no idea of the road ahead of us

Dec 21, 2023 by

This photo popped up on my phone today for some reason. It’s from October 1996 when Blythe is two months old and Richard and I are wee babes ourselves.

As I looked at it, my heart welled up with gratitude for this life we have shared together. We had gone through some pretty hard stuff by then…three years into our marriage. And we loved each other and our precious baby deeply. But we had no idea the journey we would travel.

  • No idea how hard it would be to get our children here.
  • No idea how many times we would move.
  • No idea how many financial challenges we would face.
  • No idea how many health struggles we would endure.
  • No idea of the prayers we would pray.
  • No idea of the joy that would fill our home.
  • No idea of the faith that would be required.
  • No idea of the laughter that would explode out of us.
  • No idea of the adventures we would have.
  • No idea of the friends who would enter our hearts and change our lives forever.
  • No idea of the miracles.
  • No idea of the healing.
  • No idea of the gratitude.
  • No idea of the love.

We didn’t know how rich and beautiful and overwhelmingly good our lives would be. I’m so, so grateful for this man, this life, our family, and Jesus.

October 1996 at Yellowstone National Park
27 years later
read more

Related Posts

eyes to see and ears to hear

Dec 10, 2016 by

Perceptions are a funny thing. They determine how we see things, how we understand the world around us, how we evaluate other’s motives, and yet, they are so often wrong. Last night I had one of those moments when I realized, once again, how incorrectly I can perceive the world.

Last night was our Ward Christmas Party. When I finished eating, my heart rate went up like it usually does, and I leaned back in my chair and tried to relax and think calming thoughts to help it come back down. But all the stimulation of kids running around, people talking to me, and the mass chaos of hundreds of people being in the same room together were too much for my nervous system to process. I tried closing my eyes and breathing deeply for awhile and that helped it calm down somewhat. Eventually Richard left to go figure out a way to get our car right up by the door and I counted heartbeats, willing them to sloooooowwwwww down and tried everything I knew to calm my system. The men were all working hard taking down tables and chairs, but could see something was wrong with me and left my table and chairs alone.

Fisher, my dear son who hates to be an inconvenience to anyone, came over and said, “Mom, can you move?” Barely lifting my head, I mumbled, “No, no I can’t.” I thought, “Oh, my heavens, can’t he see I am on the verge of passing out? Does he really care more about inconveniencing the men putting away tables than he does about my body’s needs?” He asked again, “Mom, can you move?” Again, I mumbled “No” and tried to get him to understand that I wasn’t using the table and it could be put away as long as they didn’t move my chairs or try to move me. Not satisfied with my answer, he persisted, “Mom, can you move? They are playing basketball.” In my nearly unconscious state of mind, I nearly exploded inside thinking, “Seriously! He is wanting to play basketball when I am having an episode? He wants me to move so they have more room to play!” But I couldn’t say anything because I was fighting with everything I had to stay conscious and calm. Finally, he said, “Mom, I’m worried the ball is going to hit you and hurt you. We’ve got to move you because they are playing basketball.”

I opened my eyes and looked around and saw that there was a group of teens playing basketball and I was right on the 3-point line. They were running all over the floor and the ball was flying wildly near me. I had had no idea any of that was happening and the boys had no idea anything was wrong with me, they were just trying to have fun. Grasping the situation, I told Fisher, “I can’t move, so you are going to have to protect me from the ball.” His response, “That is what I have been doing, I just think you would be safer if we could move you away from here.”

Oh, my goodness, the tears of gratitude welled up inside me for this good, good boy of mine. He wasn’t embarrassed of me. He wasn’t worried about inconveniencing the clean-up crew. He wasn’t wanting to play basketball and have more room on the court. He was watching over me and protecting me without anyone asking him to and without me even realizing what he was doing.

So often I respond too quickly, long before I understand the real situation. I am grateful for a body that was unable to speak and lash out in irritation and was instead able to hear his quiet voice, full of love, trying to help me.

Eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to understand…those are the gifts I yearn for.

p.s. Yes, I did pass out a few minutes later. As we slowly made our way out to the car, my body collapsed in the hallway with Richard and several other men catching me and taking care of me. I am surrounded by angels, both heavenly and earthly ones. Thank you to those of you who so willingly walk this journey with me.

read more

Related Posts

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!

read more

Related Posts

farewell 2015

Dec 31, 2015 by

Today is the last day of 2015. Wowsers, it is hard to believe this year of growth and change and pain and joy is gone. We have all learned a lot about doing hard things, giving and receiving, finding hope, enduring, and most of all, deep-down-in-your-little-toes joy.

The biggest change for our family has been Blythe leaving on her mission. She started the process of filling out papers in January, submitted them in April, received her call on May 4th to the California Irvine Mission, received her endowment in August, entered the Missionary Training Center on September 16, and arrived in California on September 29th. What an experience it is to get a missionary out the door! So much time and money and effort and heartache and happiness and precious moments all wrapped up in the same package. The two days we were able to spend with her in the temple before she left are among the most sacred and glorious of my life. I will always treasure seeing her dressed in white as she made covenants with God. And now, 3 1/2 months after she walked out our door into her new life, all I feel is peace and radiant joy. It has been a huge blessing to have my whole being wrapped up in a blanket of God’s love as my baby girl has gone out into the world to share His message of love and redemption.

We have had so many blessings this year: medical treatments and tests, working vehicles (and rescuing when vehicles broke down!), spending time with family, Annesley’s baptism, our long, bumpy driveway covered in gravel, an unexpected change in Richard’s job that gave him the hours he needed, many, many angels both on earth and in heaven who have taken care of me while I have episodes, Keziah’s job, gifts from the heart, magical days at the lake, camping in my mountains, donations to Blythe’s mission fund, and most of all, love. Heaps and heaps of love have been poured out upon us. My heart is full to bursting with the love I am surrounded with.

There is much I didn’t accomplish this year. I didn’t lose weight. I didn’t grow muscles. I didn’t keep a spotless house. I didn’t find a cure for connective tissue disorders (I mean that somewhat seriously…my brain is continually trying to solve the issue of defective collagen.) I didn’t read as many books as I normally do. I didn’t put on a big fundraising event. I didn’t clean out my closet. I cancelled my book discussion group more than half the months of the year. I didn’t write the book I wanted to. I didn’t figure out how to cook on a regular basis. I didn’t figure out how to make our budget work to save more money. I didn’t excel at personal scripture study (or family study either!). I didn’t finish my chalkboard project…or the skateboard swing project. Or stain the deck. Or clean out the garage. Or clean out under the stairs. Or finish the clothing purging project. Or burn the garbage pile. Or remodel the camper. Or defrost the freezer. Or plant a flower. Or beautify my yard in any way. I didn’t create a fabulous training program for the Primary Music Leaders of my stake like I wanted to. I didn’t make it home to my mom’s house even once. I didn’t start a business to bring in more money. I didn’t clean out Blythe’s room. I didn’t blog about Swim Camp, our GRL camping trip, Blythe’s endowment, her farewell, or hundreds of other important and wonderful things that happened. I didn’t do a lot of things.

But I did learn more about love. I did learn more about sacrifice. I did learn more about receiving and giving. I did learn more about grace. I did grow to love my Savior more. I did enjoy lots of snuggles with my children. I did deepen my relationship with my husband. I did serve and love and give my heart more fully to the people who have needed me. I have missed my friends who have moved away fiercely and have learned that love is worth the pain of loss. I have learned, more fully, that the power of God is real. I have connected more fully with my ancestors. I have learned more about forgiveness. I have chosen kindness more often than anger. I have chosen to feel more and build walls less. Somehow, through the grace of God, I have made peace with my body and its challenges. We did spend many days kayaking at the lake. We did have lots of family game nights. We did read beautiful books together. We did spend seventeen days in the mountains. We did float the river in Island Park. We did attend our family reunion at our favorite location. We did have family pictures taken. We did get our daughter on a mission. We did throw a fabulous ice cream fest at our home before she left. We did pray together. We did laugh and we did cry. We lived, in spite of injuries and episodes and pain and heartache, we chose to live. With hope and faith, we lived. What an amazing year!

God has given me thousands of opportunities to learn needed character lessons and while I am certain He has much more to teach me and I have much more to learn, I am grateful for the lessons I have been given and received this year. I failed many times and I hope I learned from the failures to love and give and serve just as much as from the successes. There have been many days of sorrow and loneliness and hopelessness and fear and despair and He has been here with me, teaching me, comforting me, and helping me to choose love over all else.

There is a lot of pain and heartache in this world. Right now, among many of my dear friends and family, there is gut-wrenching, soul-splitting pain. I cannot solve the myriad of challenges they are facing. I have no magic wand to end the suffering being experienced by those I love. But I can take them into my heart and pray and listen and serve and lift. I am reading For The Love by Jen Hatmaker and it is a balm to my soul. In the introduction, she shares her mission. I wish I had written it, for it is my mission as well.

After a friend of hers asks her child what she does for a living and the child doesn’t really have a good answer and says, “Yeah, but she doesn’t have a job where knows about something. Jen decides to write down exactly what it is she spends her life doing.

Besides being obviously esteemed in my own home, maybe I ought to clarify what exactly I specialize in, since is appears very, very unclear to my own child. Certain foks love numbers and columns and reconciled accounts. (I barely even know what this means.) Some of my good friends love organizing and administrating; they are weirdly good at it. I have family members who excel at web design and creative technology and others who are craftsman and builders. Educators, chefs, sports medicine specialists, realtors; all people people in my circle who obviously know about something.

A little closer to my space, some of my girlfriends are true theologians and love the ins and outs of sticky hermeneutics. Others are preachers with fire in their bellies. Some are academics working on graduate degrees in God. Some are social entrepreneurs doing great good with their companies and organizations. Still others give their lives to justice in hard places. This is how they are gifted and this is what they love.

I love people.

It’s what I know.

God has always made the most sense to me through people, His image bearers. I crave dignity and healing and purpose and freedom for me and mine, you and yours, them and theirs. I want us to live well and love well. The substance of life isn’t stuff or success or work or accomplishments or possessions. It really isn’t, although we devote enormous energy to those goals. The fullest parts of my life, the best memories, the most satisfying pieces of my story have always involved people. Conversely, nothing hurts worse or steals more joy than broken relationships. We can heal and hurt each other, and we do.

I’m hoping to help lead a tribe that does more healing and less hurting.

I consider that my job.

Oh my, isn’t that breathtakingly beautiful? I love her words and my goal for 2016 is to more fully live them – to heal more and hurt less.

We can do this. Will you join me?

read more

Related Posts

read to me

Dec 9, 2015 by

Me: I need to work on the computer for awhile, why don’t you listen to this audio-book from the library.

F: Mom, it’s SO MUCH better when you read the book.

Me: Really, better than a professional narrator?

F: YES. I want you to read all the books.

I can’t even tell you how much this warms my heart! My eleven-year-old boy still loves to snuggle up on the couch under a blanket and have me read to him for hours and hours – I hope it never ends.

Oh, how good it is to be so adored by your children. If only my face and voice could keep up with their insatiable desire to be read to!

read more

Related Posts

thankful for

Dec 2, 2015 by

The past few weeks have been full of a lot of introspection. I have spent a lot of time thinking about gratitude and even though Thanksgiving Day has come and gone, I still need to take some time to ponder and write down my list of gratitude.

  • My Heavenly Father and Mother
  • Jesus the Christ
  • Richard
  • Our children
  • The scriptures
  • My mom
  • My dad
  • My siblings
  • My grandma & grandpa
  • Oodles of cousins, aunts, and uncles
  • My dear, dear friends, oh, my goodness, I am blessed with amazing friends
  • A safe home
  • Trees
  • Sunshine
  • Clean water to drink
  • Water to play in
  • Water to relax by
  • Days at the lake
  • Food to eat
  • Ovens
  • Stoves
  • Fire
  • Sleeping bags
  • Snuggly quilts
  • Fleece
  • Wool socks
  • Comfortable shoes that protect feet from elements and owies
  • Mittens and gloves
  • Warm hats
  • Blue skies
  • Gentle breezes
  • Hammocks
  • Read-alouds with our children
  • Audio books
  • Amazing mentors that bless the lives of our family by sharing their passions and loving our children
  • Our homeschooling community
  • Gymnastics
  • Libraries
  • Books, glorious books
  • Book discussions
  • Communication in all its many forms – the spoken word, the written word, email, letters, phone calls, the look in someone’s eye, social media, hugs, tears, the sharing of the soul – I am so grateful I can connect with so many people and share not only information, but also our hearts
  • Music
  • Braces and tape to hold me together
  • Bone, Flesh, and Cartilage ointment
  • Essential oils
  • Herbs
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract
  • Onions, carrots, celery, garlic – use them all the time in my cooking and cannot imagine food without them
  • Ice cream
  • Chocolove Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt bars – totally delish
  • My bed
  • Ice packs and rice packs
  • Swim camp
  • Family reunions
  • Swings
  • Swimming pools
  • Working vehicles
  • Mountains
  • Kayaking
  • Angels
  • Priesthood blessings
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Toilets
  • Running water
  • Snow shovels
  • A flat driveway
  • Contacts
  • Glasses
  • Covenants
  • Washing machine & dryer
  • Refrigerators & freezers
  • Vacuums
  • Mechanical pencils
  • Staedtler pens
  • Photographs
  • My grandma’s aprons
  • Erasers
  • Water bottles
  • Magic erasers
  • Doors to keep the cold out
  • My church
  • My community
  • Goodness
  • Kindness
  • Generosity
  • Big dreams
  • Passion
  • Courage
  • Sacrifice
  • Freedom
  • Determination
  • Love, most of all, love
read more

Related Posts

he’s not boring

Nov 18, 2015 by





Patient. Dedicated. Committed. Perseverant. Adorable. Hero of the fridge, plugged drains, and piles of puke.


Completely full of love for me.

We go back and forth with this discussion all the time. He thinks he is boring and wonders how on earth someone with my passion and energy and drive could ever be content with someone like him. I think he is stable and is the rock that holds all the crazy people in this home together.

In spite of my absolute conviction that he is not boring, lately I have been making him feel boring and not enough for me. From somewhere deep inside me a need to be swooned has burst forth and since he doesn’t feel like he is a swooning kind of guy, he was feeling like he isn’t enough for me. I think this need is mostly coming from my feeling so terribly broken and undesirable…like the need to be desired and swept off my feet has increased as my own inner undesirableness has increased. I have hurt him and apologized and hurt him again and apologized some more. Oh, how I wish I knew how to be a constant well of kindness and love. Oh, how I sometimes wish I could cut out my tongue!

We have worked it out. I have been able to narrow down my expectations so he has something to actually work with instead of a nebulous cloud of “I just need to be swept off my feet.” He has taken me on two actual, factual dates where I didn’t have to plan it out or do a single thing to make it happen. Two blissful wonderful evenings my soul desperately needed.

And then, I read this article on The Real Truth About ‘Boring Men’ and bawled my soul right out onto my pillow. Later that night, I sobbed my way through it again as I read it aloud to him. Go read it. Really. Right now. I wish I had Ann’s gift of communication and could have somehow written that message myself.

As we read, we both saw the truth of the situation. He saw himself with new eyes and realized he is not boring, he is purposed. My Richard has purposed his life to following Christ, giving his whole soul to me, and loving, serving and teaching our children. It is a 24/7 endeavor. So, while he may not surprise me with some fantastic date idea or make a YouTube video proclaiming his love, he will be in the trenches with me, cleaning up puke, listening to our children’s nighttime fears, and adoring my broken, soft-around-the-middle body. He is staying. He will not surprise me be leaving, by finding some hot new young thing. He is in this for the long haul and is determined to be kind, patient, forgiving, and serve each of us for now and forever. He has laid down his life for our family.

It is not showy or fancy, but it is real. It is solid. It is exactly what I need.

read more

Related Posts

amazing grace

Oct 20, 2015 by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

read more

Related Posts


Oct 15, 2015 by

I woke up this morning with his lips on my forehead and his tender voice whispering “Happy Anniversary.”

Twenty-two years of being loved by this man. Twenty-two years of being tutored in love’s actions and feelings. Twenty-two years of tenderness.


I am so blessed. So very richly blessed.

Last night I taught the Music Leaders of our Stake for 45 minutes. For the past several weeks I haven’t known what to teach. Nothing felt right. I didn’t feel like I should teach them anything about the mechanics of their calling or give them a list of things to do or not do. But I didn’t know what I should share. And then, just yesterday, it came to me. I needed to share the power of teaching doctrine to the children and how it changes lives. One part of that message was my sharing a little bit of my story and how the song “Families Can Be Together Forever” gave me something solid to hold on to when my family fell apart. As a young person, I wasn’t at all sure that families COULD be together forever, but this song gave me the courage to try to create a family that would be together forever. Everyone in the room cried. My face and neck were covered in tears as we each felt the power music can have in saving souls.

I am so, so grateful God gave me the courage to say yes to our marriage. Richard’s pervasive goodness, kindness, calmness, and steadiness has blessed me and changed me for the better. Our marriage has given me our precious children and a life of happiness in motherhood I could not have ever imagined. His love has transformed me.

This morning I read all the posts I have written on our past anniversaries and my heart filled up with joy. Oh my goodness, I love my Richard!

read more

Related Posts


Oct 3, 2015 by


Miss Keziah turned 15 today! Last night I was up at 12:36 (the time she was born) working on a family newsletter. The house was dark and quiet. Richard was snoring on the couch as he waited for our sheets to finish drying. Everyone else was sound asleep and I was able to have a few minutes to think. I don’t know if all mothers do this, but I replay my children’s births in my mind on the anniversary of those births.

I went into last night feeling a bit less than. A bit like I am not measuring up. A bit like I am not giving my family my best and even if I am, my best is simply not sufficient – chores and meals and patience are so incredibly challenging for me even when I am on top of my game, and let’s face it, I am not on top of my game. Often when I feel like that, I push people away instead of draw them in. And so, even though I hadn’t done anything very prickly, I was feeling grumpy inside.

And then midnight rolled around. And I started to remember that middle of the night labor so many years ago. And my heart welled up with so much gratitude for my Richard and our Keziah and what an amazing girlie we created together and have raised together. I thought about how he pushed on my back and whispered in my ear and filled the birth pool and was a rock of strength and courage and love. I thought about how quickly she burst upon the scene and how he stayed calm. I thought about how good he is and how blessed I am to have such a kind, patient person to be my companion and how blessed Keziah is to have him for a papa.

And I stopped working on the newsletter just moments before her birth anniversary and went upstairs to hold him in my arms at the moment our amazing girlie was born and tell him “Thank you.” For everything. And I cried.

This morning we opened her presents and laughed with this hilarious girl who is so full of vim and vigor. Yes, some of the pics are blurry…shrieking with delight does that.

Fifth book in the Michael Vey series.



Piles of pancake mixes for birthday dream of eating pancakes for breakfast, french toast for lunch, and waffles for dinner.


The Cinderella movie she has been dying to own.



Her birthday book this year is What Do You Do With An Idea? You feed it and grow it and let it soar! Keziah is full of good ideas and I want her to know we believe in her ability to turn those ideas into reality.


This girl, oh my, this girl. Kez is one of my favorite people. It is quite fortunate that I am her mother and get to spend oodles of time with her. She is full to the brim with awesomeness. She works faster and harder than anyone I know, she is smart as a whip, tough as nails, beautiful, determined, and kick-butt hilarious. We love her to Pluto and back. She has excellent taste in movies, fantastic fashion sense, works and plays equally hard, and makes me laugh hard every single day. She still doesn’t wear make-up as it takes too much time, has lovely, thick beautiful tresses, and is surrounded by gobs of friends who love her. She recently purchased a bike with some of her summer earnings…a real bike…from a bike shop…so she can work on building her leg muscles and possibly start running again next year (she has been battling a knee injury due to hypermobility for over a year) and I love watching her cycle away down our road. This girl is so full of determination and awesome sauce, it is my job to simply love her as she grows and matures into a young woman ready to take on the world. She makes her school/work/play schedule up every week and then she does it. I don’t have to remind her or nag or wake her up or anything. She goes and does what she sets out to do.

Oh, how I love her!

Here are some pics of her over the last year.

One of my favorite pictures of her…she looks so sweet and innocent.


Being crowned Emperess in her Shakespeare class. She had to do a ton of work to earn this award – vocabulary, memorizing soliloquy, writing papers, AND reading, watching, or listening to 47 of Shakespeare’s plays and other writings.


As Puck in her Shakespeare group’s performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.



A big group of her friends all got ready together for the Homeschool Prom back in April. She is the one on the far right in the front in the white dress.


After the Prom and back home with her big sister.


Love this pic of the girls sticking their heads through an inner tube on their way to float the river on the 4th of July. The whole Suburban was full of tubes and towels and food and people and the only way I could get a pic was to have them bend way down and look through the opening. I think it is my favorite pic of these two precious girls of ours.


Fancy hair while camping. Andie did everyone’s hair most of the days we were there and since Keziah’s is the longest and thickest, it is the most fun to work with. Behold Andie’s creation.




Hiking with Blythe and her cousins from Tami’s clan.


She is a pro at making silly faces. She was disgusted with something gross while we were camping.





Swimming with her bestie, Courtney, big sister, Blythe, and dear friend, Emily.



At Blythe’s mission farewell with lots of friends…and one of her signature silly faces.


My dad came out for Blythe’s mission farewell and stayed for a few days to visit. He took the kids on a hike up to a really awesome cave.




Playing Ticket To Ride for one last time before Blythe left and showing off her squeezable water bottle that she is so in love with.


All of our kiddos being silly before our real family photo shoot.


The real family photo of all our cute kiddos.


Miss Keziah, Happy Birthday! Thank you for being such force for good in this world!

read more

Related Posts


Sep 26, 2015 by


Wednesday, September 16 was the big day we have been looking forward to for the past many months. Before that day came we had to have purchased a gazillion things, packed it all up, had her set apart by our Stake President, had her final dates with her siblings, parents, and grandparents, said all of our goodbyes, and emptied out her room so Annesley could move in. Most of those things happened…but not all of them.

The last few days before she left were full of lasts. Last date with each of her siblings. Last date with Madi, her best friend. Lunch with her grandparents. Last movie night with us a family. Last time playing her favorite music on our piano. Last time taking a llllooooonnnnngggg shower. There were also lots of firsts. First time packing suitcases instead of duffle bags. First time being set apart as a full-time missionary. First time sharing her testimony of Christ as a missionary. First time being gone from us for more than a few days.

That last week there were so many things that still needed to be purchased. A blazer, a robe (never actually found one that would work!), scripture marking pencils, nail care set, sewing kit, shampoo and conditioner, highlighters, a navy blue cardigan, static guard, SD card, a curling iron, skirt hangers, a watch, luggage tags, and a gazillion other little things. Some angels in disguise came to our rescue and sent us money or sent stuff via Amazon Prime so we could get all those last minute things. My heart wells up with tears of joy every time I think about the help we have been given to get her out the door. A year ago when all this started in earnest, I remember saying, “I have no idea how we will be able to pay for her mission, much less get her all the stuff she needs to serve.” and my mom said, “Well, you need to trust. As she works hard saving money, God will help all of you to be able to do this. If a mission is where God wants her to be, He will be in the details.” And she was right. He has been with us and has sent many hands and hearts to help. Thank you to each of you who have blessed us with love, encouragement, and money – you are being God’s hands.

The Friday before we started packing in earnest and tried to figure out the best way to first, make everything fit, and second, make it most efficient for use. Since she will be flying to California, she had to abide by the airplane rules of a 50 lb. weight limit and nothing larger than 62 dimensional inches. And if she would have been flying straight to California, that would have been pretty easy-peasy. BUT she has a two week stay at the Missionary Training Center, MTC for short, before she flies out. And she hates packing. So I decided it would work best for her if we could make everything she would need for the two weeks at the MTC fit into one suitcase and everything else fit into the other two bags. Kat came over for several hours on Sunday helping us figure things out. It was pretty hilarious for her super organized packing brain to be in the same room with our scatterbrained non-packing brains – good thing she has a heart of gold and was able to be patient with us. We didn’t successfully get anything packed, but we got most of the stuff ready to be packed. We also figured out lots of things that wouldn’t work.

Monday morning Blythe left to spend the day with her grandparents and running last minute errands and I utilized the time to get the packing thing completely figured out with no interference from her or anyone else. I watched a few packing videos online and got to work implementing all my brainstorming ideas that had come in the night while I tossed and turned. As the morning progressed, it appeared my brilliant one MTC bag would work! I was able to get her MTC bag packed with everything she would need for two weeks and get everything else to fit in the other two bags. Throughout that day I packed and unpacked everything several times, weighed, adjusted, weighed some more. Then our neighbor came over who is about to leave on her mission and wanted some ideas from us (as if we know what we are doing!), so nearly everything got unpacked again. By this time, I was a pro. I quickly got it all packed back up and ready to go. And I went to bed that night feeling pretty darn accomplished. Then I realized I still hadn’t solved the shampoo and conditioner problem, made her a rice pack, made copies of her mission call, found some hair serum, found a robe, packed her last minute odd and ends, etc. Tuesday was spent finishing up all those last minute details and Blythe and Keziah went on a date to see “Once I Was A Beehive” and then late that night Kat came over again and helped us finish up the last of the packing using all her mad packing skills to solve the last few challenges. She also made Blythe an adorable rice bag since I never got to it…superhero is all I can say about Miss Kat. When all was loaded, her two checked bags weighed in at 47 and 48 lbs and we were ready to walk out the door!

Now the emotional side of all of this is a whole different story. From about the time my dad left on the 3rd clear through to the 14th, I was a grumpy mama bear. Deep sadness entered my soul and no matter how I tried to reason it away, it would not leave. The thought of our family being forever changed by Blythe’s leaving was so overwhelmingly painful. The realization that my phase of mothering my little children in my home was ending and a new phase beginning hit me as a gale force wind and I needed to grieve the ending before I could welcome the beginning. I was easily irritated, then frustrated with myself for spending these last precious days with my girlie in such an unpleasant state of being, then sad all over again. We were all trying so hard to be loving and to savor these moments together and yet I was miserable at the thought of her leaving. And then on the 14th as I folded her laundry, God reached out and gave me a gift. He wrapped me up in his love for her and filled me with gratitude that I have a daughter who loves Jesus so much she is willing to go and share His message of redemption and happiness with complete strangers.

Late Tuesday night, Blythe was set apart as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The six of us plus Richard’s parents attended this special blessing and it was a beautiful, sacred experience to feel the Spirit so strongly and to hear powerful blessings pronounced upon my daughter’s head.

Wednesday morning we left bright and early to make the 4 hour drive to Provo. My heart was full of joy. Full of happiness. It was quite miraculous to experience so much joy when for the past many days I had been mired in grief. The rain poured down all day and at times we could barely see the road, but we were able to get to Provo with just enough time to take her to lunch at our favorite place, The Old Spaghetti Factory. We didn’t know if we would be able to do that or not, but I was able to squirrel away enough pennies to make it happen, so it was super fun to surprise her with one last fun outing – may the delicious Spinach Tortellini fill her up with our love for her for the next 18 months. Then we had just few minutes to get up to the Provo temple to take the obligatory temple fountain picture. We still needed to pack her makeup and hair stuff she had used that morning into her suitcase, so we sent the 4 kiddos up to take pictures while Richard and I made sure everything was completely ready in her bags.

At this point, everyone was still laughing and smiling. We were about 6 minutes from dropping her off and everyone was super happy and taking silly pictures.








Then the moment came. We entered the MTC parking lot and came to the drop-off line. We were quickly directed to our drop-off spot and started unloading her things.


Her face changed from one of silliness to soberness.


I was filled from head to toe with peace. Indescribable warmth and joy and glorious peace filled me and I knew we were in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. God wrapped me up in His peace. What a feeling! I have heard other people describe this peace when a loved one has died or some other tragic thing has happened, but I have never experienced such a powerful feeling of tenderness from my Father in Heaven. I think He knew I needed this extra measure of comfort. The amazing thing is, it is still with me.


Then Keziah jumped out of the suburban and gave her big sister the hug of a lifetime…so much tenderness and love in that hug.






Then Annesley jumped out and ran into Blythe’s arms.


Fisher couldn’t bring himself to get out, so Blythe went over and gave him a tearful hug goodbye.


And then with courage, faith, and determination, she walked away into her new life as a missionary. So proud of her! I always said I would have served a mission if I hadn’t been married beforehand, but seeing how much courage it takes, boy howdy, I don’t know if I would have actually had enough.


And this is what our faces looked like as we drove away – lots of tears and sadness. Somehow, I didn’t cry. My joy at that moment was too great for tears and as I had been crying for weeks, it was time for me to bask in the truth of John’s wise words.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

3 John 1:4







None of the kids wanted to do anything fun on our way home. They were all full of sadness and deep thoughts. We tried to go to Scheel’s to ride the Ferris Wheel thinking that would cheer the kiddos up, but the ride was closed for maintenance. We went and visited Jessica for a bit, but even seeing our dear friends didn’t cheer the kids up. Then we stopped at Tami’s where she fed us a delicious dinner of Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Such a beautiful day!

My heart is full of joy and I am so grateful to have had the privilege of raising this daughter who loves goodness and puts God first in her life. She is my hero!

read more

Related Posts

a heart full of love before she leaves

Sep 14, 2015 by

a heart full of love before she leaves

Having our girlie leave for her mission is hard. Really hard. My emotions have been all over the map in the past couple of weeks and I have been grumpy more often than not. But today my heart has swelled up with gratitude. As I put her clothes in the washer today to clean for probably the last time, the past 19 years of memories swept across my mind’s eye and I started weeping with joy that I have been privileged to be this special girl’s mama. I am so grateful to have her for our daughter. I am grateful she is worthy and able to serve a mission. I am grateful she loves God. I am grateful she believes in and relies on the atonement of Jesus Christ. I am grateful she chooses good, uplifting, life-giving pursuits. I am grateful she loves and creates beautiful music. I am grateful her soul is drawn to stories of courage, sacrifice, liberty, and love. I am so grateful for the thousands of hours we have spent learning, reading, and discovering together. I am grateful, oh, so grateful for this precious time I have had her in my home.

Blythe in field

Further up and Further In! It is time to grow ever closer to her Father and Savior, to learn to truly love her fellow man in her heart AND her actions, and to do hard things. I am so excited for her!

read more

Related Posts

these things i know

Jul 1, 2015 by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moses 1:39

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

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

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

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

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

read more

Related Posts

thankful thursdays: 4/23

Apr 23, 2015 by

The MRI on my knee today went fairly well in that I didn’t freak out about being stuck in a tube and the loud noises didn’t drive me absolutely batty. While I was in there for who knows how long, I closed my eyes and prayed. I knew if I kept my eyes open I would go into freak out mode, (ever since I was held captive in a sleeping bag as a child, I cannot handle being confined, especially when something or someone is on top of me) so I closed them and naturally started talking with God.

I thanked Him again and again for the many blessings of my life. And then I realized it is Thursday and it has been a long time since I posted a Thankful Thursdays post.

  • My dear Richard. As I lay inside the tube, my heart filled up with deep gratitude for this man who has given his soul to me. He loves me and helps me to be my best self. He serves and sacrifices and keeps us all grounded. I cannot imagine going through this experience without him by my side cheering me on, holding me when I cry, and keeping me laughing with his deadpan sense of humor.
  • I next thought of my children and how dearly I love them. I am so grateful to be part of their lives and to have the privilege of mothering them. Last week, the orthopedic surgeon I met with was surprised I had four children and I was reminded once again how blessed I am to have even one child, much less four children.
  • Then I thanked Him for the technology of the MRI machine and asked Him to help me hold still, stay calm, and for the machine to be able to get clear pictures of whatever is wrong.
  • My mind moved to the many supplements, foods, and treatments I am receiving right now that are helping to calm and heal my nervous system. I am full of gratitude for the vegetables and other foods placed on this earth to fill our bodies with the nutrients we need to thrive.
  • I thought of my free green drink from Jamba Juice this morning and how the act of kindness lifted my spirits immensely and helped me to see the beautiful things in the world today. I don’t completely know why I was so nervous for the MRI, but I really was and the free-smoothies-for-all event at Jamba this morning helped me get refocused on the good things of this world instead of being weighed down with fear.
  • I thought of Jeremy, my full-of-awesomeness Manual Therapist. I started seeing him two years ago this week and he is by far the most important care provider I have. He understands connective tissue – how it works and how it affects the body. Even better for me, he totally understands how *my* connective tissue works (or doesn’t work, however you want to look at it!) and how he can help it to work at its best. He has put me back together hundreds of times, listened to me cry, rant and rave, get super grumpy at the difficulty of injury after injury, and given me solid data to help me make wise decisions and make progress. He needs to be cloned so many more people can be blessed by his phenomenal skills and excellent care.
  • Then I thought about the sunshine and how much joy that radiant light in the sky gives me. I am so grateful for the sun.
  • Then I thought of the many people who have been part of my journey and I started naming them one by one and praying for them as individuals. Each time I thought of someone, specific words would come to mind to share with Father. At this point, I thought my heart might burst and explode all over the MRI tube because I was overcome with gratitude for all the love that has been poured out on me over the past three years.

And then it was over and as I reentered the world of lights and people and conversations, I was a little shocked to be so suddenly back into the world of busyness and I realized what a blessing it can be to have these forced moments of aloneness during medical tests where I can only think and talk with myself and my Father in Heaven. It is probably true that I need to make more space in my life for uninterrupted meditative time, but with four children and a myriad of other things calling for my attention, my prayers are often short and frequently interrupted, so today I am grateful for the many hours I have spent waiting for appointments, waiting for tests to be run, lying on hard tables waiting to be seen, and yes, even lying in a cold, loud, MRI tube where I was given the chance to talk to God for a good, long chat.

read more

Related Posts


Apr 22, 2015 by


Blythe is playing the piano with passion and power, Keziah is throwing sticks to Charley in the yard, and I am reclining on my chaise savoring these moments. My girls are growing up so quickly and I feel these moments of pure joy are coming to an end. Somedays I honestly don’t know if I can bear it.

Have I written about Blythe’s mission? I don’t even know if I have mentioned it on here since I have been so full of whining health related news lately. Well, if I haven’t, I am hereby giving notice…my girlie is going on a mission to serve the Lord. Her application papers have been submitted and we are waiting to find out where she is called to serve. We were told we could know as early as next week, but I am guessing it will be the week after. We have been busy for the past several months getting all the paperwork filled out and necessary medical and dental appointments taken care of. Soon it will be time to assemble her wardrobe, purchase luggage, put herbs/oils/supplements/first aid supplies into a kit, and a gazillion other things I don’t even know about yet.

These are exciting days for our family and we are entering a new phase of life. As I contemplate our oldest leaving home, I find myself speaking more tenderly to all of my children and trying to draw them close to my heart.

Last week Blythe attended her last Homeschool Prom while it was Keziah’s first. This is a non-date formal where hundreds of youth from all over our area spend the night dancing and having a blast. It is a completely different experience than a high school prom and is a favorite event of both the homeschoolers and many of their public schooled friends who say the homeschool dances are the best dances they have ever attended.

These two sisters had so much fun together. I didn’t see them till they came home, super happy and beautiful, and my heart filled right up with joy.


Keziah spent the day doing hair and makeup with a big group of friends.



My guess is the house needed to be fumigated and sanitized from all the hairspray, makeup, and estrogen spewed out during the day!

I am so grateful for this time of my life where my girls are happy and healthy and doing good things. We work and work and work as young mothers to raise our children to be competent, capable, contributing members of our families, and then POOF they are and they move on to bless the world. This is what I want, absolutely, but I want to lengthen these days, to stretch them out so I can enjoy them longer.

read more

Related Posts

lift up your heart, lift up your voice, rejoice, again, i say rejoice!

Apr 5, 2015 by

It’s Easter night and my heart is full to bursting with joy and peace and love and gratitude. Tears of deep thanksgiving have flowed freely throughout the day as I have thought of my Savior’s sacrifice for me and all the rest of God’s children throughout the world who have ever or will ever live.

When I last wrote I was hurting and pleading for some measure of hope. One of the many conclusions I came to was that this whole connective tissue disorder journey is hard, really, really hard, because there are no actual answers, nothing to measure and have charted out. It’s not like I can do x, y,and z and reasonably expect a, b, or c to happen. There is no schedule of treatments, no way to predict what will happen. At one point in those hopeless days of last week I actually screamed out that I would rather have cancer than Ehlers-Danlos because then I would at least know how big the tumor is or what tests could be done or what probability success rates might be. For the record, I DO NOT WANT CANCER. But going down that rabbit trail of thoughts helped me to understand for a moment why this can sometimes feel so challenging – there is no data, no answers for my information-loving brain to rely on. It can feel like I have no control of my situation. Instead I do a lot of waiting…waiting for ligaments to ever so slowly heal, waiting for my nervous system to calm down, waiting for my stomach to digest food, waiting for inflammation to subside, waiting for bones to stay in place, and worst of all, waiting and wondering what the next injury will be. The not-knowing is driving me crazy.

We are at 17 weeks with this knee injury and it is still incredibly unstable and while it doesn’t hurt very much if I lie around doing nothing, the simplest activities like riding in a car, walking, or even crossing my ankles up the pain level dramatically. And really, all I can do is wait. I can’t have surgery, I can’t take some magic pill and get those collagen fibers to knit together, I can’t do an exercise or eat some special food to make it heal. I can wait and pray and hope and wear my brace and ice it down and use my oils and herbs and drink lots of water and give my body good nutrition. It can feel so incredibly hopeless to simply wait.

And this car accident has really done me in emotionally and physically. The pain in my neck and face and sacrum, oh, my goodness, it is constant and it seems as though we are not making much progress. Every week when I see Jeremy, the pain that he works on is either eliminated or greatly diminished, but a different pain takes its place. All the vertebrae and facial bones are so loose from being jarred in the accident, that shifting some of them back into place seems to move other ones right back out of place. I think we are making progress, but it is soooooo sssssslllllllllooooooooowwwwwwww that sometimes discouragement gets the best of me.

In spite of all of this, I woke up on Friday and my heart leapt with joy. It was Passover and I could tangibly feel the joy of being delivered and redeemed and loved by God himself. My feet had a bounce in their step that hasn’t been there in months and my heart felt light and happy. Kate, my new gymnastics assistant, said she had never seen me like that and Grant, my long-time assistant smiled a huge grin and said “I have, but it has been a long time.” The joy of the Lord is real – I know because it filled my heart and took me out of that place of despair.

We had a lovely Passover dinner on Friday evening with my dear friend, Jennifer, and her four daughters, three of my Worldviews students, our friends, the Cardons, with five of their children, and our friend, Paula, who jumped in at the last minute to fill Jesse’s (Jennifer’s husband) spot. Then on Saturday and Sunday we watched General Conference and my soul was lifted and strengthened even more with the messages of faith, the great love of God, and the hope the atonement and grace of God can give to each of us.

After Conference, I decided I had to completely ignore the vice-grip pain in my facial bones and read the last 32 pages of The Wingfeather Saga on this special Easter Sunday. I have been so incredibly frustrated at my inability to read more than a couple of pages to my family since the car accident before the pain in my face is so excruciating that I have to stop and ice it down, but today I realized it has worked out perfectly. I knew (since I have read the ending of the series twice already) that the last few chapters are a type of Christ’s redeeming sacrifice and resurrection and that the story would touch our children’s hearts and help them to see the atonement with new eyes as they learned the fanged monsters could be changed back into humans devoid of the anger and cruelty of their past selves. I have known for months that these chapters contained beautiful messages of God’s grace, sacrifice, and love that would reach deep into our children’s souls and give them truths they need and I have been hungry to give it to them, but I couldn’t make that happen very quickly because it hurt so much to read aloud. But now, with perfect timing, we have spent our Easter Sunday evening crying our eyes out as our hearts were broken with the sacrifice offered, the healing of the fangs, and the price of blood that had to be paid to bring it about.

Oh, my heart! It is so full with the love of God and love for God. I love Him. I trust Him. I rejoice in Him.

This song by Charles Wesley (the son of my beloved Susannah Annesley who Annesley is named after) captures the feelings of my heart tonight.

Rejoice, the Lord is King!
Your Lord and King adore!
Mortals, give thanks and sing
And triumph evermore.

Lift up your heart! Lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
Lift up your heart! Lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

The Lord, the Savior, reigns,
The God of truth and love.
When he had purged our stains,
He took his seat above.

Lift up your heart! Lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
Lift up your heart! Lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

His kingdom cannot fail;
He rules o’er earth and heav’n.
The keys of death and hell
To Christ the Lord are giv’n.

Lift up your heart! Lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
Lift up your heart! Lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

With Christians around the world, I rejoice that Christ was willing to come to earth and make it possible for each of us to return to our Father and become like Him as we learn to love and serve and sacrifice.

I know more dark days will probably come, but tonight, this glorious Easter night, I want to savor these feelings of peace and joy and gratitude for all He has done.

read more

Related Posts

three years of family history

Mar 29, 2015 by

three years of family history

Treasured days.

Sacred days.

This week is the 3rd year anniversary of the epic trip to Utah in the invalid mobile in which Kat and Jessica took me to Utah, insisted on me getting an MRI of my non-functioning hip joint, and we laughed and cried more than I ever thought possible. March 27th was the day Jessica’s dad gave me a priesthood blessing and God invited me on a precious journey of family history work.

A large group of friends and ward members joined us at the temple for a night of sealings. I spent almost all of the evening leaning/laying on a small couch with my knee propped up and beaming with joy. I could not stop smiling as I thought about the past three years of doing family history work and falling in love with my ancestors. We were able to complete 261 ordinances…which is a ton. A ton. My heart was full to bursting as family after family was joined together with priesthood ordinances.

There really are no words to describe the exhilaration and peace that came to me last night.

I am a different person than I was on March 27, 2012 – my body is more fragile, my muscles are weakened, my emotions are closer to the surface, I have less capacity to do what I want to do and more desire to do what God desires for me. I am more somber, less spontaneous, more prone to tears, more prone to grumpiness, less able to think clearly, more able to see clearly, more able to cope with pain, and less willing to want to do so. I feel things. More. The good, the bad, and the ugly feelings pile up inside me and I don’t always know what do with them. Crying is often the answer. While I am not at all sure I like all the changes, I am grateful for this journey. It has been hard, climb Mount Everest kind of hard. It has been beautiful and sweet and powerful and sacred and joyful.

I have not undertaken this journey alone. There has been an army of friends and family cheering me on from the sidelines, taking care of my body, helping me with the ins and outs of daily life, and showering me with love. Piles and piles of love that have been a lifeline to my soul. I have learned how important the love and support of fellow human beings is in getting one through hard stuff.

And then there is Richard. Richard, with his patience, rock-solid stability, faith in God, great ability to forgive, soft-heart, and willingness to do whatever he can to ease my burdens has been a fortress of strength. He has shown me again and again what love is. How love acts. What love looks and feels like. He has taught me what marriage can be. He has shown me what the love of a good man can do for a woman.

There has been a multitude of heavenly help as well. Angels have been by my side, lifting and protecting. I have been guided on my journey by God – He has often planted ideas in my heart, surrounded me with His comforting arms, and given me new perspectacles to see a situation with His eyes.

No, I would not give back these three years if I could. I will keep them and savor them and try to allow God to mold me into what He wants me to be.

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.

C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity

I am still a run-down beach shanty with holes and leaks and all manner of building code violations, but I can feel God working in my life, making me into something else. It is painful and beautiful all at the same time. And today, I am grateful. Grateful that He cares enough about me to transform my life with His love and the things He has asked me to do.


read more

Related Posts

three years

Feb 20, 2015 by

I remember the snow lightly falling on my nose as I warmed up my body with lunge walks, butt kicks, and grapevines. I remember feeling strong, capable of doing anything I set my mind to, and full of excitement for a summer full of races with my girlie. I remember running on Friday, the 17th, down at the greenbelt, with the sun shining – I ran further and faster and could actually see myself as a runner instead of just a mother of a runner.

I remember the take-my-breath-away pain deep in my groin as I brought my right leg forward. I remember feeling like an at-the-hip amputation would be better than the pain I was feeling. I remember hobbling back to the Suburban bringing my leg forward with my hands. I remember Richard carrying me to bed that night when I couldn’t put any weight on my leg at all.

I remember the weeks spent in bed covered in ice packs and the neverending pain of both body and spirit. My children fighting, crying, whining, unable to cope with mom spending day after day in bed. I remember sobbing myself to sleep many a night and being completely frustrated at my body, my situation, and my children.

I remember the first Priesthood blessing and how the heavens opened and poured love, light, and power into every fiber of my being. I remember the beginning of my family history journey and how insatiable my desire was to find each member of my family.

I remember the army of friends who brought in meals, cleaned my house, drove my children to activities, sent me cheer-up notes, prayed for me, and surrounded me with love.

I remember Kat, Jenn, and Jess taking care of me – gently helping me see reality, laughing, driving me to appointments with doctors, holding my hand as needles were inserted, holding my whole body as I sobbed all the pain and frustration out into a pile of snot. Kat and Jess went the extra mile and cleaned up my very stinky, post-MRA pee.

I remember the patient, calm, nurturing of my husband. I remember spending my days alone in my bed feeling completely broken and like a burden and failure. And then he would come home and give me that look. And my heart would fill up with a little bit of hope and a pile of love for this man who loves me more than life itself.

So many memories of those first few months, I want to remember forever – those were hard, hard days – too precious to forget.

Now it has been three years since that first day of pain and injury. Three years full of hundreds of little injuries and lots of big injuries. Three years full of more pain than I can describe. Three years of our children learning to be self-sufficient, run a household, take care of each other, and take care of me. Three years of learning to rely on God and submit to His will for my life. Three years full of the miracles of God, prayers answered, blessings poured out upon us. As hard as it has been, I am grateful for this experience – the pain, despair, and agony of soul AND the love, service, and joy. It has all been a powerful blessing for our whole family and many others as well.

Last night I showed this movie to Richard and with tears in my eyes, thanked him for all the work he does both behind the scenes and in full view that allows me to stil have a somewhat independent life. Tonight we are celebrating by watching Unbroken…for that is what we are, unbroken, full of faith, and determined to make it through.

I sent this thank you out to hundreds of people this morning. I share it here so that all my blog readers can know how grateful I am for you as well. Thank you for walking this journey with me and sending me so many words of encouragement. They have lifted me more than you know.

Dear Loved Ones,

Today, February 20, marks the 3-year anniversary of my original hip injury. I could spend today mourning all the freedom and body functions I have lost, but instead I want to celebrate and focus on the many blessings that have come from that injury. I want to pay tribute and give thanks to each of you – the many family members and friends whose support has meant so much during the last three years. We are surrounded by an army of goodness!

As our family has been called upon to make significant changes to our life, we have been held in God’s keeping. We could not have made it through these past 36 months without you. You have truly been God’s hands and you have spread His light.

Some of you have given generously of your time. Some of you have driven me to appointments or taken me shopping. Some of you have given us money or paid for therapy, equipment, and medical appointments. Some have given food, cleaning, and other acts of service. Some of you have held my hands through painful treatments. Some of you have held me during seizures. Some of you have prayed for me and with me. Some of you have given smiles and hugs. Some of you have written notes full of faith and encouragement. Some of you have cried with me. Some of you have given Priesthood blessings. Some of you have helped me with my family history work. Some of you have listened. Some of you have carried my zero-gravity chair all over Timbuktu. Some of you have taken care of our children. Some of you have repaired our home. Some of you have been the support team for Richard and our children. Some of you have worked in our yard. Some of you have put my body back together again. Some of you have picked me up off the floor and carried me. All of you have lifted burdens. All of you have loved.

Today our hearts are full of gratitude to you and for you. Thank you for walking this journey with us. Your service has made all the difference.

In the past three years, I have had a labral tear in my hip, a broken left foot, a dislocated right foot, dislocated ribs, dislocated jaw, dislocated shoulders, nearly constant pubic bone issues, stretched MCL, torn LCL, torn meniscus, hundreds of seizures, thousands of passing out episodes, and many more injuries I am forgetting. I have been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that means my collagen is defective and my ligaments do not hold me together very well. As a result of my injuries and the subsequent damage to my nervous system, I have also developed POTS, which is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, and Dysautonomia, which are just fancy ways of saying my body has a hard time running the automatic functions of my body, such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, temperature, and blood flow.

Two weeks ago I was in a minor car accident and we have yet to see the full results of these injuries as we are still in the figuring-things-out-stage – all I really know is my face, neck, shoulders, ribs, spine, and pelvis are in a world of hurt.

I have absolute faith in God and know He can heal me. While a complete blessing of healing has not come, many dear and precious blessings have been poured out upon me. At the same time, He is teaching me how to live in this oft-injured state. I never know how my body will function from day to day and am learning to be grateful for the really small things in life.

There are not sufficient words to express my gratitude for your kindness and generosity to me. Thank you for everything you have done and will do in the future.

Your presence in my life and your generous service have filled this difficult journey with light, love, laughter, and most of all, faith, hope, and peace.

I love you,

Richard, Blythe, Keziah, Fisher, and Annesley also say THANK YOU!

read more

Related Posts

what can i do for you?

Feb 9, 2015 by

Sometimes I am a prickly porcupine to live with, sometimes I am more like a fire-breathing dragon. Often I am cheerful and fun and loud and spontaneous and caring and all sorts of other good things, but far more than I like to admit the grumpy monster comes out of me.

One of the things that brings out the prickles is pain, which has been in abundance for the last three years, but has seemed to be all-encompassing since the car accident last week. It feels like I cannot deal with another ounce of hurt added. Last night after 6 hours of church meetings, my face and neck and ribs were DONE.

Another thing is our tinsy little budget that changes all the time based parent’s forgetting their child’s therapy appointment or their vacations or having a sick child. We never know from month to month what our income will be and since our income is small to begin with there is not a lot of room for Richard to lose money when people don’t show up for appointments.

Put those two situations together and you get a giant, prickly, fire-breathing BEAST, which is what I was last night as I tried to make a budget for the month and the year and my physical therapy and Blythe’s appointments with doctors and dentists before her upcoming $400 a month mission. All of which seems like an impossibility.

And instead of continuing to pour over numbers and use my creative little brain to problem solve or think about how to bring in more money or how to cut costs or how to have more faith or how to simply give it all over to God who is endlessly showing me He is taking care of us, I opened my mouth and spewed out toxic sludge on the person I love most.

“Why was your check $600 short?” and “How on earth am I supposed to make this work?” and “Isn’t there something YOU can do to get more hours?” and on and on and on.

And he said, “I’m sorry. I’ll keep looking for a different job.” Then he went and cleaned off our bed (which was piled with my stuff) and came out and asked if there was anything he could do for me.

In my frustration at how much pain my face was in and my anger at our budget for the month, I almost spouted off that there was nothing he could do for me except earn more money, but I took a breath and let his kindness fill my heart. Then I looked in his eyes and let it all melt away.

This is why we are still married. Because he serves and loves and forgives. He shows me on a daily basis what love does. What it looks like. What it feels like. Ever so slowly I am learning to love and serve as he does. To put his needs before my own. To sincerely and actively seek to improve his life.

An article by Richard Paul Evans is circulating around the interwebs about marriage. It is excellent advice and I know first-hand how effective it is because my Richard lives that style of love every single day.

The pain may be an on-going part of my life, most likely, the budgetary challenges will be, but those things are not what really matter. Our marriage is what matters. Our treatment of one another and the love we bless each other with is what matters. The people we become as we serve one another is what matters. The covenants we keep are what matters.

read more

Related Posts

a new direction

Jan 26, 2015 by

We are at the seven week mark of this vagal nerve and knee injury and have been working hard to discover what direction we should go with my treatment and I think we have found some answers.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine came over and worked on the foot zoning points of the vagal nerve. After that appointment, I stopped throwing up and my burping decreased significantly. She taught Richard what to do so he could work on my feet each night and as he has done so, the burping has continued to improve. She has come several times since and the tachycardia and digestion issues are improving as well.

Last week I was able to see a doctor at a specialty medical clinic for four days. Jen accompanied me to take care of me and we had an amazing and eye-opening experience. We had a ton of fun and learned a lot about my body’s needs. I was really, really, REALLY hoping to get stem cell injections into the LCL and meniscus to jumpstart their healing, but there is Procaine in the solution and he said my nervous system could not handle the injections without it, so we created a different treatment plan.

This morning I started an oral stem cell regimen that I will stay on for 3 months and then we will reassess the state of my body. The doctor gave me a very involved nutrition plan, supplements, medications, and stem cells, all of which is going to be a full-time job to get inside me on a daily basis. Yesterday I was able to program my phone with the 17 different reminders of food I need to be eating or medicines I need to be taking throughout the day and with three reminders already done for today, we are off to a stellar start.

The nutrition plan is aimed at two things: one, maintaining and hopefully increasing the amount of lean body tissue I have and two, giving my stomach all the help it needs to be able to digest food so my intestines can absorb nutrients. One of the new things we are implementing is drinking 1 quart of water with 1 TB. of baking soda and the juice of 3 limes at specific times of the day in relationship to the food I am eating. This is supposed to change my pH and help my food digest easier. Let me just say it is pretty disgusting. I did get 1/2 quart down me yesterday and today will be the full quart.

I also have to eat 6 tinsy meals a day that are protein heavy with lots of veggies as well. I can eat some very limited carbs, but not at the same time as I eat proteins as that makes both the proteins and the carbs harder to digest.

Interspersed with all this food are supplements, medicines, and stem cells and at first it was mind-boggling to me how to make it all work, but I think I have created a workable schedule and with the help of my phone beeping at me to remind to take this supplement or eat that food, I think it is doable.

Today my heart is full of gratitude for the opportunity I have been blessed with to start on this new treatment plan. The Spirit has been with me this past week and testified to me that this is the right course of treatment at the time. So as a family, we are going to pull together and give it our best effort.

Now on to reminder four.

read more

Related Posts

the tv miracle

Dec 26, 2014 by

Back in mid-November, on a day my body was doing really well, Kat and I went to Costco. She started looking for Christmas presents and I had a “What the heck, is it almost Christmas??” moment. I had not even started thinking about Christmas and simply could not imagine going shopping for presents, even though at that time I was doing quite well physically. The thought of being out in weather, standing in lines, going shopping alone, and even just wrapping my brain around anything Christmas-y was too much. Surely it was only September and I had months to get ready for Christmas?

I said, “I wish I could just buy them a TV and be done with it.” Kat jumped right on that idea and said she thought it was a great idea. Later I presented it to Richard in a kind of snarky-listen-to-this-crazy-idea way. He loved it and actually was able to convince me it was a great idea and not a you-are-a-lazy-bum-who-doesn’t-want-to-shop idea.

Then we presented it to the kids. Blythe and Keziah were all for it. Fisher and Annes, not so much. I assured them they would have at least two presents to open, one from each set of grandparents, and after about a week of thinking about it, they decided to go for it.

So, with everyone in favor I decided to start pricing out TVs and decided we actually wouldn’t be able to do it. Our gas bill to go home for Thanksgiving was more than I thought it would be and Richard’s check was about $500 less than I was expecting. I didn’t know what to do. Everyone was so excited about the idea of an actual working television we could watch movies on and now I didn’t know if I could make it happen. I found a great cyber Monday deal at Sam’s for a huge 48″ off-brand TV with a Roku stick included for $348. I thought it was a great price and really wanted to make it happen, but I still didn’t have enough pennies for it.

I like to hoard gift cards, it gives me a sense of security to have a way to purchase needed items when we have run out of cash, so I started searching through our gift cards from last Christmas and was able to come up with $60 in unused cards. While I was searching for gift cards, I found a sealed envelope with Keziah’s writing on it. I had no idea what it was, but it had a note on it, “$$$$ I owe you.”

WHAT???????? What money did she owe us? And why was it in the bottom of my bill bin? And how much was it?

It turned out to be $300. The total for the TV with tax was $368. So, with Keziah’s money and the gift cards, I had to come up $8.00. Eight whole bucks. Oh, my goodness. I sat on my bed and cried. I knew this was a gift from an all-knowing Father. If I had known about Keziah’s money earlier in the year, I would have used it when our Suburban broke down. But instead, it was kept hidden from me until the moment we needed it.

We are having so much fun having family movie nights with this TV! I have been pretty anti-TV our whole married life, but we do enjoy watching great family films together. We are learning all about Amazon Instant Videos and I’m pretty amazed at how far technology has come in the past few years – the Roku stick makes it so slick to access content from the internet. Our children finally feel like they are part of the modern world, teehee!

read more

Related Posts

the story of the precious quilts

Dec 26, 2014 by

the story of the precious quilts

I usually tell people, “I can’t sew!” The truth of the matter is I can sew, just barely. Sewing is really, really, REALLY challenging for me. It doesn’t make sense to my brain. I can’t sew straight. I mess up back-stitching, have to unpick lots, and my projects leave a lot to be desired in the sewn-well-looks-pretty department. But for some reason, I love making homemade, home-sewn things for my children. It feels like I am wrapping up all the love in my heart for them and handing it to them on a silver platter, fabric platter, of course.

Jessica’s mom has been making birthday quilts for all of her grandchildren this year…and they are gorgeous. When the first one arrived at Jess’ home back in October, I swooned over it. But I didn’t even think about making one because Debbie is a quilter and I am not. At all. It seemed way, way, way outside of my abilities.


Then when I saw the second quilt at Thanksgiving, I nearly died over it. I could not stop staring at it and touching it. Excuse the blurry pic, it is the only one I have and you must see it so you can see what inspired me! It is made with the Miss Kate jelly roll and I was so tempted to use it for Annesley’s, but in the end chose a different one.


I loved them ever so much and in spite of the facts that I don’t sew well normally (certainly not well enough to make a quilt like this!) AND cannot sew at all right now because I cannot sit due to my hip injury AND haven’t sewn at all since the hip injury occurred in February 2012 AND knew I could not afford the fabric needed to make one quilt, much less four, I COULD NOT stop thinking about making these quilts for my children.

The whole drive home from Thanksgiving had my brain going round in circles trying to figure out how on earth I could make these for my children. I especially wanted to make something for my children because it is Blythe’s last Christmas at home before her mission. We always make something special for our children and we weren’t going to this year because we decided to put all our Christmas money towards a TV. We also didn’t last year because we adopted an orphanage in Ecuador instead of buying presents. So even though I loved the TV idea, my whole soul was longing to make my children something from my heart. The more I thought about it, I realized there was just no way. I could not come up with any solutions. None.

On Tuesday, December 2, Sheri took me to physical therapy and afterwards I asked her if we could stop by the fabric store so I could price out fabric. As we walked through the store I became more and more enamored with the idea and at the same time, realized it was going to be far too expensive to even consider it.

Late that night, Sheri showed up at my door with a plan to get me the fabric. I thought she was crazy, but after lots of laughter and tears, I agreed to her plan…she would buy the fabric in exchange for future gymnastics lessons and work with my husband. We checked with Kat about the possibilities of using her fancy machine with a start/stop button instead of a foot pedal and how she thought it would work for me to sew standing up at an elevated table. She thought it would work, so we stayed up for hours looking at online fabric stores and got the jelly rolls ordered and I started brainstorming what I could sell to earn some money to pay for the quilting.

The next day was the big passing out/shaking/vomiting episode and I had to spend several days in bed. Friday night I felt well enough to go pick out minkee and Sheri, Jen, and I headed to the fabric store and were blessed to find a big table of minkee on sale for $7.88/yard! We were able to find stuff to coordinate with the tops, pick out the binding fabric, and make it home without any vomiting.

Then on Sunday, the 7th, I fell at church and injured my knee. And I continued to throw up almost all my food. It seemed there was no way I would be able to continue the project because I felt so terrible with the stomach issues and there was no way I would be able to stand to sew with my knee in so much pain.

But once again, my awesome friends helped me. Kat figured out how to put the sewing machine on a table over top of my zero gravity chair so I could lay back with my knee elevated and wrapped in ice packs and still reach the start/stop button and guide the fabric. Every few days, in between vomiting episodes and usually late at night after our children were in bed, Kat would come and get me, set me up in my chair with her sewing machine on top of me, and mentor me through each stage of the project. It was amazing! Each time I finished a top, I would shriek with joy and cry big tears of happiness at how fabulous they were turning out. I just could not believe my very limited sewing skills could produce something so beautiful. Even though I sewed all the stitches, it was Kat’s awesome tutelage that made them turn out so well.

My aunt owns a quilting business in Wyoming, so the next step was to get all the tops to her. We sent some of the tops on the 16th with a woman from my hometown who was up here visiting her daughter (thanks Lori!), then finished the remaining tops at about 2 a.m. Wednesday, the 17th, and sent them to Wyoming with our friend Tamia who was taking her boys to visit Jessica’s family for a few days. Then my mom got them from Jessica and took them over to Angie.

Angie worked her magic and then got them over to the fabric store to be bound. They were all done by Saturday, the 20th. But my mom was down in Salt Lake for the day and couldn’t pick them up. She had to leave early Monday morning before the store opened to come up here to deliver them, so she started calling all sorts of people to see if someone could go get them. She finally found someone (thanks Karen!) and we were one step closer to getting the quilts into my arms before Christmas morning.

Meanwhile I was here fretting about them, wondering if the quilting turned out well, if I had chosen the right designs, the right color thread, if the binding was working, and a million other things. I could not sleep Saturday night for fear I had completely ruined the whole project by choosing something wrong.

Also, that day I sold my beloved Singer 301A to finish up earning the money to pay for the quilting. It is my favorite machine to sew on and an incredible workhorse. I sewed my first and only quilt (until now) on it back in 2011. It was one of the things I knew could bring in some money and I since I can’t sit to sew, I can’t use it anyway. I have been holding on to it with the hope that someday I will be able to use it again, but I decided it was time to face the reality that I may never sit again.

Then on Monday, the 22nd, my mom showed up with her presents for our family and the all-my-hopes-pinned-on-them quilts. After she took my kiddos to a movie, I unwrapped the quilt package and burst into tears. They were so, so lovely. I could barely breathe, I was so in love with them.

Christmas morning my children opened one and only one gift from their parents – the quilts! They love them and have been snuggled up in them ever since.

Thank you Sheri, Kat, Jen, Angie, Lori, Tamia, Jessica, Karen, Charla, and mom. Thank you so much for helping me make this dream come true.

Annesley’s ray of sunshine quilt made with the Bloomin’ Fresh jelly roll. Hers is stitched with pink thread in a design of hearts, flowers, and stars. So cute!



Fisher’s bold quilt is made with the Mixed Bag jelly roll and has orange zigzag binding. He loves, loves, loves lime green, orange, and red – this is so perfect for him. It always cracks me up that such a quiet boy is drawn to such loud colors and fabrics. His thread is blue and is quilted in a chevron design. His is the only one I wish I had done differently. I should have chosen a bug or airplanes design, but the chevron looks great.



Keziah’s is done with the Girl Crazy jelly roll. She loves old cruiser bikes, so we did the quilt design with bikes and Scotty dogs (dogs are perhaps her biggest passion!) with turquoise thread and the binding is bikes too!


Can you see the bike design?




Blythe loves hot pink and other bright colors and I think the daisy quilting design goes with her fabric perfectly. It is made with the LOL jelly roll and has both hot pink binding and thread. She loves it!




You can see how to make this Jelly Roll Race quilt in this video tutorial. This quilt pattern is called a one hour top and maybe it is for someone, but not for me. I’m about as slow as molasses. I sewed Blythe’s top first and it took me nine hours. By the time I got to the last one, I was down to about three or four hours. If you are a beginner quilter, this is an excellent project. It is technically easy, comes together quickly, and turns out beautifully. I would guess if you have any sewing skills at all, you can make the top easily in two – three hours.

I still can’t believe we got these done in three short weeks…and not three good weeks, three really, really hard weeks for my body to do much of anything. Pretty much a Christmas miracle!

read more

Related Posts

welcome december

Dec 3, 2014 by

We have had a long Thanksgiving week at my mom’s house. All my siblings came and it was really good to spend time with everyone. I haven’t been home since January…too long. There is something special about going home that fills up my inward parts like nothing else can.

We were able to attend church in my old, growing-up ward. Oh, the joy! Those people are my people. Although I have told them repeatedly, I’m sure they don’t really understand what an impact they had on my life. Their example of loving Christ, trusting Him, and being His hands in my life taught me much about discipleship. About service. About forgiveness and love and standing for truth. Two of my favorite people said the prayers…I loved hearing them give thanks to God. The whole three hours of meetings were full of happy reunions, hugs and smiles, and lots of beautiful messages about coming to Christ. My heart was filled to bursting.

The rest of the week was spent with my siblings and mama. We played Rook and Spades, cooked lots of yummy food (I actually don’t think I cooked anything, but everyone else did), took kids swimming a few times, and celebrated Annesley’s birthday. Mikelle spoiled us all with new haircuts. One day she did seven haircuts and two colors!

I was also able to go see my Jessica THREE times! Wahoo! She has moved to Wyoming and lives fairly close to my hometown, so of course, we had to take advantage of the close proximity and hang out a few times.

Now that we have been home a few days we are slowly getting our home ready for the month of Christmas. Our Christmas books are out and our tree is up, but not yet decorated. We are waiting for a time when we are all here together and (it is not the middle of the night!) to decorate and put out the nativities. I think the next time we will all be home when it is not sleeping time is Sunday. Ridiculous, but it is all for a good cause. This week is Blythe’s Symphony Concert and she is working two jobs on top of attending play rehearsals AND symphony rehearsals. She is leaving in the morning and getting home every night after 10:00. Long, long days for her.

I need to write a big ‘ol gratitude post and a post about Miss Annes’ birthday and I should probably post about today’s crazy shaking/passing out/puking debacle. (I really needed Jessica here today to witness the whole thing so she could write up a hilarious description and have us all laughing our heads off). Anyway, I may get to those posts or I may not. I don’t know. There is just not enough of me to go around.

Either way, welcome December. May this month bring peace and love and greater connection with God.

read more

Related Posts

changed for good

Nov 11, 2014 by

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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







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


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


Madi washing hundreds of jars.


Keri and Dustin removing the ridiculous cabinet lights.


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


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


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


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


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


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


Sometimes the little ones played.


And sometimes they ate.


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

To my Dear, Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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

read more

Related Posts

learning to receive

Oct 17, 2014 by

My dear friend Tasha has organized an epic “Pour Out Piles of Love on Tracy” party for tomorrow. I wasn’t supposed to know about it, but she messed up and BCCed me on an email (Which is a VERY fortunate mistake because I probably would have gone into full freak-out mode if my house was invaded early on a Saturday morning and I had no foreknowledge of it at all!). I heartily tried to veto the whole shebang, but no one listens to me anymore and the party is going on with or without my approval.

After thinking about it for a few days, I have decided to focus on the love and be grateful for this outpouring of service…a gazillion people are going to show up tomorrow morning to deep clean our home, repair lots of broken things, work in our decrepit yard, and pour out love everywhere they look. Oh my. It is so scary to let people into my home and see my messes, my piles, my crap I cannot decide what to do with. I am feeling quite vulnerable already with these bad dreams and sleepless nights and this experience is sending my vulnerable feelings sky high.

Part of me thinks, “Even though I have been injured for over 2 1/2 years and even though I spend lots of time in bed and even though I can’t move quickly, stay on my feet for very long, squat down at all, or carry heavy loads, I SHOULD BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING IN THIS HOUSE!” And then I go to this train of thinking, “I mean for goodness sakes I have two teenage daughters and even though they have busy school schedules, jobs, symphony, running, friends, and lots of other things, the three of us should be able to do this.” And then I go to “I have a husband who can fix/build/make pretty much anything, he should have this house in tip top shape.” But the truth is I can’t. We can’t. We have been living in survival mode since at least spring of 2011 when we found the lump in my breast. My husband works long hours six days a week. He is only here about six Saturdays a year and all the repairs and projects for the whole year get squished into those six Saturdays.

Kat says karma is coming my way and I need to soak it all in and remember all the wonderful times I have had pulling such events off for others who need help. So I am trying really hard to release the shame and welcome the love. I have decided to move forward into tomorrow with a grateful heart. There is so much good in this world. So, so much. And tomorrow is my day to learn to receive…and smile while people surround me with service.

read more

Related Posts

7670 days since we said yes

Oct 15, 2014 by

Twenty-one years since we knelt at the altar in covenant making.

Fierce loyalty.

Tender love.

Breathtaking kisses.

Safe snuggles.

Hilarious inside jokes.




That look in his eye that tells me he adores me.

When I first looked at him back on the evening of June 4, 1993, my spirit was overcome by the feeling of stability and security. I have been safe in his arms ever since. He loves me just the way I am and he anchors me to all the good things. Don’t you think this song was written for us?

by Mindy Gledhill

When all the world is spinning round
Like a red balloon way up in the clouds
and my feet will not stay on the ground
You anchor me back down

I am nearly world renowned
As a restless soul who always skips town
But I look for you to come around
And anchor me back down

There are those who think that I’m strange
They would box me up, and tell me to change
But you hold me close and softly say
That you wouldn’t have me any other way

When people pin me as a clown
You behave as though I’m wearing a crown
When I’m lost I feel so very found
When you anchor me back down

There are those who think that I’m strange
They would box me up, and tell me to change
But you hold me close and softly say
That you wouldn’t have me any other way

When all the world is spinning round
Like a red balloon way up in the clouds
and my feet will not stay on the ground
You anchor me back down

Oh, how I love this man God has yoked me to. Thank you honey…for everything.

p.s. I had to edit the post title because I forgot about the leap years. Five more days.

read more

Related Posts


Oct 9, 2014 by

A swirling ball of emotions and experiences have filled my past many weeks. Moments of joy, celebrations of birthdays, exquisite beauty, peaceful solitude, and quiet moments of pondering have all been present along with gut-wrenching pain, soul-searing heartache, fear, grief, and misery and then to top it all off, a bout of pneumonia that sapped nearly all my strength.

It has been a bit surreal – as if I am living in several different realities all at the same time – and I haven’t known how to best navigate these waters.

Some things have helped. Morning scripture study and prayer with our family has added grounding to my day. Evening read-aloud time and family prayer has been the whip cream to top off our days with moments of unity before bed. Snuggling with my little ones has helped me remember who I am and what I am all about: family. Last week’s priesthood blessings were filled with words of truth and hope for everyone and definitely a balm of healing for me. Attending General Conference this weekend gave me the same sort of strength my mountains give me – fortitude to persevere from deep within the earth. All of it has helped. All of it has helped me feel God’s love.

Last week sometime Jessica sent me some lovely thoughts from Dickens that helped me sort out my conflicting feelings of deep gratitude for the life I have now and the deep, deep pain I feel from being molested, my father leaving us and physically abandoning me, and my mother being raped and subsequently being emotionally unavailable while she healed from her own pain. Part of me has felt like if I were really grateful, I wouldn’t have the pain. But this quote by Dickens helped me understand it is okay to be in both places at once.

“The deep remembrance of the sense I had of being utterly neglected and hopeless, of the shame I felt in my position; of the misery it was to my young heart … cannot be written. My whole nature was so penetrated with grief and humiliation of such considerations, that even now, famous and caressed and happy, I often forgot in my dreams that I have a dear wife and children; even that I am a man; and wander desolately back to that time in my life.”

Just because my heart is hurting does not mean I am not grateful. It simply means I am hurting.

At some point in all of this blackness, I read the words to a favorite song from back in my teenage years. It got me through many a dark night then and I thought it might get me through some of these dark nights now.

Hold On, The Light Will Come
by Michael McClean

The message of this moment is so clear

And as certain as the rising of the sun
When your world is filled with darkness, doubt or fear
Just hold on, hold on
The light will come

Everyone who’s ever tried and failed

Stands much taller when the victory’s won
And those who’ve been in darkness for awhile
Kneel much longer when
The light has come

It’s a message everyone of us must learn

That the answers never come without a fight
And when it seems you’ve struggled far too long
Just hold on, hold on
There will be light

Hold on, hold on, the light will come

Hold on, hold on, the light will come

If you feel trapped inside a never ending night

If you’ve forgotten how it feels to feel the light
If you’re half crazy thinking you’re the only one
Who’s afraid the light will never really come
Just hold on, hold on the light will come

The message of this moment is so clear

And as certain as the rising of the sun
When your world is filled with darkness, doubt or fear
Just hold on, hold on the light will come

After weeks of heartache and pain, I decided I needed to talk to my Stake President. I love this man and I sensed his wise, Christ-centered counsel was exactly what I needed. He is being released in a few weeks and I wanted to receive a priesthood blessing along with his wisdom and love. We met on Tuesday for several hours and God poured out light and truth and clarity. Those few hours will be one of the treasures of my life.

President Poston helped me understand that this pain is okay – feeling it does not mean I am lacking faith, it just comes. He told me there will be periods of time in my life when the pain from my childhood will flare up. It just will. How I respond to the pain is what is important. He counseled me to let it come and keep trusting God. He said we don’t trust the outcome, we trust the Giver – know He is with me, even in the pain. Don’t trust Him only when he takes the pain away, trust him in the pain, trust him always.

Such beautiful, beautiful thoughts.

He shared D&C 100:15:

Therefore, let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to those that walk uprightly.

He told me that I do walk uprightly and to take this scripture at face value – that ALL things shall work together for my good. Well, I can argue till I am blue in the face that I don’t walk uprightly. I lose my patience, I am critical, I am quick to anger. Most of all, I am full of prideful independence that I will solve my problems and then go to God. But this dear man testified as a servant of God, holder of priesthood keys, and a judge in Israel, that I do walk uprightly and all things shall work together for my good.

He counseled me to go to bed with faith in Christ and heart full of hope for a good night’s rest. If the bad dreams come, plead for light. Look heavenward and plead for relief and trust it to come. He asked me to start the day in prayer asking for light and heaven’s help to surround me, then get to the business of the day. Then end the day in prayer talking to Father about my day and asking for light and rest to be with me through the night. He promised me the light will come.

And then he gave Richard a beautiful, sacred, profound blessing that filled him with peace and hope and assurance that Father is very aware of him.

And then they both laid their hands on my head and the light of God poured into my soul.

The words are far too sacred to share here on the interwebs, but oh my, they are powerful and beautiful and full of healing. This I know: God knows me, loves me, is with me. I have a great work to do in this life and the circumstances of my life are not an accident, they are a gift that enables me to do the work God has called me to do.

I feel lighter than I have in many weeks. Thank you Father. Thank you Jesus.

read more

Related Posts

some victories

Sep 30, 2014 by

It’s high time we focus on some victories, wouldn’t you say? Even in the sludge of what I am experiencing right now, I can see the goodness around me, the blessings of my life, and for that I am grateful. If I was in this sleep-deprived, grief-laden state without being able to see the good, I think I would go completely bonkers.

  • Blythe is working! Wahoo!
  • We get to go to General Conference this weekend! Big Wahoo!
  • Keziah is running cross-country and loving it. Yesterday she clocked her fastest time on a 400m at practice and came back to the car full of confidence and satisfaction.
  • Even though I was sorely tempted, I did not take up residence in the land-of-everything-is-awful-and-Richard-needs-a-new-wife. I thought about buying a ticket, but I refused to put out the money and did not board that train. And it was even in the midst of my progesterone dropping! This is huge folks. Huge. I would have fully expected that in the midst of these sleepless nights and awful dreams, I would have jumped on board that train, but through the grace of God, I was able to stay here and hold onto his (and His) love.
  • This case of pneumonia is doing much, much better! In fact, I think I will try to ride the Elliptigo for a few minutes this afternoon and see how my lungs handle it.
  • After years of Keziah begging with every cell of her body for another dog, we have finally decided to get her a cutie pie named Harley. Kez will promptly rename her Charley and we will all live happily ever after as a two-dog family. Right? We pick her up on Saturday when we head to Utah for General Conference.


  • I am cooking meals for my family…not every night, but more than I have in months. Kat’s lentil tacos and this delicious fried rice recipe (I don’t even put chicken in it and it is still so, so delicious! I think the sesame oil must be the secret ingredient I have been missing all these years.) have become once-a-week standbys.
  • Fisher and I finished reading Iron Thunder today. It is a story about the Monitor vs. Merrimac battle in the Civil War. He is doing a presentation about the battle in a few weeks at iFAMILY. He also just finished listening to G.A. Henty’s book With Lee in Virginia.
  • Speaking of listening to books, that birthday boy is listening up a storm on his new birthday CD player. We looked for weeks for just the right one. We wanted it to play CDs, MP3s, and cassettes if possible. We finally found the right one and as a bonus it has an aux-in line as well. When the rest of us get to be too much for this quiet, peace-loving guy, he can go to his room, build with his legos, and listen to fabulous stories.
  • Keziah’s 14th birthday is on Friday. My little fireball is growing up. She is louder than ever (and if you knew her in person, you would know that is saying A LOT) and though we all tend to breathe a sigh of relief when she is gone for two hours each morning to seminary, we wouldn’t change her hilarious, spirited, hard-working, obnoxious, goal setting (and achieving) self for anything.
  • We have consistently held 6:00 a.m. scripture study for 6 weeks. Oh my goodness, never in a million years did I think I would be able to say those words. We are rocking this! Every single morning I lie in bed and decide I am NOT going to get up and every single morning I do anyway and by the time I get out to the front room, I am grateful.
  • My room is cleaner than it has been for a long, long time.
  • Fisher has earned a couple of dates (one for finishing his set of reading books and one for filling up his Happy Jar with Warm Fuzzies) with me and Annesley has almost earned one, so we are going to get to spend some lovely one-on-one time together in the next few weeks.
  • Even this grief has good points. It helps me see the stark contrasts of life and cling to the beautiful and precious even more fiercely. It has reminded me why I do what I do…why I mother and love and work to strengthen families.

Life is good. This may not last, but at least today I can see the light and can feel a real, genuine smile on my face.

read more

Related Posts

love makes the world go round

Sep 27, 2014 by

In the midst of all these bad dreams, pneumonia-laden lungs and a body full of faulty connective tissue, I am a mother.

A mother of four beautiful children who need me to be emotionally present in their lives.

We are trying our darnedest to create an emotionally safe home for these precious ones God has blessed us with. Lots of times I fail. I resort to anger and impatience and the poor coping mechanisms I was raised with.

And many times I choose love. And forgiveness. And patience.

And snuggles.

Always the snuggles bring us back to center.

Early in the morning, before anyone else is moving, Fisher creeps into my room with a book and with his sweet blue eyes asks if I will read to him, “just one chapter before school?”

Late at night, after everyone is done moving, Annesley will sneak into my arms for just one more hug and kiss before bed.

And my heart swells with oceans of gratitude that I, the person who never wanted to be a mother, the person who entered marriage as such a broken, angry soul, the person who believed my life was far more important than a child’s life, get to hold these children in my arms and nurture them with my heart.

I get to mother.

read more

Related Posts

together on a quiet morn

Sep 22, 2014 by

Early morning scriptures.

Snuggling in bed with my little ones.

Reading about Harriet Tubman’s escape with Fisher.

Doing math with Annesley.

Stillness in my trees after a night of gentle raindrops hitting my roof.





Gentle excitement in their eyes.

Just what I needed today.

read more

Related Posts

who knew the hammock was the answer?

Sep 14, 2014 by

Late in the afternoon, I looked at my trees and I looked at my yard and I looked at my Annesley who was busy entertaining herself by trying on every fancy dress-up in the house and twirling around, and I said “Do you want to meet me in the hammock for some snuggle time?”

Her eyes lit up and she stripped out of her layers of taffeta and rushed outside to the hammock. I grabbed Blueberries For Sal and went out for my very first hammock swing in our yard.

We snuggled for awhile, then Rosie-Tigris, Annes’ kitten, joined us for more snuggles. We read all about Little Sal and Little Bear getting lost on Blueberry Hill while their mothers were picking blueberries. I talked to her about Aidan and his soon-to-be-occurring death. She asked me all about the car accident and if I was in an accident when she was in my uterus. We snuggled and laughed and kissed and connected. Connection was exactly what we both needed. After a long while, I asked her to go get some hummus and pitas for a hammock picnic.

Yesterday was a hard day. I spent much of it crying and not accomplishing much from my very long to-do list. But the magic of a hammock turned it around. Rubbing my little one’s back while her cheek rested on my shoulder filled my aching heart up with just the right amount of love.

And filled her up too.

Connection, it makes all the difference.

read more

Related Posts

ten years later

Sep 13, 2014 by

Ten years ago today I took Blythe and Keziah to their Kindermusik class. It was a lovely September afternoon, just like this one. My very round, 40 week pregnant belly was barely able to fit behind the wheel of our 1989 Suburban, a metal tank we loved dearly.

On the way home, an 80 year old man ran a stop sign and T-boned into me going about 50 mph. The hood of his car was smashed into the backseat of his little Honda Civic. My suburban was dented, but still drivable. It’s size and strength totally made the difference that day. Our girls were fine. The car hit right into me and I didn’t fare so well.

My already extremely loose pelvis was injured. We didn’t know what was wrong yet, but we knew I was in horrific pain. I couldn’t walk.

An OB visit revealed that the uterine ligaments were torn, my pelvis was a hot mess of shifted bones, and my baby was in good condition.

A few days later I gave birth to Fisher. I cannot describe the pain of that week. It is beyond words.

The pain of the next two years took my breath away and broke me down to tears over and over again. Slowly but surely, through chiropractic care, lots of patience, supplements, and exercise, I was able to get my life back. Eventually I could vacuum, sweep, walk up and down stairs, and ride my recumbent. Thinking I was doing pretty well, I closed the claim with the man’s insurance company and moved on with life.

But my pelvis never recovered. It has never been the same. Scar tissue. Pain. Dislocations. All of it became a normal part of life for me. But I could still function well. Do back handsprings. Ride my bike. Swim. Run. Jump on the trampoline. Play volleyball. Richard got really good at putting my hips back into place and it seemed like the pesky little things were totally livable.

But the damage to my pelvis came back to haunt me when my labrum tore in February 2012. As the months wore on and more and more injuries occurred and we started dealing with the adhesions from the car accident, I could feel my anger from the accident growing. “Why did that man run that stop sign?” “Why did he lie about it?” “Doesn’t he have any idea how he has changed my life forever?” “Why, oh why, did I close the case? I should have settled for piles of pennies to pay for all these medical bills that I should have known were coming!”

God has blessed me with a lot of emotional and spiritual healing during this whole journey. The anger is gone…at least mostly, there are days it still flares up, but my heart has stopped asking “why” and has accepted what is.

But today on this 10th anniversary of the car accident, I am filled with tears. I can’t stop crying. Parts of me are so, so grateful for the past ten years of learning, of pain, of blessings and parts of me are simply devastated for the path my life has taken. Devastated that my little children can’t even remember a mother who was capable of running with them in the yard or going on a bike ride with them. Devastated that so much of the past ten years has been spent taking care of me. Devastated that “I” cost so much to take care of. Devastated that that beautiful, beautiful sunshiny September day ended in an accident that has had such far-reaching consequences.

So, today I reached out to my friend Rachel whose son Aidan is dying. His spirit will leave this life today or tomorrow. I took her some food and went and held her in my arms as we both cried. I held Aidan’s hand for the last time and did my best to surround her with my love and the love of her Father.

I stopped at some little ones’ lemonade stand and gave them my nickels for a tinsy cup of lemonade and a bucketful of joy.

I stared out the window at the blue, blue sky and marveled at the gift of peace my trees give to me.

And I cried.

read more

Related Posts

in his hands

Aug 14, 2014 by

Our suburban’s transfer case broke back on June 28 on our way home from Utah. The bill was $2100. $2100 which we didn’t have and couldn’t see any way of getting. We started selling things to pay for it and were able to sell enough stuff and use some from our summer savings account (our money set aside during the school year to make it until October when Richard gets paid from the school district again) to pay for the repair.

Well, when we returned home from camping, I did all the math for the next two months and knew we weren’t going to make it until payday in mid-October. We needed the $800 from the summer savings account. So I started putting energy into selling more things and planning out some classes to teach.

This morning, I woke up and knew the Duplo table had to sell. I had listed it back when the suburban broke down and it didn’t sell. I wasn’t willing to do garage sale prices on it because it is worth a lot of money (and worth a lot of emotional pennies to me as well), but many people are only willing to pay thrift store prices, so no one was interested in my $350 Duplo collection. Well, I prayed. I asked God to please send my ad to a person who would be blessed by my Duplos AND be willing to pay for them.

And he did.

It is sold, paid for, and taken to its new home.

Yes, I believe in a God of miracles. I tried to sell it on my own for a month with not a single taker. Today, after praying for help, it sold in just a few short hours. He is taking care of us.

p.s. I am so, so grateful they sold and know they are going to a home where they will be well-loved and cared for, but I find myself a bit teary-eyed…saying goodbye to our duplos is saying goodbye to an era of little ones. My babies are growing up and it feels like my heart is being torn in two.

read more

Related Posts

my mountains are calling

Jul 24, 2014 by

I have a special place I escape to each summer. The air seeps into my soul and renews me, centers me, brings me back to what matters most. The mountains give me strength and courage to face whatever life throws my way. The water, so crisp and clear, surrounds me with a healing balm of refreshment.

The memories of my grandparents loving these mountains and caring for the people who came to camp there fill me with peace. They nurtured the land, the visitors, and most of all, their grandchildren who came to stay with them in the big lodge on the hill. I was blessed to be one of the children who stayed with them for weeks on end and was able to learn to work and play and love under their tutelage.

My children have gone camping here every summer of their lives. It is their special place too. Almost all of Blythe’s birthdays have been celebrated in the mountains we love. This year she will turn 18. It might be the last birthday we have up there for a few years. Who knows where she will be and what she will be doing on her 19th, 20th, or 21st? I’m sure she will come back and join us sometimes, but this is probably the last trip from this phase of our lives with all of our children together.

Today is packing and grocery shopping and loading so we can pull out bright and early tomorrow morning. It is time to breathe the air that fills my soul.


read more

Related Posts

dodging a bullet

Jul 20, 2014 by

As I stood in the shower Friday afternoon while getting ready to attend the temple that night, I winced in pain as I have every shower since May 2. Lifting my left arm up to wash my hair pinches something in the shoulder joint and it shoots down my arm and up to my neck. Inwardly, I thought “Argh, I am so tired of this pain! When will it stop hurting to shampoo my hair. It has been 11 weeks!”

Instantly Jeremy’s voice entered my mind. On Tuesday at our appointment he shared these thoughts, “We have dodged a bullet, a really big bullet, with your vagus nerve and jaw.” He expressed his gratitude and we both rejoiced a bit at how well my foot and hip are doing. I heard I was doing well. I heard things were improving. I heard I could increase my time on the Elliptigo. I heard my vagus was calming down. But I didn’t really think about it. I didn’t feel grateful down deep in my soul. I didn’t really hear him until I was in the shower.

But as I winced in pain in the shower and Jeremy’s words replayed in my mind, the voice of the Lord washed over me and I heard something else.

Tracy, we dodged a bullet. I blessed you with a miracle. Just a few short weeks ago, a hypersensitive vagus was staring you in the face, and now, your vagus is calmed down. Tracy, I love you. Take this gift and know I healed you.

His words surrounded me from head to toe and I felt wrapped up in a blanket of love and warmth and safety. I felt known and heard and blessed.

My God is a god of miracles. He can and will and is pouring them down upon us. May I always remember.

read more

Related Posts

one year later

Jul 3, 2014 by

In spite of the aforementioned skull pain, today is a day to celebrate! One year ago I fell off a barstool while cleaning the shower for our Independence Day guests and broke my 4th metatarsal. Even though it was a small break, we did not know if it would heal or not. We didn’t know if the ligaments in my foot would be able to muster up the strength to hold the bone together. There was a good chance I would need to have surgery with pins and all that jazz.

But it healed! Hallelujah! After nearly five months of kick-butt pain, 16 weeks in a myriad of different walking boots, specialized medial-post, steel-shank shoes for three months post-walking boot, and lots of BF&C, essential oils, bone building supplements, and heaps and heaps of prayers, it is healed.

Having a broken left foot did a number on my right hip and set me back significantly – probably lost about 6 months of hip progress because of the foot – but here we are at one year post break and my hip has recovered nicely. I am able to ride the Elliptigo for two minutes a day and we are starting to see some real progress with my hip. It would have really been helpful to only have the broken foot to deal with in the past year, but having the severely sprained right foot in February set me back significantly again. Now my hip and left foot are doing well. My right foot is healing from the fall at swim camp and soon I will be able to exercise for more than two minutes a day.

So, I say Praise the Lord. This broken foot could have been so much worse. I could have had surgery. I could still be in a walking boot. I could still be experiencing significant foot pain. But I am not! I can walk without pain and today, on this one year anniversary, I am going to rejoice.

read more

Related Posts

please keep running sentra

Jul 1, 2014 by

The broken Subaru story has now expanded to a broken Subaru + a broken Suburban. On our way home from Utah on Saturday night, we started hearing a horrible grinding sound coming from the driver’s side axle area. We pulled over, did some investigation in the dark with cars whizzing by us at 80 mph, and decided we had to baby it to the next exit so we could get off the side of the road.

We figured it had to be the u-joints or the transfer case and shouldn’t drive it further. We started making phone calls, waking people up in the middle of the night, and were able to find some superheroes wearing their capes. Tami quickly found us a hotel room and a ride to get there. Unfortunately, when we got to the hotel it was full – her reservation had been made after midnight, so it bumped us to checking in that afternoon after 4:00 – and there were no rooms available to sleep in right then. Nor were there rooms at any other hotels within a 20 mile radius.

So, this dear woman who picked us up, a sister of my friend Boo, took us to her home in the middle of the night and let us crash on her floor. She had just gotten home that night from a cross-country road trip and needed to be sound asleep herself, but she came and rescued our little family and gave us a safe, warm place to sleep. I need to find out what her favorite treat is and send her a pile of them.

The next morning, Tami came and got us, took us back to the broken Suburban so it could be towed, and then drove us the 2+ hours home. Superhero, that girl is!

The repair shop called and said it is the transfer case. Ouch. $2100 bill. So, we are figuring out everything we can sell to come up with enough money. And lovely things are happening! Yesterday, we got a refund check of $215 from our mortgage company for an overpayment of escrow! Never in all our years of having a mortgage have we received a check. I about fell on the floor when I read the words. A woman came and bought our lovely Apple Gathering painting that hangs in our front room and left an extra $50 for it. I sold a set of books for $145. Today I will list our beloved Duplo table with all 645 pieces we meticulously counted last night. Today I will be combing my house to come up with other things I can sell and slowly, but surely we will get there. The treadmill is next on the list, hmmm, what else is here that can get us some cash?

For now, we are stuck at our house and crossing our fingers the part for the Subaru comes in today so Richard can fix it tonight. Thank goodness his little Nissan is still chugging along so he can get to work!

read more

Related Posts

first day at the lake

Jun 25, 2014 by

A day at the lake watching my little ones run and swim and giggle is exactly what I needed today. I have been working non-stop on my new website and the iFamily schedule and website all week. Today we took advantage of the sun and windless skies to go to the lake for the first time of the summer.

And it was perfect.

They played on our one working inner tube, built sandcastles, searched for frogs and snakes, swam underwater, and ran around like little children without a care in the world. Just like they should.

I laid in my chair and read a book and smiled as I watched them squeal with delight.

Oh, I love mothering!

p.s. Yes, a post about trek is coming. Yes, my jaw is improving. Yes, I am doing well this week. Yes, I will be at the reunion…these are all for my dear mama who keeps asking me, but doesn’t want to pester me. Love you mama…see you in a few days.

read more

Related Posts

loveliness on a summer morn

Jun 23, 2014 by

Oh my, ten days without posting. Besides the fact (haha) that you are missing my words, it is entirely unhealthy for me to go that long without processing my thoughts through writing. Note to self: for a healthier psyche, write, write, write.

The sun is shining through my eastern window, filling my bedroom with fresh morning light. The sky is a radiant blue. The trees are full of cotton, which normally blows all around our yard like a soft-summer snowstorm, but this morning, in the stillness, the cotton hangs in the trees waiting for a breeze to release it. I hear the sprinklers shooting water all over the lawn, the chitch-chitch-chitch sounds of the rotating heads bringing order to my morning.

And all of this brings me hope. The morning comes. A new week is here with the promise of possibility. A clean slate waiting to be written upon.

This week I have a few goals.

  • Remember to be a fun mom.
  • Smile…a whole lot.
  • Get outside every single day. I can’t even tell you how many days I have spent living in this house. In this bedroom. I need to soak the summer air into my soul.
  • Figure out what classes I am teaching at iFamily (or not!)
  • Make the iFamily schedule.
  • Get the iFamily website done.
  • Get my new business website done.
  • Start a new read-aloud with Fisher and Annes…yes, we finally finished Hanne!
  • Make a decision about gymnastics for this fall.
  • Get my bedroom clean.
  • Get Richard’s summer special for SimplyHealed on his website.
  • Spend an hour every morning doing genealogy.
  • Organize my new school basket with Fisher’s and Annesley’s daily learning materials.
  • Spread joy.
  • Introduce our Happy Jar.
  • Rearrange and give the upstairs living areas a deep (overdue) spring cleaning.
  • Finish reading My Name Used To Be Muhammed
  • Find a location to hold my new classes on How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.

My jaw is improving, I can eat soft foods instead of drinking everything. Talking doesn’t hurt as much as it did a few weeks ago. Smiling is still pretty painful and laughter really hurts, but I will gladly take this over the condition it was in three weeks ago. My ankle is improving, still taped, and still limping a bit, but it is not hurting as much. If no other injuries happen, I will be able to start riding my awesome Elliptigo in the next few weeks.

Blessings abound.

read more

Related Posts

almost gave up

Jun 9, 2014 by

I almost gave up today.


Emotional-wise, physical-wise, mental-wise, I was done.

Spiritual-wise not done, but there just wasn’t enough gas in the other areas to really make up the difference.

I felt myself letting go of the will to keep on trying.

And then I looked at Annesley. And then I looked at Fisher. And then I looked at Blythe. (I would have looked at Keziah, but she has started her nanny job for the summer so she wasn’t with us.) And I decided that for them I will keep on trying.

They have no idea how hard this is. They have no idea how much pain I am in. They simply need a mother who loves them and I am determined to be that mother.

I used to think the pain in my hip was bad and believe me it was. At the height of the labral tear pain I would moan and wince and cry and really could not imagine anything worse.

This probably isn’t worse…but it is longer. And it is more. One or both of my feet have been aching for nearly a year. My hip still hurts, not as intensely as at first, but everyday it cries out in agony of some kind or another. Since the May 2 fall, my shoulder, ribs, and neck have hurt. And on top of all that my gums, jaw, ears, teeth – basically my whole skull are in constant pain. Sometimes I think I will lose my mind.

Today was one of those days. I had an incredibly frustrating appointment with a different PT to get a 2nd opinion and it turned out terrible. He didn’t really understand the laxity issues or the severity of the vagus nerve situation and gave me all sorts of bad advice. I felt unsafe and unheard and more than a little unknown. Screaming would have been my (ineffective) solution, but my mouth won’t open wide enough for me to scream, so even that good old fallback is out for now.

Instead, I let Blythe drive us around town for a visit to the library, some 1/2 price slushies, and a few minutes play at the park. We listened to Igraine the Brave, one of our favorite audio books, and I tried to focus on just being with my children. Just being their mom. Not a patient. Not an in-pain person. Not a woman with big challenges facing her. Just. their. mom.

Man, I love those kiddos. They are worth whatever I have to do to get functioning again.

Tomorrow I see Jeremy and he will put my foot back together again and have some calming words to soothe my soul. Until then I will sip on the delicious roasted red pepper soup Sherry brought tonight and count my many blessings, name them one by one.

read more

Related Posts