Sunday, October 15, 2017

Soul Sisters Retreat recap

Chris Marsden, Rachelle Kofford, Cindy Sweeten, Darlene Ostlund, Debbie Hadlock, Nan Bruske, Kathleen Newman, JoAnne Murdock, Kimi Farley, Kelli Orchard, Heidi Bingham, Peggy Rinehart, Melinda Welch, Jill Allsop, Jacqueline Romney, Barbara Schwartz

The first ever Soul Sisters retreat was WONDERFUL. … really hard to put into words how healing, loving, fun  and helpful this retreat was for all who came.   I had 15 diverse women, 2 who didn’t know anyone.. attend with me up in Eden.   I was so glad to have my cohort- side kick – Board of directors- Kathleen Newman with me to settle in , figure out bedrooms and food.  She took over the kitchen for the whole event with food prep and clean up.  Kathleen is a gem. 
Everyone gathered at 4:00 on Thursday to settle into the awesome air bnb and find their rooms.  I was so happy Aunt Darlene and Cousin Cindy were the first to arrive because it really brought my angel mother near and I felt her blessing as I looked into Dar’s beautiful face.   We slept 5 women on the main floor, 5 upstairs and 6 down stairs in different arrangements  of beds, blow ups and couches.  I put a note and a fun word bracelet on everyone’s bed to welcome them.     I was really worried that Debbie, who reached out with her sad email after seeing me on Good Things Utah, wasn’t here yet…  when an hour and a half had passed and she still wasn’t here I got worried.  I didn’t have a phone number, only her email… so I sent.”are you lost?  Call me.”…and prayed and prayed that she would come.   By 6:00 she rolled in and I was so happy to see her.  She told me she was in bed til 3:30  in the afternoon trying to decide if she was really coming or not  and finally the spirit told her to get up shower and go…so she did.  

First up was Si of A Bountiful Kitchen’s cooking class.   Si did great showing off the Insta Pot electric pressure cooker and how to use it was we all made Chile Verde together.  She also showed us the tricks to the Levain Chocolate chip cookie and we mounded and baked them together and compared them to  the tried and true chocolate chip cookie.   It was a fun taste test.    We wore name tags  so everyone could learn names quickly.   

With dinner over we settled in for Story Time.  This gave some of the women anxiety…what were they going to share??   We sat in a big circle in the living room and everyone had 5 minutes to share a story from their lives.  It could be anything.  I shared Laila’s adoption story…others shared their conversion story, haunted child hood house,  babies being born,  how met husband,  sadness, happiness, how started business etc…  Debbie shared why she came, basically the email she sent to me, and all just rallied around her and her loneliness.     Everyone just listened to everyone else.  Everyone was genuine and took off social masks and just loved on each other.  It felt like a ministry.  We pulled out snacks, played cards and talked til after midnight. 

Friday those who wanted to got up and went on a chilly, beautiful walk with me up on a mountain trail where we stumbled upon a pond with ducks and geese and gorgeousness.  Breakfast was hash brown and sausage or croissant and berry breakfast casseroles with fruit.  We  had a little devotional on God’s beautiful world is a testament of his love for us  and gratitude and cultivating a gratitude practice.

Shelley Davies came in the morning and gave a beautiful presentation on grand mothering and how important it is to be in our grand children’s lives even in small ways.   Genuine encounters are the important parts.  She even shared a new subscription box service she is putting together filled with books, recipes, projects and journal writings for grandparents.    We all shared some traditions or things we do with our grandchildren to connect. 

Lunch was plates and palates salads , more talking and sharing and Bre came up to take candid shots and a bit group picture to celebrate this event. 

 In the afternoon I led the group in Brave Intuitive painting…this was harder than I thought and gave another group of women anxiety as they faced a canvas and paint and we discussed creativity and the shame around it that begins in grade school when comparison starts and  “artists” are pointed out.    I need to work on teaching this better..so many stop at the first thing they put on the canvas….that’s not the point.  Need to give up control and  keep adding layers and turning the canvas til something beautiful emerges.  I want to do this again, I just need to get better at teaching and inspiring this process. 

Free time for Hot tubing out in the beautiful setting.  The air was freezing, but the water was great.  Or…to go on a nature walk, take a nap, read a book, jump on the tramp…all good things.

Dinner of soup and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches that the ladies made themselves, then we had special guest Michelle Campbell come and share her sacred Cancer experience.  She has had 300 days of it in her life and she is at the All clear part…praying that it will last.  She  gave great ideas on how to help, what to say, how to process cancer and other sicknesses and be more empathetic.  
-->  My darling friend, Linda Wangsgaard came up with Michelle and then she stayed to spend the night with all of us.   Linda always fits right in anywhere she goes because she is so interested in other.  
  After the sadness cancer class…  we  switched gears and discussed the benefits of  laughter and humor and we all went around shared funny stories and laughed and laughed til  our stomach’s ached.    Marie Callendar pies and more sharing and talking til after midnight.    We had way too much FOOD on this retreat..we will have to readjust for next time. 

Friday morning up for a walk or sleeping in a bit, then breakfast of yogurt parfaits and bagels   with a final devotional about beauty and how we are all beautiful daughters of God.   Cleanup and out of their by 10:30.

So now I sit at this end of the event processing it.  It really filled my cup so full to put this on.  I prayed and planned, worried and worked for this event and it turned out better than  I could have imagined.  It was a diverse group of ladies ages 49-83, but when one get’s older, I think we have all been through stuff and just have so much more empathy and wisdom to share with each other.  There was NO  know it all in this group, just women really trying to share and listen and validate each other's lives and problems.  It was beautiful to witness and to be a part of.    I really feel Heavenly Father’s hand in this retreat and know that the ladies who came were the ones who really needed to be there.  They came for themselves or they came to be the listening ear- shoulder to lean on  for another. 


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I  am going to send a survey to get feedback for this first one on what to fix and how to make it better…then begin planning the next one.  I have one scheduled the end of February, the third weekend of May and NYC in Oct. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Loving Brene Brown

I've been immersed in two Brene Brown books lately, Daring Greatly and Braving the Wilderness.  I just love what she has to say about vulnerability, leaning into our feelings, having the courage to stand alone, shame and living whole- heartedly.   This Manifesto for Parenting speaks to me. I wish I would have been a better parent to my little boys... I guess it's not too late to try with my big boys...and Laila of course.




Saturday, September 30, 2017

Getting out of Comfort zone

Getting out of my comfort zone is a challenge.  I always have the best intentions.  I sign up , I recruit people to join me and I get my “costume” together… I arrive at whatever function, then something happens. I come up with all sorts of excuses as to why I’m not going to do it.  I’m too old. I’m too heavy. I don’t know enough. People will look at me. I  will be judged. I don’t want to embarrass my family.…Oh the list goes on.  But  if I can hold off these voices and move past my inner critic I almost always have a great time, and I come away feeling empowered because I did it.

Yesterday the same thing happened.  I wanted to go to an event that Cents of Style was putting on including shopping, giveaways, speaker Alison Faulkner of the Alison show..a podcast I listen to diligently…  talk about women empowerment, , plus an opportunity to do High Fitness with the founder Emily Nelson and food from the Village Baker.  All of the things I love.  But once I got there, I kept thinking of all sorts of excuses to leave. …to not get in my work out gear, to book out early… I was so glad I got one of my BFF’s Kathleen to go with me.  She is a gung-ho kind of gal. I call her fearless, because she doesn’t have any walls that keep her from doing things.  She is phenomenal physically, spiritually and helps me emotionally  stay on track. Having Kathleen there kept me there.
It was so interesting to hear Cents of Style founder talk about walls that we build up that stop us…all based on fear.   She had a lady from the audience come up to tell what her “wall” is that she wants to tear down.  It was an older lady  ( one of 6 of us there…everyone else was 20-30 somethings)  saying she was afraid that her kids would learn about her past and not love her.  WHAT?!?  Her girls were there and it was an amazing thing to be a part of. It felt like an Oprah moment.   It was  also empowering to listen to Alison speak about building  and just starting something good. She did this all while in her work out clothes, including a jewel encrusted sports bra—she’s got guts.  She has always been about loving your body no matter what size, and I love this about her.   I kept thinking of my Souls sisters Retreats and how grateful I am  to be “freaking” doing it.   I was so glad I got my  work out stuff on including my High Fitness hat and participated in the music and the dance that is high fitness.  It feels so good to move and I’m blessed to have a body that I can do this. 
I even ran into my two nieces, Becca and Rachel…they know how to get involved in a good thing.   The food after by Village Baker was delicious too. 


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So….. I got out of my comfort zone.  I silenced my inner critic.  Tried something new and had a great time.   

Thursday, September 28, 2017

My favorite women's conference talk 2017

Sister Eubank shared five things women can do to “play our part” in the building of the kingdom on the earth.
1. Be righteous.
“Being righteous doesn’t mean being perfect or never making mistakes,” Sister Eubank said. “It means developing an inner connection with God, repenting of our sins and mistakes, and freely helping others. Women who have repented have changed the course of history.”
2. Be articulate.
“Being articulate means to clearly express how you feel about something and why,” Sister Eubank taught.
“Use your voice and your power to articulate what you know and feel — on social media, in quiet conversations with your friends, when you are chatting with your grandchildren. Tell them why you believe, how you know, what it feels like, if you ever doubted, how you got through it, what Jesus Christ means to you.”
3. Be different.
“Innovation and creation are spiritual gifts,” she said. "When we keep our covenants, it may make us different from others in our culture and society, but it gives us access to inspiration so we can think of different solutions, different approaches, different applications. We aren't always going to fit in with the world, but being different in positive ways can be a lifeline to others who are struggling.”
4. Be distinct.
Distinct means to be recognizably well-defined, Sister Eubank taught.
“The restored gospel is recognizably well defined,” Sister Eubank said. “We have to be distinct about how we follow it. … We need to practice living the gospel before the emergency so that, unafraid, we will be strong enough to help when others are being swept away by the current.”
5. Do numbers one through four on the list in happy ways.
“Being happy doesn’t mean to slap a plastic smile on your face no matter what is going on,” she said. “But it does mean keeping the laws of God and building and lifting others. When we build, when we lift the burden of others, it blesses our lives in ways our trials cannot take away.”
Sister Eubank reminded listeners that there is an energy that comes from happiness and optimism that blesses and builds everyone around them.
“Any small thing you do to light real happiness in others shows that you are already carrying the torch President Kimball lit,” she said.
Just as President Kimball invited women to be a part of the building of the kingdom in the last days, Sister Eubank invited the younger generations, “the future leaders in this Church” to carry the light forward and be the fulfillment of this prophesy.
“I appeal to each of you to put yourself in a place where you can feel the generous love God has for you,” she said. “You cannot put yourself beyond the reach of that love. When you feel His love, when you love Him, you will repent and keep His commandments. When you keep His commandments, He can use you in His work. His work and glory is the exaltation and eternal life of women and men.
“The prophets are calling on us, my sisters. Will you be righteous? Will you articulate your faith? Can you bear being distinct and different? Will your happiness in spite of your trials draw others who are good and noble and who need your friendship? Will you turn on your light? I testify that the Lord Jesus Christ will go before us and be in our midst.”


It was as if Sister Eubanks spoke directly to me.  She voiced some of the exact thoughts I've been thinking.   She asked some really poignant questions to help me evaluate where I am in life and gave such beautiful challenges.  I loved her story about the 80-person "human chain" to help those caught in the current at the beach. It made me tear up to think about how that human chain relates so well to life in general.  We need to be life-lines to others, to reach out and love and build and lift.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Free Agency

Laila was in her first car accident.   She was a little stressed, cried a bit, spoke to the police officer clearly...and realized that it's all survivable.  Chalk it up to experience.

Laila and I were driving in Farmington wanting to turn into Station Park.  Laila put her blinker on to turn into the first drive way, and I said, no let's pull in down there pointing a 100 feet farther down the street.  While her blinker was on a black car that was waiting at a stop sign pulled out in front of her.   Laila took her blinker off and now was going forward, when a gold car thinking Laila was still turning, pulled out and hit Laila on the front side bumper of my Yelo Car.  It was slow motion, crazy.  No one was hurt, both cars were going quite slow...just my car was hurt with $2500 in damage.  (Now the insurance companies have to fight it out )

Laila and the other teen age driver both screamed a swear word...and then just sat in silence.  I screamed..."brake brake..i can't believe this" as I heard my car being crunched.   Laila was impressed that no swear words escaped my lips.  I don't even think like that....

But Lessons learned....... I took Laila's free agency away insisting that she drive farther down the street to turn in...and when she obeyed and did that we got in a crash.  Had I left her to her own agency none of this would have happened.

So many times in my kids lives I want to take their agency away because I think I know better.  I want to tell them who to be friends with, where to work, where to go to school, how to drive, what classes to take etc... but all these choices really need to be in their own hands...just as they were in mine.  

As parents it's easy for us to see the mistakes out kids are going to make, even before they make them.  But the growth comes in the making of the mistake, the regrouping and learning from it and trying better the next time.

Now... who's to say had Laila turned in where she wanted to we wouldn't have gotten in an accident?? ...and then I would be saying, she should have listened to me....but that's not what happened.... and still her free agency should trump my bossiness.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

It's raining $

 Laila went a full year with NO social media.  We challenged her a year ago to see if she could make this happen... it was all 12 months or nothing for a 100 bucks a month and SHE DID IT!   She celebrated today by opening up a bank account, getting a debit card, paying tithing and  planning on where to spend her money.    She also got on Social media, but she says she will take it slow and be safe and vigilant.







In other news... it's the big BYU vs. Utah rivalry football game tonight...and Wayne and Laila  are representing the U today and always.




Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tru got Drugged and Mugged in Tel Aviv


Truman got drugged and mugged in Tel Aviv
Yep that’s correct.
My boy lived to tell about it with only his cell phone  and some jewelry stolen and a few bumps and bruises. 
Truman flew into Tel Aviv, Israel for his first time.  HE went out to dinner at a restaurant/bar with his crew mates.  After much peer pressure from the crew and the bar staff to have a drink, just one drink..he succumbed and had a cocktail.  He said , he started feeling weird almost immediately and excused himself to go to the bathroom, but before he left, he handed his wallet to his crew mate and told him to pay for his drink.  Tru said the bathroom was up two flights of stairs and down a long hallway and he can’t remember much about the next 6 hours of his night.  The next memory he has is of running away from two men in a deserted market alley way…getting caught and beat up and then having his stuff taken from him. Later.. he doesn’t know how long…..He came back to and was groggy trying to figure where he was, why he didn’t have his phone or wallet and couldn’t remember the name of his hotel.  He knew it was on the water and so headed in that direction.  He stumbled back into his hotel in the morning and was met by his FRANTIC crew mates who had been up looking for and worrying about him all night.  They said when he didn’t come back from the bathroom , they went in search of him and knew he wouldn’t just leave with out his wallet.  They asked around, got a pic off of facebook and showed it around, tried to file a police report and  hotel report and just tried to get some help.  They figured the bar staff had some sort of ring of drugging drinks, then mugging people on their way out for their money and phones.    They have flagged the hotel, bar and restaurant on the DELTA app so others won’t have to experience this.   
Tru was blessed and watched over.  I told him it’s because this momma prays for his well being every day and sends her angels to care for him. 
He was blessed, that he left his wallet with his crew so that didn't get stolen and  his ID and credit cards etc...   He was blessed, that he had a crew that was concerned about him and his whereabouts.  He was blessed that he didn’t get his face messed up, just bruised on arms and stomach, neck etc.. He was blessed that he wasn’t knifed or killed or stolen…so many horrible things could have happened, but didn’t.  He was blessed that he had a laptop –that I had just given him—in his hotel room, so he could get on facebook and let us know what was going on and still be connected.  He was blessed that he can’t actually remember what happened, so he doesn’t need to have nightmares about it.
He is back in NYC and has gone to the dr’s to be checked out.  
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Tru has learned some things….he won’t be accepting any drinks except from bottles that he personally opens.  He won’t be going off on his own even to a restaurant bathroom.   He will be more cautious with what he does around the world…and that’s ok.  Tru is still my adventurer and I don’t want his spirit dashed, but I do want his lessons to be learned so he doesn’t have to repeat this again and again.