Friday, December 21, 2007

A Christmas Craft

Here are some simple nativities that we made with various sizes of Popsicle sticks, tiny dowels, small wooden stars and hot glue. I got the idea at Enrichment meeting last night and we had fun making these this afternoon.
This nativity was given to me by a neighbor a couple of years ago and I have always loved it for it's simplicity. It is another way you might wish to create and embellish one of your own.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

'My So Called Life'

Did you ever watch the show 'My So Called Life'? I loved this show! I could totally relate with the way the main character- Angela Chase (played by Claire Danes) felt about her life and life in general. To me it is one of the better 'coming-of-age' shows that have ever been made. It only lasted one season and I only found it after it had been cancelled but I could watch the reruns over and over. Much to my delight ABC is running some of the episodes on the Internet and I patiently await each new one and watch, remembering MY so called life of the past and how there isn't anything in the world that could make me go back to being a teenager again!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Is it just me, or is this one of the hardest weeks of the year? My brain is fried! I can't think straight. I was good this year and have my cards out, packages mailed, and nearly all my shopping done so the preparation stress is gone. All the parties and activities are over but now it is the waiting. The waiting for Christmas day and all of its fun. The waiting for normal life to begin again and all the thinking of all the things you want and need to do in the new year and you can't do it yet or even clarify it in your head. And so I wander around the house attempting to clean it and do laundry but my kids are beyond helping because they are in a stupor as well so it is pointless. And school work, well that is a joke right now, I'm lucky to get 1 hour out of them. So today for example has been filled up with Sudoku, coloring My Little Ponies, and an attempt to clean my living room downstairs that has ended up with me, here at the computer typing instead of cleaning the desk off (forget the 4 loads of laundry waiting to be folded). I know that I am sounding really whiny for no reason but really I wish Christmas was tomorrow and we could have our normal life back. I guess I better go turn on some Christmas music and the lights on the tree so I can get some Christmas spirit back.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Garin and Bethany Sitting in a Tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G

Tagged by Sharon.

What is your husband's name: Garin Lee Cruz

How long have you been married: 9 years, 3 months, 23 days and counting

How long did you date before you got married: 8ish months, it depends on what counts as our first date.

Who eats more: We both love to eat too much ;P

Who said 'I love you' first: Me

Who is taller: Garin

Who sings better: We both sing although Garin will not admit it. 2 years ago we sang a duet in the Stake Easter Cantata. We sang 'Greater Than Us All'. It was alot of fun.

Who's temper is worse: MINE. He's a lover not a fighter. I'm hot headed.

Who does the laundry: Me

Who does the dishes: 95% of the time Garin does the dinner, and weekend dishes.

Who pays the bills: I write out the checks and do the budgeting' he makes all the $$$ so I guess we both do.

Who cooks the dinner: Me unless Garin is home and then he usually takes over. He enjoys cooking.

Who drives when you are together: Garin, I don't like to drive that much.

Who is more stubborn: We both are about different things.

Who is the first to admit they are wrong: We both are apologetic and able to admit we are wrong. Unless I am right ;)

Who's parents do you see the most: Garin's, they live 45 minutes away and my parents live 11 hours away.

Who kissed who first: This is a subject of contention in our home because we both disagree on the scenario. I will not say to keep the peace.

{he's gonna kill me for putting this picture up!}
Who asked who out first: It was a set up. Shaina and her 'boyfriend' Rich (did he even like girls??? we may never know huh Shaina) thought one of his friends might go out with me so they picked Garin.

Who proposed: Garin but he needed some reassurance that he should do it.

Who is more sensitive: It depends on the subject but I cry more.

Who has more friends: We have about the same most of our friends are couples.

Who wears the pants in the family: We both wear pants and sometimes about once a week I wear a skirt. HA HA

Where did you meet your husband: We met at a CES Fireside at BYU. A whole bunch of us went together.

Where was your first date: A game night at the afore mentioned Rich's apartment. We had many dates there.

What was the first thing you said to your husband: Probably 'I love you', it was a long day and talking is not one of the things I remember the most.

Where was your first kiss: Well we both agree it was in a parking lot next to my car.

Where did you get engaged: At the rest area just out side of Quincy Wa. It was quiet, secluded and park-ish.

Where were you married: Salt Lake City, Utah Temple

How was your reception: It was nice.

Where was the Honeymoon: We stayed the first night at the Anniversary Inn at the old Salt City Jail in the French Garden room. The next day we went to Lagoon and stayed at the good ol' Motel 6. We at dinner at Lorena's in Wood Cross.

If you could have changed anything about what would it have been: We had a great time but I would have enjoyed going some where and having a little more time but we couldn't get out of work and school.

I tag Alyssa and anyone else who reads this and would like to start a blog-- hint hint to my sisters. Sorry Wendi you'll have to wait a few more weeks and then you can post your story;)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Some things about me.

My soon-to-be-sister-in-law, Wendi, tagged me to tell 6/7 things about myself.
She is marrying my brother Matt, they have some of their engagement pictures up if you want to see them at

1. I went to six elementary schools, 2 junior high schools and 3 high schools.

2. I home-school my children. Could number one be a reason for that, I'm not sure. I do it though because after lots of prayer and deliberation, I can't deny that it is what is right for our family. It is hard and frustrating but also challenging and rewarding. Most people think I'm crazy and some days I believe them but being a mom makes us do crazy things sometimes.

3. I would love to travel the world with my family. I saw this family that prepared financially for a couple of years so they could leave and see the world. They packed minimally, planned very carefully and did service projects and stuff along the way and it just inspired me. Some definite points of interest would be Egypt, France, Jerusalem, Ireland, Azores Islands and New Zealand.

4. I have a terrible habit of staying up late and sleeping in and then telling myself all day long I won't do it again that day. I've never been a morning person.

5. I like to play PlayStation with my hubby. I'm not very good and only play some games but I still have fun.

6. I love having all girls for all the girly stuff in includes. But for the life of me they won't let me do anything to their hair other than an occasional curling. I have to beg and plead and bribe and fight to get a pony tail that will come out about 3 minutes later.

I hope this was enlightening instead of boring. So if you are reading this, consider yourself tagged as well.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas Traditions

Each year, each of our girls get a new Christmas ornament. It has become something they look forward to all year. They each have theme that they choose from: Riley is hearts, Amellia is angels, Claire is stars, and Olivia is snowflakes. We do it this way so that my tree still looks nice and they will each leave with a set that they can just add balls or whatever to. It is lots of fun watching them decide and cherish their pick. Here are this year's additions:

So what is a tradition that you enjoy? Tell me about it!

Self portraits

Here are some self potraits we did today in school.

Riley's and Olivia's

Claire's and mine


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Family Thanksgiving
Awesome Graphics at

We hope you have a wonderful day. We are off to Rexburg for a couple of days.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

One of my Thanksgiving dinner favorites.

This recipe was passed to me by my sister, Emily Neilson, a few years ago and it has become a 'must-have' for our family. The recipe makes enough that I save 1/2 of it and serve it over cheesecake during holiday parties. (Garin has an awesome cheesecake recipe that I will post when we make it this year.) It is also good on turkey sandwiches the next day or with bagels and cream cheese.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Strawberry-Cranberry Sauce

12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
10 oz bag of frozen strawberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Boil sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and boil gently for 10minutes. Cranberries will swell and pop. Add strawberries and bring back up to a boil. Mash the berries and keep boiling until thickened.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Here is a thought...

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate;
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

-excerpt from Nelson Mandela’s 1994 inaugural speech

Watch then read:
So maybe you've seen this video a million times like I have but every time I watch it I get goose bumps and a lump in my throat. It reminds me of the quote above. We are all unassuming to our potential. We all have something to give that may not be to this caliber of talent or easily seen or heard. It maybe be that the sum total of all the little things that we have to give amount to more than any one outstanding thing.

George D. Durrant, “Doing Genealogy: Finding That Glorious, Elusive Condition Called ‘Balance’,” Ensign, Apr 1985, 18

When I was a young man, my sports hero was a man named Robert Mathias. He won the decathlon in the 1948 Olympics and again in 1952.

Mathias ran the 100 meters in 10.9 seconds. The winner covered the distance in 10.4 seconds, a half-second faster than Mathias. In the 400 meters, Mathias’ time of 50.2 was far short of the 45.0 time of the specialized runner. Mathias high jumped 6 feet 2 3/4 inches, some 6 inches less than the man who won the high jump competition for those who had entered just that one event. His javelin sailed 194 feet 3 inches, far short of the 242 feet throw of the man who spent his entire effort in that event.

Bob Mathias wasn’t the best at any one specialized event, but he did each event well enough that when all his scores were added together, his overall score made him the decathlon champion.

Life is much like a decathlon. To fulfill our own potential and to be of service to others requires that we take part in many events. If we attempt to set records in one event, we may fall far short in another. And if we measure our efforts against those of a specialist, we can feel inadequate and even guilty that we don’t do better.

What is one thing you and only you can bring to light and make the world a better place? You are a child of God, embrace it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Fall Fun

On your mark! Get set!


After all the rain and snow we had in September and early October we have had a very mild few weeks. Some may even say an Indian Summer. This makes for perfect conditions for playing in the leaves. Riley, Amellia, Claire, and Olivia had a good time the other day with their friends Jordan and Jayven. They would rake, jump, throw and start all over again. Even Max had a good time trying to catch the leaves.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Enjoy these pictures of our Halloween night.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dinner in a Pumpkin.

1 small pumpkin
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cup rice, cooked

Hollow out the pumpkin. Brown ground beef and onion. Add soy sauce, brown sugar and cream of mushroom. Simmer 5 minutes, add rice. Scoop filling into the pumpkin and put lid back on. Bake at 350f for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve by scooping out rice mixture with pumpkin.

My pumpkin seems a little too big for this recipe, next time I'll double it. I also have a recipe for a chicken variation. If your interested email me or comment and I'll send it to you. Enjoy!

Carvin' Time.

Every year the girls design on paper (those who can) what they want Daddy to carve their pumpkin to look like. And Garin spends hours fulfilling their wishes, this year he got done early - we were in bed by midnight!

The wards in our building combine to have a little carnival and Trunk or Treat this year. We took our pumpkins to the contest. Everyone recieved an award, here is what we won:

Riley- Most Tradtional.

Amellia- Best Cheerful Smile

Claire- Most Triangular

Olivia- Most Mouthy

As you can tell the judges were stretching but they were so excited to win, especially Riley. I think it was the highlight of her night.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Livvy Mae is Three Today!!

Today my baby turned three years old, it seems like yesterday I was bringing her home. While it is nice having her potty trained, able to feed herself and do many other things for herself, I miss holding a little baby and cherishing that time in her life a little more; especially when I didn't know she would be my last baby. I guess the next time she's sucking her thumb and obsessively playing with my hair until I want to scream I'll have to remember that I won't get that moment back;)

Livvy was lucky enough to have her birthday spread out for a few days. Last Saturday she got to have birthday cake with one of her cousins and open presents from Grammy and Grandpa. She got a Belle dress which she has been dreaming about for weeks. Earlier this week she got to open presents from Marme and Papaw. She got some Olivia by Ian Falconer stuff. If you have ever read the Olivia books you will already know my Olivia (and Claire for that matter) very well.

Livvy loves all things princess as do most girls her age so, I made her a 'Pon a Dream' cake { this is what she calls Sleeping Beauty.}.

I had a lot of fun doing it, although I was babysitting today and had 14 little hands to worry about instead of my normal 8 so I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked to on the details. I had a lot of fun fashioning a bodice and sleeves from molding Starburst candies together. The best part was that she loved it and couldn't stop opening the fridge to look at it.

Next it was pizza for dinner followed by cake and ice cream. Yummy, yummy, yummy! And then the presents.

Friday, October 19, 2007

All we need is LOVE.

One reason I love to home school is all the fascinating things I get to learn too.

Today we were learning about the colony at Jamestown. This is something that I have been interested in since I was about 9 years old because we lived near it at that time. I love the story of Pocahontas and her people. Her father who's name is Wahunsonacock { something I learned today} but we know as Powhatan is said to have asked John Smith "Why should you take by force from us that which you can obtain by love?".

Now this question was all about the settlers stealing food and such but when I read those words I thought of how applicable it is to us today in many ways. My first thought was 'Maybe I need to butter my kids up a little before I announce chore time?'. But seriously this idea could be an important tool for me as a parent as I am always feeling so forceful. Can I love them into chores and pleasantness?

Another thought I had is, how much more would we be inclined to fulfill our civic duties to vote and attend city council meetings and etc if we felt that the politicians actually cared how each of his or her constituents thought or felt. If we felt that they had a love for the people, the kind you feel from President Hinckley, would we have the social problems we have now? If we felt love and concern would we feel so helpless and backed into a corner by the rising prices of all the necessities of life?

If we smiled more would people be so pushy at the store or any other place where there are lines involved? Would you honk your horn the next time someone cut you off on the road if you had a little love in your heart? Maybe more people should ask this question of themselves and others.

Really this idea isn't new, Christ has proclaimed it for centuries. Love for all man kind is the key to happiness. I just wish it wasn't so hard to do sometimes! Thank goodness for repentance.

Today I'm so glad that I home school.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

For me, the holiday season officially begins when we make our yearly F.H.E trip to the Pankratz Pumpkin Patch.

I love seeing my little girls running through the field on their own personal treasure hunt. Everyone has their own criteria of a perfect pumpkin. Claire loves to find small ones- unfortunately they were all rotten this year. Riley and Amellia are in it for size, the bigger the better. Olivia {obvious in the picture} just wanted to go home. Garin likes the long and skinny ones. I like them to sit flat and have lots of seeds.

Tromping through the patch dredges up the memories of holidays past and the fun we have to look forward to. Crunchy leaves, pumpkin treats galore, the smell of warm spices, Thanksgiving dinner, candy, being grateful, parties with family and friends, shopping & shopping, trimming the Christmas tree, special nights reading the scriptures by candlelight with hot cocoa, trying even harder to be like Jesus, and the thoughts flood on and on. I get butterflies in my stomach with anticipation of all fun we get to have as a family. Yippee! Let the warm, joyous holidays begin!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Held captive in Forks

So I haven't written in a few days because all of my free time (and some not so free) has been held captive by the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer. I read all three in about 5 days. Now I know that I am a little of a late bloomer on these books because I have been focusing on reading 'the classics' and haven't really read much else. Earlier this year I read Dracula by Bram Stoker so when someone suggested that I had to read these I was intrigued. Unlike most books I was immediately drawn in. Even though they are written for a younger audience I found the story to be very interesting and exciting. If you haven't read the books yet, take some to- they are worth it. Check this out for more on what they are all about:

If you have read the books here are some of my thoughts.

I've tried hard in my endeavor to read 'the classics' to look for themes and ideas in the story, in Twilight I loved an idea that is brought up by one of the Cullens( I can't remember if it is Edward or Carlise). I don't have the book in front of me so I can't quote it exactly but one of the characters talks about not having complete control over what life deals you and needing to do the best you can with it, with the knowledge you have, in their case specifically of right and wrong. To some degree we are all 'monsters' and have to 'put off the natural man' despite the station we find ourselves in life. We can't use excuses of poverty or wealth, trauma or abuse, etc. It reminds me of Jane Eyre. Jane always chooses the right, almost to a fault, but it makes me reflect on the easy of my circumstances and how much I misbehave.

I enjoyed New Moon but I could not focus on it as intently because I was too sympathetic to Bella's pain and had to try not to remember the times when I felt like I was 'holding my self together'.

Eclipse is a toss up for me. I loved the story line and the action and suspense. I was completely disturbed by the controlling nature of Edward's and Bella's relationship. I'm glad that the author chooses to have them compare parts of their life to Heathcliff's and Cathy's in Wuthering Heights. { if you have read Wuthering Heights - never mind that is a whole neither tangent. I read Jane Eyre to recover from Wuthering Heights } They were just as destructive to the world around them. I was also disappointed that Bella is constantly trying to entice Edward to make love to her. Since this is written for teenagers and many young teenagers I know have read it, I wish the author would have addressed the situation differently. I think it was enough to have her so against marriage. Teenage girls have it hard enough with the pressure around them I think it makes it hard to see someone that they may relate to or come to know ( even if they are fiction) make choices like that and not put some of that back on themselves. It send a confusing message. Thank goodness Edward has amazing self control and above all is still a gentleman.

Over all I loved this story and greatly anticipate the books still to come. Happy reading!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I'm it..

I've been tagged by Autumn to answer these questions. Enjoy!

5 things I was doing 10 years ago:

  • Just settling into my new apartment in Utah with Shaina.
  • Wondering if I'd ever meet the love of my life.
  • Working at Hogi Yogi/ Teriyaki Stix...YUMMY!
  • Wondering if my car will start the next time I go somewhere.
  • Trying to get my credits transfered at UVSC.

5 things on my 'to-do' list today:

  • School work with my kids.
  • Prepare entries for a bake off.
  • clean the bathrooms.
  • go walking with friends.
  • run a few errands.

5 snacks that I enjoy:

  • dark chocolate
  • chips and 'Sallsssa'
  • vanilla Coke Zero
  • Strawberry/ Heath Bar shake from Iceburg
  • any sour gummy candy

5 songs I know the Lyrics to:

  • Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkel [that's for you Autumn]
  • The Star Spangled Banner
  • Thank You by Dido
  • Killing Me Softly by Roberta Flack [and I close my eyes, too ; )]
  • Pick a Disney Song

5 things I'd do if I were a Millionaire:

  • Buy land for a new home and small farm.
  • Take my hubby to Hawaii.
  • Take my family on a year long trip around the world.
  • Start a charity organization with my children.
  • Buy dream homes for our parents.

5 of my bad habits:

  • Procrastination
  • Being what my husband calls a 'read-inner'.
  • Losing my temper too often.
  • Being side tracked too easily.
  • Staying up and then waking up too late.

5 things I will never wear again:

  • A small bra.
  • Frosty white lipstick.
  • Denim overalls.
  • Blue nail polish.
  • Any clothing in florescent colors.

5 of my favorite toys:

  • Scrapbook stuff
  • ipod
  • Camera
  • Guitar hero
  • Computer

People I'm going to tag:

  • Shaina
  • Garin
  • Mom
  • Anyone else who reads my blog.

Alright, Lets go! I want answers! Besides it is lots of fun.

Monday, October 1, 2007

My Baby Boy

No, I'm not making any announcements. This is my baby boy, Max.

He is a 'Schaunocker' puppy (1/2 Schnauzer, 1/2 Cocker Spaniel). We brought him home in June. I never thought I'd see the day he would come to our home because when we were first married Garin swore there would be no pets. But his heart softened to a soft batting of my eyes {and years of pleading}.

He is the little baby of the house and knows it, too. He knows I'm the Mommy and just like any baby prefers to nap on Mommy's lap. We've had fun taking him camping with us and having his companionship. He is a funny little dog that when ever he does something that he knows is naughty he immediately comes and begs forgiveness before we even know what hes done. He enjoys chasing leaves that blow in the wind, skateboarders, and cars. To any crinkling sound of a bag made in the kitchen, he is there in a heart beat trying desperately to have good manners in hopes of a treat. The girls have loved having him as a little playmate. Recently he has been losing his teeth and they find great fun in looking in his mouth and checking which ones are gone and which have grown in. Riley found one on her bed the other day. We love our little baby boy:)
He is our best chance so far of having a son and brother! (ha-ha)

The Greatest Snow on Earth...


that is what we boast here in Utah. But why, oh why, can it not seem to wait to fall until winter! Only a week after the official start of fall (and a previous days' temperature of 80F) we received an inch of snow! That's what I get for being excited that fall was here and enjoying the temperate climate and wonderful sunlight. Snow does put you in the mood for cozying up with someone you love, with socks on and a blanket, sipping hot cocoa or Christmas shopping and Thanksgiving dinner. I guess I should be giving thanks right now for the much need relief to dry, thirsty state.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

This Day

Tomorrow in Relief Society, I have to teach a lesson on this talk. It is an amazing talk that I don't remember from General Conference. I am so thankful that we can have the opportunity to read these over again! I normally do not teach on this Sunday but my teacher is out of town and I forgot to get a substitute. But as the words come as an answer to the thoughts of my heart and a chastisement I know that there is a reason I forgot a substitute and our bishop chose this talk. I hope you find it inspiring and uplifting and that you have a wonderful Sabbath day.

{ I know posting the whole talk makes for a long posting but I thought if I put it here one would be more apt to read it since they didn't have look for it somewhere else ;) }

Henry B. Eyring, “This Day,” Ensign, May 2007, 89–91

All of us will need His help to avoid the tragedy of procrastinating what we must do here and now to have eternal life.

There is a danger in the word someday when what it means is “not this day.” “Someday I will repent.” “Someday I will forgive him.” “Someday I will speak to my friend about the Church.” “Someday I will start to pay tithing.” “Someday I will return to the temple.” “Someday …”

The scriptures make the danger of delay clear. It is that we may discover that we have run out of time. The God who gives us each day as a treasure will require an accounting. We will weep, and He will weep, if we have intended to repent and to serve Him in tomorrows which never came or have dreamt of yesterdays where the opportunity to act was past. This day is a precious gift of God. The thought “Someday I will” can be a thief of the opportunities of time and the blessings of eternity.

There is solemn warning and counsel in the words recorded in the Book of Mormon:

“And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

“Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.”1

Then Amulek warns that procrastinating your repentance and service can cause the Spirit of the Lord to withdraw from you.

But with the warning he gives this hope: “And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb.”2

The scriptures are filled with examples of wise servants of God who treasured the day they were in and chose to do what they could to bring cleansing. Joshua was one: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve … ,” he said, “but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”3

Serving Him invites the Holy Ghost to be with us. And the Holy Ghost is a cleanser of sin.

Even the Savior, who was without sin, set an example of the need not to procrastinate. He said:

“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”4

As the risen Savior, He is this day and forever the Light of the World. It is He who invites us to come unto Him and serve Him, without delay. His encouragement to you and to me is this: “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”5

That is as true of a day as it is of a life. A morning prayer and an early search in the scriptures to know what we should do for the Lord can set the course of a day. We can know which task, of all those we might choose, matters most to God and therefore to us. I have learned such a prayer is always answered if we ask and ponder with childlike submission, ready to act without delay to perform even the most humble service.

On many days, doing what matters most will not be easy. It is not supposed to be. God’s purpose in creation was to let us prove ourselves. The plan was explained to us in the spirit world before we were born. We were valiant enough there to qualify for the opportunity to choose against temptation here to prepare for eternal life, the greatest of all the gifts of God. We rejoiced to know the test would be one of faithful obedience even when it would not be easy: “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”6

Hard as we knew the test would be, we felt joy because we had confidence that we could pass it. Our confidence came from knowing that Jesus Christ would come into the world as our Savior. He would overcome death. He would make it possible for us to be cleansed of our sins by qualifying for the effects of His Atonement.

We also knew some reassuring facts about what it would take to receive the purifying which we would need. Everything that cleansing would require—baptism by authority, receiving the Holy Ghost under the hands of authorized priesthood bearers, remembering Him and therefore having His Spirit to be with us, and then keeping His commandments—all would be possible for the humblest of us. It would not take superior intellect, nor would it take wealth, nor long life. And we knew that the Savior would draw us to Him and would have the power to help us when the test would be hard and the temptation to procrastinate great. Alma, the great prophet, described how Christ gained that ability:

“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.”7

All of us will need His help to avoid the tragedy of procrastinating what we must do here and now to have eternal life. For most of us the temptation to delay will come from one or both of two feelings. They are polar opposites: one is to be complacent about what we have already done, and the other is to feel overwhelmed by the need to do more.

Complacency is a danger for us all. It can come to naive youth who feel that there will be plenty of time in the future for spiritual things. They might think that they have already done enough, considering the brief time they have lived. I know from experience how the Lord can help such a youth to see that he or she is in the midst of spiritual things, now. He can help you see that classmates are watching you. He can help you see that their eternal future is shaped by what they observe you do or not do. Your simple thanks for their influence for good on you can lift them more than you imagine. When you ask God, He can and will reveal to you the opportunities to lift others for Him, which He has placed around you from your infancy.

Complacency can affect even the seasoned adult. The better and the longer you serve, the more likely that the tempter can place this lie in your mind: “You have earned a rest.” You may have been the Primary president in your little branch twice. Or you may have worked long and hard on your mission and sacrificed so much to serve. Or perhaps you were the pioneer in the Church where you live. The thought may come: “Why not leave the service to the new people. I have done my part.” The temptation will be to believe that you will return to serve again, someday.

The Lord can help you see the danger in taking a rest because you feel you have done enough. He helped me by letting me have a conversation with one of His aged servants. He was feeble, his body weakened by decades of faithful labor and by illness. His doctors no longer allowed him to leave his home. At his request, I reported a trip I had taken in the Lord’s service, across several nations, in dozens of meetings, and in many private interviews, helping individuals and families. I told him of the gratitude people expressed to me for him and his many years of service. He asked me if I had another assignment soon. I told him about another long trip soon to come. He surprised me, and he gave me an inoculation against complacency which I hope will last forever, when he grabbed my arm and said, “Oh, please, take me with you.”

It is hard to know when we have done enough for the Atonement to change our natures and so qualify us for eternal life. And we don’t know how many days we will have to give the service necessary for that mighty change to come. But we know that we will have days enough if only we don’t waste them. Here is the good news:

“And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men.”8

That assurance from the Master can help those of us feeling overwhelmed by our circumstances. In the hardest trials, as long as you have the power to pray, you can ask a loving God: “Please let me serve, this day. It doesn’t matter to me how few things I may be able to do. Just let me know what I can do. I will obey this day. I know that I can, with Thy help.”

The quiet invitation to you may be to do so simple a thing as to forgive someone who has offended you. You can do that from a hospital bed. It may be to go to help someone who is hungry. You may feel overwhelmed by your own poverty and the labors of the day. But if you decide not to wait until you have more strength and more money, and if you pray for the Holy Spirit as you go, you will when you arrive know what to do and how to help someone even poorer than you are. You may find when you get there that they were praying and expecting that someone like you would come, in the name of the Lord.

For those who are discouraged by their circumstances and are therefore tempted to feel they cannot serve the Lord this day, I make you two promises. Hard as things seem today, they will be better in the next day if you choose to serve the Lord this day with your whole heart. Your circumstances may not be improved in all the ways which you desire. But you will have been given new strength to carry your burdens and new confidence that when your burdens become too heavy, the Lord, whom you have served, will carry what you cannot. He knows how. He prepared long ago. He suffered your infirmities and your sorrows when He was in the flesh so that He would know how to succor you.

The other promise I make to you is that by choosing to serve Him this day, you will feel His love and grow to love Him more. You may remember the scripture:

“I say unto you, I would that ye should remember to retain the name written always in your hearts … that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which he shall call you.

“For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?”9

By serving Him this day, you will come to know Him better. You will feel His love and appreciation. You would not want to delay receiving that blessing. And feeling His love will draw you back to His service, wiping away both complacency and discouragement.

As you serve Him, you will come to know better the voice by which you shall be called. When you go to sleep at the end of a day, the words may come back in memory: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things.”10 I pray for that benediction on this day, on every day, and on our lives.

I know that Heavenly Father lives and answers our prayers. I know that Jesus is the living Christ, the Savior of the world, and that we can choose to feel joy and peace in His service this day. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

1. Alma 34:33–34.

2. Alma 34:36.

3. Joshua 24:15.

4. John 9:4–5.

5. Proverbs 8:17.

6. Abraham 3:25.

7. Alma 7:11–12.

8. 2 Nephi 2:21.

9. Mosiah 5:12–13.

10. Matthew 25:21; see also v. 23.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Potty training can be so FUN(NY)

For those of you are easily grossed out I warn you to scroll away and do not read :) But if you like to laugh, carry on.

Mommy is in the shower; while she has finished with shampooing and such she is hoping for a minute to relax in the warmth of the water. The peace is broken by a 2 year old bursting in to say "Mommy, I have to go potty." Never mind that there is another bathroom that is unoccupied. But to be encouraging Mommy invites her in. A few seconds pass as Olivia makes her preparations and climbs on to the toilet. Mommy decides it is best to get out. Olivia then says with strain in her voice,"Mommy, I'm going poo-poo."

"Good job!" Mommy replies.

"It's a snake one." Olivia declares.

" Oh, really?!" Mommy says with feigned surprise.

"Mommy, a ladybug, you have to see this!"

"Where is it?"

"Right there."

" Right where? On the floor or your foot?"

" No, right there." Olivia says pointing into the toilet.

As mommy looks in she sees what definitely looks like a snake and little nugget that is uncannily shaped like a ladybug.

Now if I can only get her this interested in cloud shapes.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Amellia

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you! You want to be a Rock-star!
And... to look like one too!

Our little Amellia turned six years old on the 14th of this month and wishes she was more like 18. When I asked her what she would like for her birthday some of her replies were a purse, lipgloss, a red party dress, and a triple barrel curling iron. Needless to say she loves clothes shoes and all things fashionable. She also love the guitar and wants to learn to play. Riley saw this small electric guitar and just had to get it for her, it is fun to hear her concerts. Her favorite color is red, she loves to watch Word-Girl, has a great sense of humor and loves to have her picture taken. She is growing up to be a beautiful young girl who love the Lord and her family.


On September 12-13th Garin and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary (that was on August 14th). We decided to celebrate a little bigger this year for reasons that don't really matter anymore but we had a great time and it was a nice get away. On the 12th we headed down to Provo to stay at The Hines Mansion, a bed and breakfast that is in a 108 yr old mansion in downtown. It was a beautiful home and room. Our room was called Winter Dreams.
After arriving and settling in we headed out for dinner at Chili's where we met up with a coworker of Garin's and his wife. That was an adventure with a server named Honeyman and his crusade for St. Jude's hospital. After dinner and our great escape from Honeyman we went on our way to the highlight of the night... The MUSE concert!!

We love this band! They are Garin's favorite and this was his first concert.
We had great time and they do an awesome show! If you haven't heard of them you should check them out. I love the songs Invincible and Starlight.

At the end of our long night we went back to our room for a night of rest and relaxation with no kids sneaking into our bed. AHHHH! Nine years and counting........... so far, "together we're invincible."