Friday, April 18, 2014

Feature Friday on Utah Dixie Deals

I was lucky to be interviewed and featured on Utah Dixie Deals today.  I really feel honored to share my passion for this great city and corner of the desert in Southern Utah.

You can click on the link above or check me out here:

Utah Dixie Deals is a great resource for finding the best of what you want and need in St. George and the surrounding area.

For instance, go here to find out what free weekend events there are April 18-20.

Want to win a giveaway for a free 5 night RV rental vacation?  Go here.

Be sure to check back every day as goodies are always being posted.

Make sure to follow them +Kelly Vincent  on Google.

Check them out on Facebook at Utah Dixie Deals

You'll also find them on Twitter @utahdixiedeals  and on Instagram @ kelly_utahdixiedeals

Enjoy learning more about Dixie in the desert!

Friday, March 14, 2014

World's Greatest

Keepin' it real.

That right there is the world's greatest Corn Dog.

Mustard and honey only.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I've Got More to Learn

It's no secret we've had struggles with our children.  I'm sure one of our kids in particular comes comes to many minds of those who know us.

There are so many families facing the same life course that we are.  I want to share some of the things I have learned. I recognize that some of these things are negative, some are positive and I have much left to be taught but here's where I'm at today:

Let me define 'lost' as it is in my experience.  I'm going to put it out here for all to know even though I have been a bit vague up until now.  I have a daughter who is currently in jail.  She is an addict. She has committed crimes. We are in contact through letters and phone calls twice a week.  There have been times where she has been homeless and we've gone weeks without contact.  Some would say this is not lost because she is alive and yet, I can't hold her.  And if she were to die suddenly today....where would that leave her? If you haven't experienced this kind of loss, you probably can't fathom what it means to have a wayward child.

•Some times children are born, or come issued with challenges.  That is not to say that they can't be overcome or that they don't have responsibility for their choices, they most certainly do.  But, traits like addiction can be inherited.  I have seen children literally born angry, as if on the defense for the life they haven't even lived yet and the choices they will make.  I can't explain it but it's true.  They come to earth very strong-willed.  They haven't figured out yet that that gift of strength is to be used for good, but Satan sure knows it.  They are to fight a battle for their very lives, for their eternal lives and they have been given the ability to do this but once they pass through the veil this vision for eternity becomes cloudy. That strong will is mistaken and relabeled for obstinance and rebelliousness.

•I have seen great parents lose children.  Moms who faithfully hold FHE every Monday, Fathers who give Priesthood blessings and live worthy in every way, both who have made and honored their temple covenants can have a wayward child.  Is every parent perfect? Really? No.  But I've seen parents as close as to perfection as possible lose a child, or even more than one.

•Did we have FHE every week, say our daily family prayers and read scriptures?  No.  Does that mean we somehow 'deserve' losing a child? Maybe. But I reserve the right to be judged only by my Savior for that. Do you know how many times we heard in KC that we were too strict as parents?  That it wasn't right for us to insist on our children never missing church or mutual, not working on Sunday and so forth?  Truth was, it was never anyone's place to pass judgement. Judgers may have even seen it coming and that we get what we deserve.  And we don't think that?  Fact of the matter is, most parents are pretty aware of their child's weaknesses and already feel very responsible for their choices.

•Is it okay to lose one of your children?  After all, Father in Heaven lost a third of His.  This statement infuriates me and comforts me at the same time.  Yes, He AND our Heavenly Mother lost 1/3 of their children.  And not in a good way.  They rebelled.  They warred against them.  Do you think our Heavenly parents didn't grieve over this loss?  Still grieve?  It's not acceptable or reasonable to think that it's alright to lose ANY children, ever.  It doesn't matter that our Father lost His, so we can lose ours.  He LOST HIS children!  I have had my own witness that He indeed grieves that our own Mother grieves.  I can grieve.  I must move on, continue to love, continue to cry repentance, endure to the end and so on...but I can grieve.  Do I wallow and despair in it?  Do I abandon ship? Do I give up? I can go on because my Savior knows EXACTLY how I feel and can comfort me in the only way I can be comforted because He is the only one who truly KNOWS how it feels.

•There is no one to blame.  I don't blame YW's leaders, Bishops, judging neighbors or friends.  No success can compensate for failure in the home. It is the responsibility of the family and parents to raise and teach their own children. I do go through moments of self blame.  I remind myself that my children are not punished for my transgressions, only their own. Fact of the matter is, they have been taught right from wrong. "And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth perisheth unto himself; and whosever doeth inquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free.  He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you." Helaman 14:30-31

•The brain is a funny organ.  Some people have brains with faulty wiring, so to speak.  Whether it's from abuse, mental illness, physical illness or even combinations of all these.  We cannot place judgement on ANY circumstance because we do not know the intents of hearts.  There is only one who can see into our souls and only He can decide responsibility and only He can pass judgement. He will be far more merciful than the rest of us on the earth, I guarantee.

•I have even the craziest of parents have faithful children who grow up and lead productive, happy lives.  Does this always seem fair? Do I really understand the Plan of Salvation if I am angry or bitter by this? Sometimes I have to remind myself that this life is a test.  That there is a veil purposely put in place so that we would forget what we already knew and that we would have to exercise faith in the Plan, as a test.  We aren't meant to know and understand why things don't seem fair.  Some times people will tell me that only strong parents are given troubled children.  This is another one of those statements that irritates me and comforts me.  While I'd like to think Heavenly Father only gives us what we can handle, I also know, where much is given much is required. Every one has challenges on the earth.  Not everyone will have wayward children.  But to those who don't have them, I'm sure they have challenges that I wouldn't trade mine for.  I believe that life is perfectly tailored to our capabilities and designed to ultimately strengthen us in our weaknesses. Maybe I struggle with unconditional love and so through my child, I am being taught to love and be loved as the Savior does, as best I can. Maybe it has nothing to do with me at all. It comforts me that my Father trusts me to send me a strong-willed special daughter of God, but it scares me that maybe I wasn't worthy to receive an 'easy' child and that I will be an epic failure at teaching them.

•Agency is such a great gift.  I was speaking to a Mom of a lost daughter the other day and we were laughing at how people often say to us, "Do you ever wish that there wasn't agency?"  While that may appear to be the ideal parenting method, I answer that with a resounding, "NO!" We treasure our own agency, so much that we chose the Plan to come to earth, receive a body and be tested.  One third of our fellow brothers and sisters chose to have no agency, warred against us and our Father and will live forever in bondage because of it.  It is a gift to choose liberty and being free from the bondage of sin or being led away captive by Satan.  I cannot take it personally when my children use their agency to make bad choices.  It's THEIR agency!  The mere fact that they get to choose for themselves is such a gift that I would never want that taken away.  Even if it is painful to watch them make rotten choices, those choices do not reflect on me!  They just don't.

•I recently ate lunch with a great group of women from my ward.  Every single one of these women that I admire has at least one child who they would refer to as 'wayward'.  One of them said to me that the way she copes with her grief is by turning it over to the Lord.  She said, "I decided one day that I couldn't take it anymore and I said, Heavenly Father...they were you're kids first, you take care of them!"  And she's right!  It's a good reminder that these children of ours, and us as well, belong to our Heavenly Father first.  He is our Father. We have been entrusted the sacred care of bringing their spirits to earth to receive a body, to teach them the gospel and help them safely navigate their way back home. We can and should call on help from our Father.

President Faust said, "Let us not be arrogant but rather humbly grateful if our children are obedient and respectful of our teachings of the ways of the Lord.  To those broken hearted parents who have been righteous, diligent, and prayerful in the teaching of their disobedient children, we say to you, the Good Shepherd is watching over them.  God knows and understands your deep sorrow.  There is hope.  Take comfort in the words of Jeremiah, "Thy work shall be rewarded" and your children can "come again from the land of the enemy."

If you have a wayward child, come see me.  Put your head on my shoulder and let me wrap my arms around you.  We'll both cry because it's not alright.  And we'll both cry because everything will be alright.  I won't tell you it's your fault.  I won't tell you it's your ward's fault.  I won't blame anyone. I will pray for yours and you will pray for mine.  I won't roll my eyes at you when I hear you defend or accuse your child.  I won't say, "I told you so".  I will help you go through the roller-coaster of tough love.  I will encourage you to keep loving your child.  I will remind you of the great gift of Agency and how blessed we are to have it.  I will let you grieve and will also help you stay in the boat.  Don't jump ship now!  This is what we call enduring to the end.  I will put your child's name on the temple prayer rolls.  I will rejoice with you in small achievements.  I will grieve with you on set backs.  I will have compassion on you and not place judgement. I will help you cling to covenants you have made so that when your prodigal child returns, you will be with them forever.

For a really great article: Faithful Parents and Wayward Children:  Sustaining Hope While Overcoming Misunderstanding.

I'm not eloquent.  I'm not an English major. But I have to share my experience for the sake of my posterity. This post is for them.  There will be more wayward children and I suspect it will be worse as this world gets harder to live in.

I've got a lot to learn but I guess that's what I'm on this earth to do.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Doing My Family History

Days and weeks go by and then it's another month.  I don't blog as much as I should.  I do try.  I sit down try to formulate into words what I'm feeling and experiencing but sometimes words don't come.  

Winter is almost over here.  It was over by the end of December to be honest but it's short duration did ravage our landscaping.  Most of it is dead and will have to be completely torn out.  Who needs shrubs, trees and palms any way? Apparently, it can get too cold in the desert.  While I'm already seeing trees covered in white blossoms and Indian Paint Brush on the bluffs, I know that this can only mean one thing:  Summer is coming.  Dreaded summer.  So many things I love about summer but a few things I could do without.  But I think I'm in the minority.  If I can get out and do some of the things I'd like to do instead of staying here in town all summer, I think I can get my mojo back for this season.  

In the last 30 days:  

Boyd was set-apart as the 1st Counselor to the Bishop in our ward. Bridger found out that she has earned a full-tuition scholarship to Snow College beginning this fall.  I had an Aunt, a Great Uncle, and a Grandfather pass away.  Chloe has gotten an new job after 4 1/2 year of being employed at the same place, nearly a quarter of her life! Hunter has been learning some tough life lessons and I have learned right along side her. I saw the most incredible sights while hiking and repelling in places I had never seen before. We've hosted dozens of visitors in the Retro House and I only vacuumed and swirled toilets once during the entire time.  I consumed 3 bags of mini Cadbury eggs by myself.  

It's been a busy month.

I am feeling a bit snarky about some of the things I see things posted on Facebook that really irritate me.  But I'm proud of myself for not taking the bait and getting involved in heated debates or discussions.  I have enjoyed my Instagram outlet but even get a bit burned out on that some times.

I keep shaking my head as to why a great group of hikers would keep inviting me to go canyoneering with them.  I don't own my own equipment, I'm a novice and probably hold everyone back.  Never-the-less, I am grateful.  I don't know what I've done to deserve living here at this time and I don't feel one ounce of guilt about how much I love it.

My friend Nancy posted this quote, which has caused me to purchase the book it's from:
"Indeed, it has affirmed my belief that our purpose as spiritual beings is to follow our bliss, seek our passions, and live our lives as inspirations to each other." Aron Ralston, Between a Rock and a Hard Place

The slots and red sandstone of the desert balance me.  I can only serve and love the Lord at any level because I am in His creation which for me is my balm of Gilead.  Time and solitude and even quiet humming, whistling and conversation under the bluest of skies centers, restores, challenges, motivates, inspires and soothes me.  Like a child who plays outside, it wears me out so that I have more restful sleep and less anxiety and I'm more capable of enduring and accomplishing more that is required of me.  Deciding where to place my feet and hands on a scramble is like solving an intricate puzzle and while in that moment I am so focused that there isn't room in my brain for worries, anger or sadness.

That's not to say that every hike is perfectly successful or that every experience outside is without some discouragement or hardship.  But those days make the others even sweeter.

It's Family History Night at mutual in a few short hours.  There is always much to be done for the YW in my life.  But, because I posted today, I can say I actually worked on Family History today!  It counts, I promise.

If you are interested in working on your own Family History, go here.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Nobody Asked Me

I know many of you saw the 100 coolest Mormon women alive today list circulating the web this week.  I'm mildly amused, enlightened and frustrated all at once.
I think this is a dangerous game to be playing on social media.

I heard the scripture today, "But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him:  for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."

I just know so many women who do so much good for the kingdom of God that to me, they are the coolest women on the planet.  One of those women on this printed list is in my current ward.  I can personally vouch for the fact that she is cool, not because of her outward achievements but because I value her intellect and wisdom.  Her advice is sound and she lives a life that keeps the Spirit with her always, which means....when you're with her, you're in good company.  She is educated and well spoken and she fulfills her church responsibilities as well as her civic responsibilities.  She is a 'can do' kind of woman who could rest from her labors in retirement but instead is committed to the 'work'.

Nobody asked for my opinion but if they did, I could give you lists of 'cool' women who:

•feed the homeless
•acknowledge every birthday and occasion with a card and love
•save their pennies to send boxes of shoes across seas to orphans
•cut each and every box top from cereal boxes to earn money for the neighborhood elementary school
•carpool and provide transportation for not only their own children but others...every day
•show up when asked for volunteers
•plan and prepare excellent Sunday lessons
•give pass along cards and Books of Mormon to strangers and friends
•prepare and hold Family Home Evening every single week
•use their talents to bless the lives of others every day
•work on their family history, connecting generations together
•adopt and raise children in the gospel
•make a mean pot of chili or soup and doubles the recipe to share
•endure physical hardship
•are frugal, thrifty and live a provident life
•lift the sick and down trodden
•support and stand silently behind successful, prominent men
•smile all the time
•raise and love special needs children
•mother other's children
•cook well-balanced meals every day
•are happy for other's successes
•raise and support children as a single-parent, like a boss!

Most of these women will never be acknowledged by the world as 'cool'. They don't blog about their successes or run multi-million dollar business. You won't see them on a big screen or read about them in a book. They'll never be on a Forbes list. But I know they are in the Lord's list and their deeds and souls are imprinted on His heart.

But nobody asked me my opinion.

Monday, January 20, 2014

More Time for This

It's noon on Martin Luther King day and it's quiet here in the Retro House. The last of guests just walked out the front door to return to their every day lives.

Church callings and obligations, work constantly weigh on my mind. When others come to visit us, we're not on vacation.  So, it's hard for me to relax and enjoy the chaos sometimes.  I don't relish making choices that involve responsibility vs. relaxation.  So instead, I just turn into a couch potato.

We had a few hours before church so I took the opportunity to run to Snow Canyon while Bridger had some senior portraits taken.  It wasn't easy leaving behind a house full of guests and the knowledge that I had less time to get ready for church by spontaneously taking off for a Navajo Sandstone fix.

But I was so glad I did.

While Lydia and I waited for Kris and Bridger to take pictures, we sat in the glorious marvel of the morning on Moquis and frigid rock, basking in the dawn of the day, to sketch and chalk our surroundings.

I need to relax and allow my priorities and responsibilities to melt away once in awhile.  It's not like we were in there all day.  It's not like I can't do both in life.  I just need to take advantage of a few moments now and then.

I need to make more time for this...

Friday, January 17, 2014

Pray for Them

Early this morning, I had the unusual opportunity to drive past one of the high schools in this area that several of my YW attend. Because it's a school zone, my Subie was traveling so slow, I was able to catch a glimpse of a girl standing in the shadows of one of the buildings.  The look on her face instantly took me back 25 years to the halls of my high school. I was overcome with pain, sadness, humiliation, and many other emotions that all of us have felt during those teenage years.  And then it came flooding into my car...magnified an hundred-fold, as if I could feel what so many youth on that campus were feeling.  My heart broke.  I said a quick prayer in my heart, especially for those dear girls I am privileged to know.

Right now, in their perception, this is the very hardest time of their life. And in some ways it is.  I wouldn't go back and re-live those years, not for all the money in the world.  Those were tough years but kids now days are stronger than I ever was.

"The youth of this generation have a greater capacity for obedience than any previous generation." Elder Maxwell

"God has reserved spirits for this dispensation who have the courage and determination to face the world, and all the powers of the evil one, visible and invisible, to proclaim the gospel and maintain the truth and establish and build up the Zion of our God fearless of all consequences."  George Q. Cannon

I know that the key to making it through, relatively unscathed is by obedience.  If commandments and covenants are kept, then all else will fall into place.  We will remain clean, virtuous, free from the entanglement of addiction, freedom from the chains of guilt and in good standing with the community, our families and more importantly, the Lord.

Obedience is also the key that allows the Holy Ghost to dwell with us. We can't make it with out His constant companionship.  He gives us comfort, confidence, direction, strength to endure, courage, revelation and is the great indicator of our worthiness.

"Obedience opens the door to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.  And the spiritual gifts and abilities activated by the power of the Holy Ghost enable us to avoid deception--and to see, to feel, to know, to understand, and to remember things as they really are." David A. Bednar

"You and I are to be valiant and 'obedient to Him under all circumstances'.  Thus obedience is the principal weapon upon which the rising generation must rely in the latter-day battle between good and evil." David A. Bednar

"You are of a singular generation with exceptional potential.  No wonder Satan wants to cripple that potential by tempting you to violate the laws of God.  He knows that he has no power over a righteous individual."  Richard G. Scott

In my life, I have been blessed to witness miracles take place in direct correlation to my level of obedience.  I know that as we obey with exactness we come closer to Christ.

My hope and prayer is that the youth with submit to the will of the Father and obey Him.  Take on His attributes and strive to obey, obey, obey.

And know that they are loved so fiercely.  That they are imprinted on the Lord's heart and He is absolutely mindful of everything they are going through and have yet to experience.

And if you have a moment to spare to offer up a prayer on behalf of the teens in your life, I know it will endow them with the strength and the courage they need to be obedient.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My 40's

I saw a post circulating Facebook the other day about the joys of being 40.  I agreed with a few of the things on the list but some were just crass and you know what?  To me, the 40's aren't about being crass  or irreverent.  Once the smoke has dissipated from the blown out candles on the birthday cake (which can take a bit of time), the world is actually clearer than it's ever been.

This year I'll be midway through my 40's.  And while I there are things I really loved about the decade of 30's, my heart really prefers this time of my life.  I will say, you couldn't pay me or promise me enough to return to my 20's.

1.  Saying 'no' is an option.  It's finally okay to opt out of an assignment or busy work now.  Which leads me to #2...

2.  Being busy is not a competition.  It's okay to have nothing on your plate.  You actually relish this and enjoy choosing what you will spend your precious time doing.  There's no guilt associated with these choices. It's very liberating.  Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure...a blessing of CHOICE and LOVE. You don't do things for show, or guilt, but for love because you WANT to.

3.  Appearances don't matter.  You don't care what your neighbor thinks about what car you drive or how your yard looks.  You are courteous of others opinions but not because it makes you look good or bad.  You are genuinely happy for other's successes and not offended when they don't appreciate yours.  You won't go into debt to keep up with the Jones', rather you'll become industrious and frugal because you love the way it makes you feel, not because it's a trend or fad.  You take care of yourself, your home and your possessions because of gratitude, not because of how it looks.  And because you are grateful for what you have, you aren't spending your time and resources acquiring more.  It's just stuff.  It could all disappear tomorrow. And you suddenly feel the need to lighten and relieve yourself from the burdening acquisition of crap.  You aren't compelled to purchase something just because it's a good deal.  You also realize the value of your time.  If someone can do the job as well or better than you, let them do it.  You don't care if you look less capable or lazy.

4.  You see the light at the end of the tunnel with your children and yet you are surprised at what this season brings you.  You never imagined it would be this way.  You looked forward to alone time with your spouse, vacations, free time, and 'you' time.  You realize how shallow that way of thinking was.  You long for quality and quantity time with your children and yet worry for them on entirely different level.  Children will drive you to a new financial and emotional brink of insanity you never thought possible.  It's just different than you believed it would be. Not better, not worse, just different.  And you will find yourself adjusting to a life very different than you've been dreaming of for the last 20 years.  You long to have every chick in your nest which becomes more and more impossible as the months go by.  You would give anything to have an extra 'snow' day from school, just so you could let your house get messy and eat sugar cookies all day.

5.  There really are no short cuts.  There's no stable way of making quick money.  You can't get out of taking care of your body and spirit either, like you did during the last two decades.  It will reflect on you during your 40's.  You can't afford to miss daily scripture reading and prayer.  You know you can't survive with out it. The prophets were right and now you know it too.  Obedience really is the key and now you accept that willfully and never miss an opportunity to get on your knees or open the good book.

6.  You know you're mortal.  But unlike when you had small children and you had anxious thoughts that you would die young and never see your children grow or leave them orphan, your mortality is different.  You have a rational fear of doing things that could compromise your safety.  You recognize that you want the next 30 years of your life to be years of quality living, not confined to beds or chairs.  You want to be healthy.  It's about eating and exercising for your health, not so that you will look good in a bathing suit at the lake this summer.  You have already lost friends and family, contemporaries to you in age and you take precautions with health screenings and eating your veggies.  Which leads me to....

7.  You don't obsess as much about eating something you crave.  You recognize that you have a weakness and while you don't over indulge, you allow yourself to partake.  You are better at listening to your body and it won't let you get away with things you were able to do when you were younger.  You learn to submit to these whisperings from your body, otherwise you pay for it.  And paying for it equates to:  "It's not worth it".

8.  Your body begins to ache in places you took for granted for 40 years.  At first you are shocked by this.  But you feel gratitude for a tabernacle that has served you well and NOW you appreciate all that you have been able to do physically.  What a gift our bodies are.  You wish you could internalize that into the minds of all the women younger then you. You wish you had wasted less time worrying about your dress size and comparing yourself to others and spent more time on your knees thanking the Master for making you in His image.  You stop being as self-depricating as you once were because you know you are hurting your Father.

9.  The 40's are a time of refining.  You are finally able to see the big picture clearer and know that this is the time to clear your conscious of all the muck from the past.  You don't want to be bitter and cranky when you're old and so you are becoming conscious of your old age behavior. You are more patient with older people because you recognize the symptoms of their dilemma in you.  You are just like your Mom or Dad, who you swore you'd never be like.  You are deciding whether or not you like that but you are more sympathetic to what they've been through and you definitely extend more compassion and mercy on them as you hope will be extended to you someday.

10.  You slow down.  You drive the speed limit more often.  You don't clean house all in one day.  You read real books.

11.  You don't stop learning and you are more observant about what the world is teaching you every day.  You get the subtleties of Satan.  They are obvious.  There's no tricking you.  And on the flip side, you crave new experiences and learning new skills so you take those painting and cooking classes, hikes and read everything about anything you are interested in. You recognize you aren't the know-it-all you thought you were and how very little you really do know.  So you make up for lost time, like a sponge.

12.  It's not that you don't care less, you just aren't as careless.  You care deeply.  You love deeply.  You seek stability and even while you seek adventure.  Your relationships are meaningful.  Your knowledge of the Plan is becoming clearer.  Your passions and talents are used for good and not abused because you can say "no".  The 40's are liberating.  They are content.  They are satisfying.

I recognize the next 5 years could throw me a curve ball and turn all my views completely upside down.  But I am okay with this because that is what the 40's have taught me.  Each season is different for everyone and yet the same.  It's the way we experience it that makes it different.  I don't allow myself to compare my future and past with others.  And that feels pretty darn good.

While the last five years have felt like a furnace, I wouldn't trade them for any other time of my life.  The law of compensation is real.  And so, with the bad comes great good and real miracles.

So now that I have learned to have no expectations of what each season of life will bring, I look forward to what lies ahead.  Bring on the years.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Abide 2014

My word for 2013 was Stand.

I really felt it was an important way of remaining engaged and active.

When the going got tough I tried to imagine myself on a football field, sitting crossed legged as the quarter back threw the ball to me.  I always got run over.

In a standing position, a person is more prepared to defend, engage, take action and move.  I didn't want to 'take it' sitting down, so-to-speak.  I feel like I managed pretty well.  At least the war wounds aren't as severe as they could have been.

I'm going to Abide 2014.

I'm going to:

• accept or act in accordance with God's laws
• comply
• obey
• observe
• follow
• keep to
• hold to
• conform to all that God wills of me
• adhere to
• stick to
• stand by
• stay
• heed
• accept
• tolerate 
• bear
• stand
• put up with
• endure

It's not about sitting back down and taking a break.  It's about accepting what I cannot change and what the Lord's will is for me.  It about allowing and submitting to the refining fires that can change my heart. I will endure it better.

I will try to be patient.  I will try to stick to goals.  I will tolerate adversity. I accept the Plan.

"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." John 15:10

Christ said, "I am the true vine, and ye are the branches.  Abide in me and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me."

Elder Holland said:

Abide in me” is an understandable and beautiful enough concept in the elegant English of the King James Bible, but “abide” is not a word we use much anymore. So I gained even more appreciation for this admonition from the Lord when I was introduced to the translation of this passage in another language. In Spanish that familiar phrase is rendered“permaneced en mi.” Like the English verb “abide,” permanecer means “to remain, to stay,” but even gringos like me can hear the root cognate there of “permanence.” The sense of this then is “stay—but stay forever.” That is the call of the gospel message to Chileans and everyone else in the world. Come, but come to remain. Come with conviction and endurance. Come permanently, for your sake and the sake of all the generations who must follow you, and we will help each other be strong to the very end.
“He who picks up one end of the stick, picks up the other,” my marvelous mission president taught in his very first message to us.  
And that is the way it is supposed to be when we join this, the true and living Church of the true and living God. When we join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we board the Good Ship Zion and sail with her wherever she goes until she comes into that millennial port. We stay in the boat,through squalls and stills, through storms and sunburn, because that is the only way to the promised land. This Church is the Lord’s vehicle for crucial doctrines, ordinances, covenants, and keys that are essential to exaltation, and one cannot be fully faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ without striving to be faithful in the Church, which is its earthly institutional manifestation. To new convert and longtime member alike, we declare in the spirit of Nephi’s powerful valedictory exhortation: “Ye have entered in by the gate; … [but] now, … after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; … press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, … and endure to the end, behold, thus … ye shall have eternal life.” Jesus said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” I testify that that is God’s truth. Christ is everything to us and we are to “abide” in Him permanently, unyieldingly, steadfastly, forever."

There you have it.  I'm staying in the boat.  I'm enduring another year.  
You may wonder if this word or rather commitment only applies to my spiritual life.  But I believe if I align myself with my Father's will, the rest will work itself out.  And I plan on using this word as an action verb in all aspects of my life.  
And I love this promise, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." John 15:7

I abide in Him and He abides in me.  

Go here to learn about the history of Abide with Me 'Tis Eventide

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The road to Eternity

I'm not sure where to even begin this post so I'll just start by saying Chloe is married and I'm grateful.

We drove home yesterday from the wedding in a winter wonderland and I haven't felt more content on a long drive since I can remember.

The road to eternity began last week with endowments and covenants and ended coming full circle at where it all begins with more ordinances and covenants including baptism.

I think everyone was surprised at the lack of emotion from Boyd and I all week.  We talked about it and we can only attribute that to the feeling of complete satisfaction we felt.  We felt joy but it's more like the way you feel after you've completed the hardest task of your life.  It took 22 years in a labor of love and emotion to get us to this point.  The emotion is already gone.  We just felt peace, gratitude, fulfillment, compensation, settled and for lack of a better work, satisfaction.

We had a quiet moment with Ryan's parents in the sealing room before the rest of the guests arrived.  I'll never forget looking across the room at Boyd and thinking, "This is happening to us!  This isn't someone else's wedding or the wedding of another family.  This is us.  We are the parents.  This is our worthy daughter marrying a righteous son of God."  It was a bit surreal and beautiful.  I kept thinking of my ancestors and how joyful they were to be witnessing the links being connected.  I think one of the highlights in Chloe's mind will be while in the sealing room, she was able to see her cousin she dearly loves, Spencer, who returned from his mission the day before.  One of my fondest memories will be the brief glimpse I witnessed of seeing Chloe enter the room where Ryan was waiting for her after they were married and had changed into their wedding clothes to come out of the temple.  It was an intimate look of pure and innocent love.  I hope to remember that in the years ahead when rough days come.  And they will come.  But it's okay, because I understand the Plan better.  I will remind Chloe of that. This life and the hard's the good stuff.

I don't have many pictures.  I was trying to enjoy the moment and allow Kristin to work her magic of capturing photos.  I do have a lot of mental pictures and this one....I snapped when they first came out of the temple.

The weekend before, Chloe came here to be endowed.  We had just had a recent snow storm and there were still piles of white all over and surrounding the palm trees at the temple.  We laughed at the irony of all the brides that were there that day who specifically came to St. George to be married in the warm sunshine.  I don't think the temperature was above 25 degrees that day.  We certainly got our share of the white stuff a few days later.

We had a lovely bridal shower for Chloe here.  I thank my sisters and Mom for all their hard work and for sweet neighbors and friends who came, who don't even know my daughter.  I took a mental picture of the women who sat around my living room and counted myself blessed to be in their company.  Truly a room full of exemplar witnesses of Christ in whom I look to as mentors.

I served my cheese ball and everyone loved it.  So I drew up this little recipe image and emailed it out to all the ladies.

As the day of the wedding drew near, I kept checking the forecast for the weather up north and every time I did, it got worse.  By the time we left for Draper, there was an 80% chance of snow and freezing rain on the 19th.  I was worried for all those who needed to travel.  I was worried that Chloe would be disappointed in her damp dress and flattened hair for her pictures.  The night before, as we were falling asleep, the power in the hotel went out.  The storm had come in and the roads were slick. Someone crashed into a power pole plunging a mall and dozens of hotels, including ours, into darkness for 3 hours.  I thought it was a cruel joke and spent the night cursing the north and all of it's inhabitants.  As we drove to the temple on snow packed roads the following morning, we couldn't see the temple through the fog and snow until we were literally in it's parking lot.  The imagery of holding to the rod through the mists of darkness kept going through my mind.

Needless to say even though everyone froze, it was truly beautiful.  I can't wait to have the photos to post.  And everyone returned home safely and all is well.

Ryan's parents hosted a sweet luncheon following the wedding.  And then my parents, who had to bring their truck loaded with all of our wedding fluff, drove Boyd and I out in the snow storm to West Valley City to purchase some last minute things for the reception.  It's a strange thing to be so dependent at my age on my parents.  I feel like I've come full circle. After 23 years of marriage, I am back to needing my Mom and Dad more than ever.

The reception was sweet.  On the way home, I kept replaying the evening in my head and I honestly can't think of anything I would have done differently.  I have to laugh because my job as a hiking guide requires me working outdoors, of course.  And because my face is always exposed to the sunshine, it is quite a bit darker than the rest of me and other's faces.  So I will be easily recognized in the photos as my face is in sharp contrast to the whiteness of the day.  I guess that would be the one thing I'll chuckle over when I see the photos. The weather, the setting, the simplicity of it all came together for good and created a memory I hope to never forget.  I will forever be grateful for my parents.  Without them, there would have been no reception. And they were cheerful and supportive through the whole process which is so important to me.  Chloe and Ryan's bridesmaids and groomsmen were so wonderful and helpful. All of them are special to me and we were blessed by their service and friendship over the last few months.  My siblings and Boyd's family rolled up their sleeves and dug in.  Another mental image I have is of Brooke and Taylor trudging through snow with garbage bags leaking with Winder Farm milk.  I think of Tonia and Dan working right up until the last minute at Tonia's job and then having to leave in blinding snow and slick roads to make it back home in time to return to work. I think of Melanie and her girls using their decorating talents, to set up cupcakes and centerpieces. I think of Ryan's family making and shipping 20 lbs of Kristine's pecan brittle and loving my girl. I'll always remember watching Ryan's aunt Kathy assemble the beautiful and decadent cake that she had made and drove through snowy mountains to bring.  I will always cherish the memory of dancing to YMCA with all my darling nieces. Bridger was willing to do whatever I asked her and she was so sweet to me. I'm sorry we couldn't bring our Hunter Bug and I love her dearly. I see the pile of presents and cards under my Christmas tree addressed to Chloe and Ryan.  I'll never forget my parent's truck full of packages, boxes and bottled water. I'm thankful for them all and while all of this may not be captured in photo, they are engraved in my mind.

The following morning, we left bright and early in the sunshine and bright snow, to go to the baptism of one of our nephews.  Otto was baptized by Chris and confirmed by Spencer.  This is when Boyd and I got emotional. And later when we talked about it we decided that the baptism for us sealed the sweet Spirit we felt and brought us back to the beginning of the road to eternity.  It was a beautiful symbol of the road we are already set upon and will yet travel to return to our Father and we are both so grateful we got to be there and witness Otto taking his first steps.  It seems like only yesterday we were living in this season of baptizing our children. It was a week of roads, round-abouts and coming full circle, all in symbols of white.

I thank Kristin for her gift of photographing this entire wedding journey. And I thank her for setting up Otto's baptism and for inviting us.  I think she may have been the most busy person this entire week. My heart is full for all of Boyd's family and mine, who sacrificed school days, work, and their time to come so far and through so much adversity in a difficult season to be there.  I will forever remember seeing each of their faces in the sealing room and as we walked out the doors of the temple as the rest waited for us bundled in coats.  I kept thinking, this is what heaven feels like.  I just hope in heaven we have more time to hug and talk.

I love my new son.  He is the direct realization of a promise and revelation given to me in the Draper temple when I was there for Courtney's wedding over a year ago.  When I think of this gift, I know God is good and He keeps His promises and He loves us.  I'm almost overwhelmed by how much I can love someone so much so quickly.  I am mindful of his mother who I look forward to meeting one day.  I know she's around in spirit and I look forward to her gentle help through the veil.  I am grateful for his parents and siblings for raising such a wonderful boy.

And now I get emotional.  I'm just so grateful and my heart and joy are full.

Thank you all for everything.  EVERYTHING.  Down to the smallest detail of my wedding hair, crocheted cowl and well wishing texts.  I love you all. Thank you to this village of friends and family who have been involved and vital to our success on this road to eternity.


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