Sunday, August 28, 2011

How has God used You to Bless Others?

I'm linking up with Laura today at Living a Big Story for MEDITATION MONDAYS!  Go on over and check her out!

Someone asked the question:

How does God Use You to Be a Blessing to Others?

I answered that question, and here is my reply:

God has given me the gifts of an outgoing personality and especially a great love for people. These are great gifts for me! With these gifts, I am blessed with courage to step outside my comfort zone and reach out to the people around me. I love to serve others - whether I know them or not. Most of my opportunities (to lift anther's burden, or bring a smile to anther's face) are small... but they require a willing heart and a mind open to follow the promptings of the spirit - quickly - before the opportunity/need is gone. I always regret it when I don't take advantage of an opportunity to serve; but thank the Lord for blessing me with SO MANY wonderful opportunities.

Here is a link to a post about one of my choicest and most amazing experiences - and experience which resulted from quickly following promptings to bless the lives of the people around me: Making Connections.

Now... I'm going to show you another great link. The link I'm about to give is to the story of another choice experience of mine (yet humbling). In the following experience, it was someone else, who God used to bless me: : I believe he understood clearly what Tom Robbins meant when he said the following,

We have SO MUCH power and capacity for good. And it is in GIVING LOVE 
that we find our greatest joys.

PS. Perhaps the best way that we can be a blessing to others, is to be the answer to their prayers...

""""In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us, and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers." ~Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Happiness, Your Heritage ~

Wishing you a blessed day filled with love! :)
Corine :D

Monday, August 22, 2011

In God's Heart I Am???

I saw this video, at a blog that I just love, The Gypsy Mama. Along with the suggestion to write what I am in God's heart... The first thing that came to my mind is, 

a friend...
I think the words came in a form of comfort, because I often don't think I am a good enough friend to my friends (including family - my last post "What it means to Truly Love ~ Bridge the Gap" will explain some of why I feel this way). Being a friend is something that has always been very important to me. But life gets so busy, and sometimes feel like I don't do enough.

I told this to one of my friends a couple of days ago while we were running together. I couldn't say much, because she quickly and firmly stopped me in my tracks:
"That's NOT true!"
Hearing this tone from her really shocked me; she is so sweet! "It's not?" I asked... I found myself surprised again, to hear another firm and resolute answer that went something like this.;
"No. I think you are one of the most... ?? It is amazing the way you are there for your friends! You are always there for people I think you are very good at being a friend!"
I suppose that is why "a friend" came to mind. I really HOPE my friend is right; I hope that my Heavenly Father thinks so, too, and that if He doesn't yet... He will. Even with family who live miles away!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My 'Happily Ever After'...

I have had some anxiety the past couple of days over a blog post or two that I wrote. I worry that they may be misunderstood. I hope they will be sources of encouragement - rather than of discouragement. I hope no one will compare their "NOT" Fairy-Tale like list to my "Fairy Tale" like list (Why is it that we sometimes tend to compare our worst with another person's BEST?). I hope people will remember that we all have things on our "Not" list which we appropriately keep concealed from public blogs. :o

And so, for those of you who have read either "My Fairy Tale Life" or the squeal to it...  "MY Fairy-Tale Life Part Two" I implore you... PLEASE read all of this post, and PLEASE do not get any false impressions... For a public blog, It is easy to add to the "Fairy-Tale like" list, and not so easy (or appropriate) to add certain things to the "NOT so Fairy-Tale like" list. One can accidentally make life look worse than it is, too. This just makes it easy to get a lopsided impression of a fellow bloggers life in the blogging world.

And so, I reiterate my point of those lists and that blog post here. I hope my point is taken well and understood, that for each gospel principle LIVED life is enhanced. And for each commandment not lived/broken (or disobeyed) hardship and pain result. But even when one makes all the right choices... there will still be some hardship and pain in life on the way to "happily ever after."

This is why the Lord leads and guides us through scripture, prophets, and the Holy Ghost... so we can know how to be happy... how to live... and as some might say, so we can know the path to take which will lead to our own "happily ever after."

Another very important note: Despite because of opposition, we can have happy lives. When we think of Fairy Tales, we sometimes think about and focus on the "happily ever after" so much... that we may forget that there was a great deal of opposition which had to be overcome to get to that "happily ever after." Think of any fairy tale, and you will realize that they all had to overcome some evil to get to their happily ever after! (Go ahead, insert a few of your own thoughts and memories of Fairy Tale stories into your mind now before continuing to read). No matter how bad the story started out, or what hardships the characters had to overcome, we still think of the story as a fairy tale, don't we? Why do we do that? do you think it might be because...  
A Fairy-Tale is a Fairy-Tale - not for lack of hardship - but because great hardship was overcome and followed by a "Happily Ever After!" :) 
And this "happily ever AFTER" is not possible - without FIRST experiencing opposition and hardship to overcome.

And so, I ask again, the same question I asked in the last blog post;

Do you think there any such thing 
as a Fairy-Tale life? ;)

After a bit of opposition in my life again lately, I am happy to reflect upon this further and I believe I have the answer; 
It all depends upon the ending 
which we create for ourselves! :)
With this in mind, I reiterate what I said in my blog post Living with Purpose:  

"And so I will continue to EXPLORE, DISCOVER, and LIVE - WITH PURPOSE each and every day of my life. :)" 

And by so doing, I continue to create MY OWN "Happily-Ever-After."

Corine  :D

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

MY Fairy-Tale Life - Part Two...

My friend, Laura, made the following comment on my blog post "My Fairy Tale Life:"
"Great thoughts .... do you think our life is really even harder? I look at my friends who aren't members and think the path I walk is SOO much easier! But definitely the life is SOOO awesome because of the path we've chosen!"
I'm so glad she asked that question, because I wrote up that blog so quickly that I didn't address this question at all. So I've decided to blog the answer here in this post...

The answer is yes, and no. Yes it is harder sometimes initially, when it comes to making choices which require self control and self discipline in order to live the gospel. For example, it can be hard to be the one who is picked on in their youth for staying morally clean, never smoking, drinking etc... It can be difficult for a teenage girl to keep at arms length with a teen age boy she is absolutely crazy about, who is also head over heels for her (I remember :). It is harder for a teenager to wake up at 5:30 AM to study the scriptures in Seminary than it is to sleep in a little longer. It can be hard for parents to set aside time to read the scriptures with the family or hold weekly Family Home Evening. It can be hard to discipline ones self to take time developing talents. It can be difficult to do a lot of the things we Mormon's do. However, I don't think it's as difficult as raising a baby while single and in one's teens; or losing a job due to not passing the AU..

I suppose I already began to explain the answer, "No," with that last sentence. "No it isn't harder in the long run," because our lives are simple and clean as a result of the choices we make (referring to those who strive to LIVE as well as learn the gospel). When we make choices according to the gospel of Jesus Christ: we don't have hangovers; drug problems; ST D's. etc... In fact, I was talking to my husband about this yesterday and remembered some of the things I discussed with my friend who I met on the bus who told me that I have a fairy tale life (which, by the way was discussed because he had a lot of questions and I was happy to answer):
  • I have only "been" with one man, my own husband (and that was AFTER we got married);
  • I have never smoked a cigarette.
  • I have never been drunk (or even tasted alcohol, or any other drug for that matter).
  • I also told my friend that the closest I ever got to drunk was when I was a kid and had a sugar high when traveling with dad and living off of candy (we had some good laughs as I told him about my insane reactions to too much sugar :)).
  • I have been married to the same man for nearly 22 years - no divorce, and we have children together - all of which are his as well as mine;
  • Our kids are morally clean, straight, and have never experimented with drugs;
  • We usually have love at home, and even my teen boys hug me and tell me that they love me. :)
  • My kids (all teenagers now) usually go to church every Sunday with their dad and I - even though we don't make them...
OK, if this is a fairy tale life... then - you caught me! I confess; I guess I REALLY DO have a fairy tale life. ;)

But then again, if my friend had asked the following questions (during the heat of the experiences ;), he may not have thought so:
  • Have you ever had eating disorders? (Yes... but I got through it. It was HELL while it lasted but I'm totally healthy now. I can actually admit - out loud, that I LOVE my body {rollerblading scars, imperfections, cellulite and all}! Cool eh? :D)
  • Does anyone in your family have disabilities? (YES. I used to wonder what I had done wrong. I stressed about life not being "normal." I could go on but I won't. Thankfully, I became well adjusted and it isn't even an issue any longer. Heavenly Father KNOWS what He is doing. Everything we go through can bless our lives and make us better people if we let it).
  • Has your income ever fallen into the "poverty level?" (Oh yeah... LOL! But there are others out there who have it SO MUCH WORSE! I really am very blessed. Besides, America's idea of poverty is like upper class in other parts of the world! We have homes with concrete, wood, or carpet rather than dirt, and eat three meals a day with variety!)
  • Do you ever get depressed or discouraged? (Sometimes. But hope and Heavenly Father always help me through...)
WOW! I keep trying to show you the NOT Fairy Tale side of my life, but then it ends in some terribly positive twist! :o (It sort of reminds me of Cinderella, and how it all just sort of worked out!) My life is like that. I am incredibly positive. At least, that's what my friends tell me and I'm pretty sure they are right! :D I promise, I could add to the list above, but I just don't want to dig down and look for the rest of the list. Besides, it will all end in a positive twist, and I think that just adds to my list of why I have a Fairy-Tale life. I'll try another approach to answer Laura's question...

My Fairy-Tale Life IS sometimes HARD because it requires me to do the self disciplined thing on a regular basis and not waste time. It means I actually motivate myself to take time to develop talents. It means I consistently strive to live - selflessly rather than selfishly - not just for myself, but I also live for others (many talents I have are associated with the role of mothering - which I am so blessed to have... it is also so exciting to progressively have a little more time to develop "me" talents as the kids get older! :) It means I strive (note the word "strive" - no claims on having it al down!) to do what Jesus would do, rather than what I might naturally do if I weren't a follower of Christ; and that I sincerely regret it and repent when I mess up. It means I strive to live with integrity, and that helps me to feel good about myself and LOVE who I am. :D Also, nothing brings more joy than serving!!! Knowing how great it feels to serve, I wouldn't want to miss out on service opportunities no matter how inconvenient an opportunity may sometimes be.

My Fairy-Tale-Life IS mostly EASY because I'm so used to disciplining myself that doing the right thing just keeps getting easier: I follow the counsel given in the word of wisdom, and am so blessed with a healthier, more vibrant body and mind than I would have without following this counsel; I've never had any desire to smoke, drink, or do a lot of other things which often lead to poor health and complicated lives; I have it VERY EASY in this way, as well as in many other ways; (referring to first bulleted list above. :) And though my life has every bit as many trials and challenges as the guy who may not have a fairy-tale life, there are so many negative experiences I thankfully, will never have to know...

I hope this all makes sense. :)
Any more questions? Please feel free to ask!

By the way, I'm just wondering... Do you think there is any such thing as a Fairy-Tale life? ;)

I think it might all have to do with our choices and perspectives.

In the end, the middle, or first, - we choose both our PATH: Christ or the world; AND our PERSPECTIVE, hard or easy.
Corine :D 

PS. "Fairy tales can come true, they can happen to you... if you're young at heart." Frank Sinatra said so. :)
Update: August 14, 2011 - Part three can be found at the following link: My Happily Ever After.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Fairy-Tale Life...

I met a new friend on the bus once. After we visited with each other for quite some time, he began to go on and on about my "fairy tale" life. I kept asking him,
"Where are you getting this? I don't live a 'fairy tale' life? My life is good, really good, and I love it. But it isn't nothing but a bed of roses."
He just kept insisting that my life was picture perfect.

After hours of visiting and fun socializing with him, and a lot of thinking... I finally came to the conclusion that maybe he thought my life is perfect because I AM SO HAPPY. And because I LOVE WHAT I DO - BEING A WIFE AND MOTHER etc.

But it isn't having everything go right that makes life so good. It's having an eternal perspective... knowing that challenging is good, and that weakness can become strengths. It is knowing that I can work hard to make good things happen. It's taking the time to learn and live the gospel of Jesus Christ - principles like faith, hope, love, service, forgiveness etc... which makes happiness possible.

And it's experiencing the joy of overcoming struggles and weaknesses etc that make life so good.  Struggles make you strong and give you something to feel accomplished and good about.

Life is different for everyone. The choices we make can be thought of as life paths with varying degrees of inclines. Some people walk life on flat surfaces, perhaps hoping to keep things easy and relaxed... Others run uphill on mountains with no trails. Mormons quite often choose the tough uphill routes in life. They choose lifestyles that are challenging; they have high expectations for themselves and take advantage of many opportunities (some big, mostly small) which challenge them and cause them to grow. They place many demands upon themselves and do things which many others view as huge sacrifices - but they also experience the great joy which comes from making those sacrifices. Yes, for many Mormons (and other Christians), life is an uphill climb. But life is extra good BECAUSE OF THE CLIMB. The harder you work for something, the more you appreciate and love it! :D  And besides, up there from up there at the top of the mountains... the view is absolutely great! :D

Loving life...
Corine :D

UPDATE - 8/14/2011: FOR PART THREE, CLICK HERE: My Happily Ever After

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Living With Purpose...

We have three raised garden beds, which I built myself (two last year, and one very small bed this year). Building the raised beds and filling them with dirt was so much work that at times I didn't know if it would ever get done. Even getting the dirt into it was an unusual amount of work. To save money, we answered an advertisement on Craigs List for free dirt; "just come get it, and it's yours." This meant that after building, we wouldn't be driving into a nursery to have a truck dump a load of dirt into a trailer for us. Instead, the dirt had to be shoveled from a tarp out on a street, into a truck. After driving the truck home, the dirt had to be shoveled into a wheel barrel and pushed across a very long lawn, hopefully before the wheel fell off the barrel that was falling apart. And this entire process had to be done several times; it would take several truck loads of dirt to fill the garden beds.

This was back breaking, sweat pouring work. Each step seemed so extensive, labor intensive, and time consuming! The infrastructure of my garden was created a little at a time – stone by stone; re bar upon re bar; shovel by shovel... But eventually, it was finished. And I found myself looking at it in awe. I was so happy and appreciated it so much I made a collage of the work being done and the beds built the moment I finished, then blogged about it.

Sometimes I still look at my little garden in awe. I look at each of the stones, now a little misshaped and corked, but once so neatly placed - and I appreciate each and every one of those stones. Each little stone has significance; I would be so sad to see even one stone missing from the walls of my garden. Thankfully, once the infrastructure of these stones are laid and secured with re bars and dirt, it securely stays! Year upon year… they will still be there! I don’t have to start from scratch each year when I go to make a new garden; it makes continuing to garden a very hopeful and reassuring experience.

As I compare and contrast, I think each and every one of the small and simple character-building discussions; hugs; Family Home Evening lessons and activities; bonding family times; moments set aside to discipline myself to do something challenging etc... Each of these act as a sort of vital personal infrastructure which build upon each other as the foundation of my life and  very being and last, in the same way that my garden infrastructure last. They may require maintenance, but they are still there; and with each new addition the garden is that much better off than before. :)

This is why I am excited about the plans Miles and I have (which I instigate :) to continue to improve at providing the vitals for our growing family. I like to have specific purposes for specific days of the week to help us to accomplish various goals in our lives. These days of the week help us to continually lay down or strengthen a little more skills or character in our personal and family infrastructure… making us constantly a little bit stronger and better than we were the day or week before.

This process began just a few short years ago. Years of my life had flown by like wildfire under a hot summer’s breeze. There were so many things I wanted to do with my life, and it seemed there was never enough time to do the many important things I wanted to do. But others found time… why not me? Why was my life so chaotic? Why couldn’t I make time for the most important things?

The answers came in church, as they often do… A single mom was speaking in Stake Conference about the lists she makes. She said she was the queen of lists, having a huge “to do” list on a daily basis, especially after finding herself a single mom. She was all about getting things done; and despite not having a husband to help her, she found the perfect solution for fitting in all the things which there never seemed to be time enough to do. The inspiration for it came from the classic Mormon analogy used to teach the concept of prioritizing and using time wisely…  (If you want to read about this classic analogy, you can go to this post HERE).

After this analogy sunk deep into her being, she got out a blank schedule and placed on the schedule the things she needed to do to be spiritually and emotionally happy… things which bring blessings of an eternal nature… things which are vital, but just never urgent enough to make it to the top of the “to do” lists. These were things like reading her scriptures, praying, spending time enjoying life with her family, and holding weekly Family Home Evening etc.. And as she did this, an amazing thing happened. As she put “first things first” (as Steven R Covey would say), she found that there was time enough, after all. :D

This talk spoke straight to my heart. It was FOR ME; out of all the people in that room, I knew that God had inspired that talk – for me (granted… I’m sure I wasn’t the only one).

So the first thing I did when I got home, was pull out a blank piece of paper and a pencil, and list the things that I considered VITAL for me to accomplish in my life time. I thought of what I considered to be my own personal mission in life, and what I knew I could not bear to leave undone. At first it was really hard to do. I had no idea what God wanted me to do in life... if I really did have a mission.?? But with prayer, introspection, and the help of Heavenly Father and my Patriarchal Blessing, I was able to come to some sound conclusions of at least some of the things that I KNEW I needed to do in my life. These, I concluded, were of VITAL importance. They could not be left to chance, in hope that I might one day get around to them.

This list of vitals then became the framework for my goals and how I scheduled/spent my time. For the goals which fit into the season of life I was in, I considered how frequently I would need to work on each to accomplish the goal. If it could be accomplished with very little time (or if it seemed I wasn’t yet living in a season which allowed more time to invest into that goal), I made monthly goals to accomplish them. If more time and diligence was required (or I was living the season for it), I made weekly goals. If yet even more time was required, then daily goals were made.

Next I sketched out a plan for accomplishing my goals, setting aside time on various days of each week to help me to accomplish my goals.

Specific days of each week became special days for devoting time to work on various specific goals… No longer did I go through life wondering, "when will I ever get around to it?" A life with purpose had been born.

After looking at my calendar/schedule and seeing the same thing on the same day of the week, week after week, month after month… I no longer had to look at the schedule; each day of the week seemed to me as though it’s very purpose for being, was to help me to accomplish a very specific goal - one that was simply too important to leave to chance.

Though it took time for me to increase in consistency doing the things I planned to do, gradually, a new life infrastructure began to emerge; I was finally becoming diligent enough (though not perfect) that it became impossible for me to NOT accomplish my goals. Bit by bit, bite by bite, week by week, month by month my goals were gradually becoming reality. Activities which for so many years, had seemed so difficult to fit into my life were suddenly the foundation of my living. And once in a while, I would come up with a new goal and add something new to the schedule.

Periodically, life changes. Seasons change. Goals change. New "vitals" emerge in life. And with these vital needs, life has to be adjusted to insure those needs are met. This summer has been a time of such vital changes for me; and so I am beginning a new schedule. I will have to look at it daily again until I know it inside out and backwards. I will have to work hard, to make the unnatural, become natural; I have done it before, and I will do it again. I know that I can do this; I can do hard AND AMAZING THINGS... this will be a cinch! ;)

I am excited. Excited because I know that with faith and diligence, I can not fail. Excited because with specific goals, I have direction, purpose, and clarity in my life once more.

PS. I am REALLY ENJOYING  being the mother of teenagers. Devry has become SO SOCIAL (for him :o)!!!! This is SO HUGE!!! AND I'M SO HAPPY FOR HIM! :D Devry has also begun running. And Dausen just ran with me for the first time a few days ago! When he ran with me, he talked and talked and talked. I LOVED IT!!! I don't think he has ever talked to me so much! It is SO EXCITING to see my boys growing SO MUCH! And I think these sons MAY actually start running with me now and then. :) I really hope for this, because they are their fathers sons! WOW! If anything can get me training right for next years half marathon, running with them will!!! :D

I could go on about my other kids and more about finding my life's purposes, but I have to get going and this post is already long. Just know that I am SO PROUD of each of my kids and the wonderful progress they are making in their lives! They are such GOOD people. And I desire to continue growing and developing as rapidly and beautifully as they do. And so I will continue to EXPLORE, DISCOVER, and LIVE -WITH PURPOSE each and every day of my life. :)
Corine :D

Friday, August 5, 2011

Great Homeschooling Links

Hi. :D 

With school starting all over the country, (or starting in a MONTH if you live in Northern Idaho), I just want to share some references with those of you who are advocates for your child's educations. Whether your child is home or public schooled; is gifted, has learning disabilities, or both... there are references for you here.

First I have a quick reference to a one hour webnar and handout which shows how home scholars do compared to public scholars both academically and socially. It also shows why homeschooling works! :D

Check out the link if you are interested:

Another website you might like if you are interested in information about homeschooling through the high school years and graduating your kids with homemade transcripts that can get your kids scholarships is as follows...

Here is the email of the amazing lady who hosts the sites just mentioned if you need expert advice.

I also, just spied in my inbox (while writing this post - amazing timing!) a letter filled with a slew of links I'm really excited to check out and think some of you may be as wel. So I'm just going to copy and paste that email, activate the links, and place it here along with credit where credit is due...

Conquer College with LD/ADD, Joan Azarva via to me

show details 7:27 AM (26 minutes ago)
Hi Corine,

Today I discovered some FREE sites that could potentially be of great help to our students. Here we go:

E-Books Directory - "E-Books Directory is a FREE web resource which contains links to free downloadable e-books, technical papers, documents, as well as user contributed content, articles, reviews and comments. E-Books Directory is a service to students, researchers and e-book lovers." The best reason to check this out is because an E-book can be read aloud with a text-to-speech program!

LearnOUTLOUD - FREE! is your one-stop destination for audio and video learning. Browse over 20,000 educational audio books, MP3 downloads, podcasts, and videos.

VARK Learning Style Inventory - FREE! Using the VARK learning style analyses, you can analyze your learning style, find out what you need to do to help you learn most effectively, and take steps to convert any learning experience to one that meets your needs!

GET ORGANIZED: Managing Time, Space, and Paper - FREE! Online class with quizzes and feedback. Also available as a single downloadable PDF file and 6-part podcast [free registration required]

If you ever come across a site you find interesting, please share it with me so I can share it with my readers!


Do you have a friend whose high school teen has a learning disability? Please tell them about my list at
So there you have it! Thank you both, Lee and Joan!
Happy Learning and Educating to you all!

Corine :D