Midlife Crisis Leads Me Back to Classics


For the last fourteen years I have been a stay-at-home mom. There has always been someone here with me to look after, but in August, my youngest went to school full time. At first I loved the new freedom that came with my days. I went hiking on trails I had never explored, I went places the kids would never want to go with me, and I spent some time doing charity work. However, as the weeks went on, I started down a spiral that lead me to what I could only describe as a midlife crisis (I am not even forty yet)! I started to feel lonely. Things I liked to do didn’t make me happy anymore.

As snow fell on the mountains and the ground became more muddy, I didn’t want to hike anymore. I thought maybe now it was time to look to the future. “What am I going to do now that my kids are in school?” I thought I really needed to find a job. Doesn’t everyone who has kids in school all day have a job? I looked at part time jobs and applied for a few, but when the call came for an interview, I realized that it wasn’t what I really wanted to do.

Then I I thought maybe I needed to go back to school to get some additional training. The problem is I don’t really know what training I want and I don’t want to waste time and money. I thought about it for weeks and thought I really didn’t know who I was anymore.

I reached out a community on Facebook and many helpful people suggested I read a book written for teenagers to help them discover their mission in life. It is funny, but it is really helping me. I am on a new path in my life and it is nice to get back to my roots. One of the suggestions in this book is for teenagers to read classics, then to talk about them with someone, then to write about them. There is a list of 100 classic books to read.

I decided that I didn’t really need to go back to school to get an education. I had only ready about ten books on the list. The first book on the list in the suggestions for twelve-year old girls was Lucy Maud Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables.”  You can read my review and experience reading it again here.

I had read the book when I was twelve and loved it. I remember watching the PBS movie as a child with my mother and grandmother. We would watch eight hours to see the kiss between her and Gilbert Blythe at the end, but it was always worth it. Here is the list of novels I will be reading over the next year. Feel free to read along and discuss them with me. How many have you read?

Level One:

  1. ‘Little Women -Louisa May Alcott
  2. Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
  3. The Wizard of Oz- L. Frank Baum
  4. Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe-C. S. Lewis
  5. Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes– Edith Hamilton
  6. Little House in the Big Woods– Laura Ingalls Wilder
  7. The Phantom Tool Booth –Norton Juster
  8. Ender’s Game- Orson Scott Card

Level Two:

  1. Pollyanna-Eleanor H. Porter
  2. A Midsummer Night’s Dream–William Shakespeare
  3. All’s Well that End’s Well- William Shakespeare
  4. The Tempest- William Shakespeare
  5. Prince Caspian– C. S. Lewis
  6. Aesop’s Fables
  7. Tom Sawyer- Mark Twain
  8. Flatland- Edwin Abbott
  9. Saint Joan- Mark Twain
  10. Huckleberry Finn-Mark Twain
  11. Little House on the Prairie- Laura Ingalls Wilder
  12. Best Loved Poems of the American People– Hazel Felleman and Frank Allen
  13. Sonnets, William Shakespeare
  14. The Jungle Book- Rudyard Kipling
  15. The Real Thomas Jefferson- Andrew M. Allison
  16. Asimov on Numbers- Issac Asimov
  17. Love Languages- Gary Chapman
  18. The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy – What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny -by William Strauss and Neil Howe
  19. The Walking Drum, Louis L’Amour
  20. Say, Go, Be, Do- Tiffany Rhoades Earl
  21. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People- Steven R. Covey
  22. The One Minute Manager-Kenneth Blanchard, Ph.D and Spencer Johnson, M.D.
  23. The Cash Flow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki
  24. A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink
  25. Archimedes and the Door of Science by Jeanne Bendick

There is also a level three, level four, and level five by I think for now thirty seven books on a list is a good start! Happy Reading!

Running My First 5K

Two months ago I decided I wanted to run my first 5k. I ran one twenty-four years ago in junior high and didn’ t really like it. Ever since then, I have shied away from running. However, I’ve been reading The Ultimate Weight Solution by good old Doctor Phil McGraw and I’ve been working on the “keys to weight loss freedom.” He is very blunt, but it is part of the book’s appeal for me who needs to be hit over the head with something.

He says, “Nothing will stop you from being anything other than healthy, vibrant, in shape, this will happen because YOU make it happen.”

I have always known that I am the one who is in control of my lifestyle and my weight, but it really “clicked” this time.

He says, “The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. You’ve got to be your own best friend first, accepting and loving yourself from the inside out, before you can be truly happy and before you can live with purpose and passion.”

I have decided I want to live a life of ‘purpose and passion.’ Dr. Phil encourages his readers to set ‘realistic’ goals. I set a long-term goal and a short-term goal.

My long-term goal is to lose forty pounds by December 31, 2017.  On April 22, 2017, I set the goal to train three days a week to run a 5k on June 3, 2017.

In order to achieve this first goal, I downloaded a couch to 5k app on my phone and used it three– sometimes four– days a week to train. I hoped by doing this I would lose one pound a week.

At first, it was hard to train because the weather in April was crazy here in Utah. It was warm one week, snowed another, and rained a lot. However, I got up at 6:00 in the morning, checked the weather and decided I would run rain or shine.  I had my faithful chocolate lab, Koda, as my running partner and we would go.

This last week before my race, I started getting shin splints in both my legs and they really ached. However, today I ran anyway. I was not able to run the entire 5k, but I ran until my body said, “Hey you! I hurt! Stop! Stop!”  I would walk for a minute then pick up the pace.

I was inspired by Wonder Woman. I know it sounds corny, but as I looked for races to run I found that Smith’s grocery store was sponsoring a “Super Hero” run to raise money for Primary Children’s Hospital. My husband and I and our boys love superhero movies. I find them fun and inspiring at the same time. I knew “Wonder Woman” starring Gil Gadot was coming out the day before I would run the race. I found this photo.


I told myself I could have courage. I could be confident in myself to finish the race. I dressed up today with my Wonder Woman t-shirt and my awesome Wonder Woman socks and I ran. I ran with courage. I did it! I really did it!

Here are some fun pics:


The app even printed out a certificate of achievement for me.


Now, my teenage son plans to join me and we are going to run a 5k on Independence Day. I also plan to run a fun night run with glow sticks and a Harry Potter themed 5k in July. The same company that made the app has another app to encourage me to run faster.

Guess what? After all of my training, I am down seven pounds and I am on my way to my end goal in December. So, the next steps for me to continue on to my forty pound journey are:

  1. Run three more 5ks this summer, maybe more!
  2. Learn all I can about nutrition and plan my meals and snacks.
  3. Reduce my sugar intake for 75 days until our 17th anniversary in August. Then I will indulge in a delicious piece of chocolate cake. I am hoping it will be “too rich” and I won’t be able to finish it all!

Here we go! I will have courage because I love myself and I am in charge of creating my life. I want to live with ‘purpose and passion’! We are off for my reward of seeing the movie. I am glad my husband agreed so easily. He says, “Wonder Woman is the most important movie of our time.” I can’t imagine why. 🙂

Tender Moments

Today we celebrated the life of my great aunt Norma May Gutke Ellis. She was born in 1921 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Carl Frederick and Laura May Jones Gutke. She was the youngest child of eight. Norma was a cheerful, bright, and lovely woman. She joined her family after her mother had already lost two daughters: one was murdered by a jealous boyfriend at 17 and the other was a golden haired, adorable four year old taken by a combination of whooping cough/pneumonia. Norma was a blessing sent to Laura Gutke from a caring and loving Heavenly Father.

Norma was adored by her five older brothers one of them nick-named her Nooksie. Whenever he went out, he always brought a present home with him for his little sister. One day he was on a date, he told his date he needed to stop and buy a little something for “dear little Nooskie.” She was a bit confused!

Norma was so beautiful, so tender, so gracious, and so kind. I loved meeting her a few years ago when I went with my sister. She became so precious to me as my sister and I took on the project of interviewing her about her life and her experiences.

I learned more from her about the Gutke name and heritage than I had  known before. Although she was telling me stories, I learned so much from her. One of my favorite stories was about how she was going with a young man she met when she went to a dance with the local soldiers at the military base in Kearns, Utah. She really liked him and they would talk on the phone and write letters and they were getting quite serious. She knew he was going to propose, but she knew that he could not give her the life that she wanted. She wanted to be married in the temple and this young man, although he was good man could not give her what she wanted. He was not a member of the Church. She called him and broke it off. It was a very hard, but such a brave thing to do, to stand up for what was really important to her. Later she met Uncle Dan Ellis and they became the most lovely couple and were married for 67 years! They raised three boys and a lovely girl they named Laura.

I always had a great time hearing their banter when I was at their home. I would ask Aunt Norma a question and hear her answer, and Uncle Dan would call out from the other room and tell her she got the story all wrong.

I love this woman! Her funeral was just a celebration of her life, of her goodness, of her love for others. I want mine to be like that. The Bishop closed by saying, “She had received His (Jesus Christ’s) image in her contenance.” Then he challenged us to become like her.” I accept the challenge.

I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?” Alma 5:19

I know my Aunt Norma was not perfect, but she tried every day to be loving, kind, and be the best woman she would be. She did have a pure heart and clean hands. I want to be like her when I am 91.

I will miss you Aunt Norma!



Finding Happiness

I love this! I saw this on Facebook right after I finished posting. I thought that this was a great quote and went right along with my previous quote. I do want to love myself for who I am right now!


Baby Steps

I want to overcome my depression and really live my life. Even if it is one Baby Step at a time!