Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Something to be Proud Of

On Sunday April 28th Trisa graduated from LDS Institute. 

Press here to see the objectives of Institute.

Press  here to see the graduation requirements.

Trisa is an excellent daughter and a wonderful person.  We love her.

*Pictures from facebook

Monday, April 29, 2013

It's Going to be a Great Day!

I have an amazing friend named Susan.  She has, on occasion, been my own personal angel; helping me through hard days, and loving me just how I am.  I will tell more about how we came to be friends another time.  She is a wonderful person who has had many, many health issues in her life.  She has had more doctors appointments, surgeries, and pain than most people ever have to experience -- and yet she doesn't complain about her pain as much as I complain about mine!

One day some of my kids and I were walking by her house and she was outside.  I asked her how she managed to have a good attitude and get herself going on hard days.  She told the story of a friend that she had known who also had many challenges.  She said that he would sit up in the morning on the edge of the bed, clap his hands and say with enthusiasm, "It's going to be a great day!"

I have thought of this story often.  I think my personality is too reserved to actually do that, but some mornings when I wake up dreading the day, and feeling tired and grumpy, I think of this story and imagine myself clapping my hands and saying with enthusiasm, "It's going to be a great day!"  The very idea makes me smile, and the day is off to a much better start than it would have been.  I can't always pull it off -- but sometimes it works for me to think that it's going to be a great day -- and then to smile and try to make it so.

*The picture is from facebook and is Susan with her youngest daughter.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Rusty and Kayli

Kayli's hair after the whole date was over.  Tia wasn't home to remind me to take it before.
It was pretty and was done by her YW President.
*Apparently they had a long picture taking session with all 18 people in their group.  The pictures above are just the ones I took before they left.  After pictures they had a steak dinner at one of our neighbor's houses, and then spent a couple of hours at the dance.  They played a couple rounds of a game before they came home, but  my Cinderella Kayli was home before midnight!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Bummer of Blame

The bummer of blame is that when we are pointing the blame at someone else, those fingers left pointing at us are often most correct.  The blessing of knowing this is that it's much easier to change ones self than to change somebody else.  That means, once we realize that the problem we are having is really ours, we can fix it!  I find this very empowering.  I learned that when we are blaming someone else, it is usually to help us not feel so guilty for something we think we should or shouldn't have done.  Learning this helped me to solve a problem I had been struggling with for years.

Derek loves to play with our children, and I love this about him.  I, however, often feel guilty that I find it hard to enjoy playing with them in the same way.  It's something I always think I need to work on, and be better at.  In the Summer, Derek often invites our children to go outside to play, but he hasn't usually invited me by name like he does them.  When he invited the kids to go play, I would have a quick thought that I should go too, but I never went.  I would excuse myself because somebody had to clean up after dinner, and Derek didn't invite me.  I would clean up, grumbling about how they were outside enjoying the weather and I was stuck doing the work.

I blamed this on Derek.  He should have invited me.  I got so frustrated that I talked to Derek about it.  I felt left out.  Couldn't he invite me too?  He said that he had thought I would enjoy the break, but I was always welcome.  I thought if everyone would help with the dishes THEN I would go.  But this didn't really work either.  Then I read the book The Bonds That Make You Free.  I read about blame, and I realized that for years I had been blaming Derek because I had thought I should go play, and I chose not to, and I felt guilty.  I was looking for an excuse for not going outside with the kids like I thought I should.

Once I realized what I had been doing, it was an easy fix.  I just consciously made the choice to do what I thought I should do.  On reflection, I also decided that I don't need to go outside every time in order to be a good Mom, and so sometimes I choose to stay inside, and not feel guilty.  What a blessing!  Reading that book was worth it just for this one thing!  So, the bummer of blame, for me, didn't end up being much of a bummer after all, but the key to fixing the problem!

*Picture from Wick Ahrens at http://homepages.sover.net/~mobywick/plaques/PointingHand.html

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Things You Do

This is the second, and last, lullaby that I wrote.  I got the idea from a song at the Nauvoo Pageant that I had always liked that said, "The things you think are the things you do."  Click here to hear me sing the lullaby, or you can, of course, just read the words.

The Things You Do

Just close your eyes and go to sleep.
Think happy thoughts.  Try counting sheep.
Think of all the things that you could be.
Think of all the things that you might see.
You could sail an ocean wide and deep.
You could climb a mountain tall and steep.
You could be an astronaut and fly
Up around the moon so high.
You could watch the stars go by.
And as you think what you could be,
And of all the things that you might see,
Remember that it's often true
That the things you think are the things you do.

Just close your eyes and go to sleep.
Think happy thoughts.  Try counting sheep.
Think of all the things that you could be.
Think of all the things that you might see.
You could walk the paths that Jesus walked.
You could talk to others as He talked.
And with kind and gentle words of love
Teach them of our home above,
Teach them of the Savior's love.
And as you think what you could say,
And of those that you might help one day,
Remember that it's often true
That the things you think are the things you do.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Peace Be Still

When the girls were younger I used to occasionally write songs.  Sometimes the words came as a gift to me when I was thinking about some challenge or another.  The first song I ever wrote was for my children who were afraid of the dark.  I will write the words below, and you can press here to hear me singing so you'll know the tune.  My voice is the only one I have to work with, and it's not very powerful, so you'll have to listen carefully!

Peace Be Still

When it's really dark and you cannot sleep
And it seems like the shadows crawl and creep.
Just close your eyes and think of Jesus until
You can feel in your hearts the words
Peace, Peace be still!

For a long time ago when a storm raged and blew
Jesus' friends thought they'd end in the water so deep.
So they went and woke Jesus and asked him just this,
"Master, how canst thou sleep?"
And knowing that all of His friends were afraid
Jesus spoke to the storm until
It was quiet enough that all could hear what he said.
He said, "Peace, be still"

So remember that you are Jesus friend too
And He does not like you to fear.
"Peace be still" he may say to the shadows for you
Just be quiet and you will hear.

So, when it's really dark and you cannot sleep
And it seems like the shadows crawl and creep.
Just close your eyes and think of Jesus until
You can feel in your hearts the words
Peace, Peace be still!

*The story comes from Mark 4:31-40 in the Bible.
*The picture is by Stephen Gjertson and can be found at christianheritage.wikispaces.com

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Being Super Duper

Dan and Noelle
Dan likes to play a game that he made up called Super Duper Dan.  He even knows, in his mind, exactly what his Super Duper Dan Suit looks like.  He's described it to me before.  I'm not sure what the game entails except a lot of imagination. The other day his cousin Noelle came over to play.  After she went home I asked Dan what they did.  He said, "We played Super Duper Dan, but we added a character.  Super Duper Noelle!"

This morning, I was remembering this and it made me smile.  Wouldn't it be nice to just decide to be really super!  I sent Derek a text informing him that I was playing Super Duper Sherie this morning and that he could play at work.  He could be Super Duper Derek.  This was a good thing to think of on a day when I was pondering how to go about choosing to be happy more often.

Of course, Dan gets a little mad if Derek calls him Super Duper Dan too much.  I guess nobody wants to be Super Duper all of the time.  Too much pressure!  All the same, I tried to choose to be happy today, and to have one of my super powers be getting rid of negative thoughts.  So far it's worked pretty well -- but I haven't gotten to the super tired part of the day when it's extra hard to choose to be Super Duper and not Super Grumpy!  Here's hoping my super powers don't fail me!

*Pictures taken today by Jake.  I like how Dan is always performing for the camera and Noelle is looking at Dan with an expression I can't quite define.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Grand Gesture of Goodness

One day recently, I was loading my groceries into the van, and trying to think of some way that my family could help in some grand way.  I thought we could go to another country and help with something.  But, my shoulders aren't in great shape and I can't lift much, and I have no medical skills.  Then I thought maybe I could help with communication.  This thought was followed rather quickly with an inner chuckle and the acknowledgment that I only know English.  I wondered what Dan would do.

Finally, I came to the question, "Why it is that, when I am doing ordinary every day things, I often try to think of some grand thing my family can do to help somewhere else?  Why is it that I always seem to desire to make some grand gesture of goodness?"  I came to the conclusion that it is because, at such moments, my life seems ordinary in the extreme.  I am a daughter of God.  Shouldn't my life be extraordinary?  Unfortunately, I expect that I don't just want to seem extraordinary to God -- but I want to be extraordinary in a way that is recognized openly by His other children!

When I was talking to Derek about this he mentioned Naaman.  He was an important man.  The captain of the Kings guard.  He was also a leper.  A maid in his home knew that the prophet in Israel could heal him, and so Naaman went.  But the prophet didn't come out and proclaim him whole as he had expected.  He didn't come out at all, but sent a servant to tell Naaman to wash 7 times in the River Jordan.  Naaman was insulted.  He was a great man, and that wasn't even the best river!  He would not do it!  And then his servant asked him, "...if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it?"  Naaman saw the truth in that question, washed in the Jordan, and went away free from his disease, and with a new found trust in the living God.  He discovered that doing something that he thought was ordinary, accomplished something extraordinary.

Like Naaman, and all of you, I am important.  I am a child of God.  I believe that I have been given some tasks to do that center on my family.  Yes, these contain a lot of ordinary things.  I go grocery shopping every week, and do laundry, and dishes, and cooking, and scrubbing.  I hug my children goodbye, and hello.  We share stories, and music, grumpy times, and good times.  And some days it all seems extremely ordinary!  But, I expect that to God, the task of taking care of, and teaching His children is not just ordinary.  It is extraordinarily important!  He loves them!  He loves me!  He wants us to come home to Him.

I may not ever be asked by God to do anything that seems extraordinary to anyone else.  I may never on my own do anything that is recognized by God's other children as being grand.  But I do believe, that in doing what I feel He has asked me to, even though it sometimes seems ordinary, I am doing something that God finds extraordinarily important.  I am taking care of His children.

*Photo of the river Jordan from www.yardenit.com

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dan's Teeth

Dan lost his first tooth!  He did not want the tooth fairy to come.  He thought we could just give him some money because he wants to keep all of his teeth.  He got out a bag and labeled it "Dan's teeth".  It is ready to hold the wonderful treasure of baby teeth.
I took two pictures.  He looks dozy in both of them.  He lost his tooth on Friday evening (March 12).

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Conference Favorites

Let's face facts.  If I wrote all of my favorites, there would be too many pages for you to want to read.  I love conference.  Here are some wise words from prophets and apostles which may or may not be direct quotes since they are directly from my notes.  Feel free to check lds.org for the complete messages from the April General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Anchor your life to Jesus.
Tolerance is a virtue -- when exaggerated it is a trap.
Recurring human weakness is not beyond the Savior's help.  He allows for improvement over time.
Technological devices can be a source of filth and wasted time, or they can be a source of strength.  If  we reviewed scripture on our devices as often as we text, we might have many scriptures memorized.
Recognize the good in others -- build on their virtues.
Be not wise in thine own eyes.
How we live is more important than where we live.
Chastity and virtue are precious above all things.
Be ready to answer the question of where your hope comes from.
God promises to illuminate the way before us.  There is light and darkness.  Choose to live in the light.
Everyone has the power to increase a child's confidence.
In marriage -- be fiercely loyal.
Obedience to law is liberty.
Agency is the most important gift from God besides life.
There ARE moral absolutes.
Don't let questions stand in the way of faith.
Do we model ourselves after what the world does, or after what the Lord wants?
A child who sings is a happy child.
It is dangerous to seek acceptance by the wrong people, or for the wrong reasons.
We have cause for good cheer and rejoicing.  God is with us!  Fear not!  Trust in the Lord!  He will give guidance and strength in every challenge.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tia's Long Distance Birthday

It's official.  Tia is no longer a teenager.  She celebrated her birthday on April 6th in Cedar City without us.  Fortunately she has Trisa and a bunch of friends there to help make her day special.  Apparently a good group of friends, including Trisa (who took time off work to go) went with Tia to Denny's at 7:00 a.m. for breakfast, and then back to the apartment for present opening.  Trisa and Travis got Tia a real baby turtle that she named Gonzo.  Tia was super excited about it.  Trisa had to go to work after that, but the friends headed to the "twirly park".  Tia called us at 9:00 in the morning and was having a great day so far.

She told me that one friend made her Strawberry Delight for her birthday (this is a cake that is Tia's favorite), another friend made her dessert too.   Besides sending presents, and providing her with a big sister to help her have a good day, we called that evening and sang to her.

Tia is a good daughter.  I'm so proud of her!  She is a cosmetologist, and goes to college, but what I like best about Tia is how she treats her little brothers, and how well she loves her family.  I'm so thankful to have her in our family to help us smile, and to set a good example of someone who really wants to choose the right.

So, I hope Tia had a super happy birthday, and I really hope that she knows that she is loved every single day of the year.
Tia, Trisa, and their friend Amy

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spring Break

Monday:  Derek went to work in SLC for the week.  The kids and I hopped in the van and drove south through the pouring rain.  We visited Trisa and Tia.  Tia told stories to Dan and took Jake and Dan outside to let them climb on a short fence.  I was thankful that she took the time to help those boys enjoy their visit.  I visited with Trisa and her friend Travis while Trisa had a late lunch.  Afterwards we hugged the girls and got in the car just as the rain that we had outrun caught up to us.  We outran the rain again, and visited the St. George cousins.  The rain didn't catch up so we went and played frisbee golf with them and Megan's family who were there for a couple of days.
image from:  real-estate-st-george.com
Tuesday:  The cousins went to school.  We lazed around with Tonya until just before lunch, got food at Albertsons (most of us) and Burger King (Dan) and ate in the car.  The we travelled home.  We had borrowed books from Trisa and her Season One set of Once Upon a Time.  So we mostly read, and watched television until it was really, really late.

Wednesday:  We entertained ourselves around here and Kayli and Connor stayed up super late watching more Once Upon a Time.

Thursday:  The boys and I went to the park with Aunt Angela and her kids. It was a beautiful day to be outside. Kayli went and spent time with friends doing school work, and playing.  Early afternoon I got to go to SLC and have a date with Derek.  We went to the Cheesecake Factory and didn't have any cheesecake -- but the food was good.  Then we went and watched / listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir practice at the Conference Center.  Mack Wilberg gets a good workout when he leads and his ears are really good.  He was constantly correcting mistakes I couldn't hear!

Friday:  I came home from SLC and took the kids to Lowe's Xtreme Sports in Provo to jump on the trampolines and fall in the foam pits and climb on the climbing wall.  Angela brought her kids too.  That place was really packed -- which made Kayli and Connor a bit frustrated.  Jake had a great time.  Dan had never been and he had a huge grin on every time he went flipping into a foam pit.  When we got home he asked if we could go again on Wednesday.  I said no, so he asked if we could go for his birthday.  That will probably be fine.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Easter Weekend Pictures

The lineup at the Homestead for Easter Egg Hunt one out of five.
Jake -- in the first group.

 Kayli -- in the second group.
 Porter, Connor, Trisa, Derek's hand.  Lunch after the 50th Anniversary Program.
 Tonya (hiding her face because of allergies), Kayli, and Avery.
 Dad C. and Laura's back.
 Connor, Hunt number three -- I think.
Dan and festive Derek.  Hunt four?
I was in hunt five with Derek, Trisa, and other nice relatives.  We didn't take pictures of ourselves trying to find candy in the field.  I'm not feeling very sad about that, but it would have been nice if I had remembered my camera more often!

Monday, April 8, 2013

50th Anniversary. It's All About Family

50 years, and almost a whole month ago, Derek's parents were married in the Manti Temple.  Since then, they have ordered their lives around family.  When school was finished, they chose the job that was closest to extended family, and presented the best opportunity for them, and their children, to associate with good relatives.  They wanted to be available to help family when needed, and to have their children know their cousins, and their grandparents.

They married in the temple because they wanted an eternal family, and they do everything they can to make sure that their family associations are the kind that they would really like to keep forever.  I have had the honor of knowing Derek's parents for half of their married life.  They have eleven children that they love, and work hard to teach and help.  Even now, when none of us live in their home, they do what they can through their service, and their example, to strengthen their children, their children in law, and their 49 grandchildren.  They love their family.

On the 29th and 30th of March they had their 50th anniversary celebration.  All of the children and spouses who could come were there.  After dinner, Derek's Mom and Dad asked that we go around the table and tell something that we had learned about marriage that has been helpful to us.  They were using their occasion to help strengthen our marriages by allowing us to learn from each other. 

On the 30th we had a program prepared for them.  Derek's Mom said that entering the room filled with family was like entering heaven for her.  Every family was given a few minutes to honor the parents in some way.  We did a puppet show.  There were also musical numbers, videos, art work, pillows, and slide shows.  It was a terrific program in honor of parents who have worked very hard to teach and love their family to the best of their ability.  They do a really good job of remembering the importance of family.  It is all about family.