Spring Blossoms

This is the view from my kitchen window.  It's just beautiful!  The Spring blossoms are in full bloom around my neighborhood.  When I go outside I can hear the bees buzzing & the birds chirping.  I can feel a change in the air.  Everything is breathing new life.  I love Spring.  It is so renewing.  Everything is coming back to life after a long, cold winter.  I feel like I am new again.  New summer adventures to look forward to.  Fish that will be caught.  New undiscovered trails to hike.  New goals to focus on this year.  New opportunities.

It seems the SUN SHINES brighter in Spring.

What do you love about Spring?

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Popcorn.  Who doesn't like popcorn?  I like my popcorn buttery and salty.  It's almost about the only thing I add additional salt to (when eating a meal) in my diet.  But it's gotta be nice and salty and buttery.

My son wanted some popcorn this morning.  I know - it's only 10:00 am and he's already wanting popcorn.  I think it's because he asked for some last night at about 10:00 pm and I told him "In the morning".  He didn't forget.

I didn't want to make a whole big batch in my normal Stir Crazy popper that I love.  So, I thought, "I wonder if I could make some in a paper bag, like microwave popcorn?".  (Which I normally don't buy because I prefer fresh popped).  As you can see in the picture - I buy the big container at Costco.

I tried it.

It worked (the second time).

I think I have found my new "microwave popcorn", and for pennies per serving.  I am beyond thrilled that it worked.

Here's what I did:

I put 2 Tbsp popcorn kernels in a white paper bag (I'm sure brown paper bags would work fine, I just buy the white one - they look cuter).

Fold down the top twice (small folds, maybe 1/2 inch fold)

Microwave on high for 1 minute 15-30 seconds.  (The first time I tried it I put the time on for 3 minutes, after 1 min 45 seconds I had burned popcorn).  That 15 seconds made a huge difference.  The cooking time may need to be adjusted for your microwave.

Done.  I poured on a little melted butter, added some salt and shook it up in the bag.  I probably added about 1-2 tsp melted butter.

My son loved it.  He is currently munching away on it watching his Saturday morning cartoons.

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While I'm typing this - thinking about what to say - I can hear the rain outside hitting hard things like roofs, cars, the picnic table in my back yard, the bike that didn't get put away last night.  It made me think about the rain.  Rain is cleansing.  Rain makes the sun shine that much brighter.  I love rain.  I love the smell of rain.  I love the sidewalks after rain.  I love that the rain greens up my lawn.

When I was a child, I would play in the rain.  I would splash in the gutters.   I would chase sticks down the gutters.  I would just let it get me wet.  I remember one time during an approaching storm, I was looking out of our bay window in the living room.  The storm was coming.  I could smell it.  I could feel it.  It started to rain at the end of our street, and I watched the rain move its way up to my house and engulf the house in a downpour.  I loved it.  This was always a happy time for me.  The rain was my sunshine.  That sounds a little weird, but it is true.  Rain does something to my soul.  It lifts me.

When we lived in Oklahoma, I loved the thunder and lightening that always accompanied storms there.  Although the threat of tornadoes was always there, people in my neighborhood would literally all come out and sit on their porches when a storm was upon us.  The lightning was indescribable and beautiful.  The thunder was loud and powerful.  The rain - a literal downpour (like someone dumping a bucket of water on you).  But, I loved it.  Our whole area loved it.

Rain is powerful. Sunshine is powerful.  Kindness is powerful.  Forgiving is powerful - both for the forgivee and the forgiver.  Forgiveness is cleansing just like rain.  This includes forgiving yourself - which is probably the hardest forgiving to do.

Doesn't this picture just make you happy?  Picture source: National Geographic

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You Never Know Your Impact

A personal experience I had today:  While reading my scriptures this morning in Exodus (Old Testament), I read Exodus 14:14: "The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace."  I posted it on my LDS Young Women Facebook page.  A few minutes after posting it, I received this comment on the post (translated from another language, so it may sound a little off):  Thank you very much for this scripture, I am crying in this moment for that. Yesterday I was thinking I don't want to know nothing, is so hard how can to follow here? Is very special only God he know how can I feel. I am so grateful for this scripture!

WOW!  I posted it because it impacted me this morning.  I didn't know it would help anyone else.  You never know the impact you will make on someone, by simply doing what you do everyday.

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Have You Done Good Today?

This is one of my favorite Church Hymns.  Have you done any good today?  When someone needed your help, were you there?  This song lifts me to a place where I am confident I can be of help to someone today.

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Eat More Cake

Oh, how I love this sign.  It is so true!  My day is definitely better when cake is involved.

Saw this sign on IHeartNapTime.

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Eggs for Breakfast

This morning my sweet husband made me eggs for breakfast.  Thank you, sweetie.  You started my day off right.

Who made your day a better day just by doing a simple act of kindness?  Did you make someone's day today?  Come on - give yourself credit - and post it in the comments.  Be proud of what you do!

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Nan's on a Plane

This video makes me happy.  And reminds me of my sweet grandmas.

CLICK HERE to watch video.  CLICK HERE for additional footage of the event.

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Because of Him

Happy Easter, everybody!

Learn more.  CLICK HERE.

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Just Be You

It is so easy these days to use online social media and "be" a perfect person.  You can say whatever you want about yourself - truth or not.  You can become - really - anybody you want.  I don't believe in this practice, but it is done by many.  On the flip side - one thing I like about social media is you can be very truthful about yourself. So, I wanted you - my readers - to know one thing that many people don't know about me.

I stutter.

It's more of a block than a repeat stutter.  I have had this stutter my entire life.  My parents have told me that I was slow to speak as a toddler.  They put me into speech therapy, and as I learned more things to say, I began to stutter.  I have yet to find a definite cause of why people stutter.  Nor do I really care to.  It is just a part of who I am.  Some people who stutter try all kinds of therapy to "cure" them of this speech impediment.  I really don't care to do that.  It is part of who I am.  It has not affected me to a point in my life that I wish I didn't have it.  In a way - it probably helps me.  I am known to be quite stubborn at times and I tend to say things that should otherwise be left unsaid.  Stuttering - and the fear of it in some conversations - has most likely prevented me from saying some things - which now that I look back on, was probably a good thing.

My parents never let my stutter get in the way for me.  They never talked for me (unless I pleaded with them to), they never were impatient as they listened to me, they never let me use it as an excuse to not do something, or to not pursue something I really wanted to do.  They understood that I was real.  I was able to do whatever I wanted to do.  And they didn't let some silly speech impediment get in the way of that.  I was so lucky to find an amazing man who was just like my parents in regard to my speech. He didn't care; he knew it wasn't who I was.  I married him!  We have been happily married for more than 20 years.  He is my hero.  He, like my parents, never lets me get out of doing something because I may be a little nervous of my stutter.  I do still get nervous in some situations - I think this is pretty normal for everybody.  It's true that I am still "shy" (for lack of a better word) at times - like ordering at a drive up or talking on the phone, but he makes light of it.  He jokes that I need to order at a drive up and really stutter (more than I usually would) and when the clerk says he couldn't understand me - to say "what, did I stu, stu, stutter?"  That's just how we roll around here.

One thing that I really dislike doing - because of my stutter - is to read out loud.  For some reason, this is really bad for me.  I stutter so much when reading out loud in front of people.  When I give a talk at church, I memorize it, or just write down bullet points to remind me what to say and I just say what I need to say from memory.  When I was in school, I would always give the teacher a heads up on me - and ask him to never call on me to read aloud in class.  Most were accommodating.  One time I had a teacher forget, and call on me.  It took me 3x's as long to read one paragraph than anybody else.  He never called on me again.  In normal conversation I can hide my stutter pretty well.  It will only show a few times.  My husband has told me that he didn't even realize I stuttered until he had known me a few weeks.   Although - if I am saying something with another person or group I don't stutter.  Like the Pledge of Allegiance.  Weird huh?  But true.  Also, I don't stutter when I sing.  And I don't stutter when I read silently (I have had people ask me this), or when I think.  

I have had some very interesting interactions with people.  One that I remember vividly - I was in a store asking a clerk a question.  I don't remember the question in particular, but I stuttered while asking it.  The clerk them proceeded to talk VERY SLOWLY and LOUDLY with an answer.  I probably looked at him like he was a complete weirdo.  I remember thinking to myself "I'm not dumb, or deaf, you idiot!"  Yep, that is really the response I got from someone.  This is a normal response, actually.  Or, people just sort of look at me funny and find someone else to help me.  I'm used to this.  It doesn't bother me.  I actually feel sorry for the person who couldn't handle me.

I think people are afraid of others who aren't like them.  They just don't understand that differences in people is what makes this world great.  How boring would our world be if we were all the same?  Boring!!

I never refer to my stutter as a disability.  In the medical field - it is.  But I am not disabled.  I am not stupid.  I am not mean.  I am not unlike you.  We are the same.  I AM NOT MY VOICE.

Here are some pointers for meeting people who stutter:
1.  Never finish their sentences.  Let them do it.
2.  Be patient with them.  They are talking as fast as they can.
3.  Don't look down on them.  Most stutters are actually very smart, intellectual people.
4.  Don't laugh at them.  No one likes to be laughed at.
5.  Love them.  Everyone deserves to be loved.

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Growing Closer to God

I recently discovered something.  I have always believed that if you grow closer to God and get to know His Son, Jesus Christ, better, all of your relationships in life will be closer as well.

I have started reading the Old Testament this year.  We are studying it in Church and I thought I better read it through at least once in my life.  I've read our other scriptures (New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price) several times - too many to even count, but I have never read the entire Old Testament from beginning to end.

I start each day (I miss a day or two, here and there, but really strive to read every day) with a prayer before I read.  This really helps me get focused on what I am about to read and what my day needs to look like.  I ask for guidance and for the Spirit to be in my home so I can do everything I need to do that day.
Well, something marvelous has happened.  As I read, learn, and understand the doctrine in the Old Testament, my love for God and His Son has grown tremendously.  But what's even more marvelous - my love for my husband has grown. My love for my children has grown.  My love for my close friends has grown.  Love for strangers has grown.  I think it is pretty miraculous.  It is just a different feeling towards all these people.  It's a stronger feeling of love and appreciation for my Savior and a clear understanding that He does live, and He does know ME, personally.  I know without a doubt that this is because I am reading the scriptures and truly yearning to understand them.  I know God speaks to us through the scriptures.

The LIGHT of Christ has filled my heart and I am better because of it.  I have also learned that I can't read once and be good for the rest of the week. I need to read EVERYDAY.  It's like brushing your teeth.  You can't brush your teeth 14 times in a row and be good until next week - NO - you need to brush your teeth everyday.  Same thing with spiritual things.  You need to be renewed each day.

No matter your religion, no matter what scriptures you have.  Read them.  Pray for understanding of them.  Pray for guidance from a loving Heavenly Father.  He will help you - you just need to ask.  I love the picture of Christ standing at a door.  If you'll notice there is no doorknob.  You must let Him in.

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Pina Colada

I love coconut.  I love pineapple.  I LOVE pina coladas (non-alcoholic, of course)!!  I always have in my pantry a can of cream of coconut on top of a can of crushed pineapple - my kids know these are to only be used for making pina colada's (okay, I usually have 2 of each). I want you to know my recipe so you can have one whenever you need.  It is so simple.  Perfect for kids on a SUNNY summer day.

Pina Colada
1 20-oz can crushed pineapple
1 15-oz can cream of coconut
enough ice to top off blender

Pour pineapple (with all its juice) and cream of coconut into blender.  Add enough ice to fill it the rest of the way up.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy right away.  If you have extras you can freeze it and enjoy later.

* You can buy cream of coconut in the alcoholic drink-mix aisle.  Do not get this confused with coconut milk.  They are NOT the same thing.  Cream of coconut is a sweetened coconut gel-like substance - this is what you want.  You can also buy CREAM OF COCONUT on Amazon.

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The Whale

While I work in my home office, sometimes I'll play something from Netflix.  It helps pass the time when I am doing something monotonous - but necessary.  Today I watched The Whale.  It's about an orca whale that adopted a village as his family.  It was so touching and heartwarming.  The bond between human and animals is sometimes indescribable.  This was a sweet documentary.  I highly suggest watching it - your kids will love it too.
I found it under the Just for Kids tab on Netflix.  Let me know what you thought of it!

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