Joy is very infectious; therefore, be always full of joy.

~ Mother Teresa

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Salem Pond Swimming Day

It was finally in the 90's for a day or two.
We decided to go play in the water at Salem Pond.
Emma and Cody swam and swam... 
Cub and Cam swam some, but loved the beach and the little stream that lead to the ponds even better. 
Cam found some fishing line and tied it to a stick. He pulled it up and down the little water falls all along the stream.
Caleb and Cody watching their sticks float. 
Then Em joined the fun... 

I got to sit and enjoy the heat (ha ha... not!) and watch my babies play! 
Caleb's giggle is awesome! 
Oh he is a cutie!! 
Cameron discovered if he blocked the water with his hiney... the sticks would have a faster race!
He and Caleb did it for almost a hour before their Mommy was too hot and it was time to go home!

We love summer!!!!!!

Me Like a Klondike!

Monday, June 27, 2011

No! No! No!

 Cody had some leg aches a couple of weeks ago...

Two days later TA DA!
Emma and Cody have been neck and neck for weeks... *sniff*
Cody is officially taller!!!!

 Whew!! At Eleven years old Daddy is still taller than him... barely LOL
But (Waaaaa!) He is taller than his Mommy!!!
My first child to out grow me...

Cody turns 12 in just a few days...
HE IS TOO BIG!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

BYU Women's Conference - April 2011

I found this post in my drafts!
So to add to the pictures... here is a recap :D

I was SOO tickled to be invited to join my dearest friend Amy and her Mom and friends at BYU's Women's Conference this year!
Campus was BEAUTIFUL!
After tons of late snow fall... the sight of spring flowers was food for the soul all by itself!
Like my Ma's always says... "Look at his happy face!"
Love these little happy flowers!

BYU Women's Conference Theme was
"By Small and Simple Things Are Great Things Brought to Pass"
Conference started at 9 am Thursday morning at the Marriot Center with an amazing talk from Virginia Pierce (Pres. Hinckley's daughter).
AMAZING. My thoughts I wrote down were:
  •  Keep it Small. Keep it Simple. Give it Time.
  • Prayer rests on the principle of faith - and it is an expression of our agency.
  • We need God.
  • We can find joy in adversity when we know it brings us to Christ.
  • Temple attendance can change us, and brings us peace.
  • If you don't get an answer to prayers, move forward! God trusts you! He won't let you go too far on the wrong path.
  • Tender mercies are gifts from God ~ messages of His love for you.
  • Prayer calls down the power of Heaven.
  • Find our will IN His... that is the key.
After that we could go to a dozen or so classes for the next 90 min blocks.

There were so many wonderful class sessions! It was hard to choose!

Amy and I headed out onto campus and ended up in a class called
"Courageous Parenting: "Be strong and of a Good Courage; Be Not Affraid" (Joshua 1:9)
A few of my favorite thoughts from that class were:
  •  As parents, we need to love our children enough to allow them to make choices and endure the consequences, positive or neagtive!
  • We cannot excuse our children from experiencing hard things and expect them to develop character.
  • Establish the "fabulous five" in your home: (1) Family Prayer (2) Family Home Evening (3) Family Dinner (4) Regular 1on1 Interviews (5) Family Scripture Study. I loved it even more when she referred to the above as "Eternal Traditions" - that they are are important for children just as any other family/holiday traditions. And something about calling them "Eternal Traditions" makes them seem more easy to want to do! LOL 
Our next class we found was
"Sisters Who Have Made Convenants with God... Are in for the Long Haul"
Here we learned about:
  • "Being brilliant in the basics" (Julie Beck's talk)
  • The scriptures are our sacred workbook.
  • We need to be believing - "We make things holy by giving them to God" (Brad Wilcox)
  • "Don't pace up and down in our cell of circumstance."
  • Walk uprightly - When we keep the commandments we are happy, when we don't we aren't.
  • Consider this when investing our time: Who's agenda does this support? God's or Satans. What will I give up to feel the Spirit?
  • Keep your covenants, for God keeps His!
  • The Holy Ghost comes without drama.
  • God will fight our battles if we let Him.
  • It is our responsibility to look for the sun in our lives!
  • Evidences of the past show assurances of the future - God WILL show His love.
After that class, we headed back to the Marriott Center for the next class and some lunch. We each got a sandwich from BYU Catering. Oh my! I got a Turkey Cranberry on Multi-grain bread that was like a little slice of heaven!! *grin*
Our next classes in the Marriott Center were great! It was taken from the talk by Pres. Ezra Taft Benson, "The Best Measure of Greatness Is How Christlike We Are" given by Kathy Clayton
She was followed by Sister Elaine Dalton. Some things I took from this session were:
  • There are NO ordinary people.
  • Charity is a spiritual gift.
  • It is a condition or state of the heart.
  • Don't give up, don't get discouraged!
  • SHARE THE LOVE inside you!
The Final session of the day was titled
The Legacy of Relief Society by John S. & Susan W. Tanner.
There were only a few things I wrote down during this session, as this was my first big outting since recovery and my handwritting was getting hard to do. So here are the nuggets from this one:
  •  God knows us. There are things we need to do. People we need to help.
  • "Hold your tongues - a little tell will set the world on fire" (D&C 25)
  • "What comes next for willing hands to do?"
  • "Welcome the task that takes you beyond yourself!"
  • "If your labors are acceptable to God - you should never be discouraged"
  • Most of the most noblest spirits ever on earth were women - Eve, Mary, Eve's faithful daughters.
  • Testimony amid trial = our greatest treasure!
After the concluding session for the day, Amy and I went to the Service Stations they had available. We helped make newborn caps for the Humanitarian Services. It was HUGE! I have never seen so many women doing such great things all in one room - huge room. LOL It was really neat! They also had Sharing Stations - these amazing booths where other Sisters share their ideas for Relief Society meetings, Family Home Evening and even personal learning and growth! It was FANTASTIC!

We went to dinner at Brick Oven. OH YUM! Heaps A Pizza with their homemade rootbeer! *sigh* Just thinking about it makes me hungry! LOL

Then we met with Amy's mom and her friends at their hotel room and enjoyed some treats and visited for until almost 9:30 pm. It was SOO much fun! They were telling me that in the very room we were eating in (top floor snack/breakfast bar) they had seen Pres. Utchdorf that morning! They didn't say hello because he was getting his breakfast. I scolded them... hello? A quick handshake would have been really neat! The room was no bigger than my familyroom/dining/kitchen area! It's not like you would be "mobbing" him! *giggle* So... they got to "eat breakfast with Pres. Utchdorf" Bwahahaha!

I came home so spiritually fed I felt like I was glowing! What an experience!!!! I couldn't wait for the next day!


Our morning session was given by Julie B. Beck. She is amazing! I just wanted to go down and hug her! LOL My favorite thoughts were:
  • Sometimes the messages we are asked to give are gifts.
  • The word "relief" means "lifting up".
  • R.S History strengthens and supports our identity as a daughter of God.
  • Am I alligned with Heavenly Father's role for me? We cannot give our responsibility away!
  • Entitlement - Who owes who? Jesus gave ALL (Luke 10)
  • Through our difficulties we learn.
  • No longer "I can do hard things" - change to "I DO hard things!"
  • Faith is how the Lord heals us.
  • With faith our difficulties become our opportunities.
  • Go to the temple and pay attention!
  • It is our  MY responsibility to make sure our home is blessed by Preisthood power every hour!
  • Dont just accept He has a plan - LIVE IT.
  • Until the R.S. History is in your heart, you won't be as strong as you can be.
  • Go forward when you are tired! Think of the Savior's life.
I could have left after that session and been filled all day... but we had a full day's docket ahead of us! We walked over to the new Hinckley Alumni Center and attended:
"Preventing our Strengths from Becoming our Weaknesses" (taken from Dallin H. Oaks talk)
Here we learned that Satan can tempt us through our strengths as well as our weaknesses...
  • Heavenly Father leaves many of our choices to ourselves; If we don't receive guidance, use our best judgement.
  • Scriptures give us answers.
  • Our expereiences with personal revelation need recorded and reviewed, and cherished!
  • Excess of giving can be a weakness as well... "see that they are done in wisdom and order" with the proper TIME and MEANS. - Look to our husbands and Priesthood leaders for direction (D&C 104:14-16)
  • Learned can become prideful - listen to the counsels of the Lord.
  • Don't be like a gold fish in the bowl - unaware of changes of water and food - confess God's hands in all things!
  • Love and tolerance are good - but incomplete unless based on true principles. Use love AND truth. *Dont try to bend the commandments to "accept" - "my love for you is not based on behavior". Use humilty! There's a difference between "tolerate" and "tolerance" - real love doesn't support destructive behavior. 
  • Pride is a universal sin - Ask God daily "Lord... is it in this that I am proud?" Repent as needed.
  • We can never have enough of what we don't need - it will never satisfy us.
  • How else can God get our attention without guilt and misery?
  • Become as a little child... humble, meek, submissive.
  • Satan means to destroy us - he will approach us through our greatest strengths. (D&C 84:43)
  • Our strengths are GIFTS from God!
  • Are you carrying it to extreme?
  • Callings come and go - Family is 1st priority!
  • The quality of humility is the greatest protector (D&C 112:10)
After this session, Amy and I headed back to the Marriott Center for the rest of the afternoon (I was starting to wane - so we wanted to conserve energy for fun later in the day)
We stopped at the little booth and got us some Cafe Rio Salads (oh yeah! YUM!) and headed into enjoy the last of the 12:30 session. We were able to listen to most of the first speaker - but I couldn't take notes - luckily they have it online "Visiting Teaching: Making a Difference by Small and Simple Means " It was delightful! Then I was so tickled! We caught one of my favorite speakers next!
She spoke on Visiting Teaching as well. Here are the little nuggets I took from her talk:
  •  The Lord expects us to increase our offering!
  • We will never be asked to do something "stupid" or unnecesary.
  • Why does He let us help? "As Sisters in Zion..."
  • PEOPLE are more important than programs!
  • Open your heart, and shut your mouth.
  • Why visit teach? "I know not... save the Lord commanded me."
After this session, we went out and got ourselves some candied almonds and kettle corn. What a fun treat! We came back in and enjoyed a session on "I Did Frankly Forgive Them" by the Osguthorpes. It was one of my favorites!
  • Anger is dangerous - It almost always leads us to do something we will regret.
  • "Frankly" means to be free, unburdened, unrestricted.
  • Cycle: Rebeled - Grieved - Corrected - Became Angry - Hearts Softened - Pled - Forgave - Rejoiced.
  • Cool down period... leads to softened hearts.
  • We need to develop a forgiving heart - frankly forgive!
  • They shared the amazing video of Chris Williams and his story of forgiveness (if you don't look at any of my other links - check this one out!)
  • Would I forgive so instantly?
  • Do I have to think it over?
  • Forgiving heart is a way of being!
  • *Make yourself a "To-Be" list instead of a "To-Do" list
  • See things through others eyes
  • Never shift blame
  • When angry - dont place reaction on the PERSON (ever) only on the situation.
  • You don't hate a person - you just don't understand them.
  • Listen - See - Love - Forgive
  • A forgiving heart requires perspective taking - see people how God sees them.
  • Forgiveness does not mean we ignore evil!
  • No excuses - Forgiveness is a CHOICE - a self-forgetful choice. Decide to follow God's path - Our desire will increase.
  • Forgive over and over and over again.
  • Act - don't be acted upon.
  • When we no longer can be offended we will find peace and a forgiving heart!
Good stuff huh??

The last session was a real treat!! We sang "I feel my Savior's Love" and then we got to hear Elder and Sister Bednar. LOVED IT! Sister Bednar spoke about the importance of taking care of ourselves to be able to be our best: Go to bed early - Arise early - we will be invigorated mentally. Exercise. Eat Well.  Scriptures. Prayer. Small and Simple Things!

The place was packed!
I felt humbled to be surrounded by so many wonderful women, my sisters, seeking guidance and direction from our Heavenly Father.
It was a choice realization.

Elder Bednar taught us the following nuggets:
  •  Patterns help us! Small and Simple Things are Patterns.
  • He told the story of Gustafus Perry - from Perry Utah: he had us guess in our minds how many decendants Bro. Perry had in 7-8 generations. (In my mind I guessed 300-400) He has 10,000 righteous decendents because he lived a gospel centered life! Enough for 3 church Stakes! (wow!) He lived by small and simple things!
  • He shared the story of how the organ on Temple Square came to be. By small and simple things.
  • Small and Simple things are like a drip irrigation vs. flooding... We all need a gospel "drip" in our lives. Steadiness is better - consistency.
  • He told the story of the 10 virgins.
  • Deliberate consistent performance fills our lamps!
  • We need to become deep intelligent drippers, not spiritual spurters.
  • He then gave us a blessing: According to our desires we are blessed with eyes to see and a capacity to press forward in small and simple things to bring great things to pass.
Here is "Mom" and her friends :)
And Amy and I after it was over! (I was so sad to have it be over!)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Our Jestin-mobile

Hee Hee
Couldn't resist taking this picture!
We teased Jes that he is our car power now... you know... like the Flinstone's? 
We are SOOO very blessed to have a Husband/Daddy that can fix our car so we can get around!
He is SOO smart and clever!
Thanks for fixin' our wheels!


(hee hee)

An answer.
It's not a resolution...
but it's an answer!

The bank has taken our home off the docket for sale on Tuesday. We can stay a few more weeks!
I have wanted to cry all day. I keep tearing up.
Not crying for joy, nor crying for sad.
I wonder if it isn't for the sorrow of more uncertainty? And peace for not leaving our home this Tuesday with a long stretch of limbo housing? It is definately a mixed emotion.

So... we are glad for an answer... even though it is just one simple one. *wink*

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Less than a week...

The bank's sale date for our house is less than a week away. Still no news from them. We have all our paperwork in to them - like always - but "it could take up to 30 days to review" and we don't have that kind of time. So really it's sunshine up our back end so they can get what they want.

Our house is mostly packed just in case. The kids keep laughing that it will be like Christmas when they get to re-open their boxes and re-do their rooms! LOL If, by God's grace, we get to keep our home, the boys and Emma all want their rooms painted. I just smile. Makes packing your life into a box a little less painful I guess.... to dream.

Jes keeps dreaming about winning the lottery. I laugh and remind him we live in Utah where there is no lottery. He just smiles and says he still could win it. I laugh.

That is what we need. To laugh.

My body is beat. I have been running a low grade fever on and off since last friday night ( i know it's wed.) with no other symptoms. I just ache everywhere, chill and flush and am completely wiped out. Makes packing a house even LESS appealing lemme tell ya! Bwahahahaha

We have somewhere to go now... It's just not available until the end of July/first of August. Until then? We aren't sure yet. I sense God's hands in it ~ so I am striving really hard to just express my gratitude for what I understand so far of his plan in all this and hope for the best outcome like we are taught. This is but a small moment. Jes will have a job that makes enough to make our payments AND live again soon. I know it. We will have somewhere to live that will make us happy - because we are happy before we get there! :D And maybe someday we will have the house that we stay in for the rest of our lives. But if not... that is ok too. :D Hopefully our mansion in heaven is a thousand times better *GRIN*

Saturday, June 4, 2011

6 Months

Today was the 6 months mark since my body had a stroke. I have dreaded this day and looked forward to this day. My doctors told me from the beginning that the first 6 months after a stroke is when you get the recovery and healing, after that, there is usually no improvement after that. And so 6 months was the date I dreaded when I had symptoms showing up I could not control. But I also looked to the 6 month mark with some joy: I felt like I could officially consider myself "recovered" I guess?

Anyway... today was a good day... despite my dreads.

We had a yard sale to get rid of things that weigh us down in preparation to move. And I spent the entire week, pushing hard EVERY DAY, packing, cleaning, daily living, sorting, labeling etc. I have been blessed to have 2 sweet sisters in my ward come multiple times each to help me, and Jes' mom has come and done a TON! My sis, Jenny, also came and helped me tackle one of my greatest chores - my year end filing for the last 2-3 years. It has been SUCH a long week... and yet today as I think about where I am and where I came from just a few weeks before Christmas and I am in AWE. Top this week off with a yard sale (7am-5 pm) and I can say that I am very pleased!! *grin*

I know that my recovery had a LOT to do with hard work on my part; daily exercises until I was mentally exhausted, physical therapy until I wanted to die, and tears, heartache, triumphs and successes. But I honestly know that my recovery mostly came from the Priesthood Blessing Jes and Bro. Mead gave to me that quiet December morning, when I knew in my heart that I had had a stroke, but had to go to the hospital to confirm it. I was promised that my "recovery will be swift". I *know* with all my heart that my recovery is a gift from God. My body's leaps and bounds rebound has astonished my therapist as well as my doctors! For all that I lost, I really should not be as healed as I am... at least according to medical points of view. And that brings me much joy!

This experience also makes me realize something kind of big. I *know* how much hard work I put into this particular challenge. But I also *know* that it wasn't me alone. Isn't that how ALL our trials/life experiences are? We have to put our very best effort into what we want in order to receive the miracles and blessings God has in store for us? He makes up the difference! My doctors responses have proved that! Over and over.

I could have believed the council that I would not recover here or there, but I didn't. I believed God's promise of a speedy recovery instead. And I worked and worked for it. But it is God's miracle!

So... for the record... there are still things that manifest that I had a stroke, but most people would never notice. (which btw makes me smile... a lot! I love hearing people say "you can't even tell that you've had a stroke". It warms my heart and reminds me of God's love and promises every time! Love it!) I thought I should list them for my own review in another 6 months *wink*

  • Often in the evenings, if I am tired or not concentrating, my ability to swallow is diminished and I choke on my food and end up in coughing fits. And sometimes I puke. (Sorry my sweet FLYSistahs! ugh!) but thankfully... most times others just think my food "went down the wrong tube", like so many other people experience - so it's an easy one to think nothing of.
  • At the end of the day my handwriting ability is greatly diminished. Cursive is only something I do well in the mornings, but often I can still sign my name in the afternoons. Straight lines are a piece of cake, doing any curvy lines of a letter are hard!
  • In the evenings (I guess like the Doc's said - most of my symptoms are when I am fatigued and in the evenings etc) my right arm quits swinging when I walk. I know that sounds funny... but it is true. It just wants to hang instead. So I just put it in my pocket or hold my mid section and no one is the wiser! LOL
  • I still limp and have weakness in my right leg when tired. Going down hills is especially hard when I am tired, but I can do stairs without much of a limp.
  • When tired, I often slur a little, stumble on my words, and my memory of what I was talking about if I get interrupted struggles. I laugh when people tell me they understand because they are forgetful too... maybe it seems similar to them, but I remember that kind of forgetfulness! This forgetfulness *hurts* my mind to try and recall. It is really weird!
  • I do get tired easier...but mostly it becomes tired of moving/thinking with my right side. I just want to sit or lay to rest it and stop thinking about it. It's a mental fatigue more than a physical fatigue.
  • I get weakness in my leg if I try to climb into a high vehicle. I have to lift my leg to get into it - I cannot lift it very high.
  • And I still have numbness and tingling once in a while when my right side is tired.
Most of these are easy to hide. They bug me, but I am grateful for them! I have come SOOO far!! I wouldn't trade the lessons I have learned from this experience for anything in the world. I never want to do it again... bwahahaha... but I wouldn't trade it!

6 Months is not as bad as I worried it might be! I can live with it! And I am GRATEFUL for it!! *grin*
Thank you for all the love and support as I have walked this path... your thoughts and prayers have been felt more than you know...

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Caleb just came to me and asked if he could be part of the "chick"!!
I said, "What chick?"
He replied "The chic! Like Dad was just telling his friend on the know, the kind where you get to fall asleep?!"

Jes had been telling his friend that I wanted to watch a "chick flick" with him (distraction!) and that he was going to enjoy the nap while we watched!


Then a few nights ago Jes and Cameron were hanging out on our bed with Caleb and his stuffed dinosaur Rexie. Cam was trying to steal Rexie away.
Dad said "Cameron quit! Rexie says you are hurting him!"
Cam replied "how do you know what Rexie said??"
Jestin said, "Because only Caleb and I can hear him!"
The boys all laughed and then they all got distracted...

I was watching Caleb... and he snuggled Rexie in close to his heart and whispered:
"Just pretend ok Rexie?"


This kid is just awesome!! *GRIN*