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Thursday, August 1, 2013

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT -- Help from the Other Side

Several days ago I found a book, compiled by my brother years ago.  My brother is the king of family history and this book was a compilation of articles and life stories of several of my ancestors.  For a few years now, I have had the spirit of Elijah and have become increasingly interested in the lives of those who have gone ahead.  It started with my introduction to indexing, which I quickly found to be an addictive and productive hobby.  Then, when Tyler lost his job and our period of trials began almost four years ago, I began to feel more and more that there were loved ones on the other side of the veil who cared deeply for me and who wanted to be there for me.

When Bryan (my brother) first gave me the book, I showed little interest in it and unceremoniously shelfed it for later.  The past week or so, I have been reading each story, totally engrossed.  I am so impressed with my ancestors:  their faith, their character, their work ethic, their dedication to the gospel!  In fact, as I read story after story, I got to the point where I was beginning to feel overwhelmed at the goodness and fortitude coming from the pages.  I begin to feel frustrated that I fall so short:  why can't I be more faithful?  Why can't I be more self-reliant?  Why can't I be a harder worker?

Quickly though, the spirit calmed my heart and testified that I can benefit from the strengths of my ancestors.  Where I fall short, they can communicate specific ideas to me, which can help me to overcome.  And I also was reassured by the spirit that these highly revered loved ones were not perfect.  They had personal vices.  They had bad days.  They had sins.  They were absolutely human!  Knowing these truths has helped me to feel more connected with these wonderful individuals.  I hope and pray that each of them will feel invited to be active participants in my life as I struggle, rejoice, search for answers, and strive to overcome.  I can't wait to meet them oneday on the other side and thank them for the hope their valiant lives offer, and for the assistance that I know I have received in the past and will receive from beyond throughout my life.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Every one of us, and our families, can be armed with the power of God as a defense if we will but remain true to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and let the Spirit be our guide. Trials may come, and we may not understand everything that happens to us or around us. But if we humbly, quietly trust in the Lord, He will give us strength and guidance in every challenge we face. When our only desire is to please Him, we will be blessed with a deep inner peace.  --Bruce D. Porter


My heart is full, full, FULL today!  I am feeling the spirit so keenly this morning.  I have been focusing these last few weeks on starting my mornings with meaningful prayer and it has made ALL THE DIFFERENCE!  I have more energy, more direction, more purpose, and more passion for life.  Each morning, I do the tuck and tumble out of bed and land directly on my knees.  This is a good, good experiment!

I have been feeling so guided and loved.  I am learning that there is beauty in living day to day, not knowing all the answers, not knowing logistically how things will work out, just knowing that they will.  I feel protected and cared for by a loving Heavenly Father!  Things are falling into place and I feel that my future is bright.

I also have a wonderful, exciting announcement to make:  IT'S A BOY!!!!  We were able to find out the gender of our little bean last week and I am so thrilled that we will have another son!  (Matthew is thrilled as well; he's already making big plans to teach this little guy how to play Legos and about all the Star Wars characters).

I have so much to be grateful for in this life.  I am so humbled and honored to have been chosen to be a mommy in Zion to the four most beautiful children in the world, and to one more little prince on his way!  I am married to a worthy man who makes me smile and fills my heart with joy.  I have a beautiful home in a wonderful neighborhood.  I have opportunities that many women in history would have never dared to dream of.  I live in a free country.  I am allowed to worship as I choose.  I am blessed each day because of my relationship with the Savior, which is growing stronger and stronger as I strive to live His perfect example.  I am loved by a kind and gentle Father in Heaven, who trusts me to be an instrument in His work and glory.  I am blessed with countless tender mercies each day, which allow me to continually feel bathed in love.  I am so very blessed in this life and I know that as I continue to work hard to overcome my personal flaws and weaknesses, that I will receive innumerable blessings throughout eternity.  God is good.  So good.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT-- Forever Families!

I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had the last few weeks to spend time with my family.  Three of my out-of-town brothers were in town with their families in June and July and it was so nice to spend time with them.  I have been thinking a lot about families and the purpose of the family.  I think that families are meant to protect each other during the hard times.  They are meant to stand up for each other!  They have been created to show us in this life, a glimpse of what heaven can be like.

We went camping last week with my extended family and it was wonderful to step away from work and just spend a few days connecting with the children.  Camping with family, though exhausting, always seems to remind me of what is truly important:  relationships.

My health is a little better, I think.  My breathing is pretty good and my oxygen levels are usually where they need to be.  When I start to feel winded, I try to sit and practice my breathing techniques.  I am not having any chest pain, which is so comforting and probably rules out an embolism!  My pulse is a little lower than it was.  I have another appointment this week, so hopefully the doctor will be pleased!  I also hope to find out what the baby is this week!

I love this stage in pregnancy, when I get to start feeling the baby move!  At times, I still feel doubts about finances/etc. start to enter my mind.  On Sunday, a speaker in sacrament meeting was reading 1 Nephi 3:7, a verse I've heard a million times:

"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I awill go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no bcommandments unto the children of men, save he shall cprepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

As I heard this verse, it struck me with such power that I am doing what the Lord has asked me to do.  By showing obedience, I am entitled to God's help in raising this child.  I have to have faith that He will help us to provide for this child and that we will be blessed in many ways for choosing to heed this important prompting.  I am full of joy, knowing that the Lord stands willing and ready to bless my family extravagantly!  As I feel my womb (and my tummy!) stretch and grow, I also feel my spirit stretch and grow!  My resolve to trust God's will for my family is growing as well.  I am beginning to really see that His way is a better and more sure path!  And for that knowledge, I am so entirely grateful!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT -- How Can I Keep From Singing?

The last few weeks have been interesting!  At my last doctor's appointment, I was so out of breath and I could also tell that my heart was racing.  I mentioned it to the doctor and he immediately tested my oxygen saturation which was 76.  It is supposed to be no lower than 90!  He told me in no uncertain terms that if it does not improve dramatically and quickly, that he would be ordering an MRI and possibly even an angiogram to rule out the possibility of a pulmonary embolism or other complication.  Later as I was talking to my mom, she mentioned that when she was pregnant with me (same age, also her fifth child) she developed congestive heart failure that lasted through her pregnancy.  I have been regularly testing my oxygen sats, and mostly they are behaving, but at times, the numbers are still dangerously low.  The doctor is watching me very closely and I am now considered high-risk.  Whew!

With all this comes exhaustion, difficulty breathing, and often feelings of anxiousness!  I attended the temple again last week when my brother was in town for a visit and I was struggling with my breathing to the point that I almost had to get up and leave.  I am so glad that my prayers were answered and I was able to make it through the session!  That night, my husband and dad gave me a blessing.  I was blessed with the ability to read my body's signals, and know what I should do to care for myself through this pregnancy.  I was also admonished to be patient and to be faithful and to put my trust in God.  I hope that I can hang in there and that my symptoms will be manageable throughout the next 22 weeks!  Any prayers for a healthy pregnancy would be greatly appreciated!

I am trying so hard to eliminate stress from my life.  I will be the first to admit that at times, I can be a little intense.  I am prescribing myself a daily dose of music and meditation, both things that I have found that I need in my life if peace of mind is desired. And of course prayer!  I have also been focusing on my morning prayers, which is something I have often neglected in the past.  When I pray, on my knees, each morning, my day is a little easier and it is also easier for me to recognize the Lord's hand!

For example, last week I misplaced $100 cash.  I have been looking EVERYWHERE for that money and have been just sick about losing it!  We are going on a camping trip with my family this week and that money was so needed!  After days and days of searching and worrying, I prayed about it yesterday morning, asking Heavenly Father to help me think of where it might be.  Last night I was reading to my daughter and the story told about a missing diamond and about all the characters who were searching for it.  Something in that story triggered my memory and I thought that I would go out to our car, which has been out of commission, and look there.  After I finished reading, I walked out to the car, looked to the right of the driver's seat and there was the money, right where I'd pictured it in my mind!  Thank you, Heavenly Father!

When life is hard, chaotic, unsure, uncertain, even frightening, I find my heart full of gratitude for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It grounds me.  The relationships that I am trying to forge with my Father and His Son, my Savior, anchor me during my most troubling times.  I want to shout to the world that I know that they are real and that they know me as an individual!  I want the world to know that I have felt their love in my daily struggles!  I want to express to all who can hear (or read) my words that I am loved!  I am numbered!  I am a daughter of God!  I have always loved the lyrics to the song, "How Can I Keep From Singing?"

My life flows on in endless song

Above earth’s lamentation
I hear the sweet, tho’ far-off hymn
That hails a new creation
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing
It finds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?

What tho’ my joys and comfort die?
The Lord my Saviour liveth
What tho’ the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night He giveth
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that Refuge clinging
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

I lift mine eyes; the cloud grows thin
I see the blue above it
And day by day this pathway smoothes
Since first I learned to love it
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart
A fountain ever springing
All things are mine since I am His
How can I keep from singing?

Here is a link to a performance of this very special, very beautiful hymn:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5BDCWUfpsU

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT -- A Spiritual Day

Yesterday was an incredible day!  I had the opportunity to attend a session at the Brigham City temple with my nephew and his family as he received his endowments in preparation for a mission.  The spirit was there in abundance.  I started thinking about my post from the other day about learning to love myself.  I wondered how I could do that...how to learn to really, truly love myself!  My answer came and the floodgates opened.  It occured to me that I can learn to love myself because the Savior first loved me.  He loved me before I was even born!  He loved me so much that He suffered for me!  He loved me so much that He provided a way for me to return.  Why?  So He could associate with me for eternity!  He loved me even though He knew that I would make countless mistakes in my life...mistakes that caused Him great pain.  Today, He loves me still.  As the enormity of these truths sunk in, I was unable to hold back the tears.

I realized that angels were truly present there with us in the temple.  My nephew Collin and I are related, after all!  Why wouldn't my grandparents be there?  And they were!  I could totally feel them there with me, and it was if they were all communicating with me, spirit to spirit:  "Kristen, we love you without condition!  We love you so much!  You can learn to love yourself!  You are so loved by so many!"

I received specific personal revelation in other areas in my life.  It was a spiritual feast.  In all my years of temple attendance, I've never had an experience quite so powerful.  It was so wonderful and I do feel loved.  I feel now that if so many loved me and love me still, I can learn to love myself a little better!  It is always so powerful and wonderful to feel love from beyond the veil.  So very wonderful!

Monday, June 24, 2013


"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble."  --Helen Keller

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT -- Learning to Love and Forget Myself

A few days ago, I was standing in front of the mirror in my bathroom, wearing nothing but my skivvies (sorry, Mom!), and I had a revelation of sorts.  I am OK with my body.  I'm not OK with the way I feel physically, but I'm OK with the way I look.  Sure, I'd like to be a few sizes smaller, a hundred pounds lighter, a little younger-looking, whatever, but in the meantime, I'm OK with the way I look.  So, why the low self-esteem all these years?  Why the desperation to lose weight, knowing full well that as shallow as it seems, it hasn't always been about health or quality of life as much as it has been about numbers and measurements?  Or about what others thought about me?  I realized that in the past, I needed and wanted to lose weight mostly for others, only secondarily for myself.  I have always had something to prove:  to my family, to my Weight Watchers leaders, to my friends, even to the blog readers following my journey online.  Have I ever truly, truly loved myself the way God intends:  without condition?  Or is my self-respect only present when I am tearing it up in life, completely tied to success as the world and others see it?

Last night I watched a documentary about Gordon B. Hinckley.  Since I was already an emotional basket-case after a fantastic day at church, the tears flowed freely as I watched this film:  a tribute to a truly great man.  He told the story of an experience he had as a rail manager, when a baggage car went missing.  He searched and searched for this missing car, while angry passengers waited for the solution of the mystery.  After a long and stressful hunt and several phone calls, he located the missing baggage car thousands of miles from its intended destination.  The rest of the train arrived as planned in New Jersey while the baggage wound up in New Orleans!  The problem came when a careless worker unhooked the car and changed a switch a mere three inches.  Three inches off course ended up leading the car on a completely different journey, a completely different path, and to a completely different destination!

After watching the film, I considered my own life and wondered what, if anything, was possibly setting me off course by merely three inches.  I decided that my not loving myself enough could definitely be leading me astray.  In a big way.  The more I thought about it, the more this thought made sense.  The spirit then confirmed to me that humility is much different than discouragement and doubt in my own abilities.  Humility is knowing that I do have the ability to accomplish ANYTHING, but ONLY with God's help.  Humility is accepting God's will for my life, then giving Him everything I have, trusting completely that my life will be so much more rewarding with His every day help.

I also love to hear about young missionary Gordon B. Hinckley who found himself in the field, feeling completely inept in every way, guilty for using his family's much-needed resources.  He was beyond discouraged!  He wrote to his father, expressing these concerns and received life-changing counsel back from his father:  "Forget yourself and go to work."  Elder Hinckley fell to his knees that night, and covenanted to the Lord in that moment of humility, that He would spend His life thinking of and serving others from that day forward.  And he did!  He spent the remainder of his days lifting others, serving others, providing for others, and leading others.  As he told this story, he affirmed that all good things that had come to him in his life could be traced back to that moment in his life.  He said that it was a turning point for him:  a day of decision.

I feel similarly discouraged and inadequate at times:  with finances, with my duties as a wife and mother, with my church callings, with my health, with my eating disorder.  I felt yesterday that the keys to healing are to forget myself and think more of others, to work harder, and to learn to love myself as God loves me.  I think as I find joy in the service of others and in doing many jobs well-done, this love and respect for myself will grow.

In the meantime, I will continue to study and live, growing and feeding my living testimony.  I am grateful for my sweet friend, President Hinckley and for his wise words which lifted me in a dark and discouraged hour.  He is still lifting others, even from the other side of the veil!

Friday, June 14, 2013

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT --- Fan the Flame of Your Faith

I have been reviewing the addresses given at the April 2013 General Conference.  This morning I had the privilege of reading Elder Holland's masterpiece:  "Lord, I Believe".  If you haven't had the chance to read this gospel classic, please, please read it here:  http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/lord-i-believe?lang=eng&media=video#watch=video

Elder Holland's words, as usual, were exactly what I needed to hear this morning.  As He speaks about the man who came to his apostles, pleading for any help they could offer him, I was so touched by his honesty.  After the apostles were unable to help, he turned to the Savior himself, begging for ANY assistance, any lightening of the load which his family had bourne for so long as caretakers of a severely handicapped child.  His plea was desperate.  Then, when asked if He believed that the Savior could help, he firmly replied:  "Yea Lord I believe," then frankly and honestly added, "Help thou mine unbelief."

This story has always been one of my favorites in all scripture mostly because I relate to this man so much.  I have faith, but I am all too aware that it is imperfect and young and at times, even vulnerable.

As I was driving to work this morning, not knowing that this address was the next one I would be listening to, I was actually thinking about my faith and wondering about its strength.  At times, my heart is so strong, filled with faith, devoid of doubts or questions.  Then at other times, I feel very little.  It's probably a little bit of the pride cycle going on in my life.  Perhaps small choices I make are making the influence of the Spirit harder to feel at times.  Whatever the reason, at times, my faith still wavers.  Lately, I have been feeling very overwhelmed at the thought of becoming a mommy again.  Motherhood is already hard, with four!  How will I manage my day-to-day craziness with one more?  How will we make it financially?  The doubts at this stage, especially on hard days, are all around me.  I wish I could make them stop.  I pray that the Lord will grant me peace and allow me to feel more joy about this little one coming our way.  I desperately want that!

I love what Elder Holland said about HOW to show honesty in our weakness:  When problems come and questions arise, do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you do not have, leading as it were with your “unbelief.” That is like trying to stuff a turkey through the beak! Let me be clear on this point: I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not! So let us all remember the clear message of this scriptural account: Be as candid about your questions as you need to be; life is full of them on one subject or another. But if you and your family want to be healed, don’t let those questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle...

Furthermore, you have more faith than you think you do because of what the Book of Mormon calls “the greatness of the evidences.”7 “Ye shall know them by their fruits,” Jesus said,8 and the fruit of living the gospel is evident in the lives of Latter-day Saints everywhere. As Peter and John said once to an ancient audience, I say today, “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard,” and what we have seen and heard is that “a notable miracle hath been done” in the lives of millions of members of this Church. That cannot be denied.9

Brothers and sisters, this is a divine work in process, with the manifestations and blessings of it abounding in every direction, so please don’t hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood, and resolved. They do and they will. In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith.

So be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we. And when you see imperfection, remember that the limitation is not in the divinity of the work. As one gifted writer has suggested, when the infinite fullness is poured forth, it is not the oil’s fault if there is some loss because finite vessels can’t quite contain it all.10 Those finite vessels include you and me, so be patient and kind and forgiving.

Last observation: When doubt or difficulty come, do not be afraid to ask for help. If we want it as humbly and honestly as this father did, we can get it. The scriptures phrase such earnest desire as being of “real intent,” pursued “with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God.”11 I testify that in response to that kind of importuning, God will send help from both sides of the veil to strengthen our belief."

I love this blog and now I know one reason why it is so helpful to me as I face life's challenges.  It is a place where I can express first my faith, then my doubts, in that order!  It is a place where I can acknowledge the ground I have already won.  I can (and often do), look back over past experiences and see the hand of God in the solutions that invariably come to me as I experiment upon my faith.  God has helped me move mountains.  Even though my faith is still small and imperfect, God accepts it gladly.  He blesses me extravagently!

I also love Elder Holland's mention of receiving help through our trials from both sides of the veil.  As I have turned to my fathers, learning more about them, their lives, their hopes and dreams, their stories, I truly have felt their influence on me.  The experiences I have been blessed with regaring my ancestors are precious and sacred and truly do bless me with strength and increased faith.

I bear testimony that I believe that this church is Christ's church.  I am so grateful for the knowledge that is beginning to fill my young heart as I implore and seek to do God'swill.  I am so thankful for His prophets who help me to find truth.  These truths bless my life immeasurably.  The Atonement has the power to bind up my wounds and make me whole.  It is for everyone:  the imperfect, the foolish, the proud.  I am thankful for the words of the Book of Mormon, which are an anchor to my proud heart, constantly reminding me of the need to turn my life over to my God.  I am grateful to the lovingkindness of a loving Father.  I am grateful and hope to be ever aware of the countless tender mercies bestowed upton me.  He is so good to me.  He blesses me disproportionately.  After all I can do to ever repay Him, I will yet be an unprofitable servant.  I am thankful that God has use for imperfect beings and that He has confidence in my abilities and capabilities.  That confidence in me is what keeps me going.  I offer these words as a humble testimony of His love, in the spirit of most sincere gratitude, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT: Helping Equals Happiness

The last few weeks have been interesting.  Emotionally, I have been feeling a little depressed and grumpy.  I'm not sure why, but it's been hard to shake the feelings.  I should be happy that I am pregnant, that the baby is doing well, and that I have countless blessings.  Instead, I have been one million percent exhausted with first trimester fatigue unlike any I ever experienced with my previous pregnancies.  The fatigue has been debilitating!  Depression also feeds fatigue, so it's hard to say whether I'm tired because I'm pregnant, or because I'm feeling down...or both.  I have suffered from depression before and I certainly plan to talk to my doctor during my next visit and let him know how I've been feeling.  In the meantime, I am trying to get the rest my body needs, exercise daily, eat right, study the scriptures, and do those things that have helped me battle the blues in the past.  As in the past, I know the Lord will carry me through this.  It will be OK.

The other day, I found an old journal that I accidentally left at my parents' house.  It was fun to flip through the pages and read spiritual impressions I have received in the past few years.  The statement that touched me the most was very simple, yet the timing couldn't have been better for this moody mama!

"To find happiness, we should try to make others happy."

So simple.  I know that this is a correct principle.  After reading it, I went and scrubbed my little princesses in the bathtub, knowing that even the seemingly mundane acts of service I perform each day as a mommy are meant to bring me joy.  As I bathed the girls, creating magnificent hair sculptures with yummy-smelling shampoo, my spirit was immediately lifted.

Today, I read Mosiah 2, one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon.  I love reading King Benjamin's counsel about serving others.  When I take care of my husband, my children, my neighbors, my visiting teaching sisters, my customers, even my enemies, I am serving God.  And I have found that the satisfaction that comes from serving others is often greater when only I and the person I am helping know what has transpired.  I hope to serve others, not to boast in myself, but to boast in my God, who has been so kind and good to me during my darkest hours.  I know that no matter how hard I work to become a better person, no matter how many loaves of bread or pots of flowers I deliver, or even how many people I help to convert to the gospel, I will still be an unprofitable servant.  I can never repay the Savior for what He has done for me.  The equation of atoning love will always be lopsided.  His sacrifice for me will always be more grand and more magnificent than anything I can offer in return.  I am so humbled that despite the many mistakes I have made and will continue to make, that I still can have never ending happiness if I live righteously.

Another of my favorite points in King Benjamin's address is that we will immediately see blessings come into our lives the moment we choose to step into the light.  Those blessings may be small at first, but they will come immediately.

President Uchdorf echoed this truth in his recent conference address:

"Isn’t it wonderful to know that we don’t have to be perfect to experience the blessings and gifts of our Heavenly Father? We don’t have to wait to cross the finish line to receive God’s blessings. In fact, the heavens begin to part and the blessings of heaven begin to distill upon us with the very first steps we take toward the light.

The perfect place to begin is exactly where you are right now. It doesn’t matter how unqualified you may think you are or how far behind others you may feel. The very moment you begin to seek your Heavenly Father, in that moment, the hope of His light will begin to awaken, enliven, and ennoble your soul."  ("The Hope of God's Light", General Conference, April 2013)

I know that God understands that some days are harder than others and that He offers the hope of the gospel to help during those times of darkness.  I love Him for that.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT -- The Miracle of Life

Yesterday was bittersweet.  A new friend of mine, LaDena K., said goodbye to her sweetheart, Mark, after he had battled sarcoma for several years.  I met LaDena and Mark on the day of my friend, Trent Rasmussen's, funeral.  I had chatted with LaDena briefly, as a mutual friend of the Rasmussen's, on Facebook the day Trent died to let her know when the funeral was planned.  After chatting with her, I felt an instant connection with her.  When I overheard her speaking with someone in the lobby the morning of Trent's funeral, I introduced myself to her and we ended up sitting together for the service.  While waiting for the funeral to begin, she told me that her husband was battling the same cancer that Trent had battled.  Though in a great deal of pain and discomfort, Mark came into the chapel to listen to the service and pay honorable tribute to his fellow warrior.  LaDena and I talked amiably, not as new friends, but as good friends.  It felt as if I had always known her.

We have continued our friendship via Facebook, and I have followed her faith-inspiring blog, www.ourbeautifulheartache.blogspot.com.  I have been forever changed by this couple.  Their love for the Lord, their desire to do and accept His will in all things, their love for each other, have inspired me to live with more deliberate discipleship, and to live each day to the fullest.

Yesterday, I also had the opportunity to go to my first prenatal appointment.  I heard this little one's heartbeat for the first time.  As always, it was such an amazing and spiritual experience.  I feel so humbled that my Father in Heaven, knowing all my flaws and weaknesses as a mother, feels confident enough in my abilities to send our family another baby.

I have also been thinking about many of my good friends who have been asked to deal with infertility as a challenge in this life.  My heart aches for them.  I know that their struggles are some of the most painful challenges that the mama heart may be called to bear in this life.  I love them and though my heart is full to overflowing, I honor these very special ladies.  I truly admire their resilience and fortitude.  I know that they will bear children...many, if not in this life, then in time to come.  I believe that women who deal with limited fertility must be, in many ways, some of God's choicest spirits.  He has special blessings awaiting them.  I know He does.

I feel so blessed as I think of God's plan of salvation.  It occurs to me that this gospel is true and that the promised blessings He promises are real.  I feel it in my heart so strongly as I type these words, that I can never deny it.  This gospel is true and real.  And I know that living the gospel faithfully, even through our darkest hours WILL bring unimaginable blessings.  I testify these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT -- Stronger than Darkness

This morning, I read President Uchdorf's masterpiece of a talk:  "The Hope of God's Light", which you can read here:  http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/the-hope-of-gods-light?lang=eng

President Uchdorf told a story about a young girl who was brutally and repeatedly abused from the age of three to the time she became an adult at age 18.  She then was finally able to escape her abuser and move far away to begin going to school.  At this time, she was introduced to the gospel.  For the first time in her life, she learned that there was light.  I can only imagine how that realization must have felt for one who had lived her entire childhood with the fear that each day could have been her last.

As she grew older, memories of her troubled past began to haunt her and threatened to consume her and drag her back into the darkness of her youth.  She attended counseling, received medication, and searched within herself and also searched the gospel's teachings.  What she eventually came to believe was that there will always be darkness, but there will also always be light.  She chose to dwell in the light.  She went on to become a schoolteacher, touching hundreds of young lives with her love and compassion.  She became a fearless defender of the weak and oppressed and dedicated her life to helping others through their own seasons of darkness.

In the past few months, there has been so much darkness in the headlines.  I like to be aware and educated about current events and I often check news websites for updated information.  During the Newtown shootings, the Boston bombing, the Jodi Arias trial, etc., I found myself curious about the latest developments, to the point that I was checking the news at least once a day, sometimes more.  I would read each article, word-for-word, trying to learn all I could about the events.  Before long, I began to feel overwhelmed with sadness, anger, and moodiness at home.  One morning, as I was booting up my computer to read the headlines which had so captivated my interest, the spirit inquired of me:  "Do you really want to go there today?"  I paused and took a deep breath, realizing that I did not want to dwell in the darkness any longer.  Instead, I chose to spend the day doing only those things that would be uplifting.

I am so grateful for the technology which allows me to try to share light with the whole world via my blog and via Facebook.  There is good all around us, even on the web, but the internet can most certainly become a dark and seductive place for those who are not on our guard at all times.  I have been inspired by several women who have used the internet as a platform to spread happiness and light to the world.  Here are some of my favorite, uplifting websites:


I hope that my website inspires others by allowing them to see my desire to dwell in the light during even the hardest days.  Getting to know my readers, their stories, and their testimonies, makes it that much easier to find the light in my life.  Thank you.


"Isn’t it wonderful to know that we don’t have to be perfect to experience the blessings and gifts of our Heavenly Father? We don’t have to wait to cross the finish line to receive God’s blessings. In fact, the heavens begin to part and the blessings of heaven begin to distill upon us with the very first steps we take toward the light.

The perfect place to begin is exactly where you are right now. It doesn’t matter how unqualified you may think you are or how far behind others you may feel. The very moment you begin to seek your Heavenly Father, in that moment, the hope of His light will begin to awaken, enliven, and ennoble your soul." --Dieter F. Uchdorf

Friday, May 17, 2013

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT -- Faith, Prayer, Desires

This morning I read the following verse in Enos:

"And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith."

I love this!  I feel that this verse is really a key principle in all we do or desire to accomplish in life.  God can usually only grant us the desires of our hearts after much effort on our parts.  We have to pray for it.  We have to work hard.  We have to study the scriptures so we know what to desire...what is righteous and what is not.  By doing these preliminary steps, we are exercising the requisite faith, thus enabling God to bless us, which is the desire of His heart! 

In verse 17 of the same chapter, it further explains:

"And I, Enos, knew it would be according to the covenant which he had made; wherefore my soul did rest."

In other words, once we have covenanted with God, once promises have been made, we can rest, knowing that if God promises a blessing, it WILL come to pass as long as we are striving to make it so.  He will handle the rest, so we can stop worrying, fretting, and obsessing.  Through Him, we can receive the strength and patience to "wait upon the Lord"... to "be still and know that [He] is God."

Thursday, May 16, 2013


From:  "Children" by Neil L. Anderson, General Conference, October, 2011

Years ago, Elder James O. Mason of the Seventy shared this story with me: “The birth of our sixth child was an unforgettable experience. As I gazed on this beautiful, new daughter in the nursery just moments after her birth, I distinctly heard a voice declare, ‘There will yet be another, and it will be a boy.’ Unwisely, I rushed back to the bedside of my absolutely exhausted wife and told her the good news. It was very bad timing on my part.”5 Year after year the Masons anticipated the arrival of their seventh child. Three, four, five, six, seven years passed. Finally, after eight years, their seventh child was born—a little boy...

It was not in the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve bore their first child. Leaving the garden, “Adam [and Eve] began to till the earth. … Adam knew his wife, and she [bore] … sons and daughters, and [acting in faith] they began to multiply and to replenish the earth.”11

It was not in their Jerusalem home, with gold, silver, and precious things, that Lehi and Sariah, acting in faith, bore their sons Jacob and Joseph. It was in the wilderness. Lehi spoke of his son Jacob as “my first-born in the days of my tribulation in the wilderness.”12 Lehi said of Joseph, “Thou wast born in the wilderness of [our] afflictions; yea, in the days of [our] greatest sorrow did thy mother bear thee.”13

In the book of Exodus, a man and woman married and, acting in faith, had a baby boy. There was no welcoming sign on the front door to announce his birth. They hid him because Pharaoh had instructed that every newborn male Israelite should be “cast into the river.”14 You know the rest of the story: the baby lovingly laid in a little ark made of bulrushes, placed in the river, watched over by his sister, found by Pharaoh’s daughter, and cared for by his own mother as his nurse. The boy was returned to Pharaoh’s daughter, who took him as her son and called him Moses.

In the most beloved story of a baby’s birth, there was no decorated nursery or designer crib—only a manger for the Savior of the world.

In “the best of times [and] … the worst of times,”15 the true Saints of God, acting in faith, have never forgotten, dismissed, or neglected “God’s commandment … to multiply and replenish the earth.”16 We go forward in faith—realizing the decision of how many children to have and when to have them is between a husband and wife and the Lord. We should not judge one another on this matter.


I have to start this very long post with a picture:


I have been needing to record the story leading up to this exciting announcement.  Right now the series of remarkable spiritual experiences are just floating around in my memory.  Hopefully I will be able to remember everything and get it down on paper.

When Macey, my youngest, was born, the delivery was one of the most profoundly spiritual experiences I have ever had.  I had heard others speak of deliveries as being miraculous and wonderful, but truthfully my other labors had consisted of pain and, well...agony.  But this delivery was so special.  The veil was very thin and the spirit was nearly tangible.  In fact, the doctor remarked later, with tears in his eyes that it had been one of the most special and touching of his career.  After Macey arrived safe and sound, the nurse started cleaning her up and checking her vitals near where I was recovering.  As I gazed on my little sweetie, a voice whispered to my heart:  "There is yet another baby to join your family."  It was the most undeniable prompting I have ever received.

It turned out that the timing of this prompting was perfect.  Just one year after Macey was born, our life was turned upside down with Tyler losing his job.  Our financial security was overturned and all that had been predictable in our life, became uncertain.  Without this prompting, fear very well may have convinced us to consider our family complete.

In 2010, I began my Weight Watchers journey and aided by the Lord, was able to loss 76 pounds in a year and a half. 

In October, 2011, my life was changed by the conference address:  "Children", by Neil L. Anderson.  In the talk, Elder Anderson spoke of an experience his friend, Elder Mason had, where he was prompted directly after his wife gave birth, that there was "yet another" baby meant to join their earthly family.  Elder Mason's experience was so similar to mine that it stood as a second witness of the truthfulness of my prompting.  Elder Anderson's talk also spoke of how we shouldn't put off having children because of earthly concerns or financial concerns.  He spoke of how Lehi (and many others) in scripture had bourne children while in the wilderness and these children had grown to be faithful adults due to the faith of their parents.  The talk was beautiful and reassuring.  And as I felt the Lord's call to duty, I was just a bit frightened.  I didn't want to lose the ground I had gained in my weight-loss battle.  I wanted to lose even more before having children.  So I asked God for one more year.  I promised him that I would have a "meeting" with him the following October during general conference and then, if I still felt the nudgings to start trying for our baby, I would be obedient then.  I didn't realize it at the time, but by putting off my obedience for a year, I was pitting my own will against my Heavenly Father's.  Oops.

IThe moment I put my will ahead of His, he withdrew his help in my weight-loss efforts.  I began slipping, losing ground, gaining, roller-coastering, doubting, struggling, etc.  I made virtually no progress in the year I had pleaded for.  It was a frustrating experience.  I had put off the Lord's errand and I was no longer entitled to His aid.

As promised, I "met" with my Heavenly Father sooner than I promised, in September actually, and submitted myself to His will.  With heart pounding and hands sweating and trembling, I called and scheduled an appointment to have my IUD removed.  During the October session of conference, there was a talk about how an airplane needs two wings to fly properly:  the analogy showed one wing as being logic, and the other wing being faith.  I had been trying to fly myself with only the wing of logic.  I now needed to exercise faith.

While I waited for the appointment, I spoke with some friends of mine with large families and they reassured me that God really does help things to work out somehow. These conversations helped me more than these sisters will ever know!

My appointment was in October, 2012.  I remember the morning of the appointment well.  I was nervous, panicked, worried, perhaps even doubtful.  (I recognize these traits now as coming from the adversary).  I wondered if I could do this thing.  I wondered if I were about to make a mistake.  We couldn't afford a baby!  What would I do if I got pregnant?  Would I quit my job?  How would we configure our already crazy schedules?  Etc.  I fell to my knees and prayed.  With tears running down my face, I sat on my bed and opened my laptop.  I went to lds.org and watched Elder Anderson's talk about children again.  I was crying like a baby now, and my appointment was only minutes away!  Watching the talk again brought me the resolution I needed and I walked much more confidently out to the car and drove, puffy eyes and all, to my appointment.

Later that afternoon, I was straightening the living room.  As I walked past the piano, I heard a voice say very clearly:  "Today is a day of great rejoicing!"  Wow.  It was powerful!

The following month, our family dealt with some major illness especially for Katie, my second child, who had several scary weeks.  At one point during dealing with her sickness, she was taking a nap in my bed, while I worked on the computer next to her.  I was completely overwhelmed and sleep-deprived in this moment, so I closed my eyes and spent a few moments meditating to calm myself.  When I opened my eyes, I noticed that Katie was now awake and looking toward the doorway of my bedroom.  There was a child standing there.  The child was too small to be any of my other children, so Katie and I were both confused.  I couldn't see any facial features, more of just a silhouette, and I couldn't exactly tell by the silhouette if the child was male or female.  Katie and I both whispered to each other quietly for a moment, then just like that the child was gone!

Starting in October, I started gaining weight again.  Lots of weight!  It was a trial of my faith and resolve.  Would I ask for more time again, so I could get to a healthier weight before conceiving?  Or would I trust that the Lord would bless me with health and common sense and determination and with a safe pregnancy?  I chose to listen NOW this time and not put off this important prompting any longer! 

Once I was off birth control, I was a little surprised that it took almost eight months to get pregnant.  It was a time of complete trust in the Lord's timing and submission to His will.  If it took a while, we would welcome that as time to get ourselves better prepared.  If it happened right away, we would thank the Lord for that! 

I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago how while studying my patriarchal blessing, I was asked by the spirit, about the desire of my heart.  I then replied that the desire of my heart was to be a better wife and mother and to have more children.  I didn't know it at the time, but I was pregnant during this spiritual communication!

The most recent experience happened just yesterday.  I was feeling yucky due to fatigue and morning sickness and the children were all at school, so I laid down on my bed.  I didn't intend to fall asleep, but I did, without an alarm set!  As 12:00 approached (preschool pick-up time), a very clear little voice awoke me:  "Mommy!  Mommy, get up now!"  I knew that I had received help from our little angel and was grateful not to arrive late to get Macey from preschool, especially since I had just gotten a new cell phone with a new number and her teachers wouldn't have had any way to reach me if I had been late!

I am overcome with many emotions at this time.  We are still living day-to-day financially and otherwise, and the doubts of our stability and readiness to become a family of seven (!) do tend to bob up to the top once in a while, but I am getting better at pushing those doubts back down whenever they threaten.  I am trying, with all the concerns about my health, etc., to choose joy and faith.  There is plenty of joy as I start thinking about this baby and about how long we have been waiting for he or she to join us!  I feel so blessed!  I know that when I am on the Lord's errand (which I am!), I am entitled to His blessing!  I know that choosing to have our fifth child is a decision I will never regret.  I look forward to meeting this little one.  I know this child's sweet, strong, insistent spirit already because I have felt it with me consistently since the moment of Macey's birth.  God is so good.  And we are so blessed!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT -- The Center of His Will

A few months ago, Ronald Frandsen, my stake president, said something so profound and touching that it has changed the way I view my life.  He said, "The safest place to be is in the center of God's will."

Since that time I have thought many times about the way I am living my own life.  Am I doing the things that God would have me do?  Am I allowing His Spirit to guide my daily decisions, big and small?  Am I aware of His commandments?  Am I keeping them?  Am I communicating daily, asking for further guidance each step of the way?

Several years ago, Tyler had a very good job with a locally based engineering company.  We were very happy with him working there.  The pay was good, the benefits were fine, and his coworkers all felt like a family to us.  We were very happy.  Then, a bigger, national engineering company moved to town.  We researched this new company, knowing that Tyler was highly qualified to work there, wondering if it was time to move on from his current position.  As we conducted this research, we found that the benefits package for this bigger company was very impressive, including attractive and very large bonuses, profit sharing, top-notch health care, tuition reimbursement for the whole family, etc.  We soon had dollar signs in our eyes and Tyler applied for the new company.  Soon, he had interviewed with the new company and one day was offered a position.

I remember that day well.  Tyler asked the supervisor if he might have a few hours to discuss the offer with me, and then he would call back.  We sat in the living room, on the couch, and prayed and discussed the offer.  We felt guided to tell the new company no and to stay put.  Tyler called the supervisor back and kindly thanked him, then rejected the offer.  The supervisor knew that Tyler was highly qualified and wouldn't take no for an answer.  He offered Tyler more money.  As I sat there, listening to only half of the conversation, I began to sense Tyler's excitement as the wage offered to him increased again and again.  Finally, I nodded my head, and Tyler accepted the offer.  It was too good to refuse.

Long story short, after over two years of a very stressful set of circumstances, Tyler's employment with this company was terminated.  It was a very difficult lesson for our family about the importance of living within God's will and trusting His omniscience.

It has now been three and a half years since Tyler lost his job.  In that time, his employment has been transient.  He has worked at a local juvenile detention facility since then, and has also worked several other jobs to help make ends meet.  I have also worked at two different insurance offices, trying to make up the difference.  We have gone to making about one third of what we used to make.  Now, Tyler is a full-time student AND a full-time employee (Superman!)

From these experiences, we have learned several lessons which we may not have learned any other way, so although the road has been rocky, in a way, I am grateful for the detour.  First, we have developed unwavering trust in God's will.  We have learned not to counsel Him, but to take counsel from His hand.  We have learned that there is power in loyalty.  We have learned to appreciate the things that matter most:  faith and family.  We have learned to appreciate each other, to listen to each other, and to show gratitude to each other.  We have learned to accept help from others during the very hardest times.  We have learned many lessons on thrift.  We have a greater desire to live frugally and desire to be temporally independent.  We have learned to act on and trust the promptings of the Spirit, trying hard not to doubt or fear, sometimes without seeing the wisdom in the promptings until much later.  We have learned to appreciate service from others and to look forward to opportunities to serve whenever they come.  We have learned to be more compassionate and forgiving, realizing that there are no charmed lives and that everyone has trials at one point or another.  We have learned to find beauty and magic in life's ordinary moments.

I love that God has taken a mistake and has transformed it into a tapestry of lessons learned, testimony gained, and wisdom garnered.  He has readily forgiven us for our follies and has made us wiser.  We now know that there is safety in living in the center of His will.  By the grace and goodness of our loving Heavenly Father, we have found growth and possibility as we have wandered in our own wilderness.  He is so very good.  I thank and praise Him for His everlasting lovingkindness.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT: Peace, Glorious Peace!

I prayed for peace the other day and I have it.  My life is beautiful.  My family is beautiful.  My Savior is aware of me.  I received a powerful confirmation of all of these facts yesterday.  It is too personal and sacred to share (at this time), but I want to express my gratitude to my loving Father.

I watched "Facing the Giants" last night, which is one of my favorite movies.  It was produced by a Baptist media company and though I am Mormon, I would certainly consider it "virtuous, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy."  It is such an uplifting and fun movie!  I can never get through it without shedding some serious tears (neither can my husband, but don't tell him I told you that).

The basic message of the movie is that we should work as hard as we can, preparing our fields for rain, preparing for God's blessings, then leave the rest up to Him.  If those blessings come, we thank Him.  If they don't come, or if it seems like our prayers are being answered in an unexpected or even an unwelcomed way, we still thank Him and praise Him.  I want to bear testimony that this principle has worked for me in my life.  It has worked time and time again.

I have seen some adversity in my life but I have tried to stand as firm as possible, with hope that by God's grace all things will work out for good for those who love Him.  And even with life's ups and downs, I have found His love to be constant, even in the times when my love for Him was not.  He cares deeply for me.  He knows my name and He takes note of my struggles.  He rejoices when I rejoice.  He cries when I cry.  He longs to have me return to Him.  He is good.  His lovingkindness is my anchor in this crazy world.  His Son is my Friend, my Brother, my Physician, my Counselor, my Savior.

I don't understand all things, but knowing that He can see the end from the beginning is enough.  All I need to do is to plant myself firmly in the center of His will.  If I am found standing with Him and for Him, I will never be alone.  Never.  Ever.

I love Him so much.  I love that He loves me.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT -- Personal Peace

Yesterday was a hard day.  I won't go into the details too much, but let's just say, sometimes this mama is a little emotional.  Sometimes she gets grumpy and sometimes she yells.  Last night was one of those times.  Sigh. 

I was thinking about how I can have more peace and order in my home.  We love each other like crazy and we have lots of fun in our little home, but I long for a more noticeable feeling of reverence and peace.  I know that's asking a lot with four kids and crazy schedules, but I really am craving more peace in my life and I want to be able to help my kids to have a haven from the craziness of the world.

Last night after my drama queen mama moment, I started playing some beautiful, uplifting music in my bedroom and those little ones fell asleep without any further debate.  Perhaps they were craving some reverence in the home as well.  I'm sorry that it took so long for me to foster that feeling for them.

I read the following conference talk this morning, by Quentin L. Cook, which was a very timely message for this frazzled family:  http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/personal-peace-the-reward-of-righteousness?lang=eng

The main message I brought away from the address is that the most important thing I can do to bring peace into my home is to live more righteously so I can first have peace in my heart.  There were several beautiful examples and quotes in this talk and I would highly suggest that you take the time to review it.  Here are a few of my favorite gems:

“There never can come to the world that spirit of peace and love … until mankind will receive God’s truth and God’s message … , and acknowledge his power and authority which is divine.”  (Joseph F. Smith)

"We earnestly hope and pray for universal peace, but it is as individuals and families that we achieve the kind of peace that is the promised reward of righteousness. This peace is a promised gift of the Savior’s mission and atoning sacrifice."

"For those who reject God, there is no peace. We all participated in the councils of heaven that provided for moral agency, knowing that there would be mortal pain and even unspeakable tragedy because of the abuse of agency. We understood that this could leave us angry, bewildered, defenseless, and vulnerable. But we also knew that the Savior’s Atonement would overcome and compensate for all of the unfairness of mortal life and bring us peace. Elder Marion D. Hanks had a framed statement on his wall by Ugo Betti: 'To believe in God is to know that all the rules will be fair, and that there will be wonderful surprises.'"

Wonderful surprises...sounds good to me!

Thursday, April 25, 2013


"When we obey the commandments of the Lord and serve His children unselfishly, the natural consequence is power from God—power to do more than we can do by ourselves. Our insights, our talents, our abilities are expanded because we receive strength and power from the Lord. His power is a fundamental component to establishing a home filled with peace." --Richard G. Scott, General Conference April 2013

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT -- Confirmation from the Spirit

Isn't it nice when you pray and search for an answer to a problem, make a decision, then later have a confirmation that your decision was the correct one?  Let me explain:

As I mentioned last week, I recently chose four areas mentioned in my Patriarchal blessing as areas to work on intensively in this season of life.  I will not ignore the other admonitions mentioned in my blessing, but I will focus on these areas for now, until I sense some improvement.  As I made this decision, I felt such a feeling of peace and purpose, which replaced a confused, discouraged, overwhelmed feeling.

Today I was studying Richard G. Scott's conference address, "For Peace at Home", which he gave at the April 2013 Saturday afternoon session.  I was so pleased to hear his wise words.  The following three quotes especially touched me:

We need not worry if we can’t simultaneously do all of the things that the Lord has counseled us to do. He has spoken of a time and a season for all things. In response to our sincere prayers for guidance, He will direct us in what should be emphasized at each phase of our life. We can learn, grow, and become like Him one consistent step at a time.


We exercise faith and remember that there are some things that must be left to the Lord. He invites us to set our burdens down at His feet. With faith we can know that [we are] not abandoned but [are] in the watchcare of a loving Savior.


Satan is no match for the Savior. Satan’s fate is decided. He knows he has lost, but he wants to take as many with him as he can. He will try to ruin your goodness and abilities by exploiting your weaknesses. Stay on the Lord’s side, and you will win every time.

I know that I am not perfect.  So many sins and weaknesses easily beset me in this life.  I must continue to work on these imperfections with hope, knowing that the Lord is pleased by my efforts.  I pray that I can become more consistent.  I still need to learn to leave those things which are most difficult to the Lord, trusting in His grace and His loving watchcare.  I know that my goodness is worth fighting for.  I know that with Him, I can and WILL win every single time.  Every.  Single.  Time.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT-- Thine Walk Today with Me

Yesterday was Matthew's ADHD evaluation.  For a long time, I have been working with educators and his behavior team at school to find out what is holding him back from academic success as well as from keeping him from making and keeping close friends.  For a long time, because he prefers to play alone at school, his teacher and others missed ADHD as a diagnosis.  He has a need to constantly move, but many times people see the ADHD child as someone who is always bouncing off the walls, running, breaking things, starting fights, etc.  Matthew is such a sweet and affectionate child, always willing and able to engage in meaningful conversation, so I knew in my mother's heart that Autism was not the culprit.  Neither was Sensory Processing Disorder.  He was also tested for IQ, where he was found above average.

The official diagnosis came yesterday:  Dr. Lloyd (AKA Best Pediatrician Ever) diagnosed him with ADHD, mild anxiety, and a probable learning disability.  I prayed before the appointment that I would feel the Spirit confirm any given diagnosis and that I would also know whether any prescribed medication was something we should enlist in our battle.  Dr. Lloyd prescribed Strattera, a non-stimulant which can also help alleviate mild anxiety without the risks of an SSRI.  Immediately after the diagnosis as well as hearing the prescription, I felt peace.

I went home and read up on Strattera and did find some possible side effects, such as sombulance (sleepiness), stomachaches, headaches, and increased hyperactivity, but I feel like I should go ahead and monitor Matthew's behavior and symptoms for the trial month before trying anything else.  I like that his medication is a non-stimulant and will not become habit-forming like the stimulant medications can.  I also looked online to see if there was anything else I could do to maximize Matthew's treatment.  I ran across several resources citing the ADHD diet:  lots of lean protein, especially in the morning before school, low sugar and refined carbs, more complex carbs, more fiber, more Omega-3 fatty acids, and virtually no dyes, MSG, or aspartame.  I felt inspired to purchase a children's vitamin with 100% DV of Omega-3, which I did.  It was interesting that the recommended ADHD diet is so similar to the diet I have been considering to improve my own health.  Learning these new tips, with Matthew in mind, was like a second witness...it's time to change the way the whole family eats.

I have felt mostly peaceful, but last night I did feel a little overwhelmed for a moment.  I started to wonder why Heavenly Father has asked us to face so many difficulties all at once.  I feel as if I would be fine with one or two of our trials, but some days it really seems like the odds are stacked against us.  But it doesn't take me long to remember where I was spiritually before Tyler lost his job, before my health problems, before becoming a mother, before financial uncertainties, before having to put absolute faith and trust in God's will for my family and our future.  I have grown so much since then.  I cannot deny that God is helping me to BECOME who I need to become.

My kiddos and I had the opportunity to go to Gemstone Junction, a rock show at the Weber County Fairgrounds a few weeks ago.  As we oohed and awed at all the beautiful, perfectly smooth and polished rocks, my children asked one vendor there how the rocks become so smooth and perfect.  He showed them his rock tumbler, where he places ordinary-looking rocks.  After tumbling the rock around and around, the rock is freed from any rough edges, becoming a perfect version of itself.  I later talked to the children about how we are like those rocks sometimes.  We come to Earth in a pretty ordinary state, but with great potential.  As God allows us to go through trials and adversity and as we live faithfully, slowly, one trial of faith at a time, we are made perfect, shiny, and beautiful.

I pray that in the meantime, the Lord will feel invited to walk each day with me.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


"I experienced the joy of coming closer to the Savior and of His coming closer to me most often through simple acts of obedience to the commandments."  Henry B. Eyring, "Come Unto Me," General Conference, April 2013

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT -- Revitalized

Last night, for the first time in months, maybe even years, I was able to attend a Relief Society activity.  I was asked to teach couponing for just a few minutes.  There were other teachers for the evening as well.  A good friend of mine, Amanda Kotter, taught about natural cleaning and another lady, Katie Shepherd taught about spiritual spring cleaning.  It was a wonderful meeting and I learned not only about couponing and cleaning, but I heard personal testimonies about the power of personal revelation in overcoming weaknesses.  Amanda spoke for a moment about some specific promptings and guidance she received in response to her petitions, which helped her to overcome bad health habits.  When she started eating only whole foods and cleaning only with natural products, she lost weight, her skin cleared, her mood improved, etc.  She also started a daily habit of positive affirmations to help combat the negativity which had taken over her life.

I have been thinking more and more lately about eliminating more processed food from my diet.  Though I doubt I'll ever be as gung ho about eating clean and cleaning with natural products as Amanda is, it was so nice to hear that God responded to her prayers in such an applicable and timely way.  I know that as I pray for guidance in my quest for physical, emotional, and spiritual health, He will also bless me with the answers I seek.

Going in to the meeting last night, I was kind of a wreck.  It had been a long, stressful day jammed with activities:  work, parent-teacher conferences, orthodontist appointments, shopping and errands, my nephew's mission call, then teaching the workshop.  I am ashamed to say, that with the craziness and stress of the day, I was NOT a nice person.  I was a yelling, grumpy, negative, MESS!  The stress of the last year seemed to accumulate until I was about to explode and by the time I got to the church, I was NOT feeling the spirit and I was trying with all my might to hold back the tears of frustration and stress.

Sister Shepherd talked about how we can eliminate unnecessary stress, distractions, and filth from our lives and our home and shorten the time periods of walking in spiritual darkness.  We all have periods of spiritual darkness, she explained, but we don't have to tarry in the dark.  We need to step into the light as quickly as we realize where we are.  The Lord wants us to walk in the light and He forgives and guides each and every time we ask for deliverance.

When I came home, I spent some time alone before bed reviewing my patriarchal blessing.  I have so many concerns and stresses swirling in my heart and I am so overwhelmed with it all.  Last night I prayed for guidance to know what needed addressing right now and what could wait a little longer.  While reading my blessing, I wrote down each admonition or piece of counsel mentioned.  When I was done writing them, I scored myself on how I felt I was doing on each on a 1-10 scale.  Then, I circled the four lowest scores and decided that these would be my priorities for now. . . for this season of life.  I then wrote some specific goals that I could work on.  As I looked at my list of admonitions from my blessing, I felt overwhelming relief and peace, to the point of tears.  I realized that I had just been given my life syllabus.  The ONLY things I am expected to work on in this life were all there in front of me on one side of a single sheet of paper.

I thought about how Tyler goes to his advisor at USU often to determine what he has accomplished and what courses still need to be completed.  At times, his advisor will even waive a requirement.  I hope that I can take just a few courses from my syllabus at a time, focusing on those with all my energy, knowing that the time to work on the others intensively will come when the season is right.  I pray that God will bless me in my endeavors.  I know that He will.  I pray that as I strive to live more righteously, with more faith, perhaps our life will settle down a little.  I hope to have a little more faith, a little more gratitude, a little more humility.

After reviewing my blessing and setting goals, the Spirit inquired of me:  "What is the desire of your heart?"  I thought for several minutes, then decided that the desire of my heart is to be a better wife and mother and to have more children.  We have known for quite some time, that there is at least one more child waiting to join our family.  I desire nothing more than to get that baby here and to be ready physically, spiritually, and financially for the opportunity to become a mother again.  There is quite a bit to this story, but I'll share that with you another day.  I felt the spirit comfort me and acknowledge my desire.  We'll see what happens.  I felt loved to have been asked that question and it was wonderful to be able to communicate that to my Heavenly Father.

As I was laying in bed last night, I asked my husband the same question:  "What is the desire of your heart?"  He said that his deepest desire is to be with his family for eternity.  I couldn't agree more.  This is real.  The plan of salvation makes that possible.  I know it does.  I have so far to go, but God is so kind.  I know I will never be left alone as long as I am working to become a better person.

Sister Shepherd's closing words last night were:  "He is coming again.  He is coming soon."

I believe that.  And when He comes, I want to be caught doing good.  I want to be caught following a prompting.  I want to be caught helping a neighbor.  I was to be caught attending the temple.  I want to be caught on my knees.  I want to be caught teaching my children the gospel.  I want to be caught taking care of this precious body, a gift from God.  I want to be caught smiling, joyful and grateful for all my blessings.  I can't wait.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


I know that this post isn't really the kind of thing I usually write about, but the thoughts in my mind and heart have been so insistent lately and I just wanted to get them down on paper, so to speak.

On Gay Marriage

By Kristen Walton

For weeks, months, and years, I have been searching my heart about the issue of gay marriage. I have finally formulated my opinion on this hot topic and I feel ready to share it with anyone who is interested. Please take the time to read this note in its entirety.

First of all, I do not support gay marriage. I have my reasons for that. They are personal. T...hey are deep-rooted. And, yes, they are based in church doctrine. That being said, I am not naïve enough to suppose that gay marriage will not become legal in the coming years. I think that it will. And soon.

I believe that many gay people are good, loyal, loving, compassionate people, just like many Christians, (but not all) are good, loyal, loving, compassionate people. I believe that they, as I am, are entitled to their agency, their own opinions, and their own convictions.

I believe that as a Christian, a Mormon, it is not my job or calling in life to judge or condemn others based on their beliefs. If gay marriage is legalized, or if it isn’t, my only job on Earth is to love others as Christ would love them. And I’m pretty sure that Christ wasn’t a Bible-thumping, house-burning, propaganda-posting kind of guy. I’m pretty sure that He was the kind of gentle man who reminded us to look within ourselves for the beams in our own eyes.

The way I see it, it’s time to stop seeing the ways in which we differ, and time to look for commonalities. I have a good friend who is covered with tattoos and piercings, physical attributes which I would never choose for my own body. But she is my friend, because we have things in common. I am grateful for her friendship. I am enriched by the stories of her life and the adversity she has overcome.

My church does teach that only marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. And I believe that. But the Church of Latter Day Saints teaches that doctrine gently. It has never, never taught its members to hate, condemn, or judge those who choose a different set of beliefs, no matter what. In fact, the church teaches:

“I wish to say that our opposition to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage should never be interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance, or abuse of those who profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group. As I said from this pulpit one year ago, our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Why We Do What We Do”, General Conference, October 1999).

President Dieter F. Uchdorf also taught:

“Be kind and be glad that God is kind. It is a happy way to live.”

As a member of the LDS faith, I have been taught to be even as Paul: loving, joyful, peaceful, longsuffering, gentle, good, faithful, meek, [and] temperate, (Galatians 5).

If you have met a member of the LDS church who you have felt to be hateful towards gays, please rest assured that they are not living in the way they have been encouraged to live by church leaders.

It troubles me greatly to see two things happening: 1) That I am increasingly discouraged to share my own opinion on gay marriage and 2) that society, as a whole, is unable to discuss matters such as gay marriage with respect and decency. I recently was reading about Joseph Smith’s experiences when he was searching for a church to join in the early 1800’s. He wrote:

“All their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions” (Joseph Smith History, 1:6).

I’m ok with someone else having a different opinion from my own. I’m not personally threatened by that because I do have my own convictions. I try to live what I believe and I allow others the privilege of living what they believe. In fact, our church teaches that men ought to be allowed to worship according to “the dictates of our own conscience” I teach my children what I believe and they teach their children what they believe. (Article of Faith 11). Frankly, it’s not my business what others do in their own bedrooms.

As for all the “hellfire and damnation” talk that is aimed at homosexuals, that’s not really any of my business either. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is a one-on-one, case-by-case application. The plan of salvation is big. It is perfect. It is based in and centered around the precept of love and created by the most loving Being there is. Our Heavenly Father and His Son look on the heart. They know the whole story. They understand desires, intentions, heartaches, aspirations, and disappointments. They desire to bless and reward to the fullest extent possible. I do not see the whole picture. I cannot. They can. There is no absolute mathematical equation leading to heaven. There are simply too many variables. It is not my call to judge others on issues which I do not understand.

Some attribute my beliefs to “blind faith”. I disagree. I have spent my entire life experimenting with my faith. I have paid tithing and have been blessed for it. I have kept the Word of Wisdom and have been blessed for it. I have prayed and my prayers have been answered. I have tried and tried, sometimes quite imperfectly to follow the counsels of the Lord and I have been blessed time and time again. It’s not blind faith. It’s irrefutable and undeniable evidence.

So for me, it comes down to this. Do I believe in gay marriage? No. Do I support it? No. Do I try to love and respect all men, regardless of their personal convictions? Absolutely. Do I hope to be allowed my own beliefs? Yes, please. And in the mean time, I will have gay neighbors, coworkers, and friends. And I hope to be able to associate with them. I hope that I will look for the similarities we share, not for the ways in which we differ. I will teach my children that the fire hose of bigotry has no place in society. I will teach my children the fading art of common decency.