Tucson Temple Open House and My Brush with Death


My younger set of kids, my husband and I, at the Tucson Temple Open House.

We braved 104 degree weather to tour the new Tucson Temple before it is dedicated in August. I am so amazed at how quickly this temple went up! It was announced before we moved here to southern AZ. The groundbreaking happened in Oct. 2015, a month before we moved here, and here we are a little over 18 months later and it is done! Having the temple in Tucson cuts our drive to a temple by about an hour. We are excited about this! And guess what? We can stop by Costco and a Whole Foods store on the way to the temple, instead of just a Walmart, which is how it was when we would go to the Gila Valley Temple. The pictures in this post show some of the beautiful desert surroundings of the temple in the Catalina foothills of Tucson.


Here is a look inside this beautiful temple that we are so grateful for. With every temple built and dedicated, I feel increasing power of righteousness on the earth to combat wickedness.

After we toured the temple, we looked at the exhibits in a tent that was on the temple grounds. I especially enjoyed the video that showed a timeline of construction of all the temples in the latter days. Here’s a similar video below.

As I watched the video, I felt the unmistakable feeling of the Holy Spirit confirm to me the validity of temple ordinances. I felt the Spirit telling me that if my husband and I live faithful to the temple covenants we made in the Manti Temple on our wedding day 25 years ago, we will live as a family joyfully through the eternities. I suddenly felt how precious family life is.


Just a month previous, I was in a car accident that could have easily taken my life and my younger children’s lives if we had not had been wearing our seat belts. We collided with another car. I felt gratitude to God for sending the Holy Spirit to prompt my 15 year old son to turn around and ask his siblings if everyone had their seat belt on, just five minutes before we had a collision with an oncoming car that turned left in front of me. My 12 year old did not have his seat belt on, but fastened it because of his brother’s inquiry.  I felt that part of the joy of this life and the next is having a family life to enjoy and protect us.


This family life envelopes us with that loving attitude of caring for each other, asking each other if we are wearing our seat belts, so that our lives our saved as we go through the accidents of life. We also extend this loving attitude to those we are asked to visit and home teach and other neighbors. I know that this restored gospel of Jesus Christ is true, that God sends the Holy Ghost to protect us, and that the holy ordinances in the temple can bind families to live joyfully forever if we are faithful to our covenants.


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Go to Europe on Your Phone This Summer!

So on Father’s Day I got to see my dad and my brother and sister and other relatives. It was fun to catch up on their news. My brother and his wife got to go to Greece, Crete and the Netherlands recently. They said they used the Rick Steves’ app to help them on their tours. After hearing them praise how wonderful the app was, I decided to check it out just for fun, even though I have no plans to go to Europe anytime in the next decade. I started listening to it last night while I was brushing my and flossing my teeth, and guess what? I learned a lot in just that five minutes or so. Like that the German speaking locals in Vienna call Vienna “Wien” (pronounced veen by the locals) and that’s where the term wienerschnitzel comes from. I also learned about the Vienna Opera House and the Albertina museum.

I’ve always wanted to go to Europe, ever since my AP Art History days in high school, but that’s not happening anytime soon, so this is the next best thing! I could even get on Google Maps and somehow coordinate that with the Rick Steves app tour.

It got me thinking about how in the Trim Healthy Mama book, the original fat one, Pearl talks about how she and her husband like to watch Rick Steves’ DVDs on Europe for a date, while eating her special low carb crackers and cheese.  They also invite her brother and sister-in-law over to watch, chat, and eat. So now I’m thinking, hey maybe my husband and I will do that for date nights. Get the DVDs from the library. Or watch Rick Steves’ YouTube videos, make some crackers and cheese, invite some friends over, and feel like we are in Europe. I’ll let you know how this works out, and I would love to hear if any of you try it! I also got to thinking that as my kids and I read books listed in the Give Your Child the World book, we could watch these Rick Steves’ videos, at least for the Europe part. I love learning about different cultures, histories, food, and places, and since I can’t go there in person, I will do this instead! We are asked to gain a knowledge of “countries and kingdoms” to be prepared to do what God asks us to do as part of our missions, as it says in D&C 88:77-80.


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Great Book on Audio for Car Trips: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Recently my kids and I went on a road trip. We listened to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on audio. What a wonderful choice! It made the last three hours of the trip totally bearable so that I hardly heard the dreaded universal question of every car trip. At one point I had to pause the CD of the story to say something, and then my 15 year old was the one to notice I was done talking and turned the story back on, because he said it was so interesting. Cliffhangers abound in this story! I love the cliffhangers, and the sound effects, the music, and the narrator. The YouTube version above is the same version we had on CD in the car.

Then there’s the movie. When I was a kid in the 80s I heard about the movie but I don’t think I ever actually watched it.

It was one of those movies that my little sisters and their friends talked about and sang about endlessly. I learned the lyrics of the theme song just from hearing them sing it so much. So I was delighted to finally delve into the book and movie myself and find out how much fun the story is. We listened to it around Father’s Day. I didn’t realize that the father in the story is a great role model so this story is perfect for discussing good fatherhood.  But use the book to discuss fatherhood because it gives a lot more depth to a fatherhood ideal than the movie.

The kids watched the movie today and as usual, the book is so much better than the movie. Even though the movie is wonderfully great! The singing, the dancing, the acting are all excellent. This is one of those great classic family movies full of delightful songs to build a family culture on, like the Truly Scrumptious song. Can you imagine how a kid would feel if you sang this song to them?

Or the one below?

I think I will memorize these songs so I can break out in singing them when one of my kids is getting my ire up, to diffuse the situation, and make us laugh.


In the book, the dad and the lady friend are married, so the kids have a mom and a dad. In the movie, the mom is a lady friend, named Truly Scrumptious. The book goes into so much more about the dad and his inventions and has more background about the family and their adventures. It’s not so scary to listen to the antics of the villains than to see them in full color in front of your face. So listen to the book above and then, and only then, watch the movie for a great family movie night. But if you have especially young children, who are sensitive, you might want to hold off on the movie till they are older. The child catcher is rather creepy and might cause nightmares, like it did for my sister-in-law when she was a kid.  (If the video of the audiobook no longer works, find the book on audio at your public library or over here at amazon.) If you want to learn the background of the story, read below the next video.

Ian Fleming, the same guy who wrote the James Bond stories, wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, using his bedtime stories for his son Casper. The video below tells the story behind the story. It has a sad ending so don’t watch it if you are feeling sad right now. Just go watch the movie!

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App to Help You Find What Book to Read To Your Kids and a Tour of BYU


IMG_0361.JPGThe kids and their cousins got to see a statue of Po from Kung Fu Panda on our recent tour of BYU. 

I never thought that touring BYU was a family activity until we did it as a family about 9 years ago. But it turned about to really fun for my husband and me to point out to our kids all the memories of different buildings we had from our student days. We both graduated from there, as well as my mom and dad, my grandma, and all of my siblings and their spouses. My dad and brother are professors there now. So were are a big BYU family. (I have leaned towards BYU-I though as a better school for undergrads, you can see my post here about that.)


Anyway, recently I went on another tour, this time with my younger set of kids (the older ones are at BYU-I or on a mission) and their cousins. We got to use golf carts this time, which was a huge plus since it was so hot. The golf carts gave us shade and also let us save enerby. Plus that’s what got my mom to come join the tour with us, is the promise that she wouldn’t have to walk the whole time.


The kids got to see a statue of Po in one of the buildings, which is there because a BYU student worked on Kung Fu Panda. I learned a lot about the campus. It has changed so much since I graduated 25 years ago.


For example, did you know that the Harold B. Lee Library is the most insured building in the church? I guess because it has so many wonderful books and special collections, including the private letters of famed Hollywood legend Jimmy Stewart.

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And that there are robots in the basement of the Kimball Tower to simulate women giving birth, so the nursing students can practice on them? And that BYU has around 33,000 students, making it the largest private university of on-campus students?  And that rock in the shape of a ball by the Joseph Smith building is worth $1 million!? I still don’t know exactly what that rock is all about, I zoned out on the first part of the tour guide’s descriptions about it. Also, every single new building that is built is funded entirely from private donations.


The whole tour got me more excited about learning and using all of BYU’s amazing resources. Five years ago I made a list of some of the resources here. Whenever I go back to visit BYU, as much I love academics, a wave of relief floods over me that I am no longer a student there with a list of “have-tos.” You know, that’s a list of what I have to study, read, and write as a formal student.

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I am so grateful that I got my bachelor’s degree there, and that for 25 years since then I’ve been making my own lists of what I want to read, listen to and write about. Then when I do so I don’t have to feel like I am stealing time from homework.  I fantasize, however, about going back and getting a master’s and a PhD, after the kids are out of the nest.

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I already subscribe and listen to the podcasts of the BYU speeches, but what more is out there from BYU that I can use at home? I wondered. (Besides the list I wrote that I mentioned above that is here.) So I came home and started poking around the Internet and the app store on my iPhone. I found this cool app from BYU called the BYU Kids’ Book Finder. It helps you find books to read to your kids or to encourage kids to read on their own. Here is what the web site says about it:

Well-known professors of children’s literature, Drs. Michael O. Tunnell and James S. Jacobs, have spent years compiling this diverse list of children’s book titles. They have taught university-level children’s literature courses for a combined total of more than 60 years. Over those years, they also have written numerous professional articles and books about literature for young readers, including their popular textbook Children’s Literature, Briefly.

So go get the app today, in the app store on your phone. I am looking forward to using it!

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I love this snapshot of my two nieces with the Law School Building in the background. The haziness of the Law School makes it look ethereal and like it’s almost a nice place for relaxing, haha. My husband graduated from law school there so I’m sure his memories aren’t so refreshing.

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Date Night Movie Review: Love and Friendship, a Jane Austen love story

So last week it was my turn to pick the movie for our date night at home, and I picked the one featured above in the clip. It’s Love and Friendship, based on the Jane Austen novella, Lady Susan. It’s confusing, because “Love and Friendship” as a title is from a different Austen work that she wrote for children. Just to be clear, I will repeat, the movie Love and Friendship comes from Jane’s novella, Lady Susan, which you can listen to here on librivox. In the movie, Kate Beckinsale stars as Lady Susan Vernon, a scheming widow who sets out to find love for herself and her young single adult daughter. In the end, we see the difference between true and false love, and true and false friendship. I’m not going to say any more about the plot, because I don’t want to give away any spoilers. This story, just like the others of Jane’s has some wonderful lines about the principles human nature and love, such as the following that you can find here. You can watch the movie on Amazon Prime video here. True to other “bonnet movies” it has sumptuous costumes and scenery. This bonnet movie is set apart from the others, however, because of the big gorgeous hair! Enjoy!

Image result for love and friendship movie

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Family Movie Night Review: The Spirit of the Game

Looking for an inspiring family night movie? Here’s a relatively new one that I just discovered. This is a “feel good” movie that will have you on the edge of your seat wondering how it will end! Best of all, it’s true! The Spirit of the Game tells the true story of American missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who found a unique way to connect with Aussies down under and get them interested in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. In the 1950s, a group of missionaries, dubbed the “Mormon Yankees,” were allowed by their leaders to play basketball as part of an exhibition team. Amazingly, the team played against the Australian Olympic basketball team to help those players hone their skills, as well as other teams, even some prisoners. Elder Loren C. Dunn is one of the more famous Mormons who played as part of this team.  I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars. A fun highlight of the movie shows the main character of this movie, Elder  on his way to Australia to serve, meeting Elder John Groberg, at the airport. Elder Groberg is the missionary who tells his story in the movie, The Other Side of Heaven. In The Spirit of the Game, you might recognize Elder Condie’s dad, played by Kevin Sorbo, the actor who plays the atheist professor in God’s Not Dead. I like that this movie has the gentle, hazy, happy feeling of the 1950s. So if you want a meaningful movie that shows missionary work in action as well as good sportsmanship, check it out! You can rent it here on YouTube, or here on Amazon Prime video. Check it out, I think your whole family will enjoy it! We watched it as a whole family recently and the kids stayed the whole time to see it. (They sometimes get bored by the movies I pick and ask to go do something else.) The clip below shows a brief explanation from one of the real players on the team.




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July 2017 How to Lose Weight and Eat Yummy Food Online Class Registration Giveaway!

gluccie pudding

Once upon a time, a thirtysomething mom decided that after having seven babies,  and being 8 weeks postpartum it was time to stop wearing maternity jeans and get back into “regular” clothes. Guess what she discovered?! None of her pre-pregnancy jeans fit! She had to go shopping for a bigger size. Not fun!

Then the wintertime came and she discovered she couldn’t button up her dressy coat that she loved to wear every week to church on Sunday. So she decided it was time to lose weight. As a “Whole Grain Jane” she had already eliminated junk food, years ago, including white sugar, so what else could she do to drop the weight? She tried a diet shake, essential oils, the Master Cleanse, and exercising more. As a nursing mom who had been pregnant often, even while nursing, she was used to feeling hungry “all the time” and eating three of four helpings just to feel full at every meal. Now that she wasn’t nursing, she reluctantly decided to cut back, and eat one or two  helpings at each meal. Despite this caloric restriction, she had no luck with that. Then she eliminated grains for 7 months. The weight did not budge. After a year of experimenting with diets to trim down, someone asked if she was pregnant. She felt so mad and discouraged that she almost punched the curious inquisitor in the nose as she politely answered “No!”


Here I am in my-postpartum-7-kids-still-looking-pregnant-phase with the mummy-tummy pudge.

That person was me. I totally understand how frustrating it is to be drowned with the demands of pregnancy, breastfeeding, motherhood, housekeeping, homeschooling, mood swings, cravings, a husband who can eat whatever he wants and not gain weight, a skinny sister who can eat whatever she wants and not gain weight, financial problems, and wild emotions that make it easy to overeat to self-medicate stressful feelings! Whew! Yes, I know firsthand how easy it is  to become so disconnected with your body that the weight creeps slowly upwards and you don’t really notice it at first. For over a decade the only time I weighed myself was at my prenatal and postnatal checkups! I no longer even had a scale in the home, as the kids broke the one I got to set up house when my husband and I got married. Then one day I weighed myself when I was four years postpartum with #7.  I weighed more that I had when I was at the end of pregnancy with that baby, a 10 lb baby boy!

I know how painful it can be to lug around extra pounds. Extra weight causes numerous health problems. It makes it harder to sleep. It can increase your snoring and your risk for sleep apnea. It makes it harder just to get through the day, getting the normal, ordinary tasks of life accomplished, like walking and standing. Even the idea of playing a quick game of soccer with your kids or simply standing there, pushing your child on a swing, sounds exhausting. Shopping for clothes is no fun at all. If you are like me, you dread seeing yourself in a full-length mirror. Extra weight also causes joint pain. Extra weight gives you increased risk for heart disease and diabetes, and the complications therein, which can increase your risk for death. With extra weight, you are limited as to the physical fun you can have with your family.

I am here to tell you that your story doesn’t have to end with feeling stuck in an overweight body. I am here to tell you that my story has a happy ending and yours can too. The pictures above show me two years ago, when I weighed over 210 lbs! The pictures below show me 70 lbs lighter, which I achieved 9 months later!

I went from 210+ lbs, in March 2015, to the 140 range at the end of February 2016.  I feel so much lighter and freer! I have maintained this weight for over a year. I have a new lease on life! Shopping for clothes is soooo much fun! I can wear the same size clothes as my trim 21 year old, ballet-dancing daughter!


My daughter and I can wear the same clothes now.  I wish she weren’t away at college, it would make swapping clothes a lot easier. 

I went from a size 18- 22 to a size 6-10 (depending on the clothing manufacturer) in less than a year. I can go hiking with my kids, ride amusement park rides without fear of being asked to leave because I can’t fit the seat, and play soccer. I no longer fear that I will die of complications of adult onset diabetes like my grandparents did. I can go playing and climbing with my kids and their cousins at parks and indoor rope gyms like the one below without huffing and puffing. How wonderful!


I found my waistline and actually love to tuck in my shirts. For the first time in my life, I actually want to wear a belt! I can even wear a cute dress that my skinny sister used to wear. She decided that she was too tall for it and passed it on to my daughter. Then when I slimmed down my daughter passed it on to me!


Me in “the coveted black dress” that used to be my skinny sister’s.

I have discovered a combination of physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual, strategies that when followed, will allow anyone to shed pounds. I can now eat to hunger and feel satisfied after a normal serving at each meal. I no longer feel compelled to eat three or four servings at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I am in tune with my emotions and have coping strategies that don’t involve food. Yet, I don’t deprive myself of delicious morsels. I enjoy yummy, fatty, and tasty food like pie, pizza, ice cream, cake, brownies, and cookies every day!IMG_0009

I eat nourishing, scrumptious food when hungry and stop when I am full. I know how to “have my cake and eat it too” without gaining the weight back. I don’t feel deprived and can satisfy my cravings. For a time, while maintaining my new-found weight, I struggled with insomnia and imbalanced hormones. I solved those problems and will share all about that in class.

My July 2017 PIES For Moms All Year Long Healthy Eating Class will teach you how to enjoy the same journey as I have. You will learn how to lose weight (the fast track or the slow, baby steps way) and maintain your lost weight for the rest of your life, being vibrantly trim! Did you know that most of the Biggest Losers gain their weight back? It’s probably because they haven’t learned how to stop emotional eating. In this class you will learn how to do that. You will learn how to  permanently keep the weight off.

In the July 2017 PIES for Moms All Year Long Healthy Eating Class, you will also learn how to balance your life as a mom in all aspects represented by the acronym PIES:





Jesus grew in all four areas of this life, according to Luke 2:52:

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

Do you see the four aspects from the PIES acronym?

Physical (P): grew in stature. We can grow physically stronger through exercise without our waistlines growing! You will learn how to do this! You will also learn how to balance your hormones and have more vibrant health.

Intellectual (I): grew in wisdom. We can keep the spark of wonder and learning alive in our lives as busy, maxed out moms who face a grind of chores every day. I have been a stay at home mom for almost 24 years, and still enjoy it, so I know how to stay curious and avoid boredom! I have had more fun and freedom in learning that I ever did when I attained my four year college degree.

Emotional/Social (E): “in favor with man” We can learn how to be more in tune with our emotions and our social relations. They are exquisitely intertwined! I will share with you how to maintain connection with your husband and kids.

Spiritual (S): “in favor with God.” We will learn how to create nurturing rituals that increase our connectivity with God.


Being athletic is fun again! I love to go biking with my husband or hiking.

 Are you ready to lose weight and learn healthy, nourishing habits to get trim?

Come join us for the

PIES for Moms All Year Long Healthy Eating Class!

Wednesdays for 9 weeks in July and August 2017

starting Wed. July 5 to  Wed. Aug. 30, 2017

2 to 4:15 PM Utah time

online in a video classroom or you can join by phone

classes are recorded

The complete session is 9 weeks

Cost is $147 total

non refundable after the first day of class

(you have until midnight MDT of the first day of class to ask for a refund if you feel like the class will not be a good fit for you)

Save $30! Early  bird special is $117 if you register by Monday June 26, 2017 midnight MDT.

You can pay it all up front or pay $49 in three installments to be paid before the 1st, 5th, and 8th weeks of  class. Call or text me at 801-628-8753 to arrange that.

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Register now! Click on the button above! In addition to 9 weeks of mentoring, you will get the following:

  • a document telling you all the details of how I lost 70 lbs without exercise
  • a dessert recipe every week for 9 weeks that is delicious and sugar free
  • a pdf of my novel, Dates With God, that tells the story of four women who overcame their self-defeating behaviors.

Here is what some moms have said about the class:

“This class was truly a gift for me. It came at a time when I was feeling stuck. It gave me renewed strength. My husband even told me, towards the end of the class, ‘You seem to be doing better.’ I enjoyed this class and highly recommend it to others. It definitely helped me with emotional and health issues. My acne cleared up and my blood sugar is much lower than it would have been.”
-Audrey, mom of 2, Georgia
“This class has really been the epitome for me for self-improvement. It sets the foundation for all my dreams. It helps the phrase, ‘by small and simple things, great things shall come to pass’ come to life for me. Because of this class, I am not going to let my ego and perfectionism get in the way of my dreams. I see progress. It has helped me realize that I have an anchor in the gospel, which gives me safety.”
Allegra, 25, young single adult, Massachussets

Here is more of what you will learn, as we achieve growth in each area towards true liberty and health!

Physical (Jesus increased in “stature”)

None of us probably want to increase in stature or width, LOL, but we all want to increase physical wellness. Here is what we will cover for this part.

-The Baby Steps to slimming down while eating to satisfaction

-The Fast Track way to slimming down that worked for me to lose 70 lbs without exercise

-How to master the hormones that control hunger, fullness, and fat storage

-Easy ways to get you and your family eating real food

-How to feel at the peak of wellness with balanced hormones

-How to find a wardrobe to look your best, especially as you slim down (I had so much fun shopping for new clothes when I shrunk from size 22 to 6-8!)

Intellectual (Jesus “increased in wisdom”)

-How to keep intellectually stimulated no matter your life circumstance, whether you are a young single adult,  a stay-at-home mom, a student, an empty nester, or a work outside the home mom. After all, sometimes we eat out of boredom!

-How to incorporate the power of writing in you life so you feel happier and more empowered

-How to use the power of ancient language to get to the root of your challenges

Emotional/Social (Jesus increased in favor with man)

-How to keep negative emotions from spinning you out of control

-How to eat when hungry and stop eating when physically satisfied

-How to find joy in the storms and trials of life

-How to find the playful moments with your kids, if you have kids

-How to find peace when your husband habitually chooses self-defeating behaviors. Let’s face it, it’s easier to gorge when that happens!

-How to create a daily self-care routine to keep you anchored in peace and joy

-When to say no instead of yes.

Spiritual (Jesus increased in favor with God)

-How to create the spiritual strength to endure

-How to vanquish the enemy who fights to put you in bondage

-How to feel that your prayers aren’t bouncing off the ceiling

-How to feel more joy

Every week at the beginning of class I will share a recipe for a pie or other sugar free dessert that is yummy! Bring your sugar free recipes too and we will swap! We will celebrate our victories and learn concepts for conquering our bugaboos.

Personalized mentoring sessions also available for $25 for a $30 min or $45 for 60 min. session. Call or text the 801-628-8753 to talk more about that.

I am giving away one free registration to this class! Please comment below if you want to enter! The random drawing will be held Saturday June 24, 2017 after 6 PM MT. 

Or you can buy now! Click on the button below to register today!

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