No Struggle, No Progress

Flowers & Quote

Hear out my thoughts on this quote…

Ever had a struggle with your kids?

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
Frederick Douglas

How you made them feel


Check out my thoughts on this quote…

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

– Maya Angelou.  Author and Poet

5 Ways to Help Your Teen Enjoy Being Home

home with family

1. Have a Sense of Humor.
If you can be positive, then do it. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Laughing is easier than crying. If you can laugh at a situation or joke around with your teen, then do it. Sometimes your teen will need to talk about a serious situation or concern, but most of our everyday interaction (especially their mistakes) can be brought to a brighter light with a little laughter. When they lock their keys in the car for the third time and need your help again, do you lecture them or do you laugh about it will a smile? Remember, you’ve been there, locked outside your own car with the keys still inside. How did you want to be treated?
2. Show Them Respect. 
Some parents don’t feel their teen deserves respect. That doesn’t matter! They need to be shown respect, whether they deserve it or not. If they aren’t shown respect, for their space, their stuff, their time, then how will they know what respect is? Who will teach them about true respect if they don’t learn it from you? Will they ever learn it? By showing them respect, you teach them how they should treat others.
3. Don’t Ground Them. 
Find other ways to punish them that relate to the offense. Be creative if you have to. By grounding them, you are using “being home” as a punishment. How do they feel when their grounding is finally over? They can’t wait to get out of the house!
4. Show Interest in Their Hobbies and Music.
If they like to run, go running with them. (If they are ok with it)  If they like to read, read the same book they are reading and talk about it with them. Listen to some of their music. While in High School I loved Country music. Faith Hill and Shania Twain were really big then and I just thought my mom loved that music too. We would listen to it in the car and at home. Years later, after being away at college, I returned home and my mom was not listening to country music. The music that was playing in the car was my younger sister’s favorite music which was more contemporary. I asked my mom about her change in music and she confessed that she played my taste in music on purpose. She did that with the other kids when they were teens. My mom never made me listen to HER music. Hearing music I loved created an environment where I felt comfortable and where I felt I belonged.
5. Let Them Invite Friends Over.
Make the home fun for other teens, so they will feel comfortable to have friends over. My grandparents had a room with a pool table and fridge full of soda pop. They always kept it stocked up and you can bet it wasn’t for the parents. It was for their three sons, whose friends loved coming over. It is much easier to keep an eye on your teen when he is in your house, not someone else’s. Lock up the stuff you don’t want them to touch. Make it safe, and fun. It will be to your benefit to meet and get to know their friends, whoever they are and whether you like them or not. If you want to keep your kid close, let them have friends over.
What do you think of these ideas? What would you add to the List?

4 Things to Ask Yourself About How you Spend Your Time

a picture of an hour glass

Yesterday my little 4-year-old girl and I spent some time with her Hello Kitty coloring book. We colored a few pages and talked about what was on her mind. After putting my 7-year-old son to bed, I stayed in his room last night and talked with him about his new book he got from the library and why he likes it. I read to my five-year-old yesterday while pausing at the small words I knew he could read. I pointed to each word as he sounded them out. Honestly, each time I spent quality time with one of my children it felt like it took forever, and yet, I know I need to spend more one-on-one time with each of my kids, and I’m glad to have the time to spend with them.

I spend time budgeting and worrying about how to spend money. Why not budget my time as well? I know I need to plan how I spend my time even more than money. We can earn more money, but time… time is something that we can’t get back.

Time is something we should all evaluate. So let’s all ask ourselves a few questions:

  1. How much time do you spend on Social Media? Yes, your magical little phone connects you to the world, easily and instantly, but how much of it is just connecting you to a waste of time?
  1. How much time do you spend sleeping? Are you getting enough sleep to be healthy? If you spent more time awake in the mornings and less time awake late in the evenings, would you be more on top of your day instead of feeling like the day runs you?
  1. How much time do you spend in conversations with people you really care about? This is when you ask yourself, “When’s the last time I called my mom and told her that I love her.”
  1. How much time do you spend learning how to improve yourself and trying to be better? Even if we dedicate a small amount of time to this subject, if we do it every day, we will see improvement. Whether it’s reading uplifting words, listening to encouraging talks, speeches, or sermons, or just spending a quiet moment writing down goals, we all need this time. Plan it and do it.

Ask yourself how you spend your time every day. Is the answer something you feel good and happy about? If you are honest, what would you like to change?

This quote is just right for the holidays. Time is valuable. Once it’s gone, you cannot get it back. What other “time evaluating” questions do you ask yourself? Leave them in the comments below!


The Time is Right

Picture of a Clock

Check out my video where I share an experience about finding the courage, to tell the truth after cheating on a test. Have you ever had an experience like this? Do we sometimes use “timing” as an excuse to make a wrong decision?

Choose to See the Good

Picture of Happy Child


“Happiness is a choice, so choose to see the good in everything.”  Holly M Anderson

I heard of a woman who worked for a living helping those who were dying. She worked with dying people! What would that be like? I have no idea. I’ve never seen anyone die, or leaned in to listen to their last words. But she did this for a living, so she thought she would ask those who were preparing to die what regrets they had. One of the main regrets that she heard, time and time again, was that they wished they would have been happier. This implies that happiness is a choice.

If happiness is a choice then how can we choose to be happy? One way is said in this quote.

We can choose to see the good in every situation. Now, I’m not going to say this is easy. It is hard. Sometimes it seems close to impossible, but even if I listened a little more to my own advice I give my children on a regular basis, I would be happier more often.

I honestly don’t know how many times I’ve said to my kids, “It’s your choice to be happy.” or how about this one, “Can you think of a reason to be happy right now?” That one’s a good one. This one works well too -Especially after they fall on the floor, crying out that something isn’t fair, “Life isn’t fair. The sooner you realize that, the better. Deal with it.”

Sometimes I just need to take my own advice. This world would be a better place if we all took this quote to heart.

“Happiness is a choice, so choose to see the good in everything.”  Holly M Anderson

According to Shakespeare, what makes a wise parent?

Small Child

I have four kids. I know what they like to do for fun. I know who their friends are. I know what challenges they have and what they are afraid of. I know what hurts them and what excites them. Getting to know your children never stops. It is a continual process because children change as they grow up.

One family tradition that has helped me continually get to know my kids is what we like to call, “Kid Nights.”

A “Kid Night” is when either my husband or I plan one-on-one time with each child, individually. They pick what we do on the outing and we go on a “date” together. You know, a mother-son outing or a daddy-daughter date type of thing. Sometimes it’s a movie and ice-cream, or just a picnic at the park. On these dates, I’ve trained myself to put down my phone and give my full attention to my child. This is their time.

I don’t know about you, but for me, if I don’t schedule this time with my kids, it won’t happen on its own. One day, I’ll turn around and there will be a teenager living in my house who I don’t know. This is a scarey thought, and I want to be wise, like Shakespeare says. I want to know my child. I cannot control my kids. I can only teach them and try to set a good example, but I can know my child.

So remember the “Merchant of Venice” Play by Shakespeare that says: “It is a wise father that knows his own child.”


The Little things are the Big things

Picture of Mother & Daughter


“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”

Kurt Vonnegut

What is a big thing?  What is a small thing?

A big thing could be that deadline for work or that email you promised to send… a week ago.  Those big things are pressing and demanding and important! Gosh darn it, if you don’t get them done there will be a nasty consequence. They are BIG, remember? They are the things you HAVE to get done today, like getting to the grocery store and remembering everything on your list so that you don’t run out of eggs, diapers, or toilet paper and you don’t have to run to the store last minute for a bathing suit for your three-year-old cause swimming lessons start in an hour. Can anyone relate?

A small thing is calling your mom and telling her that you love her. It’s smiling at your neighbor, helping someone out, or just being kind in a simple way. A small thing is singing a song with your son, reading your daughter a book, playing with them, hugging them, paying attention to them as they tell you a long story that never ends and doesn’t make much sense, but you listen anyway.  

Now, before I get carried away, let’s agree on something here. It isn’t smart to cater to your children 24/7. We can’t just do what they want all the time. Actually, that would be incredibly unhealthy for us and for them. If we always say yes to everything, every time they want ice cream or want to stay up or want yet another story, we’ll end up raising a very spoiled, entitled child who’s never had to wait or learn to be patient. So let’s take a step back. The quote says, enjoy the little things, not make sure you do little things the whole day long and put off the big things. It just says to enjoy them, for they will become memories that will be more important than any of the “big things” we talked about earlier.

As you go throughout your day, crossing off all those big things on your list, remember to take some time to enjoy those little things, too.


6 Steps I took to talk my 4-year-old Out of a Temper Tantrum

Marie is 4 years old.

She sometimes doesn’t want to do things that she needs to do, like eat her food.


girl upside down on a swing

Just last week, when I told her that I’d made some chicken and rice for Lunch, she fell on the floor screaming and crying. She didn’t want chicken and rice. She yelled out, “I want Starbursts for Lunch!”
Of course, I was not going to feed her candy for lunch especially now since if I did, I would be rewarding her temper tantrum.
I knew what was coming… I was going to have to be patient with her, stand my ground and either talk her into eating her chicken and rice or just not let her eat until dinner… Yes, I am one of those mean moms that don’t give in when my child cries.
1. I ask my child why she’s crying. I ask her what she wants, not so I can know. I already knew the answer: She is tired and she wants candy. That is the real reason, but I want her to think about the reason behind her tears. She gives me some sort of answer, which changes throughout the conversation. It starts with wanting to eat Starbursts, then, after I turn on my camera and start filming, she changes to wanting crackers then she wants a sandwich. When we get to the sandwich part, I know she is just testing me. Since a sandwich is a normal lunch food I know she is just trying to see if I will give in and change her lunch from chicken and rice to a sandwich. Nope! This mama doesn’t budge. I remind her what I want her to do, in different words. (eat Lunch) (eat chicken and rice)
2. I give her reasons why she should do as I say and just see if I can convince her that it is what she really wants/needs. I remind her that for her birthday meal just the day before she asked for chicken and rice. I know she likes it. Actually, it is one of her favorite meals, so the fact that she says she won’t eat it makes me upset. I know I am not trying to get her to eat something she doesn’t like.
3. Ask her to make the choice. This is a good reminder that your child is in control and can choose. I ask her “What do you think the right decision would be right now?” I know she knows. She isn’t two years old; she’s four years old. Most of the time, when I ask this question, I don’t get the right answer. But what I like about this kind of question, is that it makes her think. If she even thinks about it, then I have helped her learn the first step in decision making.
4. Repeat the steps 1 and 2. I have to do this a couple times, to try and see if I can get some reasonable answers out of her. This is where my patience is truly tested. If there is a time that I think I may be able to reason with her, then I move on to the next step
5. Give the ultimatum. This usually will spark up more tears, but it’s essential that the child knows that you mean what you say. I tell my daughter, “I am not going to make you a different lunch than everyone else, just cause you’re crying.” This is where we as parents say: If you don’t stop crying….and then fill in the blank. I choose to say that she won’t get lunch and will be very hungry until dinner time. I am ready to stand by what I say, even if it means dealing with a crying four-year-old. I’d rather deal with her now, than when she is a teenager who’s used to getting her way by getting mad. Now, just a warning, choose your words carefully. It’s important not to back down or give in. If I had just let my daughter have crackers or a sandwich, I’d be teaching her that she can get what she wants by throwing a fit.
6. Make it a WIN WIN for the both of you. This is when I tell my daughter, “If you come and eat a little chicken and rice, you can have crackers and chocolate milk after you’re done.” Be careful how you word this next sentence. Make sure you end it on a positive note. If I would have said the sentence this way, “You get crackers after you eat your chicken and rice or else you are in trouble.” I may have gotten a different response from my daughter. I also added a new positive aspect for her making the right choice. She gets to have chocolate milk! This is new and happy and may help her change her attitude.
Now, of course, there is no guaranty that your child or any child for that matter will make the right choice just because of this type of conversation. They may get mad all over again, and then you will have to stand by your ultimatum. But the more times you do this, the more they will learn. Each child learns so differently, and at different ages. Children will learn at their own pace when they are ready.
I just wanted to share this experience, since I was very happy with my child for settling down from her fit and making the right choice in the end. It doesn’t always happen that way. Actually, more often than not, she is sent to a time out, so it was a happy moment for me as a mom to see her finally eat that chicken and rice!


What I learned after pitching my book to Agents


Inspirational Quotes

What I learned…

This weekend I attended the League of Utah Writers Fall Conference and pitched my book to some local publishers and agents. MAN… did I learn a lot!


When I sat down in my first pitch session, which I purchased and only lasted 10 minutes, I was so nervous I was shaking. Then a random spider came down from the ceiling on its web… no joke. And I became even more scared. I hate Spiders! The black creepy crawler just hung there right over the table that separated me and an Acquisitions Editor who worked for a Local Publishing company. I pointed the spider out, and the Editor calmly smashed it so I’d be able to focus again. As soon as I found my words, I went right into my pitch which lasted maybe a minute. After I was done, He leaned back in his chair and said he was intrigued by my pitch and that he’d get my query letter to the top of the pile!


I was on cloud nine as I left that room. My confidence grew a foot, and in the second pitch session I had with a Senior Editor at a different Local Publishing Company, I gave the exact same pitch. She said NO!


What? Really? How can that be?


I was so glad that I had the first experience first. I didn’t let her “NO” get me down. I went on and practiced my pitch for the next half hour with a friend, who is a very good listener and gives very good feedback. She told me to shorten my pitch -LIKE A LOT. The final pitch was maybe five sentences long. And she gave me the names of two books for comparables to tell the agents. I practiced for a while and later that day I pitched my book to two agents and another editor. I received a “yes” from each of them.


The very last pitch I gave, I ended up crying while explaining the reason I wrote this book. I feel very strongly about the purpose of the book and am passionate about it, and then add all my nerves with pitching and you are bound to get some tears out of me. The agent said, “Oh I’ve made a lot of people cry.” After I finished with my pitch, the agent said she was very interested and asked for my entire manuscript. I left her room as happy as I could be and mentioned to a friend that the agent I just pitched to said for me to e-mail her my whole book. Her jaw dropped and she said, “Agents don’t do that!”


Now the pressure is on! Whatever I send to these agents and editors has to be good, or they’ll reject it and I’ll be back to pitching again. I am so excited, I can hardly stand it! To have agents and publishing companies ask for my work is a dream come true and is the next step in revising and polishing up my story.


When I periodically am overcome with nerves and start feeling butterflies in my stomach, I ask myself, what is the worst that can happen. I could fail. But I know that failing is never the end. I could send my work to them, but even if I get rejections from everyone, that is very normal when sending out a manuscript for the first time. Even if that were to happen, what would I lose? Nothing. I’ll gain so much more. I’ll gain valuable feedback from people in the business who read manuscripts for a living. I’ll gain experience with working with agents and editors at publishing companies and I’ll be even more prepared the next go around.
Now, of course, I’m going to give this shot my best, and I’ll work endless hours on polishing up and editing my book. I learned a few new things at the conference that I will add to my book to help make it even better. I will simply do my best, and hope that the agents who read my work will see the potential.


I want to share this story of my weekend with you, to share this message: Failure is never the end! It is only a new beginning. I could have been devastated with my pitch that said no. The Senior Editor wasn’t really that mean, but “No” is a hard word to hear while striving to achieve your dreams. Don’t let it stop you. Just keep trying and don’t give up on your dreams.


Define Yourself!


Inspirational Quotes


Man standing on a tall mountain


Don’t Let Others Define You

“Don’t let others define you. Don’t let the past confine you. Take charge of your life with confidence and determination and there are no limits on what you can do or be.” – Micheal Josephson

While attending a large conference in Silicon Valley, California, just this past year, I listened to a multimillionaire speak on how he has chosen not to listen to negative voices, especially those nameless ones on the internet.

He is a very successful author, speaker, and businessman, now. But back when he was just starting his writing career, it took a lot of effort to keep momentum. In his speech to us, he shared a comment that was posted on about one of his motivational self-help books. The comment stated, “He’s just trying too hard,” We all laughed. The comment sounded ridiculous. The writer said with a sarcastic tone, “Finally, someone who sees my hard work and recognizes how hard I try.” He mentioned many other comments that were spiteful, hurtful, and just plain mean.

Hearing the negativity this #1 New York Times Best Seller was still receiving on-line, taught me something. No matter who we are, we will have people trying to bring us down. The bigger sphere of influence we gain, the more haters we’ll have as well. We can’t let those people get to us. We can’t let others define who we are. We define ourselves.

Don’t believe the negative around you. Don’t listen to it. Don’t let your past confine you and trap you in a world you don’t want to live in. Just remember this quote by Micheal Josephson,”Don’t let others define you. Don’t let the past confine you. Take charge of your life with confidence and determination and there are no limits on what you can do or be.”

Reading my Poem With the Utah Philharmonic Orchestra!


I am so excited! I am going to read my poem, Living my History Book, during the Utah Philharmonic Orchestra memorial 9/11 concert. It’ll be on September 10th, 2016, in Draper Utah. Click HERE to go to the UPO page for details about the concert. Join me LIVE this Thursday at 7pm MST for a prereading of my poem.

New York City Manhattan downtown skyline at night from Liberty Park with light beams in memory of September 11 viewed from New Jersey waterfront.

Living my History Book

I wake up at 5AM.

September means work, not play.

My alarm is loud and I’m off to school,

just like any other day.

The engine roars as I turn the key.

My books fall to the floor.

“Oh, It’s just Writing and History…

Who needs those anymore?”

When I turn the radio on,

I switch to NPR.

I go to school with tears in my eyes

and sloppily park the car.

I run into class.  The news is on.

I sit down and take a look.

That’s when I realize

I’m living my history book.

Continue reading “Reading my Poem With the Utah Philharmonic Orchestra!”

Don’t Miss out on winning $150!


Summer Drawing is this Saturday!

Join me on Saturday, LIVE on August 27th! I will be drawing names from a hat and someone will win some MONEY. Your name could be in there!

I’ll be broadcasting LIVE on my blog, and my Facebook page at 6:00 PM MST on August 27th! Don’t miss it!

You will be entered to win $100 if you do these two easy things:

1.Enter your e-mail HERE so we can let you know when my books are coming out.

2.Like my facebook page HERE

Enter to win an ADDITIONAL $50 by simply sharing my video on Facebook!



See you this Saturday on August 27th!




Don’t Let this 1 Thing Destroy Your Dreams


Inspirational Quotes



I never had any patience in college for those boys who spent hours gaming on-line or partying. I didn’t feel sorry for them when they complained about their difficult classes and unfair teachers. I had little compassion for them, and never went on a second date with a gamer or someone who constantly partied. My roommates called me too picky. Be that as it may, I knew that we just wouldn’t get along, and didn’t want to waste mine or their time on a relationship that wouldn’t last. I truly believe in this quote and feel that we all could be happier if we listened to the wise advice by Thomas Monson, “We must not let our passions destroy our dreams.”

We shouldn’t let what we think we want now, come before something that is actually more important to us. We should keep our long-term goals in mind and ask ourselves what our true priorities are.  If we make our decision on those real dreams that we aspire to achieve, we won’t look back on wasted time and missed opportunities.

If we live “day to day,” then that’s all we’ll get out of life, days, unconnected and separate from each other. But when we plan long term goals, that may require sacrifice, hard work, and discipline, then we can achieve years and a full life of growth, contribution, and achievement. 


5 Lessons Children Learn by Growing a Garden




  1. Learn to work and appreciate- This is the most important lesson, I believe, that children can learn from gardening.  They actually do the work of weeding and watering the plants. They gain experience. Children need to have a chore, a responsibility, a goal and they need to be expected to follow through. Laziness cannot be a way of life! Kids need to work from an early age, even if it is something small, like watering a strawberry patch. If working is a way of life when they are younger then it won’t be as much of a shock when they are expected to work when they are older. Gardening is the perfect opportunity for a child to gain an appreciation for how much work it takes to create the food we eat.
  2. Have fun working- Spraying water on little green sprouting plants can be fun, especially for little children. How many times have you turned on the hose and heard a little voice, “Mama… I want to help.  Can I do it?  Spray my hands!  I wanna do it!”  It’s easy to ignore these requests, but when we take the time to let our children help, we can teach them to enjoy the work. When this happens, ask yourself what you are really raising here, the garden or your children?
  3. Experience success-The BEST part of gardening is the bag of green beans and the bucket of strawberries you get at the end. Try cooking something you know your child likes to eat with the pants they helped grow. Make peach cobbler from the fruit of that peach tree they watered all summer, or carrot cake with their carrots they weeded. Praise them at dinner for their efforts in literally putting food on the table. Gardening can be an extremely rewarding experience for children, even if they only produce a small amount of food. I have found that homegrown peas, carrots, and tomatoes are especially sweet compared to store bought produce and the kids can taste it! If you end up with so much produce that your family can’t eat it all, can it, freeze it, or give it away. Don’t let your child’s hard work go to waste.
  4. Experience failure- Don’t let this one surprise you. Everyone will fail sometime in their life. Most of us more than once. How will your child handle it? Will they plant new seeds and start again while the sun is still shining? Sometimes this lesson is the hardest to let our children make. But how else will our children learn how to become resilient in the face of failure? We, as parents, want to help them so they’ll never fail, but it is better to let them make small mistakes, so we can teach them how to bounce back. A garden teaches children that if they do not water it, the plants will die. Learning this first-hand can be a hard lesson. Failure is difficult and many of us try to avoid it, but most success in this life is discovered only after many failures. It isn’t the end, or the time to give up, and a garden can be the perfect opportunity to help children realize that lesson.
  5. Learn to eat healthy food- Having a garden that your children helped plant and water, is one way to encourage them to eat healthy as well. Homegrown produce is organic. It’s healthy. It’s real food that usually tastes a whole lot better than store produce. So try it. If you are debating whether or not to start a garden, start one, even if it is just a small one.

After living in the country at the foot of the Teton Mountains, it was a difficult move to the city.  The house in the city we moved to had a patch of grass in the back, that city folk thought was sufficient for a yard. I begged to differ.

Growing up in Northern California on 4 acres spoiled me. I admit it. We had a big creek with a forest of trees to explore, 30 chickens, 2 goats, 10 fruit trees, a huge garden, blackberry patch, 2 beehives, and a ¼th acre vineyard of grapes you could eat right off the vine. (grapes grow really well in Northern California)

Now that I was married, I wanted the same thing for my own kids. I wanted them to have adventures in their backyard to run around and spend hours in the sun in the summer. I wanted our own garden that the kids could water and weed so they could learn the value of hard work and literally eat the fruit -and vegetables- of their labors.

These days so much time is spent on video games, and hightech devices, I felt my children were missing out on the best part of their childhood: being a kid! You know… like, running in the sprinklers, jumping on the trampoline, using their imagination and even getting muddy, -every once in awhile. They needed a place to do that!

In the city, finding a house with a yard is a challenge, but after searching for 2 months we were able to find a home we liked, with the potential for a backyard. We moved in at the end of September and I wondered that whole winter if creating a real backyard was even possible. I remember the first time I tried walking down that cliff of a back yard. I slipped and scratched up my leg. Limping back into the house, I felt defeated and hopeless, honestly thinking, “My kids would never have a real back yard.”

Whenever I would voice my concerns to my neighbors, I’d usually end up hearing words like, “Oh, you were just spoiled in the country,” “Just be grateful for what you have,” “That’s why we have parks,” and “You can’t have acreage in the city unless you’re a millionaire.” I had to admit they were all right. I was spoiled. I wasn’t grateful. There were plenty of parks around and homes with flat, big yards usually came with a hefty price tag.

I decided to make the best of it. That winter I worked extra jobs sewing alterations for some neighbors and made some money. I bought paint, a storage shelf for toy boxes, and wall decals to make a fun toy room for the kids. I covered cardboard boxes with Dr. Seuss fabric for the kids’ toys and painted grass and clouds on the walls.  I finished the new toy room, complete with Truffula trees and Dr. Seuss quotes, in just three days. I was determined and very satisfied with my results. Now they could have a place to play.

picture of room

picture of play room

After the snow melted, my husband and his brother began their huge project of transforming our cliff into a real back yard. I admit, I didn’t have much faith, but I wasn’t going to stand in their way if they were willing to try.

This is my husband’s brother, just starting to taking down the fence. You can see in this picture how the yard used to look.

picture of back yard

My brother-in-law, who had experience working for a landscaping company, rented a mini-excavator and slowly inched his way down the hill.  He cut into the side of the mountain, pressing the dirt down to make a pathway and then would ride on top of it, and continue on. It was scary just watching him. I remember standing on our deck, phone in hand, looking down where my brother-in-law was digging with the excavator. I was ready to call 911 just in case he tumbled down the steep hill in that clunky piece of machinery. Thank goodness I never had to use that phone. I really didn’t want to call my mother-in-law and tell her that her son died trying to dig up my back yard!

picture of back yard

picture of back yard

After my husband’s brother dug a path down to the bottom of the hill and flattened out the land, I was on cloud nine! I just couldn’t believe that it looked so good. We still had so much work to do, but I had just witnessed the impossible happen and it was no less of a miracle to me.  We were going to have a yard after all.

picture of back yard

This project took my husband and his brother about three weeks, working almost every day, all day long. They put up the fence, laid the grass, and treated the soil for our garden. I happily planted grapes, strawberries, corn, carrots, onions, potatoes, green beans, peas, lettuce, and tomatoes, apple trees, and peach trees.

picture of garden

picture of back yard



Now my oldest two boys who are 7 and 5 years old, water the grapes, fruit trees and vegetable garden. My 3-year-old daughter has her very own job of watering the strawberry patch. With over 100 strawberry plants this is no easy task, but she knows the strawberries will die if she doesn’t do her job. Usually, when we all go outside to water and work in our back yard, my daughter goes straight for the strawberry patch and gets right to work without complaint. -This is a big deal, people…she’s 3!

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened


Inspirational Quotes

Inspirational Quote


This quote is applicable in every stage of life, but I would like to reflect on motherhood with this simple poem.


Instead of crying, I’ll smile.


I’ll always remember when you were born

and forever changed my world.

I felt the warmth of a mother‘s love

for the tiniest baby girl.


I could cry cause I can’t hold you now

and sing you your favorite song.

Those days for playing patty cake

and hide and seek are now gone.


My tears could easily escape

recalling the first time you walked.

Your smile so big. I was so proud.

Just like the first time you talked.


You were teased. You felt sad.

Someone was mean, and you got mad.

I was the one who’d make you smile.

I loved how we’d sit and talk awhile.


I could easily cry and miss those days

now that you are gone.

With a family of your own,

you’ve grown up and moved on.


But instead I’ll sit in this rocking chair

and reminisce for a while.

I’ll choose to be glad it happened.

Instead of crying, I’ll smile.

Life is like riding a bike


Inspirational Quotes

Inspirational Quotes

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This quote brings me back to my Freshman year of high school. At the very end of the school year, I decided to run for Sophomore class president, for the upcoming year. I attended a large school in California of over 2,000 kids. I surprised all my friends when I told them I was going to run, for I had done nothing like this before. Some of them didn’t believe me. As I prepared for the big assembly when I would have to give a campaign speech, I received a memo with directions. It specifically stated that I needed to write any notes on 3 by 5 cards. Since there would be a podium, I shouldn’t bring paper, for it would crinkle in the mike and make a distracting noise. I dutifully made notes on ten cards, and practiced my speech with those cards so many times; I lost count.

When the big day arrived, for me to give my speech, I was surprised to find out that there was no podium. I was expected to hold a mike. As you can guess, it is difficult, near impossible, to hold a mike in one hand while turning over 3 by 5 cards in the other. Try flipping cards one handed. It’s hard! While I gave my speech, I dropped all of my cards while attempting to flip over my first card. I stood, in shock in front of about 400 of my peers. It felt like this quote. “Life is like riding a bike.” Sometimes you just have to go with it. I was so embarrassed to drop my cards in front of everyone. I just wanted to run off stage and sign up to go to a different school. Thankfully I didn’t. I knew I needed to keep going if I wasn’t going to fall flat on my face.

Though I don’t remember much of what I said during that speech – who knew if there was any real content- I do remember getting everyone to stand up and yell that they were excited for next year. I also vaguely recall a teacher taking the mike away from me as I shouted, “Vote for me!”

Here is another quote for you. “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” by Dale Carnegie

It is easy to give the excuse, “I need to be confident and be brave before I do something scary or intimidating.” A lot of the time we just need to get on our bike and ride. During our experience where we have to be brave, we most often find our bravery. And sometimes confidence comes at the moment we most need it. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting in the game and keep our momentum. So get out there.  Get on your bike and get busy!

Oh, and I did get voted as Sophomore Class President.



I Wish Versus I Will


Inspirational Quotes

inspirational quotes

There is nothing wrong with wishing. That’s where dreams start and where our mind runs with ideas of what could be. Once we start to plan what we desire to accomplish, we turn our “I wish” into “I will.” This is an important step. David Copperfield says we can turn our possibilities into probabilities. I would like to take this even one step further by turning our ‘I will’ into an ‘I am.’ This means putting our dreams and plans into action.

Following through is sometimes the most difficult part. It’s signing up for those music lessons and practicing daily. It’s getting out of bed early and exercising. It’s signing up for those night classes and studying.

This action is what will make those dreams a reality. It’s having faith in yourself. Faith is an action word, not just a belief. So when you are dreaming about your wishes, remember David Copperfield’s quote.

“The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and start saying ‘I will.’ Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.”

David Copperfield



It’s Never too Late…

Inspirational Quotes

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

~ George Eliot

It is easy to think that it’s too late to be what you wanted to be. I’ve heard excuses like: “I didn’t learn to play that instrument when I was young, so now I just don’t have the time.” or “I didn’t go to school to get my degree while I was younger, and I am too old to go back to school.”

I heard a girl say that she felt it was too late for her to start learning a new sport. She said she saw all her friends who had been playing the sport for a while and she felt she had just missed her chance. She was in the second grade! These were her honest feelings and she didn’t end up trying, feeling the regret of the ‘what if.’

I read a book from an author who had 10 children. She told of her life as a stay at home mom and said that since she had spent so much time caring for her children, she never was able to do something for herself. She said she always wanted to learn to play the Violin. Well, she didn’t give an excuse. She got to work. She was 40 years old when she first started taking lessons and by the time she was 50 years old she was performing with a symphony.

Hearing a story like that gives me new perspective on the quote, ‘It’s never too late to be what you might have been.’ Don’t let the past decide your future. Make your future how you want it to be, and become who you want to be now.

Inspirational quotes

7 Tips to Enjoy the Newborn Stage



I have four children, ages 7 years old to 6 months old and I will never forget what it was like bringing home each of my newborn babies.  When I was sleep deprived and felt the burden of a little one’s constant need for me, I would tell myself, “I can do this, I can endure.” This wasn’t a bad mindset, after all, I did endure. We all survived. That’s a good thing.

This is a time when a mother is on the baby’s schedule. Having her own schedule is impossible. It’s not really fair. Babies are demanding, unappreciative, and loud! But Babies are each a miracle and blessing, and a mother is their whole life when they are first born. How does it feel to be someone else’s entire life? Ask a mother, she knows.

When I brought home my fourth baby, I made it a goal not just to endure, but to enjoy the newborn period. I thought of a quote by President Gorden B. Hinckley, “Life is to be enjoyed, not endured.” It was hard work. It took a concerted effort. How a mother helps herself enjoy motherhood during the newborn time, will be different for everyone. Here are 7 things I did, that helped me enjoy the newborn stage.

  1. Preparing beforehand. The day I had my baby, I had a month’s worth of freezer meals in my deep freeze. Does that sound a little obsessive? Maybe it is, but I had four other people in my house to feed and being prepared in that way lifted one responsibility off my shoulders and gave me more time to enjoy my baby.
  2. Asking for help. I asked my mother to come help for the first week and my mother-in-law to help for the next, (and actually begged her to stay longer, so she ended up staying for 10 days.) I truly needed them. Honestly, I don’t even know if I could have even endured without their help.
  3. Taking it slow. Remember that you just had a baby. You are healing. I had a C-section and wasn’t supposed to lift anything but the baby for 30 days! I left parts of my house dirty. It happened. I admit it, but it gave me time to heal.
  4. Making yourself feel beautiful, again. For me, taking a shower, putting on a little makeup and getting out of my pj’s was a huge deal! I felt like a million dollars after I had a long hot shower and had curled my hair. Find what makes you feel alive again and don’t be afraid to spoil yourself, even if it means a bubble bath and chocolate every once in a while.
  5. Taking pictures of the baby. Always have a camera next to you to get the cute candid moments on film. This time is fleeting, and you can’t take too many pictures. OK, you actually can, but even if you do, you can always delete them later. No one has to know. 
  6. Not counting the hours. When you keep track of the hours you stay up or sleep, you tell your brain that you are suffering and it only makes it worse. I would find myself complaining about my 3 hours and 20 minutes of sleep I got last night. I probably could have slept another 20 minutes by not worrying about the clock! When the baby wakes you up for the third time in one night, don’t look at the time. Trust me on this one. Just try it. It is better to think of the baby and how it feels to hold, feed and care for your precious newborn. Don’t spend your time doing the math in your head. First, it is exhausting and second, it adds more stress. 
  7. STOP and breathe. When it gets really hard, and you feel like you can’t go on, just stop. Put the baby down in a safe place, like her crib. (Even if she is screaming. Don’t worry, letting the baby cry for ten minutes won’t kill her) and go to a different room and breathe. Stop and ask yourself what you can enjoy in this moment. Write it down and remember it. Get a drink of ice water. Eat something. Go to the bathroom. Take a shower, even. Do whatever you need to, so you can be calm and collected again. Don’t sacrifice your health (physical, emotional, or mental) for the baby. You can be a good mother and take care of yourself too. So, if you feel like you are loosing it, just STOP and breathe. Every mother who has brought home a newborn has felt overwhelmed. You aren’t the only one.

Now that I’ve scared all those first-time pregnant mothers out there. I would like to say, that there is a purpose for everything.  As children grow up we help them, we try and teach them through word and example. They get bullied. They fail a test. They lose their game. They make their own choices, and as time goes on, sometimes you wish you could just hold them again like you did when you first brought them home. So hold on to these days when your baby is small and enjoy this time. It goes fast!

Inspirational Quotes

Inspirational Quotes



You are a Writer!



Inspirational Quotes


Buddha Inspirational quote

At a four-day conference in Silicon Valley, California, I met people and writers from all over the world. Some were beginning writers and some were award-winning and New York Time best-selling authors. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet and learn from some amazing people. 

One of the biggest lessons I learned was while I was introducing myself on the first day of the conference. I told someone that “I would like to be a writer.” She instantly corrected me saying “No, you are a writer. Don’t introduce yourself as a wanna be.” I was honestly surprised by her blunt response, but I took her advice and introduced myself as a writer the rest of the conference. Before the conference, I couldn’t see myself as a writer until I was published. During those four days, while telling everyone that I was a writer, I convinced myself that I was indeed a writer.

On the trip back home from California, my husband drove while I wrote. I wrote a Mother’s Day tribute and submitted it to a magazine. They ended up posting it on their website and drove 100 times more traffic to my blog than I had ever had before on one single post. This is how powerful our mindset is. 

Once I had decided to think of myself as a writer, I was published just days later. 

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“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” 



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Inspirational Quotes



Growing up in California has its perks, but learning how to snowboard wasn’t one of them. There just wasn’t a lot of snow where I lived.  So when I started dating my husband, who grew up in Idaho and was confident on the slopes, I had him teach me what he knew. As a 23-year-old I was understandably embarrassed when young teens would pass me on their skis and snowboards while I inched my way down the hill. But I got a little better each time I hit the ski hill, and soon I could get down without having to hold my husband’s hand. I was pretty happy with the progress I was making and enjoyed learning how to board.

While on our honeymoon at Lake Tahoe, my husband and I decided it would be fun to spend a day snowboarding. We got up to the top of Rose Mountain and began boarding down. As I searched the vast view before me I suddenly realized just how high up, I was. Fear paralyzed me, and I lost all my desire to snowboard. I sank into the snow and cried.

My supportive husband lovingly told me he would help me all the way down, and I reluctantly agreed. I mean, really? What were my other options? Seriously girl pull it together! I remember my tears freezing on my cheeks as we made our way to the bottom. I reassured myself that when I finally made it down, I wouldn’t have to go up again. It took a while at our slow pace, and by the time I was safely at the bottom, it didn’t seem so bad. I looked up longingly at the top of Rose Mountain and asked myself, could I do it once more? Knowing that each time down the mountain would get easier, I decided to try it again, and again, and again.

I had a goal, to learn to board, even though I was scared. I am so glad I didn’t give up that day. We were able to enjoy a full day on the slopes and when we all go snowboarding I am not left behind, but can have fun just like everyone else.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” -Thomas Edison 1847-1931


Happiness & Purpose

Inspirational Quotes


Helen Quote

“True happiness… is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

-Helen Keller.

Many people have their opinion of what happiness is and how it is found, created, or discovered. In researching this topic, I’ve created a “top ten” compilation of quotes about happiness, from people throughout history.

“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.” – Martha Washington. 1732-1802, First American First Lady

“We need to decrease the noise so that we can find a signal back to happiness within our lives.” – Shawn Achor

“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today.  I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet.  I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” – Groucho Marx

“For every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness.”

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. – Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Mahatma Gandhi

“Happiness is not a goal… it ‘s a by-product of a life well lived.” Eleanor Roosevelt

“I’ve learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.” John Stuart Mill.

And of course, my favorite,

Hellen Keller’s – “True happiness… is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”


Showing Up

Inspirational Quotes

Woody Allen


“Eighty percent of success is showing up”

Woody Allen

I’d heard Woody Allen’s quote before and honestly it never really resonated with me. That is until I showed up to my very first mock pitch session with a real Publishing company. I tell my story in this short video.


No Excuse


Florence Nightingale was born to a high class, British family in 1820. She refused at least two suitors that we know of and wrote in her journal that she felt called to become a nurse. Nursing at that time was not a respected profession. She defied her parents’ expectations and at age 24, left her family to train to be a nurse.

When the Crimean war broke out, she was asked to help as a nurse in a military hospital in Turkey. Florence Nightingale was contacted by the Secretary of War, Sydney Herbert, to take a group of nurses and offer their services. In the hospital, water and food were rationed, and there weren’t enough beds and supplies for the wounded.  Many soldiers were placed on the floor with the rats and insects. Florence Nightingale said this about the hospital:

“The British high command had succeeded in creating the nearest thing to hell on earth.”  Pettinger, Tejvan. “Biography of Florence Nightingale”, Oxford,, 25th Nov. 2010

She and her group of nurses must have worked hard with little resources. They ended up reducing the mortality rate to about 2 percent.

This history sets an impressive background for her quote. Florence neither gave or took any excuse. She was a woman who changed public health care dramatically throughout her life. Hospitals and the nursing profession in general, increased in their efficacy because of her diligent efforts.

So remember Florence Nightingale when you find yourself giving excuses, and ask yourself, what she would do in your situation.

“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.”
–Florence Nightingale

Mother’s Day

Inspirational Quotes

One day while attempting to clean, unpack from a family trip, and wash the laundry that accumulated from it, I heard a soft cry from the bottom of the stairs. It was my one-year-old daughter, Marie. She wasn’t yet used to our new house and the intimidating stairs that came with it.  She wanted me to carry her up the stairs, but I knew that she wouldn’t learn to do it by herself if I helped her every time.

I sat up at the top of the stairs and called for her by name. Upon hearing the sound of my voice, she climbed five steps only to look back, sit and slide safely down. I kept calling for her, and she did this again, and again. It was honestly difficult for me to see my little girl struggling for so long and over something I had the ability to fix, but I stayed at the top of the stairs calling for her. I kept encouraging her, saying,

“Don’t turn back. Just come up. Come to Mommy. Come to Mommy.”  Marie was only one-year-old.  She didn’t comprehend what I was saying, or why I wouldn’t just pick her up, but she did know one thing; she knew me.  She knew the sound of her mother’s voice, and she trusted me. Marie finally climbed toward me one last time. She whimpered and whined on every step until she made it to the warmth of my open arms.

It was then that I came to a profound realization. Throughout her life, Marie will have to learn and grow and do hard things.  I will see her make mistakes, and suffer consequences. I will have to let go and let her live her life, one step at a time.  There will be times when I will want just to pick her up and carry her over every hard thing, but I won’t be able to. I will watch her cry, laugh, make choices for herself, feel guilty and say sorry, change, and become better. What a wonderful, terrifying, joyous, yet heavy responsibility every mother has.

Now Marie is growing up. She is more her own, and less mine. I no longer hold her entire world in my arms anymore, but it is one of my greatest privileges to be her mom. It is endless, and no one can take it away.

So be sure to thank your mother this mother’s day for helping you in your life’s journey every step of the way.

Holly’s Weekly Inspirational Quote



Mother’s Day


One day while attempting to clean, unpack from a family trip, and wash the laundry that accumulated from it, I heard a soft cry from the bottom of the stairs. It was my one-year-old daughter, Marie. She wasn’t yet used to our new house and the intimidating stairs that came with it.  She wanted me to carry her up the stairs, but I knew that she wouldn’t learn to do it by herself if I helped her every time.

I sat up at the top of the stairs and called for her by name. Upon hearing the sound of my voice, she climbed five steps only to look back, sit and slide safely down. I kept calling for her, and she did this again, and again. It was honestly difficult for me to see my little girl struggling for so long and over something I had the ability to fix, but I stayed at the top of the stairs calling for her. I kept encouraging her, saying,

“Don’t turn back. Just come up. Come to Mommy. Come to Mommy.”  Marie was only one-year-old.  She didn’t comprehend what I was saying, or why I wouldn’t just pick her up, but she did know one thing; she knew me.  She knew the sound of her mother’s voice, and she trusted me. Marie finally climbed toward me one last time. She whimpered and whined on every step until she made it to the warmth of my open arms.

It was then that I came to a profound realization. Throughout her life, Marie will have to learn and grow and do hard things.  I will see her make mistakes, and suffer consequences. I will have to let go and let her live her life, one step at a time.  There will be times when I will want just to pick her up and carry her over every hard thing, but I won’t be able to. I will watch her cry, laugh, make choices for herself, feel guilty and say sorry, change, and become better. What a wonderful, terrifying, joyous, yet heavy responsibility every mother has.

Now Marie is growing up. She is more her own, and less mine. I no longer hold her entire world in my arms anymore, but it is one of my greatest privileges to be her mom. It is endless, and no one can take it away.

So be sure to thank your mother this mother’s day for helping you in your life’s journey every step of the way.

Holly’s Weekly Inspirational Quote


Listening Brings Learning.

Inspirational Quotes

1st WI

Have you ever found yourself in the following situation?  You meet someone new and start a conversation with the intention to get to know that person.  You talk for a while then say your goodbyes. Then it hits you! You realize that you’ve talked about yourself the entire time.  Now your opportunity is gone, and you don’t know anything about that person.

I do this all the time! I can talk someone’s ear off. I used to think it was one of my strengths. I can keep a conversation going. I just talk about myself: my interests, hobbies, my kids, you name it. I am good at making sure there are no awkward pauses or quiet moments when no one has anything to say.

Now I realize that this “strength” of mine can become my weakness. When I don’t give the other person any time to really say anything, I lose a precious opportunity to learn, not only about them but from them as well. I don’t want to be a “ME MONSTER” as Brian Regan would say.  So now I keep myself on constant reminder. LISTEN to the other person. DON’T interrupt them. What I have to say can wait. If I don’t do this, then I may spend all my days just repeating what I already know and not learning anything new. 


2 Books that Changed the Way I See My Children

My four children keep me busy but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I have three boys and one girl who demand much of my time and energy (both physical and emotional).  Since I love to read, I try to pick up books now and then that may assist me in my endeavor to raise happy children who feel loved.  In my reading, I have stumbled upon two books that do just that.  Both of these books have dramatically helped me become a more patient and understanding mother.


The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle.
This lady categorizes children into what she calls “Energy Types.” According to her theory, each child has two dominant types.  What I found helpful was not only the definition of each personality but her lists of how they are applicable to parents.  She explains how to identify hidden messages in your child’s behavior and how to help motivate them in a positive way.

Continue reading “2 Books that Changed the Way I See My Children”

A Daily, Healthy Me

When I take an important issue, like my health, and break it down into daily routines, it is easier for me to stick to my goals. Here are some realistic tips that I use on a daily basis to be healthy:


Buy Healthy Snacks – 
I love to snack. I usually just snack the whole day till dinner.  This means I need plenty of healthy snacks around the house.  If I can use self-control at the grocery store, then I don’t have to use so much of it at home. If I don’t buy Oreo’s, then they will never end up in my cupboard tempting me to eat the whole package in two days, which I did in college… often.   Continue reading “A Daily, Healthy Me”

My Closet Makeover… step by step.

I don’t own a dresser.  There is just enough room in our master bedroom for a queen size bed and two small nightstands.  I have all of my clothes, shoes, socks, purses, you name it…. in my closet.


I used to be afraid to open my bedroom closet, for fear of being attacked by endless junk dumping on my head.  Much of the time, I couldn’t close the doors all the way because of the piles of shoes on the floor. I knew it was time for a change, so I decided to give my closet a complete makeover.  These are the 3 steps I took.

Step 1.  Empty your entire closet and ask yourself these 3 questions.

Continue reading “My Closet Makeover… step by step.”