Every year at Christmas I love to reflect on past holidays. One of my earliest memories is getting out all the Christmas decorations, and start tolisten to all the fantastic music of the season. It was magical taking things out of boxes that had been stored away for an entire year while listening to Andy Williams sing It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. To this day, I love decorating for Christmas, and never get tired of listening to the music. This ritual of listening to holiday favorites starts the first of October every year.
Coming from a large family has it’s blessings. I learned early on that making things home made saved a lot of money and allowed you to enjoy things that cost much more in the store. We loved making fudge, old fashioned taffy, popcorn balls, peanut brittle, and lots of cookies. We also made many strands of popcorn for our tree. We created silver bells out of egg cartons, and wrapped them in aluminum foil so they would shine. I remember being disappointed when I was very young opening a small present on our tree, and finding nothing in it realizing that it was a just a decoration.
Growing up on a little farm I was taught from a young age that the animals get fed first, and the goats got milked before you ate, this included on Christmas. I remember watching a movie one year where a boys gift to his dad for Christmas was waking up early, and doing all the farm chores before his dad got up. My brothers and myself decided to do this for our dad. He got a little emotional when he realized what we had done for him.
Because there were so many kids, our parents gave us the idea of all sleeping together downstairs. I say the word sleep very loosely. We mostly played games all night on Christmas Eve. We were told once you go down stairs you are to stay there until morning. One year we decided to hang the girls long stockings for Santa to fill. At about 2:00 am, we snuck upstairs to see what we got in our stockings. We dumped all the loot on the floor in one big pile when we heard our oldest sister telling us to put the stuff back in the stockings. We hurried and put it all back. Then went back down stairs. In the morning when we looked in our stockings all the things were mixed up. I think I got nail polish, and my sisters got matchbox cars. Everyone had a good laugh. My dad seemed to know how to straighten it all out.
Later when my youngest son was a baby he was such a medaling child my wife, and I decided to put our Christmas tree in his play pen so he wouldn’t take the ornaments off the tree. Another year we decided to go with our friends to chop down our own tree. We got home, and the trunk was too big to fit in the base. I started cutting more of the trunk off, then kept cutting until it fit. I was so frustrated by the time it fit it looked like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I think that year as soon as we opened all the presents I took the tree outside because the tree was dead and all the needles were falling off.
I have so many fond memories and love reflecting of past Christmases. I wish you the very best, and hope your new year is full of many positive blessings.
If you can figure out what your love language is, and the love language of those people that are part of your life, it will help you understand why people do the things they do. Have you ever wondered why some people love to give you gifts, or why your husband can’t understand why you don’t give him praise? This chapter will help you understand this better. In his book The Five Love Languages, author Gary Chapman discusses how knowing the love languages of others can improve your relationships with them. Words of Affirmation : This is when you say how nice your spouse looks, or how great the dinner tasted. These words will also build your mate’s self image and confidence. This is my love language, so it is easy for me to give others praise. Quality Time: Some spouses believe that being together, doing things together and focusing on one another is the best way to show love. If this is your partner’s love language, turn off the TV now and then and give one another some undivided attention. Gifts : It is universal in human cultures to give gifts. Gifts don’t have to be expensive to send a powerful message of love. Spouses who never give gifts to those who truly enjoy receiving gifts, will find themselves with a spouse who feels neglected and unloved. Acts of Service: Discovering how you can best do something for your spouse will require time and creativity. These acts of service like vacuuming, cooking dinner, planting a garden, etc., need to be done with joy in order to be perceived as a gift of love. Physical Touch: Sometimes just stroking your spouse’s back, holding hands, or a peck on the cheek will fulfill this need.
My Family’s Love Languages My daughter Jessie, loves quality time. For many years we have had special times when it is just the two of us. We have gone to the Utah State Fair, rode bikes, and have gone to the sand dunes. I cherish our time we spend together. Jessie loves little children. If you can’t find Jessie she is probably helping one of our neighbor’s kids. Jessie gets a gold star when it comes to acts of service. When the doorbell rings, most of the time it is a four year- old wanting to play with Jessie. My son Daniel also loves doing acts of service. Every day without being asked he will clean up after dinner. Even when my wife Cassie will say, “I can wash the dishes” Daniel will say, “No mom you cooked, I am going to clean up.” What a blessing to have a son who is so considerate. Daniel also loves quality time. Every night the two of us will talk about our day before we go to bed. When everyone else has fallen asleep, we love this quiet time together talking about everything and anything. My son Nathan loves gifts. Nathan loves it when Cassie buys him special treats, even just little things like orange juice, or getting him socks when his get holes in them. Nathan is great at randomly doing kind things for others. One thing that Nathan was wonderful at doing is,writing to us every week while he was in Mexico on his church mission. This was a huge act of service keeping connected with his family. My daughter Stephanie also loves gifts. Last year we were at a boutique in a small town. Cassie bought her a bracelet for our granddaughter. This really made her day. Quality time is huge for Stephanie. Anytime she can get together with family and friends she does. Even when she lived in northern Utah she loved to come visit us every chance she could. My son Rick really enjoys quality time. He loves doing anything that makes you laugh, Rick loves playing games or being in nature. My favorite thing to do with Rick is go hiking or just talking. Rick also likes words of affirmation. It is very easy for him to accept words of praise as well as giving others praise. My wife Cassie loves physical touch. Anytime I can sense Cassie has had a rough day at work I will give her a neck or back massage. Cassie also loves to do random acts of service for others. I am very blessed to have such a caring person as my wife in my life. If anyone is sick in our neighborhood, Cassie is usually right there with dinner for the family. As for myself, I love words of affirmation. I will do a lot of extra work just to hear someone say thanks for all you do. Those simple words are like music to my ears. I love it. If people don’t know your love language, let them know. I like to make it very clear that I like words of affirmation. Learn the miracle of the love languages. It will change your life, and the lives of others.
This is a post I wrote years ago yet still applies today.
Several years ago my dad was a math teacher at East High School in Salt Lake City, Utah. I never heard him say he was going to work, He said “I am going to school.” May dad was originally going to be a dentist, and would have been an excellent one. His love was teaching, and he was great at making a difference in a child’s life. He decided to change his major to high school mathematics, and never regretted this decision.
Every year on the first day of school he would write his full name up on the chalkboard in bold letters Melvin Cottam Fish, the kids thought that was hilarious. There was usually a long line of students trying to get into his class every semester because everyone knew they would learn math effectively, and he cared.
One year he had two opposing gang members in the same class, things were getting out of control, and he knew he needed to do something fast. One of the things he did was change his classroom around so his desk would face the door. As students entered his classroom each day, in his mind he would call each student by name and say “I love you.” My dad realized there was power in the words he spoke aloud, and in his mind.
At my dads funeral there were a few students that came to pay their final respects to their beloved math teacher. One of them told my mom that they didn’t remember all of their teachers names however they remember where they sat in their math class, and knew Mr. Fish loved them. What a great tribute to my father at his passing. I know he must have been smiling and sending us more love in that moment.
One of the greatest gifts my mom gave me is my love of cooking. When I was six years old, she would have me pick a vegetable that we would eat for dinner, and show me how to prepare it. From simple things like adding butter to the broccoli to helping her peel potatoes.
When I got older, she taught me how to make biscuits from scratch and making cakes by following recipes and not using a cake mix, Cooking for a family of 12 was a great way for me to learn simple math and fraction skill. Many recipes had to be doubled or even tripled. I got good at making the conversions.
Later when I was in my teens, my mom would leave me instructions on how to prepare full meals from scratch, because she would not be home in time to prepare dinner. When I was 14 years old my mom taught me how to make pie crusts for Thanksgiving. She told me she would make the pie filling for every crust I made. The challenge was on. I made over 20 pie crusts that year, and she made the filling for all of them. We had so many pies we decided to invite family and friends the day before Thanksgiving to eat soup and pie. This tradition continues to this day.
I decided to make the fillings for pies after our first successful pie supper. My mom said she would be laying down if I needed her help. Everything was fine until the filling started overflowing over the pan, I couldn’t understand why this was happening. My mom quizzed me about the different ingredients I used for the filling. I goofed, I used baking soda instead of cornstarch for making the pudding thick. We both had a good laugh. It was a great learning moment for me.
When I was a senior in high school I got tired of eating oatmeal, and other hot cereals for breakfast. I decided to get my younger brothers and sisters to help me make breakfast. For the entire school year, we made gingerbread with applesauce, muffins, waffles, pancakes, and round biscuits. Until this time our family never ate round biscuits. My mom would roll out the dough on the pan, and cut them into squares. She is also great at cooking quickly, It was three cuts horizontally, then four cuts vertically, and they were in the oven cooking.
Mom thanks for the memories, and lots of patience teaching me how to cook. Your legendary homemade bread, and soups have inspired me on my cooking journey.
A lesson I learned from Skip Ross, at a youth summer camp in Michigan, was how to prioritize and set goals. What a thrill it was to learn great wisdom every morning from this wonderful man. I learned that a goal not written down is only a wish. Also, visualization helps you reach your goals. Put things you want to achieve on 3×5 cards. Read them every morning and night. Also, cut out pictures of the things you want. Put them on a poster board so you can look at them daily. Before I went to the Circle A. Ranch I was getting a C+ average in school. The next school year, I was getting a B+ average. I was also very shy. I didn’t like this. My transformation into the person I am today started in high school as a result of setting goals. You can become anything you want to become in this life. Skip Ross would say, “Say yes to your potential.” Anything you can conceive and believe, you can achieve. About six years ago, I realized I had stopped dreaming and writing down goals. Life comes and goes quickly. Then, in the blink of an eye, one year turned into ten. I have always loved listening to motivational cassette tapes and audio books. So I started listening to them again with almost an obsession. Some audio books I listen to on a regular basis. In most of these audio books they talked about the importance of first deciding exactly what you want. Be specific by writing down your goals and visualizing what you want to achieve with emotion. I got excited with the idea of making a vision board after I heard the story of a man who wanted to live in beautiful mansion. He found a picture of a home in a magazine. He cut out the mansion from the magazine. Then he put it on his dream board. Four years later he was unpacking his dream board from one of his moving boxes. He realized the home on his dream board was the home he had just moved into. Dreams do come true. You can achieve any goal you want to achieve, if you believe. I made a dream board putting it on my bedroom wall where I can see it every day. One of the things I put on the dream board is, “Our family loves to travel,” with pictures of fun places to travel to. We have traveled more in the past six years then I ever dreamed of. We have been to Washington D.C, to see the monuments; Maryland to visit Cassie’s Dad; In Virginia we went to see George Washington’s home; Pennsylvania, to visit the Amish and Gettysburg, Delaware, to swim in the Atlantic Ocean. We went to California having fun visiting the Pacific Ocean and Disneyland. Later we went to Washington and Oregon to visit Cassie’s brother and go to the beach. Then we went with my parents to visit the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park over a long school holiday. Another thing that my wife Cassie and I like to do is go to a community theatre where we have seasons tickets. We see wonderful musicals like My Fair Lady, or magical plays like A Christmas Carol. These are things we didn’t do until we put them on our dream board. I get excited just writing about our adventures. The next thing that I do is set a deadline for my goal. I wrote on my dream board, “I am excited we have bought season tickets to the community theater. Today is August 1, 2011.” Every year, this is when we buy our tickets. Every year we prioritize our goals, then we take action. Smaller goals don’t take as much planning. Our goal to go to the Grand Canyon was easier to achieve because we live closer to Arizona. Our goal to go to the Oregon Coast took more planning. We knew we wanted to rent a beach house and it would be more costly, so it took action on our part by planning to save our money and reserve the beach house. It was well worth the dream when we achieved this goal. Remember to do something everyday that will move you toward your most important goal, whatever it is at the time.
I love my job because everyday I get to serve others. I work with teachers and children at an elementary school. I thrive on making this world a better place, because I am always looking for ways to serve. I love interacting with the students each day in the lunchroom and helping teachers.
Most kids are looking for validation. A few years ago a student came up to me saying, “I just picked up some garbage on the floor, so what do I get for doing that?” I get this question a lot. Then I had a moment of inspiration when I said, “The more kind things you do for others the bigger your aura will be.” Then I continued to explain that everyone has an invisible light around them and the more you do for others the bigger your light will be. His eyes lit up with excitement when I told him, “He had a big aura because he liked doing nice things for others.” A few days went by when he asked me, “What is the name of that light again?” I told him and he got excited as he picked up a piece of paper on the floor in the lunchroom. At the end of the year this student won a bike for being one of eight students who had improved the most in academics that year. It was fun to see him raising his arms in triumph knowing he did a great job in school.
Another way I experience small moments of joy is when I see parents take charge of their children’s lives with encouraging healthy eating, exercise, and removing harmful prescription drugs from their daily routine, using essential oils when possible. Something as simple as peppermint or lemon essential oil can be life changing. When you see kids that have signs of ADHD using a focus blend, and vetiver essential oils, who are now focusing in school, this is a huge victory.
A few years ago I was at my son Daniel’s graduation ceremony from High School. The principal started her commencement talk by recognizing people who have made a difference at Hunter High School
She first had the 4.0 students stand, then the honor roll students, one by one and sometimes in large groups people were standing in recognition for things they had accomplished.Lastly she requested that anyone who had provided a service stand. Almost everyone was standing at this point.
I noticed there were 6-8 people still seated at this point. I thought to myself, “How sad that these students were still sitting down.” Either they didn’t understand the importance of service or they couldn’t recognize the times they were serving even when they were helping others.
One of the reasons I like essential oils so much is I know others will benefit from using them, I love going out of my way to help people. At this point it is no longer about making money, it is about helping and serving others. As a result of this attitude I have been blessed with many amazing experiences with people using essential oils.
When I was eleven I wanted to make a homemade chocolate cream pie. My mother gave me the recipe. Then she said, “I will be in my bedroom if you need me.” She later admitted she would have gone nuts watching me cook when I was first learning this skill. The recipe called for 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. I added 3 tablespoons of baking soda instead. The recipe said “bring to a boil.” I couldn’t understand why the pie filling was foaming over the top of the pan. I called my mom into the kitchen.
No sooner did she come into the kitchen when she grabbed a large pan and poured part of the pie filling into the second pan. It just kept growing. This is when my mom started questioning the ingredients I had added. When I got to the cornstarch on the recipe card, I pointed to the baking soda container and said I added cornstarch. I was then told, “This pie filling is no good. When you thought you were adding cornstarch you were adding baking soda.” You can do everything just right except for one thing, ending up with a huge disaster.
Years later when I was 18 I had an opportunity to work at two separate places that made pies. I learned different techniques of pie making from both places. The Saturday before Thanksgiving I spent 18 hours making pies at Marie Callender’s. I am thankful for my training in pie making.
I have found myself showing several women’s groups how to make the perfect pie crust, and delicious pie fillings. My failure as a child was a stepping stone to my success with making pies today.
When you ask questions, not acting like you know it all, you will learn. I still find new ways to make things better from my past mistakes. Learning what works and what doesn’t is part of the joy.
Essential oils are a lot like my early days of cooking, when I made many mistakes with recipes. Now with essential oils I find myself continually going to my modern essential book which outlines the oil that works best for each condition I might have when I was unfamiliar with how the oils work. I find as in cooking, and with essential oils every time I fail, I am learning important life lessons.
When I was a small child I struggled with my reading ability. I was born with a lazy eye and astigmatism. The first four years of my life I wandered around half blind until I got glasses. This opened up a whole new world where I could see, but I was behind developmentally.
When I was in first and second grades I was at the bottom in all my classes at school. In my effort to catch up and improve myself, one year I received an award for reading 1,000 books to my mother and my two oldest siblings, Ramona and Sherry. The next closest person read only 400 books.
I had many helpful, caring teachers. I remember one machine that helped me read. It would make the sound of a word when you slid a card through the machine. It had a strip of recordable tape attached to cards. You would slide a card through the device, then you would hear the word you just read. I learned how to erase the right word and, replace it with the wrong word instead. The teacher was not happy with my newly discovered knowledge of the reading machine.
I find it interesting that in spite of my difficult past with reading, I have risen above my reading obstacle. I now enjoy writing, and sharing my love of essential oils. I have come full circle, sharing oils that may help small children with their ability to focus which I feel was one of my challenges as a child, and has followed me into adulthood. I have been blessed with an essential oil focus blend, that I have found greatly aids my ability to focus.
I remember a kind couple who loved my parents, John and Nome Mackaleash. They enjoyed visiting with our family. I remember one time when they came to our home that my sister Rachel was involved in a fundraiser, and was selling boxes of M&M candies for one dollar. This was big money in the 1980’s. I remember John pulled out 20 dollars and bought the whole case of candy. He then gave each one of us our own box.
Fast forward 20 years and my children are doing a school fundraiser. I totally discouraged my children from doing any fundraisers. I would say, “I will give you a dollar if you don’t do that fundraiser.” I was very nasty with everyone trying to sell me anything. One day I was listening to one of my audio books. The guy in the book is telling everyone to be more generous with their money and it will come back ten fold. I started doing this and it works. Now when children come over to the house selling things I buy from everyone. I think back to the great example and generosity of my parents’ friends. We must give more in order to receive more.
Generous giving of ourselves produces a generous harvest. I think this is why I enjoy using and sharing essential oils so much. When I use an essential oil that has personally effected my life in a positive way, I cant wait to share it with others. I love using a product that has no harmful side effects, that gives people another option for hope on their journey for better health.