Welcome to My Venture!

Although my approach may be a bit unconventional, it is my greatest desire for this online journal to be a unique place where we can share life lessons learned from the many wonderful people–past and present– who profoundly touch our lives!

I sincerely hope you will feel inclined to comment and pay tribute to these great mentors by sharing your thoughts with me and this community.  It’s my goal for all who visit here to benefit as we participate and read one another’s insights.

I’ve learned that everyone has something to teach and something to learn!

College Bound!

College Bound!

I recently attended a social function where some of the other ladies sitting around me were discussing how they could best support their children who had just started their senior year in high school find a good balance between all the fun and excitement of that final year and making the necessary preparations required to help them make a smooth transition into college life the following year.  (Boy, how well I remember the angst that can be felt during that crucial time period in your children’s lives!)Quote on getting a good education.

No doubt about it, the final year of high school is filled with many exciting events as you celebrate the last hoorah’s of your secondary education, so focusing on your future college career oftentimes isn’t exactly a top priority.  Ideally however, students intending to continue their education after high school should start thinking about what college they would like to  attend as early as their junior year.  Making your choice early will allow for ample time to prepare all of your college admission requirements, and yet not make it seem so overwhelming.

The campus of Utah Sate Univeristy.

Tucked away in a corner of the Wasatch mountains is the beautiful campus of Utah State University, my Alma Mater!

A Checklist For Preparing For College!

I have a wonderful friend who is a college and career advisor at our local high school; she plays a crucial role in giving students guidance as they prepare for their future education.  Here’s her suggestions to help make preparing for college more streamlined.

College checklist.

  • Review your online graduation summary NOW!!  Most schools provide an online summary of all the requirements needed by graduating students.  Talk with your guidance counselor if you have any questions or concerns.  Not much use looking ahead to what you’ll need to do to apply for college if you haven’t made the cut for high school graduation.
  • Start earning college credit through Concurrent Enrollment and AP classes, or attending early college or technical school.  Many high schools offer classes that count toward both high school and college credit…sort of a two for one type of deal!  If you have already met the requirements needed for graduation, it might be a good idea to get a jump-start on your college career by attending early college.  Again, visit with a school counselor to figure out the best way to go about doing this.  (My son did this his senior year and loved it, but it definitely took some coordination and follow-through with the advisor for early college to make sure all the necessary paper work was completed correctly.)    
  • Take or retake the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).  When you’re applying to college, you will most certainly need to submit a SAT score on your admission forms.  Many schools offer significant scholarship money based on SAT scores.  A wide range of companies range also ask job-seekers for their SAT scores.  Be sure to check this website for further information.
  • Apply for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Apply for FAFSA in January as soon as your parents file their tax return.  This is an online form that can be prepared annually by prospective and current students in the United States to determine if they are eligible for financial aid.  (All 18 year-old males should be sure and register for the draft–you’ll be ineligible to receive any financial aid if you don’t.) 

And finally…

  • BE AWARE!   Listen to announcements, read emails, pay attention when counselors come to talk in your classes!  If you have questions, go to your counselors and ASK!  Your parents can help you, but ultimately it is YOUR responsibility to take charge of all that is required for securing your future college education!

(You can find a more detailed monthly checklist here.)  

The earlier you get planning and preparing, the easier the process for college admission is going to be.  From experience, I found it helpful to make my own checklist to track the specific requirements and deadlines for each school I applied to; the same held true as I helped my children.  As exciting and fun as that final high school year is, it’s integral to prioritize your time and stay up to date on your current studies, since most colleges and universities will still look at your grades and work throughout your senior year.  This time like no other helps determine your future–so embrace the journey!

Good luck and remember… 

Graduation quote.

Any advice you’d give to a graduating senior to help make the college application process less stressful? 


New Horizons!

New Horizons!

Summer is always a crazy, busy, wonderful time of year spent with family and friends, and for the most part a break from our normal routines.  Now there’s a crisp chill in the air and fall is right around the corner.  I love how each season provides a new horizon and fresh perspective with so many neat things to anticipate and look forward to…

New Horizons!

(A beautiful fall horizon in Midway, Utah)

What I Look Forward To In The Fall!

  • Getting Cozy!  While saying this might indicate pulling out fun flannels shirts and warm afghans, (there will surely be plenty of those too) fall just seems to be the perfect time for more intimate gatherings with family and friends, where you share stories of your rambunctious summer adventures over home-cooked meals and spicy, warm drinks!

Grandma Wilding's warm spice punch.

  Grandma Norma’s Warm Citrus Punch  

1-46 oz. can pineapple juice

1-6 oz. can orange juice

3 cinnamon small sticks or 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. whole cloves or 1/2 tsp. ground cloves

5 quarts water   5 cups sugar

Simmer for 1 hour, serve hot!  

♥ So Good! ♥

Ohhio knit blankets.

Speaking of cozy and warm afghans…..wouldn’t it be fun to wrap up in this chunky knit blanket from Ohhio’s Etsy Shop while sipping a warm drink! 

  • A Little Slower Pace!  Each season seems to come with its own set of schedules and “to do” lists, but with summer vacations wrapped up and gardens nearly harvested, it seems we’re more inclined to go for an early evening walk, or grab those books we never got around to reading on the beach.

Good reads!

“Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes and “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman are books I would highly recommend, if you haven’t already read them!

  • A Bedazzled Mother Nature!  No doubt, Mother Nature is gorgeous in all her varied states during each of the four seasons, but she definitely seems to give us a little extra “wow factor” come fall time!  

Fall leaves.

(Fall trees in Park City, Utah)

If your like me and want to bring a little fall foliage indoors, these DIY aged terra cotta pots are the perfect way to display your plants.  They are so simple to make.

aged terre cotta pots.

 You’ll just need to mix one cup of garden lime with one cup of water, stir together well, then using a foam brush, paint the pots with the lime paste mixture.  Let the pots dry good, then sand off some of the lime grit with sand paper around the top edges and bases of the pots and anywhere else you want to give them that aged, weathered look.  There’s really no wrong way to do this, just do whatever looks good to you.  When the pots are done, you can either spray them with a clear matte finish sealer or just them leave as is and let mother nature continue to play her magic on each of your unique, homemade pots! 

Aged terra cotta pots.

Filled with colorful chrysanthemums, I think these pots would be fun on your porch or make a great gift for those with fall birthdays!  

  • A Renewed Zeal To Always Keep Learning!  Fall marks the official “back to school” time of year.  My father, who was a beloved teacher and a dedicated learner, who audited classes at our local university well into his 80’s, instilled in me the desire to always want to be a good student….long after formal education had ended.  My dad often said, “The most valuable lessons learned—are often those taught in the ‘school of life’!”

John Dewey quote on education.

My husband and I have grown children and have become proud grandparents over the last few years; we’re both still working and are enjoying good health, so people often tell us that we’re in the “fall season” of our lives—if that’s the case, it’s all the more reason to really embrace this amazing time of year and the new horizons this stage of life brings!

I’d love to know some of the things you look forward to most as the fall season approaches?


The Great Adventure Of Living A More Balanced Life!

The Great Adventure Of Living A More Balanced Life!

If you are at all like me, your morning alarm clock also cues the little megaphone in your head that welcomes you to a new day of the circus called life!  

Balancing Life!  

“Step with care and great tact…and be sure to remember that life’s a great balancing act!  Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.  And never mix up your right foot with your left.”  Dr. Suess 

My husband and I returned home recently from an idyllic trip to Italy, but settling back into a normal routine again is always tough.  It got me thinking–how can we make our daily lives be more like the less stressful ones we often enjoy when we’re on vacation?  While this may not always be possible…at the very least, there are a few things we can consider that will help us better juggle our everyday obligations with more ease!

5 Ways To Create Better Balance In Everyday Living!

 1.  Find Your Morning Zen!

Finding balance in life.

Set yourself up for a good start to your day by getting up just a little earlier than everyone else does to go over your schedule, read or exercise, etc.  It’s always so impressive to me how a calm spirit and an “I got this!” attitude can have such a positive effect on those around us, making mornings go smoother for everyone!

2. Balancing Life Is Not A Competition!

Finding balance in life!

There are a myriad of things that require our time and attention each day: family commitments, work obligations, home upkeep, community responsibilities…and hopefully we can fit in some leisure activity on occasion too!  I feel like one of the main reasons establishing balance in our lives seems a bit elusive is the stigmas society can label us with if we don’t “fit the mold” so to speak, of what is expected of us in the various roles we are required to execute on a daily basis.  Too often— these so-called “social norms” find us getting caught up in the anxiety of trying to meet the expectations of those around us as we strive to keep pace with everyone else.  While a competitive spirit is great to the degree that it inspires us to work hard and accomplish goals, I believe that each of our diverse circumstances in life requires an individualized and thoughtful approach to how we go about obtaining a good balance.  Being true to ourselves and those we directly influence while we juggle our schedules, rather than falling victim to undue peer pressure on how we should divide our efforts can’t help but have a positive impact on our overall well-being.

3.  Balance Takes Teamwork!

Finding balance in Life!

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that it’s often easier to find better balance in life when we have the support of other people.  In an article by clinical therapist F. Diane Barth in Psychology Today, she states that what is really most important for creating a good balance in our lives is not how much responsibility one person carries at any given time–but rather, how well we interact with each other, drawing from and giving energy to one another!  I realize that the ebb and flow of my life is certainly more balanced with the influence of caring people!

 4.  Creating Balance means “No!” is a compete sentence!Finding balance in life.

A key component to having better balance in life is understanding our priorities and what’s most important.    But as we all know, on any given day, in any given moment our priorities can change–so we may have to re-examine our priorities regularly.  No one necessarily wants to say no, but as success coach, Brain Tracy, states in an insightful article on, “How to Find Life Balance and Be Happy” you are going to have to do it once in awhile…and understand that no explanation is needed.  Mr. Tracy elaborates by saying that we all have the same 24 hours in a day, and we can’t possibly do everything that we want to do as well as everything everyone else wants us to do.  So a big part of leading a more balance life is to cut down on unnecessary tasks and protect your priorities.  I find simply being more aware of some of the little things I do that waste precious time is a huge factor in better balancing my life.  My mom used such finesse when telling others that she couldn’t possibly fit one other thing into her day by saying, “I can’t do that now, but thanks so much for thinking of me!”  Wise lady!

5.  Finding Balance Is A Lifetime Project! 

Finding more balance in life.

As you’ve probably already come to realize, living a more balanced life is not a finite goal, but rather an ongoing process that should help us learn to be more flexible as we better navigate the demands on our time.  Hopefully, we are then able to tackle all the things that a day may encompass with more contentment, optimism and happiness; after all—when it’s all said and done, isn’t that what we really want the most of in our lives!  My father was fond of saying that life should be a steady uphill progression!

I love this thought on having balance in our lives:

“Balance is the process of holding something steady during change!”

What are some tricks you find helpful that help you achieve a better balance in your life? 

Live better quote.

I hope the beginning of your summer gets off to a fabulous start!