April 29th - Allure

Saturday, April 29, 2017

"Taking joy in life is a woman's best cosmetic."

Allure: the quality of being powerfully and mysteriously 
attractive or fascinating. 

Let me tell you, I don't think I know anything about being mysterious or alluring, 
at least I don't think I do. 

I love everything Sarah has to say today, here it is in full.

Start Quote
Ingrid Bergman had it in Casablanca.

Fifty years later, Michelle Pfeiffer epitomized it as Edith Wharton's heroine, 
Countess Ellen Olenska, in the film version of 

It is allure, the mesmerizing power to entice or attract 
through personal charm and mystery.

We're not so much into mystery these days, which is a pity.

These are the times of tell-all talk shows, 
tattletale books, and tabloid truths...

Ntozake Shange believes that 
'Where there is a woman, there is magic,' 
and I agree. 
But I also believe that where there is a woman, 
there should be mystery. 

What intrigues me most is the mystery -the allure- 
of how some women seem to pull it all together so effortlessly. 

This is the aspect of the feminine mystique 
that compels and invites investigation...

You see them in business meetings
-confident, assured, and in command
-or smiling serenely in the hallway at school while waiting patiently to pick up the afternoon carpool, a baby over one shoulder, a toddler in tow.

These women don't look 
frazzled, fatigued, or fed up;
they look fabulous.

They do not simply juggle;
they fly through the air with the greatest of ease.

You wonder: what is their secret?

Are they on Prozac?

Is it plenty of money, 
being well organized, 
positive thinking, 
or the favorable alignment of celestial bodies?

Perhaps it is something more profound;
a deep spiritual connection.

Does the computer ever break down 
when these women are on deadline, 
do the kids ever whine,
does the car ever need to be towed, 
have they ever taken a dog 
who's just wrestled with a porcupine to the vet?

You and I have, 
which is why occasionally Rio de Janeiro sounds appealing.

without missing a beat, 
you wipe a snotty nose, change a dirty diaper, defrost the hamburger in the microwave, start the spaghetti sauce, sew a button on a coat, help someone with her homework. 

You pause for a moment, 
wondering what they would do if you weren't here 
and realize 
in the same breath 
that you're awfully glad you are. 

Much to your astonishment, 
it occurs to you that you must also posses some aspect of allure 
because everybody in the house gravitates to you. 

In the middle of the night they call your name.

And there's certainly enough of mystery to ponder
-such as the mystery of what will happen next.

But instead of worrying or obsessing, 
you decide to just let go and see what occurs. 

You choose to take joy in your real life as it unfolds 
day by day, 
hour by hour, 
a heartbeat at a time. 

Emily Dickinson confessed that 
"To live is so startling, it leaves little time for anything else." 

Your face may never end up on the silver screen. Nor will mine. 

But we can arrive at an inner awareness 
that just living and loving it all 
is alluring enough.
End Quote

I guess I'm alluring after all.

Gratitude Journal

1) Friends. Friends are good. Friends that you can spend all day with...

2) My car is broken, but it got us home...it should get us to the mechanic on Monday...

3) Friends who will come pick you and your three kids and their car seats up so we can go to church too and not risk our car breaking down on the way...

4) Today is over...the kids are asleep...and there will be no more whining today...

5) Flowers.

April 28th - Intuition

Friday, April 28, 2017

"Intuition is a spiritual faculty,
and does not explain, 
but simply points the way."

"Intuition has been called our 'sixth sense'...
the capacity to know something 
without rational evidence that proves it to be so...

I'm not hear to debate the existence of an intuitive power...
because I know that it exists.

So do you.

The question that interests me today is:
do you use your intuition?

Think of yourself as a radio.

Is your dial set clearly on the intuitive station so that you can
 receive the information you need when you need it, 
or are you just picking up static?"

"It is only by following your deepest instinct 
that you can lead a rich life

and if you let your fear of consequence prevent you 
from following your deepest instinct 
then your life will be safe, expedient and thin."
-Katharine Butler Hathaway

"Intuition tries to communicate with us in inventive ways. 
One way is...'the educated gut,' which frequently slaps us to pay attention by triggering a visceral, physical reaction in our bodies.
One such intuitive signal is the emotional trembling that accompanies creative discovery or warns us not to take a certain action. 
Another intuitive message breaks through when we suddenly grasp that to try something new might be delightful; we do so and are surprised by joy. 
A third intuitive nudge occurs through revelation; the inner knowing that helps us arrive at the right place at the right time so that we can be swept away by the benevolent flow of synchronicity that gets us where we're meant to be as easily as the Universe can arrange it.

Today, go within and seek the wisdom and guidance of your authentic self.

She steadfastly waits to speak to you through the whispers of your imagination and the glimmers of you intuition. 

But if you want to learn to develop this marvelous power, you must first be willing to take a leap of faith and trust it."

I don't know about you, but I have felt this sixth sense definitely as a mom. Somehow, I just knew what to do. Sometimes I didn't, but more often then not I just knew how to take care of my kids. 

Your intuition is one of the ways your authentic self speaks to you. 

Let's take a listen, shall we?

Gratitude Journal

1) Today was day 5 of swim lessons...5 left. Today they were full on swimming, it was pretty impressive. It takes me forever to learn something, and here they are and in only 5 days have basically learned not to drown. That's pretty awesome.

2) Today is Friday. That means tomorrow is Saturday. 

3) Jam sessions with my cousin. Music is so awesome.

4) The word awesome. I use it a lot.

5) Library play dates. 

April 27th - Touch

Thursday, April 27, 2017

"The first sense to ignite,
touch is often the last to burn out...
long after our eyes betray us,
our hands remain faithful to the world."
-Frederich Sachs

"We describe our mood swings as 'feelings' 
and when something strikes a deep, sentimental chord in us 
we say we were 'touched.'

When we feel alienated, fragmented, and adrift, 
we often refer to this estrangement as 
'losing touch with reality.'

Bumper stickers ask,
'Did you hug your child today?'
And did you?
Because we all need to be hugged and touched,
not just to thrive but to survive."

I remember hearing or reading about a story
 about a bunch of babies that were not touched, and they died. 
I can't remember where I heard it, or when, 
or if it was an experiment or something else...

And I've been trying to research it online, 
but I'm having a hard time finding what's true and what isn't. 

The closest thing I found is Frederick's Experiment
(here is the pdf of the video, in case you'd rather read than watch) 
I think that must be what I heard, 
but I can't find any evidence that this actually happened...
and no one can agree if he was Roman or German...
maybe I'm just not looking in the right place. 

Dr Ornish looks pretty cool though, check out this website 
and his book that they mentioned in the Frederick's Experiment. 

Anyways, whether that is true or not, there is tons of evidence 
supporting the conclusion that touch is necessary for survival. 

These are two reputable sources,
 I would highly recommend reading them. 


Both show that touch is important for survival, 
but no one has been able to fully explain why. 

"...research is suggesting that touch has an importance 
over and above other expressions of affection 
and that its presence has consequences 
for psychological development." -NYT  

Sarah tells us how she became a 
sensuist: "someone who delights in sensory experiences, 
as opposed to a 
'sensualist,' someone who is excessively concerned 
with physical gratification."

She became a sensuist when she experienced a massage for the first time. "I felt such peace, joy, and relaxation it was as if I had...a transcendental experience. This naturally produced euphoria lasted for many hours and that night I enjoyed the sleep of the innocent. The next day I felt ready to take on the world."

Honestly, I felt the same way after my first massage, and my second, and my third. She suggests, if you can afford it, making a monthly appointment. She says it's "preventative medicine - not covered by her health insurance but vital to her peace of mind and sense of well-being."

I think I'm just going to hire Robbie once a month, it's cheaper and better than a stranger touching me. You should talk to your spouse too, see if you guys are up for trading massages every month. 

I never was a big fan of touch. 
I still don't like people touching my feet.

Shelby was a toucher. 
She played with my hair, held my hand, stroked my arm, 
came up behind me and just held me. 

I used to not be a big toucher...I used to feel a little awkward when she held on too long, or just randomly started stroking me...but now I miss it so much. Now I can't wait to touch her face again, and have her touch mine. I will forever treasurer the last times I held her hand, and the last hand squeeze, and holding her face as I said good-bye, for now. 

If you are not a touchy person, you don't have to be. 
Not everyone is the same. 

But you can increase your touchy levels 
so you can become more of a sensuist. 

You do that by practice. 
And to practice you have to think about it.

"Today, reacquaint yourself with this powerful, 
life-enhancing physical sense so often disregarded.

Ebrace your children,
stroke their hair,
cradle them in your arms
(no matter how big or squirmy they are),
kiss your lover,
caress your pets,
experience the feel of different fabrics against your skin...
Enjoy a sensuous, warm, scented bath
then sleep in the nude on fresh cotton sheets...
Think about treating yourself to a therapeutic body or facial massage...

Think of the massage the way you would think of getting your teeth cleaned, your hair styled, or a new pair of eyeglasses - occasional but necessary outlays to maintain your physical well-being."

My favorite touch today was dancing with my babies while we sang Hallelujah. I got on my knees, Chase and Riley only came up to my chest. They nuzzled into me and I held them close as I slowly swayed back and forth in a circle. Jacob reached my eyes, and so I showed him how to hold my waist and my hand, and then I pulled him in tight and lifted him off the ground so I could sway with him too. 

My second favorite were every kiss Robbie and I shared. 

Go on.
Try it.

Gratitude Journal

1) Swim lessons. Day 4. Jacob and Riley are doing super well. Chase is a really good swimmer, but he just cries............Today they tried to break the habit. I think I'm going to try more touch with him, every time he whines or cries just hug him...see what happens.

2) Music, and how it touches me.

3) My senses.

4) Tomorrow is Friday.

5) My kids. They are so wonderful, and I am so grateful that I get to be their mom.

April 26th - Hearing

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I have never lost my hearing, but Sarah did for awhile.

A large ceiling panel at a fast food restaurant fell on her head. 

Can you believe that? 

She was partially disabled for almost two years. 
All of her senses were skewed, 

Start Quote
but the most disorienting disability was that 
my sense of hearing was affected.

I could not listen to music because it made me dizzy.

I couldn't even carry on a telephone conversation because, without visual clues such as reading lips, I could not process the sounds coming through my ears and rearrange them into meaningful patterns in my brain...

I share this story with you because I want you to consider 
how much we take for granted until we lose it, 
either temporarily or permanently. 

It deeply saddens me that many of us need to have pain as a wake-up call. 

Now I try my best not to stand on the sidelines of life with 
deadened, dulled, disinterested senses 
until another shock makes me suddenly aware of the 
magic, marvel, and the mystery of it all. 

And so should you...

Among my favorites:
The reassuring rhythm of my husband's breathing 
in the middle of the night when I can't sleep;

hearing 'I love you' and 'We're home,'
along with footsteps on the stairs;

the voice of a good friend on the telephone;

raindrops on the roof; 

cats purring;

dogs thumping their tails;

teakettles whistling;

the melody of words strung together to form a sentence 
that stirs the imagination and illuminates the soul;

the exquisite sounds of silence cascading over me when I momentarily let go and allow the Universe to proceed without my assistance or supervision;

and music - music to soothe, inspire, and move me in unexpected waves of sublime pleasure.

The concerto of Real Life is playing:
delight with thanksgiving in the major and minor chords 
of its beautiful refrain.
End Quote

I love everything she said. 

My favorite sounds are people's voices. 
Robbie saying "Hi beautiful", "I love you" and "Yobo".
My mom and dad when I call and they say "Hey Courtney".
My kids saying "I love you" and "Thank you", and "Mom". 

The sound of my own breathing and heart beating. 

Newborn babies.

The ocean. 

Cans sealing after a long canning day.

What are your favorite sounds?

Gratitude Journal

1) A less busy day than the previous days. Even though we still did stuff, like taught my visiting teachee how to crochet, a quick trip to the grocery store, two piano lessons and swim lessons and baths...it was less busy than that last couple of days.

2) Day three of swim lessons, and they're swimming. Chase was the only one crying, and that was not the entire time.

3) Robbie almost finished the wall. The orange peel stinks so bad, I'm grateful for the cool night air that is taking the awful smell out and the good air in.  

4) The Sister Missionaries. They were really sweet, just dropping by, they taught us about faith and love. 

5) The wind chimes. 

April 25th - Sight

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

"The greatest thing a human being ever does in this world 
is to see something...
To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion,
all in one."


If you've been following me the last couple days, 
you will have read about my new found love of contacts.

My eyesight used to be bad, but not that bad. 

I used to wear glasses only when I drove and in class to see the whiteboard. Then I graduated, and didn't have anymore whiteboards to look at...I never liked the way I looked in glasses, so if I didn't have to wear them I didn't. I wore them for the movies, which we rarely went too, and the theater, which we went too even less. 

Then this last year I started noticing that the world was getting a little more blurry, until one day I couldn't see anything clear past my hand. 

I had to wear my glasses to even function...
but I never could find a pair that fit my face right. 

You know how some people look amazing in glasses?

I just don't think I'm one of them. 

I never wore contacts because my eyesight wasn't bad enough...

Well now it is. 

Now with contacts, I can see clearly now, 
and the world is so much more beautiful.

I like to think I was kind of like Monet, 

but I'm no where near that talented 
when it comes to paint and canvas.

Sarah mentioned several artists.

"In a way nobody sees a flower really, 
it is so small,
we haven't the time-
and to see takes time,
like to have a friend takes time."


"To see takes time.
We haven't the time.

Here is the unrelenting truth and it's chilling to the soul...

Never forget that the gift of vision was so important that when God created the world, the first command was for Light in order to see, and after the Great Creator was finished with each day's task, He glanced back on his handiwork and 

We need to see how good it is, too."

Please share, what are some of your favorite things to see?

Mine is the sunrise at my mom's house. 
I could literally watch it every day.

Or a picture of yourself rockin' your glasses.

Gratitude Journal

1) Good friends. I am learning more and more every day that good friends are hard to come by, and that I'm so blessed.

2) A home so I don't have to be caught out in the wind.

3) Swim lessons. Second day....Riley is doing really really well, Jacob is stubborn, and Chase cried the entire time....Two down, eight to go.

4) Sweet potato mash...yum.

5) Walmart now has the grocery section, so I could do both the grocery shopping and the other little things I needed, like beach towels. Jacob picked Cars, Chase TMNT, and Riley Moana. She was adamant, she wanted Moana, not Frozen. 

6) I saw a mom today at the park that had a 4 seat stroller, two kids in the stroller, two on bikes, and one she told me in kindergarden? Maybe it was first grade. Anyways, if you all thought I was supermom, this woman was almost wearing a cape. Seeing her brood made me feel like I was not alone, and that I wasn't the only one with a giant stroller and dog tagging along. It was comforting.

April 24th - Taste

Monday, April 24, 2017

"Taste is the younger sister of our sense of smell,
dependent on her sibling's guidance for a head start
but eager to strike out on her own as soon as she's able..."

Did you know that children have more taste buds than adults? And that they wear out and regenerate? And that as you get older they don't always regenerate, that's why the older you get the more salt you like to put on your food because you can't taste as much. 

"The primary definition of 'taste' describes the sensory faculty 
that enables us to distinguish substances dissolved in the mouth 
as sweet, sour, bitter, or salty.

But the other definition of 'taste' describes the mental faculty 
by which we discern or appreciate things for the joy they bring us.

Today let us explore ways to increase our capacity for pleasure
-our taste for life-
by delighting in this simple, yet highly sophisticated sense."

Sarah suggests first going to ethnic grocery stores, 
and to be open and curious. 

Second she suggests cleaning out your spice cabinet next. 
"Variety, after all, is the spice of life, 
and fresh spices provide our sense of taste with variety."

She tells the story of how when she finally cleaned out her spice cabinet, the first time in 11 years, she found she had 11 cans of poultry spice and pumpkin pie spice. She purchased new spices every Thanksgiving because she was "a frazzled, disorganized homecarer [who didn't have] a clue she had spices left over from the previous year and of course didn't want to be caught short."

I can't wait to show you my ethnic grocery store finds, 
and the contents of my spice cabinet.

Gratitude Journal

1) A busy and productive day. I got so much laundry done, and a grocery list done, and the piano tuned (even though I didn't actually do that, Mr Fritz did), and Costco done, and swim lessons done, and dinner done, and helped a friend (although, Robbie did that, not me)...When you lay it all out like that it doesn't sound like much, but today was go go go and it was good. Tiring, but good.

2) Swim lessons. I'm so grateful that we got in the first week, the training week, at Jan Thomas, because that means that it's half the price! And when you've got three kids, it adds up quick. I'm also very very grateful that we can afford to pay for lessons, because I would really hate to do it. I get enough crying during the day, I'm glad I don't have to dunk them under water too.

 3) Chocolate. 

4) Beans and rice.

5) Old movies. Rewatching Casper for the first time in YEARS. 

April 23rd - Scent

Sunday, April 23, 2017

"For the sense of smell, 
almost more than any other,
has the power to recall memories
and it's a pity that we use it so little."

Every person, every home, and every place has a particular scent.

"Smells spur memories, but they also rouse our dozy senses,
pamper and indulge us, define our self-image,
stir the cauldron of our seductiveness, warn us of danger,
lead us into temptation, fan our religious fervor,
accompany us to heaven, wed us to fashion, [and] steep us in luxury."

The loss of your sense of smell is called anosmia

"Today, let us delight in the simple pleasure of our sense of smell. 

Indulge yourself with comfort aromas...

Today, when you inhale something wonderful, 
offer a prayer of thanksgiving for this marvelous gift."

Some of my favorite scents...
It smells a little like maple syrup to me, and reminds me of my dad 
when he comes him covered in stickers after working on the ranch.

Grandma's perfume. 
I don't know what it is, but I smell it and think of her.

My mom's perfume.
I really should learn the names of these perfumes shouldn't I.

Some of my perfumes. 
Pink Grapefruit, Forever Elizabeth.

My sister's perfume, Fantasy.

The smell of just about any flower, or any good food.

Pledge and Swiffer. 

Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo.

Dove soap and head and shoulders...that's what Robbie smells like.

A good dog smell, not a bad dog smell.

There are too many...I'm just gonna stop right there. 

How about you? 
What are some of your favorite scents?

Gratitude Journal

1) Church today was pretty freaking awesome. I can't wait to read the speech that was talked about, A Banquet of Consequences.

2) I was in a foul mood, the kids were in a foul mood...Robbie was not. He kept us up all day.

3) I finally got a refill on one of my prescriptions. Switching insurance and finding a new doctor really sucks, but I'd rather have insurance and finally found a doctor and just barely gotten my prescription and gone through all that hassle than to not have any of it at all........

4) It's 8:20 and I have a whole evening ahead of me.

5) Home. 

April 22nd - Senses

Saturday, April 22, 2017

"We were created to experience, interpret, and savor the world 
through our senses - our ability to 
smell, taste, hear, touch, see and intuit."

Sarah quoted Diane Ackerman.  

"Although we are sentient beings with the capability
'to perceive the world with all its gushing beauty and terror, 
right on our pulses,'
most of us journey in a dull trance, 
asleep...to everything about us.

In order for us to awake 
and 'to begin to understand 
the gorgeous fever that is consciousness,
we must try to understand the senses.'

Ask Spirit to awaken your awareness to the 
sacredness of your sensory perceptions." 

I never liked wearing glasses, and so I just went without.
Recently I realized that my vision is so much worse than it used to be, and that I'd been looking at a blurry world.

I just got contacts, and I've been loving seeing ever since.

I was struck still by the beauty of the sky tonight. 

I've made time to stop and smell the roses...literally. 
And my food.
And my kids hair (like right after a bath).
I still try not to smell dirty diapers, that's just gross.

Touch. Glorious touch. 
A little hand in my hand, little hands gripping my face tightly, little lips kissing my cheek, a dog nose nuzzling my hand, Robbie holding me tight, the feeling of my fingers on the piano keys...

Waking up to kids laughing and saying "Good morning!" while the birds start to sing and the wind makes music with the wind chimes. 

I'm still working on that. And so is Riley. 
She more inhales her food, I try to savor it.

What are some of your favorite senses? 
Your favorite sensory perceptions?

Have you even noticed?

Gratitude Journal

1) Yard sale finds. Every year, twice a year, our community has a yard sale. I limit myself to those two a year, because I always find things and that means spending money, and gosh darn it we're trying to save and we don't really NEED anything. I've loved yard sales ever since I was a kid. Nana would take us every time we spent the weekend and we would pick a new toy, we thought it was the greatest treat ever. Today I stocked up on clothes for Jacob for the summer and possibly next. He constantly runs out of them because he hides them or wears them all in one day and then I get behind on the wash. I also found out how important it is to get to know your neighbors, I got a lot of stuff for free and one neighbor has agreed to sell me super cheap her boy's clothes as he grows. I got at least 25 items of clothing for $20... Besides that a few other knick knacks, like a baseball glove for Riley so now all three kids have gloves, Chase found nerf guns, a frame to start our family tree wall art, some decorations, a new frisbee etc etc. It was a lot of fun.

2) Grandparents. My mother in law came with us to vintage days, and it was so nice to have some extra help, and Robbie's dad helped him almost finish the wall. Good family is hard to come by.

3) Vintage Days!!! Since my kids were 3 and under everything was free. Sure it was getting warm, sure I forgot sunblock, the lines were getting long so we only got to do everything once...It took about an hour to do a petting zoo, a reptile exhibit, and three bounce houses...and eat dippin dots for the first time. It was nice to see the kids have so much fun, and at so little cost.

I would have gotten a picture of Chase too, but as I was helping Riley out, he came barreling down the slide. Apparently, he booked it up the ladder and down the slide...my camera and I never stood a chance.

4) Pretty smelling natural soap.

5) We reached our 3 month savings goal. What?! Thank you Dave Ramsey and your 7 baby steps. Now we can FINALLY move onto steps 4-7!!!!!