Friday, August 29, 2008

Surprise Stake Young Women

Today I am grateful for the youth in this stake. I finally boxed up all the food and supplies that the girls gathered up at camp to give to the troops in Iraq. My whole guest room was filled with stuff! I weighed it as we packed it in the truck - 325lbs of goods was generously donated from the young women and their leaders. Up at camp the girls decorated pillow cases for wounded solders and wrote letters of gratitude to send to the men and women in Iraq. Their letters were beautiful and heartfelt and many included their testimonies of the gospel. What great girls we have. I am proud of them and I love them.
I am also very grateful for the troops serving our country. I can't imagine how hard it would be to have my husband gone for over a year, worrying every day that I could lose him. These families sacrifice so much. I am so glad that Toni Huskey thought of serving the troops for our service project at camp. Way to go!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Provide means . . .

Today I am grateful that this scripture is true. 1 Nephi 17:3 "And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them . . ." Most of the time we have to take that leap of faith FIRST, pay that tithing or give up that bad habit. Then he will take care of us; make the money last, help us find the resources to kick that habit etc. Sometimes it happens in reverse order. Sometimes the Lord provides the means and then asks the commandment of us. Either way, I know that when the Lord needs us to do something he will always provide a way for it to happen.
A month ago Jeff got in a car accident. We decided to get a new car and put the money that the insurance gave us for his old one in the bank for a "rainy day." Yesterday that money was unexpectedly needed and we had it. I know for a fact that the Lord will always "provide means" for us when we try to keep his commandments and do what he asks.
It's not always financial means either. In dental school Chandler was getting ready to be born and we needed to kick Courtney out of her crib to put Chandler in it. We didn't have any money to go buy a new bed for her. Shortly there after, I walked out back and our neighbor had thrown away a perfectly good futon (minus a few very fixable broken slats). I asked if I could have it and she said, "Sure." I needed a bed for my child and the windows of Heaven opened and poured one down for me. It wasn't brand new or fancy - but it was just what we needed and I knew that Heavenly Father provided a means for us because we were paying our tithing, serving in the church and doing what had been asked of us.
Another time, after Courtney was born we had been living with my Grandma in Ogden and needed to find our own place. There were no apartments near where we wanted to be and the ones that were further away were more money than we could afford. (I had decided to quit teaching school and stay home to raise Courtney. Jeff had a part time job while going to school and I was going to go back to waiting tables part time at night so that we wouldn't have to put Courtney in daycare.) Anyway, we did not see how this was going to work. Our limited incomes couldn't really afford for me to stay home with this new baby, but I knew that is what we had been instructed by the Lord to do if possible. So we fasted about it. That day in church this awesome couple in our ward came up to us and said, "We are going on a mission and would like someone to live in our house rent-free while we are gone. Would you be interested?"

"If it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them . . ."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Double Suicide

I'm grateful tonight that my husband is smart. Here's why. We were sitting is his new car in the garage trying to figure out how to sinc his phone with some hands free bluetooth thing and it was a long, confusing process and we were reading the manuals and trying all different ways to hook it up and Jeff stops and says, "Um we better stop this or open the garage. We're committing suicide." HELLO!!! We had been sitting in the garage with the garage door closed for 45 minutes with the engine blazing. Wouldn't that have been the worst story ever if our kids would have come out in the morning and found us dead in the car with the manuals on our chest and one big confused look on our faces?!
So tonight I am grateful that we are alive. (and that we figured out how to sinc his phone to the car.)

Two Pieces of bread in a ziploc bag

Sunday we had to go speak up in the Wenden Branch. It is about 2 hours west of Surprise. In the summer they have very few people who attend because most of the town are snowbirds. (That's the reason that members of the stake are all assigned to go up and speak there - because they don't have enough members there to speak each week.) Anyway, when we sat down I looked over at the sacrament table and there were two pieces of bread in a ziploc bag for the sacrament. Jeff is in charge of bringing the bread for our ward each week and we use almost a whole loaf! I looked out at the congregation and there were about 9 people there. Including the branch presidency, the missionaries, pianist and music conductor there were about 15 people. It reminded me of my mission and the small little branches in which I served. But suddenly, I was filled with the sweetest feeling that the church is true wherever you are and that the Lord would of course love to have all His chapels overflowing with people but he also will pour out his spirit in a room of just a few people. There is only one young woman in the whole branch. How valiant she has to be - to be the only member in her whole school - and yet she comes to that little branch every week and loves the Lord. I am proud of those who live the gospel where they are so few in number. This little branch got chastised by their high counselor about not attending the blood drive in Surprise. The message was for everyone in the stake but picture the sacrifice THEY have to make - a four hour round trip to attend. We only have to drive 4 minutes up the street and yet many of us didn't attend either. We complain that the temple is and hour away - it's 3 hours for those members, and still they go. I guess today I am grateful for THEIR diligence and example and also for the ease me and my family have with so many members around and so many youth to buoy up my kids and keep them strong.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I need to add just one more thing. This week was Blake's birthday and I am so grateful for that sweet boy. He is just good. He is mellow and happy and gets along with everyone. He is obedient and kind and loves his brothers and sisters. He's just an all around good kid. The night before his birthday I asked him if he wanted cupcakes or a cake for his birthday and he thought about it for a minute, smiled and said, "Well mom, go to the store and which one is less - get me that one." Really. My five year old wanted me to go ahead and get the cheapest one - let's save money mom. What five year old thinks like that?? He demands nothing. Appreciates everything. I love Blake. He has been a huge blessing in my life for these past 5 years. Sometimes I catch myself just looking at him and smiling so big. He is my only child with brown eyes like me. There was something about him - even before he was born that I felt very close to. I don't love being pregnant. I never was one of those women who rubbed my belly and smiled and sang songs to myself and read books to my fetusus? feti? Anyway, with Blake it was different. I did find myself sometimes just loving that belly full of baby. I can't explain it. I sound like a jerk. "Get those babies out of me . . STAT!" But really it's the truth. What can I say? I never loved being pregnant. It would be like loving the flu. I just didn't.
Focus back on Blake . . . I just felt that there was something really special about him and there is. He has had some problems with stuttering off and on for the past 2 years and one time when it was particularly bad, he got a priesthood blessing from Jeff. He was told that he would one day be a great orator and that his word would be heard around the world. Wow. The Lord has great things in store for my boy. I am so grateful to have him. I love him.

Room for the prophet

Thank you Shelby for your gentle prodding for me to return to this blog. I am a slacker. I have all these great goals and ambitions and they last about 5.6 seconds. One of the parts I liked the best in Eyring's talk was how he said that no matter how tired he was or whatever that he always found the time to write at least something everyday. I guess that's why I'm not an apostle. :)
But here is my thought for today. So, recently I put on the BYU channel in the morning. President Monson was speaking at a BYU devotional (from 2004 I think). Anyway, he was telling the funniest stories and I was busting and thought, "I need to tape this for my whole family to watch!" So I pushed the record button on my ti-vo and it said I didn't have any room and I needed to delete something. So I quickly went to my recorded list and there tried to figure out which of the thousand hours of olympics I could erase. "Was Tuesday the night with the women's gymnastics?? I think Courtney wanted to watch that . . . Is this the race I started watching the other night and fell asleep? . . . " Anyway, to make a long story short, by the time I erased enough junk, I had missed much of the prophet's talk. Dang it.
Then I began to think. Is this how my life is? Is this how WE all are a little? We have plenty of time and energy for the things that don't really matter and often are left with "no room" for the things that do. I want to follow the prophet and read my scriptures every day and serve everyone and visit teach etc. etc. and yet so often I don't leave room for it. So today I am happy for my little experience with the ti-vo because it reminded me that I need to re-prioritize once again and make sure I have room for what's most important.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Recently I was having a discussion with a friend of mine who is not a member of the church and she was saying that she really envied the "community" that we share in this church. Tonight we had a Stake Young Men/Young Women carnival and all the wards made booths and ran them and I think it was pretty successful night. The kids really seemed to have a good time. But as I watched all these men and women set up, man and take down the booths, clean the grounds, mop and vacuum the floors, clean the bathrooms, haul garbage etc., I suddenly was very grateful for this "community" that I am a part of. No one got paid a dime to do any of that work tonight. No one got much recognition. People just did it because that is what we do. We serve and help each other and clean up afterwards. Men sweep and pick up soggy cupcakes off the parking lot street side by side with the women. We study and prepare lessons and paint peoples homes and babysit children and make quilts for those in need. When post-partum depression gets the best of you, someone comes over and cries with you and pats your back and takes the baby back home with her so you can just get some sleep.

A few years ago a friend of mine on our street had to go on bed rest with her pregnancy. My neighbor Michelle and I went down to her home and started arranging some help. I said, "Ok, I'll take your daughter and watch her tomorrow and bring you dinner and then Michelle will take her the next day . . . etc." She stopped and looked at us with the most bewildered look on her face and she asked, "Why would you do all that?" And honestly, I was surprised. "Why WOULDN'T we?" "Isn't that what you just DO when someone needs it?"
How many times had I followed my mom up to someone's door carrying the corn or the vegetable that went with their dinner my mom had prepared? How many people climbed out of the woodwork and helped my family as my dad lost his battle with cancer at such a young age? People cleaned our pool for free, painted our house! brought us meal after meal, mowed our lawn - the list is endless. When my sister was diagnosed with cancer last year the same thing happened - endless help, meals, babysitting, love, treats: she was spoiled rotten. It made us all want to get cancer a little. How grateful I am to be part of this wonderful church, whose members help and love and serve each other because it's just what we've been taught to do and we think it's normal. It's not. It's unique and it's wonderful and it's the way the Lord planned it. He didn't mean for any of us to be alone or to have to shoulder our burdens by ourselves. That's why we visit teach and home teach and serve in the nursery. And then our kids sit back and see all of this going on and grow up thinking, "It's just what you do." I am so grateful for this tonight.

" . . and now as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light; Yea and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, (or take our the trash or mop the floor after a youth activity when you'd probably rather be home watching the Olympics) and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places that ye may be in . . . " (Book of Mormon Mosiah 18:8-9)

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I think it was Elder Packer who said, "A testimony is found in the bearing of it." So many times in my life I have found this to be true. I remember one time on my mission in Japan we were at a mission conference and my mission president realized that we were not getting many opportunities to bear our tesimonies because people just didn't want to listen. He said, "Today bear your testimony. I don't care if you bear it to a light post or to a dog, but take the opportunity to bear your testimony." That night I remember riding my bike home along this canal. Bats were dive bombing us as we rode and then and there I remembered what our president had said and I just started saying my testimony out loud. I spoke of the things that I knew and about what I was grateful for. As I began to testify, the spirit flooded my soul and testified TO ME that what I was saying was true. I remember tears falling down my face as I spoke to no one (except maybe the bats) about what I believed. When we take the time to testify of our beliefs - it not only helps others but it helps us.
So tonight I was talking to my neighbor about the church and her feelings. She has been meeting with the missionaries for some time. She is an amazing lady and has really felt the spirit when they come to visit her and her family, but still there is some confusion. As we were talking it lead to a chance for me to share my testimony with her. As I said, "I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the heavens aren't closed and families can be together forever. . . " I was overcome. Tears came to both of our eyes and we could feel the spirit so strong. I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who doesn't leave us alone in this world to figure it all out. I am grateful that he pours down his spirit on us so we can KNOW his will for us and what is right. I am so thankful that when I take the opportunity to testify about what I believe that the Holy Ghost confirms it not only to others, but to me too.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Ok so I'm terrible at setting and keeping goals. I kept this blog for 5 whole days. I read my scriptures like 7 days in a row - and then go weeks without emerging myself again. WHY?
Cuz I am slacker city that's why. I wish I was better at getting done what needs to be done in my life. (You should see my laundry pile!) But instead I wander around on random people's blogs, watch a thousand hours of olympics every night and still miss on the important things more often than I would like.
I guess that is what I am grateful for tonight; repentance. I am grateful that the Lord always lets us try again tomorrow and encourages us and cheers us on even when we eat that third maple bar on the first day of our diet. I want to be good and do what is right. I really do. I fast and pray all the time to be able to improve myself and conquer my laziness and do the million things every day that I know I SHOULD. Maybe that's why it is our life's goal to conquer the natural man and become more like the Savior. I sure can't do it by myself. I need his help EVERY day. I need to lean on Him more and rely on Him more and try harder.
See you tomorrow?? Let's hope.
(Also I want to thank my sweet husband for his kindness about my speaking in CA. It was really fun and I felt very prompted to say specific things that I know my Heavenly Father wanted those kids in CA to hear. They were a fantastic bunch and I was so impressed by the strength in that small group. We had a blast driving out there with the Haught's and meeting Shawn's friends the The Balls. (Even though Tonya Ball was the nicest person we've ever met and she set the standard for "wifehood?" so high that I will never reach it.) Our faces hurt from laughing so hard on the way home. The Haught's are fun people and I enjoyed sweating to death with them outside of Tonapah. I'm grateful too for Karen for watching our kids for those two days so we could go. What a nice Grandma. My kids love her and had a great time.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

"your word will be well accepted"

We went to California this weekend where Melanie and a friend from the ward were asked to speak at a youth conference. It was a great weekend filled with a wonderful spirit and I enjoyed the opportunity to meet new people and rub shoulders with some genuinely good people and an impressive, small group of good young men and women. As Melanie spoke I was in awe of her ability to speak and teach the gospel to these youth. She has an amazing ability to have the audience laughing one minute, silent the next, and tearful the next. Each time I watch her speak I reflect upon her home coming talk from her mission and remember how impressed I was. I knew in that moment she was the kind of person I wanted to be around and resolved to make her mine. Of course, I was successful in that endeavor and the rest is history.
I am blessed to have such a wonderful wife who is a fantastic mother to my kids. I am so proud of her for using her talents to motivate so many others to follow Christ. Melanie you still amaze me.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Cody fell off the top of the ladder on the playground in the back yard today and hit his head hard on our curbing. I guess the hand of the Lord saved that from being worse. He had a big knot on the back of his head and cried and cried but survived.

Lizzy survived her temper tantrum through FHE. Luckily she wasn't killed or suffocated by Jeff or I. Jeff survived after asking the question, "So how's your diet going?" after I had had a bacon cheeseburger for dinner and an ice cream sandwich for dessert. I guess it was a good day after all.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we fast for 2 meals the first Sunday of every month. We believe that fasting coupled with prayer is a powerful tool in communicating with our Heavenly Father. Many times in my life I have fasted and prayed together with other family members for the health of someone we loved or personally to receive answers to personal prayers and questions. Anyway, after our kids turn 8 and are baptized we have them fast one meal on that Sunday and pray for something that they are thinking about or for someone who may need help. This afternoon when Chandler was about to eat lunch I asked him what he was fasting for. He told me that he was fasting for his Aunt Dany. (She had been trying to get pregnant for about a year and half and she finally is!) I then asked him why he was fasting for her now? And he said, "I was fasting today mom that her baby would be ok and that she wouldn't lose it like Marie did." (His best friend's mom miscarried a while back). What a sweet, thoughtful boy. I was so impressed that he would think of that on his own and fast for that purpose. I am grateful for my membership in this church and how it teaches us to be thoughtful and selfless from the youngest ages. I love Chandler and am grateful for his pure little heart today.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Tonight as I was driving home and I was thinking of how I saw the hand of the Lord in my life, I looked over at Courtney and knew that she was it. I am so grateful for a sweet little girl who helps me so much. Not only is she a great big sister and wonderful helper, but she is a really GOOD girl. She loves the gospel and knows what is right and does it. She wants to be modest and not do anything that would make Heavenly Father unhappy. I am very proud to be her mom and I think she is wonderful.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Scripture Study

Tonight as our family was reading the Book of Mormon together (2nd night in a row!) it naturally led to a discussion about following promptings. Jeff and I were both able to share a few experiences when we were prompted by the Lord to do something. Chandler remembered an experience that one of his teachers had told him too. It ended by challenging our kids to pray to be able to know what the Lord would have them do. Then when Cody was saying the prayer he said, "Thank you that we go to . . . " and he didn't finish. We filled in the words for the rest of the prayer and then afterwards he said, "Where was that place we went where we saw Jesus?" And I said, "The temple?" (there is a huge Christus statue there) And he said, "YES! I want to go to the temple!" So we decided to go tomorrow and to ask our neighbors who are taking the discussions to go with us. Way to go Cody. I am grateful that we have made a new goal to read the Book of Mormon together every day. What a great discussion followed and a great prayer and idea by our 2 year old. I LOVE THIS GOSPEL.