Thursday, May 27, 2010

So You Think You Can Dance

It is BACK!!! Wahoo! And best of all they are bringing back some of our old favorites, including Neil Haskell. I still have his boardroom dance with Sabra on my TiVo! Hello that plange!?! You know you are a real fan if you know what I am talking about.

I am still mad that no one in the Twilight world thought to cast Neil as Edward. He is naturally as white as marble, moves gracefully yet masculinely like a mountain lion and he is way better looking than Robert Pattinson. All they needed to do was dye his hair. Oh and I don't know how well he acts... but anyway.

I am realizing what a shallow and totally frivolous post this is. :0) I thought we all could you a bit of frivolity after the very serious discussions we have been having in posts and comment over the last couple of posts. 

In any case, I am going to be crazy and host a season premiere party at my house tonight for anyone who knows me well enough to know where I live. It is just the auditions but I am feeling the need for a girls night and I have SUCH a big day with a million things to do today that I can't think of a better way to celebrate getting all my do list done. 

So Come on Over at 8:30 and we will watch and have some tasty treats. Just know that the party will end at 10 so I can get my sleep. I am headed out of town with Sabrina on Friday so I need to be well rested. We are going on a mama daughter trip for her birthday weekend. It will be fun. We will be going to see our new Harris twin babies and help Aunt Nikki feed and burp and love them while Uncle Darren is away. We can't wait!

Hope to see you tonight!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Another Question

Anon asked the following question:
my question is this. do mormons believe that prior to passing through the veil you have agreed to live through the experiences so that you can enter back into the celestial kingdom? i guess i would really want to know that my child who has been abused didnt agree to be abused prior to becoming my child in the womb... horrific things happen by monsters i find it hard to believe that our father in heaven would ALLOW such things to happen.

Dear Anon,  
I don't know of any "official" doctrine of how much we knew of and agreed to of our trials in this life. As you point out, there is always free agency to consider. However, I do believe that our Father in Heaven knows ALL things. And he does allow horrific things to happen. I mean because they do happen all around us! I believe God is all powerful and that He COULD -- it is in His power to stop evil from happening and save any life or any child from harm. But He ALLOWS people to make horrific choices, and he ALLOWS natural disasters to take place, and he allows accidents to occur.  

So if we (and I) believe this -- that he ALLOWS these things -- the real question here should be WHY?? HOW can He - a loving Father -- allow these things to happen? That is the question I would answer for you - the WHY. 

In the Book of Mormon there is a story of a prophet named Alma and his friend and companion Amulek. These two go into a wicked city and begin to preach the gospel. They find much opposition and after they preach they are thrown in prison. However some were converted in during their preaching. The people were so wicked that they gathered all the men, women and children who believed the words of Alma and Amulek. Then they brought Alma and Amulek out of prison and made them watch while they cast all the believers - men women and children - into a fire to kill them. I would call this pretty horrific.  

So while they are watching, "when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pined; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames." This verse indicates that God has the power to save them from this.  

Let's continue in verse 11 of Alma chapter 14 "But Alma said unto him; The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doeth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto the, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgements which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea and cry mightily against them at the last day." 

From this verse we see that as a perfectly JUST God, our Heavenly Father must allow people to act according to their own free agency so that their judgements will be JUST at the last day. He Knows before they do the evil act that they will do it because He knows each of us perfectly. But He cannot punish us for something we didn't do. So by allowing the evil doer to do evil, God is just in giving them the punishment they deserve. 

That sounds great but what about the victim right? Especially when they aren't immediately received in the arms of their Heavenly Father but rather have to LIVE with the horror of the crime. Well, that is where the atonement and the grace of the Savior come into play. We believe that Jesus Christ was perfect and without sin, yet he was the ultimate "victim." He suffered the pains, agonies, and hurt of every one of us for everything we have ever done wrong and every thing that has ever been done or just been allowed to happen to us. In doing so, He is able to take our broken hearts and make of them a heart more like His own.  

I am not saying this is an easy road. I am not saying I fully understand how this works. But I can stand as a witness before you that Christ's atonement can heal up broken hearts and make them better than they were before. I am a living example of that. I am a richer, more empathetic, more Christlike person for having suffered the tragic loss of my daughter.  

Would I have chosen this road? Not as a mortal. But before this life? Not knowing what real pain felt like and knowing that the outcome would be to be more like my Savior? I don't know. Maybe? The whole goal here is to become like Him right? That is the reason I am here in this life is to become more like Christ so who knows.
I am so sorry about the abuse of your child. Really, I can't think of many worse things. I pray that this horrific trial will turn to become in some ways a blessing to you and your child as you seek the Lord's healing. And please know that because of Christ's sacrifice and knowing just how hard it is to be the victim, He can extend his mercy and grace to make up for the wrongs done to us in that great last day.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mormon Questions

To Correen who asked some great questions. I think Jenny did a super job answering. I will have some of those answers up on my profile page but until then I thought I would add a bit to what Jenny said.

1) Do we use birth control? Like Jenny said, this is a personal decision and one the church doesn't have a position on. However, we do believe that the commandment to Adam and Eve to "multiply and replenish the earth" is still in effect and applies to us today. Families help us learn and grow. Having children teaches us so much about the love Heavenly Father has for us. And we believe there are spirits in heaven waiting to come to earth to get bodies. So we are encouraged to have children. How many and how quickly -- that is totally individual and must be decided between husband, wife and their feelings from God.

I think you would find the overwhelming majority of Mormons do use birth control of one form or another.

2) How does Joseph Smith compare to Jesus? I would just add to Jenny's answer that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God. We believe that in its literal truth. We worship Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. He is the Jehovah of the Old Testament and he is more than just a prophet. He is our Lord and our God.

Joseph Smith was a prophet like Moses or Noah of the Old Testament.  We believe he was instructed of the Lord to reestablish the church Jesus Christ founded when he was living among men in the flesh. We believe this original church and the authority to run it and receive revelation for it died off with the apostles. Joseph Smith was the man the Lord choose to be the prophet to restore that gospel. But he was a man with flaws and imperfections just like you and me. We do not worship him. We revere him but we do not worship him.

There really is so much more to say about Joseph Smith and who he was and what he did in his life. But if you want to learn more about how he came to be the prophet and his experiences you can visit and find lots of information about him or you can hit the "Chat online now" button to ask anything you like.

3) Are there certain rituals that occur inside the temple? Yes as Jenny said there are. I would just add that while we don't talk about the specifics of temple ceremonies because they are sacred, they are not some crazy thing we don't want everyone to know. We want everyone to know. We are a proselyting church right? As soon as a person gets baptized we try to focus them on preparing themselves spiritually to make further covenants with God at the temple. The "rituals" are just all ways we make covenants with God just like baptism is. We also perform marriages in the temple.

4) Are there varying degrees of observance? I loved Jenny's answer on this. I think the short answer is yes. We are all imperfect and I think most of us are trying to live according to the things we feel are true. That being said there are always some who do not act in accordance with their beliefs. I think that is true of all beliefs (religious or otherwise) so yes there are varying degrees of observance. But I think you would find that most devout Mormons are trying their best to act in accordance with their faith.

5) What does sealed mean? To seal is to bind. Peter in the New Testament was given the power to bind on earth and have it be bound in heaven (Matthew 16:19). This authority is what we feel was lost and has been restored. We are able to use it in temples to bind families together as family units together forever. So if we are sealed in the Temple, when we die our husbands will still be our husbands and our children will still be our children.  I think most people feel in their heart that this is an obvious truth but I don't know of another religion that teaches this as doctrine.

Thanks for the questions Correen. And thanks for the quick answers Jenny. Again you can find great answers by chatting online at Happy Sabbath everyone!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Approaching the 2-year Mark

Me and Camille June 6, 2008

Summer is sneaking up on me once again. Plans are being made. Vacations are coming up. And the 2 year mark is just weeks away. I am glad to have another year under my belt. Most of the time I feel pretty happy and positive these days. I have learned that it is easier to not get too down by going to bed early. Nights ... they are just hard. I think I am more prone to depressing thoughts at night when I am tired.

I still think about Camille every day. But I don't always think of her in sad ways. Now many days I don't feel great sorrow. I think of her dearly and with a sensitive heart but not necessarily a sad heart. I still have occasional days when I just really miss her and miss the place she would have filled in our little family. But I am becoming accustomed to the idea and reality of my new family -- the one with the gap in the middle.

Today I had a sweet dream that made me feel so sure that all is as it should be and that Camille is well. I feel a strong connection to Camille and in so many ways she still plays such a big role in our little family. She makes so many aspects of reading the scriptures more relatable to my children. I can especially feel her close when we are following the whisperings of the Spirit (you know those gentle --"hmm it might be a good idea if you did this" feelings of the heart?) in how to run our home. We recently had a series of those "whisperings" that have prompted some changes around our home. I will share those soon. I want to give them a while to see if I can keep them up first. So far the results have been dramatic to me.

I have a few other things I want to post about but today I was looking over my blog and realized it had been a long time since I had a photo of my baby girl up here. I just wanted to see a few up here today.
We love you Camille. 
Thank you for continuing to bless your family even from beyond the veil of death.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

WANTED: Mormons Willing to Share

Are you Mormon? Does your faith bring you happiness, peace, and joy? Would you like a non-scary way to share the joy the gospel brings to your life with others? Well I have just the thing for you!

I am betting that at least 90% of the Mormons who read the above said "Yes. Yes. And Um YES!" 

If you have spent any time reading this blog you know that I am Mormon (or in other much longer words, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.) I didn't start this blog as a way to share my beliefs with others. But when Camille died, my faith and beliefs were the driving force for getting me out of bed and keeping air going in and out of my lungs everyday. So when I began blogging about my journey through grief, I had to include some aspects of my faith. Without this my "story" would be incomplete. 

In the process of my sharing I have answered many questions about what we crazy Mormons believe. :O) These questions have come from the good faith curiosity of readers who asked them. We have had some really good discussions along the way in comments that has been uplifting and informative for everyone involved. 

The church has seen that many people are more comfortable asking questions and getting answers from someone they feel they know (even an internet friend) than asking missionaries on the street. So they are creating a new site where we Mormons can go create a profile page of our own and give our answers to questions like "Why Am I A Mormon?" or "How do we feel about Joseph Smith" or "Do Mormons practice Polygamy?" 

There are tons of questions and you choose which ones you want to answer. You share a little information about yourself (nothing to compromise your privacy though) and you can even link your profile page to your blog, Twitter, or Facebook account. 

This new website won't be active and going online for everyone to explore for a while, but it is open for Mormons to upload their profiles right now! I just uploaded my profile last night. The goal is to get as many profiles uploaded by as many different people as we can before the site goes live. 

SO..... If you are Mormon and want to share ... Go to and Sign in if you have an LDS Account (the one you use to check your ward website) or Register to get an LDS Account (you will need your membership number from your temple recommend or ward clerk and your birthday to register.) It will take you to your own Profile Page and you can start uploading your information and answers. 

Then tell every Mormon you know to follow your lead and do the same! Old and young, male and female, every ethnicity! We want to show a true picture of how diverse a group we Mormons really are.

You should know that this is SUPER EASY to do. You do not need to be a computer guru. I am seriously technically challenged. But if you know how to go to the link above and click a mouse you should be able to create a page. Oh and it might help to know how to select a photo to upload. If you have trouble getting into the site just keep trying. Sometimes I have had trouble and yet it has worked out if I just tried again a little later. If you do it I would love to hear about it! Leave me a comment!

For those of you who are not Mormon and are still reading this post (boy are you a faithful reader!) Please let me know if you have any questions you want to see my answers to and I will make sure to answer them on my profile page. Thanks!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Noble's Flower?

I asked my sister to take a few photos of my family at Easter Dinner at my Mom's. I am so pleased with the results. Lauren was not really in a photo taking mood. And the wind was just whipping the girls' hair all over the place. I was surprised at how well the photos turned out in spite of all that and Noble's fairly constant squirming. Thanks so much Lesli!

I saw these dresses for the girls and couldn't resist them. Tulip covered dresses seemed the perfectly subtle way to remember Camille that day and have her represented in our photos.
I love how my girls' personalities really comes out in the photos. Like this one above. Lauren is being such a silly Lily. Ann is looking like a stately rose. And Sabrina could look more cheerful and sweet than a Gerber Daisy.
Which brings me to Mr. Noble. I have still been pondering what to use as his "thing." I haven't wanted to force it. I never have had to force it with the girls. They all just reminded me of their flowers. Noble doesn't remind me of a flower. So I have been playing with other options like plants, trees, or food. I thought I would do food for a while. When he was a baby he was so gassy and stinky I thought maybe a cheese souffle would do the trick. But he is not so stinky now and not really that gassy either. 

But there has been one thing that I have thought of all the time with Noble. He reminds me of an animal. I was worried that maybe I would think all boys remind me of this animal. But I talked to my mom about that and she actually had an animal that each of her boys reminded her of. As she told me of the three animals my three brothers remind her of I could see how well they fit my brothers. So I am feeling fairly confident with saying I will pick an animal for Noble and any other boys that join our family.

So far the one animal that Noble reminds me of is a puppy. He often tries to pick things up off the ground (like his toys) with his mouth. This is not the best idea with tile floors. He ate his cake face first. Often when he is tired he likes to run around in circles and fall down. It kinda reminds me of what a puppy looks like chasing its tail. And he walks around with his tongue hanging out quite often. Plus he is loyal and affectionate, smart, slobbery, and super cute. I am sure as he gets older I will even be able to assign a breed of dog to him. So here is my little puppy.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Last night I went to bed depressed. Why? Because I cleaned my kitchen 3 times yesterday and when I went to bed it was a disaster zone again. I should have cleaned it for that 4th time before I went to bed because I woke up with a little rain cloud over my head too.

Usually I have the kids all clean with me for 10 minutes in the morning before they go to school and we can get the whole kitchen and family room pretty well clean for the day. But this morning everyone was being lazy and procrastinating and goofing around. When I told everyone it was time to clean they protested that their hair needed to be done and their shoes weren't on right and they just had to rock in the rocking chair a few more minutes.

I just about cried. It was the end of the rope where I was either going to scream or cry. I took a deep breath and holding back the tears I expressed my frustration that I seemed to be the only one cleaning even though the mess was mostly other peoples. My kids could tell then that I was really needing help and I think they would have pitched in then ... but the doorbell rang and they had to catch their ride to school.

So I did what any sane woman would do in my shoes. I picked up the phone and called my mother. I am lucky to still have a mother here on earth that I can call. I am also lucky to have the kind of relationship with her that I can call her out of the blue and talk to her for an hour about all the worries in life and it makes emptying the dishwasher and picking up the toys, plates, cups, and clothes strewn throughout my house a little more doable.

Talking to my mom blew that little rain cloud away. And I did get up and do some more of the cleaning while we talked. That helped too. I still have a sink full of dishes ... but I think I may just leave that for the school girls after whom I have picked up all morning. ;O)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Well Seasoned Mother's Day

One principle I have become more acutely familiar with in the last two years is that of opposition. That is the principle that part of our mortal existence is experiencing opposites so that we may understand and feel and know the difference between them. For example, we must know hunger to know a satisfied appetite, we must know pain to appreciate pleasure, we must know sickness to feel the full joy in health.

I thought I understood this principle before. When Camille died, my understanding of this principle took a flying leap off what seemed like a never ending cliff. There was so much pain in her loss and in her absence. How could I ever feel full joy again? Even when we are having the happiest moments in life there will be sadness and pain at her not being with us to experience them. No experience will ever feel complete again. So how in the world could my joy ever be greater for having experienced this pain?

And so for the last two years I have been learning day by day about some of the answers to these questions I had then. Some great answers came from a 20 page discourse that my sister-in-law's uncle wrote years ago on why bad things happen to good people. In it he stated that this life is trial and the full joy to match our pain only really fully comes in the next life. That satisfied my questions according to my former understanding of this principle. 

But I have come to understand a different aspect of this principle. I am writing about it now because Mother's Day was a perfectly encapsulated example of my new understanding. I had the best mother's day I have ever had. But it was not without pain and sadness. Maybe I can best explain by telling you about my day and the progression of my feelings. 

Jonathan let me sleep in and kept the whole house really super quiet so that I really could sleep in. It was wonderfully refreshing to sleep until my own natural waking time. Once I got up, Jon made me a smoothie for breakfast. My girls had a surprise for me that they had been working on for over a week. They each had made a book of pictures of my favorite things (number, color, sport, hobby, etc.) Jonathan gave me a Flip camera I had wanted. He gave it to me so I could record a play the girls had written and rehearsed and then performed for me. 
Jonathan with the Flip Camera

The play was so cute. They had seats for Dad and I and had scripted out "The Perfect Mother's Day" to perform for us in the playroom. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and the drawings and the handmade beaded bracelet Annie made me. Annie also wrote a poem for me, which she performed with actions after the play. It was so dear and made me feel so loved and like I was actually doing something right as a mother. 

Later at church there was a talk that pointed out how Eve was named "the mother of all living" before she ever gave birth. So, all women are born with the mothering ability and call whether they have children or not. Then I watched as Sabrina guided Lauren up to the stand to sing with all the primary children. I watcher her shuffle Lauren into a position where I could see her and instruct Annie to take care of her. Sabrina then went to a place where she could be seen and not be in the way of other little kids. Annie stood right behind Lauren with her arms wrapped around Lauren so Lauren would not be scared. I felt the joy of watching my own little girls "mothering" their sister.
My Little Mothers

Later that night we met together with all of Jon's family for dinner. As we were leaving, my niece Aubrey gave me a big hug goodbye. She was born a few months after Camille and is Camille's closest cousin in age. Then I watched her lay on her father's shoulder as he carried out to the car.

I have missed the 14 month old Camille all along this journey through grief. But yesterday I missed the cards she would never send, the pictures she would have drawn, the loves she would have given, the performances she would have given, the mothering she would have done. I had SO much joy in my children yesterday. More joy than I could have known if I had never lost Camille. I appreciated each moment and every hug BECAUSE I feel the pain, simultaneously of missing the same loves from Camille. I guess before I just didn't understand that you can feel so much joy when it is seasoned with sorrow in the very same moment.  But just as salt can heighten and enhance the sweetness of many desserts, pain and sorrow can enhance and magnify the feelings of joy in happy moments. 

I am sure there are more facets to this principle that I have yet to fully understand. I have been enrolled in a lifetime course to examine the subject from every angle. But I wanted to record and share how Mother's Day 2010 helped me realized that not all the benefits and full joys that are supposed to come as a result of opposition are reserved for the next life. Even when the sorrow will be life long, it can help us feel greater joy in what we have today.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Noble

Can it really be a year ago that I gave birth to my sweet little son? Wow. Where has this year gone? Little son has been getting molars and has ear infections so he has not been the happiest birthday boy ever. But I think he found a few highlights during the day. We celebrated today with family and neighbors, a few presents and lots of cake. I made one cake.
And bought two others. 

A Nothing Bundt and a little grocery store cake for Noble to dig into. We have let each kid have their own little cake for their first birthday. Each child has picked at the cake for a while and then finally realized it was kinda tasty and started eating handfuls. Within a few minutes they have been upset that their hands were dirty. They all like the cake but hate the dirty hands.

Noble had his own technique. As soon as he saw the cake he was fussy and ready to eat. Then after we sang and blew out the candles I finally put it down in front of him. He kept his hands clean. Who needs hands to eat a cake right? 

Yes he just dove in mouth first. I didn't even have the tray on securely yet. He took a bite and liked it so he just kept diving in mouth first. It was so fun. The girls were surprised he didn't "pat the cake" like Camille did. They have watched the video of her first birthday so many times. I think they expected Noble to do everything she did that day. I was happy to see him forge his own trail.

 After a while he did eventually end up using his hands to get further in to his cake. 
After a nice bath, he had a few present to open up. Noble got his first Hot Wheels and a ball pit with balls to go in it. he also got a soft ball to play toss with. 
He loved the Little People Farm toys and stacking kitchen pots and pans our neighbors got for him. You think maybe now he will stop pulling my pans out of the cupboards? Hmmm. This kid does like pots.

We let the little guy stay up a little later and play with some of his toys. He was loving it. It was a fun time for everyone. Jon got the whole scene recorded on my early mother's day present. (A flip camera.) I can't wait to watch it back and see him go at that cake again. Have I mentioned how much I love this little boy? So much that my teeth are hurting from gritting so much when I hold him. I love you Noble. Happy Birthday little son.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Praying for Nice Neighbors

Is it so wrong to pray for nice neighbors? We have two houses across the street from us that are on the market. One is for sale. The other is for rent. The families that have lived there are nice. But they have had older teenage kids that don't come out to play. So I have been praying for nice neighbors to move into those homes - preferably ones with nice little kids. 

Last week when I picked up my babysitter she told me she was fasting and praying for a nice family with a cute 17 year old son to move in across the street from her. I told her while she was at it she may as well include a 15 year old (she is 15) girl in her "wish list" family who would turn out to be her best friend. Most of her friends have moved and live 10-15 minutes away now. No harm in hoping right?

When I was a kid my parents bought some land with friends and built a cul-de-sac. I knew all my neighbors so well I called them all "Aunt" and "Uncle" even though they weren't really family. I have often fantasized about doing this myself someday. I think about what kind of neighbors I would choose in my ideal cul-de-sac. I don't think of specific people. And I assume I would only pick people in this dream universe that I really liked. Mostly I think about practical things like talents and professions. On my street growing up we all shared our talents. It was very handy knowing my doctor and dentist so well.

So far in my dream cul-de-sac there would be a doctor, a dentist, an orthodontist, a hair dresser or two, someone who knows how to build or fix things in a home (maybe a contractor), and a car mechanic would be good too. Maybe a caterer would be nice as well. You know what -- now that I am thinking about it. I have most of those in my neighborhood right now. I do have a pretty super neighborhood. Know any nice contractors looking for a good home? I have one available across the street. :)

Who would be in your dream cul-de-sac?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Not Sure Where She Puts It

Today I went to the school just before the lunch break and kidnapped Ann Marie for a lunch date with Mom (and Noble.) She had earned enough stickers for a date and has been so patient with my busy schedule. We have had to put off our date a few times as other things came up.

So today there was no way we were going to let anything else get in our way. I picked her up and told her we could go to lunch any place she wanted. She said she wanted to go to IHOP. I back tracked. I asked her what kind of food she wanted. She said pancakes. So then I gave her the options of the Original Pancake House or a new place I have been wanting to try called the Sunrise Cafe. She chose to try the new place. 

We sat down and she saw they did have pancakes on the menu. She was happy with that. She also was tempted by the French toast. She said that if there were 6 pancakes in the order of silver dollar pancakes she would get pancakes. If there were only 5 she would get French Toast. I told her I would get the French toast and let her have some. So she got the pancakes. 

The order came with 8 pancakes that were more the size of your average pancake than silver dollars. I was sure she wouldn't finish especially after drinking a big juice she also ordered. To my surprise she finished her 8 pancakes, a piece of bacon, a piece of my French toast and a few goldfish I had there for Noble. I am not sure exactly where she put all that food. Surely it can't all fit in her tiny little tummy.

From there we went to the Cupcake Lane Bakery next door to get her teacher a cupcake. We ended up getting a dozen for the office staff for "Teacher Appreciation" week. Last stop was at Trader Joe's for some flowers for her teacher. Annie had asked her what her favorite color was and picked out a lovely blooming pink flowery plant. 

We arrived back at the school with arms and bellies full. 

I remember having breakfast dates with my mom when I was a girl. I loved the alone time with her and bringing a treat back to my teacher was always fun. I think it is funny that when I have done this with my own girls for lunch they have opted for breakfast food every time. The time may be a little later but the "breakfast date" tradition continues on.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Family History/Journaling Lesson

Today I taught a lesson in Young Women's on Family History and Journaling. We were combining two lessons. I thought the lesson went fairly well. 

I started off by reading an excerpt from the journal of my great great grandfather Edward Bunker. There is a story he shares about being the first to volunteer to make a 140 mile journey to help some people. After he volunteers others also agree to go. On the appointed day and time to leave, he is the only one to show up. So he starts on the journey by himself. 

I asked the girls how they thought I felt reading that story. They said that I must have felt pleased to call him my ancestor. I agreed. But, I also felt that he was like me. He said he was the one to "break the ice" and volunteer. I often feel like I am the one in any given situation that is unafraid to "break the ice" and speak up. Reading his story made me feel a kinship to him because I am like him in that way.

I asked the girls to come prepared to share a family history story. Three of them volunteered to share their stories. They were great stories in their own ways. 

We note that to have these stories we had to have someone write a journal and someone do family history work. I gave each girl the information they needed to log onto to register to start doing their family history work. I had one girl start the process of registering so they could all see how to do it at home. (I had my lap top there.)

We talked about how important it is to record memories of the older generations so they can be preserved. I handed out a two page list of topics for writing a personal history. These could be used to ask parents or grandparents questions. Answers could be recorded or typed up. 

Then we spent some time discussing how we keep our journals. I had the girls who brought journals share how they journal. I loved that most of them were spiral notebooks or composition pads. Mine in high school was a 3 ring binder full of looseleaf paper. 

Then I showed them my journals. I showed my 3 ring binder with my faded pages filled with emotional ranting and deep thoughts. It even had an "eternal companion" list with characteristics I was looking for in a mate. 

Many of the girls are going on a trip back East this summer to learn more about church history. I showed them my journal from the trip I went on similar to that when I was 14. I showed the the leaf I saved from the sacred grove where Joseph Smith prayed to know which church to join and where, in answer to that prayer, he saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I showed them the comment cards from the visitor's center there upon which I wrote my feelings after praying in that grove myself and shortly after having a strong confirming answer that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was, in fact, Christ's church and that Joseph had, in fact, seen that vision.

From there I showed them the baby books I made for my children, including the journaling I did in them, for Sabrina, Annie, and Lauren. Then I showed them how other wonderful people had made a beautiful book for Camille after she died and included all my journaling in it. I noted how I wished so much I had written more, but how grateful I was for the little I did have written down about my sweet baby girl. 

We never know how long we have. We never know how long we will be able to enjoy those around us. Other leaders in the room had lost their mothers. Their mothers' journals were so precious to these women now, just as my journaling of Camille is precious to me. Anything we can record now will one day be a treasure to ourselves and/or to someone else.

From here I turned to my new blog book which arrived just in time (the day before yesterday.) I showed them how I had a few precious posts about Camille before the accident. And I showed them how I had written so faithfully after when the Spirit was all around us and angels filled our home. I told them how now when I feel doubtful and low I turned back to these posts and remember the feelings I felt then and I can feel sure again that all is right in our lives. It is a strength to me to have those feelings recorded.

I told them that they need to record their feelings when they feel the Spirit and feel answers to their prayers or feel strong in their faith. There will come a day when they do not feel so sure. It comes for each of us. We all come to a place in life where we doubt our faith. But if we have recorded our feelings when our faith as burned bright and been confirmed by the Spirit, we can look to our own records as a testimony to bolster us through those troubled times and lead us to remember the truth we knew and come to know it again.

The Spirit was there today. I feel certain most if not all of us in the room felt it. I challenged them to - if they felt the Spirit today - go home and write about it. I can only hope and pray some of them did. Certainly, I have written this to follow my own advice. 

I challenge any who read to do likewise. Go write something down today that records some part of your life that will one day be a treasure - a lesson you have learned, how you feel about your parents or siblings or children, a list of your favorite things, goals you have for your life, a story from your childhood. The possibilities are countless. Pick one and Do it. You will one day be glad you did.