but just keep going
crinkle and crinkle some more until it becomes soft and pliable


cut triangle for party cracker

CUT CORNER

do not try to flatten the crumpled paper
fold over a corner to form an elongated triangle approx 4" x 2"
and snip


antler branch form

FORM TWO

to form a branched antler cut an 1 1/2 to 2" slit starting at the shortest side of triangle toward the folded side of the triangle at an angle


twist to form double branched antler

TWIST

start twisting the paper to form your antler shape
twist and twist
don't be afraid to twist tightly if you have some serious high quality paper
you want it tight to hold its shape
use adhesives or hot glue to finish off your antlers

party cracker wrapper

WRAPPER

cut your wrapper from glitter paper approx 3 1/4" x 6 1/2 "
adhere paper centered on cracker
wrap paper around cracker and then overlap and apply with adhesive or hot glue


mounting antlers on paper cracker


MOUNTING 

cut a chevron arrow shape out of patterned paper approx 2 3/4" x 1 1/2"
adhere shape to center of glitter paper
glue antlers in the center of the chevron shape


new year's eve paper antler party cracker tutorial diy

and there you have it
the paper antler party cracker

enjoy your New Year's Eve friends
look back with gratitude on the blessings of this past year
and charge forward with conviction to make this next year one with no regrets 
as you love more 
find more courage to those things which will bring the greatest joy for yourself and those around you
and dare to dream and act upon it

here's to living life with passion and conviction

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

merry and bright christmas: simple last minute touches to your holiday table decor

merry and bright christmas simple last minute holiday decor ideas

although the countdown to Christmas is nearly over
there is plenty of time to add those final touches to your holiday table decor

here are a few ideas i designed for The Paper Crepe challenge
last month in collaboration with Amy from Commona My House
as we were hired to create displays for their party tour which hit Sacramento, Dallas, and Chicago
read more about the parameters for the challenge here on my 'hipster baby boy's first birthday' post

so here are some simple last minute decor ideas:
antler party cracker {watch for tutorial coming just in time for your New Year's Eve bash}
3D Christmas tree
triangle trees
glitter paper chain
tissue tassel bunting {here's a great tutorial on green wedding shoes}
two tone glitter pine cones

merry and bright christmas simple last minute holiday decor ideas

may your days be merry and bright
from a gal who's christmas has become very white

merry merry christmas to you all

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

my Christmas wish



as the list of things that i should be doing are adding up in my mind
i am drawn at this time to reflect on some quiet moments that have transpired in our life the past little while
i have missed writing
for this is how i truly am able to reflect on the goodness in my life

as many of you know mike has begun treatments for his MS up here in utah where we have moved for a variety of reasons
but mainly to be close to a specialist we feel confident in and have easy access to
due to the nature of the progression of mike’s disease
some days, lots of days are just plain hard
in my mind and i think in the minds of others 
making this huge change in our life must have equated to the lessening of daily difficulty
if not for that
then why would we have moved
well the truth is that we have seen many moments of illumination that have shown us that indeed this is the place we need to be
we have already seen blessings in various aspects of our life
we know that a path of tremendous growth and hope is before us
but the weight of what remains the same and even the weight of what has changed 
lies heavy

what remains the same

mike continues to struggle in a very big way
physically, emotionally, and mentally
it is a daily battle
hearing him laugh and seeing the relaxation of his face when the pain has lessened are two of my favorite things right now
the humility and gratitude i see in him makes me love him more and more
i feel a tremendous honor to be his wife

what has changed

mike is no longer able to work due to a dramatic decline in his cognition
we have been sustained by the benevolent generosity of family
and i have been giving all i’ve got to my Nerium business
with full confidence that soon it will be able to put us on a path of independence
mike is my biggest champion
as i am my own worst enemy some days
i admire moms who have worked while raising their children
i admire men and women who have the fire of confidence with the skills of communication and the ability to inspire
i admire those who work with laser focus on what they want for the good of their family and don’t let rejection or obstacles get in their way

i tell you i am being stretched and molded into a woman i never knew i could become
one that never would have been uncovered had the need for me to rise not have been there
one who has had to rely heavily on the Lord
as well as newly acquired knowledge though good books of all varieties
and persons of great influence and motivation
all lending to the building up of a woman of greater courage and drive
but along this path of digging for deeper conviction and leadership capabilities
those qualities that need to be attended to most have been widely exposed
and sometimes for a vast public to see
those deeply rooted insecurities or inadequacies are paraded in front of my eyes and in front of so many others
a long line of them
i have put myself out there for all to witness not only my successes but my struggles
but as you see me pick myself up over and over and over
i hope that above all you will see that as i lift my head up again and again 
that my gaze 
my step 
my direction 
continues to be drawn toward what it is i must do and who i must do it for
at times i hope i will glance down to see who it is that is carrying me and give much thanks

two such moments i would like to share with you

a few nights ago
was one of those moments when the weight just seemed so great
one of those times in which the heaviness of what you carry causes the strength in your legs to give out
i found myself flat on my knees alone in our front room 
only the light of the Christmas tree to illuminate the tears running down my cheeks
no one else to hear the gasping cries escaping my lips in bursts of sound
so i thought
i looked up to see Owen standing in the doorway gazing down on me
without word he quickly came to my side 
knelt down next to me
not as i had, flat to my knees
but kneeling tall so that when he wrapped his arm around me at my side he was taller than i
he simply asked me, ‘are you missing grandpa?’ 
to which i replied ‘yes’...i kept the array of other looming thoughts to myself
i looked over at my son and felt his arm around me
not as a child but as a man who had come to comfort and rescue his mother
i felt of his strength
i felt of his faith
and i felt of the love he had for me
and indeed i felt rescued

i knew i had to write this down 
for i never want to forget that moment of tenderness between us

then last night as i came home late
i looked upon our counter to find a lovely basket of food and something peculiar in the center
a mason jar
at first i didn’t comprehend what was inside
could it be, no
a jar full of change and bills
there was a note accompanying it and i quickly reached for it looking to discover the bearer of such a gift
waves of tears overcame me as i read the sweet poem attached 
which in part reads:
we collected all year our dollars and dimes
and hoped we could save enough just in time
we prayed to know who to give this jar to
Heavenly Father’s answer said it was you
we hope you will feel the Savior’s Love
and know that this gift is from Heaven above
this family whoever they are filled their year with the intent to bless the lives of others at just this moment
and God himself knew of our need and directed their sweet hearts to our doorstep
i shook with gratitude and felt the warmth of my Savior’s love

in church this past week
i had the opportunity to address our congregation on a topic that i have been thinking much about
not only believing in Christ, in who He is, but believe Christ, believe His words
believing He will do what He said He would do
to not merely be an advisor or a champion or a counselor
but be our actual Savior, our Redeemer
to trust in His care and heeding His simple admonitions

‘let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid’ *
‘doubt not, fear not’ *
‘be of good cheer, for I will lead you along’ *

when i truly understand what He has done for me
i am happy
i shine forth
i carry myself with a perfect brightness of hope
i let the promises i have made to Him shine through my face 
even in times of difficulty and distress

this is my Christmas wish
to let this Child who was Born unto Us
enter as the Prince of Peace into my heart and life
that with the lifting of my heart and the lightening of my step
the joy returns to my countenance 
and my soul is filled with His redeeming love

Merry Christmas to you my sweet friends
may this Prince of Peace enter into your heart and life
this Christmas season and throughout your coming year

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