Friday, January 16, 2015

Dan Makes Me Smile

This is obviously not today, but it is Dan -- and Chewy

Today my boys didn't have school so we decided to go to the theater and watch Big Hero 6.  When the movie was over Dan bounced over and stood in front of Jake and said, "Jake!  Did you like the movie?"  Jake said something like, "I guess it was pretty good".  Dan said, "I LOVED IT!" and then threw himself into Jake's lap to give him a big hug.  Jake was surprised.  According to Dan, that is the best movie he has ever seen.

Another day when we were having a harder morning than usual Derek asked Dan how he was doing and Dan said, "I'm pretty awesome so far!"

Yet another day I walked to the door with Dan when he was leaving for school and told him to have a good day.  He said, "Of course I will!  Why wouldn't I?"  I believe he went on to list a few great things he would get to do -- like Math.

Then the other morning Dan gave me a really big hug and said, "I really love you Mom.  I hope you have a really great day."

*As an aside, Jake's response was enthusiastic for him, and Connor "loved the movie" but not the boy behind him who kept hitting his chair and then dumped popcorn on Connor's head!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

What Do You Need?

I was looking for a picture to go along with my quote and this one is as close a match as I could find.  Mrs. Potato head is trying to help -- even though she isn't sure what Mr. Potato head needed.

"...if we aren't clear on what we want and need, we can never expect others to support our efforts."
from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Tai Chi and  QiGong Illustrated
by Bill and Angela Douglas

This quote reminds me of two things.  

1.  If we know what we want or need, hinting to get it is a bad plan.  It is also a bad plan to expect someone else to just know.  Even our closest friends and family aren't mind readers!  People like to help, and they even like to give us things that we want, but it is very hard for anyone to do that if we haven't clearly let them know what it is we want or need!

2.  People have a hard time helping us with a problem, or supporting us in an effort, we haven't identified.  Sometimes I have been out of sorts, and have found myself getting grumpy at Derek for not miraculously solving the problem.  This is totally unfair in any case, but especially when I don't even know why I'm grumpy or what I want or need to solve it.

*picture from but it's obviously really from Toy Story.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Best People

Quote from Lao Tzu, a philosopher and poet from ancient China.

"The best people are like water.  Water nurtures all things and never is in competition with them."

I want to be someone who nurtures others, and who becomes my best self without worrying about what someone else' best is. When I feel like I am in competition with someone, it is harder for me to be happy about the things they accomplish.  If I compare my skills to the skills of others, there is a danger that I will get discouraged and quit trying, or that I will look down on someone for not doing as well as me.  When I feel I am competing, I have a tendency to be grumpy when the other person improves!  We are all here to help each other.  We are here to cheer for each other, and support each other in becoming our best selves.  When we focus more on nurturing, and less on competing, we are the "best people"!

* Picture from
*When I am not sharing something else, I have decided to share the quotes I have saved in my journal pages and why I like them.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Discouragement Is A Killer of Goals.

I love this time of year because I like to look ahead, and plan what I can do to become better, and how I can enjoy life more!  In part, I am sure this came from the multiple lessons my parents gave us on goals. They encouraged us to set goals, and I did.

Once, a few years ago, I found a list of my summer goals from when I was about 12.  It made me laugh.  I listed many things I was going to practice every day, and the amount of time I was going to do each (down to an exact minute like 8, or 12).  This included acting practice, drawing practice, piano practice, flute practice, writing practice, and I can't even remember the rest.  I doubt I could remember them back then without a cheat sheet.  I filled almost every minute of the day with things to practice!   I suspect these goals worked for one day -- maybe a week if I was super disciplined, but I'm sure they didn't make it any longer than that!  I think there were a few flaws with my plan, but here is the biggest one:

There were too many goals.  Some people can do whole lists of goals at once, but I become overwhelmed by them, and start to feel like my whole life is a chore. It's like a permanent to-do list added to the regular, more variable, to-do list!  It is also true that with that many goals I simply can't remember what all I am working on!  I do like making a list, and checking things off, but with that many goals, it is hard to do them all every day.  Soon, discouragement sets in, and discouragement is a killer of goals!

*Image from

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


For the last several years I have chosen one-word goals.  For more than one year my goal was "Gratitude", because being grateful makes everything better, and showing gratitude doesn't hurt either.

In 2013 it was "Give" because I wanted to always be thinking of ways I could give of my time, talents, energy, and love.  I sang "Give Said the Little Stream" a lot that year, reminding myself to "do as the streams and blossoms do:  for God and others live".

For 2014, I hesitantly chose "health".  I was afraid I would not enjoy this, but I felt like it was an important topic that I too-often neglect.  Thankfully, I feel like having that goal has helped me to make some progress.

At the beginning of the year I mentioned in my blog that I had started doing Tai Chi, and had made dinner menus.  I was also studying up on sleep -- hoping to help my non-sleepers.  I gave up on studying sleep because I sleep fine, and me studying about it wasn't helping anyone else. Surprisingly, the most beneficial thing I learned has been about my "discretionary" time, or the time when I don't "have" to be doing something else. More specifically, it helped to learn that not all of my day should be considered discretionary!  Important things are not optional!  This has helped me to keep doing Tai Chi, and other exercise, and has helped me prepare dinner for my family a little more often, and has therefore made it so that I don't go to bed so discouraged every night.  All of these things have a positive impact on my health.  YAY!

It turns out that doing the important things takes time!  Mapping it all out allowed me to see how much time I reasonably had to work with to accomplish other things.  This has helped me to make more manageable plans for my day, which keeps me from being so disappointed in myself when it is bedtime.

I am not perfect at this yet (shocker!), and often find myself falling back into my old patterns.  Still, as I have moved forward, I have found joy in small improvements. I am starting to realize that Heavenly Father is patient with my slow progress, and that I should be too!

Christmas Day!

 Here are some pictures from Christmas morning, and from this afternoon, because we didn't take many on Christmas.  The day was very pleasant.  One of our favorite things is, sadly, not in the pictures.  Derek's sister Erin and her family came over to visit so that we could show off our new things.  They sometimes bring some of their favorite gifts too.  We love it when they visit -- anytime. Then we all went to Derek's parent's house for Christmas dinner.  Yum!
The end of the race up the stairs, Kayli won but I was too slow with the camera.

Travis, Trisa, and Tia

Travis, Kayli, Connor (background), Dan

Dan and his new bike
Dan with Peter Panda, and his helicopter

Jake and his AT AT Walker

Connor and his Star Destroyer

Kayli by her Christmas loot.
I got a microphone and speakers so that I could sing louder than my guitar.  Wahoo!  I got a mermaid puppet from Travis and Kayli, and beautiful shirts from the girls.  I got so many nice things!  Derek got a copy of my brother Brian's novels, and a tool box and tools he picked for himself. I try so hard to find something to surprise him with -- but I only really managed to surprise him with a light that didn't work, and a scrap book of his mission.

It was a happy Christmas, full of nice things -- but my favorite part was being with all of my kids, and the time I got to spend seeing and talking to family members.  Now if I can just be like Scrooge, and keep Christmas all year long!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Eve Pajama Picture

This one is pretty good except Tia doesn't like that you can see the young her on the t.v.
and Travis is kind of looking the wrong way.

Oops.  Travis blinked.

Travis is on the left, then Trisa, me (in pink), Dan -- with Jake in front of him, and Derek with Kayli in front of him.  Tia and Connor are our back row.  I think Connor won't be able to stand up there much longer or his head will be missing (in the picture)
I was going to get everyone evil minion shirts except me.  I would have been the only sweet minion holding the flowers.  Yes, I thought I was pretty funny.  There weren't girl evil minion shirts to be found in the right sizes so the girls get to have mad minion skills.  None of my minions are evil.  They are all really fun to be with and I loved being all together as a family!