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Monday, September 28, 2020

Winter Life


Puppy still has to go out...

Something we got to experience was winter with a puppy.  Everytime he had to go outside we got to venture into the tundra with him because we don't have a fenced in yard.  We kept Steve's thick down coat by the back door and his boots because everyone could slip into those and brave the cold with the curious puppy.

Some walks with Pippin were warmer than others, and we tried to be sure he went for a walk in the late afternoon, when things were a tad warmer.

Sewer problems...

Yes, we had our sewer pump give up the ghost.  We had to contact the company out in Salt Lake and send a technician to replace it.  It costed a pretty penny, but we won't focus on that.  It's just so nice to have working plumbing!  
The next morning after our pump died, the house started to smell like sewage.  We opted to go elsewhere to eat.  First, though, we all had to use the bathroom, so we drove to the hotel down the street where my mom works and used the restroom.  When we got there, we could smell the most delightful continental breakfast.  Mom asked if we could pay to eat there, and her boss let us go ahead and just eat for free.  God bless them and that hotel!  We seriously wouldn't have had a better breakfast buffet than what they served there.

Amara loves the waffles

There were so many delicious options!

Lily also loved the waffles!
Amara made us a reminder sign on the bathroom door so that no one accidently flushed!

Stake Relief Society Fun...

Know what's awesome about being in the Stake Relief Society?  You get to go to activities with the entire stake and enjoy getting to know the sisters!  We were asked to speak at the Relief Society birthday parties in the Uinta River ward and in the Tridell ward.
Uinta River ward's theme was Oh how you are "Souper Kneaded!"  We gave talks centered on that theme and then we had a delicious soup dinner with home made cinnamon rolls to take home!

Below is my talk for your reading enjoyment.  I'm not sure why it's formatted with a center alignment, which is distracting to me, but oh well! 

Aloha Sisters! 

Listen to these pleading exclamations from our prophet President Russell M Nelson. My dear sisters we need you!  We need your strength, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices!

No one can do what a righteous woman can do!

Women shape the future!  

Jeffrey R Holland stated, “May we labor side-by-side with the Lord of the Vineyard giving a helping hand with his staggering task of answering prayers, providing comfort, drying tears, and strengthening feeble knees.”

Our prophets understand that there is a labor to be performed and they are delivering the message that the Lord really needs us!

Do you believe that? Do you believe that the Lord can really use you? Do you believe you are good enough and wanted? Do you believe that the God of heaven and earth really wants your imperfect efforts and limited abilities? I find it interesting to note that God who can do everything and anything chooses to use us to accomplish his work. Yet, as we have observed in nature, one tiny effort done by many accomplishes amazing results. And as we have observed through accounts in the scriptures, and possibly our own lives, imperfect people working in tandem with God accomplishes miraculous things!

One way the Lord "kneads" us is in ministering. When you’re making bread do you know what kneading is and why we do it? Kneading is when you work the dough usually by hand for the purpose of developing and combining the proteins which adds strength to the final product. The kneading process warms and strengthens these protein strands eventually creating a springy and elastic dough. If it is not kneaded enough, it will not be able to hold the tiny pockets of air and will collapse. In hand kneading, the dough is placed on a prepared surface, pressed and stretched and turned repeatedly until the dough is elastic and smooth. You know you have kneaded enough when you can press your thumb into it and the dough bounces back.

I like the imagery of this. Kneading is a work worth undertaking to achieve a dough that is strong enough that it won’t collapse. Can you see how we are like dough and how the Lord takes the time to work us to develop us and give us strength? Can you see how when the Lord works us in ministering that we are both warmed and stretched by his hands? As we are placed in a prepared assignment, the working begins and it can press your time, stretch you out of your comfort zone, and turn you about repeatedly, yet we all desire the strength it will give us. 

Many of you are going through hard things in your lives. Perhaps you lack the feeling of security, perhaps you’re adjusting to the loss of a loved one, perhaps you feel your life is out of balance and you have great life decisions to make, perhaps you’re raising children and trying to establish good habits, perhaps you have health challenges, perhaps you’re feeling inadequate in your calling, or perhaps you have people who are dear to you who have turned away from God.  My dear sisters you need the Lord! You need his strength, his conviction, his ability to lead, his wisdom, and his voice. No one can do what the Savior can do!  Women may be the ones who shape the future, yet the future depends on if we women allow the Savior to shape us!

Sisters, let’s act! Let’s work with the Lord! Let’s get in there in his vineyard with him and begin nourishing in any way we can. This does not mean to begin adding countless items onto your to do lists! It means doing as sister Joy D Jones said and “seeing each task that you all are already doing as a privilege and opportunity to serve the Lord whether you are in the midst of deadlines, duties, or dirty diapers.”

Take what you’re doing and turn it into a way to glorify God. It is this small change in attitude that will nourish all those around you.  It is the essence of living a ministering lifestyle. 

Sister Michelle Craig said that resolving to follow the Spirit’s promptings changes the way I think about “my time“ and I see people not as interruptions but as the purpose of my life. 

Our stake president has also offered a similar sentiment emphasizing that we need to remember to place our priority on people before our projects.

In Galatians chapter 5 verse nine we read that “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” With that in mind, may our ministering alongside the Lord allow us to recognize our growth within ourselves, like leaven, and spread to all those around us. May it afford us the strength that we all so desire. May we offer ourselves to be kneaded or “worked” in this grand effort that the Lord needs us for.

Me and my 2nd counselor, Carol.

Tridell ward focused on planting the words of the prophet deep in your heart.  They had us come and bear our testimonies concerning the restoration.  We got some flower seed packets and had a delicious dinner and desserts.  I loved getting to know everyone.

I brought my mom with me!  She loves these activities as much as I do.
Yummy brisket, sweet potato casserole, veggies, and a roll.

Judging the 5th Grade Science Fair...

I had the chance to judge the science fair at Steve's school again.  I love seeing all the projects and listening to the children describe what they did.

Here's what happens when you microwave different candy.

Here's some bacteria that is around your house

Steve's classroom door was decorated for Dr. Seuss Day.  He and his students drew pictures and came up with a fun poem.  They won the school contest.

Oh! The BEAUTY of a winter morning!

The field in front of my house looked so mystical this morning.

Family Fun...

We went to see the movie Sonic, which was fun.  Then we went to dinner at Denny's.

The zesty nachos are quite yummy at Denny's.

Lily's burger was big with bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns piled on.

Our favorite dessert, Chocolate Lava Cake!

One of our family home evening lessons focused on gratitude and we each made gratitude trees.



Lily taking Amara's picture in our backyard

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sacrament at Home

March 29, 2020

This past Sunday was our very first sacrament meeting at home.  We received the email from the church saying that as a precautionary measure due to the COVID-19 (Corona virus) worldwide pandemic, we are to hold sacrament meetings in our own homes. At the mention of it, I told Steve that I felt we should truly make it a worship service, dress up, sing hymns, and make it special.  Steve agreed and added that we should assign talks and have Sunday School following sacrament meeting.  We were both on the same page from the get go.  Our kids were excited to hear about sacrament meeting at home, but less enthused that it wouldn't be like watching general conference on TV where we watch in our pajamas. 

We planned to start at 10:30, but there were various hiccups and we ended up starting about an hour later, but when we began, and prepared for the sacrament, it truly was a sacred experience. 

Amara and I worked to make the house clean.  I wanted to prepare the place to invite the spirit.  We layed out a white sheet over our kitchen table and even attempted to press the wrinkles out of it. It made me realize just how much goes into preparing for this sacred ordinance. It made me so grateful for all those who prepare every Sunday to make this experience happen for me.  Everything from cleaning, pressing the white table cloth, assigning and preparing talks and lessons, arranging prelude and hymns to sing, gathering hymnals, moving furniture... there were a lot of things to prepare besides ourselves for sacrament meeting at home.  

I snapped a few pictures before we started just so that I could remember what these times were like.  The coronavirus pandemic won't last forever and eventually we will return to church services.  This little worship service in our own home is sacred.

Update: September 27, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic hasn't gone away.  I kinda thought things were going to die down after a couple months, but here we are half a year later and people are trying to resume some of their normal activities in a mask-modified way, but life is not normal.  We're still playing things pandemickly.  

My brother, Micah's family and my sister and my mom have all tested positive for COVID-19, and they've all recovered.  Recently, we attended the baptism of my nephew Rexton.  We gathered at my brother's house since there are not to be large gatherings or meetings at the churches, still.  We did the program at the house, complete with masks and social distancing.  The set up was amazing.  There was a laptop set up in the living room, another screen downstairs, and a camera and screen set up in the living room.  There were families all throughout their house.  Those presenting talks, prayers, leading music, etc., just stood in front of the camera and everyone could see them, including those joining in remotely on the zoom meeting stream.  (Which, by the way, Micah started at his boss's house so he could use his bandwidth.) It touched my heart to see so many family members "zoom" in, family that would otherwise not be able to participate at all because they live so far away.  

After the program there was a short intermission while Rexton and his immediate family (and 2 grandpas) went to the church, and prepared for the baptism. (P.S. It's cool that his brothers Jaxon and Maxwell were the witnesses to the baptism!)  The baptism was streamed on Zoom and all of us at the house were able to witness the ordinance.  It was beautiful.

Masked up me with Rex's baptism program

Rexton cracking open his new Book of Mormon

"I love being a child of God!" Those were Rex's exact words as he stood up to lead us all in singing I Am A Child of God.  His testimony was so powerful to me.  I have shared it with several family members and wrote it in my journal.  I love that proclamation of his and I could feel the truth behind it! I, too, love being a child of God and all that means.  God is my father.  As such, and in a most perfect way, He protects me, feeds me, cares for me, loves me, warns me, corrects me, carries me, and guides me on life's journey. I love being a child of God!


Church at home has been a blessing.  I am so thankful we can continue to worship during this time of turmoil for so many.  There is a lot of hope that has come from church at home.  There's been a lot of change in our lives, both outwardly and inwardly.  I have been grateful for the deeper introspection that the sacrament at home has had on my life and those in my family.  It has become a meaningful covenant that I feel bad for neglecting the importance of during the old routine at church.  When you listen to your children give a spiritually led talk or sunday school lesson each week, it deepens your appreciation for their spiritual journey and your own as a parent.  When you prepare a lesson or talk with your family as the audience in mind, the stress is heaps less and your content more sincere and simple.  I'm learning a lot from church at home.

We've had some wonderful sunday school lessons.  There are visual reminders tacked up all over our house now that point to the scriptures and what we learned that week.  I always intend to take them down after the week is over, but honestly, I love the messages, so they stay up longer.  We have our own titles of liberty taped on the walls, favorite introspective verses from Alma 5 in various locations, pictures of Christ we've colored with chains made up of paper links that we have written upon things we can do to remember Christ, and even posters we made together advertising something we learned from the readings that week.

Poster made by me and mom advertising where we find real riches.

Poster made by Lily and Amara advertising putting the kingdom of God first.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Lani turns 38!

Look at my gifts!

Steve came home from work with this darling milk bottle vase set
 with bright, happy gerber daisies nestled in.  He attached a beautiful poem he wrote for me which was rolled up like a tight scroll and tied to the wire basket with some decorative string.

The flowers in the foreground were from April. She conspired with mom to get them for me! The gift I'm holding is from my mom.  It was heavy.
Mom got me a Pioneer Woman dutch oven!  I love it!  It's so beautiful and it's my first dutch oven!

There's my dinner of choice- SUSHI!  There is one restaurant that does sushi in Vernal and it's an all you can eat Asian buffet called Win-On.
A variety of cheesecakes cut into bite-sized chunks so I could have a taste of every single one.  The funny thing is after trying them all, the one I preferred to all the rest was the plain new york style cheesecake!

Dessert didn't stop at cheesecake! My favorite ice cream- extreme moose tracks- and a couple bags of m&m's filled in the rest of the gaps on my dessert plate.
Happy Birthday to me!   I may have felt a little ill after eating all that sugar!