Monday, August 31, 2009

Harrison's Progress

The physical therapy is really expanding Harrison's newly healed capabilities. In just the past few weeks his legs have really gained strength and he is standing so well. Check out the pictures on his last few blog posts and you can really see the difference!

Member Missionary Moment #16

This post is part of a year long series where each week I strive to complete and item from a list of 101 Ways to do Member Missionary Work. Feel free to join me in the work!

This week while I was at the Distribution Center I picked up a paperback copy of the Book of Mormon to work on section 1, number 4 ("Write your testimony in a Book of Mormon and give it to local missionaries to hand out."). I had mentioned to the sister missionaries serving in our ward that I wanted to write my testimony in a Book of Mormon for them to hand out--this way I committed myself to getting it done soon. It had been a while since I had written out my testimony, but I enjoyed contemplating my thoughts and feelings on the Book of Mormon as "Another Testament" of the Savior. I expect the sisters to let me know who they gave it to and will follow up if anything happens.

Scripture of the Day: Hebrews 5:4

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Morning Well Spent

This morning we went here.

Were instructed by this kind gardener.

And then worked like this for two hours.

Time well spent.

Scripture of the Day: 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Thursday, August 27, 2009

O Fall

O Fall, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?

How long shall thy cool breezes be stayed, and thine leaves, yea thy colorful leaves, which adorn these heaven-reaching trees, be kept from our view, and these burning hours be penetrated with our cries?

Yea, O Fall, how long shalt thou suffer the temperatures of heated oppressions to bear down upon thy servants, before thine shortened days shall yield to gentle hours, and thy rains be moved with compassionate swells upon them?

O Noble Fall, bearer of harvests, frosts, and feasts, and of all things blessed that in them are, and who tamests and subjectest the devil heat, and the dogged and benighted dominion of Summer—stretch forth thy time; let thine flora bloom; let thy pavilion be taken up; let thy hiding place no longer be covered; let thine leaves be inclined again toward the earth; let thine stiffneckedness be softened, and thy days move with swiftness toward us.

Let thine anger be kindled against our Summer enemies; and, in the cool fury of thine generation, with thy sword avenge us of this fervid season.

Remember thy sweating saints, O Fall; and thy servants will rejoice in thee forever.

Inspired by D&C 121:1-6

(Image credit: CR Artist)

Scripture of the Day: 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stinky Boys

I just got back from carpooling Patch and four other junior high kids home from school. There were three boys and two girls in the car (excluding me), and those sweaty boys were sure stinky! I turned the air conditioner up full tilt (at 105 degrees out today it was not practical to roll down the windows) and aimed it right at my face to drive the smell away.

Sheri Dew once said in a speech she gave that {I am paraphrasing now} if were up to the world's standards, 12-year-old boys would never be given the priesthood because they are still in that "stinky" age. She was so right! Patch turns 12 in less than two months, and the other two boys in the car are already 12. All three are stinky!

(Image credit)

Scripture of the Day: 2 Thess. 2:1-3

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Carpe Diem

Children grow up so fast! Start scripture study early in the lives of your children to give them as much opportunity as possible to be under your tutelage. There will be days you miss, but the earlier you start the more days you will have the opportunity to teach them. You may think they are not learning or do not understand, but their minds and hearts will feel the Spirit that accompanies the holy scriptures.


"This is our one and only chance at mortal life — here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and non-existent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey — now" (Thomas S. Monson, November 2008 Ensign, 85).


Carpe Diem!

(Image credit)

Scripture of the Day: Ephesians 4:11-14

Monday, August 24, 2009

Member Missionary Moment #15

This post is part of a year long series where each week I strive to complete and item from a list of 101 Ways to do Member Missionary Work. Feel free to join me in the work!

Actually, there are now 102 ways to do member missionary work! My husband discovered one to add to the list. Idea #102 is: Invite a non-member friend or family member to be married by LDS clergy!

About two weeks ago a co-worker of his, Pedro, mentioned he wanted to marry his girlfriend but did not want the affair to be big and expensive. They did not have a lot of family in town, or others to invite; just a few close friends. Steve mentioned that his BIL was a Mormon bishop and might be willing to marry them for free (Pedro and his fiance live quite near our BIL). After a few days of working out details the date was set for last Saturday. The above picture is of the bride and groom at the ceremony held in their apartment. Our whole family attended and help them celebrate briefly afterward.

Scripture of the Day: 1 Corinthians 15:29

Sunday, August 23, 2009

This Book Should Come with a Warning

Warning: This book requires eight uninterrupted hours for reading; all housework, cooking, and children's needs will be fully neglected as a result. But your spouse may approve of the read after its completion ;-).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Before and After

This morning this is what I found when I went to put clean bedding on the girls' beds. I could barely even walk in their room. So although I am not sure it is right to clean kids rooms for them, I went ahead and picked up so I could make the beds. Here is what I found:

9 books on the floor
2 rolls of scotch tape
7 stuffed animals
3 pajama pants/shirts
5 pens/pencils/crayons
1 sippy cup
1 mini Twix bar unopened
1 pair of scissors
1 glue stick
Bag of piano lesson books
A whole shopping bag full of arts and crafts stuff that went in the garbage
A multitude of dollhouse toys

It took me about an hour to get it straightened up (interspersed with watching the premiere of Project Runway from last night). And here is the after shot:

They are now home from school and I am tempted to lock the door to their room for a few hours so it will stay clean!

Scripture of the Day: 1 Corinthians 15:20-22

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Not Even Once!

I read this recently and just could not resist sharing it! It is an excerpt of a talk given by Sister Wendy Watson Nelson at the World Congress of Families V in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Aug. 12, 2009. To read the talk in its entirety, click here.

Spiritually strong families are in every nation of this world. Yet, we need so many more of them! Henry B. Eyring said: "As the forces around us increase in intensity, whatever spiritual strength was once sufficient, won't be enough."1

That warning impresses me more every time I read it. I repeat:

"As the forces around us increase in intensity, whatever spiritual strength was once sufficient, won't be enough."

Let us think about what that really means:

  • Whatever spiritual strength was once sufficient, to keep our nations prospering--will not be enough now.

  • Whatever spiritual strength was sufficient to build a strong family in the twentieth century won't be enough in the twenty-first.

  • Whatever spiritual strength was once sufficient to protect our families and our nations will not be enough now. Not now that the forces attacking our families are increasing exponentially.

We've all heard the motto: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Well, we've been trying. Sociologists, psychologists, criminologists, politicians, physicians, educators, therapists and so many others have been trying---and trying again.

Isn't it time to try something different? I believe it is time to counter the insidious and relentless attack on our families and nations by dramatically increasing their spiritual strength!

How can we do that?

One answer may be in the words I saw as I was driving along a remote country road. Three words on a large sloping barn roof caught my attention. I believe those words could spiritually strengthen our families and our nations, if properly applied.

The three words on the big sloping roof of that old barn were:

Not Even Once!

Those three words in English may translate into a different number of words in other languages, but the concept has power! Think of what could happen if we each determined that from this moment on, there were certain things we would never do, or never do again -- NOT EVEN ONCE!

For example, imagine the strength to our nations that would flow if just 10 families in each village, each town, and each city around the world made and kept a commitment to NOT EVEN ONCE abuse a child or a woman–in any way

NOT EVEN ONCE to lie, or cheat, steal. Not even once!


  • to take illegal drugs

  • to look at anything pornographic

  • to be sexually impure! Not even once!

Does this sound impossible? With the help of God, it is not!

(Illustration credit)

Scripture of the Day: 1 Corinthians 10:13

Way to Go Jeff!

Congrats to my brother Jeff who was published today in an online e-newsletter! Click here to read his well-written article titled Healthcare and the Profit Motive. It touches on the Germany trip to get Harrison's stem cell treatment and the experience their family had there.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

DIY #5

I have wanted to get a nice picture of the temple up in our family room for quite some time. I have little pictures elsewhere in the house, but a good size picture I had postponed buying for a two reasons:

1. I wanted something a little different than the standard photo or the current trend of purposefully aged pictures (although they are beautiful).

2. Large prints or pictures were a bit more costly than I wanted to pay.

But last week I was reading this blog and found a beautiful artistic rendition of the Mesa temple for sale. The picture was painted by Thomas Manning and is called Mesa AZ Temple by Moonlight. I love the blue sky (blue is my fave color) and the artist's style. And since the price was very affordable I ordered one. It came first thing this week so I found a frame yesterday and hung it up today. Even better is that the proceeds for buying the print go to help the artist's mother with her health condition.

Here is a better view of the picture:

I also have a wall plaque to make to go underneath it that reads "Temple: I am going there someday" (which has been on my laundry room counter unfinished for about two years). I think I will match the blue in the picture as the background for the plaque. What do you think?

Total project cost: $40
Total project time: maybe an hour

Scripture of the Day: Romans 1:16

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

75th Scripture Tip

Last Sunday I was looking for something Sabbath-worthy for my kids to do and came up with a new scripture study tip (Yay for it being #75). I stumbled across a part of that has the illustrated Book of Mormon Stories as an audio class discussion. As you listen there is a teacher and a class; and although they mostly read from the illustrated Book of Mormon, the teacher also asks questions of his class. It was something my daughters enjoyed listening to as they followed along in the book. And I think it helped them understand some of the words and concepts better.

So if you read the Book of Mormon Stories with your kids as family scripture study and want to shake things up a bit, this is an easy way to do it. If you are interested in trying it out click here, then scroll down until you see the MP3 files to listen to. Each MP3 file covers a few chapters and is about 25 to 30 minutes in length. You may have to stop it at the end of a chapter to make it more manageable (i.e., shorter) for family scripture time.

(Illustration from Photobucket)

Scripture of the Day: Acts 7:55-56

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Miscellaneous Stuff

It has been a busy weekend--a busy week in fact. So here are a few of the details to catch you up.

- Yesterday the girls and I met up with the Irvine women (minus the California contingency) for lunch at Paradise Bakery. It was very fun to see all of them, especially Melissa who recently moved back to AZ with her DH after finishing up at BYU-Idaho.

- After lunch we hit JCPenney to exchange some jeans for Kitty; I ended up buying myself a skirt, too. I loved wearing it today.

- Then I went to a stake baptism--or at least tried to go to it. Turns out it is next weekend. I am chronically early! Just ask this friend.

- Found a picture of the SLC temple Holy of Holies to draw for my book--click here if you are interested in seeing what it looks like. Somehow James E. Talmage took a picture of it. Must have been before cameras were not allowed.

- I watched the movie Scarlet on YouTube last night. LONG movie. Not too sure about Timothy Dalton as Clark Gable's replacement. But then, no one could really replace Clark Gable. Later I found myself thinking of this Carol Burnet sketch and started laughing to myself.

- Today at church my fave seminary teacher spoke again (high council visit)--it was excellent! And then afterwards when I spoke to him in the hallway he told me how much he liked my book. It was probably the best compliment I have had all year.

- After church we came home to eat and I found I had failed to turn the crock pot on and the roast was still raw. That was a first. I guess I was rushing too much before church. What is odd is that my mom plugged in her crock pot today as well and went to church, but the circuit breaker had been tripped without her knowing, so she came home to a raw roast as well. Like mother like daughter?

- And finally, for this week's Member Missionary Moment I donated money to the missionary fund (section 2, #15). We also had a ward pool party we tried to invite friends to, but it did not work out this time. So the donation worked out instead.

Here is what LDS Philanthropies says about the full-time missionary fund: "There are more than 15,000 young men and women from international areas outside the United States who, at great personal sacrifice, are serving full-time missions in their own lands and in the U.S. Many of these missionaries come from homes where the total family income is less than $1,000 annually. Serving missions, therefore, puts a severe—if not impossible—strain on family finances. Along with family support, the Church expects their local wards and branches to pay what they can. If the family and local support is not sufficient, arrangements can be made for the General Missionary Fund to take care of the remaining expenses associated with missionary service."

Good night!

Scripture of the Day: John 17:3

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Police Beat #50

Hope you are having a fun weekend!

July 26: A 64-year-old officer on bike noticed another bicyclist riding aggressively and followed him to ask him to slow down. When the male on the bike noticed the officer following him, he began to flee and ran a stop sign. The officer followed him until the 20-year-old male on the bike was contained. He was arrested and given a citation.

(Comment: And that, my friend, is how the Tour de Provo was started.)

July 30: There was a complaint made of a green pickup parked east of the Ellsworth center that contained two dead horses and three dead deer in the trailer. Officers asked the owner to park the truck somewhere else.

(Comment: Park it like in Montana! Yuck!)

July 29: Three tenants at Wyview Park complained of headaches and were worried there may be a hazardous condition in their apartment. The apartment was checked and nothing dangerous was found.

(Comment: Did they check the refrigerator? Moldy food in there could have done the trick.)

July 30: Two people were found trespassing at LaVell Edwards Stadium at 1 a.m. for a marriage proposal. The couple was not aware that they weren’t allowed in the stadium. The officer simply asked them to leave.

(Comment: Did you know approximately 1.75% of BYU alumni were proposed to at LaVell Edwards Stadium? Half in the middle of the night. Maybe BYU guys need to get a little more creative, not to mention romantic {really? the football stadium?}.)

July 29: A man driving a Toyota Avalon followed a BYU dump truck from point of the mountain to the material handlings site located on 2230 North. The man driving the Avalon felt the dump truck was driving too fast and was being a poor representation of the university. The man driving the dump truck said he was driving between 65–70 mph on the highway. An officer mediated the situation.

(Comment: I guess Toyota Avalon guy didn't see the bumper sticker reading "How's My Driving? Call 1-801-555-5555".)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Italian Turkey Meatballs

A friend at WW mentioned making turkey meatballs and then eating them on a low-point bun with marinara or BBQ sauce as a sandwich. This sounded good to me so I decided to make some meatballs up to store in the freezer. Then I could use them for a sandwich or with pasta or even in a Stroganoff. My recipe is based loosely on this recipe--just adjusted to make it more Italian tasting.

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 small onion
1 med size carrot
1 stalk celery
1/4 chunk of med size zucchini
1/2 bell pepper
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 c. quick cooking oats
1/4 c. egg substitute (or 2 egg whites)

Place all the veggies in a food processor and chop them finely. In a bowl combine the turkey with the veggie mixture and all the remaining ingredients. Use your hands to mix thoroughly. Form turkey mixture into 2" diameter meatballs; it makes about 21 total. Bake on a cookie sheet (sprayed with non-stick spray) for 30 minutes (or until browned) at 350 degrees. Serve on a one point hot dog bun.

Each meatball is 1 WW point.

(Photo credit)

Scripture of the Day: John 14:15

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Home Evening Adventures with the Word of God

Just a little new book info to share: I was recently contacted by my editor and she confirmed my new book, Home Evening Adventures with the Word of God, will be released on October 15 this year. It will also be shown in the annual publishers conference in September. I can't believe how time is flying by--I am starting get excited and can't wait to see what the cover will look like!

If anyone out there is interested in participating in a blog tour for Home Evening Adventures with the Word of God let me know... I need to start planning!

Personal Ministry

I love this talk by Sister Bonnie Parkin. The concept of personal ministry is something we could teach more about in church I think. And the idea to "never suppress a generous thought" is really touching. Too often I talk myself out of doing kind acts because I worry I might offend or be overstepping my bounds. I am trying not to do that so much anymore. I hope you enjoy these few excerpts; click over to the full talk if you like it.

My daughter-in-law’s mother, Susan, was a wonderful seamstress. President Kimball lived in their ward. One Sunday, Susan noticed that he had a new suit. Her father had recently returned from a trip to New York and had brought her some exquisite silk fabric. Susan thought that fabric would make a handsome tie to go with President Kimball’s new suit. So on Monday she made the tie. She wrapped it in tissue paper and walked up the block to President Kimball’s home.

On her way to the front door, she suddenly stopped and thought, “Who am I to make a tie for the prophet? He probably has plenty of them.” Deciding she had made a mistake, she turned to leave.

Just then Sister Kimball opened the front door and said, “Oh, Susan!”

Stumbling all over herself, Susan said, “I saw President Kimball in his new suit on Sunday. Dad just brought me some silk from New York . . . and so I made him a tie.”

Before Susan could continue, Sister Kimball stopped her, took hold of her shoulders, and said: “Susan, never suppress a generous thought.”

Susan didn’t have an assignment to make that tie. She wasn’t hired to do so. Despite feeling a bit hesitant, she did it because it felt right. Susan had a quiet sense of mission to serve others. I was also the beneficiary of such service. Her service went beyond any calling because it lasted throughout her life. Never suppressing a generous thought became a part of her personal ministry.

Some years ago, at the conclusion of a Utah Board of Higher Education meeting, Elder Neal Maxwell submitted his resignation. He said he needed to do so to make time for his personal ministry. Most of the board members assumed he was referring to his apostleship. However, he explained that his personal ministry was different than his apostleship. His personal ministry was to comfort fellow cancer patients.

We often speak about the Savior’s ministry. But have you ever wondered if you have a personal ministry? I have.

What is personal ministry? Each of us has a personal ministry. I believe we received our personal ministry in the premortal world. It was divinely given and lasts a lifetime.

...[President Kimball taught] Remember, in the world before we came here, faithful women were given certain assignments while faithful men were foreordained to certain priesthood tasks. While we do not now remember the particulars, this does not alter the glorious reality of what we once agreed to. You are accountable for those things which long ago were expected of you just as are those we sustain as prophets and apostles!

How can we know what was entrusted to us at that time? As we accept callings and love and obey the Lord, our personal ministry unfolds. It is a sacred and precious thing. It embraces the people who come and go across the path of our life. It extends beyond our temporary callings as presidents, counselors, secretaries, teachers, and so on. It is illuminated by our patriarchal blessings. And while each of our ministries is unique, they allow us to become extensions of the Lord’s love.

Scripture of the Day: John 10:16

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

White Space

Here is an interesting tip I got from a former seminary teacher of mine: Increase the white space around your scriptures by photocopying the Book of Mormon onto 8.5" x 11" paper and then keep it together in a binder. I know photocopying the whole book sounds like a time consuming project--it is. But I have found it to be very worth the effort. The extra note-taking space somehow gets me to jot down more thoughts and ideas. I also write down questions I have about the verses I read, and then search for the answers. My overall pondering and searching increased when I have the extra margin space to use.

Too bad Deseret Book or some other publisher doesn't put out a version with more margin/note-taking space...

Scripture of the Day: John 7:17

Monday, August 10, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

We made it home from our trip today. I am glad to be home but sad to be back in such hot weather. We went to Irvine, California (where else, right?) but took a trip up to Hollywood and over to Newport Beach as well. The above picture of the kids was at a beautiful location--we had a nice picnic there before heading up to find the Hollywood sign.

Which we found after about two hours of driving--not exactly the greatest experience, but we had a lot of fun driving around in the neighborhood just below the sign. Lots of narrow, winding streets with interesting houses.

We spent an hour or so at the beach. I got sunburned. That will teach me to remember the sunblock. Here the kids were building a sand volcano. They filled it up with broken sea shells.

And finally a trip to the hotel pool. Sweetie Peach is such a little poser! The hotel was great with free bikes to ride and nice amenities. The only drawback was the convention of 2,000 teens being held at the time. At least it was a Christian Convention--I got invited to attend a worship service with them (which I politely declined as we were headed to our own).

I hope your weekend was great, too!

Scripture of the Day: John 3:5

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A little vacay

I am headed off to Cali for a little vacation. No posts over the weekend. Have a fun weekend!

(Photo credit)

Scripture of the Day: Luke 24:36-39

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hand-Me-Down Treasures

Don't you just love hand-me-downs? I do! We are lucky to get them every now and again from some friends, three different great families. Today Kitty and Sweetie Peach dove into a fun bag of hand-me-downs brought over by Amazing Becky. Kitty immediately tried on several different items. Some shorts. A shirt. Two different skirts. And then before tumbling lessons she changed into some leggings found amongst the treasure.

Thanks Becky (and Savannah and Madison)!

Scripture of the Day: Matt. 25:40

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Little Life Change is Coming

Next week school starts and my baby, Sweetie Peach, will be headed to school all day for first grade. I have really mixed feelings, but I think overall I am ready for her to go. To help stave off feelings of sadness (I know I will still cry that first day) I have begun to make a list of things I can do during my free time. Here is what I have so far... feel free to make suggestions. What would you want to do if you were in my situation?

1. Organize my home a little more. Not a lot--I don't want to spend all my time cleaning.

2. Work on my latest book; I hope to finish it this fall.

3. Go out to lunch with a friend or two.

4. Enroll in our stake institute class or take a community college class.

5. Volunteer at the kids' schools.

6. Work on some family albums--I am a little behind on these.

7. Go to the temple without worrying about the kids at home.

8. Maybe a DIY home improvement project or two--if i get a little extra $$.

9. Go to a chick flick in the middle of the day!

10. Do more indexing.

11. Run errands in a quick and efficient manner.

12. ???

It's not going to be too bad, right?

(Photo credits)

Scripture of the Day: Matt 16:15-19

Member Missionary Moment #12

This post is part of a year long series where each week I strive to complete and item from a list of 101 Ways to do Member Missionary Work. Feel free to join me in the work!

This week I accomplished something similar to #8 from the Internet section of the list: "Share photos online of a temple trip, baptism or a baby blessing." I shared the photo of Harrison and his miraculous experience both online on my blog and through e-mail notes to friends, family, and co-workers. I had lots of positive responses from co-workers who are not LDS, so I felt this was a successful missionary moment.

Above: Harrison's family is now in France; he has been nauseous and sick the past few days but is still able to sit on his own.

Scripture of the Day: Matt 6:24

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Police Beat #49

Hope your weekend is going great!

July 18: There was a dispute over a call a referee made during a soccer game. The argument became heated and the police had to make peace and escort the arguers off the field.

(Comment: Mormon sportsmanship at its finest!)

July 25: A female driving a Toyota Scion hit a motorcyclist while making a left-hand turn. The motorcyclist’s foot was hurt. The female was cited for failure to yield the right of way.

(Comment: So why do they mention the gender of the Toyota Scion driver, but not the motorcyclist? I'm guessing the author of this week's Police Beat is male. And he has a thing about female drivers, blondes, and feminism.)

July 20: A resident at Wymount Terrace called and reported that carpet layers did not clean up after themselves and worked late into the evening on his apartment. Police referred him to Housing Administration because no crime was committed.

(Comment: Maybe I should have called the police when my carpet layers charged me $50 for furniture manipulation when they moved my couch 5 five feet. That, at least, would be considered criminal.)

July 20: A tenant at Tingey Hall reported an elderly woman walking around the building. No one was found when police arrived.

(Comment: I guess only young, good-looking females are allowed to be walking around Tingey Hall.)

July 22: A report was made of someone driving on the grass at Helaman Halls. A description of the truck was given and an officer was dispatched. The officer stopped the truck and the driver said he did not remember if he drove on the grass. The driver then told the officer he could not lie and that he was guilty of driving on the grass. The driver was given a warning.

(Comment: All those Primary lessons on Choosing the Right finally paid off!)

Scripture of the Day: Matt. 5:14-16