Just Three Words!

Can You Describe Your Day, A Special Moment, Your Life in…

Just three words!

Good Morning America does a three word campaign every so often that I absolutely love!  (They’re sort of like shortened versions of Hallmark card advertisements–but with no less tears!)  It’s always so amazing to me how the use of just three words to describe a particular day, time period, or highlight in someone’s life can have such a powerful impact.  The insights and emotions behind the three words other people use can’t help but inspire you to think of some you’d choose to define your own life!  At the very least, I’ve learned that abbreviating the perspective on some of these critical times in our lives can give the outcome a more positive emphasis, I’ve needed that lately…

Have you ever had those times where all the aspects of your life seem to collide and generate real concern on all fronts?   During the previous few months, that’s where I’ve been–ugh!  Then I saw one of these “three word” segments on a recent weekend version of Good Morning America, and it gave me an idea–and the kick in the pants, so to speak, that I needed at the time!

Trying “Just Three Words” Approach To Journaling!

A few years ago for my oldest daughter’s birthday, we got together and tried out a new bread recipe.  Her new little baby cooed and slept in her infant seat by us as we made fresh loaves of bread and gooey cinnamon rolls!  It was simply one of those prized mother/daughter days that are so rare when your children grow up and have busy lives of their own!  A few days later, I had another neat mom “payday”,  when Malia gave me a wonderful note she’d written, accompanied by this Curly Girl notebook journal.

"Curly Girl" journal!

Obviously, I was touched by Malia’s thoughtfulness and started to use the booklet to record some favorite quotes I’d come across. 

Along with my usual notes written on my calendar, I decided I would also try and tackle my new-found desire to take inventory of my frenzied state of mind, by using this cute journal and take the “just three words” approach as I recorded my thoughts each day.  My hope was that by doing so I might reign in my worries a bit, and know better which ones were of valid concern and which ones I needed to just let go!

Here’s a sampling of a few things I recorded:

May 15, 2013:  “Helping Malia move!”  It was hard to see Malia and her cute family pack-up and leave their darling home that held so many memories for all of us!  The good news though, is she is moving closer to my husband and I, but they are temporarily displaced while they build their new home.

May 22, 2013: “Jake’s going to Oklahoma!”  Okay, so I used four words here–this was the day of the tornados in Oklahoma!  My son, Jake will be doing his year of extended dental studies in Lawton, Oklahoma–it is located down more by the Texas border, but still considered part of “tornado alley”!  There are some things you just can’t do too much about, so I had to focus on the fact that “Jake got accepted” to the study program that he wanted so badly and worked hard to get!

June 27, 2013:  “Mom died 8 yrs. ago!”  Again, an extra word or two, that’s why I abbreviated!  You just never get over not having those times, when as a daughter, you just want to pick up the phone or go see your mom and have a good “heart to heart” visit!  I also wrote “Married 4 years!”  Lucky for me, my youngest daughter, Mandi, and her neat husband, Cole, were married on this day four years ago.  It was an amazing, picture-perfect day of happiness and celebration–just the kind my mother would have wanted for such a special occasion! 

Mandi and Cole's wedding

I can honestly say that this little journal experiment has proven to be very valuable in helping me settle my brain vibes onto a much smoother course.  It’s been a good way to balance the best parts of keeping a “gratitude journal” with doses of reality–which is how I think journals should be written.

This “One Good Deed” journal, by Chronicle books, is another neat little journal I picked up recently at our local farmer’s market/craft fair.  I have always tried to figure in doing something nice for others in my daily life, but the suggestions given in this booklet help you “consciously appreciate yourself” better, and remind you to not be afraid to share with others “small actions that will have great impact!”   One Good Deed a Day journal!

Here are a few of the suggestions given in this journal:

“Be genuinely happy for someone!”

“Tell your colleague he/she is brilliant!” Since I’ve recently experienced some big changes to the “care paradigm” (who thinks up these phrases?) at the hospital where I work, this one hit me as particularly significant!

“Leave a favorite book on a bus!”

What I’m learning now is…

Life will always have it’s fair share of challenges, I need to be better at discerning which ones are worth losing some sleep over.  What I’m learning now is to let go of some of the worries and concerns that I can’t really do anything about!  "Let it Go" quote.

Please share the three words that you’d use to describe an event or special experience in your life lately; or perhaps you’ve been the giver/recipient of an unexpected good deed recently–I’d love to hear about any of them.  If you’re so kind as to comment, you might find yourself a lucky recipient of one of these fun, small journals!  




Best Caramel Popcorn! A Family Favorite Recipe That’s Sure To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth!

Best Caramel Popcorn!  A Favorite Family Recipe That’s Sure To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth!!

As promised, my family’s favorite caramel popcorn recipe!  This was what my mother loved best to satisfy her sweet tooth!  It’s a yummy, easy recipe…and yes, a bit addicting!

Caramel popcorn with cashews!

Soft Glazed Caramel Popcorn with Cashews:

Prior to making caramel, pop 2 regular sized bags of natural (no salt or flavoring added) microwave popcorn.  Empty into a large mixing bowl and let cool, picking out any kernels that didn’t pop.

1 cup light Karo syrup

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup butter or margarine

2 cups whole cashews

Stir all above ingredients together (except cashews) in a medium-sized sauce pan until the mixture comes to a soft, rolling boil over medium/high heat.  Continue stirring for 3-4 minutes.  (A sure way to check that the caramel ends up being the soft consistency you want, just drop a spoonful of the caramel into a cup of cool water.  It should form a gooey ball.  I have never had it fail however, if I just boiled the mixture for the 3-4 minutes that the recipe recommends.)  Make sure the popcorn and cashews are tossed together well in the mixing bowl, then stir in the caramel glaze, making sure that all the popcorn gets lightly coated with the mixture.

Let the warm popcorn set for a few minutes to cool, then enjoy this scrumptious treat as you have a fun game night! (One of our favorite games growing up was “Yahtzee”!  Keep a damp napkin handy or the dice get a little sticky!)  It’s especially good for a weekend movie night, or you can wrap some up to give as gifts!  (Warning: You’re sure to earn the title of most “favorite neighbor”!  Oh, it’s a good idea to wrap popcorn in wax paper first, then place in gift sack.)  If you do have any left over caramel popcorn–store it in a seal-tight, plastic container to keep it soft and fresh!

Caramel popcorn gift bags!

My granddaughter Makena, is a new generation of appreciative caramel popcorn connoisseurs!

Yummy caramel popcorn treat!

To this day I think of my mother every time I make this recipe!  We could have had licorice ropes, M&M’s, or any other assortment of goodies spread out for a festive game night, and all I ever remember my mom munching on was the caramel popcorn with cashews!  In fact, like any good mother, she usually threw a veggie tray into the mix!  Enjoy!

If you make this caramel popcorn recipe, let me know how you liked it.  I’m sure you could get creative and add other yummy things to this caramel popcorn recipe and it would be just as good, we just happen to like the cashews best!  What are some of the game/party treats your family likes best?

I’ve also had a few email requests for a copy of my mom’s reading “The Meanest Mom”!  I’ll have that ready to post in a couple of days.  Be prepared to have the best laugh!


Happy Birthday Wishes And Reflections!

Happy Birthday Wishes And Reflections!

Happy Birthday CakeIt was a fun weekend for Happy Birthday celebrations and reflections!  My father was born April 27, 1914, he would have been 99 years old on Saturday!  Happy Birthday, Dad!  My dad believed his birthday was just another great day to enjoy life!  Even on his last birthday, April 27, 2002, just a few days before he died, dad’s calm demeanor and sense of humor were intact.  By this time, my father’s vision had deteriorated significantly over the past few years from macular degeneration, a hereditary condition that affects the retina.  My dad couldn’t read unless it was magnified into very large print.  Knowing that his birthdays were being cut short with his recent leukemia diagnosis, dad reflected a bit that birthday afternoon as I visited with him; we both chuckled when he said, “Maybe I’ll get a new pair of eyes in this deal!”  My father added to his birthday wish list by saying that he hoped there would be some well stocked book shelves in heaven with a soft leather chair nearby!

“We are all a reflection of those who came before us!”  

My father’s life was indeed a reflection of the wonderful upbringing his parents had given him.  In turn, as I celebrate more birthdays, I hope my life reflects the amazing example set by my parents!

Dad with ringlets cut off

The caption under this picture in my father’s autobiography states that it was taken right after his ringlets were cut off!  My dad always had a full head of thick wavy hair, he didn’t even start turning gray until he was 80 years old!  

Growing up, my mom had us make our birthday cards for family member’s birthdays.  I came across one I’d done in some mementos my mom had saved.  The coloring is smudged and my handwriting indicates I was grade school age–the real image is too faded to show, but here is the gist of my birthday card…

Crayon Happy Birthday


Asks questions


 Helps me

 Earns money

 Really fun

Good times with dad!

This picture of me and my dad was taken by my mom in an attempt to get us back on task after we were caught horsing around during a homework break where we nearly upended the lamp and flowers on the end table.  As you can see, we’re doing our best to look contrite and apologetic!?  ( I would imagine that the lamp and sofa pictured would go for a pretty penny at a vintage store today!)

If I adapted the Happy Birthday sentiment of “father” today, it would read more like this:

  Faithful         Articulate         Tireless         Hopeful         Endearing       Rare

My dad wrote this recollection on one of the last pages of his history:

“I have never had a day since my birth that I have not been blessed in countless ways!”          

He obviously had the foresight to be aware of the “countless ways” his life was blessed and make note of them!  Again, Happy Birthday wishes to you, Dad!  It was a beautiful day to celebrate your birthday!  Meanwhile, I hope you are enjoying a good book!

We also enjoyed a happy birthday celebration for my oldest daughter, Malia, and her darling family this weekend.  I remember when I was expecting Malia, (and in those days, you rarely knew whether you were going to have a boy or a girl before your baby was born) I told my dad that I hoped my baby would be his birthday present that year.  With a knowing grin, my father said that my baby deserved her own special birthday!  My cute, little baby girl, Malia, with her thick mass of dark hair and round, kiss-able cheeks was born early on the morning of April 28, 1981.  In keeping up with the tradition I started on my dad’s birthday card many years ago, I’ll write a few Happy Birthday sentiments for Malia now too!

Adorable girl, Malia

 Boating in Hyrum

My friend

Amazing mother

Loves her family

Interested in others

A beautiful daughter


What I’m learning now is…

I once heard it said that, “Your past is the landscape of your life.”  What I’m learning now is that when each birthday rolls around, (as they inevitably do…) it might be a good chance for us to reflect on our lives and enhance that landscape…as well as recommit to making it one that all our loved ones will have the opportunity to enjoy for many years to come!

Take the opportunity to spell out your loved ones names on a paper and consider the fun words you’d write to pay tribute to the unique impact they’ve had on your life.  Surprise them with your thoughts for their next birthday!