Monday, May 28, 2012

The Best Days...

These are just a few pictures of some of my best days. When I was little, my brother got a puppy for his birthday. I still remember how the present was moving.
4th of July one of Mom & Dad's amazing BBQs

Some of our prettiest dresses...

Dancing at Melissa's wedding...

c reaching the top!

Sun Valley

A&B.. a perfect match.

Mom & The Aunts & Uncle Monte w/ their fun cousins

my darling, wonderful and dear grandparents

best friends a girl could ever have...

a day at the beach..

cousins and dress ups


All of these perfect days were made possible mostly by people I have not met and cannot see.
They leave comfortable homes, children, wives and families...
to fight and sometimes to die in far away places where they are beloved by some of the people
and hated and hunted by others.
They almost always lose something. Some lose limbs or sight. Some lose their minds. Some lose their friends... for us, so that we can have a perfect day. Days like these aren't possible without freedom.

Our FREEDOM is so taken for granted that most of us don't vote. When we do vote, we vote w/out learning and researching the issues or the character of the candidates. When we do pay attention, we are wooed by sound bites and media tricks. We know more about reality TV than our own history. We are so dumb, that our own government steals from us, lies to us and takes our liberties without protest.

There is no way that we can calculate the cost in blood and treasure that has been spent on our behalf.
May we make great strides to repent. That is the best way we can thank those who have sacrificed so much.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Big Rainbows...

Big C pulling big rainbows out of the river... by Flaming Gorge in April 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


It was so fun to make this stuff. Check Derby Party off the bucket list...
Best of all.. dear friends were there to share.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

King Nebuchadnezzar's Dream...

Daniel Chapter 2 Reading
Narrator: And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.

Narrator: Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans for the shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said unto them:

King Nebuchadnezzar: I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.

Narrator: Then spake the Chaldeans unto the king:

Chaldean #1: O king, live forever: tell they servants the dreams and we will shew the interpretation.

King Nebuchadnezzar: The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. But if ye shew the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof.

Chaldean #2: Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it.

King Nebuchadnezzar: I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. If ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof.

Chaldean #3: There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king's matter... And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.

Narrator: For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain. Then Daniel said to the king’s captain:

Daniel: Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.

Narrator: The captain made the thing known to Daniel and Daniel asked the king for time and he would show the king the dream and its interpretation. And Daniel asked his companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:

Daniel: Pray for the tender mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that we will no perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

Narrator: Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. And, Daniel said:

Daniel: Blessed be the name of God forever and ever; for wisdom and might are His. I thank thee and praise thee, O though God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and has made known unto me now what we desired of thee.

Narrator: Then Daniel was brought before the king who asked: Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?

Daniel: Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

King Nebuchadnezzar: And what is the interpretation of the dream?

Daniel: Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom (silver) inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron. The feet and toes, part clay and part iron, are the fourth kingdom divided.
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

**Note: My friend Laura put this reading together and it was a hit in our Sunday School Class & in Family Night! So, I thought I would share.

We pointed out to the kids that President Obama lives in the White House, that the White House is a symbol of kingdom. It is interesting to discuss other examples of Kingdoms living and dead... Then, explain the symbolism of the stone cut without hands (made by God). Point out that the temples of God are covering the earth and that this revelation given by Daniel 600 years before the birth of Christ is coming true in their (the children's) lifetime.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Wind Blows in the Direction of the Promised Land...

The last few years seem to have been full of troubles for our little family. I don't want to make a list here, but we have been whelmed... not overwhelmed, but whelmed. Over the weekend, I have felt some fear and doubt and I have been a real grouch to be honest. I hate that little "picked on" voice that gets into my head and says things like, "How can this happen? We pay our tithing. We live in a modest home. We save. We try to do everything the prophet asks us to do. We blah, blah, blah...." What an irritating whiner! I hate whining.. This helps me not at all.
When people ask me my favorite scripture story, I never hesitate. I always say that I love the story of the Jaredites in the Book of Ether. I love the Brother of Jared. He has fears too. His country is in upheaval and he must take his friends and family and lead them to some unknown place. And so he asks the Lord what he should do and where he should go and the Lord tells him to gather up everyone and his flocks and other things,
"And when thou has done this thou shalt go at the head of them down into the valley which is northward, And there will I meet thee, and I will go before thee into a land which is choice above all the lands of the earth."
Then, the Lord tells the brother of Jared to build great barges, that he will be leading his friends and family on a great voyage. But, the barges have no provision for light. He goes to the Lord and asks him how he is going to see in the dark in the barges that will set forth upon an uncharted sea. And, the Lord asks the brother of Jared, "Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?" Interesting. So the brother of Jared makes some 16 small stones or some crystal or something, "and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass..." And, then he asks the Lord to touch the stones. His faith is so great that he sees the finger of the Lord as he reaches out to touch the stones. And then the brother of Jared is transfigured and redeemed and brought into the presence of the Lord. It is such an amazing and beautiful story.
But even though the brother of Jared has had this perfect faith, he still has to lead his people on the scary voyage into the depths of the sea.
"And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.
And in came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.
And it came to pass that the wind never did cease to blow towards the promised land...
I crave security. I love saving accounts, life insurance, food storage, stable jobs and good health. There are lots of things that we can and should do to preserve all those things. But they are things and things can be flimsy and temperamental and they can be lost. Our faith can be lost too. Sadly, I have seen people suffer all of these losses without the hope of faith.
I am grateful for faith. I love the Lord. I know the He is here for us. I know He will meet us and that with His breath He will blow us toward the Promised Land. We just need a moment to gather our family and our courage so that we can meet Him down in the valley.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day...

I wrote this sometime ago.. but, since this is my only real personal history I wanted it included here.

Mother’s Day 2006
Sacrament Meeting Talk
Between my sophomore and junior years of high school, I was able to travel to Rome and view in person Michelangelo’s famous sculpture the Pieta’. As many of you know, the sculpture depicts the crucified Christ cradled in the arms of his grieving mother, Mary. I don’t know if the moment depicted in the sculpture could have actually taken place, or if the sculpture is more a representation of emotion. In Luke chapter 2:35 Simeon speaks to Mary and says, "Yea a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." How profoundly that verse speaks of motherhood. For when does a mother not pain over every pain and joy with every joy of her child.

As I contemplated this sculpture, I thought of the Christmas story and of the Loving mother" who "laid her baby in a manger filled with hay." The mother who listened to an angel and then, "pondered these things in her heart." Of all the mothers in scripture maybe mother Mary is the one we know most about and that seems so little, yet she is revered around the world and even worshiped in some faiths. As Latter Day Saints we honor her as the chosen mother of the Savior of the world. But, it is her role as mother that I think I most relate to. The swell of happiness she must have felt as she saw the Savior living the life he was meant to live, the pain she must have felt at his pain. The love she must have had for this most precious Son. These are things we know something of as we become parents.
To be a mother, is to know the anxious hours of a long night with a fevered child, the heartache of their mistakes, the worry for their safety, but it is also to know the expanding joy of their laughter, the satisfaction of their achievement and the deep gratitude for their existence.
There are moments in family life that have a quality of perfect bliss. I was raised in a family the oldest of seven children and even in that often chaotic environment, my dear mother once remarked, "I don’t know if I want to go to heaven because I think I will miss this life too much." In reply, my father said, "But this wonderful day is just what heaven will always be like."

Emily Dickinson wrote the lines, "Who has not found the heaven below will fail of it above. God’s residence is next to mine, His furniture is love."

We have a brief glimpse of the heart of our Heavenly Father when we can look at a child and love them just because they are. My heart has filled with joy and peace as I have looked into the sleeping face of my sweet Charity and felt that she was attended by the angels. In turn, I know that it is my duty to her to teach her where she has come from, knowing that the greatest self-esteem comes not from any special talent or gift she might have, but from her divine inheritance as a daughter of God.
My daughter Charity has a rich and beautiful heritage. She has many ancestors who have paved the way and have given her lasting legacy in the gospel of Jesus Christ and I hope that she will emulate as many of their good qualities as she can. As President Hinckley has put it, I hope she won’t ‘drop the ball’. However, mortals are mortal and none of them perfect. A friend of mine once wrote that it is good to revere our progenitors, but we can’t get too entangled with that because ‘for every one that died gloriously in battle, there is sure to be one that was hung as a horse thief’. While in Charity’s case, I am sure that is an overstatement, it is her Heavenly parents, I want most for her to be like.
In the 1959, October issue of the Children’s Friend, Anna Johnson wrote just a few precious words, "I am a child of royal birth My Father is King of heaven and earth. My spirit was born in the courts on high, a child beloved, a princess am I."
These words could not be more true. I know that I have a princess in my home. And, I believe that when we get to know each other well enough, when we learn to love each other, when we see each other and our children as our Heavenly Father sees us we truly can see the royal lineage of our Father in Heaven all about us.

Knowing this teaches us to be less judgmental of each other. I shouldn’t judge another parent because I know how hard I’m trying and how often I think, "What will my actions today cost me in psychotherapy bills tomorrow?"
A good bishop once counseled, "Mothers should be trusted. Heavenly Father is aware of which child goes to which mother."
Mothers are different.
In my own family my two Grandmothers could not have been more different.
One graduated with a degree in nursing, had ten children, seven of them boys, was an avid sports fan and a great cook of large portions of good Mormon cooking all the while working outside the home as a labor and delivery nurse by necessity to help support her large family. I never saw her with makeup or any other form of feminine adornments but she always knew the scores of all the games.
My other Grandmother graduated from Utah State with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is fancy! She is the mother of six children 3 girls and 3 boys. I have seen many pictures of her in glamourous dresses she made with high heels and red lipstick. She was a homemaker by trade, artistic in every way and a relief society president many times over. She is also a great cook of small portions of gourmet food.
Both of my Grandmothers were good mothers. Both of them were faithful Latter Day Saints who served tirelessly in the church and were wonderful examples to their children and Grandchildren. Both of them were missionaries. Both of them shared their love, talents and testimonies with as many people as they could, but especially with their families.
I don’t think it matters what style of mother we are as long as we are the kind that has the company of the Holy Spirit.
I have learned as a parent that it is my great desire to be led by the Holy Spirit and to know when our child needs us, when she needs our special attention, our prayers on her behalf, our presence, our teaching.
It is my desire as a parent to feel that I have done what Heavenly Father has asked of me.
Several years ago, I attended the marriage of a cousin in the Salt Lake Temple. The temple sealer gave some advice when he said to the couple, "One of these days, you’ll have a teenage child leaving the home for the evening in a car. How much more peace you will feel on that occasion if from now until that time you have faithfully held family home evening, family prayer and scripture study in your home?"
A friend pointed out to me recently that her nine-year-old daughter is coming to her with a great many gospel questions. She said, I am trying to patiently answer all of them and find joy in the process as my child searches for the testimony she will most desperately need.
In our April General Conference, Elder Henry B. Eyring said, "the prophets of God have foreseen the times in which we live... Anyone with eyes to see the signs of the times and ears to hear the words of prophets know that the peril is great . The peril comes from the forces of wickedness. Those forces are increasing... For those of us who are concerned about such a future for ourselves and those we love... there is hope in the promise the Lord has given us of a place of safety in the storms ahead."
Then Elder Eyring quotes Helamen5:12
"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation... whereon if men build they cannot fall."

The sculpture of the Pieta carries so much of the sorrow that we can sometimes feel as mothers, the concerns and the hurts that trouble. Would that Michelangelo had created another sculpture, one in which the Mother Mary would greet the risen Lord. For this is what we hope for as mothers, that our children will come and do what they were meant to do. That we will be able to teach them well and then that they will follow the example of their Savior rising above the filth and grief and trouble of this life to a glorious eternity.
I am so grateful and so awed by the blessing it is to be Charity’s mother. I love her so very much.
I am so grateful this day for my own dear mother whose gifts and talents are many. Who taught me to awe and reverence the creation that our Heavenly Father has made for our happiness. I love to go on drives with her so that she can point out and name every special tree and flower and bush and so she can remind me not to forget how beautiful our mountains are today with either green grass, autumn leaves or snow. She loves the beauty of every season and celebrates every holiday and occasion with exuberance and real joy. I am so grateful for her quiet faith and her extraordinary acts of service and for her great loyalty and love for her family.
I am grateful for a husband who doesn’t criticize and who encourages me and tries to give me confidence in all that I attempt to do. I love him so much.
I am grateful for this gospel, for the blessing it is in my life. For the blessing it is to have its rock not just to build faith, but also to build a family. I am grateful for my Savior and know that he is real and love him very much.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Kentucky Wedding...

Custom Kokeshi Peg Doll Portrait Cake Toppers

The Jefferson Lies... by David Barton

This book is almost two books in one. One book is a "how to study history" book and should be required reading for every young student. When you are reading a history, or any book... How do you know if what it says is true? I had actually learned these things from my dad whose education is in history and then revisited these ideas again as I studied literary criticism in college. What am I talking about? I am talking about what David Barton called the "five modern tools of historical malpractice."

1. Deconstructionism
2. Poststructuralism
3. Modernism
4. Minimalism
5. Academic Collectivism

These may sound like intimidating concepts, but they are not. As Barton explains them, you will recognize every single one and you will be able to identify them across disciplines. Ever heard of the term, "scientific consensus"? That term would be far better described as "Academic Collectivism".

When my dad writes a book or a paper, half of it is the story or the argument and the other half is the proof or the notes that point to original source documents so that you can be certain in your own mind. Barton is almost as careful as my dad :) He has provided more that sixty pages of notes so if you don't believe him.. you can look it up.
A couple of years ago, I read a book called Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts. In it, she made wild suppositions about Benjamin Franklin and his thoughts and motives without providing a single source document to prove her point. I discounted everything she said. Some of it was an interesting story, but at best her book was historical fiction.
I told you this book was two books in one. The second book, if you will, is the biography of Jefferson, a man who has been maligned by historical malpractice.
Historians have had such a field day with Jefferson that you may not even recognize the great man you will find in these pages; his life, his accomplishments and his character have been run through the mud. But, he was an exceptional man and a great man. He was a man of tremendous faith who loved humanity. He had a great mind and was an incredible student of the best books in all subjects for his entire life. He was an early abolitionist revered by generations who tried to follow his example... people like John Quincy Adams and Fredrick Douglas.
He was a man who suffered great loss and heartbreak in his life and a man who cherished his family. I could go on and on, but I just want to end with a couple of my favorite telling quotes from the book. This beautiful tribute written by his granddaughter Ellen was so personal and tender:
From him seemed to flow all the pleasures of my life. To him I owed all the small blessings and joyful surprises of my childish and girlish years... When about fifteen years old, I began to think of a watch, but knew the state of my father’s finances promised no such indulgence... One afternoon the letter-bag was brought in. Among the letters was a small packet addressed to my grandfather. It had the Philadelphia mark upon it. I looked at it with indifferent, incurious eye. Three hours after, an elegant lady’s watch with chain and seals was in my hand, which trembled for very joy. My Bible came from him, my Shakespeare, my first writing-table, my first handsome writingdesk, my first Leghorn hat, my first silk dress. What, in short, of all my small treasures did not come from him ?… Our grandfather seemed to read our hearts, to see our invisible wishes, to be our good genie to wave the fairy wand to brighten our young lives by his goodness and his gifts.
and finally...

"The genuine and simple religion of Jesus will one day be restored such as it was preached and practiced by Himself.... I hope that the day of restoration is to come."  Thomas Jefferson, "Thomas Jefferson Papers, to Francis A. Van Der Kemp on July 9, 1820" Library of Congress.

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens has long been a favorite author. This year is the bicentenary of his birth so in honor of that, I will be reading as many of his books as I can.
It is hard to believe it has taken me this long to pick up Little Dorrit, which has become a new treasure. How could I resist it when Dickens sings to the choir as he speaks to my heart about the abuses, waste and inefficiencies of government that obviously haven't changed too much in 200 years.

Chapter 10 is titled, "Containing the Whole Science of Government." Indeed, it does. In fact in just these few paragraphs you can see Dickens genius at picking apart the entire problem.
The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government.  No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office.  Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart.  It was equally impossible to do the plainest right and to undo the plainest wrong without the express authority of the Circumlocution Office.  If another Gunpowder Plot had been discovered half an hour before the lighting of the match, nobody would have been justified in saving the parliament until there had been half a score of boards, half a bushel of minutes, several sacks of official memoranda, and a family-vault full of ungrammatical correspondence, on the part of the Circumlocution Office.
This glorious establishment had been early in the field, when the one sublime principle involving the difficult art of governing a country, was first distinctly revealed to statesmen.  It had been foremost to study that bright revelation and to carry its shining influence through the whole of the official proceedings.  Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving--HOW NOT TO DO IT.
In addition to explaining the whole of government waste and hubris... there is some fantastic parenting advice, a beautiful love story, examples of true friendship and how to marry disastrously. My brilliant sister recently summed it up like this, "don't fall in love with someone who is too worried about being groovy. They will never be happy and neither will you."

Mixed in with all this good stuff is Dickens' great heart, his love of God, virtue, beauty, faith, friendship and kindness....
At last, in the dead of the night, when the street was very still indeed, Little Dorrit laid the heavy head upon her bosom, and soothed her to sleep. And thus she sat at the gate, as it were alone; looking up at the stars, and seeing the clouds pass over them in their wild flight--which was the dance at Little Dorrit's party.
This book is one of the greats.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard

Recently a friend argued with me that good and evil does not exist in politics. Hmmm... Try that one on Dred Scott.

Good and evil exist everywhere in our world. "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11).

This book is largely about evil and its events unfold like a morality play. John Wilkes Booth is man corrupted by pride and licentiousness and therefore easily tempted. He becomes obsessed with the idea that killing President Lincoln will raise the south again and he will be its hero. Like all those who fall to the enticings of Satan, once the deed is done, he is abandoned. Booth ends up battered and broken in a stinking swamp until he burns to death in a barn. He is not beloved. He is not succored and saved, but hunted and hated and finally one of the most ignominious villains in history.

If only the 9/11 terrorists had read this book.

For those of us just trying to contribute what we can, the lesson is that there are conspiracies around us. There are those who want evil to come upon our country. While it's nice to think that everyone has good intentions, it simply isn't true. And it's truth that matters. We have to search for it, find it and hold it up.

Because there is opposition in all things, there are those who would love nothing better than to see America in bondage. It requires the efforts of those who love liberty to be always mindful and watchful to preserve the country that we love.