Short Story

I wanted to post a picture of me with some of my gals.

I have hesitated putting this story on my website…I’ve decided at the age of 55, I need to finish college. So, rather than attending classes all day away from my family, I have decided to earn my degree online. This may very likely take me 8 years. Deciding what to have my emphasis in, was tricky.  I stink at writing….but I want to get good. That is the emphasis I chose. Very scary. It is a struggle to eek out the writing assignments my professors request but very rewarding at the same time. I have decided to share my first attempt at writing, here. Be kind in your critiquing! It is very amateur, but after receiving a high score on this particular piece and the professor asking if I was going to publish it, I decided to take the plunge and expose my attempt at writing. Ya have to start somewhere right?  I will post the short story in segments.


Short Story­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­


by Julie Valentine

            The muggy air had a heavy, stifling feeling causing Rand discomfort as he tried to suck in breath. His muscled body carried excess belly fat indicative of aging. His weight and hairy body, made him well aware of the surrounding sweltering conditions. But no matter; he was here and his buddies back home could eat their hearts out. He had been pleasantly surprised to see a couple of lovely young ladies on the tour with him. Back in the days of his football prowess, he was every woman’s desire. Age had been fairly kind to him and he was definitely going to use it to his advantage with these two sweet things. The lush green vegetation was dense causing some difficulty in getting closer to the women as they hiked up to a waterfall.

Rand had learned through cunning questioning that the two girls had won their trip to Belize through a sales agency they worked for. He hadn’t been so lucky with handouts; instead he’d whipped out the credit card to fund this excursion. Seeing these girls, it appeared to him that this was all going to be worth the debt.

Walking along the trail was proving arduous as the mud collected on his favorite pair of Doc Martins. Hiking boots would have been a better choice in these conditions but sometimes you needed to sacrifice to look good. And Rand always wanted to look good.  That would be a selling point of himself to these women, if he could just get close to them. He rubbed the “designer stubble” on his jaw and eyed his group. One scrawny guy, by the name of Clifford, with close cropped hair, and wearing island clothes, was really getting on his nerves. The guy hovered around Brooke and Sierra like a puppy looking for praise. He had been chafing Rand the wrong way this whole trip. The geek was constantly annoying the girls. He was making it difficult for Rand to get acquainted with them.

After some maneuvering, Rand found himself getting close to the girls. That Brooke was one fine looking chick, he thought. Her slender frame was well proportioned with smooth golden skin. Glancing between the two girls, his eyes rested on Brooke, her blond hair fell in front of her face as she glanced at Sierra.  The girl must feel self conscious being around a mature, good-looking male, Rand thought. He plucked one of the wildflowers slightly off the trail and walked toward Brooke. The incessant heat was bothering him. Sweat was pouring down his body as he neared the girls. The hair on his legs itched. Rivulets of sweat slide down the sides of his head as he swiped at his face with a meaty hand. Periodic animal sounds surrounded the group of a dozen tourists. Occasionally a snapping twig underfoot would accompany the chirping or cawing, but nothing motorized could be heard.

Brooke leaned into Sierra and spoke softly, “That fur on his legs makes me want to gag. Plus, the guy is still living in the eighties, look at that head of big hair.”

“Careful Brooke, he’s going to think you’re checking him out.” Sierra said.

Brooke still stared at his legs, “He should shave those legs, stuff could get lost in there.”

“If you don’t stop gawking, he is totally going to get the wrong idea,” warned Sierra.

Alkaline or Acidic?

Alkaline or Acid?

Alkaline or Acid?Alkaline or Acidic?

What is pH?

A quick chemistry lesson: pH is a measurement of acidity or alkalinity. The pH scale runs from 0-14 with 7 in the middle being neutral. Everything below 7 is “Acid”, the lower the number the more acidic and everything above 7 is “Alkaline”. Most experts agree that ideal health exists when the pH of the general body fluids is around 7 or slightly above.

If you are eating too many acidic foods you may be setting yourself up for illness. Here is a list of alkaline and acid foods. Lists don’t always agree but this list will give you a general idea of what you need to be eating more of. You may be eating all the wrong foods.

You can balance out higher acidic foods by eating more of the alkaline foods within reason. Just remember a healthier diet consists of more alkaline foods.

It is amazing how much better you feel when you eat more alkaline foods.

Take A Deep Breath

Take a Deep Breath
Take a Deep Breath

Image by Janielle Beh

I have discovered a powerful means of achieving a high sense of wellbeing. Would you believe that it comes through breath? I first started to experience this when I began doing Yoga. Yoga consists of a breathing technique.


Take a deep breath! the following is a quote from this webpage:

“From the Belly

Before learning the rhythmic patterns that will take your running to a new level, you must first become a belly breather, that is, learn to breathe from your diaphragm. When you inhale, your diaphragm contracts and moves downward, while muscles in your chest contract to expand your rib cage, which increases the volume in your chest cavity and draws air into your lungs. Working your diaphragm to its fullest potential allows your lungs to expand to their greatest volume and fill with the largest amount of air, which of course you need for your running. The more air you inhale, the more oxygen is available to be transferred through your circulatory system to your working muscles. Many people underuse their diaphragm, relying too much on their chest muscles and therefore taking in less oxygen, which is so important to energy production. The other downside of breathing from your chest is that these muscles (the intercostals) are smaller and will fatigue more quickly than your diaphragm will. To rely less on your chest muscles to breathe, you’ll want to train yourself to breathe from your belly, that is, with your diaphragm. Practice belly breathing both lying down and sitting or standing, since you should be breathing diaphragmatically at all times—whether you’re running, sleeping, eating, or reading a book. Here’s how to learn the technique:

• Lie down on your back.

• Keep your upper chest and shoulders still.

• Focus on raising your belly as you inhale.

• Lower your belly as you exhale.

• Inhale and exhale through both your nose and mouth.”



There is so much more I want to say on this subject but will save it for  a later post.

Exercise your brain

exercise your brain

Exercise your brain

This summer my parents got me going on Lumosity. I’ve read up on the benefits of stuff like this and figure I could use all of the help I can get!


exercise your brain

The following is an article from :

How Reading Stimulates Your Brain
What is the value of an English literature class — could you read on your own time and experience the same benefits? In a recent interdisciplinary collaboration between Stanford neurobiologists and assistant English professor Natalie Phillips, researchers used the Jane Austen classic Mansfield Park to investigate how the type of critical reading taught in most English classes may alter brain activation patterns.
Casual versus critical reading
As a longtime literary scholar, Phillips had always been interested in how reading literature could shape how people viewed the world. From anecdotal evidence, at least, it seemed as if the type of critical textual analysis taught in classrooms heightened attention when compared to casual reading.To test this theory, Phillips and researchers from the Stanford Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging used an fMRI machine to scan the brains of 18 participants as they read a chapter from Austen’s Mansfield Park. First, the participants were asked to read the chapter casually, as they would for fun. Then they were asked to switch to close reading, a common term for the type of scrutiny to detail and form required to analyze text in a literary course. To ensure that participants could successfully switch between these two modes of reading, all participants were PhD candidates pursuing literary degrees.Researchers observed a significant shift in brain activity patterns as the PhD students went from casual to critical modes. Critical reading increased bloodflow across the brain in general, and specifically to the prefrontal cortex.
Executive function and the brain
The prefrontal cortex is known to play a role in executive function, which refers to a set of higher-order cognitive processes that manage how you divide your attention and coordinate complex activities. Phillips and her team posit that executive function may play help explain the observed changes in participants’ brains.This field of “literary neuroscience” is a new one, and Phillips hopes that these preliminary results will lead to further research on how reading can shape and shift cognition. Though it’s still too early to understand exactly what the future of this new branch of research holds, Philips suggests that critical reading could one day be seen as a valuable tool in “teaching us to modulate our concentration.”


Roses and Snow Caves

Snow Cave

Roses and Snow Caves

Snow Cave

What a busy world we live in. Do you ever feel like you are caught up in such a whirlwind that you can hardly think straight? I am raising my hand here, high and long. We tend to be so task oriented. Where is the time to stop and smell those roses? There is so much joy in slowing down once in a while. Children have an amazing ability to smell those roses. We can learn a thing or two from them. That being said there seems to be time for the electronics…Often when we use the electronics to babysit the kids they lose a bit of their creative play and I have noticed that when I enforce ‘no screen’ time their imaginations turn on. One very snowy day the children spent most of the day outside building a snow cave…and snow tunnels…and snow benches! Their faces were alight with happiness. I even got to experience being in the cave and taking a photo from the inside out.

Christmas Giving

Christmas Giving

Christmas Giving


Christmas Giving































There is such magic in the air at Christmas time. There seems to be something tangible in the atmosphere. The world itself almost has a cozy feeling. The lights, music, giving…We want to give to each other. I think it is more than tradition. There is something within us that pricks us to want to give to others. Could it be that our hearts are turned to the Savior as the celebration of his birth nears?

Earlier Years, Fat Pants

fat pants




Earlier Years, Fat Pants

fat pantsI’ve been thinking about the years when my children were younger and longing a bit for those little bitty ones that made me laugh and cry! Baby Luke was really quiet for one of his naps. When I opened up the door, he had stuffed all of his pants with clothes and called them fat pants. He brought them into the living room and lined them up. I have no idea where he came up with that…ha! It’s interesting how we tend to long for what has passed or what is yet to come. Somewhere along the way we need to convince ourselves that now is pretty great too.

Oatmeal Waffles-Really?


Oatmeal Waffles-Really?


Image by Lady Disdain

This may sound crazy, but these waffles are good!  There are very few ingredients and they are easy to make. Did I mention how good they are for you?  Can’t beat that. My kids ask for them all the time and my husband likes them more than regular waffles.  I like to pop cold ones in the toaster and eat them plain when I need something quick as I am running out the door.



Oatmeal Waffles

4 Cups Rolled Oats (or Quick Oats)

4 Cups of Low Fat Milk (or Soy Milk)

1/4 Cups Oil

2 tsp Salt

Mix ingredients and let stand overnight, or until thickened. Whip with whisk. Spread on hot greasedwaffle iron. Bake until browned.  EASY HUH?

Mind, Body, and Spirit


Mind, Body, and Spirit


When considering wellbeing, think of your physical, emotional and spiritual self as a 3 legged stool. When one of those aspects of your life is off balance you are going to fall. You can be in top physical shape but if you are an emotional wreck, you fall. You’re spiritually will suffer if you are not taking care of yourself physically etc.


We know that stress causes emotional, physical and spiritual troubles.


A few of the causes of stress:

  1. Family issues
  2. Work issues
  3. Money issues
  4. Driving while talking on the phone
  5. Driving!
  6. Gruesome, scary movies
  7. Arguing with people


There are ways to attack stress:

  1. Serve others
  2. Spending quiet time with those you love
  3. Work
  4. Exercise

A few of the benefits of exercise

  1. Improves health
  2. Releases tension
  3. Gives you a healthy perspective on life
  4. Improves self-esteem and confidence
  5. Strengths muscles
  6. You have a more restful sleep
  7. Gives you time to meditate and ponder
  8. Is a diversion from our worries
  9. Counters fatigue
  10. Better blood circulation


 “Physical well-being is not only a priceless asset to one’s self—it is also a heritage to be passed on. With good health all the activities of life are greatly enhanced. A clean mind in a healthy body enables one to render far more effective service to others. It helps one provide more vigorous leadership. It gives our every experience in life more zest and more meaning. Robust health is a noble and worthwhile attainment.” 4

Ezra Taft Benson, talk given at President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s second annual Council on Physical Fitness, Cascade, Maryland, September 8, 1958.

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