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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Overwhelmed? Who Me?

On my way home from Utah this summer, I asked a stranger at the airport to take a picture of me with my kids.  

This was me, off the plane, pulling luggage, dragging a car seat, baby on my head (stroller lost in baggage department and was never found) waiting for my ride home.  This is the part of mothering that makes me feel like a circus performer. I mean I had to do all this down an escalator.

I’ve had many of these moment where multi-tasking is like an 8-course meal you cook, serve, eat and clean up after, where there aren’t enough hands, not enough hours in the day and it could either break me or make me. More and more, I see the humor in these moments of utter chaos, the love, the commitment, the craziness.  I think of my ancestors, the sacrifices they made.  I think of those who go without or who carry babies on their backs while they work in a field and I’m like “Keep it in perspective, girl. You’re just fine.” 

In this picture, my muscles were burning, my head pounding, my shoes hurt, I needed to pee, but I was a mom so I kept it together.

Mothers are amazing work horses.  We get the job done.  We don’t complain.  We’re strong, fierce and determined. And yes, occasionally, we ask for help.

A few days ago, my two year old Canyon came like a race horse out of the bathroom.  Buck naked, he ran to the open door where I was talking to my neighbor.  Canyon loves watering our flowers in the front yard and as fast as a whip, he ran out ahead of me.  I had at least a minute to grab him, didn't I? But no, he decided to start running, those little buns just staring back at me.  I was in flip flops people, but I could catch a two year old, I mean really, how fast could he run.  HE MADE IT FIVE HOUSE DOWN THE STREET BEFORE I GOT TO HIM.  We looked like a scene out of the book NO DAVID, where, you guessed, David is running down the street naked (this is my kids favorite page). Half way down the street, I just started laughing and thanking God I've been running at the track lately because I was in a full on sprint!  When I finally tackled him, we just laughed and I tickled his tummy.  Oh, it was good times, but in my early years of mothering, I probably would have been a wreck, all bent out of shape and yelling.

Here's the culprit, fully clothed, that mischievous spirit shining through.

I’m starting another blog on intermittent fasting.  Not sure if it will be here or on another site, but please let me know the questions you may have about starting intermittent fasting, the benefits and more?  Message me on my facebook page (My Dear Trash) or leave a comment below.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Benefit of Intermittent Fasting during the Holidays

I started intermittent fasting the day after Thanksgiving because a friend of mine had a heart attack and was in the intensive care unit.  It was very likely he would die and his wife, whom I adore was beside herself with grief.  You know when someone you love is suffering and you feel helpless.  Fasting for him helped me feel like there was something I could do. It was a small act, yet empowering. Then, I found out my friend was going blind, so I fasted for her. All of a sudden my eyes opened up to so many of my friends and loved ones who are in need of God's divine intervention, so I committed to 30 days of daily intermittent fasting. Everyday, I fast for a new person. The beauty is my fasting will take me up to Christmas day.  I'm so excited to feel the joy of this experience on Christmas. I'm already teary eyed.

Daily 16-hour intermittent fast are helping me pray and think of others during the Christmas season, but I’ve also dropped a dress size. I have an 8-hour eating window, usually 10:00 am to 6:00pm and then I fast in the evening (on a full stomach mind you) and while I sleep. I feel so much love and compassion for those in need. Intermittent fasting helps me improve my health and drop weight while spiritually, it’s an amazing tool to help others and draw closer to God and Jesus Christ.

What an amazing benefit to the law of the fast - weight loss and improved health.

I can’t remember a time where so many I love are in need.  Not just family and loved ones, but the world needs healing. While fasting, prayer can be like an empowering and transforming meditation.  I know God honors the law of the fast and personally, I feel fasting is an untapped tool I never really understood.  Before last year, I hadn’t fasted for almost 20 years.  Sure, I’d tried, but I didn’t understand the purpose of fasting.  I thought it was only about being hungry and feeling deprived.  Now I know fasting is an energy, a momentum and a channel to help others.  

Did you know the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize winner studied the benefits of fasting?  Read about his amazing research here and here

Merry Christmas to all.

Aren't my kiddos adorable.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Open House – A $1,000 Anonymous Gift

I’ve been writing books for two decades and since last October, I’ve published 4 books including Starving Girl – My 30-Day Experience with the Miracles of Intermittent Fasting and Prayer, What Has Your Sister Done – True Stories of Unplanned Pregnancy, The Stolen Bible(historical YA) and My 100 Daughters of India Coloring Book.  It’s been amazing to be involved in projects that feel so purposeful and passionate to me. Never have I been so focused on my work.  Funny how having a 6th baby in your early forties can do that to a gal, but it’s just the miracle that my son Canyon has brought me.  He is nearly the perfect baby and happily plays in my lap while I work on my projects. His love motivates me on so many levels.

I also had the opportunity to help write and The Memory Catcher with my mom author Sarah Hinze.  In all this time, I’ve never had a book launch, an open house or even a celebration (other then the happy dance I do in my office while still in my pajamas).

Last month, I published My 100 Daughters of India Coloring Book and while I was out on a run in September, I had the idea to do an open house.  Considering my kitchen flooded and is currently just a cement floor waiting to be renovated, I didn’t know what to do with an impression like that?  An open house certainly couldn’t be at my home.  Suddenly, my amazing friend’s name came to mind – Karen Cox. I had recently been to her new home and there was such a feeling of peace, creativity and love, I knew where I wanted it to be. I immediately called her, told her my idea and she said “Yes, have it at my house.” (Thank you Karen, I love you with all my heart.)

Since setting the date of the open house, I’ve been planning events and sharing My 100 Daughters of India Coloring Book at schools and even hosted a birthday party.

It’s amazing how comfortable it is for me to talk about, especially in front of kids.  Kids are my people!! I start with sharing my first sketch I drew of a girl from India. The drawing is awful, but I share it to prove with lots of practice, determination and patience, hard work pays off, even when you’re drawing 100 beautiful girls from India.

Way off in the distance was this date for the open house.  I knew it was the right things to do, but it wouldn’t be in front of kids and this was what started to frighten me the most. 

Yesterday, I was a jumble of nerves.  To think I’d inflicted this public speaking event onto myself, whoa, I guess I was all in, but once everyone arrived, all people I knew who loved and supported me, I straightened up and did what I felt I needed to do – I talked about the girls of India.  When I read the poem My 100 Daughters, I cried (like usual). 

Afterwards, there were a few questions, I shared my goal to sponsor 100 girls through Rising Star Outreach with either the sales of the coloring book or donations and everyone left.  I was so glad I’d done it.

Karen and I were in the kitchen with my red-headed neighbor’s two daughters 

(who had been helping me all day with babysitting and preparing refreshments) and I went to grab my bag when I was stopped in my tracks! Inside that bag, were 10 crisp $100 dollar bills!!  Somebody has anonymously donated $1,000.  

Oh My Gosh!!! I was stunned, shocked and immediately realized I had no idea who had done it.  Oh, I wanted to say thank you, thank you so much. How many girls would that sponsor?  Almost three, and I have nearly $100 ready to donate from coloring book sales. With the three girls our family already helps and now these three more, our momentum is really taking off.  Six girls will have their lives forever changed.  Did you know at Rising Star, they teach the kids English?  Do you know what it means for a child in India to speak English? Already, these kids are standing out and Rising Star is the top school in the area.  They will change India. Keep in mind, Rising Star schools kids from the leprosy colonies. Without Rising Star, these children don’t have a chance.  They will be left to beg and will live in extreme poverty there entire life, but now, their destiny is forever changed. 

Yes, there is a lot of work to reach the goal of sponsoring 100 girls, but after last night, I feel so much support.  I know this project is bigger then me, it is in God’s hands and through out the year there will be mighty miracles as He, through the help of others, helps these girls. Did you know in India there is a wedding tradition to bless a bride to have 100 sons?  That’s right, because girls are not wanted. To think God named this project My 100 Daughters is a miracle. These girls desperately need our help.  These girls are all of our daughters.

To purchase a coloring book on Amazon, click here.

To make a donation to Rising Star, call the number found here. Please mention you’d like to donate to the My 100 Daughters fund.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Open House - My 100 Daughters

Staring into the eyes of the girls in the beautiful photographs I’ve seen from Rising Star Outreach India, researching the cultures, customs and traditions of India, trying to understand the lives, joys and needs of these girls by drawing 100 of them – it’s been a life-changing experience. I hope you'll join me tomorrow as I share more about my experience with Rising Star. The open house is in the community of Mahogany (Brown Rd./Val Vista) on Friday, November 10th from 7:00 to 9:00pm.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Why I Like When a Woman Calls Me “Honey”

I was at the grocery store a few nights ago and after the cashier rang up my total, she called me “Honey.”

“That will be $85 dollar, Honey.” I don’t remember the total, but it was something like that.
While she’d been ringing up my groceries, we’d had a pleasant conversation about my kids and she’d been very kind.  When she called me “Honey,” I definitely felt like her friend.
Honey – a term that when a strange man says it, I feel creped out, but when a woman says it, I want to give her a giant hug and kiss.

Throughout the last few weeks, I’ve been called “Honey” a couple of times by a few different women.

I think I like it.

Hugging my little honey!!

I like it so much that a couple of times now, I’ve tried it. “Thanks, Honey.” And it can’t just be to anybody, it has to be with someone who I’ve had some sort of kind interaction with, but I don’t know her name.  Like the waitress who has helped me clean up my kids spilled water, or even a stranger who speaks to me while I’m in line.  I just might call either one of them “Honey,” when we part ways.

“Thanks, Honey.” "Nice meeting you, Honey." "Have a great day, Honey."

Yeah, “Honey,” seems like a good fit. When I call another woman “Honey,” I feel in a way like I’m a big sister to her and that I’d help her any time, that I appreciate her kindness and think she’s pretty great. There is an affection attached to it.  When shared properly, the word has a twinkle to it.

I just love this beautiful sister of mine.

Too many creepy men have used the world “Honey,” with an ulterior motive. The term is most often sexually motivated, because coy, attention-seeking men exploit it, but when I say it kindly to another woman or when she says it to me, it’s like we’re talking the word back. 

When a woman calls me honey, I feel a connection, a sisterhood, a friendship, even a sort of protection from her. It’s like the cumulative burden we as woman carry is now being shared and validated. I feel her strength and a nurturing vibe from her that makes me feel like I have an instant friend.

Ladies, I mean Honey, let’s take our word back! 

I will be speaking in Mesa at an open house in the community of Mahogany (Brown Rd./Val Vista) in Karen Cox's home this Friday, November 10th from 7:00 to 9:00pm. Please join me as I share my spiritual and creative journey and my heart's passion to help the impoverished girls of India. I hope you can attend. Please message or text me for the address to the event.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

My 100 Daughters Coloring Book is Finished

Here she is.  Isn't it gorgeous!

For the last six months, I’ve drawn 100 girls of India. 

Staring into the eyes of the girls in the beautiful photographs I’ve seen from Rising Star Outreach India, researching the cultures, customs and traditions of India, trying to understand the lives, joys and needs of these girls – it’s been a life-changing experience.  

I’m so thankful for people like Becky Douglas and Amy Humphrey, and others from Rising Star Outreach, who are working effortlessly to make a difference in the leprosy colonies.  I know their efforts are making a world of difference.

So, what is it I hope to accomplish by publishing a coloring book of girls from India? 

1)  I know my daughter Eden loves to color.  She gets lost in the art of coloring.  I remember as a little girl I would color for hours. I want the girls of India to have images of them so they can dream in their artwork.  I want them to know they are seen, loved and prayed for. I want them to feel strong and powerful in their culture.
      2) Not only do Eden and I want to raise enough money to sponsor 100 daughters of India, but we want to raise awareness of who these girls are, how they live and help others understand what they need. The coloring book has a three-page introduction of interesting facts about Rising Star, India and the culture of these girls.  I also share how Eden and I got involved in helping them and the poem we wrote called My 100 Daughters.

I hope you’ll purchase a coloring book for the little girls in your life. I hope you’ll purchase a coloring book for the adults in your life.  Coloring is such a wonderful form or therapy, no matter what your age. I was on a hike this weekend in Colorado and I met a woman on the trail.  We started talking about our lives and I told her I just published a coloring book.  She told me, “Adult coloring books are the #1 selling books on Amazon.”  I really feel in my heart with Rising Star’s help and through the sales of this coloring book, we can help sponsor 100 girls and more. 

Costs to sponsor: It costs a dollar a day to sponsor a child through Rising Star.  These funds pay for a child’s schooling, food, dental, medical, clothing and shelter.  It’s amazing how far these donations can stretch.  You can donate in many ways including purchasing the coloring book or sponsoring a child.  Either way, please know you are making a difference.

I received a letter a few months ago from one of the little girls we sponsor.  She said her favorite food is rice, her favorite color is red and her favorite game is skip. Oh, my heart just burst at her innocence.  I’m so thankful to know she’s being taken care of.

I’ve decided to continue drawing the girls of India in another My 100 Daughters coloring book.  This next series will be Mermaid, Princesses and Fairies.  

I will also be drawing My 100 Daughters travel throughout India.  Thank you for supporting this project.  There are over a billion people in India and Rising Star is willing and capable of helping so many children.  Click here and the link will send you to Amazon to order your coloring book, 
To watch this My 100 Daughters of India video on youtube, click here.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Former Food Addict Deals with Life Today

The last couple of days have been devastating.  My heart is breaking for those in Las Vegas who have lost their life and for those who are suffering. The images are like from a nightmare. Where do we go from here?

On Friday, it was suspected a little girl from Mesa was kidnapped.  Derek and I were horrified – the little girl was just a year older than our own daughter. Eden slept in our bed and I was up off and on worried sick.  What had happened to the girl?  Where was she?  What unspeakables was she experiencing?  She was found the next morning wondering the street by her school. We were all relived, but still, the night had been full of worry, prayers and tears. Many questions are left unanswered.

Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico, my prayers have been heartfelt for those who have been affected. There is so much going on in the world and at the moment, I’m not sure how to cope.

My baby hit the terrible two’s and I have a broken back-door screen, a red-stained area rug and countless sleepless nights as evidence.  He has been potty-trained for a few months, but for some reason has decided to unpotty-train himself. In the meantime, you may not see any long drawn out blog posts on my darling boy and don’t be surprised by the links on disciplining a two-year old that appear on my Facebook feed. I turned 45 last week and with a bit of help from Canyon and my other kids, I feel my age!

Basketball galore around here lately.  Chandler and Payson are in a church league and Mayer's jr. high team won the city championships.

The on/off switch on my computer is broken and I can’t turn my computer on. This is the final stray.  This is what finally broke me and now I’m dealing with the guilt of feeling shallow and selfish. With all that is going on in the world, I’m feeling sorry for myself because my computer is broken.  I just want to eat something with sugar, chocolate and butter.

Food – this has been my coping mechanism my entire life and now it’s not.  It can’t be.  I won’t allow it.  I’m fighting an emotional battle over here and if food was a weapon, I would need a license to register  the chocolate chip cookie dough I’m dying to eat.  In my home, chocolate chip cookie dough should be banned for life.  I’m pacing, looking for anything to be a distraction so I don’t go lethal on a bag of chocolate chips. I have sugar-free chocolate chips, but at this moment of crisis, they just won’t do.

In the past, I’ve turned to food.

Chocolate cookies

Frozen yogurt

Chips and salsa
These would do the trick about now.

Even with all my hard work to eat healthy and remain sugar-free, I’m still a food addict and I wonder if I always will be. Without the escape of food, I can’t seem to find much relief from the stress I’m under.  I know a lot of people use alcohol and drugs to cope with their own pain, whether it be emotional, physical or environmental.  It’s hard to feel and to remain present in a world that has so much evil and uncertainty.

Reef is home from school.  He suffered a heat stroke this weekend and was in the hospital Sunday night with an IV.  

Once he was hydrated, they sent us home, but he’s still very weak and sleeping a lot.  I’ve spent some precious time cuddled up with him.  This kid is a rock.  He’s very affectionate and always has a positive attitude.  I am experiencing a bit of cabin fever, another component that reminds me how much of an escape food can be.

Remember when my wood floors flooded a couple of months ago.  The contractor starts next week and the floors will be ripped out.  The damaged cabinets are going too. I spent most of yesterday cleaning out my kitchen cupboards and relocating food, dishes and such because we’ll be without use of a kitchen for a while.  My house is turned upside down. 

I have several friends and family members going through major life issues. I cry when they cry, I worry and feel deeply for their welfare.

I’m praying.  Reef and I read from the scriptures about Jesus and His unconditional love for the world.  I’m keeping busy the best I can, but those old habits of turning to food for comfort are knocking at the door today.  I just need to know everything is going to be all right, but I’m not sure if anyone can offer such words.  I will carry on the best I know how.  I will remain strong and not let food take over my life.  I will allow myself to feel whatever I need to feel.  I will not block it with eating excess amounts of food.  I will learn to be more empathetic to others. I will turn to God and pray for those who are dealing with issues of life and death. I am a food addict, but hopefully, not forever.

This is how I found Reef and Eden sleeping on Monday morning.  

Worried about the little girl being kidnapped and Reef just out of the hospital, these two are not letting each other go.  There were not yet aware off the tragedy in Las Vegas, but their display of sibling love was most touching.

Friday, September 29, 2017

And Exceedingly Great Was There Joy - Story Submissions

And Exceedingly Great Was There Joy –
True Stories of Extraordinary International Humanitarian Service
Compiled by Ann Webb and Laura Lofgreen

There is a trend among people including teenagers, young adults and adults, leaving for spring break or planning a summer trip to go do something good for others.  Perhaps it’s to build a school, dig a new well, construct a home, provide medical help and more.  Instead of relaxing, they are working, connecting and experiencing something bigger then a vacation full of memories – through their sacrifice, they are making a true difference in the world.

If you or someone you know has had such an extraordinary international humanitarian experience, please submit such stories to be published in this inspiring book.

How to Submit

Write your story the same way you would write a journal or diary entry. Write about how you felt and how your experience progressed. Share what ever you feel.
Start with prayer or meditation. Allow your mind to open up to your experience.
You might want to outline from beginning to end to give yourself a point of reference if necessary. Think of specifics. Sights, smells and sounds.
Write down the key people who shaped the story? What were your pivotal experiences with them?
What is it you want to share? What have you learned? What would you change? Did you see God’s hand in your situation?

If you would like any help writing your story, please contact Laura Lofgreen to assist you. The interview will take about an hour and can be done over the phone or in person. Thank you for your love for others and desire to make the world a better place.  Your experience may inspire another person to serve.

Q: How long should my story be?
A: Some stories might be a couple of paragraphs while others are 7 or 8 pages.  Write what you are comfortable with.  There is no preference. As we receive stories, we will post snippets of examples of what we are looking for on Ann Webb and Laura Lofgreen’s Facebook page.

Laura and Ann
Q: When will the book be available?
A: Publication is set for Spring/Summer 2018 and will be available on Amazon and Kindle.  Distribution will be posted. 25% of proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to Global Life Vision.

Q: Will every story be submitted be published:
A: Most likely your story will be published in the collection; however, stories will go through a content editing process with Vintage Bird Press.  Stories should be family friendly. If accepted, editorial changes will be made as necessary.

Q:  Can I mail in my story?
A: Submissions are only accepted via email.

Q: Can I title my story?
A: Yes, however; title is subject to be changed. If you do not submit a title, one will be creatively given.

At the top of your story, please include name, email address, phone number and dates & location of your international travel.

Questions? Contact me on facebook or message me via email.

Submit stories to:
Submissions accepted September 2017 through December 31, 2017

By submitting to And Exceedingly Great Was There Joy, you grant Ann Webb, Laura Lofgreen and Vintage Bird Press the rights to publish your story.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

A 100 Dresses for India

These last six months as I’ve been working on the coloring book My 100 Daughters, I’ve looked through many photographs of the girls of India.   

Eden is at the bottom there because she's donating her dresses to the girls of India.

The girls I’m drawing are growing up in the leprosy colonies.  The girls do not have leprosy, but their parents or parent does. They have experienced hunger, loneliness and poverty like I will never understand.  They are considered “untouchables”.  Children who grow up in the leprosy colonies are not allowed to attend school, but it’s not like their parents could afford to send them anyway.  Most children take to begging and do anything they can to survive.  Even their shadows are considered cursed. Rising Star Outreach is changing all of this.

As I’ve researched the photographs, traditions, landscape and customs of India, I noticed the older girls wear the traditional India saris, but the younger girls do not.  I asked Amy at Rising Star why this is.  She said as a girl matures into a young woman, she is required to wear the customary shawls to cover her bosom. 

It is a form of modesty. Until then, the little girls can wear the same type of dresses my daughter does.

Many little girls literally wear rags.  They deserve better.  I’m hoping you’ll help the girls of India by donating gently used dresses for girls age 12 and younger. 

Drop them off at my house or mail them to Rising Star Outreach 3305 N University Ave #250, Provo, UT 84604.
I hope to collect/donate 100 dresses for Rising Star Outreach India by October 11, 2017 – The International Day of the Girl.

My 100 Daughters will be released October 11, 2017 and will be available on Amazon.  

I have partnered with Rising Star Outreach and 50% of the proceeds will go to India.  Please consider sponsoring a girl today.  It costs just $1.00 a day.  Call (801) 960-9620 and say you’d like to contribute to the 100 Daughters fund.