A Good Day: Just Exploring and Being A Mom

 good day

Today is a good day. It’s a day I don’t have to be anywhere or do anything. I can just be and do what I want.

So today, I was a mother, teacher and explorer with my kids.

We left early in the morning with clouds looming in the sky and I took them to a place they’d never been too, but is just a five minute drive away. Then we just started walking. We talked, the boys raced, we identified plants and clouds. We talked about hydroelectricity, nature and geology. We just kept walking until the sprinkles grew to a drizzles and then headed back. We made it back home before the rain really began to fall and sipped hot cocoa to warm up.

Now as I write this, rain is pattering the windows and the trees are bending in the wind. We haven’t had rain in a really long time so this is a welcome sight.

And, it’s a relief for me. I love the rain.

This is always a hard time of year for me.

Even though I absolutely love the fall, I think the lack of sunlight affects me more than I’d like to admit. The cold keeps me inside and the early nights are beginning to depress me. Add to that the annoying busyness of this time of year that makes it difficult to enjoy the season. I fall short in so many ways of what I’m “supposed” to be doing, but I’ve just had to not think about it. I’ve had to let go of so much and sometimes it’s hard. I feel so limited, but I just don’t have energy -mentally, for any more.

If I could have more days like today though, just walking in nature with my kids, I think I would be a happy camper all the time. It wouldn’t even have to always be raining. ūüôā

I just prefer the outdoors.

When I think of my future dream home, I don’t imagine the inside of the home. Half the time I don’t see a house at all. What I do see are the trees, creeks, hills, mountains, wild flowers, birds in the air, warm sunshine on my face or brilliant fall foliage. Just as important to me as the space my family will dwell in, is the feel of the area around us. That’s probably why when I am looking at houses for sale on zillow, I am drawn to the lots of land more than the homes.

Even though I am a cooler weather person (I do not do well in the heat), I am looking forward to the winter solstice tomorrow. After tomorrow, the days will grow longer again and there will be more light in our part of the world. I’ve always marveled how at a time when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, who IS the light, it is also at a time when our days begin to have more light. There’s a renewing of hope and a promise of relief. It makes me so grateful for the timing of certain things. There really is a plan.

And, I am so grateful for days like today. No pressures. No obligations. Just happy little moments with my kids, building memories and having fun.

So what have I been up to lately?

Well since my last post (which was the last time it rained), my oldest won a golfing championship, my second son was a student of the month and had a birthday, I won NaNoWriMo, we had a craft show and we’ve had trials galore. But, at the moment, life is good and I am grateful for that. I’m hoping to write here more frequently soon.

Now it’s your turn. What would be your “good day?” Who would you spend it with and what would you do? I’d love to know!

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Blessed Busyness: The Blessings of Hard Work

Do you know what Blessed Busyness is?

Blessed Busyness is where life is crazy busy but it’s good. It’s being sustained through all the work you have to do. It’s receiving an abundance of unexpected blessings to help you through the busy chaos of goodness (and sometimes the not so good). Blessed Busyness is also having incredible moments where the beauty of everything makes you pause and truly see what’s around you and the pure amount of love God has for you.

Right now I’m experiencing a lot of blessed busyness.

We’ve got cross country practices and meets.

blessed busyness

Violin lessons, golf lessons (thank you Grandpa!) and golf tournaments.

blessed business

Crazy amounts of work for Bryce, soap making galore, NaNoWriMo prep, callings to fill, finance classes (which are a lot of fun). Fitness group stuff (a huge blessing).

blessed busyness weight loss
The day I discovered I’d lost almost 35 pounds since January.

People to visit and love.

Laundry to fold, cars to fix, neighbors to try to love, animals to care for, and the list just keeps going.

Such is life for everyone.

But you know what else is Blessed Busyness?

Most of all, Blessed Busyness is knowing that everything you are doing, to what ever extent you’re capable, is exactly what you should be doing. You’re WORKING! Sometimes very hard, but you’re happy. You’re exited about life and what’s ahead.

This past week’s “Foundation Principle” in the finance class my husband and I are taking, is to “take responsibility and persevere.” I really loved one of the quotes that was shared by Elder D. Todd Christofferson. He said:

God has designed this mortal existence to require nearly constant exertion. . . . By work we sustain and enrich life. . . . Work builds and refines character, creates beauty, and is the instrument of our service to one another and to God. A consecrated life is filled with work, sometimes repetitive, . . . sometimes unappreciated but always work that improves, . . . lifts, [and] aspires.

In other words, work is good for the soul.

I believe that if you can have a happy attitude about it, perhaps by continually counting your blessings and looking to God for your support, it’s not going to matter how hard the things are that you must endure.

Even if it’s hard to be happy . . . and let’s face it, that does happen, if you trust in the Lord, He will be your strength.

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. -Isaiah 12:2

In conclusion, work is good. Being busy is good. Seeing your blessings and enjoying life as you are busy and doing good is even better.

¬†Now it’s your turn. What’s been keeping you busy these days? How have you managed to keep a cheerful attitude through it? What blessing have you seen through hard work?

P.S. Last week on my writing blog, I talked about Brain Fog and trying to prepare for NaNoWriMo. Things are getting better and I finally feel like I’ve got a story to write next month. I’m excited about it and will update you as needed. Another blessing that I’ve noticed in the crazy busy time, is that my mind is clearing and my ability to actually focus on writing is improving. Hurray!

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Emergency Water Supply and Safety

emergency water

Do you have some emergency water? Do you have any water saved up in case your current water supply becomes contaminated or unavailable? Water is one of the most important, if not THE MOST important thing to your survival.

I grew up in the mountains where we relied on well water and occasionally, natural spring water. But, we didn’t always have a good amount, despite having a larger than average storage tank. Low gallons/minute pump rates, frozen pipes and droughts all affected the water we had available to us. To combat this, my grandma always taught us to store gallon jugs of water -recycled milk jugs for flushing toilets and other cleaning necessities, and gallons of bottled drinking water.

For the first eight years of our marriage, my husband and I lived in the city. As you can imagine, it was pretty tough for a mountain girl, but we made the most of it. We relied on municipal “city” water but we had no real way to store water for emergencies. We still had some gallons of water stored in the garage just like my grandmother taught me, but in the scorching summer heat, those gallons deteriorated rapidly.

It was also during this time, that I started to go into super “prep” mode. We’d gotten our 72 hour kits together, we had our food storage, but we just didn’t have a good solution to emergency water. After reading a few very interesting books, I began to realize all the catastrophic things that could happen to our water supply and I knew that I needed to do something about it so that our family was cared for and¬† we could help a few of our neighbors out too.

Enter the FOOD GRADE 55 GALLON water storage barrels.

After scouring the internet for deals on these durable, long lasting storage barrels, we ended up finding a good deal on Craigslist. We found a very legitimate guy who all he did was purchase these storage containers in bulk, and deliver them to his customers up and down California. This guy was wonderful and his main concern was helping people be prepared with emergency water. We purchased three storage containers through him, set them up in our garage, then filled them with water. We instantly felt better and became the only family on our street to have an emergency supply of water. It wasn’t nearly enough to help all our neighbors, but it was a good start for our family.

Our job wasn’t done though.

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Next we learned about water purification.

Our emergency store of water was still going to need to be boiled, treated, or filtered to be safe to drink.

We bought a Safety Siphon to make drawing water out of the barrels easy. Next we stocked up on propane gas for our camping stove (even though we had a gas stove for our house), and we already had a really awesome MSR filter from backpacking.  We felt confident that if we had to use it, we could use our emergency water safely.

But then something happened a few summers ago . . .

As I’ve previously mentioned, my husband and I are backpackers. What’s something that essential to a backpacker’s safety? Water!

As part of our preparation for a hike, we always inspect our gear before leaving to make sure everything is in proper working order. Everything was working great and we set set off. After a very long hike in the dark with headlights (THAT was a fun adventure), we found our destination, set up camp, re-hydrated and then tucked in for the night. The next morning, after discovering we were camped too close to the water, my husband went to work moving our camp and I headed to the lake with our trusty water filter and nalgene bottles.  I found a comfortable spot to sit, hooked up the filter to the water bottle and pumped away.

Nothing happened.

A feeling of dread went through me. I tried everything in my knowledge to get this water filter to pump, but it just wouldn’t work. Something had broke.

We were in trouble.

We only had one and a half bottles left. It was just enough water that we could hike back to our car, ending our trip. Ultimately, we decided that I would stay in camp with half the water, while my husband used the other half to hike back to the car (about 5 miles over grueling terrain). From there he would drive to the nearest civilization 30 minutes away where he would try to find a water pump to buy, barrow or drive another two hours into the city. Then, once getting the new filter, he would drive and hike all the way back to me.

This made for a long and grueling day for my husband and gave me lots of alone time to worry and think about what could have happened if this had been a longer hike. It made me realize that things sometimes break at the absolute wrong time and you need to be prepared for it.

When we got home, we figured out what went wrong with our water filter.

We had had it for over ten years and had never done any maintenance on it. (Palm to the face!) We felt pretty foolish. My husband immediately bought a maintenance kit, fixed the filter and now keeps the kit with the pump at all times. I also insisted that we purchase these lightweight water purification tablets, not only to carry with us backpacking, but also to keep with our 72 hour kits. We weren’t going to let an equipment failure put us in danger again -because we really were in danger. By the time my husband got back with a new water filter, I was pretty dehydrated and instead of spending the day exploring and hiking, we concentrated on getting fluids back into our bodies.

To end, it’s important to have an emergency supply of water.

There are different ways to do it, 55 gallon barrels being one of them. Just as important as having your emergency water, is having a way to make it safe to drink. If you are truly in an emergency situation, you can’t afford to get sick by drinking contaminated water or water filled with parasites. You will be of no help to yourself or those around you if you get sick, or worse, die because of drinking unsafe water. DON’T RISK IT!

How much emergency water should you have?

One standard amount is to have one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. This of course is going to vary depending on your needs. I would actually say this is the bare minimum. The Ready Store has a neat Water Storage Calculator, but I don’t have personal experience with the rest of their website.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) also has a useful site about creating and storing emergency water if you would like to read more. Their “Make Water Safe” and “Drink Safe Water” are helpful visuals and a good resource to share with others.

Now it’s your turn. What have you done about emergency water? Or, what will you do now that you’ve read this post? I’d love to know!

P.S. My next emergency preparedness post will be about making 72 hour kits. I’ve taught classes on this and have found all kinds of practical ways to create a 72 hour kit that works for YOU. When I have the post up, I will return here and add a link.

P.S.S. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any new posts! You can subscribe in my sidebar or at the bottom of the page if you are viewing this post from your phone.

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Being Happy When You Feel Sad or Mad


As we were driving home last Saturday evening from a wonderful Women’s Session of General Conference, my nine year old daughter asked me an important question. She said:

“Mom? How can you be happy when you feel sad or mad?”

When she asked that, I felt a great swelling of love and joy for my daughter. She had actually been paying attention to the speakers. Not only was she paying attention, but she was also pondering what they said. And, after pondering her question, she asked me, trusting me to give her an answer. It’s hard to describe the feeling that gives me. The closest I can come, is that it’s an honor to be her mother and to be the mother of each of my very special kids.

The talk my daughter was referencing with her question was President Uchtdorf’s talk “Three Sisters” in which he tells the story of three sisters, one who was mad, one sad and the other, glad. Mad, was mad about everything and ended up dying mad. Sad, was sad about everything, and like her sister, died sad. Glad lived a happy life even when sad or bad things happened, and when she died, she died glad. President Uchtdorf then goes on to talk about how each of these sisters relate to aspects of our own lives.

With the transcripts of this talk still unavailable, I’ll do my best to convey the things that stood out to me from his talk.

He said (paraphrasing in my own words):

Don’t be driven about by others’ opinions.

Don’t surrender my happiness to others.

Remember who you are. Other people’s words are meaningless when compared to Heavenly Father’s words about you.

When you degrade a group of people, you are more likely to condone words and acts of violence against them. (This is bad.)

What did the Savior teach? Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you. (See Matthew 5:44.)

We are responsible for our own decipleship and it has little to do with how others treat us.

Never forget you are a child of God.

You can not allow circumstances to make you mad or sad.

Fill your hearts with gratitude for the goodness of God.

Make the choice to press on to the tree of life.

Life up your voice.

Joyfully thrive as a daughter of God.

You can watch the actual talk here.


What I told my daughter

The very first thing I told my daughter when she asked me how we can be happy when we feel sad or mad, was that it was okay to feel sad about things and that it was okay to be mad. What matters is faith and gratitude. Through faith in our Savior, we can feel peace and know that everything will be alright even when sad or bad things happen.  I also told her that being grateful for our blessings helps us through the difficult times. I explained to her that we can experience joy at the very same time that we feel sad. We also talked about how the very best way to always have that peace with us, was to always choose the right, to keep the commandments, and to repent when we need to. Heavenly Father loves us and always wants us to tern to him.

I don’t know if the answer I gave her was exactly perfect, but I think it was sufficient for what she needed at the time. My poor little girl is going through a lot of hard things right now, some of which she legitimately has cause for feeling mad and sad. I think that’s why President Uchtdorf’s talk was so important for her to hear. Some aspects of the talk seemed especially applicable to her. If nothing else, it prompted a question for her, one that she was then able to share with me.

If that’s not reason enough to watch General Conference with your children, I don’t know what is.

Now it’s your turn. How do you find was to be happy when¬† your feel sad or mad? Or, what are you hoping to hear is this weekend’s General Conference.

Don’t know what General Conference is? It’s when the Prophet and Apostles of Jesus Christ speak to all the earth. Do you want to hear what they and other church leaders have to say? You can watch it this weekend! Just click on this link to be directed there.


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Cleaning With Essential Oils: The Easiest Way

clean essential oils

I love using essential oils. I love how I can freshen my home with a natural scent and not end up with the headaches from artificially scented cleaners or air fresheners. But being honest, I’ve found it a challenge to actually clean with them.

We all know that we need to reduce the amount of chemicals in¬†our lives to be healthy. That’s all well and good, but have you ever tried to make a practical homemade cleaner?

I’ve tried just about every one out there. In my experience, they never last very long or take on a funny smell even if you start with clean containers and distilled water.

That’s not to mention the vinegar that is involved in a lot of homemade cleaners. ¬†I don’t mind vinegar myself, but my husband has a horrible aversion to the smell. Even though the smell of vinegar dissipates, if we were all honest with each other, it really does linger, ever so slightly, even after everything has dried.

So for the most part, I’ve used baking soda, lemon juice and water (we’re not counting dish soap in this discussion). That’s pretty good, but also not always convenient.

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Then about six months ago, maybe less, I was introduced to a microfiber cleaning cloth (Amazon) that supposedly would clean your home with just water. I tried it out and instantly fell in love. I spent a day cleaning my home with this cloth and everything felt so clean.  Seriously folks.

Fast forward to a month ago, my oldest son got sick the first week of school. It was a horrible virus that gave him a high fever for a solid week. It was miserable. Since I love using essential oils to help my family, I decided to do something crazy. I added drops of my favorite essential oil to a damp microfiber cleaning cloth and went to work “sanitizing” my home. I cleaned everything my son had touched, diffused the essential oil into the air and then hoped for the best. Using the cleaning cloth in combination with the essential oils made everything feel and smell clean.

Before you go thinking I’m a clean freak, I’m not. I don’t need things sterilized and I have no problem letting my kids play in the dirt. Just so you know . . . But I have really enjoyed the simpleness of cleaning my home in this way.

So, the how to . . .

The easiest way in the world to clean with essential oils . . .

  1. Take a good quality microfiber cleaning cloth and get it wet (damp).
  2. Take your favorite high quality essential oil and add 5 or so drops directly to the cloth.
  3. Clean away with the essential oil drop side of the cloth on the surface you are cleaning.
  4. If you feel you need to rinse your cloth, just rinse, add a few more drops of essential oil and continue cleaning.
  5. Enjoy the fresh smell and clean feeling of your home.

What I like about this method of cleaning . . .

  1. Non-toxic
  2. Very simple and easy to do
  3. Incorporates essential oils into your cleaning routine
  4. Makes you feel happy for doing something good for your home and family.

There you have it, the easiest way IN THE WORLD to clean with essential oils.

¬†Now it’s your turn. What’s one of your favorite and practical ways to clean your home? I’d love to hear from you and get some ideas!


P.S. If you are interested in where I get my essential oils, you can visit my online store. I try not to be pushy about this because I know there’s other great sources of essential oils out there. This company just happens to be my favorite and most trusted.

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Autumn: I Stand In Wonder

Autumn fall

Today is the first day of Fall.

Autumn leaves have already begun to drop and the air has become crisp and delicious. It’s the perfect day to launch my new blog. My first blog post, This Mountain Girl Speaks, was written about a month ago as I began setting up this site, and I encourage you to read it. It talks about my reasons behind starting a new blog and what I want to do with it.

For now though, I just want to breath in the fresh air and soak in the earth’s sigh of relief.

This is my season.

This is when I feel most alive and connected. Spring has her place in my heart, but Fall is where it’s all at for me. I thrive on the coolness.

Autumn has always been a time of renewal. New school years when I was younger. New pencils to create with, new notebooks to write in. The changing season always brought color back to a dull summer backdrop.

Autumn also means new life for me.

My first child was born just a few weeks before the first day of Fall and after a record breaking summer, in a very pregnant body, in a house with no air conditioning, his birth was a relief. A relief from the discomforts of pregnancy, a relief from the summer heat and the relief that all was well with my little one as I started my journey in motherhood. I feel blessed to realize that this most significant change in my life happened at the beginning of my favorite season. What better way to start a new life?

That’s what I’m hoping for on this first day of Autumn.

New life. A clear mind and a healthy body. A renewed sense of purpose and greater ability to be present. Truly present.

I stand in wonder at the hope of it all, and the beauty of both of the earth in this changing season, and of the possibilities the future holds. Everything happens for a reason and to everything there is a season. This . . . is going to be my season.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me your thoughts on Fall. Or, what is your favorite season? Is there a significant change that happened in your life that you associate with a season?


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This Mountain Girl Speaks

mountain girl

I’m standing on the edge of something and I’m not really sure what it is yet. Here I am, laying down the framework of another new blog with a thousand reasons why I shouldn’t and a very small list of reasons why I should. You see, I’m a busy, stressed out mamma of four wonderfully energetic kids, a supportive wife, writer and small business owner. I already have a writing blog that I can’t properly keep up, and recently diagnosed health issues that have very literally stopped me in my tracks. So why then, am I attempting another new blog when my life already has all it can handle?

When I think about this, my mind keeps circling back to one thing. I care about people.

I’ve been through a lot of hell in my life. Seriously. And I’ve faced challenges that a lot of people would never dream I’ve been through. But all this has worked together for my good (see D&C 98:3) and I give thanks and glory to God for having experienced what I have. I’ve been able to see the hand of God in my life and each experience has taught me greater degrees of love and empathy for those around me. I am far from perfect. I won’t even pretend to be. And not all the relationships with people in my life are good. But I genuinely care about people. I want them to know that life is good, no matter how hard it gets. I want them to see the beauty around them and to know that they are worth being loved.

My dream for this blog is to help people see the every day beauty in an increasingly dark and gloomy world.

I want to help them know they are important and can make a difference, even if it’s just a few kind words with a stranger or a smile. I want to teach people little ways they can be prepared for challenges, so that they in turn, can help others. But most of all, I want people to see that life is good despite what the world would have them think. Things in general, are never as bad as they seem.

Why “Mountain Girl Speaks?”

Mountain Girl Speaks¬†is a blog I’ve been thinking about for close to two years. It’s had other names in the past, but the closer I got to actually starting this blog, the more “Mountain Girl Speaks” began to fit, not only me and who I am, but what this blog ultimately will stand for. Born in the heart of California and raised in the mountains near by, I have spent the majority of my life surrounded by the beauty of the mountains. I know full well what John Muir meant when he said:

The mountains are calling and I must go. -John Muir

It is in the mountains that I first learned to notice the details. Every little thing has its purpose. An overturned stone can start a major rock slide and a small stream can sound like a roaring river.

I am a small person in a very big world. My life may never gain any more notice than a wild flower at the side of a hiking trail. But if I can brighten someone’s day and inspire them to do something good, then I will have done my job. I don’t mind being that person who hands out seed packets of hope.

And even though I am a small person in a big world, I have a voice. I’m going to be like that small stream that makes so much noise you think it’s a river.

I am here to declare that this Mountain Girl Speaks.

Even though the world may never hear my voice, one person out there will.

So . . . I’m going to share my perspective. I’m going to share what I’ve learned. And I’m going to continually declare to all those who read my words, that they are important, matter, and can make a difference in the world around them.

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