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March 2014


“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  What do you think about that statement?  Are we responsible for our own happiness? 

In the past, I used to think that my happiness depended on others.  When I was first married, I thought my husband was responsible for making me happy.  I didn't actually say it; but if I was upset or angry, it was usually his fault, or so I thought.  Part of it was immaturity and part of it was me being selfish. The other part was not realizing what true happiness is.

There are many ways to obtain happiness; make more money and you will be happy, spend less time making money and spend more time with family and friends, smile more, laugh more, get out and socilize, volunteer and give back to the community, hum, sing, dance and the list goes on.

All of these ideas are admirable and can indeed make us happy.  The problem is they don't last.  They are only temporary fixes. These are not the ways to be happy. If one is to find true happiness, he must rise above these worldly ideas.

Obtaining true happiness must come from within.   The basis of true happiness is in direct relation to what I think about myself.  Do I like myself?  Would I want to be my friend?  We can change things about ourselves.  We can be friendlier, we can be more positive and outgoing.  And while this is true, that happiness must come from within, is it enough to sustain us through lifes ups and downs?

I believe true happiness goes much deeper than that.  True happiness is directly related to what I think God thinks about me.

Think about that for a moment.  Does God love you or even like you?  The Word of God is very clear about what God thinks about you.

And when I think of what God thinks about me, I cannot be sad.  I am instantly happy because He loves me so much that he died for me.  He loves me when I am grumpy, through my successes and my failures, and forgives me no matter what I do.

In answer to my question, Are we responsible for our own happiness? I believe the answer is true.  Happiness is actually a choice.  It begins and ends with you.  You can choose to believe what God says about you or not.  Therefore, seek the happiness that comes from above.  You owe it to yourself to find out what He thinks about you.


The Grand Canyon

Well, I did it!  I made it to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on the back of a mule.  Yes, I rode a mule down to Phantom Ranch, along with Wynn and a good friend of ours, Jake.  My mule was called "Sassy", Wynn's was called "Able" and Jake's was called "Charlotte". 

We rode the Bright Angel trail on the way down.  It is 5 1/2 miles long and took us about 5  1/2 hours to do.  We stopped at a place called "Indian Gardens" on the way down and were given a simple box lunch.  There were also several other stops to quickly dismount and either go to the bathroom or just stretch our legs; but not for very long. Our trail guides, Mattie and Alison kept us moving.

The scenery was just as you would imagine, fantastic.  It was a little scary for people who were afraid of heights; but I loved it.  To add to my excitement, Sassy liked to walk on the outer edge of the trail.  We didn't take pictures on the way down as they told us there would be lots of opportunities when we travelled back up, the next day.  The reason we were given was that the mules would be needing to stop and catch their breath a lot.  The mules are very well trained and fit but it is quite a workout, nonetheless.

When we reached the bottom of the canyon, we had to cross the Colorado river.  We went through a tunnel first and then across the bridge.  On the other side we rode another 10 minutes to Phantom Ranch.


We stayed in a cozy, little cabin, complete with a bathroom. 


We arrived about 2:30 p.m. and were told to walk a lot, enjoy the scenery, etc.  They did not want us to be stiff the next morning.  We were all a little saddle sore, to be sure.  But Wynn and I did walk, when we got our land legs back.  LOL!!  This was one of the walking trails at Phantom Ranch.  It follows the    River that runs into the Colorado River.



In the evening, we were fed a steak dinner complete with all the trimmings and chocolate cake.  Breakfast the next morning was at 7:00 a.m., and we had the works, bacon and eggs, sausage, toast, waffles, orange juice, coffee, etc.

We were saddled up and ready to go at 8:00 a.m. on the journey back up, this time following the Kaibob trail.  This trail is 7 1/2 miles long and it takes 5 1/2 hours with the many stops for the mules, no lunch this time.  Each stop gave us plenty of opportunity to take pictures.  Here are a few for you to enjoy.  You will see the Colrado river and some of the trails that we travelled.








Our trail guide, Alyson, leading the pack of 7.


At the end is Mattie, our other trail guide.  I am behind Alyson and Wynn (with just his nose showing, LOL) was behind me; then, our friend, Jake.


On our way back up to the top, we saw a pack of mules taking supplies down to Phantom Ranch.  Everything that the ranch needs is taken in by mules and all garbage, recycling, etc, is brought back out by mules.  Take a look at the dust and you can just imagine how fast they were travelling.  We just couldn't believe how those mules could stay on the trail at that speed; but they do.  Everyday, there make a trip down and a trip back up.  Trust me, our mules did not do anything but walk.  Thank goodness!



This was just the grandest ride ever, the benefit being that you get to see the Grand Canyon from a very unique perpective - astride a mule!  We are now official members of the renowned "Order of the Master Mule Skinners of the Grand Canyon Trails".


The Wonders of Coconut Oil

Did you know that 30 % of our daily nutritional intake should be made up of fats or oil?   Many of you probably know the benefits of olive oil; however, you should not really cook with it.  So, along comes coconut oil.  After receiving such a bad rap for years, it is now proving to be one of the healthiest oils you can consume and a very good one to cook with.  It is such a great oil to cook with because of it's high burning properties.

A while back I wrote about liking my butter; but it is high in saturated fat.  Coconut oil is also high in saturated fat.  Saturated fat is bad for you, right?  Yes and no. Current research has shown that not all saturated fats are alike.  Saturated fat is a vital ingredient for a healthy body. The saturated fat in coconut oil is good for your health; while the saturated fat in butter is not good for you and should be avoided or at the very least used in moderation.  What makes the difference?  Coconut oil is unique in its structural make-up.  It is not only the highest source of saturated  fats (92%); but, included in this,is the highest source of saturated Medium Chain Triglycerides 62%) of any naturally occurring vegan food source.  Furthermore around 50% of these MCT’s are made up of lauric acid, the most important   essential fatty acid in building and maintaining the body’s immune system.

 Research shows that cooking with coconut oil generally creates a more favorable HDL/LDL ratio.  This oil has antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiprotozoal properties  and, like all whole foods, contains nutrients for a healthy body.  Apart from coconut oil, the only other source of lauric acid found in such high concentrations is in mother’s milk.  Tropical oils and mother’s milk are by far the richest food sources of medium chain fatty acids.  The closest other source of these vital building blocks for our immune  system would be milk fat and coconut-butter comprising around 3% of its content. Any other vegetable oil is completely deficient in these medium chain fatty acids.  It should also be remembered that the negative research done on coconut oil in the past was the result of one study conducted four decades ago, using  hydrogenated oil (which has been processed and altered from its original form), not on virgin coconut oil.  Research shows that some saturated fat is in fact necessary for human health and modern research shows that the medium chain fatty acids help to increase metabolism and are more easily  digested than fats found in other oils. This is because they are processed directly in the liver and immediately converted into energy. There is therefore less strain on the liver, pancreas and digestive system and these MCFA provide the body with a wonderful, quick source of energy.  This wonder oil is truly the healthiest oil you  can consume. Being rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, coconut oil is  also classified as “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content.  Some of its uses are for cosmetics and skin treatment.  Virgin  coconut oil is a natural healing oil and doesn’t remain in the blood  stream as other fats do‚ instead, it goes directly to the liver where it  is converted into energy.  It also enhances the boy's absorption of calcium and magnesium, elements that are crucial to healthy bones.

 It has no trans-fat that it helps to  promote normal platelet function and is very much recommended for those  who have heart disease. To keep our bones healthy and strong, we must ensure adequate nutrients  are absorbed within our bodies. Medium chain fatty acids assist the body with this process.   Virgin coconut oil contains fat, but has fewer calories than other fats  and does not cause the related weight gain that others do. The potential for weight gain from the consumption of virgin coconut oil is equivalent to that of  protein‚ something we consume regularly with no repercussions. Virgin coconut oil is a natural healing oil and doesn’t remain in the blood  stream as other fats do‚ instead, it goes directly to the liver where it  is converted into energy.

In fact, I have a jar in my bathroom as well as in my kitchen.  Why do I keep some in my bathroom?  Well, it is a wonderfully rich skin care oil that is readily  absorbed into the skin.  It helps to  reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Coconut oil will aid in exfoliating the outer layer of dead skin cells, making the skin  smoother.  Let me say from experience that you should use just a small amount.  A little goes a long way; besides if I put on too much, Chloe will lick it off. She loves the stuff and actually, it's good for her too!

Now, coconut oil does add a different flavour to foods.  In my opinion it is very good for cooking pancakes.  It is also delicious dribbled over popcorn and adding cinnamon.  Yum!  I have to admit Wynn doesn't like it, although my daughter, Tricia, does.  So give it a try; you might just like it. :)

I hope this post has not been too wordy for you.  I found it fascinating when I read about it. 

By the way, you can buy unflavoured coconut oil.