When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A child I find inspiring

This week, I am joining with Mama Kat again for her weekly challenge.  Pick a prompt, write about it and link up with the rest of us! 
This week's prompts:
1.) Describe a memorable first date.
2.) Write about a child you find inspiring.
3.) What do you find most challenging about blogging?
4.) Name a pet peeve you have about how other parents raise their kids. Go on…stir the pot.
5.) We often spend time and energy talking about people in our lives we don’t see enough of. Describe a person in your life you are in contact with often. What does he/she mean to you?

Bonus Vlog Option!
6.) If you could thank your mom for anything, what would it be? Create a video thanking her for something.

I decided to write about number two - a child I find inspiring. 
In my life, there are so many children that I find inspiring.  Most of them are grown now, although I still have a few that qualify as children.  I decided, rather than write about one child (and possibly end up with grief over forgetting someone else), I would make a quick observation about each of them.  They have all been such an inspiration in my life.  I have been blessed to have them here to share the simple moments with me.  
Kirbi, my oldest daughter.  She is always so inspiring for me.  She has always been the glue that held the siblings together.  She is the one that organizes everyone, makes sure that they are all included, and just loves us all.  She is the one that sees through the faults and failings, to find the person that we are deep down inside.  She cares, she shares, she loves.  She inspires me to be just a little better.  She encourages me to love just a little bit more.
Louis, my oldest son.  He was always so involved with sports and friends.  He could be friends with anyone, and was willing to accept them just as they were.  He did not follow the crowd.  The crowd followed him.  He could accept everyone and allow them to live by their own decisions.  We always told him that he could have anyone he wanted for a friend as long as they were better people because they were with him, and as long as he did not develop those habits that we should not have.  He inspires me with his ability to accept others just as they are, and to see the best in them.  
David, my second son.  He had many struggles growing up.  The thing that I have always admired most about him is his willingness to give.  If he had five pieces of candy, and their were six kids, he was the one that went without.  He was the first one to hug, the first one to wrap his arms around me and give me a hug, the first one to give a part of himself for everyone else.  He inspires me to be generous to those around me.  
Lori Anna, my second daughter and fourth child has always been caught in the middle.  She was not the oldest or the youngest.  She kept me on my toes, but also made me laugh.  She was always busy and always observing.  She loved animals and would befriend every one she found.  Our house always had cats and dogs and any other animal she could talk me into.  We will always remember the day that she fed the pig a 50 lb bag of dog food because he looked "hungry".  She inspires me to look at the world around me with wonder and delight, and to appreciate the small, ordinary, everyday efforts.
Adam - my third boy and fifth child was always running after his older brothers.  He could usually be found in the nearest mud puddle with a smile on his face.  He was always happy.  He had to try everything and experimented with many things.  He was always quick to forgive and to hug.  I admired him most for his ability to smile.  You could not be around him without smiling yourself.  He inspires me to smile and enjoy life.  
Emily - my sixth child was the "baby" for a long time.  She was always close to her brothers and sisters and always managed to tug their heart strings.  She always knew exactly what she wanted and would work until she could get it.  She is so creative and so organized in everything.  I get tired just trying to keep up!  She inspires me with her ability to simply hang on and wait.  The good will come.    
Amy Lynn came into my life when she was eight years old.  She is so patient and calm.  I admire her ability to bounce back from difficulties and heartache.  I love her natural ability to accept those around her and to love them, no matter what their faults may be.  She is happy with what life has given her.  Her needs are simple and few.  She inspires me to be more accepting and grateful for my blessings.  
Josh also came late into my life.  He was (and is) so quiet and contained.  He is also creative and writes stories and books.  He makes decisions, and keeps them, no matter what anyone else thinks of them.  He is sure of himself and what he likes and doesn't like.  He inspires me to stretch myself and to work on my own dreams.  
Miracle is the oldest of the "little's".  She has already had so many challenges and difficulties.  She is obedient and kind.  She loves her family is has always been the one that cries over "goodbyes".  No matter what happens, she just keeps going forward.  She inspires me everyday to have strength and trust in my Heavenly Father.  
Mikayla is the middle of the ones left at home.  She is a busy girl.  She plays the cello and the piano.  She loves to babysit and to be with her friends.  She is becoming, everyday, more of a young woman.  She inspires me to keep trying and changing.  To remember that each and everyone of us are still becoming the person we were meant to be.
Anya is really the "baby" of our brood.  She has always been happy and independent.  If there is no one to keep her company, she can bask in her own wondrous world.  She is growing and changing everyday.  She is learning to be the person that she wants to be.  Anya inspires me to have joy in all of the simple moments and the little things that surround me.  
There are so many ways that each one of these amazing people have inspired me as I have walked this earthly journey with them, I tried to contain it to just one.  Each of these children have loved me and helped to define me.  Each of them, have added to the person that I am and helped me to become more like the person that I want to be.  Each one of them have given me gifts and blessings.  Each one of them, are wanted, cherished, admired and loved.   I am filled with gratitude for the many inspiring moments that I have had with them. I am so very thankful for the privilege of being their mother.    

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Can You Describe Salt

This week in church, one of the speakers told a story by Elder Boyd K. Packer. It is called "The Candle of the Lord", and is from January 1983. When I heard it, I loved it and wanted to share it with you. I too, have had this kind of experience with those who don't believe.
I loved the way that President Packer found a very simple way to make his point. It is amazing to me how simple God can be. He bears testimony of Himself in the world all around us. But we have to be willing to open our eyes and really see. We have to be willing to taste the salt.

Here is the story.
"I will tell you of an experience I had before I was a General Authority which affected me profoundly. I sat on a plane next to a professed atheist who pressed his disbelief in God so urgently that I bore my testimony to him. “You are wrong,” I said, “there is a God. I know He lives!”
He protested, “You don’t know. Nobody knows that! You can’t know it!” When I would not yield, the atheist, who was an attorney, asked perhaps the ultimate question on the subject of testimony. “All right,” he said in a sneering, condescending way, “you say you know. Tell me how you know.”
When I attempted to answer, even though I held advanced academic degrees, I was helpless to communicate.When I used the words Spirit and witness, the atheist responded, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” The words prayer, discernment, and faith, were equally meaningless to him. “You see,” he said, “you don’t really know. If you did, you would be able to tell me how you know.”
I felt, perhaps, that I had borne my testimony to him unwisely and was at a loss as to what to do. Then came the experience!
Something came into my mind and I said to the atheist, “Let me ask if you know what salt tastes like.”
“Of course I do,” was his reply.
“When did you taste salt last?”
“I just had dinner on the plane.”
“You just think you know what salt tastes like,” I said.
He insisted, “I know what salt tastes like as well as I know anything.”
“If I gave you a cup of salt and a cup of sugar and let you taste them both, could you tell the salt from the sugar?”
“Now you are getting juvenile,” was his reply. “Of course I could tell the difference. I know what salt tastes like. It is an everyday experience—I know it as well as I know anything.”
“Then,” I said, “assuming that I have never tasted salt, explain to me just what it tastes like.”
After some thought, he ventured, “Well-I-uh, it is not sweet and it is not sour.”
“You’ve told me what it isn’t, not what it is.”
After several attempts, of course, he could not do it. He could not convey, in words alone, so ordinary an experience as tasting salt. I bore testimony to him once again and said, “I know there is a God. You ridiculed that testimony and said that if I did know, I would be able to tell you exactlyhow I know. My friend, spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt. I am no more able to convey to you in words how this knowledge has come than you are to tell me what salt tastes like. But I say to you again, there is a God! He does live! And just because you don’t know, don’t try to tell me that I don’t know, for I do!"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Devotional - You are a child of God

May each of you remember and know that you are loved.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Simple Moment - Walking Yoda

This Moment

A single photo – no words –
capturing a moment from our lives.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment
I want to pause, savor and remember.

A moment
that brings a smile to my lips,
and joy to my heart.

Five Minute Friday - Wonder

This is my favorite time of the week. A time when I get to beg, borrow or steal five minutes while the kids are watching a movie and eating ice cream. A time when the roosters and the chickens are in bed for the night and I have a few moments to myself to put something down on paper. A time when I get to go and join my friends over at The Gypsy Mama and read what they write.

In just five minutes.

To paint my own verbal picture. To just write and not worry if it’s just write or not.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Get a little crazy with encouragement for the five minuter who linked up before you.

Today, the prompt is simply: Wonder


a : a cause of astonishment or admiration : marvel
b : miracle

When I think about wonder this week, I can't help thinking about the wonders of God in my life.  I know that I am astonished at His mercy and magnitude.  I am going to share with you something that I have kept back.  This week, there have been several fires, all close to where we live.  One of them is less than six miles away and has burned down the utility lines.  The entire town was without power for a day and a night.  Since then, they are telling us the power could still go out at any time.   The fire is still burning.  The flames are still along the lines and putting us in danger again of not having electricity or phone service.  I have been on call every night at the fire station to try and help the people who this is hardest on.  I have been out on runs every night and am now functioning with little sleep. 
It is a wonder to me that God has given me the strength to continue to help where I am needed.  We have another fire twenty miles away, north of one of the lakes, and of course, the fire that is 50 miles away that is the biggest fire in Arizona history.  The forest is so dry.  We are in need of water in all the areas. 
The wonder for me is that, with all the destruction and difficulties, I am seeing the best in people.  Communities coming together and helping each other and working to keep everyone safe.  I have seen Post Offices moved into new locations, mail sorted out, and people getting their mail far away from their "real" homes.  I have seen total strangers living in the homes of total strangers.  I have seen such an outpouring of love and support for each and every person. 
The wonder for me is in seeing the blessings that come in spite of (or maybe even because of) the trials.  It is seeing people pull together, work together and care for each other. 
It is seeing the miracle of love in action.

What wonders have you seen this week?

Monday, June 20, 2011

You're not alone

For all of us, things go wrong sometimes.  The road gets foggy, rocky, and tough to walk.  I have learned that none of us are exempt from the trials and the problems of life.  I have also learned, that most of the time, you can't tell just by looking at someone, how difficult their life really is.  I have walked the path of despair.  I have endured the loneliness of  grief.  I have had my heart broken and my eyes opened.
But, along with all the difficulties, I have also found a very real testimony of the love of my Heavenly Father.  I have developed faith in spite of, or even because of, the tough times that I have been through.  I have come to know that He really is there.  He really does answer prayers.  He really does love each and every one of us.
As difficult as it was to be there, I know today that if I had to repeat it all over again, in order to get to this one place in my life, I would be willing to do that.
I have learned that my own vision is pretty focused on the here and now.  I don't see forward into the future and sometimes, I don't remember far enough into the past.  Because I don't see the bigger picture, I have to willing to wait for His time to find the answer.
One of my favorite songs for getting through the tough times is an old song by Michael McLean.  It is called "You're Not Alone".  Today, I want to share that message with you.  No matter what is going on in your life, you are not alone.  There is a kind, caring Heavenly Father who wants you to know that you really are loved.  He knows your needs, He knows your heart, He knows you.  He will bless you, in His time.  I have learned that the waiting and the trusting are the hardest things of all.    

Here's a little song to help you get along
It will see you through when you're feeling blue
And though it's not profound when you're feeling down
so down
sing this little tune and you'll feel better soon
You're not alone, even though right now you're on your own
You are loved in ways that can't be shown, your needs are known
You're not alone
And when you cry, you're just letting go a heartache deep inside
So tomorrow there'll be sunshine and sky and love close by
You're not alone.
Well I know that it's not easy, but I know that it won't last
Cause the one who loves you more than me
is sending blessings fast.
You're not alone....say it one more time, "I'm not alone"
And even when it's hard to find the words
Your prayers are always heard
You're not alone

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

"Let us open wide the windows of our hearts, that each family member may feel welcome and 'at home.' Let us open also the doors of our very souls, that the dear Christ may enter. Remember His promise: 'Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him' (Revelation 3:20)."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Simple Moment - Loving Pizza

This Moment

A single photo – no words –
capturing a moment from our lives.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment
I want to pause, savor and remember.

A moment
that brings a smile to my lips,
and joy to my heart.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Home

This is my favorite time of the week.  A time when I get to beg, borrow or steal five minutes while the kids are watching a movie and eating ice cream.  A time when the roosters and the chickens are in bed for the night and I have a few moments to myself to put something down on paper.  A time when I get to go and join my friends over at The Gypsy Mama and read what they write.
In just five minutes.
To paint my own verbal picture. To just write and not worry if it’s just write or not.
    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
    2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
    3. Get a little crazy with encouragement for the five minuter who linked up before you.
Today, the prompt is simply:  Home


Home, to me, is much more that a place.  
I have lived in many places in my life.  I have lived in all kinds of houses.  Some were apartments, some were duplexes.  Some were big and some were small.  Some were in nice neighborhoods and some were not.    Through the years, I have had a chance to really look at the places I called home.  I have come to discover what home really means to me.  
Home is a place where I feel safe.  It is a place where I can be myself, with all my faults and weaknesses as well as with my strengths and talents.  It is a place where I am accepted, nurtured and loved.  It is a place where children are free to roam.  Where the house can be a place of quietly disordered chaos, and where love abounds with squishy hugs and sticky kisses.  
Home is where hearts meld together into one big network of love and acceptance.  We stay uniquely ourselves, but the edges, oh the edges, intertwine and mesh together into something that transcends all places and each moment.  It is people that live on forever in my heart and mind.  It is arguments over whose turn it is to do the dishes, it is having cleaning parties on a Saturday morning.  It is home-made waffles for breakfast, and barbecues and picnics.  It is days spent at the beach or at the park.  It is watching sunrises and sunsets from the front porch.  It is holding hands, bicycle riding and  working together in the yard.  Home is everywhere and everything that my family does together with me.  It is the memories and the laughter, the aching and the tears, the hope and the love.  Home is kneeling together in family prayer and knowing that this life is only the beginning.  Home is where ever I find family waiting and loving, sharing and caring, knowing that family is the most important circle in my world.  Home is wherever love is.  Home is wherever our hearts are joined together in love.  Home is my family, together forever, at last. 


Now it is your turn.  What can you tell me about your home in five more minutes.   

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Girls Night Out

Today, I am joining up on Mama Kat's, for one of her nearly world famous Writers Workshops.  This is a challenge that I enjoy.  The prompt that I chose this week is girls night out.  Here are the rules.
Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list on Mama Kat's blog post. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!
The Prompts:
1.) Girls Night Out! Describe the last time you got to hang out with your friends? What stops you from doing this more often?
2.) If Social Media died tomorrow, describe another hobby you might get into.
3.) Share a Summer Camp memory.
4.) We’re too old to be getting in trouble…aren’t we? Write about a time you were scolded…as an adult.
5.) Barefoot and hormonal…describe an incident that upset you when you were pregnant, but now looking back makes you laugh.
6.) Create a video where you share your opinion on monetizing blogs. You are free to talk about whatever this topic inspires in you, but here are some sample questions: Are you willing to work with brands? Is it “selling out”? Can a blogger over do it? Do you have tips to share? A memorable experience working with a brand? etc.

The last time that I had a "Girls Night Out"  was when a very good friend and I took all of our girls to a ballet.  BYU has a ballet troop and every year they travel to the White Mountains of Arizona and perform a program for the girls (young and old).  We took the girls out for dinner, then went to the ballet and mingled with the ballerinas before the performance.  We then got to watch several ballets performed.
Each one was about 20 minutes and each one was about a well known fairy tale.  My friend and I loved it.  We totally enjoyed being with our girls for the evening, and we completely enjoyed talking and laughing and acting like girls ourselves.
I would say the thing that keeps me from doing this more often is simply time.  I have so many responsibilities.  I work too much.  I don't spend enough time with my girls and my husband.  I suffer from serious guilt over any extra time away from home.
Don't get me wrong, I crave friend time.  It means a great deal to me.  But I don't like the guilt that normally accompanies me anytime I try for some "mom" time.  So, this evening, was perfect.  My girls came with me!  I had an adult friend to laugh with.  We all saw amazing girl ballets.  And most of all, we had fun.  All the makings of which was, for me, a perfect evening.  And one I hope to repeat soon!
I think it is important to note that, although I wasn't only with friends, I did manage to compromise and have a wonderful evening including the best of both my worlds.  I think it is possible to do the things we need to do and still manage to have fun in our lives.  I don't think we have to be "just" a mom, I think it is possible to be many things to many people and still manage to take care of ourselves.  Sometimes, you just have to be willing to look at it from a different perspective.
For me, it doesn't work to plan time away from my family; But it does work to have time with friends and family.  I think that is what life is.  Making choices, taking risks, finding the things that mean the most and keeping them close to you.  For me, that is what makes my time most enjoyable.  

Monday, June 13, 2011


Virus!  That is a word to send fear into every mother's heart.  And believe me, it doesn't even matter how old your children are, it is still a hard time for everybody!  Every one of my children have been sick in the past three weeks.  They ended up very ill, missed school, went to the doctor, got well, got sick again.  It has seemed to last forever and been nearly unending.  Then add more allergies on top of that, and we have just had way too much fun!  We are all sick and tired of being sick and tired!!
Just when I thought I was finally getting through with the dreaded mountain virus, I came down with it myself.  Got sick, went to the doctor, got a shot, got sick again, went to the doctor, got antibiotics.  Why is it that I have to get whatever they have had with a vengeance!   I am still feeling tired, but finally getting better in spite of that.
Life can be so overwhelming sometimes.  No matter how hard we try, there is always more going on than we planned.  There is always something happening to cause us to sit up and take notice.  Something that throws us for a loop and keeps us on our toes.
No matter how carefully I plan, it seems as if there is something to cause plans to be broken, changes to happen, life to move on.  I have discovered that a large part of my life is spent dealing with change.  It is up to me to decide how I am going to deal with all the change.  There are many different types of change:  Good or bad, happy or sad, sudden or gradual, trivial or earth shaking.  There are so many different types of changes and so many different ways of coping.  Since many aspects of change are beyond our control, our approach isn't so much how to avoid them as how to cope with them.  We have to develop patience and tenacity to endure the changes that will come to each of us in our lives.  I have learned that adversities in this life aren't a reason for discouragement and despair.  Rather, when the storms of change start to howl, the Lord's people wrap their faith tightly around them.  They turn their hearts toward Him and trust Him that He will help them endure the changes.

"Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change - this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress."  Bruce Barton

"Always remember that the future comes one day at a time."  Dean Acheson

Friday, June 10, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Backwards

Today, I am back with one of my very favorite challenges over at the Gypsy Mama. Yes, you are right. It is five-minute Friday. The rules are simple and the challenge is fun. Time yourself and just write for five minutes. You don't worry about whether or not it is right. You just write.
The challenge this week is to write about: Backwards.

That's it. So come over and join the rest of us as we work on our writing.



I have discovered
In the moments of my life
That things happen for a reason.
Sometimes it seems as if
You must go backwards
Before you can go
Forward again.

I was married very young,
While still a teenager.
I had several children
And thought we were all happy.
I went, seemingly backwards,
Not understanding why
I became single once again.

The demands of single parenting
Were a constant struggle
Of sweat and tears and love,
It wasn’t until much later
That they learned
Home is not necessarily a place,
And families are not all alike.

I never thought I was good enough.
I was always lacking something
That I thought I needed to possess
In order to be better.
I had to go backwards
To discover that I really am
Better than I ever thought.

I had to discover the parts within myself
That needed healing;
The woman within
Who needed to be cherished.
I had to go backwards within myself
Before I could go forward
And start over again.

I had to go backwards to learn
That whatever I am
Is somehow enough and to spare.
God will give me whatever I need
To complete the task He has given me.
He will make up for any difference,
That I might lack.

STOP  (but I just had to finish the last verse)

And so, my journey continues
Sometimes forward
And sometimes back
As I learn, love, need and hope.
He teaches me that He is always there
Even, in the times I find myself,
Going backwards.

So, come on over to The Gypsy Mama's Place and join us for a five minute spell.  You are going to love it!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Here comes that man you like!

I am joining up with Mama Kat's today and her totally awesome writer's workshop.  I love her prompts.
Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to Her Post to add your name to the link list. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:
1.) Last week you chose a 6 word memoir to share…this week elaborate. Tell us the story or thought process behind the sentence you wrote.
2.) Write a dramatic synopsis of a memorable day in your life, as if it was a movie or TV series.
3.) Describe what you think your life would be like if you had never had kids.
4.) In honor of the “white” after Memorial Day rule, name a fashion rule that you either break or enforce.
5.) Share a memorable road trip story!
6.) Vlog: Summer is here and it’s time to hit the water…will you be jumping in with the kids? How do you feel about prancing around in your swimsuit?

I don't know how good I am with a dramatic synopsis, but I thought that I would give number 2 a try.

Once upon a time I was a single mother with six small children.  We were busy, and happy in our life in spite of that.  One day, someone decided that I needed to attend a Singles Ward.  Now, just in case you might not know what that is, it is a church for single adults.  Men and women, with or without children.
In my case, I was happy to give it a try.  After all, how bad could it really be?  So, we went to a new Ward (or church).  The kids got a lot of attention there as no one else had nearly as many of them as I did.  Many of the single adults had never been married and really did like children.  So, the children in my family were very happy with the new arrangements.
There was an activity one evening that the kids and I were invited to.  The kids were each paired with a different adult and we all made different snacks and shared them.  We played games and actually had a wonderful evening together.  The kids had so much fun and were completely won over by their new friends.  
That very next Sunday found us at the singles ward again.  The men were passing the Sacrament.  (This is a very sacred, reverent time in our church).  It was completely quiet in the building.  There was no talking or noise.  Suddenly, my very young son (about 4 years old) recognized one of the young men passing the Sacrament.  This man was the one who had helped Adam for the activity and Adam had really liked him.  So, Adam grabs me by the arm and yells (oh how I wish I were exaggerating here!)  "Look Mom, here comes that man you like!"
The entire church turned to look.
There was no trap door in the floor for me to slide into.
There were no other children (except the ones that were mine) to blame it on.
Everyone looked at me, than at the young men to try and see who I liked!
Now this might not have been quite so bad, except that I did not even know the man's name (and I was destined to never find out!)
Obviously, It was a very memorable day.  One that I have certainly never forgotten.  And I am totally sure that somewhere "that man I liked" has never forgotten it either!

"Children are a great comfort in your old age -- and they help you reach it faster, too".  Lionel Koffman

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

True Friendship

Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things… I am tempted to think… there are no little things.  Bruce Barton

How many of you have ever run into a friend that you haven't seen for a long time?  Have you had the experience where you renew your friendship and your life has been blessed?  I know that I have.  I have had a friend that used to be really close to me back many, many years ago.  Time passed and our lives changed, and we ended up being out of touch.  Sometimes, we would correspond through cards and occasional letters, and sometimes we would not hear from each other for years.  Then, times changed and she moved back to Mesa where we ended up living close to each other again.  We were able to renew our friendship and share our lives for the first time in years.  Each of us was there for the other sister in times of trial and heartache.  Each of us has been an influence for the good during times of adversity.  It has been a blessing to share those times together.    
I have had moments when I know that she was brought back into my life by a tender mercy of the Lord.  I know that He knew what would happen to me and what I would need to get me through.
We all have moments like this.  However, sometimes we get so caught up in the lives we are living that we do not recognize those mercies when we see them.  We don't recognize His hand in our lives.  It is easy to overlook the tender mercies as a simple coincidence.  I have discovered as I journey through my existence, that there are really no simple things.   
One of my new rules for myself is to find at least one tender mercy in my life, each and every day.  It is a way of acknowledging that my Heavenly Father knows who I am and is aware of my needs.  Since I have started to do this, I find so many more things than I ever imagined to be grateful for.  When you start looking for the tender mercies, you will find them. 

One of my favorite new books is called "Divine Signatures" by Gerald Lund.  I love this book!  He tells a wonderfully sweet story called - The confirming Hand of God on pg. 195-97.  I am going to quote from that book. 

"Ellen Breakell lived in Preston, England. She and her husband Alexander Neibaur, were some of the first converts in England when Heber C. Kimball came in 1837. As the call came for the Saints to immigrate to America, the Neibaurs responded and came with the first company, arriving in Nauvoo in 1841.After they arrived in Nauvoo that fall, Brother Neibaur set up a dental practice. When the church was enduring a new wave of persecution in 1845 and Brigham Young called on the Saints to prepare to leave the following spring and head west, the Neibaurs responded again. They sold all they had to finance an"outfit-wagon, livestock, food, and equipment - to go west. They went to Winter Quarters and stayed there for more than a year while the first pioneer companies went west. The next spring 1848, the Neibaurs once again sold everything they had in order to continue west. This left no money for trail-worthy boots or shoes, so Ellen crossed the plains with her feet wrapped in rags. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in the fall of 1848. conditions in the Valley were very difficult and for the next eight years there was still little money for anything other than necessities. Not until 1856 did Ellen save enough money to send off to a mail-order house for a pair of high button shoes and she knit herself a pair of stockings. One can only imagine what a joy it must have been for her -and women will probably appreciate that more than me.Though it is not specified exactly when the shoes arrived, it was not long before the October General conference of that year. That proved to be a momentous conference. On Sunday, October 5, Brigham Young stood up and announced that they had just learned there were two more handcart companies out on the plains and that the Saints had to go rescue them. Brigham called for wagons, teams, food, blankets, and clothing, including shoes, from the Saints to be sent with the rescue wagons. In an inspiring example of covenant and sacrifice. Ellen gave her new pair of shoes and the hand-made stockings to the rescue effort. After all of those years of going without, Ellen sent off her shoes with the rescuers. Here, in her granddaughter's words, is what followed: 
"Customarily, the Saints in the Valley lined the streets to welcome the wary companies as they entered Salt Lake. You can imagine as Ellen stood on the street that day to greet the beleaguered handcart pioneers, was she watching faces, or was she watching feet to see whose footstep she had lightened? Much to her surprise, when she recognized her shoes, she also realized that the woman wearing those shoes was a dear friend of hers from England who had joined the Church after Ellen had left her native country. Through her sacrifice,she had unknowingly helped to rescue the life of her dear friend."

Through the many years of my life, I have had many wonderful friends, some of whom I still treasure friendships with today.  Many of these friends have truly become my sisters, and I feel that our meeting and becoming friends was not a coincidence. They have each brought great blessings into my life.  We should not underestimate or overlook the tender mercies of the Lord.    The simpleness and sweetness of those tender mercies will do much to help us in our journey.   

Psalm 145:9 The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Staying Within The Lines

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.  ~e.e. cummings, 1955

I had an experience with a class of three year olds not long ago.  We were coloring some pictures to take home and one of the children got upset with another child because they were scribbling very fast, in one color and not staying in the edges.
She informed him in no uncertain terms that he was supposed to "draw pretty" and stay in the lines.  He just kept coloring in his own way and at his own pace.
I have thought about that as time goes on.  I think that we all learn to stay within the edges that surround us.  Somewhere along the way, we learn to avoid things that are uncomfortable for us.  We hear what others say and we see what they do, we want to fit in, belong and be a part of the group.  We learn to back away from the pain of being different.  We learn that unique is not something we desire to be.  We learn that edges exist all around us, just like coloring within the lines.  We learn to stay away from those edges so that we don't get hurt, or ridiculed, or judged.
As time goes on, those edges start to define who we are and even what we are willing to become.  We start to avoid those edges in our lives.  We try and soften their influence.  The really sad thing is that we live in a world that is oh so happy to help us find ways to soften them.
We learn to desensitize ourselves from the world around us.  We eat too much, criticize too much, ignore too much.  We watch stuff on TV that means absolutely nothing to us.  We listen to music that does not uplift us or help us in any way.  We soften the edges of our own reality.
Sometimes, it even works, for a while.  For a time, it seems as if we are not bumped quite as hard.  We can ignore the hard things in life or just move gingerly around them.
The only problem is that as we lose the edges, we also lose the wisdom that those edges are designed to bring. We lose our sense of self.  We lose our zest and excitement for living.  We lose the intuition that comes from the experience. We lose the discovery of who we are and what we prefer. And we lose the joy that is a natural result of learning about ourselves.
In other words, you can try your very best to stay within all the lines and right in the middle with the exact "right" color and effort, but one day it will occur to you that you have avoided too much and lost too much by staying where it is "safe".
I am lucky enough to finally have a job that I love and a life with my family that I adore.  They shine!  The laugh!  They love!  They accept!  And because they do, so do I.  I have learned that at some point in our lives, we need to choose what it is that we really want to do.  We have to learn to follow our own path and make our own way.

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.  ~Judy Garland

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Devotional - Down Right Solid Faith

See Matthew 7:24-27

"We're not going to survive in this world, temporally or spiritually, without increased faith in the Lord-and I don't mean a positive mental attitude-I mean downright solid faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the one thing that gives vitality and power to otherwise rather weak individuals."
--A. Theodore Tuttle, "Developing Faith", Ensign, Nov. 1986, 72

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My Own Trekie

My sweet little 14 year old daughter went on her first Pioneer Trek.  This is when the stake (a group of wards which are kind of like individual church congregations) get all the youth together to become pioneers for four days.  These kids pull handcarts, hike, eat pioneer food, hike, play pioneer games, hike, and generally manage to have a wholesome, fun-loving and spiritual experience.  It is not an easy thing that they do.  But one of the most amazing things they get to take away is that they can do hard things.  The entire group left on Wednesday morning for their trek through the mountains.  They came home this afternoon.  Her dad was at base camp watching for the pioneers to come along with their handcarts, Miracles group came zipping up the dirt track and this amazing young woman was skipping and smiling on her way.  She says it was amazing.  She says, it was hard.  She says, she wants to go again in four years and be one of the big sisters to everyone else.   She says, it is one of the most amazing things she has ever done.  

This is Miracle before the Trek.  She is clean and happy.  

This is Miracle and her friends as they are getting ready to load the buses.  

These are the handcarts that they used for each "family" that went.  The kids were placed in families with all the other kids and the adult leaders (Ma's and Pa's) in the Stake.  Miracle only knew one person in her entire "family".  It was a real learning experience for her.  She made friendships with some of the other kids in her family and is looking forward to talking with them and seeing them again.  

This is Miracle when she talked one of the boys into carrying her duffel bag for her.  
She might be little, but she can sure smile big!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Everyday

Today, I am back with one of my very favorite challenges over at the Gypsy Mama.  Yes, you are right.  It is five-minute Friday.  The rules are simple and the challenge is fun.  Time yourself and just write for five minutes.  You don't worry about whether or not it is right.  You just write.
The challenge this time around is to write about: Everyday.  That's it.  So come over and join the rest of us as we work on our writing.



Everyday I take steps in my life.  Some are fast, some are slow; some are short, some are long.  I take steps to learn, steps to relax, steps to help others, steps to be happy, and steps to just be. 
Everyday I try and connect with those around me.  I work hard on the relationships with my family and friends.  Everyday, I try and do something to make those relationships a little bit stronger and better.  I talk to my family on the phone (many are grown and live far away), I spend time with the girls, I talk to my husband, I touch, and I try to laugh.  (Believe it or not, that one is pretty hard for me).
Everyday, I try and find some active time for myself.  Not counting the times that I "run" girls here and there, or stand for hours at a busy counter, no, I am counting the times that I can walk, breath, relax and be at peace.  The times when I can dance like a crazy woman, or run, giggling after the girls as we have a "tickle" contest.  The times when I can move my body and be thankful for the movement and the moment. 
Everyday, I try and be just a little curious about the world around me.  I love to take my camera and try and make something that I see look interesting.  I look things up on the internet that I don't understand.  I reflect on the world around me and the amazing, God-given gifts that we all can share.  I try and learn new things.  I might find them in a book, or on a blog.  I might make something new in cooking or sewing or playing a new type of instrument. 
Everyday, I try and give a little of myself to the world around me. I try and give to those who are family as well as to those who are not. I try and heed the promptings of the spirit. That still-small voice that echos in the dark and bids me to help those who need. I try and find ways in spite of my busy schedule. (Or maybe even, because of it)
Everyday, I seek to be closer to my Heavenly Father.  I find Him in the scriptures, in my study, and most of all, in my prayers.  I know that He is with me Everyday.  I know that He loves me and cares for me, and wants me to be happy.
Everyday, I want to be just a little more like Him. I want my heart to be touched, my eyes to be opened and my love to be freely given to those around me. 
Everyday, I wake, I read, I listen, I see, I touch, I speak, I laugh, I understand, I seek, I want, I find, I need, I care and most of all, I simply love.  Everyday.


Now it is your turn!  What can you write about Everyday??

Thursday, June 2, 2011

To My Children's Teachers

A Teacher’s Gift
By Patricia A. Pitterle
May 2010

Years ago, a child started school.
On that very first day;
She was so afraid!
A teacher took her hand
And gave her the courage
To face her fears
In the arms of new friends.

Another day at school,
She cried.
(Life can be so hard
When you are little).
A teacher put her arms around her
And taught her courage
To carry on.

That child had moments
Of sadness;
And a teacher is the one
Who taught her about
The gift of tomorrow,
And having hope
In better days to come.

When she was disappointed;
A teacher helped her
To find her own
Talents and abilities,
And to magnify them
Into things
She could be proud of.

When she experienced
Moments of surprise;
A teacher showed her
The gift of perspective
And seeing the wonder
Of the world around her,
In all of it’s many differences.

When she was puzzled and confused;
A teacher encouraged her,
To investigate the mysteries,
One searching question
At a time,
Until at last,
She had the answers.

When she was happy;
A teacher smiled at her,
And laughed with her,
And taught her that
Learning can be fun.
And joy is often found
When we least expect it.

Her teachers have taught her: There is learning everywhere we look.
There is joy in the most surprising places.
There is beauty in teaching, caring, and loving.
Thank you for helping her to learn,
Not only the lessons that were
Prepared and taught for her mind,
But the lessons for her heart as well.

Thank you for your giving and sharing,
And for helping me to raise
A truly, beautiful daughter.
Thank you for teaching her
To see the beauty of kindness
through the eyes of her wonderful teachers.


Today, I am posting over at MMB.  I hope you have a few moments to go and visit!  I'll be back later to post here too!