THE MOST RECENT DAY IS ON TOP, in other words: These events read chronologically backwards.

Thursday – Jennifer?!

The LORD loves me. He wants me back.
Satan hates me. He wants to isolate me.

– I am registered for BYU Women’s Conference, something I have wanted to do someday and I am going for it! I am going with some of my sisters and mom.
– One of the keynote speakers is Jennifer Brinkerhoff Platt! What?! She was my neighbor when Duncan and I were newly weds in our apartment! I had no idea she was a famous speaker, PhD and married with a cute baby! What a fun surprise!
– Here is a Youtube video of her speaking, Living the Plan of Salvation, which is where I learned of her very helpful affirmation above.

Tuesday – PTA Success

– How many times have we had horrible turnouts for middle school PTA events? Curt says, “A bajillion.”
– Congratulations to our new PTA presidency! They “threw” a brilliant Color War last Friday. Kids, parents, and teachers all wore white t-shirs. With music blaring and after lots of carnival type games and food, we all claimed our 1st bag of colored corn starch and stood in a circle in the field with teachers and the principal in the middle. At “GO!” the throwing began. WHAT A BLAST! Every additional bag of colored powder cost a dollar and we sold out! I heard kids asking “Are we were going to do this again next year?” Now that’s a good sign.
– How do you get the bottom bit of nacho cheese sauce out of the hot can?

Monday – General Conference

– My favorite talk, besides President Russell M. Nelson‘s talk on receiving personal revelation was Elder Massimo De Feo‘s talk on Love
Adjustments to church policy is to help us become more like Christ.
– What are you going to do better because of the truths taught in this general conference? How is your family going to work together to become more like Christ? This is our list of what we want to work on, which was cut short because everyone was getting tired during FHE.

Wednesday – I hope my best is enough.

HOW TRUE! Oh my land that is hilarious! My sister Carol shared this photo and quote with me. Mom, you did a great job feeding us and much more! Thank you so so much for all you sacrificed and prayed and loved into us.
… Our kids now-a-days are getting so much from us. You can’t help but figure our best is going to be okay. I sure hope so. This morning included:
– Made their lunches
– Some kisses and some hugs. Some left with only a shout of “I love you!”
– Prayer on breakfast, but no family kneeling prayer
– Homework unfinished for Curt, but others were okay, I think.
– Cold cereal
– As Curt pushed off on his bike he begged, “Mom, please pray for me.” He has been SO stressed about the standardized tests that occur (it seems like every 2 weeks) often and will now be going on for the next week and a half. I PRAY that he will be happy, more than he will do well. He is already doing his best and that is GOOD ENOUGH.


Tuesday – Hiking then Helping

– My nephew and I at the top of Camelback Mountain. He is an accomplished junior in high school with a very bright future. I LOVED our visit to the top!

– Handed out another meal kit to a gal in need yesterday. THE STORY IS HERE.

Thursday – Left my phone

– I left my phone at someone’s house last night. I need to fetch it today.
– Which is better: paper scriptures and books or phone/digital forms of the written word? I LOVE THE FEEL of a real book. Even the paper scriptures are still my favorite, although there are SO MANY pros to digital. Is it possible to do both?
– I totally forgot about going to institute yesterday. I was writing on my blog instead. 😉 Did I tell you I am taking “Women in the Scriptures?” IT IS AMAZING!

Wednesday – Refinement

– “The nearer we get to God, the more easily our spirits are touched by refined and beautiful things. If we could part the veil and observe our heavenly home, we would be impressed with the cultivated minds and hearts of those who so happily live there. I imagine that our heavenly parents are exquisitely refined” – Douglas R. Callister. I invite you to read the entire talk. CLICK HERE to read or DOWNLOAD Callister’s talk “Your Refined Heavenly Home.”
– I have started a board on refinementmy Pinterest account.
– Pietro Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana – Intermezzo and a chorus from the same opera referred to by Brother Callister at the beginning of his talk.
Free Classical music download every day

Tuesday – Best intentions

– On my walk this morning, I took a new route. I sped past this front yard, then had to backtrack to get a better look. I felt I could totally relate to these neighbors. They went to a great deal of effort and expense to install these awesome planter boxes, drip systems and the works. They had wonderful intentions to use their front yard practically in order to benefit from the use of their land in beautiful, healthful ways. The first season probably went great, but now that a year has gone by and the newness has worn off, planting, weeding, and harvesting is a real chore and life is really busy. Hahahha! I also had the best of intentions as I excitedly created a planter in my back yard just a week ago. I still haven’t put any soil in it! The spring planting season is passing me by and I am already loosing steam. As Denise, one of my professional gardening friends says, “Bless my heart.” I need to remember that “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions” (proverb or aphorism). I definitely need to follow through with those things that are MOST important.
– Also on my walk I listened to Elder Bednar’s most recent General Conference talk twice. IT IS AMAZING! I invite you to listen to it and take away something you will do today to take on the divine nature of Christ. I am going to attend the temple after finishing this post …and showering. 🙂 My good intentions of following Christ must not loose steam. I WILL continually strive to live by His example, including attending my Sunday meetings EVERY Sunday and attending the temple often AND bringing my clarified purpose of mortality home with me, in order to implement these purposes in my family’s daily life.
– My best intentions in eating a balanced diet seem to be on the outs right now. I am reading “The Plant Paradox” and second guessing all I thought was right about food. I am going to continue reading it and then follow the outlined strategy that God has given us to know truth: Study my questions from divine sources and then pray for answers, given through the Holy Ghost. This promised blessing in James 1, for acquiring knowledge is for churchy questions and temporal questions too. “Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created” (D&C 29:34).

In a talk to seminary and institute teachers, “Deep Learning and Joy in the Lord” Elder Kim B. Clark stresses the need to go about all learning in the Lord’s way:

“I invite you to help your students learn how to learn in the Lord’s way. …There is a wonderful opportunity to do that in Doctrinal Mastery, where the principles of “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge” teach exactly the Lord’s way of learning. As you teach those principles throughout the year, you will teach them the Lord’s way to learn. That teaching can be done as well in the courses you teach in institute.

“Please help your students realize that the Lord’s way applies to everything they study. The particular methods that they encounter in their classes in secondary or post-secondary education will be up to the teachers they have. But your students can always be actively engaged, diligent in their study, and blessed with the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Please invite your students to take the Holy Ghost with them to school.”

More Excellent Resources:
The Opportunities and Responsibilities of CES Teachers in the 21st Century” by President M. Russell Ballard
That They May Know How to Come Unto Him and Be Saved” by Chad Webb
The Lord’s System for Education in His Church” by Elder Kim B. Clark

So, whether I am learning about the temple or about nutrition, I go about deciphering truth the same way. QUESTIONS ARE GOOD!

As Elder Bednar said, “One of the great challenges each of us faces every day is to not allow the concerns of this world to so dominate our time and energy that we neglect the eternal things that matter most. We can be too easily diverted from remembering and focusing upon essential spiritual priorities because of our many responsibilities and busy schedules. Sometimes we try to run so fast that we may forget where we are going and why we are running.” I need to remember that my daily and life purpose is to glorify God by doing His Work. Scripture study, temple worship and parenting with purpose is more important than yard work, the latest fad in diets, or other worldly pursuits.

I know Heavenly Father wants me to return to live with Him. I prepare to do this by coming to know Him and His Son Jesus Christ and helping others do the same. I know that as I do these divinely appointed tasks I am filled with joy.


Ben and Richelle’s Wedding at Oakland, CA Temple

Monday – The Youngest kid

– Dunc had a different spring break this year than the boys and Adam had his trip to NYC with the orchestra (LUCKY!) so Curt and I spring breaked it at Sunrise Ski Resort and Grammy and Grandpa’s cabin.
– My parents were good examples of the philosophy to keep working hard as a parent all the way through the youngest. I remember my mom telling me (I am the oldest of eleven kids) that she often prayed for the energy to raise the last ones the best she could. In my case, I only have 5, but they are spaced apart enough that I have to consciously “keep going” with Curt. It is obvious that he needs me – I don’t want to give up – because he is the most talkative, thoughtful, affectionate twelve year old I know. He often reminds me of his needs. Remember his statement a few years ago before I put in the final fight for him to skip 5th grade, “Mom, you aren’t helping me reach my goals!” Curt has lofty and good goals. I want to be with him when he reaches them!
– Birth order is an interesting study. I can see why Kay is the oldest, why J.D. is my oldest boy, why Clark is the middle and Adam near the end and why Curt is the youngest. They are each different, with unique needs from me, their parent. They each deserve my best parenting (acquired from all that I have learned over the past years, both from mistakes and successes). Let’s do this!

Tuesday – Hiking

– Dunc and J.D. went with the twelve year old scouts last weekend to hike and sleep in the Superstition Mountains. Because we live close to the church where the scouts were meeting before caravanning to the mountains, my three hikers walked to the church with their gear on their backs. It looked so funny to see these guys walking down the middle of a regular neighborhood with big packs on their backs!

– Duncan is getting really excited for his hiking season. If you didn’t already know he has been working on hiking from Mexico to Canada (the Pacific Crest Trail) in chunks every summer. He has hiked 1,300 miles and has 2,780 to go. He hopes to hike more than ever this summer – 270 miles. Two years ago Curt, Adam, J.D. and I joined him for 56 miles. That was REALLY good for me, though I was limping on both legs by the time I got off the trail (John Muir Trail of the High Sierras). Curt and I hope to join him for a bit this summer too.
– J.D. has caught the hiking bug and is committed to hiking the entire Appalachian Trail this summer from Georgia to Main, which is 2,200 miles in 3 1/2 months!

Friday – Thoughts

– My mind was going way faster than my feet this morning on my walk along the canal in my neighborhood. “I am so blessed!” “What do I do with the truth I have recently learned?” “What do my children need from me?” “Heavenly Father must love me so so much to bless me with this beautiful sunrise!” “Can I get away with NOT taking a shower today?” “How do I express my appreciation to my children most effectively?”
– When I came home I decided to write each of my kids a letter. I reached for the lined paper and thought, “That is not special enough. I’ll find some solid, maybe colored paper.” As I looked for nice paper, I found some coolio paper that my mother-in-law gave us when she was cleaning out her desk last week. “What if I made some cards for the kids?!” So, I sat down with my supplies and realized I needed some ideas. Of course I went to the internet, which took me to Pinterest. Oh my LAND! Idea overload! But I came up with some cute, but simple ones. A mess and a couple hours later (I hope it is worth it) I had six cute cards. Now the REAL work begins – expressing the feelings in my heart. As I picture each child in my mind, different feelings of appreciation and words of truth come to mind because each of my kids are so different! So, each letter, of course is custom. I prayed for God’s help to say what each of my kids needed to hear from me right now. I was so focused, I was late to picking Kay up for her eye appointment!

6 unique cards for my 6 unique kids

The REAL view of my table

– Kay – Adventurous and beautiful (raising a puppy is exhausting, so many opportunities around her) Does she know how important she is to me and how pleased I am with her growth as an individual, wife and daughter?
– J.D. – College student and athlete (recently when through a tough decision about a special girl, dreams big, full of hope and spirit) Does he know the power of Faith?
– Clark – Devoted missionary (patiently working on his Spanish, away from home, full of love for the people in Mexico) Does he know that God’s love for him knows no bounds?
– Adam – Strict student (about to explode in vertical growth, weary of studying but full of curiosity and fun) Does he know of his immense potential? Is he happy?
– Curt – Fun talkative friend (full of details and joy, open to love, kind to all around him) Does he know how grateful I am for him?

Tuesday – Spring Break – ASU’s spring break doesn’t match with the younger kids this year, so I decided to spring break it with my college kid today. Lucky me, I guess I get 2 spring breaks!

– Yoga, This morning J.D., my college student, 6 foot 9 inch son and I did yoga with Adriene. THEN:
– Temple, Next J.D. and I went to the Gilbert temple to worship. What a wonderful loving God we have, who has given us opportunities to gain truth and make covenants with Him, both of which brings blessings. Jesus Christ is my Savior and His role in overcoming the fall of man is what makes repentance and resurrection possible.
– Movie, Next J.D. and I pulled out an old VHS that our neighbor was getting rid of. Having a VHS player is so cool, because everyone is getting rid of their tapes and we benefit. I don’t want to watch the yuck in most of the latest movies anyway. Three Men and a Baby was touch and go at the beginning, but actually shows how babies change our lives for the better. Fun show. I have thought that Duncan looks a little like Tom Selleck anyway….except that Duncan is cuter.
– Witnessing, Yesterday I took a challenge to witness of my love for God to someone today. I have attempted to reach Maudie, Andrew, and Justina. Left messages for all three. I’ll keep trying. I found two other chances to testify of Jesus Christ, though, with two of my neighbors. It is wonderful to have the Savior in common with so many.

Monday – Puppy!

Kay and Chuck’s little Watson is the cutest puppy ever!

Here is Clark (on the right) at his 4 year old birthday. His cousins are in the photo with him! They are all on their missions at the same time. One in Florida, one in Washington and one in Mexico. Their lives have been carefully crafted for moments such as they are having now, proclaiming the gospel of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Curt is in the middle school orchestra here about to perform in their annual courtyard concert. Notice the words behind him about integrity. Cool.

Adam’s chamber orchestra got the rating of Superior in the high school orch festival this weekend. With the tree behind him, it looks like he has an afro!

Friday – Relax and Enjoy the Moment

– Because there are so many details to attend to each day, it is easy for me to want the day to be over, or our vacation to begin, or the kids to grow up, or my big moment to arrive. REALLY, I need to relax and enjoy the moment! Don’t look beyond the mark, but be happy.
The Eternal Everyday, by Quentin L. Cook
“Since my service in the British Mission as a young man, I have enjoyed British humor. It is sometimes characterized by a self-deprecating, modest, humble approach to life. An example of this is how summer is portrayed. British summers are relatively short and unpredictable. As one author in a low-key way said, “I love the British summer, it’s my favorite day of the year.” A favorite British cartoon character of mine was pictured in her bed waking up late in the morning and declaring to her dogs, “Oh my goodness! I think we’ve overslept and missed summer.” There is an analogy in this humor to our life on this beautiful earth. The scriptures are clear that our precious mortal existence is a very short time. It could be said that from an eternal perspective, our time on earth is as fleeting as a British summer.”
Lessons from Eve by Russell M. Nelson
“Sisters, be patient. I know something of the pressures you feel. Your kitchens are too small. Your budgets are too tight. Demands upon you exceed your capacity to help all who cry out to you. Through it all, “Improve the shining moments; Don’t let them pass you by” (Hymns, 1985, no. 226). Take time for spiritual regeneration. I’ll share a few lines that have sustained Sister Nelson through the years. They also reflect her sense of priority:

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait ’til tomorrow.
For babies grow up,
We’ve learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs.
Dust, go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby,
And babies don’t keep.

Wednesday – Pornography is a plague

Here I am at my computer. We have been keeping it in our main room, as counseled, to keep the family computer in the open. Duncan and I have learned that our home is not immune to the devastating effects of pornography. We are constantly at war and can’t relax about it for a second. We have double filters, docking rules, and open door policy on all devices. I talk often and openly with the boys about pornography. I don’t watch PG-13 movies anymore even, with the exception of Star Wars and Harry Potter. 🙂

Sister Nadal tells us some good advice: “The time is here for you to stand up for what you know is right. You must judge right from wrong. No longer can you be complacent or go with the flow or wonder what to do. You must decide now which path you will follow and which answer you will give. Decide well in advance, before the pressure is on, what you stand for.

“The great good news is that you can win any assault [including the plague of pornography] that is aimed at you! And it is not that hard. Just use good judgment! You can stand up and change the channel on the television, turn off the pornography on the computer, leave a movie, and don’t rent the racy video. Don’t wear the revealing clothes that are too tight or too bare or too short. Leave them in the closet. Better still, leave them in the store. Stand up and walk away from temptation, just like Joseph did—only he didn’t just walk away, he ran! You can do this too, literally and figuratively, and you will be safer, more pure, more secure.

“One way to disrupt God’s plan for you would be to desensitize young women. Give them a small, seemingly innocent taste of something ultimately destructive, next time a little more, and next time even more again, and soon, when it was time for the big whammy, it would hardly be noticed. It is said if you want to boil a frog, don’t throw him in a pot of boiling water. He will immediately jump out. Put him in a pot of cold water and turn the heat up so slowly that he won’t even notice the dangerous increase in temperature. Young women, I fear that the trend in our world is to slowly turn up the heat. Pay attention. Don’t allow yourselves to be desensitized by gradual lapses in good judgment.”
There are many great resources. Here are a few:
A GREAT site on battling pornography
Sister Reeves, “Protection from Pornography, a Christ Centered Home” Gen Conf 2010
Elder Packer, “Cleansing the Inner Vessel” Gen Conf 2010

Tuesday – Act, not be acted upon

– We are so lucky to have a Feed My Starving Children location near us. I went yesterday with my parents and kids and a couple sisters and a few of my nieces and nephews. Afterwards we had a potluck at the park. I volunteered to bring soup for everyone. I DIDN’T MAKE ENOUGH!! Ughh. I feel awful. What was I thinking? Not about the soup and the numbers clearly. This is now my most recent big embarrassing moment. I have little ones everyday like wearing a shirt that was too revealing or not returning something on time like I had intended, both of which also happened yesterday.
– Yesterday was also a tough day because … well, I won’t say much – let’s just say that being close to my young adults as they work through relationships and life’s big decisions is rewarding because I see them doing good things. They are great people. It also requires intentional action (whether that is prayer or concentration, to name only two) and love on my part. Love is the easy part for me. Plus, when they break up with a friend, it often means I am going to miss that friend too. I am grateful for all my kids’ friends. I hope they know that I care.
– I chaperoned the middle school field trip to the MIM (Musical Instrument Museum) recently and was super impressed with the Natural Rhythm of Curt and some of his friends AND with the desire that all humans have to make music.

Monday – Prayer

– When do you pray?
– I pray When… HERE IS A VIDEO that my niece made 3 years ago that includes many of my nieces and nephews and sisters and brothers and even my grandma. See if you can find Dunc the Hunk in it. 🙂
– I prayed a lot this weekend: for direction in my teaching at the Relief Society Conference, for comfort, for inspiration while reflecting on my goals, for my kids – especially Clark on his mission and J.D. on big decisions. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father. I know He hears my prayers. HERE is a wonderful talk by Sister Wendy Nelson that has changed my life.
This is the link to the amazing talk by Joy Jones and Bonnie Cordon that I based many of my comments on during the conference this weekend.

Wednesday – Listening

WILLOW TREE art, by Susan Lordi

– I need a hug today. A real good one. It is hard to be the one listening all the time. I need someone to just listen to me for a while. It was REALLY nice to go to MY mom’s yesterday and just talk.
– Curt has been fed up with the behavior, profanity and pace of instruction at his school lately. Is this a time to teach him to be patient with life’s unfair handouts or is it time to protect him and find him a better situation? At “Bridges,” a extracurricular after school program sponsored by ASU for seventh graders, the teens were taught about goals and taking steps to reach them. The parents were taught active listening skills. Curt’s goal are to be an athlete, mathematician/engineer, go to a tech or highly academic high school, and to be successful while being well-rounded. As I was practicing active listening technics I realized his current school isn’t helping reach his goals. I grew impatient as the burden of mediocrity and filth piled on my mind and heart. I tried not to voice a “quick-fix” but to let him come to his own solution. Ugh. I am afraid I lost it. Now I have to figure out what to do next.
– The excellent listening skills we learned to use on teens help with everyone. Exercising them in real conversations has to be a conscious change, but SO WORTH IT!> CLICK HERE for a quick easy list of listening hints to use with you family members.

Tuesday – Pets are a gift from God

– Sally, our beloved dog, passed away on Friday. Do dog’s go to heaven? YES! CLICK HERE for my thoughts on this and more about Sally.
– Yesterday (President’s Day) Duncan, Adam, Curt and I went on a family history tour of The Curtis Ranch, home of my great grandmother Clara Curtis Kimball. The fantastic day was organized by my sister Carol, a family researcher and enthusiast. We all have AMAZING ancestors. LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR FAMILY HERE.
– Missions are hard! Anxiety, disappointment, and homesickness are only the beginning. Pray for these amazing missionaries all around the world. HERE is Clark’s latest.

Wednesday – Discuss HARD topics with me, even Politics and Religion.

Let me think.

– I am blessed to be able to discuss politics and religion (I have a lot to learn) with people from both sides. Sometimes the discussion doesn’t go very far because of, what Amy Wax calls, enforced orthodoxy. Her recent article “Are We Free to Discuss America’s Real Problems?” in Imprimis is, in my opinion, absolutely brilliant. It expresses my thoughts on fair discussion. Click here for the entire article. Her op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer on August 9 under the title, “Paying the Price for the Breakdown of the Country’s Bourgeois Culture” is HERE.

“Offense and upset go with the territory; they are part and parcel of an open society. We should be teaching our young people to get used to these things, but instead we are teaching them the opposite” (Amy L. Wax).

– Here is an example: I don’t agree with Trump on everything, but I like some of the things he is doing for our country. Did you know Maricopa County is the fourth largest county in the US by population? Interesting that it was first in 2016 in GOP votes among states supporting Trump. Maricopa county had more GOP votes than eleven of the states that Trump won.

Since we are allowed to state our opinions (Free speech):
I agree with GOP principles:
limited government,
fiscal and personal responsibility,
the order of law, and a
good business climate results in jobs.

But I am open for discussion, because you DO have a right to your own opinions too.

– I agree with my dad: These principles must be accompanied by reasonable regulations as well as appropriate support for the family and for the poor.

BOURGEOIS [boo r-zhwah, boo r-zhwah; French boor-zhwa]

– What is bourgeois? “Bourgeois” is a noun referring to a member of the middle class, a person whose political, economic, and social opinions are believed to be determined mainly by concern for property values and conventional respectability. I guess I am bourgeois.

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PAST “Today”s are HERE.

Tuesday – Hmmmm.

– What is my purpose? My kids are getting older and don’t need me in the same way they did when they were young :(. Last night I had a dream that I went back to visit the Gilbert seminary building, representing my failed attempt at trying to start a career in my mature years, and they had replaced the carpet and walls. Also in my dream, the seminary kids didn’t recognize me and the teachers were all new. The only people that gave me any attention was Leah (Thank you Leah!) and Brother Ericksen (who really teaches at a different school). Of course the dream got REALLY weird after that because I couldn’t find my shoes when I was ready to leave the seminary building and so I had to ran through muddy puddles with bare feet in a frosty ice-blue Cinderella prom dress while everyone laughed at me when I left. Before finishing my barefoot walk home, I debated whether I should buy some peaches at a nearby fruit stand. Dreams are funny, but sometimes they have meaning. Any guesses?
– Hot cracked wheat (crack the wheat grain/berries in your blender or buy them from my brother’s bakery, Bread Brother’s) cooked with coconut and served with half and half. YUM!
– Clark sent a great email from his Mexico mission yesterday including details like showers out of a bucket!
– I am going to work on scrapbooks again today. It was worth the good cry yesterday, which felt good.


Monday – Wellness

– The perfect body is not only unnecessary, but it is impossible. But good health IS important AND possible. It means better spiritual and emotional health
– Today I went on a walk (while listening to 2 Nephi/Nefi in Spanish), which is great. I had cold cereal for breakfast, which isn’t the best, had a raw beet salad for lunch.
– I read my scriptures this morning. Do it first, before anything else, if possible.
– Papa’s burial in Santa Fe New Mexico was well documented by my sister-in-law, Angela. See the photos here.