Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sandwich Party

We love having my two brothers, their wives, and our cousin Alan over for Sunday dinner. It's a blast! This was a Sunday night sandwich party at our house. Come join us!

Made some videos for my sister Cassidy on her mission in California. Here is a sampling.

Somehow these pictures didn't make it up last fall. This is Cheyenne with our cute neighbor friend Rushton. Our babysitter was pregnant at the time, so the girls loved to pretend they were pregnant. And Rushton has had one too many run-ins with doctors (see he poor bandaged finger) so he was happy to take Cheyenne's blood pressure! Ha ha!

Speaking of pictures I haven't put up yet... Delaney got some nail polish on her toes and a little creative. We still have work to do on the carpet, the walls, and this dresser.

Cutest boy award

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Our Gold to Harvest

When I was a kid, I had the annoying habit of digging through the ice cream to get to the "good stuff." My family affectionately called me a "gold digger." Now I seek for gold, but it's just in a different way. I guess I never grew out of it. I'm looking for gold (I'm looking for meaning) in any place I can find it. This gold is inherent in our very lives, its woven into the fabric of our everyday, and it's up to us to harvest it.

I love the idea of harvest time. Sowing seeds and watching them grow, then collecting the fruits of your labor is a divine cycle. It takes work and effort, struggle and toil. This is the imagery I often think of for life, for work, and for growing. I am struggling and learning, and I am harvesting the pieces of gold, the meaning that I collect, here. It guides my future progress. It cements my learning. It makes me happier and more fulfilled.

But this is not simply "my" harvest. This is "our" harvest. Experiences each of us have are not just for our personal growth and learning. We can teach each other through the way we live. We can teach each other by the words that we share. I want to learn to communicate in such a way, here in this space, so that my thoughts are not simply in my head, but can be examined and viewed by another, for their own benefit. It's not to persuade, necessarily, but to increase understanding. To encourage self-reflection, to search for Truth. This is our gold to harvest.

I registered a domain name ( but you can still use my same old blog link ( to get there.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Window to Life

It was a sweet little cabin, essentially one room, so we slept in close quarters. I got to play homesteader for a day, a dream I've always held on to. When I woke up in the morning a warm sunshine burned in my heart. Here is my family. We are all together. We have each other.

We took a short hike (and I do mean short) and gazed over the miles and beauty of God's creation. Striking red rock. Hazy blue hills. Snow-covered pines. Bare trees and low vegetation reaching heavenward. Our family is a piece of it here-- nestled in between the rocks and the trees.

Why is it that recreation is seen as an "extra"? We cut it out when times are tight, and push it off until we "have more free time." How can we gain a window into our lives if we never step away from it and see what it really is?

Perspective was never meant to be reserved for only the summer, for stress-free people, or limited to sandy beaches. It was meant for you and for me. For families, for students, for people living day-to-day lives.

Part of the problem, I think (part of my problem, anyway), is that I thought recreation needed to be long. It needed to be "worth it." But our trip ended up being less than 24 hours. We spend less than $100. And in that short amount of time we wound the rope that is our family tighter together. We formed a stronger bond.

I hope I remember this lesson always. That trips are not for relaxation, or adventure, or memory making, but for windows. To give complete focus to each other. To step off the hamster wheel for a minute and see what's important. It doesn't take a lot of time, but it makes time more valuable. May I ever remember.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Inspiration this week: Women

I loved this series of videos about women who have included God in their work and education plans. This subject has been weighing on my mind heavily, so this series was a godsend. My old American Heritage professor, Jenny Pulsipher, was my favorite. I've watched hers several times, it really speaks to me for some reason.

If you didn't click on this link in one of my earlier posts this week, it is really worth a watch. The first story about never suppressing a generous thought is so poignant and touching. The whole talk outlines how to live a life of service. I remember going to this devotional as a young college student and how much it touched me, and I love that technology allows us to watch great stuff like this again! It was even more applicable to me now in this stage of my life.

I follow a few different pages on facebook that are really inspirational to me:

I had some friends tell me about Aspiring Mormon Women and the Mormon Women Project. Aspiring Mormon Women had a really interesting article on there a while ago about the changing economic environment and how that will impact women, our daughters, in the future. Worth a read. I've always loved the Mormon Women Project and many of their articles have left deep impressions on me. I remember two articles in particular about two different young mothers (this one and this one) really touching my heart. It's a great website because you can use the search feature to find out about all kinds of inspiring women. It's so helpful to have role models, isn't it? And to feel like you are not alone? The internet is an amazing resource.

I also love the soothing melodies I found in this song. I love listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir whenever I want to calm my troubled heart, or feel peace and comfort.

A shoutout to my friend Lorren for the great idea for compiling inspiration we find on the internet!

Monday, February 2, 2015

When You're Helping You're Happy

My sweet sister Haley had a baby two weeks ago. Little Leslie was born on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The Friday before, I had had a strange thought. I should go visit and help Haley when her baby was born. It was strange, because Haley wasn't due for another two weeks. It was strange, because my time is extremely limited. How would I even make it work?

Haley ended up having her baby the following Monday. I discussed with Ben the idea of me going down to visit Haley, who assured me I was bona fide crazy. I get this response from him sometimes, and usually he's quite right (that's what I get for marrying someone six years older than me, he's always right). I gave it some serious thought.  I read in Moroni 10:6 "And whatsoever is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is." It brought to my mind a talk that I heard years ago that has changed my life. In it I was taught: "Never suppress a generous thought." I knew I had to go.

I thought of our mother, far away in Panama, who would give anything to be at my sister's side during this exciting but difficult time. She would want me to be there. In my mother's absence, I have often felt the need to show kindness and do as she would do, to show her love through my actions. I am forever grateful for her legacy. I thought of my own experience becoming a mother of two, and all the challenges this change brings. I thought of Haley, affectionately called a "sensitive soul" in our family, one who feels deeply and cherishes expressions of love shown by her family. God loves her, and I could be His hands.

I made all the proper preparations I could, trying to double up on my homework, take shopping trips, and get everything ready for Ben to take over the house for a few days. Although Ben was still unsure if this was the wisest thing to do, he is a man who stands by me. I love him for it.

I was happy to help. It was fun to spend time with my sister, to shelf my own problems for a while and think about hers. As I drove home from Las Vegas, I saw ways I could have helped more. But I'm starting to realize that God sanctifies our efforts, imperfections and all. And I gained a new resolve to face my own problems. Service didn't "solve" my discouragement, certainly, it's a choice I have to make each and every day, to choose light and happiness. But I have seen this weekend that God loves his children. And he gives us each other as answers to our prayers. It's so interesting to me that the world teaches us to take time out for ourselves when we are feeling low, but the exact opposite is the medicine we seek. Haley will never know how much she helped me this weekend. And through her gracious accepting of service she was able to be helped as well.

Thank God for the human family, and the agency he gives us to lift us out of our own despair!