Life of a Real Mom

Unedited Mothering

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 15)

Vegetable Rich Recipes

Full of Veggies

I am not vegan or vegetarian, but I have been cutting out dairy and sugar. I also try to eat meat sparingly. You can see that my husband and kids still want milk for their addiction to cold cereal. You can ALSO see my almond milk (that I made) in the jar at the top right next to my green smoothie leftovers that I will enjoy this afternoon for a snack). We have ground beef for, of course, hamburgers this weekend.

I have recently been introduced to Ellen Fisher. What an inspiration! You can go to her site for her recipes. I will share just a few of MY veggie recipes one-at-a-time.


  • whole wheat pita bread
  • seasoned black beans (garlic powder, cumin, and freshly ground pepper for example)
  • alfalfa sprouts or shredded lettuce/cabbage
  • diced tomatoes
  • diced green onions
  • sliced almonds or other nut
  • salad dressing of choice or salsa

Whole Wheat Pita Bread is easy to make!

  • 2 c. warm water
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. yeast
  • 5-6 c. whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in the water. Add remaining ingredients. Mix all gently. Add flour as needed to gain a tacky but not sticky dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about four minutes. On a floured surface, cut the dough into 12-15 sections. Roll each section into a ball. Flatten each ball with a rolling pin into a 5 to 6 inch circle, starting from the center and being careful to leave the edges with some body (not pinched with the rolling pin). Place on parchment liners to rest. Cover with a towel.

My rolling pin, which I made with my father-in-law years ago, has a crack in it, but it still does the job.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Bake 3-4 pitas on a stone for 4–6 minutes. Remove to a plastic bag for five minutes, which causes the pitas bubble to deflate but keeps the pocket in tact. ENJOY!

Not perfectly round, but perfectly delicious!

The salad dressing I used today was:

  • 2 T. tahini, 2 T. maple syrup, and 1 T. dijon mustard. YUM!

Other veggie dishes on my menu with the items I currently have in my fridge are:

  • Eggplant Parmesan with marinara sauce
  • Grilled Veggies (bell peppers, parsnips, yams, potatoes) served with a Spinach Salad
  • Vegetarian tacos (with warm corn tortillas refried beans, sautéed veggies, lettuce)
  • Asian noodles and stir-fry
  • Curry, potato and coconut gravy over rice
  • Pasta tossed with stir-fried spring vegetables, oregano and olive oil
  • Bean Burritos

I HIGHLY recommend checking out Ellen Fisher, who has been VEGAN for 9 years while having three healthy babies. She is a great master of how to make vegetables delicious! She also has a youtube channel HERE.

REAL Help for New Moms

A new free app, Matriarc, has been designed to help women heal their minds and bodies post-delivery. This app includes many features for new moms and is 100 percent free on Apple.

Enjoy your baby more by taking care of yourself. xoxo

Matriarc is a digital community where moms post childbirth come to heal their minds and bodies. Almost always, all attention and focus shifts from the mom to the baby once the baby is born. Matriarc was built for moms to rehabilitate their new body, calm the mind, relieve stress, and restore energy levels. Our simple-to-follow program aids in the transition of a mother’s body from pregnancy to motherhood. Joining Matriarc gives each mom a few moments to focus on themselves so they can be best mom they can be for their children and family.

Get more from your day through targeted exercise sequences specifically created for post-delivery, meditation series and educational information. Matriarc is designed to flatten your stomach, strengthen your core and rejuvenate you in just a few minutes a day. Our Basic App is completely free and it will teach you the fundamental techniques for safe physical fitness and mindfulness, and share with you important nutrition, medical, and educational information. Come join Matriarc now! Together we can create a better community of healthier and happier moms.


– Interactive media player
– Over 100 individual exercises
– 30 unique core sequences for 0-6 months post-delivery
– 30 unique core sequences for 6 months and beyond post-delivery
– Newsfeed with daily articles on motherhood, wellness, nutrition and fitness
– Forum with a community of strong moms
– Audio meditations
– Restorative images
– Breathing ring
– Tracking system for water in-take, meditation, and exercises

When I had each of my babies, I loved the new life and excitement they brought into my life, but I was tired, felt fat, and needed a friend. To expect my husband to fulfill all my needs was trouble because he didn’t know my needs and surely didn’t understand them when I had the gumption to tell him. I hope you have a supportive mom, or sister, or friend or husband. That would be great! But whether you have someone to rely on or not, you have GOT to BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND. Prayer, positive self talk, personal time, family time, lots of rest and nutritious food and exercise are necessary! Maybe Matriarc can help you along your path to wholeness. You are a better parent when you are physically, emotionally, spiritually healthy and happy.

What are you feeling pressure to do? Take ownership of your life.

I’m back.

HERE IS THE REAL ME: I have been parenting, teaching, coaching, loving Duncan and doing other important things. My children, second graders, young athletes, and piano students are wonderful. I have also been cleaning, cooking, listening, driving, mowing the lawn and doing other filler things that cause every day to go by really fast. We all have only 24 hours. Am I living my life on purpose?

Adam Hailstone says that if we feel pressure to do something, it is because we want to do it. We may just be blaming someone else, or our circumstances to procrastinate or even distance ourselves from the task. If we didn’t want to do it, we wouldn’t feel concern when someone encourages us along our path. The opposite of love is indifference. We don’t want to feel indifferent. Of course we don’t want to feel fear either. LOVE is the answer. So love yourself. Be honest with yourself. What is best for you?

  • You need to recognize a need to change before you can change.
  • What am I avoiding? (For me: house work, family research, family photo organization, oil painting, reading non-fiction, exercise, gardening) Are these things I want to be doing? should be doing? (for me: gardening is not necessary. The other things will lead to my self-actualization, so they an important use of my time.)
  • Find a way by making a plan. (For me while are kids at school this week and I have 2 weeks off teaching and coaching: DAILY 1/2 hour on blog, 2 hours family history, 2 hours family photos, 2 hours oil painting, house work with the kids when they get home.)

I recommend watching “Inspiration Hour for Adults” by Adam Hailstone.

“The one thing in the world, of value, is the active soul”. ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t blame anyone or anything, which is just a subconscious tactic for absolving ourself from accomplishing what you want to do. Pressure is felt because you want to do it, not because you are being MADE to do it. Recognize that you are in charge, then reach your dreams. YOU CAN DO IT!

My Kids Bring Me Happiness

My kids are the best! That is what every parent should say. I am sure there are more “perfect kids” out there just like there SURELY are more “perfect moms” out there, but my kids are the best for me and I LOVE THEM TO PIECES!

Families are an important part lasting happiness that we all seek.

Craig P. Wilson, in his talk Lasting Happiness says, “The gospel [of Jesus Christ] teaches us that we are all created for a happiness that endures. How can more of us achieve it? Not surprisingly, what these researchers continue to discover through their studies are principles that have always been a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” CLICK HERE FOR THE WHOLE TALK. Here some of the traits that seem to be common among those who lead happy, meaningful lives:

Satisfaction with Meeting Basic Needs
“Happy people are content with having their basic needs met.”

Appreciation for Simplicity
“Even when they live in a materialistic society, happy people are not ruled by the often mistaken idea that ‘more is better’.”

Dedication to a Cause
“Happy people are involved in something they believe is bigger than themselves.”

Use of Personal Strengths
“Happy people use their personal strengths to bless the lives of others.”

Commitment to Relationships
“Happy people foster close friendships and family relationships.”

A Sense of Purpose
“Happy people focus less on transient, pleasurable pursuits and more on enduring, meaningful ones.”

“Happy people strive to become more selfless.”

“There Could Not Be a Happier People”
“Dedicated to living the gospel of Jesus Christ, the people had the love of God in their hearts, so that “there was no contention in the land” and many of the sins usually associated with this world were not found among them.”

Craig Wilson concludes, “To experience such happiness ourselves is not an unreachable ideal. As we dedicate ourselves to living the gospel of Jesus Christ, adopting righteous characteristics we observe in the lives of those who lead joyful, meaningful lives, we too can live “after the manner of happiness” (2 Nephi 5:27)—the lasting happiness that God intended for His children.”

I believe this to be truth. Raising kids applies these traits in my life. Let’s keep doing our best so we can live as God planned: happily.

Kids and Social Media on Smart Phones

Kids and smart phones go hand-in-hand… or do they? According to Anna MacFarlane smart phones are good. They are very very good, but we MUST be educated about them and have conversations with our kids about social media. A lot.

Anna Macfarlane is a social media expert who frequently teaches companies and brands how to connect with their audience and maximize their social spaces. She is the founder of @kidsaretheworst, @thingsaretheworst, and @annaistheworst, among other social media accounts and has a fan base of more than 500,000+ internationally & growing. I went to see her speak to parents and kids recently and was so impressed! My attitude about phones has completely changed. Do you realize all they replace?

One Smart phone replaces a:
– flashlight
– encyclopedia, many sets of encyclopedias
– dictionary
– thesaurus
– alarm
– walk man or iPod
– camera
– books
– radio
– maps
– compass
– travel guide, many travel guides
– recipe book
– letters, stamps, envelopes
– phone
– video camera
– CD player
– television
– phone book
– hand held scriptures, an entire library of gospel resources
– and even a desktop computer in some cases. I could go on and on. MAN! a phone seems so worth it all of a sudden AND IT IS ALL IN OUR POCKET.

The answer to being glued to our smart phones isn’t to get rid of them, it is to use them responsibly. Anna has written a fantastic social media guide for families. I highly recommend it. YOUR kids will actually thank you!

Anna has four kids, one husband, one dog, and multiple alternate identities with accompanying silly voices.

Anna was one of’s 10 Favorite Moms on the Internet, and has been featured in The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Real Simple, and The Daily Mail, among others. She can show you how to grow your social media following for ROI, visit for more details.

GO TO HER SITE. It is fantastic!

KIDS ARE THE BEST, but her blog is pretty hilarious and full of great stuff! CHECK OUT THE SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDE for kids and parents! AMAZING.
Kids Are the Worst

Today – Episode 4

My blog is full of the ordinary, in effort to bring some reality to the media. I am a great mom who makes mistakes, avoids cleaning, and can’t get-it-all-done, like most people I know. LIKE YOU, I am extraordinarily blessed with a great family, and opportunities to make a positive difference in this world – one day at a time.

Tuesday – HMMM. Haaaa. Uggggh.

– Well, I know more about being put on the spot now. Jessica Jackson from “Thriving in Motherhood Podcast” interviewed me about my motherhood journey so far. It was a privilege to talk with her. THANK YOU Jessica!
CLICK HERE to listen to my conversation with Jessica about my development through parenting.
– The kids are in school and relatively happy. Curt made the soccer team and Adam is on the swim team. Piano lessons have started. Chores still are at a standstill, though.
– I was going to indulge in a movie today, but did something much better. I had a face to face with one of my sisters! I love them all! What a treat!

Saturday –
– Podcasts. I feel intrigued, excited, and intimidated. I listen to some that show me what an amazing resource they are. There is so much I can learn from the many good podcasts out there! I am listening to an amazing one right now, while I am typing, I am listening to a mom who has 4 boys, 3 with type one diabetes and whose husband past away because of cancer! I should be a more compassionate person because of this story. LISTEN to it HERE. I found this podcast and many other stories of amazing women HERE.

Wednesday – Get ready for soccer!

– Candlelight Sports (K-6) is another one of those disruptive businesses – the ones that improve the industry so drastically that it surprises the status quo (i.e. Netflix and Amazon). Sports in the afternoon?! What! YES! You can have your family time back. LOVE IT!
– In the meantime, Curt (8th grade! WHAT?!) is trying out for soccer at the middle school and Adam (17) is on the swim team for our high school. School is back!
– Adam got his braces off!

Pearly Whites

Tuesday – Katahdin

– I am speechless. CLICK HERE for J.D.‘s words about finishing the Appalachian Trail.

Monday – First day of school

– I cut my own hair this weekend. Can you tell? Its quite a bit shorter. I’ve been cutting my own hair for 10 years or so. Of course, this is only possible because I have a long hair style – although my mom has short hair and she and my dad cut her hair together. This way you know you get what you want and it is free. Dunc asked me this morning, though, “Kristin – Can I ask you a favor?” Sure, Babe. “Would you be more careful when you clean up after you cut your hair?” EEeeek. Ya. I am sorry. I’ll do that. BLAST! I can be a slob sometimes.
– Adam and Curt had their first day of school today.

J.D. had cell coverage and talked to me for an hour – not including the interuptions in coverage, but we kept calling each other back. He summited Saddleback Mtn in southern Maine this morning and has 2 more peaks in this group to summit, before crossing 2 other systems of mountains and then on to the 100 mile wilderness. Here is his view at the beginning of our call. He was talking to me while he was hiking.

From the top of Saddleback Mountain, Maine

Sorry. THIS is NOT the ordinary:

At Maine’s state border

Tempe resident J.D. Shaeffer, will complete the Appalachian National Scenic Trail this summer in only 3 months and 11 days. The A.T. is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world, nearly 2,200 miles in length. The trail travels through fourteen states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian Mountain Range, including the highest points in many of these states. J.D. began at the A.T.’s southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia on May 4, 2018 and will finish the through-hike at its northern end at the peak of Mount Katahdin, Maine on August 14, 2018.

Fitting the 2,200 miles in between semesters was no easy task. J.D. flew out of Phoenix less than a day after his last spring final exam on May 3rd. He landed at Atlanta’s Hartsfield airport around 6 a.m. on May 4th and that same day arrived at the approach trail at Amicaloa Falls State Park. After 8 miles of hiking, he officially began the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain, Georgia, and then hiked his first 2 miles of the A.T. before retiring for the first of 103 nights spent on the trail. Over the course of his difficult journey, J.D. averaged hiking a marathon a day, his mileage record being 41 miles hiked in one day. He will finish just in time to catch a flight home on August 16th, the first day of fall classes at ASU. According to the Appalachian Mountain Club, “An Appalachian Trail thru-hike takes between five and seven months to complete the entire trail. About 20 percent of hikers who begin the trail will complete it.” J.D. will complete it in 3 months and 11 days.

J.D.’s determined character, smart planning, and 6’10” height gave him major advantages to finishing the A.T. quickly. First, J.D. exercised strong mental stamina throughout the hike, which is necessary to overcome normal expectations, loneliness, and illness. The hardest physical demands include hiking up Mount Killington, Vermont in freezing wind while thoroughly wet for days due to one-of-the-many multi-day rainstorms he endured. Long distance hikes like the A.T. take extensive planning, and one evidence of this is that J.D. carried as little weight as possible, food being the priority. Decisions like wearing the same shirt and shorts the entire journey with no coat (or bringing any cooking gear) gave J.D. a needed advantage to keep a fast pace. These advantages and his physical strength helped J.D. hike and climb almost 2,200 miles in 103 days.

J.D. Shaeffer, one of five children, was raised in Tempe, Arizona. He is a graduate of Marcos de Niza High School, Fees Middle School, and Rover Elementary. He is now a Computer Science major at Arizona State University. He is an Eagle Scout from troop 576 (having done work on the Arizona Trail for his Eagle Project) and spent two years as a missionary in Paraguay for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Friday – Look!

– Look! I am wearing the same shirt I did yesterday! It isn’t THAT dirty.
– I survived Curt’s fever last night. How is it that moms often escape catching what their kids get? I know this is not always the case, but I hope it is for me this time. Poor guy. It is NO FUN to be sick.
– I am hooked on the book Ready Player One. It is fun! Adam and J.D. read it and I am so glad I am trying it out. Next is the more sophisticated The Old man and the Sea.
MORE ABOUT Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
MORE ABOUT The Old Man in the Sea, by Hemingway
– I just picked up and changed Adam’s high school schedule for him, since he is at work. I did it all with his approval along the way. He has proven to make very good decisions.

Thursday – Where has the week gone?

– Being married is an interesting (hard and great) thing. Get-aways are a must! Dunc and I drove to June Lake, California to pick up the Acura. We camped at a quiet spot on public land for free, ate salami, cheese and popcorn that we bought and popped at a convenience store. We drove back in two separate cars, but it was SO FUN because I was with him. I am grateful for all he does for me and our family. We both keep trying to improve. He is the bees knees! I love this man!
Curt finished his billy cart (gravity racer) yesterday. After a couple tries, he succeeded in a few awesome runs at our neighborhood park. Of course, there are adjustments he wants to make on the cart now. Below are the youtube videos he liked the best as he was making it. (P.S. He wanted to make the whole cart out of stuff we had laying around the house, instead of spending any money. He managed to accomplish that except one speed nut ($1.00 at ACE Hardware). VIDEO OF CURT’s GRAVITY RACER
DIY Billy Cart
How to make a Billy Cart at Bunnings

– Clark’s bday package to his mission in Mexico is on its way. I got this idea on pinterest of course.

J.D.’s latest

Wednesday – Family

A few of us at the reservoir, “The Rez”

After coming home from our road trip (AND GETTING 4 NEW TIRES ON THE VAN) Dunc took off to hike in CA, Adam started a job in Phoenix for the rest of the summer, and Curt and I hit the road again.
– Fun in Pagosa, CO with some of my amazing family! Curt cut his cheek pretty bad, 15 minutes after we arrived. Thank goodness my brother-in-law is a doctor and glued the cut shut with super glue.

Piedra Falls

– Lots of visiting and catching up in Delta, UT with the Johnson side of my family! HERE is a great write up about my Uncle’s home. The family is so big, though, we have the reunion at the city park. We camp on the ball field 🙂

Johnson Reunion

– Resting on the Sabbath in Heber, AZ with more family.

Tuesday – ROAD TRIP 2018

Eating Lobster in Maine

– 26 states (Focus on New England States) I have been in 49 of the United States. Just missing North Dakota!
– camped 13 nights in a row
– drove 6, 920 miles

Monday – J.D. is surviving

J.D. at the Susquehannah River in PA.

– Giardia off and on for 2 weeks – THE PITS!
– Seeing some amazing sights
– Record is 41 miles hiked in one day. Taking it easy now – about 22 miles a day – to stay healthy for the rest of the adventure.

Waving “Goodbye” to us as he resumed his hike on the Appalachian Trail.

A good camera shot of a bear on the trail

Fourth of July fireworks over a lake in New Jersey

I share a glimpse into my REAL life each day on this “Today” page. I am going to start making each “Today” it’s own post to encourage comments. Tomorrow I will index this post under Past “Today”s.

Explanation of the “Today” page: My blog is full of the ordinary, in effort to bring some reality to the media. I am a great mom who makes mistakes, avoids cleaning, and can’t get-it-all-done, like most people I know. AND LIKE YOU, I am extraordinarily blessed with a great family, and opportunities to make a positive difference in this world – one day at a time.

Mom’s Schedule

You need time to get ready for the day. I always have a better day if I:

– Wake up before the kids,
– Say my prayers,
– Do some stretches/yoga, or if Dunc is home, go running with a friend,
– Read my scriptures… blah blah blah.

That is a dream, that didn’t come true for me until my youngest was about nine and I was finally able to wake up sane enough and early enough to do all this before the kids wake up. … And still I don’t do it most of the time because I LIKE sleeping until I HAVE to wake up, but I DO make sure that I am up with the first kid. I don’t like the feeling of laying in bed while they are being stellar. I want to be up and accomplishing with them. 😉

Without a doubt-

You have GOT to read the scriptures sometime in the day, every day – even if it is only a verse. The peace and blessings that come from centering your day on Christ are too great to pass up. AND PRAY morning and night. Test it out. A miracle is what this simple habit will do for you.

Listen to a PODCAST where I share my personal development through mothering.

Music Enhances Connections Between Parents and Children

Music Facilitates Emotional Connections. Have you noticed how you feel while singing to your child?

These feelings of tenderness and closeness develop the bond between parent and child. Dr. Deepak Chopra, contributing editor of Parenting explains the relationship between a mother and her child: “A single-cell embryo divides only fifty times to become one hundred trillion cells, which is more than all the stars in the Milky Way galaxy.” Once a child is born, all the cells in both bodies act together to create simple but important connections between the two.

Mothers, despite all of the science involved, it’s the power of the your love — pure and simple — that can protect your child from illness, shape her future relationships, and rearrange her genes to her benefit. When you kiss your toddler after getting hurt, sing a lullaby at bedtime, or cuddle while gazing into your baby’s eyes, she’ll think you’re magical. And the truth is, you are.

“Those hugs and kisses are a force of nature,” says Dr. Chopra. Mother-child bonding is a complex physiological process that enlists not just our hearts, but our brains, hormones, nerves, and almost every part of our bodies.

I don’t know about you, but I often ran out of ideas of ways to interact with my babies. If you have found yourself wondering the same thing, consider singing, dancing or playing through music.

I recently saw a photo of a baby with giant headphones on his head. Yes, many studies say that music will make your baby smarter, but by singing the song yourself you are also strengthening the bond between you and your baby. Don’t worry how you sound. Your baby won’t critique you, but will love the sound of YOUR voice and your attention.

What do you sing? Of course, there are the old familiar songs, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “I am a Child of God.” There are many many more songs that you may have forgotten, but can be learned very easily. The lyrics can easily be found on-line. What matters is that you sing. Sing in the car, on your walks, when cuddling, when playing, when putting down to sleep, or any other time. Music doesn’t just enhance life and relationships, it facilitates parent and child bonding. ENJOY!

Here is a very small list of countless songs in this beautiful world:

Hush, Little Baby
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Brahms’s Lullaby (Lullaby and Good Night)
Rock-a-Bye Baby
Golden Slumbers
Day Is Done
Little Boy Blue
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Toora, Loora, Loora
All the Pretty Horses
Amazing Grace
Are You Sleeping? (Frère Jacques)
Lavender’s Blue (Dilly Dilly)*
Sleep, Baby, Sleep
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
All Through the Night

Patriotic Songs:
This Land is Your Land
It’s a Small World
Yankee Doodle
America the Beautiful
The Star Spangled Banner

A Dream is the Wish Your Heart Makes
I Whistle a Happy Tune
My Favorite Things
Little Blue Man*

I’ve Been Working on the Railroad*
Love Somebody
Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho
She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain
The Muffin Man
The Mulberry Bush
Shoo, Fly, Don’t Bother Me
Au Clair de la Lune
Bicycle Built for Two
Around Her Neck, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon*

I am A Child of God*
A Child’s Prayer*
Love is Spoken Here*
I’ll Take Him by the Hand*
Let the Sunshine In* (See below)

Kindermusik Action Songs:
Hop, Up My Baby*
I Roll the Ball to You*
I Have a Little Pony*

Links for Children Music:
Kindermusik on Facebook
Children Hymns

Studies about Music and Children:
Scientific Study Shows the Connection between Musical Study and Successful Children

Music Books I Have in My library:
Music in Preschool by Katalin Forrai
Heritage Songster by Leon and Lynn Dallin
The Big Book of Children’s Songs by Hal Leonard
Children’s Songbook by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Baby Massage by Dr. Alan Heath and Nicki Bainbridge

A Song I Have Written:
I Love You Truly* by Kristin Shaeffer – This song may stem from a tune I had heard from somewhere else, but regardless, it was a tune in my head when I wanted to sing to my baby girl. I just sang what came to my head. As you can see, it is super simple. I have sung it over and over again to all my 5 kids. CLICK HERE for a simple video of me singing it! Hahahaha! This is REAL and unfiltered, believe me.

A Few of My Favorite CDs:
G’night Wolfgang by Ric Louchard
G’morning Johann by Ric Louchard
Hey!Ludwig by Ric Louchard

Train Song
(Tune: Yankee Doodle)

I met an engine on a hill
All hot and broken-hearted,
And this is what he said to me
As up the hill he started.

I think I can, I think I can, At any rate, I’ll try.
I think I can, I think I can, At any rate, I’ll try.

He reached the top, and looking back
To where he stood and doubted,
He started on the downward track
And this is what he shouted;

I knew I could, I knew I could,
I never should have doubted.
I knew I could, I knew I could,
I never should have doubted.

Let the Sunshine In*
by Anne Murray
lyrics adjusted by Kristin Shaeffer

Mommy told me something
A little girl should know
It’s all about the devil
And I learned to hate him so
She said he causes trouble when you let him in your room
He’ll never ever leave you if your heart is filled with gloom

So let the sun shine in
Face it with a grin
Smilers never lose
And Frowners never win
So let the sun shine in
Face it with a grin
Open up your heart and let the sun shine in

When you are discouraged
The devil jumps with glee
And he feels so awful awful
When he sees you on your knees
So if you feel of trouble
And you never seem to win
Just open up your heart and let the sun shine in


America (My Country,’ Tis of Thee)
Text: by Samuel F. Smith

1. My country, ‘tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing;
land where my fathers died,
land of the pilgrims’ pride,
from every mountainside let freedom ring!
4. Our fathers’ God, to thee,
author of liberty, to thee we sing;
long may our land be bright
with freedom’s holy light;
protect us by thy might, great God, our King.

* My all-time favorites

Parenting Special Needs Children

Recently a reader shared with me how hard it is to find helpful and accurate information about raising children, especially special needs kids. That’s one of the reasons she and two of her friends created a site called She writes:

“Lately, my husband and I have been talking about what the future will look like for our 6-year-old son, who has Down syndrome and autism. We have some time, but we already know he won’t be ready to move out on his own at age 18 or even 21.

“It’s been surprisingly hard to find practical resources for parents of young adults who aren’t likely to be able to live independently! But after a lot of digging, I discovered a few really good ones. I wanted to share them with you in case you want to add them to your site:

Renters Rights for People with Disabilities
Managing Your Child’s Transition to Adulthood
Guide to Remodeling a Home for Adults with Special Needs
Special Needs Checklist: How Disability-Friendly is Your City?
Vocational Training for Adults with Special Needs

Parents of special needs children have my utmost admiration! I have special needs friends and friends with special needs children. You are all amazing. You are beautiful! I love you!

May you feel the love of God through your blessed journey!

Mount Katahdin: Northern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail

“Mount Katahdin (/kəˈtɑːdɪn/ kə-TAH-din) is the highest mountain in the U.S. state of Maine at 5,267 feet (1,605 m). Named Katahdin by the Penobscot Indians, which means “The Greatest Mountain”,[3] the mountain is located within Northeast Piscataquis, Piscataquis County, and is the centerpiece of Baxter State Park. It is a steep, tall mountain formed from a granite intrusion weathered to the surface. The flora and fauna on the mountain are typical of those found in northern New England.

“Katahdin was known to the Native Americans in the region, and was known to Europeans at least since 1689. It has inspired hikes, climbs, journal narratives, paintings, and a piano sonata.[4] The area around the peak was protected by Governor Percival Baxter starting in the 1930s. Katahdin is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, and is located near a stretch known as the Hundred-Mile Wilderness.

“The mountain is commonly called just “Katahdin”,[5] though the official name is “Mount Katahdin” as decided by the US Board on Geographic Names in 1893[6]” (

Here are J.D.’s words (J.D. is commonly known as “Giant” on the trail.) about the last few hours before summiting Katahdin and finishing the Appalachian Trail:

“A guy I hiked with the last couple days, Jeremy, who is actually hiking the ECT (twice as long as the AT) is a hard core super light hiker. He wanted to hike together. He is already 4,000 miles into his hike. We hiked the majority of the 100 Mile Wilderness together. We hiked to Abol Pines together. At the campground there was a restaurant, which was closed. We threw our packs downed laid down on the ground and complained up a storm, we were so disappointed. But the store was open, so we ate ice cream and Chef Boyarde Beef-a-Roni and fruit cocktail.

“As we were there Flash, Highlander and Switch showed up. We were all at the campground store looking like bums, just hanging out. Then a new guy, Banana Pants, showed up.


“So there were now six of us just looking like bums.

“Banana Pants had a reservation at the Abol Pines Campgroud, a car camping site, and invited us all to camp with him on his site that night. We had a beautiful sunset. 6 of us laying around. We all camped there together. Then Ghost showed up late at night. Rememeber Ghost? We hiked together a little in southern Maine, before Monson, and he did the wilderness in 3 days (we did it in 4 days) and joined our crew. We told him our plans for summiting.

“Weather forecast: There was to be decent weather on the mountain tomorrow; light showers till 1 p.m. then lightning. We had to be off the mountain by then.

“My idea was to wake up at 3 am to summit and down by noon. Those who agreed we called the “summit crew.”

“In the morning (Tuesday, August 14, 2018), we woke at 3:00 EST. First we hiked 10 miles to the base of the mountain and then registered with the ranger there. There is a ton of nitty gritty at Baxter, which is privately owned. They have all these rules. There was a problem a while ago with a hiker a few years ago that made it bad for everyone. They could take Baxter out of the A.T., so the A.T. is making sure that everyone follows the Baxter rules. you need a permit to summit and one to go in the park and no camping in the park or you get a whopping fine. They won’t let anyone up at certain times and they can deny you going up the mountain whenever they want. So they can keep you from finishing.

“Since it was suppose to thunder and rain and storm all day tomorrow (Wednesday), we were all hoping they wouldn’t close the mountain to hikers! Thank goodness he wasn’t stopping anyone when we got there. The weather was fine at the base around 6 a.m.

“I made it up at 9:27 a.m.! There were a lot of people who were up there.

“Ghost, Banana Pants and Switch had already beat me. I cried. I knelt and said a prayer of gratitude and kissed the sign. I took pictures up there. I was up there for half an hour. It was getting cold. Jeremy made it up and he was extremely grateful too. Of course, he will continue down a side trail. He isn’t finished until he reaches Quebec.

“On the other hand, Banana Pants, from Buffalo, NY, was in a hurry to get home.
Ghost, Switch, and I went down together. We got a hitch into Millinocket, Maine together. I found a size 14 crocs in the loaner bin at the AT Lodge, hostel! No problem to be here a day early. I have a full day to relax.

“At the top I did cry, but I wasn’t screaming. It was very emotional and I definitely felt, well it is hard to describe. I feel pure gratitude to Heavenly Father for all he did to make this possible. I felt love and friendship toward all my fellow hikers. An incredible relief. A task has been sent in and I got a 100%. I am very satisfied with my hiking goals.

“We are all happy. And happy to get some real food in our belly. We did it! We can do what ever we want now.

“I am going to miss this. I am going to miss these people. This was a beautiful time. I don’t feel any regrets, now I just feel grateful.”

J.D. Shaeffer was the 2,517th hiker to begin the Appalachian Trail this year. He was the 402nd to finish.

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