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.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

More Kayli Birthday Pictures!

I missed some good ones!
The fitbit that now has her marching around the house at odd times trying to meet step goals.

I thought this shirt was pretty perfect for my Kayli.

That is a little calendar.  She got a nice wall calendar too.

Ah -- I love this girl.

Isn't she just precious?  Yes.  Yes she is.

Birthday in a Christmas house with two great smiles.

This just made me laugh.  From two smiles to two interesting looks!

Happy birthday to Kayli again.  After all, we know that Uncle Jeff wishes her happy birthday every time he sees her -- so her birthday isn't limited to just one day.

The Wonder That Is Kayli

Kayli and her Papa on her 21st Birthday

Kayli blew out her candles .....

And then they came back on!
A bit over 21 years ago a beautiful dark haired girl was born into our family.  Since then she has changed hair colors, gained a lot of skills, and gone through several nick names.  Derek is really good at handing out nick names that stick, and more than one of our children has had multiple nick names, but I think Kayli has managed to collect more than anyone else.  Of course, she is the one who has also managed to call her Dad by several nick names that have had their own sticking power.

When she was a baby she was "Kicky Kayli" because she loved to kick her legs even if she didn't like to stand on them.  Then she was "Clicky Kayli" because she loved to be on the computer clicking the mouse over and over.  I probably don't remember all of her nick names, and I certainly don't know how Derek came up with them all.  There was Kayli-Bo, which I still call her sometimes, Kalikity, Kalikimaka, KalikitikitikatiAAAHHHH (think wild bird call on that one).  She is the "Butterfly Princess", and "Buttermuffin".

In return Derek is now "Papa" (which is a fine substitute for Dad), and he is "Gary".  Someone once said, "Wait!  Your Dad's name is Gary?"  No.  But that's okay.  There is a hand movement that goes with Gary that works for asking where her Dad is if she needs to be silent.  And, finally, there is "Cupcake".  So if Kayli gets home her Dad will yell "BUTTERMUFFIN!" and she'll yell back "CUPCAKE!"  It is fun to live at our house.

Kayli is great with kids and old people and pretty much anyone in between.  She laughs when she is stressed out and when she is happy so people just think she is happy all of the time.  She cares about people SO much, and is really good at asking questions, and listening, and helping people know how important they are.  She went away to college for a while, but I like having her home again because her brothers love having her here so much, and she takes care of her Mom, and is a fun shopping buddy. Besides she has her Papa to talk to, and she loves her "Cupcake".

I would not trade the wonder that is Kayli for anyone else!  I love her.  I'm glad that we got to celebrate her 21st birthday with her!  I mean, how many people can celebrate the birthday of their very own extra awesome Butterfly Princess?!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Thankful Turkeys

Every year before Thanksgiving we make at least one Thankful Turkey.  Dan reminded us this year, and wanted to make the hat.  He made the tall hat, with a semi-working buckle.  I did the turkey bonnet, and the feathers were done by everyone -- listing things we are grateful for.
Thankful Turkeys

The Annual Halloween Party

Every year Derek's Mom goes to a lot of trouble to put on a large, and somewhat lengthy Halloween Party (It has to be worth it to those who travel far to come).  I got exactly three pictures of it this year, which is more than I've gotten other years!  There were games, treats, dinner, pinatas, and ghost stories (including one told while sitting in the Haunted woods).

Kayli and Trisa


Brandon and Trent