Blog

  • That Thing Which We Call Testimony

    Published on: May 21, 2017

    What is a testimony? While sitting in Relief Society today the teacher handed each member a paper and asked us to contemplate and finish the following statements concerning our individual testimonies: Without a testimony, my life would be different in the following ways…. With a strong testimony my life is like the following…. The way I can make my testimony the strongest it’s ever been is to do the following….. I need to give up/do the following in order to be closer to the Spirit and strengthen my testimony……. I wrote down a few quick answers as the teacher shared her own experience about first feeling the Spirit in her life, and then finding it had dwindled after going through various circumstances. When she recognized the effect her diminished testimony was having in her life, she said a quick but sincere prayer that God would help her find ways to … Read more…


  • What’s In Your Calling Plan to Heaven?

    Published on: May 7, 2017

    I was in a Relief Society lesson today and a single line really hit me: “The Lord places no limits on our access to Him.” I got this great visual! Think about it: do we feel like we have to actually kneel every time we pray? If we’re in a situation where we can’t should we not pray? Really–I think Heavenly Father is quit aware that life is full of outside noise and disruption. Our heart can serve as a prayer alter when our knees can’t find the floor. That’s a silly reason not to pray. Any parent can say that they would rather their child come to them for help in any form rather than struggle blindly. In another example, does this sound familiar? Heavenly Father, I know that I’ve pleaded with you several times already but I need your help again……… Do we feel like God doesn’t want … Read more…


  • Finding Peace In Adversity: Heather Jeppson

    Published on: January 30, 2017

    With this new year comes our 2017 campaign titled WE ARE STRONG: Finding Strength in Adversity   Our theme scripture is taken from the Book of Mormon. It reads: My [daughter], peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;  And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high… D&C 121: 7-8 We’re gathering stories of Women with testimonies of Jesus Christ and how He sustains through trials, short or long, big or small. It is our wish to strengthen and uplift one another along our own unique journeys.  Please share these inspiring posts with others on your path. Our first story comes from a courageous mother. In her own words: On February 1, 2016, my 21-year-old daughter never came home again. She was killed in a tragic car accident by a young man. He had carjacked a car with … Read more…


  • Don’t Give Up: My Struggle with PTSD

    Published on: November 21, 2016

    It’s been over a year since I last wrote a blog post, and let me tell you–this past year has been filled with beautiful moments, but it has also been filled with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. I never thought that I’d be dealing with ALL these fears & emotions caused by abuse that happened to me 15 years ago. I’ve been to a psychologist. I’ve taken medication. I’ve healed. I’ve moved on. Apparently, I wasn’t healed all the way. See, today we do a lot of research. We do research on the benefit of eggs, and the benefit of breastfeeding, we do research on the impact of different prescription drugs, and we also do research that shows there is a higher chance that because you had been perpetrated on, you will become a perpetrator. Not an easy subject to write about, and not an easy subject to read about. But it’s … Read more…


  • Bedrock Women: Immovable in the Gospel

    Published on: September 25, 2016

    “We need women who have a BEDROCK understanding of the gospel.”  We are hearing this quote from Elder Bednar more and more. It is CLEARLY a message our Heavenly Father wants us as women to hear Not only should we hear it, but we should ponder it’s meaning. My favorite way to read the scriptures is to take a verse and dissect it until I fully understanding it’s message. Why not do the same with these important words? Starting with the definition of Bedrock, found on dictionary.cambridge.org: bedrock noun (ROCK): the hard area of rock in the ground that holds up the loose soil above I love this word! We HAVE to be a bedrock in this crazy mixed up world–for our children, husbands, parents, and siblings. We HAVE to be this for the stranger or neighbor watching and feeding of our example. They are the loose soil above our stationary rock. It might seem like a heavy responsibility but it’s … Read more…


  • Attitude: It Begins with Knowing God Loves You

    Published on: August 8, 2016

    While waiting in the check-out line in the grocery store this week, I was taken back by the checker scanning the groceries. He looked to be in his mid to late 70’s and was wearing an oxygen tube. Now we’ve all seen these older people greeting us with smiles at Walmart! I’ve never seen one working as a checker who’s required to stand in place for hours at a time. And, this man had the addition of an oxygen bottle to lug around with him. As a mother who has to “lug” a tank around with my son, this truly impressed me. When it came my turn to check out I commended the checker for the job he was doing. He said he was happy to have it and grateful to the company for “putting up with him” (what?!!) and allowing him to work there. He said it was better … Read more…


  • A Yet-to-Happen Loss: Anticipatory Grieving

    Published on: February 28, 2016

    When you first find out your child has a irreversible or incurable condition that effects their quality of life, you grieve. You grieve because the prospect of having a “normal”, healthy child is non-existent. Many aspects of growth and development can be challenging. Feeding, crawling, walking, talking, sight, hearing and social interaction may be effected. My world of grieving started with my second son acquiring oxygen and glasses at three months old. I grieved because I couldn’t snuggle him close, glasses made this impossible, and an the oxygen cord was like a prison chain. I kept thinking “it’s only for a little while, we can get through this and then he’ll be free”. That was before we found out about his myriad of conditions. We went through months of tests and appointments to find the diagnoses accompanying our son. I remember thinking about having his funeral and how we’d prepare for it, what I would say, who we’d invite–if anyone. Heartbreaking … Read more…


  • When God’s Plan is Not Our Plan

    Published on: February 22, 2016

    I’m 34 weeks pregnant and shy of 40 years old (feeling like I’m closer to 45). This was not part of our family planning. We were finished having children. With a special needs child who has a terminal heart disease and two others, the thought of having another filled our minds with impossibilities. It would be impossible for me to carry my semi-mobile 6-year-old around at the end of pregnancy and in the weeks after. It would be impossible to fit another body in our small house. It would be impossible to care for a dependent 6-year-old, a clingy 3-year old, a breastfeeding infant and do all the things required of a mother. The last birthing process was very traumatic to my body. It seemed like trying to have another was pushing fate. My husband fed the fire with his own set of impossibilities. After months of not talking, fretting, worrying and generally skirting the situation–we began to … Read more…


  • How I was healed

    Published on: January 11, 2016

    It takes time to be healed and that time is different for everyone. Grief and hurt don’t immediately dissipate when forgiveness is attempted. For me at unforeseen moments something would jar my memory and I would be right back when it seemed my life was whole or at least when my family was. It’s been thirteen years since my heart was ripped from my chest because the thing I was working on, my marriage as I knew it, broke. It broke my heart and my children’s hearts. I didn’t know how to make it right, how to fix it, or even how to make it better. Those first few days were dark. Days?!!? Let’s be brutally honest, it was dark for a long time. I worked because I had bills to pay, I left my kids in day care because I had to work and I prayed because at times … Read more…


  • On the Sidelines

    Published on: November 9, 2015

    As busy moms, we decided as a group to take a break from writing for the holidays and repost some of our early work that fits into theme of giving, being grateful and observing the work of Christ in our lives. This first repost has such a great concept. If you Google “sidelines”, you’ll find all sorts articles and quotes telling you to NOT be on the sidelines. The world says it’s not cool to be in the shadow or stand quietly at the side of someone else who’s in the spotlight. As Rebekah points out below, it is vitally important to be on the sidelines as it is to be in the middle of the action. There are times when we are in the spotlight and we need the involvement of those at our side. And there are times when we can stand back and just be available for support, whether needed or not. It takes patience, humility and … Read more…


  • Paper Chains

    Published on: September 8, 2015

    “How many days until Christmas? My birthday? Summer break?” When my children were small the questions were endless, so we made paper chains to reduce the constant inquiries. Now my youngest is a teenager and the focus has changed, “How many days till the end of the term?” How many until the end of the semester? We used bubble wrap to make it to summer break, with extra bubbles to pop for bad days. Just this morning she commented, “This is my last September in high school. I can do this!” Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a paper chain for all my trials. Then I would be able to see the end and know it was coming. I wouldn’t have to wake up each morning to face the unknown; to push relentlessly towards order and understanding somewhere unseen in the future. I would be able to … Read more…


  • To My Daughter

    Published on: August 30, 2015

    To my daughter, Last night you came into my room and opened my closet door. Your eyes scanned over the contents inside, and I saw your face light up when you grabbed a pair of bright red shoes. Eagerly you put them on your feet and clonked your way to the floor length mirror. I saw you admire yourself. Your back straightened and you struck a pose with your hand on your hip. When you’re older and have your own red heels, I hope you know… that you are so much more than what you wear, or what you look like. You are so much more than the latest trends or styles. You my child are beautiful beyond what you realize. Your beauty is not just on the outside; you have an internal beauty that shines through your compassion and love for others. It shines through your zeal for life, … Read more…


  • Rituals to Create Your Refuge

    Published on: August 9, 2015

    I think one of the hardest realities of divorce is not having the ability to totally screen your children from negative influences or bad things that might occur at the other parent’s house.   My ex husband has different standards and roommates that model poor behavior. I want to protect my children from any potential harm but divorce has left me in hard situations where I am literally not allowed to accompany my child even when I question the quality of their other home. This chronic concern has weighed on my mind for years which has forced me focus on the things I CAN do instead of the things I cannot. Therefore, regardless of the other environments that are out of my control, the most important thing I can do is create a home that is a refuge for my children. If I can create a refuge within my four walls, … Read more…


  • Freedom Isn’t Free

    Published on: August 3, 2015

    Sacrifices come in different ways. For soldiers it comes in time away from home, perhaps the loss of a limb or even life. For me, it came in the loss of my family as I knew it, a move away from my home, and forever having to share. Sometimes sharing is hard, but for me it was worth it. Growing up, my kids spent a lot of their lives here going between my home and my ex-husband’s house as the divorce settlement decreed. My children have often lamented the struggle that comes from having two houses. Clothes, instruments, and homework inevitably are left at the “wrong” house when they are needed for this particular day. Sometimes I comment that ‘if I had a dollar for every time I took someone to dad’s house, I’d be rich.’ Even though our decree split up how holidays were to be spent and stipulated … Read more…


  • Where is God? Feeling God’s Watch-Care when Clouds are Forming.

    Published on: July 12, 2015

    My feelings have been very tender the last few days. A combination of several different things have probably contributed to this feeling. In addition, I’ve had some extra quiet time to think this weekend so it’s caused me to really tune into my heart and what its feeling. This is unusual because I’m normally overscheduled and too exhausted to really think. And ironically, sometimes my real, raw feelings are overwhelming when I finally stop to acknowledge them.   But I have the unusual luxury of solitude tonight, so…I think. I think about my past—the good and the not so good times. I think about God and wonder if He’s proud of the job I’m doing. No matter how disjointed I appear, I hope He can see I’m trying. I think about my ex-husband and wonder when I’ll feel like I’ve fully forgiven him. I think about my patient boyfriend and wonder … Read more…


  • The Lost Pawn

    Published on: June 21, 2015

    Not quite thirty years ago I wrote a poem with that title. It was about how when my boyfriend and I broke up, we felt the other was at fault. Then when I got divorced the poem seemed prophetic. One of the lines remarks “even through our knights, we couldn’t regain the lost pieces.” While that is true, he and I couldn’t fix it alone, with Christ fixing anything is possible. Christ’s Atonement mends broken hearts, swallows up feelings of betrayal and hurt, and reminds us repeatedly that we are loved. Even if we were the only one, lost and lonely, Christ has made it possible for us to be restored. Our part is turning to Him and asking for His peace to envelop us. We can ask for His help showing mercy to others, find mercy for ourselves and walk uprightly knowing we are not lost to Him. The … Read more…


  • Why Me God? Understanding where God is when tragedy hits

    Published on: June 14, 2015

    I didn’t know my newlywed husband was deeply addicted to porn. During our honeymoon I witnessed some disturbing sexual behaviors and several others that would follow in the weeks ahead.   In addition he was disrespectful and crude acting as if our marriage finally gave him the freedom to let it all hang out. I was quietly confused at first, but it didn’t take long for me to sense there were secrets he was hiding that could potentially terminate our future together. As a bystander I could feel my naturally hopeful, happy heart filling with paralyzing doubts and fear. I started asking questions, “Why is this happening to me God? Did I do something wrong to warrant this mess? Are you aware of me God?” In the years that followed I wrestled with God. I went to Him over and over again with the same question “Why.” I had made countless … Read more…


  • Special Needs Mothering: Seven Ways to Avoid Feeling Like A Failure

    Published on: June 8, 2015

    I’m a mother of three. It’s not a big number but I have enough challenges to keep me at the end of my rope most of the time. And yes….the rope does snap….more often than I’d like. My second son has a rare genetic disorder that involves a long list of health problems, including a terminal heart disease. He does not talk or walk, but makes lots of sounds (mostly loud) and can cruise around holding onto things. He’s endured a few must-have surgeries and and lots of hospitalizations. He’s been fitted for glasses, hearing aids, oxygen, c-pap, stander, leg braces, wheelchairs and walkers. His normal demeanor is gentle and sweet, but his growing level of frustration leaves him lashing out at me, brother, sister and the dog in the form of biting, kicking, hitting, pinching and hair pulling. My youngest, though normal to the eye, is anything but. She is hypersensitive to EVERYTHING, hyperactive and extra smart: a great recipe for “hard to manage”. I feel like I have twins most … Read more…


  • Surviving Abuse: 5 things I’ve learned

    Published on: May 27, 2015

    I write to continue my own healing, but mostly I write hoping and praying I can be a good influence to others on the survival path of abuse. And for those who’ve thankfully not experienced this trial in life, may the following help you be more understanding, a little more patient and helpful to those who have. So here are five things (among the many) I’ve learned through my journey.   “I’m just “faking it til’ I make it”: Abuse has left me lacking in self-esteem and self-confidence (really, that’s an understatement). My self-worth sucks! I desperately wish I could fix it. I’ve tried just about everything; self-help books, positive self-talk, meditation, counseling, etc. Sometimes I feel that I’m getting there–that I’m progressing–and then after a day full of unexpected emotions, my self-worth slouches to the floor in a soggy mess of disconnected words and phrases. The next day I get up … Read more…


  • Divine Positioning

    Published on: May 17, 2015

    When we were getting ready to go to England last summer my husband got maps of train lines and we made a plan of where we wanted to go and how we were going to get there. I wonder how Heavenly Father makes sure we are in the places He needs us to be–when He needs us to be there–over the course of our lives. As I look back on mine, I see clusters of people positioned at the “ready to step in and help” moments when I needed it. In California, there were people in my ward who offered me a job at a crucial juncture. Others nurtured and cared for my little family when it felt like I couldn’t keep all the balls in the air. We moved to Utah and became nestled in a warm cocoon of love and charity. There were people who filled in the gaps, … Read more…


  • Smooth Seas Do Not Make Skillful Sailors

    Published on: May 10, 2015

    I’ll admit it–I am a lover of many things. I am a self-declared Quote-Lover and I hang them around my house like wallpaper. I post them wherever I can because they inspire me and lift my perspective. Recently I purchased a mini chalkboard. On it I write my favorite quote and it stays there a few weeks until I find a new favorite quote. This week I heard a quote that caught my attention and I went directly to my chalkboard and wrote it down. Smooth seas do NOT make skillful sailors. Looking back on my life, I feel like my growing up years could have been considered “smooth seas,” however the last ten years of marriage, divorce and the single-mom juggle has been a fierce storm of many sorts. It is not for the weak or faint of heart. Heavens. No. However, even though I consider myself a strong … Read more…


  • The Last Boxes

    Published on: May 3, 2015

    In between chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, my husband was allowed to come home for a week or two. But first we needed to clean the house. Family, friends, and neighbors packed everything up in boxes, moved furniture, and cleaned, well…everything. Slowly, over the course of a bumpy year and a half, I’m finally unpacking the last of the boxes. Unlike the essential boxes with the children’s favorite stuffed animals and winter clothes (which got unpacked very quickly), these last boxes (filled with the “non-essentials”) are far weightier and difficult to work through. Each box is like a time capsule of our lives before cancer—the books on my husband’s dresser the day he was diagnosed. The medals from the races he had just run. Decorations from my son’s birthday party. Back-to-school paperwork. Test results from some bloodwork I’d just had. It felt like I was holding artifacts from another … Read more…


  • My Scarlet Letter

    Published on: April 20, 2015

    Abused. The word is said often, still most of us have a difficult time digesting it. It’s so prevalent in our society, yet we tend to hide it rather than find ways to overcome it. It is a destroyer for both the perpetrated and the perpetrator. The consequences it brings creeps inside of you and spreads its splintered roots deep, making it nearly impossible to eradicate.  I would know because I was abused.   At age 16, I finally consciously allowed myself to address what had happened to me. I was surprised with comments from some close to me saying, “You will always be damaged. You will never be able to have a healthy intimate relationship.” “You will always be messed up”. I felt I had been tried and condemned for a crime I had not committed, by a jury who was skewed. Now because I was no longer “normal”, or … Read more…


  • God Hears Even a Sparrow’s Cry

    Published on: April 20, 2015

    I felt impressed to share an experience that my friend, Angie, had while in Nicaragua. The following is in her own words: My sister and I were out delivering hygiene kits in the community we work in and I came to a little hut (their dwellings really can’t be considered houses) and recognized it as the home of a family I had met 2 years earlier. At that time, I had been visiting families in the community and this family was especially kind and happy to visit and talk with us. It was obvious they were one of the poorest families we’d met. I noticed that their little boy, Isaias, had what appeared to me to be cerebral palsy and was lying in his dad’s arms. He didn’t speak, but had the MOST adorable smile, which he did almost the entire visit. What touched me so much about this little family was a … Read more…


  • Quiet Talents

    Published on: April 5, 2015

    I’ve been thinking about talents this week. Over the past couple of years, my family has received a lot of service. It’s humbling. It’s miraculous. It’s one of the ways God reminds me I’m not alone as I try to take care of my family…and myself. I’m surrounded by talented people with a variety of talents to share. There are many talents—often overlooked or underappreciated—that are needed in the world. Here are a few “quiet” talents people have shared with us that I have appreciated: There are people who are great listeners, who make you feel like what you have to say is important, even when you know you’re rambling. There are others who always know what to say—even in difficult situations. There are people who love openly; they think your little faults are charming and never take offense. There are people who exude optimism. There are people who can … Read more…


  • Semi-worrier-mom!

    Published on: March 29, 2015

    As I mentioned earlier, I’m a worrier. My biggest worry and fear is that my children will grow up and tell me that I failed as a mom: that I wasn’t loving enough, that I didn’t spend enough time with them, that somehow because of my shortcomings, I left them damaged. So you can imagine how exhausting my days are trying to live up to a perfect mother ideal that I have little knowledge of how to acquire. The result is me ending up frustrated by the end of the night, painfully agonizing all of the things I should have done, instead of celebrating all of the things I did do with my kiddos. Yesterday, I was contemplating all of the fun activities I want to do with my kids during the summer. This means I need to lose 20 pounds before I even attempt to put on a swimsuit. If I don’t … Read more…


  • Upwards to the light

    Published on: March 22, 2015

    “It grieveth me to lose this tree” Jacob 5:13–I thought it meant others who didn’t have the gospel. As the week progressed my life seemed mundane and less profound than when I was a single mom. It’s like I have to work harder to keep the same level of spirit with me. It’s so easy to become complacent when things are going well. I’m not compelled at this time in my life to be humble because of my circumstances. Humility is a choice. A teachable heart is a choice. In seemingly insignificant ways, my heart became harder. I put my will above God’s. It seemed so harmless at the outset, but I could feel a difference in the spirit. Finally, I realized I also am a tree in the vineyard and if I were lost the Lord would grieve. I changed my perspective and my thoughts. Today, I have focused … Read more…


  • Cinderella Blue

    Published on: March 22, 2015

    At some point in the past year and a half, I developed a terrible habit. My husband was totally shocked when he caught me in the act. There I was, curled up on our bed with a brand new book in hand and I was reading page 280. Sigh. I had become a Book Spoiler. You know, someone who only reads the very beginning and very end of books. I justified it at first. Throughout my husband’s battles with Leukemia and the side-effects of his transplant, I periodically lost my ability to read. When things calmed down a bit, I could read again. Stress is weird that way. So by reading only the beginning and the end of a book, I wasn’t spoiling it, I was conserving energy. Right? Ummm…no. My husband didn’t buy it either. But I kept reading books that way. And then one day it hit me: … Read more…


  • Woman of Light: Rebekah Peterson

    Published on: March 15, 2015

    Thanks for taking time to read more about this beautiful “Woman of Light”. Here’s her entire interview so you can read more of Rebekah’s inspriring words: 1. Tell us about the main challenge/s or trial/s in your life. My life had its ups and downs, just like anyone else’s.  I mean, my trials were mine, but pretty much garden variety, until we were expecting our ninth child.  I felt sure this one was a little girl, after six boys in a row.  But it was a harder pregnancy from the beginning.  I just didn’t feel well, and my numbers were “off” a little bit in my labs.  However, overall, I was just thrilled to be welcoming this last soul into our family. Then we went for that 20 week ultrasound, the one where you find out if it is a boy or a girl, ‘cause that’s the real reason for … Read more…


  • Strength Beyond My Own

    Published on: March 1, 2015

    Words from Heaven came to my little boy last night as I clutched his stuggeling body in my arms. Actually–I felt like a lot of the words were for me. I prayed before the blessing that I would recieve guidance on how to help him through this respitory virus. It was a humbling experience to hear comforting words that his body heal from all that was being done….and then these words came: Your parents will be blessed with strength beyond their own. What power I felt knowing God heard my plea. He reassured my husband and I that we could handle this trial, and reminded us that we are not alone. Tears streamed down my cheeks in gratitude. It was enough to wipe away worry and feel my soul with peace. Within a half hour little breaths seemed easier to take and the fever loweres. Maybe the worst of this virus is over, maybe not. But I know  the works of God are upholding us and we will … Read more…


  • The Right Place at the Right Time

    Published on: February 22, 2015

    I want to write about my nephew.  He is my sister’s step-son. I’ve known him since he was about two years old, I think. He’s now twenty. I used to babysit him while my sister taught school when she was newly married. My nephew has a form of cerebral palsy.  When he was little, balance was hard for him and as he has grown he’s struggled with reading. On the other hand, he’s the best worker I have ever seen. He’s always willing to help with moves or other hard physical labor and is the last one to stop working. He recently helped an older couple in my sister’s ward with apartment maintenance and dog walking when they became too elderly to fulfill their management duties. He went almost daily for no pay. He has held a full-time job in construction. He can drive a car, snowboard, ski, skateboard, bike, and … Read more…


  • Prayer & Faith: The Perfect Remedy for Answers

    Published on: February 1, 2015

    Ere you left your room this morning, Did you think to pray? In the name of Christ, our Savior, Did you sue for loving favor As a shield today? Oh, how praying rests the weary! Prayer will change the night to day. So, when life gets dark and dreary, Don’t forget to pray. When your heart was filled with anger, Did you think to pray? Did you plead for grace, my brother, That you might forgive another Who had crossed your way? When sore trials came upon you, Did you think to pray? When your soul was full of sorrow, Balm of Gilead did you borrow At the gates of day? Text: Mary A. Pepper Kidder, 1820-1905 Music: William O. Perkins, 1831-1902 I love this song. The words and music are so meaningful. Recently I’ve been struggling with finding answers and direction to make a specific decision. I’ve felt so overwhelmed , … Read more…


  • Righteous Desires

    Published on: January 21, 2015

    It’s been 12 years since I got divorced. The road has been a long one with twists and turns I never expected. Eleven years ago I moved to Utah from California so I could work as a teacher and have more time with my kids. I always wanted to be a stay at home mom, but it just wasn’t how it ended up. I knew one day that I would rest from my labors. We used to sing a song when I was in college. Part of it goes like this, “Someday my prince will come…..in the millennium.” When I was a single mom that’s when I thought I might get married again because I couldn’t imagine dating as a 40 year old woman. Last week I was going through my journal and I found an entry from May 2012. At that point I had been a single mom for … Read more…


  • A Home Where Christ Would Dwell

    Published on: January 11, 2015

    The new year always instigates reflection on the one just past, and I start conjuring up the usual questions: Where do I need to improve (or where DON’T I need to improve, is more like it)? How can I be a better wife, mother and friend? The answers that come flooding in might sound a little familiar: Stop yelling at my kids–MORE, MORE, MORE patience! I need to manage my schedule better so there’s more time to clean, be with my husband, eat healthier, exercise, and so on. Then I start thinking about last year’s highlights: Our family got to spend one more year with our sick child. Between work, school, lots of therapy and doctor visits, there were memorable birthdays, holidays, fun vacations and opportunities to give. That last item vividly brings to mind an experience that drives my goal making for the year and I feel the Spirit nudging me to share… I love the magic of Christmas! … Read more…


  • A Different Kind of Resolution

    Published on: December 27, 2014

    It’s that time again: New Year’s Resolutions. Past goals have included a long list of healthier habits or household improvements. However this year my list of resolutions is very small.Topping the list is this little beauty: I will look into people’s eyes. I know. That’s weird. But let me explain. A year and a half ago, my husband and I were new to the cancer floor of the hospital. Whenever I left his room, I kept my eyes down. What I saw outside his room frightened me. Conferencing doctors, crying family members, bald patients shuffling down the hallways in buttercream-yellow gowns. The only time I lifted my chin was to look at the white board. The white board was actually two long glass rectangles hung on the wall for patients to receive words of encouragement. One day I noticed a name on the white board—an unusual name, one I loved … Read more…


  • Am I a Builder?

    Published on: December 27, 2014

    At Christmas time I turn my thoughts to the  Christ-child born in a manger years ago. Like most of us, I ponder on His life filled with love, service and sacrifice. I wonder what He learned as a small child, building woodwork next to His earthly father.  Although He did not follow Joseph’s trade, He was still a builder among men, and He still builds all of us up today by His example.  He teaches us to have more compassion and understanding for each other, to be patient and kind.  He teaches us how we can build the way to our Father, one choice at a time.  It’s during the  Christmas Season,  that I find myself wondering more intently how I measure up to Him. Am I a seeker of truth? Am I forgiving? Do I strive to help others? I love this poem entitled, The Builder, written by an unknown author. Every time I read it, it motivates me … Read more…


  • He is There

    Published on: December 14, 2014

    And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness–Malachi 3:3 This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study class, as they wondered what this statement meant, about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next class. That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver one needed to hold the silver in … Read more…


  • Being Strong: ‘Tis the Season

    Published on: December 8, 2014

    This week I refurbished some old furniture. It was well-used, scratched and dented, had joints that were loose and wobbly, and the paint was dull and worn off in many places.  With a  fresh gallon of paint and an electric sander,  I began my refurbishing with gusto. Without music playing or anyone else with me I worked in solitude to the hum of the sander.  While a cloud of sawdust formed around me I sanded down the paint layers til I reached the raw wood. Without realizing it, I began comparing the furniture with my life. I surely felt worn, dented, and even wobbly like this furniture. The last couple of years have been some of the toughest.  Sometimes I wondered if things would change or if I would always feel this worn. I continued sanding and drawing parallels between us. When the sanding was finished I opened the fresh can of paint and … Read more…


  • In Gratitude

    Published on: November 30, 2014

    I am not grateful for Cancer. There. I said it. I guess that makes me ungrateful. Before Cancer, I thought hearts could only break once, when in reality there is no limit. My heart breaks over and over again as I watch my husband play tug-of-war with Death and breaks anew each time my oldest son asks, “Mom, did they let Daddy come home today?”–even on routine appointment days. As November came this year and Thanksgiving rounded the corner, I once again found myself asking, Can I still be grateful? Nevertheless, I printed out the standard Thanksgiving Gratitude Tree Template– a picture of a bare tree which one must decorate with items of gratitude written on leaves. I cut out the leaves; five for each of us. Our youngest son (the four-year-old) was first to give his leaves of gratitude to the tree. He was grateful for our bodies, cookies … Read more…


  • Being Strong is: YOU!

    Published on: November 24, 2014

    Being Strong: Is my grandmother, always finding the best in every situation and every person. Being strong doesn’t necessarily mean large muscles, or speaking with a BOISTEROUS voice. Being strong is resilience, its patience in waiting for the next step to take. Being strong is CHALLENGING, when the weight of your trials bear you down, it’s being courageous enough to see those challenges through: to find the good in life; to keep breathing; to keep believing that things will get better. Being strong is having the humility to kneel down and PRAY to our Father who listens. It’s crying and pleading for the situation to improve. Being strong is bending farther than you ever thought was possible without breaking. Being strong is realizing that despite that voice inside that tells you– “you’re not good enough, this is too hard”–you don’t listen to it! Being strong is making mistakes, and asking for forgiveness. Being strong is … Read more…


  • BEING STRONG: Reflecting His Light

    Published on: November 21, 2014

    “You’re so strong; I could never do what you do.” I never perceived myself as being strong, but I knew how to survive.  Over time the survival became thriving. Each step became more confident as I learned to trust in God. One of my favorite experiences from this time is reflected in the following: I tread water, going nowhere while trying to reach the shore of comfort and the beach of rest. I forget to lay my burdens at the feet of my Savior, trying with my finite mind and capabilities to accomplish all I feel I must. My boat is floundering in the waves. Without proper guidance, my frantic, frenzied bailing will be for naught and my tiny boat will sink. I seek counsel from my father. He sends me to the father of my ward, who throws some of my responsibilities overboard into the sea, to be picked … Read more…


  • What “Being Strong” Means to Me

    Published on: November 20, 2014

        I am Anna. I am a wife, I am a mom to four kids, I am a believer and I am strong. Our oldest was born, barely alive, 17 years ago. We both nearly died in that adventure. I recovered 95%, she recovered 65%. Her spirit and mind are both strong and whole. Her body remains a broken shell. Ramona was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, vision impairment and epilepsy. She is unable to walk, talk or move with much intention at all. A series of surgeries, and the results of her condition have left her in near-constant pain. She gets some relief through medications. Despite her condition, her peace-filled happiness shines through. Always. We waited eight years to have a second child. It didn’t even feel like we waited. That time flew by. Eight years was so long that people thought our family was complete. Oh man, it … Read more…


  • Woman of Light: Noelle Philpott4

    Published on: November 11, 2014

    We’re honored to be spotlighting amazing women in our newsletter! Our first “Woman of Light”–Noelle Philpott–has been through so many trials we could barely touch on them in Up Notes, so here’s her interview answers in their entirity. 1. Tell us about the main challenge/s or trial/s in your life. I have had several trials throughout my life. When I was six years old my mom was diagnosed with Lou Gherigs disease, where her muscles slowly gave out until she passed away five years later, leaving my dad with six girls (ages 8 months -13). I was the 2nd oldest and was eleven. My older sister basically took care of my mom and I took care of my baby sister. I took her with me to friends houses, got up at nights to feed her and took her with me to primary. She was my real live “baby doll”. Towards the end of my moms life it … Read more…


  • BEING STRONG: Surviving, Thriving & Dancing

    Published on: November 10, 2014

    A lot of people tell me I’m strong. They say they could never do what I’ve done.  It’s true, I’ve been through some deeply heart-wrenching experiences with my family—discovering my spouse has a pornography addiction, enduring extensive, emotional marriage and addiction counseling with him, battling his constant anger and blaming, determining I was alone in the efforts to have a healthy marriage, divorcing my spouse, starting all over, entering the dating scene in my 30’s, beginning work outside of the home, struggling to find balance between provider and mother, and recently surviving a lengthy custody battle where my ex-husband attempted to label me an unfit mother in hopes of gaining more custody.  All of these trials have rocked my sense of security and challenged my confidence, and even made me ask God why these things have happened to me. Some of my worst fears became my reality. Trust me when … Read more…


  • BEING STRONG: Angels, Tears & Chocolate

    Published on: November 6, 2014

    I’m a young mother with three small boys. I thought things were pretty tough when my husband had a rare sleep disorder. And then he got Leukemia.  And then he had a Bone Marrow Transplant. He’s had a lot of complications since then; his last hospital stay (his seventh) was a close call. I can only attribute his survival to divine intervention. A lot of people tell me I’m strong. They say that they could never do what I do. I beg to differ! If you were sitting on my couch right now—the comfortable one in the TV room—this is what I would tell you: I keep on keeping on, because I have to; because the alternative is unthinkable. I never feel strong, but I do feel sustained and lifted by heavenly and earthly angels. I let myself cry and get angry and feel depressed because gosh darn it, this … Read more…


  • Shine Bright!

    Published on: November 6, 2014

    The other night we were going to dinner as a family when my 7-year-old son asked, “Mom, does the sun give everything color?” “What do you mean buddy?” I replied. He continued, “You know, when the sun goes down at night all the color goes away from the flowers and the earth, and then the sun brings all the color back to everything in the morning”. I thought that was such a sweet question. Much easier to answer than, “Mom, what’s an atom”, or “Mom, how fast does light travel?” Or the other hundreds of question that I attempt to answer every day! I started to explain to him that color is always there, you just see it better when the sun is out. Then I thought about Our Savior and how He is the Light of the world. His Light when we allow it can transform our lives from the … Read more…


  • Persist in Doing

    Published on: October 9, 2014

    I guess you could say that this is what I’m struggling with right now. For as many years as I was married the first time, I was also a single mom. My time was never really my own it seemed. I worked, tried to get to as many activities as I could, then came home, and did some more. Needless to say, I was busy. Then about eighteen months ago I moved, met my husband and marched forward into marriage.  Soon after, my son left on a mission, my daughter and her husband moved to Arizona and I quit my job. I went from incredibly busy to almost having nothing to do. I admit, I took advantage of all my free time and became a slave to the computer. I developed an unhealthy habit with social media that I am still trying to master. I totally enjoyed coming to a … Read more…


  • Woman of Light: Bridget Taylor Gibbs

    Published on: October 9, 2014

    Funny how things work out. Here’s something I’ve learned: when you leave things in the hands of God, the happenings are deliberate. There’s no luck or chance. Heaven works tirelessly “behind the scenes” orchestrating ways to nourish and sustain each mortal being . Over the weekend, I did some networking and sent out friend requests on Facebook under the Grace Lane profile. One of the requests was to a young lady who was in my Young Women’s group years ago–I didn’t think much of it. The next day, the request was accepted and low and behold, a cute little blog popped up before me. I was intrigued that it was only days old so I skimmed through an article. I wasn’t prepared for the pull I’d feel to read all her posts. I had this distinct feeling that I should spotlight her with or instead of the other woman I had asked. Of, course I fought with this becasue I write … Read more…


  • Hidden Blessings

    Published on: October 8, 2014

    I love sand glass! For those of you who don’t know what sand/sea glass is, it’s pieces of broken glass from the ocean. The sharp edges roll around in the sand and end up becoming polished and smooth. I think they’re beautiful in all their different shapes, sizes and colors. For me, the best time to collect sand glass is right after a storm. The rough waves kick it up off the bottom of the sea floor and smash it onto the beach. Early in the day I walk along the shore searching for a glimmer in the sand. At first it’s really difficult to find a piece of the glass because of all the debri around. I pick up sea weathered logs and broken plastic containers. Then underneath a torn fishing net I spot a small shade of blue. I quickly pick it up and hold it in my hand, admiring it’s … Read more…


  • I Believe in Your Heart

    Published on: October 5, 2014

    Tonight my normally even-keeled 8-year-old went “T-Rex” on us. I don’t blame him. He just got over a nasty virus, his schedule was disrupted, he didn’t get his quiet time, and his dad is in the hospital again. For the third time since mid-July. Frankly, I’m surprised this moment didn’t come sooner. But come it did! Holy T-Rex! I let him scream it out. He calmed down on his own and talked until he was feeling more like himself. But right in the moment when it was time to pick himself up and move on with life, he hesitated. Tears formed in his eyes and he covered his face in his hands. He was paralyzed by memories of the past ten minutes. Just then, my 4-year-old came up the stairs, looking very solemn. He said, “It’s okay, Brother. I believe in your heart.” Then he hugged Big Brother and handed … Read more…


  • Now is the Time for Joy

    Published on: September 21, 2014

    In the Doctrine and Covenants it talks about things giving us experience and being for our good. In Ecclesiastes it talks about seasons. When I went on a date with my first husband and he told me he wanted a divorce; I couldn’t imagine that the time for weeping would ever end. I thought my time of mourning would last forever. Every day that I got up and left my children while I worked, rent my heart. When my kids went to their dad’s I felt lost. I couldn’t believe that I was being cast away. This is NOT how God planned it, families are supposed to be together forever. I felt like the forgotten washcloth in the sink under the pile of dishes that you don’t find until the end of the week when there is finally time to wash them. I was broken down, unsure of what direction … Read more…


  • Bondage–He Always Delivers

    Published on: September 21, 2014

    The last twelve months have been my toughest, even tougher than the divorce.  Constant problems with my ex husband have drained me of all my resources—my time, energy and money. I feel like I’m in bondage to him in a way. My ex husband’s constant manipulating and pawn-playing are disrupting our peace, yet I cannot walk away from him, nor his poor behavior, because of the child we share and our role as co-parents. To add to the burden, our child hasn’t even hit double digits yet so her eighteenth birthday seems so far away there are days I don’t think I’ll make it till then! It’s been an exhausting year and I am spent!  I only pray I will survive with my sanity still intact. As I try to find strength amid the struggle, I am inevitably drawn to the story of Alma and his people while they were … Read more…


  • Hospital Pep Talk

    Published on: September 14, 2014

    After a seven-week stay at the hospital, my husband had eleven days at home—eleven days of being together as a family. I love the way my home feels when we’re together. Tonight I’m writing my post from the inside of a hospital room. It seems that my husband has a little more healing to do. Everyone hopes it will be a short hospital stay. I do too, but after more than a year of bouncing between inpatient and outpatient on the cancer floor, I know better than to pin ALL my hopes on predictable outcomes. Despite the uncertainty and daily battles, I feel confident that my Heavenly Father knows and loves me and my family.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t cry most of the way to the hospital (because I did!), or that I didn’t spend an extra minute in the hospital’s parking garage giving myself a pep talk (because … Read more…


  • Never Alone

    Published on: August 31, 2014

      When I graduated from high school I couldn’t wait to move away! So I did. If someone would have told my 18 year-old- self that one day, almost a decade later I’d be moving my family back into the same town–only a few blocks away from my high school–I NEVER would have believed them. But I did. Today, unforeseen circumstances bring me walking into the front doors of my old high school. And of course, despite my persistence, memories start flooding in. I do my best to push them right back out. As I turn to look behind me I become sixteen again, gazing out the front doors of the school at the cut-out posters of children in the park across the street. There’s a big vinyl sign to the side of them. Posted in big black letters:  1 in 4 children in this county are victims of abuse … Read more…


  • Evening Primroses

    Published on: August 31, 2014

    I recently returned from England with my family. One of the places we visited was Bourton-On-the-Water. The village itself is beautiful, but the little Bed and Breakfast place we stayed has an exquisite garden too. One evening we were outside in time to watch the Evening Primroses– primroses wait all day and then when the sun goes down they promptly open. This picture is from that instant. While writing this evening, my mind was drawn to this moment because as we wait on the Lord and trust his timing, we become like the Evening Primrose. Blossoming at the perfect moment when we are able to reach our greatest potential or make the most difference because we’ve allowed God to direct our paths. Join me on my latest primrose journey: The end of last year I quit my job because I could finally do it. I went from being insanely busy … Read more…


  • A Different Demolition Derby

    Published on: August 31, 2014

    This week I went to a Demolition Derby.  I was looking forward to some good ‘ole Derby-style entertainment that I had experienced before, but this particular Derby would be very different and would leave me with a changed perspective on my life and my outlook on my personal challenges. The warm summer-night breeze and the outdoor arena lights were the perfect setting to showcase the pieced-together, masses of metal on four wheels.  Just to witness the severely hammered cars enter the arena was entertainment in and of  itself.  There was no question that this was not their first derby run for the season—it was a marvel they could still move! In heat after heat, and several rollovers later, the crowd was roaring and we were ready for the final heat of the night…the oversized cars.  The oversized cars were made up of SUV’s, trucks, and even old-fashioned cars.  This was … Read more…


  • What would Job do?

    Published on: August 31, 2014

    Today was a hard day, but then they’re all hard–some more than others. I took my special needs son to a party where there was nothing he could participate in. Everyone was too busy to notice how eager he was to be a part. After checking out all the activities, it was clear that I needed to use my supermom powers and come up with our own fun–as we often do! There was a playground nearby so we walked over and found a stairway he could pull himself up on with a covered slide he could stand at. Suddenly a crowd of children rushed around him paying no attention to his fragile body. One after one they pushed around his bony frame to get to the slide, as I frantically waded through their arms and legs to keep him from being knocked over. I scooped him up along with my little girl who’d been sobbing … Read more…


  • Money-Ade & Hand-Me-Downs

    Published on: August 26, 2014

    I’m a worrier. Yup, I’ll admit it. I worry about almost everything, but my number one worry always revolves around money. It’s one of the first subjects that runs across my still half-sleeping mind as I wake up in the morning. It glares at me when I reach for a diaper to change my son, telling me the stack is shrinking and I need to buy more.  It’s there during the day as I budget, check balances and try and figure out how I can squeeze my lemons into money-ade. Don’t get me wrong–we’re blessed with what we need–but we work really hard for it. So, now that you know one of my lesser known traits, it won’t surprise you that the other day as I opened my toddler’s dresser drawer to change him, I noticed that he had pretty much outgrown everything. Sigh! It’s already been a tight month … Read more…


  • Mission Impossible…Accomplished

    Published on: August 26, 2014

    I have known for a while that I can do hard things, but I never thought I would be asked to do the impossible.  Twelve years ago, my then husband of ten years left to pursue other interests. God and I picked up the pieces of my broken life and moved forward. I worked and studied hard to get my teaching license in Special Education. Then I just worked hard at providing and nurturing my small universe. I often felt weighed down by the burdens laid across my shoulders, but I tried to look to God for guidance and support. A powerful witness came when my oldest daughter returned from Trek. She told of how she felt unseen others helping push the cart up the hill. As she bore her testimony of this experience, in my mind’s eye I saw and felt those same unseen helpers and knew that they were … Read more…


  • Because of Lionel Richie

    Published on: August 26, 2014

    My life seems to be all work and no play lately.  The continual juggle of being a provider AND a mother leaves me feeling spent, and financially I’m at an all-time low.  What’d I’d give for a massage, a pedicure, a tasty meal, or tickets to Lionel Richie. I overheard Lionel Richie was coming to town.  I’d give anything to attend his concert! But before I had a chance to look into it any further my wish was buried by other needs and the reality that I couldn’t afford it right now.  So it’s back to work.  There’s no time or money for play. Several weeks have passed and I’m feeling like a zombie.   I could use a break or a pick-me-up.  I’d welcome anything at this point. The phone rings and it’s a friend.  Within seconds my spirit is awakened and I’m filled with excitement!  I have two tickets … Read more…


  • Sludge & Neon Lights

    Published on: August 26, 2014

    Last night I had a crazy dream that the devil–with his movie inspired, red-curled horns–was standing outside my front door, puffing on a cigar and peering through the side window. He was waiting for me to open the door. Waking up I think about what I could have eaten last night to have caused such an unnerving dream! Then I start to think about the trials I’ve been having lately and the hopelessness that’s been swirling up inside of me like a cloud of smoke; blinding my vision and blotting out my peace. I reek of fear. It pours down my body like sweat and collects in a pool of sticky sludge under my feet, preventing me from moving forward. I’ve been stuck in this muck for weeks now, unable to determine which path I should take. My biggest fear is making the wrong choice, and I let this consume me … Read more…


  • Reasons Why I Yelled at My Son

    Published on: August 26, 2014

    Hi. I’m Rebekah. Before you hear all my inner thoughts and dark secrets, I thought you should know my first name. Alright, and maybe a little about my background. I’m a mom. I have three little boys, best described as C-3PO (the 8-year-old), Luke (the 6-year-old), and Yoda (the soon-to-be 4-year-old). And I’m married to a really great guy. When I helped write the book, my really great guy had an incurable sleep disorder called Idiopathic Hypersomnia. Just when the medical field got interested in his disease, he got Leukemia. You’re probably going to hear more about that. But for now, we’ll start with Dark Secret #1: I yelled at my kids yesterday. I haven’t slept all week and neither have the kids. Which probably explains why Yoda peed on his brother, why Luke had a meltdown when I asked him to hold the hose, and why C-3PO took great … Read more…


  • Angels Don’t Drive Bulldozers

    Published on: August 26, 2014

    Today I thought I’d share a lesson that was clearly taught to me by a loving Heavenly Father: Last Saturday, a little boy I knew passed away at seven years old. The next morning I had an opportunity to drive alone to a family function (something that rarely happens with three kids—one of whom requires continuous medical attention). With the sun shining, the road free of traffic, and Sunday music playing on the radio, I try to imagine how my friend can cope with the loss of her child she adopted less than a year ago. What is she feeling? How is it possible for her to face life, to take care of her other children, and go about the every-day things? These questions in mind, I pass by loads of construction equipment lined up along the freeway. My eyes instantly fill with tears and I fight the urge to become hysterical. Why … Read more…


  • Goliath’s Visit

    Published on: August 26, 2014

    Have you ever met Goliath?  I have.  If fact, he walked into my life unannounced several months ago and won’t leave. He’s there every morning when I wake and it’s impossible to pretend he’s not there—how could a giant go unnoticed when it seems he’s sitting on you?!  He’s worn out his welcome and I would give anything to gather his things and send him packing—no problem. Since my divorce life has not been easy, but it’s been better.  However, when my ex-husband notified me that he was going to seek custody of our child and had his list of hurtful allegations served me at work-I felt my peace shatter.  I consider myself a strong, resilient woman, but this fight feels much bigger than me: big like Goliath. Many months have passed and Goliath is as intimidating as ever.  He challenges my peace EVERY day.  The early morning hours are … Read more…


  • Wrestling Babies & Choices

    Published on: August 26, 2014

    It’s just another day of house work and taking care of my kiddos. My oldest is at school, the middle one playing in the front room and my tired baby is wrestling back and forth in my arms. I’m trying to get the last bit of laundry folded and put away, but my little one has other plans!  I put down the half folded sheet and focus all my attention to his needs. I rock back and forth, nurse him, cuddle, sing songs, and walk around but to no prevail. If only he knew how quickly he would find comfort in a good nap. Finally I decide that if my laundry is going to get done, he will have to come along with me as I put the clothes away in the different rooms. I balance and juggle the piles of laundry in one hand, and hold him close in … Read more…


  • When God Calls–BE THE ONE

    Published on: August 15, 2014

    He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me…And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. –John 21:17 I was driving home yesterday, with two of my children, from a trip to visit grandma. It was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures reaching the 90’s—so it was hot—too hot to be carrying armfuls of items up a grueling steep hill. That’s what Mrs. Williams was doing along a narrow road strip with 50 mile-per-hour traffic. Stopping to catch her breath every few seconds, I imagined how taxed this African woman must be at the burden of carrying her load in such heat. I’m sure the flip flops she had on didn’t efficiently grip the incline beneath her toes. As I passed this lady, I felt an urgent need to help her. … Read more…


  • An ounce of prevention

    Published on: August 15, 2014

    An ounce of prevention Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” What course of prevention is required to prepare you for your husband’s declaration that he doesn’t love you anymore? Why should you have to be prepared for that? I wasn’t. Daily, I worked in my home trying to make the right choices. We prayed, we played, we read, we ate dinner as a family. Was I perfect? No way!  I really struggled cleaning my house to the point that it stayed that way ALL day long until my husband came home. Three kids adjusted my shape somewhat as well. I don’t have the same hourglass shape I got married in. I kept trying to do the important things. We had different ideas about what the important things were. My husband took me to dinner and handed me two letters.  I opened them. … Read more…


  • Faces to the Wind

    Published on: August 12, 2014

    On July 9, I said goodbye to life as I knew it and went trekking for four days in the Wyoming desert. I learned things I thought I already knew. After all my preparation, what I really needed was a willingness to ask for help, an understanding that God does indeed work in mysterious ways, and blessings aren’t always what we think they are. The preparations I made weren’t in vain; they allowed me to see how God was working in my life and why he really needed me on Trek. I wasn’t there to be the fittest or the fastest. There really is no reward for reaching heaven first.  I was there for the daughter who fell behind, for the one who thought she wasn’t good enough, for the son who never did anything for anyone but himself–then changed.  My husband was there for the son who is so … Read more…


  • Chocolate Smiles & Hula Dreams

    Published on: August 12, 2014

    Tonight as I was preparing dinner there was a piece of Dove chocolate staring at me. I did what any one in my situation would do-I ate it. Afterwards I glanced at the neatly written message on the bottom of my wrapper, “smile” it stated. I couldn’t help but do just that. I also couldn’t help but eat one more piece of chocolate. This time the message read, “Smile more”. I laughed out loud. I can do that, I thought. Those two phrases sent my mind reminiscing on an event in my life years ago. I had just moved to Hawaii and I was about to audition for a job as a Night Show Dancer at the Polynesian Cultural Center. I had been dancing Hula, Tahitian and Maori since I was about 8 years old, and it was my biggest dream and goal to dance at the PCC. My turn came … Read more…


  • Restore My Soul

    Published on: August 12, 2014

    My husband has—no, had—cancer. His remission is still new on my tongue, even though he’s been in remission for several months.  Overall he’s doing really well—but surviving a bone marrow transplant is a tricky business. We like to call it playing Whack-a-Mole. Once you get one complication, or “mole,” under control, another one pops up. This past month we had a mole infestation. I am the caregiver. For the past two weeks, being the caregiver meant I made emergency trips to the hospital clinic, gave extra hugs to my three little boys, took temperatures, learned how to give daily belly shots, rubbed steroid creams, coordinated, checked new medicine doses, changed patches, cleaned wounds, made a funny-looking arm sling, and washed and washed and washed. A couple nights ago, I felt like the walls were caving in on me. I felt overwhelmed by all the needs and demands and have-to’s. Have … Read more…


  • Take Care of Your “Inside” As Well As You Do Your “Outside”

    Published on: August 12, 2014

    The world we live in is constantly trying to make us over. The “so-called” experts tell us that we’re nobody unless we wear Prada shoes, carry a Gucci purse, send our children to a private school and vacation in an exotic place with endless martinis and revealing bikinis! The world likes a women who spends lots of $dinero$ trying to make herself more beautiful on the outside: a little lift, a little tuck and a lot of suck–fat, that is. There’s no fashion expert, no food critic, no HGTV star telling us how to take aare of what’s most important–the one thing we can take with us when this life is over–our spirit. We are all creations of God–We SHOULD take care of our outside, but we need to give our inside as much attention as our hair and nails get. There’s nothing wrong with seeking to look beautiful. It becomes a problem, however, when that’s ALL we … Read more…


  • I Wanna Be A Cowboy

    Published on: August 12, 2014

    Last night I was at a rodeo. While I consider myself a rodeo-lover and a frequent rodeo-goer, I don’t understand what drives someone to mount a thousand-pound bull named “Toxic Shock” or to tightly tether themselves to a kicking horse with a belt cinched around his rump.  Call me crazy–but NO THANK YOU. There were several horrifying dismounts including a cowboy sandwiched between the horse and the unforgiving steel gate. When the fall happened the crowd fell silent, watching for the cowboy to move.   When he raised on all fours and stood, the crowd cheered and the rodeo continued on. Ride after ride the cowboys tried their best, fell, and would rise… only to return the next night for another ride. Despite how crazy I think they are I must admit I envy their courage.  What courage does is take to settle onto a bulls back?  What kind of character … Read more…


  • The 12th Man

    Published on: August 12, 2014

    When my husband was diagnosed with Leukemia, I was humbled and overwhelmed by the volume of love, concern, and offers of help from people–some I’d never met before. But when my mother-in-law began to share my responsibilities at home and the hospital, my need for volunteers became significantly less and the needs shifted into helping roles outside of the action at home and the hospital. How could I explain to these kind people how much I still appreciated their willingness to help? Then I remembered the story of Texas A&M’s E. King Gill, the first individual to be called “the 12th Man.” During the 1922 Texas A&M vs. Centre College bowl game, injuries were so high on the A&M side, that only 11 players were able to play–the 11 that were on the field. If A&M had one more injury, there would be no one left to replace that player. … Read more…


  • The end of Parley’s Street

    Published on: August 12, 2014

    I’m almost to the end of Parley’s street–Parley’s street in Nauvoo, Illinois was where members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints pointed their faces to the west and didn’t look back. My Parley’s street is a little more figurative. I’m not leaving my home in the dead of winter never to see it again; I’m leaving for four days in the heat of summer to be a Ma to nine children as we reenact the life on the trail. We won’t have wagons like the first Saints who crossed the prairie, but we will be simulating the trek of the handcart pioneers. When they asked if we would be a Ma and Pa, my husband and I were excited. Then the anxiety really began. I was having trouble walking half a block without pain. We need to camp with a propane stove, walk in blazing heat, and … Read more…


  • Chalkboard-Scratch-Emotions

    Published on: July 22, 2014

    There’s a certain question that will bring the same emotions you’d feel when someone runs their nails across a chalkboard.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! You know what I’m talking about: every hair on your body raises and you want to lash out, scream, and curl into a ball under a table for fear of imploding. Ok, maybe it’s not that bad for you, but it’s REALLY that bad for me! An older man asked the question in reference to my husband. With his eyes fixated on our wheelchair dependent son, he unleashed the following words: “Is he retarded?” Retarded–what an AWFUL word! It goes right to your core and cuts deep, especially when you’re the parent of a child who fits the definition of this unkind label. My husband, realizing it was better to respond with patience, decided to tell our little boy to wave to the man, hoping to eliminate his stares. Taking into account that some of the older generation is not entirely aware of the more … Read more…


  • Is it enough and my Ode to Joy

    Published on: May 29, 2014

    Recently, I have wondered if I am doing enough. My life changed drastically when I moved, met someone, got married, sent a son on a mission, then quit my job all in the space of about nine months. That opened up a lot of time in some respects, but I find myself still quite busy.  A new husband, a new home and a teenager make life eventful. I still find myself falling short of all the things I think I should be doing. When I got up today I counted them all up on my fingers and toes. I didn’t have enough digits to complete my list. I wondered how God put up with me because honestly, I wasn’t doing everything I could be doing.  Clearly, some repentance was in order. I hit my knees reiterating all of my shortcomings. When I finished, I checked my email.  One from my … Read more…