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Ginger Snaps (Grandma Garrett’s recipes)

Recently one of my daughters found a cookbook that I had misplaced. It was our Grandma Garrett’s special recipe book that she gave me so many years ago! This cookbook includes her special Finnish dishes and the infamous ginger snap recipe that she would make all the time for Lane when he was a missionary. I am beginning to digitize these recipes to include them in our family cookbook. To go to the page with links to all of her recipes, go here.


Relationships: what is in our control

I learn so much from the Book of Mormon about family relationships!

This morning I was reading 2 Nephi 5:14 when I was reminded that often the way people act is completely out of our control:

“…for I knew their hatred towards me and my children and those who were called my people.”

Who is Nephi?

If you don’t know the Book of Mormon, here’s the deal: Nephi was an amazing son and younger brother. He was humble and quick to serve, uncomplaining, hardworking, obedient, loving–an exceptional team player. His two older brothers? Not so much. They complained, dragged their feet, mocked, bullied and even abused Nephi physically and verbally. They even threatened his life! They felt entitled and acted accordingly. They blamed Nephi and his father for their problems instead of taking personal responsibility for their own lack of action and for the problems they caused. In what they said and how they acted, they seemed to believe the world revolved around them.

They allowed their blame to go so far as to grow into hatred towards their extended family.

What a tragedy!

Lehi’s family (Lehi is Nephi’s dad) is a great case study in relationships and how we don’t have control over our family members’ (or anyone else’s) behavior. We can be trying our best to help others, be loving and unselfish and trying to understand others and be a peacemaker and still things can go awry.

I have seen this to be the case in our own family and in myself.

It’s not our fault

The other morning I put on some peaceful music in the hallway as Lane woke up the children to call them to scripture study. One child stormed out for prayer and then headed downstairs in anger. This child refused to come to scriptures. We moved forward without her. Later, I texted her saying that I was sorry she had had a hard morning, and she texted back an apology. She’s an absolutely awesome daughter who was having a difficult moment.

I have learned that even when I’m trying my best to be a loving mother or wife, sometimes my family doesn’t respond with love or kindness.

Sometimes it is

The opposite is also true: sometimes my children or husband are acting beautifully and with so much love, and I lash out at them or act grumpily or misjudge and say something inaccurate that hurts someone’s feelings. And it has nothing to do with them! I am the one who needs to apologize and get back on track!

Come, follow me

I hope that my children are learning to “own” their behavior by my example of not excusing my behavior or blaming others and by apologizing when I do something wrong–no matter how small. I believe in the “Come, follow me” way of parenting, imperfect as I am at correct modeling!

No one is perfect, and that’s OK

None of us is perfect in our behavior. I love that the Book of Mormon helps me evaluate my own behavior–to examine it and see where I can make adjustments to be more thoughtful, more others-centered, more diligent or loving–whatever.

And I love that the words of Christ help me see that it’s simply OK to make mistakes, and that the Savior will always be there to help me back up and to urge me onward. (See 2 Nephi 25:23, or Elder Holland’s talk, “Be Ye Therefore Perfect–Eventually,” for example.)

P.S. Some really encouraging quotes

In looking for scriptures that talk about mistakes for this post, I was reminded of a quote, and my search for it brought me to the quote and other parts of a very comforting talk by President Faust. I want to post some of it here:

“Who are good parents? They are those who have lovingly, prayerfully, and earnestly tried to teach their children by example and precept “to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.”4 This is true even though some of their children are disobedient or worldly. Children come into this world with their own distinct spirits and personality traits. Some children ‘would challenge any set of parents under any set of circumstances. … Perhaps there are others who would bless the lives of, and be a joy to, almost any father or mother.’5 Successful parents are those who have sacrificed and struggled to do the best they can in their own family circumstances.

“The depth of the love of parents for their children cannot be measured. It is like no other relationship. It exceeds concern for life itself. The love of a parent for a child is continuous and transcends heartbreak and disappointment. All parents hope and pray that their children will make wise decisions. Children who are obedient and responsible bring to their parents unending pride and satisfaction.

“But what if the children who have been taught by faithful, loving parents have rebelled or been led astray? Is there hope? The grief of a parent over a rebellious child is almost inconsolable. King David’s third son, Absalom, killed one of his brothers and also led a rebellion against his father. Absalom was killed by Joab. Upon hearing of Absalom’s death, King David wept and expressed his sadness: ‘O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!’6

“…’The Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught more comforting doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.”8  (President James E. Faust, “Dear Are the Sheep That Have Wandered,” April 2003)

(The illustration above is from coloring pages of Book of Mormon stories. Click on the link or the image to go to the source.)


I wrote this when I was 5.

Lucky for Lane, he had short hair and NO mustache or beard when we met! And he still doesn’t! I love that. He does “act good.” He wins my heart in ALL the ways.

Happy 25th Anniversary, Sweetheart!

(And I did become a flower girl: I love my flower garden AND raising amazing children in our home. And I am SO excited to someday be a very nice grandma.)


Lane and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this month. He is my best friend, and I feel incredibly grateful that we chose each other and that the Lord has helped us so much as we have worked to stay close and create a strong marriage.

Great angst

But I wasn’t sure any of that would happen before getting married! In fact, this topic was a source of great angst for me when I was a young single adult.

And while I could write another post about how I got my answer for myself, I don’t actually have the answer to that question entirely for anyone else. But I do have some great resources that I discovered while preparing to teach the young women (ages 12-18) in my church congregation about preparing for marriage and motherhood last Sunday.

Climb up the family tree

I loved this line from an article that I read: “One way to get [to know a person]…is to climb up his family tree and look around.Studies seem to show that people who marry within their own group (religion, ethnic background, and socio-economic status) seem to get along better. Do you have similar values? Are you friends? Do you enjoy the same types of people and the same types of activities? Do you agree on issues concerning children? You may not be able to answer yes to all of these questions, but you will at least know which questions come up with no answer. This may force you to ask about the possible risks involved if you were to marry.” (Darwin L. Thomas, “How and by what means can I know when I have found the right person to marry? How many values must I compromise? My boyfriend (a returned missionary) and I can make each other happy, but we argue a lot.” March 1972 New Era)

I think it is critical to know if there has been abuse, addiction, or any other serious issues in your future spouses family, so that you can decide how that might affect your relationship. I was particularly concerned to know how my future husband’s parents interacted and how his dad treated his mom.

Birds of a feather

An associate professor of psychology at Brigham Young University wrote an article that Rebecca reviewed in FHE this week and that has some great suggestions (that worked for me back when I was dating):

  1. “Birds of a feather flock together:” Stats show people who are similar have more success in marriage than those who are opposite. “Water seeks its own level.”
  2. “Stop looking for your soul mates:” That is a false idea, that we have soul mates. So look for someone that you want to journey with through life. Choose your love; love your choice. My mom taught me that! Good advice.
  3. “Make a wise, inspired choice:” Enjoy the dating process (give yourself and others a break from wondering if “this is the one” from the minute they say hello) and work on developing the attributes you’d like to see in someone else. (“Choosing Whom to Marry” by Scott R. Braithwaite, Ensign, August 2018)

7 Questions

One woman, in a bonus online-only article in the March 2018 Ensignmagazine, provided seven questions you can ask that might help you save your future marriage from failure:

  1. What is our overall vision for family life and our eternal family? What is most important to each of us?

  2. What goals could we set that will help us achieve this vision?

  3. Are there any conflicts between the two visions we have for family life? Why do they exist? Are either of us willing to compromise?

  4. How will we support each other through our academic, professional, and family life?

  5. How will we share and/or divide household labor?

  6. What are we willing to sacrifice for our families?

  7. How can we play different roles in the family but still maintain an equal partnership? (“These 7 Questions Can Save Your Marriage (Even before It Starts)” by Faith Sutherlin Blackhurst)

And 47 more

I also saw an article in the Two magazine (two.byu.edu) called “54 Questions to Ask before You Get Married” by Megan Komm. The online link didn’t work, so I’m waiting for permission from the publisher to post all 54 questions here. (Check back soon!)

What my mission president told me

My mission president told me THREE times during my mission (to me specifically–not to a group of missionaries), that when I was thinking about marriage, to “fall in love with your head first and see if your heart follows.”

It worked for me. I tried not to fall in love with my heart first, but I will say that attraction was the first thing that got my attention! Lane was good looking, kind, service-minded, tall… But I did take into consideration his family, the kind of home he grew up in, what his background was, etc. And we answered a lot of the kinds of questions suggested above while we were dating. My mind and heart were in agreement when we went to the temple together to get married…for time and all eternity.

I’m grateful for the help that heaven gave me in making my decision to marry Lane, because these past 25 years together have been a rewarding journey. Here’s to about a trillion years more!

(I have more to write on this topic, but this is all I have time for today!)


Finnish books

For a non-Finnish speaker, Finnish books in English are a little hard to come by! Here are a few of the Finnish books we have in English that we display in June when we celebrate Juhannus:

This story takes one of the tales from The Kalevala (below) and illustrates it. Beautiful illustrations!

I need to read The Kalevala. Lane has, I believe. It is the epic mythic story of the Finns, compiled in the 1800s by a traveling physician, Elias Lönnrot, who recorded the poetry he heard sung as he traveled. The Kalevala is studied in Finland by all students.

Moomin is a famous cartoon character in Finland.

This last book isn’t a Finnish book, per se, but has gorgeous photography of places in Norway that are very reminiscent of Finland. So it’s just for fun!


Father’s Day books

“I had a father who read to me.”

I had a father who read to me, too, and I loved that! Those are some of my sweetest childhood memories of my dad!

I know that Father’s Day was over a month ago, but I have had the books I had on display in piles in my bedroom and on my kitchen counter because I was determined to share about them! LOL

So here are some of our favorite books about fathers. (Some of the children’s books are “recent acquisitions” because there weren’t as many wonderful children’s books about fathers–that I knew of–when our children were younger. I love that there are more now!)


The Story of the Creation from the Book of Moses by Daniel and Rebecca Ridges Jensen. I love this book that combines photographs of earth and space with scriptures about the creation.

Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall, illustrated by Barbara Cooney. This great children’s book shows historically how a father provided for his family in early Americana days. Great way to help see how families were so self-sufficient in colonial days! A book to grow your gratitude.

The Animal Hedge by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. In this creative tale, a father trims hedges to know what his sons are going to become to help them decide on their vocations in life. I love that the sons return with gifts for their aging father.

The Little Airplane by Lois Lenski. This book is particularly to honor Lane, the pilot of our family. Lois Lenski has such charming illustrations! It’s a tiny, fun little book about a pilor and his airplane.

Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle. This book recounts how a father brings the moon to his daughter. A whimsical hat-tipping to all the things children ask from their dad! The pages that fold out make it particularly enjoyable. “What a cute book!” my mom said as she read it aloud, laughing.

Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. A classic! Oh, how many times have I read this book…. “So much more fun than ‘See Jane’ that I grew up on,” my mom noted.

Daddy Hugs by Karen Katz. (Board book) This is such a darling counting book, counting up the kinds of hugs we receive from our dad!

The Fathers are Coming Home by Margaret Wise Brown. This book wasn’t one I grew up on because it was only published recently. It is a beautiful book about fathers coming home from work and being joyfully welcomed home. Very tender and sweet.

I Love My Daddy by David Bradford, illustrated by Brenna Vaughan. A cute book about a father squirrel and his child squirrel playing together. Reminiscient of Guess How Much I Love You?

You Were the First by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin. I love that my husband book this book because it reminded him of when Sarah was born and we became parents. The parents talk to the child, telling him how he was the first to do all the baby things of the family. Gentle storyline.

I Already Know I Love You by Billy Crystal, illustrated by Elizabeth Sayles. This is a sweet story told by a grandfather for his new granddaughter. Love it.

Guess How Much I Love You? by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram. Sarah loved this story so much that I wonder if have read it hundreds of times. A child rabbit tells his father rabbit how much he loves him by how he can reach or stretch or as high as he can hop. The father says the same, which is always more than the father rabbit. The comparisons continue until the little rabbit is falling asleep and the father says, “I love you to the moon…and back.” (Back when Sarah was little, I wanted to stencil the illustrations from this book around a room. But then I had 6 more children. Didn’t do it. But I did find her a wonderful “I love you to the moon and back” sign to hang in her room, so it all works out! 😉)

Whenever I hear…
by Clara McMaster, illustrated by Madeline Elsey.
I love the soft, warm illustrations to the beautiful words to this song, “Whenever I hear the song of a bird” (aka “My Heavenly Father Loves Me”). Perfect book for Father’s Day!

All Things Bright and 
Beautiful by Cecil Frances Alexander, illustrated by Bruce Whatley.
Gorgeous illustrations that highlight nature’s beauty illuminate the lyrics of the song (“The Lord God made them all”). Another great book to honor our Heavenly Father.

My Father’s Hands by Joanne Ryder, illustrated by Mark Graham.  Easily one of my favorite books about fathers. A young girl’s father gently teaches her about the wonders of nature in their garden. The father finds a praying mantis, and picks it up to show his daughter: “I bend closer, knowing that nothing within my father’s hands will harm me.”

Hero Dad by Melinda Hardin, illustrated by Bryan Langdo. A young boy has a hero dad–not a superhero, but a soldier who is in harm’s way to provide freedom for others. Thoughtfully composed story about how soldiers and their families sacrifice to protect us. I am grateful to have this book to help teach children who do not have fathers in the armed forces.


Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. Lane and I read this on our honeymoon together and outloud as a family together about 20 years later. I just listened to it again this month and shared part of the audio book on our family car trip. It is hilarious every time! Our children loved it. This is the story of a family of 12 children and their parents, but especially how the father, who was an efficiency expert, insisted on raising his children. You’ll be surprised to learn how many of his inventions we still use today! Talk about raising amazing children…. This is a must read.

Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster. This book isn’t about a father at all, but rather a wealthy benefactor who provides a scholarship for a young woman. She writes to him to tell him about her progress through college. I won’t tell more about the plot! So it is not a great June book except to be a fun summer read…and that I knew some of my daughters would enjoy picking it up and reading it this summer…and so I put it out. I LOVED this story as a young woman when I read it! It is a classic!

Grandfather’s Dance by Patricia MacLachlan. Patricia MacLachlan has a way of storytelling that melts my heart.  It’s the final book in the series Sarah, Plain and Tall which is such a beautiful series! This is a book you can read in an hour, but I would recommend reading the entire series. Bring Kleenex.

Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers and Man of the Family by Ralph Moody. Little Britches is autobiography and such a beautifully touching book. Think Little House on the Prairie but written by a man about his childhood. If you haven’t read this story about a father and his son (and their family) homesteading in Colorado, you are really missing out! #thisisreallife…and such adventures!


I like pulling out family history books about the fathers and grandfathers in our family. I love the “Grandparents’ Book” that Lane’s mom and dad filled out for our children a number of years ago.


Here are some books that talk about men who were influential in history, such as prophets, or more importantly, the Savior.

Boys Who Became Prophets by Lynda Cory Robinson.

Vol.III Son Man: King of Kings by Susan Easton Black, illustrated by Liz Lemon Swindle.


The cousins are coming!

This painting, “The Fairy Tale” by Walter Firle, reminds me of this moment when Lane’s mom was reading a goodnight story to these little cousins who are now all grown up!

Part of the joy of summer (or any time of year!) is when aunts and uncles and cousins get to come visit, or we get to go visit cousins. I noticed that this joy began years ago: when we visited Lane’s cousins this month–who are now grown up with families of their own who are beginning to have children having families of their own–there is that same feeling of joy in getting to see cousins. These are sweet friendships that last and last.

This is a tradition I recommend: getting together with cousins to nurture those wonderful relationships!

“The cousins are coming!”

We love the first line of a song our children heard growing up, “Cousins” by Tom Chapin. It describes the chaos that can ensue when families get together:

by John Forster & Tom Chapin
© 1990 Limousine Music Co. & The Last Music Co. (ASCAP)
The cousins are coming!
They pulled into the driveway like a frigate dropping sail.
And out came Butch and Mike and Bill and Ben and Baby Gail.
Uncle Hugh looked hassled but Aunt Bess was all aglow.
“Hello!” “Hi.” “Hi.” “Hi.” “Hi.” “Hi.” “Yo!”
Cousins, cousins. Here come the boys.
Bedlam, mayhem, noise, noise, noise.
Blow up the air mattresses, hide the breakable toys.
Cousins, cousins. Here come the boys.
We sat in the basement playing cards, all quiet and discreet
‘Til Mikey peeked at Billy’s hand and Billy said, “You cheat!”
“I don’t!” “You do!” “Did not!” “He did!” Then we heard Grandpa say,
“I’ve had about enough of this, I’m taking the cards away.”
Then Butchie went and fell on a rake and bled all over the floor.
They stitched him up and gave him a shot and Butchie was back for more.
He ate a hero sandwich and he drank a quart of punch.
Then he disobeyed the Doctor and went swimming after lunch.
Cousins, cousins. Here come the boys.
Bedlam, mayhem, noise, noise, noise.
Blow up the air mattresses, hide the breakable toys.
Cousins, cousins. Here come the boys.
Late that night we bedded down and began the pillow fight
That broke the big aquarium, the mirror and the light.
We swept the glass and saved the fish and put ’em in the john.
Well, no one knows what happened but next morning they were gone.
And then at breakfast Baby Gail went backward in her chair.
“Mikey pushed me!” “Wasn’t me.” “Was!” “Was not, I swear!”
Then Mikey threw a muffin, hitting Billy on the bean,
‘Twas the most gigantic food fight this world has ever seen.
Cousins, cousins. Here come the boys.
Bedlam, mayhem, noise, noise, noise.
Blow up the air mattresses, hide the breakable toys.
Cousins, cousins. Here come the boys.
Then Uncle Hugh said, “Time to go. We gotta get out of here.”
It took them half the afternoon to pack up all their gear.
And when they piled into the car Aunt Bess was full of woe.
“Bye-bye.” “So long.” “See ya.” “Bye.” “Bye-bye.” “Bye.” “Yo!”
Cousins, cousins. There go the boys.
Bedlam, mayhem, noise, noise, noise.
My Mom sat down and gave a sigh and said to me, “You know,
I love to see your cousins come, I love to see ’em go.”
Cousins, cousins. There go the boys.
Bedlam, mayhem, noise, noise, noise.

The Relatives Came

We listened to this album (and a bunch of others) on our car trips to and from grandparents and cousins’ homes as we have raised our children.

And here’s a book that joyfully depicts those eagerly anticipated summer family gatherings: The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Stephen Gammell.

I was so sad to hear about all the homes that burned this past week in Whiskeytown, CA, the place where my cousins and aunt and uncle and our family would go to water ski in the summer. My uncle had a boat, and it was behind that boat that I overcame my fear and learned to waterski. I was remembering that fear just 3 weeks ago when I stepped into the Echo Reservoir to try open water swimming for the first time. I’m praying for those who are suffering from their losses! Such a tragic time!

Whatever your opportunities, I hope you can enjoy some cousin time of your own with your children!


Sarah and I finished our first Olympic distance triathlon on July 14, 2018. It was a major milestone for us both and came as an answer to lots of hardwork, a little bit of pain, and many sincere prayers.

I had a very emotional night the evening before. Hadn’t planned on that. Just happened. I got to bed later than I had wanted (9:45 pm) and woke up at 2:25 am. I really wanted to go back to sleep, but couldn’t. I got up at 4 am and ate. We had our tri bags packed the night before so that we could get up, get dressed, and drive the 90 minutes to Coalville, Utah.

That morning, the weather was perfect for a race. It was overcast, and the water temperature was measured right before the race began: 72 degrees F. A miracle! (Sarah and I had gone swimming there two weeks previously, and the water was in the mid-sixties: FREEZING! That day we swam for a total of 6 minutes 44 seconds.) For our race, it was forecast to be between 65-67℉. Talk about an answer to prayer! That really sounded encouraging.

First OPS (open water swim) tri

I went to the bathroom 4 times before literally running down to the reservoir’s edge to begin my swim. Sarah and I both took our time. I swam nearly the entire open water portion doing breast stroke, and I was not fast. 57 minutes later I emerged, having held onto kayaks 3 or 4 times to catch my breath. Swimming in open water was a major hurdle for me. I wasn’t dead last–nearly, though–and all of the sprint athletes were just about to jump into the water to begin their race. I was a little embarrassed to have everyone there watching, but that’s a race. I slapped the hands of the sprint racers as I exited the water and headed to the transition area.


I had brought a banana, gummy blocks, and Salt Stick capsules to take with water as I changed into my biking shoes. I took one bite of the banana and spit it out! I decided I’d eat a gummy on my ride instead and took a capsule with some water. I wasn’t trying to hurry as much as I was wanting to just be steady and focused on getting everything in place. I was concerned that the transition area ground was so rough and prayed that I didn’t get a flat on my ride. I didn’t!

The ride

Coming out of transition went better than I had thought, and even though I was at the very tail end of the riders, I felt good on my ride. I rode next to a woman who also swam slowly. We had finished at basically the same time, and she was so friendly and nice that I felt so encouraged, even though I was so far behind all the others. I was so grateful she was there!

Perfect weather

My bike time was good: I nearly rode a PR! That was very exciting to me! The final hill up to the dam, which had been hard to ride two weeks before, I ascended steadily. I really felt blessed. The ride back to the transition area was swift and smooth for me. The cloud cover held and the weather was amazing. I could hardly believe how blessed I felt that the weather wasn’t so hot like it would normally be!

Seeing Sarah

I was especially happy to get to see Sarah as she passed me heading back on her ride, as well as when she was heading out on her run. Being able to wave and cheer each other on was encouraging to both of us, and again, an answer to prayer.


I got back to the transition area excited to be at the last third of the race! This transition is always faster–just have to change shoes and hang up the bike.

The run

I started running and, having exercised at this point about 2 hours 40 minutes, felt tired. My heart rate was high. I ran for a bit, then walked, and as I kept racing decided that I was fine with doing that. On the last half of my run, once I hit 4 miles, I traded off running and walking every 1/10 of a mile. Once I could see the final stretch to the finish line, I had to sprint to the end. That’s what my mission president taught me.

After crossing the finish line, I fell into the arms of Lane and Sarah. That was one welcome and wonderful embrace!

I felt exhausted and triumphant! I knew Heaven had helped me to finish! I drank water, loved the cold, wet towel they gave me for my neck, and ate some watermelon. There was music playing as we headed back to the transition area to get our stuff, and I had to dance for a minute. I felt SO happy to have finished!!!


I have never trained so much for anything in my life. I didn’t really do sports growing up. I learned to swim when I was little (not laps!), play a little tennis and took ballet, but otherwise I was much more arts/music/drama/academics oriented. So the last ten years of learning to exercise and, more specifically, the past 8 months have been a great learning experience for me.

Aside from the finisher’s medal that I received, I have a few lessons I learned that I hope I remember:

1. Slow and steady

I wanted to be careful in my training for this race so that I wouldn’t end up with an injury like I did with the half-marathon and back injury last year. I went to a new gym where the group training was smaller and led by a trainer who corrected, etc. And then I paid for a group tritahlon training coach. So I invested quite a bit of money compared to what I normally pay for going to the gym in my off-season months!

I learned that even with trainers and a coach, I can still injure myself. I did hurt my right arm and got tendonitis rather soon after starting to focus on training in February. I did too much, too fast. I had wanted to know what 1500 meters of swimming felt like. I decided it wasn’t too much once I did it the first time to keep trying to do. But my arm taught me differently. I should had worked up to 1500 meters slowly, having faith that I would get there if I paced myself slowly enough.

2. Doing too much too fast = injury

So I stopped swimming because my arm was hurting so much that it would wake me up at night. And I already wake up enough during the night without any extra help! I eventually went to the doctor (a sports medicine doc) who suggested that I get a coritsone shot a week or two before the race and do physically therapy. I decided to skip the shot (I was afraid that it might not work and would only cost a lot of money) and wait to do the physical therapy after the race–I was already spending so much time on other aspects of training that I frankly didn’t have time.

Because I stopped swimming, I didn’t get strong at doing freestyle or breathing. I felt panicked when I did get back in the water because of my fear and lack of skill development–especially when Sarah and I went to swim in open water several times before the race. So I opted for doing breast stroke, because I knew I could do it. I knew it would take a long time and a lot of energy, but I would be able to complete the swim. And I did. I faced my fears of swimming in cold, open water. That alone felt victorious.

(New goal for next time!)

Now that I have had that experience, I want to learn how to swim freestyle and breathe! I want to be able to race again in open water swimming freestyle and going faster. 🤪 Just not this year!

2. Learn all you can

I got triathlon training and racing tips from lots of different sources: my coach,  friends and family who have raced, specialty sports store staff, and podcasts, online blogs and videos. As a member of USAT (USA Triathlon), I was able to read blog articles on triathlon training. I also watched videos from Global Triathlon Network. And I downloaded a program from SwimSmooth.com that lets you see correct swimming from lots of different angles. I tried to learn all I could, and those tips helped! Sarah was a great source for cycling tips, since she has more knowledge and experience than I do. And I asked Lane for several priesthood blessings over the course of the 8 months that I really focused on training. Relying on the promises I heared during those blessings is what really allowed me to finish, even when I got into that open water for the first and second times and wondered what in the world I was doing!

3. “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.”

This is a scripture that has proven true for years, and it was true in this case. Even though I hadn’t been able to to train as thoroughly as I had planned, I felt like I had really given it my best–at least my best for where I am in life. So I felt like I could rely on the Lord to help me with the parts that I couldn’t control. And He did! He totally came through for me!

Next time I focus on training for a tri (I might to do another Olympic distance next year–we’ll see), I’m going to start working up to the distance and over time hope to over-train, so that it is not such a stretch, and the recovery isn’t so long and challenging…which leads me to my last lesson…

4. Recovery

So the recovery for this race has been much longer than I anticipated. My friend told me not to plan to do anything else that day. We ate after the race, and then came home and I soaked in a bath and slept. We went out to eat for dinner and then came home and watched a show before going to sleep.

I also took it very easy on Sunday and Monday, and even when I headed out for Young Women camp on Tuesday, I was still tired! Then with all of the late/short nights during camp (I did miraculously get one night at home in which I slept 7 continuous hours through the night!), and company that arrived the Friday we got home, and a special breakfast and funeral and trip up and back to Idaho for a mission homecoming, I was exhausted! So I am still recovering!

NEXT TIME I will try to train better, stretch more each day after, and hopefully get a massage! Maybe that will help my recovery be better.

5. Great support

I have to express gratitude to Lane, who was a phenomenal support during these months of training. He was so kind to listen to my moaning about my arm and other challenges. He noticed the budget being spent on triathlon-related items grow, and he trusted me to be wise. He rubbed on Deep Blue lotion and essential oils on my elbow, arm and shoulder. He prayed for me all the time. And he came to my races and cheered me on. I really rely on his support! I am SO grateful to have his help!

6. Set a goal

Because I had set a goal to complete an Olympic distance triathlon for my Personal Progress as a Young Women leader, and because Sarah had the same goal and we were doing it together, when I wanted to quit I didn’t.

Goal setting is a powerful tool for accomplish what you want to in life!

7. So much to learn

I’ve learned that there is so much to learn about training my body! I am still a novice and have far to go. But this past season of training has been such a fit! I ran 3 races (a sprint distance tri, a 10K run, and the Olympic distance tri).

(This cute little girl isn’t related to me; she was just cheering on her mother at this sprint triathlon that I raced this past May.)

(We had a great time at a 10K/5K/Kids’ Run race this summer racing all together. Lane and Pete were on their way home from Scouting High Adventure, so they couldn’t be there with us.)

I like to exercise now, even though it’s hard, and I feel great when I work towards a goal. It really inspires me, and I hope it inspires my children to keep working to be physically fit their whole lives.





Pioneer Day place setting prayer

We used to have some old pie tins that we had saved to use for Pioneer Day dinners. But at one point I think we (I?) tossed them. When we were setting the table for our special dinner this past week, we really wanted them. I sent Eliza to the grocery store for them, but they didn’t have what we needed. I had the thought to ask my neighbors. One of my neighbor had exactly 10 of just the kind we were looking for, and we got them in the very moment before we needed them! Our neighbors were so kind to lend them to us!

I am always amazed at how much Heavenly Father cares about the little details in our lives!

We use canning jars (Ball and Kerr jam bottles) for glasses, and then we roll up old mis-matched silverware into flour bag towels (which you can often just find at the grocery store).

Here’s how I roll them up into the towels: 

Put the silverware into the left middle of a towel, spread out on the counter.

Fold the bottom third of the towel and then the top third of the the towel over the silverware, and then start rolling the towel up, left to right. You end up with a nice little set of cutlery and napkin for each place.


We love to gather together for a good meal. We had such fun meals this month, including extended family picnics for the 4th of July and a wonderful Pioneer Day dinner with one of Sarah’s good friends from high school.

For Pioneer Day, we had roast pork (cooked in the oven in a Le Creuset Dutch oven, but we could have cooked it outside in a real Dutch oven if we’d wanted…sometimes inside is just more convenent!), boiled new potatoes and carrots (slightly seasoned and tossed together), sliced cantaloupe, grilled and herb-buttered corn on the cob, and homemade baking powder biscuits with currants. And butter and jam.

And homemade chicha morada made by Sarah’s friend’s mom! This is a purple corn drink from Peru that has crisp apple bits in it. It is DELICIOUS. We need to get the recipe.

For dessert we had what Sarah’s friend’s friend called the best ice cream he’d ever eaten: blackberry ice cream (The Pioneer Woman’s recipe–an appropriate source for the day, wouldn’t you agree?). We normally make homemade ice cream in our hand-cranked and electric mixers, but our electric one died last year, and again, we were short on time this year. So we used the Cuisinart electric one that works very well!

To make the grilled corn, you grill it with the corn husks on, and then shuck it after it is cooked. You then baste each cob with herbed butter (mix butter with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs, such as thyme and/or basil) and put it back on the grill for a minute or so.

I realized that the recipe we use for baking powder biscuits isn’t here on my blog. We always pull out the Betty Crocker Cookbook, since that is where the recipe is! I wanted to include the online link for future reference, in case we have forgotten the proportions and don’t have our book on hand. We always substitute real butter for the shortening and love to add dried currants (1 cup?)–that’s an English addition that Lane’s mother picked up on when they lived there.

When we were visiting Lane’s grandparent’s home over the 4th of July, I remembered about his grandmother’s amazing buckwheat pancakes with homemade chokecherry syrup. I was able to get the recipe for the syrup from his aunt, as well as a bonus recipe for Danish rolls that we will have to try. I LOVE getting heirloom recipes!