Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hope, Possibilities, and Miracles

Dear Family and Friends,

Throughout the year I have tried to tell my stories in the hopes that someone could learn something from the experiences that I have had.  Always I have thought ahead to what I wanted to say at the end of the year, and the end of my project.  Though I have more stories to tell, and more stories to experience in the years ahead, these are the things I most want you to know.

There is always hope!  Because of Jesus Christ and the atonement there is hope for comfort, peace, happiness, and help.  There is hope for improvement, and forgiveness.  There is hope that weaknesses can be overcome, that problems can be solved, and that added strength can be given to carry a heavy load.  When we look to our Savior, there is always hope for that glimmer of light to guide us through our dark times.  Through Christ we have hope to love better, and to love forever.  We also have that hope of seeing all of our loved ones again.  There will be a resurrection!  There is always hope.

Jesus is our Savior, and because of Him there are endless good possibilities.  Even when we feel surrounded by darkness, or evil, or hopelessness, and what seem like impossible problems, there are solutions.  If we are patient, and persistent, and look to Christ, we will find them. 

Finally, I know that there are miracles.  I have experienced them in my life.  There have been miracles of healing, of the ability to endure, and of perspective.  I have been blessed to recognize seemingly small miracles, and rather dramatic miracles, and all of those miracles came because I have a loving Father in Heaven.  He has never forgotten me, or you, and He never will.  He loves us.

May God bless all of you that you will have hope, that you will be able to see happy possibilities in your life, and that you will recognize the miracles that are sent just for you from our loving Father.

Love from,
Mom / Sherie

Live Long and Prosper: Christmas Eve 2013

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Meeting Susan

I promised months ago that I would eventually tell the story of meeting my friend Susan.  Susan was in my ward at church, but I do not remember meeting her until I was assigned to be her visiting teacher.  She had just had a hip replacement (she's slowly turning into the bionic woman) and us visiting teachers were called to take a meal to the family.  I remember walking in and seeing Susan lying on the couch as my companion and I walked through to the kitchen.

For whatever reason, as I saw Susan there, I thought "we won't have anything in common".  I am starting to recognize that whenever this thought enters my head it is a sign that this person will be important to me!  Why I even had that thought is beyond me.  Susan and I are both women, wives, mothers, and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  We love chatting, and laughing, and working together to get things done.  Without even trying hard it is easy to see that we have quite a bit in common.

As months went by, and I continued to go and visit Susan, I quickly discovered that Susan is an excellent listener who has a gift for being grateful.  I often don't see her for long stretches of time, but she has become more like a sister, who loves me no matter what, and no matter how often I get to visit her.  I believe that my assignment to visit teach Susan was inspired, because Heavenly Father knew that I needed Susan.  She is one of my very own earthly angels who reminds me by her example to be grateful, and who reminds me often that I am loved.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tiny One

Picture by Nathan Green
A tiny baby in a giant world.
A God, recognized by few.
Creator of the very world
He then came and was born into.
The heavens knew, a star was born.
Angels rejoiced and sang their joy.
Shepherds, awakened before the morn,
Left right away to find the boy.
What hope came with this tiny one!
False hopes to those who didn't know
He would atone for the wrongs they'd done,
Not save them from a Roman's blow.
He grew, one man in a giant world;
Creator, brother, Savior too,
As many went throughout their days
Not knowing the great work He would do.
He saves from sin, and death, and pain
From sorrow, and despair, and pride.
He leads us all back home again,
If we choose to stay by His side.
by Sher


Picture from Google Images
Christmas lights, Christmas trees,
falling snow, a fire's glow,
cheerful music, tasty treats,
yummy smells, and food to eat.
Kindness in what people do.
Hope, and peace, and comfort too.
Thoughtful acts, forgiving ways,
Love woven in throughout each day.
A frantic pace, still moments too,
to think what Christ has done for you.
Golden times you wish to keep,
amidst the common lack of sleep.
All the family gathered near
with anticipation and good cheer.
When hope and kindness are around;
When peace and joy and love abound;
This is how Christmas should be.
At least, that's what it seems to me.
by Sher


(This is the Christmas song I wrote last year -- but I think I'll leave off the video of me singing this time.)
Picture by Simon Dewey

Rejoice! The time is near
When we honor the birth of One most dear.
Rejoice!  He came to be
The Savior of all, even you and me.
Rejoice!  Hold up your head!
The Son of God came to a manger bed.
Rejoice!  For He is true!
He atoned for the sins of me and you.
Rejoice!  For He still lives!
Forgiveness and help are the things He gives.
Rejoice!  His love is sure.
With His love in our hearts we can endure.
He takes despair and gives us peace,
From sins tight chains He gives release,
When sorrow binds, He comfort brings
He gives us every joyful thing.
Rejoice! Rejoice! He is our King!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Light Came Shining

(Here is a link to me singing the song.  I hope you have a really merry Christmas)
When people went to bed that night
A new star shone its heav'nly light
Upon the quiet town
The light came shining down.
And in a humble cattle stall
Was born the one who'd save us all
The mighty king, a babe
Into the manger laid.
And shepherds in a field nearby
Saw a glorious angel fly!
He'd come to share the joy
Of this precious baby boy.
And heav'nly hosts joined in and sang.
The fields with joyful music rang.
The shepherds ran to see,
And bowed upon their knee.
And then they told all who would hear
This news of happiness and cheer,
The Savior had been born!
There would be an Easter morn!
Because of Him we'd live again.
We'd overcome the pull of sin.
He would lead us home,
To Father and His throne.
Oh, it was a joyous day!
So with the shepherds we will say,
The Savior has been born!
There will be an Easter morn!
The Savior has been born,
And there has been an Easter morn!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rescued From Foolish Pride

My family a few months before this story.
When Derek was Bishop, and I was pregnant with Dan, I had five other kids, and a big giant church bag.  It was a heavy bag even when it wasn't full, but usually it had quite a few things in it.  Jake was 4, and he did not like church.  I was really good at getting us all there on time, but I was not good at getting Jake to enjoy Sacrament Meeting.  Therefore, I usually spent that hour and ten minutes wrestling with Jake in the foyer until, somewhere towards the end of the meeting, we could come back in, and he would sometimes fall asleep.

Bishops are busy, and as soon as the meeting was over Derek would be surrounded by people who needed his help with various things.  He could no longer help me get the kids where they needed to go, or help carry the heavy bag.  I think in my mind I had stubbornly decided that since Derek couldn't help, I would just manage by myself.  So, my older four kids would go to class, and I would try to figure out how I was going to get a sleepy four year old, a big bag, and a big belly down the hall to class. 

Of course, people are kind, and my Mother-in-law would come over and ask me if she could help.  I always said something like, "No, I can get it".  She would head to class while I berated myself for being a fool.  How was I going to get to class without help?  I needed help!  Why had I said no?  And then, while I was thinking this, my friend Shellie would come and offer to help.  Unfortunately, even though I knew I really could use the help, I would hear myself saying, "No thanks, I can get it".  And then, after she looked at me doubtfully, and asked again, I would assure her I was fine, and then nearly cry when she left.  Even friends from other wards offered to help.  These people were all doing the right thing by offering, and I knew that they were sincere, and willing, but my pride just wouldn't allow me to admit, out loud, that I needed help.  I could get to class, but it was really, really hard, and I should have accepted help.

The really foolish thing is that I would do the exact same thing week after week.  I would go home so tired from the day and frustrated with how hard everything was.  I was even frustrated that I couldn't seem to accept help when it was offered.  And then, my children came to the rescue.  Somehow they recognized my plight, and started picking up my bag after church and announcing that they would drop it off by my class.  I never had to manage everything again, and I was, and am, so proud of these kids who, week after week, carried a heavy bag so that I would not have to, and rescued me from my foolish pride.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Knock On The Door

Random front door from Google Images
Pretty though!
When I was having such a hard time being pregnant with Dan, I used to go on walks.  I hoped that getting out of the house and moving would cheer me up, and help me have more energy.  Unfortunately, our neighborhood often seems rather deserted during the day, and sometimes this just made the feeling that I was alone worse!  I remember glancing at my friend's house as I walked by.  I was feeling quite upset, and was headed home so I could hide properly, when I had the thought come to "go and knock on the door". 

This happened on two different occasions, with two different friends who I hadn't seen in quite a while.  I was greeted by both with joy and kindness.  They invited me in, and listened to me, and were sympathetic and kind.  Not only that, but they talked to me, and made me feel like my visit was really important to them, and that they were so thankful I had come.  At this particular time I had such a hard time feeling useful, and these nice ladies helped me feel important to them.  I visited with them as often as I could after that, and this was very, very helpful to me.

I really feel like the thought to knock on their doors was a tender mercy from a loving Heavenly Father.  He knew that I needed the people behind those doors, and it is even possible that they needed me too.   They continue to be good friends whose examples of love and kindness I hope to follow if someone should ever feel prompted to knock on my door.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tender Mercies

In April 2005 Elder David A. Bednar gave a talk in the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints about tender mercies.  He said they are "the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ."

I have had many tender mercies in my life, but almost every time I think of the tender mercies I have received, I think back on a time when I was pregnant with Dan.  I think I have mentioned before that I had a hard time during that pregnancy.  I was so tired, and it hurt to walk, and it was worse to just stand, and I felt fairly useless.  Sometimes I cried uncontrollably at night without really knowing why.  On top of that I felt guilty, for stressing Derek out, and for not doing "enough"  I tried to do what needed to be done, but only felt marginally successful.  On top of all of that, and maybe the worst thing for me, was that I didn't feel like anyone knew how I was really doing.  I tried so hard to put on a good face, so that was my own fault, and really, things weren't always terrible!  But on the day of this story, I was feeling kind of alone in my suffering.

I needed to go to the store.  I didn't want to.  I was not sure I could manage walking all over the big Walmart and standing in a long line (which seemed to average 20 minutes every time I went back then!).  I got in the car and went.  As I arrived, and drove down the row I always park in so that I won't lose the car, I found that the very front parking spot was open.  That rarely happens!  I was so happy not to have to walk farther.  I went into the store, got the things I had to get, and then walked towards the front.  There, right in front of me, was an empty line with a cashier waiting just for me.  I didn't have to stand there for long at all!  Somehow I knew as I got in my car that even if nobody in the whole world understood exactly how I was doing, Heavenly Father did.  Those things that some would think of as lucky coincidences, to me were proof that Heavenly Father understood, and was taking care of me.  They were tender mercies.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dan Says...

...a lot of things in his prayers lately.  He is very thankful for many things, and his prayers are long.  The other day it was particularly long, and Derek and I peaked at each other wondering if we should stop him.  I mean, Derek had to go to work some time!  And the bus would eventually show up!  We did not stop him, and he eventually was done listing the many things he was thankful for.  I wish I could remember the list, I'm sure you would love it.

That night I was in his room having prayer with him before bed.  When he got done he said, "I didn't have so much to say tonight.  Remember when I said that nine minute prayer?  I was thankful for a lot of things!  It was a little more than nine minutes, it was almost ten minutes!"

Tuesday I wrote a Christmas song.  Dan loves it.  He told me so, and even asked me to sing it for him Friday night.  He thinks I should have my own radio station for my songs.  He was imagining me playing my song for the Primary kids.  He is sure they would not believe that I actually wrote that song.  He imitated for me what he thought they would say, "NO! That was so good!  You didn't write that?"  Yes, Dan is good at making me feel talented!

Friday night we were making up verses for my thankful song "The Things that I Like".  When we were done Dan said, "You are so funny!  My stomach hurts from laughing".  Jake was laughing too, so either I was really funny, or Dan laughing so hard was really funny (which is what I think).  Whichever it was, it made for a fun evening.

Finally, Saturday night at dinner Dan said, "Do you remember when I said that nine minute prayer?"  Ha! Ha!  He remembers!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Avoiding The Appearance of Evil

When I walked in to my first apartment at BYU I was a little shocked to find that the window sill was decorated with what appeared to be wine bottles.  They, of course, were not wine bottles;  they were bottles from non-alcoholic sparkling cider, but they looked like wine bottles and I believe wine cups sat along side of them.  The honor code at BYU, which every student agrees to keep before attending the college, has each student commit to standards of honesty, chastity, and dress.  It includes agreeing to abstain from alcoholic beverages, and other addictive substances. 

The honor code was being followed by my roommates.  Still, it is possible that somebody who knew the honor code could look at the window, and wonder.  At home I was taught that we should avoid the appearance of evil (and doing something you have promised not to do would be wrong) and so the decoration bothered me.  I do not think my roommates were bad for having decorated in that way.  They had probably celebrated something with each bottle, and it was more of a happy memory.  But eventually, we changed what was in the window.

My thought is simply this.  It is good to think about how other people might view something before we do it, and it is most important to ask ourselves if what we do will be a witness for the Lord that we are trying to serve.  If we do this, we will be able to "abstain from all appearance of evil" as the apostle Paul counseled.  (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

Getting Rid of the Scary Zombie

*This was written a few months ago and I just never posted it
**Also imagine me as a scary zombie.  I don't take pictures of myself when I feel like that!

A couple of times this week I have gone to bed early.  Maybe as much as two hours earlier than usual.  I was done with the day -- or "done in".  Derek was home, and he could take care of things, and I was really glad.

When Tia was a new baby she was lousy at sleeping.  I walked around in a constant fog of exhaustion -- at least that's how I remember it.  Luckily she made up for this behavior by becoming the most excellent napper the world has ever seen.  Before Kayli was born I lived in dread of becoming, once again, a person living in a tired, zombie like state.  Then a miracle happened.  Kayli was born and she was a most excellent sleeper from the very beginning.  She was never a world class napper like Tia, taking two two hour naps a day, but she was really very good at sleeping.

This mini story is just to point out the rather obvious fact that sleep can make a huge difference!  When I'm well rested I am a lot less likely to be scary.  I don't snap at people, cry over things, and have pity parties nearly as often if I've had adequate sleep. I really enjoy not feeling zombie like, though I have learned that it is a survivable state of being.  It is also helpful for me to remember, when I go getting all grumpy, that the solution to not acting like a scary zombie might be sleep!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

When you Think Nobody Likes You -- Think Again

I have the bad habit of feeling, and believing, on hard days, that I am unlikeable.  On those days I have a hard time thinking anybody really likes me at all -- even if I know they did yesterday!  This is not logical, and does my terrific friends and family a disservice, but it happens just the same.

This is where something I learned from Sister Virginia Pearce comes in handy.  She suggested in her book Through His Eyes that when we are feeling down and discouraged, we ask ourselves, "What am I believing right now?"  Once we decide what we are believing, we should decide if it is really true.  Is it true that Heavenly Father would believe I am unlikeable?  No, but Satan would be okay with me thinking that I am!

So, one day when I was feeling down I asked myself what I was believing, and I realized that, at that moment, I was believing that nobody liked me.  When I said this aloud it made me laugh because I know better than that!  I felt better immediately.

There can be multiple reasons for how we are feeling on any given day, but it is always good to check and make sure that the things we are thinking and believing are really true -- otherwise we might spend a lot of time suffering needlessly!

*Picture from Google Images

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Trisa's Birthday

Trisa's birthday was almost an entire month ago!  She is now the same age I was when she was born.  Time just flies right by!  Here are some pictures.  We had Travis sit next to Trisa in front of everyone, but we gave him a present too.  He was a good sport, but had started to look like Santa by the end of the present opening.  My parents were there too, but I forgot to take any pictures of them!  These pictures are of dessert and presents.  Lasagna dinner was later.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Confidence From a Friend

When I was about 14 my family moved to Missouri.  When we moved there I did not feel very confident in myself.  I had buck teeth, and never thought I was very pretty, or clever, or even particularly interesting.  The very best thing about that move, for me, was that my cousin Julie lived there.  I have always thought that she was SO talented, and beautiful, and fun!  My family got to stay at their house that first summer.  It was a big cousin party all summer long.  My Aunt and Uncle have 10 kids.  Most of them still lived at home, and there were five children in my family.  Our parents were probably all miserable, but it was very fun for me!

The miracle for me was that somehow, this cousin that I admired, liked me.  I mean, we are cousins, but cousins do not have to like you.  Julie and I had so much fun together!  We used a tape recorder and made up silly characters for "The Dating Game".  We laughed and laughed and were probably generally annoying to everyone older than us, but we were having too much fun to really notice. 

I tried things with her that I would usually not have done.  I tried riding a pony bare back, and was really not very successful.  I rode horses, and got kicked by one.  I swam in lakes, avoiding drowning because I'm really good at the back float.  I even got to go on vacation with their family to Kentucky Lake once.  Julie and I went to church dances, and youth activities together.  Always we talked, and laughed, and had a lot of fun.  She was a great friend.

A few years later, after my family moved away, I realized that because my fun, beautiful, smart cousin had been my friend,  I had more confidence that I could make friends, and that I was worth making friends with.  She did not become my friend to give me confidence, or even because she thought I needed it, and that is one of the reasons why her friendship made a lasting difference to me.  She seemed to like me just like I was.

Now Julie lives far away on the other side of the country with her family.  I have not seen or talked to her in a long time, but I still admire her for the good person that she is and the good things she does.  Mostly though, I am just thankful that, long ago, she chose to be my friend.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Listening Ears

This last little while I've had moments where I have felt incredibly stressed over several things, one of which is Trisa's wedding reception (no worries Trisa!).  What if I decorate Trisa's wedding reception, and it looks stupid?  What if nobody wants to help me decorate, or they can't because it's right before Christmas?  What if I annoy someone and they wish they didn't know me?  (I'm really good at worrying). 

Thankfully, I have also been the beneficiary of good listeners; people who are sympathetic, and understanding, and encouraging.  People listening to me in the midst of their own stresses has been very helpful.  I also found it helpful to listen to them in my turn, because when it comes right down to it, I am thankful that I have my problems, and not theirs! 

When someone listens to me it helps me put things back in the proper perspective.  Trisa is a kind and easy going bride.  My friends probably aren't all going to ditch me when I need to decorate.  I might accidentally annoy someone, but hopefully not bad enough that they'll wish they didn't know me!  And the wedding is really the important part.

I am thankful for good people, who have used their listening ears on me.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Odds and Ends

I haven't done as well at writing lately.   Here are some things we've done.

Trip to the Cabin:

This picture is for Aunt Tonya.  I have a LOT of pictures of this turtle you gave Dan.
Dan likes to take pictures.

Derek, Kayli, Connor, Jake, Dan, and I went up to Derek's parent's cabin on the first Friday of September and stayed overnight.  The most remarkable thing about that trip was the rain when we were getting home.  I don't remember ever seeing it rain quite that hard here in Payson and, as we got home, we drove down a road that looked like a river.  We were all drenched as we unloaded the truck as quickly as possible, and we went ahead and unloaded my four wheeler too since we were already soaking wet.  It was a nice break to go to the cabin.  We enjoyed four wheeler rides and having Derek's parents join us on Saturday, and we were glad to be safely down from the mountain when the torrential rain hit.

Sister Trip

Two weeks after going to the cabin I was on a trip with 7 of my sisters-in-law (two on that side of the family couldn't come).  We went to St. George together.  We played games, hiked, laughed, visited, toured the almost finished children's museum, and had lots of snacks.  Some of our planned events didn't work out, but this is a super nice group of ladies who know how to get along and make the best of things.  They put up with my driving all weekend.  The funniest moment was when I ran a red light (it was yellow when my front tires went over the line) and everyone in the car yelled (ahhhhhhhhh!!!) all the way through the intersection.  I should have perhaps taken a picture of the whole group of ladies.  Oops.

My Birthday.

The last Saturday in September was my birthday.  I am always impressed with how nice everyone is to me!  Friday Derek stayed home from work and we got to go to the temple and do some family names.  (Thanks Mom!)  It was great!  Then we went to lunch and did some Christmas shopping.  It was a fun day.  On my birthday I wanted to be lazy, so we slept in, opened presents, and watched a movie (in between phone calls from well wishers).  I got to end the day with a trip to the stake center to watch General Relief Society Conference with a friend.  It has been a good extended birthday.  I have been spoiled with lunches, presents, phone calls, emails, and texts.  All are appreciated.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Teasing Brother and a Wise Mother

My wise Mom and teasing brother long before this story actually happened!

A long time ago my really terrific oldest brother used to be quite a tease.  The interesting thing is, I don't really remember him tormenting me, but my Mother does, and in talking to her, I have come to think of that teasing as a gift.  This is why.

When my brother would tease, I would cry.  I remember enough to suspect that he followed me around, or held me down, tapping my head over and over and over again.  I would tell my Mom, and she would try to convince my brother to stop -- only it never worked.  He always did it again.  Finally she sat me down and explained that if I could keep myself from crying when he was teasing me, eventually he would stop.  She says that she can remember seeing me desperately trying not to cry, and she was right, once I learned not to react, he did stop.

When my Mom told me this story I knew that this is where I had learned a truth that has been a help to me my whole life.  Nobody has a life where everyone always treats them nicely, and I certainly did not.  I had big buck teeth, and children are not always kind.  I remember getting on the bus to taunts about my rabbit teeth, and I remember keeping my face straight, and telling myself not to react.  I knew that they would not keep teasing me day after day if I did not react, and I was right.  This was such a powerful thing to know!

This knowledge was helpful in another way.  As people were unkind, and I refused to react, and their behavior toward me changed, I came to realize that their teasing was more about what was wrong in their life than what was wrong with me.  This knowledge has allowed me to feel compassion for those who have decided to be mean; and that compassion takes away the pain their words or actions could cause.

I am thankful for this knowledge, and I believe that my life has been much easier because of the lesson that I learned from a teasing brother, and a wise mother.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tell Them About It!

When you think good things about someone, it is good to tell them!

One year I made it my goal to do this.  I was going to tell people when I noticed something good they did, or when something they said made a difference to me.  I wasn't perfect at it, but it made me more aware of how often there are things to admire about people, and how often they make a difference for good in my life.

Sometimes I would tell them in person, right when I noticed.  Other times I would write a note.  Here is the story of one of those times.

I had a friend who, I think, shared a testimony that was particularly meaningful to me, and so I sent her a note, thanking her.  She liked the note, and it arrived at a time when she felt she needed it, and so she, in turn, sent me a thank you note.  This happened to arrive on one of those days where I was feeling lonely and I was thankful for the reminder that people do care about me!  I benefited both from her testimony that prompted my note, and from the note she sent in return.  In trying to point out the good she had done, I am the one who, I feel, benefited the most!

I always enjoy knowing when I manage to do something well, or something that benefits someone.  I have found that it is just as rewarding to notice the good in the people around me, and to tell them about it! 

*photo from Google Images

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Dan's First Grade Writing Book

Dan can fly so so fast!  He always saves the day!  He is so so so so awesome!
I was helping Dan and Jake clean their room today and I snuck Dan's first grade writing, handwriting, and spelling books out to recycle.  However, I do not want to lose some of the things he wrote and so I am going to put them here.  I'll just put the question the teacher asked and my best guess at a translation of his writing. 

Do you like to ride in an elevator?
Yes I do like the that part.  It is too fun.  I also like the seats.  They are comfy.

What do you like to eat?
I like to eats chips that are spicy

If you could be in a race as any animal what would you be and why?
A bunny because they hop fast and high.

If you could plant a garden what would you grow?
I would plant a watermelon apple(?) 

What would you do if you could stay awake all night?
I would look for bad guys.

If you could get messy what would you get messy in?
I would jump in mud.

How do you like to dance?
I like to shake my head and my hips and I like to hit my legs.

What would you do if there was a large pile of leaves and why?
I would jump in them and make a tunnel.

What weather do you like?
I like rain because we get to play in the puddles? my next favorite is snow!

Tell me about your birthday
I had a birthday cake and presents?  I had a robot cake.  One car set and two robots?  I like my birthday!

Where do you like to sleep?
In a bed den.  I know what.  Because my bed would be in there and my family would be there and there would be lights.

Do you like trees?
I like trees because!  We can make a tree house and I would sleep there with a door.

Do you like soccer?  Why?
Ya I love soccor Bececse we can win and you can cick a boll and Do you like soccor! (I used his spelling this time)

What foods do you like?
I like pizza because all the sauce and I like pickles because that tastes like pizza.

Would you like a pet bear?
Yes you bet ya!  Because I could throw him in the snow.

What sea animal is best?
I love jelly fish?  Because jelly fish rool!  And boys rool. (they rule, but I like his spelling)

Would you like to go into space?
Yes I would good!  Because you could float.

Who is your hero?
My Mom is My hero.  Because she helped me from grawdning. (Grounding?  Gardening?)

What seasons do you not like?
I do not like winter.  Because it is so, so, cold and it freezes my legs.

Do you like to help people?
Yes I do yes!  Because it's fun!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9 / 11 / 2001 -- My Memories

This morning I came out of my room all sleepy eyed, and with a fun amount of bed head, to see my two high school students looking like they were ready to attend church, not head to high school.  I, not even knowing what day it was, asked why they were dressed up.  They said, "It's 9 / 11".  Ah, how proud I am of the high school students who not only honor this day by dressing up, but have been known to dress up to show support of classmates, or other people they are aware of who are having a hard time.  I want to write for them what I remember, and what I learned from a day that was very hard for every good person in our country.

Twelve years ago today I was four months pregnant with Jake.  I had three little girls who went off to elementary school, and I had Connor, who was two, and as cute as can be.  Derek was running late and was home still, and I, wearing my lovely white with pink floral maternity nightgown, was doing laundry.  The phone rang, which was a bit unusual for an early morning, but not unheard of.  I answered to hear my Mom, sounding upset.  She told me that I needed to turn on the television -- there had been a terrorist attack on our country.

I cry just to write the words.  I turned on the television, and Derek and I watched for a while before he headed to work.  Then I sat down, and spent my day watching the planes crash into those towers over, and over, and over again.  I saw the buildings fall multiple times, I watched in horror as people ran screaming, knowing that others didn't have time to run.  I heard tragic stories, and heroic ones.  I have no recollection of doing anything else that day.  I must have cared for Connor.  I had to have eaten.  I probably did more laundry, but when Derek got home he found me where he had left me, in a chair, with eyes sore from crying, watching the buildings fall.

Derek took the remote gently from my hands, and told me that I had seen enough.  He flipped through channels until he found the perfect thing for me -- the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing hymns of faith.  For the first time since I had sat in the chair, I could feel a peace covering me.  Heavenly Father would care for those who were gone, and those who are left behind.  Hard things can bring growth, and strength. 

For a while the country enjoyed a unity that is often missing.  We may not agree with our fellow countrymen, but they are OUR countrymen!  Flags flew constantly, and I couldn't drive around town without seeing them, and remembering.  I would feel sad for what had happened, and thankful for the wonderful nation that we are blessed with, and the good people who are in it.

I do not think I will ever forget the emotions of that day, and flags still remind me of the unity that an awful act brought as people forgot differences, and tried to help.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Can Do Hard Things

I have occasionally had days that seemed so bad to me that I prayed that Heavenly Father would send someone to my rescue.  I wanted help right then.  I just wanted a friend to drop by, or someone to call me.  I felt like I needed help to get through the day.  And nobody came.  Nobody called.  I was left to wonder, "Why?"  Was nobody listening to promptings?  Did nobody care about me?  Or was there another answer?  Thankfully, I have not wondered whether or not Heavenly Father cared, because I know that He does, but sometimes people do wonder that.  Why?  Why did nobody come to the rescue right when I thought I needed it?  And why does our loving Heavenly Father let us have bad days without sending a friend to help?

At the end of hard days of wishing for rescue, this is the conclusion I reached; if I never had to handle things that are really hard for me, I would never know what I am capable of.  Making it through hard days, like the ones I experienced, helped give me confidence that bad days end, and that I can endure until such a time as the rescue does arrive.  Sometimes there are multiple bad days, or even really hard things that no person can really rescue us from.  The hard things that we have handled before, can help us to have the courage to handle the hard things now, and in the future.  Heavenly Father was allowing me to trust Him, and His timing, and to learn to trust that I can do hard things.

*Photo from http://diapersanddivinity.com/tag/hard-things/

Friday, September 6, 2013

Let it Go

I have been blessed to be surrounded by really great people throughout my life, and have not had to forgive much because I have been treated so well.  However, I think everyone gets some practice at this!  There was one time when I was put on the spot in front of other people.  I was being asked to do something that I thought was not right, or fair, by someone that I thought should have known better.  I was angry at the awkward situation I was put in, and perhaps I was angry because I didn't think of what I "should" have said until later!

Now, in this situation, there was no real harm done, but I was hurt, and upset.  I lost sleep stewing over it.  Should I do something?  Should I say something?  Why?  Why would they do that when they surely knew it was not the right thing to do?  I talked to Derek about it and his advice was simple.  "Let it go."  But I was right!  I was so sure I was right! 

Somehow or another I did let that go, and over time I came to realize that this person that I thought should know better, was doing what they thought was best.  I still don't agree that it was best, but I believe they wouldn't have done what they did unless they thought it was right.  Most often, people are trying to do what is right, or to help; and yet, even if they are not, Derek's advice is still good.  "Let it go."

God's judgments will be just, and we do not need to hold on to our anger to make sure that God is aware that someone did a bad thing to us.  He knows, and we can trust Him.  I am so thankful for the gift of forgiveness!  Holding on to anger feels awful, and it is best to let it go!  

*Picture from Google Images by Melissa Feifer 2012

Thursday, September 5, 2013

For Times of Trouble

This is the title to Elder Holland's new book, which I haven't read, and the video that comes with it, which I have been able to watch thanks to the generosity of my parents-in-law.  I really enjoy listening to Elder Holland any time, and these are some of the notes I took while watching the video.

*When talking about trusting God, Elder Holland quoted someone who said, "Everybody can have what they want, or something better." (If they trust God and do His will).

*In times past Israel was always instructed to flee Babylon.  We are no longer asked to flee, but to plant our feet, and attack Babylon. (Babylon not being the actual city.  Babylon represents "the world", in opposition to the Kingdom of God).

*Romans 8:31 "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

*Persevere.  Carry on.  At least keep trying.  Persevering may be better than any virtue, because if we persevere, we'll get the other virtues.

*This life is the only game where the score is already recorded (Satan is beaten by the atonement of Jesus Christ), and we're still trying to find out who is on which team.

*Trap:  God must not love me if I suffer.
Truth:  God's Son Jesus suffered more than anyone, and God loved him!  Many prophets have suffered, and they were loved by God.  There is something at work in suffering that is exalting.

*When you don't know the answer to a question, cling to what you do know.  God is loving, kind, and merciful.

*We are duty bound to be cheerful.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Power of Imagination

Every now and then I get stuck -- not physically, but mentally.  I am stuck in a grouchy mood, or stuck with a problem I don't know how to solve.  It really isn't fun being stuck unless you happen to be stuck in the house with a good book, or some other more pleasant scenario.  Fortunately I have a friend who taught me to visualize, or think through, or, in other words, to imagine.

For example, there was a night when I was lying in bed and I was upset.  I couldn't seem to get past something that happened that day.  I tried to imagine what my problem would look like to me if it were a picture and all I could come up with was darkness.  I felt trapped in darkness with no way out.  Now, for me, it helps to pray, and imagine.  I prayed and told Heavenly Father that I was feeling upset, and that I felt like I was surrounded by darkness and I needed His help. 

One thing I have learned is that when I have a problem, it really helps to think it through for myself, even if the problem is something as vague sounding as "I am feeling surrounded by darkness".  What am I asking for?  What am I hoping Heavenly Father will do?  Well, the obvious solution to being surrounded by darkness is that a little light will get through!  So that is what I asked for.  I asked Heavenly Father to please send me a little bit of light to penetrate that darkness.  I imagined Him doing it, and almost immediately He answered my prayer with a flood of thankful memories that helped me let go of whatever had happened that day that had upset me, and the darkness was gone.

I did not solve my own problem, but using my imagination to try to help define the problem and imagine a solution, helped me to believe, and to have faith that there really was something that could be done to help me.  Often as I go through the process of imagining a solution to a problem, the Lord helps me to know what to do!

Nothing is ever invented without being imagined first, and problems are easier to solve if you can imagine a solution!  There really is great power in imagination.  If we imagine something is hopeless, it may be that it is.  But, if we imagine that same something has a solution, we are likely, one day, to find it.

*Picture from Google Images

Friday, August 30, 2013

Dan's Birthday #7

Dan turned seven on the 29th.  He celebrated with a party the day before his birthday.  He had so much fun, and his friends / cousins spoiled him with nice gifts.  On his birthday we opened presents before school.  He really wanted a stuffed animal turtle, which he didn't get.  He does have a glow pet that should arrive today, but it is not a turtle!  Oops.  For a seven year old he did pretty well opening presents at his party.  He was generally enthusiastic and thankful.  He did okay when he opened presents on his birthday, but I did hear him say, "Well, at least I got a cool movie."  He has been a tad spoiled this year!  He had his first full soccer game on his birthday and prayed at night that he would only remember the good parts of his game.  Anyhow, he is a wonderful, dramatic, fun boy.  We love him a lot.  Here are some pictures.
Birthday Party Cake

 Lucas, Dan, Mason, Sam (Lucas wanted to help blow I think!)
It took Dan at least 7 blows to get those 7 candles out.
 Jordan and Dan sword fight.
 Dan said, "Take a picture of this Mom!"
 These were supposed to be our best fierce fighting faces.
 Did you know that Dan likes to pose dramatically?
This was his birthday cake (for the actual day)
I put the candles closer together this time,
but it still took a few tries to get those candles out!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Honoring Kayli

 On Sunday my sweet Kayli received her Young Womanhood Recognition award.  She worked really hard on this and did it all without ever having to be pushed.  I really love this girl.  Derek and I feel really blessed that she is ours.  Congratulations to Kayli!
Kayli and Connor loved going out for shakes this Summer.
This was taken by Connor and I got it from facebook.

Our Annual Vacation

Every year, no matter where else we go, we try to make a trip to Idaho.  This isn't because we love potatoes so much, and it certainly isn't because the air treats us better.  I have kids that seem to be physically allergic to Idaho, but they love going anyway because it is hard to beat cousins to play with!  This year we were sad to be missing cousin Lauren who was off helping another Aunt and Uncle, but it was a fabulous trip anyhow -- at least for me.

My niece Kelli was visiting with her husband Jamie and their little girl Meleah.  It was very fun to see them.  Derek and I were even persuaded to play a game.  Gasp!  We stayed up way too late Thursday night (the 15th of Aug.) and had fun.  The next evening Derek and I were able to spend with my brother Brian and his wife Stephanie.  We went to a movie, and to dinner, and then walked around the Rexburg Temple having excellent conversations.  The temple was closed, but we enjoyed the beauty of the grounds and the chance to visit.

Saturday evening Derek and I got to go with Tina and Chris.  They all humored me and Chris drove all the way to Idaho Falls so that I didn't have to try to pretend I was really going to enjoy something on the menu at that Thai restaurant we went to last time we were there.  I'm not exactly known for my adventuresome eating habits!  I can eat food I don't like, but I'm afraid I haven't mastered keeping a straight face while doing it.  After we ate too much we walked up and down the trail in front of the Idaho Falls temple enjoying more excellent conversation.

Sunday was church day.  All of the kids had a cousin to go to class with, and I enjoyed a rare chance to attend an adult class (I'm usually in Primary).  Later we were able to eat a nice dinner that Tina and Stephanie prepared.  We ate at Brian and Steph's house and were happy to see my parents arrive safely from Utah.

Monday was a get up early and work day.  Tina and Chris were redoing their roof.  I didn't plan on helping because I've gotten steadily more afraid of heights as time has gone by.  However, I discovered that I enjoyed being on their roof and, as long as I didn't watch anyone who was by the edge, I did very well.  I wasn't a huge help, but sweeping away the slippery grit from the shingles we were taking off might have saved at least my own life and so I felt slightly heroic, which is always good.  Connor, Derek, and Kayli were helping, as were friends and neighbors.  Tina was cooking and cooking so that everyone had good food to eat when they were hungry.  Lots got done and after lunch we packed up and left the rest of the roof work to others.

Thanks to Derek, who drove, we arrived safely back home at the end of another fun vacation.  Hooray for the terrific Idaho cousins, and for my parents who fed us on the way there, and then let us get back in their house and eat their food while they were still in Idaho working.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The First Day of School 2013

Kayli, Connor, Jake, and Dan seemed to navigate through their first day of school just fine.  Here are some pictures.  You can especially admire the one of Dan in front of his classroom.  I took two and was going to try again but he declared that this one was just fine!  Enjoy.
Jake--6th Grade

Dan--2nd Grade

 Connor  -- Tenth Grade

 Kayli -- 12th Grade!

These are great kids.  I hope that they will be able to make their way through the challenges of a new school year with joy and hope and optimism.   I know that their classes will be better because they are in them, and that is a great blessing for a Mom.