February 28, 2018

Tender Mercies

I recently finished reading Heaven Is Here by Stephanie Nielson for the second time-- it is one of my all time favorite books. In her book she talks about tender mercies and I loved the way she defined them. Unfortunately, I didn't mark the page and it is too big of a book to go looking for the quote. In essence though, she said that tender mercies are moments where you can see the Lord's hand in your life. Tender mercies can come in the form of protection, strength, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation and support.

Recently we have experienced a few of these tender mercies ourselves.  Finances have been tight for since we went from a two income household to a one income household. Bubba has been growing and he needed some bigger clothes. One day a received a message from a friend online and she wanted to know what size Bubba was, she gave us a large bag of hand-me-down clothes that were the perfect size for him.

A few days a large package showed up on our front porch. An extended family member sent us a large box of summer hand-me-down clothes.

Later that same week we received a large medical bill in the mail. I went online to pay the bill and it showed that we didn't owe any money to the doctors office-- this seemed strange to me. I called the doctors office and they confirmed that we didn't owe them any money. I'm not sure how this happened but I am grateful to the Lord for this blessing and the blessing of clothes for Bubba.

God is there, He is real and He will bless us.

February 27, 2018

A Heavy Heart

My heart is really heavy tonight, Bubba, it is taking a lot to hold back the tears. My Nana isn't doing very well. In fact, she hasn't been doing very well for a long time. She is in a lot of pain and our family suspects that her time on Earth will be coming to a close soon.

The tears are streaming down my face now...

Nana has been like a mom to me for the past 15 years. She is someone that I look up to, admire and seek advice from. Saying goodbye see ya' later will not be an easy thing for me. I know that it is for the best that she is relieved of the physical pain she is in, but it doesn't make saying good bye any easier. I suspect that she will be close by me throughout the rest of my life and that brings me comfort. I will always hear her voice in my head saying, "Love you my girl." It is more comforting though, to know that I will see her again. I am go grateful for the knowledge I have of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, specifically that families can be together forever.

I'm glad that you were able to meet Nana last year. I hope that you will have a relationship with your Nana and Papa like I have with my Nana.

I suspect that you can sense I am upset because you cuddled with me this evening for nearly two hours and didn't want to leave my side. Or maybe it is because you fell and hit your head/face really hard in the neighbors driveway and you need to be held as much as I do. Either way is fine with me, I just love you. I hope someday you will understand how much I love and care for you.

February 21, 2018

Bubba At 15 Months

Each day you learn and grow, it mind blowing to think about how much you have changed over the last several months. It was almost as though you went from baby to toddler overnight.

You are a very busy and active little boy. Nearly everyday, you pull the DVDs off the shelf and empty out my lower kitchen cupboards and drawers. You are fascinated with spice bottles, they are your favorite! You love taking the lids off, filling the bottles with treasure (your wooden blocks) and putting the lids back on.

You love to read! If I am not reading to you, you can often be found looking at a book on your own. Your favorite books right now are I Love You Through & Through, Five Stinky Socks, Piggy Paints, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Dinosaur Dance.

I love those little curls in the back.

Each day you look forward to feeding the chickens, watching them eat and collecting the eggs. Often you grab the egg basket out of the cupboard and run to the sliding glass door in anticipation of going to see the chickens. We frequently find you looking out the sliding glass door watching the birds.

You love dogs! Every dog is a puppy in your eyes, your face lights up each time you see one. You like to bark at them and pet them. You are super gentle with dogs.

You enjoy going to the park and climbing up the base of the slide and playing with the garbage can. You still have a strong dislike for the swings, maybe someday that will change.

You like to help Mommy and Daddy with anything and everything, you just want to be a part. When I sweep the floors, you carry the dust pan around. You throw everything including my books into the garbage. You like to help rotate the laundry, you put clothes into the washer and dryer. You are such a good helper!

Foods are hit and miss right now. One day you will love something and the next day you will not even touch it. You usually enjoy: bananas, apples, oranges, strawberries, gold fish crackers, olives, pickles, pancakes, eggs, macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches. Each morning you look forward in anticipation to helping me drink my green smoothie and or freshly juiced greens.

Your favorite songs right now are Old McDonald and Popcorn Popping.

We sure love you, Bubba and are so blessed to have you in our lives!

February 19, 2018

Mister Explorer

It has been snowing on and off for the last day and a half. While the snow hasn't accumulated, it has felt almost magical watching it fall. It doesn't snow very often in Oregon, when it does though, it is simply beautiful!

As you may have guessed, the weather changed on us. That nice warm weather we were enjoying has all but disappeared. I'm cuddled up with a fleece blanket dreaming about hot chocolate and warm summer days.

This past week was full of all kinds of new adventures for you, Bubba. The week started off with you learning how to unlock and open the dishwasher. The next thing I know you have learned how to climb up onto the door of the dishwasher and have figured out how to pull the top rack out. Gone are the days of doing the dishes while you are awake. I grabbed some painters tape and taped the dishwasher shut, it will have to do until I can pick up some locks for it.

Not too long after the dishwasher incident, you learned how to open the oven. I think I will be picking up locks for it too.

And then, you discovered you could use the pillows in my room as a ladder and you climbed up onto the chest in my bedroom. You fell off twice and I caught you, but you still cried.

You are quite the explorer. I'm dreading the day you decide to try and climb out of your crib.

Mom, I can't get my shirt off.

We went on several walks through the neighborhood. Each time we got near the park, you would scream with delight-- you wanted to play and like a good mommy, I let you. You aren't a bit fan of the swings, you still cry when I put you in them. You love the slide though, you squeal with delight each time we go down it together. You also enjoy pushing the garbage can lid open and closed-- you are a funny boy!

One day there was another little boy at the park playing, you thought it would be fun to pet his head like a dog--he was confused. I thought the whole scene was super funny!

Yesterday Daddy had to work so you and I went to church together. For the most part, you did okay. I decided to take you to Nursery second hour so you could play. The ladies serving in Nursery let me take you in as long as I stayed with you. You absolutely loved it! You played with toys, ate snacks in a big boy chair pushed up to the table and we sang some songs. You really enjoyed being around other little kids your own size. I think in a few more months when you are allowed to go to Nursery all by yourself, you are going to love it!

*Note* The red mark on your nose is an owie. You fell face first walking down the neighbor's driveway. 

February 18, 2018

Here Goes Nothing

One day while chasing Bubba up and down the aisles of the library a book called out to me. It said, "Pick me up, take me home and read me." Okay, maybe it didn't really talk to me, but it felt as though this book were calling out to me. Naturally I picked up the book, read the back of it and I decided to take it home and read it.

The premise of the book is there is a girl, her husband and a baby about Bubba's age. They have been living in Guatemala for the last several years. While in Guatemala they have been involved in some form of humanitarian work. They are getting ready to head back to the United States and they are nervous about adjusting back to the American culture.

The people that this young family has been working with give them a profound piece of advice. They remind them that the first great commandment is to love God and the second great commandment is to love your neighbor. They advise them to go home and learn to love their neighbors.

While it might seem like silly advice it had a profound impact on Kendra (the mommy in this story). Kendra is an introvert by nature and does not enjoy interacting with others. Upon returning home she decides to take the advice to heart. Each day for thirty days she finds some small way to step outside of herself and serve her neighbors. She includes some scripture (note: NIV version of the Bible) and a challenge to the reader to step outside of themselves and serve their neighbors.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read. While the scriptures passages were worded in a way that is different from what I am used to (I use the King James Version of the Bible) the overall messages were wonderful. I found myself examining my own life and looking for ways to serve and lift those around me. If you have been feeling down lately, I highly recommend this book.

February 13, 2018


Have you ever noticed how obsessed we have become as a society with labels? Labels seem to be lurking everywhere. We have labels on our clothes, the food we eat, phone numbers, zip codes, cities, states, race, ethnicity, gender, pictures (i.e. # on social media), we label others and ourselves as successes, failures, winners, losers, pretty, ugly, fat, skinny and the list goes on.

I was recently listening to a Face-To-Face event with Elder Oaks and Elder Ballard and they started talking about this very subject. They cautioned against labeling ourselves and others. I haven't been able to find the exact quote, but Elder Oaks said in essence that the most important label we have is "I am a child of God." These remarks have caused me to do a lot of thinking, pondering and introspection. Do I label others? Do I label myself? Why do labels matter? Are they important? Do labels matter to God? Do I care how others label me? What's the big deal with labels anyways?

As I have contemplated these questions I was brought back to a time in my life that wasn't a very happy time. Growing up I didn't care what people thought or said about me, I marched to my own drum and did my own thing.

Sometime in college things changed. I found myself in situations I had never been in or ever imagined that I would be in. I didn't have a lot of space and I didn't have a lot of privacy at this time in my life. About this same time some people entered my life that I thought loved and cared about me-- hindsight is 20/20 and I was wrong about them loving or caring about me. These people made it a point on a regular basis to point out what they perceived as my flaws and weakness and compared them to their strengths. And they said a lot of terrible, awful things and cruel things about me not only to my face but behind my back to others. These remarks changed not only the way other people perceived me, they changed the way I saw myself.

My self-esteem and self-worth were pretty much gone at this point. I would look in the mirror and tell myself that "so and so says I am (insert put-down-of-choice here) so it must be true." I started to feel really down and defeated.

The mistake I made was that I didn't tell these people to stop it soon enough. And I didn't remove myself from the situations I found myself in fast enough.

Since that time I have been learning how to standup for myself. I have learned that it is okay to not associate with people, even family if they don't treat you kindly. It hasn't been easy to change my perspective. It hasn't been easy to regain myself esteem, but I have done it.

I have learned that what other people say about me doesn't matter. I am a daughter of God. My worth in His eyes never changes. He will always be there. His love is constant. He loves me for who I am and where I am in life and that is what is most important.

February 12, 2018

Sunshine, Slides & Sunday

It has been so beautiful outside lately. The sun has been shining, the sky is blue and the temperatures have been in the high 60s and low 70s, for Oregon this is an unusual thing for February. We soaked up all the sunshine we could get.

We went on walks around our neighborhood and on the river trail with some friends. We also went to the park and we spent some time in the yard.

One day while we were at the park, you surprised me my pulling yourself up the slide. Not only did you pull yourself up, you tried to climb up the slide to the top. You are some determined little boy.

Beets are YUM!

You did something really funny yesterday. We got you all dressed and ready for church and you decided to pull your church pants off. You are really skinny and your pants are a little loose, so we know that's why you were able to get them off. You were walking around the house in your diaper, socks, dress shirt and sweater vest. We decided that for the time being, you will be wearing jeans to church as all your church pants are too big in he waist.

February 5, 2018

First Time Playing Outside

Well, I already shared how awesome Monday was. Thankfully, the rest of the week went much better than that.

The weather has been exceptionally nice lately. We were able to get out and go on several walks. You know what they say, sunshine is good for the soul!

Bubba, you finally cut that tooth that has been trying to come in for about a month now. You officially have four teeth on top and four teeth on bottom. Before we know it you will be cutting molars.

We spent most of Saturday working outside in the yard. We mowed and edged the grass, we pruned the bushes and raspberry plants and we planted some flowers and more bushes.  Bubba, you enjoyed playing in the grass and mud for the first time. You walked all over the yard and up and down the sidewalk. You enjoyed carrying rocks around and watching the chickens in their pen.

Silly Daddy, socks goes on feet not hands.

In other news, the chiropractor wants you to be in their next commercial. I'm not sure when that is going to happen but I think it's kind of exciting news.

February 1, 2018

Food For Thought

President Spencer W. Kimball taught, “Sometimes it seems we take the scriptures too much for granted because we do not fully appreciate how rare a thing it is to possess them, and how blessed we are because we do have them. We seem to have settled so comfortably into our experiences in this world and become so accustomed to hearing the gospel taught among us that it is hard for us to imagine it could ever have been otherwise.”

I have often wondered what my life would be like without the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is a scary thing to think about. What kind of person would I be? What kind of life would I be living? I truly am blessed to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My knowledge of the gospel brings so much meaning, purpose and direction to my life.