slider img
slider img
slider img

Mark had no idea just how much Thailand was going to change our little family's life. Previous to ever seriously considering going to ...

Our Family is our Home

Mark had no idea just how much Thailand was going to change our little family's life.

Previous to ever seriously considering going to Thailand, there had been a feeling festering inside me.    Resentment.  I wasn't living the life, that deep inside, I felt like I was designed to live.  So, I started searching for greater growth, development, and insight.  Mark was supportive on every level - he too recognized something missing in me that had once been there in the beginning.  I remembered from years ago, that while I was learning about Buddhism, something about it resonated with me that added another dimension and depth to my LDS faith.  So, I sought out Buddhism again to see if it could rekindle part of the flame of who I always viewed myself as but sadly could no longer find very many living traces of within myself.  I highly recommend learning about Buddhism (there are many types, but Zen Buddhism is a great place to start).

Right before going to Thailand, I also attended a mentoring course taught by Kirk Duncan that my mother had felt she should sign me up for.  Oh how grateful I am she heeded that prompting nearly one year earlier!  The course validated so many of my thoughts and ideas that had been flowing to me since I earnestly started seeking greater light and growth.  I was ecstatic to share everything I had learned with Mark and start implementing these life changing concepts.  The 26 hour travel time from Idaho to Bangkok provided lots of opportunity to share with Mark so much of what had inspired me at the Kirk Duncan course.

Thailand was extraordinarily wonderful, beautiful, and wholly refreshing.  It was everything I wanted it to be and more.

Waiting at the bus station in rural Thailand.

Secretly... or not so secretly, (since I'm about as transparent as a person comes), I held on to the resolution that Thailand would be the first of many decisions that led us to living a life entirely custom fit for our family - no more living on auto pilot and simply following the patterns that mainstream society dictated.

In the winter of 2014, during a 'heated discussion' when we were trying to resolve a reoccurring conflict, Mark said to me, "We know Heavenly Father brought us together for a reason.  If we want to find out that reason, we can't do it without living up to our potential."*  As unpleasant as that conversation was up until then, the matter we were discussing instantly melted away as our focus shifted.  The Lord spoke to my heart and told me what Mark said was true.

*(If you know our dating story, you know that it was God that continually brought our attention back to one another after we several times confounded the process (okay, that was mostly my fault). But God was good and helped me to see.

Thus keeping in mind that God brought us together for a very specific reason, we also realized in order to live that reason, we needed to honor our individual nature by listening to and acting upon the messages each of our hearts communicates.

And so it is, our life has speedily evolved to the present day.

Immediately following Girl's Camp, we said goodbye to our little cozy 1930's house, our ward family (I miss my YW already), and the land of my heritage.  We moved back to the Boise area where Mark has started his first contract as a travel physical therapist.  The typical contract is about 3 months long which will have us changing location just as often.  To help provide a sense of home for our children, which we think is important, we are going to have a local manufacturer, TinyIdahomes, build a 'tiny home' for us.

We are so excited to dive into this new adventure.  Surely, it will be challenging.  We welcome the challenges in all their glory, for in them, we will find growth.

Below are three quotes I think are fitting for our family.  I hope you find them inspiring too.

We never grow closer to God when we just live life.  It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.
~ Francis Chan

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anaïs Nin

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
~ Steve Jobs

artwork credit: Mary Southard, Great Solstice Moon I owe the world an apology.  It's been a long time coming.  However, I could...

An Apology

artwork credit: Mary Southard, Great Solstice Moon

I owe the world an apology.  It's been a long time coming.  However, I couldn't write about it until I met some kind of resolve, found some amount of strength that I hadn't yet possessed to overcome my self-induced-emotional disability.

Its funny when we are asked to serve, when we are asked to extend ourselves for the sake of others, the awareness of our own lack of wholeness and well-being is sharpened.  In my recent case, it has cut me sufficiently deep that I could no longer refrain from looking at myself honestly in the mirror.

At the beginning of this year, I was asked to serve as the president of the Young Women's organization in my local church group (ward).  Although taken back, I whole heartedly accepted the call and looked forward to it with eagerness.

However, in the weeks since then I've experienced frequent anxiety - a feeling that is uncommon to me by nature.  Tonight, after our young women's youth group met for our weekday activity, I came home and found again this new familiar feeling of anxiety starting to build.  After unsuccessfully trying to distract my mind, before going to bed, I asked Mark if we could have a prayer to help ease my mind.

Now there are prayers and then there are PRAYERS.  I cannot tell you for how long I've avoided the latter.  I've intentionally avoided them.  I haven't been willing to open up the chambers of my heart to my Heavenly Father.  Not because I was hiding them from Him, but because I was hiding them from myself.   I was not willing to confront the pain of what I knew it would mean to have a personal heart to heart with my Maker.  Prayers with family at meal times - sure.  Prayers at night time with both Eden and Mark - sure.  Prayers of all sorts - sure! -as long as I could leave shut those few paddle locked chambers of my heart that kept at bay negative emotions.

So tonight, when I started the prayer with the overall intention to alleviate my mind of its anxiety and lay my worries down before the Lord - expressing my righteous desires in behalf of these girls - all of a sudden without being prepared, I had to go there - to those rooms I've avoided for oh so long.  I could not pray for these girls without the awareness that I also needed healing.  I cried and Mark held me - his warm hand cradling my face giving me silent encouragement and support.  I ended the prayer realizing something had changed within me.  For years, I haven't known how, but tonight I finally gave myself permission to let go of the snowball of hurt, disappointment, and pain that have diseased my heart and mind for too long.

So while I set off on a journey to extend to these girls all the love that I have and help them learn greater to trust their Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, I also set off on a journey to increase my faith in the Savior and the facets of the Atonement that would return me to wholeness.

In days too far past, I was a different person than who I've allowed myself to become.  Not knowing how to face and bounce back from rejection, I've slowly allowed my optimism, cheerfulness, resiliency, and fearlessness to be transformed into the antonyms of these traits.  And for this, I apologize to you, my loved ones, that have encountered in me a stranger filled with cynicism, ingratitude, and condemnation of those around me.  But no longer will I allow myself to degenerate from the much more pleasant version of myself that Heavenly Father created me to be.  I am thankful for the ambiguous effect of my desires for these girls and the miracle it has produced in my own heart.

And perhaps that is one reason the Lord called me, that He knew my inevitable prayers for the girls would be the vehicle needed to start my own healing.  And for this, I thank Him and the girls whom I've been called to serve.

This past Thursday night, Mark rushed me to the E.R.  It appeared that my body was going into shock from profuse bleeding I had been ...

Miscarriage: Because of Imperfect Conditions

This past Thursday night, Mark rushed me to the E.R.  It appeared that my body was going into shock from profuse bleeding I had been experiencing.  After some treatment, blood work, an ultrasound, and a physical examination, the doctor confirmed that the pregnancy I had been carrying had been lost - my third miscarriage since Eden was born.

I had read somewhere that the likelihood of three consecutive miscarriages only affected 1% of pregnancies.  I had been confident that this pregnancy was going to be different than the previous two.  My body was responding more like it had when I was pregnant with Eden and I had a feeling of peace despite my initial fears of another miscarriage.

I am not writing because I wish to receive condolences.  That is the last thing I want really.  Pretty early on in the pregnancy some of our close friends observed that I must be pregnant and they of course were right.  Friends learned we were pregnant before some of my immediate family members knew, so we decided we might as well not try to keep it a secret any longer.  My excitement got the best of me and I made our news somewhat public - which is one reason that I am writing.  I don't like the idea of people thinking I am pregnant when unfortunately I am no longer so.  I don't like the idea of "breaking the news" to people one at a time when they inevitably and innocently ask about outdated information.

Although, yes, I do write to inform those that had known our news.  I mostly desire to write to share my testimony and gratitude (which is ironically the most difficult part).

Our unfortunate event was sandwiched between the Easter holiday last week and the General Conference of our Church this weekend.   Easter was an overt reminder that Jesus Christ has overcome spiritual and physical death, enabling us to do the same, so that we might live with God after this life- the ultimate comfort.  In General Conference, we hear words of a prophet reminding and reaffirming eternal truths that are confirmed by the Holy Spirit.  My heart thirsts to hear the words of the Prophet, Twelve Apostles, and other leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I know the words they speak are true, and they are the same as if Christ had spoken them.  (D&C 1:38)  The reoccurring commandment, "Be of good cheer," (John 16:33D&C 68:6) encourages me.  And perhaps the most comforting commandment of all that lends me peace is, D&C 101:16, Therefore, let your hearts be comforted... for all flesh is in mind hands: be still and know that I am God."

Multiple times throughout the experience, when Mark would comfort me with his touch, like an electrical current, the Holy Ghost again bore witness to me what it did so many times before during Mark and I's courtship and engagement, that Mark's love is genuine and he and I chose the correct eternal companion for ourselves.  

Despite some reserved sadness, our sweet Eden reminds us of the great blessings Heavenly Father has already bestowed upon our family.  I am grateful for what we have.  It would be counterproductive to dwell on what we do not have.

After three consecutive miscarriages, it is easy to think that there might be some permanent problem that would keep us from having more children.  I have never imagined myself to only have one child.  The joy we experience being Eden's parents, naturally instills in us a desire to bring more children into our family.  If it is a permanent problem, we, of course, know that there are other options to consider that might be right for growing our family.  However, no matter what happens, we know that life will unfold itself as it will - regardless of our best plans or preconceived notions.  We take comfort knowing that, if we are faithful in keeping the covenants we have made with the Lord in His Holy Temple, our lives will include all the learning and shaping experiences required so that we may live with our Heavenly Father again, and where our families can continue to grow without the imperfect conditions of mortal life on earth.

The closing song of the Sunday Morning Session of General Conference, was fittingly, "Come, Come, Ye Saints," a beautiful hymn of encouragement and eternal perspective.  

We know that you, our friends and family, are sorry for our loss.  We feel your love that some have already expressed to us in their concern.  We are grateful for you, we love you.  Above all, we are grateful for the eternal truths that shape our perspective of this mortal life.  We are grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the author of our beliefs.  We love Him.  We know that He lives, that through Him we can overcome all, and that He has again restored the entirety of His gospel through His prophets.  We know these things as surely as we know that we are made of flesh and bone.

I love my dad.  While talking to him on the phone today I found out that after a big snow storm yesterday he scraped snow from a long list o...

Old Man on a Four Wheeler

I love my dad.  While talking to him on the phone today I found out that after a big snow storm yesterday he scraped snow from a long list of people's driveways.  Discarding his lengthy to-do list, he without a second thought rigged up his four wheeler and got to work.  He enjoyed telling me about each of the families he had secretly helped in their neighborhood.  Some of them were near strangers and of course others were not.  But somehow he had found out about circumstances that helped him to know that a shoveled driveway would be a blessing to each of those that he did it for.

I heard in my dad's voice a feeling of contentment and gratitude for having served these people.  Of the recipients, I know one is a recent widow, several are in poor health, others were out of town, some just have a lot on their plate, and for some it would just be a nice surprise.

I want to be like my dad.

Recently he was released from a Branch President calling in a young single adults branch.  It is hard for even me to adequately describe what I know about how much that calling meant him, how much he loves those young people, having taught them, counseled them, rubbed shoulders with them, and to have felt the love and appreciation they in turn showed for him.  It has been a great heartache for him to have lost that role.  My heart hurts knowing the sadness he carries.

But instead of withdrawing himself or dwelling on what he misses, he proactively looks for opportunities to find new ways to serve and help others.  He makes himself busy helping those he is surrounded by, friends and strangers alike.

I wish I could have been behind him on the four wheeler or had my own so that I could have joined in on his snowy night adventure and seen first-hand the look of satisfaction and grin on his face each time he left yet another house.

Growing up I did not get along well with my dad.  I was headstrong, fiercely opinionated, and didn't mind a good butting of heads.  Where do you think I got such good debating skills?  Thankfully, I now see my dad dramatically different than from how I viewed him in my adolescent years.  Surprisingly, I now realize that we are so very much alike.  I respect him, his ideas, and his counsel.  I know that I was blessed with a dad whose example has shaped me beyond my comprehension.

Supposing you get on here and see this, thanks Dad.  It is wonderful to not only be your daughter, but your friend too.

While on Christmas break, I went with some of my husband's family to shoot guns in the desert.  Two Thompson brothers and their wives.  ...

Serious Machines

While on Christmas break, I went with some of my husband's family to shoot guns in the desert.  Two Thompson brothers and their wives.  My sister-in-law asked me, with the boys in the background shooting the vintage Russian World War II rifle, what my ideas regarding gun control were.  I'm glad she asked because before then I hadn't given the subject as much thought as it deserved.

Ever since high school when I learned about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in my 12th grade U.S. Government class, I recognized the need and purpose behind the 2nd Amendment.

I didn't grow up with guns being an integral part of my childhood.  I knew there were some guns in my dad's closet that had been inherited from my mom's dad, a rough tough Wyoming cattle rancher.  He had used them for hunting and for protecting his livestock from predators.  I doubt my dad ever fired any of them since having inherited them.  My dad also had a personal hand gun that he had made us aware of and we knew that it was for safety and protection purposes only.

Having married Mark, I have somewhat learned to be more comfortable and a little more at ease with guns.  Although they have become more familiar to me, each time we go shooting I still feel a heaviness in the air.

They are serious machines.  Their purpose or power is not to be taken lightly.

It is an ignorant thought to reason that more legislation and regulation is the answer to the mass shootings epidemic.  It is shrugging off responsibility and finding an ineffective scape goat.

We have created a society that has an appetite for violence.  It is fed to children through video games, blockbuster films, cartoons, the sensationalized news and more.  We familiarize individuals with it and allow it to become a part of the norm.  Fiction or non-fiction, we sensationalize violence.  It is fed to us on a platter and we scarf it up.  Violence sells.

After we teach a child every step of how to carry out a heinous crime, we are surprised when an unstable individual, child or adult, acts out a similar scene like what they have seen a thousand times on the screen.  We spell out the equation for them and then ask ourselves like idiots how they could have ever done such a thing.  We teach them violence and vindictiveness.  Afterwards people cry out for gun control as if that is the resolution to the problem.  As if guns are the problem.

We are a product of our environment and what we surround ourselves with.  Its the culture that America has made so readily available that has created the problem.  If we sincerely want to see change it will not happen until we own up to this responsibility.

First Springfield Cardinals baseball game.  I am having a doozie of a time uploading pictures to Blogger.  These In...

Birthday Girl

First Springfield Cardinals baseball game. 

I am having a doozie of a time uploading pictures to Blogger.  These Instagram pictures give me the least amount of problems so they are what my blogs get.  These pictures were meant for the family blog but ended up here on my personal blog.  I've wrestled for way too long on them not to post them.  So here are a few pictures from Eden's first year with us.  We love her immensely and she brings another element of fun to our marriage.  

And in case any of you haven't heard, Mark and I started a family blog since we excused ourselves from the Facebook world.  Our family blog will help us maintain at least some sort of presence in this virtual world we live in.  There is not a huge difference between the blogs except the family blog, as could be expected, focuses on our family and what we have been up to while my personal blog is more just a smattering of my ponderings, observations, or whatever other quirky things I feel like writing about.  If you haven't already done so, hop on over to the family blog and check it out.

In one week from now we will find ourselves in St. George to start the holiday season with Mark's family so the family blog will probably have some good action on it documenting our red rock adventures.

Uhh... can we say messy girl?!
Playing on Daddy while he's sleeping.
Elvis impersonator.


Two days before her first birthday, E needed some additional fluids.  Not a fun birthday week.
Going on a walk in the park with Daddy.
Halloween jack-o-lanterns and a peeping Eden.

Recovered enough to take a birthday trip to the zoo.

Who colors their hair the night before family pictures?  This crazy girl does.  Our good friend and photographer did such a great job takin...

Our first REAL family pictures. Fall 2012

Who colors their hair the night before family pictures?  This crazy girl does.  Our good friend and photographer did such a great job taking these for us.  Thank you Michelle!  You can find her work here.  Truly I am always nervous getting in front of a camera and "trying" to act natural.  We had so much fun it makes me want to take some more!

Powered by Blogger.