Dec 31, 2012

New Year's Eve

By Claire Enos

There's something about the new year. It makes you think you really can do anything. But it's not just the new year when I have this feeling of being able to accomplish anything! It's any time I'm about to embark on something new. The beginning of a new semester, the beginning of the day, week, month, etc. I have this feeling that part of it is the idea of new beginnings. The idea that something new and different is going to happen makes us think we can do anything.

Of course, the second this new day, week, month, semester, or year starts I no longer have this feeling. I no longer feel like I can do anything. I suddenly feel like I'm being swept away by life, rather than forging my life on my own. My question the last few years has been how I can change this phenomenon. How can I keep this feeling as the days, weeks, and months go on?

I still haven't figured this out, but I'd love your thoughts on this. However, that's not all I wanted to talk about. This time of year is the time when most people make new year's resolutions. I have a whole list started, but I'm doing something slightly different this year. All my resolutions are carefully planned out, down to the last detail. I know exactly what I need to do in order to accomplish them. Of course, stuff is always going to happen that could mess those plans up, which is why the second part of my plan is to not worry if things don't work out the way I planned. In fact, if I realize a resolution isn't going to work out, I will just let it go. No point in holding onto a resolution that's just going to stress me out.

So, without further ado, I've decided that for this next year I will focus solely on things that will make me a better person. I want to create a healthier lifestyle that includes exercise, and a healthy diet. I want to work on my spirituality, which will include getting into the habit of reading my scriptures daily, praying at least twice a day, and preparing for a mission. I also want to focus on me, on not being so stressed out, learning to let myself have fun while not going overboard, especially working on my self-esteem because I've realized I could use the work. Grades are an obvious resolution, but I really want to get all A's and B's (this last semester I got all A's and B's except one C.) My last resolution involves service. I will be spending more time serving others than I usually do.

So, what are some of your New Year's Resolutions? I'd love to hear some of them! Also, I'd love to hear how you keep that feeling of being able to accomplish anything that comes from a new beginning, if you've figured out the secret I'd love to hear it! 

Have a good year! I am certainly planning on it!

<3Claire

Dec 30, 2012

Last Sunday of 2012

By Jennifer Debenham

Does anyone else feel like life is FLYING by? And besides that, I was getting REALLY good at typing 2012. I don't even have to look at the keyboard. My finger memory has that one down.


Our family in Washington at the beginning of 2012
It's pretty hard not to become a bit contemplative when the year draws to a close. The death of the old year and the birth of the new carries with it memories of the past and thoughts of new beginnings.

What do I want to accomplish this year? Whom do I want to be? And how do I become that person?

Where will the new year take me? Or, perhaps better, where will I decide to go this year?

2012 moved me and my family across three states, leaving cherished friends behind, but allowing me to strengthen bonds with family members that we now live closer to. It was painful to see my two teens and a tween struggle with the harsh adjustments of moving (which was the hardest part of the move for me). Yet we have grown closer as a family, and that's a blessing that could only come from that particular trial. So no go-backs!

I wonder if I'll feel the same about the changes 2013 will bring (that's soooo not as easy to type!).

In 2013, I'll mark three major milestones in my life. In April, I'll celebrate 20 years of marriage with my soulmate. Hard to imagine when I still feel like a newlywed at times. In June, I'll say "good-bye" to my first child as he graduates high school and prepares to serve a mission. (Can't hardly think of it.) In November, I'll turn 40. (Don't want to think of it!)

Our family in Nevada at the end of 2012
All these milestones make me think of what I want to accomplish too. When I was that girl of nineteen, planning my future with my soon-to-be hubby, did I imagine my 20-year-older self to be the way I am now? Not hardly. I don't think my imagination was that good. And my vision certainly wasn't. While some things have fallen short of my plans, my Father in Heaven has had plans for me I didn't anticipate. And just like the move to Nevada brought unexpected blessings, so has my unexpected life. In those areas that I am better than I imagined, I thank my Heavenly Father for his numerous lessons. In those areas where I still fall short, I recognize my need to improve and make some of those nineteen-year-old girl dreams a reality!

In keeping with that thought, last Sunday, the second-to-last Sunday of 2012, we revisited President Uchtdorf's talk "Of Regrets and Resolutions" in our Relief Society lesson. I'm linking it here as a little Last-Sunday-of-2012 treat.

Happy Reading. Happy Writing. And . . . I'll talk to you NEXT year!

Dec 29, 2012

2012 Year in Review

By Bonnie Harris

This post almost didn't happen. I attempted to do this a few days ago and found that my blog "didn't exist." News to me. After doing some research, I found that my blog had been hijacked. It took a lot longer than I would have liked to recover everything, and it got me thinking about time. It's such a precious commodity, and I know I'm not the only one who wishes for more. So, why would someone spend time hijacking other people's blogs or hacking into accounts or any of that other stuff? I'm not sure I see the benifit in any of that. Then again, I'm not the one spending the time on it.

Time led to thinking about the past year. Have I/Did I use my time in the wisest way possible?
Answer: I definitely didn't spend my time taking over other people's accounts, but I think I did all right. Overall, I think I did well. I think everyone does well, but we can always do better.


  • How did you do with your time this year?
  • Did you accomplish what you wanted to?
  • Did those priorities change?
  • Do you feel good about what was done this year?


These are all questions I'm sure most people think about around this time (or variations of the same questions). So, to give you a jump start—in other words, confession time.

I got close to accomplishing my goals this year. Did they change? Yes. Was I able to keep up with the changes? No. Do I wish I got more done? Yes, but I learned a lot.


  • I learned that it's OK to change directions.
  • I learned it's OK to decide that a particular goal just isn't going to happen and to let it go.
  • I learned how to prioritize better. Sort of. :)
  • I learned that life is short, and sometimes you have to put the keyboard away and say, "Oh well. It's not what's important today."
  • I learned that just because I started doing it well at the beginning of the year doesn't mean that I will be able to finish it as strong as I'd like
Who knows if any of this makes sense to anyone. Hopefully, you get the idea. But as I look forward to the next year and it's challenges, I'm able to do so with new understanding and strategies and purpose. I wish I could say I knew what was going to happen and that I would accomplish everything, but I can't. That's something I've had a very difficult time admitting. Now that I have, though, it sure makes things easier to take in bite size pieces.

So as you take a look at the year, remember that it's OK if things didn't get finished. Look at what was accomplished. Remember you are strong and can overcome anything placed in your way. Remember that you are not alone.

Happy New Year! Happy Year-in-review! Happy Writing!

Dec 27, 2012

Christmas Miracles

by Kari Diane Pike

Happy Christmas week to all of you...

It's getting late. After an 11 hour drive and a hot dinner, I parked my body at Maui Chill in Highland/Lehi, Utah to write this post. The owners were very kind and loaned me the security key since they don't technically have their WiFi set up yet. I am grateful for their kindness and generosity. I am grateful for wet, but not icy roads and tempered weather so that we arrived to our destination safely. And I am grateful for Christmas miracles of all kinds.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my mother is ill with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.. Last week, the surgeon removed her spleen, where the cancer seemed to be concentrated. It has been a tough road for her. Being diagnosed for the third time with this disease really took the fight out of my mom. After the surgery, she seemed to sink even deeper into a void of depression. And then an angel named Larry appeared.

Larry volunteers at the hospital every Wednesday. He is an old friend from when we lived in Arizona before. He chatted with my mom for a bit, and sensing her struggles, he shared a story. About 13 years ago, Larry died. He had a massive heart attack and passed to the other side...for a short period of time. He remembers two things from that experience. Larry was shown how he chose the many challenges he was facing at that time because of what he would learn from them and he was told to never forget that love is the key. He shared his testimony of eternal life and of the Savior and the plan of salvation. We laughed and we cried as we chatted.Every day since Larry's visit, I've watched my mom's countenance brighten. That very night she decided she needed to get out of bed and sit in a chair to eat dinner.

I am grateful for answered prayers and for angels, both those from heaven and those on earth. There are miracles all around us every day. Thank you for being a part of the miracles in my life...

Have a happy and blessed New Year!
hugs~

Dec 26, 2012

The Lights

by Jill Burgoyne

My post is late and short. But it's all due to the wonderful adventures of birthdays, Disneyland, moving, Christmas and Doctor's Appointments.

As I reflect on the Christmas season, I think about what traditions are my favorite part, and it's not hard for me to pick it out. I like looking at Christmas Lights. We went driving for Christmas lights at least 7 times this month. And most of them successfully put the babies in the back to sleep.

The first time was the first Monday in December. We went for family night and we talked the entire time about the Savior and how lights symbolize our Savior. I think our 3 year old got more than we thought she did.

My tree got put up three days before Christmas this year... it's because we moved and then had to find the boxes and then find the living room floor, but when the lights finally got put, up, my small children sat and watched that tree for long periods of time.

On Christmas morning, I had gone to bed about three hours before my husband did ( I blame the baby in my tummy) but I will have you know that I woke up about 2 and a half hours before he did. I was so very excited! I calmed myself down enough to read for a minute. Then I tried to go back to sleep, took a shower, read some more and finally began to doze off... just as my littlest baby cooed. I jumped out of the bed and my husband and a sleepy smile on his face. He then asked me to wait. WAIT! I sat with the girls and waited. He spent about five minutes setting up the lights and starting a fire in the fire place. When we walked out into the living room to see what Santa had brought us, it had only been light outside for about 15 minutes. And with the sun coming in and the Christmas tree lit up, adding to the glow of the fire, I just took away from that moment, the light.

Dec 24, 2012

By Tracy Astle

It's Christmas Eve! If you're here reading this today, I hope this is what's filling your mind and heart. (If you read this later, that's all good, too. This can warm our hearts anytime.)



No matter how near we are to or far we are from our loved ones this Christmas season, we are never too far for the love of Christ to reach us and encircle us with love.


MERRY CHRISTMAS, ALL!

Dec 22, 2012

In God's Hands You Go - Original Song



By Cindy R. Williams

This is incredible. The young lady in this video is one of my guitar students. In her lesson last week I asked her to write a Christmas song, and then the horrible tragedy happened at the Elementary School Friday, December 14, 2012. Lacee wrote this. She is just that amazing.

Her mother told me Lacee's heart was aching for the children and their families. Her little brother is in kindergarten so it hit home. This song can bring great comfort. I hope it reaches those left behind with broken hearts.

This is really worth three minutes to have your heart strings played.

May we all be a little more kind and hold our loved ones close this Season.

Merry Christmas to all and peace to your hearts.



Dec 21, 2012

Smokin Twinkies




My dad says he doesn't remember this story, but I do. We were moving from my birth town of Winslow, to an even smaller (if possible) town called Joseph City. It was pretty much a straight shot down the road. We just followed the railroad tracks. It was always fun to see the railroad tracks back then because both of my grandfathers were caboose engineers. We would watch the trains snake by, just so we could see the end and  wave our arms,   hoping by some miracle Grandpa or Grandad was there and could actually see us waving. It made us, or at least me, feel like I was part of some thing special. Then they got rid of the cabooses on trains. Seriously, they have to get rid of everything special in the world. First cabooses and now Hostess. Is nothing sacred?
Back to my story. We had loaded up a UHaul with all of our treasures in the back and bodies in the front. (family, not dead ones.....sicko!) It was a sunny day, as usual in Arizona. The drive wasn't very long, only about 45 minutes if I remember correctly. We were buzzing along when we passed a lone hitch hiker walking along the side of the road with a cigarette in his mouth and his thumb stuck out to traffic. My dad suddenly waxed poetic when he said, "you smoke, I choke, you walk, I ride." Maybe it was because something like that was so out of character for my dad that it has stayed in my head for...well...LOTS of years, or maybe it was the simplicity in making a decision. I don't think my dad would ever had picked up a hitch hiker when he had a car/truck full of kids, but because of the man's carcinogen filled exhales, the choice was very easy for him. Maybe it was my dad's statement that made me never want to smoke myself. I wanted to always be welcome in my dad's truck. I like my dad a lot.
I wish my kids still had their dad around. Brad wasn't perfect, but he was their dad. Nobody can ever really fill the place of your dad. There is a couple of boys at my school who lost their dad last summer. It was from a long illness and they were expecting it, but I can't help tear up almost every day when I see them. I see my own kids when I look at them. I see the hurt in their eyes that they try so hard to keep at bay. I wonder if the people at the schools where my kids are see that in my kids eyes?  
Tomorrow is the last day of school before winter break. I found myself tearing up as I looked at the many many kids running around on the playground. I am going to miss them. It's funny, when I'm home I think of school, and when I'm at school I think of home. So many wonderful kids in my life. I am so blessed. I wish I was better for all of them. I wish I taught them wonderful things that made a difference in their lives. I want all these children to be better than me, and the best they can be. I want happiness, kindness, understanding, strength and success for all of them. I think about the horrors of last week in the news and I can't imagine it. I really can't. One of my teachers told me she thinks the man was possessed by a demon. Maybe he was. I can't imagine a human being doing something so awful. 
I do the best I can. I teach my kids the importance of service, compassion, education, morals, and personal hygiene. I listen to them and talk to them and try to spend time with them. I treat the kids at school the way I pray my kids are treated at their schools. I hope that by some universal balancing act my efforts at my school actually make a difference in my kids lives. It's a mom thing...
If nothing else, I did teach the kids at school how to keep their hands warm on a cold day. They came to me flapping their long sleeves.....crying that they were freezing. I did what any kind hearted, loving, concerned person would do. I carefully tied their sleeves together in a big knot so they would be warm....and stop flapping me with them. They thought it was a great game and I soon had a line of kids waiting to be tied up in their jackets. Ah, simple pleasures....life is just a wonder when kids are in it....cause I said so.

Photo credit: http://www.google.com/imgres?q=smoking+twinkies&start=180&hl=en&client=safari&sa=X&tbo=d&rls=en&biw=1366&bih=595&tbm=isch&tbnid=dWI9EXnJbWFd2M:&imgrefurl=http://www.freeenterprise.com/labor/sugar-low-union-kills-twinkie&docid=IB8hqFCz7aq9rM&imgurl=http://www.freeenterprise.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/media/00_LABOR_RIPTwinkies_659x439px.jpg&w=659&h=439&ei=baLSUNa6CaaOiAK5-YCgCA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=898&vpy=40&dur=201&hovh=183&hovw=275&tx=157&ty=113&sig=113066672481944259300&page=8&tbnh=137&tbnw=212&ndsp=27&ved=1t:429,r:85,s:100,i:259

Dec 20, 2012

Christmas Greetings


By Susan Knight

 

While recuperating from this blasted flu, I was able to lift my head up for awhile to sit at my table and ready my Christmas cards. Thank goodness I ordered them weeks prior.

In years past, these greeting cards were my gifts to friends, neighbors and family. I handmade them, or created a design and had it printed. I am told they were turned into tree ornaments by my wonderful recipients.

Since I’ve been working full-time for the last few years, I haven’t sent Christmas cards. I emailed a Christmas newsletter instead.

Two years ago, when I fled to Utah and lived with my generous best friend and her husband for six months, I was so beyond delighted to receive Christmas cards from my friends and family back home. I missed everyone tremendously. Knowing they were thinking of me with each stroke of the pen to address that envelope and add a signature made me feel so special, so loved.

This year, as I did the same, I strolled down memory lane remembering each and every person to whom I sent a card. With each name on my list, I paused and pondered about the many kindnesses shown me, gracious friendships and loving compassion.

I never have and never will look upon Christmas cards as a stressful use of my precious time. With carols playing in the background, and colorful pens to doodle addresses, my joy was full. It lifted my spirits.
 
I wish I had made more Christmas cards for there are oh, so many more people to remember and thank. Next year I will.

Dear readers, be grateful for family and friends. “Make merry” with them this Christmas season. Keep a smile on your face and a carol in your heart. Let love waft and flow like a simmering pot of cinnamon potpourri.

Remember to thank our Heavenly Father for all He has bestowed upon you, for His tender mercies are endless. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, and am humbled by His huge sacrifice on my behalf. I can never repay Him. His life was a gift.

Merry Christmas and much love to all who might read this little thought.
 
 

Dec 19, 2012

What to do?

by Kami Cornwall

Finals are over, Christmas is upon us, and I have a little time on my hands. The problem is...what do I do with it? I want to read this fabulous book about Anxiety Disorders in Adolescents, but I also want to get a little last minute Christmas shopping done, but I need to stay home to do some serious laundry (because little-man spent the whole night praying to the porcelain god and leaving vomity sacrifices all over his bedding and clothing) and I also want to talk to friends on the phone. Oh...and I need to pay some bills.

Sound familiar? Well...except for the vomitousness. I hate vomit. But my love for my little man out-measures my disdain for the stomach bile. So it works.

BUT FIRST I WILL BLOG!

Oh yes. Because I also have a little time to write for the next few weeks and don't think I haven't been dwelling on THAT little nugget of joy! I have been lying in bed thinking up ways to make my story better. I also think of new stories to write and then some stories that people shared with me at the conference and how excited I am that they are writing such fabulous things that I want to READ!

Here's to having a little time to ourselves during the Christmas Season! Cheers!

Dec 18, 2012

Happy Birthdays

by Terri Wagner



There's something magical about being born in December. Just ask Joseph Smith, I'm sure he'd agree. Our family has an overabundance of birthdays in December crossing at least four generations. Why? Don't ask, I don't know (wink wink nudge nudge). But I remain the first birthday for the season...so far. In my immediate family that meant Christmas season had officially arrived. We celebrated Thanksgiving as that and nothing else happened until the 5th. Then the tree went up, decorations came out, and Christmas music filled the air. And funnily enough I still stick to that tradition...no matter that the stores now start Christmas at Halloween. I hate the fact that Thanksgiving seems to get lost in the "holiday" train that starts with Halloween and ends around here with Mardi Gras.

We continue onward all the way to the 28th with birthdays. One had the honor of the 25th which means all his gifts were given on one day. And one who had the dubious honor of the 26th. Have you ever tried to throw a birthday party on that day??!! Don't bother...only those who feel intensely obligated will show up...lol. We did a half birthday celebration once on June 26 with half a cake, half a present...you get the idea. Cute and went over big until the teens then we were back to oh well you know who really loves you if they show up on the 26th. Outside my family I have one friend with two children born in December...it just never ends!

Whether the Savior was born in December or May or April or summer or whatever...we celebrate it December 25th, which always meant to me that "we" share something special. Every child born in December knows exactly what I mean when I say that. Although my parents were extremely careful to make sure I never "suffered" from joint birthday/Christmas gifts, nonetheless, all my gifts came around the same month. That never bothered me. Who doesn't want to be born when the entire world (ok most of the world) is celebrating an extraordinary day. Everything associated with Christmas is a part of my birthday celebration. People always smile a bit brighter and wish me a Happy Birthday and a Merry Christmas as if they were envious. I love it!

So don't feel sorry for us December babies...we have a special unique birthday moment every year (btw most people will remember December birthdays lol). And, so, Happy Birthday dear Alex...she's 27 today. That's a terrific age. I loved my 20s!

Happy Birthday to every December baby out there!

Dec 17, 2012

Happy Holidays!

By Claire Enos

Sorry I'm so late in posting this. I just got home from school yesterday, and it totally spaced my mind until just now. Lucky for me I can set the post date and time for the time and day I meant to post it!

I would have named this post "Merry Christmas!" but it's not quite close enough yet, in my opinion.

In Family Foundations this last semester, we studied The Family: A Proclamation to the World, especially family traditions and teaching the Gospel in the home. It is almost Christmas time so I thought I'd share a few family traditions my family has had for as long as I can remember.

1. Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree 2011

Around Halloween, my dad starts pressuring my mom to allow us to put the Christmas tree up. My mom always says no, but he keeps bugging her, so she usually gives in around Thanksgiving. I usually put the tree up myself (a fake one, because my mom is allergic to real ones), then my dad puts the lights on, and then we pull out all the other decorations we've made or bought throughout the years. Last we put up the star. On Christmas Eve we put all the presents we bought for each other under the tree before we do our Christmas Eve traditions. Later that night, Santa puts candy canes on the tree as well (don't ask me why, I don't know!)

2. Nativity Set


My mom's Nativity Set Christmas 2011
My Nativity Set Christmas 2011
At the same time we put up the Christmas Tree, we also put up my mom's Nativity set. She's had it since before she met my dad, and we've put it up every year as long as I can remember. It goes on a shelf by the tree, or on whatever surface we can find. A couple years ago my mom bought me my own Nativity set for Christmas, and now that goes up along with hers. Last year we put them side by side. I just got home from school yesterday, so I haven't got around to putting mine up yet, but it will go up as soon as I get around to it, hopefully tomorrow!



3. Stockings!

Nativity Sets and Stockings before Christmas Eve. Christmas 2011

My mom started buying plain red stockings when I was around nine or ten. She bought glitter glue and we wrote our names on ours. We had to get new ones when we moved into our new house, but now we have a stocking for all seven of us, as well as all of our pets. As you can see, that's quite a lot. On Christmas Eve, Santa fills our stockings with oranges, apples, nuts, and chocolate.

Stockings filled for Christmas morning. Christmas 2011

Stockings filled for Christmas morning. Christmas 2011 pt. 2


4. Advent Calendar

We used to use the one my mom made when we were younger, but that one got lost. Now we have a binder full of stories we can read each night of December up until Christmas Eve, and songs that go along with those stories. This is one of our favorite things to do. We used to get candy every night as well, but we don't always get them any more.

5. 'Twas The Night Before Christmas

My mom always reads us 'Twas The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve night, right before we go to bed. My sisters and I recite it along with her now, because we know it so well. It is my favorite tradition ever! And it is definitely the one I'll treasure the most from my childhood.

6. Christ's Birth

We always read about Christ's birth either Christmas Eve, or before we open presents on Christmas morning. I think this is one of the best parts of Christmas, though I didn't agree as a kid.

It's always important to remember what Christmas is really about, and to remember why we spend this time as a family.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?



Dec 16, 2012

Hope Amongst Heartache

By Jennifer Debenham

Yesterday I effectively ignored the news--not out of disinterest, but because I was so heavily occupied with working with my sisters to put on a dance recital for our family's dance studio. It has been all-encompassing work and has offered us little free-time for several days. Our theme was Winter Wonderland, and, as is so often the case this time of year, the music was upbeat and the dances were joyful. It really was a celebration of life.

Still the tragic Connecticut news could not escape my attention. Heartbroken women pondered it in the halls at church today as well as in our Relief Society lesson. I was grateful, however, that in most cases a feeling of hope and love prevailed amidst such a horrible tragedy.

This afternoon, when I finally had a moment to turn on my computer and catch up with some of the sad news, I was touched by the stories of teachers and administrators who exhibited great heroism in protecting their students and of parents of victims who forgave and reached out in sympathy to the family of the shooter.

In the face of tragedy or other trials, it is so comforting to me to witness the goodness within the human heart. And how comforting also to know that our Father in Heaven is mindful of us at these times as well. Of course, He is always mindful of us, but sometimes it takes horrible tragedies like this to make us equally mindful of Him. As one sister in church said today (summarized): "Heavenly Father's Spirit will be poured out upon that community for a long time to come, and those people will be able to come together in love and understanding in ways that would not otherwise be possible. They will be blessed through this, and healing will come to those who seek it."

My thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones. I have felt a little ashamed that I have not been more aware of their sadness and heartache because my own life has been so encompassed in happy busyness. But upon further reflection, I realized that perhaps having a celebration of life, featuring children, might be just the thing after all.

Dec 15, 2012

Tis the Season

By Bonnie Harris

I had several things run through my head and I was figuring out what to post today. In light of the tradegy that happened yesterday, my thoughts and prayers are with the families of those victims, as well as those who have been effected by the shooting.

Tis the season for decorations, stress, shopping, lights, wrapping, cooking, cards, more stress, deals, family, and more. The Christmas season is being commericalized earlier and earlier each year. I was shocked, but shouldn't have been, when stores began putting out Christmas stuff before Halloween. But that's only part of it. I feel like, in a way, we get so caught up in the hustle and the bustle that we forget the true meaning of Christmas.

It's not meant to be so crazy. President Thomas S Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, recently talked about Christmas being love. Remembering those around us. Slowing down and taking the time to remember the Savior. It's a wonderful talk you can view here.

Personally, as a family we've decided to focus more on teh Savior. My son has loved all the Christmas lights that appear this time of year. It wasn't until I really began looking and listening to what he sees that I realized all that he's talking about are the snowmen, Christmas trees, and Santa Clause's. There are hardly any nativities around. So, I tried to only put our nativities out in the house, and any chance I get, I talk to him about baby Jesus.

I just think during this time of craziness, that we can take a step back and remember others. Remember the Savior and his sacrifice. Remember to love each other.

Merry Christmas.

Dec 13, 2012

My Mom

by Kari Diane Pike

The transfusion pump is quiet right now. Yesterday, every single time Mom closed her eyes, that stupid alarm went off. She's finally sleeping. I think that evil machine is waiting for the charge nurse to leave the room so that it can ambush our ears again with its piercing alarm bell -- and wake Mom up for the umpteenth time (yep, there it goes...heavy sigh).

I don't mean to sound ungrateful. Just the opposite! Mom wouldn't be with us today if it wasn't for all the amazing advances in medical research and technology. I would much rather have the annoyance of buzzers and beepers and yes, even the headaches of dealing with insurance companies than not have my mom here.

We just finished writing out the rest of her Christmas cards. I am savoring every moment I get to spend time with my mom. She has always been there for me -- giving me life; saving me from drowning as a toddler; teaching me to love the Savior and have faith in Him; typing my term papers; planning my wedding; tending me after each childbirth. I owe my mother everything.

 Now it's my turn to be here for her -- to be her advocate; to run her errands; to tell funny stories that make her smile; and to hold her hand when it takes three hours to insert a new I.V. When I grow up I want to be just like my mom: faithful, charitable, classy, full of grace, beautiful (inside and out), and intelligent. Mom has always had the gift of discernment and that has kept me out of touble on more than one occasion.

She's sleeping again, finally. Gathering clouds outside the window difuse the sunlight, leaving a soft glow in the room. As I write this post, muffled sounds of tending to the ill and afflicted pass through the heavy door of the room.  Looking over the parking lot filled beyond capacity causes me to wonder about all the stories being lived within the walls of this hospital and reminds me that the Lord needs all of us to be His hands and serve our brothers and sisters.

I pray that all of you have a marvelous and beautiful Christmas and feel the love of the Savior.
hugs~


Dec 9, 2012

Oops, too!

by Marsha Ward

As the founder of this blog, I should know better than to let my turn slip by. However, it was just one more thing, and 24 hours in each day simply didn't stretch enough the past week for me to get a post, well,  posted. Mea culpa, and all that.

I think this was the third time I've missed since we began in January of 2007, and I feel pretty awful about it. I'll try to do better in two weeks.

Dec 8, 2012

Oops!

by Cindy R. Williams

Oops is a super word. It can be used for almost anything you bungle.

 My day to post was December 8, and thanks to everyday crazy busy stuff, like decorating, and prepping for Christmas, hosting 160 people at a Pigs Feet Christmas party in my home, making tons of fudge, caramels, kettle corn, cinnamon rolls, hosting a guitar, piano and harp recital, directing and acting in a major play, feeding a family of five-not just once, but three times a day-writing for a newspaper, finishing a MG fantasy, running a music studio, preparing for a son leaving home for BYU. Preparing an 18 year old son to leave home for his mission, preparing for my new granddaughter, and generally feeling like I'm a human energizer bunny, my blogging day slipped by. Oops!

A cool thing about blogger is that you can write your post early and schedule it ahead of time, or . . . you can write your post late and back post it. This is one of those back post times. I am too much of a perfectionist to just let it go.

So the kernel of wisdom here is . . . "Oops" is one of the best words in the human language.

Dec 7, 2012

Layered Socks





I sat down to write this post last night but I go interrupted. Then I sat down to write it this morning but had to deal with other things. I took my laptop to work with me and attempted to write on my breaks. Alas, instead of my normal lonely breaks, I had tons of people dying to talk to me. So here I am, at three thirty....trying again. I have a hair appointment at four, so listen fast.
I couldn't decide if I wanted to write something incredibly witty about life, love and the pursuit of casual Friday or if I wanted to expound on the frustrations I and my sister have experienced this week. Then I thought about writing on the wonderment of being a new grandmother. The problem with that one is whenever I think about my grandson all I want to do is hold him. He is adorable and sweet and goes to his mommy when he cries.
Inspite of all these wonderful topics I had rolling around in my head vying for my attention, I choose to write about singing monkeys and the smell of human.
I can't help it. School is where I am most of my waking hours during the week. I play with, teach, clean up after,chase, discipline, and run from children for almost eight hours a day. It is truly the dream job. Well, right after mom-to-toddlers. I do actually love my job. I have a ball talking to these kids and hearing all the interesting things they say. I can honestly say that I learn something new almost every day I am in kindergarten.
This week we were talking about our five senses. The day we covered smell was my favorite. I think it started when the teacher asked the children to tell her what they smelled. Hello....she had this coming. There were good answers....flowers, cookies, my feet, Colton, and somebody's fart. We changed strategies at that point. The teacher passed around envelopes with 'smelly items' in them for the kids to smell. After they smelled all the packets, she asked them what kinds of things they thought they smelled. They were pretty bright. Lemon, peppermint, pepper, 'pepper-corn', and "human." The teacher nodded her head enthusiastically at that one. Yes, she knew what smell the boy was referring to. She started to snicker and look at me with a funny look. I had no idea how she got the human smell in an envelope. I imagined her slicing a thin strip off her arm, or maybe cutting bit off her dead husbands corpse in the basement....I was starting to edge towards the door when she explained. "It is the smell of onion."
Hmm. I didn't know humans smelled like onions. I mean, I know we are like ogres in that we all have many layers, but....onion? I wonder what kind of people this child and the teacher both live with. Onion people? I'm gonna have to go smell my kids. I always thought they smelled more like bananas, snicker bars, and dirty socks.  Cause I said so.

Photo credit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/10/thom-moores-hilarious-ode_n_1761986.html

Dec 6, 2012

Richard Paul Evans


By Susan Knight

 

I had the privilege of attending a fireside with Richard Paul Evans last month. I knew he was going to be an awesome speaker. He was keynote speaker at a writer’s conference and a friend related a story about him at our ANWA meeting.

He did not disappoint.

Evans spoke, not in the context of a writer, but as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and as a caring, teaching human being. 

Right after publishing “The Christmas Box,” he was invited to speak to a group of junior high students in Georgia. The principal told him to prepare for a “few” minutes with the classes. He said, “I can do that,” and made it a side trip after a radio interview to promote his book.

When Evans arrived, school buses lined the curb of the junior high. He realized kids were bused in from surrounding schools to hear him. The principal greeted him with the news that he had an hour-and-a-half to speak to the students—in the jam-packed auditorium.

I chuckled along with everyone else in the audience. Everyone knows kids that age don't have the attention span to be attentive for ninety minutes.

Evans asked himself, “What can I tell these kids that will take up that much time?” They weren't LDS so he couldn't conduct it like a “fireside.” During his introduction, he hurried and jotted down five things he wished he knew while in junior high. He said he let the spirit tell him what to say.
 
I believe these five things can serve us all well, no matter our age.

1. We are Born of Divinity. There is a reason why you are here. You are not a mistake.

2. Live Free. Do not live in a cage of “victimhood.” Embrace freedom. Let it go. Forgive.

3. Magnify Your Life. Are we living the lives we should be? “All successes in life are built on stairways of failure.” Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t fail by default.

4. Embrace Adversity. “We do not succeed despite our challenges but precisely because of them.” Evans has Tourette Syndrome and spent some time talking about his challenges.

5. Love. Love is a choice. Service is love made visible. We love the people we serve.

He spent at least fifteen minutes elaborating on each “pearl.”

Richard Paul Evans (he referred to himself as “Rick”) is an amazing speaker. The chapel and the cultural hall were filled to overflowing, like a Stake Conference back in Philadelphia. Even so, the spirit was palpable. You could hear a pin drop. The woman next to me cried all through the closing hymn and prayer, as did I.

I went home spiritually fed.

Dec 5, 2012

Use Charlatan in a Sentence

by Kami Cornwall

Today I had an experience that caused me to pause. Actually I was reeling. I was in an ethics class for Graduate students working toward a Master's or PhD in Counseling Psychology. My professor used the word, "charlatan" in a sentence.

I overheard the following whispered conversation:
"I love that word - Charlatan."
"What does that mean?"
"It means...like...fake. You know...like...Joseph Smith was a charlatan."
"Who?"
"Joseph Smith. You know...the Mormons."
*snickering*
"I know, right? Soooo weird."
*more snickering and phrases down on a notepad to each other.*

I felt a wave of anger/shock/frustration sweep over me. A million words piled up behind my lips but I fought, instead, to focus on what my professor was saying. I wanted to explain thing, but then I didn't. I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion and she didn't know much about the subject.

But here, now two hours later, is the big question and especially for those who are supposed to be culturally sensitive to people of all races, cultures, and religions - couldn't she have thought of a better sentence to use the word in? I looked up "charlatan in a sentence" online and the example they gave was, "the magician was so bad, everyone knew he was a charlatan." Simple enough, right?

Would her comment have had the same impact if she had said, "you know...like...the Pope is a charlatan?" or, "you know...like Muhammed was a charlatan?" Is it still funny if we choose a Jewish prophet? Then why is it funny to poke fun of the Mormons? Are we really that "weird?" Considering she didn't even know there was one in the room...I'm thinking maybe my "weirdness vibe" might not be very strong. But then again, maybe I'm just a charlatan.

Dec 3, 2012

Blessings of the Lord

By Claire
"Remember there's a Heavenly Father there, and when we do what He has asked us to do, He will bless us. Let's not deny Him the opportunity to fulfill his promises by taking it all upon us as if we had to do it all by ourselves." -Elder Oaks

I love this quote, mostly because it reminds me that I don't need to be so independent that I never allow God to bless me. If I'm constantly thinking about fixing everything on my own, I'm never turning to God for help so that He can bless me. However, there is a thin line there between pure laziness and just recognizing that I'm weak and turning to Him for strength.

Recently, I've been thinking seriously about serving a mission. I'm about 85 percent sure I want to serve a mission at this point. I've been thinking about it for over a year, since I turned 20 last October. I would already be gone, but my biggest worry was that I wouldn't be able to afford it, Another problem is that I don't have dental insurance, which I need in order to pay to fix my teeth so that I can serve a full-time mission. However, my mom told me (a week or two ago), that I should focus on whether or not I want to go for right now. Once I've decided for sure that I want to go, I can start praying to God for help in the money department and about getting my teeth fixed.

I just need to learn to trust in the Lord to guide me where I need to go. Whether that's finishing out school, or serving a mission, I don't know right now. But I know wherever I'm led, it's for a purpose and that God wants to bless me, I just need to give him the chance.

And so, ending on this thought: How can each of you allow God the opportunity to bless you, like I'm learning to do? I'm convinced this is a learned thing, not something that comes naturally, because I know I struggle with it myself!

Have a good week everybody!

<3Claire

Dec 2, 2012

I'm Late. I'm Late, for a VERY Important Date!

By Jennifer Debenham

Two weeks can seem like such a long time until you realize at midnight that your post is due in a few hours. "Wasn't it just LAST Sunday I posted?" Apparently not.

I know I don't hold the corner on busyness, but since my last post I have:

* Helped plan and implement a Ward Thanksgiving Party
* Helped deliver Thanksgiving dinners to needy families.
* Hosted Thanksgiving dinner for 54 people, including purchasing most of the food, making some of it, and baking most of the nearly 30 pies (with the help of my mom and 3 of my sisters, thank goodness).
* Hosted a 40-year Anniversary Party and dinner for my parents
* Held a Birthday party for my husband (and did all the shopping necessary)
* Worked extra hours at work to get ready for our Winter dance recital as well as our new semester of dance classes
* Traveled 4 hours to Utah to:
       * Spend one full day picking out furniture for our new house AND
       * Spend one full day trying to get all my Christmas shopping done since shopping in my small Nevada town is "mucho lame-o" as my children like to inform me.

Of course, all of this was in addition to the regular jobs of a mom.

These past several days I have taken on the persona of the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland--constantly looking at my watch (well, cell phone) with a frantic look on my face as I race off to the next "very important date."

It probably isn't surprising to anyone that I haven't done an ounce of writing that didn't pertain to my work or church calling until now. Thank you ANWA blog assignment!

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

What do you do to make sure, in all the craziness of life, that you have time for following your dreams?

Dec 1, 2012

Courage

By Bonnie Harris

I recently attended the Northwest Writers Retreat in Washington. Heather Moore was the guest speaker there and I loved what I learned from her. Her closing remarks had to do with the courage to follow our dreams. You know how notes can be, not always as complete as we'd like them, but here are mine. Basically what I took from it is that we have to try. We have to have the courage to try, even if we're told we can't. It was wonderful to hear her personal story. So keep dreaming, keep trying, and Happy Writing!

Courage to follow dreams--heather Moore

Resistance
Related to procrastination, is universal, it never sleeps, plays for keeps, fueled by fear, fed by fear, most powerful @ finish line, recruits alies

Rejection
Can come from people you know and love
Don't compare your worst self to someone's best self
Begin with a prayer- use writing time wisely, do I need to be doing sketching else
I'd you wan it you'll make time for it

Be supportive of other writers and their successes

Embracing your calling
Love 
We are told as a child our dreams are impossible
Fear of the defeats on the paths
Fear of realizing the dreams we've worked so hard for

What I took from it is that we have to try. We have to have the courage to try, even if we're told we can't. It was wonderful to hear her personal story. So . . .

Keep dreaming

Keep trying 

and 

Happy Writing!

Nov 29, 2012

Gadgets or Gifts?

by Kari Diane Pike

A professional organizer taught me a simple way to prevent disastrous closet avalanches. Every time I purchase a new shirt or pair of pants, or even shoes, I have to choose to let go of something already in the closet. Easy peasy! What woman doesn't like refreshing her wardrobe!

Supposedly this works for kitchen cupboards, too, although I'm still working on that one. I have a very difficult time letting go of my precious tools. (In fact, my husband claims that my passion for kitchen gadgets went too far when I swiped his good oil filter wrench to use as a jar opener.  BTW...Best jar opener ever!)

Anyway, I may not have used those star-shaped ice cube trays for the past two years, but I know that the moment I get rid of them, I'll need them. Right? I know they're not very practical -- it takes longer to get those cute little decorative pieces of ice (that are going to melt the instant I put them in the beverages and no one will notice anyway) out of the tray than it does to drive to the store and back with an entire bag of crushed ice. But I paid good money for those ice trays! Besides, when my overflow storage of kitchen tools started taking up garage space, dear hubby decided to remodel the kitchen. (Bwahahaha!)

That remodeled kitchen still smelled like new when we made a sudden move out-of-state a few years ago, and this summer, all those kitchen tools went into a storage unit, along with most of the rest of our worldly possessions, while we hunted for a job and eventually returned to Arizona. Now I see all that stuff as being rather burdensome. The cost of storing, maintaining, and eventually transporting those possessions makes them much less desirable. I'm learning to recognize more important gifts and blessings in my life.

While I spent the month of November learning to recognize, ponder on, and give thanks for the those gifts and blessings, it occurred to me that in order to make room for this abundance from the Lord, I need to clean out my "spiritual closets" and make room for Him.

What am I willing to let go of in order to accept His gifts?  As I sweep away cobwebs of fear, toss out bags of resentment, and polish away cloudy smears of envy from the windows of my soul, brilliant rays of light reveal hidden truths and help me see more clearly who I am and the plan Heavenly Father has for me. While my "clutter" took up all my time and energy and left me feeling trapped and claustrophobic, making room for the Savior is showing me endless hope, and joy beyond description.


Nov 28, 2012

Reasons to write

by Jill Burgoyne

Why do writers write?
 My sister in law writes because she feels like the story she's writing needs to be told by SOMEONE.
 I write often as an outlet, but more often because I love language and expressing my thoughts in a tangible way.
Some people write for financial stability.
Some people write to escape.
Some people just love writing.
Some people write to be read.
Some people write to change the world.

And many of us who write and want to progress in our writing and our writing goals, don't. Why?

We don't think our thoughts are worth expressing.
We don't think we are expert enough in the field we're writing.
We don't think our writing is grammatically correct.
We are afraid people won't read it.
We are afraid  that these words that come from the deepest core within ourselves will be rejected.
Our English teacher labeled us incompetent.
etc

BUT: the truth is that every fear and doubt and block that we have can be overcome if our reasons for writing are stronger.

Nov 27, 2012

Under Pressure

Leesa Ostrander
My computer is in the process of dying. I will post my weekly when I can get my laptop to recognize the internet - Sorry happy readers

Nov 26, 2012

Gobble Gobble

By Tracy Astle


Hopefully you all had a lovely Thanksgiving, which, now that I think of it, is kind of a funny thing to say since if we consider what this holiday is about then it will automatically be lovely. How can someone ponder all they have to be grateful for and not have a good day? Not possible.

Anyway...

I think I can safely say that during the holiday season turkeys are probably on our minds more than usual, so I thought I'd share some things to help us to show some love for our turkey sandwiches and soups.

TURKEY FUN FACTS

Turkeys can see in color but have poor night vision. - So be sure to sneek up on them after dark.

Wild turkeys can run at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. - And on such short legs!

Benjamin Franklin wanted the national bird to be a turkey. - But you probably already knew this.

Turkeys fly to the ground at first light and feed until mid-morning. Feeding resumes in mid-afternoon. - Sounds like our Thanksgiving feeding schedule, doesn't it?

Turkeys spend the night in trees. - I think this is funny. I don't know why. Maybe just picturing such a big bird in a tree. I know. I'm weird. 

The fleshy growth under a turkey’s throat is called a wattle.
Turkeys have a long, red, fleshy area called a snood that grows from the forehead over the bill.
The caruncle is a red-pink fleshy growth on the head and upper neck of the turkey. - Wattle, snood and caruncle-gotta love turkey related words?

Israelis eat the most turkeys.....28 pounds per person. - Yikes, who knew?

For their first meal on the moon, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin ate roast turkey in foil packets. - Worthy of giving thanks to be sure.

June is National Turkey Lover’s Month. - Not November? Those crazy turkey loving people!

Turkey breeding has caused turkey breasts to grow so large that the turkeys fall over. - How's that for a good visual? I know, I know, kind of sad...but still funny.

Turkeys have heart attacks. The United States Air Force was doing test runs and breaking the sound barrier. Nearby turkeys dropped dead with heart attacks. - Poor turkeys.

Commercially raised turkeys cannot fly. - But they're good at falling over, apparently.

A 16 week old turkey is called a fryer. A five to seven month old turkey is called a young roaster and a yearling is a year old. Any turkey 15 months or older is called mature. - Now we can read grocery store labeling more intelligently.

Nineteen million turkeys are eaten each Easter.
Twenty-two million turkeys are eaten each Christmas.
Forty-five million turkeys are eaten each Thanksgiving. - Oh dang.

Wild turkeys can fly for short distances up to 55 miles per hour. - Don't tick them off. They could chase you down, even if you're in your car!

The heaviest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds, about the size of a large dog. - Pictures please!

Turkeys can drown if they look up when it is raining. - Are there turkeys that look up in the rain?

Turkeys’ heads change colors when they become excited. - Like many bald men I know.

Tom turkeys have beards. This is black, hairlike feathers on their breast. Hens sometimes have beards, too. - I wonder if the hens bleach or wax theirs.

And if you've read this whole list, you can now claim the title of Turkey Expert.

Your certificate stating this should arrive in 6-8 weeks.

Happy holiday season!


Nov 25, 2012

New Week - New Thoughts

by Marsha Ward

I've enjoyed seeing all the Thanksgiving posts, reminders of all we have for which we can be grateful. Now it's a new week, and we're heading pell-mell into the rest of the holiday season.

It's been grand working with so many partners as we've labored to write here on our little contribution to the blogging world. Every six months, they have the opportunity to elect to stick around or to take off for greener pastures. Two others besides me, Kari Pike and Terri Wagner, have stayed the course over our six years' existence. What troopers they are!

This year I've been very fortunate to have completed and published a fourth novel in the Owen Family Saga series, Spinster's Folly. I owe thanks to so many people who kept me working on that task, among them, many members of ANWA. However, I want to single out one dear friend who was especially encouraging: Kathy Van Horn. In her quiet way, she managed to remind me why I write, which is to enrich readers' lives and remind them that they can overcome great hardships. Kathy has overcome much. She underwent two back surgeries recently, and after six months of wearing a back brace, can still light up a room with her smile. Thank you, Kathy!


Thank you for visiting our blog. We welcome your comments.

Nov 24, 2012

Mom's Great Advice

by Cindy R. Williams

I'm finally old enough to realize how wise my own mother is. (It only took me thirty-plus years to figure this out.)

Mom stopped by today for our weekly lunch. She left a paper on my roll top desk without saying a word. You see, she learned long ago, that I listen to her counsel better when she gives it in a more back door, you discover it yourself, fashion.

Here is what the paper said:

     WARNING TO US ALL!!!  DON'T WASH YOUR HAIR IN THE SHOWER!

It's s good to finally get a health warning that is useful!!

      IT IS DANGEROUS WHEN THE SHAMPOO RUNS DOWN YOUR BODY 
      AS YOU RINSE YOUR HAIR OUT!

I don't know why I didn't figure this out sooner. I use shampoo in the shower. When I wash my hair, the shampoo runs down my whole body, and printed very clearly on the shampoo label is this warning, "FOR EXTRA BODY AND VOLUME."





No wonder I have been gaining weight! Well, I have now gotten rid of that shampoo and I'm going to start showering with Dawn dish soap instead. It's label reads, "DISSOLVES FAT THAT IS OTHERWISE DIFFICULT TO REMOVE."

Problem solved! 
If I don't answer the phone, I'll be in the shower.

My mother is full of good advice!

Nov 23, 2012

Let my people go








My children have been asking me what Black Friday is all about. It is hard for me to explain it without a hint of sarcasm. My husband wants to tell them it is the day the slaves were all freed. He is a dork. My sister in law has convinced her daughter, sweet innocent Gwen, that the day is full of horror as people go to stores to fight and maim each other. Gwen is terrified of even the mention of ‘black Friday.’ My older kids understand and wanted to hit the stores last night at nine o’clock. At first I was impressed and then saddened when they admitted they weren’t going to Christmas shop, but rather ‘self shop.’ Good thing they are broke and I hold the car keys.
            It is funny to me that we spend days, weeks, dollars, and even sweat getting ready for a full on day of giving thanks, only to throw it all away the next day as we fight like cats to get those items we can’t live without. Isn’t there a sick bit of irony in that whole picture?
            I have to admit, I have participated in Black Friday before. It was two years ago, at the peak of my ‘move back to Arizona high’. I went out with my sister to hit the sales and ‘save a ton of cash!’  It was a total blast spending the day with my sister. We froze, stood in lines, ate at Wendy’s and took a nap on the floor of JoAnn crafts while waiting for the line to get fabric cut. I even have a few choice pictures to document the event. Did we save tons of money? I don’t think so. Did we find amazing deals? I thought so at the time…til my camera was the same price the day after black Friday. Would that be…grey Saturday? Did I end up buying lots of stuff I had no idea I needed desperately, yet knocked out that little grey haired lady to get to? No, not really. I’m kind of an easy going gal. If you want it? Take it. If you are going to die without it? Be my guest. Then again, when I found out I had scored the last Canon camera and then watched someone walk away sad….there was the tiniest rush of victory.  Hey, I’m human…..cause I said so.




Photo Credit: http://www.google.com/imgres?start=77&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=RMe&sa=X&tbo=d&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&biw=1434&bih=892&tbm=isch&tbnid=NoJZjtn4ddPCJM:&imgrefurl=http://blog.timesunion.com/kristi/black-friday-shopping-tips-2/44198/&docid=-jvuj8tHd4OpcM&imgurl=http://blog.timesunion.com/kristi/files/2011/11/blackfriday.jpg&w=500&h=479&ei=H7yvUK3DNsqkigK-7YG4Ag&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=433&sig=103592474589288220890&page=3&tbnh=139&tbnw=145&ndsp=41&ved=1t:429,r:12,s:100,i:49&tx=66&ty=62

Nov 22, 2012

Thanksgiving History


By Susan Knight

Since everyone has waxed poetic about Thanksgiving and what they’re grateful for, I decided I would provide a little trivia about Thanksgiving. I’m all about trivia.

History buffs may say that William Bradford and the folks in “Plimoth” had the first Thanksgiving in 1621, but research tells me the first Thanksgiving was celebrated years earlier.

Mass in St. Augustine, Florida, 1565

 In 1565, Pedro Menendez de Avile, a Spanish explorer, invited members of a local tribe near St. Augustine for a Mass of thanks to God for the crew's safe arrival on the shores of Florida—followed by dinner.

A group of settlers in Virginia also beat them to it. Thirty-eight people from England arrived in what was called Berkeley Hundred, now Berkeley Plantation, on December 4, 1619. They made a charter that stated they would observe a yearly day of thanksgiving to God.

The charter outlined the service that should be held: “Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

Meanwhile, the good folks back at Plimouth Plantation tried and failed at living with everything in common. Sound familiar? Everyone worked for the common good, including farming, hunting and everyday activities of survival. It seems some folks didn’t like the idea of working hard to support other peoples’ families, so people grew lazy and there was no harvest to speak of that first year in Massachusetts.

Bradford then proposed people get their own land and they could work it however they desired. Lo, and behold, production greatly expanded.

In Bradford’s own words: “This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corne was planted than other waise would have bene by any means ye Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deall of trouble, and gave farr better contente. The women now wente willingly into ye field, and tooke their little-ons with them to set corne, which before would aledg weaknes, and inabilitie; whom to have compelled would have bene though great tiranie and oppression. . . By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed . . . and some of ye abler sort and more industrious had to spare, and sell to others, so as any generall wante or famine hath not been amongst them since this day . . . ” (Wm. Bradford, “Of Plimoth Plantation,” original manuscript, Wright & Potter, Boston, 1901)

Did you know lobster, seal and swans were on those Pilgrims' menu? And did you know William Bradford's descendants include Noah Webster, Julia Child and Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist? Native Americans used cranberries for medicinal purposes. In fact, it was called “craneberry” because its drooping, pink blossoms in the spring resembled a crane. I warned you. I like trivia.
George Washington proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving in 1789. President Thomas Jefferson later opposed it; however, Presidents Adams and Monroe observed it. Every president after Abraham Lincoln decreed a day of thanks.

Sarah Josepha Hale

 Sarah Josepha Hale, a novelist and magazine editor, who penned
the nursery rhyme “Mary Had  Little Lamb,” influenced a day of thanks in the early days of the Union. She composed Thanksgiving editorials every year from 1827 and endeavored to persuade governors in each state to name November 25 a day of Thanksgiving. She said there should be two great religious holidays, Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day.

By 1851, Hale changed her stance about the day and wrote: The last Thursday in November has these advantages—harvests of all kinds are gathered in—summer travelers have returned to their homes—the diseases that, during summer and early autumn, often afflict some portions of our country, have ceased, and all are prepared to enjoy a day of Thanksgiving.”

In 1859, as the union moved farther apart, Hale felt it even more important to celebrate a day together and, in 1863, wrote to President Lincoln. Her petition brought Lincoln to declare the last Thursday of November a national day of Thanksgiving.

That day held until 1939. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, during the Great Depression, was persuaded to create a longer Christmas shopping season. Sometimes there were five Thursdays in November and shopkeepers needed to spur retail sales. The first year of the change of date was met with public outcry. Citizens called it “Franksgiving.” By 1941, President Roosevelt "reluctantly" signed a bill declaring the fourth Thursday, not the last Thursday, a legal holiday.

And so it has remained.
Please visit this LINK for more interesting trivia and history about Thanksgiving.

In conclusion, I hope we will all remember that Thanksgiving began as a religious observation. It’s not about the food . . . really. It’s about love, volunteerism, worship, family, friends. 

I’m grateful for a day to celebrate thanks to our Heavenly Father for all He has given me and done for me. I’m thankful for my Savior’s Atoning sacrifice. How can I ever repay Him?
I don’t know what I did to deserve to live in this great land of ours. It’s such a privilege. I'm especially thankful for those two elders who knocked on my door thirty-one years ago with a message about a restored church. Who knew?

May we always remember how loved we are by Deity and that we are offspring of Divinity.

Nov 21, 2012

My Thankfuls

by Kami Cornwall

I'm thankful for the carpet cleaners who keep me sane after the dogs have tracked in a mountain of dirt.
I'm thankful for the will not to strangle children or relatives during the Thanksgiving season.
I'm thankful it stopped raining.   Finally.
I'm thankful for a husband who insists on making Chex Party Mix from October through January.
I'm thankful for family that lives close enough to visit but far enough away that we yearn for each other.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Nov 20, 2012

In Keeping with the Theme of Thanksgiving

by Terri Wagner

Words fail me when I try to describe how grateful I am for the beauty of the earth. I have had the privilege of traveling starting at nine months old when we moved to the rather exotic Panama Canal zone. As an adult, I have been able to travel by plane, car, and feet (as in hiking). I honestly cannot think of a place I did not find a slice of breathtaking beauty. My eyes remain healthy enough for me to enjoy sunsets on the beach, sunrises on the beach, in the mountains, in the snow and the sand, I actually could go on and on.

My most recent earth appreciation day was tada...today. Here in the very deep South it gets cold around December and lasts maybe if we're lucky until February. However, that is not a given. More likely is the kind of day we had today. It's the kind of day you just have to race down to the beach with its sugar white sand and green/blue water.

Sun is shining like a jewel in an azure sky filled with wispy bits of clouds just to let you know they really do exist. The air is crisp and clean. Some people are still wearing shorts, a few pants, most with a light sweater and jacket. Yep, down here, we wear shorts, sandals, and a light jacket. It seems to fit our way of life.

I hope I always get to travel and that my eyes continue to hold up so I can appreciate as much as I can of what Heavenly Father bequeathed us.

Nov 19, 2012

Of New Things and Thanksgiving

By Claire Enos

This past weekend and even the week to come have been full of new things for me. Yesterday, I went to a broadcasting of the Re-dedication Ceremony of the Boise, Idaho Temple. It was the first time for me, I'd never even heard of the Hosanna Shout before people started talking about the re-dedication. But this was an awesome first for me and I'm glad I got the chance to see it and participate!

This upcoming week I'll be staying up in Idaho for Thanksgiving instead of going home to see my family. This is definitely a first for me, not being with family. So, I've decided to cook up some of my favorite Thanksgiving Recipes on my own! (Except Turkey... I don't know how to bake it and I hate making any sort of meat). So, I'm thinking I'll make:


  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
  • (Buy some Cranberry Sauce)
  • Chocolate Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie
Are there any other ideas of recipes I should try or dishes I should try making? I'm open to almost anything as long as it doesn't involve cooking meat!

But, Thanksgiving isn't all about the food, so I thought I'd share some of what I'm thankful for with you as well!

  1. My roommates
  2. My family
  3. My friends
  4. Everyone who has ever critiqued me, I'm sure I've at least become a little better at writing because of you!
  5. The chance to go to school up here at BYU-Idaho
  6. Electronics (of all kinds! I'm sure I'll be watching quite a few movies, and tv shows this weekend!)
  7. Books (Already got a couple I'm planning to read this weekend!)
  8. I'm grateful to live in America!
  9. Money (at least having enough to live off of is nice!)
  10. Food! (Somehow I seem to be able to afford it! It's quite nice!)
What things are you grateful for? I'd love to hear them!

<3Claire

Nov 18, 2012

Writing Tips Digest

By Jennifer Debenham

I'm definitely a quote person. My house is dotted with them. When we move into our new home in a month, and I FINALLY have my own office, the walls surrounding my computer desk will be plastered with bits of inspiration.

Here are a few that pertain to writing, or general motivation, that I've gathered over the years. Do you see your favorites below? If not please post them in the comments section.

Happy Writing!

"Try to leave out the parts that people skip." ~Elmore Leonard

"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." ~Anton Chekhov

"The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn't behave that way you would never do anything." ~John Irving

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't." ~Jerry Rice

"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle." ~Abraham Lincoln

"To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph."~Mark Twain-- Letter to Emeline Beach, 10 Feb 1868

"Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer."~ Barbara Kingsolver

"Asking a writer what he thinks about criticism is like asking a lamppost what it feels about dogs. "~ John Osborne

"We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master." ~ Ernest Hemingway

"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~ Toni Morrison

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." ~ William Wordsworth

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." ~ Mark Twain

"Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space." ~ Orson Scott Card