Sunday, August 9, 2015

Dallin’s 1st Talk in Sacrament Meeting


Dallin gave his first talk in Sacrament meeting today.  As a part of the annual Young Men’s Sacrament Meeting program, Dallin gave a talk about family.  He wrote it himself, which just makes it that much more precious to me.  He was cute in his delivery of it.  He even started out his talk with a joke.  One of the young men that spoke before him make a comment about having to have the podium raised up because of his height.  When Dallin got up to speak, they lowered the podium so he made a joke about his shortness and needing to have it lowered to the shortest possible setting.  It was adorable.  He spoke out and made eye contact with the crowd.  His 6th grade English teacher would have been proud!

This is what he said:

Hello brothers and sisters. Today I have been asked to give a talk on the family.

First off, the definition of a family is a group of people that are related by blood, marriage, or adoption.

For the strength of youth says that being part of a family is a great blessing. Your family can provide you with companionship and happiness, help you learn correct principles in a loving atmosphere, and help you prepare for eternal life.

We learn in The Family: A Proclamation to the World that happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”

Faith is the first thing a happy family should have. I know my family has gone through some tough times, but we kept on pushing through. That is one of the things a family of faith should have. Never giving up, and pushing through hard times.

The other thing is that you should have trust in heavenly father and his promises. Although it may seem that he isn’t helping you at times but really he just wants you to learn yourself. He won’t help you every time.

Next is prayer. In my family we pray when we wake up, we pray for lunch, we pray for dinner, we pray before and after any meetings during the day, we pray before bed, and personal prayers after we had family prayer before bed. The reason why we pray so much is because we want to keep in touch with our heavenly father all day long.

When you do something wrong you should repent. Let’s just say that you hit your brother or sister. You should say you’re sorry and try not to do it again. Then you should pray to your heavenly father and say you’re sorry to him to. Then let’s say that brother or sister hit you and say that they are sorry. You should forgive them for their wrongs.

If you respect your family members, less arguments and fights will occur. You should do what your parents tell you to do. As a family you should respect others too.

But best of all, you should love one another. There is even a primary song called “love one another”.

To keep the family strong, you must work. Children should do chores around the house like folding laundry, cleaning rooms, and mowing the lawn. Those were just a few of the things that you could do. Parents should work for money to provide the family with food, clothing, and shelter.

Just like its good to work, it is also good to have fun as a family. My personal favorite family trip was when we went to a spring and went hiking, swimming, and afterwards a family picnic.

I’d like to end this talk with my testimony, I believe that this church is true, I believe that families can be together forever through heavenly fathers plan. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hillbilly Lily

Doesn’t this look just like she is a farm girl with a toothpick or a bit of straw hanging out of her mouth?
We sure love our silly little hillbilly!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Receiving the Priesthood

Turning 12 is such a wonderful thing.  It means that Dallin will be leaving elementary school and going into junior high.  He graduates from Primary and is now in Young Mens.  It also means we now have a reliable live in baby sitter Smile.  But most importantly turning 12 means that Dallin is old enough to receive the priesthood.  He was interviewed by the Bishop and found worthy to be ordained to the office of Deacon in the Aaronic priesthood. 

When Nathan conferred the priesthood on Dallin, he mentioned in the blessing what a wonderful gift of service that Dallin will give to all around him.  He has already begun by passing the Sacrament on Sunday which he did with only a couple of minor mistakes.  And of course by performing Bishop duty – sitting on the stand  beside the Bishop in case the Bishop needs something done during Sacrament meeting.  And don’t forget Sunday Deacon duty – taking out the all trash in after the Sunday meetings. 

When Dallin was 10, Sister Coyle, the primary president at the time, taught a sharing time about the spirit and during the lesson she had all of the children sit quietly and try to feel of the spirit in the room.   Afterwards, Dallin told me that as he sat quietly he felt the spirit strongly and felt that Heavenly Father had something special for him to do in his life.  I know He does.  Dallin is blessing to every person that knows him.  We are so proud and grateful that he is part of our eternal family.

Dallin receiving priesthood

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mourning a Miscarriage

This post is very raw, honest, and may even offend some people. So if you are not up for that, I would skip it. It is not written to garner sympathy or pity. Rather it is written in the hope that if there is someone who has experienced or may experience the loss of a child through miscarriage they can know that they are not alone in the crazy tumult of thoughts and emotions they may experience. No one’s grieving process is the same, but it does help to know that you are not alone.  

Today, April 15th, was when our baby was due. Today should have spent cuddling a newborn.

I have cried every day for the last seven months for the loss of that child. Sometimes multiple times a day. Most of the tears have been shed when I am alone. I don’t like to upset my children and they always worry if they have done something wrong if I cry. It has been more difficult to move past than even my father and grandmothers passing away. It has brought a sadness to my heart that feels like will always be a part of me. Like a part of my spirit has broken and cannot ever fully be mended.

It has been so isolating. Three of my sisters-in-law and a lot of my friends were pregnant at the same time. They have all gone on to have their babies. It has been difficult to constantly be surrounded by visual reminders of what I lost.

It has been painful in so many ways. People have said hurtful things, often without truly meaning to. I had one person tell me that since we weren’t trying to get pregnant that I must not really feel that bad about miscarrying the baby. Oh how little she understands. Others trying to console, told me that I should be happy with the children I have. But I’m not. I wanted that baby too. And I don’t even care if that makes me sound selfish.

Baby showers. Oh my goodness. One that I went to, I cried through pretty much the whole thing. It was horrible. I felt so bad for distracting from such a special time for someone else that it made me cry even more. The other two that I dared go to, only because they were family, I hid behind a camera. It is much easier to make yourself not cry when you can concentrate on framing, focus, aperture, and shutter speed.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Facebook. This made it even more so. I honestly couldn’t handle anyone who talked of their pregnancy or newborn with anything less than gratitude for being allowed to receive a miracle from God. Whining about pregnancy symptoms, flippant comments like “poor me I can’t fit into my cute clothes anymore”, complaining about lack of sleep with the new baby, and on and on. I’ll admit it. I hid those people in my newsfeed. Not my proudest moment, but necessary for my sanity at the time. Reading stuff like that just made me what to scream at the unfairness of life.

Ultrasound pictures were especially painful as my last experience with an ultrasound was seeing my sweet little baby unmoving with no heartbeat – it was traumatizing. So traumatizing that I actually considered changing doctors just so that I would never have to go in that office again.

Guilt. Oh so much guilt. Much of it completely irrational, but felt deeply nonetheless. Guilt that I was alive and that my baby was dead. Guilt that for the longest time I couldn’t be happy for other people’s happiness. Guilt that I was taking this so hard when so many others have much more difficult things to deal with. Guilt that I was mourning this child so deeply that at times I feared my sadness was taking me away from being the best mom I could be to my other children. Guilt that at one very low point I was jealous of a mother who lost her child shortly after birth because at least she got to hold them and see them and take pictures and have a grave to visit for I had no physical reminder that my child had ever existed. Guilt that I was angry with life when such a blessing was taken away from me when so many around me were given that miracle freely. Guilt that I have not “endured it well” as we have been counseled by so many prophets and apostles. Guilt that maybe if I had had greater faith, the prayers that I prayed from the moment I found out I was pregnant to have a healthy baby would have been answered. Guilt that maybe if I had never used birth control and tried to have more children when I was younger, maybe this never would have happened. Guilt that maybe if I had been healthier then I would still be pregnant. Guilt for every word I ever said that showed even the slightest bit of ingratitude for pregnancy or motherhood. I hate that I may have been the cause in the past of pain to others with my show of ingratitude for something that is so sacred.

I am very grateful for the people that reached out to me, especially those who thought to check in with me even long after it happened. Sincerity makes such a difference. One person checked with me several times in the months following and I always felt the sincerity of her question when she asked how I was doing for I knew that this wasn’t an idle question but one stemming from a sincere desire to show love and empathy. I knew I didn’t have to hide the tears when I answered her for her eyes were filled with tears along with me. Another friend who had experienced almost the same thing the year before, had me go out and eat lunch with her almost every week for months, just because she knew I needed to get out of the house and be with someone. She’ll probably never fully understand how much those lunches meant to me. I am grateful for another friend that reached out after the most recent baby shower that I attended to offer sympathy that she knew that being there must have been very hard for me. Sometimes having someone else validate your feelings is a very healing thing. I am grateful for others who sent me personal messages of their experience with miscarriage to tell their story and share that they still mourn the loss even years later. It helps to know that others have been where you are and have been able to move forward and find happiness in life.

This experience has tested my testimony more than I can even explain. It has broken my heart that there is no – not even a little – church doctrine related to miscarriage. Stillborn children – yes. They can be named and listed as yours on your family group record to be a part of your family for eternity. But not miscarriages. There have been general authorities that have given their personal opinion unofficially that the spirits of miscarried children will have another opportunity to come to earth in a different body, but there is no actual doctrine to support that. Besides that isn’t completely comforting is it? What if you have a miscarriage and then are never able to get pregnant again or carry a child for longer than just a few weeks?  What happens to that spirit? Does it go to someone else's family?  That doesn't seem fair. It is the first time that I have not found comfort in the teachings of the gospel.

For months I couldn’t even say a prayer without crying. Family prayer. Blessing the food. At a baby shower. In church. It was embarrassing.

Even my callings were tinged with bitterness and resentment. Teaching children to sing happy songs when you just feel like crying isn’t an easy thing. Nor is teaching them to sing of God’s love, when you weren’t feeling very loved at the moment. I love Girl’s Camp. But for quite a while I resented that calling. I shouldn’t even have been going to Girl’s Camp this year because I should have been home taking care of a 4 month old baby.

Looking back, I can see how much those callings were a blessing. For the longest time I cried through every sacrament meeting. I still do sometimes. Every mention of family, motherhood, children, blessings, prayer, just about anything, set the tears streaming. I can’t imagine how much more difficult church would have been if I had to sit through Sunday school and Relief Society and cried though those meetings too. Instead, after sacrament meeting, I put on a smile and sing songs with children. Definitely a better thing for me to do. And when not at church, having girls camp to plan and focus on creating a positive spiritual experience for the young women is unquestionably a blessed distraction.

I have found some comfort in the scriptures. In my darkest moments I have found myself repeating over and over like a little chant “Trust in Lord with all thine heart, lean not unto thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy path.” It pulls me out of my most guilty and painful thoughts.

Elders Wirthlin’s promise of the principle of compensation has helped too. He said, “The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.”

So now I worry everyday about whether I am being faithful enough to receive that promise. I hope so. Oh how I hope so.

I don’t know that my sorrow will every completely go away, but I do know that my Father in Heaven and my brother Jesus Christ love me and that somehow all these things will work together for the good of our family. One thing that I have learned for sure is that even when my testimony is tested and I question my faith, Heavenly Father is ever there waiting for me to call out to Him to listen to the deepest heartache of a broken spirit, no matter how crazy and irrational I may be.

The creation of a child is so precious and miraculous. It is sacred. My heart weeps with those who have experienced the loss of a child at whatever stage it may have been. My heart weeps with those who want so much to be a mother and have not been able to. My heart weeps with those who have a child or children and want with all your heart to have more.

I cannot pretend to understand why things happen the way they do. I do not understand it. For I know without question that my Heavenly Father has the power to save any child and any pregnancy. For reasons I cannot comprehend He sometimes chooses not to intervene. But while I do not understand, I can still trust in Him. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, lean not unto thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct they paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pinewood Derby 2014

Nathan and Dallin are pinewood derby car building champs!  For the second year running Dallin won 1st place in his pack.  They all had an awesome time racing their cars!  There were some very creative cars made too!
Dallin was especially excited that he and his buddy Hayden took 1st and 2nd place!
Dallin got to go to districts with his car.  He didn’t win, but he did get the award for the most Scout Effort.  I’m pretty sure he got that award because his car was the only one there that looked like a 10 year had actually painted it!
Love my little scout!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Layton is 6 years old!

My little baby,
is totally not a baby anymore.  Although he does still like to snuggle with me and pretend that he is a baby :)
He wanted to have an Orca/ocean themed birthday party this year.  And I knew the perfect place to take pictures for it!  There is this awesome mural in Green Cove Springs that is all about the ocean.
We had lots of fun with the photos:
It is hard to imagine that is has been 6 years since Layton came into our lives.  He makes me smile every single day.  He is so original.  I love his imagination and his quirky way of looking at things.  Seeing life through his eyes gives life totally new meaning.  We all love him so much!  Happy Birthday Layton!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


I love it when my kids are do good quiet things together without my prompting.  It makes my heart smile :)


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mandy’s Baptism

Baptism is a special covenant that we enter into with our Heavenly Father to stand as His witness at all times and in all things and in all places, to bear the burdens of those around us, to mourn with those that mourn, to comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to take upon us the name of our Savior Jesus Christ.  We are so proud of Mandy for choosing to be baptized.
mandy baptism invite front copymandy baptism invite back copy

We hope that she will always live up to the covenants that she made.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Day

Christmas day is always full of fun.  First  - PRESENTS!
Then fun with the cousins at Grandpa and Nana’s house.
A nativity play.
And more PRESENTS!  Dallin was especially happy and grateful to be given a guitar by Grandpa.