December 31, 2011

Gratitude and the New Year

Take a few minutes today, at the end of this year of 2011, and see just how many things there are to be grateful for!  When you get done, email me the list and I will compile everyone's and email them back!

  1. 1. 
    Write 10 physical abilities you are grateful for.
  2. 2. 
    Write 10 material possessions you are grateful for.
  3. 3. 
    Write 10 living people you are grateful for.
  4. 4. 
    Write 10 deceased people you are grateful for.
  5. 5. 
    Write 10 things about nature you are grateful for.
  6. 6. 
    Write 10 things about today you are grateful for.
  7. 7. 
    Write 10 places on earth you are grateful for.
  8. 8. 
    Write 10 modern inventions you are grateful for.
  9. 9. 
    Write 10 foods you are grateful for.
  10. 10. 
    Write 10 things about the gospel you are grateful for.
When we make a list like this, we discover that a list of 100 doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all the things God has given us.

(This idea came from the December 2011 Ensign)

December 25, 2011


There have been LOTS of fun activities over the past few days. . . puzzling, hedge trimming (thanks, Brand!), horseback riding, birthday parties, cuddling, and MORE puzzling!  We had so much fun BEFORE Christmas, we weren't sure it could get any better!!

Horseback riding with Nikki (and everyone else!) was a blast!  Nikki's favorite thing to say as we were galloping along was "FASTER!"  Nat would ask Nikki, "What do cowgirls say?" and Nikki would quickly call out "YEE-haw!"  She LOVES the horses and riding.

And of course there was our Christmas Eve Party at our house with the Schrams. . .

And the Christmas Program was one of many "firsts!"  The "hula gang" did a great job as we all sang Mele Kelikmaka, Hans played a Alto sax solo...a first after 12 years!; Brandon played a trumpet solo...a first after MORE than 12 years!; the "hippopotamus" song was a hit with everyone, especially Nikki; Amelia, Holly and Kristy sang; and Dal and Nat played a violin duet.  Lots of singing along, too!

And of course there were pictures. . . but where was DAD?!?!  (And of course we missed Jaimi and her family, and Denzel and his. . . )

And then there was Christmas Day. . . and I didn't take hardly any pictures!!  But this gives a little taste...We all enjoyed watching Nikki open her presents!  She LOVED the hippopotamus Hans and Mil gave her...everything else was cake!!  Dad's eyes "bugged out" at everything, and, of course there was lots of eating!  But the best thing of all was celebrating Christ's birth on Sunday, going to church together, feeling a wonderful spirit during the Christmas program, and then getting to be there as Dallin was ordained an Elder in the Melchizedek priesthood.  It was a wonderful day!!

December 20, 2011

Too Much Fun!!

Brandon and Tannya got here Friday the 16th. . . and we have been entertained by Nikki ever since!! She LOVES the horses, likes the chickens and Hank...her favorite word is "Kod - e - ack," she always wants to go with Grandma to feed the horses, she wanted to go for a "nudder one" after our first horseback ride on Silverado, she had a blast at the pool celebrating her 2nd birthday on the 19th, and, when she and I went to feed the horses this morning she said, "Grandma, slide! Splash splash!" We had lots of splash fights at the pool as well as going down the slide together about 10 times! She is too cute!!

Dallin and Erika got in Sunday, just in time for dinner...hooray! We went horseback riding with "da boys" and Erika did great staying on Silver...actually, it was just the boys who seemed to be screaming all of the time. Strange. . . and we forgot the camera. Drat! Oh well...good times. Can hardly wait for Nat and Kristy to get here...and Denzel, Anna and Bridger arrive Christmas night!!  (We'll be thinking of Jaimi, Mike and the kids in Texas!!)

December 11, 2011


What makes a friend?  Is it a term we use loosely, or does it have deep meaning?

We each experience things that give us a better understanding of what a "friend" truly is.  I have to chuckle when I look at Facebook sometimes.  Some people have 3,000 "friends", others have less than that, but still in the 1000's.  And it makes me think, "Are they truly FRIENDS, or are they acquaintances, or people someone is just friendly to, etc., etc?"  Along those lines, I also consider what kind of friend I am?

So here' a not all-inclusive list of the things I think:

A friend. . .
. . . listens to you when you need to talk; sometimes they will give you counsel, even when you don't ask for it, but they aren't offended when you say "I wasn't asking for advice!  I just need you to listen!!"

. . . is there for you when you need something, even if you didn't schedule it two weeks in advance.  And you KNOW they would have been there for you if there was a good reason they couldn't be there.

. . . rejoices in your success even if it is something they wish they were able to do but haven't been able to.    They are truly happy for you and share in your delight.  (Like going to Australia!  Or winning an Ipad!!)

. . . never tries to undermine your goals to improve yourself.  For example, if you're trying to lose weight and they are really skinny (or not!), they don't tempt you with a piece of chocolate cake saying, "Oh come on.  Just enjoy yourself!  It's not that big of a deal!"  The same holds true with much heavier things like stopping drinking or doing drugs.  Why is it that "friends" try to pull the recovering addict down instead of encouraging their sobriety?  And I don't "get" how people can be so BLIND to the fact that a REAL FRIEND would NEVER do that.

. . . does not care more about themselves than they do about you . . . and vice versa!

True friends aren't usually found in the thousands or hundreds.  They are rare and should be treasured!!

I am SO grateful for my friends!!

December 8, 2011

Counsel from General Conference

Hi Kids!
General Conference was held a little over two months ago.  Do you remember any of the counsel given?

 Here are a couple of segments from Elder Packer's talk:

"If the adversary should take you prisoner due to misconduct, I remind you that you hold the key that will unlock the prison door from the inside.  You can be washed clean through the atoning sacrifice of the Savior Jesus Christ."
"I say again that youth today are being raised in enemy territory with a declining standard of morality.  But as a servant of the Lord, I promise that you will be protected and shielded from the attacks of the adversary IF you will heed the promptings that come from the Holy Spirit.  Dress modestly; talk reverently; listen to uplifting music.  Avoid all immorality and personally degrading practices.  Take hold of your life and order yourself to be valiant."
"As one of His special witnesses, I testify that the outcome of this battle that began in the premortal life is not in question.  Lucifer will lose."

I hope this is a helpful reminder.


December 7, 2011

All in 24 hours. . .

Dad and I hit the road IMMEDIATELY after school got out Friday afternoon...there weren't many cars in front of us at the light!!  We drove up to Provo, where we met up with most of the fam at the Marriott Center to see the BYU Folk Dancers' Christmas Around The World Show.  It was great!!  Dallin & Ericka (his girlfriend that we like a lot!), Nat (minus RJ due to the bowl game the next morning), Kristy and Nikki (Brand & Tann couldn't come, but they let Nikki come with Kristy, which was SO fun!!), were there, but we missed Anna and Bridger, who weren't feeling well!  

After the show we went over to Dan's and Janet's to visit, and then spent the night...Dallin had 6:00 a.m. rugby practice.  UGH!!!  The rest of us enjoyed a leisure morning, including a "service project", then we drove to Rio Tinto Stadium to watch Snow College (RJ) in the Top of the Mountains Bowl game.  It was VERY cold, but it was fun being together, and we even saw RJ play some!

As soon as the game was over we all said our good-byes, and then hit the road back to warmer climes!!  What a great little get-together!!  Wish Denzel could have been there with Anna and Bridger!  And, of course, Jaimi, Mike, Ben & Kristen!  Oh well, we'll be happy with what we can get!!  Love you all!!

December 6, 2011

Who is THIS?!?!

AND there is Bridger . . . although I had to steal this pic off of Facebook!

Air Traffic Controller practice . . .

And, of course, the two Blondies!!

 (I need PICTURES, please!!)

Love our Texas babies, too!!

Against amazing odds. . .

Sometimes we may think our lives are hard...that things aren't going our way, and we don't see how anything will "work out."  I love this video, not just for the amazing performance, but for what this young man represents in his ability to survive and succeed from a very young age.  Wow!  (And it's cool because its Korean!!)

November 27, 2011

Nikki. . . nearly 2!

Great pictures Brandon and Tannya!!  Love this little doll-baby!!

Talents and Investments. . .

I always enjoy accompanying others in creating good music, but I especially LOVE IT when doing so with my children and husband. It was a special treat to have Natalee and Dallin play a violin duet of Away In A Manger in church today, and I'm glad I made it back in time (bathroom visit!) to accompany them!

In Sunday school class, Brent Goodwin expressed his enjoyment of hearing the musical number twice by coming early to church. He also shared his appreciation of how many hours of practice it has taken over the years to get to this point.

It made me think of my Mom. The year was 1963 when I started taking piano lessons. In 1973 I graduated from high school and headed to BYU. So a ten year investment of time and money that has yielded 38 years of musical enjoyment, service to many church meetings, civic events, etc., just on my own. Then factor in the 2nd generation of musical talents that have been developed and shared so far with you kids. Wow! I hope you will carry on such an incredible giving gift!! We are VERY blessed to have these opportunities in our lives! (I wish our grandkids all lived close so I could give them GOOD piano lessons...not the ones that Brandon got!! ^_^)


One more mile. . .

This photograph was taken about 1917 in an underground mineshaft.
The horse was totally blind, as were all such horses due to a lifetime in total darkness.

It depicts the American way of life and the effort it took our forefathers to build this great country.

"Often, when I have been discouraged and despondent beyond words. I have looked at this picture and said to myself. "I will pull it one more mile."
With that attitude in mind and with an average amount of intelligence, any person can certainly make a success of their life in this land of free enterprise."
-Ross Taylor

Although this picture makes me SAD when I think about a horse being used in this manner, I am grateful that our horses are LOVED and CARED FOR and bring our family so much JOY!! But I also like the picture as a reminder that sometimes we just need to knuckle down, throw our shoulder into the difficulty, and PULL FOR ONE MORE MILE!!

I am so glad that each one of you kids knows how to work hard, even when things are very difficult. You don't give up easily and can do hard things!! Keep up the good work!


November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Fun 2011

LOVED having some of the kids migrate home for the holiday!!  Dal got in first from BYU on Tuesday evening. Then Nat and RJ got home from Ephraim, Kristy came in late Wednesday evening from SLC, and Amelia and Hans simply drove over Thursday morning!!
We enjoyed a Turkey Bowl with the Schrams and Yates families before having Thanksgiving Dinner with our small crew.  Had wonderful leftovers all weekend long!!  Got in a family horseback ride, complete with Nat riding backwards!!   We hauled 50 bales of hay (with lots of help from RJ!) and we also went shooting out on Utah Hill.  Lots of fun memories!  Missed "the upper half" but thought of you lots!!

November 14, 2011

What was I thinking???

So this morning, I was fixing breakfast for Dad and I...

Two eggs
Fried Potatoes
Two toast
Two glasses of orange juice

I set the dishes out and was ready to put the food on
the plates when I discovered this. . .

Yeah...I must have been on "auto-pilot" when I put out FIVE plates for our two little eggs!!

Obviously we REALLY miss Dallin, Nat and Kristy. . . the rest of you have been gone long enough to be "on your own!"



November 6, 2011

Rainy days and Sundays. . .

It was Fast Sunday today, and it was rather cold for St. George weather...Julie Schram knew I had to be sick when I showed up in my heavy neck-fur coat.  Yep, the cold that grabbed my throat last week hasn't been quite ready to let go.  We went to Sacrament meeting, which was good, but I came home afterwards and took an hour nap, then returned for choir practice.  Afterwards, Dad and I came home and around 4:00 we made grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.  Just as I was turning the burners off, the power went out...and didn't come back on!  So we sat at the table to eat, but with the dark skies outside, Dad flipped the light switch no avail.  Later I tried to open the garage door, forgetting about the power situation.  Funny how much we take for granted!!

Well, after our simple meal, and with the power still being off, I suggested we have a special Sunday snack...smores by way of the wood stove!!  The coals were perfect, Hank was happy to be in the middle of things, and they turned out beautifully!!  Only one problem, we used Cookies n Cream for the chocolate didn't taste nearly as good as the Snickers Mil and I used when we didn't have plain Hershey chocolate.  Oh well, it was fun anyway!   ( See what y'all are missing out on?!?!)

November 3, 2011

Essence Barton -- Wow!!

So did any of you see the Facebook post regarding Essence winning the national title for Women's Dual Slalom?!?!  What a great thing!!  CONGRATS, ESSENCE!!!

Here's an article in USA Cycling:

Here's the YouTube video:

October 31, 2011

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE These Surprises!!!

So, Mil invited me over for lunch after my college class on Friday. As I pulled into the parking spot right in front of her condo, I noticed a sign/poster in her front window. I looked to see what it said, then had to look again to decipher it . . . and then I yelled and laughed out loud at the same time, shouting "what?!?! Wahoo!!" all at the same time. I jumped out of the car and ran to the door, which opened before I got there cuz Millie was watching slyly through the window. What a wonderful surprise that was!!

And then. . . later in the afternoon, Mil came over to the house before Dad got home from work (I was out riding horses...) and put the same sign up on our bathroom mirror. She acted like she was waiting for me to get home from school, so after chatting a minute, Dad made his way to our bedroom and bathroom. I was on the phone with Mil to hear Dad's reaction. He was very surprised but was wondering if the sign was for ME to see. After assuring him I already knew and that the sign was for him, he was very excited and happy too!!

. . . then there was the creative way Hans and Amelia let everyone else know about the pregnancy! Via the "Movie Trailer" located at
(I did a screen shot below, but if you haven't seen it, you can check it out at the website...)

CONGRATS, AMELIA AND HANS!!! We are SOOOOOO excited for you!!


Had a fun Halloween party at Schram's on Saturday evening!  Mil and Hans were an "I-Phone", Holly was "Dr. Quinn". . .  and there were other creative costumes, too!  I used the night as a good excuse to wear one of the vintage hats Karen Hansen gave us.  I could wear a different one each day and not repeat for a month!!

We ate some really good food, played fun games, held Danielle's little tiny (5 lbs) two week old baby girl dressed up as the cutest butterfly, and played Halloween themed games of Family Feud and Charades.  Great time!!

Tonight, Dad and I, Hans and Amelia, and Megan Amundsen, are going to eat Mexicali soup, watch Hocus Pocus and hand out Halloween candy!!

October 30, 2011

Too much fun!

Last week Mil reminded me that we were going to do the Kolob Arch ride before it got too cold...

Hans and Mil were still in Idaho this past spring when it would have been a perfect time to ride, and then they moved here in the middle of the HOT summer . . . and things got really busy with school and the piano competition, etc., etc.

Well, Mil, April Nielsen and I finally got in the Kolob Arch ride!!  We left Saturday morning and drove the 45 miles north to the Kolob exit.  We're so grateful for a truck that runs and can pull three horses...the day couldn't have been more beautiful!!  PERFECT weather.  We rode for about 6 miles, stopped at the "water spot" and ate lunch and took pictures...then rode to the arch trailhead.  Had to leave the horses tied up, and hiked in another mile, climbing up and over rocks and hills.  By the time we hiked out, our legs were pretty tired, and we were VERY grateful to have horses to ride out.  As it was, our bums were sore and we were SO ready to get off the horses by the time we returned to the truck.  What a great day!

It was a long ride . . .  it was a beautiful ride  . . .
 it was a  LOOONNNNGG ride, but IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL RIDE!!!  

The pic with Mil sitting in the dirt was taken right after she did a somersault over Red Star's neck...
and she landed VERY gracefully!  She has some great bruises to show for it!!


October 28, 2011

Happy Halloween. . .

We hope you all have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN. . .  just in case you couldn't tell what the window says!!

October 24, 2011


Wow!  It's finally here!!  Nat moved to Ephraim Sunday after church, Dallin returned to Provo after a short weekend visit, and now Dad and I are home alone. . .



P  A  R  T  Y  !  ! 

Actually, we were both a little sad saying our good-byes, but then I reminded Dad that it was a GOOD thing he didn't have a BORING wife (the good "spin" on unpredictable, somewhat emotionally unstable..., with lots of irons in the fire)!  He agreed.  ^_^

MISS YOU ALL!  LOVE YOU ALL, TONS!!  HOPE YOU'RE ALL HAPPY!!  And we're THRILLED that Mil and Hans live in town!!  (Does this mean they get the grand piano???)


October 19, 2011

What a weekend. . .

Getting a total of 16 hours of sleep Thursday through Sunday night is just a small indication of what took place this weekend during Utah's statewide piano competition.  Here is a small synopsis:

1. Wednesday I left St. George right after class and headed to SLC.  Stopped in Provo for a brief visit with Dallin (20 min.!), drove to SLC and met up with Kristy for a short dinner at Sizzler before heading to the airport to pick up the first of three judges for the event.  Mykola Suk and I drove to Rocky's and Cherie's where we spent the night.  Didn't sleep well due to all the logistics of things.

2.  Thursday, I dropped Mykola off at the music store after a brief check-in at the Garden Hilton Inn in Sandy.  Then dashed off to the airport to pick up Caio Pagano and Giorgi Latsabidze, the other two judges.  Drove to the hotel, had about 15 minutes to get settled, then drove to Daynes where we had 10 minutes to get everything situated before we started seven hours STRAIGHT of a very intense piano competition.   This was the Senior division (ages 15-18) and there were 15 VERY talented competitors.  (Dallin's friend, Weiyi Le won!)  During a 20 minute break, we ate a quick Cafe Rio dinner that was brought in.  After the awards it was back to the hotel with the judges, and my continued work on getting things organized for Friday's competition.

3.  Friday, I drove judges to different locations before heading over to the Music Teachers Conference at 8:00 a.m.  I WON a gift basket with beautiful taupe towels!!  I was thrilled because I was going to buy some next week!  Only cost me $1!!  I was able to hear bits and pieces of a couple workshops, and then it was time for our Junior division (ages 11-14) competition.  Banquet afterwards with the conference, and the judges and I bowed out early due to our fatigue.  However, Kristy came over to the hotel and gave me a "good" (bad!) workout.  I KNEW I would be sore!!  (And I was...could barely walk down the stairs on Saturday...Sunday was worse!)

4.  Saturday we had an early (7:00 a.m., awake at 4:00 a.m.) board meeting...had to leave early to deliver judges to practice areas (they each perform internationally and have events coming up).  Got a few more snatches of conference workshops in, lunch with the judges, and then non-stop collegiate division (ages 19-26) competition from 1:00 - 8:00 p.m.  Kristy was there to help with door monitoring.  (Lots of memorable stuff, but don't want to go into too much detail...)

5.  By 9:30 we were all sitting at a table at Carino's restaurant. . . and my massive headache for the past 24 hours finally subsided . . . even GOOD stuff can be stressful.

6.  Sunday morning saw me up at 4:00 a.m., taking judges to the airport at 6:00.  Then getting back to the hotel, checking out, and taking my piano student (Alex Tucker), and Giorgi to meet up with Kristy at The Spoken Word at 8:45.  When we walked into the Tabernacle with the choir warming up, Giorgi was blown away with what he saw and heard.  It sent chills down me, too!  Afterwards, we walked around Temple Square, watched the Joseph Smith movie at the Visitor's Center, went to the reflection pool, the south Visitor's Center, then realized we were barely going to make it to church with Brandon and Tannya in South Weber.  Sure enjoyed holding Nikki in church, while listening to the talks!

7.  Headed back to Salt Lake, dropped Giorgi off at the airport, got Kristy back to her car by the temple, and drove down to Provo to exchange laptops with Dallin (his needs some major repair and I have a brand new one. . . is something wrong with this picture???); drop off a debit card for Natalee to pick up so she could buy gas for her trip home (another long story...), and then FINALLY got on the road back to St. George by 6:30 p.m.  I was just a tad concerned about driving on so little sleep in the dark, but I was VERY blessed, and received phone calls right when I needed them and got into town around 9:45.  I was exhausted and happy to be home!!

I absolutely LOVE the friendships I have made over the past four years of being in charge of the piano competitions.  Giorgi has recently been invited to join the piano faculty at the Music Conservatory in Vienna, Austria and he has invited Kristy, Me and Dad to come visit next year!!  I told him he is adopted into the family, so just know you all have an older brother...just two years older than Denz!  Maybe we should all pop over and pay him a visit.  All the judges were amazed when it came up that we have seven children in our family.  I told it was nothing compared to my sister-in-law with 14 children!  Isn't life relative!?!?

Well, that let's you know what I'VE been doing this weekend.  All Dad did was WIN AN IPAD II at the technology conference he attended while I was gone!!  (And I thought my towels were cool...)  He is LOVING learning about it and using it.  VERY COOL TECHNOLOGY!!

Hope your lives are calmer than ours!!


October 12, 2011

Thoughts I've Had Lately. . .

When we finally "get the connection," TRULY, that this life really isn't about "us" but about BLESSING THE LIVES OF OTHERS, we are finally proceeding down the right path.  Think about it for a minute:  when we are self-focused (selfish, self-absorbed, etc.) we are a very small package that no one else is interested in...unless THEY are a small package and want company...

There are TONS of marriages, relationships, etc., out there that are "small packages" and they bring with them lots of problems and unhappiness.

When we TRULY understand about giving of ourselves (NOT for what comes back to us, but because it's how we really feel) then we attract that kind of relationship, person, and experiences.  Some people NEVER understand this concept, and their lives reflect it. 

By the world's standard this concept can be very mundane and not very fun or exciting.  But the world is actually wrong.  It is the most healing, complete, secure and reassuring sense of our "being" there is!  When we feel this, we are MORE free to bless and give, and it NATURALLY comes back to us in many many forms!!

Often we hear the Savior's counsel "As I have loved you, love one another" or "Love thy neighbor as thyself."  We would do well to heed His words.


October 11, 2011

Red Flags of Pride. . .

Due to outside demand (a few friends I told about the email I sent you...), I'm putting this on the blog after all. . . sorry for the repeat, kids!  ^_^

I drove for a total of FIVE HOURS on Saturday, hauling 4 horses nearly to MODENA (that's past Enterprise, Beryl Junction, etc.) then over dirt roads, with massive mud puddles trying to suck me into their mire. . . to have four mares bred (3 of them about kicked the snot out of the that seems like a waste!), but while I was doing all of this driving I was listening to several of Uncle Kim's talks at BYU Idaho.  (They send us copies periodically...)  

Each of the talks were powerful!  The one he gave called "Are Ye Stripped of Pride" especially hit home with me.  I typed up some of the stuff he said, and thought I'd pass it along.  I wish you could each hear the talk, it was THAT good!  (  (If you do a "speaker" search for Kim B. Clark, in 2010 you'll find this talk and several others.  The titles are VERY indicative of the talks:  Peace Like a River; Deep Obedience, Love by Faith,  Drenched in Gratitude: Protection Against the Spirit of Entitlement, and many others!!  That's just 2010. . . )

Red Flags of Pride:
1.       Do you find yourself critiquing the talks in Sacrament meeting?
2.       Are you critical of others?
3.       Do you look down on others?  Do you scorn or ridicule others?
4.       When adversity strikes, do you hear a voice inside that says, “Why me?”
5.       Do you react to prophetic counsel by ignoring it, being upset by it, or interpreting it to fit your own desires?
6.       When you do something good, do you hear a voice inside congratulating yourself?
7.       Do you feel self-gratification and a sense of importance in your knowledge and skill?
8.       If someone you know receives something good, do you hear a voice inside saying, “What about me?”
9.       Do you find a way to let others know about your success without appearing to boast?
10.     If someone corrects a mistake you’ve made, do you feel defensive and resentful?
11.     When someone does something that creates inconvenience for you, do you feel annoyed?

Uncle Kim said that he knows this list because he has dealt with each of these things, and that we should each work vigilantly to overcome these and other red flags of pride. 

He emphasized the need for each of us to deal with pride whether it is due to prosperity OR adversity.  I don't always associate pride with adversity, but it's there!

Anyway, I hope it gives you as much food for thought as it has me!


October 10, 2011

Funny girls. . .

What happens when you don't have a lot of time for lunch, you don't want to spend a lot of money, AND YOU DON'T LIKE FISH?!?!?! Well, you play "chase" through all the senior games drivers flooding the streets of St. George, take every back road you can find, finally meet up at Tom's Deli, but decide the "Hawaiian" joint next door might be pretty good, so you walk in there. Not seeing much of a menu, you ask what they have. You are shown a case with about 30 different types of fish entrees. When you tell the owner and his wife that none of you eat fish, they are stunned, and say, "Well....thanks for coming!" (Do you think "Poke" means fish in Hawaiian??)  And then you walk out the door and go eat at Tom's Deli! FUN TIMES!!

October 9, 2011

How did this happen?

Not the mess. . . the sheer number of boots!!

October 7, 2011

The "Hot Stove" analogy. . .

I'm reading Brad Wilcox's book, "The Continuous Atonement." I LOVE his "hot stove" comparison:
"In the context of touching a hot stove, consider some of the most common excuses for sin:
  • Just one touch won't hurt.
  • I'm afraid if I take my hand off I won't be able to leave it off.
  • I deserve this.
  • The only reason I feel pain is because of my Mormon culture.
  • But I was born with the desire to touch the stove.
  • It's my parents' fault. They're the ones who bought the stove!
  • I just need to adjust to the burning rather than try to overcome it.
  • I want to be excommunicated so it won't hurt when I touch the stove.
  • No one told me touching the hot stove was bad.
  • It may hurt, but at least I am touching it with someone I love.
  • It's not like it's totally wrong. It's a gray area.
  • Everyone else is touching it.
  • I'll touch it if I want. It's my right. Nobody is going to tell me what to do or not do.
  • Stove? What stove? I don't see any stove.
  • I just don't care anymore. I'm numb to it.
  • I know it's wrong, but I'll move my hand tomorrow.
  • You can't go without touching the stove all the time.
  • I've blown it now. I might as well touch it more.
  • Those who don't touch the stove are old-fashioned; my generation is different.
  • At least it's just my hand, and not my whole face.
  • How will I know it hurts unless I touch it myself?
  • At least the other stove touchers accept me and don't judge.
  • There are others who touch it more than I do.
  • If God didn't want me to touch the stove, He wouldn't have given me a hand."

If you're laughing your head off right about now, you're probably doing good at making good choices, and repenting when you don't. If you think this is REALLY STUPID, perhaps you've been touching the stove!

Love you all tons!!

October 5, 2011

This is WAR!!

Sometimes I think we get lulled into passivity . . . and we think we're resisting temptation well, and we're going to church, and we aren't really dishonest (not like the guy in the newspaper who was arrested for stealing millions from his clients); and the list goes on.

We seemingly don't think there's a big need for that "heavy armor" we're told to wear all the time to protect us during war. We are excited to be less encumbered; looking forward to having fun with our friends.

So we toss aside our shield as we run out the backdoor...we won't need it today; we leave our sword on the kitchen counter because we know we won't be running into the "enemy" where we are going today; and we ignore our helmet on the shelf because we look much better without it!

So off we go, not realizing (or remembering) that we TRULY are in the midst of war! We don't make it through the day without feeling the attacks of the Adversary. In fact, we are almost overcome and can barely make it back to the safety of our fortifications: HOME and FAMILY.

There, we are given "First Aid" and reminded of our armor as our wounds are cleaned and bandaged. Perhaps the healing will take time because the wounds are deep. But with the proper "care" they will heal!

What I'm trying to say is:



October 4, 2011

Mom & Daughter. . .

Just got the pics from Millie's camera, so this is a little delayed. . .
Nat was off to Arizona for RJ's game (sheesh!  you'd think she liked him or something!!), and Dad went to the Priesthood Session of Conference with Harrison and Devon (and Ryan and Jared, too!), soooooo Mil and I went for our own little campout (see what you started, Nat!)

 But this time we just built our fire by the lower pond, had to use a Snickers candy bar for our S'mores, and learned the hard way about turning the corn on the cob more frequently so one side doesn't burn!  (And to wear gloves when pulling it out of the index finger is stuck in the air cuz it got FRIED!)

After our wonderful dinner, and ride together, Holly and Julie came over and we played Nertz and ate popsicles!  It was a fun, fun evening!!

October 3, 2011

How much POWER do YOU have?

Dad and I loved our Conference weekend!  The messages shared both Saturday and Sunday were inspiring and motivating.  I had to put one of the quotes on the window, and hope the message is conveyed appropriately without offending:  Personal Purity = Power

I hope people who see the window pause to think about their lives...the kinds of choices they are making whether they be issues of honesty, integrity, or morality, etc.

Hans and Amelia had breakfast with Dad and me and we watched The Spoken Word together and Sunday morning Conference.  It was fun to watch them build waffle town houses and share candy at "half-time."

For the afternoon session of conference, Dad and I were completely alone for the first time in 31 and a half years!  Wow!!  It was pretty cool!!

The message that was shared today that had the biggest impact didn't come over the tv or radio.  It came from Hans and Amelia (and Nat and RJ.)  We got talking about "hotel rooms" because of Nat and RJ needing to get separate rooms in Arizona since his parents didn't end up going to his game so he couldn't stay with them...and he SHOULDN'T be staying in Nat's room.  Anyway, it reminded me of Hans' and Amelia's trip to San Francisco when Hans proposed to Amelia.

He had made reservations at a very nice hotel in San Francisco, for two separate rooms.  Well, when they arrived at the hotel, they were told that there were some problems and asked Hans and Mil if they would mind sharing a room since they were short on rooms.  When our recently engaged couple declined the offer, the hotel manager said they could have the suite, complete with jacuzzi, etc., and they would "comp" it, meaning their hotel stay would be free, rather than DOUBLE the cost because of the need for two rooms.

Well, they declined, and the hotel somehow survived their troubles.  But more importantly, Hans and Amelia had POWER.  The power of self-control, the power of integrity, the power of personal purity.  I'm betting the price of the rooms was worth it, and then some!!

September 27, 2011

What's DAD doing home. . . in the middle of the day!?!

Tuesday - College class, homework, piano lessons, getting last minute things ready for my two piano recitals tonight, working on the piano competition stuff, work on dinner, haul hay for the horses, talk with my parents. . .

Yeah, that's about the size of my days in general, except for the piano recital stuff!  So, I'm driving home from my college class, talking on the phone with my parents.  I get to the corner at our house and notice a car in the driveway.  Not just any car, but MY HUSBAND'S.  I said to my parents, the instant I saw his car, "Rod's home from school...he's NEVER home from school.  I've got to go!"  And promptly hung up the phone.  I ran in the house and it was silent.  I called out thinking I would hear Rod's voice, but there was nothing.  I went through every room, ending in our bedroom; then I heard him in the bathroom.  He was sitting on a stool, hunkered over the bathroom sink.  I instantly thought of MORNING SICKNESS!!

I asked if he was feeling sick, and he surprised me when he said he wasn't.  He then gave the details of how he was eating lunch and started to feel spasms in his throat.  He got a drink of water and it came spewing out of his mouth.  And it got worse after that.  Even trying to swallow his saliva made it spasm worse and come out.  That's when he decided it wouldn't be too cool to stay at school and teach.

(I could just see it:  "Today, students, we're going to discuss the esophagus and what happens when it's not functioning correctly...")

Anyway, we took him to the doctor (where Nat works, of course!)  He gave Dad a nitroglycerin pill to put under his tongue.  The doc said it would only take about 5 took 20...but it DID work.  Will we waited though, Dad got THE WORST case of hiccups...LOUD and jolting.  I must not be a very good wife, because it was VERY hard to not bust up laughing right out loud.  I tried really hard, as I rubbed Dad's back, but after a few minutes, with his head still down he quietly said, "I can feel you shaking..."  That's all it took, and I let out a loud guffaw!  It really was quite funny.  Dad got laughing too, in his funny "hold it in" laugh, and it actually stopped the hiccups!!

After a while, Nat (yeah, she just told her job she was going with her dad!) Dad, and I went to the hospital.  Nat stayed with Dad while I ran home to get things ready for the piano recitals (which was rather hectic...enough said!)

The scope and biopsy went well.  We'll know in a week what that shows, and then Nat and Dad came to the piano recitals.  Hans and Amelia came and saved the day with the video camera!  (They found a clever way to attach it to the tripod even though the regular attachment piece was missing!!)

I played Autumn Leaves at both recitals and only messed up the second time I played.  Lots of other thoughts kept racing through my head...I'll have to work on FOCUSING more.

All in all, it was a memorable day, and I'm VERY happy that Dad is doing well!!

September 26, 2011

RJ Comes To Town. . .

I LOVE seeing Natalee so happy!  
And I REALLY like RJ's "new look."  
Yes, this is the same guy as the hairy football dude. . . 
(He looks rather happy, too!) 

September 25, 2011

Swiss Days 2011

We sure had a BUSY, but fun, weekend!  It was Piano Evaluations, Swiss Days, Honors Recital, the Relief Society Broadcast, and BYU Football, all in the same two days!!  Choices, choices!!

On Friday evening (after an afternoon of horse washing!), Dad and I, Nat, and Hans and Amelia went down to Swiss Days where we enjoyed some good Navajo Tacos, looked at booths, and listened to the really good Swiss yodeler entertainment.  Nice evening together!!

Nat and I enjoyed sharing the horses with the other girls joining us in the parade.  There was a lot of work to be done washing all the Pine Valley dirt off the horses on Friday and getting them pretty for the parade.  Harrison came and helped saddle Zoro, also helping out with some other stuff too!

There were a lot of people watching the parade.  The horses did VERY well in spite of the mountain men shooting off their guns frequently, kids darting out to grab candy, and lots of distractions all around them.  And our riders did an excellent job, too!!

Natalee and Mom,
Megan Amundsen, Alex Tucker,
Madi Yates, Sydnee Yates,
Whitnee Wittwer,
(Isaiah Nielsen on back of Natalee), Brock Yates and Johnny Moncrief
(as our Pooper Scoopers!)

CHANGE . . .

will always PRECEDE 

September 19, 2011


Yeah, this weekend wasn't one of BYU's better weekends!  And Dallin thought he was going to have a blast at the game...not so much!  At least the rest of the weekend was fun!!  Dad, Nat and I drove up Friday after Nat got off work, and we spent the night at the Mapleton Bartons.  Had leisure Saturday morning since Dal was tied up with rugby practice until 10:00.  When he was moving a bit after he had showered, we went out to lunch and he showed us just a little of the work out they had this morning.  MAN, OH MAN!!  Maybe Nat and I should try!

After lunch, we left Dallin in Provo and we drove up north...stopped in Riverton for a short visit with Anna and Bridger, then went with Linda to get a BUNCH of really good 100 lbs worth, just for us.  I think I'm going to bottle some!  Then we headed over to Brandon's and Tannya's...
(I didn't get ANY pictures with Tannya in them!!  Sorry Tann!)  
We had fun playing with Nikki, watching her, just talking and visiting on the lawn in their yard.  Then we had a barbecue and ate some really good hamburgers and corn on the cob.
Nikki was dressed in her UTE colors, so we went over to Ellisons and watched the BYU v. Utah slaughter!  UGH!!  I think the Cougars must be feeling rather horrible about that game!  We sure did!!  
Oh well.  At least the SCHRAMS and the HOOPES are happy!
Sunday, Dad and I went to a 9:00 Sacrament Meeting. After returning for breakfast, we said our goodbye's to the South Weber Hunts and headed to Salt Lake City.  We stopped in for a short hello to Kristy, looked at her house, and then picked up Dad's car.  Nat drove it home, via Ephraim and Dad and I enjoyed our drive home together, especially since we stopped at Dan's and Janet's and got a sandwich and chips for our drive home!!  (Thanks, Janet!)  Another "quick trip up north!"  
We're grateful for such a good family!  We love you all!


September 14, 2011

Sheesh, RJ!!

Soooo, this is ONE way to make an impression!  If this is a celebration for dating one month, I can hardly wait to see how you top this!!!  Actually, one good bunch of flowers a year goes a long way!  (But this sure puts the other men in our family at a distinct disadvantage. . . the women might start complaining . . . or coveting!!)
Good job, RJ!!
From RJ

September 13, 2011

FHE. . . it does a body good!

So, what do we do when it's been a rough kinda day, and things feel kinda lousy?  We get the horses, pay $5.79 for one bag of marshmallows and two candy bars at the gas station, and go up Snow Canyon for a Family Home Evening campout!  It was great!!  There had been tons of rain yesterday, so no dust; river marks all down the canyon where it's usually just sand; and Kodiak was SO fun to have along.  She had a blast kicking up her heels in all of that sand!

Nat and I rode up to Three Ponds and made a small campfire.  Only took two matches and a bunch of dried twigs.  We cooked hot dogs, (only a little sand got in them from our sticks...), took pictures, laughed, cried, talked, roasted marshmallows, made s'mores, ATE the s'mores, and enjoyed the incredible beauties of Snow Canyon.
From FHE
It was rather dusky by the time we headed back to the horses...and an incredible full moon came up as we started to ride out.  It was SO bright we were casting shadows on the dirt and hills.
From FHE
Nat tried standing on the almost dark...but Silver kept moving and Nat ended up bailing off of her!  Wish I could have gotten it in action!!
From FHE
So, once again, another beautiful and memorable ride!

September 10, 2011

A Day Trip To Ephraim...

So, what happens when there's no one left at home playing high school football, or rugby?!?!  We have to drive ALL THE WAY TO EPHRAIM, to watch RJ play at Snow College!!  Yup, Dad and I did a day trip, leaving at 8:15 this morning and getting home about 6:30 p.m. It was fun to be there with Nat and watch RJ.
From RJ

On the way home, Dad and I stopped by Palisade State Park...I camped there with my family when I was TEN YEARS OLD!  And it's a whole lot prettier now than I remember it back then.  We should all go camping there next summer!!

From RJ

September 9, 2011

Kodiak's First Ride...

Nat and I took Silver, Kodiak and Red Star out to Anasazi Ridge for Kodiak's first ride.  She's about one week shy of three months old (she was foaled on June 16th, 2011).  She did GREAT!  At the corrals she loaded herself into the trailer (just hopped right in!  The first two times we have loaded Kodi before, we've basically picked her up and put her in because she wasn't too thrilled with the idea of loading...).  She did great going over the equestrian step-over for the first time.  Simply looked at it and then jumped over.  (We had to "help" Stormy the first couple of times she went over.)  Kodiak runs beautifully.  She is going to be as smooth-riding as her mom.  AMAZING to watch!  Now, if Kodi could just learn to not always cut off her mom.  Nat would ride with her boot pushing on Kodi's side to keep her from pushing into Silverado.  It was a great ride!  Thanks, Nat!!

September 8, 2011

Boys and Men

"All boys grow up to be men;
But not all boys grow up to be men of God"

(the same holds true for women...)

I hope we all work on it!!

September 7, 2011


What kind of choices do we make?  Are they inline with what we KNOW?

September 5, 2011

Great Weekend!

So, Kristy and Dallin were down for a couple of days...and it was a lot of fun. RJ was here, too, at least for Sunday! Hooray!!
Sunday dinner was lots of fun with the "lower half" of the family. Missed the "upper half!" who missed a good laugh at Nat's and RJ's expense. Just ask Nat sometime about what constitutes a good seatbelt... Her reaction was better than the story!! I'm surprised that jello wasn't spurted out of a bunch of mouths we were all laughing so hard!
From Labor Day Weekend
After dinner we had "music time" with everyone enjoying singing Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, and playing violin stuff, too.
After all of the fun, and loading up on homemade bread and biscuits, Dal and Kristy headed back up north, and RJ had to head back to Ephraim.
Today Nat, Mil, Hans, Dad and I went to Pine Valley for the afternoon. It was an incredible day! We took 5 horses out and really enjoyed being together, even when Brown Jug tripped, went down on his front legs and pitched Hans forward. Hans handled it beautifully as he quickly scrambled (army crawled) off his horse before the horse got back up on his feet (hooves). He gets the "Amazing Rider" award for the day!!

Brown Jug cut himself a few different places on his legs but wasn't too worse for the wear. Nat was riding Misty bareback, but after the fall, she transferred Hans' saddle to Misty, Hans rode Misty back, and Nat finished riding Brown Jug bareback because he was kinda shaking after his fall.
From Labor Day Weekend
When we were all done we loaded up 5 of the horses to bring home to be shod, AND to wean Stormy off of Red Star. At least Stormy will be with Zoro and Morning Star in Pine Valley. (Hope she does well!) Then Nat takes Sheldon's 4 horses back to Pine Valley tomorrow. Thank goodness there's been plenty of feed up there for the horses. Free feed is a GOOD thing!!
Thanks for a fun weekend "lower half of the family!!"
(the video of Nat is kinda fun...even if it's a bit scriggily!! Don't know what happened in the transfer, cuz it was great on the camera!!)