Thursday, January 31, 2013

Remembering Little Trisa

One of my favorite memories is from the hospital after Trisa was born.  I had a c-section, and walking (well, moving) was very hard for me, but somehow I had managed to get out of my bed, pick up Trisa, and make it to a rocking chair.  I sat there and sang to her "Oh hush thee my baby, a story I'll tell, how little lord Jesus on earth came to dwell ..".  There, with a baby who was right from heaven, singing about Jesus, the most wonderful, peaceful, loving feeling filled the whole room.  It was so strong, that I was sure that when the nurse walked in, she must have been able to feel it.

As Trisa grew she came to love outside.  She used to pound on our apartment door and yell "Side!  Side!" just hoping we would take her outside.  We lived in downtown SLC at the time, and we had one car.  We did have a stroller, and I would put Trisa in it and walk blocks, and blocks, to the library.  I don't remember her ever being bad on a walk.  She would lean back, prop her foot up on the bar of the stroller, and enjoy being in her beloved outside.
 Trisa was not blessed with a mother who did hair very well, but that did not stop her from being beautiful.  She loved to wear dresses.  The journal I wrote for her said, "...your Aunt Tina gave you a dress.  The following Tuesday you wanted to wear it to school.  You got so much attention from wearing it that you insisted on wearing a dress all week long.  You looked as cute as could be..."

Trisa had a favorite outfit when she was about two.  Her Grandma C. had given her a pink shirt with a heart on the front which matched the floral purple pants she had.  She loved to wear this, but especially if she could roll up her pants to her knees and wear her pink knee socks.  She loved to show off her socks, and I liked to let her because it made her happy.

Trisa liked to sing lots of songs, and read piles of books.  Even before she could really read, her journal says she would pick up a book and appear to be reading it, but if you payed attention you would notice that the story she was telling had pieces in it of the conversations that were going on around her.

Trisa helped a lot with Tia.  She would get Tia's "little tiny diapers" and when Tia cried Trisa would use a funny voice to say "Oh Tia, Tia, Tia, don't be sad Tia, oh Tia..."  Later, when Tia could sit up, Trisa would carefully drag Tia around by her feet (across the wood floor) so she could play with her.  Sometimes she'd drag her right into her room, and Tia always seemed to enjoy her chance to play.

Trisa was independent.  We heard a lot of "My do it!"  She also had such grown up sounding expressions that it was hard to remember how little she was sometimes!  She loved animals.  She used to hold out her hands to the birds in the back yard and try to get them to come.  "Here bird!  Here bird!"  She would chase them, and cry when they flew away.  She loved them and couldn't understand why they wouldn't stay and let her hold them.

Trisa is fun, and kind, and thoughtful, and enthusiastic, and smart.  She was all of those things when she was little too.  There are so many wonderful things to be remembered about little Trisa!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Way to Remember

I have been a journal writer for many years.  My journal is like a friend.  I can pour out my frustrations, or my worries.  I can talk about the things I am excited about in long, boring, drawn out detail.  I have many journals filled with non-important information, like who everyone danced with at the dances I went to as a youth. Yawn!  As I got older I came to realize that there are two things that  I really enjoy going back to read.  The first is all of the cute things that my children do, and our important family events.  The second is the spiritual experiences I have, or the blessings I've been given.

When my oldest daughter was a baby she wasn't always good at sleeping through the night.  I got to hold her a lot in the night time, which wasn't always a bad thing.  I remember sitting on the floor of her room holding her while she slept.  I love her so much, and I remember wishing that I could hold on to every detail of that moment forever.  There are so many perfect moments in life, and children say the cutest things!  Unfortunately, I have found that even if I tell myself "I will remember this forever", I won't unless I have written it down.  I am so thankful for those things I did manage to get into journals so that I could remember them later.  They allow me to enjoy those perfect moments again.  I will share some of those with you in the next few days.

I find the second kind of journal really helpful when I am having a hard day, or I feel like I haven't felt any inspiration for a long time.  I get my journal out and am reminded about the things that I have learned, and maybe forgotten.  I am reminded that Heavenly Father has answered my prayers before, and so I know that He will again.  This has been a blessing to me on many occasions, and is a good source for my Inheritance Project.

Not everyone likes to write, and pictures can work almost as well, but even if you write down just a few things, or a few blessings, you will be glad.  It is a good way to remember.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dan Says....

...If we make a bad promise, we don't have to keep it.  Like, if we promise not to believe Heavenly Father.
Jake and Dan in their new aprons.

Monday, January 28, 2013

I Was Not to Blame

Many years ago Derek and I were expecting our first baby.  I had always wanted to be a Mom. I had worried for years that I might never be able to be a Mom.  And now we were expecting!  And then, 13 weeks along, we found out that our baby had only lived 8 weeks.  We were so sad, and so disappointed.  Along with those feelings, I also felt like it was my fault.  I mistakenly thought that I must have done something wrong, and God must be punishing me, or that I just lacked faith, and that was the problem.

Derek kindly explained to me that God is not like that, but I was having a hard time getting past the feeling that this happened because I was somehow lacking.  What I wanted was a good thing, right?  Why would I not be getting what I wanted if it was a good thing?

Not too long after the miscarriage, Derek and I attended a fireside where Elder Neal A. Maxwell spoke.  I think our loving Heavenly Father sent him to speak to me.  He told me that, if nobody needed a Savior in the whole world but me, Jesus still would have come down and suffered what He needed to in order to save me.  He knows my name.  He knows my sorrows, my wants, my weaknesses, my sins, and He still loves me.

When I left that fireside I understood better than I ever had, that hard things are a part of life, and that Heavenly Father and Jesus are sad when I am sad, and are there to help me when I ask.  Some problems may never be fixed in this life, but that is not because our Father loves us any less than he loves anyone else.  He loves us so much, and believes in us so much, that He believes we can handle hard things and remain faithful. I learned that, in the case of my miscarriage, I was not to blame.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

When Talking to Yourself --- Be Nice!

Picture from

I like to think I am a nice person.  I like people.  I do not judge them harshly.  I'm a lot more inclined to make up good excuses for them than to think badly of them.  I notice the good things they do, and can see their potential for good.  So, it was a bit of a shock to realize that I was not extending the same courtesy to myself.

I went through a period of time where I was quite depressed.  I always felt ugly, and not very smart.  I felt like I was bad at everything.  I couldn't figure out how to get out of that slump until I realized that the biggest part of the problem was that I never said anything nice to me.  When I looked in a mirror I pointed out all of my flaws.  When I didn't make dinner, or had a messy house, or didn't exercise, I berated myself.  So, I came up with a plan to break that bad habit.  Every time I realized I had said something negative, I made myself come up with something positive about me to replace it.  This made a big difference.

Once, I walked into my room and saw my usual stack of books and papers by my bed and said, "I'm a mess!"  I immediately realized what I had done and said, "I mean, look at all of the good things that I am working on!"  There is almost always another way to look at things, and if I thought hard enough I could always come up with something positive I could have said instead -- even when looking in the dreaded mirror.

I did this for quite a while.  Sometimes I felt really silly.  Even when talking to myself in my head, it still felt kind of funny to give myself a complement.  One day at church I remember correcting a negative thought and laughing.  I really felt better when I was nice to myself.  That was the last time I remember consciously working on it.  The habit had, at least mostly, been broken.

It is easy to fall back into any bad habit, including this one.  So, it is good for me to be reminded that when I talk to myself I should be nice.  This is true for you to.  When you are talking to yourself, please BE NICE!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

You Can't Make Me Mad!

image from
This is NOT a challenge for everyone to try to make me mad.  That would not be fun for me.  This is something that I learned in a Parenting class at BYU.  I learned that nobody can make me angry.  It is a choice.

Now, you might be inclined to argue.  After all, sometimes we get angry so fast that we don't feel like we had a choice.  It is just a choice that we made so quickly that we didn't notice!  It is a choice we have probably made so often that we no longer notice the decision process.  I still remember the story that was in the reading I was required to do.  It goes something like this.

There was a person (say it is me this time).  I am running late.  I just might have time to make it to my appointment if everything goes my way.  Unfortunately, in the story, it does not go well.  Nothing too out of the ordinary happens, but somebody walks across a crosswalk and I have to stop.  They are walking ever so slowly.  I get mad -- at them.  I say, "They are making me so mad!".  But really, the reason I am mad is because I chose to leave late, and am going to be late to an appointment, and them being there gives me someone convenient to blame.  I am choosing to be angry, in a way, to make myself feel better for having left late.

This story usually helps me the most when I am in just such a scenario.  I remind myself that the person in front of me who is driving slowly is not to blame for my not having left earlier.  I also remind myself (because being late really stresses me out) that it is too late to change the situation and being angry, or upset won't really help. 

I have learned more about this subject over the years, which doesn't mean that I have learned to never be angry.  People can make it difficult to not be angry, and situations can make it really difficult not to be angry, but it is still a choice.  Generally I hate being angry, and so I choose not to be.  When I am angry, knowing that I am choosing to be angry can help me get over it faster.  This takes practice, and I really wish I learned faster so that my children could have benefited more, but the parenting class was totally worth it just to learn this one thing, that you can't make me mad.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

If you think you should call someone, do it. They might need a can of soup!

My friend Anna
Sometimes it is hard to know whether an idea that comes to you is inspired by God, or if you just happen to be having a random idea that doesn't matter.  There was one day when I kept thinking that I should call my friend Anna.  I was her visiting teacher at the time (meaning that I was, basically, assigned to be her friend).  All day I thought of calling Anna, and then I would get busy doing something.  The thought would come again but I always put it off until the day was over and it was too late.

The next day, having felt bad for not following through on that thought, I called her.  It turns out that she had been sick the day before, and had really wanted a can of soup.  I think I even had the kind she wanted, and I easily could have gone to the store if I didn't.  I can't even remember if she took her sick self to the store, or if some other friend or family member saved the day.  I just know that, even though she chuckled when I confessed, and is still my friend today, I could have helped her had I simply taken a moment to call.  I try to remember that experience whenever I have the thought to call somebody.  They might not really need me to call, but then again, they might be sick, and want a can of soup.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Christmas Morning 7:00a.m.

This should have been posted first.  Oops! 
The traditional race up the stairs.  Kayli is in front.  Trisa is holding on to Dan.

Kayli Wins!
 Jake and Tia are last.  Tia appears to wish she were still asleep.  She wasn't feeling her best.

Picture a Christmas at Our House!

Jake and Dan
Trisa, Tia, and Kayli -- My girls!

Blogger quit letting me make pictures bigger or label them, but I decided to post this anyway.  The pictures are mostly of my kids giving each other Christmas gifts, and the last picture is Kayli and Trisa with their Grandma C.  We went there for a delicious Christmas dinner.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Avengers With Nothing to Avenge. . .

Christmas Eve Pajamas

Dan and Jake in front, Tia, Sherie, Derek, and Trisa next.  Connor and Kayli on the fireplace.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

If You Give a Man a Hint ....

....He probably won't notice.  There is no point in assigning blame for this.  It is just true.  Men and women do not think the same, and trying the same hinting technique year after year is bound to just create the same frustration.

At BYU I had a Marriage Prep class.  "Men do not get hints" is one of the things I was taught.  If you want something from a man, ask him for it.  You'll have a lot higher chance of getting what you want that way.  Not many months later Derek and I were talking about this with our other newly married friends and I heard a story from one of Derek's former roommates.  It was humorous, but similar scenarios are likely played out by most couples, at least occasionally, and they do not feel funny while they are happening.

The story goes like this:
The husband and wife were travelling home from somewhere, and she was thirsty.  She asked her husband if he was thirsty.  He said "No".  She said, "There is a gas station over there where we could get a drink".  He said, "It's okay, it's not that far until we get home and I'm not thirsty". 

When they got home she burst into tears.  He was confused.  She had hoped that when she asked him if he was thirsty, he might ask her in return, or that he would get the hint when she pointed out a place where they could buy drinks.  She had never mentioned herself, and so he didn't know she was thirsty.  He told her that he would have been happy to stop and buy her a drink if she would have just said, "I'm thirsty, could we stop and get a drink?"

Now, I know that men do get hints occasionally when the hints aren't too subtle, but I also am pretty sure that they like it better when the women in their lives ask for what they want so that there is no mystery anger, or crying to deal with over something they (the men) had no idea they were supposed to have done.
This is Dan.  I had no good picture for this post, but Dan's expression is probably a little like a man's would be when the woman in his life is all of a sudden upset because he entirely missed a hint.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Multiplication of Smiles

I know it is hard to believe, but one day, when I was walking to class at BYU, I was not feeling very cheerful.  This is true even though I was wearing (I think) my Donald Duck BYU shirt.  I kind of had my head down when I heard someone say, in a really cheerful voice, "Nice shirt!"  I looked up to see a girl I didn't know smiling at me.  It was such a big smile that I couldn't help but smile myself.  While I still had this huge grin on my face I happened to pass a boy who I didn't know. He saw my smile and started to grin.  Suddenly, I was wondering how far that original smile might travel.  It dawned on me that the cheerful girl's smile was multiplying.  Already two people who had not been smiling before, were sporting grins that were at least a little contageous.  Perhaps many, many people, some she never even saw, would have a better day just because she was smiling and sending out cheery comments.

This happened around 27 years ago and I still remember because that smile changed my day for the better and made me realize the positive difference a smile can make.  Sometimes now, when I want to feel like I am making a difference to someone, I will try to create my own multiplication of smiles.  It is a good activity that doesn't hurt anyone, can be done almost anywhere, and might just brighten a day or two.

**I have decided to post my Inheritance Project writings not only Wednesdays, but whenever I want.  I can't assume that I only have 52 stories worth telling.  Running out early is better than not fitting in as many as I want!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Communing with God

Provo Utah Temple *
Almost twenty five years ago I went through the temple for the first time.  The temple is the house of God, and the first time I went I had many people with me that I love including, my parents, my sister Tina and her husband Chris, my Grandma Fuller, my Aunt Vanda and Uncle Carl, Derek, and his parents.  It was a special occasion.  Looking around the room, I noticed that President Jeffrey R. Holland (President of BYU at that time) was also in the room.  Since I was a student at BYU, I had seen President Holland a few times, listened to him at devotionals, and had exchanged hellos with him as we walked through the book store going opposite directions.
Elder Holland
As I entered the Celestial Room all of those years ago, I remember seeing President Holland briefly.  He was sitting in a chair with his arms folded, his head bowed, and his eyes closed.  He had such an air of reverence that in my mind the thought came that he was communing with God.

As I have attended the temple over the years I have thought of his example many times, and have learned to make sure that I take a few minutes every time I go to the temple to sit quietly with my arms folded, my head bowed, my eyes closed, and pray.  What a blessing this has been to me!  I have been thankful many times that I was blessed to have President Holland in the temple that day. His example, though he never knew it, has made a difference to me.  It is an honor to go to the temple and commune with God.

*To know more about temples click here.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Playing in the Snow

Jake in the snow.

Proof that the snow is deep.
Friday was a day off school for my children.  It was a teacher preparation day, but it likely would have been a day off anyhow.  We had a LOT of snow.  Jake and Kayli and I went out to play in it.  I told them that this is the fun kind of snow because you can fall backwards and not get hurt at all.  I demonstrated for them and ended up with a face full of snow, but it didn't hurt! 

We avoided the shoveled walks for a lot of our adventure and walked through the big piles.  We made snow angels in the unplowed part of the church parking lot, and admired the neighbors' snow caves.  We trooped through the garden, and Kayli pulled all of the old wasp nests out of the play house.

 Jake face planted a couple of times.  The snow was up to my knees and it was just below Jake's waist.  That made walking through it harder for him, but he loved it!  He found that in places where the snow had been shoveled he could grab giant snow balls.  Jake loves winter and had a big grin as he packed piles of snow around.  We didn't take a camera with us then, but Jake posed for me today.  Friday was a good day.  It was fun to remember how much I enjoy playing in the snow.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Fuzzy Pink Robe

This is my sister Tina in her white fuzzy robe.  Mine was just like it, but pink.
I don't have a picture of mine, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that Tina does!
When I was a young woman (somewhere between 14 and 16), I owned a fuzzy pink robe.  It was a Christmas present from my parents, and it was a luxury.  I loved having it.  I didn't need it really, I had gotten by without one for years.  I was blessed to always have the things I needed.  I had a good family, a good home, clothes to wear, and food to eat.  Buying clothes was up to me.  I was supposed to earn them by working.  I just couldn't afford too many, and I think that made me love the fuzzy robe even more.

I was blessed at this time to live near an Aunt and Uncle of mine, and all of their kids.  My cousin Julie was my very best friend, and I spent as much time with her as I could.  So, over Christmas vacation I had spent the night at her house, and had packed my fuzzy robe.  The next day was New Years Eve, and I was going with my cousins to a Stake Dance.  We lived in Missouri and our Stake Center (that's a church building) was about half hour away.  One of my cousins was driving, and I had my stuff tucked under my seat so that I would have it when they dropped me off at home after the dance.

I don't remember the dance at all, but on the way home, on a very cold night, our van was one of the first ones to come upon an accident.  A car, driven by a drunk driver, had flipped over and the man was thrown out of the car and he was lying in the median.  We hadn't been stopped for long before someone ran over and asked if we had a blanket, or anything that could be used to put over this hurt, unconcious man.  We had no blankets, but my thoughts went to my fuzzy pink robe.  I looked at my cousin, and she looked at me, and I knew that I should say something!  But, I really loved my robe and figured it would be ruined, and I would not be able to afford a replacement.  I hesitated, and soon the person left to ask the next car in line for a blanket.

I never told anyone this story for 20 years or more.  I was so ashamed to discover that I cared more about myself and having what I wanted than I cared for one of Heavenly Father's children who was hurt.  My robe became a reminder of my selfishness, and I didn't enjoy it after that. Eventually I gave it away, but this story reminds me that things are never more important than people, even if you might never be able to replace the thing. 

Eventually, for my birthday in 1990, my parents bought me another pink robe.  It was a really bright, beautiful one that I used occasionally until a year or so ago.  I realized that wearing sweat jackets in place of a robe is more my style.  I find them warmer, and less awkward if someone knocks on the door before I'm ready.  Still, I hope I will never forget the lesson I learned from my first fuzzy pink robe, and that I will never again put some thing that I love above somebody, no matter who they are.
 This is Derek in our first apartment wearing my new pink fuzzy robe.
I'm sure he was only wearing it to make me smile.  Don't you just admire the
wildness of the wall paper in the background?
**The details about the accident and the night I slept over at my cousin's house may be incorrect, but I did the best I could from my faulty memory!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dan Says....

It would be cool if we had the force because then we could see a book we wanted and make it come to us.  (He was in bed, he probably wanted a book but didn't want to get out of bed to get it).

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Music is My Friend

Me and my piano, guitar, flute, Irish whistle, harmonicas, and ocarina.

For those who know me, it will not be a shock that the first thing I write for my Inheritance Project is about music.  Music has been my friend all of my life.  I love it.  It is through music that I gained a knowledge and a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Music calms my spirit when I feel stress, gives me comfort when I am sad, and gives me inspiration when I feel stuck.  I know that not everyone is affected by music in the same way that I am, but I believe that everyone is affected by music, and so it is a good thing to think about.

My Mom and Dad both love music, and I think I inherited this love from them.  I particularly love singing, even though I am in no danger of being asked to join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  As soon as I could play the piano well enough to pick out a melody, I would sit at the piano and play and sing.  I sang folk songs, and oldies, but mostly I sang Primary songs, and Hymns.  Little girl me would sit at the piano and start at the beginning of the Hymn book and sing and sing until my voice was tired or I had to do something else.  I sang often enough that many of the words to those hymns are still in my memory, and serve me well when I need them.

I remember when I was about 12, and I was up in my own room trying to sleep.  I was feeling lonely and depressed as 12 year old girls sometimes do, so I pulled my covers up and sang "I am a Child of God" until I felt better, and went to sleep.  This was one of many times when music has helped me get to sleep.  Music has also helped me through many hard nights.

For many years during my youth, and in college, whenever I was having a rough day, I would sit at the piano and start by singing "Count Your Many Blessings", and then I would move on and sing and sing until I felt that life was manageable again.  Hymns have the power to remind me that I am not alone.  That I am a child of God, and that He loves me.  The hymns remind me that prayers are answered and that my Redeemer lives.  By the end of a singing session I could usually sing "There is Sunshine in my Soul Today" and mean it. 

Once I was married, I still would sing when I was sad, or discouraged but I changed from starting with "Count Your Many Blessings" to "Come, Come Ye Saints".  I love this hymn too.  "Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?  Tis not so; all is right."  I love to be reminded to wend my way through life with joy.  If the pioneers could do it, then with the Lord's help, I can too!

It helps me to have at least one hymn memorized.  When my mind wants to dwell on negative thoughts, I make it run through all of the words of the hymn instead.  When I can actually sing it out loud, I do.  I think Heavenly Father gave me the gift of loving music, so that I would always have a steady friend, and a quick and easy link to heaven.  Not all music is a link to heaven, but some is, and I am very grateful to have that music as my friend. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Inheritance Project

A few years ago I wrote a little picture book called Precious Sherie Goes to School.  It is in a three ring binder -- nothing fancy.  In it I wrote about all of my years of grade school, from pre-school to high school graduation.  I told stories of experiences I had and things that I had learned.  I planned to do a whole series, but couldn't ever figure out how to divide the rest of my life up.  Instead of trying to add to that book, and make it a series, I have decided to do what I am going to call The Inheritance Project.

If my children ever inherit money it won't be because I earned any.  From me they might inherit puppets, and poems, and piles of books -- and maybe an instrument or two!  I think it would be great though if they also inherited stories from my lifetime, and the lessons I have learned from living.  So, this year, every Wednesday, I am going to post something that I have learned in my lifetime so far.  Some things I've had to relearn over and over! 

My children are great.  They are grateful, kind, and thoughtful people.  They already honor me well with the things they do and say.  I am thankful that they love me in all of my imperfect glory!  I hope they will enjoy the results of my inheritance project, and I hope that the rest of you will too.