Tuesday, July 6, 2010

True to Myself

Part of my my intentions in converting this blog from being a giveaway blog to my own personal blog, was to be more true to who I am.  As I've started out, I've realized that the my audience from the previous blog was very general.  Because of that I've tried to be more conservative in what I say about my personal religion, and who I am.  But the truth is my religion makes up most of my life.  I've decided in order to be more true to who I am, I will be more open about my religion.  I am a Latter-day Saint.  And this blog will be more about my life as one and my creativity.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Faith and Anxiety

My mother once told me that even as a baby I was affected by stress.  She recalls at least one time when her and my father got into an argument, I broke out into hives.  After they took me into the doctor, he determined it was most probably stress. 

I'd say most of my childhood was filled with stress and anxiety, though I had no idea what I was feeling  or how to define it.  It wasn't until I was 17 years old that I really understood what anxiety and stress was.  Something happened to me that cause such deep anxiety that I was once rushed to the hospital feeling that my insides were about to explode. In occasions that shortly followed that I experienced severe heartburn, being diagnosed with acid reflux disease, and chest pains that hurt so bad I was certain I was about to die of a heart attack.

As the stressful events in that time in my life subsided so did the symptoms.  As when other major stressful events occurred in my life the symptoms reappear, mainly the heartburn and chest pains. 

When I got married and have had conversations with my husband about my anxiety problems he didn't understand.  Not that he didn't want to understand, but he just didn't relate. In his mind he didn't even really comprehend what anxiety was.  This confused me a little because I also didn't really know how to explain it.  I stole this definition of anxiety from http://www.dictionary.com/



1.distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune: He felt anxiety about the possible loss of his job.

2.earnest but tense desire; eagerness: He had a keen anxiety to succeed in his work.

3.Psychiatry. a state of apprehension and psychic tension occurring in some forms of mental disorder.

In the last couple of years I've been able to sense when there are too many things going on around me or when I need a break because I've been in tune with how my body reacts. Last week I had a small encounter with one of these episodes and it made me reflect on some things. 

I bet it was not even two weeks ago I wrote that post on "The Secret". At the time I was in a state of having a large amount of faith.  I felt peace and hopeful and great.  I felt like I could conquer the world.  This is in contrast to how I have been feeling over the last week.  It's amazing first of all how quickly faith can vanish for me.  Faith is something I have to work at tremendously. 

For some people like my husband for example, I feel like faith is more of a natural attribute or a talent. 

It ties in with my new theory on faith and anxiety.  They are complete opposites. That is why my husband doesn't understand extreme anxiety because he is more inclined to understand extreme faith. 


My conclusion is that when I start feeling the physical symptoms of anxiety it is time for me to seriously concentrate on being faithful, and being inspired, and including in my prayers to help me be faithful and not disbelieving.  So that is my goal for this week, to get back on track with faith....(and to finish operation deep clean :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

There's Glitter in the Air

I heard this song on the radio last night by Pink and was thrust into a state of nostalgia.  I was coming home from an evening of peace so graciously provided by my husband who knew I had a bad day.  He told me to go out and I felt much more refreshed when I did.  Anyhow this song came on on the ride home, not typically a Pink fan, but I really liked the lyrics. 

Glitter In The Air lyrics

Songwriters: Mann, Billy; Moore, Alecia;

Have you ever fed a lover with just your hands?
Close your eyes and trust it, just trust it
Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?
Have you ever looked fear in the face
And said I just don't care?

It's only half past the point of no return
The tip of the iceberg, the sun before the burn
The thunder before lightning, the breath before the phrase
Have you ever felt this way?

Have you ever hated yourself for staring at the phone?
Your whole life waiting on the ring to prove you're not alone
Have you ever been touched so gently you had to cry?
Have you ever invited a stranger to come inside?

It's only half past the point of oblivion
The hourglass on the table, the walk before the run
The breath before the kiss and the fear before the flames
Have you ever felt this way?

La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la

There you are, sitting in the garden
Clutching my coffee, calling me sugar
You called me sugar

Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight
Have you ever held your breath and asked yourself
Will it ever get better than tonight? Tonight

Anyhow after listening to the song I started to look at how cute my children really are.  Like how cute it is when my daughter puts popcorn into her little mouth. The popcorn is so much bigger in proportion to her face.  Then as I looked up the stairs I saw how my 4 year old had gotten his PJs on.  There was one article of his clothing on each step of the stairs.  The whole downstairs was T-R-A-S-H-E-D.  Which was horrible if you remember how many hours I just spent deep cleaning it, but I just smiled.  And I felt happy.  And I remembered that a clean organized house isn't always necessary to be ungrumpy.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Me Vs. The Great Outdoors

I'm not much of a camper.  I can say the last time I camped it was 13 years ago, and it was in a cabin with my 8th grade cheerleading squad. I can't even remember how old I was the last time I slept in a tent.  I might have been 8 or 9 years old. 

If I remember correctly, most times I camped in a tent it rained.  Any place we camped that had showers, they were always cold. 

Friday night my family and I went for a one night camping trip.  It was fun, as far as fires, exploring, and hanging with friends go.  But it made me remember why I don't really like camping.  I CANT SLEEP. 

We slept in a tent in our sleeping bags.  The night was warm and perfect.  My husband and I probably went to sleep around midnight.  I woke probably around 2am FREEZING COLD.  I snuggled close to my kids whom I had covered with an extra blanket just in case.  I still froze. 

Anyhow, I still haven't given up on tent camping.  I think I just need to bring more stuff (another annoying thing about camping :) )  I think we'll experiment in the back yard (with a tent) until we get it right from now on.

Here's a camping list for anyone who is either a first time camper, or just hasn't gone in a long time.  Readers please feel free to add to my list in the comments section.  I am by no mean an expert camper. By the way, we camped in the mountains. 

1. Tent
2. Sleeping bags
3. Extra blankets for everyone.
4. AIR MATTRESSES (I've been told this might have kept me warm since the ground gets so cold)
5. pillows.
6. Warm PJs or long johns to go under PJs.
7. Coolers
8. Ice
9. Drinks for everyone for X amount of days you are camping
10. Meals for everyone for X amount of days camping.
11. Snacks
12. stuff for smores.
13. charcoals
14. cooking sticks for fire.
15. fire wood (purchased in state of camping since there are restrictions in some states about bringing in firewood)
16. lighter
17 newspaper (for starting fires)
18. napkins
19. plates/and forks etc.
20. toilet paper or tissues
21. wipes
22. hand sanitizer
24. bug spray
25. board games, card games, dice games
26. back packs
27. water bottles
28. clothes for both warm and cold weather.
29. camping chairs
30. extra pairs of socks
31. hats/sunglasses
32. swim suits
33. towels
34. jackets/hoodies
35. guitar and guitar music (if you play)
36. Frisbee, football, soccer ball, volley ball, etc...sporting stuff.
37. soap
38. cameras
39. good books to read. 
40. lantern/flashlights
41. toothbrush/toothpaste
42. hairbrush/ other hair accessories
43. shampoo/ conditioner
44. deodorant

Friday, June 4, 2010

Drunk by Food

As some of you may have noticed I conducted a poll asking if you would or do cook with alcohol.  I directed the poll to LDS readers, but I didn't realize until now that other religions also don't drink alcohol.  I apologize for that.  Anyhow, I've always found this an interesting topic.  Just yesterday I did a search at lds.org with the words "cooking with alcohol"  About 5 pages of material popped up but not one addressed this topic.   hmmm......So I guess that means it is up to the individual and God?  I 'll give you my take on the matter. 

First of all, As some of you may know the concept that alcohol cooks completely out of the food is a myth.  There was a university study a few years back that proved this.   Let me provide you with a chart so can see how it works. 

Alcohol Burn-off Chart in Prepared Foods
Method of Preparation Percent of Alcohol Retained

No heat applied but stored overnight 90%

Alcohol added to boiling liquid and removed from heat 85%

Alcohol flamed 75%

Alcohol added to food and cooked for 15 minutes 45%

30 minutes 40%

1 hour 25%

1.5 hours 20%

2 hours 10%

2.5 hours 5%

Here is the alcohol content for some common cooking ingredients:

White Wine    9%- 15%
Marsala         17%-20%
Vanilla           35%

I'll let you do all the math because there are several different scenarios.  But I have to ask is it really breaking the LDS word of wisdom? 

I think 'No'.  Yes, I do cook with alcohol, and I think it adds flavors not achieved otherwise. Typically the amount that a recipe calls for is not really that great.  For example Vanilla only uses about a 1 teaspoon or so.  Chicken Marsala calls for about 3/4 cup per 4 chicken breasts. In that instance your only consuming about 3 tablespoons.  So what's 17% alcohol of 3 tablespoons?  It can't be very much, and I bet it's about the same alcohol content of frosting, a cake than contains vanilla, or if you were to accidentally swallow traces of mouthwash. 

I think the purpose of us not drinking alcohol is to not loose our agency to it.  I would not drink it in a cup ever.  But I think using the flavors in wine is a different story.  I am not loosing my agency.   I don't feel like by partaking of foods cooked with wine that I am displaying "the appearance of evil".  If a general authority came to me and said this is indeed against the word of wisdom, I would listen to them. One has yet to say that it is, unless I'm missing something.

Anyhow those are my thoughts of the subject.  Please feel free to comment or e-mail me your feelings. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Operation: Deep Clean

One week ago I declared my reemergence in the blogging world.  What have I been doing?  Unsuccessfully coming up with post topics...well partially. 

Diligently, I've been trying to make one of my "I'm so grateful's" from my previous post a reality.  You see for the last five years I had this believe in a cleaning fairy.  Sort of like the tooth fairy, one must leave something for this fairy at night.  While sleeping the fairy comes to do her job.  With the tooth fairy this is obviously the taking of a tooth.  With the cleaning fairy one must go to sleep leaving a mess for her to clean.

 My children believe in her quite strongly as they faithfully leave her messes every night.  I on the other hand have yet to see the cleaning fairy come. 

I began to wonder if the cleaning fairy was a myth.  Maybe something our parents did. Sort of like "the  Easter bunny".  I've talked to my husband about her, thinking maybe he would take on this role.  But alas, no clean house. 

Any how.  It took me 6 days to deep clean my kitchen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I've wiped out every cupboard shelf, organized my pantry,  washed my blinds, cleaned the windows, baseboards, literally SCRUBBED the floor on my hands and knees, wiped dust off of the top of cupboards, fridge, and light fixtures.  Went through my fridge and freezer.  Scrubbed the kitchen table and chairs.  Got rid of several things we weren't using, etc....boring.  Anyhow it is now done and today I've been working on the living room. 

I guess this is day 7 of Operation: Deep Clean.  I HATE IT! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  How do you clean people do it?  I'm to the point now where I'm failing to see the point.  I'm following through, because I want to see if it does make a difference in my life.  People who have clean and organized houses seem to have more fun and tend to look less stressed out.   That's what I'm hoping for.  :)

I will say that my kitchen right now is cleaner than it's been since before we moved into this house 3 years ago.  I think that's saying something. Well, I'd better get, I've got my living room blinds soaking in bleach.  They are waiting for me to scrub them.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

~Ssshhh....It's a Secret~

Lately I've been trying to live my life a little differently.  I guess you could say it started back in October of 2009 when Dan Brown released his book "The Lost Symbol".  If you haven't read it don't worry I won't give away the ending.  But I will say it discussed an interesting idea about the human mind.  This idea hit me pretty hard...and as soon as I finished reading "The Lost Symbol",  I quickly grabbed "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne. (ok so when I found out there was a movie, I stopped reading the book and watched the movie :) )

The Secret is all about the "Law of Attraction".  Essentially everything that happens to us happens because we attracted it with our thoughts. That's pretty powerful.  The book, er a movie...I mean, Is pretty relentless about the fact that you attract EVERYTHING.  Which means that if your father dies, you attract that.  If you get into a car accident, yep your fault again. 

Now I'm not so sure about everything, but if I had to tell you where my allegiance lies I would say that in most cases I think "The Law of Attraction" is real.  I think we do attract most things in our lives.  As a believer in God, I would have to say that there is that element.  I don't think we necessarily attract the time of death of our family for instance.  But I would venture to say that we attract happiness, sadness, wealth, poverty, sickness, health, luck, good days, bad days, debt, position, etc.

I think the biggest key to life is to have faith and hope.  REGARDLESS OF YOUR RELIGION!  Faith and hope of financial freedom, and health, and wealth, and joy are all key to as actually obtaining that element in life.  You have to believe it so much that you feel like you already have it.  If you believe in God, you have to believe that he WANTS to bless you with comforts of life, and stop thinking that you should be eternally punished for every little thing that you've done incorrectly.  Of course as a sinner we may not "deserve" certain things but with that mentality you can say that really none of us do.  And since some people DO have those things, it must not be an issue of deserving.  It's an issue of faith. 

One last thing I'd like to touch on is the power of our minds.  You hear this said all of the time, "The mind is a powerful thing". I'd like to say, YES IT IS!  And I think it is much much more powerful than many people think or allow themselves to believe.  It think the reason why in religion, faith and hope are overly stated and restated is because that is how you tap into the awesome, nearly magical powers of your mind.  Faith is a creation of reality.  That is why our religions teach us to believe without seeing. I think God's power comes from his mind.  And I think we are being taught not only to rely on God, but to become like him.

To end I'm going to do a writing exercise described in 'The Secret'.  I've already written some of this in my personal journal but I feel this will reinforce the ideas.  You will notice the opposite of what I say is what I'm really struggling with.  :)  I will also note that some of the things I wrote in the past month have already come to be. 

1.  I am grateful for my organized home and garage.
2.  I am grateful for financial freedom from credit cards.
3.  I am grateful that 'Nana'  is potty trained.
4.  I am grateful for my freshly sodded backyard.
5.  I am grateful for the porch on the back of my house.
6.  I am grateful for new flooring.
7.  I am grateful for Marley, my yellow lab, to have a new family with a farm to run around on. 
8.  I am grateful for flexible strong hip muscles.
9.  I am grateful for only one mortgage.
10.  I am grateful that we own our van.
11.  I am grateful to take great photographs the first time I take them.

Try it out.   The one rule is that you can't use any negative words.  You have to say everything positively.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Follow us...

Don't forget to follow our blog, facebook group, or twitter for updates on funds raised and how your funds were used in Haiti. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Banner Links

I justed wanted you to know that the new banners are up and running.  I've added two additional banners for those who win sweet stuff from our giveaways.  Also I added one for any product featured on our blog.  Just copy and paste a code into your html widget in your blog.  These will count as an extra entry in our contests in the future.  If you have the old banner it will still work...

We're still changing, I'll post our start dates for new features soon. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What's to Come

As the creator of So Sweet Giveaways, I had envisioned this a place where new businesses could find exposure and receive attention necessary to carry-on in this formidable economy.  As I've thought, I've decided to add a few things.  If you see in my header I now have a link for 'recipes'.  They are soon to come.  What quailifies me to post recipes?...Good question because 5 years ago we had spaghetti every other night for dinner.  I have been taught by my SIL, MIL and BRIL (sister, mother, and brother-in-law) how to play chef and baker.  Though I wouldn't compare myself in their category, I've finally come up with some good recipes of my own and will encourage our sponsors, other bloggers, and readers to share their culinary creations as well.  Just so you are aware Culinary-In-Laws, I will not be posting your recipes as I know they are how you make a living or perhaps plan to someday.

The other new addition to So Sweet Giveaways will be a weekly article authored by me.  If you are family or close friends of mine, you may see some similarites in the weekly article to "Tidbits".   I will be writing about things that cross my mind as a mother, a woman, a dork, a religious individual, a complainer, an artist and a lot of other sweet things.  Stay tuned and thanks again for your support. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Check out this new blog...

While we are remodeling, check out this new blog from my friend Kylee.  She's extremely crafty and has some of the yummiest quick recipes that I know. 

Monday, February 8, 2010

It's Been So Long

Hello everyone!  I hope everybody enjoyed their holidays.  I wanted to thank you for your comments and support to this blog.  I thought I would give you an update on us.  As you may have noticed we haven't posted anything in awhile.  There will be some new additions coming to So Sweet Giveaways over the next couple of months.  I will be adding a few extra helpers as well as trying to stack our featured items so that you have more to look at every week.   If you have any suggestions or you yourself have a product you would like featured on "So Sweet"  send me an e-mail at: cindy@sosweetgiveaways.com.  We offer free advertising for those who submit a giveaway with us!  

See you soon.