Friday, September 30, 2011

Anasazi Skills Camp & Fire Council

  • The past 3 days I have been living in the wilderness with Anasazi. It was really awesome. I learned all kinds of new skills. I went out on the trail M-W. I figured I'd use the time to learn things about being on the trail I didn't know so I would be ready to TW in Nov.

    We had 3 stations the 3 different bands rotated on Tuesday and Wednesday. Monday we did all the setting up and making the spots look great and set up tarps for shade etc.

    Station 1: (T-Bird/Brittany)

    Tuesdays—T-Bird taught beading on a loom and we all made these awesome beaded bracelets.

    Wednesday—Brittany taught leather sewing and we mad these little purse bag things. I didn't actually get to do this b/c I was doing my therapy sessions.

    Station 2: (Thomas)
    Thomas did pottery both days and taught about the different stages of making, burnishing, painting, and baking the pottery. I'm excited to get my pottery back!

    Station 3: (Spencer)
    Tuesday— Spencer taught us how to make Antler handled knives.

    Wednesday—Spencer/ Hannah taught us how to make sheaths for our knives. I also did't get to do this b/c I was doing a therapy session. Spencer told me he would teach me how to do it later so I can sheath my antler handled frost.

    Fire Council:
    Wednesday night we had a fire council first for the girls & boys band and then next for the Sinagua band. It was really awesome. Ezekiel, his wife, Lehi, Rachel, and Moroni Sanchez were there.

    We had tiki torches leading them into the council, staff had their faces painted, and the spirit was really strong. One girl YW & one boy YW tried busting to start the fire (gift of light) but neither of them, after trying in the dark for a long time, could bust. So we borrowed a coal from another fire and then had them do the tender bundle part and eventually we had this huge bonfire.

    Then Ezekiel and Pauline both talked and told these great stories. Pauline signed in Navajo as Rachel sang a song. Then we closed the council with giving everyone a necklaced. Afterward the YWs and their TWs were given hot chocolate in their cups (it was really cold and they loved it).

    The second fire council was a bit different but same idea. It was pretty incredible to be a part of the skills camp and fire council. Even though I was freezing at night I really love being out on the trail and look forward to being a Trail Walker.
    I learned how to build a shelter from a tarp

    I learned to make lots of different food recipes in my cup

    I made an antler handled knife

    This is the necklace I received at the end of Fire Council

    I beaded this bracelet on a loom. the acronym stands for Listen More Talk Less

    This is the fish trap I made from willow

Friday, September 23, 2011

Start Something That Matters

Today I saw this video when I was checking out TOMS website. I felt inspired. I went and bought Blake's book, "Start Something That Matters," and I read it in one sitting. It is full of inspiration and fabulous ideas. You should read it!

And so...

I want to introduce you to a new organization that is truly doing something that matters. I'm currently a volunteer for this brilliant, beautiful, and inspiring company.

E3 Imagine  is an educational organization that follows TOMS One forOne model. For every children's book you buy we will give a child a book. I am working on the humanitarian side of things but we are involved in schools, travel, education, and most importantly doing something that matters. Check out E3 Imagine!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Okay isn't my niece Eden the cutest girl ever!!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Room Whisperer

My roommate Alycesun Marie Clare is seriously wicked awesome and talented. She has a gift for design and she is a room whisperer. She has organized and decorated my room twice and both times I have absolutely LOVED it! 

My room was in a serious need of change both from an organizational point of view and from a Feng Shui/Chi feel. So the other night my roommates helped me take everything out of my room and start from scratch. Alycesun helped to open up a lot of space in my room (we got rid of my dresser) and make it so that it had a lot more space for positive chi flow. I love it! Check out some of the details:

I told her she could move anything and put up anything but I had to have my cork board.
 She added the records b/c I love music and this is my Creative Wall.
Alycesun actually made the "Make it Happen" sign for me.
 It is currently my life motto. This is my Affirmation Wall or the wall that helps remind me to simplify, relax, love, and enjoy life! 
I had never been a big pillow girl before but Alycesun convinced me that I would love having lots of pillow on my bed and she was most definitely right. My bed is now the center and focal point of my room. Don't worry there will be more pillows in the future. I am looking for the perfect lime green pillow.
This is my Travel Wall.  Alycesun actually made the 4 Italy framed pictures.
 I love this black & white picture often called "The Kiss."
The bottom photo is by Brad Burnham.
This is my workspace area and as such is the most cluttered. This is my Pear Wall. Alycesun did such a great job of incorporating the lime green color all throughout my room. She was able to recycle a lot of the things I already had up on my walls. The plaque above my computer says Harmony and check out how big my bamboo plant is growing.
I can't even begin to tell you the trouble that this little white bookshelf caused all of us. I think we moved it a gazillion times. I couldn't part with it though because my emeritus best friend gave it to me and it means a lot to me. Besides that I have a lot of books and they need a home. Check out my awesome purple globe—thanks Miranda!

Do you want an appointment with the Room Whisperer?

Now that you have seen some of her handy work let me tell you how she can bring magic into your life. Alycesun can breathe new life into any room. Does your office space need some re-organizing? Does your bedroom need a face-lift? Do you just need to breathe new life into your house? Alycesun does things on a budget and you will love what she can do. Let me know if you are interested?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Men of Valor

Part of being a 31 year old single adult in the Mormon church is people trying to figure out why you are not married. If they love you, think you are talented and beautiful, then it must not be anything you are doing wrong but it must be that the guys in the church are "stupid, lazy, crazy...." and so forth. I can't tell you how many times I have heard this excuse. It's as if people, in their need to comfort me, feel that putting down the men of the church, will make me feel better. Sure there are men out there who are lazy, stupid, and all the other words I have heard preached to me but there are also men of valor.

There are men who stop whatever they are doing at midnight to come and give my roommate a blessing. There are men who leave everything in their life behind to serve extremely hard and amazing awesome missions. There are men who love their wives with all their hearts. There are men who give their children Father's blessings, school blessings, and blessings for the sick. There are men who mow lawns, paint walls, hold hands with their girlfriends, sit through Sunday School, and use the Priesthood of God. There are men who actually date. There are men who listen, serve where they are needed, and put God first in their lives. I LOVE these men!

A while back I worked at a Domestic Violence Shelter as a therapist for victims of DV and their children. I listen in horror as these women told their stories of violence. I saw the bruises on their bodies, I hear the anguish in their voices, and spend time with their traumatized children. At the same, to gain a balanced perspective I was also working with the offenders of DV crimes. I sat in groups with men who had committed heinous crimes and listened as they described violence unspeakable by their own hands. I tried to be professional but there were moments when I wanted to throw-up because of the things some of these men had done. They were at various stages of change and I prayed before, during, and after every group that I would be able to see these men as children of God. Every time the group was over I called my father, who I love with all my heart, to tell him I love him and thank him for being such a wonderful man. Then I would call my best friend to him how much I appreciate his goodness.  I knew that if I let myself I would end up hating men after going to those horrible groups—instead I chose to love the valiant men in my life.

And so while I do get frustrated waiting for a man in my life, and while I sometimes laugh or nod in agreement when people place the blame for my singleness on men, I need everyone to know that I know there are men of valor out there. I know there are men who love God, who are trying to chose the right in the face evil. I know there are men who abhor pornography, say no to drugs, serve others, and work hard. I know there are men who love their mothers, respect their fathers, and treat their sisters like queens. I know there are men who read their scriptures, say their prayers, and show up at the temple.

And so tonight, for whatever reason, I want to thank the men of valor in my life. Thank you for putting God first. Thank you for seeing the good in me. Thank you for being a man that I can trust, love, look up to, and believe in.

Sanctify Yourselves

Saturday, September 17, 2011


A big part of the new fiction novel I'm writing is about grief, loss, love, healing, and how when tragedy strike things get all jumbled up. Faith falters, people rise to occasion or they crumble under the stress. Everyone grieves differently.

It is strange the things you remember in times of deep dispair. I remember the week my brother died that we go so much food that it was rotting on our counter b/c we couldn't fit it into our fridge. I remember literally praying that people would stop bringing over flowers b/c they just ended up dying all over our house. I remember thinking that I hated people b/c they said the stupidest things in the most inappropriate times. I remember wishing someone would help my sister find a way to sleep b/c she had been awake for days on end. These are the things I was thinking about b/c the alternative, at the time, was too painful.

As I write about grief I it is hard to go back there—to the funeral, the days before, the days after. I have always wanted to write something that had to do with healing and hope that this new book will do it justice.

For those of you who have grieved and stood on the precipice of despair I am wondering what random thoughts consumed your mind and heart. I want to capture grief in its most naked and vulnerable state. If you are willing to share I would appreciate your feedback.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Traces of Memories

In general I have a terrible memory. Like my mom used to always say, "If it isn't on the calendar then it doesn't happen." I have to write things down, blog, keep a journal in order for me to remember important events in my life. However, I find that when a memory is shared with someone I love sometimes it attaches itself to something else, like an object, smell, song, etc. and is vividly remembered later. Let me share some examples.

The other day I wore a BYU hat that belonged to my brother Grant. A friend of my, noticing my hat, said, "Wow, that is old school." Almost instantly memories of my brother cheering for BYU in the Lavell Edwards Stadium flooded my mind. It's almost as if the memory of my brother and BYU games are imprinted on that hat.

Years ago a boyfriend of mine, at the time, asked me what my favorite smell was (up to that moment I don't think I had ever been asked that question before) and so I thought about it for a while. I told him I loved the smell of Lemon Trees in San Diego. A while later he went to CA for a photography shoot and when he returned he gave me a plate (in the shape of a green leaf) that had lemons hand-picked from a Lemon Tree. Whenever I smell lemons I think of that loving gesture.

I love trains! I think I have always loved them. One time my sister and I drove out to Fort Bridger, WY to visit some friends. While we were there we rode horses and then when it got dark we loaded up in a truck and drove to the middle of nowhere. We got out of the truck and were herded into this cave-like place to wait. We were instructed to hold onto something sturdy. So I did and all of a sudden I heard the loudest sounds rushing over me and everything was shaking, like an earthquake. Then there were sparks flying around me and it was wicked awesome. Before I could wrap my head around what had just happened the train was rushing away. We had been sitting underneath the rail road tracks. Whenever I see a train I think of that exhilarating moment.

Sometimes a shared memory can transform an ordinary experience or place into something magical. There is a movie theater near my house that my roommates and I go to often. One day I went there to watch a movie with my boyfriend at the time. The movie was good—though I don't remember much about it but afterwards we were holding hands, laughing, and just talking with each other. We stood there talking and laughing in the parking lot for ages and then I sat on the trunk of my car and we kissed, like we were 2 teenagers, shamelessly while cars honked their horns and people whistled. I can't help but smile whenever I am in that movie theater parking lot.

I'm not a huge ice cream or chocolate fan but when I was living in Jerusalem for my study abroad I was introduced to this ice cream, Carmel, chocolate dream on a stick called, Magnum Bars. I fell in love and wanted to know what the secret ingredient was that made it taste like a piece of heaven. Well they have now come to the states and when I see them through the window of the freezer section at the store I can't help but connect them to Jerusalem and all my incredible memories there.

My mom's dad died when I was 8 years old but I loved him more than my little body could handle. I don't remember hardly anything about him but I think of him whenever I get the urge to pour water on someone. Whenever I was at his house he would fill a tall glass of water and drink it all except for a little bit in the bottom of his glass. Then, when I would least expect it, he would sneak up and pour it on my head. I am sure he had no idea what those moments/memories would hold for me.

There are so many more to share and write down but you get the idea. Sometimes when we share moments, even the simplest things, with those we love traces of those memories are captured in ordinary objects or moments in time where your heart takes a picture. No longer is a lemon just a lemon or an ice cream bar just a treat. They are forever changed and harbor some of our most cherished memories.

Today I am grateful for the ordinary things, places, smells, people, etc. that hold traces of priceless memories!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Here are two poems I wrote in the past to express some of my feelings about September 11, 2001:

Remember me when the day is done
When your laughing heart is free
Remember me when the day begins
The flag flies for liberty

Remember me when you're free to roam
When you can worship where you may
Remember me when you take a stand
And have freedom of speech to say

Remember me when you make a choice
When you kneel down to pray
Remember me when it's not so easy
I died so you could live this way
(September 11, 2002)

The best laid plans fail
The most sacred memories fade
And even with you least expect it
Towers crumble before your eyes


Patriotism with bind souls
Remembrance will sear hearts together
And even though the world is ugly
Love still conquerors all
(September 11, 2006)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Raising Expectations

I have been thinking a lot about the idea of raising expectations. I recently read an article about Brandon Davies returning to BYU after he broke the Honor Code. In the article there was a powerful quote:

Something the late, great tennis start Arthur Ashe used to argue all the time: If you demand more from people, people will rise to meet the higher standards. You can get what you insist upon. So don't sell people's capacity to do the right thing short. People do summon their best selves when it's required of them.

I not only believe in what Arthur Ashe said but I have seen it in my life as well as the livewss of many others. I have a friend who, in his limited spare time, is a personal trainer. I was training to run in a 12 man relay time a few months ago and asked him to help me set up a strenghts training plan. He went to my gym with me a few times to help me figure out how to use the equipment and what worked best for my body. I was amazed at the things he could get me to do. I did more reps, lifted more, had more endurance, and much more flexibility when he was asking for it then I had even been able to do on my own. He had high expectations for me and I rose to them.

People have a way of rising to expectations. There is something in us that wants to succeed. Through the years of working with teenagers I am continually amazed at what happens when expectations are raised and what happens when there is not expectations.

As a young Seminary (religion) Teacher I went to a Church Education System (CES) AKA Seminaries and Institutes training. To this day I remember the way the spirit touched me as to the truth of the words that Elder Eyring was teaching me. In an inspiring talk, "Raising Expectations," Elder Eyring said,

In the days ahead, the Lord will raise the spiritual bar again and again. And our youth will rise higher and higher to more than clear that rising expecation. They will make the choices to receive the promised spiritual outpouring deep in their hearts. Ours sons and daughters will prophesy, and our young men shall see visions. The questions for us are these: Will those young people feel by what we have said and done that we expected it? And with the Lord say tha twe rose to the best we could be an that He expected us to show them how? I have assurance that we will rise to that expectation.

I absolutely love teaching youth/teenagers, in any capacity. I love being an adolescent therapist. I learn so much from the youth I serve and I'm trying to have high expectations for them. In turn, they hold high expectations of me!

I sometimes wonder if I hold high enough expectations for myself? I think it might be time to raise the expectations.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Do You Have A Favorite Emotion?

Over the years I have collected strange favorites. For example I have a favorite English and Japanese word. In English my favorite word is Remember. In Japanese my favorite word is Kigatsuku. My favorite number is 8. My favorite color is purple. My favorite vehicle is a train. the list goes on but you see...most of you probably don't have a favorite vehicle, Japanese word, or even favorite English word.

Lately, I think I've discovered my favorite emotion—and if we are being technical it is actually a secondary emotion. My favorite emotion is anger. It's not my favorite because I feel it often or I like it. It's become my favorite—especially as a an adolescent therapist—because I can do something with that emotion. Anger tells me something about my client. Anger is a motivator. Anger usually brings about some kind of drive, passion, action, etc.

When I am working with clients who are depressed, sad, lethargic, etc. it is hard to motivate them. It is difficult to get to the root of the problem and it is hard to help them to make needed changes in their lives.

Don't get me wrong anger, because it is a secondary emotion, covers up the actual emotions you are feeling or trying to express. However, bring on the anger because then we can talk about the real underlying emotion. Bring on the anger because then maybe you actually cry or punch something or deal with your emotions. Bring on the anger because then you begin to be honest and get into a healthy emotional place.

I'd rather be angry any day over feeling reject, depressed, or forgotten