Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sick Day

I had a post all ready last night, but when I went to publish blogger wasn't working and I lost it all. I would redo it tonight, but we have been hit quite suddenly with stomach flu and I'm going to bed. I'm just grateful that mine hit after I got the boys to bed and that so far Colin hasn't shown signs of it yet.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Counting my blessings

Just grateful today that I was able to get some much needed, long put off clothes for Miles on sale today. I have never paid full price for kids clothes and I thought I was going to have to; Miles really couldn't go any longer without some pants that fit him and it is so hard to find white church shirts so I'm glad I was able to find them today. I wish I would have bought one for Colin as well. I can make do with my clothes for the time being, but my boys seem like they grow out of things over night! Bless their sweet little hearts!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"I need something to do"

Today was such a delightful day. Miles was such a joy!
We spent the morning playing with play dough, playing with Colin and reading books. He got to watch a PBS show and we took a little excursion to the store.

He didn't throw any tantrums or have any accidents. He didn't once say to me the phrase I have been hearing quite a lot lately; "I need something to do." Usually he says this phrase after I tell him not to such and such or don't play with that. I've been thinking lately that if I focus on giving him good activities to occupy his time, he has less opportunity and less motivation to seek out trouble.

I think this is a metaphor for adults as well. If we occupy our time doing things that are worthwhile, we are busy being engaged in doing good and less likely to fall down destructive paths. If we fill our days with wholesome activities, studies and uplifting pursuits we feel less temptation to waste away our days.

This is an area I constantly struggle with. Time management and organizational skills are not my strong suit. Everyday I feel like I'm fighting against my nature in being more focused and less scatterbrained and half the time it feels like I'm losing the battle. But I hope (even though it may be years and years down the road) I can work toward this goal and become better at focusing on the most important things. Not spending my time on the things that don't matter, don't have value and distract me from what's really important.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

To the Edge of the Light

Tonight I was glancing at my bookshelf and "Memorable Stories with a Message" by Boyd K. Packer caught my eye. It took me back to almost a year ago when Jared had turned down one job offer and he didn't have anything else in the works. One night I was telling Jared I was so tired of all these trials and how hard it was to have faith that something would work out for us. Jared pulled down this book and read this short story to me:

"Shortly after I was called as a General Authority, I went to Elder Harold B. Lee for counsel. He listened very carefully to my problem and suggested that I see President David O. McKay. President McKay counseled me as to the direction I should go. I was very willing to be obedient but saw no possible way for me to do as he counseled me to do.
I returned to Elder Lee and told him that I saw no way to move in the direction I was counseled to go. He said, "The trouble with you is you want to see the end from the beginning" I replied that I would like to see at least a step or two ahead. Then came the lesson of a lifetime: "You must first learn to walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness, then the light will appear and show the way before you" Then he quoted these eighteen words from the Book of Mormon:" Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith" (Ether 12:6)"

After Jared read this to me my prideful self retorted that I felt like we had already been walking in the darkness for a long time. Jared replied, "No, we're not; we know exactly what is going to happen up until graduation, Then we'll be walking in the darkness."

I've thought about this many times since then. When the second job offer came and we had to make a decision Jared received a blessing from our friend Jeff in which he said that we needed to "walk into the darkness." That was the end of last April- one month before graduation.

Even with Jared in China I still feel like we're walking in darkness only we now have been given a flashlight. So many variables are unknown such as visas, travel plans, living situations, etc. But hopefully soon we'll find the mouth of the cave and really step into the light.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I know it's long but read it, you'll be glad you did!

This account is actually about how some friends of ours in Hong Kong spent this past Christmas. I think it is so amazing and I hope someday I can do something half as wonderful as this:

Our 2009 Christmas service project was probably at once the most demanding and most rewarding experience our little family has yet had together. I have written below a brief account of this year's trip, and have posted some accompanying pictures at HelpOneFuture's Flickr page. Actually, you might want to think twice before reading and clicking through the pictures, as odds are you'll end up deciding to join us next year!

Our project this year was focused on children's books. This came about partly because we know how much our own kids love books and partly out of a desire to give something that would last longer than the current school year. After spending some time thinking about the location for the project, we decided to concentrate on the areas around Bayombong, in the Nueva Vizcaya province. Initially, this was because we decided that it would be nice to spend Christmas with the family of a Filipino who works for us and has become our friend, Elnora Cadauan. The thinking was that this would not only allow her to see her children (left behind in the Philippines when she came to Hong Kong seeking work, and with whom we would fall in love), but would take us to a relatively remote, mountainous area of a country that we mainly associated with beaches. However, after we told her we were going to her hometown for this year's Christmas project, we soon realized the fantastic but unintended consequences of our decision.

Elnora immediately set to work contacting her former colleagues and friends in town and in the surrounding provincial governments. She found out which of the nearby schools had chronically received the lowest levels of funding. We learned that funding levels are typically determined by three variables: 1) distance from major city, 2) size of school population and 3) average per capita income of the area. In sum, those schools that are the smallest, farthest from town and among the poorest segments of the population are allocated the least amount of government spending on a per pupil basis.

With these facts in mind, we selected 12 schools located in the mountains to the west of Bayombong that could use some help. We contacted the principals of each school, as well as the mayors of the municipalities in which the schools are located. We queried them on the state of the schools, with particular focus on the condition of the library. As we suspected, none of the schools had any library at all. The most that any of the schools had was a few ancient textbooks to be shared among all the pupils, and only used during school hours. We told the principals that we would like to help their schools with a small library of children's books. We asked the principals to help provide logistical support to get the books from Bayombong up into the mountains, as well as coordinate help from from the administration, faculty and PTA to help cover the books with a plastic covering to extend the book's life and implement a book check-out system.

A great source of unanticipated help came from Elnora's cousin Dax, a law student living in Manila with a real love for books. After hearing of our trip from Elnora, Dax asked if he could join our efforts by helping us select some appropriate Tagalog/English books in Manila. We agreed, and he spent numerous days in bookstores in Manila, negotiating prices with the stores and picking out the best books for elementary students. We picked these books up when we flew into Manila on our way to Bayombong. Dax also was of great service in finding accommodations for us while we were in Manila, as well as giving us good running commentary on government and politics.

The second day after we arrived in Bayombong, we came into contact with the leaders of a local church group. After we told them what we were doing, and mentioned that we were open to anyone who wanted to help, they introduced us to the folks in charge of the youth section of the church. Since the youth were all out of school on Christmas vacation, they predicted that there may be a few who would like to help out. This turned out to be an understatement, to say the least. We asked them to instruct any interested youth to meet us the next morning to make the first trip up into the mountains. The next morning, more than 20 teenage (and 20- and 30-something) Filipinos were waiting for us when we arrived.

The targets for the first distribution were four schools in the Ambagio municipality. We set off that morning in a jeepney. It had been raining the night before, but we did not clearly understood what implications this had for the roads leading up into the mountains. The driver of the jeepney mentioned nothing (although clearly aware of the roads' conditions), but after driving for 45 minutes or so, up a dirt (mud) road, we were stuck. After trying for a half hour or so to get the thing unstuck (bouncing up and down on the back bumper and trowing rice husks under the spinning wheels), we resigned ourselves to the fact that the jeepney was going nowhere soon. The group, now up to around 30 people, got out and started walking up the muddy, steep road leading to the school while the driver made phone calls to try and find someone to pull his jeepney out of the mud. Because he was also the son of the former mayor, he was able to call in a few favors and get the baranguy captain to come and load the group into the back of the town four-wheel-drive dump truck.

The dump truck took us to the first two schools. The reception at each school, which would eventually be repeated at every school we visited, was unexpected and touching. Tables had been set up for the book covering work, teachers and students were waiting, and piles of food were laid out. We were moved by their gratitude and expressions of hospitality.

After working on covering the books for some time, we realized that the dump truck was no longer waiting for us outside the school, and we started trying to figure out how we were going to get to the place where we were supposed to spend the night. This was the source of confusion for about the next 4-5 hours, as night and rain fell. Apparently the dump truck driver decided that he had other things to do and left, considering his work done. Everyone was in good spirits except for those in charge, as plans needed to be made for 30 people to spend the night on the school floor, and all we had for food was a few packets of ramen noodles. Picture that these schools are only accessible by dirt road and are bare-bones with wooden floors and cinder block walls. A second dump truck was eventually sent to collect us after a few semi-heated calls to the mayor were placed. Although many in the group wished to go back down the mountain, we were told that the roads were unsafe and that we needed to continue up to the next town, where we had made arrangements to spend the night.

The house we had planned to stay in was relatively large, but we had not anticipated a group of 30. People sprawled out over the floors and the few available beds, and most spent a chilly night on the hard floor with a smattering of threadbare blankets for protection against the misty chill. Through it all everyone remained in good spirits and, in classic teenage style, most of the youth spent the time singing, laughing and joking around.

The next morning our group split in half, with some of us staying at the house to cover books that were to be picked up by teachers from a nearby school. On the advice of one of the school principals, these books would be placed on a quarterly rotational system among 4 different schools, none of which currently had books. The other members of the group headed off on a hike to Ammoweg, which was down in the bottom of a steep, winding river valley.

The Ammoweg elementary school was situated on a flat area the size of a couple of (US) football fields in a bend of the river, the type of shallow, wide and swift running river that is common in the western mountain regions of the US. It was serenely beautiful -- and more than once we thought about just not going back to Hong Kong. The round trip hike took around 5 hours, all of it through gorgeous jungle forests, interspersed with the occasional sweet potato, rice or other vegetable farm.

The next morning was December 23, and we visited three schools that day: Magapuay, Paitan and Amococan. This time we started out riding in the back of a dump truck. We later found out that the driver committed to stay with us the entire day, missing his Christmas party, so that we could visit all of the schools without further transportation difficulties. Again we were humbled by the gratitude of the schools, their staff and the children. Some had put up banners to welcome us, some sang us songs and all fed us. Although maybe to the eyes of an outside observer the gift of a stack of books that would hardly fill up a full-length shelf in the libraries of their elementary school would seem underwhelming, to those we visited it was magical. Students would sit with us the entire day, poring over the books and exchanging excited recounts of the stories they held. We sometimes sat back and just watched them, thinking about our own childhoods filled with books and warmed with a joy that came from knowing that something we loved had been shared with a truly grateful recipient.

Christmas eve and Christmas day were spent with Elnora's immediate and extended family. Christmas day was particularly fun for our family, with lunch and activities out on an old family farm. The farm was literally overflowing with dozens of kind welcoming people, with children running all over the place and way too much food.

The day after Christmas, we headed back up into the mountains, this time in the province of Kayapa. After some consideration, we decided that we should follow the example of the rotational system that we implemented in Ambagio, so that the books could be used by an even greater number of students. We contacted the principals of the schools we had planned on visiting, and they agreed it was the best use of the new resources.

With this plan, our group (large again and packing two jeepneys to the brim with teenage volunteers) met the principals, teachers and some students at the central town in the Kayapa municipality. There we spent all day covering books and preparing the checkout system. Again, I was amazed at the level of dedication and selflessness demonstrated by the group of youth, laboring with love throughout the day and into the night to provide unknown children with the gift of books (while many of them also went to schools where libraries didn't exist). We eventually made it back to Bayombong late that night, and took the entire group to the local pizza joint to thank them and celebrate a job well done.

This was a bitter-sweet moment for us all. We had done a decent amount of work, and now our stacks of books were gone - over 4,000 books were now ready to check out at 12 different schools. We had spent the majority of our Christmas vacation traveling through the tree covered mountains and hunched over dilapidated school desks. We had witnessed a real spirit of giving by a group of selfless teenagers, and had been overwhelmed by the gratitude of the schools we visited. We had hopefully spent a Christmas deserving of its namesake.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Tonight Jared and I said our prayers together over the phone. It's amazing how much peace and comfort it brought me and how close we felt even though we're oceans apart. I miss him so much, especially after a few really rough days. But I felt again that it's going to be alright and I can get through this.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My change of heart

To an outsider looking in, it might appear that I have become somewhat of a religious zealot lately. I guess the only way for me to describe it is that I feel like for the first time in my life I've experienced a "mighty change of heart."

I have never before felt such a love for my Heavenly Father and my Savior, and such an earnest desire to serve them in all I do. I have always had a testimony, but lately I just feel something more; something stronger. A desire to serve my My Savior more fully and more faithfully. I think I'm finally experiencing what missionaries must have as they dedicate their lives to the work.

Mosiah 5:2
“Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”

In the article "Preserving the Heart's Mighty Change" by Elder Renlund given in this past October General Conference, he discusses the concept of a heart transplant and the care that must be taken in order to avoid the rejection process. He likens this medical process to that of a spiritual process.

"Indeed, equal, if not greater, care must be taken with a spiritually changed heart than with a physically transplanted heart if we are to endure to the end."

"How did they successfully endure to the end? We know that they were “distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end.(Alma 27:27)”
Their zeal towards God likely reflects an eagerness to please God and worship Him with fervor and passion. Their zeal towards men suggests an ardent interest in helping and serving others. Being perfectly upright and honest in all things suggests that they held their covenants firmly and did not rationalize their commitments to God or man. We further know that they taught their children the gospel in their homes. We know that they buried their weapons of war, distancing themselves from temptations.
They must have frequently assessed the condition of their spiritually changed hearts. They did not simply assume that all was well. By figuratively examining their changed hearts, they could identify any early hardening or rejection and treat it."

These past few days have been stressful as I've dealt with feeding issues with Colin and juggling the remainder of things to be done before we leave. Consequently I've let some things slide. I want so dearly to maintain this "mighty change of heart." I know it is the way to peace and happiness in my life.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Nightly Prayers

3 Nephi 18:21
"Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed"

One of the things I miss most about Jared being gone is our nightly prayer together. It's one of the reasons I have followed him in his "night owl" ways and always stay up as late as he does. We always always say our family prayer and our couples prayer together at night. We started this ritual long before we got married. When we were dating we would always end our nights together with prayers.

My husband is a better person than I am. No matter how mad I am at Jared he insists that we still say prayers together. And quite often it turns out that I have to forgive him because it's hard to stay mad when you're talking to Heavenly Father.

I love to hear Jared say prayers almost as much as I love to hear him talk in church(he always gives such wonderful talks). When he prays I can really feel how much he loves Heavenly Father and how he has developed a personal loving relationship with Him. It makes me want draw closer to my Heavenly Father and have more love for him as well.

I know that our prayers together have strengthened our marriage. Prayer has been such a positive force for good in our marriage that I really felt it's absence between us.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Needs Met

"God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom. The people of the Church need each other’s strength, support, and leadership in a community of believers as an enclave of disciples. In the Doctrine and Covenants we read about how important it is to '… succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.' (D&C 81:5.) So often, our acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving mundane help with mundane tasks, but what glorious consequences can flow from mundane acts and from small but deliberate deeds!" -Spencer W. Kimball

I'm so grateful for the wonderful people who bless my life through their acts of service.

We had Colin's four month check yesterday and he has only gained 14oz in the past two months. He's dropped from the 50% to the 10% in weight. So to add to all the other stress I suddenly was thrown into a panic about my baby.

I'm so grateful for my sweet friend Jen who was there today to give me comfort and much needed moral support. I'm grateful for my wonderful brother-in-law who was there tonight to give me a blessing. I'm grateful for my sweet sister who fed me dinner last night after a really long emotional day.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Love it

This has always been one of Jared's favorite songs by Alison Krauss. I love the words and she has the voice of an angel:

"If I could have the world and all it owns
A thousand kingdoms, a thousand thrones
If all the earth were mine to hold
With wealth my only goal

I'd spend my gold on selfish things
Without the love that Your life brings
Just a little bit more is all I'd need
'Til life was torn from me

I'd rather be in the palm of Your hand
Though rich or poor I may be
Faith can see right through the circumstance
Sees the forest in spite of the trees
Your grace provides for me

If I should walk the streets no place to sleep
No faith in promises You keep
I'd have no way to buy my bread
With a bible for my bed

But if I trust the One who died for me
Who shed His blood to set me free
If I live my life to trust in You
Your grace will see me through

I'd rather be in the palm of Your hand
Though rich or poor I may be
Faith can see right through the circumstance
Sees the forest in spite of the trees

If I could have the world
If I could have the world and all it owns"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Matt 6:28-30, 32
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he not provide for you, if ye are not of little faith"....."For your Heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things"

Today I sorted through what is left of our possessions. Pretty much it consisted of family pictures, some books, a few dishes and some decorations. Almost all our furniture has been sold and a lot of things given away. I know I've tried to give off the illusion that it's okay with me, selling off or leaving almost everything we own back in the states, but the truth is, it has been very hard. We are only going to be able to take four 50lb suitcases of our stuff. So no family pictures, none of my mother's quilts, my anniversary vase, my jewelry chest, hardly any of Miles books and toys, none of my Cephalon pans or kitchen stuff (though I have to take my Henckel chef and paring knives-those are irreplaceable!).
One thing that has made it a easier in giving away things is that we've been able to help people in even worse financial situations then ourselves. I was so glad that I was able to give a lot of my nice clothes away to a friend whose husband is in a PhD program and who has six kids. We were able to leave our bedroom set at Jared's dad's house and give the furniture there to a family who needed it. And some of my kitchen stuff, some bedding and other things are going to another sister in Jared's mom's ward.

I have faith that Heavenly Father will take care of us. This scripture gave me a lot of comfort as I sent Jared off last week. I have to believe that He will watch over my dear husband and provide for him as it says in this scripture.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Just Smile

Tonight for Family Home Evening we read a story together out of the Friend Magazine. My mom got a subscription for Miles over a year ago and he loves it! It is "his magazine" and he loves being read to out of it.

Tonight we read "Just Smile" In it the little boy is told by his mother that all he needs to do to befriend a little girl who doesn't speak English is "just smile."

It is applicable to me because soon I will be in a country where I am going to be the one not understanding the language and I might have to use a lot of smiles to say, "hello," "thank you," or "sorry."

But also I think it was a reminder to me that sometimes that is all it takes to make a friend is a smile. I think sometimes in new situations I tend to hold back at first and avoid eye contact, because I am uncomfortable meeting new people. It's something I really need to get over, especially moving to a foreign country.

Just a cute little story and a tender little reminder to be more friendly.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I think it is interesting that the first commandment given on the earth pertained to Adam and Eve's potential to be parents.
Gen 1:26 "And God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth"
I also think it is interesting what Adam named his wife.
Gen 3:20 "And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living."

I love Sister Beck's timeless talk from Spring Conference 2004, A "Mother Heart"
"I was recently at a park where I met a group of women with mother hearts. They were young, covenant-keeping women. They were bright and had obtained advanced degrees from respected universities. Now they were devoting their considerable gifts to planning dinner that evening and sharing housekeeping ideas. They were teaching two-year-olds to be kind to one another. They were soothing babies, kissing bruised knees, and wiping tears. I asked one of those mothers how it came about that she could transfer her talents so cheerfully into the role of motherhood. She replied, “I know who I am, and I know what I am supposed to do. The rest just follows.” That young mother will build faith and character in the next generation one family prayer at a time, one scripture study session, one book read aloud, one song, one family meal after another. She is involved in a great work. She knows that “children are an heritage of the Lord” and “happy is the [woman] that hath [a] quiver full of them” (Ps. 127:3, 5). She knows that the influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily mothering is far more lasting, far more powerful, far more influential than any earthly position or institution invented by man. She has the vision that, if worthy, she has the potential to be blessed as Rebekah of old to be “the mother of thousands of millions” (Gen. 24:60)."

This description matches countless women that I know and love. Strong, beautiful, intelligent women who find nobility in motherhood. Women who realize that nobody else should, nor could raise their children as well as they can. Nobody else will teach them what they need to know to make it through the pitfalls and dangers of this mortal existence. Women who are more involved in making memories than in making money.

Sometimes I feel guilty about not using my degree more. Sometimes I feel burdened by the lack of income and the big difference I could make toward it. But then I look at my angel boys and I know I'm right where I need to be and that nobody could take my place in their lives.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Faith in the Future

Last night I read Elder Hollands's article in this January Ensign entitled, "The Best is Yet to Be."
I really liked this paragraph:
"As a new year begins and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives. "

I have been guilty of yearning too much for the past. I have such fond memories of Indiana and the friends I made there that sometimes I just want to go back to that time. It was easy; it was fun. Life seems to have gotten much more complicated and hard since we left Purdue. In some ways I feel like I had a better emotional support system there with all my dear girlfriends than I have here in Salt Lake. At times I feel that things will never get any easier and we're just going to have so many challenges living in China.

I can see now that looking wistfully back at the past has hindered my faith in the future. I know we will have challenges that other do not have, but they have trials that I cannot comprehend. I feel that the last few months have been a refiners fire, making me more humble and faithful(though there is a long way to go). Would I really want to trade all that personal growth for the person I was then? Definately not! I know I was more selfish and prideful. I know I was further away from my sweet husband and from the Lord.

I still have to catch myself sometimes from wishing away the future that is before me. It is fear not faith that is taking hold when I do that. I have to remind myself of the beauty of life mixed in the the challenges and all the reasons I have to have faith and hope in our family's future.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Thanks to the sweet people who have sent me emails telling me they like
my new blog.
I want to make it a sort of daily "Chicken Soup for the Soul" kind of a thing. Something to get at least a daily scripture or spiritual thought even if with your hectic day you don't have time to sit down and read a whole chapter or article.
I appreciate your support!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Strength training

To say that I have mixed emotions about Jared leaving would be an understatement:
I'm nervous to be a single parent for the next (at the least) three months. I'm slightly worried about finances with him there and me still here. I miss him already. I'm worried about my boys being without their daddy for so long. I feel so sad at all the things that Jared will miss Colin doing.

But more than all of these concerns, my most prevalent feeling is that I'm so very grateful that this is finally happening and that he is finally going where we know we were supposed to be.

Somehow at the airport yesterday I was not the emotional wreck that I had pictured myself. I didn't even cry. Part of this is that I already did my crying on Monday, but in truth, I know that the Lord is giving me strength to do this.

Mosiah 24:15 says
"And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord"

I have felt that this scripture has had particular meaning to me lately. I don't thing my burdens are getting any easier, especially with Jared leaving, but I do think I am bearing them better.
I think the key part of this scripture is "the Lord did strengthen them." Much like how muscles are strengthened. If you think about it, we have to push or pull against some sort of resistance before we strengthen our muscles. It doesn't happen all of a sudden; it takes days, weeks or months to build muscle strength. I don't think that the burdens were actually made lighter for the people of Alma, but that the previous trials they had gone through made them emotionally and spiritually stronger. I think it starts to come easier because of the experiences that you been through, the faith that has grown, and prayers that have been answered. And you find that that 50 lb trial is easy to move even though when you started out you were having trouble with the 10 lb trials.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


From Middle English godbwye; contraction of God be with ye

I think it's beautiful that when you say goodbye to someone, in a way you are actually pronouncing a blessing or a prayer upon them. It should help us to have more charity to those we greet and part from throughout the day. It's sad that in our culture this word has lost so much of it's original meaning.

Jared left for Shanghai this morning.
Goodbye, my love. Or rather "God be with you till we meet again"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Two Witnesses

Today I had to run to the bank to get a document notarized.

The purpose of a Notary is really to be a second witness. In most cases they verify that something is accurate; in this case I am who I said I am.
That got me thinking about the scriptures that say "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established."
There are 6 scriptures which make reference to this phrase: Deut 17:6; Matt 18:16; 2 Cor 13:1; Ether 5:4; D&C 6 :28, D&C 128:3
I think it is very interesting that this phrase was repeated so often. It makes sense that two or three witnesses are stronger than just taking one person's word for it. It is interesting that not only is this stated in the scriptures, but it is also reflected in our modern culture.
Even from a logical view, it makes sense that the Lord would establish another witness(Another Testament) of our the Savior's life, words, and ministry. The Book of Mormon.
Book of Mormon itself contains the testimony of the three witnesses and the eight witnesses as further proof of authenticity.

This example of "two or three witnesses" is also another explanation for why missionaries proselyte in pairs. So they may both testify and witness through their testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel.
In Alma 9:6 the people stated, "And they said Who is God, that sendth no more authority than one man among this people, to declare unto them the truth of such great and marvelous things?"
And then in Alma 10:12
"And now, when Amulek had spoken these words the people began to be astonished, seeing there was more than one witness who testified of the things whereof they were accused,"

I know that there are two witnesses of Christ and they both testify of Him. That He is who He said he was, the Only Begotten of the Father and the Savior of us all.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Good News

While staying at my parents house this past fall, Jared was given the opportunity to direct the Young Men/Young Women road show. On Friday Jared attended the funeral of one of those young men, who tragically ended his life early. He had a mental illness and had not been doing well for some time, but no one could have foreseen that he would do something that drastic.
In talking about his death with someone, that person expressed her pity for the family and expressed her opinion that the young man's family would never be able to get over it; that you just don't ever get over losing a child.
This conversation got me thinking. No offense meant to that person, but I don't believe the same thing. I believe that while his family may never stop missing him, that the good news is that they can be healed from this pain.
Please don't think I'm being callous or discounting the suffering of this family. Until recently I never understood how someone could suffer such heartbreaks and still want to go on living. I have never experienced that kind of a loss, but I have known considerable heartache lately. I have had days where I thought how could I go on when it feels like my heart would break from the pain caused by others words and actions.
The good news is that through our Savior and His Atonement, we can be healed from all pain and suffering. He has said (Matt 11:28-29) "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden...and ye shall find rest in your souls."
The good news is that because He suffered all things, we need not suffer (D&C 19:16).
The good news is that because Christ was resurrected, so too shall we be resurrected. (Mosiah 16:8) "There is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ."
The good news is that our Savior has sent us the Comforter (John 14:26) or the Holy ghost to bring peace and comfort to us in our darkest hours if we but turn to our Father in Heaven in prayer.
The good news is that is that He has said (Mark 5:34) "Daughter thy faith hath made thee whole."
"Come cast your burden on the Lord and trust his constant care...Why should this anxious load press down your weary mind? Haste to your Heavenly Father's throne and sweet refreshment find"(How Gentle God's Commands, Hymns,#125)
The good news is that I have found there is comfort and peace even in the midst of turmoil and I pray this family can find this to be true in their lives as well.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Come, Get Ready!

Yesterday I got out of the shower and all I wanted to do was climb right back in bed. So I did for a few minutes. Jared on his way out the door called back to me, "Come get ready."
I lay there for a little longer enjoying a few more minutes of laziness, but his words made me think.
Come, get ready
I don't know why but it made me think about the Parable of the Ten Virgins and how this is our Savior's invitation to all of us.
Matthew 25:10 "...the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage...
This morning almost the first thing Miles said to me was, "Get ready, Mommy, Get ready"
Sometimes it's so easy to just slink by in life, not doing anything wicked, but just being lazy as to spiritual things. I have been there more often than not. Jared and I have had discussions about how many times we do things that seem urgent at the time, but really are not all that important. Then there are things that are important but not urgent. Babies and children have a way of always being urgent and at the same time are very important. Our favorite t.v. show or a sports game is something that is very urgent, but is it really that important? Our daily scripture study and daily prayers are so very important but as they're not urgent, they often gets pushed aside by the urgency and deadlines of other things. Unless we make time for them they often get pushed aside again and again as we go about the day getting lost in busy nothings.

Modern prophets have communicated that the Parable of the Ten Virgins does not refer to the general populous, but to the members of the church.
“The ten virgins belonged to the kingdom and had every right to the blessings—except that five were not valiant and were not ready when the great day came. They were unprepared through not living all the commandments. They were bitterly disappointed at being shut out from the marriage—as likewise their modern counterparts [members today who are not prepared] will be” (President Spencer W. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 8).
Come, Get ready
Just a reminder to myself to not get lost in the business of my days and forget to prepare myself spiritually.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Safety for the Soul

Last night I sat down with the Conference edition of the Ensign and read Elder Holland's address Safety for the Soul. Wow. I don't think anyone who watched this talk live could forget it. As I was reading I could hear Elder Holland's voice in my head. His testimony was so passionate and his words so stirring.
I'm so grateful for the Book of Mormon. My words seem insipid and not nearly adequate for the love I have for this book and it's influence in my life. It has power to lift our spirits and to heal our hearts and help us put off the natural man and turn back to our Savior. At times I have been lackadaisical in my study of it, but lately I've realized it's power in my life and my constant need for daily spiritual nourishment by the word.
I quote Elder Holland "God always provides safety for the soul, and with the Book of Mormon, He has done that in our time. Remember this declaration by Jesus Himself: "Whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived" -and in the last days neither your heart nor your faith will fail you."

Monday, January 4, 2010

Because I have been given much

Two weeks ago Jared and I spoke in sacrament meeting. I just want to share a portion of my talk with you.
My heart is so full of love for my Heavenly Father and his goodness. Last week I was sitting in the temple and had the realization that all too often during my prayers I mostly express gratitude to the Lord for my material blessing and do not spend enough time being grateful for my spiritual blessings.
Brothers and Sisters, I want you to think about what blessing you value most in this life. I’m willing to bet that it isn’t your cars or your house, or your nice jobs. It’s our family relationships, our temple covenants and the redeeming power of the Savior’s atonement.
I want to read a hymn to you which has always held meaning for me, but has now taken on a deeper meaning as I have exercised more gratitude for these spiritual blessings. Emphasis and my own personal thoughts added. Please thing of your spiritual, not material blessings as I read this to you.

Because I have been given much, I too must give;
Because of thy great bounty, Lord, each day I live(for it is by His Plan of Salvation that we are here);
I shall divide my (spiritual) gifts from thee
With every brother(not neighbor, not stranger, not foreigner) that I see
Who has the need of help from me(how else are they to receive the gospel if we don’t share it).

Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care,
I cannot see another’s lack and I not share
My glowing fire(my testimony), my loaf of bread(Jesus, the Bread of Life),
My roof’s safe shelter overhead(the commandments of the gospel and the protection that they bring),
That he too may be comforted(Or given the gift of the Comforter).

Because I have been blessed by thy great love, dear Lord,
I’ll share thy love again, according to thy word.
I shall give love to those in need;
I’ll show that love by word and deed:
Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Brand New Year- A Brand New Blog

I have been having a hard time updating my family blog lately. It's not that I don't have a lot to say. Quite the contrary. I have so much I want to say about my feelings and so much to be grateful for, but I feel that it sounds trite mixed in with the pictures, recipes, and updates on our family blog.
So I have resolved to make a new blog geared toward the more spiritual things in my life and
I want to share these things because I truly have been so blessed these past few months and I hope that it will be an uplifting blog to all that read it.
Also as I am moving to a country where the gospel is not currently being proclaimed, I feel that having this blog will be a daily encouragement to me to remember to be actively engaged in studying the scriptures and the gospel, not just being a "Sunday Mormon."
Please feel free to read and if you have a desire to, please share it with others.