Friday, February 24, 2012


I hiked the Peralta Trail again. I have no idea what I was thinking—I must have been crazy to think it was a good idea. Nonetheless, early Saturday morning, me, my husband, two sons, a grandson, a daughter and her three children, and a friend head out to the trail.

Here’s a picture of us at the beginning. Full of hope. My husband stayed behind to tend the two girls and my daughter took her baby along. She didn’t have a backpack, so she put the baby’s bottle and her water bottle in my grandson’s pack. Baby snacks and diaper wipes are put into mine. (This was a very bad idea.)

Last year, I hiked the trail with my youngest son, Benjamin, and my youngest daughter, Christina. They are in way better shape than I am, but my son stayed by my side and helped me up the rocks and encouraged me when I was tired. My daughter went ahead and stopped occasionally to wait for us, and then took off again.

This year, my two sons and my grandson went ahead at their young-manly pace. (My thought is they were each trying to show the other one up.) My daughter and her friend and I started out together but it didn’t take long to discover who was in better shape. My daughter with her baby tied around her middle outpaced me easily. Her friend, I’m sure, could have made it up with the young men, but stayed with my daughter and visited.

I was alone.

Sheer cliffs
I was soon discouraged and wanted to quit. Although this daughter and her friend stopped occasionally to see if I was okay; as soon as I appeared around the bend, they went on their way. There was no one to talk to, no one to share the experience with, no one to struggle beside.

The beginning of the trail is that way.
I was in the abominable pit with sheer cliffs around me. I couldn’t see the beginning, nor could I see the end. This is when I started thinking of life’s comparisons, and why it was more fun on my first trip.

The end is off to the left somewhere.
Whether we’re having a good experience or a bad experience, life is better with someone to share it with. People need people. I don’t think there’s a truer statement.

I had plenty of water, plenty of snacks to keep me going. But I didn’t care if I made it because I was by myself. I finally got to the switchbacks, and figured I’d just stay there until my group came back down. And then I saw my son, and I flumped down onto the dirt. He knew I was safe, I didn’t have to go further.

He saw me and ran down to me, and asked if I was okay. He held my hand and literally pulled me up to the top. When we got there, he said, “Now that you’ve made it all the way, don’t you feel better?”
My son and grandson, heroes.

I did, indeed, feel better.

I had finished my course, and someone cared enough to help me.

On the way back down, my grandson stayed by my side, and we had a good visit along the way.

A view from the top. (That's not me.)
Although we each have our own journey through this life, it is much better when we share our lives with others. It makes a huge difference when others are there, and we need to remember that when we see friends or neighbors who are struggling and alone. It takes such a small effort to reach out and help someone—but it could make a huge difference in their life.
Mother and daughter and baby finished the hike.

Life is easier with someone by our side, encouraging us and helping us.

Friday, February 17, 2012


Did anyone's New Year's resolution this year include being more financially fit? If so, I've got the book for you. Or rather, John Hauserman, CFP has the book for you.
I’ve never read a book on finances before. I’ve never even been tempted. With that said, when Tristi Pinkston asked if I’d like to read, Retirement Quest, Make Better Decisions, by John Hauserman, CFP, I gladly accepted. It’s small—only 124 pages, it’s well-written, and easy to read. (Which is saying a lot for a financial dunce like me.)
Will reading it turn me into a financial wizard? Probably not. But I don’t believe that any one book could. (Or any one lifetime, actually.) I don’t believe John Hauserman’s goal was to turn everyone into financial experts. This book, however, can point the reader in the right direction when they’re interested in setting goals toward building their nest egg or improving their financial portfolio.
In Retirement Quest, Make Better Decisions, Mr. Hauserman explains how investors easily get caught in media hype and buy or sell at the wrong times, and then he explains how to recognize the hype and encourages readers to ignore it.
He also explains, with clarity, the difference between stocks and bonds, and why we might want to diversify our financial portfolio.
It is a great little book that's full of financial help. Inside, there are plenty of graphs and charts that help explain certain financial concepts, such as, if we had $1,000 to invest (I wish), what our investment might look like year to year if we put it all in stocks, or bonds, or both, and the percentage of return we could get on our investments.
For more information on John Hauserman, CFP, go to his website:

Friday, February 10, 2012


It’s a new year; do you have any new goals?
I do.
My goal this year is to be nicer. The world, it seems, is full of people who aren’t nice, who are stressed, having a bad day, or downright mean. This year, I would like to stand apart from the grouches and cranks. I would like to make a difference in someone’s life—for the better.
If I can be the reason for one person’s happy thought, or a ray of sunshine for someone’s soul, then I will know that I’m on my way to becoming a better person.

I've had a month now to work on this goal. Sometimes I know when I've accomplished it, and other times I'm not sure if I've done anything or not. Isn't that the way it is though? We can only do our best and hope for the best. We don't always know how our attitudes and efforts affect others.
At the school that I work at, the principal is trying to get everyone to work together for PEACE. He wants 100 days without fighting. That's a hard goal for so many people to try to accomplish. Especially when it's so easy to get angry on the playground. Someone pushes, someone shoves, tempers flare. Unfortunately we didn't make our first 100 days and had to start trying again. But this is the thing, if we don't succeed at first--at least we tried. Don't give up! We are farther along with having tried, and we can start on our goals again tomorrow.

May we each meet our goals for a happier tomorrow.

Friday, February 3, 2012


If you're tired, overworked and need a diversion, here's Tom Cruiz's thoughts on Home Teaching. Rated G. Enjoy!

Tonight's meal can either be cooked on the grill, or in the crockpot, depending on your desired result.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 C soy sauce
1/4 C fresh lime juice
1 TBSP worchestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp ground pepper (optional)
Optional: Add all ingredients to a ziplock bag and marinate several hours, then cook on medium grill.
OR, place all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 - 8 hours.

WHAT I DID: Seperate chicken from liquid. Add 1C water and 2 TBSP corn starch to liquid and cook over medium stove to thicken. Use this as gravey over mashed potatoes.