Thursday, November 30, 2017

Christmas (my latest song)

Google Image
(to listen click here.)

Christmas makes me feel like all the good that I have known
All the love that I have felt
And the kindness I've been shown.

Christmas makes me think of all the sweet and joyous things
Like a baby's dimpled smile
Or a happy voice that sings.

Christmas touches something that is deep inside my heart
With the treasured Christmas story
And all those who played a part.

Christmas helps remind me of the things I want to know
There is hope for us each day
And Christ's love helps us to grow.

So I'll sing a song of Christmas with a smile upon my face
And will feel the joy of Christmas
As I go from place to place.

Sing out with love and joy and peace and laughter!
Sing out knowing there's happily ever after!
Sing out because the King of Kings came down to give us joy,
And for hope brought to the world by a tiny baby boy.

Friday, November 17, 2017

A Bunch of Gratitude

The Payson Temple.  Picture from Google Pictures

Hi all.  I have not been diligent in writing things I am thankful for this week so I am writing what I am thankful for in a bunch!  Tuesday I just remember that I had a good morning.  We'll go ahead and not talk about the evening -- it's possible I let myself get a little too tired :-). 

Wednesday I made new friends.  I went to visit a little boy in my Primary and played trains with him and his sister while I chatted with their Mom.  I enjoy visiting, and I enjoy friends!

Thursday I had a chance to visit with friends I already have.  That was good too! 

Today Tia came home and we got to go to the temple together.  While we were there I was thinking of just how much I enjoy my grown up daughters.  They are good people and are really fun to be with.
Trisa, Kayli, and Tia -- my super awesome girls!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sunday Smiles and Laundry Machines

Looking back, I think I am most thankful for the smiles I got yesterday.  Smiles from family.  Smiles from friends.  And especially smiles from children.  I enjoy those smiles a lot!
Teddy, aka Poof or Poofty, the innocent looking dog :-)
Today is laundry day, and every laundry day I actually say a prayer of thanks for laundry machines.  Washing clothes by hand sounds hard, and exhausting.  Drying them on a line wouldn't be so bad in nice weather, if the dog didn't steal them off the line.  But we don't actually have a "line" for the dog to steal them off of.  So, in that way at least, he is innocent!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Books at home. Books at the Library.

Books at Home
Dan with his stack of books from the library.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time reading.  I love books.  I learn a lot from them, and sometimes I escape into them for a break.  Of course, if I care about the characters in the book too much, even if they are fictional, I might actually worry over books too -- even though I know it won't change the outcome of the story.   Yesterday I read books to learn from, and then books to enjoy.  That was awesome!

Today Dan wanted to go to the library.  We have lots of books at our house, but there are more at the library!  Dad was pretty proud of his big stack of books and movies.  Going to the library is kind of like checking out presents that you want.  You have to give them back later, but you can keep any knowledge you gained, and any enjoyment you found!

I am thankful for books!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Feeling Well

Picture by Jake
Today I actually feel well!  My headache is gone.  I don't feel like hiding under the covers and sleeping a few extra hours!  It is so much easier for me to enjoy everything, and to feel grateful, when my head doesn't hurt and I actually have a little energy.  Days when I don't feel well have a lot of good in them too, but oh how thankful I am for days when I am feeling well!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Good People

My girls are some good people!

My Family

I know "good people" isn't very specific, but just imagine how bad it would be if I left someone out!  I know a lot of good people.  People who care about me, and my family.  People who go out of their way to be kind, and to help, and to make sure we're okay.  People who send emails, and messages.  People who call, or come by.  People who may not do either, but who remember us in their prayers, or smile when they see us.  A lot of the good people I know are family -- including my children.  They love each other, and try to help each other. 

Life would be a lot less happy without all of the good people I know!  I am thankful for all of you -- if you're reading this, be sure to count yourself as a good person!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

My Derek

Hiking Angels Landing in Zion National Park

Derek, Me, and Jake -- on top of the world (sort of)

Derek with Angels Landing behind him.

Today and every day I am thankful for Derek.  He goes to work every weekday even though the commute stinks and he has to sit through lots of meetings that aren't always that interesting.  He does a good job, and he works with good people, but it isn't always fun and he goes anyway.  Because of this we can have a nice house and food and clothes and puppets and instruments and other fun stuff.

When he can, he calls me at lunchtime.  I am glad he calls every time, but there are days like today where I cry at him because I'm tired, and I have a headache -- still, and it won't go away and whine, whine, whine.  That probably wasn't what he was hoping for, but he doesn't complain.  He's just always so good to me!  On days like this I don't feel very useful, and I'm not too impressed with myself since my to do list just sits and mocks me, but he just thinks I'm awesome anyway.  I love that!  What a blessing for me!

Derek is a great dad, and he's fun.  He's also really patient when we are hiking up a steep mountain and I have to eat every 10 minutes so I don't cry and I take about 100 breaks.  But hey.  We made it!  That wasn't today though.  Today I'm just really glad that he loves me no matter what.  That is a great gift for me, and I am thankful.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Primary and My Missionary

I didn't write yesterday.  It was a busy Sunday!  I have been called to work in the Primary again (the children's organization in our church).  I am super grateful for good people to work with, for teachers who teach, and especially for the children.  It is easy to be happy when you get to spend time teaching cute children about the gospel of Jesus Christ!  They were all really good, and really smart.  We were learning about how to be missionaries by serving people.  That leads me to what I am thankful for today.

This morning the first thing I did after turning off my alarm was to read a letter from my missionary son Connor.  I am thankful for him.  He is in Japan, and I check my email lots on Sunday nights hoping his email will come early.  I have read them in the middle of the night before too.  The time difference is rather large.  Now that we've had daylight savings time they are 16 hours ahead.  I think.  He's already up on Tuesday and I haven't had dinner on Monday.  I love to hear the good things he is doing, and laugh that he tries to stick in so many Harry Potter references in his letters when he writes.  I am really proud of him for bravely heading across the world to teach people that Jesus loves them!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Shared Knowledge

This morning I was able to go to a Women's Conference held by the Stake Relief Society (The Women's organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).  It is so nice that there are people who are willing to share the knowledge they have gained through their own hard times.  I went to three classes.  Here is an idea from each class.

1.  If you ask someone what you can do for them, and they say nothing, try asking what you can pray for them.  We can all use extra prayers!

2.  We all have a lot to do.  Allow the Holy Ghost to speak to us each day to tell us what the most important thing is that we can do.

3.  We can't control our children (or anyone else).  We love, support, serve, teach, and pray for them.  Teens are always receptive to love.

Friday, November 3, 2017

A Savior Who Can Help

Picture by Anton Dietrich

This morning I said a prayer for help before studying my scriptures.  Help for me.  Help for my children.  Help in knowing how to help.  I didn't say it in those words, but I'm sure that our Heavenly Father heard me.  As I read I recognized just how much knowledge God gives us in the scriptures.  He would not have bothered if He didn't care.

It struck me that there is not a limit to the good that God can do in our lives, except for the limits we create by our lack of faith.  This is not a harsh fact, but a hopeful one.  We can increase our faith!  No problem is too big for God to solve.  No person is too unimportant for Him to help.  In fact, no person is unimportant!

I know that I have put limits on what He can do for me.  I have refused to ask for help because I was sure I wouldn't receive an answer.  I thought I had faith in God, just not in my ability to hear.  It turned out that God was willing to answer AND to help me hear.  I wonder in what other ways I have limited God without even realizing that's what I was doing!

After all of our failures in faith, and trust.  After all of our sin, and lack of belief, the Lord still says that His "arm is lengthened out all the day long".  He is reaching out to us.  He never gives up.  At the end of my study, my challenges were the same, my children's challenges were the same, but my load was lighter because I was reminded very kindly that I have a Heavenly Father who cares, and a Savior who can, and does, help.

*This morning's study was 2 Nephi: 28

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Gratitude for Music

I am starting a November series on things that I am grateful for.  Today, like every Thursday, is "Thankful Thursday" for me.  I have noticed that looking for, and paying attention to the good things that are around, and the good things that are said and done in a day, can make all of the difference in how I feel.  Noticing is important.  Expressing gratitude for those things I notice is important.

This morning, at the beginning of November, I have had one of my favorite Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas specials on while I fold some laundry that I washed on Monday.  There are many who will cringe because Thanksgiving hasn't even happened yet, and Christmas music has been playing in my car for a month, but I often pull out Christmas music throughout the year when I want something to lift my spirits.  There are very few things in this life that can bring me peace, or joy, or just a feeling that there is good in the world, as quickly as a good song, or a joyful melody.  Hymns and Primary songs have helped me through many a rough patch.  Christmas music has extra power because it reminds me not only of the birth of my Savior, but of many happy memories that have been created throughout the years.

So today, and every day, I am thankful for beautiful music.  There is great power for good in all good music.  I hope you will hear some today, and have your spirits lifted.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Encouragement Challenge

sunrise-pic-for-devo-copy.jpg (2354×1136)
From Google Images
I heard something on the Christian radio station more than a week ago that has stayed in my mind.  I want to share it because I think it is a great idea, but I don't know who to share it with, and so I am putting it here where it will most likely be read by my very encouraging family and friends!  On the program they were adapting something from Revive Our Hearts called the 30-Day Husband Encouraging Challenge and making it more general, so that you could choose to do this for anyone you wanted to improve your relationship with.   You can find the original, more detailed program here .

The basic gist of the adapted program is this.
1.  For 30 days you don't say anything negative to your person, or about them.
2.  For 30 days you do tell your person something good that you notice about them , and you also tell someone else something good about them.
3.  You find a small way of serving them each day.

The only other guideline they suggested was that you only do one person at a time, though I think it is implied that you don't go announce to your chosen person that you are doing this.

There were some pretty incredible stories about how wives participating in this challenge had seen marriages restored that had seemed doomed.  One lady was so worried that she wouldn't have one nice thing to say about her husband every day that she carried around a notebook so she could write things down when she saw them just in case she saw two one day and none the next.  She was surprised that at the end of the 30 days, her notebook was full.

A lot of the good things I have done are, at least in part, due to the encouragers in my life.  Without the encouragement of Derek and my kids I probably would have quit writing songs -- or at least been afraid to share them.  Without the encouragement of my parents I might never have made it through reading the scriptures the first time.  Sometimes Derek's encouraging, "We can do this" as he heads off to work helps me to get through the day.

So, we can do this!  We can all be more encouraging if we put our minds to it, and it might make a much bigger difference than we expect.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Desk Project

Our old desk was rather old and ugly and I really wanted a new one.  On a seemingly unrelated note, we have a lot of left over laminate flooring that I don't know what to do with.  So, one day when I was looking online, I found an idea to use the left over flooring as a desk top.  Derek was game to help me, and this is what we ended up with.  I like it LOTS better than the old one!

The two cabinets are stock base cabinets from the Home Depot with the bottom cut off.  The top is a piece of particle board with left over laminate from the guest room locked together and glued on. Trim is nailed around the top to finish it, and Derek made the part to hang the keyboard. Derek could have finished this faster by himself, but I wanted to help so we worked together.  I got to use the chalk line, the circular saw, the glue, and the nail gun -- plus a few other things.  Yay for a new desk and thanks to Derek for helping me with it.

Tia's Birthday

Tia decided to go on an adventure for her birthday, and so after work on her birthday she took Kayli, and drove to Cedar City to Trisa and Travis' house so she could spend time with her sisters.  They didn't get to do all of the things Tia was hoping to, but they did have some fun.  Sunday when they came back we had Tia's birthday celebration with presents, dinner, and dessert.  Tia is great!  We are always glad that she is in our family.

Connor with a smiling Tia

Tia got a puzzle with all of the states.  She is always hoping to improve her knowledge of geography.

I got Tia a book I think is fun.  She read it really quickly.  She thought it was fun too.

I added these because Connor has a different facial expression for every picture.
Maybe Dan didn't get all the dramatics in the family.

Tia getting ready to blow out all four candles on her fruit pizza.

It's good to have enthusiastic helpers?

I love Kayli!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Spring Break

At the beginning of April we had a whole week of Spring Break.  Since I try to be fun every now and then, I took Jake and Dan to the Bean Museum at BYU.  It was a very beautiful day and so we walked around afterwards and had a picnic.  Then we walked some more and went to see the BYU library which Dan said "blew his mind".  He'd never seen so many books in one place.  I don't think Jake was impressed.  Libraries aren't on his list of places he likes to go.  He was patient though.

I discovered that President Boyd K. Packer's collection of carvings and artwork is there and I loved every minute of looking at it.  Jake and Dan didn't even pester me to hurry.  That was nice.  Here are the fun pictures from our trip.
An eagle puppet at the gift shop.  We had fun in the gift shop.

A picture by the wolves because when we were looking at tee shirts -- Jake liked the wolf one best.
Also, Dan poses for EVERY picture he's in.

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this rather gruesome but cool posing of these animals.
And my boys are cute.

Jake's Birthday

Jake's birthday was in February, but I haven't been blogging and so you never heard a thing about it.  Here are some pictures to prove we celebrated Jake turning 15!
Spicy Cheetos that didn't last very long!

Snoopy and a good Jake look.

I think Jake's dessert was brownies -- no ice cream.
Jake is a good son, and a good brother.  He is good with little kids, and animals.  He has a good sense of humor and loves his family -- a lot.  He likes to call his oldest sister Trisa on the phone, and writes email to the lucky Grandpa Fuller.  He is a big fan of grandparents.  He knows a LOT about Yugioh, and likes spending time with his good friends either playing Yugioh, board games, video games, outside games, or talking.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Little Things are Big

google images

I feel like I've had way too many of "those days" lately.  The days where the alarm goes off and I want to groan, and hide under the covers.  I often wake up with headaches, or just so exhausted that once I sit down it's a major production to get myself back up again.  I get the kids off to school, and find myself climbing back into bed.

Even when I manage to make a menu, and buy the food for it, most days the meal goes unmade and everyone ends up fending for themselves -- again.  I have many good moments during my days, and usually a nap because I can't stay awake, but there are days when I let discouragement get the best of me.  I cry over the things I can't manage to do, and forget to notice all of the good things I do manage to get accomplished -- which is probably a lot more than this paragraph makes it sound like.

It was a day like this last week, that started off feeling so difficult, that I realized again what a big difference little things can make.  My family loves me (which is huge).  They hug me, and try their best to help me.  They let me know that I am not alone and that they can help.  They don't even complain when dinner doesn't really exist again.

The beauty outside helps.  Right now the piles of melting snow might not be gorgeous, but the birds that come to my bird feeder are fun to watch, and I like to remember that Jesus knows when a sparrow falls and is aware of me during all of the good times and the bad.

On a super hard day last week I went to Walmart and had the hardest time getting anyone to smile at me (I always try to get people to smile at me), but when I walked into one aisle the worker there gave me a huge grin and asked if I needed help.  I was buying bathroom cleaner, which was right at eye level, so no, I didn't need help with that -- but the smile helped!

Texts, phone calls, books, smiles, kind words, and my children laughing can all be considered little things -- but little things really are big when it comes to making a difference.  Little things can change one of "those days" into a truly happy one.  The really hard morning last week actually morphed into a great day all because of the little things.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Being a Mentor for Christ

*This is another blog I wrote a few years ago and never posted -- though I edited some of it out to make it shorter.
This is obviously an old picture, but I love it!
This is before I got glasses and when Dan was still little.  Maybe 9 years ago!

While I drove to the allergist for shots I listened to a man talk about how it is good to be a Christian, and it is good to be a diligent, serving Christian, but that the most important thing we can do is to mentor someone else so that they can become, perhaps, an even better Christian than we are.

Where do we go to find these people to mentor?  He suggested that, most of the time, we need look no farther than our own home.  He used his wife as an example of a mentor for Christ.  She had several opportunities to speak to many women across the country, but she kept turning down the opportunities.  When he asked her why, she told him that she might affect a lot of women for good a little bit, but that she felt she could have the greatest impact in life by being home, and teaching her children well.

If she can teach her children well who their Lord is, how great His love is, and where to turn for answers and help, she will have affected generations of people, and perhaps affected a much greater change than she would have made by speaking to many people once. 

This made me think of my own children, who are growing up at an alarming rate.  I have such good children, but it is not good if I assume that they know things just because I do, and we live in the same house!  I'm afraid I do that too often.  I had not thought of teaching my children in the terms that he used, but I do hope to be a good mentor for Christ, helping my children know how to safely make it home to Heavenly Father.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Being Invisible

**I wrote this almost exactly 3 years ago.  I just found it in my drafts on Blogger and decided it was worth publishing.

One day when I was in the kitchen I said something to Derek, who was watching television.  He didn't hear me.  Immediately the words  "Do you ever feel invisible?"  popped into my head.  Now, in Derek's defense, I do not have a powerful voice and I am well aware that he has great powers of concentration when he is doing something, and that I have to say his name and get his attention first, or I might as well speak to the refrigerator.  Still, that did set off some thinking about feeling invisible. 

I can still remember the hurt I felt as a high school student when someone would interrupt me as though I hadn't been in the middle of speaking, and nobody even seemed to notice that I hadn't finished my thought.

Though sometimes I might wish for a little invisibility, mostly I want people to see me.  It can be frustrating to work, and work, without that work ever being noticed (out loud), or to have a great idea, that nobody else seems to think is so great.

Then, in what could be considered a coincidence, I happened to see a book at the library called The Invisible Woman.  It is a little short book, which I have already finished, and which I thoroughly enjoyed.  It gave me good things to think about, and I always enjoy that.

One important thought that the author shared is that, though we may feel like we are invisible, and that people do not really see us, or what we do, we are not invisible to God.  He sees us, and we matter to Him.  These feelings of "invisibility" can be a gift to help us really see others, and feel compassion for them.

I am thankful for those who have noticed me on days when it hurt to feel invisible, and I am thankful to know that I am never invisible to God.

Picture from:

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Never a Bad Hair Day

Exciting hair in St. George
In our family we enjoy quoting movies.  The movie Megamind has several quotes we like, but I have really put to use the idea that when your hair is a mess "your hair is exciting!"  Since then I haven't had a "bad hair day" only days when my hair is "exciting".  Most often my hair matches this description in the morning, and I usually go show whoever is up so they can start their day with a chuckle.  After that, the exciting hair ends up under a hat until it can behave with a little more decorum!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Real Assumptions

Image result for assumption
Picture from Google Images
I read recently that our brains can't tell the difference between an assumption and a fact.  I know that I react to assumptions as if they are real -- maybe because I assume something so quickly that I believe it without questioning where I got my bit of  "knowledge".

Sometimes I have negative reactions because I have assumed something which isn't true.  For example, if Derek asked me on a date to a movie and I assumed we were going to dinner also, but that wasn't really a part of his plan, then I would be super disappointed because I expected something that didn't happen.

I have also had the experience where I called someone a few times, and either didn't get them, or got them at a bad time.  After a while I started to assume that I had done something wrong and that they didn't want to talk to me.  Naturally I was upset about that!

Luckily, if I can just realize I've made an assumption, I can ask questions instead of assuming. I can easily ask if we are going to dinner, and  I eventually asked the person I thought was upset with me if they were,  and they were not. It helps me when I'm feeling a bit upset and disgruntled to ask myself what I am believing, and if I really know it is true.  If I don't know for sure, then I start asking questions -- unless I chicken out -- but it is really better to know the real truth and not just a real assumption. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Gift From Heaven

This picture was a gift from Trisa -- sent to us because we always try to notice the beautiful sunsets.

Saturday was not a bad day.  Actually, I don't really remember most of Saturday.  I just know that by evening I was frustrated.  I've been so tired, and it's been so hard to concentrate, and I was trying to finish up a lesson I was going to teach on Sunday.  I had done preparation earlier in the week, but I just couldn't seem to figure out anything else.  I finally gave up and said a prayer to tell Heavenly Father that I had tried, and if there was more to do -- it would be nice if He could help me know exactly what that would be.

I talked to Derek about my lesson but didn't really feel any better afterwards, and later I went to bed feeling tired and discouraged.  It was nice to be in bed, and I decided it would be a good time to pray again.  I asked for comfort and peace.  I told Heavenly Father my worries and woes.  Then I began singing hymns to myself (in my head).  I do this sometimes when I am upset at bedtime -- but I didn't expect to be able to concentrate on them--but I could.  I could feel Heavenly Father's love and peace as I sang (still in my head) and thought about Jesus.  The Sacrament came to mind, and I remembered that Sunday is a really good day to start over -- even if it is starting over to find solutions to challenges I couldn't solve last week.

I went to sleep feeling so thankful and loved -- and then, as an added bonus, I had a dream where Derek was nice to me.  You may be thinking "So?".  Well, usually I don't remember dreams, but if I do they are almost always nightmares where people, especially Derek and other people I love, are mean to me, or ignore me (things that are totally out of character).  I felt like I had been given an extra present!  I am so thankful that prayers are answered, and that because of the Atonement, we can always start over.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Trip to the Aquarium

Dan had a field trip yesterday. I drove Dan and me. We hit a bad snowstorm in Orem on the way there and I was super sleepy on the way home but the four kids in my group were great. I liked the giant crabs best and Dan liked the otters (which were pretty cute!)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

An Aha! Moment

For Christmas I got a book about my t.v. friends Chip and Joanna Gaines (pictured above). While I was reading it, I had an Aha! moment.  Joanna shared an experience that helped me see a way that I could do better at getting my children to work with me.  I already was hoping to "dare greatly" and ask them to help more -- but I have had that goal many times, and failed because there was the chance they might frown at me or complain, and I wanted to avoid that more than I wanted help -- though I might have gotten a little grumpy when I was cleaning up their messes!

Joanna told a story about a time when she was exhausted from cleaning her house all morning and she was lying on the couch getting frustrated at all of the things that were already messy again.  Then she heard her four kids laughing in the next room.  Suddenly she realized that she had been focusing on the wrong thing.  She had been focusing on making her house look perfect, instead of the children down the hall.  She determined that she would not clean during the day again -- at least not alone. She would clean with her children, or she would wait and do a quick cleanup after they were in bed.

Even though my kids aren't little like hers, and are often gone during the day, this struck me as a good way to think about things.  I decided that I would not do cleaning without my children either -- unless it was my stuff.

Within a day or two I woke up to a messy house and got the kids off to school.  As I walked around I kept grumpily thinking -- "I'll need to pick up those snow suits, do the dishes, put away all of the piano books, etc."  In the midst of my grumpy thoughts I remembered that I wasn't going to clean up other peoples messes so much anymore.  I all of a sudden enjoyed walking around with a smile on my face saying "I don't have to pick that up!  That's not mine!"  and I left it for when the kids got home.

Of course, this wasn't very successful because Kayli got home, couldn't take the mess, and she cleaned everyone's stuff up for them.  We'll have to work on that.  Somehow Joanna's story has helped  me to brave the possible frowns, and to discover, that sometimes helpful smiles show up instead.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Strive Valiantly to Dare Greatly

I am good at learning about things, and coming up with good plans, but actually carrying out my plans can be so much harder!  This year I want to spend less time learning about things by reading and studying and learn more by daring to do the things I have learned and planned.  To dare greatly, I have to make sure that I live in accordance with my values (which I always try to do -- but could improve on). Here are a few of the things I thought about in relation to Daring Greatly.

Dare to spend more time with my children.
Dare to ask questions instead of making assumptions..
Dare to invite people to do things with me.
Dare to do things for others.
Dare to speak up in defense of others.
Dare to share the gospel.
Dare to share my talents.
Dare to make mistakes without being defeated.
Dare to let go of fear and trust God
Dare to find value in my efforts, no matter how small.
Dare to confront the “shoulds” that come to mind, and decide if they are important to me.
Dare to ask God how I can help, and listen for and act on the answer.
Dare to think that others will enjoy hearing from me.

Strive Valiantly to Dare Greatly, and let my failures go.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Brave -- Dan's One Word Goal

One night I was sitting on my bed looking at a website that had ideas for one word goals.  I was trying to come up with something I liked better than my idea of "do" -- which just doesn't sound motivating enough to me. Jake came in and looked with me for a while, and then Dan came.  Dan wanted to pick a goal, and he wanted me to write about it.

It didn't take him too long to choose the word BRAVE.  He said that he is okay with talking in front of big groups (he participates in pack night, shares his testimony some Sundays, and is willing to talk in Primary). He said that the problem comes when he is in small groups.  He is afraid that the people he's talking to won't like him, or his ideas, and so he tries to hide behind someone so he doesn't have to talk. We talked more about this on Sunday and he said he's had people tell him "that wasn't very good". So we talked about what he could say when someone criticizes what he says and does.

Dan seems very brave to me in a lot of ways, but I think we all need courage in situations where we feel vulnerable, and uncomfortable.  I hope my brave Dan feels like his bravery has increased by the end of the year!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly is a book I like by Brene' Brown.  She quotes a speech by Theodore Roosevelt that I found inspiring.  The speech is sometimes called "The Man in the Arena" and the quote is below:
Related image"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; 
but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly......"  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Christmas Projects

"Gingerbread Men" (Made out of cereal boxes).  Can you find Elvis?
Trisa worked long and hard on these.  She made all of the Berenstein Bears and
 really fun abominable snowmen.

Don't miss the Abominable Gingerbread Man!
You can find Papa Bear, and Mama Bear too.

Turning a bent old tomato cage into....

A pretty tree!

Dan and his ginger bread house.
Connor and Amanda made a great one too, but theirs got taken off to be a gift.

A Happy Christmas

This year Trisa and Travis celebrated Christmas in Monticello with his family first.  From all reports, it sounded like a happy Christmas there, and we enjoyed "Second Christmas" here when they came the day after Christmas.

The rest of our family woke up Christmas morning to 9 inches of snow -- and it was still snowing.  It was very beautiful.  After present opening and food, some of us went out to shovel and enjoyed visiting with some neighbors while we all tried to dig a way out of our driveways.  We managed to get up the hill to the snowy parking lot of our church by eleven.  I enjoyed playing my flute in a two flute, one viola, one piano number.  We did one version of Silent Night before church, and one during church.

Later Derek's sister Erin and her family came for their traditional Christmas visit, which we love, before we all headed over to Derek's parent's house for Christmas dinner.  Christmas was a really nice day.  I like having Christmas on Sunday.  It gives us a chance to sit quietly and remember what Christmas is really about -- if we can stay awake.  I think Dan slept through the entire meeting!
The America themed Christmas Eve

Kayli, Dan, Jake, and Derek on Christmas Eve

Jake and Tia with Kayli in the background.  Jake and Tia had just had a leg wrestle.  I think Jake won.  He is very strong.

Tia and Jake were doing an awesome trick, but Jake dove away from Tia a little faster than my camera could take a picture.

Kayli and Connor -- the only ones waiting for the 7 a.m. race up the stairs.

Yeah, I can't remember who won.  Probably they will both claim that honor..

Dan the man.

It's my new shirt!  I like the show Fixer Upper -- and so Derek got me a shirt.
My kids laugh about the idea of me breaking stuff.
I don't think they know how big my muscles are :-)

Trisa and Travis had Dan's name for the gift exchange -- and so he got to open a present the day after Christmas!  He loves his new dog.


Trisa and Tia
We are thankful for our happy Christmas.