Your Happy Place

I knew the moment I stepped onto the grounds of the gardens that I had found somewhere special.  Somewhere that made my heart sing.  A place that felt like "home".  A place of peace, love, and hope.  I was 24 and had made my first trip back east to North Carolina.  We were visiting the Biltmore mansion as part of a LDS Institute Choir tour.  The massion itself, though beautiful and historic, gave me the creeps.  But the gardens, oh the gardens.  I swore I would never leave.

Several years later, on a trip to Williamsburg, Virginia to visit my sister, I felt those same feelings again.  A hadn't felt them since that magical day in NC.  While touring the gardens at the Governor's Palace, I plopped down on a bench and vowed to someday have a garden like this at my home.  It was my happy place.  

But then, I realized I had a small problem.  I live in Utah.  A desert.  With very few trees compared to back east.  Grass goes brown by late fall and the flowers only bloom part of the year.  I couldn't have a garden like that, they didn't exist in Utah.  Or so I thought.  

Then one day, my husband took our young family to one of his favorite camping spots in Southern Utah.  I have to admit, though I am in awe of the red rock, it doesn't really excite me much.  But this place, with it's orchards, beautiful garden, and staggering cliffs, it brought back that feeling again.  Capitol Reef.  Where the deer come right up to you and almost eat out of your hand.  Where you can enter multiple orchards and pick right from the tree, sit down on the fence and enjoy the fruit.  Where you can get homemade ice cream for a buck and eat it next to the old farm house while the horses mingle around the old barn.  For a country girl like me, this feels like home.  

Early in the fall our family decided to take a camping/fishing trip to Fish Lake (another favorite spot for Jimmy's family).  After spending the night fishing in the rain, sleeping in the cold, and catching NOTHING, I was done.  And so were the kids.  It had been an unusually challenging summer and my Spirit was struggling to find peace.  While packing up to go home Jimmy made a joke about taking the extra hour trip to visit Capitol Reef and my heart skipped a beat.  I was joking when I said yes.

As we drove past the familiar rock formations and got closer to the orchards, my heart began to finally feel peace.  We didn't really have an agenda, just a few hours to spare and a couple bucks for ice cream.  My kids didn't want to leave the orchard after we picked a bag full of apples, and neither did I.  

So what's the lesson here?  To go to Capitol Reef?  While I think it's a great place that you should check out, the real lesson is, take the time to be in your happy place.  Don't let life be so busy that you don't stop to allow your Spirit to feel "home".  You know, our plan at the beginning of that trip was to get home early enough to clean out the car, eat dinner at home, and get to bed early.  But as we pulled in near midnight, I didn't feel bad that our plans had changed.  I felt that it was a little tender mercy from Heaven and I'm grateful we listened to the little voice that invited us to change our plans. 

So where's your happy place?  When is the last time you were there?  

Can I share one more thought that a dear friend and interior decorator shared with me a few weeks ago.  She was in my home helping me with some ideas to make it feel more peaceful and comfortable.  She asked me where my happy place was.  When I told her of the gardens she presented me with an idea.  "If we can't get you to the gardens, let's bring the gardens to you."  We talked of some of the different elements that I loved about the gardens and Capitol Reef and brainstormed ideas of how to incorporate that into my home.  (I will post what we came up with once it's done).  Then she invited me to visualize that as I went about tasks in my home, I imagine that I was in that happy place.  You know something, it worked! 

So I invite you to give it a try.  Incorporate things that remind you of your happy place into your home, then spend some time imagining you are there.  It changes everything!



A True Performer

I am pretty picky when it comes to entertainers.  I mean, really picky.  I don't know why, but it takes a lot to impress me.  So this summer when I attended a concert and was not only impressed, but laughed my head off, I was excited.  

Jason Lyle Black is a talented pianist.  I tell you what...this kid can play anything from classical, to rock and play it with precision and style.  And, he can even play it backwards and upside down.  

Check out when he was on the Ellen show.  

But what makes him special is his ability to surprise you with unexpected humor.  Like finding a way to play Michael Jackson's "Thriller" at a wedding.  Check out the video on his website

Now, I really enjoyed his concert, and not just because I won a prize for knowing his favorite musical comedian (Victor Borge-check him out if HERE), but because my girls and I had such a good time together.  There was a little something in his show for everyone.  Disney mashups for the kids and some humor that the older crowd enjoyed.

This performer has it all!  And on top of that, he's just a great guy.  I finally officially met him for the first time at a National Speakers Association event a few weeks ago.  After a few minutes chatting we decided to exchange his cd Piano Preludes for my book Master Your Mindset   A few days later not only did I receive his CD, but he also sent an autographed picture for each of my children, thanking them for coming to his show, and a special note of thanks for me.  That's class folks.


I invite you to take a minute to listen to his cd, watch some of his videos, and if you ever get a chance to see him live, TAKE IT!  You can even listen on Pandora HERE.  Check him out at or on Youtube.   I can't wait to see where his career takes him.  



Date Night at BYU for the Win!

So, you know how we have been counseled to go on a date once a week.  Yep, well, our home schedule has changed so dramatically over the past few months that we got really out of sync with our dating.  We even worked over our anniversary.  

So when Jimmy said "Hey, Hon, can I take you out this week sometime?" I was ecstatic.  I kept feeling like we just needed something fun.  We haven't had a really good laugh together for a while.  But, what to do?  .  

After trying to find multiple "funny" things to do and striking out, we ended up at the Wilkinson center at BYU in Provo, Utah.  After chowing  some Chic-Fi-La we made our way to the bowling alley where we found a pleasant surprise.  It seems BYU is all about "dating" and tries to help a couple out by offering a great price for "date night".  A half date night was one game for each of us with free shoes for $6.  Regular price $12.50.  Sign me up!!!!  But it wasn't just the price that was great!

I spent a little bit of time at the bowling alley growing up.  Whether it was going with a friend whose mom worked at the lanes, or bowling every Friday for P.E. or even going with my extended family every year around Easter, I've been to a few alleys.  And you know as well as I do, they don't always have the best environment.  So, bowling isn't always on my list of go-to activities.  

But the funnest thing about bowling at BYU was the atmosphere.  It may seem cheesy to some, but I got a big kick out of the Disney Soundtracks playing in the background.  It was well lit, clean, open and inviting.  All around us were families, dad's and their daughters, and young adults on dates.  

We sang out loud to the songs, bowled with our left hands, and laughed really hard when Jimmy did a little dance that ended when he dropped his bowling ball on the ground. 

So, is there still clean wholesome bowling to be found?  You bet!

And the date didn't stop there.  Did you know that BYU has multiple museums that are free and pretty darn awesome.  We have taken our kids to them many times, but this time it was just us.  

Here's the cool thing.  The Art museum (MOA) has a date night checklist you can do for free.  And when you have finished it, you even get a free poster from the gift shop.  It only took us about 20 minutes and it was fun to do something different than a movie.  We actually got to talk to each other and share ideas and thoughts.

Any good date ends with ice cream.  And BYU creamery is our favorite!  Head back to the Wilkinson center or over to the Creamery on 9th to get some yummy cold treats.

I must say, that my heart feels a little lighter and my connection to Jimmy a little tighter after laughing, sharing, and eating goodies together.  BYU for the date night Win!