June 29, 2014

Great Reasons to Live in the Desert

"Red Desert Rocks" by Circe Denyer
There are advantages to living in the desert.

1. You aren't sweaty from humidity the minute you step out of the shower.

2. You stay dry longer during the day.

3. You support the lotion industry.

4. You can leave clothes and other items in sheds without them molding.

5. You keep sprinkling system places in business.

6. You appreciate water and rain so much more.

7. You appreciate the subtle hints of green in the sage brush.

8. Food doesn't mold (as a friend pointed out on my Facebook post).

But then desert dwellers are thankful when rain comes.

June 25, 2014

New Articles on the Internet

I know you all are dying to know where my latest articles have shown up. I'll tell you anyway. :)

On NewsCastic:

Utah Kids Say the Darndest Things

On Mommy's Money Saving Tips:

School Loans: Invest in Education

Sleep Makes You More Productive

Hosting a Yard Sale

When does school start again?

Yes, I'm ready to send my oldest back to school. He and his brother make a stink when they can't play on the computer. Or they have a hard time taking turns. I'm done with the screaming. However, after they whine for awhile, they start playing imaginative games together. I sometimes just want to put a mute button on my children. :)

June 16, 2014

I Miss China

Ten years ago on this day I came home from teaching English in China. I had spent 4.5 months roaming around China and my journey came to an end. I was happy to be home, but I still missed some things about China. My story about China really starts about a decade before that.

While lying on my bed, I listened to Tori Amos's song China. Tori Amos communicated such longing that I felt it too. In 1994, I watched Chen Lu figure skate in the Olympics. She exuded joy after having won the bronze medal. I felt chills when I watched her performance as a butterfly in the 1998 Olympics.

While attending BYU, I signed up for a Mandarin course, but chickened out after the first day. I received a letter soon after from International Language Programs about volunteer teaching English abroad. Fate was calling: I signed up to go to China. On January 29, 2004, I squished between hundreds of passengers on a plane headed to China. After no sleep, I practically sleepwalked into the Shanghai airport. Sally, the English teacher coordinator, greeted us and led us to a bus. In a sleep deprived state, everything seemed even more foreign.

Over the next four months, I grew to love the people, the culture, and the land. The kindergarten students I taught sometimes drove me nuts, but other times we had so much fun. I got to know some of the other teachers and the vendors on the street by the school. I believe the vendors made a bigger profit while my group and I were teaching there. Our group bonded through all our travels and going around the city together.

The other teachers and I visited Shanghai, Beijing, the Great Wall, Suzhou, Yellow Mountains, and Xian during some of the weekends. With some of the native teachers, I visited the grave of some 'great teacher' and climbed to the top of a mountain. I was so confused when the Chinese teachers called him Kongzi. When they called him a great teacher so many times, I realized they meant Confucius. So now I know we had hiked to the Temple of Confucius in Qufu, Shandong and visited his grave.

I saw people who were so poor and others who were richer. I felt so rich even though I grew up in the lower middle class. I saw very poor sanitary conditions and others that were better. I remember the smell of fermenting tofu and pollution mixing in the streets. I learned to use chopsticks and I still use them when I eat Chinese take-out. I can't waste such a valuable skill of wielding chopsticks!

I learned some Chinese--mostly bartering. I've since forgotten most words and I never knew how to spell them. Most of the people appreciated that I tried to speak to them in their native language. I sometimes used Spanish instead since I was mixing a second language with a third language I was learning.

My journey through China taught me so much. I'm so glad I went even though I was homesick at times for American food, toilets instead of squatters, potable water from the tap, clean air, and understanding everyone. I missed my family too, but it was worth it. On humid and smoggy days, I want to drag my husband and kids to China. They'd learn to love it like I do.

June 09, 2014

Article "Need vs Want" published

Here's a link to a guest blog post I wrote on needs vs. wants, hosting a yard sale and finding free stuff. There are other good saving and earning tips on the site as well.


Summer Daze

I'm feeling nostalgic today about summer.

During the summer, I read a lot of books. I also wrote my books (not great ones as of yet). My friends or family and I would go swimming at the reservoir or at the pool. I loved swimming. My friends and I also went on hikes around the Four Corners area.

Every summer, my church group sponsored a Young Women's Camp. I loved roughing it and being with so many of my friends. We could be silly and no boys would know about it. We also ate camping food, which is always good.

One spring, my friends and I camped under the open stars and cooked a tin foil dinner. I loved seeing the stars and watching the sun rise. Nature brought such peace.

So summers were fun. I still have fun summers now. My boys and I went swimming last week and they enjoyed that. They enjoy playing in water as much as I used to. Ah, I want to float on my back and not hear anyone through the water.