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Thursday, January 26, 2012


I'm doing it - surprisingly skipping and dancing through, just about finished with week1 of a 28-day detox cleanse. It's not impossible or stupid like the drink-only-lemon-water-for-10-days one (sorry if I offended anyone).
It's healthy. You can check it out here.
(I ate nearly all of these - that's one entire "bunch" of kale!)

And I'm doing great - feeling satisfied and energized.
Just 21 more days to go!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

bucket lists

Have I told you about the time I helped catch this 300 pound halibut?
Well, when the big ol' grizzled fishermen had me filet it, I straddled the giant and stuck in the knife. I hit the spinal cord and its tail flipped up and hit me in the rear. Quite an experience. Anyway, I've had my deep-sea-fishing thrill. Don't know what I'll cross off next on my bucket list, but I was thrilled to see on the counter this morning, my 14-year-old's bucket list she had compiled the night before. She's got some worthy and exciting things on there, but my favorite of hers:
Be in a Tomato Fight.

What's on your bucket list?

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012


My Bryan turned 19 today! We'll soon be saying good-bye as he leaves for the Philippines. He's made us proud!

Love you Bry.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

My brother, Michael

I'm sandwiched between two brothers. In high school, they were both exceptionally cool and I .... well, I was not. But that's ok. Bruce is a year+ older than me, Michael is a year+ younger than me. Can you imagine how TIRED my mother must have been?!

(this was taken before #6, Darryn, came along ... I think I'm 4 in this picture which makes Bruce 5 and Michael 3 ... Camielle is the oldest and Jennilyn is the baby)
Anyway, thinking about Michael today. When we were teenagers we were very best friends. I can remember many nights one of us going into the other's bedroom, sitting on the bed and talking. And talking. Forever. Hours would pass so quickly. I had crushes on his friends and he had crushes on mine.
We talked about friends, we talked politics (he was a die-hard conservative and I had no idea what he was talking about), he was a poet and I was one of the few who could talk him into sharing his poetry with me, we talked about books and movies (well, when that subject came up, he talked and I listened), we talked about dreams of our futures. I always thought Michael would grow up to be a courtroom judge. I don't know why. He's one of the most connected people I know - you want to get in touch with anyone about anything and Michael will have a connection that can make that happen. And, this is a crazy thing, he's working on his PhD right now - weird, considering my lack of degrees :) Smart. That's what he is. Anyway, he was just a really good guy back when we were kids. And he's a really good guy now. And I miss him.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

I guess I'm something of a health nut

or at least, my kids would say I am. But for good reason: See, I believe I'm going to live a good, loooooong time - and I want to enjoy that time fully. So I've got to take care of myself. Consequently, my husband and children are forced to be healthy as well!
Yes, I grind my own wheat and flake my own oats. Easy and way healthy! Years ago I visited a naturopath who taught me to eat at least one meal of "live" food every day. Salads are a great go-to-meal if you prepare a whole bunch at once and package them in baggies, ready to dump on the plate. My husband and I have found that a half a lemon squeezed on with some good salt & pepper - that's dressing enough. Water. Water, water, water! And if you haven't yet picked up "Water & Salt, The Essence of Life" - it's a good read. I'm also a juicer. That picture, middle-right shows our counter on a typical morning. The hubby and kids know to check the counter and drink up. Lined up in order are: sole, lemon water, fresh juice. And I'm a walker. I used to be a runner, but found it dangerous to my health when I slipped on ice, hit my head and was medivac flighted for a brain bleed. Ick. So I walk now, and am trying to work back up to running. But that fresh air! wow. Last picture - that is sole. You can read all about it here. I'm a believer.

Any other health nuts out there?

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Friday, January 20, 2012

TV love

There's only one show on TV I really don't want to miss each week:
Once Upon A Time. Brilliant idea, great casting, really good story lines! The only thing I DON'T like about it is that I have to wait an entire week to see the next episode!

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

dream home room

Someday, when my husband builds our dream home, I want to have a library like the Beast gives to Belle:
If I can't have that, I want one like this couple's library that belongs to our family friends, the Kapps:
Today when some friends were visiting, one of the little boys was gazing at our bookshelves. When he asked me, "There are so many books here! Is this a library?", he made my day!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

close to my heart

I can't believe our Bryan is going on a mission! He'll be gone for 2 years - serving in the Philippines.

A year or so ago, while reminiscing on the miracles that brought Bryan into our family I wrote this:

It was early in the spring of 1994. The four walls that were meant to provide sanctuary now held my heart captive. Beating out of control, my heart whispered a silent plea. I willed the unuttered prayer to break free of the four walls and to find audience at the throne of a merciful Father. The miniature chairs held our bodies as our souls anxiously paced, communing identical hopes and worries. Grasping onto Brad's strength, respite arrived in the form of a memory.

I fairly danced into the room, my 4-year-old daughter hanging onto my skirt as she skipped along, her golden curls bouncing with anticipation. My eyes took in the child-friendly artwork on the four walls as I skated the perimeter. Brooke immediately gravitated to the miniature chairs and began "reading", legs crossed, to her "students", the numerous stuffed animals. It was like Christmas ... Not only were we picking up the very best present ever, but we were the keepers of the big surprise secret. In walked Guam Social Services personnel, one of them with a brown little bundle. My twitching arms could not be stilled. Outstretched, like magnets they drew the babe in and became his sole covering. Brooke flew off her chair, abandoning her obedient students for a glimpse of her brother. That day peace flowed from the four walls.

That was over a year ago. Our minds skittered from one thought to another; now justifying leaving Bryan at home, now chiding ourselves for not having the attorney present, jumping from comfort to chaos and back again. The past year had been one of anxiety. Pushing the evil whisperings of doubt as they'd creep in, we simply could not prepare for the worst, as some had advised us to do. Once parental rights were terminated, the selection process took a turn we'd never imagined. They wanted to take Bryan and place him in a family with darker skin. As our motionless bodies occupied seats meant for children, our racing souls darted through thoughts. The minutes dragged, feeling like marathon hours that we could hardly endure. My cracked voice broke the physical silence with a half whisper, "Are you praying?". The spoken words triggered other physical responses. The tears that began as a trickle soon became a heavy stream. My palms, moistened with nervous sweat, began to shake like the tremor of a quake. Just when I felt like my body would involuntarily bolt, the door creaked and thundering footsteps cut the silence. This time when Guam Social Services entered the room, instead of carrying a little brown bundle, they held our future. Her voice rocked the previously quiet room, booming over the pounding of my heart. "We've decided to place the baby permanently in your care. We'll continue our monthly visits .....". Her voice trailed off as Brad's arms encircled my shaking body. My heavy tears turned into sobs as the four walls once again held the best present ever. It was like Christmas all over again. It was as if I'd seen the walls break loose as my whispers escaped like twinkling gems of gratitude being caught and carried by angels to His throne.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

some of my favorite things

Just for fun, here are some of the things I'm really glad to have:
* I love my titanium necklace from ... titanium is known for balancing energy and helping with healing
* For Christmas my husband gave me these awesome Vibram shoes. When I walk in them it feels sort of like walking through mud or squishing butter between my toes. LOVE them!
* I'm a juice fanatic. The Juiceman is a good machine that gets the job done fast AND is easy to clean!
* Any essential oil lovers out there? I'm borderline CRAZY about essential oils and this diffuser from Young Living is the best ever.
* My friend, Loa, introduced me to GSE (grapefruit seed extract) as a natural way to keep viruses at bay. I swear by it.
* When listing my favorite things I would be really remiss to leave out MY BED. It's SO comfy: feather pillow, down comforter and feather bed topper.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

How I deal with "YIKES!" things

I remember when I was in Jr. High
(don't be so smart-aleck-y ... it wasn't THAT long ago!)
and I'd forgotten to do some homework. I got this really sick feeling like my insides were dropping right down to my toes. I spent the entire day at school really sick - anticipating that class.
Fast-forward to a couple of years into our marriage when I got a registered letter hand-delivered from the postman. I had to sign for it. I opened it to see that the IRS was not happy with me. I hadn't reported income from a freelance job I'd done the previous year and I was in trouble. What would have been about $40 in taxes ended up being over $1000 with penalties and late charges. We were students and a thousand dollars was incomprehensible.
Since that time I've had to figure out how to live without quaking and trembling whenever bad news comes my way.
Here's how I do it:

*Take a deep breath - or several deep breaths (literally) and go someplace quiet
*Pray and express my concern - just talking as I would to a best friend who doesn't need to interject opinion but wants to really listen
*I then work out the worst possible scenario - that is, what's the worst thing that can happen if everything goes badly with this. This sounds scary, but really it's liberating. So, we lose our jobs - I start by thinking the worst thing that can happen is we have to use our savings. Then I realize that it really could get much worse - we run out of food, no gas for the car, and on and on which leads me to the really worse-case: We move out and have to live with our parents. (for me that actually sounds kind of fun!)
*Next: Can I accept this if it really goes this bad? Of course I can. I can live with it. I can even thrive in this situation because my mind then starts to drift to how I recover from this.
*Once I've accepted the worst possible situation (which, by the way, has never happened. Never. The worst has never happened!), I figure out a step-by-step plan to recover from the blow. Again, that plan is never exactly what happens, but it's a start. For example, when we were told (after Bryan being a part of our family for the first 8 months of his life) that we were going to lose Bryan, after all the negative thoughts, I started working on my step by step plan. We considered everything - every way to keep him (yes - many of them were illegal, but certainly not unethical!). We didn't actually follow through with most of those plans (though we started on them) but we did follow through with the one that eventually brought about finalizing his adoption. And it couldn't have happened without a Higher Power being in control.

So, it was a little over 3 years ago when my husband was laid off from his job and we started the loan modification process. We've been working "with" the bank for OVER 3 YEARS to come up with something that would work. (our house is worth less than half of what we bought it for 4 years ago!) I'm so grateful that I learned through previous experiences how to handle blows because through this whole process my husband and I have been at peace. We have been prepared to lose our house - so that when the notices started being taped to the door (you can only know how that feels if it happens to you - it's way worse than the registered letter being hand delivered!) we took deep breaths and plunged forward with plans B, C and D.
Did I already say that the worse never happens?
Well I came home from a week-long business trip to find that FedEx had delivered a thick envelope. It really could have gone either way - either way ... and because we had peace, it would be ok. The envelope contained permanent loan modification papers for us to sign. As soon as they receive these signed papers back from us, the house will be taken out of the foreclosure pool.

Sometimes I am so overwhelmed with gratitude I can hardly take it in!

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His Hand

Have you ever had times in your life when an event occurs and all of a sudden your eyes are opened to see that it was many months or many years in the making? And you look back over decisions you made - one decision leading to another - that gives you the most wonderful outcome ever? And you had no idea when making some of those choices that they would lead you to the current incredible blessing?
I've had many of those eye-opening experiences. They have strengthened my belief that, if we allow, our Heavenly Father will direct us. And my testimony of His interest in each of us, individually, just gets stronger and stronger. It makes sense - after all, we ARE His children! Of course He would want the best for us and want to direct us - just like we want the best for our children and want to give them direction and guidance.
I really know that we have a loving Father who cares about our lives - the big things and the little. When I finally bend my will to His, great blessings come, among which is peace in my mind and in my heart.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

loving it

There is something to love in every situation in which we find ourselves. I believe that's true. Especially after reading biographies and experiences of some people who have been through horrific events. Have you read "Left to Tell", or "Man's Search for Meaning" or "The Diary of Anne Frank"?
On a much smaller scale, when my legs went numb at the onset of MS, it wasn't hard to find the silver lining: My varicose veins that had previously caused so much aching and pains were no longer an issue. I couldn't feel them. Sometimes I have to remind myself to look for the thing to love in my situation. The more life I live, the easier it gets. It really, truly is possible to "come what may and love it".

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Thursday, January 12, 2012


I love it when I can see goals achieved. It's only 2 weeks in to the new year and already I've been able to check off one of my big wish list items for 2012. I love it! Today, the day this posts, I'm hoping to check off one more big item. If not, I will have at least made some progress on this particular goal.
This I truly believe: write it down, believe in it, and it will happen!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

it's a girl!

We're expecting two grandchildren in 2012! And we now know that the one coming in May is a little girl. Here's a cute picture of her ballerina legs:
Back when my babies were born we didn't find out the gender of the baby until he/she emerged into the cold bright world. Our first was a precious little boy who stole our hearts and still has them. I was so certain my 2nd child was a girl that I purchased a teeny-tiny pair of solid gold hoops for the doctor to pierce her ears while in the hospital. She was a girl - in fact, she was the girl who is now having this little girl. That was the last time I guessed right on the gender of a child. Our next child I was sure would be another little girl. It was Bryan. #4 I don't remember guessing on - a girl, Sierra. And #5, the caboose: I was so sure it was a boy that we had a beautiful wood carving made in the Philippines with all our family names, including little Jex. Shockingly, it was a girl. It took a couple of days for us to name Azure, but getting her was the best little shocker in the world!We're so excited to get Brooke's little baby girl here ... they've got a whole slew of beautiful names to choose from. Can't wait to see what they choose. Trevor & Caci's little one is due the beginning of July - they're sure it's a girl. (If they inherited my great guessing abilities, we'll be welcoming in a grandson)

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

best shopping

My best shopping - no matter how often I try conventional shopping - always ends up being in thrift stores. And usually I'm happiest if I don't think too much about what I'm buying. Brad and I hit up Deseret Industries Saturday. We actually had headed out of the house with another purpose, but took a detour to DI. The results: 4 books and 2 cute skirts.
I'm a book hound. If I were stuck on a desert island I would be fine without make up, would enjoy foraging for food, and would do ok building a shelter. But I'd really, really, really want to have some books with me!

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Monday, January 9, 2012


I believe this life should be joyous. So I've had a web of tangled thoughts over the last while. Let me see if I can untangle them enough to make sense:
Sometimes, as women, we are so much the ultimate caregivers and nurturers that our "cups run dry". We give and give and give so much that we eventually feel like we have nothing else to give. But often if we are around the right people - people who are givers, themselves, our cups fill up and never run dry. We can continue to give because we're also receiving. It's a good healthy relationship that is filled with give and take.
Some people I know are not really blessed with those healthy relationships where they receive - they just seem to give. So, some of these women actually end up moving on to other relationships, knowing that they should feel joy in this life. They search for others who will actually help to fill their cups.
As I've thought on this, I've come to believe that it's possible to be a giver - even in unequal relationships - and still find joy. Here's why: Yes, the cup needs to be filled. But I believe there are ways to fill the cup even in an unequal relationship. When one looks at life analytically, one should find that joy, true joy - not superficial, comes through service. Real Christ-like service = joy. It is unselfish, it is loving. It is service that requires nothing in return - not a "thank you", not equal consideration, not even a smile. Real service might sometimes be exhausting, but when done in the right spirit it brings joy.
But because we're human, we all need our cups filled. Here are ways I've thought to fill our cups without expecting anything from another person:
1- Prayer. If you don't believe prayer can fill your cup, you haven't prayed intently enough.
2- Temple and Church Attendance. The peace and the learning that can take place in these sacred edifices will fill a cup to over-flowing.
3- Journaling. Writing down feelings somehow purges the negative, making room to absorb the positive
.4- Random Acts of Kindness. Weird, isn't it - how doing nice things for random people (I'm not talking about taking care of the people you love and are close to) fill us up?

Ok. That's all for today. I've just been around some really, really good people who seem to be constantly giving, not getting back in return, yet still joyous. So I've been doing some introspective and some outward researching and these are my findings :)

I've also been thinking about my blog. For a bit of time I was really concerned about followers and comments - and hoping to someday soon start making money from blogging. That's all gone now. If people want to read this, great - I hope it's worthwhile. I've always wanted Silver Strands to be inspirational - a place where people can find and share good things. I still want that. But in the past I also wanted popularity and even income. No longer. This blog is taking a turn. It's going to become more "real".

Still thinking of my blogging friends and hope all is well with you!

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