Feasting and General Conference


Who’s ready for feasting during, at, and from General Conference? I heard from my missionary son, who heard from his missionary president, that some big announcements are coming!

I have a new friend who looooooves General Conference. It marks the time when, as an investigator, she gained a testimony of the teachings of the gospel as taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As an investigator, she had a problem that she prayed about. God answered her by telling her to watch the upcoming General Conference. She didn’t even know what it was, so she had to ask her friend who already has a testimony. Her friend came over to her house to watch it with her. Then during that Conference weekend, my friend had an amazing spiritual experience. So she celebrates every General Conference as a wonderful weekend of physical and spiritual feasting. For her it’s almost as exciting as Christmas.

I love that! I have been working for years on making General Conference feel like a feast day or holiday. It certainly felt like it was this time when my dh and I went on a date in the middle of sessions to a feast held in conjunction with Conference. Making it wonderful at home with lots of restless kids is a different story. I’m still not perfect at it, and am still figuring it out. Here are some ideas that I’m tossing out but by no means am perfect at. I realize this is late for me to be publishing on the eve of General Conference. I’m in Baby Land visiting my new grand baby, and have to snatch bits of blogging time between helping my daughter postpartum. So alas, this is at the end of the week instead of the beginning as I had hoped. Bookmark this for 2019 if needs be! I’m not with most of my family right now so I want to make up for April 2019 Conference!


1. Have special food. We’ve done natural yeast cinnamon rolls for several years for breakfast on one of the mornings. My friend mentioned above makes pumpkin cinnamon rolls for fall and regular ones for spring I suppose. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed at the thought of having two days of special feast foods and still am deciding how to do conference meals, after over two decades of mothering, LOL! Here are some ideas though: bacon and eggs, muffins or waffles, for breakfast, snacks you usually don’t have for grazing all through the two sessions, then something unusual you don’t have for dinner like jam and scones with a milkshake.

2. Have fun activities to help you focus on the speakers. I simply take notes. Some people like to do a General Conference Bingo or Color the neckties of the male speakers, or play fantasy General Conference (just Google it). Having new crayons, markers or pens to do all this makes it extra special.  I’ve spent many years making activity pages for my kids, but they are older now so we don’t use those as much anymore. My 9 year old sill asks for these Book of Mormon paper dolls. Google or go to Pinterest to find lots more ideas, but please don’t make it overwhelming, keep it simple for whatever season you are in. For review, I like to do General Conference Jeopardy a few weeks later.

3. Have Decorations. You can have all the fall decorations out for Oct. conference and all the Easter decorations for the April conference. Maybe do a special General Conference banner like the one here. Jocelyn Christensen has some fun ideas here.

Happy General Conference-ing everybody! I will be doing the best activity of all, snuggling with my new grandson!

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The Hero’s Journey: the Happiness Journey


Here is a video about the Hero’s Journey.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Hero’s Journey lately. I remember first learning about in my high school AP English class. Then I forgot about it for a long time.  Then it resurrected itself in my life when I immersed myself in the leadership education world as a homeschool mom, ten years ago. Now it’s reappering! My girlfriend Olivia recently taught about it to our homeschool moms group. (That’s Olivia in the photo above.) I also call it the happiness, wellness,  or the mindful journey. It’s the path we all get to take if we want to feel joyful and complete, with a legacy to leave after we die. The universe can seem random and cruel. If we take time to unplug, however,  and look for patterns in history, nature and our relationships, we can see some order. We can see the universe inviting each of us to live a greater, fuller life, a life that involves more than just entertaining our taste buds, ears and eyes.

The universe beckons each of us to be greater than we already are, to be instruments in God’s hands to be kinder, nobler, and full of meaning, to fulfill His purposes. This video above shows the pattern that the Hero Journey involves. It is great because it is patterned after the greatest hero, Jesus Christ.

As Christians, our Hero’s Journey becomes what my friend Katie calls the Pilgrim’s Journey. I call it the Covenant Path. Have you noticed how many times that phrase was used by President Nelson and others in this past General Conference? God invites each of us to take it by officially becoming Christian, marked by baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is our first official covenant on the Covenant Path. If you want to learn more about that, you can watch Katie’s video presentation below. (Katie is my dear friend from when I lived in Utah. We had a lot of fun together, as did our kids, because they match pretty closely in age and gender. You can check out all of her offerings at her site here.)

I am fascinated by the concept that we receive gifts from God, as we go along the Covenant Path, to aid us.  Katie’s video shows that. These gifts help us complete the Journey. They start with faith in Jesus Christ, which then grows into action as we repent. Then we make sacred covenants at baptism, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, to guide us as we are faithful, the rest of our lives. 2 Peter 1:5-11 details the path of reception of spiritual gifts, which corresponds with the Covenant Path. We can also receive increased knowledge when we make covenants in the temple. We can also ask for spiritual gifts in prayer. They also come from making our own individualized promises to God. I love this BYUI  talk by Elder Larry W. Lawrence which tells us we can ask for and even covet spiritual gifts. Here’s my girlfriend Becky’s summary of the talk:

Asking for and receiving spiritual gifts is part of the Covenant Path. Along with that, offering gifts to God, in the form of promises and commitments is also part of the Path. For, example, Elder Enzio Busche searched for the true church of Jesus Christ. He searched for this church in post-WWII Germany for four years. Finally, he promised God that if God would show him the true church of Jesus Christ, he would join, even if it had a history of persecution. Two weeks later, missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints showed up on his doorstep. He investigated the Church for two years and then got baptized. I love his story! It’s the epitome of the Hero’s Journey turned into the Covenant Path. You can read it here. The longer version is here. Below, I have embedded a clip from a talk he gave at BYU. Enjoy!

October is the time of year when I love to talk about heroes and the Hero’s Journey with my kids. You can read more Hero Journey/ Covenant Path Stories in my family devotional ebook here. I tell a few stories from this ebook to my kids every morning. Then we elevate Halloween to a Heroween (a term used by my friend Emily Satterthwaite here) and talk about heroes all night, on All Hallow’s Eve/the eve of All Saints Day. We tell stories round the firelight, with treats. Yum! This year will be extra special because my missionary son arrives home from Argentina that day. We are so excited!

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A Diet to Fight/Cure Cancer

This podcast interview with the author of the book Keto for Cancer enlightens anyone who takes the time to listen. The author, Miriam Kalamian, has a son who at age 4 was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She serendipitously discovered the keto diet after seeing that months of chemo were not working for him. As a last resort, she put her son on the ketogenic diet. This is a diet that severely limits the amount of carbs in the diet. (Some people say that means 50 grams carbs, some say 20 grams.) In three months of eating this way, her son’s brain tumor shrank by 15%! Her son’s oncologist didn’t think it would help. She did it anyway, on what I think was her mother’s instinct. She went on to get a master’s degree in nutrition to research the chemistry behind this happening. She says that cancer feeds on sugar, so to starve cancer, it’s best to eat mostly fat. Read her son’s story here. Unfortunately, he did end up dying at age 13, from a large inoperable cyst that impinged on his brainstem.  The ketogenic diet drastically improved his quality of life for the many years he was on it.  I hope anyway of you out there fighting cancer will get her book and pray to know if keto diet therapy is for you. Miriam’s web site is here for further information.

Keto for Cancer: Ketogenic Metabolic Therapy as a Targeted Nutritional Strategy by [Kalamian, Miriam]

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#Notbacktoschool, or How to Ease Back into Homeschooling after August is over!

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Sorry for the blogging hiatus! I’ve been having extended family time and I’m also working on a project that I will announce sometime in the next few months. I love summer! It’s that time of year when you hear talk of back to school, especially if you live in AZ. Public school there started last week, and our homeschool once-a-week group starts today! Yikes, I’m not ready for all that! If any of you have been reading my blog for a time, you know how much I hate to see summer end. I am enjoying summer vacation in Utah, in between a bunch of mini, informal family reunions. I love this time!

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My oldest child graduated from BYU-I a few weeks ago,  along with my son-in-law. That was a bit of reunion to be there for that. We traveled with my mother-in-law, and my parents, brother and his wife attended as well. We also got to see my son-in-law’s family who are dear, delightful people. I also got to visit with my husband’s cousins which was fun. We did a temple session at the Rexburg Temple, which was wonderful.

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Then I’ve been able to see dear friends, both new and old, on the down days when there hasn’t been stuff going on with my extended family. I got to get with my Veggie Gals girlfriends! Oh the joy! I love these ladies! Some of them were new to the group. It’s always great to find new kindred spirits.

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We made some new friends at a reservoir where the kids spent over half the time moving this giant log so they could float on it. God orchestrated this event so I could meet someone there that I’ve been wanting to meet for a over a year. God truly does “order and provide”!

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We actually had a wonderful formal reunion last week with my dad’s cousins. The hosting family had a giant inflatable water slide that gave the kids hours of joy. Then this week is an informal reunion with a bunch of cousins, and next week we get to see more, with my daughter’s baby shower after she comes from Idaho and a cousin returning home from his LDS mission!

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In celebration of  #notbacktoschool for me and my family, I am posting some resources to ease into “back to school,” mode, in September, the proper time to start “school,” especially if you homeschool. Even then, I like most of the school work to be family work of preserving the harvest of gardens, reading, exploring nature, and other work of preparing home and yard for colder weather. This is hard to do when you live in AZ and you can harvest year round, LOL! I read aloud to the kids often through the year as they slice tomatoes for our food dryer. I like Diane Hopkins’ idea that formal schoolwork is easier done when it’s cold and blustery outside, what she calls, “pencil weather.”

My explanation of organic education here.


#notbacktoschool, playing Coup card game at Grandma’s house, with (l to r), a 14 year old practice scholar, a 12 year old practice scholar, and a love of learner, age 8

(To understand the terms of scholar, and love of learner, read my organic education post. )


Sarah Mackenzie’s podcast and her Read Aloud Membership, which is open for enrolling from now until Tues. Aug. 14. This is an amazing resource to help you help your kids fall in love with books, which is the best way to cultivate a love of learning.

This list of books for reluctant readers.

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We toured BYU with the cousins as we have in the past few years and saw Grandpa in his office. He loves to research and teach and mentor, and his books and papers show it.

My list of “19 Things to Do When You Feel Stuck as a Homeschool Mom”.

Videos on how to do homeschooling from the attitude of “teaching from rest” with Sarah Mackenzie.

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At my parents’ hometown city celebration parade with cousins and bags to collect the candy tossed out. They were serious about getting as much as they could. 

These science videos based on the Universal Model, which is true science.

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How to get your homeschooling child into college. I wrote this blog post when the son pictured above started college. Now he has graduated and is off to a new job in Texas as an engineer. #homeschoolingworks, #lemiworks

How to homeschool teens.

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We went to the Bean Museum at BYU with our cousins.

A year of living books to read as a DIY American History curriculum.

My list of things to stop, things to keep, and things to start with homeschooling. It still applies to me for this new season.

The best books on history, government and politics for teenagers and adults.

Science videos with Steve Spangler.

Why I love the freedom of homeschooling.

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We helped Grandma and Grandpa with dejunking and yard work. I call the week we helped Grandma an informal cousins’ camp. My daughter and her cousin organized the bag and gift wrap closet and decided to make shoes out of bags, lol.

New ideas to make homeschooling more fun and meaningful.

Economics resources for teens and adults.

A list of videos, podcasts, and books to fan your love of learning as a mom.

Assurance that your kids will thank you for homeschooling them someday! My married daughter and my missionary son have thanked me as well. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to do it. It has been so worth the sacrifice!

Happy homeschooling! It’s best to keep it simple by reading books, doing service, connecting with friends with weekly groups, and playing! Enjoy and don’t stress about checklists!

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Utah Waldorf Conference Aug. 10-11

Announcing the 2018 Utah Waldorf Conference! I’m so excited about this conference my friend Krystelle is hosting in August. Read and comment below if you are interested in entering a random drawing for a giveaway of a two-day ticket, valued at $130! Winner will be announced on Friday July 27!

If you are ready to buy tickets right away, register by going here!

You can read my recap of a past Waldorf Conference here.

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Countdown to Pioneer Day Story #1: Pioneering the Gospel in Austria


I got to attend this a-MAAAZ-ing family reunion a few days ago here in Utah, for my mother-in-law’s branch of the family tree, the Hiltons. The photo above shows just one branch of the branches.


Perhaps I will share more about that later. The setting was incredible: trees, expansive lawns, a pond, swans, a canoe, mountains!


I felt love, prosperity, beauty and family everywhere I turned. I truly felt I had stepped into heaven!


Anyway,  while there I met someone who is descended from a person today’s pioneer story is about. He has married into the Hiltons. His ancestor is Thomas Biesinger, who was the first missionary of the restoration to share the gospel in Austria. His story is so incredible! After preaching the gospel he was thrown into prison. Then he got a letter from his missionary companion, who was sick with smallpox in a hospital. What happened next will knock your socks off!

You can read the whole story here.

I am grateful for people like Thomas Biesinger who have courageously shared and stood for truth. May we have the same courage!

You can read more stories like this I have curated in my Family Devotionals Ebook here. It’s on sale until the end of July, $3.99 instead of $9.99!

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Upcoming Online Summit About Hope With Autism!

Can autism be healed?

Is there hope for improving symptoms of autism?

I’d like to introduce you to Julie Matthews, who has researched these topics and will be sharing what she’s found online in a few weeks!

I am thrilled to invite you to the Nourishing Hope for Autism Summit – Free Online!

For 16 years, Julie Matthews of Nourishing Hope has provided scientifically based nutrition strategies that heal the symptoms and behaviors associated with Autism, ADHD, ADD and other developmental delays. Now, she has gathered twenty five leading experts to present the science, their clinical results, and steps parents can take in their own home to help their children with autism.

Starting today, you can register to attend the online summit for free here:

> Click Here to Register For Free <<  

Along the way you will:

– Discover nutrition and related strategies proven to improve the health, learning, and behavior of those with autism.
– Hear from scientists and wellness professionals together in conversation about how children with autism can recover – and how food, diet, and nutrition choices, as well as functional medicine strategies, can help.

– Learn about the underlying biochemistry of autism, therapeutic diets, supplements, and remedies that are supportive, and environmental toxins to avoid.

The strategies you will learn are science-backed approaches that are effective at improving the symptoms of autism and related childhood disorders.

Register here!
This summit is unique because it focuses in on diet and nutrition to improve autism and related disorders – and is a cohesive educational event. Each conversation will leave you with actionable takeaways you can try at home, research further, or ask your physician about.

Register to attend now  while it’s still free and gain the knowledge and confidence to put hope into action.

Together we are nourishing hope!

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