Thoughts on Fasting, Abundance and Gratitude

by Mary Ann on August 13, 2014

3 Days for Yazidi – A Fast For Deliverance

My daughter is constantly doing something remarkable. If you haven’t seen her latest endeavor you can visit her website, created just for this gift she wants to give to people she has never met. She asked us all, her friends and family to fast for three days for the people in Iraq who are stranded on a mountain, dying.

We have all been so bothered by what is happening and in times like these there is the feeling of powerlessness, after all what can one do thousands of miles away. That has never deterred my daughter from coming up with a plan.

Families throwing children from a mountain to keep them from terrorists.

When people were freezing in Turkey she had everyone she knew makes quilts and then got a cargo ship to take them to Turkey. Once she fasted all treats for a whole year on behalf of some people who needed some major blessings. I try to keep up with her.

I am familiar with fasting. I have been using this tool, along with prayer, for my whole life. I usually fast once a month for health and spiritual reasons but I have done other types of fasts. Once I fasted every Saturday for almost a year for a blessing I needed. So, as I said, I am familiar with fasting and find it very doable.

However, this fast has taught me some things. I know there is a scripture which admonishes us not to let our right had know what our left hand is doing and so that does give me pause. Nevertheless, I feel that what I have learned is worth sharing.

True to my nature I decided to fast all three days in one big fast rather than splitting it up into three, one-day fasts. When I fast I pray about whatever it is I am fasting about. I have to remind myself about this so that my fast is effective. This time was different.

On the first day the temperature was 94 degrees. I was doing physical labor. I was sweating and periodically I would wet my tongue with my hand under the faucet. Whenever I did that I was reminded that the families I was fasting for had no water to do that.

A couple of times I sucked on a breath mint so I could keep my mouth moist and stand myself and so others could stand me. I was

Children on the mountain top

Children on the mountain top

reminded again that these families have no such relief.

When I got home that night, before bed, I took my usual wonderful shower. As the lovely water ran over my hot head I realized that for these families there would be no relief from a hot day, hard work, or fatigue. How do you clean an infant without water? When I brushed my teeth I knew that they lacked that luxury.

Today, the second day, I woke up to rain. The air felt so sweet and cool. It was wonderful. I realized that these families would have no rain, no sweetness, no coolness.

It was harder to go without food and water today. But in the back of my mind I knew that anytime I wanted to I could quit and take a drink or eat some bread. In these families minds they know that their children are dying from dehydration, there is little to no food and there is no quitting and no relief.

When my 4 year old granddaughter came down for a hug I asked her how her fast was going (TV and Ipad). She said it was good and flashed a big smile. Then as she walked away she turned and said, “But I am a little sad.” She is learning some great lessons.

Last night at 11:00 I realized that while we were gone to Alaska for a holiday our home was flooded. It had rained a lot and the rain spout was working poorly. When I finally walked  barefoot on the carpet next to my desk I figured it out (I rarely go barefoot).

By my desk and under it are 14 boxes of family history all sorted and labeled, ready to be worked on and put into books this winter. FloodEvery box was filled with wet documents, photos and papers. They had been wet for over two weeks and there was a lot of mold. It was a huge disaster. I went to bed and cried.

Today was spent emptying each box and drying out what could be saved and then re-boxing it. Then all the furniture was pushed into the center of the room so that the carpet could be pulled up, sprayed with bleach and dried.

I got up early this morning and began the job but had to leave for work and Jodie and my husband kept at it on and off all day, as things dried and space became available.

When I got home I was tired, hungry and thirsty. When I walked into my home a wretched sight met my eyes and nose. You can see by the pictures what a mess it was. I just let go. I closed my fast, drank some water, and ate a roll so that I could roll up my sleeves, empty the rest of the boxes and get ready to move furniture.

Yes, I quit my fast. I just needed the energy and comfort from a glass of water and a roll so that I could handle the disaster all around me.

As I ate the roll and drank the water I thought about what it would be like to have crying and hungry, thirsty children that youFotor0813232837 had no food or water for.  What it would be like to be in the baking heat with little shelter and no relief in sight. What it would be like to hear bombs dropping. For these families there is no quitting or taking a break to regroup. There is no glass of cool water and a roll to give them energy to face the disaster they find themselves in.

I have a firm belief that everything do for another person blesses our own lives in some way. Today and yesterday I have been blessed. As I fast I am always grateful for food and water. Today I was more than just grateful. I realized that it isn’t just a full belly or hydrated body that I am blessed with. I can take a shower anytime. I can go to sleep in peace. I can get away from the heat. I can comfort my children and make sure they have these same things.

I have often wondered why it is I was born in America, in such a good circumstance. I have thought a lot about what our burden is compared to those in places like war torn Iraq. I believe it is our abundance. This is what this fast has confirmed so forcefully to my mind. It is harder to be grateful when one is surrounded by so much choice and abundance. It is hard to be grateful when things aren’t the way we want them to be. Sometimes we focus on the things we lack when we are really swimming in abundance.

My home did not burn down, didn’t flood completely, most items can be repaired in some way, it didn’t sit another week until everything was moldy….I have many things to be grateful for today!

Today and yesterday I was reminded almost hourly how truly abundant my life is and I have been so glad to be able to do some small thing for those who are not so privileged. I will complete the last day tomorrow. Why not join our family and let your family be reminded again about their abundance.

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Learning is Fun

by Mary Ann on July 25, 2014




master-logo-1Have you ever wished you could go to one place and find free information, as well as classes, on topics ranging from reading the classics, home school matters of all kinds, personal development, adult education topics, financial education, health and fitness of all kinds, arts and entertainment? I have. I have often thought that there ought to be a place where I could go and learn about lots of teachers and mentors who are good at what I would like to be good at. I have found that place – Wisdom Window. This is a terrific new platform for teachers and mentors where you can go and see what they teach, what they have to offer you. There are free classes, downloads, audios and more , as well as books, classes and mentoring you can purchase.

It is just a fun place to look around. I recently got a few “Windows” of my own and did a fun interview with my good friend Heidi Totten. I think you might enjoy some of the insights I shared.

I want to make a visit to Wisdom Window really worthwhile for you. So when you get there go to the Rockin Spark Station Idea Packet window and pick up your free copy of the family fun connection packet called Magnify It (on your top right). It’s 20 pages of great stuff for your family to do together to learn all about how magnification works. You’re going to love it! You can also purchase a second packet called Summer Camp at Home for $4.00. Just use the code summer. Have a great time connecting with your kids!

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Better Communication-Better Outcomes

by Mary Ann on July 24, 2014

Books with true principles change lives

Books with true principles change lives

Some books just change your life! When I was in fourth grade the book was The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes. When I was sixteen it was the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder. When I was twenty the scriptures felt powerful to me for the first time. In myThe Hundred Dresses early thirties it was The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz. In my late fifties I discovered 8 Minute Meditation by Victor Davich and in my early sixties You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. Of course this barely scratches the surface of the books I have read that have given me a new paradigm and brought me to a place of change. Reading a book filled with true principles, whether a novel or other type of book can be an amazing experiencing.

A few weeks ago I read another book which has changed me and the way I communicate forever! Then I had the privilege of meeting the author and I asked him to share some of his thoughts with you. I hope after you read them that you will read his books. Your family relationships will be forever changed if you do.

Remember the Ice

Bob Nicoll is a Wordsmith. He teaches people that, “There is Power in the Clarity of your Articulation.” Another way of saying that is: “Words mean things.” Or, “Word Choice has behavioral consequences.” As the author of two books focusing on enhancing your communication skills, he has spent the last 23 years fine tuning a skill set for teaching the power of BETTER Word Choice.

Bob and I will be teaming up on an upcoming event to be held in the Salt Lake City area to share these concepts specifically for parents. We anticipate this event to be offered in September. Watch my posts and my Facebook Fan Page for more information. I think you will LOVE what we have to say!

Here’s BOB:

Imagine being able to create a simple message.

You know in your mind what you would like to convey.

You get ready to share it with one of your precious children.

You open your mouth, speak your mind, and then realize you have attracted the opposite of what you want. vase

Huh??? What’s that  you say?

All you said to your precious 6 year old was, “Don’t touch that vase.”

Seconds later, you hear the sound of broken glass and your favorite , imported, crystal vase is on the floor in a myriad of pieces.

So why would he touch it after you specifically said, “DON’T touch that vase?”

Before I share the answer, let share a quick story.

It all began on July 23, 1991 — at 10:07AM PDT

In a convenience store on Northern Avenue in Phoenix, AZ, the manager had placed a couple of signs above his cash registers. His intention was to encourage his patrons to buy more ice during the hot desert summer. I lived across the street from this store and came to know him. Rick was working one day as I made a purchase. This time I paused and asked him how his ice sales were going because I am intrigued by word choice and the resulting behavioral outcomes.

You see, the signs above the cash registers read:


I asked Rick how sales were going. His reply was less than favorable. I paused and asked if I could make a suggestion. I mean, after all, this was Phoenix—in the desert—in the middle of the summer. (110+ degrees in the shade)

“Rick, do you have a couple of pieces of paper and a magic marker?” I inquired. He gave me the items and I quickly made two new signs for him.


I left with a knowing smile and purposely stayed away for about a month.  When I went back to the store, I spoke with Rick about his recent ice sales.  “What did you do?  My sales are up over 500% in the last 30 days!!”

I smiled and asked him a simple question:   “If I say to you: Don’t think of the color blue. What color are you thinking of?” “Why blue of course” he replied.

“Of course.”

Now if I say “don’t forget the ice”, what will you forget?

“Hmmm… the ice.

“ “Right.”


Do you see how the innocent and commonly used message of “DON’T touch the vase” resulted in a broken vase? Our mind has no conception of NOT, and we proceed to DO what follows. So, the end result is, 6-year old Tommy is compelled to touch the vase; BECAUSE you told him to.

Words mean things. Word choice has behavioral consequences.

If we had just said, “leave the vase alone”, or “no touching the vase,” the end result is you would have a beautiful piece of crystal to showcase your flowers.

Bob NicollBob Nicoll has a passion for linguistics and empowering language choices. Since completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 1972, and Masters in Counseling in 1974, he has focused his energies on studying the power of word choice: the Psychophysiology of Words.

Bob has been a counseling psychologist, a business owner/consultant, a motivational speaker, a sales trainer, restaurant owner, financial planner and a top sales manager. His passion is helping people shift their paradigms with respect to empowering word choices.

For more information about Remember the Ice and how you can significantly enhance your communication skills, go to and take a look around. On Bob’s product page, you will find his two books: Remember the Ice and Other Paradigm Shifts and Exceptional Care for Your Valued Client available in a digital download as well as on Kindle, for only $5.99. Bob is also available for presentations, coaching and seminars.

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My sisters: Cindy, Rozanne, Nanette, Shirley (Evette not pictured)

My sisters: Cindy Rozanne, Nanette, Shirley (Evette not pictured)

I visited my sister yesterday.  I was taken aback though at her first statement to me. “What has happened? What has changed? You look different. I noticed the other day. You look brighter.”

I thought for a minute and then said that I had been doing a number of things that might account for it.

  • I read a lot of good books and then implement what I read, that is true.
  • I do an amazing forgiveness exercise religiously
  • I had been doing a lot of praying about some issues I needed to resolve and had gotten answers that made a difference.
  • I had been getting more sleep and eating better.
  • And, I had gotten some really terrific mentoring.

In fact, the praying lead me to the mentoring. I told my sister that it cost me $125 per hour and was some of the best money that I had spent all year. Of course she gasped at the cost because, lets face it, $125 is a nice bit of money.

I think that finding people who have been where you are and have gotten where you want to go, whether through friendly profitable authors seminar
relationships, good books, workshops or personal mentoring is really helpful in moving forward in your life. In my classes I have shared that after I came to a realization that I was raging and that it wasn’t a behavior I wanted to keep doing, it took me another 15+ years to stop. I am convinced that that was because I didn’t have many tools. I was, through prayer, led to some other mothers who had stopped and that was helpful. Over time I found a good book or two. But for me, back then it was hit and miss. No longer.

Now when I realize a weakness that I want to make a strength I actively seek out help. It tells us in the scriptures that God has given men weaknesses so that they will be humble and then he will help make them strengths. So I believe that my weaknesses are my strengths in embryo. I don’t fall apart when I realize I have yet another weakness, I celebrate and then I actively seek the resources that will lead me to strength in that place.

Do the tools for change have to cost $125 an hours. Goodness no! Prayer is completely free. Many books are in the library and are free. Many more can be purchased used on line at very low cost. (This is, in fact, how I buy the majority of my books). There are more teleseminars, workshops, and events of all kind that are free or a minimal fee than you can possibly attend.  Now and again, you will be led to a $125 an hour tool and if it is right, seize it because, if it is right, it will make a difference.

PresentingRight now I have a tool to offer all of you. I am doing a 5 hour workshop on July 11th in Grand Junction, Colorado. It is a free event put together by my daughter, Marie Henry and some of her hungry to learn co-mothers. They want some new techniques for connecting with their children and having more fun and joy. I am delighted to oblige them and share some of what I know.  So if you live anywhere close and you want to connect and enjoy your children more, then come and join us.

I will be helping you organize  the beginnings of your own Spark Station. (This is for all parents, not just those who homeschool.) We will spend some time talking about Sparks, what they look like and how they can help you interact more positively with your children and inspire them to learn. We will also cover the idea of Presence, what it is and how this one idea, practiced, can change your family in some really amazing ways. Come and get some practical mentoring!

There is no registration needed. Just be be at the address below at 10am on July 11th with a sack lunch in hand, a pencil and paper to take notes, and a heart for learning. We would love to have you join us. Here’s to moving forward!!!

Event Specifics:

  • July 11
  • 10am – 3pm
  • Bring a sack lunch
  • LDS Church on 3076 E 1/2 Rd


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