Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Victimology and Recognizing our Intuition

I was sitting in my car, enjoying an In-N-Out cheeseburger as I stared at the open doors of Costco. It was already getting dark, and I was tired. After resting my legs for almost 30 minutes, I decided it was time to go back in the store and finish my book signing. I only had thirty minutes left, and was tempted to break down my display early and call it a day. The slow post-Christmas traffic caused the day to go by much slower, although it proffered many interesting conversations with the ladies who give out food samples.

I'm glad I went back in. Almost immediately after taking my post, I saw a man who had been shopping in the store for a long time. I'd noticed him long before I took my cheeseburger break. He stood out because he carried himself with confidence. As he walked by, I mentioned that he had been there a long time, and that started a conversation. It didn't surprise me when I learned he was a retired police chief, and had worked many years for the FBI as a criminal profiler. I imagine you would gain a lot of confidence being in that line of work.

He told me that he loved his career, although years of examining the mind of a criminal can jade you a bit. He now teaches criminal justice and victimology at a couple local universities. He looked at the book, and told me he agreed with the concepts. He commented that every evil act he has encountered in his line of work had its root in an evil thought.

He has a great concern for children, and how many are innocent victims of molestation and abuse from adults. He said there is a great need to educate children of all ages so that they won't be a victim. I asked how he suggests this can be done. He told me we all need to learn to listen to our "inner voice" or "gut instinct" as he refers to it in class. He said that here in our community, we tend to expect the best in everyone, and often don't listen to our gut instinct when something feels wrong.

In his victimology class, one assignment is to have the students record feelings of "gut instinct" whether it be a thought to call your mom, to lock the doors, check the windows, or move into another lane of traffic. A part of the student's grade comes from recording these intuitive thoughts. He said that without fail, students who do this exercise increase their sensitivity to their inner voice and find themselves acting on their impressions. I asked him if any great stories have resulted from this exercise. He said, "You bet! One student moved into another lane on the freeway and avoided a collision. Another learned that she had prevented a suicide attempt by acting on an impression to call a friend. Others have told stories about changing plans at the last minute, and later learning that a terrible crime was committed where they originally planned to go. Acting on that impression helped them avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

He said the more we can help our children trust that "gut" feeling and act on it, the safer they will be. I found it interesting that the exercise of writing down impressions (in other words "focusing" on those gut instincts) raises awareness of our "inner voice".

It reminded me of an exercise my sister Leslie once told me about. She attended a seminar where they were learning to trust their intuitive feelings. I can't remember how they were instructed to do this, but she was partnered up with someone who was supposed to think of an emotional event from her childhood. Leslie was to stand in front of her, and trust her "gut" and say the first thing that came to mind. After a moment, Leslie apologized to her partner, and said, "I'm sorry, but all I can think of is Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite." She was apologizing because it made no sense to her. In her mind it was ridiculous. The girl she was facing started to cry and said Pedro was the name of her dog! The event she was focusing on involved her dog. Amazing!

Is there any doubt that thoughts are things?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Trains are AWESOME!

A couple of days ago I met a gentleman and his wife who were finishing up their Christmas shopping. They are grandparents, and told me a great story about childhood dreams and fulfillment.

This man's Grandfather worked for the railroad many years ago. Hearing weekly about his Grandfather's stories was the genesis of this man's love and appreciation for trains. When he was a little boy in the 1940's, he lived in a home on the hillside in Provo. There was a train track that ran past his neighborhood. Each day at the same time, he would run as quickly as he could to a spot on the hillside where he loved to watch the train go by. He waved at the conductor each day and the conductor waved back. This happened for over a year. It was the highlight of this little boy's day. He would dream about riding in the engine, imagine pulling the horn and being in control of that huge machine.

One day when he was about eight years old, he took his spot on the hillside as usual, and waved as the train approached. But this day, the screech of the brakes was heard, and the train slowed down. I asked him if he was scared, and he said, "No! This man was my friend. I felt like I knew him."

The train stopped, and wide-eyed, this little boy watched as the conductor walked towards him. They shook hands, and the conductor asked where the boy lived. Together they walked the short distance to his home to get permission for the little boy to ride on the train.

In this day and age, I don't think any mother would let her son accept an invitation like that, but this story happened in the 1940's, when I think there was a lot more decency and trust in the world. The mother agreed to let her son go. As this man was telling me this story from his youth, his eyes lit up and I could tell he was that little boy again for a moment, filled with more joy than a child experiences on Christmas morning.

He spent the rest of the day with the conductor, sitting on a stool, looking out the window, and even pulling the horn each time they approached an intersection.

I met another man that same evening who told me God doesn't give us what we want, only what we need. I disagree. God gave this sweet little boy his wish. Riding on the train wasn't a need. It was a desire. I believe God gives us many of our desires when we open our heart and mind to the possibility of His blessings and love.

The little boy who rode on the train is now a Grandpa sharing his train stories with his grandchildren. The trains he conducts are miniature train sets. He even has one in his backyard that can survive all types of weather. He bought a train set for one of his sons years ago as a Christmas gift. The wife told me they have a picture that is treasured among the family. It is from the 1970's. This grandpa and three other men are on the ground, bottoms in the air, playing with the train and assembling it. His son, who the gift was given to, is standing near them with a look on his face that says, "Hey, isn't this my train?"

Finally, I learned that this man recently shared his hobby with a neighbor who was under doctor's orders to get more exercise. His friend has serious health problems, but liked the idea of building model train sets for his own grandchildren. Today, these two neighbors are known for the multiple hours they spend outdoors in all kinds of weather, bringing joy to children as they teach them there is more to life than video games. His friend's health is improving as his focus has turned to a hobby that brings him satisfaction and exercise.

I think this was a great illustration of how healthy it is to focus on positive images, and actively engage our minds in wholesome pursuits!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Band Uniforms and Tiaras

It's Christmas time, and the phrase Twelve Drummers Drumming has taken on a new meaning. I heard the best story about an unconventional Homecoming Queen.

I met a woman and her beautiful daughter while they were shopping at the Ogden Costco. The daughter attends Fremont High and was chosen by her classmates as the Homecoming Queen this past Fall.

Initially, this high school senior didn't care about the nomination, but as days went by, she found she really liked the idea of winning. She has a couple sisters who really got behind her as she shopped for her dress and prepared for the assembly. Aunts from different states also got involved in the excitement. The phone was always ringing off the hook with words of encouragement. The mother got misty eyed as she expressed how wonderful it was to see siblings supporting each other, void of jealousy or competition.

This girl was not your typical Homecoming queen. Back in my day, you could always count on the Homecoming queen being picked from among the song leaders or cheer leaders. This young lady was in the band. She was on the drum line.

The night of the homecoming game, she had two choices. Tell her director that she was going to sit out on the band number, so she could wait on the front row of bleachers in her gown like the other contestants, or go ahead and wear her band uniform and perform.

She decided to perform. They did their opening number. She drummed with her fellow drummers, and then the announcement came. She lifted the drum set over her head and off her shoulders, and ran across the field to where the announcement was being made. They gave her a crown, and helped her and the other attendants onto the back of a truck for the drive around the football field. She is probably the only homecoming queen Fremont High has ever seen who chose to wear a band uniform with her tiara. She is college bound in the next few months, and I'm sure she is going to be a influence for good in the world as she grows into an adult.

I was so impressed with the poise and composure of this young lady who chose to stay true to herself, even on a night like that. Her mother told me many have gained from her example. High School can be a difficult time for many teens as they try to fit in and be like everyone else. The desire for acceptance can often lead to compromised standards.

Be yourself, like who you are! Don't be afraid to march to the beat of a different drummer as you daily bring your own gifts and talents to the table of life. :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Can Murder be Endured?

Earlier this week I met a woman whose daughter was murdered six years ago. I met her at a book signing. She was a lovely woman, who had an unusual calmness about her. I could sense the compassion she feels for everyone. This was confirmed as no less than ten people walked by while we were speaking and stopped to hug her and tell me about all the wonderful things she has done for them.

Our conversation began after she read through my book. She loved it and told me the concepts were true principles. Then she pointed to the word "Gratitude" on my marketing banner and said, "Do you realize there is a higher concept than Gratitude? There is a word you can use that will have a more powerful effect on your psyche than simply expressing "I am grateful" or "I am thankful". I was completely unaware of what it would be. She said the word is "praise". She suggested I try "I praise thee that......" the next time I want to express gratitude. She said I will be able to feel that it is a more powerful term. It expresses more clearly the trust we put in God as our master architect. It takes you one step beyond the gratitude level.

Not only was her daughter murdered, but her husband was shot during the same incident, yet survived. I was in awe of what this woman was teaching me. There was no bitterness or despair in her. As we spoke, I referred to when she "lost" her daughter and she corrected me. She cupped my hand in both of hers and said, "Oh Valerie, I never "lost" my daughter. Please don't refer to it that way. She simple went home, and today I feel very close to her. She is near, just in a dimension I can't see, but I can feel her. I never lost her."

Turning to God through that traumatic experience helped her grow spiritually, and she was willing to share a few key things she learned. She gave me permission to blog about our conversation.

She said that through that traumatic experience, she has discovered the power of words. Words generate an energy of their own when spoken. They have a direct influence over our emotions and our physical body. One of the neighbor's who stopped to chat had an obvious physical ailment. As this neighbor walked away, my new friend referred to her neighbor's "endurance". I found the word "endurance" curious, so she explained that she never uses terms like "trial, affliction, etc." She said that most people equate endurance with suffering, yet it is the opposite of suffering. It is an opportunity to refine our faith and trust until we can recognize our Father in Heaven's voice.

She also told me that the phrase "time heals all wounds" is a lie. Time has no power to heal. The only thing time does is give you an opportunity to reach the moment when you consciously CHOOSE to endure it well. When you switch from bitterness and fear to faith and trust, this is when your wounds heal.

It has been days since I met this wonderful lady, and I continue to think about her and our conversation. How would I react in that situation? It is hard to know. She is an example to all of us as we "endure" our personal "hills and valleys". I know mine pale in comparison to hers.

What an amazing education she gave me. She is the real deal. I've already tried the "praise" approach, and it does make a difference! Try it yourself!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Yesterday I meet the most beautiful ten-year-old girl and her mother at the Lehi Costco. This little girl just radiated goodness and confidence. If I'd ever had a daughter, I'd have wanted one just like her!

They were looking at the book while I talked with other people. When we finally had a chance to visit, the mother told me her daughter was excited about the page in the book where a child has the idea of getting a new bike, and then becomes aware of ideas, opportunities, and resources to achieve it. She told me that her daughter had experienced that very thing! I learned that her daughter had set a goal this past summer to get a new mountain bike.

The little girl told me she worked hard all summer doing jobs she probably wouldn't have considered had she not been motivated by her goal. Towards the end of the summer a neighbor even showed up with an amazing opportunity. He volunteered to go to the bike shop and negotiate with the owners on her behalf. He had purchased MANY mountain bikes over the past few years from this store. The little girl was just beaming as she and her mother relayed how amazing it was to have the neighbor show up and go to bat for them!

Last week a thief broke into their garage. Many valuable items were taken. I asked the little girl if her bike was stolen. She smiled and said, "No! Thank goodness! But the thief had to step right over my bike to get to the car."

The mom told me she grew up with her parents teaching her these principles about thoughts. She used to dive competitively in high school and her father emphasized over and over how reviewing the dive, and how she would enter the water, was a vital part of her training. I was further impressed when the mom told me that last week she had given little journals to each of the ten-year-old girls in her church group. She encouraged the girls to write down five things they were grateful for each day.

I just love it when I meet like minded people who are doing their best to get the most out of life. It is so refreshing! :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Inmates and Gratitude

Yesterday I heard an awesome story about gratitude. I met a couple at a book signing and we had the best discussion about the rewards of having a grateful heart.

The husband of this couple used to work in the jail systems of Salt Lake County. He met with inmates regularly. One day he gave the inmates a challenge. He told them that during the next week they were to only say prayers of gratitude. He pointed out that if they had been praying, their prayers were most likely focused on things like; "please let the judge go easy on me....", etc. He told the inmates to expect the challenge to be difficult at first, and their prayers would probably be very short; but they should keep at it and they would discuss their experiences the following week.

One man had been in jail multiple times for DUI's and other drug charges. He was the first to report his results. Weeks before, he had added his name to a list hoping to be entered into a drug program for inmates similar to the AA program. Weeks went by without having his name called to attend the class. He had given up on ever having that opportunity. Towards the end of the gratitude challenge, a Warden stepped into the room where inmates were gathered and called his name to invite him to the class. He was amazed because there were still many names in front of his on the list. He couldn't explain what made the Warden flip through the pages on the clipboard and call his name.

I heard a handful of other stories about the inmates from this couple that were just as remarkable. It appears hearts were changed during that exercise and blessings followed.

Before this couple left, they told me they had recently lost their jobs. They are in their 50's and concerned about what is next for them. I was surprised to hear their news because their demeanor was peaceful and we had just had this great conversation about gratitude. I'm so impressed with them, and how they are choosing to face this trial.

As they continue to focus on the abundance in their life while they face this hardship, I'm sure doors will open for them. I hope to run into them again one day to discover (as my mother-in-law would say) what good will come from this.

What good will come into our lives as we tune into gratitude? Count your blessings....your mood will change! :) What a great time of year to do this! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Shrapnel, Life-Support, and the Transcending Power of Love

I spent today in Orem promoting my children's book. I met the most fascinating man who told me about experiences he had in Iraq while working for a contracted security company. He told me about a miracle that happened with a co-worker.

This coworker was on a video conference with his wife, when a mortar exploded outside the brick wall where this man was sitting. The wife experienced the horror of witnessing the explosion and seeing shrapnel come through the back of her husband's head and out his forehead. Medics rushed in to assist him. He was still alive, but brain dead. This man's wife and mother were flown by the contractor over to Iraq to decide if they would turn off his live support.

He had been brain dead for a few days. When his family arrived, the wife sat next to him, took his hand, and started speaking to him. Immediately, the monitors picked up brain activity.

I had been talking in Costco with this man about how amazing our sub-conscious mind is. He told me this story to illustrate that even when brain dead, the mind appears to maintain some intelligence. The brain activity they witnessed caused them to abandon any thought of turning off life support. Today he is alive and mobile. He has control of all his faculties. He has some memory issues, and it is obvious he is slower cognitively than he used to be, but he is a loving, functioning father and husband.

The security contractor that employed him paid off all of his bills, and paid down his mortgage so that he could support his family on his disability insurance. I'm not going to identify the security company. It is one familiar to many. They received a lot of bad press. I'm not naming them because I don't personally know the man who survived the shrapnel and feel I shouldn't identify him by stating the company he worked for.

Hearing this story left me in awe of the goodness of God, whose power enabled that injured man to miraculously respond to his wife, and the miracle of the goodness of people and corporations who do the right thing and the right time.

Life is full of miracles. We just need to look for them. :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Questions about "What are YOU Thinking?"

Seven Questions Recently Discussed on a Blog Tour

1. What caused you to want to write this children’s book?

About seven years ago, my husband and I were struggling financially. We were out of work. This was our second employment layoff within a couple of years. At age 40, I had post-partum depression with my youngest child, and was even missing a front tooth that had broken off and we were struggling to pay the bill to repair it! Understandably, I was at the lowest point I had ever been. I agreed to attend a seminar my sister, Leslie Householder, was teaching in Arizona. She had been teaching seminars on principles of abundance and prosperity for several years. The seminar really opened my eyes to the power of dominant thoughts. After three days, I left empowered to live a happier and more abundant life. I thought, “Why am I forty years old and just understanding these things?” I thought of my five, beautiful boys, and wanted them to understand more about their thoughts while they are young. I encouraged my sister to create products for children, but since children’s products were not her focus, she encouraged me to pursue my idea to create a book for children.

2. What is the key message of your book?

The key message is that thoughts are VERY powerful things. Thoughts BECOME things. Our thoughts lead to actions and feelings. The most important message of the book is that we have the power to choose what and how we think. I want children to understand that we attract, or experience, the things we constantly think about. I like to think of my book as “As a Man Thinketh” for children.

3. Can you give an example of how our thoughts affect our sub-conscious mind?

Have you ever purchased a car, and then you notice them everywhere? There are two things odd about that. #1, there aren’t more on the road just because you have recently purchased your car, and #2, you're not even trying to spot them! Think about the energy you put into that purchase decision. We tend to find what we are looking for. After creating a “dominant thought” about the car, you can’t help but see them! We become self-fulfilling prophets. If we always tell ourselves the world is a miserable place, it will be. The same goes for those who have their antennae up and tuned in to positive things.

4. Can you tell us of any personal experiences you have had in applying the principles taught in your book?

A few years back when I was discouraged about our financial situation, I chose to have a ‘pity party’ about my life. I wasn’t where I wanted to be in life, and instead of counting my blessings, I spent hours beating myself up with my negative, poisonous thoughts. I was driving to a thrift store to find clothes for my children. The store had a large wall behind the counter that was a mirror. I saw my reflection and was shocked at how miserable I looked. I appeared haggard and depressed. I went out to my car and cried for a few minutes. I thought, “What has happened to me??? Through my tears, I said a prayer. When the prayer ended, I knew I needed to count my blessings. I still had shopping to do, so in the thirty minutes it took me to drive across town to the next thrift store, I spoke out loud, while counting my blessings. I expressed gratitude for everything I could think of. My mood started to change. I felt happier. While I was in the second thrift store, I looked to my left, and saw a woman. As I turned back to the clothes on the rack, I thought to myself, almost with envy, “What a beautiful lady. She looks so put together…” As soon as I had that thought, I did a double take because I realized it was me! It was my own reflection in a narrow mirror. I was amazed. I couldn’t believe that in the space of only 30 minutes, my countenance had changed completely. My financial situation hadn’t changed in that 30 minutes, but my attitude had. Changing my dominant thoughts transformed me.

5. Do you have any examples of how children have been helped by following the principles in your book?

Here is one that many parents may relate to. I have a son who had a bed wetting problem. This problem had gone of for quite a while, and it was a big negative in all of our lives. I was tired of washing the bedding. He was anxious and humiliated. It was embarrassing, and he felt he had no control over it. After attending Leslie’s seminar, it occurred to me that he was focusing on what he DIDN’T want. The negative thinking about bed-wetting caused his sub-conscience to be programmed to “wet the bed” so we tried an experiment. We decided to create a new dominant thought. We decided “I am so grateful that I wake up with dry sheets because….” to be the new dominant thought. Each night for a few days, I had him visualize how wonderful it is to wake up to dry sheets and a comfortable bed. I would paint a picture for him of a dry morning, as if it had already happened. After a few days, he ran up the stairs into the kitchen shouting, “Mom! My sheets are dry!”. It played out exactly as we had imagined!

6. What age group is the book intended for?

I wrote the book when my five children were one to nine years old. There is a bunny on every page spread for younger children to look for. However, Barnes and Noble catalogued it as an eight to twelve-year-old book based on reading level. It is really fun for all ages, because I have had parents buy it for a teens, mothers purchase it for everyone in their book club, and have even had people buy it as a gift for adults!

7. What feedback are you receiving from customers and how the book is influencing their children?

I received an email from a customer just the other day where she said that her son loves reading the book with her over and over. She said he finishes the sentences for her, although he can’t read yet, because they have read it so many times. Every time they read the book they talk about different experiences her son is having, and how he can better face and overcome challenges.

Another mother told me she purchased one for her adult son who has downs syndrome. She said he carries it around the house and loves looking at the colorful pictures. He tells her it makes him happy.

Another father wrote me and told that this book came into his child’s life at just the right time. He was dealing with a lot of fears and anxiety, and it helped the father teach the son that he has control over his thoughts.

Author Bio

Valerie Ackley graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Business Management/ Marketing. She worked eight years in the telecommunications industry before becoming a full-time homemaker. She lives in Saratoga Springs, Utah with her husband and five sons.

The book is available at every Utah Costco, Amazon.com, and BarnesandNoble.com. Visit the website www.whatareyouthinkingbook.com

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Miracles and Illustrators

Today I was at the Murray Costco. A young man approached me and asked me how I was able to create my book. He has had an idea for years, and wondered about finding an illustrator. My experience meeting Lori Nawyn is such a good example of the Law of Attraction. I thought it would be valuable to outline how you can use the power of thought to accomplish your dreams and goals.

After I attended my sister Leslie Householder's seminar seven years ago, I had a strong desire to introduce what I had learned to my children. I had a clear idea of what the book would be about, what it would say....yet I became frustrated as I tried to find an illustrator. I tried to draw my own images, but I just didn't have the ability. At the time, my husband and I were recovering from being out of work, and I didn't have any cash to pay the advances required by professional illustrators.

One day I was on a phone call with my sister Leslie. She loved my idea, found it original and fun, and was a big cheerleader for me to accomplish my goal. Leslie reminded me that I needed to put the principles to work. She could hear so much anxiety and discouragement in my voice and dialog. She reminded me of a few key steps to take:

1. Express gratitude. I was to imagine that I had already found my illustrator, and express gratitude to God for the blessing. ex. "I am so grateful that God has helped me find the perfect illustrator!"
2. I was to allow myself to feel all the joy of moving forward with my project as if it had already happened.
3. I needed to hold onto that positive emotion for at least one minute. (I actually spent countless minutes during the day feeling and expressing gratitude for my illustrator that I had found.)
4. I couldn't entertain for a moment any negative energy about not having an illustrator.

I didn't know how it would happen, but I followed Leslie's advice. She agreed to do the same in an effort to help me. I'm discovering that it is such an act of faith to shut out fear, and allow yourself to feel all the positive emotions of an event that has not yet happened.

It was only about a week later, that she received an email from Lori Nawyn. As I recall, Lori introduced herself as an illustrator and expressed that she loved what Leslie was teaching, and if there was anything she could be involved with, she would love to have her artwork associated with what Leslie was doing. Leslie told Lori that she didn't have a need for artwork at the time, but her sister did.

Leslie has a world wide audience, and it was remarkable to me that Lori Nawyn lived only about an hour away from my house. I will always remember how thrilled and amazed I was when Leslie called me and said that she thought she might have found my illustrator.

I went to Lori's website and loved her portfolio. We talked, she loved the project idea, and were able to secure her services with a trade. One of Leslie's Home Study courses was traded for 12 picture book spreads.

The project became bigger than just 12 pictures, and so we arranged that Lori would make royalties as the books sold.

I told the young man that if I had submitted my idea to a publisher, they would have found an illustrator for me. I elected to self-publish, because at the time I viewed my book appealing to a "niche" market, and I knew I could sell my books through Leslie's seminars.

I've been thrilled to discover that it isn't such a "niche" book after all. Who isn't interested in helping their children become successful? Understanding how important it is to control our thoughts is a huge component in that effort. It is a common desire shared by people regardless of color or religion.

Hopefully my remarks today will help this young man pursue his dream.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Circus Tickets and Touchdowns!!!

Today I was again at the Sandy, UT Costco. I had another fun day meeting people who all have their own unique and wonderful stories to tell.

I met a very nice mother of two young boys who told me she purchased my book the other week because she believes that so many of our experiences are governed by our thoughts. She told me that the Circus was recently in town, and she had many conversations with a co-worker about how she wanted to go, but it was out of their budget, and she worried that even if they had the money to spend, her children may be too young to remember it. Days went by, and she found herself thinking about her desire to go to the circus many times. Within days, a co-worker of her husband offered them free tickets. Enough for the entire family to go! I had a nice chat with her three year old about the elephants. I think it was an experience he will remember. I know his mom will!

On the same day, another mother of two boys stopped by and looked at the book. She told me about a football game her nine-year-old had just experienced. The game wasn't going well, and they started visualizing an amazing catch and run. Thought proceeded action once again....it was so fun to hear about how her son had been lifted up in the air by cheering teammates.

Lets never forget who to give the credit too. I really believe our Father in Heaven is mindful of our needs and desire and he enjoys blessing us when we exhibit faith in Him. The act of allowing ourselves to feel gratitude for something before it has materialized is a true act of faith.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Og invents wheel and other small wonders...

I had the most fantastic experience at the Sandy Costco today!!!! Just wait until you hear this amazing story...and I promise it will make YOUR day too!!!

For those that are wondering, Og Invents Wheel... is a line from my children's book, "What are YOU Thinking?", found on the inventor's page.

A very nice young mother named Amanda picked up my book and told me she is always trying to teach her kids to be positive. She said some of her children come by it more naturally than the others.

She told me about her six-year-old son who takes God at his word, "Ask and ye shall receive..., and "With God, nothing is impossible...."

This summer they took a family vacation to Monterrey Bay, CA. They went to the Aquarium. He fell in love with the sharks. When they went to purchase a souvenir in the gift shop, he found a plush toy that looked like a hammerhead shark, and he wanted it more than anything else in the store. His mother realized that he didn't have enough money for the purchase, so she tried to direct him to another item to take home as a memory of their vacation. He said, "No. I want a hammerhead shark. I said a prayer. I'll get one." She and her husband thought, "Well....Ok, whatever..." and they left Monterrey Bay without a souvenir for her six-year-old son.

They were travelling back to Utah, and stopped at a rest stop in the middle of the desert. No one else was around. They climbed out of the car and what does her six-year-old find on the sidewalk? You guessed it! A plush toy. Not any old plush toy, but a hammerhead shark! It looked like new. Someone must have been inspired to leave it behind... or Dad was inspired to stop at that rest stop. Either way... WOW!

It makes me wonder how often we limit ourselves. How often we refuse blessings God wants to shower upon us, if only we had a little more faith. God gave us a wonderful mind. He wants us to use our free agency to think the thoughts that will bring us closer to him, that will increase our faith, that will help us see the good in others, and most importantly, recognize His hand in our life.

Happy Thinking!!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Adventures at the SLC Costco

Saturday was a great day. I spent eight hours at the SLC Costco. I sold about fifty books, and met wonderful people. There are so many different cultures represented the closer you get into the heart of Salt Lake City. Most in the world wouldn't know it, but SLC is a colorful melting pot filled with different cultures, races and religions. I enjoyed feeling unified in purpose with so many people as we discussed the hopes and dreams we have for our children, and that they will know how to reach their full potential.

My feet were very tired at the end of the day, but my mood was happy. I really enjoy what I am busy doing these days!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Today I begin to document my adventures as I travel through the Utah Costcos promoting my new children's book, What are YOU Thinking?. I have been invited by the regional buyer in Seattle to do book signings Monday through Saturday each day in September, and I am loving every minute of it.

I have met some of the most fantastic people. The message of the book, that children can understand how powerful their thoughts are, and that they can learn to develop positive "thinking habits" in their youth, is striking a chord with many.

I met a nice woman today who told me that when she needs to put a child in time-out, she has them sit down at a designated place in her home, where she has "happy" pictures. Pictures of good memories with their siblings and happy events. She has them look through all the pictures and then tell Mommy what they love and like about the brother they were just fighting with. I think it is a terrific way to deal with an emotional situation. Don't feed the anger...just redirect it. Change the images in the mind, and you change the emotions.

I have been busy with book promotion for almost 6 weeks now, and one Saturday I had a melt down. Nobody was listening to Mom or doing their chores. I thought angrily, "I've been sooo busy, can't you just help a 'bit'???? After everyone scattered like roaches in light after I exploded.... and the dust settled, I was still banging pots and pans in the kitchen sink and my seven year old tapped me on the arm and said, "What are you thinking? It's a choice, and you are choosing to be mad and it makes me sad." My heart changed in an instant and I swooped him up and hugged him and agreed that mom chose to be angry...but she was deciding to be happy now.

I'm excited about this journey! May we all learn to watch our thoughts and our actions, and make the world a better place one baby step at a time.