Sunday, June 17, 2018

Dads are Heroes

Photo credit: Melissa Ward
Happy Fathers Day to all the wonderful men out there trying hard to do their best for their wives and children. ♥️

~JS~ 🌞
#fathersday #fathers #family #dad

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

My Seven Day Social Media Fast - Podcast Episode 10 - IDP010

What I Learned When I Turned off the Chatter for a Week

It was an interesting week and I learned some interesting insights.
Enjoy the podcast!

If you're more of a reading-type, a transcript of this podcast will be posted later today.

~JS~ 🌞

For more optimism and insight for your everyday living, visit!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Seven-Day Social Media Fast

At a historic fireside this evening, all LDS youth were invited by President Russell M. Nelson to participate in a 7-day social media fast.

In an effort to support the youth and claim the blessings of this prophetic charge, I'm going to take a break from social media starting tomorrow morning. See you all next Monday! ~JS~ 🌞

You are Worth It!

"God would not put you through a refiner's fire if you were not worth refining." - Brad Wilcox

Have wonderful #SacredSunday today!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

I Didn't Ask For This Problem ... Or Did I?

You never know what future blessings will come from your current trials. Let your struggles make you stronger!
~JS~ 🌞 #ThankfulThursday
#strong #motivational #sorelatable #problems #mentalhealthawareness #mud #depression #healing #gratitudequotes

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Optavia First Delivery Unboxing

I'm so excited to get started on my new health and wellness program. Join me for #WellnessWednesday as I unbox my first food delivery!

Have a wonderful day!
~JS~ 🌞

#healthylife #weightlossjourney #healthy #nutrition #healthylife #health #goals #determination 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Wrap Your Mind Around Your Schedule

Before our Memorial Day Celebrations begin, I'm taking just a few minutes to get an overview of my upcoming busy week. 🀯

I've found that sitting down and  writing out the overall schedule, and clarifying my important goals and tasks really helps me to wrap my mind around what's coming up.

How do you get yourself motivated for the week ahead? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ
~JS~ 🌞

#planningahead #schedule #clarity #productivity #stressrelief

Saturday, May 26, 2018

How to Eat Healthy at a Mongolian Grill Restaurant

Want to know my strategy for eating healthy at HuHot Mongolian Grill?

Here ya go!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

~JS~ 🌞

#healthy #eating #familyfun

Friday, May 25, 2018

Parenting with Random Intentionality - IDP009 Podcast with Shownotes and Links

How imperfect best efforts yield results over time

Today's podcast ended up being a huge boost to my day as I considered the long-range effects of random best efforts, consistently applied over time. If you're frustrated with the daily "drudge" of parenting and feel like your efforts aren't making any difference, this message is for you!


Here's what I was listening to this morning that sparked today's thoughts about random intentionality (such a fun concept!): A Slob Comes Clean 014 Husbands and Decluttering Podcast

Here's a related blog post by Dana White that I referred to in today's podcast:

Definitions from today's podcast:

"Randomness is the lack of pattern or predictability in events.[1] A random sequence of events, symbols or steps has no order and does not follow an intelligible pattern or combination."

"Intention is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intention involves mental activities such as planning and forethought."

"Intentionality is a philosophical concept and is defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as "the power of minds to be about, to represent, or to stand for, things, properties and states of affairs."

My definition of random intentionality as it relates to parenting:
Random intentionality in parenting is having a long-range view of the values you want to teach your children, and striving to teach those consistently over time in a variety of fun and ever-changing ways. Remember that inconsistent intentionality is ever so much better than no intentionality at all.

Having fun with my kids while teaching about using cleansing face masks for healthy skin!


I love this poem that I heard when I was a child, and many times over the years.

"The Race" by D.H. Groberg

“Quit! Give up! You’re beaten!” they shout at me, and plead. 
“There’s just too much against you now, this time you can’t succeed.”
And as I start to hang my head in front of failure’s face, 
My downward fall is broken by the memory of a race. 
And hope refills my weakened will, as I recall that scene, 
For just the thought of that short race rejuvenates my being.

They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win that race. 
Or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place. 
And fathers watched from off the side, each cheering for his son, 
And each boy hoped to show his dad, that he would be the one.

The whistle blew, and off they went, young hearts and hopes afire, 
To win and be the hero there was each young boy’s desire. 
And one boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd, 
Was running near the head, and thought, “My dad will be so proud!”
But as he fell, his dad stood up, and showed his anxious face, 
Which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win the race.” 

He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit, that’s all, 
And ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win, 
His mind went faster than his legs; he slipped and fell again!

He wished then he had quit before with only one disgrace. 
“I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”
But in the laughing crowd he searched, and found his father’s face, 
that steady look that said again, “Get up and win the race!”

So up he jumped to try again, ten yards behind the last, 
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to move real fast.”
Exceeding everything he had he gained back eight or ten, 
But trying so to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.

Defeat! He lay there silently, a tear dropped from his eye. 
“There is no sense in running more. Three strikes, I’m out, why try?”
The will to rise had disappeared, all hope had fled away. 
So far behind, so error prone, a loser all the way.

“I’ve lost, so what’s the use,” he thought, “I’ll live with my disgrace.” 
But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.
“Get up!” an echo sounded low, “Get up, and take your place. 
You were not meant for failure here, get up and win the race.”
“With borrowed will, get up,” it said, “You have not lost at all. 
For winning is no more than this: to rise each time you fall.”

So up he rose to run once more, and with a new commit, 
He resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been, 
Still he gave it all he had, and ran as though to win.
Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he’d rose again, 
Too far behind to hope to win he still ran to the end. 

They cheered the winning runner, as he crossed the line first place. 
Head high and proud and happy, no falling, no disgrace. 
But when the fallen youngster crossed the finish line last place, 
The crowd gave him the greater cheer for finishing the race.

And even though he came in last, with head bowed low, unproud, 
You would have thought he won the race to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad, he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.” 
“To me you won!” his father said, “You rose each time you fell.”

And when things seem dark and hard, and difficult to face, 
The memory of that little boy helps me to win my race. 
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all, 
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.

“Quit! Give up! You’re beaten!” they still shout in my face. 
But another voice within me says: “GET UP AND WIN THE RACE!”


Here's a fun dramatized video based on "The Race":

Love it!!! 😍😍😍

Have a wonderful weekend!
~JS~ 🌞

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Beautiful Homestead, Southern Idaho, USA

Last night as we got out of our car at my in-laws house, I couldn't help but snap a picture of this amazing view!

Their cute little kitty happened to pass by just as I clicked the button to take the picture. I thought I'd leave her in the shot because having her in there perfectly portrays the peaceful nature of this beautiful homestead.

Have a wonderful weekend!

~JS~ 🌞

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Health and Wellness Journey Update: Plateau Broken!

I'm super excited today to report on my health and wellness goals! Unfortunately I'm not in a position to record a podcast today, or I'd totally be shouting this into a microphone!! πŸ˜‰Suffice it to say that I think I made a breakthrough!! Aren't they the best? Sometimes it just seems like you slog away and trudge through the muck and difficulty of a challenge, and it seems impossible to overcome. But then, something happens, something changes, and suddenly you find yourself on the edge of a breakthrough. You wonder if it's the right way to go so you stew and contemplate and struggle with it (and if you're like me, you analyze it to death!) and then you decide to make the leap. 

Where I've Been

Well this week I made a big leap! And I am already seeing success, though I've barely begun. Where to begin? I suppose it's best to refer you to my last #WellnessWednesday status report if you'd like some background context. You can find that post here: First Official Wellness Wednesday Post. I wrote that in January 2018 and it's currently the middle of May 2018, so it's been awhile! I will try to catch you up a bit and then tell you what's on the horizon now.

In January I did the "no sweets for the whole month of January" until about the middle of January. Now that you're done laughing and I'm done crying (haha just kidding, I'm fine) I will just take a minute to congratulate myself for the couple weeks I did do! (Yay me! πŸ’ͺπŸ’– Go Erika!) Okay, now back to the story. So I visited my parents in January and went off of the "no sugar" thing after being there a couple of days because it was just so darn hard because I was on vacation! I did stick to my periodic fasting routine (mostly) but then I ate garbage when I wasn't fasting. So ... yeah, not the best approach, but by doing that I only gained a couple of pounds on that very long vacation.

After getting home, I got serious with my IF routine (intermittent fasting btw) by doing an eating window between 6 to 10 hours per day, on average about an eight hour window). For more details on the plan I was following, you can check out The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm not going to go into detail on my exact plan because you can find it all there if you're interested. But from February until about a week ago, I basically waited to eat until about noon and then tried to eat reasonably the rest of the day, with my last meal between 6pm and 10pm. The freedom was nice because I could eat pretty much whatever I wanted during my eating window. And I think it will be a good maintenance strategy for vacations or other times when I want to indulge. BUT...

And there's the big BUT, haha. The problem is that once I got back down to my pre-2017-holiday weight, I could never break past the plateau. No matter how faithful I was to the eating windows, that scale just went up and down about 5 pounds but never went below one certain number. Grr! 😠Infuriating!!

Now to be fair, I completely know that if I had just eaten more reasonably during my eating window, I probably would have continued to lose weight. But I was just stuck on a plateau, and could never break past that spot. And I knew that I just needed to make healthier choices. But IF kind of gave me permission to not eat all that healthy when I was eating (which, like I said, can be kind of handy!) but some of that food really made me feel terrible. And I was in denial about that. When I ate healthily during my eating window (lots of veggies, moderate carbs, protein in every meal) then I felt great! But I just kept bouncing up and down about five pounds and could never get past my plateau.

A New Day!

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when a friend of mine and I were chatting in church about our health progress. She's lost 60 pounds in the last six months and it's been super inspiring to watch her progress! I thought a couple of times about asking her what she was doing, but we always had just a few minutes before and after the church meeting to chat and I was happy with what I was doing and felt like the plateau would break soon. But at the same time, I wasn't making the healthiest of choices and I knew it. And I knew that I probably needed another change.

This is how my brain works. When I start to lose enthusiasm for something, I need to change it up to make my next breakthough. A change of pace, strategy, environment, system or tools can make all the difference for my enthusiasm. Can any of you relate? 

So when Nancy invited me to listen to a health information meeting at her house, I decided to go check it out. I was super impressed with her friend Kirtley who shared her own journey. It was also fun to hear Nancy's own story in more detail. They shared some of the basic principles of the health  program that they used to reach and maintain their own health goals, and I enjoyed the get-together. I went home considering it for sure.

I found myself contemplating if it made sense for me to get a jump-start by trying something totally new, with the added support of a certified personal health coach who is also my friend. The idea of having someone to hold me accountable is probably what made me the most interested, honestly. I've spent a lifetime learning and studying, which has included many different health programs over the years, so I know in my mind what I need to do. The hard part is getting myself to do it! My daughter Jessica told me the other day that she heard something once about a study that found out that it doesn't necessarily matter that much which health program you use, as long as you faithfully stick to it and have a good plan for maintenance. In other words, you have to actually DO what you KNOW. Mind-blowing, right? πŸ™„ Simple but nearly impossible sometimes!

As I've visited with Nancy over the past week, I have been impressed with the details she asked me about, the knowledge she had, and her flexibility in working with me via video messages with the Marco Polo app. It works great because we get the face-to-face but we don't have to plan ahead to be on the phone at the same time. (Biggest problem with live video chatting.) Although for our "official health assessment meeting" we did both sit-down go back and forth for about an hour. She asked me about my current health situation, what my goals were, why I wanted to lose weight, and more things to help me really assess where I was and where I wanted to go. I felt like if I worked with her, I could really do this and finish getting down to my goal.

Exciting Progress

What makes this a new day for me? It's the accountability of having someone else know what my health goals are who will cheer me on and give me encouragement when I fall. It's just the sort of motivation I needed to get going on this again. And the best part?? For the past three days I have been "pretending" that I was already on the plan by eating six small healthy meals a day, every 2-3 hours. Oh and drinking half of my body weight in ounces. And guess what? Without even getting the foods yet or really officially starting, I BROKE MY PLATEAU!!! πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜πŸ‘‹

Full-disclosure here, I have peeked briefly at that lower number a couple of times over the past seven months, but never for more than a day. And it's so exciting because I haven't seen that number in the past couple of months, and now it's here! Even though it feels like I've barely started doing anything yet! So awesome.

I think that it's really about motivation and desire. I really want this because I want to be healthier for my kids and grandkids. About a month ago, I started having some heart palpitations, so I went to see my doctor and had a 24 hour heart monitor test. That really scared me. My mom died at age 60 from the effects of ten years' struggle with heart disease. She had her first heart attack at age 50. I am only a few years away from that! I realized the other night that if I died at the same age as my mom, I will not be around to see my sweet newborn grandson graduate from high school! In fact, I won't even see him enter high school. That is terrifying!!! I want to be around and keep being jumbled-y and sunshine-y for decades more to come. 🌞🌞🌞🌞

So anyway, it's a new day here for #WellnessWednesday!! I'm excited to have a COACH, to have ACCOUNTABILITY, and to maybe even earn some money for my efforts, thanks to also signing up for a DietBet challenge on Monday night. I am hoping to earn back some of the money I am spending on my new program! I just have to lose 4% in 4 weeks. Do you think I can do it? I KNOW I CAN. Who's with me? It's not too late to join me. Let's make this the best summer ever!!

I'd love to hear anything you have to share about your own plans and goals and challenges and breakthroughs. Accountability and friendships can make so much difference! I am so excited for all the decades ahead to keep learning and growing and enjoying my family and friends.

Have a wonderful day!
~JS~ 🌞


ps - If you're interested in connecting with my friend Nancy, who is a Certified Health Coach, send me a note HERE and I'll give you an introduction or you can visit her website online HERE.

Monday, May 21, 2018

What One Habit Could Change Your Life? IDP 008

Mini-Workshop Guided Brainstorming Session

Join me on today's podcast for a guided brainstorming session to discover what one thing you could do to make a huge impact on your life starting now!

~JS~ 🌞

Music Credit: Caeli by Kai Engel
Songs played in podcast: daedalus, modum and periculum

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Laundry Folding Machine!?!

This is the perfect strategy for folding laundry! ~JS~ 🌞#StrategySaturday #housework #inventions

Friday, May 18, 2018

Friends Become Our Chosen Family

I'm so grateful for good friends who are just like family to me. You know who you are! πŸ’•

~JS~ 🌞
#friendship #family #gotyourback

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Give Cheerfully and Accept Gratefully!

"When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed." - Maya Angelou
~JS~ 🌞
Image credit: @rosemarygullolifecoach

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Be Cautious of Misleading Headlines and Photos


Photo from quoted article at Sci-Tech Daily

We all want to stay informed, but we need to be cautious about reading only the headlines and images of articles.

This particular article gives some good information about a study that showed potential problems with some artificial sweeteners. But when you read down through the article and look at the specific sweeteners that were tested you find this quote:

"The team fed different groups of rats diets high in glucose or fructose (kinds of sugar), or aspartame or acesulfame potassium (common zero-calorie artificial sweeteners)."

Note that the packages in this picture under the headline are for various alternative sweeteners, but it is misleading because not all of them have aspartame or acesulfame potassium in them. This makes the photo and headline misleading.

For example, neither Stevia in the Raw nor Truvia have either of those artificial sweeteners in them. So they should not be included in the photo with a headline saying that artificial sweeteners are linked to diabetes and obesity.

Always check your facts!

Have a wonderful #WellnessWednesday!
~JS~ 🌞

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tech Memories - Child of the Seventies - IDP007 Show Notes

Are you a child of the Seventies? Let's reminisce!

References, Photos and Links from this podcast:
Speak and Spell!! Did any of you have one?
Photo Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0

1971 - Sears begins selling Kenmore microwave ovens.
I remember getting one of these in the mid-70s and it was a big deal!
Image Credit: Kenmore Chronology
Grease - Iconic movie of the 70s
We must have watched the recorded-off-TV version of this movie a hundred times!
Photo Credit: IMDB
Original Atari Video Computer System
Picture Credit: Public Domain

Hope you enjoyed this week's Tech Tuesday podcast!
~JS~ 🌞

* * *

Stay Tuned for Next Week's Podcast:
Tech Memories - Teenager of the Eighties!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Fill Your Ordinary World with Beautiful Light! Transcript/Blog of IDP003

This is a blog post created from the transcript of The Ideally-Daily Podcast Episode 003, "Fill Your Ordinary World with Beautiful Light!" ENJOY!

It's Motivation Monday! I'll tell you though, today I just did not feel motivated at all, to post anything, or record anything, or do anything. And I'm like, "Okay, I've gotta get motivated!" Do you ever have days like that?

So I turned on some podcasts that I like to listen to, that help motivate me. There's one called the Daily Boost, which I really enjoy. There's another one called Everyday is Saturday, that I really like. I've just barely started listening to the Everyday is Saturday, so I'm still trying to decide on that one, but the guy is definitely very enthusiastic. I also listened to a little bit of A Slob Comes Clean, because I just like her personality, and what she talks about there. And also, Lisa Woodruff over at Organize 365. Those are a few of the podcasts that kind of help me feel motivated to get going, on my life, and my home, and my business, and my family. It's just something I found can help me.

Anyway, as I was sitting there playing Candy Crush πŸ™„πŸ€£ and listening to those podcasts, trying to get myself to get up and do something this morning. I finally got myself up, and started sorting out my basket with all my papers that I try to go through every week, trying to get organized, plan my week and stuff.

As I was doing this, I came across this little piece of paper with this great quote on it, that I actually had from several weeks ago at church, when somebody handed it to me to read out loud in a class. I've been thinking a lot about this idea of "Jumbled Sunshine," and what the sunshine part stands for, and just that idea of light in our lives. I wanted to share this quote with you:

"Darkness reduces our ability to see clearly. It dims our vision of that which was, at one time, plain and clear. When we are in darkness, we are more likely to make poor choices, because we can't see dangers in our path. When we are in darkness, we are more likely to lose hope, because we cannot see the peace and joy that await us, if we just keep pressing forward." - DF Uchtdorf

Using a Little Light to Walk in Darkness

I love this! You know how you step into a room at night, and you realize the light switch doesn't work? That's the case in our garage right now, the light bulb is burned out, so when you walk in and flip the switch on, it doesn't come on and it's just all dark in there. So sometimes I'll stumble around on my phone to turn on a little flashlight, but other times, I've tried to just kind of walk forward through the garage. But my garage isn't always the cleanest, despite our all our attempts to keep the "garage creep" under control. You know, you get it all cleaned up, and then the stuff starts creeping back in. πŸ™„

But as you can imagine, it's a little bit scary to walk through the garage without the light on, because the darkness is dimming my vision. I can't really see where is the best place to step, so I'm more likely to make a poor choice like bump into the car, or stumble across a boot, or knock over something. I can't see the peace, and joy, and happiness that awaits me when I walk through the door into my house and see my family in there.

But if I pull out my cellphone, and I turn on the little flashlight, all of a sudden I can see forward, and it's easy to walk forward, and get into my home. Then I'm able to joyfully say, "Hey, everybody. I'm here!" And the kids all shout excitedly, "Mom!" (at least that's what the ideal situation is!) But you know how it is, you just get that happy greeting from your home and/or the people in it.

Maybe you have a pet that runs up, and starts jumping up and down, and is excited to see you. Or you see your comfy slippers, and you can get out of your work clothes, and get into something soft, and comfy, and snuggle down with a hot cup of cocoa, or whatever. Arriving home like that is just always a relief. Even when it's fun and exciting to go places, it's a relief to come home.

If you're walking into your house, and you try to flip on the light, but it doesn't work, it's just so much harder to get to where you're trying to go. But with light, it's easy. You just walk across the garage, and you walk into the house. It's easy peasy, right? πŸ˜‰

Infusing Light into Your Life

So how does this relate to our lives? Well, in relates to life in a lot of ways, honestly. Like this morning, I didn't feel motivated at all to do anything. It's like I was sitting in the dark. But yet, I have so much to do, oh my gosh, I have so much going on in my life right now. I just feel like my life is in fast forward. Just the ages and stages that my family is at, it just seem like it's kind of starting to run away with me a little bit.

And I know I can stay on top of it, if I sit down, and I plan, and I organize, and I just kind of corral it all together, and look at it, and figure out what I need to do. But sometimes I don't really feel like doing it. So, like today, I sat down and I was playing Candy Crush. And I'm like, "Okay, Monday morning, this probably isn't the best use of my time." Right? But I decided to infuse a little bit of light into my day.

And I did that today by listening to some motivating podcasts. I also listened to a church speech, which motivated me, kind of filled a little bit. I read some inspirational quotes. You can literally go to Twitter, and click on the hashtag "Motivation Monday," and you're gonna see a ton of stuff. I found ways to just start getting some light into my heart, and into my mind, so that then I would want to do stuff.

Have you ever had that happen to you in the middle of the night? You're laying there and you should be sleeping, but you can't sleep because your mind is racing with all these things that you wanna get up and do. But you're like, "I can't really do things at 2:00 a.m.," or you know, "I don't wanna wake up the family." But then when daytime comes, you just wanna sleep. Have you been there?

You have to find a way to get that excitement and motivation into your heart, and into your mind, however you do that. Maybe it's chatting with a good friend, maybe it's brain dumping stuff onto a piece of paper, and just getting things off your mind. Maybe it's reading a good novel, just whatever you need to do, to bring that light into your mind and your heart, rather than that darkness of, "Ugh, I don't wanna do anything. I don't care about anything. I'm achy today, it's cold outside," just all the life complaints.

Try to lift yourself out of that. I know it can be tough, but find things that do lift you up. Maybe it's taking a nice, warm bubble bath. Maybe it's brushing your hair and doing it up special, or do your little girl's ponytails. Whatever it is that can help you feel excited about your life.

Identify what those things are and make yourself a list. Then the next time you're not feeling motivated, just start doing some of them, and keep doing them until you start to feel motivated.

If the entire day goes by, and you've done all these things that were supposed to make you feel excited, and bring in light, and you never really totally felt motivated, you still spent your day doing good, positive things. Right? So there's no loss there. So do those things that you know will bless your life, and make you feel up, and happy, and motivated, even if they're not making you feel motivated at the moment. Just keep doing them anyway.

Lighten Up Your World

I shared this quote on my blog on April 30, 2018, along with a picture that I took last May of a sunset in the evening. And the way that it was going down, behind the mountain, in the distance, it just shot these rays of lights, and these shadows, across our front lawn, and it was so gorgeous. It just made my front yard, which has its share of weeds, and lumps, and bumps, and problems, not look so ordinary anymore. It just lit it up and made it look beautiful, and I thought to myself how our ordinary, daily world, is full of beautiful light, if we just take a minute to look around and see it.

So that's my challenge for you today. Hopefully, that helps you feel a little bit motivated. I want you to look around you, look for the light in your life, look for how you can spread light to other people. Let's just share light, and goodness, and happiness, and motivation, with one another, instead of darkness, and complaining, and difficulty.

And I think you will find (I know I have found) that the more I try to be positive and uplifting, spreading joy and positive things to those around me, the more people respond to me more positively, and it brings me up, too! So even if I'm kind of faking it till I make it, by putting forth that effort, good things come back to me, and lifts me up and makes my day better.

I hope this is helpful to you today!
Have a wonderful Monday!
~JS~ 🌞

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day Mom - I Miss You!

Happy Mother's Day to the original Jumbled Sunshine. πŸ’•πŸŒžπŸ•Š️ #SacredSunday
#godbewithyou #tillwemeetagain

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Here's part of my strategy for a relaxing weekend: Cranberry Sprite Zero with one drop of wild orange essential oil served over ice. πŸ˜‹πŸ’•
#yum #StrategySaturday #relax
#drink #recipe #refreshingdrink

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A Disappointing Dental Disaster (Story from IDP006)

Journal Entry from Monday, April 04, 2011: 

Well, this morning I woke up a little groggy and slow, so after getting dressed, eating some Rice Krispies, and saying goodbye to the children, I settled into my "bed workspace" with my laptop to tackle all the email that has built-up over the weekend. I clicked on "email game" because I've found that's a great way to buzz through the email quickly, feeling challenged to deal with every single email without skipping any.

I was just getting on a roll and feeling really good about my accomplishments, when my husband Lonny came in and said, "Don't you have a dentist appointment at 9am?" ARG! I had completely forgotten. Last night as I was looking over my calendar I realized that I had the appointment, but this morning it was erased from my mind! Another reason to make sure and LOOK at the calendar FIRST THING every morning, right?

So, I jumped up quickly since it was already 8:30am and it takes about 20 minutes to get over to the dentist's office. I really needed a bath because my hair was disshelveled and greasy, but there wasn't any time for that. I put it into a hopeless ponytail, low on my head since I would be laying back in a dentist chair. Then I grabbed my baggy jeans and a comfy long-sleeve shirt so I could look half-way decent but still be comfy during my dental work.

Last week I went to the dentist and learned that I was going to need a tooth totally redone - I think he said a cap. A portion of it had broken off a couple of months ago, and while it had alarmed me at first, it didn't hurt at all, so I thought it might have been a piece of dental work, not the actual tooth. Considering our efforts to save money right now, I just kept putting off going in.

SO - now that I knew the truth (it was real tooth broken off, with dentin showing - the dentist couldn't believe I hadn't felt any pain!) and the tooth was cracked, I had some major dental work. So he had postponed my cleaning and said I could so it when I had my regular dental work done, which I was very happy about because the cleanings are so uncomfortable, it would be nice to have the gas for that.

"Dentistry at Howard University, Washington, D.C., ca. 1900"
Picture Credit: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs

Anyway - so we were rushing around and I was wishing I hadn't taken my meds yet because I wasn't sure how they would react with dental gas, and thinking to myself, OH WELL! I also had the thought occur to me that it was odd that they hadn't called to let me know that my appointment was today. They nearly always make a reminder call on the morning of your appointment, or the night before if it's a really early one. But I brushed it off, after all, there wasn't time to call.

Lonny was driving me because I am always really groggy for far too long after they stop administering the nitrous oxide, and I don't think it's safe for me to be driving myself home. We drove over there quickly, arriving about 10 minutes late. There were tree branches broken and laying all over the sidewalk in front of the building. I guess all that snow that dumped on us yesterday was particularly hard on Dr. Rees's trees. We stepped over the branches and the extension cords to the power tools that a worker was using the clean up the mess, and entered the office, panting and stomping our feet.

The clerk looked up at me, as did the hygienist, and they both had quizzical looks on their faces. Usually they say, "Hi Erika! How are you? Dr. Rees will be ready in a minute." I had a fleeting thought that I was in a dream, but shook it off and walked up to the desk. "Hi - I have an appointment at 9am. Erika Ward." She looked at her computer and typed a few things, then weakly said, "okay. . . well, I don't have you on the schedule for this morning. Let's see. . . it looks like I have you at tomorrow morning at 9am."


The only thing I can say is that I'm glad I hadn't had to get a bunch of toddlers ready to go with me and then dragged them all over there. I wish I had listened to that still small voice that kept putting little thoughts in my mind about calling to check on the appointment. Oh well. Lonny sweetly said, "Well, at least I got to spend half an hour holding your hand while we drove."

Is he the best or what?
~JS~ 🌞

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Modern Technology - A Blessing or a Curse? IDP005

On today's podcast, I talked about feeling grateful for the technology in our lives and how it's helped shape the world around us. I really want to reach out to those of you who maybe have grown up with technology around you, or have seen it come into play as you were already an adult, and you've seen the rise of technology. Maybe some of you are pretty excited by technology, and just love the things that it can do in your life. Maybe some of you are a little bit intimidated about technology or it confuses you, or even a little bit scared by it.

Surrounded by Technology

All of us are surrounded by new technology in today's world. Even if you live in an underdeveloped country in Africa, you've probably got a cell phone, and you probably can get on the internet. In my household, we are not wealthy by any means, we're very average Americans. But even so, we have technology surrounding us. We counted up one time and there were something like 11, 12, 13 computers in our house. I can't remember if we were just counting laptops and desktops, we may have been also counting cell phones and tablets, also. But it was still just crazy. How can we have that many? I remember when you would save up just to get your one computer for the whole family. But we aren't alone.

A Two-Edged Sword

Sometimes today it feels like people tend to just talk about the addiction to technology and the problems with technology. Everybody's like, "I hate social media," while at the same time, almost everybody's still using it. We're kind of having this negative vibe in the world about technology right now, but at the same time, we've all been so blessed by it. In reality, it's a two-edged sword.

On one hand, technology enhances and simplifies our lives. On the other hand, it can make it so complicated. I think of something as simple as the fact that in my husband's job, since he works with teams that are in nine different countries, all around the world, he can be on Skype, talking to people in Ecuador, at 9:00 in the morning. Then, at noon, he's emailing with somebody that's in Africa, and toward the afternoon, he's maybe having some kind of a discussion with somebody in Nepal. That's amazing and would not have even been possible a couple decades ago! Yet now, it doesn't even really seem like that big of a deal, because we've all sort of gotten used to it. We don't acknowledge how much technology has blessed our ability to communicate and connect with one another.

Challenges of Modern Technology

I think sometimes we tend to just look at the challenge of it. And there's no question that there are challenges. For instance, in my husband's case, he sits down to answer a simple email, or to send off a quick document, and the computer tells him that it's rebooting the system, or it's upgrading something, and it just won't work how it's supposed to. So a simple two minute task takes more than half an hour.

Like last week, I could feel he was a little bit frustrated, working here from the home office. I was like, "Is there anything I can do to help?" He's just like, "You can help me by keeping me from taking an ax and just destroying this computer!" It's like the very technology that helps us so much also can hinder us. So lately, I've just been thinking about that a little bit and trying to figure out how we can best interact with technology, because we know that it helps us, but we know that it can also challenge us.

Blessings of Technology

I think it's important that while we are aware of the challenges of technology, we also acknowledge how it has improved our lives. Here's a little simple one. A town near me actually got some kind of award for having some of the best traffic signals in the country. It was because they've timed the traffic signals to work with the flow of traffic, depending on the time of day, so that if you are going the speed limit through this very busy part of town, and you're following along, right around at the speed limit, you will hit all the lights green as you go through. Maybe there's this series of 12 or 13 stoplights, but you will only maybe hit one or two of those as you're going along, because they have timed it to help the flow of traffic. At the same time, it will pause and let the other direction go still very regularly. They've just timed it so well, and that's pretty cool.

Before the modern advances of technology, this would have been impossible. Just think about something that simple, and yet we don't appreciate it! We just complain when we hit the one red light. We don't think about the fact that a couple of decades earlier, out of those 13 stoplights, we would have been stopped at maybe 10 of them. We get through that very busy part of town during a busy time of the day in a really smooth fashion. There's a very simple way that technology has helped our lives.

Right now, we have a huge surge in technology to help with our health, including wearable technology that you can use to monitor your heart rate, and to help you keep track of your steps, and how many calories you're burning. I mean, it's just getting better all the time. It's helping our lives to be healthier in that way.

It's a Whole New Work World

I think one of the biggest things where technology has helped us is allowing people to work from their homes and work around their personal lives. It can be a danger, because technology is around you, so you can be sitting in a room full of your entire family, and you can all just be messing around on your devices and not even have a good conversation. That is definitely a danger. We need to be aware of it and think about it, when sometimes you look up, and you're like, "Hey, we're all on our devices. Hey, let's all put down our devices and play a game." You know, of course we need to be looking for that and being cautious of that.

At the same time, my husband can work from home several days of week because of technology, because if there's an important meeting in the office, he doesn't necessarily have to be there in person, because he can join in on a video call. He can work from his desk and sometimes be more effective at home, because he doesn't have coworkers asking him to do things. He can actually just focus on getting his own work tasks taken care of.

I can work from home, also. I do transcription, I do closed-captioning at home, and I work for several other freelance companies where I do some different web consulting and things that I could not do from home. I am sitting here right now recording a podcast that I don't know if it will ever be a profitable business, but it's definitely a passion project of mine, that I could be reaching somebody in France that's listening to this, at some point. I don't even know who's going to listen to it, but it could be anybody. So many people throughout the world. I'm just sitting in my bedroom with a good microphone and a connection to the internet.

It is just amazing how we can connect, and how we can be more productive, and the ways that we can be more creative in the way that we make money, and the way that we live our lives. It's all because of the advancement of modern technology.

Don't Jump on the "Negative About Technology" Bandwagon

Today, I just wanted to give a little plug about that, about, just be aware of the conversations that go on about you about technology, because it's kind of like everybody tends to jump on the "be negative about technology" bandwagon. We need some technology advocates out there! Yes, technology can be challenging, but it also blesses our lives in so many ways. I didn't even scratch the surface.

That is it for today. I hope that I helped you have just a little thought to look around yourself today, and look at how technology has blessed your life. Look at the gadgets you have. Maybe it's your dishwasher. Maybe it's the little light that flashes on in your car to let you know that you need to put oil in it. Maybe it is noticing that several stoplights in a row are green. I want you to look around you, and I want you to be grateful for the time period that you live in and think about how technology has blessed your lives, while of course always being cautious for how it can hinder our lives. Just being aware and being grateful for it.

~JS~ 🌞

Saturday, May 5, 2018

There HAS to be a way!

I saw this when waiting in a very long gas line at Costco today. I could just imagine him mumbling to himself, "I am NOT waiting through that line again... There HAS to be a way!" #StrategySaturday ~JS~🌞

Thursday, May 3, 2018

"If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be grateful for this beautiful world! ~JS ~ 🌞#ThankfulThursday

#beauty #heavens #nature #astronomy #night #night-sky #religion #sky #stars #byuwomensconference #laurelmcconkie

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Who's the Boss?

Don't let this thing rule your life! But check it regularly to help keep yourself aware and on track. And yes, I mean YOU! ~JS~🌞 #WellnessWednesday

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Perfect Pitch vs Relative Pitch - This Five-Year-Old's Head is a Piece of Music Technology! IDP004

Today is #TechTuesday so it's time to post something fun about technology and how it helps us in our lives. But as I was trying to think of something to post, I was having another one of those not very motivated days, just like I had yesterday. Do you ever feel like that? You're just like, "Ugh, I cannot get motivated!" and other times you're just rippin' and rearin' and ready to go?

What I do when I get in that situation is I kind of force myself to do a little routine. For example, I will let myself sit down and do something I enjoy, but I'll set a timer. When the timer goes off, I have to go do something productive from my list or change it up somehow. 

Now, if you have little children, you don't necessarily need to always do this, because the children themselves ARE the little timers! I mean, if the baby starts crying, you gotta stop and do something productive by helping the baby stop crying. Or you know little toddlers and their incessant cries: "Mom! Mom! Mom!" They ARE your timers.  🀣🀣🀣

But as your children grow (my baby is 13) they sometimes enjoy being left alone so they can go off and do their own thing. So you have to be a little more purposeful if you don't have kids or if they are older. You have to get yourself to do stuff by being your own parent again haha!

So there's a little tip for you - use a timer and give yourself little rewards. Just treat yourself like you are your own little kid. That usually helps me and I hope it will help you!

Anyway, so back to #TechTuesday . . . What I did this morning was that after I got myself dressed and ready for the day, I was like, "Okay, reward time!" So I decided to watch YouTube for a few minutes and got a little suggestion about another video, and you know how you get sucked in! But luckily I had my timer going, so I only watched a couple. It was a good distraction, too, because I found something I decided to talk about today in this post!

The video I wanted to share is called: PERFECT PITCH TEST! (5-YEAR-OLD CLAIRE VS DAD). This is on a channel called Claire and the Crosby's. I just found them the other day and they were singing some songs together, and the little girl is totally adorable and just sings beautifully. But the reason I was excited about it is because of this perfect pitch test.

If you are a musician, you probably know what perfect pitch is. It is when you can basically pick a note out of thin air and be able to sing the right note. For example, if I said, "Sing A above middle C" you would just go "Laaa!" and you'd get it right. It's something you have to be born with.

I don't have perfect pitch myself, but I do have what is known as good relative pitch, which most musicians have, and it can also be taught and improved over time. With relative pitch, basically, if you give me a note and tell me a song to sing, I can sing it in that key and it will sound correct. Then you can give me a different note and I can sing it in that key and it will sound right. But if you say "sing it in the key of C" or "starting on the note C," I won't be able to do that unless someone gives me the first pitch. Does that make sense? I explained it on the podcast HERE with a little bit of singing so it might make more sense if you listen to that. :)

So I know, you might be thinking, "Why are we talking about this?" But remember, Jumbled Sunshine is about making your life more successful, INTERESTING and FUN. And to me, this is super interesting, and here's why. This little girl is FIVE YEARS OLD, okay? And she has perfect pitch!

Well okay, her Dad's like, "I suspect that she has perfect pitch." So he does this little game with her. It takes less than seven minutes to watch this whole video. Warning: If you are a musician who is super jealous of people that have perfect pitch, maybe don't watch it! No, I'm just kidding, it is seriously amazing and worth watching! Here it is:


Oh my gosh, did that just blow your mind like it did mine?!? The reason this fits on #TechTuesday is because it's like this little girl's head is a piece of technology! I have to use technology to do what she does naturally. Most musicians are more like me in this way (with good relative pitch) and so it's worth explaining briefly.

For example, if I want to sing a song in the right key, I have to look at the sheet music to see what note it starts on, then go over to the piano and hit that note before I can sing the song. Even if I don't know the song at all, if I am given the first note, I can probably pick my way through the notes mostly by ear and figure it out fairly well while hitting a note on the piano here and there to keep myself on track. If I already know the song, just give me that first note and I'm good to go.

But this girl doesn't need anyone to remind her of the first note, or any of the notes for that matter. In fact, one of the songs she hadn't heard for months and she can sing it in the right key! How does your brain even do that?!?!? It blows my mind. πŸ€―

I don't even know these people so I guess I'm just doing free advertising for them. (Although they have like a million subscribers and I have like ten, so it's not like my advertising means a whole lot at this point haha). But I just had to share.

I also promised on the podcast that I would give you some resources to understand the difference between perfect pitch and relative pitch. Whether you are a musician or not, this is something that is sort of interesting. So here is a link that explains it pretty well: Perfect Pitch vs. Relative Pitch How they work together to give you the complete musical picture.

You may also want to watch this video if you're still unsure of the difference between perfect pitch and relative pitch. I think it explains it pretty well.

So that's today's way of making your life more interesting and fun! I hope you enjoyed the perfect pitch game with Claire and her Dad. And if you don't have perfect pitch or relative pitch or any pitch for that matter, don't give up! I had an enthusiastic church choir director once who had something she would tell people who said they couldn't join because they weren't good singers. She would just say, "All of God's children can sing!" If you don't want to sing in front of others, no problem, just go somewhere alone and sing to your hearts content! After all, "Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."

I invite you to join me every day (or ideally every day) as I share optimism and insight for everyday living. Have a wonderful day!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Fill Your Ordinary World with Beautiful Light! IDP003

"Darkness reduces our ability to see clearly. It dims our vision of that which was at one time plain and clear. When we are in darkness, we are more likely to make poor choices because we cannot see dangers in our path. When we are in darkness, we are more likely to lose hope because we cannot see the peace and joy that await us if we just keep pressing forward." - D.F. Uchtdorf
I took this picture from my front porch last May.
The ordinary daily world is full of beautiful LIGHT!


Let's spread light today! 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Global Supply Chain isn't Truly Global

Learning how to escape extreme poverty! The ultimate #StrategySaturday

"This picture is of a women's cooperative in Pampa de los Silva. They are raising ducks as a cooperative business and have become very successful. Poverty is eliminated when the poor recognize the resources that they have, and their ability to use those resources to be successful. The CHOICE Humanitarian Peru team works with the cooperative to help them scale their business." - Lonny Ward

Friday, April 27, 2018

Road Trip! IDP002 - Show Notes & Photos - Part Two: Montana

For today's #FamilyFriday post, I'm going to finish up the show notes and promised photos from our last family vacation that I talked about during last Saturday's Podcast Episode #002. I know these posts are so mixed up!! But you are reading JUMBLED Sunshine after all!! 🌞 You can listen to this Podcast episode here: Road Trip! Beautiful Wyoming and Montana - IDP002

Part Two: Places to Visit in Montana:

Darby, Montana:

Darby, MT - Huckleberry Cinnamon Rolls - YUM!

Billings, Montana:

Billings, MT - Huckleberry Ice Cream Sandwiches!
Photo Credit: Yelp Aj S.

Shepherd, Montana:

Shepherd, MT - Elk country!

Florence, Montana:

Florence, MT - Gorgeous properties with so many trees!

Bitterroot National Forest, Montana:

Bitterroot Canyon, MT - So pretty!

Recommended Hotels from Our Trip:

Evanston, Wyoming - Holiday Inn Express

Missoula, Montana - Stone Creek Lodge

Minimize costs on a road trip, stay with friends! It's so rewarding to spend time visiting with people and catching up and just connecting in person. With all of our digital connectedness, sometimes we just need to sit and talk and look each other in the eyes. We loved getting to know some of Jessica's great friends on this trip!

Travel Tidbits:

Purchase snacks from the grocery store before your trip.

  • Peanut butter singles (dip bananas, apples, celery)
  • Hummus singles (dip pita chips, veggies)
  • Trail mix, jerky, crackers
  • Hershey’s kisses, mints, gum
  • Fruit snacks, cookies
  • Drink packet singles to add to water bottles

For Trip Journaling along the way:

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Introduction to the Jumbled Sunshine Podcast - IDP000 - Transcription & Show Notes

The following is a transcript of my first podcast! I recorded it several weeks ago, so these posts are getting all out of order, but you gotta start somewhere and just keep putting one foot in front of the other, right?

Being my first podcast recording and all, it honestly starts out kinda awkward!  But then I get going and it's gets better. So don't give up on it after the first few minutes! πŸ˜› I explain what the plan is for the podcast and where I'm going with my whole Jumbled Sunshine online experiment. I think I even said a few valuable things in there! ;) So if you like podcasts, here's an opportunity to check out my new one! It's kind of an experiment and we'll see how it goes.

Here's the audio of the podcast episode if you want to download it, pull it into your podcast app, or listen online:

Have a wonderful #ThankfulThursday and be sure to show those around you how much you appreciate having them in your lives!
~JS~ 🌞


Transcript: Introduction to the Jumbled Sunshine Podcast - IDP000

Hey everybody, Jumbled Sunshine here! How are you doing today? I hope you're having a wonderful day. If everything goes the way I plan, this may be the first official podcast that I've ever recorded. But I am just getting started, so it's probably gonna be a little bit awkward.

I'm not the kind of person who has trouble talking about things. In fact, I have to be careful to not talk too much when I am in social circles, and make sure that I stop, and I listen, and I let other people share as well. So talking is not the issue. It's more thinking and pausing and saying, "Um," actually. And "actually" and "so" and "anyway." Those would be the big ones! So I apologize ahead of time for any of those that happen.

Jumbled Sunshine Online - Where I've Been

This is sort of a little experiment, because I have been really working hard on my Jumbled Sunshine business for the last couple of months. I am trying to get it back off the ground because if you go back and look at my blog posts since 2013, I think? When I started it? No, 2013 ... anyway, I started it a long time ago. Like 2010 or earlier. [Correction: I started in 2012, however I had been doing other blog and website projects on and off since the late 90's, so we'll just leave it at that!]

You will see that there were some years when I only wrote one post for the whole year, yikes! And that's because I was trying to decide what I was doing with it. But lately I've been posting a lot, and I have kind of started to get into a rhythm that I really love that I am hoping will help me to really get some good content and interesting information out there for people like me. If you want to know what my personality is, just keep on listening, or you can go have a look at my blog, But you will get to know me here, and I hope that I will get to know you.

Anyway, the reason I am starting this today is because for the past while I have been doing these themed posts every day. Well, I decided I'm gonna call it nearly every day. Because ideally, I am blogging or posting or at least mentioning something about one of the themes every day. But I realize that with my personality, that may not be totally realistic. So I'm gonna call it ideally-daily, or something like that, I don't know. I'll probably change it a couple times!

But recently, most days, I have been either blogging, posting, tweeting, instagramming, steemit-ing, and I can't think of what the other social media things are at the moment, but I have been posting online about a different theme every day. My current themes are #MotivationMonday, #TechTuesday, #WellnessWednesday, #ThankfulThursday, #FamilyFriday, #StrategySaturday and #SacredSunday. And lately I've been doing that.

Podcasting Possibilities

One of the ways that I have been brainstorming for ideas of what to post is by just free-talking to my phone into a little app I use called Easy Voice Recorder Pro on Android. I have been free-talking into it, and then I take what I said and I transcribe it, and then I kind of edit it up and make it into a post. And then I shorten it for all the different social media outlets, and I put it out there.

And so the irony was not lost on me that since I have become obsessed with podcasting lately, that I should just be recording these for a podcast, instead of only for my personal self. But you know, I didn't want to start a podcast until I had my theme music and all my cover photos and the perfect title, and had my notes, and my strategy and my plan. And if you relate to this, you will probably enjoy my podcast haha.

I didn't want to start because of a couple things. One is, I was afraid that I would stop posting and recording, and that has been an issue, as you can see if you look over my blog for the past decade. But I want to point out to myself at the moment and to you for your own struggles and challenges, that I didn't stop! Because guess what? Here I am. It's 2018 and I am not only posting most days, but I am starting a podcast. And I have been just working on it a little bit at a time, every day.

What is Jumbled Sunshine All About?

And so what my blog is about, I guess I'll go into a lot more detail in the future. I'll do that later. But what it's basically about is to, I guess in the words of Dori from Finding Nemo, "Just keep swimming." You need to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and moving forward, and congratulating yourself on your small wins and big wins, and recognizing those wins. And seeing the good in life around you, not just looking for the negative and the depressing and the sad.

I recognize that motivational speaking and memes are necessarily going to solve your problems if you are dealing with a clinical depression, or anxiety and things like that. And I will just put out there right now that I have dealt with some of those issues myself on and off throughout my life, so I do get it. I know, of course I don't get your situation totally because nobody does except for you. But I get the idea. I have had my own struggles, as we all do, and I realize that it is not something that's just gonna be fixed by posting happy things or whatever.

However, I have also found that no matter how low I've gone in my life, just making myself look for the positive and try to do those things that they say will make you feel better, even if they're not making me feel better, those things have helped a little bit and helped me to keep going when it was tough.So yeah, I wasn't going to go into details about what the blog is about, but that's kind of a really general thing.

The other half of it is Jumbled. What does jumbled mean? So that was kind of the Sunshine side. The jumbled side, you've probably already figured out by just listening to the first couple minutes of this. But I have a ton of interests. Everything is interesting to me. I'm one of those people that can really relate to the "squirrel" thing! And I just love learning and experimenting, and trying, and doing, and creating, and sharing, and listening, and learning, and I could go on and on and on and on, about everything.

And I want ... well okay, so when I came up with the idea of Jumbled Sunshine, it was one of those things, you can go look on my blog if you want for a post called "Are You Jumbled Too?" And I can't tell you what year it is, but I will put it in the show notes because I guess if I'm doing a podcast, I need to have show notes, don't I?

When I first came up with the idea, it was because I woke up in the middle of the night and was just like, "Boom. Okay, I need to stop fighting who I am, and celebrate who I am." Rather than trying to fix all of the things around me using other people's systems and kind of looking for that perfect system, I need to just celebrate who I am, accept that I'm probably gonna try systems and read books and do things in my life that I'm gonna then completely quit and abandon. And that's fine! It doesn't matter.

Why? Because everything we do in our lives gives us wisdom. It gives us experience. It gives us fun in some cases! Everything we're doing ... you hear, "Life is a journey, not a destination." It's not just a clichΓ©, it's true. Every single thing you do, every single day, everything you read, everything you try, is all part of the experience of what your life is.

So instead of looking for that end destination, and trying to find the perfect system that, "I will do every day from now on, all the way until the end of time," I need to just say to myself, "Hey, what did I learn from trying that system? What did I like about that system? What didn't work about that system? And why did I quit doing it?" And then acknowledge that for whatever reason, I'm moving on, and I want to try something new. And I can archive that into my experiential archive of the things that I've learned over my life.

I hope that makes sense! If it does, then this podcast is for you! Because ... I don't know where I was going with that, and that's the other part of jumbled, haha. So I think you've probably got an idea of what jumbled is. It is about enjoying and celebrating who you are, what your interests are, what's around you, and finding the joy and the positiveness in life. And recognizing that you don't have time to do all of them, all the time, in your life. And so just enjoy the jumbled sunshine of your life. That's what it's about.

I didn't even originally intend to call myself Jumbled Sunshine, it was just the blog was gonna be Jumbled Sunshine. But then over time, people would be like, "Oh, Jumbled Sunshine, that's a good name for you." Haha. "That describes you perfectly!" or whatever. And I'm like, "Oh, okay." So my actual name is Erika Ward, and I live in Utah. And I grew up in the MidWest. And that is enough background information, I probably shouldn't have even gone there. But the point is that my real name is Erika, but I will refer to myself sometimes as Jumbled Sunshine, because it's just kind of become a habit, I guess!

What's the Plan from Here?

Anyway, so I guess this is my first official podcast, and I just want to tell you what the plan is. The plan is that when I do my ideally-daily brain dumps to figure out what I'm gonna post about that day, or what I'm gonna focus on for that day, I'm going to record it into my little Easy Voice Recorder Pro app with my nice headset and microphone that I bought because I wanted to do podcasting. And I'm gonna record it in there, and then I'm going to post that.
At least right now, it will not have any frills. I don't have music, I don't have sponsors (of course because, you know, it's the first one). I don't even totally have a plan, except that ideally-daily, I will post about my themes. Motivation Monday, Tech Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday, Thankful Thursday, Family Friday, Strategy Saturday and Sacred Sunday.

Sacred Sunday

Now, let me make very clear, which you may be wondering, especially in today's world, with the Sacred Sunday on the end there. This is not a religious podcast. I am a religious person, but I will be posting things that I believe are universal principles. They may refer to God or Jesus because that's is where my belief stems from. But Sacred Sunday will be about taking a special day to reflect, and to do whatever it is you do to prepare yourself for the upcoming week.

Strategy Saturday

I guess I'll just work backwards from there. Strategy Saturday will be, at least for now, until I change it [I don't have plans to change this, so I'm not sure why I said that!] will be about strategies for making your life better. It may also have some things about online business. It may have some things about, you know, just anything that to me seems like a strategy, will probably end up on Strategy Saturday. I will also say that #StrategySaturday is probably gonna be one of the hardest ones for me to be consistent on because, you know, it's Saturday! And so I apologize ahead of time if the ideally-daily leaves out #StrategySaturday sometimes.

But I will try as best as I can to, at the very least, retweet something or post somebody else's post on my Facebook page, which by the way, you can find me at or I will try to at least put something out there. So if you really want to get a daily thing from me (even though I realize that's ideal and possibly won't happen totally), you will want to probably be following me on at least Facebook, as well as listening to this.

I do have a YouTube channel which I haven't posted on for awhile, but I'm hoping that I feel really motivated, and I've actually gotten dressed up, I will also video myself doing this little brain dump so that I can post it as a video. But those days where I'm not in pajamas with wet hair, like I am today haha, may be few and far between. So I may or may not always have a video up.
So I guess what I'm saying is that if you want the whole experience, you'll need to follow me on all my different social media channels, and I will put those in the show notes. But I am being diverted, as usually happens. So Strategy Saturday, yeah. My strategy for getting back on topic is to notice that I'm off, and to get right back on!

Family Friday

So Family Fridays. I am a mother of seven children. I have been married to my spouse since 1991, you can do the math. And I feel very blessed, I've got young adults, I have a couple teenagers left at home. I have one little, cute, two-week-old grandson, who's the son of my oldest son and his wife. And so that's where I'm at, at this point in my life in 2018.

I think I've probably learned a couple of things about families, so I might post things about parenting, appreciating your family, things like that. Things that have to do with family. Just pretty much, if it has to do with family, it can go on Family Friday.

As well as, family history! Because I am a little bit of a family history nut, although I am very jumbled in my application and dipping into my interest on that. So that comes and goes. But it's one of those interests that I don't think will ever go away for me. So I will also be talking a little bit about genealogy, family history, things like that. That's Family Friday.

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday is about being thankful for what you have in your life. Sometimes it will just be a little quick gratitude post, or a beautiful picture of a sunset like I posted last week. Oh my gosh, I woke up and I was just like, "Oh my gosh! I need to take a picture!" I take so many pictures of sunrises ... it was a sunrise, not a sunset ... I take so many pictures of sunrises and sunsets where I live, it's just insane. It is unbelievable, I'll tell you.

Anyway, Thankful Thursday will also have a little bit to do with giving back to show your gratitude for what you have. It's gonna be about looking for the good around you, and then finding ways to give back. My husband works for an international charity and we have been involved in international charity work for awhile now. I don't want to try to even come up with a date, because I couldn't tell you, but that's a whole other story that actually, I believe is out there on my blog also, of that career change and how we made the decision to get involved in international charity work. [Here's the link from my husband's blog:]

Anyway, so sometimes it will talk about some of the projects he's doing, or maybe even encourage you to donate a little bit to either the charity that we are involved with, or other worthy charities, or wherever you want. So Thankful Thursday is about being thankful and giving back.

Wellness Wednesday

Wellness Wednesday. I've been on a journey, my whole life, as most of you probably have been, to try and be healthy. I'd better not go into a bunch of detail, because this is gonna get too long. But Wellness Wednesday will talk about things that have to do with health and wellness. Originally it was gonna be #WeightLossWednesday because I am currently in the middle of a weight loss journey. I have already lost somewhere around 25 pounds and my total goal is 50, so I'm about halfway there.

And I'll just talk about things that have to do with health and wellness. Sometimes it will have to do with weight loss. Sometimes it will be an update on my personal journey. Sometimes it will be sharing things like, tips about things that help you to be well, or taking care of yourself. So that's what Wellness Wednesday will be about.

Tech Tuesday

Tech Tuesday. Okay, so I'm a little bit of a technology geek. I mean, I'm not like ... just from the dates and things I've told you, that I'm not a young Millennial that knows current things necessarily all the time about technology. Although I do have quite a few of my children who are at that age, and so I really do know about a lot of the brand new things going on. But Tech Tuesday is really more about how we can use technology to make our life better.

Sometimes it will have to do with things that, ways that I am using technology to do things, like perhaps my podcast setup right now. Or ways that I'm using spreadsheets to organize things, or the way I made job charts for my family, using technology, when they were young, and things like that. So sometimes it might be a review about a new phone that I get, or whatever. It's just, you know, stuff that has to do with technology. So that'll be Tech Tuesday.

Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday is just all about being motivated. I came up with motivation Monday because I need to be motivated on Mondays myself, haha, and I figure most people need to be motivated that Monday. So that's what I'm going to talk about time management, things that are inspirational and get you up off your chair and things that make you want to move forward and just positive motivating stuff. So yeah, that's what motivation Monday is.

That's the Plan!

So that is the line up, and that's what I'm going to be doing. Ideally this will be daily, but I am going to promise you right now that it won't be absolutely every day, especially the podcast part. But I will try as hard as I can every day, unless I'm taking like a vacation or some kind of a hiatus, to move forward and do this and bring you along with me.

So I think it's gonna be really fun I hope that you are interested in some of those topics. I will say that I came up with those hashtags, even though as I've been posting about them I realized that a lot of other people use some of those hash tags as well. But I really did think, "Okay what are my interests and how can I make them fit the days of the week?" because that just seemed like a framework that I could work with. So I did come up with those ideas on my own but then a couple of them were tweaked by, for instance, changing Weight Loss Wednesday to Wellness Wednesday because I saw somebody else had it and I was like, "Oh, that's so much better."

So I'm not claiming to own the hash tags or be the creators of them, but I did kind of come up with those ideas because they fit my interests and I hope they fit yours. I'm gonna go ahead and end. I'm gonna try to make these always be, well I was gonna say less than fifteen minutes, but I just looked at my timer and it's twenty two! They will not go over half an hour if I have to stop in the middle and divide it in two, because I know that really long podcasts can sometimes be, well, too long.

So this is where we're at. This is my introduction post, and I just wanted to kind of put it out there and and say what I'm planning to do. I will hopefully be transcribing these to then use as online posts sometimes. I don't know, we'll just kind of see how it goes because it's a lot of work to post every day, which sounds silly but, you know, to compose something meaningful every day. So we'll see how it goes.

But I hope you stick with me, and probably if you're listening to this, it's because I actually have done it for awhile and I have a few out there, and people have started listening! So... yay! If it didn't succeed, probably nobody will ever listen to it, except maybe my future descendants haha. And they'll be like, "Oh, sweet Granny, she sure was trying!"

Anyway, I will stop rambling and end this. I hope you have a wonderful day! This is Jumbled Sunshine and I will talk to you again soon. Bye bye!

Join the Conversation!

I'd love to have you connect up with me on social media. For a list of all the places where we can connect online, visit: I'd love to get to know you, see your channel, your page, your social media stuff that you're doing out there. I just love learning and meeting people and connecting with people, so I'm excited to get to know you. ~JS~ 🌞