Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Connect with me at!

I've added Google Friend Connect to  So, under the follow buttons, you should be able to use your google log in to join the site and get updates.  :-)  Let me know if it doesn't work!


Monday, June 13, 2011


Ok, well, this blog is moving.  :-)  I have just finished updating my website in wordpress, so now my blog and my website are in the same place--very exciting!  You'll find updated posts there from here on out.  :-)


Monday, May 23, 2011

Why worry when you can pray?
Trust Jesus, He’ll be your stay;
Don’t be a “doubting Thomas.”
Trust fully in His promise.
Why worry, worry, worry, worry,
When you can pray?
Alfred B. Smith, John W. Peterson
© 1949 Singspiration Music
My Dad used to sing this song all the time when I was a kid...and I find that it comes to mind more and more often.  In fact, my Dad's focus on living a life free from worry and full of prayer is the inspiration for Worry Free Mom.  Lately I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be worry free.  We all know that the Bible says to "cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you!"  And yet, most of us tend to continue to worry about things.   We don't give them to God because we want to hang on to them, maybe believing that we can take care of it ourselves.  

In order for me to cast my cares to Jesus, I have to truly believe that He is who He says He is.  (Another old song comes to mind here..."I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day!")  I have to believe that He will take those cares.  I have to believe that He can do something about them.  Imagine that you are in a burning building and you have to toss your child out the window to a firefighter waiting below.  You would not throw your baby to just anyone--but to someone you trust is going to catch that baby!  Can you picture this scenario?  I know that I would be looking for any OTHER way...any way I could do something else, rather than toss my child to someone I didn't believe would and could catch my baby. 

Being worry free begins with a true faith in Christ--and a confidence that He is who He says He is.  Because if we don't have that faith and that confidence, we won't cast our cares on Him.  Why would we?   The first step in a life that's worry free is to go back to the beginning--to your faith in Christ.  Know who He is and be persuaded that He is willing and able to catch anything you throw at Him.  We were not meant to live a live slogged down in worry, but to live life full of confidence in God's power and His ability to provide for us.


Friday, May 13, 2011

My Foolish Heart

My Foolish Heart, by Susan May Warren, is a cute book set in the town of Deep Haven.  A woman confined to her home by her extreme fear leads a secret life as a syndicated talk show host who gives advice on love to her listeners.  Despite her faith, the tragic accident that took her mother's life and paralyzed her father has left Isadora Presley wounded and fearful--and unable even to visit her father. 

Then, Caleb Knight moves in next door.  A veteran with a missing leg, Caleb is a candidate for the high school coaching position, and he has troubles of his own.  Though he has overcome his fear, he has not overcome his pride.  Wanting the position on his own merits, not because he has a disability, Caleb comes close to missing an opportunity to really connect with the team and with the people in the town he is growing to love--and almost loses the one job he really wants.

Caleb and Isadora find that they understand each other, and even like each other.  But their romance is interrupted by the crush that Isadora has on one of her radio callers--who turns out to be none other than Caleb.  The misunderstandings and mishaps that come from this unlikely connection make for some interesting moments in the story and ultimately bring both characters to healing and a deeper understanding of their relationship with God. 

My Foolish Heart is a fun read that leaves you with a smile, but, due to some adult issues faced by some of the side characters, it may be one best left for adult readers.   

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Well, I made it back!  I had trouble sleeping Tuesday night, so, with three hours of sleep, I left AZ at 3am, arriving home around 9:00 last night.  16 hour drives are NOT fun with no other adult, but I can't imagine trying it with no one else in the car--Ryan's done it twice.  WOW!

Thankfully, I have super awesome kids and lots of people praying for me.  So many times yesterday, I just said, "God...I need help.  I can't keep going!"  And then I would get a rush of energy and my head would clear--I knew that my friends were praying for me.  :-)  So, my best advice for long road trips?  Make sure your friends are praying!!!

Have a great weekend!


Monday, May 2, 2011

I made it!

Well, I am officially a super mom now!  I made it to AZ from TX in 16 hours--with just a few stops.  It's just a little thing, but after being without a car for almost a year and not driving more than once or twice in that time, driving 16 hours straight through feels like quite the accomplishment!  Of course, my wonderful cousin, Mary, was sitting in the passenger seat to help with the kiddos, so I may not have quite the same experience on my way home Wednesday!  lol

Visiting my home town has been bittersweet--I have loved catching up with old friends and spending time with my family.  Watching my kids play with their cousins as if no time had passed was priceless.  Hugging my grandparents--and looking in my Grandma's eyes to reassure her that I truly am Happy!--that's something I have really missed!  I also took some time to visit "my" trees at our old house.  Walking around our forlorn ex-property was a little bit rough--so many memories there.   I love looking out at the mountains and smelling the smells of spring here in AZ, where I have spent pretty much every spring of my life.  It's comfortable here, familiar and safe.  It's going to be hard to leave...

And yet, I can't wait to get back my new home.  To my hubby. To my new friends and my fun new town and my new church family.  Just as driving all by myself gave me a new sense of independence and confidence in my has living in Texas so far away from all of the comfort of my childhood--the mountains surrounding me, my family, even knowing that my Dad's grave is close by--given me a sense of who I am.  In this past year, I have been able to really see what my purpose is and get a clearer picture of who I am--and that is a very good thing.  :-)


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Unexpected...

You may know that I am speaking with my License to Dream co-authors at the Women's Conference in Phoenix on Saturday.  I am really excited about this great opportunity to introduce our first Master Class, as well as to spread the word about SendOutCards throughout the day.  However, I have been most excited about getting to see my family and friends after almost a year of being here in Texas. 

We were planning to drive out and spend the week...maybe even stay until Mother's Day.  But, of course, the unexpected happened, and Ryan can't leave as scheduled.  He's staying here in Texas to finish a project.  So, rather than cancel the trip altogether, I am driving out to AZ on my own with the kids.   I'm a little apprehensive about this adventure, but I think that, like all things that are unexpected and take a little bit of courage, it will make me stronger and braver.  I like that.

So, I want to encourage you--whatever is happening in your life that is unexpected--whether it's scary or hard or fun or whatever--choose to seek the good that can come out of moving through that unexpected circumstance.  :-)


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lifestyle Marketing

One of the reasons that I love SendOutCards, and network marketing in general, so much is that it supports my values.  But, as a mom, sometimes it's hard to stay focused on 'income producing activities' when my kids need me.  Or, let's face it, when my house needs cleaned.  I admit, I'm one of those people who can't focus unless my house is in order--literally!

So, I've found that I LOVE lifestyle marketing.  That just means that everywhere I go, I'm listening with what a friend of mine, and author of Secrets of the SOC Drawer, calls "SendOutCards ears."  I'm listening for needs wherever I go--and trying to meet those needs.

For example, the other day, I walked into Handy Andy late in the evening to hear the two gals talking about how the paycheck just doesn't stretch far enough.  When I went through the check out, I said, "It sounds like you could use some extra money!"  When she affirmed that, I gave her one of the tools I always carry with me.

Today, I was in Target.  The gal who checked me out smilingly offered to trade me places when I said I wouldn't mind staying a little longer--she would go home and get my kids and I could stay at Target and do her job.  I said, "I am so glad that I can work from home."  With a wistful look in her eye, she said, "well, not everyone can do that."  How excited I was to inform her that YES YOU CAN!!!  I left her a copy of my book with my phone number.  I truly hope she calls me!

Opportunities are everywhere, and you don't have to spend a lot of time finding them.  Just be listening for the need, have the tools available, and be willing to respond.  You never know what might happen!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

What's on Your NOT To Do List?

I thought I would share my post from License2dream over here on worryfreemom today.  :-)

In the last few weeks, I have been very blessed to be a part of a Mompreneur Mastermind--a group of women who are all moms and all entrepreneurs.  Our topic for this week was the NOT to do list.

Do the activities you choose to engage in on a daily basis support your core values?  Do you even know what your core values are? The answer to the first question should help you determine which of your current activities need to be relegated to the NOT to do list.

For a mom, my first priorities are my faith and my family.  Second is my business--creating financial freedom.  So, when I think about what activities are on my booked calendar, I really have to think about whether or not those activities are  contributing to my core values--faith, family, and financial freedom.

One of the first things that I was thinking about this morning is my teaching.  Do I like teaching?  Yes.  Am I good at teaching?  Yes.  Is teaching contributing to my faith?  No.  Is teaching contributing to my family?  No.  Is teaching  contributing to financial freedom?  Well, yes and no.  It is taking time away from growing my business, but it is helping to provide a measure of financial security and the ability to quickly pay down debt.  For now, I decided, teaching remains on my to do list--but as each semester passes, my goal is to create enough income through my business to eliminate at least one course.

I encourage you to think through the things that are on your To Do list.  Do they contribute to your core values?  If not, cross them off!  Spend your time doing the things that matter.

God bless!

Friday, April 1, 2011

PepsiCo and Senomyx

The response I received from PepsiCo...either they need to do a little more research on the companies they are partnering with, or they need to work on their honesty with consumers.


Sent: Fri, April 1, 2011 1:00:26 PM
Subject: A Message from PepsiCo Consumer Relations 012652145B

Dear Karen,

Thank you for contacting us to share your sincere concerns. Please know that we take very seriously the issues you raised. PepsiCo has a strong set of defined values we strive to live up to.

Unfortunately, there is some misinformation being circulated related to research techniques that have been used for decades by universities, hospitals, government agencies, and private companies around the world. These claims are meant to suggest that human fetal tissue is somehow used in our research. That is both inaccurate and something we would never do or even consider.

It also is inaccurate to suggest that tissue or cells somehow are being used as product ingredients. That’s dangerous, unethical and against the law. Every ingredient in every one of our products is reviewed and approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

We hope this information is helpful and reassuring. Thank you again for reaching out to us and allowing us to clarify the situation.

Stephanie White
Consumer Relations Representative



My response:


I appreciate your thoughtful response.  I am still concerned, though, because it is clear that PepsiCo is working with Senomyx.  As stated in this article on PepsiCo's website, the PepsiCo relationship includes Senomyx' research on "natural" flavorings that will change the way human taste buds respond to flavors. In the patents for this research, filed in 2008, it is stated that HEK293 is used.  From this information, it is clear that they are using human fetal tissue from aborted babies to do their product development.  This is not a "claim," but a proven fact.  While some may question whether or not it really matters...the exploitation of a dead human child for researching food flavorings is never appropriate or ethical.  I hope that PepsiCo will reconsider its relationship with this company.

Thank you,

Karen Palmer, MA 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


When I started this blog, I didn't intend it to be a sounding board for "political" ideas, but as a Christian mom, abortion really bothers me.

I found out yesterday that the #1 killer in Canada is...Abortion!  In fact, when you factor in abortion, the infant mortality rate in Canada is 215/1000!  That's 1 out of 5 babies.  Get the US, heart disease is listed as the official #1 cause of death, with about 600,000 deaths per year.  But the actual #1 cause of death is, in fact, abortion--killing about 1.6 MILLION babies a year.  That means that close to 25% of all pregnancies end in abortion in the US.

And today, I found out that a company called Senomyx is using the cells of aborted babies to create "natural flavorings" for food.  The cells are not actually IN your food--they are used to test the flavors, but still--isn't this a little disturbing?

Where does it end?  We are encouraged to inject our babies with vaccines made from aborted babies, and now we are told it is perfectly safe to feed our babies foods made with the help of aborted babies.  I just wrote a letter to Campbells thanking them for severing their relationship with Senomyx, and I will be writing to Nestle, Kraft, and Pepsi asking them to do the same.  If you want to take action on this issue, visit this site:

Here is the text of the e-mail I sent to Nestle, Pepsi, and Kraft (be sure to change the company name): 

As a mom with small children, I want only the best, most natural foods to enter their bodies. While I find the use of high fructose corn syrup and other unnatural ingredients appalling, it is unbelievable that a company like Nestle would use artificial flavorings made with the help of aborted babies.   You can be assured that I will NOT be purchasing any foods created by Nestle, and I will be sharing this information with everyone in my network.  


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pancakes update...

If you are like me and you are wanting fluffier, more cake-like pancakes, I found a way to tweak the recipe I gave a week or so ago.  Just substitute applesauce for the coconut oil and add a bit more flour.  Absolutely delicious!


Tyndale House Contest!

Tyndale House is launching a new book club enewsletter called the Book Club Hub Newsletter.  It sounds like a great idea if you have a book club, as the newsletter will feature "suggestions, discussion guides, and great ideas for your book clubs." 

You can see a preview by clicking here.

In honor of the new newsletter, they are giving away free books!  My favorite thing!   Here's the directions from Tyndale:  "To enter the giveaway you just need to visit the contest page and click on the book you’d like to sign up to win. You can even go back and sign up for both books. Each day is a new giveaway so you can return to the site each day and try to win. Every few days the books change, so check back!"

I just entered to win Her Daughter's Dream by Francine Rivers (one of my favorite authors!)--I hope you enter, too!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Raw Milk...

So, this week we are going on Friday to get raw milk for the 3rd time!  We get our milk from Stryk Dairy,  which is one of the few farms certified to sell raw milk.  They are inspected every day by the TX health department, which is great because I know that we are drinking milk that is produced with the highest standards, is healthier for us, and tastes great! (Josyan says that the milk from the farm is the best--and he was disappointed when we ran out!)

The claims that raw milk is dangerous are based upon the conditions at factory dairies, where filth and disease run rampant and cows are fed feed, rather than grass.  Raw milk from such dairies is dangerous.  However, raw milk from a clean, grass-fed cow (or goat!) milked in a clean barn is definitely NOT dangerous.   In fact, we happily drank the goat's milk we received when Ryan milked our neighbor's goat back in AZ! 

If you are contemplating trying raw milk, I highly encourage you to visit the Campaign for Real Milk site.  There are tons of articles explaining the benefits of raw milk.  And, before you go buying milk from just anyone, do your research.  Make sure that the milk is from grass-fed cows/goats in a clean environment.  If you don't have a dairy or a neighbor where you can get good raw milk, you can probably find lightly pasteurized milk in your local health food store.  That's a great way to start!  :-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

More on Sour Dough

Sour Dough Cinnamon Rolls!
While my starter was gaining strength in weeks 2 and 3, I started using it every day.  After my pancake adventure, I made English muffins, banana muffins, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls (glorious!) and bread.  The English muffins were really weird to make (the dough is soupy), but they turned out so good!  The bread rose like crazy--how fun that I didn't have to use yeast!--and had a yummy sour/honey contrast in taste.  The muffins & cupcakes tasted good, but didn't rise the way I wanted them to.  And the cookies...let's just say I need to tweak my recipe a bit!  lol

English Muffins!
I knew that last week was going to be a pretty busy week, though, and I knew I wasn't going to have time to play with my sour dough every day, so I fed my starter and put it in the refrigerator.  (You can do that after 3 weeks, as long as you work with it once a day!).  When I went back to the course, I realized that I had not followed the procedures properly (feed it, let it sit for a few hours to get it going, then put it in the fridge with the lid not down all the way--then a few hours later close the lid all the way). 

BUT when I took my starter out yesterday morning, there were still bubbles!  So, I fed the starter and it was full of life again by afternoon!  I'm excited to bake more bread and experiment with some other goodies this week while my sister is visiting.  Today, bread is on the menu!  ;-)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Cause Within You

The Cause Within You, by Matthew Barnett, not only shares the story of how God used him to begin an extraordinary movement--Dream Centers--but it also shares with readers how they might find their own cause.  In this compelling read, which concludes with Scripture and a discussion guide, Barnett gives readers an inspiring call to action, "you need to identify the cause within you now.  Today."

Throughout the book, which contains many, many moving stories of not only Barnett's faith journey, but of others who have found their cause, Barnett gives readers solid, biblical wisdom about seeking God and distinguishing between their dreams and God's divine plan for their lives.  "When you find that sweet spot that reflects your cause, it is at the intersection of your passion (what really matters to you), your gifts (what you do best), and your contribution (how you make the world better)." 

In a world where the vast majority of people seem to be consumed by busy-ness and the pursuit of monetary happiness, this book opens the eyes to something bigger and better--to the joy and peace that pursuing God's plan for you can bring. 

***I was given a free book in return for my completely honest and unbiased review of this book. ***

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sourdough Pancakes

Hurray!  This morning I made my first recipe with my sourdough starter--pancakes!  The kids were super excited.  ;-)

Here's the recipe (from GNOWFGLINS):

4T coconut oil (I used applesauce)
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2T sweetener (I used honey)
2 c starter
1 tsp baking soda
seasoning (I used cinnamon and cloves)
1 tsp vanilla
1 T water

The pancakes turned out really good.  I prefer mine more cake-like, but these reminded me of the kind that you get at a restaurant.  They tasted really good, and the kids loved them.  In the course, the instructor pours the batter into a cast iron skillet and bakes in the oven to make one big pancake.  Hers turns out really fluffy that way.  But the ones I made on the griddle were good.  I'd make them again.  :-)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's Alive!

I was about to give up on my starter yesterday, but I stirred it really well and fed it...and this morning LIFE again!  Hurray!  I think we have a winner.  I have no idea what happened there for a few days, but hanging in there instead of starting over was worth it.  :-)  I think I might even try to increase the starter and make pancakes in the morning...what a fun experiment!  :-)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Making Sour Dough

So, I recently decided that I would start experimenting with sour dough.  Why?  With a sour dough starter on hand, you don't need yeast!  Baking with sour dough is healthier for your body.  And, it's kind of fun to think that I can make my own.  Thanks to a great online course with GNOWFGLINS, I have step by step instructions.  And, it's surprisingly easy.

To start with, you just mix 3/8 cup whole wheat flour (Arrowhead Mills, Bob's, and King Arthur are the best--but Handy Andy only had Gold Medal, and I wanted to get started!) with 1/4 cup of water.  (no chlorine--if you have chlorine in your water, you have to leave it out uncovered for 24 hours to let the chlorine dissipate) Scrape down the sides (to prevent mold) and cover.

After 12 hours, you look to see if you see any life--bubbles in the mixture.

So this is a picture of my sour dough starter on the very first day.  I am really excited about trying out this experiment---especially since it is so much easier than I thought it would be.

Once you start to see life--bubbles--you begin feeding your starter every 12 hours.  Until then, you check every 12 hours and stir vigorously until you do see life.  Then...Remove 1/2 the mixture, add 1/4 c water and 3/8 c flour, stir vigorously, scrape down the sides, and cover.  What's happening is that the wild yeasts in the flour are being activated. 

Here's what my starter looked like in the morning on Day 3:
I am super excited!  I actually did it!  ;-)  So, I remove half the mixture, add 1/4 c water and 3/8 c flour.  12 hours later, I see bubbles, but not life like this time.  But I go ahead and remove 1/2, feed the starter.

Last night, I was still not seeing any good life, so I just gave the starter a good stir and hoped for the best.  This morning, this is what I found:

Oh no!  No bubbles!  There were some bubbles in the top, so I'm hopeful that there is life still in there...somewhere.  I'm going to feed my starter and see if anything happens today.  If not, I'll start from scratch tomorrow.  It takes a week to get your starter strong enough to actually use, so I'm hoping that this will work and I can start using the starter this week!

Friday, February 18, 2011


I recently stumbled across a photo on facebook of a tiny baby--just 6 weeks after conception--who had been miscarried.  The photo of baby "Blessing" was taken by her grieving mother.  It was amazing to see the little fingers on the tiny hand already formed at such an early age.  I was moved by the loss of this tiny infant and had to re-post.

This morning, I awoke to a diatribe on the photo by a person who I have known almost all of my life.  As I said to him in my response this morning, I did not post the picture to begin a debate about abortion, law making, or when life begins.  And I didn't feel it appropriate to respond to his arguments in that forum.  However, I am truly disturbed by some of his statements, and I thought I would respond here. 

One thing he mentions in his post is that as a Christian, I would not like legislation passed that I disagreed with, so my religious beliefs should not be the basis of legislation passing (referring to abortion).  Actually, this kind of legislation has been passed--raw milk, for example, is outlawed in many states.  Homeschooling is banned.  We cannot freely speak even the name of God in a public place.  As a teacher, openly stating my beliefs in the classroom would get me fired (though it's perfectly find for an atheist to tell students who disagree with him that they are brainwashed by their parents).  And in many places, churches are forced to hire people who violate their deeply held beliefs because of legislation that has been passed.  Pastors have been jailed for reading certain scriptures from the Bible.  By the same token, many of the laws I'm sure he accepts and applauds, like laws against murder, robbery, etc, are rooted in biblical beliefs, as is the belief that "all men are created equal."  Our very constitution is founded on the belief in God. 

Another thing mentioned in the post is the question of when life begins.  "This is a fetus, not a baby," he says.   I think it is only people who are removed from the process of life who could make such a statement.  A farmer who has just had his crop destroyed by frost or hail does not say, "Oh, well--they weren't corn, yet."  He laments the loss of his crop of corn!  Likewise, a farmer whose pregnant cow is killed by a flood does not mourn the loss of one cow, but two.  And a mother who rejoices in the new life growing within her knows with absolute certainty that this is a child--one who she will nurse and rock and kiss.  She pictures her baby boy playing catch with his daddy or her baby girl dancing at her wedding--long before she holds that child in her arms. 

Finally, his assertion that adoption is traumatic is very sad, especially in light of the dreadful trauma--emotional and physical--that abortion unleashes on the would-be mothers and fathers (as we are now discovering).  Even if some adoption situations don't turn out perfectly, not a single abortion ends well.  Isn't it better to give a child a chance to have a loving family than no chance at all?  After all, God even used adoption as a picture of His love for us--we are adopted as sons and daughters.  This is a picture of how great His love is for us--that He loves us as His own children. 

It is true that each person has been given free will by God.  We have the ability to make our own choices.  And one day, we will be held accountable for those choices, just as we will be held accountable for "every idle word" we speak.  I pray every day that my words will honor God.  I know that I fail often and dreadfully, but that is my prayer.  I will continue to post things that touch my heart or that I would like for people to think about.  I will not be silenced by ridicule.  I know in Whom I have believed.  And I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Spring is in the air, and I hope it's here to stay!  We successfully kept the plants we planted safe during the last two freezes, and our TX friends tell us we should be safe from now on. 

So, right now, I've got blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry plants growing.  Since berries are on the Dirty Dozen list, I figured I should give growing them a try!  Veggie wise, I've got broccoli, sweet peas popping up, lettuce and spinach, onions, garlic, carrots, and radishes.  I'm getting ready to plant tomatoes, peppers, etc in pots inside for transplanting in a few months. 

AND I just joined a coop to get fresh milk and milk products, coconut oil, honey, etc.  I'm SO excited!  Now I just need to figure out the grains piece.  :-) 

Friday, February 11, 2011

So proud of my kiddos today!

Since Megan was a little bitty thing, we have had issues with cleaning up.  She is very obedient and cleans up right away...the problem is that I then find things hiding behind chairs, under beds, and in the closet.  My first thought when Megs was little was that she just had too much stuff (go figure!).  So, we got rid of stuff. 

Then, I thought she needed better ways to organize.  So, I invested in cubby shelves and baskets so that it would be simple to put things where they belong.  It works for the boys--they almost always put their cars in the car bucket, their legos in the lego bucket, etc.  But my Megan still has issues.

So, a few years ago, I started a new thing--every once in a while, I start at one corner of her room and go around the entire room, emptying everything and putting everything that was not in the right spot in the middle of the room for her to put away.  I figured that eventually she would get tired of that and start putting things away. 

Nope.  So, now I have an 8 year old with a heart of gold who still 'hides' things so that she can clean up faster.  Today, after she reassured me 5 times that everything was in its place and nothing was hiding, I decided to take a little bit more drastic measure.  Instead of putting everything on the floor for her to put away, I put it in a laundry basket to "give away." 

Of course, when her Awana book and one of her favorite shoes and several 'special' things ended up in the basket, she started frantically trying to put things away, crying.  It about broke my heart, but I stayed firm. 

As I was sorting through the basket to retrieve the items that don't belong to her, including BOTH pairs of Josyan's tennis shoes, which she had hidden in her closet--why??, in come Tristan and Josyan.  Quickly realizing Megan's dilemma, both boys start helping her put away the toys in the basket.  I told them they had until I was done putting away the other things that didn't belong to Megan to get as much as they could.  I have to tell you that I have never been so proud of my boys.  They were helping their sister just because they love her.  Wow! 

By the time I was done (I confess I took my time), there were only a few things left in the basket, which I put into a ziploc.  Every time I find her room spotless, she gets to retrieve one of her toys.  If I find anything out of place, we do the basket again. 

We had a nice conversation about consequences.  Like that it doesn't really take less time to cut corners, because then you have to do it all over again.  Besides, if you don't put things where they belong, you will have a hard time finding them later.  And Mommy needs to help Megan figure out how to be responsible, and if this doesn't work, we really will have to get rid of things.  Because we need to take care of what we have. 

I hope I'm not the only mom who has a 'hider'--and I hope that maybe this will help those moms with some ideas for taming the hiding monster.  ;-) 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A letter to a Senator...

In recent weeks, I have become more and more passionate about food--namely, growing and eating food the way God intended.  I'm not an expert on the subject, but I do feel very strongly that the message should be shared.  Since many countries banned GMOs years ago, I'm really concerned that we, as a society, are being entrenched in some habits that may become very hard to break if the issues are not addressed quickly.

I love that I now see all kinds of products with the "no high fructose corn syrup" labels, even in Handy Andy!  Ketchup, syrup, etc.  And it seems that buying organic has become easier and cheaper in the last few years, as well.  So I know that we can create change quickly if enough people speak loud enough and vote with our dollars.  Every time we shop and buy organic foods, we are telling the stores and the producers what we want. 

It can be very disheartening to hear the responses from friends.  One person said "a tomato is a tomato" and proceeded to call me a "hippie for Christ" (not that I mind being called a hippie, particularly, but still!).  I guess I should have told him to go taste the difference, rather than informing him about the dangers of the foods and telling him how I think God fits into my food decisions.  ;-) 

When I re-posted something about raw milk, Ryan's disgruntled aunt said, "Really, Karen?  Really?"  To which I have to say, yes, really!  It's amazing how the media portrays people who actually do the research--as fear mongers who don't understand that the FDA has said that "there is essentially no difference...blah blah blah."  (this from a US Senator in TX!)  It just tells me that we need to educate people. 

I was telling a friend that, though I have always believed in being self-sufficient, and I have always known that the closer the food is to the way God made it, the better it is, I didn't have a clue about some of the gmo stuff.  Like most people, I guess, I believed that they weren't essentially different.  I had no idea that my food had mutated e-coli in its DNA!  But, now that I do know, our family is committed to doing our best to eat good foods and to educate others.  Imagine what would happen if we all did that?

Just like homeschooling, recycling, etc, eating good foods created out of good farming practices would stop being something "those people" do, and something that we all want to do.  Mainstream, rather than underground. 

So, if you've made it to the end of this post, I thought I'd post a letter I wrote in response to 'that' senator.  Feel free to modify and send to your own legislators. 

Dear Senator ____________,

GM foods ARE significantly and dangerously different than organic foods.  This is why they have been banned in other countries around the world.  Genetically modified foods are created by injecting the DNA of the food with DNA from e-coli bacteria and viruses.  Organically grown foods do not have e-coli bacteria and virus DNA embedded in them.   In addition, research shows that GM foods are NOT safe.  (Another article here) GM foods have been linked to severe allergies, obesity, cancer, and other diseases.  GM foods have been proven to be less nutritious and more allergenic than 'regular' foods. 

Despite continued research to show that these foods are not safe, the consumer is denied the ability to make educated choices about the foods they eat because companies like Monsanto have employees in the FDA and EPA advocating for them and feeding the public and our elected officials false information.  Not only that, but they are putting small farmers who utilize good farming practices out of business through the unethical patenting of life and through monopolizing the food industry. 

I urge you to view documentaries like Food, Inc and The Future of Food.  Eliminating these foods from the marketplace will preserve the livelihoods of small farmers and make all Americans healthier.

You can watch Food, Inc for free on Netflix.    You can watch The Future of Food here

Thank you for your service to your constituents,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Future of Food

Ryan and I just finished watching our third "Food" movie.  The first two were Fresh and Food, Inc, which solidified our resolve to eat locally grown, organic foods and introduced us to the concept of GM foods--genetically modified foods.  Tonight, we watched an older film (2004), The Future of Food.

Essentially, the Monsanto corporation, known as the producer of Agent Orange and other pesticides, has decided to inject genetically modified e-coli bacteria into foods to make them resistant to the Round Up pesticides that they produce.  Then, they took out a patent on those foods, the most prominent of which are corn, soy, cotton, and canola.  So, when the pollen from their GMO corn is blown on the wind into another farmer's field, that farmer's crop now belongs to Monsanto.  Monsanto sues the farmer to either force him out of business or force him to use their seed. 

The GM foods are outlawed in several countries around the world, and many countries won't even accept crops shipped from the US.  Yet, our government continues to claim that these foods are not any different from other foods and does not require any research or regulation of them.  Unfortunately, once the GM crops are introduced, it is almost impossible to get them out.  Unless we eliminate these crops entirely and start fresh while we still have good seed, that is. 

Not only is it imperative that we stop the GM foods from entering our bodies, but we need to let the government know that we do not want GM foods.  Essentially, we need to work together to fight Monsanto and educate consumers in the US. 

You can watch the Future of Food for free here:

I also joined the Center for Food Saftey here:  If you click on the Action links to the right, you can send pre-composed e-mails to your elected officials. 

Get informed.  Buy local.  Buy organic.  Tell others.  Together we can make a difference!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Soaking Grains

So, I've been slowly progressing through the first few GNOWFGLINS lessons.  Yesterday, I soaked almonds, flour for muffins, and rice for dinner.  According to GNOWFGLINS, soaking nuts and grains neutralizes the phytic acid that makes them harder for our bodies to digest.  Adding heat, neutralizes the enzymes. 

The first step, of course is to soak everything.  I just put about 2 cups of almonds in a quart size jar and then filled the jar with water & added a Tablespoon of sea salt.  Cover and soak for 7+ hours, then drain and either put in a dehydrator or on a cookie sheet in the oven at a very low temp with the door open.  The rice was also very easy, although I did have to add some apple cider vinegar to it.  Same with the grain--I mixed 1 1/2 c of whole grain flour and 1/2 c oats with 1 cup of milk and 2T of yogurt. Instead of the yogurt, you could also use buttermilk or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.  

I now have my almonds dehydrating in the oven at 150 degrees. When they are nice and toasty, they will be delicious.  In fact, I made some when my Mom was here visiting, and she liked them so much that she made some herself when she got home!  I cooked the rice last night, and Ryan said it was the best rice ever!  And I also baked muffins with my soaked grains--banana muffins.  They are pretty good.  The batter was really wet, like pancake batter almost--usually my muffin batter is more like cookie dough.  But they were good.  And it wasn't a lot of trouble at all. 

So, if it's really helping our bodies digest the grains, it's worth doing, I think.  If you want to check it out, just go to

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Save the Date

Save the Date is a cute new Christian romance novel by Jenny Jones.  With a stack of non-fiction books on my nightstand, I thought I could use something fun and light to read, and Save the Date fit the bill.  Though a bit predictable at times, this book does a nice job of combining an unlikely fairy-tale romance, the basic Christian dilemma of trusting God, and an introduction to a little known social problem deserving of our attention. 

In the book, we follow the funny adventures of the main character, Lucy, who runs a non-profit for teens who have aged out of the foster system, as she bumbles her way through many interesting situations in her staged engagement to Alex, a wealthy ex-football star running for office.  Throughout the story, the spiritual struggles Alex and Lucy face require the reader to look at his/her own struggles with faith and with self-image.  Do we truly trust God with who we are and everything in our lives?  The book illustrates the idea that God is often working in ways we couldn't imagine, even as we plead for Him to intervene and wonder why He's not responding!

Finally, the book asks us to take a look at a problem that we don't often see--the many young adults who have aged out of the foster system and have no place to go.  Thankfully, homes like the one Lucy runs do exist, but I hope that readers of Save the Date will take time to investigate this issue further and see how they can help. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Building Websites...

I was in my junior year at NAU taking my first online class--Creative Writing!--when I first started using my e-mail account out of necessity.  Just a few short years later, teaching my composition students how to design and create their own sites to showcase their work using Netscape Composer was one of my favorite assignments. 

Fast forward 12 years.  Now we have sophisticated web site builders that don't require much at all--just put in your own pictures and text and voila!  You have a site!  My students use, which is a pretty easy site builder with free hosting.  Since I have domains registered with godaddy already, I had to think of another alternative.

For now, I'm using  I used one of their templates to build a site for Ryan (, and I designed our License to Dream site from scratch (  The second site is temporary until we get our vision together.  Other than the ad on the side, I think the sites look pretty great.  My next task is to create a new site for   It's amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mom to Mom

This morning I went to an amazing program at the First Baptist Church down the road.  It's called Mom to Mom--a ministry based on Titus 2 (older women mentoring younger women).  I love the idea of bringing women together to learn what God says about parenting, as well as having the opportunity to talk to other moms.  When Megan was a baby, it was a women's Bible study that saved my sanity.  Knowing that I was not alone--that other moms were going through the exact same situations with their kids--made a huge difference in how I felt about my own parenting and my life in general. 

If you are involved in women's ministries at your church, I encourage you to take a look at the program!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Crockpot Oatmeal...and Leftover Oatmeal Cookies

So I wanted to try making oatmeal in the crockpot.  I have never been a big fan of oatmeal, and I admit shamefully that I prefer the maple & brown sugar Quaker instant to anything I have ever made myself.  BUT I'm trying really hard to implement more GNOWFGLINS food choices into our diet.  So, I decided to try soaking oats/making oatmeal in the crockpot.  (I don't think I actually did the soaking part right, but I'm working on it!  lol)  I didn't have any steel cut oats, which apparently make a better flavor, so I just threw in two cups of Quaker oats, a generous handful of brown sugar, some cinnamon, and a dash of salt and a dash of cloves.  I added 2 cups of milk and 3 cups of water and set the crockpot to low for 8 hours.

This morning, the oatmeal was very creamy/gooey/mushy.  But it tasted pretty good.  For good measure, I put more brown sugar and some maple syrup on top (the log cabin natural kind with NO HFCS).  It was pretty good, but Tristan wouldn't touch it.  So, I had about 1 1/2 cups of oatmeal left over.  This happened to be the EXACT amount I needed to make the oatmeal cookies I found here.  (she got it from

Here's the recipe:
Leftover Oatmeal Cookies
2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 c sugar
2/3 c shortening (I use butter)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups cooked oatmeal

Sift dry ingredients together.  Add shortening & eggs and beat until creamy--about 2 minutes.  (It does eventually become creamy!)  Stir in oatmeal.  Drop onto greased baking sheets and bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes.  Makes about 4 dozen.

The cookies turned out really yummy.  I added raisins to half the batter--YUM!  They are super soft and have a great flavor.  Love them.  I don't know if I love them enough to brave the crockpot mess again...maybe if I have a liner.  ;-)

All in all, I think we could get used to oatmeal, especially if we get cookies. lol 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Do you know what a GMO is?

Do you know what a GMO is?  I didn't have a clear understanding of the concept of GMOs until I watched this video:

After watching the video, I went through my cupboards and was shocked at the many, many things that contain GMOs, after all, corn is everywhere--corn starch, corn syrup, corn.  My kids' favorite veggie?  Corn.  A lot of kids' foods aren't "safe" according to the video--not even Cheerios!  Here's a downloadable booklet that tells you at a glance what is safe and what's not:  I also downloaded a GMO app for my i-phone.  It's not comprehensive, but I can at least

Of course, the best way is to produce your own food.  Here's a great website where you can get corn seed that is NOT GMO:  It also has some fun heirloom varieties of flowers and veggies and the history of each one. 

For more info, here are some other websites: (a fun blog about a mom who did an experiment with her kids)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Miscarriage Survey...

I lost a baby in between Megan and Tristan & it was amazing how my loss caused so many women to open up to me and share their own stories of loss. Each story was unique, but they all shared the same theme--love for an unborn child, the heartbreaking loss, and then hope, the joy that comes in the morning. (That was my song--I'm trading my sorrows...laying them down for the joy of the Lord.) Those stories are what gave me hope and comfort during that tough time and really made me feel that I wasn't all alone.

So, I thought it would be neat to create a book with a compilation of stories of women who have been through miscarriage--Miscarriage: Stories of Love, Loss, and Hope. The purpose would be to let women know they are not alone and to point out God's hand in every circumstance.  (bringing the Hope!)  I'm thinking that all the proceeds from the book could go to benefit orphans/adoption/Christian pregnancy care centers.

I would love to hear your response to my idea.  I've created a survey HERE to begin this journey.  If you have experienced a miscarriage, I would very much appreciate your input.  Also, please feel free to pass along the survey link to others who might want to participate.  Survey responses are confidential and anonymous, unless you choose to include your e-mail address/contact info. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hello 2011!

Philippians 3:13-14
No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven. (NLT)

This last week, I pulled out my 2010 Dream Board--the one I created with pictures of all the things I wanted to accomplish in 2010 and beyond.  As I looked over my dreams, I was surprised at how many of my dreams have become reality--and in the strange ways they have!

One of my dreams was to publish License to Dream--which we did in November!  Hurray!  That is one of the biggest accomplishments of my life, I think. 

A big section of my dream board was focused on spending more time as a family and being more involved with doing fun things with my kids.  As I worked on that section, I was looking forward to multiple full-time positions teaching.  I knew that I would be gone 6 hours a day, then come home to have another 6-7 courses waiting for me online.  My heart was breaking.  I can honestly say that the Spring of 2010 was one of the hardest few months of my life. 

But isn't it amazing how things work out?  Here we are in Texas (something I never, ever would have imagined), and we spend more time together as a family doing fun things in a week than we ever did in a year back in AZ.  Wow!  Talk about a dream realized!  I still have a ton of things on my plate as I work on action steps that will make my business (SendOutCards) take over the income of my jobs (teaching).  BUT, I am home with my kids all day.  I get to spend hours each day focused on them doing school, and in the evenings and on weekends we PLAY! 

Another one of my dream pictures was saving money and paying off debt.  The move to Texas and Ryan's new job is bringing that dream into reality, as well.

So, what am I working on this year?  I still have many of the same dreams that I had in 2010.  I would like to publish a new book this year...but I'm not sure what I want to write about yet.  My SOC goals remain the same--to help five of my team members get to Sr. Manager.  So, what's it going to take?  It's going to take organization and discipline.  I'm going to have to cut out all the things that don't matter (like TV and reading fun books!), and really focus on my goals.  Most importantly, I have to remember what my WHY is--my family and freedom to work in God's kingdom--"Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you!"

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