Saturday, December 31, 2011

Articles #179 Procrastination and Progress

The New Year is a great time for making resolutions and creating change in your personal life, but it doesn’t take long before your goals become fodder for guilt feelings and even depression. More exercising, healthier diet, less stress are all worthy resolutions, but that old friend “procrastination” likes to make its appearance early.

Inner voices whisper: You know you won’t keep that resolution, why even try? I call these negative ideas that love to visit us whenever we are trying to make progress in our lives, “procrastination excuses.” Born of laziness perhaps, but also self doubt and lack of faith in our own ability to improve. Is there a way to overcome them?

For me writing about my feelings and inner voices helps me face reality. It’s true that I don’t always keep my resolutions. I’ve gained back 15 pounds that I lost several years ago, but that doesn’t predict my future. It just gives me good clues as what I could do to be successful. First of all, I need some kind of ACCOUNTABILITY tool. Some way to check my progress. Perhaps a chart or a journal can do that for you. Evaluate each day how you have done on whatever your goal is. Don’t let a day go by without being answerable to someone or to yourself via a journal or a checklist. A buddy who encourages you can also do wonders as you help each other.

So here’s the challenge pick some important goal-only one that you’ve struggled with for years. Write down specifically what and how you want to change this bad habit and reap the benefits of progress as an individual. I’ll show you how I plan to start this year. Since loosing weight is a # 1 priority for me for health reasons (diabetes and high blood pressure problems), I’m motivated. I will keep a food journal daily that includes an exercising checkup and make notes about my progress or lack of it. I’ll also enlist a friend who is working on the same goal, so we can encourage each other. Now it’s your turn.

Friday, December 30, 2011

To Resolve or NOT to Resolve

I'm one for self improvement, always trying to change for the better. So as a NEW YEAR approaches I'm contemplating whether to resolve or not to resolve and just continue on in the same old manner...It should be an easy decision, just pick out some easy resolutions you say...hey there are few easy ones, but here goes:

1. I will continue to try to "act and not react" which is my normal first response.
2. I will try NOT to take things personally even if it seems they are meant that way.
3. I will focus more on better DIET, EXERCISE and taking care of my health.
4. I will feed myself SPIRITUALLY daily and check in more often for guidance from above.
5. CHERISH each day as a GIFT and look for HAPPY moments.

That sounds good. How about you? What are your resolutions or thoughts?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Humor in Life

Sometimes it's difficult to find something to smile about
but it certainly helps one's mood to laugh now and then.
My hubby says something every day that he finds funny
and it's always a surprise to me how clever he is and humorous.

My Prince Charming of laughter!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Lorien #2

Lorien now nicknamed Rory is growing up-two years old today,
but still quite wary of strangers including a certain person-me.
She would make a great detective with her searching eyes
and careful protective manner. One day we will connect.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Changing Moods

The holidays certainly bring lots of opportunities for
mood changes...expectations vs. reality traps many of us.
To react or to act is the question-this year I chose to act
to do something different, to spend the holiday with "just hubby."

Free from problems of snowy or icy roads while traveling,
peace and quiet in familiar surrounding. Though I missed
interacting with loved ones, I was with my "one and only."
Time open to choose what to do or not to do, and no stress.

Extended families can be filled with miscommunications,
no matter the age of the individuals involved. It's not easy
to interact as a brother, sister, parent, grandparent or in laws.
Sometimes space can bring healing and less problems.

Meet Smiley-my gift to me. I connect with his changing positions.
He sits next to my makeup table so while I'm putting myself together,
we smile at each! A great way to start the day.
Read this article for some good advice for your future self.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Cheer

Expectations and disappointments seem to be part of holidays.
Wanting to have a total family reunion isn't always possible
in these days of distance and divided interests for most families
plus costs and concerns of travel during dangerous wintery times.

Thankfully with today's technology, we can still make contact
through cell phones, letters, skype and exchange holiday greetings.
This will be the first time without any grandchildren around
in the immediate vicinity, but they are still in my thoughts.

My friend Caryn, her hubby and mine will be together this year,
sharing a quiet Christmas Eve dinner and a lovely brunch today.
Lamenting that we have chosen to be snowless desert dwellers
in winter and have family members too far away to come and visit.

But the weather will improve and there will be more opportunities
to gather for hopefully spring break or summer family reunions.
Gone are the days of sharing the same nest as it has emptied,
the moment to moment responsibilities are history of long ago.

Beautiful Christmas flowers from my husband brighten our table.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Article # 178 Bullies and Sharing

Being raised as an only child, I never had to share anything with a sibling. I’ve noticed how easy it is for an older brother or sister in some families to become a bully demanding that younger ones share their toys or other prized possessions. This is a problem in the whole world as factions within countries bully one another for power and control. It’s the cause of wars and dictators inflicting physical and emotional harm to their people and others.

Not a solvable problem you might say, but if focused on in a family first-inroads can be made. Reward and compliment older children or grandchildren when you see them looking out for younger family members. Show by your example, how sharing and playing together especially in competitive games can be fun for everyone, If you’re not always worried about who is winning, everyone can have a good time and be a winner.

Learning to deal with bullies first in the family is a useful skill for life. You will meet many power hungry people as you grow up in the community, school and even church environments. Each individual needs to develop and be nurtured within first the family to know that they are of value and have a voice against bullies. Communication with those in leadership or parental roles is paramount in helping a child develop feelings of strong self worth.

So many cases of sexual abuse in the news lately point out how important it is to have communication with your little ones. Role playing with younger or endangered family members can help them understand what is happening in a situation with a bully. How to protect themselves from further abuse and stop the situation is vital information.

I met several bullies in my school experiences, but no one ever told me how to deal with them. So. I kept the abuse quiet even from my widowed parent. It wasn’t until I was married that I learned to deal with emotional abuse from a wandering spouse. I had to take a stand for me and my family. Many divorces happen that way. Adult wives need to be trained to understand their rights and how to stand up for themselves against abusive spouses.

Christmas is a good time to reach out to our family members and community members especially those in need and show them that someone cares for them.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

Poets from our local group the Dixie Chapter of the Utah State Poetry Society: 1st row-Barbara, Marilyn, 2nd row-Lin, Gary, Kate, Markay and Marleen. Others not shown: Alma, LaVerna, Nad, and Marie. We all had poems selected to be in Panorama 2011-a statewide publication. There is a total of 61 poets from throughout the state of Utah with poetry in this year's anthology and 11 or about 1/6 are from our area. Pretty good representation-it's a talented group of individuals. We meet twice a month for a lesson on poetry and critiques to improve our poems. An invaluable and creative resource in my life as a poet and writer. Barbara and I are co-presidents of the organization.

Yearly UTSPS publication

Giving my first solo poetry reading

Display of classes for Zion's Healing Arts Center

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What If...


What if you got everything you desired?
Would you be a spoiled brat?
No problems to solve, would you get bored?
Maybe opposition is a good idea in life.

Constant obstacles to overcome
makes the journey more interesting;
it may seem a bit unfair at times
when we look at others lives.

Not knowing their situation
would we dispense more conflict?
Could we control such things,
are we wise enough?

Should favorite children have it easier?
Does God have special ones He favors?
If so, that’s unfair-I refuse to play anymore.
I’m dropping out of life right now. So there!

(Photos: Caryn's decorations and shopping thrift stores.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Article # 177 Manners and Courtesy

In our hectic modern world, there is little time for manners or courtesy. In the old days, you always acknowledged someone who took the time to greet you with a polite “good morning” or “how are you?” Nowadays it tempting to just ignore such a greeting. If you are an email user, you know what I mean. You can send off an email to a family member or friend and not know if they actually received it because many do not take the time to acknowledge your email with a simple “thanks” or less civil “okay.” If your email is read, the receiver may just delete it, unless you’ve requested some important information from them that requires that they answer back.

How about a simple RSVP’s to holiday parties? Who takes the time to email back or make a simple phone call as a courtesy so the inviter can plan their party knowing how many are coming? Manners and courtesy take time and training. Who is going to unplug the upcoming generation to teach the nuances of politeness. Few parents or grandparents think it’s important or even possible. (Photo of my grandmother Johnson's mother and aunt. I'm sure they were always courteous.)

So our world continues to get ruder and lacking in courtesies as time continues. Gone is the need for writing thank you notes or even expressing gratitude for presents received for birthdays, weddings, holidays, etc. Gratitude is lacking as well as politeness. Every once in a while I’m shocked when a teller or clerk in a store shows a little courtesy or interest in me, the customer.

Perhaps the only solution is be an example of thoughtfulness in our own relationships and interactions with others. I have a dear friend who goes about always finding something to compliment strangers she meets whenever we are in any kind of situation. Be it the waitress or a clerk in a large department store, she notices them and finds something to comment on such as: “What great earrings you have.” or “I bet you’re from out of town” or “I just love that jacket.” Just a little interest in others can bring great benefits as conversations are started and new friendships made. It doesn’t take all that long either.

She cares about others and is sensitive to being friendly to others. That’s why Caryn’s my best friend, a great example of unconditional acceptance and love for the human race through common courtesy and politeness in daily life.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Chaos, Order and Change

Empty bedroom, old worn out carpet

Filling up the living room with bedroom furniture

A bed in the dining room? Why not...

For our Christmas gift to each other this year, we had new carpeting installed in our bedroom and walk in closet. How fun you say but it's been lots of hard work moving everything out of our bedroom and closet to nearby rooms-COMPLETE CHAOS was the result. But then when we returned everything back into our newly carpeted bedroom-ORDER returned. CHANGE happened!
Moving everything out enabled us to clear out cobwebs and vacuum where we could never reach, now there is an added blessing of CLEANLINESS with the order. Above how it looked before I had some brown touches-new lamp shades, a basket in the corner and pillows from the living room to the bed to make the rug match better. Fun to decorate without moving...

Next we will be replacing our wornout carpeting in the computer room. But not till we rest up from this adventure. The carpet people said they would move all the furniture out and back for us for about $45 but dear hubby decided he would save us the money and do it all himself. Now he is tired and I'm tired from helping him. One person can't move a queen sized mattress alone even with a dolly-ME! Next time I think we'll use help to move all our desks from the computer room-not to mention heavy books. Maybe next year...but that's not far away...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December is half over

And another year is almost gone...
Doesn't that amaze you and point to
how important each moment is...
Part of our life never to return again.

Enjoying partying with my two friends Mary and Caryn
They even helped with the cleanup and dishes.
We had a potluck dinner, then talked for hours.

Our spouses talked about preparedness and politics,
we talked about the gospel and human relationships.
Fun evening socializing and feasting, just relaxing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy Birthday baby...

My youngest son Jeff is 29 on his birthday this year. Amazing how fast your children grow up and as they age, so do you too unfortunately. Jeff has three older brothers who are in their 40s. I can remember when I was 39 not so long ago, but it was 32 years ago. My, how fast life moves along as each day passes quickly. Our journey here on earth is too soon gone. What a treasure to know that our families are forever. Jeff will be graduating in April with his MBA in International Marketing from Thunderbird University. In June he and Rachel will be welcoming a new addition to their family. Happy Birthday, dear son. I love you...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Poetry Rules!

Lately I've been feeling I need to focus on my POETRY.
DOORS are opening and OPPORTUNITIES developing.
Will be reprinting our "Voices from the Desert" poetry book.
Doing a poetry reading this Friday night with my friend Marilyn.
Not sure where it's all going, but I'm trying to follow the muse.
Networking with Dixie State College English Department faculty.
Encouraging other poets to publish and helping with critiques.
It's fun and creative. I can now say I am an AUTHOR and a POET!


Grandparent gifts flow easily.
No worry of day to day care of the infant,
only bonding and endless love to give.
Blending smiles and giggles as
playful faces laugh, tickles intermingle.
Ah, the reward for earlier parental sacrifices.

New life blesses the family, unknown challenges
lay ahead-awaiting the passage of years.
Family bonding is now and forever.

The baby grows, becomes a child,
returns to grandparents for love and nurture,
a listening ear, an understanding heart.

Through the years a special bond evolves,
disturbed only by death’s cruel separation.
Love lingers in cherished memories.

Now for a tribute and poem my grand daughter Emilee wrote for her Nana or great grandma and my mother-(photo above: l-r Heather, Nana and Emilee taken many years ago...)

Nana...Gone...But Not Forgotten...
By Emilee Hatch
Evelyn Hazel Johnson (Nana)
Born: December 2, 1917 Silver City, Utah
Died: January 15, 2007 Orem, Utah

I will be writing a little bit about my great-grandmother Evelyn Johnson (Nana). Nana had one daughter named Lin, (My grandmother). She had two brothers: Clarence and Norman, and two sisters: Esther and Ethel. Her parents were Marion Johnson Jr, and LoAlda Lemmon. She was a wonderful person. My great-grandmother was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She went into a coma. I was nine years old when she died. Nana was one of my dearest friends, I loved her so much and still do. Just seeing her made my day. Every Sunday after church every since I can remember my dad (Daniel) would take me to see Nana. We would talk for a while, she’d ask us how we were. I’d tell her all about school and my day. I loved visiting her, it was what I looked forward to the most every weekend. I remember when she came to my baptism, that was one of my most favorite memories. I will never forget her beautiful smile, I remember her face would light up when she would see my dad and I walk in.

It was hard for me when she died. I remember visiting her when she was in a coma. She died Jan 15, 2007. I remember driving with my dad to go see her (body) on a Monday night. My grandmother was there with us. I remember just crying, I couldn’t bear to lose her. But I hadn’t lost her. She is always there, even though I don’t see her.

By Emilee Hatch

You maybe missed, but you aren’t gone,
If you were here, I would sing a song,
One day you where there with me,
The next day you were gone.

The tears I had shed were for you,
Life continues without you,
I look up at the sky to find,
your beautiful smile staring down at me.

Gone, but not forgotten,
You will always be in my memory,
The times we shared,
The times we laughed,
The times we cried,
Only you will know my deepest fear.

You were the only friend who understood,
You will always be remembered,
Remembered, Remembered, Remembered,
Every tear that falls will remind me of you,
You will always be my dearest friend.

You were the only person who smiled,
You will always know me for me,
You made me smile when I was sad,
I will always remember you for who you were.
When I was lost you found me.

You may be gone,
But you aren’t gone forever,
I will always love you my dearest friend.

In Loving Memory of Evelyn Johnson...Loved by many....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Party, party, party

I'm exhausted after four holiday parties this week: Utah State Poetry Society, Heritage Writer's Guild, Relief Society then a birthday party for a friend. All that plus working on Christmas cards, shopping and playing around with my friend Caryn, setting up classes to teach in Jan and an open house in December, trying to give a free demo on Writing your life story at the Sr. Citizen's center plus going to lunch with hubby at Smashburger and various other little projects; it's so nice to have a free weekend before me. The opportunity to recharge my batteries for the week ahead-only three more parties: a Family Home Evening group of friends, Daughters of Utah Pioneers and our LDS Branch Christmas parties. It will be a relief to have the celebrations over and get to the real reason we celebrate the season...the birth of the SAVIOR.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Article # 176 Patience and Unfairness

Take a moment to think back on someone in your family that exhibits the virtue of PATIENCE. How do they do that? Perhaps it‘s related to whether they are an optimist or a pessimist. Being a parent or grandparent certainly gives you lots of opportunities to develop patience by not jumping to judgment, but listening and trying to understand misbehavior of younger less experienced family members. (Photo of my mom's siblings taken in California: l-r Esther, Norman, Mom-Evelyn and Ethel-the only one still alive-she's 91 years old, missing is oldest brother Clarence who lived in Utah.)

ACTING NOT REACTING may be the true test of a person’s attitude. In our world of tumultuous events, political parties and mobs, it’s easy to feel that life is out of control. That it’s UNFAIR! That could be a definition of impatience-out of control, angry, irritated and agitated. It’s an easier path to just react, which can lead to destruction and chaos rather than act. Wars, family feuds and misunderstandings have been waged because of the lack of patience in working out problems and the desire for power and control over others.

Could we perhaps say the goal of this life is to learn patience by the things that challenge us? An optimist says “Okay let’s see what I can learn from this negative experience.” The pessimist says, “Oh no, poor me. I can’t handle this trial.” They both are self-fulfilling prophecies. If you don’t think you can handle an experience, you won’t. Whereas, if you think you can make something positive out of a negative experience, you can! Which attitude do you aspire to? Which viewpoint is going to help your patience improve?

Looking back as you reach your “mature” years is a real test of patience. You can realize all the growth you’ve made as a person from dealing with your challenges OR you can become upset in seeing how unfair life was. One of the major lessons to learn in the journey is “it isn’t fair.” Children are great sticklers for trying to make you be fair especially when they want something you don’t want them to have. Maybe we sound like sometimes too?

Some individuals feel that IF they are a good person that they should have no problems. When tragedy strikes in the form of an illness, accident or another problem, they are irritated over the UNFAIRNESS of whatever trials they are called to go through. Pointing out a friend or someone else who seems surrounded with a life of ease and prosperity, no problems really gets you nowhere.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Non-stop Christmas party week

Seems everyone has decided to party early this month. This week has been the Heritage Writer's Guild's party as well as the Utah Poetry Society-Dixie Chapter (above) enjoying some poetry readings plus my church's women's group Relief Society open house. I'm not complaining just enjoying. Here's two new poems written while preparing a special Dixie Salad for the poetry party.


Mix pomegranates, chopped apples, shelled pecans,
add whipped cream, stir for a delicious salad recipe
honoring our Dixie pioneers called to the Cotton Mission
filled with heart and hardiness who came here in 1861
to dry barren St. George in the wild Virgin River valley.

Their stamina and courage was tested, fighting floods,
digging mile after mile of irrigation canals only to be
washed away, planting and replanting crops:
cane, cotton and sorghum, corn, peach and pecan trees
reaping small harvests, but enduring not giving in.

Building a beautiful Tabernacle and majestic Temple.
Their hands carrying lava rock and making adobe bricks.
Timber primitively hauled great distances to build supports.
Unstoppable they were under Brigham Young’s direction.
Their unshaken faith sustained them through many trials.

Now we reap the reward of their unswerving labors,
living in a bustling city filled with industrious people
still working, planting and growing families, retiring here.
Making a new life, enjoying the fruit of their labors.
St. George, your pioneer legacy survives and thrives.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Caryn has discovered this very creative way of art journaling. I shared a little about ZENTANGLE in a previous POST and I'm just fascinated. She says anyone can do it. It's a way of leaving a legacy and exploring your artistic/doodling talents. You can add quotes or ideas even physical materials that you want to share with others. In the meantime it helps you understand YOU. I'm trying to get her to teach a class in January so I can be a student. CLICK on images to enlarge them and be amazed at the very talented Caryn!

I can't wait to try it...