• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Christmas 2013 is gold and white.

The bells are old but they still play Christmas tunes.
We hang lots of bells.

Papa choose the theme.
And mostly did the work - I was taking finals.
(Yae I did well!)

We decorate with things that remind us of what is most important to us.

snowflake light
The things that light our minds and hearts.

where your heart is, there is your treasure
The sweet memories of home and hearth.

And family times together.
Like dancing.

Or building snowmen.

This antique is so old his finish is changing from white to yellow. 
Cushions - foot and hand print reindeer  from mom and wreath from Clala.
And OH! how we prized new skates that fit! 
The comforts of home . . .
 And see the light is on . . . someone loving, waiting . . . watching . . .

Naturally there are lots of nativities.

Made in 1981 while on bed rest. 
3 kings on camels
from Ben while in Vegas on his mission

purchased about 1972
in a walnut nutshell

clear nativity
There are also lots of stars and frosty icicles.

And lots of angels.
The prophets say angels surround us and wait to help us at all times.

This angel glows in the dark!
There are also many lights and sights of nature.

Papa has always loved deer and the symbols surrounding them

God is good.
So many things to remind us.

Large gold pear purchased in Edmonton Mall 
He created a beautiful world and marvelous creatures and things.

We love the birds.

I chose to put small gold-framed pictures of my children on the tree.

As they rotate around I think of each one and pray they are happy.

I pray they make choices that build happiness.

Home lives in our hearts and minds.

Happiness is mostly a choice.

It is mostly thinking of good things with gratitude.

Most of our ornaments remind us of what we are thankful for.

Santa kneels to the Christ child in worship.
He shows his faith in kind actions.
And we believe . . .
Santa is someone that loves you.

We love you all and miss you.
We are especially thankful for each of you.

Friday, December 20, 2013


In October 2007, Elder Quentin L. Cook taught “We live in a precarious time . . . [when] we need to have faith and not be fearful.” Sometimes Mormons feel, and even are, attacked in various ways by those who accuse them of being un-Christian. Ironically these accusers often act in direct opposition to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

In October 2008, Elder Robert D. Hales taught, "The Savior has said, 'He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me' (3 Nephi 11:29). More regrettable than the Church being accused of not being Christian is when Church members react to such accusations in an un-Christlike way! May our conversations with others always be marked by the fruits of the Spirit—'love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, [and] temperance' (Galatians 5:22–23). To be meek, as defined in Webster’s dictionary, is 'manifesting patience and longsuffering: enduring injury without resentment.' Meekness is not weakness. It is a badge of Christian courage.

"As we respond to others, each circumstance will be different. Fortunately, the Lord knows the hearts of our accusers and how we can most effectively respond to them. As true disciples seek guidance from the Spirit, they receive inspiration tailored to each encounter. And in every encounter, true disciples respond in ways that invite the Spirit of the Lord." 

Do we imagine being heroic when confronted by strangers but fail to remember or imagine being heroic in daily frustrations of our own family.

The Book of Mormon teaches, “In the strength of the Lord, [we can] do all things” (Alma 20:4). The Lord's strength is never found in quarrelsome contentions. 

Can we respond to accusers without accusing - in all situations? 

Can we follow the teachings of Jesus Christ in public AND at home?

Elder Hales instructs, “As true disciples, our primary concern must be others’ welfare, not personal vindication. Questions and criticisms give us an opportunity to reach out to others and demonstrate that they matter to our Heavenly Father and to us. . . . Without guile, true disciples avoid being unduly judgmental of others’ views. . . .We need them, and they need us. As President Thomas S. Monson has taught, ‘Let us learn respect for others. … None of us lives alone—in our city, our nation, or our world.’

Elder Hales taught that Christ-like characteristics “are first learned in the home and family and can be practiced in all our relationships. To be guileless [like Nathaniel in the New Testament] is to look for our own fault first. When accused, we should ask as the Savior’s Apostles did, ‘Lord, is it I?’ (Matthew 26:22). If we listen to the answer given by the Spirit, we can, if needed, make corrections, apologize, seek forgiveness, and do better.”

Doing things that bring the spirit and light into our homes and lives, and excluding things that bring darkness are deliberate choices.

If a child refuses obedience, do we patiently teach true principles and examine our own life to perfect our example for their benefit and ours. Do our spouse and children feel us respond to their concerns in respect and compassion? Do they see us following the example of Jesus Christ, especially when someone is disrespectful, yelling loudly, acting unkindly or refusing to forgive? Or do we become “warlike” and begin to treat them as “enemies?” 

We have had many reminders this semester that this life is God’s plan - His gospel and His plan - a plan of happiness for all, and that He is aware and mindful of all we do. 

In both American Foundations and Family Foundations, the same quote from President Spencer W. Kimball reminded us to trust in God more to be at peace with ourselves and others. American Foundations was debating the scope of American involvement in foreign affairs and other economic and political considerations of neutrality and peaceful non-intervention. Family Foundations was discussing how to successfully have happiness within marriages and families.

President Kimball advised we are too “warlike” and “easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord” (The False Gods We Worship, June 1976). He taught, “When enemies rise up . . . [we] depend on [things such as armaments] for protection and deliverance . . . [and] become anti-enemy instead of pro-kingdom of God. . . . We forget that if we are righteous the Lord will either not suffer our enemies to come upon us . . . (see 2 Ne. 1:7), or he will fight our battles for us (Ex. 14:14; D&C 98:37, to name only two references of many). This he is able to do.” 

Remembering God’s power and grace is vital to being a disciple of Christ. President Kimball and other prophets, as well as many scripture stories they recount—such as Christ’s betrayal (Matt. 26:53), Jehoshaphat’s people, and the fear of Elisha’s servant—all remind us to trust in Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ, their omnipotent power, and tell us of the “legions of angels” at their disposal who are “fearsome soldiers." 

President Kimball recounted, "Jehoshaphat and his people were delivered by such a troop (see 2 Chr. 20), and when Elisha’s life was threatened, he comforted his servant by saying, 'Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them' (2 Kgs. 6:16). The Lord then opened the eyes of the servant, 'And he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.' (2 Kgs. 6:17.)” 

In recent General Conferences, many prophets and apostles have reminded us God, and the angels that attend our lives to guard and help us keep us from being overwhelmed in this battle against Satan for the souls of God's children are near and watchful (Eyring, Scott, Monson, October 2012; Nelson, Cook, May 2011; Holland, October 2008). 

Who is our enemy? Can we remember at all times the example of Jesus Christ and realize that members of our family, and most other people are not enemies? Elder Hales taught, “Silence, meekness, forgiveness, and bearing humble testimony are [not] passive or weak. But to ‘love [our] enemies, bless them that curse [us], do good to them that hate [us], and pray for them which despitefully use [us], and persecute [us]’ (Matthew 5:44) takes faith, strength, and, most of all, Christian courage” [sic]. 

Can I have this kind of courage and remember to be Christ-like in my own home? Neighborhood? And ward? Can I proclaim principles boldly by my actions and choices, and avoid contention, accusations, and overbearance?

Elder Hales counsels that each of us has “a great work to do, which will not be accomplished if we allow ourselves to stop and argue and be distracted. Instead we should muster Christian courage and move on. As we read in Psalms, ‘Fret not thyself because of evildoers’(Psalm 37:1).” Elder Hales reminds us that “even as the Savior warned of persecution, He promised peace: ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. … Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid’ (John 14:27).” As Elder Cook taught, “we need to have faith and not be fearful” (October 2007).

Monday, December 16, 2013


Keys to eternal happiness were outlined in a BYUI devotional this week. It was a pleasure to watch.

It was about "having" and "not having" children.

Having children has been my greatest joy.

It has also, at times, brought my greatest sorrows as I have feared for their safety or happiness.

Ric Page, Associate Academic Vice President Brigham Young University-Idaho, spoke for ONLY 30 minutes! - 30 minutes of potential life changing statements. Thirty mere minutes teaching how to find joy. Thirty minutes teaching about keys of eternal happiness.

Children: An Heritage of the Lord

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Think of a baby.
Any baby.
Name him or her.
Fix an image of that tiny child in your mind.

What can babies do?
Name a few things.

What can babies NOT do?

What can you do that the baby can not?

How come?

I will wait a minute.
Take your time.

. . .

Imagine if:
You can only go where someone else carries you.
And you could only communicate with noises.
Or with expressions of your face,
     or movements of your body.
Someone else picks out what you will eat,
     and feeds it to you.
They decide how much you get.
     You have little, if any say.
They choose music you will hear,
     and movies you will watch.
They choose the people that will see you,
     and talk to you.
They try to make you sleep,
     and say when and where.
And may wake you up anytime (or not).
They decide if you are clean and dry,
     hot or cold.
They choose if lights are on, or off.
They decide if they will teach you.
They decide what you learn.
And for how long.

Now think about what you want most.
Think as much as you want to.
. . .

Think carefully - what is most important?
Change your mind as often as you wish.
. . .

Did you decide?

What will you need to achieve that?
How can you find out if you don't know?
Where could you start?
What might you do first?
What should you avoid?
What can you  DO?
What CAN'T you do?

On Sunday I asked the youth in my class these questions.
They gave some good answers.

They like their privacy.
They like their phones, etc.
They like to drive. They WANT to drive.
They like to pick their own food,
     clothes, and friends.
They like to date.

I ask them to compare their physical state
     with their spiritual state.

We are the spirit sons and daughters of God.
We can become like our Eternal Father.

Are we spiritually self-reliant?

What can we DO?

Class members received a copy of the quote below as they arrived.

Our lesson taught:

How can I become spiritually self-reliant? 
Spiritual self-reliance is essential to our eternal well-being. When we are spiritually self-reliant, our testimonies do not depend on the testimonies of others. We seek our own spiritual experiences through praying daily, studying the scriptures, and exercising faith in Jesus Christ. We turn to our Heavenly Father for His help to resolve our own difficult problems. We are also able to strengthen others in their times of spiritual need.

Later I asked everyone to summarize this paragraph in 10 words or less. Can you?

I summarized:
"Heavenly Father is real. He will help me."

It was amazing to hear all the different individual summaries.

What would you say?

Next I asked them to trade their summary with someone and then teach that person about spiritual self-reliance using that person's summary and their own personal understanding. (They still had a copy of the quote.)

 It was chaos! It was wonderful!! 

We had so much fun, we ran out of time.
I suggested they could do this for FHE.

I asked them to read D and C 58:26–28

"For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

I asked them to pick a word from this scripture and find two more resources (scriptures or conference talks) that help them understand the word better. 

I assigned them to come to class next week with a question about the gospel or their life. I told them they will not have to share their question in class it is only for them to have in their mind as an example.

I don't intend to answer their question.
I intend they should learn how to answer it themselves.
I intend they learn how to have God help them.
He will.

Having questions is like being a baby.
Scripture study is like having a licence to drive. 
Pray is like having the keys to a car.

Where do you want to go?

Other resources:
Matthew 25:1–13;
Mormon 9:27;
Moroni 10:3–5;
D&C 130:18–19;

The Power of a Personal Testimony,” Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 37–39;

Coming to Ourselves: The Sacrament, the Temple, and Sacrifice in Service,” Robert D. Hales, Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 34–36;

David A. Bednar, “Converted unto the Lord,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 106–9;

Video: “They That Are Wise” (no download available);

see also Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Visual Resource DVD

Friday, November 1, 2013


Trick of treating just upped the ante.

A group of 5 or 6 young children arrived.
They were as excited and noisy as children can be.
And then the unthinkable happened.

For the first time ever I had a boy look over the offerings, say no thanks, and stand there with his pillow case out asking for something else! 


And an adult stood there watching him. 
She saw and heard him do that. 


We offer three different kinds of candy (because a child may have health issues like allergies) and always offer something that is non-food also. This year it was a choice between a glow-stick necklace or bracelet.

"No thanks!" the boy said.
I found his expectations and actions startling. 

How's that for an attitude of entitlement? 

Whatever happened to the gratitude and excitement of taking whatever you got and trading it to someone if it wasn't your favorite thing? 

On the LDS provident living web site about self-reliance, in Elder Marvin J Ashton's famous financial talk titled "One for the Money," he stated, "We live in a self-indulgent, me-oriented, materialistic society." I recommend his wise counsel about our expectations.

I had some other candy in the house.
I took a small, individually wrapped piece in my hand and put it in his pillow case without him seeing it or having a chance to object. I just wanted them to go away.

I just kept wondering if maybe the adult might take care of teaching him privately.

We have a trick of our own we play on kids each Halloween.
We give them some candy when they knock or ring.

If they say Thank You, we give them more.
Often it is a much more substantial treat.
None of this group qualified.

Sometimes we teach by gentle prompting.

If only one says it, gets the additional treat, and then the group all chorus thank-you we hand they all an extra treat. Including a second round for the first to say it.

We want to help them appreciate the good things of life.
To understand how gratitude increases our blessings.

The whole incident has given me much pause . . .

As I pondered, and confronted my initial outrage, and have been working to try to resolve it into a meaningful learning experience, trying to find good in the experience, I kind of a scary thought: Am I like that?

Now I find myself wondering if I act like that when I knock on Heavenly Father's "door" begging a treat. And when he offers me a selection I say no thanks, I want something different. I say no thanks to all He offers me and expect him to give me something else I want and maybe even demand . . .

I think I am going to have to repent again  . . .

Sunday, October 13, 2013


At times I miss my family and where I grew up.

I never see this sign without a knot in my throat.

Other signs really get one's attention. Driving through the mountains there are signs warning of dangerous areas.

One rather amused us. Do you think this is a warning about deer that "fly" or deer that "die"? or perhaps about deer about to become "angels"?

My parents celebrate 65 years of marriage 14 October  2013.

In August family and friends gathered to congratulate them.

7 of 10 sibings

I always miss my siblings. They are my best friends. I love each of them. Parents and siblings are one of the things I am most grateful for.  Special thanks to my neice, Chrystal, for pictures of the event.

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada.