Remember to click the GIVEAWAYS tab to enter the current giveaway!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Winner & New Giveaway (Hint: Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la)

CONGRATULATIONS To Kris Wilcox and to Meagan at Mo Pie, Please! You won the giveaway!

Anyone in a Christmas mood?
Meet my friend, Sheryl from Mother's Dream Artworks... a very unique artist. Yes, she draws and paints ... but her most amazing work is created with objects from nature. The giveaway item is made from a piece of driftwood!
(Shery's "Silver Strand": Family Gatherings)
When I asked Sheryl about her business, this is the touching reply:
"I think the name of my studio has a large influence on what I do. I named my business Mother's Dream Artworks in honor of my mom, who started me out as a tot, coloring and shading color book pages. She showed me how to shape figures, and in general infused a love of art and nature and creativity into all I do. We had a dream of owning an art studio/store, where we could teach and learn and sell together. She passed away when I was 17 so for me, this is a continuation of a dream. My family enjoys it when I sit at the kitchen table sculpting or painting or whatever else I may do artistically, as they say it's peaceful to have me there with them while we chat as I work."
He's about 6" tall with details from sculpting clay on driftwood. Layers of paint, vintage leaves and mica snow make for a one-of-a-kind, very jolly collector's ornament!

To Enter:
Leave a comment

Additional Entries:
*Tell me your favorite thing about Christmas
*Visit Sheryl's Blog and leave a comment for her
*Visit Sheryl's Etsy Shop and let me know you did
*Blog about this giveaway
*Facebook about this giveaway
*Tweet about this giveaway
winner will be randomly drawn and announced on Friday, November 4th.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Please Just Try It ...

While spending some time recently with my 2-year-old grandson and his parents, I was able to catch, on video, just a little clip of a conversation that could have been a conversation between me & my teenagers, or - more symbolically - between me & our Heavenly Father. Before I grabbed the video the conversation went something like this:
Mommy: Now that it's not hot anymore you can just drink it from the cup
Gage: no
Mommy: Augustus Gloop didn't use a spoon with his chocolate river
Gage: Augustus Gloop used a spoon
Mommy: You'll like it better if you drink it from the cup.
Gage: I don't like it better from cup.
You get the idea ... It reminded me of recent talks with my teenagers at home.
So all this got me thinking about how stubborn I've been in my life. How often I imagine Heavenly Father saying to me:
Denalee, trust me. I know what will bring you happiness.
Me: No. I know what I want. I know what makes me happy. Please, please, PLEASE let me have my way.
Heavenly Father: I only want your happiness. Please trust me.
And then He lets me decide. And often, like Gage, I only get little tastes of what I really want because I refuse to let go of the spoon. But sometimes I set down my comfortable spoon, and even though I'm scared - take a big drink out of the cup. And then! and then I am FILLED with delicious goodness - and I wonder how I could ever have doubted.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea." Isak Dinesen

The loneliness you get by the sea is personal and alive. It doesn't subdue you and make you feel abject. It's stimulating lonelines
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Monday, October 24, 2011


My husband loves the line in the movie, "Beethoven" where the dad is arguing with the entire family about keeping the puppy who wandered into their home. He says something like, "We're a goldfish family, a turtle family, maybe even an ant farm family ... we're not a dog family." And so it's been in our home for years and years. We actually did own a dog for about a year in Alaska, but she turned out to be a holy terror. Then one day last year, Azure prepared a presentation for her dad. At the end of the presentation he said she could get a dog. We don't know what got into him! Our grandkids totally love "Buddy". And I love this quote: "No symphony orchestra ever played music like a 2-year-old playing with his puppy."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dream Big!

In response to those who say to stop dreaming and face reality, I say keep dreaming and make reality.
~Kristian Kan
Ok blogger friends ... I really want to know!:
What dreams do you have? What's on your bucket list? What have you always wanted to do, but just haven't made the time for? Tell me one or tell me 10 ... I'd love to hear!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"A chocolate in the mouth is worth two on the plate" and other chocolate wisdome

First, a BIG congratulations to C.W. Call for winning the Annie Henrie art giveaway!
Winner for the clothing giveaway will be drawn next week, so be sure to enter!
I've mentioned before that I am a strong believer in a healthy life style. It's true that I believe in exercise and caution with what goes into the body. BUT, I do love my chocolate. And there are some pretty good chocolate quotes out there .... (all these quotes from virtual
"Exercise is a dirty word ... every time I hear it I wash my mouth out with chocolate"
"I have this theory that chocolate slows down the aging process. It may not be true - but dare I take the chance?"
And now a serious quote that has very little to do with chocolate. But first, an explanation: I got a telemarketing phone call the other day, but the caller asked for my daughter. When I asked where he was calling from and he told me it was the MS Society, I told him I was surprised he was calling for my daughter since I was the one who used to have MS. That sparked a conversation - "used to have?", he asked. "Yes," I replied. "I know they say there is no cure and that MS is a lifelong disease, but I just don't believe that." He asked me to share my story (you can read it here, here, here, here and here) We ended the conversation with him saying,
"You are what you eat, you'll be what you speak".
Good quote from an anonymous telemarketer!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


"Colors are the smiles of nature"
Leigh Hunt
Doesn't color just make you HAPPY?! It does me!

Speaking of color, don't forget to enter my colorful giveaways! giveaway ends in a week

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

happy birthday TREVOR

and the
I was just a young 20-something-year-old when I became a mother for the first time.
As all mothers know, there's an immediate bonding love that compares with no other when that little wet bundle is placed in your arms. Oh how I craved holding and kissing my little Trevor constantly!
Little Trevor grew up to be the perfect big brother to his siblings.
and then to be the perfect daddy to his own children
And through it all ... all those growing up years, walking to the zoo, playing on the swings, buying and selling donuts at school, playing music at home, playing with GI Joes, running interferance against immature teachers, paper routes, summers at the docks, hiking, sending off on dates ... Trevor has remained, and ever will be, my kindred spirit. I love you Trevor. Happy Birthday!

eshakti clothing review & giveaway

I'm no fashion blogger ... that I readily admit!
But recently I received a GORGEOUS dress from eshakti and I am excited to sing its praises!
Admittedly, while perusing their site, knowing I'd be given a piece of clothing of my choosing to review and to keep, I looked for the most expensive item (hehehe ... I'm no dummy). But guess what?! Their clothing isn't all that expensive! So I took a different approach: What could I get that I would normally pass by in the department store - that is, I chose to NOT get a skirt (my closet is full of them - I'd rather wear a skirt and top than anything!) and I chose NOT to play it safe. I'll tell you, it honestly took me 2 full days to pick my dress. There is SO much to choose from!

Is this dress AWESOME or what?!
Things I love about it:
* It's reminiscent of the old war days
* It's majorly COMFORTABLE
* It has 2 deep pockets
* It's totally modest - no need to wear a cami or tank top underneath
* It's custom fit just for me!
That's right ... any of their items can be custom fit. You just fill out the sizing form and they adjust the clothing for you! A lot of the items you can customize in other ways as well. For instance, I could choose above the knee, knee length, or below the knee for mine. Many of the items you can choose the collar style or sleeve style. Total cost for custom fitting: $7.50. Worth it? You bet! It takes all the concern away from online ordering!
2 lucky winners from this giveaway will each get $20 gift code. And check out their site to see just how far that $20 will go!
To enter:
Mandatory - leave a comment on this post AND "like" the eshakti facebook page

Extra entries:
visit and tell me what you'll pick if you win
facebook about this giveaway, linking to this post
blog about this giveaway, linking to this post
tweet about this giveaway linking to this post

Good luck everyone ... I'm excited about this giveaway because this is a product I love. I know I'll be back to continue adding to my wardrobe!

Monday, October 17, 2011


Guess What??!?!?!
Bryan received his mission call and I'm so excited to tell you all that he is going to the Philippines Quezon City North mission, leaving home on February 1st!
We enjoyed a fun-filled weekend together in Arizona celebrating Bryan, his goodness and his upcoming adventure .... Exciting clothing giveaway post coming up tomorrow! And don't forget there's still the Annie Henrie Art giveaway going on now

Thursday, October 13, 2011


First, CONGRATULATIONS to Cherie at 'a baby called Max'
(who, btw, just found out she's listed in the top 100 bloggers!)
for winning the Swanson Health Products giveaway!
EVERYONE: remember to enter the Annie Henrie art giveaway .. we've got a week to go on that one!

I'm one of the young women leaders at church - for those who are not familiar with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all positions are filled by volunteers - there's no paid clergy, paid secretaries, teachers, or anything. Members of the congregation are given callings and can accept them, to serve in the different organizations within the church. I was just released from being a Sunday School teacher (going to really miss that!) and am excited to now be working with our young women (ages 12-18). Anyway, last night for a combined activity with the young men, we played a live game of CLUE. And (yay for me!) I played Miss Scarlett.
It was a blast. To make it more exciting, none of the cast knew "who done it".
Besides being just plain old fun, there's something very fulfilling about serving others! And it continues to amaze me that when I'm helping someone else, I am the one who walks away lifted! I love this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"... to grow old beloved"

I've currently got TWO giveaways going on. Either click on the "giveaways" tab above this post or click here for Annie Henrie's art or here for the gift card to Swanson Health Products.

Anyone read "Good Bye Mr. Chips"?
I love this phrase at the end of the book:
"[he] achieved that best reward of a well-spent life ... to grow old beloved"
That's my quest every day!

Monday, October 10, 2011


I was going to save this giveaway till I reached 300 followers, but it's just too exciting to hold off any longer! Let me introduce you to 25-year-old artist, Annie Henrie:
I met Annie a few weeks ago when she was signing prints at a store. Before I even saw Annie I was awestruck by her magnificent work! It drew me in. And then her work became even more beautiful as I visited with Annie and felt her genuine, tender heart as she spoke.
Titled: First Blossom
I asked Annie to tell me about her personal "Silver Strands" and this is what she said:
"My silver strands are the people in my life - my parents, family and friends - these are my angels in difficult times, and a lot of my art is dedicated to them. I look back on my life with a real amazement for the teachers that were placed in my path. I was raised with a professional artist for a dad and he taught me to paint and draw when I was really little. I also was able to work as an art assistant for J. Kirk Richards, who gave me a lot of inspiration and encouraged me to do religious art. These incredible mentors and many great teachers have been a huge blessing toward helping me to create art today."
Titled: Star of Wonder
When I asked Annie what it is that inspires her work, this was her reply:
"Traveling abroad to Europe - particularly England and Italy - was a huge inspiration, and has deeply influenced my work. I basically left my heart in Italy - and it was while I was living in Florence for a month I started making religious art, which I fell in love with. I loved the contrast of these beautiful old walls that had been around for hundreds of years, and yet were surrounded by modern life. I wanted to create art that was that balance of antiquity and freshness - art that people can relate to in any age and yet will not look dated. My art is also really influenced by spiritual experiences I had while serving as a missionary in England for my church. I met people there that yearned for relief from trials, and wanted more hope and a greater purpose to life. I met people there who were spiritual, faithful people despite exreme hardships, and people who were the closest I have seen to being true angels and saints on earth for their great love for others and God. These two experiences culminated in the art I make now.
Titled: Streams of Mercy
When I looked at the pieces of art Annie was selling, I wondered how she could ever part with one of her originals! From Annie: "There have been several paintings that have been really hard to part with - usually these paintings are at points where I made a breakthrough or realized something in the creation of a painting. I've had several paintings where the idea and composition of the painting came to me in a beauitful way, in a dream or as a sort of epiphany. The hardest painting for me to part with was "Streams of Mercy", mostly because I felt that I had created an image that had a depth of emotion I had not been able to create before.

Now, down to the exciting giveaway .....
Annie is providing a large autographed print of the above image, "Tender Mercies" on artistic watercolor paper, valued at $64.99. And (to prove what a sweet heart Annie has) she will ship ANYWHERE ... which means all of you wonderful over-seas bloggers: you're in on this giveaway!!

To Enter:
Leave a comment

Extra Entries:
Be a follower of Silver Strands
Visit Annie's website and tell me which painting of hers strikes a strong chord within you
Facebook about this giveaway
Tweet about this giveaway (once daily - each for a separate entry)
Email friends/family about this giveaway and copy me on the email (
Blog about this giveaway and leave me a link to your post

Please leave a separate comment for each entry.
Winner will be randomly drawn and announced on Thursday, October 20th.
GOOD LUCK friends! I'm so excited for all of you!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

an early HAPPY HALLOWEEN to all of you!

Some of our kids were in town this weekend, so my husband created this video ...
Halloween celebrations can be really fun. My mother tells me about how her mother would dress up so she was completely unrecognizable, then go around and deliver goodies to the neighbors. What a way to celebrate! I'd love to hear your ideas.

Friday, October 7, 2011


"... where your treasure is, there will your heart be also ..."
New Testament, Matthew 6:21
"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."
Thornton Wilder

Thursday, October 6, 2011

To Tickle Your Fancy

Guess WHAT friends??!!!?!
I'm approaching 300 followers ... this means it's GIVEAWAY time!
I've got to keep these a secret, but there's no reason I can't give you HINTS ...
Upcoming giveaways include:
Clothing from an AMAZING online company (yup - dresses, shirts, pants, skirts ... and shhhh: they custom fit for you!)
Pick your own great stuff from an online health store (yes, you health nuts! this means vitamins, organic goodies, even books ...)
Art! Yay! I can't reveal the artist yet, but I PROMISE you're going to love her work!
That's just a taste of some of the exciting giveaways coming up starting .....
guess WHAT?! ....
We'll start with you health-nuts out there. And for those of you who want to be health nuts.
I learned about SWANSON HEALTH PRODUCTS when I performed a search to find the life-changing book, "Water & Salt, the Essence of Life". Oh - I need to tell you that I'm not getting paid or given anything free for this or ... you know ... any of that stuff. I just really, really am sold on some products here! So, this book. Truly life changing. Swanson Health Products not only has the book, but they have the Himalayan Salt that this amazing book talks about. And they have vitamins, supplements, eco-friendy cleaners, beauty products, etc.
Whether you win this giveaway or not, check out the book I mentioned. Every sentence in it struck a chord of truth in me. I figure I'm already going to live a really long life - following the principles in this book will help my long life be comfortable and healthy.
Now, about the giveaway:
Winner will receive a $25 coupon from Swanson Health Products to spend however you like.
To enter just leave a comment.
I won't make you be a follower, but you'd sure make me smile if you are one :) And I won't make you hop around and tell me what you'd buy or anything like that. BUT - if you have any great health tips you'd like to share with me - you KNOW I'd love to read that in your comment.
Okey dokey. It's been a while since I've held a giveaway and I'm excited to start off with this one. Oh! - If you want to enter more than once, you can. Extra entries if you facebook, tweet or blog about this giveaway. Just let me know with a separate entry that you did. One more thing: help me get over 300 followers and you won't believe the great giveaway that will be offered then!
(winner randomly drawn & announced on Wednesday, October 12, 2011)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

it hurts so good

There are some things that just hurt for no good reason.
Like a paper cut. YIKES - they hurt so bad.
And have you ever had a cardboard cut?

But some things hurt so good!
Like the day after a good hard hike or the day after beginning an exercise program. Those muscles hurt SO good.

Two things today hurt so good for me:
1- Last Christmas my kids gave me some gift certificates for Chinese full-body Reflexology massages. I used the last one today. I was home alone for the first time in a long time. Got my morning housework done followed my my income earning work. Then I thought: I could use a little pampering! Normally I don't know how much gifts given to me cost. But this I know: It's only $25 for a 1-hour massage. Depending on who does it, it's either soothing or a killer work out. Today was a work out.
I tell you! there are pressure points on my arms that are so sensitive I about go through the roof when the tiny little lady works her magic.
Oh man! It hurt SO GOOD.
2- My middle child, Bryan, just finished the paperwork for his mission. The Stake President submitted his paperwork to church headquarters last week - he should receive his call next week. Bryan (like all LDS missionaries) will be gone for 2 full years in the service of the Lord by serving other people. This is such a sweet time that it hurts. I'm so proud of Bryan, and so grateful for his goodness. But oh! how I'll miss my little guy. (little=19-yr-old)

to end this post ~ some things that hurt so BAD:
* child birth
* kicking the vacuum
* biting my tongue
* pimples that never mature
* hitting my head while climbing into the car
* dropping a weight on my foot

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

symbol of joy

We lived for 12 years in the great state of Alaska.
The forget-me-not is the state flower. It grows everywhere and can be easily overlooked because it's so small and so close to the ground.
I love this quote from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:
There is something inspiring and sublime about the little forget-me-not flower. I hope it will be a symbol of the little things that make your lives joyful and sweet.

His talk in its entirety can be read here. And indeed, it is well worth reading over and over.
As I've thought about this short quote and the message of the forget-me-not, some of those little things that make my life joyful and sweet have been more obvious to me. Things like: waking up invigorated after a good night's sleep; running into a friend unexpectedly; being able to be home when my kids get out of school; the smell outside when it's about to rain; family prayer; technology [when it's working]; the first bite into a brownie ...
What little things make your life joyful and sweet?

Monday, October 3, 2011


I believe in fueling our bodies with healthy food.
(and fueling my emotions with dark chocolate - but that's another post)
So imagine my joy when I found this gigantic avocado at a Mexican food market! (I put the lemon in the picture so you could see that the PIT was the size of a lemon - that means this avocado was roughly the size of a football) Everyone was gone and I thought - "how about a ymmy salad with this avocado?"
Now, normally I can down an entire avocado all by myself, no problem. But this monster was way too big. (PS - I love having salads this yummy ... other than salt & pepper I don't need to add any taste enhancer!)
So I made guacamole. I used Alton Brown's recipe.
Then I thought, if I down this whole bowl of guacamole myself, that wouldn't be considered healthy. So I made a delicious dinner - lime rice (cafe-rio-style), shrimp, mango salsa.
The real reason I didn't eat the entire avocado wasn't because I didn't have room in my tummy - it's because I didn't want to repeat the artichoke episode. When I was about 8 years old and our family was serving artichokes, I sat at the table long after everyone was gone and I ate everything that everyone else was too full for. I got so sick that I couldn't eat artichokes till adulthood. If I had to go 15 years without avocados it would be a sad, sad world!

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad