Saturday, October 29, 2016


We made monsters, devils, ghosts and pumpkins with glitter, jars and candy!  It was so much fun!  And the project turned out so cute and individual (although a bit messy with the glitter....)!  I love this crazy group of kids!
Juice, Kotten Kandy, Marmalade, Nuts
Apple Pie and Jelly Bean
While we were crafting, Kiara and Shanae were getting beautiful with mud!  
Shanae looks appropriately annoyed by such a picture....
Kiara can't keep a straight face - but get's an A for effort!
Love these two crazy kids!
I just finished reading a GREAT novel!  The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright was a moving story about a boy that had an actual family, but because of a kidnapping he was "orphaned" and sent to an American family for adoption.  This is based on a true story.  And I loved this book.  I loved how, without throwing it in your face, this book shows God's hand in our lives, even though we may be unaware at the time where He is leading us.  I also thought it was well written.  I want to read The Rent Collector by Camron Wright now.

Monday, October 24, 2016


One of our favorite things to do is spend time with the Schmids!  They are an AMAZING family!  So we got to spend Sunday with them!  And Mike taught us all about guns, and allowed us to shoot.  It was soooo much fun!  We are so blessed in this country with the 2nd Amendment!
Fig Newton learns to shoot an AR25 (AK47 rounds)
And she aimed well!
Sniper Rifles are a totally different experience....
Mike and Asparagus look on as Fig Newton shoots.
Kotten Kandy was great with the 380...
And she also liked the Sniper Rifle....
Mike is amazing!
Asparagus also knew what he was doing.
I love how Asparagus guided his sister....
Way to go, Rice Krispie!
Scott got in on the action!
And so did I!
The 3 of us all shot the same hole - as snipers!
We are that good!!!!
This picture cracked me up!
(The AR25 was loud... but the Sniper Rifle was even louder!)
Also this weekend (Saturday) Scott had a work picnic.  These co-workers are a lot of fun!
D'Argy can cook!
These guys enjoyed the burgers!
And more food....
Cute couple!
These guys came late - but there was still plenty of eats!
I think they ate too much!

Saturday, October 22, 2016


Kiara is loving her Pathway class.  She is doing well and has made new friends.  (I happen to be related to 5 people in this Pathway group!  And I love each of them a LOT!)
My Mom and Dad are the Pathway missionaries!
I hope I can grow up and be just like them!
They are helping these young adults grow and become!
And their love is very apparent!  These young people are blessed!
Mariah and Shanae are my incredible nieces!
Both of them are attending Pathway
and being wonderful friends to my sweet daughter who is far from home.
Kiara is my fun-loving, happy, eldest child!
She is becoming an amazing woman!
She is also sharing her talents!  I'm so proud of her.  She played a violin duet with her friend, Billy, on Thursday.  I wish I could have heard them....
Billy and Kiara play "There Is Sunshine In My Soul Today"
My dad is leading music on the side...  :-)
She also got to attend the Ft. Collins temple dedication last Sunday.  She is blessed!
Her ticket and handkerchief....
Thanks, sister, for making sure she had a white handkerchief!
Tomorrow Scott, Kotten Kandy and I get to speak in Bardstown branch.  I'm not sure my thoughts are coherent... but here is my rough draft:
Good morning! 
About a decade ago, I was struggling with many health problems – both mental and physical.  I struggled with EVERYTHING: walking, praying, eating, sleeping, working, reading my scriptures and even enjoying my family.  I wanted to be better, but physically and mentally, I was truly struggling and I felt like I was failing.  I couldn’t find words to even pray for help to my Heavenly Father, so I found myself doing the only thing I could think to do.  I sang.  It was a simple song.  But it was my heartfelt prayer:  “I need Thee, oh I need Thee; Ev’ry hour I need thee!  Oh, bless, me now, my Savior; I come to Thee!”  This simple hymn was my prayer for many months until I was finally able to get the medical and spiritual help I needed.  It strengthened me, and helped me to “rise up” to my potential, and the potential that Heavenly Father had in store for me.  (I still sing it often and it reminds me how much I still need to grow.)
When Sister Oscarson spoke in the general conference women’s session, I was reminded of how we need to “Rise Up and Strengthen Ourselves” in these difficult and often stressful and frightening times.   She quotes President Russell M. Nelson:  “Attacks against the Church, its doctrine, and our way of life are going to increase.  Because of this, we need people who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation.  We need people who can detect deception in all of its forms.  We need people who know how to access the power that God makes available to covenant keepers and who express their beliefs with confidence and charity.”
Sister Oscarson then goes on to say how that message reassures her that despite the conditions of our day, she is optimistic.  - When we struggle through these hard times it’s the basics (like singing a hymn for your daily prayers) that will strengthen us and help us to truly become converted.
We definitely need that during these latter days!  When I listened to her talk, and later read it, I was reminded of how important it is to be truly converted to the Lord and to His principles.  She also quotes Sheri Dew: “I believe that the moment we learn to unleash the full influence of converted, covenant-keeping people, the kingdom of God will change overnight.”
So how do we “unleash the full influence of converted, covenant-keeping people”?  May I suggest that  we could start with singing the hymns?!  Although Sister Oscarson didn’t actually use music within her talk, I found a number of suggestions for growth she mentioned that correlated perfectly with music in the church.   
1.  Isn’t it amazing how songs are so catchy?  Shortly after I was married, a new song came out in the Friend magazine.  I was serving as the primary music leader and I taught it to my primary children.  As I taught the song, I knew it would become a classic as the kids lifted their scriptures and sang:  “Scripture power!  Keeps me safe from sin!  Scripture Power is the power to win!  Scripture Power!  Every day I need, the power that I get each time I read!”
Every time we read the scriptures, we are turning to one of the most powerful learning and teaching tools that God has given us.  And just reading the scriptures is not enough.  We need to understand them, study them, use them and memorize them.  Elder Scott says memorizing a scripture is like making a faithful new friend.  It was true for me.  I remember being scared when I was very young.  My father taught me to memorize the scripture 2 Timothy 1:7.  Every time I was frightened I would quote “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  It helped me trust in Heavenly Father and not be afraid.  It has still helped me today.  (Maybe I should put that scripture to music?!)
2.  Like the song “I Need Thee Every Hour” another song that has brought me a lot of strength is “A Child’s Prayer.”  During particularly challenging moments in my day I’ll ask “Heavenly Father, are you really there?  And do you hear and answer every child’s prayer.”  But I always answer the question DIRECTLY after asking those questions with the second verse of Janice Kapp Perry’s song: “Pray, He is there; Speak, He is listening.  You are His child; His love now surrounds you….”
Prayer is a wonderful part of my daily life!  I’ll admit that there have been times in my life when I have forgotten to say a prayer.  Those days are much harder.  I’ve also had days when I have “just said prayers” instead of “really praying” like Elder Uceda explained in general conference.  Those days have also been difficult too.  But as I’ve worked to remember my daily prayers and worked on making them meaningful, I have been blessed.  Ezra Taft Benson said, “If you don’t feel like praying, then you should pray until you do!”
One way we’ve been blessed is with our sweet foreign exchange students.  Both Luise and Fern were prayed for, even before we met them.  And we pray for them while they are with us.  And even though Luise is home in Germany we continue to pray for her.  A few days ago, I received a touching email from Luise.  She had just received some terrible news and was sad, frightened and struggling with meaning in her life.  In her note she said, “The last few hours I just spent praying.  It healed me a little.  I wanted to say thank you for giving me a connection to the gospel.”  I am soooooooo grateful that teaching her to pray and praying with her while she was here in the US was helpful to her in her time of need.  Prayer really works!
3.  One of my favorite memories is of my daughters singing “I love to see the temple!  I’m going there someday.  To covenant with my Father.  I’ll promise to obey.  For the temple is a House of God, a place of love and beauty.  I’ll prepare myself, while I am young.  This is my sacred duty.”
Preparing for sacred ordinances in the temple and also partaking of the sacrament strengthens our commitment to the gospel.  I love the temple.  I love the sacrament.  I love making covenants and partaking of these beautiful ordinances.
Besides helping my children be excited about their future covenants they would make in the temple, Scott and I tried to impress on them the importance of the baptismal ordinance and sacrament ordinance that they are able to participate in now.  I remember wiggly children when they were very young and trying to hush them and keep them reverent as the emblems of the sacrament were passed.  We had a secret code that reminded them that they were supposed to be thinking of Jesus Christ while they sat quietly.  It seemed to work.  Now my daughters like to re-read the words to the sacrament hymns as they reflect on the covenants they made at baptism!
4.  Finally, every general conference, we sing “We thank Thee, oh God, for a prophet, who guides us in these latter days!  We thank Thee for sending the gospel, to lighten our minds with it’s rays.”
How grateful I am for living prophets!  How grateful I am for the opportunity to listen to them twice a year at general conference!  And how grateful I am to reread their words often on-line and in the Ensign!  If we truly want to “rise up in strength” then we need to listen and study the living prophets!

Just like the song “I Need Thee Every Hour” helped me get through difficult times, these simple hymns can help us to remember to study our scriptures, pray, partake of sacred ordinances every Sunday and in the Temple and listen to the prophets!  I’m grateful for the reminders and the joy that these melodies and profound lyrics have brought into my life.  I know that my Savior lives!  And that He loves me!  I know that He want me and each of us to grow, learn and become the best we can be!  Like Sister Oscarson said, we need to “Rise Up in Strength!”  ------  Amen

Sunday, October 16, 2016


Well... all three of my daughters are working hard!
Kiara started working at Chick-Fil-A.  She enjoys it!  And she was trained on smiling!
Kotten Kandy started her job at the movie theater.  She said it was fun!  And her nick-name is "Silent Noodles..."  Don't ask?!  :-)
And Fig Newton ran another 5K and finished!  Way to go!
All three of these girls are pretty darn special!
And Scott and I went on a fun double date Saturday night with Chris and Heather!  We went to Chueys (YUM!) and then bowling (FUN!)
Life is good!

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Sooooo... this happened last night:
I'm pretty sure my husband loves me!  ;-)
And the weather is changing... Sooooo:
"Baby, it's cold outside!"
But in Colorado, they are hiking and enjoying the outdoors:
Cousins hiking.... (with a dog)
The beauty of Colorado!
Fun times!
Gorgeous vistas!
Cousins who hike together.... Have lasting friendships!
Yes, Ben's kids are visiting!  (Starburst and Kiwi)
And Kiara is learning GREAT life lessons:
"Look, mom, a budget!" 
When you look good, you feel good!
I love reading.  And I love it when I find a book that I really, truly love.  A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute is "bonza!"  It involves history, geography, travel, adventure, misery, joy, evil and love.  I lost myself in the heat of Malaysia and then adored the dusty Australia terrain and the people there.  The story is timeless.  I loved the message of love's survival in the face of desperate odds.  It's a truly satisfying book.
I also recently finished reading Matriarchs of the Messiah by Jo Ann Skousen.  It was so wonderful!  I loved reading about the lives and contributions of the women in the lineage of Jesus Christ.  Even when little is revealed in the actual scriptures, she is able to "fill in the gaps" by using a multitude of historical sources.  She also has a unique LDS perspective and a mother's perspective.  I really loved how she made these amazing women come "alive" to me and I was able to really relate to them.  I read this book for research, for my NaNoWriMo plans this November.  And I am excited to study this book more and really learn about these great women and try to emulate their courageousness and virtuous lives.
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan was recommended to me by my sister-in-law.  So naturally I bought it and read it.  I'm glad I did.  When you read a brief description about this book, it explains that the 12-year-old protagonist Willow is a genius misfit and an orphan (twice over).  I assumed it would be a really sad book.  But it's not.  It's quirky, uplifting and heartwarming.  Yes, the themes of loneliness and loss are present, but it is also about taking chances, healing, starting over and learning to connect.  I also loved that there was no boyfriend/girlfriend stuff and no bad language.  It was just thought provoking.  I liked it.  (I don't think "coming of age" novels are my favorite genre... but this one wasn't a bad book.  In fact, it might be good for a LOT of teaching opportunities with your kids who read it.)

Sunday, October 9, 2016


This weekend was NUTS!  Not only was it Kiara's 18th birthday, but we played a LOT.  It was fun, and extremely busy!
Friday Scott and I went on a great double date with the Calls, Fig Newton went to the football game and Key Lime Pie spent the day playing with her cousins at an antique store and eating ice cream.  The only person who thought to get pictures was Kiara:
GJ spoils these cute girls!
I want some... but it's not chocolate... so maybe I'll pass.
Kiara and Mariah
Shaved Ice
Shanae ("My name's blurry face, and I care what you think...." 
JK!  Apparently my daughter didn't realize how blurry this pic was.)
Saturday was even crazier.  Fig Newton left early in the morning to participate in her first cross country race.  She did wonderfully!!!!  She finished and even earned a medal.  I was so proud of her accomplishment.  She has worked hard, through injuries and pure exhaustion.  What a fabulous accomplishment!
Fig Newton is a winner in my book!
Chex and Fig Newton
Friends who run together....
Also, on Saturday, this cute boy came by my house and offered his services to clean my car.  He's trying to earn money and learning the value of hard work.  I, of course, employed him.  And my car feels AWESOME!  He washed, waxed and vacuumed it.  I LOVE how clean my car feels... but I love Nuts more!
Nuts working hard!
The joy of hard work!
Saturday, Scott spent the day in Ohio with Chris watching the Ohio State football game.  They had a GREAT day!  Scott loves these yearly outings.  And Ohio won:  38 to 17!
Scott LOVES the Marching Band almost as much as the actual game....
Saturday night, these two cuties went on a double date with Asparagus and Taffy.  They had so much fun eating pizza, playing games and watching "Night and Day."  I didn't get pictures at the date, but the report was they had a great time!
Apple Jacks and Kotten Kandy
Fig Newton went to the Homecoming Dance with friends.  She said it was a good experience, but she liked the cross country race better.  She looked like a million bucks!
Chex and Fig Newton
Dance, Glamour and Friendship
Red Hots and Chex and Fig Newton
Today was Church and we celebrated the Young Women in our ward this evening at YW in Excellence.  My daughters are soooooooooo talented.  Check out their displays:
Displaying her running, writing, and singing!
Displaying her Thai food and art work!
(BTW she drew the beautiful drawing in only 15 minutes!  Such talent!)
Apple Jacks displaying her "food art!"  JK
Kiara was spoiled rotten with lots of well wishes.  She was sooooooooo excited that not everyone in Kentucky forgot her.  And her new friends in Colorado also wished her Happy Birthday!  She also got a birthday cake.  I love the birthday candle my sister found.
Love this beautiful girl!