10 December 2017

A happy birthday of sorts

On November 14th this little blog of mine turned 10.

I can't hardly believe it myself.

What started out as an experiment has truly become the real thing.

Statistics from 2011 to 2016 show that my posts were becoming less frequent, but this year I've upped it a little and surpassed last year's number.

Do I have less to say?

Not really. Just a lot less time.

Back in 2007, the beginning of 2008, I was in a Primary presidency with Karen Fox, Myken Hurst, and Trish Newby.

I was still living the dream in Stansbury Park, fulfilling my duties as treasurer and webmaster of the Stansbury Park Community Association Board, and getting ready to mail out yearly dues.

I had a 2nd grader, 1st grader, one in preschool and another still in diapers. I was helping put together a 1000 chart for Kiersten. So glad they don't do those anymore. What a waste of time.

I was teaching piano to two of my kids. One has become quite proficient and the other I'm happy to report still knows how to play Indian Dance.

I hadn't even contemplated running yet. Or maybe I had thought about it but hadn't even mastered a mile yet. That first 5k wouldn't come until part way through 2008.

I was preparing to get my first passport and make my first jaunt outside the country.

I was caught in the cylcone of vampires and werewolves with Twilight but had just finished one of my favorites The Count of Monte Cristo. In one year's time I read 18 books.

My testimony was flourishing and I had even dared to bear it out loud in church one Sunday. It's quite remarkable to look back on 10 years and see how much I have grown in my faith and testimony.

I'd have to say the last 10 years were 10 wonderful years, full of some great experiences and opportunities. I'm hoping one day I can say the same for these next 10.

Stay tuned . . .

07 December 2017

Do unto others before they do to you

Kiersten and her assault rifle haven't managed to keep the boys away.

The entire Thanksgiving gang all knew something was up when Kiersten was itching to get back to Orem over Thanksgiving break.

Two days after our Thanksgiving festivities I got a late night phone call that we might have to go rescue Angie and Jacob in Ogden and take them back home. Kiersten got wind of this at 10pm and quickly concocted a plan for us to drop her off at her apartment in Orem, a mere 30 minute drive south from where we might be headed. It all seemed a little suspicious given the late hour.

Looking at a possible 3 hour drive to Ogden, to Saratoga Springs, and back home, I didn't want to add another hour. Luckily, their van made it home and we got to stay home all snug in our beds.

Kiersten returned to Orem the next day and six days later she called home with the news that she is now officially dating "Jason." All I know is she's known him three weeks, he's an RM from Eagle Mountain about to have another birthday, and he's her running partner.


I can't say I saw this coming.

Rules? I'm sure we had instituted some rules before she left home.

She also kindly rejected my offer to have them join us for a birthday celebration for Matt. Something about a concert at Snow College for her friend.


Maybe she really works for the Department of Defense and this is all a ruse.

30 November 2017

Great expectations

"All frustration comes from unmet expectations. There is no such thing as someone who is frustrated who didn't have an expectation." --Dr. John L. Lund

Frustration is just another silly word for anger, resentment, displeasure, irritation. When Tyler and I were first married and trying to figure each other out (which we are still attempting to do), I would get upset and tell him that I was just frustrated. I wasn't mad, just frustrated. He would retort, "No. You're mad." And this would make me more angrier . . . I mean more frustrated. :) I've come to learn that he was right. I was upset. I expected him to act a certain way. I didn't expect to have to spell everything out for him. He should "read my mind" and know what I wanted.

Oooooooooooooooeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeooooooooooooooooooo. That is out there. That is so out in space.

I finished listening to an audio book by Dr. John Lund that is all about relationships and how to manage how tricky they are sometimes. This is the 3rd or 4th time I've listened to it in the past decade, but decided this last time that I need to review it once a year.

Don't we all have expectations for the relationships we are in. Don't we all expect the people in those relationships to act and behave a certain way whether it's our spouse, our coworker, our mother-in-law, our child, our neighbor.

And when they don't, then what? Feelings are harbored and relationships are stifled.

So . . .

Own your expectations. Don't expect anyone to read your mind. If you want the garbage taken out, say something. If you don't want your mother-in-law meddling in your affairs, say something. (This has nothing to do with my own mother-in-law who is pretty great. I scored in that department. I do know several people who really don't get along with theirs, probably because they have expectations about how they envisioned the relationship to be or maybe these mothers-in-law don't do things like their own mothers did).

Be a content communicator. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Criticism. When I am in a relationship of equals, I must ask their permission before giving advice or critiquing them. It will backfire every time if you don't.

Learn love languages. So often we give love the way we would like to be loved. Learning the way others like to receive love is essential. Just because we love to receive gifts doesn't mean everyone else will love it too.

Great expectations . . . are really not so great unless they are expectations for no one else but ourselves.

19 November 2017

Wonder Woman

"I used to want to save the world. To end war and bring peace to mankind. But then, I glimpsed the darkness that lives within their light. I learned that inside every one of them, there will always be both. The choice each must make for themselves - something no hero will ever defeat. I've touched the darkness that lives in between the light. Seen the worst of this world, and the best. Seen the terrible things men do to each other in the name of hatred, and the lengths they'll go to for love. Now I know. Only love can save this world. So I stay. I fight, and I give... for the world I know can be. This is my mission, now. Forever."

My family can attest that I am no movie critic. I rarely make it through any movie. Except Mamma Mia and now Wonder Woman. The more I watch it, the more I really like it (and if I could, I'd remake it and take out a few unnecessary scenes to make it even more fabulous). It's just different than the other super hero movies.

I've now watched it 3.3 times since July and every time it gives me the chills, especially the scene where she removes her cloak, climbs out of the trench hole clothed in armor, and marches toward the enemy, leading the way for her comrades.

Diana was blessed with super powers to help save and heal a world. Despite having these innate abilities, she still had to train hard and improve those skills. There was work and effort involved. Gradually her life mission came into focus. I believe we all have been born with certain abilities and talents, super powers if you will, that can help bless the lives of those in our little part of the world and help us in our own life's mission.

Are we going to let them lie dormant or are we willing to turn off our screens, get off the couch, and put in some effort to magnify them in order to make this world of ours a better place to be? 

Do we hunker down in our comfortableness when we ought to climb out and engage?

Diana was not content to remain in the safety of her home or foxhole and neither should we. Comfortable and content is easy. Putting our gifts to work is hard. Sacrifice is hard. Service is hard.

Everyone has a part to play in the grand scheme of things and God has not left us alone. My patriarchal blessing has been one of the greatest tools I have in knowing who I am and the "super powers" I've been blessed with.

"You are stronger than you believe. You have greater powers than you know."

14 November 2017

Lower lights

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
--Matthew 5:14-16

A long time ago, noted preacher Dwight Moody told his congregation a story about a boat, helplessly rocking and plunging on a stormy, starless night near the Cleveland harbor. The mariners on board could see the lighthouse, but they needed to find their way through the narrow passage in the treacherous rocks that surrounded the harbor. Normally a light on the shore, aligned with the lighthouse, marked the passage to safety. But on this night, the lower lights had gone out.

Finally, the desperate captain decided they had no choice but to proceed into the harbor without the guidance of the lower lights. "With a strong hand and brave heart"—but in almost total darkness—"the old pilot turned the wheel." Tragically, he missed the channel, crashed the boat upon the rocks, and lost the lives of his sailors.

Moody then explained the lesson to be learned from his story:

The Master will take care of the great lighthouse, but He depends on us to keep the lower lights burning.

The storms of life put many around us in peril. They may long to approach the light of "our Father's mercy" but are unsure how to navigate the obstacles in their way. We all know how they feel, because each of us has been lost at sea from time to time.

Most often, God uses us to rescue them. If we can keep the light of faith burning in our hearts, if we align our light with the Light above, we can guide an exhausted mariner safely home. We can be the lower lights that "send a gleam across the wave. Some poor fainting, struggling seaman [we] may rescue, [we] may save."
--Music and the Spoken Work, March 2014

Philip Paul Bliss was inspired by Rev. Moody's sermon and penned a relatively unknown hymn titled "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy."

Brightly beams our Father's mercy
From His lighthouse evermore, 
But to us He gives the keeping 
Of the lights along the shore.

Dark the night of sin has settled, 

Loud the angry billows roar; 
Eager eyes are watching, longing 
For the lights along the shore.

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother! 

Some poor sailor, tempest tossed, 
Trying now to make the harbor, 
In the darkness may be lost.


Let the lower lights be burning, 
Send a gleam across the wave! 
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman 
You may rescue, you may save.

12 November 2017

Eagle Scout

A year later Erik is finally getting all the accolades that come with his eagle rank. He's sat in several eagle's nests in the past year and eventually made it to his own this time. I just didn't have the "eagle powers" a year ago to put together a court of honor.

Erik designed his invitations and the program and Ashlyn put together the poster for me.

My favorite photo was this one:

I'm not sure where it came from but the look on both Erik's and Scott's faces is priceless. The caption read Duct Tape Merit Badge.

We combined with another scout in our ward, Evan Huffaker. They both wanted a very simple, low key program and that's what they got.

Erik's gone from this

to a grown up person overnight. Okay, maybe not overnight. But it sure seems that way.

I watched my mom pull her hair out with my brothers getting their eagle awards and I told myself I would not do that. I have been extremely blessed with tremendous scouting leaders along the way who have been supportive and helped both Erik and Nate along their scouting path.

In Erik's little speech he told about forgetting his sleeping bag on an overnight camp out 10 miles from our home. Instead of running him home to get one, the scout leader lent him an extra blanket he had. Erik said it was one of the coldest nights but he learned to never forget his sleeping bag again.

Paige Lerdahl accompanied Erik to his first cub scout day camp where she related to me how Erik could not pee in the outhouses they had set up. She tried to get him to just go off into the woods. Unfortunately, I had taught my boys to sit like a girl while using the bathroom. She ended up driving him down the mountain to a gas station to use the facilities. After hearing this story, I commissioned Tyler to teach our boys how to relieve themselves like a man. No scout -- or scout leader -- should end up in that predicament ever.

The rank of eagle scout is quite an accomplishment and there are few that get there. I just hope Erik has learned a few things about character, integrity, hard work, dedication in addition to the things he had to do to earn merit badges.

Even Nate got a little excitement when Aaron Roberts lent him his sword to use during the flag ceremony.

08 November 2017

A new and improved Nate

Braces came off today! Three down, possibly two more to go.

Nate laughed as we were checking out and the receptionist was scheduling him for three more appointments. Retainer fittings. Gums lasered. Final check. I guess we're not quite complete, but close.