Monday, July 28, 2014

8 week Weight Loss Challenge

After a year of grief eating, I am back on the healthy bandwagon.
I  have put on 30 pounds since my mom died and I  know I will continue to gain more if I don't watch what goes into my mouth.    I'm not that person who doesn't eat when things are stressed...I eat ...and I eat a lot.   It's amazing how much emotion is tied to weight.  I haven't been on the scale for months, and when I got on yesterday, I had to close one eye, then I gasped at the number.  How did that happen?  I'm at my weight where I was when I delivered my babies.  CRAZY!!!

So to "fix" this mindset, and because I'm ready to do something about my tight fitting clothes, I have started an 8 week challenge.  There are 11 of us doing this together to support and help and motivate each other.   We are trying to develop good daily habits with fruits and veggies, water and no sugar etc... and lose weight along the way.  We all put some money in the pot, and in the end the habit winner and the percentage of weight loss winner will split it.  FUN.  I'm obviously a yellow that needs a game and social activity combined to help me on my weight quest.  The challenge fills both of these requirements.

I'm glad to have family and friends to do this with. Here is to the next 56 days of a positive mindset and watching the scale go down, down, down.   Life is good.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Bring them in. Trek 2014

Mueller Park Stake Pioneer Trek was amazing.   Our theme was Bring 'em In......and we DID! 

We went up to Martin's Cove on a 6 hour bus ride ( thank goodness for airconditioned chartered buses and not school buses this time).  We had 300 people with us--230 youth.  Martin's Cove is a sacred area.  You can feel the spirit of the Pioneer's who crossed through there and all of the sacrifice and tribulation that made up  the amazing hand cart companies.
Wayne and I were on the Stake committee in charge of Activities, Music and Program.  It was kind of a daunting task with many meetings and a practice Trek in May involved.
I am so glad we are on this end of it now looking back.    Some of my favorite things include Wayne's talk about Rescueing the One.  He told some mission stories and shared his testimony.  Wayne told about getting to his mission in Argentina with no one meeting him at the Bus station and he having no way to get ahold of anyone.  With his limited Spanish, he just sat and waited to be rescued.   We also heard from David Barlow on rescuing and reaching out to the one.  He is part of the Udnerground Railroad organization that rescues kidnnapped children all over the world who are being sold into sex slavery.   It's quite extraordinary.   I had 4 men and 4 boys sing Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd accompanied by the violin that was just gorgeous.   The funny part about this whole evening was .....me.  We were behind schedule because the Stake President treated all 300  of us to ice cream cones at the Little America stop in Wyoming..... soft serve, one at a time ice creams which made our 15 minute sto more like an hour and a half stop....needless to say everything just got pushed back...so our evening fireside didn't get underway until 8:45.  Well it was almost dark.  I kept telling Wayne to start the program, and he kept telling me he would once Pres. Jackson got up here.  Pres. Jackson was tending to a Craig Brown who got hurt catching at the Trust Fall ladders..... anyway....it was getting so dark, my musical group wasn't going to be able to see their music.  I implored Wayne again to begin the program...he said no and told me to sit down, which I did and pouted.   THEN I removed my dark sun glasses and saw that it wasn't that dark at all.... crazy.  I know there is a lesson in here somewhere.

 We trekked through Martin's cove which included a river crossing with our handcarts.  This was very poignant for me.  The water felt good to all of us because of our 100 degree, relentless sun days...but the pioneers came at 11 degrees with hardly any shoes left on any feet and little to keep them warm.  This river was where grown men just sat on the banks and cried.   I cried for them.
Trust Fall into waiting arms fromt the top of a 6 foot ladder.  Not my best idea, but it was fun

A-frame play.... the families loved figuring this one out.  We also had sling shots, stick pull, tug of war, all on a box, blind tag and board walk.


My hero.....getting ready for his talk and settling down his sunglass wearing wife.
Trek is always a big testimony builder for me.  The women's pull was very spritual.  The hill wasn't necessarily that steep or difficult, but we set the girls up that this was a way to honor the women pioneer who pressed on when their husbands died.   We did it in silence. The boys spread out along the trail silent as well with hats over their hearts.  There was a woman in our stake who got hurt on the 3 mile trek, the first day, so we had a rickshaw type of handcart to pull her in.  Her husband was a hero and pulled her all over.  When it came to the women's pull, he was just going to pull her up with the men to wait, but we, the Stake support women, thought we would like to  pull her up the hill.  It was very humbling for her and for all of us.  Many tears were shed and I kept reflecting on the lesson's learned from this as well.......

Trek was great.  It's always a powerful, crazy time..... a lot like herding cats....but with spirit and testimony involved.  We were hot and miserable and loved every minute of it!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Being nice is first class....by Landon

The first thing you should know is that I have not typically enjoyed my birthday in years past.  Two years ago when asked what I wanted to do for my birthday my response was "watch Howard Keel movies all day, eat a whole bunch of crappy food, and cry."  I have been working on this however, and even promised Alex a few months back that I would make a goal on having a totally not sad birthday.

Alex received news the he would be gone for my birthday for a work trip only a week or two before.  Typically a quick to schedule work trip is no big thing to me; He goes to California and I spend a few days in Bountiful with my parents. My first response to this trip however was telling Alex that the deal of an un-sad birthday was off. 

The weekend before he left he told me that he had a surprise for me for my birthday! I didn't even try to pry it out of him.  He then debated out loud if he should tell me before my actual birthday or not.  When I reminded him that not only would he be out of town but that I would be staying in Bountiful he let me "open" my present.  Tickets to San Francisco.  I had never been, his work head quarters are there, he loves it, and a few days off work for him having fun with me is just the quality time that I crave.  

I had never flown anywhere by myself previous to this trip.  I made sure that I panicked him out about this just enough to make him worry that there was a chance I wasn't going to make it to San Fran and instead would be in some airport in South Carolina waiting for someone to pick me up, but not enough to make him cancel the trip altogether.  


The birthday came and it was wonderful.  Not one ounce of sad---instead it was full of happiness and beauty.  The only things missing from it were Andrew, Sophia, and Alex.  It made me even more excited to head out to San Fran though.  

I arrived at the airport early, wandered around for a bit figuring out how to do any of it.  After waiting at the gate for a good hour and twenty minutes they still had not called boarding.  Alex called me, he was on the Delta sight and could see that there were some small delays.  Luckily he kept an eye on that for me....eventually Delta decided that the plane I was supposed to be getting on wasn't going to leave until 3:35.  My connecting flight in LA was taking off at 3:00.   

As I waited in line to talk to the gate agent people started acting all crazy.  It is an airport however, and did they really think everything was going to be on time?  The last 5 trips I've taken have had major delays, its just expected by now right?  

I approached the gate agent and greeted her with a smile.  I always make a point to look at people's name tags and call them by their name.  For a while I thought this was creepy but it's there for a reason, and the first habit of a highly effective person is to use people's names.  I got no further than saying her name and asking how her day was going when I was interrupted.   A short, middle aged, slightly large woman with corn rowed braids and a big oversized green tee shirt all but pushed me as she started to talk to the agent.  Her voice was raised and her hands were flailing everywhere as she blamed the agent for a delay.  Her flight was going to be missed, she didn't want to sit around in an airport and wait, the agent should do something about this....  After 30 seconds of non breathing, ignorance, spewing from her mouth I said, "Hey you need to stop.  She is just doing her job and you're being really rude."  The woman looked up at me, "excuse me, I just need to talk to her."  
"Well," I replied, "you need to step away and calm down.  Then you can get in the back of this line, wait your turn, and then you can talk to her."  

I looked back to the gate agent, and the rude woman stormed away I'm sure to complain to whomever about how she had never been spoken to honestly in her life.   "Sorry about that."  I said.   The gate agent brushed it off telling me that it was just part of her job.  I let her know that it shouldn't be a part of her job and that it was so rude for that woman to do that.  

She smiled and asked how she could help me.  I showed her that I was now going to miss my connecting flight in LA.  As she looked up new options for me we talked about how this trip was for my birthday, how it was a present from my honey since the work trip was over my birthday, about how I had never traveled alone before and was nervous, how LAX was for sure where I was going to end up lost anyway even with a new flight.  

"Good news!" she said as she handed me a new ticket.   "I got you on a direct flight to San Fran so you won't need to worry about LAX, I hope you have a really great time."   

I said thanks and walked off.   I started to find my new gate, and called Alex up.  He got back onto the Delta sight---  Good News indeed!  Not only had she put me on a direct flight, she had me upgraded to first class.  Seat 1D.  Front row of the whole plane, priority boarding, the works!    

Happy Birthday to me!  Being a decent human definitely has its perks.  One time I saw this woman yelling like a crazy person at her kids in public.  I was just a young teenager, and later I told my mom about it.  She asked why I didn't say anything to the woman.  That really stuck with me.  I now try to make sure that when people are treating others totally inappropriate around me to step in a give an opportunity to calm down.   

First class, ps, is the way to travel.   You have actual treats, drinks, and service while on the plane.   I could eat, drink, watch anything, to my hearts content.  The lady sitting next to me kept glaring at me anytime I asked for something, but it's all good cause I kept glaring at her for taking off her shoes on an airplane.  


Just be nice.  That's the lesson that was again cemented into my mind from this.  Addison used to say, "Just be nice to everyone and nobody else."  And that's the truth; it doesn't matter who the person is just be nice.  It costs absolutely nothing to use a kind tone or a smile.  And sometimes someone thinks that you being nice is first class.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

52nd Birthday plans.....

Sleep in
Watch trash TV
Do Laundry.....that's what happens when you just return from a 6 day Palmyra-Niagra trip.....
Get a massage
Eat Pie...rhubarb of course
Drink a BIG AL from Swig......Diet coke, coconut flavoring and fresh lime wedges
Go to Chunga's with Wayne........Mexican food.....YUM!
Shop for cute clothes and jewelry
Hang out with the fam
Wish there was a movie out there I was dying to see.......Planet of the Apes ?
Count my blessings
Miss my mom


Niagra Falls

One of my Bucket List items  that has been hanging around for years is going to Niagra Falls... this year it came true.  I counted it as my 52nd birthday celebration...and it didn't fail to impress. Happy Birthday to Me!
We jumped on the Maid of the Mist boat and all donned our blue slickers thinking....we would obviously get wet, but we didn't invision how wet.
The Horseshoe falls with all of the powerful plunging water makes it's own weather system.   We had a full on rain storm close to the falls, everything torrentially wet without the lightening and thunder.  Addison, Bre, Wayne, Laila and I couldn't stop laughing...it really was fun, funny and an awesome experience.  Bucket list............Check!
Laila, Wayne and I walked on over to the Canadian side to see a panoramic view of the falls and we stumbled upon a crazy "Funnest street in the world"  Chilton Hills.  It was a Las Vegas  type street filled with 3 Haunted Houses,  a lifesize dinosaur miniature golf course, a 175 ft high Ferris Wheel- "Eye in the Sky",  bowling allies, candy shops, junk food, arcades, wax museums, Ripleys Believe it or Not, Upside down houses, garrish lights, and  hucksters telling us to come in and spend our money......get the picture?  It was like the street that Pinnochio and all of the  boys played in that turned them into donnkeys.  Laila loved it.  I was convinced we would come out the other end smoking cigars and braying.




Monday, July 14, 2014

Hill of Cumorah pageant

We have arrived at the Hill Cumorah and found Add and Bre and baby...Rob and Julie Briggs.  They have had a great experience. 
This pic is taken from the top of the hill up by the Moroni statue. 
 The space is massive with 8000 chairs set up. The stage is so impressive.  The trees along the side were transplants from the sacred grove in the 1930s.  

Add and Bre have had a great spiritual experience and of course Alfie is a big hit.  He isn't the youngest in the cast though....There is a two week old baby here.  Addison is Samuel the Lamanite, 

Bre is Laman's wife on the boat with huge acting and water effects. Gma Julie holds Alfie and is in the Alma conversion scene as believers. Gpa Rob is in the destruction before Christ comes scene.  He is front and center running with arms above his head. They are all in the beginning processional and in the Christ coming to America scene. 
At the pageant all of the actors come out in their costumes and greet and seat people and do missionary work before the show starts. They share scriptures , and ask for referrals etc.  Many  pics are taken because of the colorful interesting costumes and characters.   

The costumes are intriguing but really look awesome onstage. This guy is one of King Noah's priests. I call him churro birthday hat man. 
 It's fun to see the little kids reactions to Samuel/ Addison. He is a hero. One little four year old was so happy to really meet his BOM hero he couldn't believe it. He asked if Alfie was a real baby too.   The show begins at 9:15 each night and lasts one hour. It's a condensed version if the Book of Mormon and features Nephi/ Lehi story, division of Nephites and Lamanite, King Noah's court with Abinadi and Alma. Samuel the Lamanite and Christ coming. Mormon and Moroni burying the plates in Cumorahs hill then Joseph Smith uncovering them and bringing the Book of Mormon to us in this day. 
I was really impressed. I loved the fire and water effects and it's especially sweet when 700 people Come  unto Christ  with little children running to him and getting hugs and I look up there and see Addison and Bre and Alfie all there as well. 

We got to also experience protesters with blow horns shouting at us to stop worshipping Moroni. It was crazy. 
We have our Hill Cumorah sweatshirts on. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Sacred Grove

The sacred grove was glorious.  
We prayed before entering to have a spiritual experience.  
Being here at pageant time is a bit busy. There were three buses in the parking lot and many cars. I kind of thought that we would just be in a people line as we entered the grove. I was wrong. The grove is spacious.  Upon entering there was an immediate different feeling, it was calm, peaceful and quiet and we could hear birds singing...not bus engines and people talking.  It was amazing to me to witness that. There was a palpable change...like walking through a curtain. It's amazing to think that God the Father and Jesus Christ were physically here. It felt hallowed and reverenced.  
If there is ever a time to think about trees and tree metaphors it's in this grove. There are "witness tees" toward the back of the grove that are old enough to have been around when Joseph Smith was alive. There are young trees that are new to the grove.  There are "charactered" trees that look gnarly and broken but alive and growing.   Obviously they have been through something and are still going strong.  There are some toppled trees with shallow roots in marshy spots.  So many spiritual metaphors.  I loved it.  I had to remember not to look at my feet but to look up as I walked. I didn't want to be distracted by roots and rocky places.   Another analogy.  
It really was a sweet experience for me. 
Hopefully for Laila and Wayne too.