questions for growth

Dec 31, 2023 by

I don’t believe January 1 is a magical day where we need to start over, throw out the old, focus on big goals, or think we need to MAKE transformation happen. That approach often leads to overwhelm and burnout and not much, if any, change.However, I do think there is something to a new year that invites reflection on the past and hope for the future. For me, it is a time of pondering, breathing, and creating. I think there is great value in taking time to ask myself and God questions that will help me become the person I was created to be.

These are some of the questions I’m asking myself:

  • What am I grateful for from this year for myself?
  • What am I grateful for from this year for my family?
  • How have I grown in 2023?
  • What wins have I had this year?
  • What losses?
  • What have I learned?
  • What do I want to keep the same moving forward into 2024?
  • What do I want to change?
  • How do I feel when I’m all alone with my thoughts?
  • How do I want to feel?
  • What is the feeling in my home?
  • What do I want the feeling to be?
  • What do I want to learn this year?
  • What books do I want to read this year?
  • What experiences do I want to have this year?
  • Is God asking me to do something this year?
  • When am I happiest?
  • What brings me true joy?
  • Am I spending time and energy on the things that bring me true joy?
  • How can I make more room in my life for the moments of happiness and joy?
  • What else do I need to make room for in my life?
  • What am I ready to let go?
  • Is there anything I need to let go?
  • What are my core, infinite beliefs?
  • What are ten things I could work on improving this year?
  • Which, if any, of those ten, am I willing to commit to working on consistently?
  • Do those things I am willing to commit to working on consistently support my core, infinite beliefs?
  • Which of these goals will I work on first?
  • What is a two-minute practice that will support this first goal?
  • When am I going to do this two-minute practice? How am I going to track it? How will I know if I have done it?

What are the questions you are asking yourself? What have you learned this year? What have been your wins? What are your hopes for 2024? Let’s all give ourselves a hug. We have made it through 2023. For many, this year has felt heavy and hard. Let’s breathe in the hard and be gentle and loving with ourselves as we ponder 2024. I’m cheering you on and sending you mountains of love.

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jacob t. marley

Dec 28, 2023 by

Last night we finished our December Read-Aloud, Jacob T. Marley. I cried at the sacrifice, the love, the redemption, the service, and the transformation. Oh, it is delicious. Truly, if you haven’t read it, give yourself a gift of a few hours snuggled up in a blanket and read (or the Audible recording is FANTASTIC!).

When I saw these words today, my soul shouted, AMEN. May we all treat people as the person they are changed into and not as the person they have been before. And may we allow ourselves to believe we can change as well.

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cliff devries

Jan 25, 2022 by

Oh, my goodness, this man, Cliff Devries, continues to inspire me. I’ve shared videos of him before, but this is the best one yet. Give yourself a gift and watch this year’s birthday dive and really listen to his words, especially at the end.

He became paralyzed 24 years ago during his brain stem/spinal cord tumor removal surgery…which totally hits home in our lives. This year’s video shows the swimmers pulling him up from the bottom of the pool and as I watched them I cried. I’m still crying typing this.

For long years, from 2012 – 2017ish or so, I was a lot like Cliff. I wasn’t paralyzed, but I was injured and had dysautonomia so badly that I couldn’t be alone and I couldn’t do much of anything for myself. I had big hopes and dreams (I always do!), but had no ability for my body to do them. Instead, I had friends who helped make my hopes and dreams come true. They carried me and pushed me and lifted me. Sometimes they fed me and bathed me. Someone always had to transport me to get me from point A to point B. Always, someone was my lifeguard. If these amazing people hadn’t been willing to be my arms and legs, I would have been stuck at home, which literally would have felt like death to me. I’m so grateful for the heroes in my life and in Cliff’s that allow us to live our dreams even when our bodies can’t do it on our own.

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secret santa

Dec 25, 2021 by

Many years ago we were adopted by a Secret Santa. Every Christmas Eve for the past 10ish years, Christmas presents have been left on our doorstep. We are deeply grateful to whomever has done this for us. Each year, I would think to myself, “I should leave a thank you note on our door in case they come again.” And then I would think, “There is no way they will come again, they have already blessed us SO much, surely they will not come this year.”

And I wouldn’t leave a note.

I should have.

Over and over again, I should have.

Because their love and generosity has been such a gift to our family.

These presents have done many, many things for our family.

  • They have given us toys and games we could never afford for ourselves and we have had SO much fun with them! Multiple times they gave Fisher and Annesley big, awesome Lego sets which they played with for YEARS.
  • They have given us gift cards for groceries that have made all the difference in our budget. Many times, I would have nothing in my bank account and would be able to use these gift cards to buy food for our family. Other times, we were able to use them during the case-lot sale to stock up on food storage. I can’t tell you what an incredible blessing this has been.
  • They have brought our children a feeling of being seen and known and loved.
  • They have helped Richard and I know we are not alone and that miracles happen and that people are so very kind and generous and good.
  • These gifts have wrapped us up in a warm blanket of tender care that has carried us through many a dark day, many a seemingly hopeless time, many a devastating heartbreak that could have broken our spirits or challenged our faith. But because of the great love of these Secret Santas and so many others who have served us, we have been carried. We have been ministered to by your generous giving and thoughtful hearts.

Thank you. Thank you for your love. Thank you for seeing us. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for surprising us with JOY again and again. Thank you for making a difference in our family’s life by showing us how the Giver of All Good Gifts loves and lifts.

We will try to serve others as you have served us.

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stories are light

Dec 6, 2021 by

December 6, 2019 marks a day we made a huge leap of faith and put our trust in God with everything we had.

The end result of the decisions that day were not at all what we expected. We have sobbed and doubted and raged. We have been comforted and taught and edified. We have longed for understanding.

Perhaps you are grappling with a big decision. Perhaps you are wondering if you have courage to do the hard thing you feel God calling you to do. Perhaps you are weighed down by a past decision that didn’t result in what you thought God was promising you.

And that is painful and hard and heavy and foundation shattering. At least it has been for me.

Last week I read The Tale of Despereaux (again, it’s one of my favorites) and two passages jumped out at me as bits of wisdom for these journeys of life.

“He had forgotten how dark the dark of the dungeon could be. And he had forgotten, too, its terrible smell, the stench of rates, the odor of suffering.

But his heart was full of love for the princess and his stomach was full of Cook’s soup and Despereaux felt brave and strong.”

And then this as well:“Do you remember when Despereaux was in the dungeon, cupped in Gregory the jailer’s hand, whispering a story in the old man’s ear?

I would like it very much if you thought of me as a mouse telling you a story, this story, with the whole of my heart, whispering it in your ear in order to save myself from the darkness, and to save your from the darkness, too.

‘Stories are light,’ Gregory the jailer told Despereaux.

Reader, I hope you have found some light here.”

Isn’t that beautiful and oh, so powerful? When you are facing hard things or trying to recover from hard things, perhaps those three things will be helpful.

  • Being in a place of love
  • Feeding your body good stuff
  • Feeding your mind and heart stories of courage and light and goodnessLet’s lift and love and nurture each other through the dark times with love, delicious food, and beautiful stories.
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he carries me

Apr 4, 2017 by

I had a pretty big epiphany this weekend during General Conference. I started to have this epiphany during the 2015 October Conference when President Monson seemed to nearly collapse at the pulpit, but it came even more strongly into my heart and mind this time.

President Monson, our prophet, is not doing very well physically. Richard and Dallin told me that at the Priesthood session on Saturday night, he only spoke for a few minutes and his words were so slurred that captions were used so the audience could understand him. On Sunday morning, he again spoke for just a short while, but his voice was clear and strong and completely understandable. He was able to announce five new temples and share a message on daily scripture reading and pondering. He did not attend the Sunday afternoon session because he was too weary.

As his situation settled into my heart, a new understanding of my own life started growing. So very often, I can muster the energy, the capacity, the presence to show up and do something big…like present at a conference or teach a class or throw a party or go on an adventure. But then I crash. Hard. I will pass out, have seizures, spend a whole day in bed, stop digesting food, have a crazy heart rate, or the whole shebang of other symptoms of dysautonomia. I often think to myself, I must be making this whole thing up. Because if I can get up and do the BIG THING, whatever it is, I should be able to do big things all the time and be just fine. So, I must be making this up or wimping out or just not having enough grit to do ALL THE THINGS.

This may be a long-term struggle for me, this internal yo-yoing back and forth, but as I heard his voice on Sunday morning and stared at his empty chair on Sunday afternoon, I felt God whispering comfort and peace to my soul. I felt Him telling me that He is helping me do the BIG THINGS and that just because I can sometimes do them does not mean I can always do them.

My mind still doesn’t really understand how I can do a thing one day and not be able to do the same thing the next day, but somehow, in those sacred moments of Conference, He let me know it is the reality of my life and that I am not making anything up, am not a wimp, and am certainly not lacking grit. He helped me to understand, through watching our brave prophet’s example, that He can and will sustain me in doing the big things, at least some of the time.

Beautiful lesson from my loving Father.

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hip, hip, hooray, it’s four years today!

Feb 20, 2016 by

February 20 is the 4-year anniversary of my initial hip injury. I need to both honor and celebrate this day. My heart is SO full of gratitude for the heaps of service, love, sacrifice, and true friendship I have been blessed with over the past four years. You, my dear friends and family members, have carried me, filled me with courage, helped me see hope, and have stayed WITH me in this fight. You have not abandoned me. You have not given up. You have prayed and smiled and hugged and cried and laughed and loved more than I ever knew was possible. Your words of encouragement, acts of service, and downright awesomeness have made all the difference in my ability to keep going with a smile on my face. Thank YOU for helping me stay strong!

Please join in this celebration by doing these four things:

1. Share a hilarious/interesting/touching moment from this hip/ankle/shoulder/ribs/feet/knees/seizing/passing out/peeing journey.

2. Share something you have learned from this journey of mine.

3. Share a message of courage with me and all my friends!

4. Do something kind and loving for someone else today. It will make me SO happy to have hundreds of acts of kindness done in honor of my Hip, Hip, Hooray Party!

If you can’t do all four, choose your favorite…just share something to commemorate this day.

I love you all! Thank you for joining my celebration!

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amazing grace

Oct 20, 2015 by

Grace. Oh, how I need my Savior’s grace. Sometimes, usually on the day before my period starts, I forget the lessons God has taught me about His power to redeem me and actually believe I am a hopeless cause, but most of the time, I cling to His grace. A few years ago I watched His Grace Is Sufficient by Brad Wilcox and it changed my perspective on grace. Saturday night I had one of those fall apart nights where I forgot that I am forgivable, redeemable, and not a hopeless cause.

And then the Sabbath came and I remembered my covenants and decided to try again. As I sang the words to “I Believe In Christ” at church on Sunday, I cried tender tears of gratitude for my Savior who not only has the power to redeem me, but also enough love for me to actually do it.

I believe in Christ; he is my King!
With all my heart to him I’ll sing;
I’ll raise my voice in praise and joy,
In grand amens my tongue employ.
I believe in Christ; he is God’s Son.
On earth to dwell his soul did come.
He healed the sick; the dead he raised.
Good works were his; his name be praised.

I believe in Christ; oh blessed name!
As Mary’s Son he came to reign
‘Mid mortal men, his earthly kin,
To save them from the woes of sin.
I believe in Christ, who marked the path,
Who did gain all his Father hath,
Who said to men: “Come, follow me,
That ye, my friends, with God may be.”

I believe in Christ–my Lord, my God!
My feet he plants on gospel sod.
I’ll worship him with all my might;
He is the source of truth and light.
I believe in Christ; he ransoms me.
From Satan’s grasp he sets me free,
And I shall live with joy and love
In his eternal courts above.

I believe in Christ; he stands supreme!
From him I’ll gain my fondest dream;
And while I strive through grief and pain,
His voice is heard: “Ye shall obtain.”
I believe in Christ; so come what may,
With him I’ll stand in that great day
When on this earth he comes again
To rule among the sons of men.

This morning Annesley and I watched this beautiful arrangement of Amazing Grace and more tears came. Watch it, hear it, feel it. Let your heart be filled.

I love the Lord Jesus and thank Him for setting me free again and again. It is truly amazing that he can break the chains that bind each of us.

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celebrating the family video

Oct 13, 2015 by

I saw this video yesterday and have to share it because I love it so much! I set a goal to memorize The Family: A Proclamation To The World this year in our homeschool and even had an awesome giant poster printed (thanks to Valena!) in the weeks right before Blythe left, but we haven’t started yet. I haven’t even hung the poster up! But today that is changing. Today we begin! This video gave me the nudge I needed to get back on track with this goal.

If you want to make your own giant 24 x 36 poster, here is the pdf file. The awesome Valena also made a matching poster for The Living Christ. You can download that pdf file here.

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these things i know

Jul 1, 2015 by

There are some things I know – a few things that are rock solid in my soul. I came to know them in the aftermath of a difficult time when everything I thought I knew come crashing down around me.

Last night we watched The Cokeville Miracle and quite unexpectedly it brought back all the feelings of that long ago summer of 1986 – the summer my life and all the things I thought about the world were turned upside down.

In the twelve weeks following my twelfth birthday, a series of events occurred that broke my heart in a million pieces, changed my perspective, and sent me on a journey to discover what I really could depend upon.

First, my dad left. My hero. My favorite guy. My world. He drove away to a new life with a new woman far across the country. The gut-wrenching tears that racked my soul are indescribable. In spite of the fact that there were challenges in my parents’ marriage, our family being torn apart and ceasing to exist as a FAMILY had somehow not occurred to me as a real possibility. When it happened, when he actually drove away and stayed away, I no longer knew what was real, what I could depend on and what I couldn’t.

The next week, the tragedy in Cokeville happened. Even though it didn’t happen TO me, it did happen just 90 minutes away in a tiny, sleepy ranching town that seemed perfectly safe and secure. And it crumbled my remaining foundation a little bit more. If a madman could go into a school, a tiny, safe school very close to my home, hold children hostage and attempt to blow them up, and it could be on national TV, anything was possible. ANYTHING. In my young, twelve-year-old mind that was trying desperately to make sense of the world, it meant my little sleepy town might not be as safe as I thought. It meant it could happen in my school and my friends and I could be the ones living that nightmare. It meant the world was full of crazy people. It meant I might not be safe any longer.

A few weeks later, I went on a trip and was molested. Once again, my world turned on its axis and I had no idea which was up or down, good or bad. All the attention by an older boy was flattering and it certainly felt good, at least physically, but my soul was full of blackness and revulsion.

About a month after that I was sent across the country to visit my dad. It was wonderful and hard and scary all at the same time. It was so, so good to see him and to spend time with him. At the same time, I could see clearly that he had a whole new life and it didn’t include me, not really anyway. He had a girlfriend and a new job in a new state and I could see he wasn’t ever going to be standing behind the plate umpiring my games or playing football on Sunday afternoons or unloading the semi-truck full of goods at our family’s grocery store again. As I watched him in his new life, it became crystal clear that all of this wasn’t just a bad dream and he truly wasn’t coming back. That hard, cold, bitter truth sunk deep into my soul and I felt completely adrift from what I thought life was supposed to be like.

While I was gone to visit my dad, my mother was raped. A man from our church congregation, a man I KNEW, came into our home, MY HOME, a place I thought was safe, and dragged my mother out to the field and raped her. I cannot begin to comprehend the fear and pain my mother went through that night and for many years following. It is beyond imaginable to me.

However, I do know what I went through. Life no longer felt safe in any way. This penetration of the wall of safety of my home changed me, terrified me and hardened me all at the same time. Just a few months prior, I had a family, a home, a family business, a church, a community, and a state that felt safe, secure, and protective. Those things were full of loving, strong, moral people who loved me and on whom I could depend.

My mother’s rape was the final blow to that picture in my mind. I no longer had any idea who was safe, what was good, what was strong and permanent and dependable. My foundation was gone, blown away like dust in a windstorm.

On the outside, I still functioned. For the most part, I probably looked okay to many people. But inside, I had died. I had no idea what was real. If family and home and church were not what I thought they were, maybe God wasn’t real either. Maybe He was just an idea that people clung to without really knowing if he existed or not. Or maybe He did exist, but instead of the loving God I had imagined, was mean and vengeful. Or maybe He did reign supreme, but He simply didn’t care about me. Without anything solid to hold onto, I was like a puff of dandelion seeds, being blown to and fro, trying to find someplace to land and plant new roots.

It took years for me to allow God to rebuild my foundation. Piece by piece He gave me solid bits of truth to give a mooring to my soul.

Sometime in that twelfth year I stopped praying. I could not open my heart to a being I didn’t know was real or if he was real, wasn’t concerned enough with me to protect me. Then I stopped crying. I think it was an attempt to stop feeling. In some ways, it worked. I was able to go through life, get straight A’s, put on a show of happiness that almost convinced even myself, and succeed in all the quantifiable measures of life, but my heart was mostly dead to feeling the good things and underneath the surface, a volcano of anger boiled ready to explode whenever a person would make some comment about how wonderful men are or how I needed to spend more effort preparing for marriage. Then the anger would erupt and frighten me with its passionate vehemence.

Truth be told, I was a mess. I knew all the Sunday School answers and I had great hope that the idea of a loving Heavenly Father and eternal families were true, but the evidence around me told a very different story and my logical mind could not discard the proofs surrounding me that God didn’t care about me, that men were despicable, and that the only thing I could count on was myself.

Through that pain and pride and sorrow, God began to speak to me in quiet, almost imperceptible ways. He would send a feeling of comfort, an act of kindness, or a moment of inspiration. He told me clearly in the scriptures that He did love me and that He sent His son to die for me and all of His children…even the ones who had hurt me so terribly. I remember one day sitting in seminary and reading these words.

Behold, it is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

Moses 1:39

As I read them, God spoke to me. He whispered powerfully to the deepest parts of my soul that His entire purpose in being is to bring His children home to Him and that He was doing exactly that with me. He filled me with a certainty of His goodness and sureness of His capability to do His work. I can’t adequately describe the pure knowledge that flowed into me. In those few moments, I felt His peace and His love and came to know that He knew me personally and would do everything He could to bring me home.

That experience stayed with me. It changed me. It gave me several solid pieces of my foundation. One, I knew God was real. Two, I knew he knew me. Three, I knew he loved me. Four, I knew He was in the process of and would continue to teach, purify, and redeem me. Those are some pretty solid foundations and they have carried me and given me strength for many years.

Throughout the years, those bedrock truths have been strengthened by many more experiences with the Spirit and God’s hand in my life. He has guided me through the forgiveness process and taken the anger and hatred out of my heart. He has taught me again and again that I can trust Him and I must depend on Him. He has taught me that He is greater than any other power or force. He has shown me both His goodness and His glory as He heals my heart and changes my nature. Those original foundations have been added to with pieces of trust and reliance and miracles and peace.

I don’t know everything and I still have a long, long way to go in understanding Him and becoming like Him, but I know He is real. I know He is a God of miracles. I know He lives and loves and heals and transforms.

Last night, I sobbed through most of the movie. My feelings of fear and pain and sorrow from that harrowing summer came to the surface and poured out of me. My heart ached for the little girl I was who was trying her best to make sense of the destruction of all she held dear. And then, my heart filled with gratitude for those months and years of searching for something I could truly stand on and know it would not move. God gave me a new foundation, much stronger than my little girl hopes and dreams. He gave me His goodness and plan for all His children and continues to show me He is able to do His work to bring me and each of us home.

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with friends like this, i can stay in the race

Dec 4, 2014 by

I watched the Catching Kayla video a few weeks ago. Unlike most things I stumble across on the internet, this story has stuck with me, staying in my mind and teaching me lessons of life.

Kayla was a 14 year old girl who loved playing soccer when her feet suddenly started to tingle. The tingling spread until she had no feeling in her legs at all and she was diagnosed with MS. After figuring out a cocktail of medications that brought the sensations back to her legs, Kayla decided she wanted to run since she could no longer play soccer.

And run she did. Because of her courage and dedication, she went from a not-so-great runner to a strong, fast runner. Kayla has beautiful form and is a joy to watch run.

This part of the story alone was enough to inspire me. But there is more. During her runs, her body temperature rises which causes the tingling, numbness, and lack of sensation to return to her legs. In a way I can’t understand, she can keep running when this happens, but she can’t stop. Her coach has to catch her at the finish line and carry her out to the middle of the field to ice her down to lower her body temperature. When she collapses, she appears disabled and dependent. Her voice cries out “Help me!”

She runs with this wonderfully capable body and ends with a broken body that needs lots of help to be able to function again. She appears totally normal and I would think most people would never know anything is wrong with her.

Just like me.

I get it. I look normal. I can walk and talk and look completely and totally capable one minute and then seconds later be in a heap on the floor unconscious and incapable of taking care of myself.

Yesterday it happened again. A big group of friends had a lunch date at Red Robin. We laughed our heads off, ate delicious food, and buoyed up each other. Aside from lying down in our booth instead of sitting, I looked completely normal. I felt completely normal. And then I stood up. My heart rate jumped up to 130 immediately and I started to lose consciousness right there in the restaurant. The poor diners next to us were probably wondering what the heck was going on as my friends got my body to lie down, my legs elevated a bit (I think in someone’s arms?), and ran to get Jen’s Yukon. I started shaking a bit and I’m sure was a sight to see.

After a few minutes, I thought I was stable enough to walk out. I did okay for the first 30 feet and then I knew I was going down again. We made it into the car just as I collapsed a second time and this time passed out.

The cycle I dislike ever so much started with violent shaking, then passing out over and over again. My friends were holding me, assessing my heart rate, making sure I didn’t fall out of my seat, and doing all they could to help my body calm down. At one point I started throwing up which is about my least favorite activity in the world. These five ladies dealt with the awful stench, held bags in front of me, cleaned up the puke in my hair, helped me in and and out of the car so I could get it all out in a parking lot instead of a bag, and did all of it with compassion. Every time I would throw up, the shaking and passing out cycle would start again. Oh my. It was a doozy.

By the time the day was done I think I threw up in four different parking lots, passed out 10-ish times, thought I was going to be run over by Jennifer as the car started rolling into me on one of the throw up episodes, had a police officer come over to assess the situation of the shaking, crying, heaving woman who keeps losing consciousness, and thoroughly peed my pants during the endless retching…all out in public for all the world to see.

Oh, my goodness. Mortification sets in if I allow myself to think about it too much.

But this morning, I am thinking of Kayla and her courage to keep running in spite of the embarrassing things her body does at the end of the race. I want to keep doing the things I love even if it means my body falls apart. My body handles things pretty well if I stay home lying in bed or in my chair. I can do learning stuff with my children, direct the affairs of our home, send emails, and even do a little housework. It is when I go out that the troubles start. I don’t want to always stay home. I want to do fun things with my friends. I want to teach gymnastics and other classes. I want to be able to do my own grocery shopping. I want stay in the race.

And I think Kayla’s courage to keep running is the visual I need to keep running my own race even if it means other people see my body do embarrassing things. Life is worth living!

And because I have THE BEST friends who keep catching me when I fall, I can stay in the race. Thank you, dear ones, for allowing me to have a life outside of my home – I couldn’t do this without you!

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changed for good

Nov 11, 2014 by

Remember when I was preparing myself to receive an outpouring of love…boy howdy, did that love come! My dear friends, Tasha and Bob and their ten children, organized a whole army of other dear friends who swept into our home and yard and transformed it. They scrubbed and washed and organized and repaired. It was like one of those Extreme Home Makeover shows without the fancy sponsorships, television crew, and team of professionals.

In the space of eight short hours, they hung my bathroom door, fixed my dining table, fixed my beloved green table, repaired the back door, fixed the garage door, hung a rain gutter, and prepared the roof for a snow stop (Who knew there was such a thing! We just might be able to get in and out of our front door this year without having snow blocking the doorway!) They fixed the gaping hole in the deck, secured the deck banister so no one (especially me!) will plummet to their death, and repaired the deck stairs. They scrubbed out the fridge and freezer, cleaned out the pantry, washed every single canning jar and replaced them back on the top of the kitchen cupboards, cleaned out the inches of dust from said cupboard tops, and removed the ridiculous waste-spacing lights that people use when they put greenery up there instead of canning jars. Piles and piles of garbage were hauled off, trees trimmed, leaves raked, lawn mowed, and flower beds cleaned out. Our three bathrooms were DEEP cleaned – oh, my goodness, I had no idea they could even be that clean. Our messy school room was completely organized from top to bottom. The chandeliers were cleaned strand by strand, all the bookshelves dusted, and windows washed.

On top of all of this, they filled up our freezer with freezer meals, meats, and other goodies, our root cellar with potatoes, and our refrigerator with deliciousness. So. Much. Love.

I wish I had before pictures so you could see what a huge impact they made.

The newly repaired and pressure-washed deck. Isn’t it beautiful!


Dustin and Troy fixing the deck stairs. These two were energizer bunnies, going from project to project faster than I could think of more broken things.


Marie cleaning the lights. None of us are tall enough to get to those lights even when we stand on the table, so they are completely neglected and covered in dust most of the time.


One of my little math students cleaning out our scripture-holding bookcase, she did an excellent job – it has NEVER shined like it did when she was done with it!


Look how they transformed the yard! I’m not sure who worked outside since I never made it out there, but I think it was Kimberly, Dwayne, Cosette, Adam, and an army of youth.







Bob, the jolly man behind this whole project. I love him so, so much. He teased me all day and got me to the point I could look at him with a smile on my face instead of tears running down my cheeks.


Tasha will hate this picture of her, but it is just too picture-perfect of Bob’s antics to not post it. They were the brains behind this whole undertaking.


Madi washing hundreds of jars.


Keri and Dustin removing the ridiculous cabinet lights.


The lovely Vanessa cleaned out my kitchen cupboards which were stuffed with who knows what!


Jennifer tackled my disgusting bathroom…oh my goodness, the sparkles she created!


Liz may die that I put her hiney on the interwebs, but look at that pantry! Look at those cleaned out shelves. I kid-you not, those shelves have been a death trap for months. Every time we open the doors, there was a risk of being attacked on the head by falling jars, pasta, raisins, or herbs. Always hoped for herbs.


Near the end of our clean-up day, Liz took Annesley to a fundraiser for another friend of ours…a little baby with cancer. She brought her home all decked-out and happy as a clam. Way to multi-task Liz, fundraising carnivals AND pantry renovation AND growing a baby all at the same time! She also left us with a roast in the crock-pot that we thoroughly enjoyed late that night. I’ve never had a roast taste that good…it was amazing.


Three of my favorite boys laughing their heads off while they scrub the dirt off their arms from working outside.


Even the little ones worked. Thank you Mr. Levi!


Sometimes the little ones played.


And sometimes they ate.


Jenn washing windows, I can’t even imagine the muck she faced on this task…I fight mold in this house constantly…and I haven’t been fightly valiantly for quite some time! She faced it head-on and eradicated all the yucky black spots that build up around the windows and transformed the glass into clearness.


Since I spent much of the day crying, there is not a single good picture of me. My face is red and splotchy and I look like a beached whale in my chair. Jess kept me company wrapped up in my quilt…and I cried and tried to smile and laugh with my friends.


At one point, Kat brought our her completely addicting apple dip and I was able to stop crying long enough to get a few pieces out of Jessica’s hands before she snarfed it all down.


Keziah and Courtney stopped working long enough to paint their faces. They are SO silly…and SO fun.


And even though her face is painted, this is one of the few pictures I have of Keziah (in her WHOLE life!) where she is not making a crazy face, so I have to share it for posterity.


We didn’t get any pictures of Becky and Jennifer (the third Jennifer that was there that day…and my Jen, of the Jen, Kat, and Jessica gang) cleaning out my despicable fridge and freezer. Or of Amanda cleaning the upstairs bathroom that hasn’t been deep-cleaned since I broke my foot cleaning the ceiling last summer. Or Paula and Bonnie who washed laundry. Or any of the work done downstairs. Or Amy labeling all my canning jars. Or any of so many things. I basically laid in my chair and cried and sent my camera out on picture taking tours with various youth when my brain would turn on and remember I wanted to document the awesomeness.

I have been involved in and spearheaded lots of save-the-world projects. It is something I LOVE TO DO. And I have witnessed the power of people working together to raise money, put on events, spread love, and bless lives. I have been on the receiving end of lots and lots of kindness and generosity. So none of this is shockingly new to me. But I have never felt the power of community to transform hearts the way I felt it this day. This great outpouring of service done with such a beautiful spirit of love has changed me in a way I cannot describe. Throughout September my spirit was full of grief unspeakable. At times I wanted to shut myself off from the world. I could not bear to talk with people, which if you know me at all, you know talking with people is my life-blood. This day filled me with a deep hope…a hope that goodness will always triumph, that ordinary people can do and DO do extraordinary things, that my little family is known to God, and that while my garden of vegetables is hopelessly flawed, my garden of friends is overflowing with a most bounteous harvest.

At the end of the day, I laid in bed and sobbed. Deep, convulsing sobs. I poured out my heart to God in gratitude for this great kindness. Then I wrote a thank you letter to my friends…and many of them blessed me again by writing back.

To my Dear, Dear Friends,

Oh my goodness, our hearts are full of gratitude at the enormous outpouring of love and service you have blessed us with. As I have sat in my living room in the early morning hours these past few days, I have been overcome with feelings of deep, deep joy – joy in the work that has been done to take care of our home, joy in the relief this has given my dear overworked husband, joy, most of all, in our relationships with so many wonderful families. Thank you for teaching us the power of community. Thank you for showing us the impact a group of people committed to doing good can have. Thank you for taking us into your hearts and truly loving our little family.

To EVERY SINGLE person who came and helped and to those of you who sent your love, but were unable to attend, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. There are not sufficient words to express the feelings of my heart. Please know that you did far more than clean and fix a home. You helped repair a broken soul and infuse our entire family with hope.

To Kat and Jess – thank you for helping me get through the day. I couldn’t have done it without you. Truly. I needed to look in your eyes and see that I was safe…over and over and over.

To the Lamoreaux Family – Thank you for being willing to pray for our family and listen to the answers God sent you about what we needed. Thank you for insisting this project go forward even when I threw a fit and vetoed it. Thank you for having hearts full of joyful service.

Thank you for Being The Good In The World – you have taught me, once again, to Believe There is Good in the World…so much!

And as if their service wasn’t enough, they filled up my soul with love notes!


We want to say thank you so much for letting us come. You have touched all of our lives in such a deep way. Without you there would not be such a strong community willing to join together to do such amazing service.

I know it was probably so hard to let us come. In fact, when I got home that night and saw the whirlwind that we had left our own home in that morning, I thought “I would DIE if everyone came here!”. But I want to honestly say that I was impressed with your home considering the amazingly difficult health challenges you have had for so long.

Sure, there were some cleaning and repairs that needed to be done, but nothing out of the ordinary needs of a home. I straightened books on bookshelves and admired the great literature you have in your home. I picked up toys and my heart warmed as I observed the wholesome games and toys that you have thoughtfully chosen for your children’s development. We sorted through dress ups and I thought of the times I’ve come to your home and seen your children dressed up and enjoying their imaginative play. I vacuumed up some popcorn and thought of the times I’ve been with you enjoying popcorn and lots of laughter and happiness. I thought of how much time Courtney has spent with Keziah in your home and all the crazy fun memories they have. I remembered passover dinners, and classes and other great times you’ve orchestrated. And even without all the huge projects going on, you have a way of loving those around you, finding what their talents and strengths are, and lifting all of us.

We love you and appreciate the day we got to spend serving your family!

Today was amazing! None of it would have happened if you hadn’t spent the last 16-ish years building an amazing community of wholehearted compassionate powerful people. I am eternally grateful to be part of this community and to call you Friend. Bob-Tasha Lamoreaux thank you for organizing this! I keep spontaneously bursting into tears. My heart is so full.


We love, love, love you and your family Tracy! Thank you for impacting our lives and the lives of our children…and for allowing us to give back a little to you.


You are so sweet. It was our pleasure. Could not think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Honestly! You’re such an amazing family.


An amazing group of people that all love you, Tracy because you make a difference in the lives of others. What a great way to give back. You guys are all awesome! Wish I could have helped out too because you have made a difference in my life as well as my children’s lives.


Thanks for being so Christlike to us! Thanks for setting the example you do, and for allowing us to try to return a little of your service! You and your hubby deserve this and so much more! We love you! So many people love you!!!


I cried reading about all of the good that has been returned to you this last week. I cried because I couldn’t be there personally (but I sent Madison and Alex). How I wanted to be there to DO something in return for all that your family has done for us. I love the comments that Tasha made and I feel the EXACT same way. All the deep joy you felt is because in a way, you do so much for everyone else. You are just getting what you deserve: JOY in boundless amounts :) I am so glad that Richard was able to get some extra hands to help fix up your home because I know he works so hard for your family. What a blessing to have so many that love all of you and put their love to work. That is true wealth, the love of family and friends.

I love you, and thank you for all the times you spent driving my Madison with you to the traditional Conference trips, etc. You are a light and an example to me and my family that only gets brighter.


It has now been several weeks since this day of love and the feeling of being wrapped up in God’s arms is still with me. I am in the midst of trying to heal a pretty bad injury to my inguinal ligament and feel pretty discouraged by the condition of my physical body, but the light that filled my soul on this day of awesomeness has stayed with me and raised my spirits more than I can adequately describe.

p.s. That post title? Yes, it is from Wicked…because I knew you (all of the YOUS), I have been changed for good. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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the blue book

Oct 21, 2013 by

Yesterday I spent some time reading my Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book that my mama gave me for my 35th birthday…boy, that seems like a lifetime ago…and I found a lot of comfort in this thought.

Life is a school in which we enrolled not only voluntarily but rejoicingly; and if the school’s Headmaster employs a curriculum – proven, again and again on other planets, to bring happiness to participants – and if we agreed that once we were enrolled there would be no withdrawals, and also to undergo examinations that would truly test our ability and perceptivity, what would an experienced Headmaster do if, later on, there were complaints? Especially if, in His seeming absense, many of the school children tore up their guiding notebooks and demanded that He stop the examinations since these produced some pain?

Pretty profound, eh? I know God is a wise Headmaster. My current examination is definitely one in which I have wanted to rip up the blue book and storm out of the test. But I am grateful I am here in the middle of this experience. I am grateful to be learning these lessons. My only prayer at this point is “Father, help me learn the lessons I need and thy desires for me. Help me use this experience to draw closer to thee, to learn how to listen to thee and obey thy counsels, and most of all, to become closer to the being thou created me to be.”

That is really the point of this life…to become…and if this body full of injury and pain will help me become, then bring it on!

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josh burton, a hero in every way

Jul 23, 2013 by

josh burton, a hero in every way

After the miracles of Sunday our hearts were full of joy. Yesterday we received more good news that Elder Burton had excellent color and was doing well, speaking to the hospital staff, being his funny self, and had kept the ability to feel and move his legs. Heather took off for Guatemala with joy in her heart that she would see Josh soon. So when my mama called me earlier and told me that Josh had passed away, I could not believe it. I questioned her and told her she must have read about Josh Burton, the race car driver, not my Josh Burton. But she was right and dear Josh has indeed died today after having several heart attacks.

I am heartbroken and full of tears. I can’t sleep. I am so, so sad for Heather and Allan and their other eight children. Their son Denny is on a mission in The Netherlands. Their son Christian is supposed to enter the MTC, tomorrow, July 24. Their whole family is a tight-knit ball of laughter, bravery, love, and dedication to truth, good government, and living one’s dreams. They inspire me on a continual basis.

Josh desired to change the world through his music. He composes his own piano pieces, practices them till they are just how he envisions, and then performs for anyone and everyone he meets. He knows the power that music can have on a person’s heart because it has opened his heart so much.

I remember hearing Josh speak to a room full of youth at a homeschool conference once. He had them in the palm of his hands. They responded to his message of reaching for your dreams, doing the hard work to get there, and treating others as children of God. I remember seeing him speak to each person who came up to him as though they were the most important person in the world. I remember his smile…his beautiful, beautiful smile full of zest for life and passion for soul-filling music. I remember…and I pray I will never forget how he laughed loudly, spoke boldly, and gave his whole heart to whatever he was doing. He is my kind of guy.


All the Burton children…yes, Heather and Allan have nine beautiful children and now, one grandbaby, Peter, from their oldest son Rob and his wife Naomi.


Rob and Naomi’s wedding


Josh on the left as Gepetto in one of his many summer plays in Cardston.


In Guatemala






Singing his heart out, Josh-style, in Guatemala


Teaching piano lessons to anyone willing to learn


Heather made sure Josh had every supplement, vitamin, herb, first-aid tool, and medical apparatus he could possibly need while he was so far from home. Josh, in signature style, pokes fun at her care. Unfortunately, no amount of vitamins could protect Josh from the roll-over accident that took his life.


My heart is with the Burton’s today and will be for some time. This family has taught me what a family can and should be. They have taught me the power of laughter, of treating people with dignity, of having courage to fight for laws, policies, and a culture of common sense and goodness, of living one’s dreams boldly, and of dedicating one’s life to family AND the betterment of the world. They are my heroes and I love them more each time I speak with them. Heather, please know you are being prayed for in our home and thousands of other homes across the world. Josh’s legacy will be treasured always and his impact on the world for good is not finished.


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awesome conference giveaway!

May 28, 2013 by

It’s that time of year again! The LDS Holistic Living Conference and Expo ( is right around the corner. In the past, it’s been just a one day event on a Saturday, but this year they are having an awesome keynote speaker, Camille Fronk Olson, the Friday night before. She is the author of many written works, but her book Mary, Martha, and Me: Seeking the One Thing that is Needful is so inspirational.

It’s going to be held Friday and Saturday, June 21-22. The Friday keynote will be at Noah’s in Lindon, UT from 5:00-7:00 and the Saturday Conference is at Paradigm High School in South Jordan and runs all day starting at 8:30. The free and open to the public vendor area looks like a wealth of knowledge in and of itself!

The Saturday speakers and classes are incredible!

One highlight is Randall Edward who will be speaking on Holistic Living and Spiritual Gifts–a Practical Guide. His class will explore the idea of understanding the correlation between health and medical choices and the gifts of the spirit.

And Cliff and Judy Dunston are speaking on The Praise Principle–the class description says, “The Praise Principle is the light that we get to participate in to align ourselves with the Lord. Then when we commit to Praising the Lord then He can work His Miracles in our life. It is practicing Faith in the Lord with full trust and the results are amazing.”

And Neal Bosshardt, owner and founder of Redmond Clay will be doing a clay class that is hands on in making preparations to treat spider bites, burns and infections. Also classes on the art of muscle testing (the energetic responses to what we say, do, think, and feel, a great diagnostic tool), and the power of chakras! And that’s just a small handful of the classes offered. There is really something for everyone.

You can register at the door, but you will save a bundle by registering online and by June 1 for $11 per class! Not only that,…..

  • Wet Oatmeal Kisses readers get 15% off by using coupon code: 2013PP15 at checkout. Go here to register. I’ll be there, hope to see you there too!
  • We are hosting a giveaway for one FREE Saturday registration! Leave a comment with all the lovely reasons you want to attend and I will select one lucky winner on Saturday, June 1.
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more light and truth

Apr 7, 2013 by

I took Blythe, Keziah, Courtney, and Madison to Salt Lake City to attend General Conference. I grew up attending conference and love, love, love taking my children to conference now. I love all the people, all the accents, languages, and hugs. I love the happiness. I love the connection with saints from every land. I love the hustle and bustle. I love the tradition of gathering together to hear the words of the Lord.

We listened to a lot of modern teenager music yesterday and amazingly enough God was able to speak to me quite a bit while I drove and the girls sang at the top of their lungs. Here are a few messages I received.

Don’t you worry, don’t you worry child. See heavens got a plan for you.

Yes, God does have a plan for me. He loves me. He sent His son to die for me. He wants me back. He teaches me and reaches out to me and is full of goodness and light. Following His plan for me brings me happiness.

It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you. There’s nothing that a hundred men, or more, could ever do. Just like the rain, down in Africa. It’s gonna take some time but I know you’re worth fighting for – I’d fight for you.

My husband will fight for me. This past week of darkness and misery showed me once again that he will do anything he can to help me. So will God.

Monsieur, I bless your name
I am ready Fantine!
Monsieur, lay down your burden
At the end of my days
You’ve raised my child in love
She’s the best of my life
And you shall be with God

Papa, papa, I do not understand
Are you all right?
Why did you go away

Cosette, my child
Am I forgiven now?
Thank god, thank god
I’ve lived to see this day

It’s you who must forgive a thoughtless fool
It’s you who must forgive a thankless man
It’s thanks to you that I am living
Again I lay down my life at your feet
Cosette, your father is a saint
When they wounded me
He took me from the barricade
Carried like a babe
And brought me home
To you

Now you are here
Again beside me
Now I can die in peace
For now my life is blessed

You will live, Papa, you’re going to live
It’s too soon, too soon to say goodbye!

Yes, Cosette, forbid me now to die
I’ll obey
I will try.

On this page
I write my last confession
Read it well when I, at last, am sleeping
It’s the story
Of one who turned from hating
The man who only learned to love
When you were in my keeping.

Come with me
Where chains will never bind you
All your grief
At last, at last behind you
Lord in Heaven
Look down on him in mercy.

Forgive me all my trespasses
And take me to your glory.

Take my hand
I’ll lead you to salvation
Take my love
For love is everlasting
And remember
The truth that once was spoken
To love another person
Is to see the face of God.

Do you hear the people sing
Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people
Who are climbing to the light.

For the wretched of the earth
There is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end
and the sun will rise.

They will live again in freedom
In the garden of the Lord.
We will walk behind the ploughshare;
We will put away the sword.
The chain will be broken
And all men will have their reward.

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing?
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring
When tomorrow comes!

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing?
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring
When tomorrow comes!

Tomorrow comes!

I can’t even tell you how much I love this song. When I heard it at the movie I bawled all the way through it. I love the message of Christ’s redemptive love and power to save each of us. I love the message of Valjean’s healing through learning to love. I love the people climbing to the light and seeking the flame that never dies and the dark night ending. I know the power of God’s light in my life and want to share that power with the whole world. It breaks my heart to think of anyone is living with the darkness I experienced and I want them to know of God’s light to heal their soul. I love the imagery of chains being broken. I feel like I am helping my ancestors to break chains of pain, guilt, sorrow, cruelty, and heartache by praying for them, doing their ordinance work in the temple, and sending them my love. I know Christ has broken my chains and will continue to do so each time I turn to Him and give Him my burden. I love the message of joining the army of The Lord in spreading His message of peace and hope to all the world. This eight minute song is a gift to my soul.

God loves me so, so much. He loves you so, so much. He has done and will do everything He can to bring us home. I am so grateful for these powerful reminders. And this line?

To love another person is to see the face of God.

I want to learn to love with that love. I want to see as He sees and love as He loves. I long to be with Him in that future world that is full of His love.

And then President Uctdorf spoke this morning on light and how to access that light to chase the darkness away. I will type up my notes and share my thoughts on this life changing talk as soon as I can.

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Apr 7, 2013 by

I have a experienced a glorious five days. Simply and beautifully glorious.

On Tuesday of last week my friend Jen brought over pizza and love and concern and brightness. It was wonderful to talk to her, hear her children playing, and laugh a little, but I was still mired in darkness, hopelessness, and misery.

That night Richard used his SimplyHealed training to help my energy systems come back into some semblance of order. After what seemed like forever, I was back to a certain level of functioning and was able to actually smile at my husband and have a normal conversation. It was amazing to feel put back together again and feel somewhat like my real self.

Then I asked him for a priesthood blessing. While it is a sacred experience, I have decided to a write a little about it because I want to remember it forever and also share my joy. He said “I bless you with light” and as he said those words, the room and my soul filled with light so exquisite I felt transformed in an instant. Then he said “I bless you with the presence of your grandmother. I bless you to feel her nearby, to hear her tender words of love, and to know the things she knows.”

Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. Hallelujah! My grandmother is my favorite person in the whole world. I love her so, so much. I miss her so, so much. I know my grandmother is full of light and truth and love. She knows of Christ’s bounteous love. She knows how to treat people with that Christlike love. She knows the worth of a soul. She loves me. I cannot think of any blessing my Heavenly Father could have given me that would have been more precious or more needed.

Afterwards Richard told me the windows of heaven opened and poured light into my soul. He said my father’s ancestors were there and he could feel their presence strongly.

I was surrounded by light. I could feel it coursing through my soul and nourishing each cell of my body. I am so grateful for light. The light of truth and the light of love are exactly what I needed then and need each day, so I am going to do more to ensure I am receiving both.

Now five days later I can still feel the light. It warms my insides and brings a smile to my face.

Light, love, truth: the balm of Gilead for this soul.

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celebrate goodness

Nov 15, 2012 by

Most people carrying heavy loads begin to doubt themselves and their own worth. We lighten their loads when we are patient with their weaknesses and celebrate whatever goodness we can see in them. The Lord does that.

Henry B. Eyring just saved my sanity by saying that.

I need to hear this.

I need to remember it.

I need to do it.

I need to live it.

My children were just as overwhelmed by the cleaning and cold water as I have been. They are carrying heavy loads of their own. I need to lighten their load by being patient with their weaknesses instead of pouncing on them because they are different than my weaknesses. Pouncing is what I did today.

Celebrating is what I will do tomorrow.

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wise heart

Jul 19, 2012 by

I am in the middle of the Great Sewing Room Rearrangement Project. I can’t even begin to describe how much work this job is entailing. Perhaps when it is all completed I will take the time to detail it all out for you. Trust me, you will think I am a hero.

Anyway, as part of this job, I am throwing away a lot of stuff. I found this quote today on a crumpled up piece of paper and fell in love with it all over again (probably because last night when I emerged from the sewing room and found the kitchen a complete and utter disaster I lost my cool and was nothing like the woman in this quote, I was more like a raging lunatic. I have been filled with regret all day and want to imprint these words on my heart and live them. Really live them. Treat my children as the divine beings they are…ahhh, will I ever master it?

It is the sisters and wives and mothers, you know, Caddie, who keep the world sweet and beautiful. What a rough world it would be if there were only men and boys in it, doing things in their own way! A woman’s task is to teach them gentleness and courtesy and love and kindness. It’s a big task too, Caddie – harder than cutting trees or building mills or damming rivers. It takes nerve and courage and patience, but good women have those things. They have them just as much as men who build bridges and carve roads through wilderness. A woman’s work is something fine and noble to grow up to, and it is just as important as a man’s. But no man could ever do it so well. I don’t want you to be a silly, affected person with fine clothes and manners who folks sometimes call a lady. No, that is not what I want for you, my little girl. I want you to be a woman with a wise and understanding heart, healthy in body and honest in mind.

(Father speaking to Caddie in Caddie Woodlawn…one of my favorite books.)

And now I can throw the crumpled up paper away!

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best story ever

Jun 22, 2012 by


Go read it right now and feel your heart fill up with joy and a renewal of faith in humanity. These ladies inspire me to love deeply, give plentifully, and serve broadly.


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the gift of giving life

Jun 13, 2012 by

I am lying here in bed feeling my ovary working hard to ovulate and while my initial and most common reaction is to cry out in pain and writhe around in misery, today I am trying something different. Today I am trying to send a message of gratitude to my ovaries. I am grateful they (at least the right one since it is the only one that ovulates) are able to ripen an egg and release it every month in the hopes of forming a new baby.

Why the change in my attitude today?

I have been reading a glorious book, The Gift of Giving Life, that is hot off the presses. My friend, Robyn Allgood, is one of the authors and asked me to take part in a Virtual Book Tour that is running from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day and I am one of the last stops. The other tour stops have been food for my soul and I bet they will be for yours as well.

This book is a compilation of essays, birth stories, and articles about the divine nature of pregnancy and childbirth by women who belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am SO in love with this book. I wish I had written it! In an amazing feat of literary genius, the authors have created a lovely blend of childbirth information, personal stories, and scriptural insights, all with the nurturing tone of a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate. One of the many wonderful aspects of this offering is that there is a wide variety of perspectives on both the spiritual and physical elements of birth. This is not a one-size fits all approach. Rather, it is a ‘step into my heart and let me share some of my deepest thoughts regarding my experiences as a woman’ type of book. There are stories about conception, labor, breastfeeding, adoption, miscarriage, abuse, service, abandonment, faith, courage, submission, and most of all, love. Each time I read a new essay, I am left with a feeling of love…love for the woman who shared herself through her writing, love for my Heavenly Parents, love for myself as a mother, and love for womanhood. It is a daily gift I give to myself…one story a day to soothe my soul, awaken my mind, and expand my heart (though I usually can’t stop with just one!).

When I was reading Felice Austin’s essay, “The Decision to Have Your Baby”, and Meghan Rayne-Matthews’ essay, “Healing Through Motherhood”, I was taken back to my unexpected first pregnancy and the difficult decision we made to keep our baby. I had been told by two surgeons that my abdominal wall and pelvic ligaments would not survive a pregnancy and that we needed to adopt. When we became pregnant with Blythe, we were scared of the very real possibility that I may die. After endless amounts of research in between the round-the-clock nausea, multiple priesthood blessings, temple trips, and many prayers, we decided to trust the Lord and the feeling of peace we were given. We decided to allow the pregnancy to continue and accept the consequences, whatever they might be. Thankfully, the surgeons were wrong and my abdominal wall held up just fine (my pelvic ligaments are another story!) and now we have been blessed to give birth to four babies.

When I read “Waiting for Ashleigh” my heart was overcome with love for my unborn babies, the ten we have miscarried and the others who we are waiting for. The father in this story hears and sees his daughter, Ashleigh, several times, including once when he was about to break-up with his future wife. When they do marry, they think Ashleigh will be their first child born, but she isn’t. A little boy arrives instead. Each time they become pregnant they think it is her, but it isn’t. Three little boys and one little girl later, they are thrilled to finally be pregnant with the girl they have waited so long for. And then they miscarry. Matthew, the author, beautifully writes of pain, faith, and hope as they realize that once again they are waiting for Ashleigh.

I have recently embarked on a family history project that is changing my entire being and while reading “The Family Tree of Knowledge” by Felice Austin my heart was opened to my ancestors even more deeply. She writes, “When I was a few months into my pregnancy and feeling pretty alone, I came across this quote by Harriet Lerner:

We are never the first in our family to wrestle with a problem, although it may feel that way…learning how other family members have handled their problems similar to our own down through the generations, is one of the most effective routes to lowering reactivity and heightening self-clarity.

She continues with “I thought, ‘Yeah, right. Who does this happen to? No one else in my family has been abandoned three months into a planned pregnancy.’ I kept reading…”

If we do not know about our own family history, we are more likely to repeat past patterns or mindlessly rebel against them, without much clarity about who we really are, how we are similar to and different from other family members, and how we might proceed in our life.

She explains that she researched her line and found a great-grandmother on her mother’s side who had been abandoned by her husband while pregnant with their fourth child and a third great-grandmother on her father’s side who had been a slave and had somehow escaped slavery and raised her white master’s child all alone, in freedom. These two stories gave Felice strength to continue in her own struggles and powerful connections to bolster her up when loneliness tried to tear her down.

My mother’s family tree is rich with stories of courage, sacrifice, and faith. They have filled me with great reservoirs of determination to do what is right, to serve well, and to love passionately. I am right in the midst of discovering my father’s family tree. Lerner’s quote flipped a switch in my heart and encouraged me to go deeper, to search for their stories, and to learn from them. Through various experiences in my life I have learned I am strongly connected emotionally to my ancestors and I carry their energy patterns with me. I have an opportunity to learn from them, heal the mistakes of the past, and create a better future for my posterity. The Spirit of Elijah is real, incredibly real, and is drawing my heart to my family members before, with, and after me. This book has played a pivotal role in that heart-opening process.

One last thing this book has done for me is it has reminded me I am not alone in my walk as a daughter of God, nor as a birthing mother striving to make conscious, God-led choices for my family. I am not crazy or misled for feeling the spirits of my unborn children. Sometimes, if I am spending too much time in surface relationships, I can forget there are women who care deeply about procreation, about their divine roles as women, and about the gift that birth can be to each of us as we grow in to the beings God created us to be. The Gift of Giving Life is a gentle, yet powerful testimony to the sisterhood of women and the strength we can be to one another as we fulfill our personal missions as daughters, sisters, mothers, and friends.

Other favorite essays: “We Are Each Eve”, “The Spirit of Elijah”, “Puah and Shiphrah: Delivering the Deliver”, “Two Veils”, “Blood, Breastmilk, and Living Water”, “Finding My Motherly Intuition”, and “Healing From Sexual Abuse”, “Unity With Our Sisters”, and “Sixteen Pregnancies”.

Doesn’t it sound marvelous? Trust me…it is. I wish I had a frillion copies to give to every woman I know. I don’t have a frillion, but I do have one copy to gift to one lucky reader. Please post a comment and you will be entered into the pool of hopeful winners. A winner will be selected bright and early Saturday morning. If you don’t win or you want to buy a frillion copies for all the women in your life, I have a coupon for 10% off The Gift of Giving Life. Click here and then after you add the book to your cart use coupon code GWFWXR3F. This coupon is only good until Father’s Day 2012…so you only have a few days to take advantage of it.

Visit The Gift of Giving Life site to sign up for their newsletter and to receive a free Meditation MP3 as well as tips to help increase spirituality in your pregnancy and birth.

If you would like to read more of my birth experiences (I think they are pretty amazing stories!), here are our birth stories and here is our journey through miscarriage.

I hope you have enjoyed this stop on the Virtual Book Tour. Be sure to check out Segullah’s post on Sunday. I for one can’t wait to read it!

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toppling the queen

Mar 11, 2012 by

Love these wise words. Read and ponder.

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brilliant synopsis

Mar 8, 2012 by

I can’t type much since I can’t get down to my computer, but I read this today and hope clear down to my little toes that you will read it.

I Voted For Mitt In 2008 And Ron Paul In 2012.

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she’s got nails

Jan 8, 2012 by

she’s got nails

My project for the last two months has been growing out my fingernails.

I know.

Those of you who know me in real life are gasping for breath trying to stop yourselves from going into a full-blown heart attack. Or shock. Or whatever it is that happens when you are presented with something completely out of your experience or your imagination.

Tracy with fingernails?


Yes, I agree. I can’t quite get over it myself. But it is true. I have long beautiful fingernails that I have no idea what to do with. I don’t know how to shape them, file them, or paint them. So I do nothing and they keep growing and keep getting thicker and stronger.

Here is the proof.

It all started when Liz decided I was her project. She started painting gobbledy-gook all over my fingernails to stop me from biting them. Bitter, nasting-smelling, and nasty-tasting chemicals that I wanted no where near my innards. I stopped biting them and they started growing. Then she would repaint them with more of said nasty stuff.

It worked and now I have nails. After 37 years of biting them down to bleeding stubbs every single day, I have nails. Now I need someone to come paint them for me!

I’m thinking, if I can do this, I can do anything!

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Oct 31, 2011 by

I have a dear friend, Heather Burton, who is a breath of fresh air in my life. She is hilarious, kind, passionate, gentle, determined, brilliant, and the mother of nine. Her hugs fill my soul with strength.

I am sometimes asked why I educate my children at home, why I spend day after day after day with my children striving to teach them, to inspire them, to work with them, and to provide a place where they can blossom. Heather’s children have been part of that reason. I have watched them grow into amazing young people and have dared to hope that my children would fulfill their own dreams as the Burton’s have theirs.

Today, one of Heather’s children, Josh, has released an inspiring YouTube movie about his journey to fulfill his dreams as a musician. I have watched it several times today and have cried every time. His story inspires me to reach for the greatness that is within me and to help my children do the same. If you can’t see it here and want to look it up, it is called Josh Burton – Rising.

Josh leaves tomorrow morning to begin his mission for the LDS church in Guatemala. His brother, Denny, is also leaving tomorrow to serve in The Netherlands. I am so happy for Heather, Josh, Denny, and all the rest of the Burton family. May the beauty of this day stay in their souls and warm them for months to come.

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i refuse

Oct 24, 2011 by

I love this song. I try to live by its words. I try to reach out to others and love them as He would have me love them. I try to do the work He would have me do and put my beliefs into action. I sometimes fail…miserably…but I keep trying.

I Refuse
Songwriters: Benjamin Glover & Joshua David Wilson

Sometimes I
I just want to close my eyes
And act like everyone’s alright
When I know they’re not

This world needs God
But it’s easier to stand and watch
I could say a prayer and just move on
Like nothing’s wrong

But I refuse
‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care
I don’t want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse

To sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse

I can hear the least of these
Crying out so desperately
And I know we are the hands and feet
Of You, oh God

So, if You say move
It’s time for me to follow through
And do what I was made to do
Show them who You are

‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care
I don’t want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse

To sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse

To stand and watch the weary and lost
Cry out for help
I refuse to turn my back
And try and act like all is well

I refuse to stay unchanged
To wait another day, to die to myself
I refuse to make one more excuse

‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care
I don’t want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse

To sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse

I refuse
I refuse

I have had a pillow with this saying in my room for years…it is my motto…well, one of them! I have a gazillion favorite quotes!

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.

What is your motto?

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why i do what i do

Oct 8, 2011 by

Sometimes I wonder what the heck I am thinking when I start a massive project like the 500 Pencil Rolls or Make It For Maggie or any of the other crazy things I do, and then I remind myself I am not crazy, I am trying to bring joy to this world. I am trying to share my bounty with others. I am trying to build families. I am trying to save souls. I am trying to follow my Savior.

It may look crazy on the outside…and trust me, it often feels crazy on the inside…but it isn’t. It is what I feel called to do and feel driven to do. When I saw this sign, it resonated with me. I want a big ‘ol ginormous version of it hanging in my house…maybe I will finally paint a wall for the first time in my life with this on it? Nah, I really won’t, I am too scared to pick up a paintbrush!


But I do love pondering it and recommitting myself to both believe in the good and to be the good. What other choice is there? Sure, I can focus on the evil, the sadness, and the just plain awfulness of life, but it makes so much more sense to me to focus on the goodness and greatness of God, the connection and courageness of people, and the beauty and blessings of our time here on earth…and I can be part of those things. I can love and serve and give and laugh and be part of creating the good in my life and in my lives of those around me.

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9/11 boatlift

Sep 26, 2011 by

Somehow I had never heard this story. Somehow I have never known anything about the evacuation of Manhattan Island by water.

Prepare to be inspired.

America is full of goodness. It is full of people who give and serve and love and sacrifice. I am proud to be an American and honored to carry on the tradition of what it means to use my freedom to bless the lives of others.

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17 miracles

Sep 6, 2011 by

17 Miracles snowbasin. Rescue, Bodil's  and Niels death 322

Last night for Family Home Evening we went to the movie 17 Miracles which chronicles the story of the Willie Handcart Company of 1856. This company of English, Danish, and Swedish members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were determined to get to the Salt Lake Valley even though many of them were short on funds (though they had been saving for the trip for many, many years) and almost all of them were severely short on the skills needed to make a trek across the plains and mountains of the West.

We loved it. We cried and laughed and rejoiced with them. We cheered for them. We fell in love with Levi Savage. Fisher said he loved the whole thing and can’t wait to watch it again. Blythe bawled her eyes out; I think all the memories from when she went on a reenactment trek came swirling back.

It made me grateful for my life and my struggles and helped me to understand the early members of my church much more. What stalwart examples of faith, courage, and sacrifice they are!

It prompted me to start thinking more about the miracles in my life. There have been many miracles and I need to remember them more clearly and more often.

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one more reminder of Him

Aug 15, 2011 by

Dear Father,

Thank you for reminding us yesterday that you are completely knowledgeable about our needs. Thank you for sending people to help us. Thank you for prompting me to go to The Great Outdoor Shop. Thank you for placing the tire we needed right on top of the pile. Thank you for being there…for being here…for being in our lives and reminding us once again that we are never alone.

Yesterday on our way home from our annual camping trip, a tire blew out on our 1970 camping trailer. This caused just a wee bit of a problem.

Problem #1: We couldn’t find our jack. Who knows where it is? It isn’t where it used to be in our old suburban and since we haven’t needed it yet with this newer one we haven’t looked for it yet. Talk about being unprepared!

Problem #2: We didn’t have a spare tire for the trailer.

Problem #3: The trailer proved quite difficult to jack up due to the lack of solidness underneath it. 1970 sub-floor just isn’t a firm foundation for a jack.

Problem #4: The existing tire is an odd-ball size…at least according to the mechanic who stopped and helped us.

Problem #5: We broke down miles away from cell phone service and 35 miles from a town that had no tire stores open on the Sabbath.

Problem #6: After working in the sun for two hours with a great guy, Jimmy, we discovered the tire we thought would fit, simply wouldn’t. No ifs, ands, or buts.

Problem #7: After making the 35 mile trip into the nearest town, we were told we had no options but to stay overnight and hope the tire store would have a tire that would work in the morning, but the last several people who had needed trailer tires had to have them special ordered and sometimes that process takes weeks.

Problem #8: Richard had to be at work early Monday morning and it is now 6:30 Sunday night.

Problem #9: The lady at the Great Outdoor Shop has the brilliant idea to call Tom at the junkyard, but he is 100 miles away and won’t be back until 10 p.m.

Problem #10: We learn from a variety of people doing internet searches for us that our tire size is not made anymore and getting a modern day replacement is often difficult.

Problem #11: Our children have now been in the vehicle for over four hours but we are only 50 miles from our camping spot. All of our food is packed away back at our trailer.

Problem #12: None of the stores within 100 miles of us carry this tire or any of its replacements.

Problem #13: We have to use two jacks blocked up on wood to raise the trailer sufficiently to get the tire off.


Solution #1: Jimmy, a guy who lives up in the wild, year-round, saw us broken down across from his cabin and rode over on his four-wheeler with a ready smile, plenty of know-how, and all the tools a broken-down family could ever need.

Solution #2: Jimmy had a mechanic friend who was coming out for dinner and was happy to help us, as well.

Solution #3: I get the prompting to go to The Great Outdoor Shop and while in there I meet a woman, Linda, who owns the building the Tire Store is in. She tells me there is no way the Tire Store will have that size of tire, but she’ll call her husband and her friend, Tom, and see if they have any ideas. She spends the next hour on the phone trying to find us some help.

Solution #4: I remember the beautiful park in town and Richard drops me, the children, and the dogs off so everyone can run around, use the bathroom, and sit in the shade.

Solution #5: I remember that my friend, Jennifer, has a nearly identical trailer to mine and call her to see if she has a spare that she would drive halfway and meet us. She says she can and we go through a long process with my mother on the internet to see if Jennifer’s tire will work. After an hour of searching, we find out Jennifer’s tire is a tad too big. It took us forever to figure it out because we were looking at tire sizes after 1970 since our trailer wasn’t even made until 1970. We finally found the information we needed on a chart listing tires pre-1964. Yes, somehow the tire on our trailer was made sometime back when my mother was a child. Even though it wouldn’t work, it bolstered our spirits knowing our friends would drive several hours to help us out.

Solution #6: Linda’s husband, who used to own the tire store, returns to town around 8:15 p.m. and has Richard bring our blown out tire over to him. He says that is an odd tire. Steve won’t have one in his shop, but let’s look around in the bin and see what we can find. Are you ready for the miracle? Here it is…Right on top of a massive pile of old used tires, is a fifty-year-old, but brand new, tire with identical tread marks, lug pattern, and sizing to our tire. Right on top. He said it must have just shown up recently when someone with a old trailer finally got rid of their old spare. Now, being fifty years old, there were plenty of cracks in it, but it passed the submersion test, held air just fine, and so he gave it to us for nothing….yes, nothing…and he warned us to not use it for longer than the ride home. Then he also let us borrow his bigger jack.

Solution #7: We headed back out to the middle of nowhere to put the new tire on and with Blythe, Richard, and me all working together holding lights, stabilizing jacks, and positioning jack stands, we were able to get the tire on, return the tools to Jimmy, head back into town and return the second jack, and finally get on our way home around 11:30. Somehow Richard drove us home while the rest of us slept and we piled into the house at 2:00 a.m.

Truly blessed.

So good to remember.

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lds holistic living conference giveaway

Jun 9, 2011 by

By the way, this post is set to stay at the top, so to read newer thoughts, scroll down…


On June 25th, in Salt Lake City, there is going to be an absolutely fabulous gathering of people striving to live healthier, happier, simpler, and more Christ-like lives.

It is going to be amaaaaaaazing!!

There are classes on beekeeping, bio-dynamic gardening, balancing hormones (ya think I should go to that one?), goat keeping, chickens, acupuncture, allergies, stress reduction, heirloom seeds, ditching debt, colon cleansing, the Closet (magical homeschool secret!), depression, family reading time, emotional healing from a gospel perspective, essential oils, fermenting foods, healing your DNA, hypothyroidism, aging well, homeschooling from a relationship perspective, living your mission, and so much more!

Doesn’t that sound fabulous?

Go to the LDS Holistic Living Conference site to sign up and register for all your favorite classes today. It is sure to be a soul-filling, relationship-building, health-creating event and I, for one, can’t wait to attend!

Are you ready for the good news?

I get to giveaway a free ticket to one of my blog readers! Yippee! My first official giveaway, unless you count my Joy Pillow as an official giveaway!

For this giveaway, I want you to write to me and let me know why you need to attend this conference and what you are hoping to gain from it. Just tell me the truth about why you want to attend and I will pick one of you on Monday, June 13th to receive a free ticket.

Spread the word to all your holistic friends and let’s have an Idaho (invite your non-Idaho friends as well!) party down in SLC on the 25th!

LDS Holistic Living

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Apr 16, 2011 by

I have been keeping a commonplace book for many years now. Keeping one has changed my life. Literally changed my life. It has given me a place to write down my thoughts where I know I will be able to find them. It has made my thoughts more permanent in my life and thus, far more powerful. It has inspired me to think more so I have more interesting things to write about. I love my commonplace book. Today I clicked on a link on a friend’s blog and found the most amazing photos of a commonplace book. Her commonplace book is a scripture journal and oh my, it is incredible. This woman has put so much into her scripture journals…they are treasures! I love her artwork, her doodling, her thoughts, her quotes, her organization…her everything. I wish, oh, how I wish I was as artsy as this and could have notes that were works of art in and of themselves.

I don’t have those skills…but now I have some juices percolating in my mind of what I want to do with my next commonplace book. How ’bout you?

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the butterfly circus

Apr 12, 2011 by

I guess I am in the movie sharing mode this week. My friend, Jodie, recommended I give twenty minutes of my time to watching this movie and I am grateful she did. It was worth it…more than worth it. I will be pondering the lessons of this film and how I can help others find the greatness within them for some time to come. I can’t figure out how to embed this one, so you will need to click over to the film’s site to watch it.

In light of my post about scars, this is especially timely. Watch and rejoice and then learn to love others enough to help them find their greatness…that is the lesson I am taking from this movie.

Best line:

The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph.

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dayton’s legs

Apr 11, 2011 by

Oh my goodness, tears are streaming down my face. My neck is soaking wet. This movie is wonderful.

I remember Chance, my friend with cerebral palsy. I sat with him during lunch every day of my junior year of high school. He was my date to the Homecoming Dance. He came to my school events and cheered me on. We loved each other and we needed each other. He dreamed of marrying me. He taught me much about endurance, finding joy in the small things, laughing at oneself, and doing your best even when your body won’t cooperate with your plans. He taught me to have patience for others and stop worrying about being number one. He would have loved for me to have done a triathlon with him…he loved the wind on his face, too.

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save one life, save the world

Apr 3, 2011 by

Any readers that have been with me for awhile know that I love doing big projects that touch hearts and change lives. My mind is swimming with big ideas on a regular basis and it is an impossibility for me to stop them. Many of you have joined with me in my “save the world” projects…THANK YOU! Our 500 Pencil Roll Project and Make It For Maggie were huge successes. I am already getting excited for Make it For Maggie this fall. It is going to be even better than last year!

In light of my desire to change lives, I love reading about other people doing great things. Here is one such story. What a hero! He was told he couldn’t rescue the children and he did. When people tell me I can’t do something, I just laugh. I don’t believe in that word and I am trying to eradicate it from my life. We CAN do great things! We CAN be God’s hands. We can change laws, save lives, give hope, teach truth, feed the hungry, smile, stand boldly, fight courageously, and work hard. We CAN and people do every single day. I am in awe of all the good that is done in the world. I hope to play a role in the tidal wave of good sweeping the earth.

Read Nicholas Winton’s story and rekindle your faith in the power of good.

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sunday’s top ten

Apr 3, 2011 by

Today’s sessions were power packed and I have much to ponder. I can’t wait to go back and read Lynn Robbins talk on being being more important than doing. It goes in right in line with my thoughts of yesteryear about human doings vs. human beings. I loved Elder Holland’s talk, loved the story of Hugh B. Brown, loved Elder Bednar’s words and analogies. Such great stuff to teach my heart how to listen to Christ and become more like Him.

Here are my favorite thoughts from today.

1. Do we demand or wait for our own road to Damascus experiences before becoming full disciples of our Lord?

2. By being the answer to someone’s prayer we often find the answer to our own.

3. Preach the gospel at all times, in necessary, use words.

4. No, you won’t be the same (after your trial), you will be stronger – you will be awesome!

5. The only way to see the view is to make the climb.

6. Revelation can be like a light switch or like the sunrise.

7. Temples are more than stone and mortar. They are filled with faith and fasting. They are built of trials and testimonies. They are sanctified by sacrifice and service.

8. The Church Welfare System is not merely an interesting footnote in the history of the church – it defines us as a people.

9. Marriage is the ideal setting to overcome selfishness.

10. Heavenly Father wants us to experience ultimate joy.

11. The God of the Bible traffics in life and death, not in niceness.

12. I am the gardener. I know what I want you to become.

13. Is it possible I need this child as much as this child needs me?

14. “To be” is never done. It needs to part of my nature, not checked off.

15. Be the kind of parents to our children that our Heavenly Father is to us.

16. The church is not a fast-food outlet. You can’t always have it your way.

17. One way or the other, the Lord will have His voice heard.

Seventeen…couldn’t stop at ten!

This conference, I fell in love with the idea of being a standard-bearer. My head is swimming with thoughts of Joan of Arc, Ensign Peak, and Isaiah all rolled up into one. I want to develop it into a theme for our homeschool for the next little while…being a standard-bearer for the Lord and other standard bearers throughout history.

I loved the focus on the atonement of Christ being active in our lives. He is our Savior. He is our Redeemer. He is our Comforter. And yet, for many of us…me included, it is so hard to give our hearts to Him, to trust that the process is worth it, to know that it will work for us and not just for others, to humble ourselves completely and admit that we cannot be good enough or work hard enough or be anything enough to save ourselves and to put the time in to let Him save us instead. It is the great challenge of this life and our whole purpose for being here…why is it so hard? Its like when we have a list of errands to run and we waste our time doing the non-essentials on the list first before getting to work on the top-priority items. Learning to trust God, give our hearts, sins, and pains to Him, and becoming like Him is the whole point, but many of us spend our lives on other pursuits and put off the process (and the joy) of coming unto Him completely.

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saturday’s top ten

Apr 2, 2011 by

I love the General Conference of my church. I love gathering my children around and watching the leaders of our church teach us of Christ. We almost always attend at least one session of Conference down in Salt Lake City at the Conference Center. I think Keziah has been to every one since she was seven and a half (yes, we had her attend for the solemn assembly in April of 2008, six months before she was eight and able to attend according to the rules…who could pass up solemn assembly tickets?). Blythe has been attending since she was eight. Through begging everyone we know, we have been blessed to have tickets many, many times. Other times we have driven down and waited in the stand-by lines for hours on end. I’ll never forget the last time we saw President Hinckley. Grandma D., Blythe, and I had been in the stand-by line since about 5 a.m. We didn’t get in for the morning session, but we did get in for the afternoon session. We were sitting on the right hand side of the conference center up in the balcony on the first row. The session was marvelous! We sang “We Thank Thee Oh God For a Prophet” and the feeling of love for President Hinckley was overpowering. We all held hands and sang our hearts out. Then he started walking out and waving his hand and cane at the attendees. He seemed to stop right in front of us and wave right to us. It was an amazing moment in time and I know it was one of the many things that has fortified Blythe to be committed to righteousness.

Today’s sessions were wonderful. Here are my top ten favorite ideas from the morning and afternoon sessions.

1. Parents, make sure your families are well-prepared for the Sabbath by being well-rested, properly dressed, and ready in spirit to worship the Lord.

2. Conduct ourselves on the Sabbath in a way that will call down the blessings of heaven.

3. In the family we have wonderful opportunities to behold the little ones of God.

4. Perhaps by understanding the depths of mortality we can better understand Him.

5. Heavenly Father has created a plan for the poor of His children. Use His plan to bless our brothers and sisters who are suffering. Feel sympathy and pain for those in need and then make the choice to act on those feelings.

6. Do not carry revenge and bitterness in our hearts…do a lot of forgiving.

7. The only death that is premature is the death of one who is not prepared to meet God.

8. Be His Standard-Bearers.

9. There is great power and protection in establishing celestial traditions in our home.

10. Families are like ropes.

11. The atonement of Christ is fully operative.

12. Readjusting our desires to things of eternal value is not easy.

13. Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, choices determine our actions. In addition, it is our actions and desires that cause us to become something whether it be a good friend, a dedicated teacher, or one who qualifies for eternal life.

14. How do we find peace of mind in this tumultuous world? By small and simple things…love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, and strength and love thy neighbor as thyself.

Fourteen, not ten…but that is as far as I could limit it. What were your favorite thoughts? I know I missed a ton because of a phone call, Fisher and Annes needing help with some things, and I always miss the next sentence that is said after the one I am writing down.

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unwelcome tasks

Jan 17, 2011 by

No unwelcome tasks become any the less unwelcome by putting them off till tomorrow. It is only when they are behind us and done, that we begin to find that there is a sweetness to be tasted afterwards, and that the remembrance of unwelcome duties unhesitatingly done is welcome and pleasant. Accomplished, they are full of blessing, and there is a smile on their faces as they leave us. Undone, they stand threatening and disturbing our tranquility, and hindering our communion with God. If there be lying before you any bit of work from which you shrink, go straight up to it, and do it at once. The only way to get rid of it is to do it.
— Alexander MacLaren (1826-1910) Scottish Preacher —

Isn’t this lovely?

I need to imprint it on my forehead. Actually, I wouldn’t be able to see it there, so I should put it on my hand instead…or plaster it all over my house…or perhaps most effective, put it in my current book!

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a heart in the right place = successful parenting

Jan 4, 2011 by

I read this article today and loved it. I am going to reread it tomorrow and ponder it some more.

It is a great goal for me this year…to have my heart in the right place with my children…in the place God would have my heart because if He were here His heart would be in that place.

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a lesson from reepicheep

Dec 20, 2010 by

Tonight in the middle of our sewing marathon…which if you remember involves Kat sewing and me pressing and pinning…Richard took our family (plus Trey) to Voyage of the Dawn Treader for Family Home Evening tonight.

I loved it.

In spite of the changes to the book, I loved it.

I loved sitting in a theater surrounded by the people I love best and watching the absolute joy and wonder on their faces as they experienced this dearly loved story brought to life right in front of them.

I thought that was the reason I felt so strongly we needed to fork out the moola to attend.

I was wrong.

I needed this film.

I needed to see Reepicheep run across the beach and paddle in earnest to Aslan’s land. I needed to see the look in his eyes as he greets it. I needed to see him say goodbye to those he loves and then move forward with excitement to the land of his King.

I have had far too many loved ones die in the past two years. My precious grandmother died two years ago at Christmas-time. I miss her so much. I still cry when I talk about her. I still touch the place on my cheek where she last kissed me on November 29, 2008. I still hear her voice in my mind and sometimes I play her voice on my answering machine. I still think of her when I sing As Sisters In Zion. I still think of her every time I bake or fold or knead or serve.

As I typed these thoughts out, I realized her funeral was today.

Today was the last time I saw her beautiful face and held her hand.

And tonight my Heavenly Father blessed me to see Reepicheep run to heaven to help me see what death from this life can come to mean to me.


Maybe someday I can let her go and be full of joy with her instead of holding on to the pain in my heart which longs for her to be with me here.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for teaching me once again the majesty of your plan for each of your children. Thank you for loving me enough to give me this blessing on this very night. Thank you for remembering the pain in my heart and soothing it with thy tender care.

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