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A few years ago I decided it would be fun to have a WordPress blog.  It quickly became more expensive than I imagined it would be, but I kept it going for several years.  And now it’s time to say goodbye to WordPress.  I’ve moved all content from this blog over to my BlogSpot blog.  Hope you’ll come visit!

This blog will be gone within the next couple of months.  I will be updating the other blog regularly.



I entered the chapel Saturday night about 20 minutes early to take my place up on the stand in the stake center.  Anthony had come home from high council meeting a couple weeks ago and announced that he had been asked to ask me if I would mind saying the opening prayer at the adult session of Stake Conference. 


But I’m always willing to do something scary if it’s truly inspired.  Surely this was.  Besides, I didn’t really have a choice because Anthony told me, “Don’t worry.  I already told them you would do it.”  And then he laughed and strutted away. 


As I sat up on the stand waiting I started looking at the clock then at the congregation.  Fifteen minutes until the conference started and my heart was beating a bit faster than normal.  But I thought, no big deal.  This chapel seems even smaller than the one in my own ward.  I can do this.  No sooner had this thought crossed my mind than they opened the curtain past the overflow to the gym.  They had tricked me!  They were only waiting for the chapel to fill before opening that part so people would sit closer.  That’s when my heart started pounding. 

What if I said the wrong thing?  What if I pray for Heavenly Father to bless the food… when there isn’t any to bless?  What if I ask for us all to ‘have a good night’s rest’?  The pressure was mounting and I was watching my shirt move to the beat of my heart.  It was hard and fast.  Not only that but it was loud!  I could hear it pounding in my ears.  The clock was ticking closer to 7:00 much faster than it should have.  The second counselor in the stake presidency came up to take his spot on the stand.  As he was about to sit down in front of me he turned, shook my hand, and said, “Thank you for accepting this opportunity.”  To which I leaned forward and said, “I don’t think I did.  I think my husband did it for me!”  He laughed agreeably and sat. 

All too soon the first counselor, stake president, and two presiding general authorities took their places on the stand and the meeting started… TWO MINUTES EARLY!  At least according to the clock on the wall.  Not fair. 

The opening song was sung and then it was my turn.  I would have rather given a talk in my home ward than give a simple prayer in front of all these people, most of whom I don’t know from Adam.  But it was too late to turn back now.  My legs carried me to the pulpit without my even realizing it was happening.  I tried hard not to look out.  I knew if I looked all the way to the back it would be too much for my nerves and I might end up with nothing to say at all.  What’s worse… praying for nothing at all or blessing imaginary food? 

I don’t remember the words of the prayer that I gave and I know it was simple and very short but I also know that I didn’t end up blessing any food or asking for us all to be patient with each other and get along as I do in many family prayers.  Come to think of it, maybe that wouldn’t have been so bad.  We could probably all stand to be a little more patient with our fellow men. 

All I knew was that it was over.  I was relieved.  I walked, or scurried rather, down the stairs to head to where Miss K was sitting (all youth 12 and older were invited to this particular adult session… Anthony was busy doing council stuff) I found myself practically running to the seat and tripping all over the feet of the ladies I had to get past in order to get to where Miss K was.  Nerves were still unsettled.  I leaned over to K and whispered, “I am SO glad that is over with.” 

This was only the second time I have ever been to a stake conference in my life.  I never grew up going to them.  We always counted it as a Sunday off.  I thought that was pretty typical so I continued the tradition into my marriage.  I hadn’t learned to fully appreciate the gospel until more recently.  Now I desire to go but don’t want to deal with the kids.  Now that I have kids old enough to stay home with the littles it is becoming a reality. 

That session Saturday night was so neat.  We had two presiding general authorities there because today (Sunday) they were calling a new stake presidency.  Elder Don R. Clarke was the officiating authority and boy was he funny!  The spirit in the meeting was strong and many different people were called upon to bear testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel.  People from all walks of life…. lifelong members, converts, and former inactive members.  There was a man that was a minister.  He was transferred to Utah as a Baptist minister.  He was sure he would get here and convert all the Mormons.  And he admitted that he actually had turned many away from the church.  He was sad about this.  He had asked a simple question of his Mormon dentist one day and that got the seed planted in his mind.  Then there was a Mormon gal working at 7-11.  He had asked her to come to his church.  She agreed under one condition.  He had to come with her to HER church.  There were neighbors that befriended him and made him feel loved and wanted in the community even though most of his neighbors were Mormon.  He once ordered a free King James version of the Bible.  Guess who showed up at his door to deliver it?  Mormon missionaries.  He sent them away but kept the Bible.  ;)   But eventually, he came around.  He was baptized three years ago.  His testimony was LOUD.  I don’t know much about other churches or religions but he sounded like the ministers you see in the movies.  Very passionate!  It wasn’t the more reverent, peaceful type of testimony that we are used to within the church but WOW!  It was powerful.  The spirit was strong.  His passion didn’t drive it away like it may have had it been someone like myself yelling into the microphone the way he was.  Somehow he was able to pull it off. 

There was a sweet woman from another ward that had moved from West Jordan just because.  She didn’t really know why.  She just felt that she needed a change.  She was inactive in the church but quickly became active again after moving into our stake.  It had brought her family back together again. 

A man that had been in and out of jail and prison for the past 10 years was able to feel the spirit while in his prison cell.  His third baby had just been born and he had missed the birth.  The mother of his baby wrote and told him that she was in a relationship with his best friend.  That was his breaking point.  The night he received the letter is the very night he hit the floor.  He prayed and received inspiration… in his cell… that he should attend the church session that Sunday, and so he did.  He has now read the Book of Mormon 3 times and is reading it again.  He is 30 years old and says that he now recognizes when the spirit is speaking to him. 

A panel of youth was called up as well to talk about what they can do and have done to help in the Lord’s cause and build the kingdom of God.  Elder Clarke mentioned that some sister missionaries had gone to the seminary at the high school and done a little presentation of sorts.  From that alone they were able to collect over 400 names of friends and family members of these high school students.  Two of the seminary students weren’t even members of the church and took seminary just because.  They asked for the missionaries to teach them and now they are getting baptized. 

Elder Clarke was adamant that we be missionaries within our own stake.  He had us in stitches at times.  He also had us in tears.  There is so much work to be done within the boundaries of our stake and we are leaving it all up to the full time missionaries.  But Elder Clarke warned us that it is absolutely essential that we get involved. 

I had two very distinct impressions during that meeting.  First of all, I need to be more proactive about sharing the gospel.  It is my sure foundation.  The one solid thing that is never changing.  It is the very rock that I lean on when I feel need, doubt, fear, shame, guilt, broken.  The gospel takes all of that away and makes me feel happy, sure, calm, forgiven, whole.  Jesus Christ is the reason that I am able to work toward living with my Heavenly Father again.  I need to make sure that the people I love know my testimony of this gospel. 

Secondly, I need more friends.  Elder Clarke let us know that we can’t call anyone our friend until they’ve eaten dinner at our table.  That’s when they become a friend.  And if they are our true friends, they will be ok with us sharing the very thing that makes us who we are.  The gospel makes me whole.  Without it I am nothing. 

What are you doing to bring others to the gospel of Jesus Christ?  Is there something holding you back from embracing the gospel yourself?  Maybe someone offended you and you are determined to stay away because of it.  As Elder Clarke said, “Are you going to sacrifice your salvation because of something someone else said or did?”  Elder David A Bednar said:

“When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.”

Please remember, we are all human.  There was only one perfect being and He is aching to have you back in His presence.  And remember that to be offended is a choice.  You can choose to be offended or you can choose to rise above that and realize that imperfect people are all that Heavenly Father has to work with.  The gospel is true even if the people aren’t.   



January’s New Skill–Crochet

2014 is the year of new skills for me.  I set out to make a list of 12 new skills to learn… one each month.  January’s skill was crochet.

… and knitting. 

And then there was math.   

For school. 

Remember, I’m in college. 

And it is hard. 

I am not smarter than a 5th grader! 

That’s right, folks!  I am doing 5th grade math in college and I’m having a hard time with it. 

Fractions, improper fractions, decimals, multiplying fractions, common denominators… who needs ‘em?  Actually, I’ve had a lot of fun with it!  Never thought I could like that stuff.  The story problems on the other hand….  They are going to be the death of me.  No matter how hard I try I just can’t make them fun.  How am I supposed to know how many miles I can go per dollar if gas costs $3.20 per gallon and I can go 198 miles on 13 gallons of gas?


So, the knitting didn’t happen… yet.  But I did manage to crochet a couple of projects.  And when I did, I wondered why in the world I didn’t learn this skill sooner.  It’s pretty darn fun! 



Whoops, how did that one get in there? 


Go me! 

February’s skill is sewing.  Question is… what should I make?  I’m going to have to get my girls to teach me how to use the sewing machine.  For real… I know next to nothing.  :)



Gymnastics Meet/Recital

In my last post I mentioned that Miss A participated in her very first gymnastics meet last weekend.  She was beyond excited about it and couldn’t wait to show off her routines that she had worked so hard to perfect.  Just a couple weeks before that she had the chance to have a ‘practice meet’ within her own gym.  This was a way for the girls to get a feel for what the real meet would be like.  There were real judges there and everything. 

Neither Anthony or I were able to stay and watch the practice meet because there was too much going on.  Miss K and I made it for the last two events.  We saw Miss A do her floor routine and then move on to the beam.  She did great.  At the end they gave the girls their score sheets and wouldn’t you know it… Miss A scored highest on vault and got the all-around high score also.  35.2

It was called a practice meet but it had value as well.  The girls have to score a 32 or above in three intra-squad meets in order to compete the rest of the season.  I’m still confused as to whether it’s 32 at each one or if it’s an average of 32.  In any case, I think she rocked it and couldn’t have done a better job. 

The real meet was a bit more nerve wracking for her.  More gyms, more girls, more judges, more audience. 

It was so fun to see her!  My cousin watched the boys for us and we took the baby and the girls to the meet.  Miss A just looked like she was in her element.  She really is happiest when she is doing what she loves.  Right now, that means gymnastics. 

Each girl at the meet did the same routines… which means the same music for floor over, and over, and over, and over, and over…. (fun stuff!  ;) ).  Being that Miss A is only a level 3 right now her routines were the simplest.  The most complex things girls at her level do on the floor is a round off back handspring.  On bars they do a chin up pullover and a back hip circle.  She did great on every event although everyone thought she should have scored higher on her floor routine.  The judges were pretty harsh this time around.  But she still managed to score a 34 – ish.  I can’t remember the exact score.  34.something.









They divided them into both Level and age.  She was in the Level 3 ages 10 and up category.  When all was said and done, she placed 2 on vault, 4th on beam, 4th on floor, and 4th all-around. 


The very next evening they had a recital for the Beginner – Level 3.  I know I said that Miss A is level 3 but it’s different.  She is Competition Level 3.  Miss H is Level 3… not competition… yet.  Does that make sense? 

And so, Miss H got to strut her stuff.  Unfortunately, there is only a picture of her warming up because I video recorded the events. 


And boy, she did a great job!  There were no judges so she didn’t get placement medals but she did get a participation medal.  Miss A got to help give the medals and she tried so hard to be in the right place to give H her medal but missed her by 2 spots.  Darn it!!  But that’s ok, my favorite moment came at the very end.  When it was all over…



Confession… this one is posed.  I missed the ‘real’ hug so I made them do it again for a picture.  How was I supposed to know Miss A would find it in herself to give Miss H a much deserved hug?  That’s the sort of thing she usually reserves for her friends.  No matter how hard I try to get her to recognize the need Miss H has for a hug.  Melted my heart! 



Extracurricular Activities… Educational or Distraction?

This past Friday Miss A had her very first gymnastics competition. 


It was during the day which meant that a lot of the girls competing were missing school.

There were grumblings about that little fact.  I overheard a couple of conversations.  One mom said, “I just don’t agree with this.  When it interrupts their education I just don’t agree.” 

Ok, I understand where she is coming from.  Sort of.  I used to be in a ‘school’ mindset also.  And way back then… ;)   I might have felt the same way. 

And yet, I completely (and respectfully) disagree with her. 

Call me crazy but I don’t look at it that way.  I see the extracurricular activities that my kids participate in as part of their education.  I don’t feel that it is an interruption at all. 

There are so many lessons to be learned.  Miss A in particular has learned far more from her time in gymnastics than I could have ever taught her on my own.  I’m not talking about all the tricks and flips she does, either.  I could have taught her all of that… easy peasy! 

Ha!  That was funny, right? 

Seriously, I’m talking about the life lessons she has learned.  One of the main reasons that my kids are involved with anything at all is because of Miss A.  Life lessons are the ones I am most interested in.  It is one of the many reasons that we homeschool. 

Miss A is a great kid and she has got a huge heart.  But she displayed very early on that she has got a major case of ‘middle child syndrome’.  Woo-ee!  That girl has got the guilt tripping down to a science and the manipulation she can swing is stellar!  From the time she was tiny she displayed a need to be active.  Sure, that’s absolutely possible to do at home.  Run around and play outside, right?  But she needed more. 

We already knew she had a gift for singing, drawing, and picking up on piano pretty well but anytime she tried anything sporty or active with neighbors, friends, or at family get togethers she just picked up on it right away and was naturally good at it.  It didn’t matter if she was kicking a soccer ball around or turning cartwheels.  It was apparent that she was very coordinated and picked up on things very quickly.  This is something we may not have noticed had it not been for the fact that Miss K was the opposite of this. 

No matter how hard Miss K tried to pick up on things they just didn’t come naturally to her.  She was quite clumsy and not very well coordinated, to be honest.  Anything she tried to do required her full, undivided attention and even then it didn’t come easily for her.  This has been proven to be true as she has grown into the beautiful young woman she is even now.  She has had to work really hard for every bit of success she has had with her dancing and her drawing.  Both are things she was very interested in and has a deep desire to be good at.  And she is! 

Miss A just hasn’t had to work as hard which was somewhat of a downfall in many ways. 

How could that possibly be a downfall, you ask?  Well, it’s like with anything in life.  Human nature.  It seems that if we don’t have to work for it, we don’t appreciate it as much. 

Miss A needed something to challenge her.  She was bored at home and I was having a hard time keeping her busy.  She needed a challenge. 

So, even though I knew that Miss H and Miss K would have been fine and content to be home, we found somewhere for them to go.  Somewhere to be busy.  Because how could we do that for Miss A and tell the other girls, I’m sorry but she needs this, you don’t.  And besides, they wanted it, we just didn’t have the money to allow the kids to be a part of anything. 

There came a point when we decided (irresponsible or not) that it just needed to happen no matter what. 

And so… along came the extracurriculars! 

I think I got a little off track here.  The point I’m trying to make is that I don’t consider these activities to be an interruption in my childrens’ education.  I think of them as PART of their education. 

They have learned so many life lessons such as:

  • How to work with others.
  • The importance and payoff of hard work.
  • Being happy for others and their accomplishments.
  • Working with a leader.
  • Making great friends.
  • Being a good friend to others.
  • How to be your own cheerleader in life.
  • Realistic goal setting.
  • And who knows… it could mean scholarships down the road. 

I’m interested to find out what all of you think.  Are extracurricular activities an educational distraction (if held on a day when school is in session) or an education in itself? 

P.S.  More to come about the competition. 



Is God Real or Pretend?–Book Review

I was given a copy of the book “Is God Real or Pretend?” from TLC Book Tours.


My first impression of this book wasn’t great.  It looked cheap.  You can see the words from the page behind throughout the entire thing.  I don’t know if it’s something that will be fixed in future publications or not. 

Within the first few pages the main character of the book, Franklin, reveals that there is no such thing as Santa Claus.  I don’t know about you but I know in our house Santa Claus is very real!  We are a family of firm believers and that includes Anthony and myself.  Needless to say, I was not impressed with that.  I was glad that this was a book I chose to read on my own for review.  I wasn’t sure what the content would be and didn’t just want to hand it over to my children as soon as we got it.  What a sad day that would have been!  (For the record, Miss K has known how the magic of Santa Claus works for a couple of years now.  Miss A just learned this past Christmas season.  If Miss H had been the one to read the book she would have been devastated.  Anthony and I have a very special way that we go about this subject.  Santa Claus IS real.  That’s another post for another day.)

So almost immediately I was turned off from this book.  It continues on and talks about Franklin’s findings through many different religions and what they believe about God.  While I’m sure that much of the information is true, I am somewhat of a skeptic when it comes to any one person or group writing about another’s religion.  From personal investigating I know that much of that kind of research is often misconstrued.  The author doesn’t always know what they are talking about, only able to draw from word of mouth, things they’ve heard, and possibly a google search.  I’m not saying that this is the case with this author.  I just know that my particular faith is a very misunderstood religion around the globe and when things are written about my church it is often only partially true or completely untrue. 

While the different insights to how different religions perceive God was interesting I wouldn’t say that this is must have book for my library. 

**And now you know that even when I get a book (or any product) for review I will always tell you the truth about what I think about it.  ;)


K’s Birthday/Christmas Project

Maybe you remember that Miss K had decided to give back for her birthday this year.  Well, I say ‘this’ year but technically it was last year.  But it was only this past October so… you feel me, right?  And the giving back part didn’t actually happen until Christmas time. 

Christmas Project02

She asked her friends that came to her party NOT to bring her a gift.  Instead she asked them to bring a gift that she could give to someone else.  At the time we envisioned donating a bunch of toys to Toys 4 Tots or another similar organization.  But we decided to get more people involved that might want to help.  I helped her make up some flyers which she and her sisters passed out around the neighborhood.  Just something to let them all know what it was she was doing and how they could help.  She asked for donations of toys, clothing, cash, and/or gift cards.  I also made an announcement on facebook.

In total she ended up with about 35 toys, a few articles of clothing in various sizes,  2 coats,  and just over $300 in cash and gift cards.  We weren’t sure how far the cash and cards would go but when we realized how much she had to work with in the toys we saw that she could probably do much more that just donate toys to an organization.  It was then that we decided to ask around for a family that might be in need of help. 

9 kids later (from 5 different families) she was ready to play Santa Claus!  For some she only needed to provide a few things just to supplement what the family could not do on their own.  But for others she provided the entire thing!  One family with 3 kids received 4 toys per child, 2 complete outfits each, and a pair of pajamas for each as well.  This is also the family that needed the coats.  Someone else was able to provide a third one for them.  Another little girl in Idaho received a similar set up… minus the coat.  Some of the families we did not know personally, others we did. 

There was a little bit of worry when we first took on that many kids.  How was that $300 going to spread that far?  Miss K and I prayed to Heavenly Father to help us spread the money as far as it needed to go and VOILA!  The rest is history.  I truly believe that Miss K was blessed for her efforts in so many ways.  This experience taught her so much and I watched her grow up and realize how blessed she is in her life.  Such a great kid!  I couldn’t ask for a sweeter daughter to call my own. 

Going shopping with her was so much fun.  I let her choose everything that we bought since it was her project.  She did a great job although she was indecisive at times which she comes by honestly having me for a mother. 

Decisions aren’t easy… ok? 

Anyhow, she wants to do it again next year (or this year, technically) so we are gearing up.  And her sisters want to be involved this time as well.  They got to join us on a couple of the shopping trips and really got into it.  However, they were only allowed to make suggestions to Miss K.  She had the final say on all of it. 

So proud of the young woman that she has become and I can’t wait to get to know her even better as she develops into a teenager (THIS YEAR!!  YIKES!). 

Christmas Project01


Brady Needs a Nightlight- Book Review

I was a given a copy of this book for review by TLC Book Tours.  Please know that all opinions are my own.  I would never recommend something that I don’t love.


Meet Brady… a bat.  Bats are not supposed to be afraid of the dark.  But Brady is.  How is he supposed to get any sleep in the cave when all he can do is think about is his fear of the dark?  And then he meets the fireflies. 

This book is written in a cute stanza poem format which I love.  It flows well and the story is very relatable to a child.  We really liked it at our house.  My kids thought was engaging and sweet.  The little fireflies become the heroes and it’s great to see Brady make some friends.  It was so refreshing to come across a book like this that is well written and captures the imaginations of children.  And the illustrations are great, though I have to admit that I would never have pegged that to be a bat without being told.  ;)

I guarantee that your kids will love it just like mine did.  It’s written by Brian Barlics who is a pediatrician.  I hope that he writes more books like this.

Brady Needs a Nightlight is highly recommended. 


Masquerade Ball

I had originally planned for there to be one big catch up post, then a Christmas post, followed by a New Year’s post.  Then I started editing pics to get it all under way and frazzle brained me accidentally told the program NOT to save the changes when I went to shut the computer down. 


And so, here a little… there a little.  That’s what we’re going to do.  I’ll catch up… eventually.

So, I was going to catch up on Halloween in the big post but now I think we’ll skip it.  Post a pic and call it good, no?  Anthony and I were Mr. and Mrs. Incredible… not shown.  Baby B actually got to be several things this year for different parties and events.  Monkey, cow, Squirt (turtle from Finding Nemo), and Tigger.  Lots of kids equals lots of costumes in baby/toddler sizes. 


Miss K was invited to a Masquerade Ball that was held just a couple days before Halloween.  Doesn’t she look beautiful?  It’s crazy to me how fast this girl is growing up.  I swear she was just born last week! 


She invited a couple of her cousins to come along, also.  They just moved back to Utah from Nebraska so it was fun for them to all go and get reacquainted. 


Someone’s father wasn’t too happy to see his little girl so fancied up and looking so pretty.  This is him telling those boys they had better stay away. 


I was the one that got to go pick her up from the ball that night.  Call it bias but I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a more beautiful little gal at the ball!  The dancing wasn’t quite over when I got there but she informed me that up to that point no one had asked her to dance.  Part of me was sad for her as she told me that all of her friends had been asked and most of them several times over the course of the night.  But when I looked around I realized that there was only one explanation… all the boys were too chicken!  She looked RADIANT!  And she wasn’t the least bit sad.  She laughed about it.  I told her that her dad would be so happy! 

She asked if they could stay for just a few more dances.  Those ‘few’ turned into MANY! 

Finally, it happened!  My friend Tamra’s son asked Miss K to dance.  He had chosen her shoe from the middle of the room and had to dance with the owner of the shoe.  He is only slightly younger than her but he’s a darling kid.  They know each other from clogging class… and the fact that his sister is one of K’s good friends. 

Can I just tell you how awkward they looked?  I LOVED IT!  Watching them both stumble over each other’s feet… it was a good time.  ;)   They had no clue how to dance with each other.  I am giggling just thinking about it.  Good times.  I think they both felt nervous (though K would never admit that).  Oh how I wish I had a picture!  Her first dance.

A good time was had by all!

More updates to come…


A. Singing ‘Let It Go’ From Frozen


A couple of years ago this little cutie of mine was able to take a few voice lessons and she loved it.  Since then she has done a couple of solos for church functions.  She sang the National Anthem at our ward 4th of July Breakfast 2013, the 4th verse of I Am a Child of God in the Primary Program, and most recently she sang the 2nd verse of I Wonder When He Comes Again in our ward Christmas Sacrament Meeting. 

Does she remember what she learned 2 years ago?  Not much.  She was only 8 years old and only had a very minimal amount of lessons (I think it was 5) but she has grown so much since then.  Her voice has matured even more and maybe I’m bias but I think she’s pretty good.  Could she use some training?  Absolutely!  But I can’t deny that she’s got some raw talent.  Please be kind if you choose to comment.  She’s a little girl. 

Frozen has become our favorite movie around here and she memorized the song very quickly.  There are a couple of spots that she forgets the words but she didn’t know I was going to be asking her to sing for the camera. 

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