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The New You

Hello all.  This is Kerri Ernstsen.   Recently I have been reading a book called “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.  I wanted to share some ideas that have helped me immensely. Here it is.

Every person carries a seed of enlightenment within them. You can experience a profound transformation inside yourself.   This transformation can happen NOW, no matter who or where you are.  This process draws attention to what is true in you, which is enlightenment, and to what is false in you, the nature of human unconsciousness and dysfunction.

As you read this book, it encourages you to stop and listen to your feelings.  This is when you will come to the conclusion or truths that already lies in you, as you.  You are not your mind . . . what is enlightenment?  It is a deep, unshakable peace that can only be found within, and not some outside validation, security, or love.  It is greater than anything the world can offer.

Thoughts can cause suffering.  You can free yourself from the bondage of your mind, which is the only true liberation.  Isn’t thinking essential in order to survive in this world?  Perhaps you feel you would cease to be if you stopped thinking.  80-90% of most people’s thinking is repetitive and useless.  It takes up so much energy, with all the “should’s and shouldn’t” thinking.  As we grow up, we form a mental image of who we are.  This is our ego.

This is how the changing works.  Lets start with our thoughts.  Instead of pushing your thoughts out of your mind, acknowledge them.  Become conscious of it.  You will find out what is behind or underneath the thought.  Then you become in-tune with you deeper self.  When you become used to this process, you will feel “gaps,” or moments of what is called “no mind.”  You will feel a sort of loss, but peaceful.  You grow spiritually, and identify a higher state of awareness and consciousness.  You will feel a greater capacity to be “present.”  This takes you beyond what you previously thought of as “yourself.”  You will experience a new you.

Stop, Drop and Roll when Stress comes your Way

stop it

Whether I have the beginning of a headache, the tight feeling in my chest when anxiety starts, the dark cloud of negativity or the smothering effects of feeling overwhelmed I have found that if I STOP what I’m doing, DROP on my knees to pray (physically or spiritually) and ROLL away from the difficulty I can usually stop it from escalating.

I have found that just as water dowses fire, doing one or all of these techniques work wonders in stopping the cycle:

  1. Cognitive therapy:


  1. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping)



  1. Talk Therapy



Remember to STOP, DROP AND ROLL the next time you are headed towards an emotional fire.


Potts Christmas Letter 2014


In Marchchristmas letter1 Dan and I fulfilled a lifelong dream to go to Israel.  When my Aunt Gloria and Uncle John invited us to go with them, we just couldn’t turn down the opportunity.  Our favorite memory was the Garden Tomb.  It is truly a sacred place.  We were thankful we went when we did because the later unrest would have made it unwise.

May found us in Mapleton Canyon with the Tews as usual. In June Dan and I went to Fish Lake again with Doug and Darla.  Fun. We enjoyed several trips to Cedar City including Noelle’s blessing.

Our Family Retreat was based in Salt Lake City this year and included a trip to Lagoon, the Aquarium and Tracy pict2


christmas pict3We also enjoyed a 2 week visit in July visiting with our London friends, Nathan and Adiaha.  We enjoyed many memories including a helicopter ride over that Grand Canyon, a rodeo, a Salt Lake Real game, Bryce and Zions National Park and many other activities

Our home improvements centered on remodeling our bathrooms.

Dan had his not-so-surprise surprise party in January even though his real birthday is in March.  Lots of family and friends showed up for the event.  Tiff and Adam even came up from Minnesota for the event! Dan continues to work at Northwest Pipeline and go to U of U football games and run some half marathons.

Patricia spent 10 days in Sweden for her friend, Lotta’s wedding.  It was an incredible experience.  She continues to serve as Ward Historian and works with Kerri with their speaking opportunities.  They have a new website: ‘’ that has been a wonderful addition to their service. She also was able to go up in a Hot air balloon with her mother this year to help fill one of the tchristmas pict4hings on her mom’s bucket list.

christmas pict5Cindy teaches kindergarteners at Backus Elementary now. Mike continues to teach karate and be involved in the political arena. Kalli was the lead in the high school play THE WEDDING SINGER. She is also in Madrigals and driving now. Tiarra has been in two plays at Midvale Theater: Babes in Toyland and Thoroughly Modern Millie.  She has recently landed a main part in Guys and Dolls. The boys have been involved in soccer and continue to be in Mike’s karate class.  Michael earned his black belt this year as well.

Heidi gave birth to Noelle on the 8th of April and has been a ray of sunshine and hope.   Heidi continues to do much with the SID’s organization.  Heidi’s family’s big wow vacation this year was one week at a California beach house. Jason continues to work for the Forest Service.  They are giving him experience in many areas and he now oversees the christmas pict6maintenance of the fleet vehicles.  McKinley was in a Dr. Seuss play, Ireland was in gymnastics, Kezia loves her preschool, Link continues to be a big part of their family from heaven above and Noelle is a real charmer.

Tiffany and her family continue to live in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  They are planning to move into a new house inchristmas pict7 December.  They enjoyed a Caribbean cruise for thchristmas pict8eir 10th anniversary. Maddy loves to sing and play with her dolls.  Grace is almost walking now and loos the spitting image of Maddy at that age. Tiff is doing well with her real estate job and through his work at Sleep Number, Adam is getting experience in a wide variety of way.







christmas pict10Trisha and her family welcomed Caden on August 6th.  They now have 3 boys.  Darrin continues to work at EBay. He enjoys having just a 7 minutes commute to work. Parker reads very well and is taking an online preschool course.  Spencer loves to follow Parker’s lead wherever it takes him.  Caden has a winning smile that captures all hearts.







Joseph continues to live and home and works for Otis Elevator Company now.  He travels to Ogden at 4:30 A.M!  He had a lot of fun working his booth at Comicon.  He and his partner created real-looking plastic guns for Comicon Characters. Currently he is dating a nice young woman named Alicia.



christmas pict11Josie moved to Wyoming to work for the government as an RN who inspects facilities.  She loves her job but wishes she could do less traveling.  David works as a trucker.  Alex graduated from high school and lives with her grandparents as she attends the U.  Julia moved in with her sister in Salt Lake and the boys attend school in pict13


We hope our Christmas Letter finds you happy and well.

Love from the Potts



Reschedule your Worries

Are you worried?  Thinking about a loved one or trouble at work? Worried about something you are in charge of or a relationship problem?   Have you ever considered “rescheduling” your worry?  Can you give yourself 5 minutes to worry about it today then open up your calendar and reschedule a “worry time” a week from now?

Example: I was worried about my grand daughter.  When I became aware of her behavior I began to worry.  I wish I could do something to help.  After thinking about it,  I realized that I couldn’t do anything about it today except pray.  I then opened up my calendar and rescheduled my worry for next week when I was going to be with  someone who had more experience and insight than I had.

Rescheduling my worried is often the best solution for everyoneworry-445511.

2 minute solution to my frustration

Darn it!  My drawer simply would not slide in!  I took it out, checked the rails, examined it but still couldn’t put it back on the rail.  Finally in exasperation I stuck the drawer on the bottom of the cabinet and resigned myself to my slide-less drawer.

A month or so later our handyman was here working on another project when I asked him about my drawer.  He was kind enough to look at it.  Within 2 minutes he discovered a tiny screw that had come loose, tightened it and put my drawer back in it’s rightful place.

Wow, I thought, during that month I lost a lot of energy.  Every time I saw the displaced drawer I would sigh and feel frustrated.  In the end all I needed was someone who had more experience and a phillips screw driver.

I thought about how many times in my life I have had trouble figuring something out.  In the future I plan to consult someone who knows more.  I figure that the more I brainstorm or learn from others the less I “screw up.”screw

Accepting Gratitude… despite illness

I have a friend who has CFS, She is tired much of the time and can only function about 30% of the time. For years she has fought this illness and searched high and low for a cure. At this point she is settling into acceptance. Although she is learning to accept the illness she seeks healing for her attitude about it and she is finding that healing through gratitude. Whenever she gets frustrated she makes an about face and chooses gratitude for what she does have. What a great example.

She Carried On

My friend lost her husband to a heart attack a few weeks ago. I wrote this short poem for her. Just thought I’d share:






She Carried On
By Patricia Potts
Dedicated to Margaret Millom

And so it was
That she carried on…
Despite the loss, despite the stress, despite the hills ahead…
She carried on
With fellow saints.
Onward, upward, with true grit and courage
Born of deep faith and countless hours and days
Of storing up the words of her Lord, the words of her leaders, the words of her heart
She carried on.
She tucked precious memories
Within the recesses of her heart…
And carried on.

Worry Warts Anonymous

Okay, I admit it.  Worrying comes natural for me.  In fact I will actually admit that at times I am addicted.  When I became a parent then a grandparent my worrying accelerated.  When my little ones lay cuddled in the warmth of blankets.  I worried that they might suffocate.  It continued when they went to school for the first time (all 5 of them.)  .  I would worry about whether the other kids would be nice or if my child would be a social outcast.  On and on it went through the teen years and into adulthood.

Recently I became a worry wart when our soldier son who is serving in Afghanistan called to say he had hurt his back and ribs and was in a medical tent facility scheduled to come home.  “Oh no” I thought “what if his injury is permanent?  What if it is disabling? What if our 22 year old son comes home to live forever?”

Worry was my constant companion that day.  Finally I got out my “Worry Wart” first-aid ideas and started to apply them.

  1. WORSE TO WORSE WRAP.  I find it helpful to ask myself how I could survive if worse came to worse.  I got out a paper and faced the possibility of having him come home disabled for life.  I wrote what life might be like and included a list of the positive and negative experiences I might have if that were the case.  As usual I found that if that was supposed to be part of my life journey, God would help me.  Like Nephi said “I will go and do the things which the Lord commandeth for He giveth no commandments unto the children of men save he prepareth a way for them to accomplish the thing which he commandeth.”  As I faced the possibility I thought of the help our family and our ward would give and I felt greater peace.
  2.   BUG SPRAY. They say that where there is one ant there are many more nearby.  I have found that once my “worry glands” get activated there are other worries that begin pouring in.  I had been using Facebook messaging to keep in touch with Joseph nearly every day!  Then for 6 days after Christmas we heard nothing. During that time, other bugs and worries popped up.  Things like my relationship with family members, my housework, my office work etc.  My worries snowballed and rolled down the mountain of my mind.  Finally one morning I sat down and wrote all the bugs and worries I could think of then decided whether they were things I had total, partial or no control.  After that I was able to prayerfully give them to the Lord or do something to resolve the worry/bug.
    1. I haven’t heard from Joseph-no control-I will pray for him
    2. I don’t feel close to my friend anymore-partial control-I can call and talk to her about it
    3. You get the idea.
    4. FRIEND THERAPY. Sometimes paperwork wasn’t enough and I had to find someone to brainstorm with.  In my iPhone I have a list of people I can do this with.  I labeled it “friend therapy” and included the names of people I felt I could confide in, brainstorm with etc.   Often a friend can shed light and hope on a fearful situation.
    5. QUOTE POWER. My friend, Darla, helped me come up with a list of quotes that soothed and calmed my soul.
      1. What God brings us to, He’ll help us through
      2. God knows how things will turn out. I can trust in him.
      3. If worse comes to worse…it won’t be the worst
      4. All things work together for good to them that love the Lord
      5. Let them worship how where or what they may
      6. TRAIN TRACKS. I worried about what my son was doing or whether he was having problems with the word of wisdom and what he was doing with his time while laid up in the hospital.  I used to believe that I was like the engine of our family train. I mistakenly thought that my husband and children were attached to me and that it was my responsibility to pull them all back to heaven. I now believe that after baptism we each have our own tracks to run on. The Savior is my engine and it is up to me to stay attached to Him. In this way I can listen to His spirit and keep on moving forward, calling encouragement to my husband and children and giving help when directed by Him.
      7. SAVIOR SAUVE. Darla told me about a Bishop who was very worried about the members of his ward.  After much prayer and pleading  with the Lord he was reminded that the Lord is aware of each person’s situation and was in the business of saving.  He could do his best then leave them in the hands of the Lord. I could do the same with my worries.
      8. LIFE LIFT.  James Jones tells the story of his relationship with his rebellious son and how he finally was able to turn his son over to the Lord and admit to him “This is your life” then stop trying to take it over.

Our Son is still in Afghanistan.  We still don’t know the extent of his injuries or when or if we will see him next.  But instead of feeling a source of fear, I feel trust.  I recall Nephi when he crept into the city to get the plates not knowing how this was to be done; only knowing that he had a work to do.

As we move forward in this experience and others, we don’t know how this is to be done or if he will heal there in Afghanistan and resume his work.  By the grace of God when faith replaces worry I am able to move forward (at least for this moment in the year 2012!)

For help with this and other kinds of emotional  first-aid check out my FIRST-AID FOR FEELINGS book available at my website

Leaves Be Gone!!


Limbo Lanes and Headache Help

It was 6 A.M. and black outside.  Winter was taking her toll as freezing rain fell on the unfamiliar parking lot. As I left the store   I wondered how to head home.  I had gone farther away from home because my Wal-mart didn’t have what I needed and I had to leave for a workshop by 7A.M.


Because of the rain I didn’t want to risk traveling the freeways so I decided to turn left onto a smaller local road.  I watched the lights turn red, yellow and green as I waited for the green arrow turning lane.  That time of the morning there was no one behind me but plenty of cars were whizzing past me to head to the freeway.  I wondered when I would see my green arrow turn green. It seemed as if everyone else’s lights turned green three times while I waited for one!  Finally I realized that I wasn’t in the Since no one was in the left turning lane the light wasn’t changing!  I had mistakenly aligned myself in the freeway access land.  There, of course I would never encounter the left turn arrow and forever remain in limbo.


After I changed lanes I continued on my way home, I thought of the many times my life had similarly been in limbo.  Times when it seemed that hope as I might, I got everything but my green arrow.


Years ago when I was recovering from brain tumor surgery.  I often experienced debilitating headaches that left me in limbo, stopping me from moving forward in my recovery. This ordeal lasted for months on end.


I remember one spring day in West Jordan sitting at the kitchen table and looking out at the patches of weeds in back yard that was meant to be a garden.  “One more thing I’m not doing,” I sighed, wondering what the rest of the day would be like.


At that moment an idea popped into my head, “If you spend 10 minutes a day you can recapture part of that area and make it beautiful. That is something you CAN control.”  A few days later I went to the library and learned about circle gardens. There I learned that I could dig out shallow garbage can lid sized mini garden plots and plant tomatoes  and peas at the edges.  By the end of the summer there were many things I still could not control because of my health issues, but I remember feeling blessed that such a simple idea could help in such a profound way.  A little it at a time I was burrowing out of limbo.


I also found application with my headache.  This is shown in the following excerpt:


Acceptance Led to Rebuilding


          My feelings of futile powerlessness began to be replaced with a kind of spunky protectiveness as I learned preventative measures such as nutrition, chiropractic care and some alternative medicine.  I typed up a paper that included names and phone numbers of people who were willing to take over for me if I needed it.  The paper also listed ideas for medications and what I could do to ease my head pain such as a chiropractor, cold packs, etc.   


When the inevitable pain arrived, I pulled out my large print paper and followed the course of action I had previously outlined. (When I was in pain, it was hard to open my eyes, let alone think very well.)  The paper took over the thinking process, allowing me to focus on moving through the list. .- My Journey from Darkness to Light pg. 72 (LDS version)


So, the next time we find ourselves caught up in the limbo lane (whether it is waiting for that new baby to be born, building a new home, struggling with health issues, wondering if “he” will ever pop the question or simply waiting in line at the store) we can prayerfully examine our situation, switch lanes and find something, however small, that we can control and do it!


“By small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6).