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I just got off the phone with our oldest daughter. I love hearing about her experiences living back East, attending grad school and serving amongst other young single adults in that history-rich area. She loves it.

We discussed the gift of knowing strong, wonderful women in our lives. She mentioned how beneficial the new council program is working in their Relief Society. And she said one thing in particular that touched me: that she can count on feel enriched each time she attends Relief Society in our home ward (local church congregation).

This IS awesome! Relief Society has had an enormously profound impact on my life since my childhood. Really, since birth. So it is no wonder that I want to celebrate Relief Society each year on March 17!

I was delighted to discover that one of Lane’s ancestors, Johanna Hollister Patten, was also born on March 17! How appropriate for a woman who had such an impact on the area in which we live, as well as on the lives of women in Utah, since she helped with women’s suffrage back in the 1800’s. (“Johanna Hollister Patten, who served as president of the Woman’s Suffferage [sic] Association of Utah County, and raised pond fish and sugar cane where University Mall is now located.” “Book studies Pioneer suffragettes,” Daily Herald, March 20. 2011).

This year I not only put out our St. Patrick’s Day books, I also put out books about women who have blessed our lives and the lives of many others. Really, my own mother and mother-in-law’s journals or personal histories should be front and center there! There are so many women whose lives have touched mine that won’t ever be published in books that circulate nationally!

Both Doing Her Bit and Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code are new acquisitions this year. I gave them to Lane for Valentine’s Day, and together we enjoyed learning about the Women’s Land Army of America and one incredible computer pioneer, Grace Hopper. I really recommend both books!


Twelfth Night on the 13th

“If music be the food of love, play on.”

On March 13, while folding laundry and pressing the last of our winter set of everyday fabric napkins, I listened to the entirety of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night*. I haven’t studied Shakespeare much–except for high school (which was ages ago!)–and so I’m no expert. I really enjoyed hearing this dramatized version, which made it so much easier to understand what was going on.

I loved being able to hear a play while working! I laughed and awed at Shakespeare’s expressive agility. What a gift!

*Click on the link to read the play!


True love stories

My husband doesn’t play cello, and it’s HIGHLY unlikely we will ever perform a song together on video, but I feel the same joy being with him that this video shows of this happily married couple. Happy marriage is one of the greatest joys I can imagine, and Lane is my favorite person to be with. (And while Lane or I are NOT huge fans of The Greatest Showman movie –I know!–we do love The Piano Guys!)


In the past week winter finally “showed up” in Utah: we have gotten a nice layer of snow to ski on–at long last, since we got ski passes for Christmas and haven’t used them until now.

At the same time, there is something about cold and snow that just makes the Seasonal Affective Disorder come knocking at my door again. I want to feel energetic and accomplishing instead of feeling slow, exhausted, and emotional.

I’ve struggled getting back into my exercise routine this fall, and I’ve really tried this past month but have had all these “hiccups” from family needs interrupting my plans. I have felt such a weight of sluggishness and fatigue–which can feel like the weight of that snow on the picnic table!

Nurtured each day

Thankfully I’ve had help from heaven in dealing with this change in energy and emotion. In reflecting back on each day, I can see the hand of the Lord giving me help each day. I can see how he has nurtured me every day this week.

On Monday, when we had the day off for President’s Day, I decided to read a book Anna had recommended: Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George. I’ll admit, I read the first chapter and felt a little uneasy, wondering if I should continue. But I gave Anna’s recommendation the benefit of the doubt and did indeed enjoy the whole book! The first chapter sets the stage for how wicked the villain is. You feel that! The proceeding chapters cleverly tell George’s version of the fairy tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.”  (I know this tale from my childhood visits to my cousins’ home where my uncle would play “Let’s Pretend” stories at night from his reel-to-reel audio system as we went to bed.)

I loved how at the end of the book the author shares knitting patterns that she had described in her story as well as the historical basis for men knitting! If I knew how to knit, I might have tried one of those patterns!


Click on the image to learn more about the Self-Reliance program.

When Lane and I attended our Financial Self-Reliance class early in the week, my heavenly help came in the form of the lesson on balance and a quote from a book I love, which in turn led to finding a soothing talk by Elder Neal A. Maxwell.

From the lesson: “Just do the very best you can each day. Do the basic things and, before you realize it, your life will be full of spiritual understanding that will confirm to you that your Heavenly Father loves you. When a person knows this, then life will be full of purpose and meaning, making balance easier to maintain” (M. RUSSELL BALLARD, “Keeping Your Life in Balance,” Liahona, Sept. 2012, 50).

From a member of our class: “My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds” (Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea).

From the talk in which Lindbergh’s words are quoted: “Each of us has different strengths and faces different circumstances that call for calibrations that are highly individual….Many things in life act upon us over which we have no control, but there is a zone—of differing size for each of us—in which we can act for ourselves, rather than merely be acted upon (see 2 Ne. 2:26). For example, this zone includes a certain amount of disposable income. What we do within that zone is especially up to us to determine” (“Wisdom and Order,” Ensign, June 1994)

Celebrating Rebecca

The next day I attended a special award breakfast for our daughter Rebecca, which inspired me and gave the two of us a chance to spend some special one-on-one time together celebrating her. She is such a gift in my life and one of my best friends on earth!

A root canal call and pulla making

Then I came home, got Anna off for a day of skiing with some friends and received a phone call from to Julia’s mission president’s wife about her potential root canal. I was so grateful to get to send an immediate message of love and encouragement to our daughter in pain. Poor girl! Julia had just written to me on Monday about her mission president and his wife: “You can tell they are really equal partners in this,” she wrote. “Also, Sister M is just everyone’s friend, and I love that. I always feel appreciated when I am with her.”

I felt so grateful to know Julia is being watched over by this remarkable, kind woman and also grateful to be able to pray, knowing Heavenly Father would help her.

After those transatlantic conversations, I baked bread with a friend. The gift then was enjoying Sara’s company as well as having some delicious pulla to serve to my family and friends. Later, when I acted on a prompting to visit a young mother that I admire, heavenly help came in the opportunity to feel the Spirit and rejoice together as we talked about life and motherhood and heavenly help.

Even on the most challenging day (yesterday) help came in the form of taking a nap, eating a dinner that my husband prepared, and getting to watch a delightful performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance,” so professionally performed by my daughter’s high school drama department, with Rebecca starring as a charmingly goofy pirate. I hadn’t wanted to go in terms of my energy and mentality, but I made myself go and was rewarded with such uplifting entertainment and rejoicing in their success.

After that really difficult day, I decided yesterday that I would exercise immediately after family scripture study today, bar none. If I could just get my heart pumping and blood flowing from the get go, perhaps I wouldn’t feel so sluggish.

It worked! Yesterday was much better energy-wise. I showered right after exercising and going to an appointment, then returned home to do my kitchen clean up while listening to Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery (a truly inspiring book).

Slow. Listen. Open. Wait.

As it was snowing so much and the roads were so slippery, one of my next commmitments was cancelled, I cancelled my second one. This left me with such nice quiet open space and time that felt soothing to my soul. I didn’t feel rushed. I felt like I could just go with the slow pace that I was feeling today–the ebb and flow of life–and turned on a new audio book.

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh is a book that I read as a new young mom (think baby Sarah) as one of the books of my first book club (“Out of the Best Books”). I have loved it ever since, and read it again a while back. I think I keep giving it away, so that when I went to my library to pull it off the shelf and didn’t find it there, I opted for the audio version this time–a digital version that I won’t lose!

Anne Morrow Lindbergh writes this book from the beach about being a woman and learning lessons of balancing life from the gifts the sea brings her. Her first chapter confirms what I have been feeling all week: that one of the secrets to peace is to listen to the inner pendulum that sometimes indicates a slower day is needed:

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too gready, or too impatient….Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach–waiting for a gift from the sea.” 

Her thought reminds me of the essence of Mosiah 3:19, does it not? Of submitting to God and allowing Him to work in our lives according to His plan and not our plan?

It IS OK to slow down, to cancel, to spend time reading or baking or even taking a nap. Many days are filled to the brim. I have noticed, this year in general, that I feel so much happier when I have a few days scattered through the month that are wide open with no commitments and in which I can accomplish whatever I feel the need to do that day: read, write, call or visit a friend, or simply just go about my day more slowly not knowing what will be accomplished.

I love Lindbergh’s suggestion that you can’t show up at the sea and demand a gift; rather, you must slow day, listen, open yourself to receive whatever is brought, and wait. Why not make up an acronym for the word SLOW to help me remember to slow down, listen to the Spirit, open my mind and heart to heaven’s suggestions, and wait upon the Lord for the answer? It seems like a good suggestion for me to remember when I am feeling the affects of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Last but not least, I believe in dessert 🍪

Friday is the day I like to bake cookies in the afternoon, when possible. I believe in dessert. My goal is to only enjoy dessert twice a week: Friday cookies and Sunday dinner or Family Night. I admit: I miss the mark often and eat more than that. I want to do better. Discipline taken into account, I believe in having a treat to look forward to. After years of trying different postures toward sugar and treats, I’ve adopted the view that moderation is best. Treats help make home and life a happier place. Discipline is required, but austerity is not. Thank goodness!

“What are these?”

So today I tried a new recipe for Soft Chocolate Almond Cherry Cookies that didn’t turn out so well. After one of my children bit into them, she remarked, “What ARE these?” LOL. The texture wasn’t my favorite (perhaps I made them wrong!), yet I like the flavors. I think I might try to find a soft chocolate cookie recipe made instead with regular flour (versus of almond flour) that I can put the semisweet chocolate chunks and dried tart cherries into and see what happens. I’ll get back to you on that if I do and if it ends up tasting good enough to share!

A final bonus

I just got a call (Saturday morning) from Julia’s mission pesident’s wife: the root canal seems to have gone well. And how much it cost? $40! Unbelievable! I’m so happy that she is out of pain now and that it was so affordable! Woohoo!

Amazing grace

As I finish this post today (Saturday), I can see the Lord’s amazing grace in my own life. It is energizing just to recall the blessings of each day! Holy Cow! I have been so blessed this week! Energy or not, the Lord is helping me “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men” (2 Nephi 31:20–from my daily study this week!).

This just in: Peter scored a hat trick in his game today! He was on cloud nine! That was his goal for this year, and he had a reward attached to accomplishing it. His team won as well, so he could not have been happier about today’s game.


Living Christ recordings

I added a few more recordings to my “Living Christ memorization” page today. I love learning the words in this document so that they can be in my brain when I need to draw on their strength. Christ is such a wonderful Friend, and knowing these words helps me remember Him more often–how He is able, willing, and ready to help me, especially when I want to nurture others.

I espeically hope that these recordings will help my family (immediate and extended) and the young women in my ward learn “The Living Christ.”

After posting this, I saw this video about Christ that really touched me. It connects with what I wrote earlier today in this post:


Gifts of love: handiwork, made by Mom


I was struck by this word from the scriptures when I read it in this verse the other day:

I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine. (Doctrine and Covenants 104:14, emphasis added)

The Lord handmade our earth. For us!


I also noticed the word “built.” The creation required work. And it was the work of the Lord’s loving hands.

When I walking Anna home from school for lunch together one day this week, we passed by a friend who was outside. She asked us if we would like to see a project she has been working on. I was excited for Anna in particular to get to see my friend’s incredible handiwork, as I had seen some of her creations before–and was in awe!

Quiet book

My friend, now a grandmother of three grandchildren, was handsewing/emroidering quiet books for her each of her five children to be able to take to church (for when they each are married and have children). These books will help her children teach their children to be reverent during sacrament meeting.

The first set of pages were socks to be matched that you could put inside a washing machine.

Another page was a smiling corn cob hidden underneath the husks. Notice her beautiful attention to detail, including the gold embrodiery floss she used for the husk!

This adorable penguin has two surprises inside!

She was currently working on a page with coutning-pepperoni pizzas on them. All of the pieces of the book that are removable attach through powerful magnets on the back of each piece and on the inside of the fabric pages. Talk about hand-rolled crusts!

I loved the tiny cabbages and carrots for another page that she’s working on:

Amazing! Of course, her grandchildren will not understand when they are tiny the hours of love that their grandmother poured into such a project. These books will be priceless gifts! But her daughters and daughter-in-law will know. And the children will be quieter, calmer, and they will be grateful. And the grandchildren will perhaps remember some beautiful books that they loved.

I remember a quiet book my mother made for me when I was little. It was a binder with plastic page protector-type pages that had gospel pictures in them that she had cut out of church magazines. I looked over those pictures as I listened to the talks in church.

Beautiful, loving handiwork such as my friend Kanae’s reminds me of the same beautiful, loving handiwork of our Creator. What a gift we have as mothers to get to create for those we love!


Speak Your Love quote sign

Click on the heart to go to a downloadable PDF of this heart.

Here is the “Speak your love” quote sign for anyone who would like to print it out. Kudos and many thanks goes to my niece, Alisa Ellis, for designing and sharing it!


♥️ I LOVE Valentine’s Day! ♥️

I love heart-shaped sugar cookies. I love making cards and sending Val-o-Grams to my children at the elementary school. I like putting out the children’s and poetry books on love and setting out favorite February candy out, such as conversation hearts and cinnamon lips!

I love hanging hearts everywhere. My love for sequin hearts comes from spending so much time at the Bennion’s home in my childhood. When I found some sequin hearts one year, I snatched them up and couldn’t wait to hang them on door handles in my own home!

Sometimes, just like at Christmastime, I can get carried away with all the cardmaking or treat-giving I want to do, and I end up with unsent cards and treats that I didn’t get delivered.

Oh well!

In the meantime, I still love this special time of year when the emphasis is on telling others that we love them.

When we were first married, my mother-in-law Joanne would ship us treats at each holiday. Imagine! Preparing and mailing treats for 7 families early enough that they would receive them in time for the holiday! I was so touched that she would go to such lengths to show us their love! I wanted to do the same.

My sister-in-law Suzanna would also have all of her children write their names on the little pre-printed Valentines that you buy everywhere in February and would give them to us with a few treats. Their were Valentines for EACH person in our family. Our family felt so loved!

We decided to follow these great examples and try to send Valentines to our cousins and grandparents. With so many extended family members, we do not get it to every family every year. Not even close. I wish! Life gets in the way. (This year, for example, with her sports and AP classes, Eliza has so much homework that I’m lucky to have her have a few minutes of conversation with her together at dinner!) Still, she loves this tradition as much as the rest of us. We do what we can.

The first family night (FHE) we have in February we try to use to put together these Valentines and treats to send to our cousins. This year we made our sugar cookies that night to share with some of our loved ones.

I put together a basket this year for our February kitchen table centerpiece to try to make the process easier. (I wish I had done this years ago, so I could just put it into storage and pull it out a few weeks before Feb.14 to have children begin signing cards to send. But it will be ready for all the next years!) In it I put colored cardstock, stickers, pre-printed Valentine’s cards, blank red note cards and envelopes, paper doilies, heart templates, scissors, ribbons, pens and pencils, cellophane baggies, and Ziploc baggies with extended family names on the outside. (You can print out the darling sign made by my niece for me this year here.)

We especially use these supplies the night of Valentine’s when we have our special fondue dinner. SUCH a fun night! We exchange Valentines and laugh a lot over them together. Good times, good memories.

We hope YOU have a Happy Valentine’s! ♥️♥️♥️



Liza’s lentil soup and Frozen in Finnish

Tonight Eliza made some delicious lentil soup that we had with some Finnish potato rye bread. Lane said it was his favorite soup she’d ever made! I jotted down the recipe so we could make it again. (I don’t have a cooking brain like Eliza’s, so I write down the things she makes so I can try to make them when she graduates and leaves home!) She used leftovers: bacon, Costco pulled pork (the savory/smoked flavor kind), and chicken broth from canned Costco (Kirkland brand) chicken. (Can you tell we shop at Costco?😂)

I set the table all in BYU colors and was going to use the new BYU fabric napkins, but I only got one sewn before dinner (the one on the right in the photo). I set the rest of the places with BYU paper napkins–all this BYU stuff to tease Becca, who just got accepted at the University of Utah. She hasn’t decided where to go yet, and is still waiting to hear back from BYU and another school to which she applied. With both parents and one sibling all alums of BYU and 3 siblings who currently attend BYU, there is NO pressure whatsoever. When Lane asked Rebecca to offer our prayer before dinner, she thanked Heavenly Father for agency and that “we can all choose what we want.” 🤣 We will be so happy for her wherever she chooses to go to college!

After dinner I opened my computer to type up the recipe and (too many details) found the Finnish version of songs from Frozen! It is soooo fun to hear in Finnish, especially little Anna’s voice! I think Finnish is such a beautiful (and difficult) language!

I wanted to post the videos here so that I could listen to them and keep trying to learn a little more Finnish.


A new prophet today!

Photo from the desktop of lds.org today (1.16.2018). To learn more, click on the photo to go to the mormonnewsroom.org article for January 16, 2018.

Today we got a new prophet for the whole world! It’s not often that we get a new prophet! He’s number 17 since the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in its fullness to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

9 in my lifetime so far

There have been 9 living prophets (who served as presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) in my lifetime now: President David O. McKay, President Joseph Fielding Smith, President Harold B. Lee, President Spencer W. Kimball, President Ezra Taft Benson, President Howard W. Hunter, President Gordon B. Hinckley, President Thomas S. Monson, and now President Russell M. Nelson. I don’t remember the first 3, but I do remember some of their teachings that my mother taught me (“No other success can compensate for failure in the home”–Pres.McKay;  “The safety of the church lies in the members keeping the commandments. There is nothing more important that I could say. As they keep the commandments, blessings will come”–Pres. Lee). I do remember hearing and loving the voices and words of the last 6 prophets: Kimball, Benson, Hunter, Hinckley, Monson and Nelson.

News conference

I loved getting to hear the annoucnement and news conference this morning. I’m excited to play it again for our children later tonight at dinner! I felt the Spirit and love for these men that I already know and whose teachings have led me to my Savior for over 3 decades now.

A few teachings that have blessed my life

There are a few teachings from President Nelson and President Oaks that I remember from their days as early apostles that blessed my life back when I was a college student and a young wife and mother. Here are two talks in particular that really influenced me:

Lessons from Eve (October 1987, then Elder Nelson)

From the rib of Adam, Eve was formed (see Gen. 2:22; Moses 3:22; Abr. 5:16). Interesting to me is the fact that animals fashioned by our Creator, such as dogs and cats, have thirteen pairs of ribs, but the human being has one less with only twelve. I presume another bone could have been used, but the rib, coming as it does from the side, seems to denote partnership. The rib signifies neither dominion nor subservience, but a lateral relationship as partners, to work and to live, side by side.

Adam and Eve were joined together in marriage for time and for all eternity by the power of that everlasting priesthood (see Gen. 2:24–25; Moses 3:25; Abr. 5:18–19). Eve came as a partner, to build and to organize the bodies of mortal men. She was designed by Deity to cocreate and nurture life, that the great plan of the Father might achieve fruition. Eve “was the mother of all living” (Moses 4:26). She was the first of all women….

You can—you must—make a difference. You are vital to the Lord’s team—one team with one purpose. Through your diversity, build strength in unity. Bind yourselves together in all holiness. Anchor yourselves to “the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20).

The Great Plan of Happiness (October 1993, then Elder Oaks)

Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. Not the Latter-day Saints! Informed by revelation, we celebrate Eve’s act and honor her wisdom and courage in the great episode called the Fall (see Bruce R. McConkie, “Eve and the Fall,” Woman, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979, pp. 67–68). Joseph Smith taught that it was not a “sin,” because God had decreed it (see The Words of Joseph Smith, ed. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980, p. 63). Brigham Young declared, “We should never blame Mother Eve, not the least” (in Journal of Discourses, 13:145). Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said: “I never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin. … This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin … for it was something that Adam and Eve had to do!” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56, 1:114–15).

President Eyring has a gentleness that has instructed me greatly as a mother. He speaks often of the simplicity of the gospel, how the Lord teaches so “that a child can understand.” He once taught that “the first, the middle, and the last thing to do is to pray” (“In the Strength of the Lord,” May 2004). I taught that to my children; I hope it is written on their hearts as it is on mine.

I especially love this quote from that same talk:

In the Master’s service, you will come to know and love Him. You will, if you persevere in prayer and faithful service, begin to sense that the Holy Ghost has become a companion. Many of us have for a period given such service and felt that companionship. If you think back on that time, you will remember that there were changes in you. The temptation to do evil seemed to lessen. The desire to do good increased. Those who knew you best and loved you may have said, “You have become more kind, more patient. You don’t seem to be the same person.”

You weren’t the same person because the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. And the promise is real that we can become new, changed, and better. And we can become stronger for the tests of life. We then go in the strength of the Lord, a strength developed in His service. He goes with us. And in time we become His tested and strengthened disciples  (“In the Strength of the Lord“, May 2004).

I look forward to following the counsel given in the coming years by these inspired men who have been called of God to lead us during this time on earth. I know they are prophets of God. I’m grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and to know that God loves His children and that Jesus Christ leads His church.