week 33

Aug 23, 2016 by

WAHOO!!! A special baptism! I am so, so happy she was able to experience sharing the message of Jesus Christ with Sarah and that she accepted Him all the way in to her heart!

Sarah’s baptism was wonderful! She was super happy! Sarah was baptized on Saturday! She was super excited. Brother Greiner baptized her. She brought several family members and they were great. A lot of the ward showed up and it turned out really well. I was so excited to be able to go! It was awesome! It’s an amazing testimony builder to see not only how the gospel changes your life, but how much it changes another person’s life! It is incredible. If it can change someone that much it must be true. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” She has truly found the strength that Christ promises us if we are faithful. She exemplifies Ether 12:27, “…and weak things will become strong unto them.”


My new area is great. It’s interesting though. It’s one of the especially wealthy sections. Our boundaries include Nelly Gale, which is incredibly expensive/super fancy. The people in Nelly Gale have agents for their houses, as if they were actors, and people come to film stuff at their houses. It crazy! I’ll have to get some pictures.

Sister Wright is super funny! It’s been fun getting to know her. I’m excited! It’s been really good.

My bed is pretty uncomfortable. I mean, I used to sleep on the ground with no pad, but the bed is still uncomfortable, but oh well, comes with the job. The shower is pretty awful, too. It barely has any water pressure. One of my roommates said it’s like getting spit on. Luckily our roommates’ shower is better, so if I just shower at night then I can use that one. :) The funny thing is that this apartment is probably super expensive even with all it’s problems.

We are working with lady named Gloria and a younger couple named Amy and Anthony right now. Will update next week.

Love you!!
Sister W.

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week 32

Aug 23, 2016 by

We were able to FaceTime with Blythe during this week, which was clear back on Mother’s Day. And she sang to us with her ukulele and share her adorable self with us. It was so, so lovely to hear and see her!

This week has been great! I really like the new area!

It was awesome to FaceTime my family yesterday! It was kind of sad, because yesterday’s call was really short, but it was so fun to see you! I was super excited! It’s weird to think that I haven’t seen you in 7 1/2 months. It definitely doesn’t seem that long. I love you guys!

This week we had a surprise Luau for President and Sister Orgill, for their goodbye party :(. It was so awesome! We stood in a double line through the gym so they would walk between us, and people put leis on for them. We sang “Called to Serve.” Instead of just walking through though, they both went through the whole room and hugged each of us. There are at least 160+ missionaries, but they took time to come around to everyone. They are so wonderful! It just really showed how much they love us. Each zone did a song for them and gave a Mother’s Day card to Sister Orgill. It was super cute. At the end we sang “God Be With You till We Meet Again” and “Aloha O’e.” We were crying so much we could barely sing.





Love you all!
Sister W.

And then in her personal letter to me, she gave me a gem!

If I didn’t have you as a mom, I would have chosen you as a friend.

Oh, my stinkin’ heck, I cried my eyes out when I read those precious words. Blythe and I have always been close, but we haven’t always gotten along. There were some days we didn’t like each other much at all. But we both stuck it out and kept trying to behave in loving ways to one another. And the love eventually won.

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yes, it is august 23

Aug 23, 2016 by

Sooooo, I have been incognito all summer. We have played hard and worked hard and had a lot of heartache and a lot of wonderfulness all at the same time. My computer has been broken for months and after all was said and done, the hard drive and a whole host of other parts needed replaced. I just got it back last night and I am trying to recover some lost programs and make it totally functional again. So, now I can blog again.

I am going to try.

For reals.

My hand is still in a splint. But it is the only body part in a brace of any kind and that is fantastic.

And drumroll : : : : : : : : : : : : :

Last night I rode my Elliptigo OUTSIDE!!!

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week 31

Jun 20, 2016 by

I’M BEING TRANSFERRED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am in shock. I’ve only been here 2 transfers, and with Sister Shober for 1. They normally leave YSA missionaries in for like 6 months! I am so confused!

Anyway, Sarah is being baptized on Saturday and I will not be there for the last lessons! I’m super sad, but I will be able to come for her baptism. She is doing awesome! She finished the Book of Mormon and loved it! Bro. Greiner, the institute teacher is baptizing her and she is just stoked!!!! She’s starting the New Testament. She is AMAZING! And her family are being very supportive.

We taught Nina again this week, and it was awesome. We brought a member, who’s name is also Nina, who is convert from an Indian background. She shared her testimony and experience with Christ knowing her individual circumstances and how He has shown His hand in her life.
We’ve had a few awesome people fall into our laps this week, who are really prepared, but I will not be here to see it. So sad :(

I am sad to be transferred and am striving to live by these words this week from 1 Nephi 3:7.

I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them, that they may accomplish the things which He commandeth them.

Love you!!!
Sister W.

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week 30

Jun 20, 2016 by

Trying hard to catch up on these mission posts! My hand injury got me so far behind and I am just starting to get back on top of my life. Her never-ending use of the word “chill” cracks us all up…and now she is calling Gladys Knight “super chill!”

We just hit week 6 of this transfer! That is insane! Inconceivable! :)

This week was pretty weird. I was in my area the whole time, though, so that was good. We didn’t get a ton of lessons, but the ones we did get were really awesome! We met with Sarah and I finally got to meet the referral from the other elders for the YSA girl. She’s pretty awesome and we’re super excited to keep teaching her.

I have been trying really hard to love these people here. I don’t know why, but it has been way harder. In my last area it was so natural, and that’s never really been a struggle for me, but I’ve been feeling like my heart is closed lately and I couldn’t figure out why. My first transfer in this zone there were problems going on in the zone that I didn’t really know about, but I could just feel that it was not as unified as RSM. I was really feeling like an outsider, and I missed feeling like I had real friends here. And I was having a hard time loving both the members and investigators, which was so odd for me. I was praying about that the last few weeks, and finally just asked to be able to have the love He has for them, and the next lesson we had I just felt so much love for that person. The zone now is a lot better, and we are pretty much as close as RSM was, and I have felt a lot better about it. They really feel like my family now.

Also, something funny. At the Gladys Knight thing, we were standing in line, and I suddenly saw these two missionaries walking past, and it’s Michael Francis who I trained at the carwash!!! I was like “Elder Francis?!” and we freaked out a little. I was lucky I saw him first, because he was so shocked that he blurted out my first name! :) It was pretty funny! I think he got to come, since he is in the Orange YSA, and they cover Irvine, even though it’s out of their mission. Anyway, that was pretty hilarious!

Sister Shober was asked to play the piano for the elders in the YSA in sacrament meeting and then to sing a song there. She was also asked to play for a baptism service, and there are a few other songs she’s involved with coming up, so every spare moment we had this week were spent practicing. Sunday was even more crazy than usual, with the musical numbers for YSA, and right after church we had to run to the baptism, then right after that we met with the zone to practice another song. Crazy.

This week was good though. The Gladys Knight Devotional was awesome. She’s super chill and it was just so good. We’re still waiting to see the results, but people really liked it!

We got to go the temple on Friday. It was awesome, but crazy, because we went to the later Gladys Knight devotional, and didn’t get back to the apartment until 12:00. That was weird enough, being out that far past curfew! President Orgill knew, so it was fine :) But we had to get up and leave for the temple the next morning, and we were so tired! But it was awesome. I love being there!

Sister W.

Beautiful flower picture she took.


Her zone at the temple…love seeing her happy and loving her mission!

Mission Temple Trip

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week 29

Jun 20, 2016 by

Oh my goodness, I have fallen so far off the blogging wagon, I don’t know if I can get back on, but I am going to try hard to get back into the swing of things. I have two months of Blythe’s letters to post, plus a gazillion stories from our lives to share, craziness! Goal for the week, get Blythe’s mission posts caught up!

This letter was only the second one we have received so far with sad news and hard times. She didn’t mention it in this letter, but also got really sick this week and spent hours puking on one of the days she wasn’t with her companion and that was super hard as well.

On Saturday I hit 7 months! Oh my HEAVENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This week was crazy and a bit rough. I have only spent 34 hours in my area, including sleeping, meal breaks, and weekly planning. I have only slept in my bed twice in seven days. Sisters’ Shober and Whimmer have had a ton of STL (Sister Training Leader) stuff and have had to meet up every day to plan for meetings we had and to go on exchanges with the other sisters, so I have spent pretty much every day with Sister Whimmer’s companion in their area.

It was a little sad because I missed being able to take Sarah to the temple grounds and didn’t get to teach our new golden investigator we got from the Los Alisos Elders, who already has a baptism date. She is dating the less active son of a bishop in the stake. They were able to have him at a lesson with the family and her – it was great. Sarah is doing awesome. I think she’s in 3 Nephi and loves it! She is learning so much, it’s seriously like teaching a member. She is recognizing the pride cycle for herself and talked about the eternal perspective she’s gained before we could even say it. She is amazing. I’m just glad to be able to be able to see her grow. She has such faith, and she talks about how all the temptations she used to have are just gone. She has no desire for them and they have no hold on her. She has truly given her heart to God.

By the end of the week I was feeling pretty beat. My spirit was just dragging, having not been able to be in my area, and not being able to do much real missionary work. On Saturday I got very low. I was so tired and I didn’t get to go back to my area until late that night. That night I was very discouraged and I sat on the floor of our room for a very long time after the lights were out. I had been really struggling getting up and going, especially since I was so discouraged. I prayed to God, asking Him to remove that exhaustion so that I could do what I needed to do. I didn’t have any crazy spiritual experience, but after I sat there for a long time and prayed, and I got back in bed, I felt the burdens ease, and I felt more able to continue. The next morning I was able to get up just fine, and felt better than I have for a long time.

This week promises to be awesome! We don’t have to go on exchanges, we get to go to the temple, and we’re having Gladys Knight and the Saints Unified Voices coming to the mission! For those who don’t know (’cause I sure didn’t) Gladys Knight, the singer, was baptized into the church several years back, and she has a choir, and they come to missions/stakes that invite them, and it is an incredible missionary tool. They will rock out, and it’s gonna be a little weird, because it’s in the stake center, but from what we hear, it is an incredibly spiritual experience. They carefully track every ticket and everyone who attends will receive a gift bag, with a Book of Mormon and Restoration video. There will be tons of self referrals and on average it will bring 24 new investigators to each companionship. It’s gonna be awesome!

Love you!
Sister W.

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end of may?????

May 31, 2016 by

What the cow? How can it be the end of May? How can it be six weeks since I have posted? Life is crazy, that’s how.

My post-cessation started at the same time baseball season began. We have never done organized sports for our kiddos. They just didn’t fit into our family culture of lots of time together, evenings spent snuggled up around a great family read-aloud, freedom to go where we want, when we want. We have never been willing to dedicate that much of our family time to a sport. Until now. I knew in my heart of hearts that Fisher needed to know that his desire to play on a baseball team was heard and important. He needed to know we were willing to make the sacrifices required. He needed to know dreams are worth having and sometimes come true. He needed the experience of having a coach. He needed to work hard and see his progress and be part of a team.

He needed it.

So we did it. (Thirty minutes before tryouts began, we decided to do it.)

And it has completely taken over our lives four nights a week for the last seven weeks.

I honestly don’t know how families function with this kind of schedule. It is impossible to eat together, have stories, conversation, and the magical kind of evenings that feed souls. Hats off to those who have figured it out. After nearly two months of this craziness, the only things I have figured out is how to have a well-stocked food supply with us at all times and the importance of blankets and chairs. I have no idea how to have dinner together, read together, or play games in the evenings with this kind of crazy.

Tonight was his last game of the regular season and his tournament starts on Thursday. It was amazing to see how much he has improved. Over the course of the season, he “graduated” from playing in the outfield half the game and sitting on the bench half the game to playing 3rd base the whole game. He went from striking out the first many times he was at bat to getting good hits consistently. He went from the shy boy on the outskirts to an integral part of the team. He loves his coach. His coach loves him. He gets along well with his teammates and they cheer him on. I am so proud of his courage to jump in and join a league of kids who have been playing for years. I am proud of him for sticking with it. I am proud of him for continuing to give it his best even when it was super hard. What a great kid!




Since I last blogged, we had a fantabulous trip down to Hale Centre Theatre to see Peter and the Starcatchers. I organized the trip for eighty youth and adults and we had a blast experiencing the “big city” and seeing the amazing production.


Love this picture of Kez and Sky



Meeting Elder Rasband at City Creek!


Two days later we celebrated Passover with our annual Seder with my Liberty Girls group, their mamas, and a few other friends.

And two very short days later brought another trip to Salt Lake City to see an orthopedic hand specialist at TOSH where a nifty splint was custom-molded for my hand/wrist.


Then the last day of iFamily, the Math Alive Catapult Contest, Keziah’s Supreme Court Simulation and Oral Exams, and the end-of-year Showcase topped off that last week of April. Just a wee bit crazy when I consider how much we packed into one week.



Next came my birthday. I looooove my birthday. This year the celebration was small and short with just a quick double date with Jessica and our husbands. I just wasn’t up to a putting much energy into it.

A couple of weeks later we started a remodel of our 1970 camper. It started out in my mind as small, but now I can see I was completely delusional that it could have even been small. The goal was to get rid of the useless appliances and replace them with useable storage space. We have put hundreds of hours into and we still have so many hours left…and no time left to do it in. Swim Camp is in just a few short days. The after-midnight hours (Richard can only work on it after work and after baseball, which is often not done until after 9:00 at night) are taking its toll on all of us, especially Richard and Keziah since they are the ones doing most of the work. Tami ripped out the stove, oven, sink, fridge, and ugly cabinetry holding them all. Several of my friends started us off with teaching me how to paint and doing most of the primer coat (thanks Liz, Jada, and Jennifer!). Our friend, Dallin, has also saved the day several times by coming over and putting in 10+ hour days (that kid has painted, laid the fake vinyl tile, soldered off the unneeded gas line, redirected the needed gas line, rewired the lights, patched holes, removed the water lines, repaired a gazillion broken things, and been a creative problem-solver we desperately needed). We are trying to do this on a $300 budget and while it might not look pretty at the end, it will be better than it was.




We also had Homeschool Prom and a big two-day Holistic Health Conference in the middle of the month.

Smart girls wearing Converse instead of heels.


Off-To-Neverland theme full of Peter and Pirates and Lost Boys.




Love these girls so stinkin’ much! They had a big get-ready-for-prom-party at Liz’s and had a blast snacking, laughing, curling, and spraying.


And I got a perm.

So I can do my hair with my one working hand.

Not because it is cute.

Although there are some days it actually turns out cute.

There are also gobs of the other days, the not-cute days.

On Mother’s Day we were able to FaceTime with our missionary! Glorious! She sang to us with her ukulele and filled us right up with the Spirit and heaps of love.


Last week I went to Mexico to get more stem cell treatments. It was a rough trip with 31 injections, food poisoning, oodles of pain and misery, and a long, long drive home. I have spent the last two days in bed recovering and now finally today am back on my feet and starting the arduous process of laundry, packing, and shopping that has to happen before Swim Camp (not to mention finishing the camper remodel!).


Sorry for the long dry spell. I will try to get on top of regular posting soon.

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four weeks with this crazy, dislocating pile of bones

Apr 16, 2016 by

Four weeks ago I did a little baby cartwheel called a monkey jump at gym. It is just a little hop with your feet while your hands are on the ground. A small child didn’t understand what I was asking him to do, so after explaining it multiple times I finally did one. I never thought it would hurt me. And certainly never imagined it would cause the big mess I am in now. All I was thinking about was how this precious child couldn’t understand what I was saying and the only way to help him understand was to show him.

My hand isn’t getting any better. At all. The bones will not stay in place. I am having an MRI on Monday to look for torn ligaments. They are probably not torn as my ligaments don’t normally tear, they normally stretch for a gazillion miles and lay there limp and weak not holding bones where they need to be.

Right now Jeremy has it taped up with about 12 layers of criss-crossing tape.


Then I wear my hand brace on top of all those tape layers. With all the tape and bracing, I can barely move it. Do you see the lasso-type tape around my ring finger? It is to hold that bone up. There are four layers of tape there and it is still sagging. Do you see that?

I am under strict orders to not use my hand for anything. It is nearly impossible, but I am trying. Really trying. I need a How-To guide on how to function without your dominant hand. I cannot figure out how to get contacts in and out. How to brush my teeth. How to wipe. My left hand is not competent at doing any of those things, so even if I go the whole day not using my right hand, I still can’t figure out how to not do those things.

Once the MRI results come back, we will decide how to proceed. Jeremy and I both think I need a hard cast to completely immobilize my hand. Knowing I need it and being happy about the prospect of being in a hard cast for the entire summer are two very different things. I am still holding on to my kayaking dreams for this year, but am coming face to face with the reality that I may not be able to paddle for many months to come.

ARGH. The heartache is nearly more than I can bear. I love being on the water, gliding across the lake or coasting down a river. It is close to the feeling I have cycling and the only outdoor activity my body can handle. So I am not giving it up yet. I am hoping and praying and dreaming of miraculous healing while at the same time trying to open my heart to accepting this new injury and the ramifications it is handing me.

Writing is what I miss most. I feel like part of my brain is gone because I can’t write anything down. I can’t take notes on the books I am reading or write in my bullet journal or attend a lecture and record what I am learning. It is painful to my writing-loving soul. An integral part of my life has been removed and while it may seem like a small thing, it feels huge to me. Writing with pen in hand is a very different experience for me than typing or speaking into an electronic device.

We are slowly figuring out how to function without mom’s right hand and my left hand is getting slightly more competent at household tasks. We will figure this out, I am sure. In the meantime, I will be sporting lots of ponytails and glasses.

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week 28

Apr 12, 2016 by

Our missionary is teaching people how wonderful it is to know we are loved by God and saved by the atonement of Jesus Christ. Such JOY! I have been teaching about councils for the past several months in our Stake Primary training meetings and I am so happy she has started having a family council with the other sisters in her apartment.

I think this might be an activity with the Young Single Adult Ward she is serving in right now, but I’m not sure! It was posted on her Mission’s Facebook page.

Mission pic 4_11_16

Her zone went on hike for P-Day. It looks like a heavenly way to get some exercise.

Mission P-day

Mission P-day 2

Mission P-day 3

Mission P-day 4

Someone in her area had a group of missionaries over for dinner and sent us this picture along with this message, “We sure do love having Sister W. serving in our area. She gave a wonderful message tonight. I appreciate the spirit she brings into our home. And I love her sweet laugh. We laughed so much at dinner and her giggle is contagious. She is a doll.” Oh my goodness, it makes me so happy to hear good things about our girly! We love her so much and it touches my heart that other people are loving her, too!


And now her letter…

Sarah, the really golden referral we got last week, is crazy awesome! SO much more golden than we could have even guessed. We have already taught her twice and she’s been to church and General Conference. We set a baptism date, and she was already having promptings from the spirit to move it up, and fasted about a closer date to be baptized! She falls asleep reading the Book of Mormon, and is nearing the end of Alma! YES, Alma! She has started The Doctrine and Covenants and we’re taking her on a temple tour on Wednesday! She loves the Book of Mormon! She keeps telling us all of these amazing experiences she has had. She can feel the Spirit so strong. She was talking about the eternal perspective it has given her and she is recognizing very clear promptings. She has already experienced the protection of the Holy Ghost. Someone she respects was bashing on religion, and she said before it would have affected her more, but she literally felt this barrier between her and this person, protecting her from the effect of their words. She is experiencing the power of Christ’s atonement so powerfully. Some decisions that have been really hard to make in the past have become so easy as she follows God. She feels His love for her. She has had many of the same questions as Joseph Smith, such as “If Christ taught one gospel, why are there so many Christian churches?” She’s really been looking. Her insights make it seem like we’re talking to a member who has had all this knowledge their whole life. She even talked about how this doesn’t feel like new information. We talked to her about how we lived with God before we came here, that we knew His plan of happiness for his children, and how we as missionaries are just reminding people of it. It is just incredible!

Also, our roommates and the two of us have implemented that talk from general conference on Family Councils. :) We have “Family” Council every Sunday, and we have chore chart, and we do a “Family” Home Evening sometime during the week with the lesson and activity. It’s super fun!

Love you!
Sister W.

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week 27

Apr 5, 2016 by

She is teaching and preaching and loving. These are such glorious, heart-filled days for our family as we have a missionary in the field. Every Monday we are checking our email hundreds of time a day waiting for her little bit of news to arrive. Every morning and night, before each meal, and many more times a day she is prayed over. We have a whole group of loved ones serving missions right now and we pray for them and rejoice with them as they learn to be His hands and to lift others with the hope that is in Christ.

Yippee! She finally uploaded pics to her dropbox account!

Inci must have brought them more Turkish Delight. She says it is scrumptious, just like Edmund says in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.


This snake looks humongous. I need to know the story behind this picture!


Her old zone with Sister Hollenbeck.


I have no idea who these people are, but if our missionary loves them, I love them.



I think she is sad at the packing she needs to get done.


She must died from packing. She truly hates packing.


Showing us she survived and is still smiling. Gotta love someone who can pack clean suitcases with clean clothes in clean house and survive. Nothing like first-world problems, haha!


Isn’t this a darling statue?


I have no idea what she is sewing or why or whose sewing machine she is using. She is fairly competent at sewing and super competent at figuring things out, so I’m sure she solved the challenge.


With her just-transfered-out-of-their-companionship companion, Sister Christensen.


We had some pretty awesome stuff happen this week! On Thursday Brother Greiner, who is one of the institute instructors for the YSA, called me into his office, and gave us an amazing referral. I guess there was a guy who used to go to institute and he has a friend named Sarah. He gave her a Book of Mormon and she read it. While she was reading in the account of Lehi’s dream, she had a very strong impression from the spirit that she needed to be baptized into this church. She called Brother Greiner and asked him what she should do. He was teaching mission prep that night, and invited her to come. She did and they read Mosiah 18:8-10; “…as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light… and comfort those who stand in need of comfort, and to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places… that ye may have eternal life…. what have ye against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him?” (Brother Greiner is very bold.) He asked her right there if this was the desire of her heart and if she was willing to bear others burdens and take upon her the name of Christ, and she said yes!
We were freaking out! She came and watched General Conference on Saturday! On Suday she wasn’t able to come to the house where we were watching it (with the YSA elders and a bunch of the YSA members), so she watched it on her computer. She said she loved it! We are meeting with her on Wednesday.

We also had wonderful lesson last night with a family. They have a niece who is a convert and is now going on a mission. Their daughter has been to Girls’ Camp with their niece. They said that if they were to be baptized they would want to commit to it fully, and really put forth the effort to gain a testimony, and pretty much be all in, and we were just like YES! That’s how it should be! We taught them the Restoration, and talked about modern prophets, and Thomas S. Monson, which was so cool, since we’d just been watching him speak. When we told them about the First Vision I felt the Spirit so strong. It was like my chest was filled with fire. And it didn’t leave for the rest of the lesson. I knew it was true. Even writing this brings a part of that feeling back into my heart.

I had a blessing from my zone leader several days ago. It was wonderful and one of the longest blessings I’ve had. It was all about how God was pleased with my efforts and that He was proud of me and was with me. At the end of the blessing he said that there were many ministering angels around me, seen and unseen, many of who were my ancestors. Then he said he was especially impressed to tell me that my grandma was with me, watching over me. It was
really cool.

Love you all,
Sister W.

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my hand is a mess

Apr 4, 2016 by

So my hand is hurt. Not a little hurt, really hurt. It has taken me some time to come to that realization, but this weekend I finally let the truth enter my mind.

At each of my put-my-hand-back-together appointments, Jeremy has told me it is a big, fat mess and is going to take months to heal. I heard his words, but kept thinking it couldn’t be THAT bad and we would just keep putting it back together for a few weeks and then it would be all better.

(I know. I know. I am delusional.)

At times the pain has been intense, at other times, just a throbbing ache. When it is a throbbing ache, I am able to convince myself that this is not a big deal and will be over soon. When it is a shooting pain that brings tears to my eyes, I seriously wonder if I will ever be able to use my hand again. Well, the past few days there has been a lot of the shooting, help-me-not-scream pain and it has got me remembering when my foot had 13 bones dislocated in February 2014. I read all of the posts about that injury and remembered the pain. Remembered the hopelessness. Remembered the sheer courage it took to get through that injury. Remembered how incredibly long it took for those bones to stay in place again.

And then I realized, this hand injury is just like that foot injury. It IS going to take a long time to heal. It might not ever be back to 100%. It is a big deal and I need to face that so I can muster up the courage and skills to give my hand the best shot at healing. It is time for daily BF&C applications, using my Patches essential oil, resting it as much as possible, and clinging to hope.

I really don’t know how to not use my hand. My wrist has been injured since October 30 and I had to start learning how to not use it back then, but this is far worse and I haven’t figured out how to adjust to its new needs. Maybe I need to put it in a sling? Maybe it needs a different type of brace? Maybe I need a new brain, haha!

There are moments when I nearly think amputation would be better than dealing with the pain. Then there are moments I think it isn’t really a big deal at all. I’m pretty sure somewhere in the middle would be the better choice.

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the great bike challenge

Apr 4, 2016 by

Today is the beginning of The Great Bike Challenge. WAHOO! Who can ride the most miles in a week, Keziah or Richard? Kez certainly has more time, but Richard is pretty determined to beat her.

This all started back in September when Keziah’s knee injury from running became excruciating. At that point she decided to quit cross-country, stop running all together, buy a bike, and start riding. She rode until it got too cold outside. Then Richard started his get-his-life-back plan in January and has lost 30 lbs in the past 13 weeks! As the pounds came off, he decided he really wanted to start cycling again.

Sidebar: When we were first married, we sold his car and bought bikes to ride all over Boise, a town made for cyclists. We had a blast. After a few years, due to crazy work hours, I was the only one riding on a regular basis. When Blythe was little, I pulled her in a bike trailer all over the place. In the evenings, I would go for my longer rides. Then after Fisher’s birth and the pelvic damage from the car accident that week, I could no longer sit on an upright bike and started recumbent riding a super-fast high racer. Boy howdy, could that bike fly. I would go out for a 20 mile ride and be back home before they even missed me. I haven’t ridden my bike since the fall of 2010. I can’t bring myself to sell it because I have great hope I will ride it again. I miss cycling more than I can express. It is my place of meditation and revelation…not to mention kick-butt fun.

So now they are in a friendly (and maybe fierce?) competition. Whoever wins gets to choose a treat and the loser runner-up gets to pay for it. A weekly date, gobs of exercise, and cycling in the sunshine is a win-win for both of them. I am tickled pink that even thought I can’t ride my bike, my love of cycling is permeating our family culture.

Super fun!

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Mar 31, 2016 by

It has been awhile since we have had new chicks at our home. They are a lot of work and we haven’t had enough gumption to put in the work the past few years since Fisher’s chicks were all attacked by a fox the summer of 2013. I think losing those 20+ birds took the oomph right out of us. Last year we adopted a flock of adult hens and have been enjoying the brown eggs and rich yolks, but none of us wanted to take on chicks again.

Until today.

A friend sent out an email that they had too many chicks at her husband’s business and were giving them away for free. I asked Richard if he wanted chicks and to my great surprise he said “YES!”

Tonight has been a mad dash of getting things set up for the little fluff balls. After years of getting chicks every year, you would think we would be pros at the whole thing, but we are out of practice, and certainly didn’t know where all our chick supplies were. Richard, the ever handy one, saved us all with his chick skills and got their new home with heat, food, and water set up in no time.

Aren’t they adorable?


And the joy a little chick brings? Oh my, it is magical how my children’s eyes have sparkled tonight. Don’t we all need a bit more magic in our lives?

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week 26

Mar 31, 2016 by

This week was Easter and I missed serving my girly Creamed Eggs and talking about the atonement and resurrection of Christ with her. We have always had the best, deep-discussions and I so miss hearing her passionate articulations. But I am tickled that she was able to share her deep thoughts and vibrant testimony of Jesus Christ with the people she is teaching in California. She STILL has not sent any more pictures to us, but on Sunday evening a member in her area texted me this picture of a group of missionaries sharing an Easter message, so at least I got to see her face. She is in the green skirt and her new companion, Sister Shober, is next to her in the yellow skirt.


So my new companion is Sister Shober. She’s super cool and chill and I’m super excited! She’s my first companion who has been out longer than me, (other than my trainer), which is just crazy! It wasn’t a problem to have such new companions, but it is nice to have her experience.

We actually caught Alberto at home on Saturday! We didn’t get to teach them, but he said that will probably be available later in the week. He still wants to hear the lessons. I was just super excited to actually see him, and not the grandma who doesn’t speak English. I think she was getting tired of us. :)

Also, last Sunday this Chinese family just walked into church, and Ben (our Ward Mission Leader) speaks Chinese! They taught them this week, and they liked church, and I think they’re going to be baptized! He is also working with another Chinese family who recently moved here and they are really interested. They are super cute and the mom came to the General Women’s Meeting Broadcast with her daughter and really liked it.

Other than that I don’t have a lot to report, but HAPPY EASTER! We have been talking about the atonement a ton and it has been really cool to be so focused on it. My ponderizing/Easter scripture is Isaiah 53:3-5.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Love you!
Sister W.

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week 25

Mar 31, 2016 by

This letter was from Blythe’s last week with Sister Christensen. She is really going to miss serving with her. Here is a picture of the sisters in their zone (at least that is what I think this group is!). Her “hang loose” hand signs crack me up. Nearly every picture we get has her hands in some variation of it.



Sister Christensen is being transferred. :( She actually is going back to my old zone, though not my area. I’m so jealous! This zone is nice and our zone leader is awesome, but it’s not like my old zone. That zone was crazy, but they are the closest knit zone I know. I’ve felt a little lonely in my current zone and now I won’t even have my companion. It’ll be fine, though. I’m getting Sister Shober. I pretty much don’t know her at all, but our roommates do and say she’s pretty cool.

Sister Christensen sort of felt like she was going to be transferred so she decided we were going to “give everything” this week. It’s been awesome! We’ve been trying pretty hard to “wear out our lives in the service of God.” On Friday, when we were supposed to have weekly planning, we had like 6 of the members of the YSA ward that needed us to come and help them. They are all kind of having their own crazy stuff going on and it was great to be able to help them. We literally drove from appointment to appointment all that day and our dinner cancelled on us which turned out for the better since we really didn’t have time for it. We did not take a break for lunch or dinner and just ate something quickly as we drove to the next thing. I wasn’t freaking out or anything, but it put us under enough stress that the next day I discovered that I had pulled a muscle in my neck from tension. Let’s just say we didn’t have weekly planning that day. Like, at all.

We were able to “tract” into Matt’s door. He’s been too afraid to tell his parents that he wants to be baptized or even that he’s taking the lessons. He’s an adult and doesn’t need permission, but he’s still really worried about it. So we planned a meeting out with him so we could meet his mom and he’d have a less intimidating way to bring us up. She asked him a few questions afterward which was really the point.

We had a tour of the temple grounds with Sydney and she really liked it. It was super cool.

We did get an investigator to church yesterday. She’s Hindu, and I don’t know how much she understood, but we tried to explain what the sacrament represented, and she had a few questions afterward.

There was this super awesome guy we met this week. His name is Mohammad and he’s from Sudan. He’s super cool and might want to come to some of the activities. Also, there’s this girl who hasn’t been able to come to church for a long time because she has been fighting depression and it was hard for her to be there with a lot of people. She’s been working herself up to being able to handle it. Sister missionaries have been meeting with her every week for two years. This week we had an awesome lesson with her and she said she thought she could handle coming on Sunday and she knew that being able to be there would help her so much. On Sunday she came! We were so excited for her!

One of our most promising investigators may possibly have dropped us. She sent a sort of odd text and we asked her if she still wanted to meet with us and she didn’t respond. We’re still hoping though. She really seemed to love what she was learning and said how much it helped her. I’m sure she felt the Spirit. We’ve had some amazing lessons with her. So that was tough.

I’m nervous for this new transfer. Being split between the two wards means that I really don’t know people that well and that makes it a lot tougher to work with the members. At the same time, I’m sure it will turn out alright.

Love you all!
Sister W.

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week 24

Mar 31, 2016 by

Sorry for the delay in posting her letters lately! I injured my hand and my computer usage is really limited because I can’t use my hand without heaps of pain. March 16 marks 6 months of our missionary serving. I feel just as shocked as she does. It is so hard to believe that the thing she has been preparing for her whole life is now a third of the way over. We were sent some pictures of her zone this week. She is on the far right side and her companion is in the middle with the black skirt and curly blond hair. Those two have nearly identical hair!


In one very short day I will be at my 1/3 mark. That is completely, totally and in all other ways inconceivable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have not yet been able to meet with Alberto and Andre, despite our best efforts. I’m beginning to see that us finding them together at home, at the same time, was a miracle in and of itself. They still really want to meet with us, but Alberto is traveling constantly and we’ve had a hard time keeping in contact. That has been one of the biggest struggles of this mission is that people are always busy, running around constantly. They are just too busy all the time. We would appreciate your prayers that we will be able to meet with them.

We taught Glyna the Restoration lesson this last Friday. We brought a member with us who happened to know her daughter who passed away and they were able to connect really well. She’s been texting about how she feels really comfortable talking to us about everything especially the loss of her daughter. She really hasn’t had anyone to talk to about it, especially about God in all of this, and she says that it’s really helping her. Brother Chamberlin was able to help in the lesson so much. It changes everything to have a member there. The Spirit was really strong.

We also had a lesson with a guy named Jo, who we met on campus. Most of the time people we contact there will set up a time to meet with us, then never show up, but he actually came! We had twin sisters there who just returned from their missions and it was amazing. We taught him the Restoration, too. We’re meeting with him again this week. It was a really powerful lesson and I really felt the Spirit.

This week we taught Sydney about the power of the Priesthood. She just loved it! Part way through the lesson her eyes just got really big, and she was like “Whoa, this is so cool!” and we’re like “Yeah!” :) She thinks it’s so cool how a blessing is a message just for you from God. She is just so enthusiastic. It’s awesome!

Love you all!
Sister W.

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sacred days

Mar 28, 2016 by

Joy of joys and heartwrenching pain all at the same time. This holy week has combined so many sacred events, celebrations, and memories into eight short days. Palm Sunday, Gethsemane, the crucifixion, and resurrection of our Savior, combined this year with Purim, the celebration of the deliverance of the Jews from wicked Haman, the 4th anniversary of my priesthood blessing in which I was asked to find my ancestors and do their temple work, a big sealing session at the temple to commemorate, and our annual spring family reunion. On top of all these absolutely tender and wonderful celebrations has been a lot of worry and heartache for family members who are in a world of pain and sorrow right now. Finally on Sunday evening, our ward (church congregation) boundaries were changed and many of our dearest friends will no longer be attending church with us.

What a week of tears and laughter and rejoicing and prayers. There really are no words to describe it all. But I want to remember.

  • Sharing the events the last days of Christ’s life on earth with our children.
  • Making Purim cookies with my darling, little Liberty Girls
  • Spending most of Wednesday crying in pain…pain in my injured hand and pain in my hurting heart for my family members.
  • Spending several hours in the temple on Wednesday evening with twenty of my dear friends performing sealings for my ancestors. Oh my goodness, the tears of absolute joy! My hand was wrapped up in ice packs the whole time and many mishaps happened, but by the end of the night we were able to seal 112 children and 40 couples. Joy of joys!
  • The joy of cousins playing in the snow for hours on end.
  • Spending three days with my husband – such a rare and wonderful event!
  • Attending Easter services and drinking in the miracle of the resurrection of our Lord.
  • Having a special family gathering where Richard’s dad shared his tenderest thoughts about the Savior, family, covenants, the atonement, and the resurrection.
  • Hearing his mom pray with her whole soul. And praying for our Blythe. Oh, my the tears.
  • My little Fisher talking about repentance.
  • My little Annesley talking about returning to live with Heavenly Father.
  • Holding Richard’s hand while we all cried over the beauty and majesty of Easter and the hope it fills our souls with.
  • Attending the meeting that changed our ward dramatically and crying my eyes out over all the people we will miss so dearly.

Sacred days and tender feelings. Because He lives, I can live again. Because He lives, I can love deeply and permanently. Because He lives, I have hope and answers and peace. Because He lives is everything. Hallelujah!

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a little catch-up

Mar 21, 2016 by

I am pretty much failing at blogging. We are in a busy season of homeschooling with Fisher and Annesley and my wrist has been hurt since the end of October and I don’t have the energy to compose my thoughts, and, and, AND. These are the excuses I tell myself when days and weeks go by without me sharing anything of substance.

Who knows what the truth is? It is probably a combination of all of the above and a gazillion other things. But I want to write more and share more and chronicle more and inspire more. Mostly so I can remember these wild days of family living when these days are long past. So, here is a little catch-up.

We (Fisher, Annes, Papa sit and listen while I read with all the voices I can muster up) have been reading The Chronicles of Narnia this year. It is the balm of Gilead my soul has needed. There have been numerous spiritual answers I have received as we have vicariously experienced Aslan’s love, wisdom, mercy, and strength. I didn’t think we should take the time to read them AGAIN when they are so much a part of our family culture, but when the Spirit spoke to me clearly back in November and told me they should be our next read-aloud, I listened and obeyed. And now I can see why. We all needed to come face-to-face with the atonement of Jesus Christ. We will be finishing up Prince Caspian this week…oh, the beauty of this story!

We celebrated Richard’s birthday at the beginning of the month by going out to dinner at Sizzler with some gift cards we were given for Christmas. Our two youngest had never been there and it was super fun to take them and let them go to the buffet bar as many times as they wanted. We don’t normally do things like that so it was a real treat!

Our dear missionary has been serving for 6 months. SIX MONTHS. Oh my goodness, it is flying by so fast. We love getting her letters and feel like a small part of a great effort to take Christ’s love and truth to the world.

Liberty Girls is in full swing though I haven’t posted a single thing about it this semester! We are reading All Of A Kind Family this semester and learning about Jewish culture, friendship, how to be part of a family, and doing all sorts of fun projects. Maybe I will work up enough energy to write a whole post about our adventures.

I hurt my hand on Friday at gym. We thought it was broken, but x-rays didn’t show a break, so now we don’t know what is wrong. It feels broken and there are moments it hurts so bad I think I might vomit from the pain. Then there are moments it doesn’t hurt much at all and I convince myself it is totally fine. The 4th metacarpal is sunk down and super tender to the touch. When I woke up today the pain was radiating clear up to my elbow. At this point, I am laying my hope on Jeremy’s mad skills to fix it. The doctor didn’t know why it is so deformed looking and told me if it is still hurting in a week to come back and get in with a hand specialist. CRAZY.


The weather is warming up and it has turned my thoughts to kayaking and camping. Hours upon hours have been spent designing a kayaking trailer for my husband to build on our old-as-the-hills boat trailer. I am SO hoping he can bring my dreams to reality. We need to be able to transport all our camping gear (about 5′ x 10′ x 2′ worth of space), bikes, and six kayaks AND I want it to look good without rust, dangling electrical wires for the lights, rotting wood. That is the tricky part.

This week we are celebrating Holy Week with activities and discussion for each day of the last week of Christ’s life. Richard and I are also going to the temple to do sealings for my ancestors. What a glorious time of year!

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week 23

Mar 8, 2016 by

Still no pictures. Bah-humbug! She keeps promising to send some, but she must be too busy to send them to us! Her ARGH at the beginning of her letter is because she is sad her time on her mission is going so fast. She wants it to last forever. We are about one week from her 6 month mark. I am hoping she doesn’t really notice the date come and go because she will realize she is 1/3 of the way done and be sad.

Argh!!!!!!!!!! It’s already March!!!

OK, so some cool things that happened this week. Do you remember Andre and Alberto who I briefly talked about last week because we got a call in the middle of email time last Monday? Now we’ve been in contact with Bishop Hunter and he told us the same story that our ward mission leader told us. Alberto says they had an amazing experience when we tracted into them. We honestly didn’t do anything and didn’t really teach them anything, but Alberto said it was one of the most spiritual experiences they’d ever had. I think that’s where the “It’s not about you” comes in, because we could not have given them that experience, especially without even teaching them anything, but the spirit touched their hearts and they recognized it. The son of the Bishop who contacted us is on Andre’s soccer team and had been a really good influence on this family, especially Andre. The Bishop’s son doesn’t play on Sunday, and when the team tries to convince him to, he tells them about his beliefs and why he doesn’t do that. He has invited them to church and to read the Book of Mormon. Because he’s been such a good example they have been prepared for the gospel.

We also taught a lady the Plan of Salvation and she got all excited and is arranging it so we can come when her kids will be there. She’s had a lot of death in the family and they’ve all really been struggling with it.

We taught Sydney last week about fasting, then had a special fast with her and several ward members for her mom’s heart to be softened so she can get baptized. She was so happy to be fasting and thanked us for teaching her about it. She’s wanted to fast for a long time. She was so excited, and said she wasn’t even hungry. We also taught her about temples, and she just lit up. She says she’s always wanted to go the temple. She is pumped to go visit the temple! It is amazing!

Sister W.

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how i love them

Mar 1, 2016 by

Last night in the middle of an ordinary moment, time slowed down and all of a sudden my entire being swelled with love for these people God has given me. I saw them with new eyes and a new heart and could not believe they are mine. Oh, how I love them!

For our weekly Family Home Evening we went swimming with a few other families. I was too sore and feeling too fragile to get in the water, so I watched the splashing and front-flipping (new skill for Annes off the diving board!) and diving from the sidelines. Afterwards we stopped at the grocery store to grab some essentials for the week. Shopping all together is a pretty rare occurence and it was so fun, I decided we should definitely do it more often. Everyone put in their two-cents over which fruits and veggies to buy (Annesley begged for mangos and who can resist a cute little cherub begging for produce?) and we sent kids all over the store to find items and bring them back to the cart. On one of these runs, everyone ended up together and were walking towards me at the same time laughing and joking as they approached.

Time stood still. The light bounced off their faces and I fell in love with them all over again. These people mean everything to me. And sometimes, I forget. I forget how great my privilege is to love them. In the midst of living, I forget to look into their souls and connect.

So last night was a gift. For a brief moment I saw them as He sees them.

And I remembered.

Here they are all in all their delightful silliness over the past few months.

These two love to take selfies (dualies?) together. May it be recorded that Fisher kissed his sister.


Meditating with a plunger? She left me a whole string of plunger pictures on my camera.


Sledding down our road on Annesley’s birthday.


More sledding.


First day of snowboarding. Oh, my goodness, they LOVE snowboarding.


Decorating the Christmas Tree.


Dancing in front of the Provo City Center Temple on President’s Day.


All of us (minus Blythe, of course!) in front of the temple.


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week 22

Feb 29, 2016 by

Boohoo for us…she promised pictures and still no dice. But lucky for us, a stranger in California took a picture of her this week and sent it to us! She must be working so hard she simply doesn’t have time to take pictures, upload pictures, or send lengthy emails!


Haha, yeah. Ok, This is gonna be the fastest weekly email ever!

This week has been crazy. We basically had zero time in our area this whole week until Friday. Tuesday was full of meetings and an interview with President Orgill which was so wonderful! I just love that man! He is just wonderful and it came just when I needed it.
Wednesday we were on campus contacting for the institute lunch class, then we had temple tours which took most of the day. Thursday I was on exchanges and met a newly YSA aged girl who is trying to decide whether to come back to church. We had a really great visit and she really opened up to us. Also, we saw a recent convert who is 90-something and we taught her the new member lesson for the Plan of Salvation. She just kept saying how beautiful it all was and I nearly cried when she said the closing prayer. I could feel God’s warm approval of her making this step and how proud He was of her.

We began working with 3 new investigators this week, and had several really great lessons with our current investigators.

Just while we were sitting here emailing we got a call from our Ward Mission Leader. The boy, Andre, and his family, that we tracted into last week, apparently knows a bishop from another ward, and his son has been a really good example to Andre. I guess that Alberto, the dad, told that bishop that when we stopped by that they felt the spirit so strong and all want to learn more. We were shocked because all we did was talk to them for about 5 minutes and gave them a Restoration pamphlet, and left, but I guess they had a huge spiritual experience. Will update next week.

Love you!!!
Sister W.

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week 21

Feb 28, 2016 by

Last week I got Blythe’s letter after I was already on my way to Mexico, so I wasn’t able to post it. Then when I got home, I forgot! Sorry for the delay! Once again, no pictures! And a super short, fast email. I keep asking her to write more, but she says she doesn’t have enough time and has to type her thoughts as fast as she can.

I am absolutely astonished that it is already 4 weeks into this transfer, but it just keeps going super quickly.

This week has been amazing. We tracted into two new investigators who just let us in right there and we taught them the first lesson and they want us to come back. One family is from Syria and one was a young lady who is Indian. We also tracted into a guy who wants us to come teach his son, who happened to have been to church before with someone from our ward.

We had an amazing lesson with the investigator (that I believe I told you about last week) who was having a problem with black people and the priesthood. We took him to our Institute teacher who is just plain awesome. Brother Griener had a whole lesson just on that subject and went through how it’s God’s power and He chooses when and who to bestow it on. He taught how it’s been restricted through history, first to the Levites, then to only Israelites, and so on, and how each time the priesthood was extended to anyone it came by revelation, and went through that revelation in 1978. He also really brought it down to the basics, that it’s all based on our beliefs in prophets and revelation, and the Book of Mormon, and how it is either true or it’s not, and that he has to find out for himself. Derrik, the investigator, IS more interested than ever in learning, and is also very interested in family history.

Love you all!
Sister W.

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stem cells

Feb 28, 2016 by

I am chock-full of courage! It probably sounds ridiculous for me to be shouting about my courage from the rooftops, but I am so grateful to God for filling me with courage and so stinkin’ proud of myself for accepting His gift that I have to shout it far and wide.

The story starts over a year ago when I went to a medical clinic in Mexico with the hope of getting stem cell injections in my knee (and other joints as well, but especially my injured knee). At that time I was told my body wasn’t ready for injections and that my nervous system needed to calm down before they could do anything in the clinic. I came home with oral stem cells to help my nervous system and a lot of disappointment that my quick “miracle cure” (HAHA!) wasn’t going to happen.

I went back in April and my nervous system had calmed down a little, so after much pleading, the doctor consented to try one stem cell injection in my knee. The results were fabulous and within a few short weeks I was in significantly less pain and had more stability in my knee. But I still wasn’t able to receive the other treatments the clinic offers and came home somewhat disappointed.

This past week was once again spent in Mexico. Before I left I was a pile of convoluted emotions: so excited to go, hopeful that perhaps I could receive stem cell injections, terrified of the pain of the injections, and scared to allow myself to get my hopes up at all. The roller coaster ride of going back and forth from one emotion to another wore me out and I spent significant time meditating and praying for several days before I left to get centered on peace and truth. It took lots of courage to choose to get off the roller coaster and go deep inside to the messages God was trying to send me.

Then when I got to the clinic, I was told I could have an IV and if it went well and I didn’t have a seizure, we would do an injection in my knee. Oh my, the excitement! And also a bit of worry about the pain. Last year’s injection into my knee was excruciating and I didn’t know if I could face the pain again. I spent over four hours receiving the IV on a very slow, careful drip in an effort to be as gentle as possible to my nervous system and I used that time to pray and ask God to be with me and take the pain from me.

HE DID! He filled me with courage and He totally made the shot doable. It was a gazillion times better than last April’s injection. Many people were praying for me back in Idaho and I could feel the power of their faith carrying me.

Since my body did so well the first day, we planned more injections for the rest of the week. In addition to the initial shot in the knee capsule, I ended up having both ankles, right wrist, LCL, my hip labrum (twice!), and both shoulders injected with stem cells as well. Before each injection I would feel some fear of the pain come into my being and I would turn to God and plead for courage. Each time I could feel Him giving it to me. It was amazing!

Injections into joint capsules without local anesthetic is painful and the hours afterward are a sore, stiff, barely moving time. But I did it. God did it. He helped me show up with enough courage to get through each injection and to get up again the next day for another round. I could feel heavenly angels attending me and am so grateful for the earthly angels that were with me holding my hand.

Now, it is time to let the stem cells do their job and get to work repairing the torn cartilage and stretched-out ligaments. I am trying to hold my hope of real, tangible healing and dreams of riding my bike in one hand while in the other facing the long, slow rebuilding of tissue and eventually muscles. My doctor told me to take things one step at a time and trust the process. I am committed to doing just that.

My heart is full to bursting with the love of so many people and my Father above who carried me through this week. If you would like to join me in prayer that these stem cells will work in repairing my connective tissue, I would be so, so grateful!

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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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the lion, the witch, & the wardrobe

Feb 19, 2016 by

On February 7 we finished the second book in our Narnia read-aloud adventure! Quite the accomplishment since I had been ill since the 23rd of January and getting my voice to squawk out a whole chapter was quite a task. My children got used to me whispering all the voices because whispering is less likely to induce a coughing fit.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is such a beautiful story of the price that must be paid to atone for the sins of another. Aslan gives his life willingly to save Edmund’s and his sacrifice both redeems and heals Edmund’s soul, just as Christ’s atonement does for each of us. The four children learn courage by serving and loving others. They learn to sacrifice their own needs for the the greater good of the kingdom. They learn the transforming power of repentance and each get to offer and receive forgiveness to and from another. Such necessary lessons for my children (and me!) to experience both vicariously through characters in a beloved book and in their own very human relationships.

I remember one of my teachers reading The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to us in elementary school. I remember the cover was super weird and I thought it was some crazy science fiction book that held nothing interesting for me. I must have completely blanked it out because I walked away from those story times hating the book and having no interest in ever reading or hearing it again. Such sadness that I didn’t take the lessons of Narnia in and allow them to give me a solid trust in God and courage to fight for what is right. And so grateful that I was able to rediscover them as a mother and share them with my children again and again.

Favorite lines this time through:

“Logic!” said the Professor half to himself. “Why don’t they teach logic at these schools? There are only three possibilities. Either your sister is telling lies, or she is mad, or she is telling the truth. You know she doesn’t tell lies and it is obvious that she is not mad. For the moment then and unless any further evidence turns up, we must assume that she is telling the truth.”

This makes me laugh so hard because I can totally hear myself saying it. The professor does not solve the challenging situation for Peter and Susan, but he helps the sort it out so they see it in a new way. I hope that is what I do for my children.

“None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don’t understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning–either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like that now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in it’s inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of Summer.”

The light of Aslan sparked something different in each of them. What does God spark in me? Right now, it is peace. Calm, loving, enveloping, hopeful peace. I remember a time when I was afraid of Him because I didn’t really know Him, but now the warmth wraps me up like a quilt right out of the dryer and the sunshine on my face. Poor Edmund, he didn’t know the love Aslan had for him.

“I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been – if you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you – you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again.”

Oh yes, I have cried those tears and the quietness at the end is just what a soul needs to process the hurricane of feelings that has just tumultuously swirled around for hours on end.

“All shall be done, but it may be harder than you think.”

God will redeem us, the demons will be driven out, the land will be made free again, but the price is great. The cost of liberty always is.

“Lucy looked and saw that Aslan had just breathed on the feet of the stone giant.

It’s all right!” shouted Aslan joyously. “Once The feet are put right, all the rest of him will follow.”

How true this is! As our feet are set upon the path of God, all the rest will follow.

“For Narnia and for Aslan!”

What are we fighting for? I want to always fight for good things…liberty, love, and learning.

“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”

Oh, how I love for that day when my Savior returns and sets the affairs of this world in order. We need Him. We long for Him. Oh, glorious day!

Reading aloud to my family is my favorite thing. During those magic moments of story, the mishaps and sorrows of the day are forgotten and connection takes their place. Right before bed, we are wrapped up in imagination, adventure, and courage, all great things to fall asleep with, me thinks.

Now it is February 19 and we are hoping to finish up The Horse and His Boy this weekend. We have six chapters left so we need to do lots of reading!

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week 20

Feb 18, 2016 by

February 16 was Sister W.’s 5 month mark! She only has 13 months left. CRAZY! It is flying by so fast for us. These past few weeks many of us have been ill and this week we are all finally feeling much better and were able to go to the Provo City Center Temple Open House. While I was inside, I kept thinking how much Blythe would love that temple if she had been with us and I remembered back to the sacred days she and I were in temple together before she left. Having children choose to make covenants with God and delight in serving him, that is some serious JOY! Still no pictures this week. Boo! Hiss! I don’t know if she is too busy to take any pictures or just too busy to upload them. Either way, I am hoping to see some pics of our girly soon.

Wow! Today is my 5 month mark. I can’t even believe it! It doesn’t feel like I’ve been out that long and it’s going way too fast. I love it. I wish I could have that extra 6 months that the Elders get!

We are still crazy busy. Planning is hard since we’re trying to get everything done in both wards. We’ve been so busy I didn’t even get to unpack for about a week because I couldn’t unpack that first night. We’re barely ever in the apartment long enough to organize and straighten up. We often don’t even go back for lunch because everyone wants to take us out for lunch.

Sunday was great! We had a broadcast from Salt Lake, so we didn’t have the usual Church block. Instead of going to all the meetings during the day and then having church for both wards, we actually got to go out and proselyte. We had four really awesome lessons just that day.
We’ve been working on getting appointments with a lot of people and should be able to see them this week.

I was also in a very awkward lesson with a recent convert this weekend. :) She didn’t seem to want us there or she felt uncomfortable but wasn’t really telling us why. Then we had a lesson with this young guy and he was asking if people were mean to us sometimes and we said yes. He asked us if that made us mad or if we got discouraged by that and was so surprised when we said no. We told him that when that happens we don’t get mad because we are trying to see people as children of God, to see them as He sees them. He couldn’t understand how we could be so forgiving of people, but it really doesn’t get to me. I’m not worried about others opinions of us.

Our zone theme this transfer is “Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.” Our district theme is based on Matthew 26:39 “‘And He went a little further…’ Will You?”

Love you!
Sister W.

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week 19

Feb 8, 2016 by

Sister W. is all settled in to her new living quarters and doing wonderfully well. We have heard from some moms in her mission that her YSA Bishopric is super fun and the ward is really active in trying to share the gospel and build relationships, so I think it will be a great experience for her.

The YSA Ward Bishopric…looks like a bunch of crazy guys!

Saddleback YSA Bishopric

Alright, so I love my new areas. Yes, multiple areas. It turns out I am covering both the YSA ward, and a family ward, and we also are temple tour sisters this transfer. My new area is bigger than my whole old zone! I cover both my old stake and this stake, so we are everywhere.

Yes, the YSA bishop is pretty hilarious. We had to leave Ward Council early to make it back to Las Flores in time, and he pulled out the scripture about not being able to serve two masters. Haha :D We’re looking for a scripture to throw back at him about God being over all, or something. :) He’s pretty great.

We are super busy. We go to all the YSA and Institute activities and classes and it’s super fun. Sundays are crazy! They usually are on your mission, but since we’re covering two wards, it’s even crazier. One ward starts at 1:00 and the other starts at 2:00. We have to go on splits every week so we can be at both, and the whole first half of the day is filled with meetings. We have zero time. We are super busy, which is good as a missionary. :) We have received several really solid referrals from members this week for people for us to teach, and we were also able to pick up a new investigator. His name is Emilliano and he’s 14. We have been stopping over there and showing him some of the Mormon messages, and he really likes them. We were able to teach him an abbreviated version of the restoration, gave him a Book of Mormon and he says his mom could possibly be interested. It’s been really cool getting to work with all these new people.

I really like my new companion. Sister Christensen is really chill, and we just go for it. It works out. Super excited to work with her.

This transfer is the first where I actually had friends going home. It was tough to say goodbye. I actually got to go the morning they were leaving because Sister Hall, the sister I replaced, was going home. So we got to drop her off and got to see everyone going home. (Sister Hall trained Sister Shumway, by the way.)

Love you!!!
Sister W.

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three in a row

Feb 7, 2016 by

This is the third Sabbath in a row I have missed church because of this ridiculous coughing/sneezing/ear infection/fever illness. After feeling much improved by Wednesday of last week, I crashed again Thursday night with fever, chills, body aches, and horrid coughs. Everytime I think I am better and start doing the normal (albeit scaled-back) duties of life, my body falls apart again and sends me back to square one on the sickness front.

I spent Friday in bed until that evening when I dragged myself out to go to Keziah’s play. Armed with cough drops, tissues, breathing oils, and my water bottle, I made it through. Saturday was the same, in bed all day until the play. Now it is Sunday and after a third day in a row in bed, I am finally feeling a wee bit better.

My mama and sister and her kiddos came to visit for the weekend so they could see the play. Even though we didn’t get to do anything fun because I was so sick, they were able to take care of me and let me sleep for hours on end.

I am really missing partaking of the sacrament and the fellowship with my ward members. Surely I will be better soon, right? I am resting, drinking gallons of water, giving my body all sorts of herbs and supplements, and while I can tell it is all helping, it is sure a slow process. I don’t think I’ve ever been sick for so long.

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week 18

Feb 2, 2016 by

Blythe is being transferred to a new area for the first time since she arrived in California back on September 29. I think she is sad to leave the many people she has come to love, but is handling it well and ready to get to work in a new area. We are hoping she was able to pack up all her stuff tonight quickly and easily. She really hates packing. So moving to a new apartment today was probably really hard for her. We are trying to put together a little Valentine’s Day package to send to her and the ideas on Pinterest are all a little WAY overwhelming to me. I think maybe a Jamba gift card will suffice!

Well, I’m leaving my area. :( On Tuesday I will be going to the Young Single Adults ward. My new companion will be Sister Christiansen. She just barely finished her training, so I am again greenie breaking. :) The YSA ward is supposed to be really awesome and conveniently I’m still covering this area because the ward boundaries are both Mission Viejo and Santa Marguerita, though I will officially be in a different zone.

Yesterday at church the bishop was gone, so it wasn’t announced in sacrament meeting that I was leaving. All throughout the day, one by one the word got around and it was announced in the classrooms, so people kept coming up to me and like “You’re leaving?!?!?!” and there were some tears. :( And hugs. This ward has become home to me.

There was a mission farewell for Luke Taylor, who’s going to Japan Negoya Mission, and his talk was wonderful. They had a lot of non-member friends there and the spirit was really strong. At the end they sang “God Be With You Till We Meet Again.” He’s up there crying and I’m down in the congregation trying not to cry, and we both have our tissues out, and I’m wondering why on earth they needed to sing that song of all songs. I always cry when they sing that song. Actually, no, I really did appreciate that song, and I love it. It was kind of cool to have that song for my last Sunday, even though it was more for Luke than me, of course.

It was cool to have everyone tell me how I have strengthened them and to see the difference I made in their lives. That was good to know that I was making a difference here. To see how much they don’t want to lose me is probably the biggest testimony that I have done some good here. I have not had baptisms, and only a very few of the less actives I’ve been working with have actually come to church, but that is not the measurement of success. I have been able to build real relationships with them, and come to love them, and that’s what really matters. I’m going to miss it, but I think this new ward will be wonderful too. The YSA wards are some of the busiest and my area will be huge. It’s going to be crazy!

By the way, there’s a house we found that is decorated like Jurassic Park with huge metal dinosaurs and the gate and everything.

Love you all.
Sister W.

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the cold that won’t quit

Jan 31, 2016 by

After a few days of getting better, I am back in bed and living in snot-city again. Okay, to be honest, the snot volume isn’t back to where it was last Sunday, but it has dramatically increased in the past 12 hours. My neck is kinked and super sore, so I am lying in bed hooked up to my TENS unit, smothered in oils, with my tissues and Miracle Salve nearby.

Annes is sick as well, waking up with a fever and sore throat, so she and I are hanging out while everyone else is at church.

This is so rare for us, I don’t know what the cow is going on. Richard has been ill…probably with walking pneumonia for nearly 2 months. I am sick and now Annes is sick as well. We hardly ever get sick and when we do, our supplements, oils, and energy work take care of it lickety-split. But this time, it is hanging on.

Last night we all went to see Keziah’s play – SO FUN! It is an adorable story and we all laughed our heads off. Well, I didn’t actually laugh. I also didn’t clap as it took far too much effort to move my arms to clap. I mostly just laid there and smiled on the inside. I was so exhausted by the time we got to the play, I could hardly move. But everyone else laughed and enjoyed themselves.

The last few days…iFamily starting, Liberty Girls Kick-Off Party for the new semester, gym on Friday, errands and the play on Saturday…kicked my butt and now I need to take a few days to rest this body and let it recover all the way from this cold.

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annes and the police station

Jan 27, 2016 by

Miss Annes is full of zest. Chock-full of curiosity, stories, creativity, enthusiasm, and is about as cute as can be. Everywhere we go people love her. Except for the few people she drives absolutely banana-cakes with her “muchness.”

Today was the first day of iFamily, our awesome homeschool group. She is in a Community Explorations class this semester where they go out to different businesses and community entities to learn about how they function and what they do to make our community great. Today was the Police Station. Annes gave a Texas-sized shout of “Hurrah” when she found out. Unbeknownst to me, she is a little over the top curious about all things police-y because of her current obsession with Adventures in Odyssey mysteries.

When she returned to iFamily I asked one of her mentors how it went and if Annesely was well-behaved. She gave me a huge laugh and said, “Annesley is the best part of my day, I love that girl! She is FULL of life!” Thrilled with that response, I asked her to tell me all about it.

She reported that on the way in to the Police Station, Annesley said, “Oh no! They won’t let me in! They have metal detectors and look at my boots!” Her mentor said she thought the little piece of metal on the end of her cowboy boots would be just fine. Annesley responded with, “Oh, are they not very sensitive?”

At some point the police officer must have been talking about roadblocks and Annesley asked if there was a robbery because why would you ever have a roadblock without a robbery?

The third comment was “Do you deal with a lot of counterfeiters?” The police officer said no, not a whole lot. Why?” Annesley said, “Well, I know all about making counterfeit money!” She actually has no idea how to make counterfeit money, but she has listened to her Adventures In Odyssey CDs about a counterfeiting ring about a hundred times since Christmas so she thinks she is pretty much an expert. However, I would hope she would be a so-called expert in catching the counterfeiters, not copying their trade.

I’m tickled she has such fun opportunities for learning and mentors that appreciate her enthusiasm for life. I just hope the good officers don’t set up some kind of sting operation to bust us for counterfeiting.

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slightly better, but still under the weather

Jan 26, 2016 by

Oh my goodness, the snot. The sneezing. The pressure in my head. iFamily starts tomorrow and I am far from ready. I am trying to pull it all together today because I am feeling significantly improved from Sunday…but significantly better still isn’t well…it is more like barely functioning instead of looking like death warmed over.

A batch of laundry done (underwear…we were all desperate for some clean underthings). The sink cleaned out. A few emails sent and Blythe’s letter posted. Children listening to audio books and drawing and cleaning out the car and cutting wood in the garage.

And I am done. Ready to go back to bed for the rest of the day.

I think I will take a little nap and then try again in a few hours. I still need to print off cover sheets for my Math Alive-EUREKA students’ notebooks, study some background information on Archimedes’ life, prepare our in-class activity, and make our Challenge of the Week sheets for each student to take home. Then the car needs to be vacuumed and filled up with gas (surely Richard will do that for me when he gets home!) and all the children’s bags need to be packed and lunch food assessed, perhaps restocked, and packed.

And I need to get better.


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week 17

Jan 26, 2016 by

We have been praying hard for our missionary this week. I know her heart has been hurting so much. It was lovely to hear from her on Monday and see that her spirits are lighter and she knows she is in God’s keeping. We were able to mail her some exercise videos this week that she can do in her apartment and she is super excited to be able to do something a little more engaging than just the push-ups, sit-ups, and other boring stuff she has been doing.

This week has been really good. My companion and have been able to work our struggles out and this last week has been great. I know it was the Lord working through us, because we, or at least I, couldn’t have done it.

Transfers are next Tuesday and we’ll get the call this weekend. I am praying so hard not to be transferred right now. Of course, I would never want to leave this area, but I really hope I can stay to help the Collins right now, because Sister Hollenbeck barely knows them since we haven’t been able to go by as much lately. But whatever happens the ward is still stepping in and helping and they’ll be alright. I was thinking of the verse that says “I have finished the work thou sent me to do” after the funeral. Leslie brought all those kids here and I believe that she has finished her work from God. I want to be able to say that when I go home that I have done all that I was called to do.

The funeral was very nice. The local Presbyterian church put it on and the room was packed. A lot of the ward members attended. It was a beautiful service, but also sad, because they don’t know about the plan of salvation and the opportunity they have to be united eternally, to be a family after this life. The three wards that have been in contact with Leslie’s family and a lot of the stake came together to put on the reception afterward and it was really good. There was the most beautiful sunset that evening too.

Random little miracle. Early last week after we’d found out about Leslie and we’d been having problems and I was having a hard time, we were contacting and I was really thirsty. I didn’t want to sound like I was complaining so I didn’t say anything for a while. Eventually I just said I was thirsty and Sister Hollenbeck said she was too. Within about a minute a water delivery truck pulled up and the guy asked if we would like some water. He gave us a bottle each, and we talked to him for a minute. He said he always tried to give the missionaries water when he saw them because he knew we walk a lot. So God really is looking out for us. :)

Sister W.

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thank heavens for puffs plus

Jan 24, 2016 by

I hardly ever get sick, but yesterday I woke up all stuffy. By evening I had a runny nose, but still felt fairly okay and was able to make it to the temple to do sealings (107 completed last night!). By the time I got home, I was wiped out and laid awake most of the night blowing my nose and reapplying Miracle Salve to my sore nostrils.

Now it is the Sabbath and I am definitely sick. Beside me on the bed is a heaping pile of used Puffs Plus tissues, Catalyn, echinacea, zinc, vitamin c, Breezy and Life Force essential oils, my water bottle, and oodles of genealogy paperwork I am trying to sort through in between sneezes. No ribs have come out of place during the sneezing, WAHOO!

I am really hoping this cold moves on out super quick. iFamily starts on Wednesday and it is Play Weekfor Keziah for the next two weeks…which means lots of long days, late nights, and tons of fun as we watch the kids we love put on great performances. I need to be all better quick as a flash!

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week 16

Jan 20, 2016 by

Our girly is hurting. She could use oodles of prayers and love. Please pray for her companion and for Leslie’s family. Please pray Blythe will know how to comfort Leslie’s family. Please pray that they will experience the peace of God and feel wrapped in His arms of love.

On another note, I apologized to Blythe this week for the many times I was angry or exasperated with her when she was a teenager. She responded with such a lovely…and grownup note of love for me. “You don’t need to apologize for anything. If I had any other mom I would have a very different life. Few other people would have adjusted so much to fit my needs and few other people are as dedicated and passionate as you. You’re awesome. I’m sorry for all of it. :) It wasn’t nearly as bad as a lot of people experience as teenagers. Love you <3" I cried happy tears. My girly has learned a lot of wisdom in the past four months.

So I have some bad news. Leslie passed away on Thursday night. In case anyone doesn’t know, she was one of our investigators. She has seven kids and has been battling cancer for two years. I am overwhelmed a little with the responsibility to help their family get through this time, but we will try our very best to support them and love them. We didn’t find out until Friday night, and I had to make the calls around to the other missionaries who had worked with them. I feel so sad for them. Friday through Sunday were really hard. I felt very unproductive, and I came to that point like where I really did feel like I was wasting my time, not because there’s not work to be done, but because we can’t seem to do it. Saturday was hard. We didn’t make a lot of visible progress and I was still thinking a lot about Leslie’s family, and it was just a bad day. It is sort of scary, because Leslie had priesthood blessings that promised healing, and they were not fulfilled in the way they expected them to be fulfilled. Now I have some understanding of it, and know that those blessings were not wasted, or even unfulfilled, but I’ve been worried how to explain all of that to them, as they probably don’t believe in priesthood power and now have reason to believe that it’s not real. But it’s been cool because as I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve been able to find other ways to teach about eternal families, like focusing on the temple. When I was thinking about the questions they might ask about why the blessings didn’t heal her, I thought about how ancient Israel was waiting for the Savior to save them from their physical enemies, but that He really came to save them spiritually and how those blessings she received were not wasted.

Cevik’s back in town, and we taught him last Sunday. When we invited him to be baptized he said they weren’t really interested in converting, but he wants to learn more and says he will read the Book of Mormon. We also gave Minoo a Farsi Book of Mormon and she says she’s been reading it.

We went to the temple on Friday Morning and I had a really sweet experience there. I was one of the last to leave the celestial room. When everyone started heading out, I was just thinking how I just didn’t want to go, that I just wanted to stay right there and feel the peace. As I was thinking this, I felt the words “I am always with you” and I knew that He would be with me, even though it was hard, and even though my companionship relationship is hard. That came at a time to prepare me for the challenges the last few days, because later that day everything started sort of falling apart. Then that night we found out about Leslie and the next day was just was hard. Sunday I was still having a hard time and I just did not want to get up early and go to meetings, which are of course earlier since church starts at 9:00 now, and we hadn’t finished progress records. But in ward council that day Brother Nielson said to put us missionaries on the prayer role. I think that is the first time that has happened and the prayer for us was exactly what I needed. I’m sure he was inspired. The day before when I’d felt so useless, I’d heard something or read something that was talking about how Heavenly Father takes us as we are and works with us so we can become better. Then in Ward Conference on Sunday they referenced the quote “Our direction is ever more important to Him than our speed.” Those things are exactly what I needed to hear at those moments.

With the last couple days of these challenges, I have had multiple witnesses that God is mindful of me in my trials and is watching over me. Thank you for your prayers and faith.

My ponderizing scripture is 1 Nephi 13:37: “And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.”

Love you all.
Sister W.

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the magician’s nephew

Jan 16, 2016 by

We started our reading of The Chronicles of Narnia on New Year’s Day and we finished last night after the children begged and pleaded for me to finish the last two chapters in one sitting. They couldn’t bear to wait another day to hear the ending of The Magician’s Nephew.

Ah. It is like breathing life into my soul to read Narnia to my children. Blythe was obsessed with Narnia from about age six to eight. Obsessed. We read it over and over and over and listened to the Focus on The Family Dramatized version for years. The story of Aslan, Lucy, Peter, Mr. Tumnus, Caspian, Shasta, the witch, Tirian, the ape, the dwarfs, and all the rest are part of our family culture. So it isn’t that the stories are new to Fisher and Annes. But in a way they are new. I have never read them to them. They have never been through the story beginning to end. They have never experienced it all unfolding before them. I guess I thought that because it is all around them because of Blythe’s great love for the story and the movies coming out several years ago that they didn’t need me to read it to them. That they knew it all.

But they don’t. There is so much they have missed because they were too little when Blythe was still listening to the stories all the time. They have grown up with the characters and basic story line, but they have missed the greater wisdom of this epic adventure that grows as they identify with a character, feel the hard choices, pain, and joy, and face their own character flaws and strengths as they consider what they would do in the same situation.

And so we read each night and the story unfolds before them and wraps up their imagination in the lovely world of right and wrong, courage, friendship, faith, sacrifice, and always, always Aslan calling to their souls.

I’m so glad God gave me the prompting back in November that this should be our next read aloud. It is proving to be a delightful journey.

Favorite lines this time through:

“Oh, I see. You mean that little boys ought to keep their promises. Very true: most right and proper, I’m sure, and I’m very glad you have been taught to do it. But of course you must understand that rules of that sort, however excellent they may be for little boys – and servants – and women – and even people in general, can’t possibly be expected to apply to profound students and great thinkers and sages. No, Digory. Men like me, who possess hidden wisdom, are freed from common pleasures. Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely destiny.”

As he said this he sighed and looked so grave and noble and mysterious that for a second Digory really thought he was saying something rather fine. But then he remembered the ugly look he had seen on his Uncle’s face the moment before Polly had vanished, and all at once he saw through Uncle Andrew’s grand words. “All it means is that he things he can do anything he likes to get anything he wants.”

Such wisdom young Digory is gaining! He knows that it is not just for a code of conduct to only apply to some people. He knows his uncle is behaving abominably and a little seed is planted in his heart to not do the same. In the end, his greatest joys come because he learns and obeys that lesson.

“In Charn [Jadis] had taken no notice of Polly (till the very end) because Digory was the one she wanted to make use of. Now that she had Uncle Andrew, she took no notice of Digory. I expect most witches are like that. They are not interested in things or people unless they can use them; they are terribly practical.”

How am I using people? I so want to love people, not use them.

“Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.”


“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”

I have found this to be so true. I see in others parts of my own soul reflected back at me. Perspective is a crazy thing. It can be incredibly false and powerfully true. Praying to see as God sees has made a huge difference in my life.

“You know me better than you think, you know, and you shall know me better yet.”

All of us know God. Our souls yearn to be with our Father again. Knowing Him is my heart’s desire.

“Look for the valleys, the green places, and fly through them. There will always be a way through.”

Always. Always. Always He will provide a way through the hard, craggy mountains of life.

“But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want; they do not always like it.”

We become what we desire, but that doesn’t mean the end of the road will be what we want.

“But I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh, Adam’s son, how cleverly you defend yourself against all that might do you good!”

How do I make myself unable to hear His voice? What do I need to do today and each day to better hear Him.

“Things always work according to their nature.”

We live and multiply and work according to who we are. We can only pretend for so long, but the truth of who we are always comes out. At the root of everything, we are children of God and if we can let that truth grow within us, we will live as children of God.

“Child, that is why all the rest are now a horror to her. That is what happens to those who pluck and eat fruits at the wrong time and in the wrong way. Oh, the fruit is good, but they loath it ever after.”

Oh. Oh. Such wisdom. Takes my breath away to think about it.

“Glory be!” said the Cabby. “I’d ha’ been a better man all my life if I’d known there were things like this.”

The glory and majesty of God’s power is beyond my comprehension. I want to be a better, truer, more kind, obedient, and daughter. Oh, heaven help me.

Tonight we will start The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. What a joy it is to share Narnia with my little ones!

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week 15

Jan 12, 2016 by

We have more snow than we have had the past several winters and Blythe, who loves snow, has none in Sunny California. I almost didn’t dare tell her about the snow, but I finally let her in on it this week and she said “I am personally offended!” She isn’t really though, probably just shocked that we are getting so much. She has been teaching a woman (Leslie) with cancer and it looks like she might pass away this week. We are praying for Leslie’s family this week that they will feel the love and tender care of the Lord while they go through this experience.

Blythe with her first companion, Sister Shumway.


She must be making artsy journal entries for every transfer.


Artsy stuff for transfer 2. She is coming up on transfer 3 soon.


So this week there’s been some pretty awesome things. Cevik’s back in town, and we taught him, though it went sort of awkwardly. We’ll be seeing him next Sunday, and we are hopeful we’ll be able to bring one of the couple of members that he knows.

We saw a family that missionaries have been knocking on their door since before I got here with no response. They’re a part member family and the mom (who’s the member) didn’t really want anything to do with the church, though she has several friends in the ward. We talked to the son, Chase, and he was really friendly, and we were there for about 10 minutes just outside talking.

A less active lady we’ve been working with came to church yesterday. She really likes us and has set up multiple appointments which have always fallen through. I didn’t even see for a long time after I got here. But we finally got in this week, though we were on exchange so I wasn’t there, and she came to church and brought her daughter. So I was super excited!

Also, Minoo, who is the one from Iran – we’re hoping to teach her soon and we found out that there’s a guy in the ward who speaks Farsi from his mission! The apartment complex in our area is such a melting pot and these things just keep lining up. It’s just crazy!

I also had my first really beneficial exchange this week. The other comp exchanges I’ve been on kind of felt like they were just filling time. We didn’t make much progress, I felt like. (In case you don’t know what an exchange is, it’s where you and your companion split up and go with your sister training leaders, who are sort of like a Sister District Leader. And they’re supposed to measure your progress and give you some pointers.) The other exchanges I felt like we were just doing it because we were supposed to, but this time, with Sister Fetui (who is awesome) I really felt like she was trying help me in the best way she could. She put a lot of thought and effort into it and it really helped me. It was crazy, though. She was supposed to go on 2 exchanges in 2 days and her Sister Training Leader companion would go on the exchanges with the other two Sisters. So the plan was they would each go with one from each companionship. They had to be done this week, but her sister training leader companion got super sick, and couldn’t do any of them, so she had to do half exchanges with us, for half the day and the other for the second half of the day. And then she would have to do it with the other companionship the next day, but then Sister Robison was too sick (she was in the other companionship) so Sister Fetui didn’t get to do it the second day.

Love you all,
Sister W.

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alma 10:11

Jan 10, 2016 by

I haven’t followed through on choosing a Ponderizing scripture the past few weeks, but this week I did and every time I read it, my heart filled with a cup of peace.

This verse is Amulek sharing his experiences with the prophet Alma with his community. He is trying to encourage them to listen to Alma’s message of peace and hope in Christ.

For behold, he hath blessed mine house, he hath blessed me, and my women, and my children, and my father and my kinsfolk; yea, even all my kindred hath he blessed and the blessing of the Lord hath rested upon us according to the words which he spake.

As I pondered this verse, I thought about the many blessings that have been poured out upon my family as we have followed the words of the prophets. We have been financially and spiritually blessed as we have paid tithing. We have children that love goodness and understand scripture. We have peace in our marriage. We have experienced miracles of healing as we have put our trust in the Lord. We are anxiously engaged in good causes which bring us great happiness. Truly the Lord has blessed us as we have tried to follow the teachings of the prophets, both ancient and modern. My heart wells up with gratitude just thinking about the magnitude of the care of the Lord.

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oh, the tears

Jan 9, 2016 by

What a hard week. On top of the crazy-making hormone levels, my body doing some funky things (nerve pain in my face, my head feeling like there is a ball inside being inflated, dysautonomia symptoms changing every few minutes, and ribs that will not stay in place, keep poking, and make it hard to breathe), and all of us trying to adjust to our new routine (new foods for Richard and new schedules for all of us), we found new homes for our dogs this week.

I can’t really post all the details on the interwebs, but suffice it to say we have had ongoing issues with one of our neighbors and we decided the best option for our dog’s lives was to find them new families to love them. They went to wonderful homes where they will be adored. My dear friend, Heather, took Charlie and her mother-in-law took Sadie. Heather has lllooovvvveeedddd Charlie since she first met her. They have a beautiful relationship. So when she said she would take her in a heartbeat, we decided it was the best possible outcome of this situation and probably the only one we could feel good about. But it still hurts.

Our hearts are pretty raw today. When I woke up this morning, it hit me. Hard. There is not a dog running outside barking at the squirrels. There is not a dog waiting for the children to wake up and play. There is not a dog waiting for us to rub her. There is not a dog.

And the tears flow.

And the anger flares.

And my heart prays.

Come, peace, come. Salve for our souls is needed.

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easing back into life

Jan 6, 2016 by

Recovering from late nights, too much junk food, and lack of commitments.

New scripture study time. (In the morning at the butt-crack of dawn. Actually long before the butt-crack of dawn since it is pitch black outside when Richard gently kisses me and shakes me awake so I can pull on my fleece sweats and slippers and plod out to the family room.)

New schedules.

New goals.

Registration for iFamily was this week and I had to break some children’s hearts because I can’t take more than 16 students in my Math Alive class and nearly 30 applied. I hate breaking hearts.

Homeschool days on the ski/snowboarding slopes is here once again and for the first time since 2008, I am trying my darndest to make it happen for my kids. Long, frustrating story there about how hard I have been trying to magically find all the gear they need for as few pennies as possible and piles of tears that poured out of me when I couldn’t find what they needed at prices we could afford. My heart and their hearts were so set on going this week, but I just couldn’t make it happen. So I fell apart, telling myself all the lies. Something akin to “for crying out loud we live right next to the mountains and have an awesome homeschool program that allows kids to ski or board for hours and hours for $10 and you KNOW this, so what is wrong with you (me) that you didn’t plan ahead and get all this stuff in the summer when it was available or look in Utah or SOMETHING else, for the love. You (once again, me!) made a stupid choice to buy a snowboard when you don’t know anything about snowboards and now you are told it is broken and you can’t find boots and it is all completely pointless.” It was a rough night of tears and irrational thought. (But I am better now, no worries needed about my overall sanity.) And Keziah went since she has her own money and a friend was able to loan her all the gear she needed, so that was super fun, even though the other kiddos were disappointed.

Starting gym again on Friday and not ready to be up on my feet again. This new flare up of my knee injury is frustrating.

Plummeting progesterone levels which equals a weepy, emotions-all-over-the-place mama.

Play practices ramping up for Miss Keziah’s play which is at the end of the month. So, we don’t see her much.

Same girly getting her driver’s license (hopefully this week!) which is exciting and wonderful and will help out a ton, but leaves me with no vehicle whenever she takes the Subaru. (Our suburban runs just fine, but it is not driveable right now because the heater core broke on the way to Swim Camp back in June. Living up here in the frozen tundra prevents anyone with even a wee bit of sanity to drive a vehicle without a heater!)

Fisher finished his math program a few ago and we are trying to figure out where to go next with him. And my brain or spirit or something must be closed off to the heavens (or more likely just really, really tired) because I just don’t know what to do.

I am trying to put together the next semester of Liberty Girls and feeling little direction from on high…which leads to low motivation on my end.

I feel like hibernating right here in my house and savoring the long, winter days with books, warm quilts, hot chocolate, and lots of calm. I don’t want to actually deal with reality and answer the phone, pay bills, run errands, organize anything, or go anywhere. So I am doing that. AND doing a bit of the other because, you know, life.

Lots of changes, so we are easing into them and trying not to cause all-out rebellion (mostly my own rebellion where I throw in the towel and head for my imaginary cabin in the hills, haha!). Yesterday we started reading Stone Fox (love that book!) for the man club Fisher is a part of, Explorer Boys, and ever so slowly started back into our normal school days. I think we will start some geometry today with him and see how it goes.

All the books for 2016 for my colloquia group have been selected and I just might get them posted here, but no guarantees since at the moment my energy level is roughly equivalent to a sloths. Tomorrow night is our first discussion of the year, which means I’ll need to shower…and turn on my brain…but then I can enjoy hearing thoughts and ideas on a great book and it will be lovely.

So this week is going to be slow and calm and full of nurturing…I need the calm. There is plenty of time for the busy later.

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