Tuesday, August 31, 2010


The story is told about the woman who scrimped and saved for passage from England to the U.S. She carefully hoarded her money until she had just enough for fare and enough to get her started on her new life. She took her food with her and while all the other passengers went gaily off to plentiful meals in the dining room, she stayed in her cabin eating meager provisions.

On the last day of her journey, she decided to allow herself the final meal in the dining room. She perused the menu but did not see any prices listed. She chose something she thought would be inexpensive and asked the waiter how much that menu item cost. The waiter answered that all meals were included in the price of the ship's passage.

The lady could have eaten the delicious meals every day!

I wonder how often our journey through life is like that. We run and we stress and we hurry and we worry and we push ourselves. We are working for that great reward and eternal happiness. We are apt to get to the judgment seat and have our great judge ask us what joy we found in life and it will be like the V-8 commercial: We'll hit ourselves in the head and exclaim in wonder, "I could've had joy!?!"

Do I notice the joyful moments in my life? Do I relish them? Do I actually take time to have them? What do I do that brings joy into my life?

Things that bring me joy:
*serving others
*laughing with my children
*dating my husband
*eating food from my garden
*watching my children succeed
*curling up with a good book an a cup of hot chocolate
*savoring a good piece of chocolate
*time out with girlfriends
*accomplishing a goal
*finishing a project
*surprising someone
*buying something for someone else

What brings you joy?

Monday, August 30, 2010

first days

I'm finally getting first day of school pictures uploaded for my girls. Shanley's first day was Weds., Aug. 25th.
Here's the list of her favorites:
Food: Pizza
Treat: Skittles
Friends: Brooke, Madi, Allie
Subject: Dance
Color: Green
Book: I don't know
Movie: Finding Nemo
TV Show: Home Improvement (reruns)
Book of Mormon Hero: Alma the Younger
Thing to do in Spare Time: Hang Out with Friends
Thing to do on the Weekends: Hang Out with Friends
What She Wants to Be When She Grows Up: Teacher or Nurse

This is McKayla's official first-day of school photo. Thursday, August 26th

Since she had to wear her soccer jersey on her first day of school (dismissed early for a game), she wanted this to be her "back-to-school photo" (taken Fri., Aug. 27th):
Her list of favorites:
Food: Chicken Cordon Bleu
Snack: Starbursts
Friends: Brooke and Dakota
Subject: History
Color: Baby Blue or Teal
Book: The Hunger Games series
Movie: I don't know
TV Show: I don't know
Book of Mormon Hero: Nephi
Thing to Do in Spare Time: Play Soccer (what a shock!)
Thing to Do on Weekends: Hang Out with Friends
What She Wants to Be When She Grows Up: Nurse

Sunday, August 29, 2010

*miserable cold (gone through a box of tissue in a few days)
*not-a-stellar yard sale
*"Pirates of Penzance" at Hale Center Theater - not a favorite
*messy house

That about sums up my weekend.

On a brighter note, I did get to read "Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins and it was fantastic! It was dark and sad and troubling but it ended the way it should end and not in the "happily ever after" mode that I probably wanted it to end. It gave me a lot to think about. War, politics, who are our real enemies? What does war solve? When is war justified?

Friday, August 27, 2010

a Friday rant

Last year our school district had this horrid idea of having a late start for middle schoolers every Friday. They go to school 2 hours later than usual, ostensibly so that the teachers can coordinate with each other.

What it means for a parent is a CRAZY schedule:

6:37 am - bus arrives for Alec
8:00 am - Chandler leaves for school
9:50 am - McKayla and Shanley start school
1:30 pm - Chandler arrives home
2:30 pm - Alec arrives home
2:50 pm - McKayla and Shanley get out of school

Could we chop up my day any more than that?

I guess if I were lucky I could have a preschooler who went from 9 am to noon. That would finish my day off nicely.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

which day is the first?

Utah does year-round schooling in the elementary schools. I have always liked it. My children go for 9 weeks and then get a 3-week break. The break falls when students are tiring of school and I am tiring of homework. I love the first two weeks of the break and we play and do fun things. About the time I am feeling the need to get back to my normal return, it is time for them to start up again.

However, there is a downside. With children in all levels of school, I never have an actual "First Day of School" where all the children head back. Chandler started 4 1/2 weeks before the others.

In fact, to further muddy the waters, since Shanley is starting 7th grade (1st year of middle school here) she started one day before Alec and McKayla. Since McKayla is a student leader, she actually had to be at the school on Shanley's first day to help the new sevvies find their classrooms. But it's not really her first day of school.

I used to have a few traditions for the first day of school. Now that is harder. I can't hardly determine what the first day of school is. Do I celebrate everyone's first day on their own? Is McKayla's first day the first day she has to be at the school or the first day she actually has classes?

Today they are actually ALL in school - officially! However, I did have to laugh one more time. One of my traditions is to take a first day of school picture. McKayla had to wear her soccer uniform to school today (she has an "away" game) so she didn't want her picture today. She wants me to take it tomorrow when she wears a cute "first day of school" outfit. I give up!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Last Saturday Chandler, Shanley, and I went hiking up Little Cottonwood Canyon. Here's Lake Catherine from the top of the pass.

My kids are always drawn to water! Despite the freezing cold water temp, Chandler had his shoes off and was in the water moments after reaching the water's edge.

The wildflowers were gorgeous.

our newest addition

Shanley added someone to our household - a toad! She caught it and brought it home.

She now catches flies to feed it every day which is great for keeping them out of the kitchen!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

a few changes

Education Week would do me no good if I didn't incorporate something into my life. Either based on what I learned/heard or on promptings I received during the week, I am making the following changes:

*Recommit to going to bed at 9 pm
*Read my personal mission statement every Sunday so I can stay focused
*Pray as a family right before leaving for church
*Make lunch every Sunday

I have been a big proponent of the kids making their own lunch on Sundays. This makes it more of a day of rest for me and gives my children a chance to practice their cooking skills.

However, I have often felt guilty that we don't eat dinner together as a family more often. (Kevin is often out of town and we usually have soccer games). We do eat breakfast together (again, Kevin is out of town frequently).

It seemed to me that if I made Sunday lunch that would be one more meal each week that we could sit down together as a family.

Anyway, no major changes but a few little things to concentrate on. I think those little changes could have a major impact on my life.

Monday, August 23, 2010

great Ed Week quotes

Speaking of temple work and guardian angel:
"Whoever seeks to help those on the other side receives hlp n return in all areas of their life." - Elder John A Widstoe
"Perhaps if we would do our work in behalf of those unseen dead, they would help us in our hour of urgent need." - Elder John A. Widstoe
"In the gospel of Jesus Christ we have help from both sides of the veil." - Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Speaking of scriptures:
"Going to the scriptures to learn what to do, makes all the difference." - Pres. Henry B. Eyring

Speaking of the Atonement:
"The enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ strengthens us to do that which we could not do on our own."
The closer we get to God, the more the small things bother us."

Speaking of Personal Revelation:
"...before great spiritual moments, there can come adversity, opposition, and darkness." - Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
"The prompting that goes unresponded to may not be repeated" - Elder Neal A. Maxwell
"When we get revelation, write it down then ask, 'Is there more?'" - Elder Richard G. Scott
"Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in time of need." - Elder Richard G. Scott

Sunday, August 22, 2010

books I've read in the past month

I missed posting this last week when I normally would but here is the list of books I've read in the past month. I've ** the ones I highly recommend.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1) by Alan Bradley
Henry's Sisters by Cathy Lamb
The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schire
The Bar Code Tatoo by Suzanne Weyn
**Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell
The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

sin and unmet needs

I learned so much from Education Week that I'm sure my posts will be filled with things from that for the next while.

One intriguing idea was that "all sin springs from deep and unmet needs". This idea came from a talk "Jesus the Perfect Leader" given by President Spencer W. Kimball.

The instructor of the class who introduced this idea to me had once been a bishop. He said he came across this talk from Pres. Kimball and it changed how he counseled as a bishop. Instead of first addressing the sin, he would try to help the individual discover what the deep, unmet need was so that they could change the behavior.

He shared an example of a young couple (BYU students) who were ready to divorce. He found that they were surviving on rice krispies, Coke, and lemon creme cookies. He got them to change their eating habits and that turned their marriage around.

That is (I am sure) an extreme example. Still, it has caused me to reflect. What sins of mine stem from an unmet need? What is that need? How do I go about filling that need? Am I helping meet my children's unmet needs? My husband's?

Saturday, August 21, 2010


A long while ago, I wrote this post on balance. Yesterday I was sitting in class when the instructor brought up a very similar balance model (except he used emotional instead of social). He used a scripture to support this. I found that very fascinating.

Mark 12:30-31 states And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart (emotional), and with all thy soul (spiritual), and with all of thy mind (mental), and with all thy strength (physical): this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (social). There is none other commandment greater than these.

This gave me great reason to pause and reflect. Most of you who read my blog know that I struggle with getting enough sleep. I have never linked my tiredness to an inability to love God with all of my strength. This may truly give me new motivation to get to bed earlier.

I have always known we should take care of our bodies because they are a temple, because they are God's creation, and because we are created in His image. I've also known that are spirituality is affected by our physical selves. I guess I've just never taken it far enough to see that it affects my ability to love God.

Friday, August 20, 2010

family scripture study

Being at BYU Education Week means I've heard a word or two (or three or four) about family scripture study.

This got me thinking about our family scripture study. We have tried lots of methods over the years.

We have read to the kids. We have all taken turns reading. We have read the Book of Mormon all the way through 2 or 3 times as a family. Then, after one year at Ed Week, I decided it was time to have everyone read and study on their own and then we just got together as a family to share a principle we had found in the scriptures. (I thought this would teach them to find principles). We have bribed each of them with dinner out when they finish reading the Book of Mormon on their own.

Currently, we are trying to make it fun! We switch things up more. A couple times a week we study the words of current leaders (i.e. General Conference talks). Sometimes we all discuss a particular verse (chosen by me). Sometimes we all study on our own and find a principle to share. Sometimes I assign a different scripture to each family member and then they share the principle found therein.

In addition, every time a family member reads a page of scripture they get to eat a Hershey Kiss. (Chandler got to eat 12 Kisses today!)

Also, Brakston has challenged McKayla to a race to see which of them can read the Book of Mormon first.

It seems to me that no matter how good an idea is, you have to change things up frequently to keep the kids motivated and interested. What has worked for your family?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Education Week

I've spent this week at Education Week at BYU. I'm loving it so far!

I look forward to this week every year. It provides a spiritual boost and a plethora of ideas. Over the years, I have incorporated many of the things I've learned into my teaching methods or into my family practices or into my own personal habits. I have also gained a great deal of knowledge about the scriptures.

The theme this year is "Teach one another words of wisdom". However, the message that I've received is to have more trust in the Lord. I need to be better about laying my cares and concerns at His feet and not allowing myself to feel stressed and heavy-hearted.

I always find it interesting that although a theme may be chosen for a conference or a talk, I hear what I need to hear.

(Two more days at BYU...so excited!)

Yellowstone Trip - Day Four

Thursday was a lot of fun! We headed to Old Faithful and got there just shortly after it had erupted (gotta love our great timing!) so it gave us time to hike around the area. We made the 2.8 mile (round trip) to Morning Glory Pool. Can you believe these colors?

We saw some smaller geysers.

This is Chromatic Pool - again, I love the colors.

And finally, it was time for Old Faithful to erupt again!

Then we drove up to Fountain Paint Pot.

We saw more wildlife. I have to admit that deer are my favorite animals. I think they are beautiful! Truly one of God's masterpieces!

Then we headed back to camp and spent a long afternoon kayaking on Yellowstone Lake. This was one of the highlights for me. I really enjoyed it! (Now I want a kayak). Chandler took Alec so that Alec would have the opportunity to go (Alec can't go by himself and he and I can't fit in a kayak at the same time)

Shanley kayaking.

Kayakin was Chandler's favorite part of the trip. He went twice and spent hours on the lake.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

no romance for me!

Driving home from soccer practice tonight, Chandler and I had this conversation:

Chandler: Eeuw! (insert most sarcastic voice) How romantic - two people kissing in the parking lot.

Me: What do you know about romantic?

Chandler: I don't have a clue!

(Good answer, son. Let's keep it that way for 15 more years!)

Yellowstone Trip - Day Three

We spent most of Wednesday in Cody, Wyoming. I lived there from 8 years of age until I was 20. We visited the murals and visitor's center and then had a picnic in the park. Almost everyone went to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center (one of the best museums).

I chose to go see some of my old stomping grounds. This is where I attended 4-H meetings (I took cooking and sewing - I wasn't an animal lover then either).

Here's my high school - Cody High. We were the Broncs and Fillies.

This is the first home we lived in. I don't think it has changed much over the years.

This was our second home - in the Valley View subdivision. It looks much different. For instance, they've added the drive-thru driveway in the front yard. They also sold the lot where we had our 1/2 acre garden and now there is a home right next to this one (practically touching).

This was our third home - on Cedar Lane. I lived here during my high school years. My parents actually lived in a 4th home but since they moved there after I got married, I visited that home but never actually lived there.

I worked at this Dairy Queen. It still has the same owners - Jon and Vicki Clark.

I also worked at Big Horn Glass Company. I did bookkeeping and billing during a couple of summers. I even learned to cut glass and fix screens.

On the way back to camp we stopped at the "beach" of Yellowstone Lake. My children are totally "water babies". I usually claim that they are part fish. They all love the water and love any vacation that involves water.

We also stopped a some mud pots - Dragon's Mouth and Mud Volcano.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Yellowstone Trip - Day Two (part one)

On Tuesday we drove up to Mammoth. We saw hundreds of buffalo - a lot of them right off the road. In fact, one of them ran onto the road and looked like it was going to headbutt the small car in front of us.

By the end of the day, we were actually sick of the buffalo because they caused huge, long traffic delays. Even though there were hundreds of them, I think people felt they needed to stop and take a picture of every single one of them.

We finally made it to Mammoth and enjoyed things like this "Liberty Cap" - a dormant hot spring cone.

Another scene from Mammoth

On the way back to the campsite we stopped to see Falls, hot springs, mud pots, and just about anything else that looked scenic

We saw tons of wildlife this day - buffalo, antelope, deer, moose, elk, and a coyote. It was the first time I've seen a coyote (in the wild). We also saw this scary creature (gotta love camp hair!)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Yellowstone Trip - Day Two (part two)

The whole day was so scenic (heck, all of Yellowstone is amazingly scenic!).

We loved seeing the Upper and Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.


The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone