July 18, 2007

Shine For Others

Want to bring a little bit of Sunshine to someone else's life? Want to get creative while doing so?

As many of you already know, I work for a non-profit in Utah called SPLORE. SPLORE is an organization that I truly adore and I believe in their mission statement of providing life-enhancing experiences to people with disabilities through outdoor recreation.

Every fall, SPLORE holds a benefit auction to raise funds to provide life-changing outdoor recreation experiences to people with disabilities and special needs. At the auction we sell artwork, crafts and other made-from-the-heart goods. One of the activities at the auction is called "Dart for Art" and it's when guests have paid extra for a ticket with a different sporting event listed on the back. The ballroom where we have our auction is lined with beautiful works of art...made by you! Throughout the evening, we will announce what sporting event is supposed to "dart" for their favorite piece of artwork that is on the walls.

Dart for Art is a fun event that raises a lot of funds for SPLORE and our participants. If you'd like to donate some art to the SPLORE Auction, please contact me at: susanjanae8@gmail.com. It's a great way to shine for others and it's also a great tax write-off!

June 2, 2007


I watched the sun set tonight. I took my baby in my arms and held him close as the sun cast a pink glow onto the slowly moving clouds. I kissed his pink cheeks and told him to say goodnight to the sun. The warm rays kissed his blonde hair and I breathed easier to know that I am still connected to this earth and its wonders. Amidst the rushing and consuming and worry I can still take a moment to behold the wonder of the sun and the beauty it gives us. I can still connect with my baby and show him the marvelous gifts nature gives us. Its moments like this when I really feel alive.

May 31, 2007

What's your inspiration?

I'm a Nature lover. It so greatly inspires me. I often find myself wondering, "Is there anyone not awed by the power and beauty of nature?" I'm serious about this question; I know nature inspires me, but does it inspire everyone? It takes a whole menagerie of folks to make the world go round, so what's are you inspired by? I want to know.

A few weeks ago I was camping in the deserts of Southern Utah. I woke-up at 5:30 in the morning, took a glossy-eyed look around me and saw one of the most beautiful sunrises in my life. The cliffs and buttes of the desert canyons were a rich black color with their tops aflame by oranges and yellows of the rising sun. The rest of the sky faded from a very pale green, to light blue to dark blue with nothing else in the sky except a brightly shining crescent moon and a few lone stars. I love sunrises, what a beautiful way to start the day...with a beautiful gift from Mother Nature! The sunrise inspired me to paint a picture from the morning and the results are below.

Last weekend, I had some time to retreat to the mountains and enjoy a hike of beauty and solitude. I hiked to a wonderful place called Donut Falls. I sat along the shores of the waterfall and enjoyed the scenery around me and dazed off into the bubbling water to let all of the other "noise" in my head be washed away with the sound of the waterfalls. On the hike back, I saw a moose grazing in some marshy lowlands and another near-by creek. I was so excited to see the moose, I think it's the first moose that I've seen in Utah!

Yeah, there's no question about it, I'm inspired by nature; but I'm also inspired by good music, volunteers, and 1000s of other tiny little moments that enrich this wonderful journey that we call life.
So, I ask again, what inspires you?

May 24, 2007

Hugged a Volunteer Lately?

Some of the most amazing, generous, loving, passionate and fun people in the world. I'm proud to be a volunteer and even more happy to work with other volunteers.

This past weekend, my job (SPLORE), held a rafting trip for volunteers to get trained on our rafting programs and how to help people with disabilities enjoy outdoor recreation opportunities. People from all walks of life, abilities, ages and motivations came to learn how to be a volunteer. To give of themselves to help others and I could not be more impressed with the quality of folks that I met.

Erma Brombeck has an excellent quote about volunteers:
"Volunteers are the only human being on the face of the earth who reflect this nation's compassion, unselfish caring, patience and just plain loving one another."

I want to challenge you.
I challenge you to put some time aside to volunteer. Some time to help someone or something else out. In a world where we are told to constantly, "go, go, go, go, go," take a moment to step back, look what you're grateful for and share your gratitude, talents, passion, abilities, GIFTS. Gifts come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and purposes. In a world where we worry that there isn't enough money or "time" for this or that, the best gift you could give is your time. Trust me, you'll get more gifts back in return than you could ever give out and it's never a waste of time...I call it an enrichment of time.

So, get out, volunteer, make a difference in the world and your own life. There are plenty of places that could use your help, so there is no shortage on volunteer opportunities. Most of the time volunteering is free, so money isn't an issue. Time is relative; one hour of volunteering a month can make a lifetime of a difference.

Tell us how the experience went. Share your favorite volunteer memories. You might be suprised by how touched you will be.

Or, take a moment to Go Hug a Volunteer! they are a precious resource. (And we like hugs...at least I do!)

May 2, 2007


So, some of you that know me know that I work at an amazing organization called SPLORE. SPLORE is a non-profit that provides outdoor recreation to folks with disabilities. The Story below is from a local news station doing a story on us. This is just a tiny example of what we do. We've been around for 30 years this summer and there are several other stories that can be told, but I wanted to show an example to all of you. My job rocks and I'm soooo happy that the news finally put a positive story out to the public instead of all of the negative "stuff" we hear all the time!

The direct link to the story is: http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=1149049

(Watch the video!)

April 22, 2007

Audrey Rae

Audrey Rae was born April 17th weighing 7 lbs and 8oz. She was 21.5 inches long. Mom and Dad are fine and happy. Big Brother Colin was ready to welcome his baby sister home.
Congratulations Forsyth Family and Welcome to the World beautiful Audrey!!!

Nature Thoughts

"When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life an my children's lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water and I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."
-Wendell Berry

April 20, 2007



In Celebration of Earth Day, You should....


(thanks Amber!)

OR, READ THIS BEAUTIFUL STORY BY A VERY INSPIRING WOMAN: http://christinekane.com/blog/take-a-walk-in-your-heart/

April 18, 2007

A Wonderful Day is Coming!!!

Hey Everyone, Earth Day is soon approaching, WooHoo! A Day to Celebrate Mother Earth, the beautiful world around us and appreciate the wonders of Nature.

In celebration of Earth Day, I'm wondering how everyone else is going to celebrate? A picnic in Peace Park perhaps? Reading a book under a tree? Doing some planting? Picking up trash along hiking trails? What are YOU doing, I want to know and I want you to share with the rest of us.

Does anyone have a piece of art to share? Email me (susanjanae8@gmail.com) some Earth Day art, stories, celebrations, etc. and I will add your wonderful creations to The Sunshine Journal.

Just to get everyone started, here's a painting I did that I wanted to share with all of you!

March 30, 2007

More Poetry Poker Responses!

Here are the latest Poetry Poker responses we've received. The poems were submitted by Stephanie and TJ Smith, mom and son poets. Thanks guys, these poems are Great!

Pure sunshine filters down through the trees,
Casting dappled shadows in muted colours onto my face and hands.
Pure sunshine filters down through the trees,
Casting warm shapes of pure happiness onto my skin.

-By Stephanie Smith

When the sunshine is out I think of you all day.
I hope you have lots of fun in all you do and say.
Wherever you will be I'll be there to care.
You're the best in all my life, especially our love in the air.
You have a tree in your garden, which lots of birds like to use.
You have bird feeders hanging from it, for all the bird's food.
All the colours in a rainbow, they make me think of you.
Your hands touch me in most loving ways, gentle in all they do.

-By TJ, age 6

March 23, 2007

Poetry Poker Response

Colleen from solidenergy was the first to reply to the Poetry Poker Game. Thanks, Colleen, it's a GREAT poem!

Sunshine returns with the Spring,
bringing happiness to the heart,
outdoor work for the hands,
lush green colors to the trees.
Gratitude to sunshine after a long winter.

March 10, 2007

To better health and wealth...

Sara Levinson wants to help heal the world... and she is doing it one sip at a time by promoting Xango and Mangosteen.

What is Mangosteen? It is a fruit from Southeast Asia that has proven to have many healing properties. "It wasn't until 40 years ago when scientists first put Mangosteen Fruit under the microscope that they discovered a brand new group of Phytonutrients we now know as Xanthones. (pronounced zan-thones) Xanthones are 100 times more powerful anti-oxidants than Vitamin A, C & E and have also demonstrated tremendous healing properties in peer-reviewed scientific studies from around the world. Naturally occurring, these supercharged anti-oxidants, are found more abundantly in the rind of the Mangosteen Fruit than any other food source on earth."

What is Xango? Xango is the company that distributes Mangosteen by enlisting people who have had direct benefits from this product to sell it to people they know and get to know by spreading the word.

If you are interested in learning more about Mangosteen or Xango, visit Sara's website at www.joyoushealthandwealth.com.

March 7, 2007

Poetry Poker

A friend of mine went to a coffee shop in Salt Lake City and she learned a cool new game that I wanted to pass along to everyone. It's called "Poetry Poker."

Poetry Poker is when you are handed a random set of cards. These cards all have an eclectic group of words on them and with those words you're supposed to write a poem. The poem doesn't have to be "good," the poem doesn't have to follow any specific order, but the purpose of the poem is to force you to write and be creative; to see what you come up with.

I thought the idea of "Poetry Poker" was a Great idea (obviously, otherwise I wouldn't be writing about it, now would I?) I want everyone that is reading The Sunshine Journal right now to give a try at Poetry Poker. I'll get you started with the words: Sunshine, Happiness, Trees, Hands, Colors. Let's see what you come up with; this is meant to be a fun exercise. When you're finished with your Poetry Poker, send me a copy at susanjanae8@gmail.com and I'll add it to The Sunshine Journal. I know there are some creative folks out there, spread what you created and spread a little sunshine (I'll even let you remain anonymous if you really want to!).

February 27, 2007

Young Wisdom

So, recently at church, all of the young kids were instructed to bring something that they thought was Holy to church. A lot of kids brought a picture of their family, or a cross, etc. but one little girl brought a rock. When asked why the little girl thought the rock was Holy she said she thought the rock was pretty.

"Well, a rose is pretty too, why did you bring a rock instead of a rose?" the little girl was asked.

"Because you have to look for the beauty in this rock. See, it has little crystals in this rock. It reminds me that if we look for the beauty in everything, then the whole world would be filled with treasures."

Wow, what a profound statement from a 5 year-old little girl; she moved a whole church of adults to tears.

February 24, 2007

Welcome Baby Maria!

I am pleased to announce we have a beautiful girl! Maria Clare was born on 2/22/07. She came out quick and healthy at 5lbs. 14oz., 20 inches. Sarah and Maria have been doing great! Sarah performed birth like a pro. Maria has been breastfeeding, pooping, peeing like healthy baby. She has been adapting well to her new home. She's been sleeping a lot but is quick to awaken,squirm, and scream. I think we'll have our hands full. I can't express how precious she is. We hope you can meet her soon. (Sent by John Andres, proud Daddy)

Welcome Baby Orin!

Orin Echo Easley was born on February 7th to proud parents Robbie and Tabitha Easley. Big brother Kelton also welcomed him home... he was very ready for baby Orin to come play with him! He is shown above with his "big" cousin Jameson, who was almost exactly 3 months older than Orin. We hope they will grow up to be great friends. Congratulations and welcome Baby Orin!!!

Welcome Baby Jordyn!

Jordyn Nicole Kraml was born on February 18th to proud parents Nora and Larry Kraml. She is welcomed home by 2 sisters, Lexi and Sky, and 1 brother, Micheal. What a beautiful baby girl! Congratulations... she will be well loved!

It's amazing what a great haircut can do...

Emily Hudspeth has started her 29th year off to a great start... (sorry for the age reference, Em, but I have a feeling this is your year!) Emily's birthday was this past week and during her "Happy Birthday" phone call she shared with me all of the wonderful things that have been going on in her life lately. She went back to college after several years and is making straight A's. She started a new job at a salon/spa/beauty supply store and got a new haircut that looks amazing. After a few weeks of being there, helping the store get organized for opening, she was promoted to shift manager with a $2 an hour raise. Also, she has been exersizing in the past couple months and has lost 15 pounds. I always have treated my birthday as a time of renewal and it seems as if Emily is doing the same thing. There is a light and confidence in her voice that makes me smile and feel so proud of my best friend. I am so glad she shared her good news as it makes me remember that there can always be a renewal, no matter where you are in life. And that sometimes, all it takes is a good haircut to turn your life in a brand new direction.

February 21, 2007

Spring Wonders

I love to see the newborn flowers when I go bike riding in the spring.
I love to see the pretty showers and watch the silver bells ring.
I love to hear the clock ring the hours and hear the birds sing.
I love to watch spring come to life and hear the sounds it makes.

By: Sarah Knapp, age 10

February 19, 2007

Jacob Thomas Nagel

Jacob Thomas Nagel was born February 15th, weighing 8 pounds and was 21 inches long. Proud parents are Jess and Charles Nagel.

Welcome to the world, Jacob!

February 16, 2007


The Sunshine Journal is a grassroots publication focusing on positive values held by conscious individuals. By exploring these ideals, our mission is to inspire others to live out their dreams, celebrate their successes, and join together in a community that invisions a brighter future.

The Sunshine Journal was created in Fall 2001 as a tri-fold mailing. It expanded over the years to a 16-page color booklet focused on themes such as love, beauty, shining your inner light, and simplicity. The mailing list reached close to 100 people, with several creative and monetary contributors.

In the interest of keeping The Sunshine Journal shining in times of the digital age and environmental consciousness, we chose to take the journal online. This way more people can contribute, view, and be a part of the good news without all of the paper waste and costs associated with the tangible mailing.

If you have any positive news, artwork, poetry, inspiring thoughts, or promotions of the good work you do, please contact us to request an addition to this blog. Let's truly create a community of conscious individuals who invision a brighter future.