Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Can You Stand Alone?

Sis Wendy Watson Nelson spoke at our stake's YSA Women's Conference on Saturday.  She is a wonderful, articulate and incredibly spiritual woman.  I love to hear her speak.  A couple of items that she said reminded me of this picture I took several years ago in my front yard.  The picture speaks for itself, but  I will share a couple of things she said.
First of all, she was quoting Steve Young, the famous Quarterback who played for the 49ers.  He said at a fireside she attended:  "If you are not all weird once a day you are not living your religion."  Love it.

She then was speaking on how we should be doing a 180 degree turn from every thing we see, hear and learn from popular media i.e. Movies, TV shows, Reality TV etc.  Almost everything they portray is the polar opposite of what we believe and desire.  Then after discussing that idea she said:  "If we fit in too much with the world we are in trouble."  Wow!! That thought has returned to me time and time again since she mentioned it.  It seems so often that the youth, young adults, and even older women try so diligently to look and act just like everyone else, when really it is a compliment to be different and stand out in a wholesome and happy way.  We need to be noticed not for the fashion or lifestyle that the world recognizes and accepts, but for taking a stand for modesty, virtue, and clean righteous living.  Each day I've started looking at what I'm wearing, how I'm acting and speaking, and how I'm dealing with others especially family members.  I ask myself if someone observed me today would they realize I'm trying to live the way the Lord wants me to look, live and act?  It is going to be even more difficult in the future as the world draws even further away from the teachings of our latter day prophets.  I love what Pres. Monson has said "You be the one to make a stand for right, even if you stand alone."  Hopefully I will always have the courage to stand alone if needs be for what is right.  Courage to us all.  

Monday, March 26, 2012

Your Turn To Give

I have a great friend who just started a new blog about opportunities for people to become involved and serve.  Check it out here.  She is going to post a new idea weekly.  She doesn't just post these, she lives a life of service.  Her education has been chosen so that it could be of use in non profit organizations.  She obtained medical training so she could serve in third world countries and make others lives better.  Watching her as she serves one can see the light shine from her as she truly loves and cares for the underprivileged.  I consider myself fortunate to be her friend.  I'm not at all surprised when she let me know she was beginning a blog about helping others through  I wanted to spread the word to those of you who might be reading this blog.  Check it out!!

Jessi and I were able to travel to Peru and serve there for a couple of weeks.  When I returned another friend asked me why I felt like I had to travel so far from home when there was so much to do here locally?  She was right I know. I should do more here, but I guess it just sounds and feels more worthy to help those far away.  For now I can't do that all the time and there are others who will never be able to or to care to travel so far away to serve.  It's amazing how much good can be done close by, many things in just a few available minutes. Awareness is the key.  So many would like to help others.  They just need to watch and listen for places to serve.  I know I'm certainly happiest when I am serving.  I know I need to find another cause or place to spend my time helping.

I spent over three years tutoring at the LDS Humanitarian Center and adored the people and loved every minute of it.  They have so many opportunities and needs for volunteers.  These are some of my students in one of the classes I taught.  I need to return.  That was a good time in my life.

Jessi and I in Peru.  It was an experience of a life time, but we need to continue that service here every day among those people close to home that need it also.  There are so many.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Perfectionism--Its a Sickness

I'm not talking the spiritual "Be ye therefore perfect" I'm talking the worldly I have to do everything right perfectionism.  I read the cutest fun laugh out loud novel last week which was exactly what I needed to relax from everything else going on in my life.  The book was about family life and the problems that stems from having a perfectionist mother which drives her children crazy, literally at times.  I enjoyed every moment of the book, but when I finished I realized---I was that mother.  Sick Sick Sick  I knew I was a perfectionist when I was younger.  Example:  I quit nursing school because I got my one and only "C" in my life which was in clinical's not an academic class, but if I wasn't good enough to get better than a
"C" I shouldn't be a nurse, and it didn't matter that it climbed to an "A" the next semester.  The damage was done.
But I thought I had been cured of perfectionism even though all my children tell me differently.  I certainly don't keep a spotless house, but mainly because I feel a clean house is a sign of a boring life because you would have to be cleaning it constantly with 5 children, 2 dogs, and a cat.  I have much better things to do with my life.
I did realize as I was pondering this that I might still have a problem because when I play those BOGGLE type game aps on your phone I can't quit playing them.  Not because I'm having fun it is because I can't believe I missed those stupid words and I know I can get them all next time. I know it is sick.
  I have been accused of perfectionism in my sewing, cooking, entertaining, cleaning when I do it, and I guess my expectations for my children.  I believe and still do that if you have high expectations for people that they will rise to that level.  I guess the problem comes when they don't have the same desires as you do or when they feel, whether intended or not, you are disappointed in them.  For that I do apologize to my children.  I love them all, and I am so proud of each of them.
When my oldest son graduated from USU and had been accepted into every Vet School he had applied to he wrote me the kindest note saying "Thank you for not letting me be mediocre."  That was my intended purpose of pushing my children.  I wanted them to know they were not mediocre.  They are not, They are superb.  WE all are because we are all children of a Heavenly Father.  We are Princes and Princesses because He is the Father of our spirits, and He is a King.  He doesn't was us to act mediocre just like I didn't want my children to act mediocre.  I accept mistakes in my children, I need to be more willing to accept mistakes in myself, just as He accepts our mistakes.  We just need to be better tomorrow than we are today.  Not perfect, but improving each day as we bring our lives closer to what He has in mind for us.   Hopefully I will spend more time on "Be Ye Therefore Perfect" in the spiritual sense and not as much time on finding all of the words in Quordy.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What Are You Reading?

Last week on an airplane from Minnesota to North Dakota I was fortunate enough to have the seat next to me vacant.  When I fly I always bring a magazine to read during takeoff and landing when I can't read from my "electronic device."  The magazine I had chosen to bring was LDSLiving and on this particular issue there was a picture of Sister Julie Beck.

We had received the OK to turn on our "electrical devices" so I set my magazine on the seat beside me so it would be available to read during landing.  As the steward was coming down the aisle he stopped and asked me what magazine I had been reading.  I told him LDS Living and then he asked me what the LDS stood for.  I continued to mention it was initials for Latter Day Saints which was an abbreviation for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I'm sure my face was a little quizzical as I answered him because they were different questions from what you usually get from the steward.  He then began to laugh and told me he was a returned missionary and he just wanted to see how far I would go in explaining the magazine to him.  He was from Kansas City and had served his mission in Pocatello, ID.  What a delightful young man he was!!  His questions did give me a chance to ponder about a couple of things.
1.  How willing and knowledgeable am I to share the gospel with a complete stranger?  How much should I say and what would be the most inspiring to share?
2.  Be careful about what you read, do, say or how you act because you never know who might be observing you!!  We are all examples everyday even when we are not aware of it.

Some interesting thoughts to mull over in my mind.  Food for the brain on a beautiful Saturday morning.

Friday, March 23, 2012

It Works!!

I have always been impressed and envious of those people who speak about feelings and promptings of the spirit in their daily lives.  I definitely have felt the spirit, but I felt a little robbed when it came to the inspiration and guidance in my decisions and actions.  After much studying and prayer I learned it was my fault not the spirits that I was not having these experiences.  I needed to pay the price for this gift and I wasn't putting forth enough effort.  I knew I wasn't, but it was difficult to hear and read.  So I have tried to improve in my every day spiritual habits so I could be in tune and recognize these promptings.  In the past I taught institute for several years so my scripture reading became a feast or famine type offering.  I would spend hours and hours preparing a lesson and then for a few days after teaching I would take a vacation and read nothing of a spiritual nature.  I learned so much, but I know now I missed the every day consistency of feasting on the Word.  So one of the items I have been improving on is reading and studying my scriptures every single day and I can proudly admit that I have not missed a day since January 1.  I love it, I look forward to reading and believe it or not-----It works!!  I have felt more impressions and guidance of the spirit than I ever have before.  Who would guess that our latter day prophets and the prophets of old knew what they were talking about when they encourage us to read our scriptures daily,  especially the Book of Mormon?  Sarcasm aside, I'm a slow learner, but I'm a believer now and I will continue my EVERY SINGLE DAY reading of my scriptures.
One of the blessings of this habit have been warnings of impending disappointments or problems before they happen.  Last week I had the distinct impression that Kevin was going back to jail.  When he was first released several months ago he seemed to be a new and happy person, but I had noticed in the past month his demeanor changing and a darkness appearing.  The light was fading quickly.  Not thirty minutes after this thought so forcefully entered my mind I received a text from Kevin admitting that he had been participating in certain activities and he would not be able to pass his drug test so he was sure he was going back to jail.   Texting has always been his way of conveying bad news to me and countless times I have been totally broadsided by what he told me, but this time the spirit had warned me first and I was prepared and calm for the news.  How grateful I was that I was prepared to listen to the spirit and the comfort I felt from this.
Kevin is such a great person and has so much potential if he could just realize it.  Kevin is an incredible brother to Jessi.
 All the grandkids love him.  He is probably the favorite uncle.  Children can feel of his goodness.
FYI  Kevin was incarcerated and will be spending the next 90-120 days trying once again to have the strength to overcome this terrible addiction.  Please pray for him.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

North Dakota

Spending the last few days in North Dakota has been so much fun.  I had never been to North Dakota so it was a new experience and I love new experiences.  I was impressed with that little known state.  Every where I travel there are great things to see, wonderful people to meet and new places to experience.  We live in such an incredible world!!!
The best thing about North Dakota though is I have two granddaughters that live there!!  It was so fun to spend time in their home, experience some of their lives, and see how wonderful their family has become.  I'm so impressed with all my children and the spirit in their homes.  I love to see them kneel in prayer, speak with love to one another, and teach their children.  We have been so blessed with great parents for our grandchildren.

The day I arrived I was fortunate to be able to go to Lucy's gymnastics lesson.  She is going to be a gymnast just like her mom.  We couldn't get her to leave.
 The weather was incredible.  It is frightening to think that the weather in North Dakota was warmer than in Salt Lake City in March.  The weather makes no sense this year.  We walked to the park one day and Carly asked my if I ever dreamed that I would be walking the streets of North Dakota with my grandchildren?  I'll have to admit, it had never crossed my mind.  I guess we never know where life takes us.
 This is Lucy playing in their yard.  Yes dirt and mud everywhere.  Hopefully they get the road paved and the yard landscaped this summer so she has somewhere better to play, but kids are kids and she loved playing in the dirt.
 Saturday we drove the hour and a half to Bismarck so I could see more of the state and we could visit the zoo in the beautiful weather.  What a fun zoo and Lucy and Clara loved the animals as well as being outside.

 I love attending church with my kids and meeting their friends and observing different wards in the mission field.
 Little Clara took her first steps while I was there.  How honored I felt to witness it.  She loved walking all over pushing this little stroller.
 It is so difficult having our family so spread out but I really do enjoy getting to be with each of them in their homes and being part of the day to day activities.  How grateful I am to Jeff who works so long and hard so I can travel and visit our grandkids.  He is amazing!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Depression Glass and My Sister

My sister collects pink Depression Glass and because of this I own a few pieces myself.  One might ask; What is Depression Glass?  I didn't have a clue either until my sister started this new hobby.  Depression glass was given away during the Depression.  In the 1920's and 30's someone could get a dish for free when they went to a service station for fuel or attended a movie at the theatre.  They were an incentive to get people to come to their establishments.  These dishes were also placed in boxes of Quaker Oatmeal.  They were free at the time but of course today they are worth quite a lot more.  You can find these dishes in Antique Stores or on Ebay.  There are entire books devoted to these collectibles and their prices and availability.  Now that I have explained that important trivia I will get to the point of this blog.

My sister, who has become a surrogate mother to me since mine passed away 20 years ago, is also the grandmother figure in my children's lives.  She has made them beautiful quilts when they marry or have children.  She calls them on birthdays and we always spend a week with her at her cabin each summer.  If I need any advice she is the first person I call.  She is the epitome of goodness and mercy.  Not only has she adopted my family, she has also about raised her ex- husbands children from his next marriage when that woman, whom he left my sister for, became non existent in her children's lives.  The example of casting your bread upon the water and having it return to you in greater proportions describes her life.  She gives and gives when it doesn't even begin to make sense where the means are to keep giving.  
Unfortunately about two and a half years ago she was diagnosed with cancer.  After several rounds of Chemo and extensive surgery, she is right now cancer free.  The chemo and surgeries and mental anguish have taken its toll on her.  She has lost so much of her energy and enthusiasm but she is trying daily to rebuild her life.  Last week when I went to visit her she gave me two pieces of beautiful pink depression glass, a cake plate and a serving bowl.  As she gave them to me she told me that they were to thank me for taking care of her during her cancer.  I really didn't do anything except try to be a support as I visited her each week.  Once again it made me realize I needed to be thanking her, not only for the dishes but for the incredible example of selfless service that she has always been to me.  How grateful I am that the Lord has placed this wonderful woman in my life.  I want to thank all women for the countless hours that they spend serving others.

Monday, March 12, 2012

YOU Are Not Broken

Yesterday during Sunday School I visited with an incredible sister from our Single Ward in the Foyer.  Yes I missed going to class, but a very worthwhile conversation ensued.  This dear sister is typical of so many of the friends I have made over the past few years.  She is 30, spiritual, attractive, fun, well educated, but her life has taken a turn that was not planned.  She desires to be married and to be raising children not worrying about living alone and supporting herself the rest of her life.  She has reached the point that she needs to address that possibility and embrace a career for a lifetime instead of working until her desired plan comes to fruition.  Her family doesn't understand her plight because everybody else has gotten married so why hasn't she?  I have heard the words mentioned so many times in the past few years.  "I must be broken"  I reiterate from the deepest crevices of my heart.  YOU are not broken!!!  Our church as well as the world are filled with beautiful young women who have righteous desires to be wives and mothers but these desires for no obvious reasons are being unfulfilled.  The question of why this phenomenon is happening is addressed over and over every time anyone who deals with young adults get together.  The answer is always the same.  No one knows, it just doesn't make sense.  Obviously Satan is behind this detrimental trend.  As he was banished he was told that he would never have a physical body and because he will never have that blessing the curse of also never having a family was part of those consequences.  He is miserable and alone.  He wants others to join in his misery so in these last days he has obviously started an all encompassing campaign to destroy the family.  He is hitting it on so many different issues, but one of those includes keeping righteous young women who would raise strong defenders of all that is good, single and childless.  Unfortunately for our society, our church and for young single adult women he is succeeding.  This isn't about you, about your worthiness, about your desirability,  about your attractiveness, about anything that you can control.  You are worthy, beautiful, desirable and willing.  Please don't ever discount yourselves.  We need to increase our forces for what is right, let Satan see that we will not be discouraged, depressed, or give up the beliefs that we know to be true.  In the end we have been told over and over in the scriptures that Good will triumph over Evil, that Satan will be bound.  How impressed I am with so many great single women who are going forward, building their spirituality, increasing their service to others, becoming great members of the work place and communities, and showing Satan that they will not be swayed to the dark side.  They will stand strong and do what ever it takes to fulfill their righteous desires.  I know you will succeed.  Just always remember deep inside.  You are not broken.  You are a Daughter of Your Heavenly Father Who Loves You Just As You Are, And You Love Him.

Friday, March 9, 2012

One Great Mother

This past week Jeff and I had the opportunity of having lunch with one of the sisters in his ward who is leaving on a mission along with her dear mother.  They live in Kansas, but the daughter was attending our ward when she applied for and received her mission call.  She had shared with Jeff some stories about her mom so when they flew out so she could check in at the MTC we jumped at the chance to have lunch with them.  This incredible lady has been a widow for nineteen years.  Her husband was on his way to a stake church meeting when he was involved in a head on crash with a semi.  She needed to go to the meeting earlier so she was already at the stake when she was notified of the accident.  At the time her youngest was 2 1/2 years old and she her two oldest children were in college.  She instantly became the single mother of nine children.  In the hour we spent with them she shared with us, after much prompting from me, a few of her idioms about life.  She told us she always taught her children to have an "Gratitude Attitude" and to be thankful for all the many blessing in their life.  She shared with us stories of when she needed to have Faith instead of Fear and how they can't be together simultaneously so she always tried to choose Faith.  She mentioned experiences when her children needed to "Bloom where they were planted" instead of being dissatisfied with their circumstances.  Oh how I wish I could of spent hours or even days with this remarkable mother and her daughter.  They were so simple in regards to material wealth and possessions but so rich with the spirit and with eternal beliefs.  I'm certain she has had many difficult and trying times while raising nine children.  I'm sure they haven't all always made wise choices.  I would love to hear her expound on marriage, motherhood and being sisters in the gospel.  There is so much sage wisdom wrapped up in this dear lady.  I'm constantly amazed at the strong women and mothers that I have the opportunity to meet. Many many families are in good hands with incredible mothers throughout the world.  I would love to learn everything they know about loving and sharing and helping those whose lives they touch.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

18th Birthday

Today I became the mother of five adults.  Jessi passed from being our responsibility to being responsible for herself because she is now legally an adult.  Not that anything will change in our household, but it is incredible to think about this rite of passage.  

We tried the best we could to celebrate her birthday in our traditional way.  
We always go out to dinner as a family to a restaurant of their choice.  We went the night before her birthday because that is when the most members could attend.  Even at that it was just Jeff and I, Kevin, and Spjut, Jessi's boyfriend, and Jessi.  She was a little disappointed with the turnout but what do you do when our family is spread all over the country?  Of course we drove up Weber Canyon to eat at Taggart Grill-- Jessi's number one restaurant.  

This morning bright and early we were up opening presents before Jeff and Kevin left for work.  Jessi had showered quick before because it always makes for a tight morning to open presents that early.  She is showing off her CTR ring that she received.

We have always made a poster to greet our kids as they came upstairs on their Birthday.  Unfortunately when we remodeled we lost the large bulletin board we used to use so we have had to resort to writing on the window.  We are obviously running out of creativity as our last one nears the end of birthday messages.

The reason the kids have always like opening their presents in the morning before school was so they could wear that all important Birthday Outfit on the their big day.

 This year instead of feeding all of Jessi's friends lunch on her birthday I decided to just take her to lunch and then miss her last class so we could do some shopping.  Jeff joined us in Salt Lake.  The waiter brought her a Birthday Sundae with a candle.  (Might I mention it is her only candle this year.  Thank heavens for restaurants)

Not many of our children like birthday cake so they get their choice of a birthday dessert instead.  Jessi kept up the tradition of chocolate eclairs for her birthday.  Today these were so fresh I had to wait at the store while they frosted them.
Jess had requested helium balloons this year for her celebration.  I was told she had only ever had the blow up kind and she would appreciate helium ones this year.  I hurried to the store before she came home for lunch and bought a large bouquet of pink and purple balloons complete with a large mylar "Happy 18th Birthday" balloon.  I decided to tie them on the mailbox so she would see I did not forget her request as soon as she drove in for lunch.  I quickly tied them to the mailbox, walked into the house, and maybe five minutes later walked to the front window to see if Jessi was coming yet.  To my utter amazement I noticed as I looked out the window that there were absolutely NO balloons tied to the mailbox.  I ran outside to see what had occurred and I could catch a teeny tiny glimpse of them as they floated off in the blue yonder.  Luckily Jessi pulled in right then so I could show her the pinpoint sign of them as they floated to greater heights.  Jeff informed me that we were going to have to have knot tying lessons.  Obviously I need them.  Oh well I did the best I could do.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Junk Drawer

This is my junk drawer.  This drawer did not look like this last week.  I wish I would of taken a before picture, but I did not think to do it.  I had completely emptied the drawer onto the kitchen counter when Jessi came home one afternoon and she was totally amazed that so much stuff had fit into that little drawer.
I now feel such a sense of accomplishment every time I open this drawer.

The problem is that six months ago I felt inspired that my responsibility for this year was to get our home in order.  Unfortunately this picture about sums up how much of our house has been put in order.  I haven't been doing a real stellar job of uncluttering and organizing.  I am exaggerating a little, I have cleaned a few drawers, cupboards, and files, but not near enough.  It is difficult for me to tell someone I'm busy or to choose to spend my time accomplishing extras at home when I don't have a time card to punch or a test to study for.  I need to develop more discipline because most of my house has been neglected for so many years that it has turned into an overwhelming job to put it in any semblance of order.  I realize if I do though the rewards will be great because I will have that same "AH HA" feeling that I get every time I open this drawer.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Sunday Sermon

Last Sunday in our Sacrament Meeting one of our YS Adults gave his "Farewell Talk" before leaving to serve his mission in Africa.  I had taught this young man temple prep classes and so I have a very soft spot in my heart for him.  Being an incredible young man, he is also very simple, shy and unassuming.  As he spoke on Sunday it was clearly noticeable that he was nervous and concerned about his message.  It became the greatest sermon ever as he talked from the bottom of his heart about those things that were most dear to him.  He mentioned how the night before he was so nervous about speaking that he almost couldn't handle it so he determined to pray for help.  He prayed to overcome his fears and then he said he decided those words were not good enough.  He was speaking to his dad, he needed to be more personal.  He said I began again and told him that he was scared to death and what could he do.  He then recounted how the Lord told him to get in the bath and relax and all would be well.  "I would of never thought of that, but I did it and it worked" he told us.  The greatest lesson on prayer was given to us during that meeting.  I had to think do I speak to my Heavenly Father like I would my dad?  No, I am never that personal, but I can see the need to be.  We can still pray with respect but become much more "one on one" with the Lord as we really tell him our feelings instead of using those words that seem eloquent and proper.
He then quoted my favorite scripture which is used numerous times in talks and presentations.  It is found in Helaman 5:12
 12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon thearock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your bfoundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty cstorm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
 In his simple and sincere voice this new missionary read this scripture with such emotion and fervor that it brought tears to my eyes.  Thank you Elder for sharing your testimony with me that day.  You taught well.  It will remain deep in my heart for sometime to come.  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

St. George in February

I love St. George in February.  The last several years I have visited St. George each winter usually in February.  The sky is clear, clean and blue, which is usually a stark contrast to the skies along the Wasatch Front in February.  For that reason alone I think it is worth the drive to St George for a few days.   Last Monday Amy, Blake, Callie and myself headed south.  Unfortunately the week we chose to visit a cold front had settled in, but the skies were still clear, clean and blue.  It was a tad bit chilly though, uncomfortably chilly in fact.  Luckily I had booked a condo at Worldmark that had a hot tub  on the deck.  We spent a great deal of time in it, since it was definitely our best option for entertaining the kids.

We were feeling very dismayed with the weather until we discovered that Davis County was getting pounded with snow, then 50 degrees in St. George really started looking pretty nice.  It is all relative.

This winter has worked out incredibly well to spend time with most of the kids.  In January I was able to visit Oklahoma and see Ben and Carrie.  February in St. George with Amy.  In March I am flying to North Dakota to visit Tyler and Carly in their new apartment, and then in April Jessi and I are going to San Diego for Spring Break.  Kevin is feeling a little left out, but he has to stick very close to Davis County for drug testing twice a week, so when that is over we will have to have a much needed vacation for him.  It is so great to feel wanted in each of my children's lives.  They all seem eager to spend time with me and for that I will be eternally grateful.  How sad and lonely I would feel if they did not want me to be part of their lives.  Hopefully I can always respect their autonomy but also feel close to them as family.