Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spiritual Sunday - What does it mean to sustain?

We had ward conference a couple of weeks ago, and thoughts of sustaining church leadership came to mind. I added up how many times in my church we get the opportunity to have our leaders names read to us, and then our chance to raise our right arms in a show of sustaining them.  Five.  We get to do that FIVE times.  Two General Conferences a year, Two Stake Conferences a year and then one ward conference.  Over a 12 month period, that's fairly often that I have the chance to think about my leaders BY NAME and then add my vote of approval and show that I will sustain and support them.

What does it mean? A quick google search resulted in this:
  1. 1.
    strengthen or support physically or mentally.
    "this thought had sustained him throughout the years"
    synonyms:comforthelpassistencouragesuccorsupport, give strength to, buoy up,carry, cheer up, hearten
    informalbuck up

A quick search on my church's website resulted in this:


See also Common Consent
To pledge support to those serving in general and local Church leadership positions.

Pretty similar. So then I'm asking myself, "do I really sustain my leaders?"  A quick inventory is all that is necessary.

Do I accept and fulfill my callings?
Do I refrain from murmuring or complaining about decisions, activities, or other things (including current doctrine)?
Do I speak highly of, encourage, aid and assist when and where I can?

I'm sure others could add to this list, but for me - it's enough questions.  In fact, the more I think about it, only one question could be posed:

Am I keeping the covenants I made with God both at baptism, and when I entered the temple?
Yes or No?

If I am earnestly trying, then all else falls into place and I am sustaining my leaders.  If not, then I have some work to do.

Pretty simple for this simple girl.  Remember, I don't overthink too much.  I made my covenants, and now I must keep them.

Easy all the time?  Negative Ghost Rider.  Sometimes I don't want to go to Relief Society.  Sometimes I want to lay in bed on Sunday's and skip church altogether.  Sometimes, it's easy to get caught up in gossip.  Sometimes I don't prepare well for a lesson.  Sometimes I complain about visiting teaching, and often I don't make time for it.  Sometimes I allow myself to get distracted by other mortal goals and focus less energy and time on my eternal goals.  Sometimes, it's not a piece of cake to live the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ.

But then.......I have moments where I can remember the promises I made.  I can weekly, renew my covenants and five times a year, I can publicly raise my right hand and show myself, the world, and most importantly my God that I will keep my covenants by sustaining the leaders of my church.

Do I always understand the direction or decisions that my leaders make?  Nope.  Not on a church level, not on a local level.  BUT - I covenanted with God that I would sustain them regardless.  And that is enough for me.

So next weekend, as we start another world wide General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints, I will raise my hand and sustain my leaders.  Not because I follow blindly a bunch of old men, but because I asked God if the church was true.  He told me yes.  I made covenants with Him about what kind of member I would be, what kind of daughter of God I would behave as and most importantly, what kind of disciple I would work on becoming.

That is enough.

PS: In case you missed it or would like to watch something that just reaffirms what an awesome blessing it is to be a woman.

Click here for last night's Women's Conference

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A birthday girl and some thoughts about beauty, brains and what's most appealing

I cannot BELIEVE it!  Chloee turned 7 on the 16th of March.  Yeah, I know I'm late in posting but it seems that March is a leeeetle bit busy with several birthday's so....yeah.

First year in 2 that we didn't need to go to SoCal for her big day, and while I love the fact they are right here now, I do miss the regular jaunts to sunny Oceanside, Camp Pendleton, and running at sea level for a few days.

I was scheduled to work the Saturday of her birthday party, and right now is not a good time to take off a Saturday, so I got to spend an afternoon with her and celebrate, just the two of us.


My bfsil Cassie is a massage therapist at Sanctuary Day Spa at SouthTowne mall so after consulting her, I booked a little package treatment for the birthday girl.

We were welcomed and offered some water, then shown to the changing room where Chloee had her name on a locker and inside her own small girl's robe to change into.  Talk about a girl on cloud nine!  After getting in her robe, we were shown into the relaxation room.  There was water and petit cookies for her to enjoy while lounging and getting her zen on.

Jamie came for her and showed her into the mani/pedi room.  And even though Chlo is a "little" she treated her just like a regular client.  She didn't even flinch when Chloee told she wanted pink nails with purple polka dots.  There were a couple of other ladies getting pedicures so we all chatted and I fetched cookies for Chlo while she was pampered.

Next up was the pedicure.  Again, props to Jamie who didn't cringe even a little when Chlo told her she wanted red and black alternating on her toes.  She just had her choose which shade of red and then went to work on pampering her little piggies.  Of course, as we all do when we have that first pedicure, we flinch a bit at the scrubbing of our feet, and Chlo was no exception.  Even though it was ticklish, she really liked the sugar scrub.  Again, Jamie treated her just like an adult when it came to her pedicure and Chloee loved it!

After the pamper fest, we hit Claire's to see if there was anything fun (I totally expected her to find some earrings but instead her animal loving heart found a stuffed one to add her to her collection), and then finished up our afternoon with chocolate covered strawberries at Zupa's and some wonderful heart to heart talking.

Saturday was her big birthday party and then Sunday Corb and Kar did a family dinner with cake and ice cream.

Now that the details are documented, what about the beauty and brains?  If you've been around this blog for awhile, you've watched an incredible journey for this wonderful little girl.  She is amazing.  Beyond amazing.  Every day, I thank Heavenly Father for her being a part of our lives and our family.  She is a key piece of my life that cannot be filled with anyone else.  From the day of her birth, she has physically been beautiful.  Her distinctive curled eyelashes, her brown eyes, her "light up the room" smile, and perfect skin tone.  She always draws compliments about her looks.  Does that scare her dad?  Oh yes.  Most definitely yes.

HOWEVER, all that aside, what I am most proud of her is her brains.  She came to earth an "old soul".  And while she still has the little girl loves such as Hello Kitty and the color pink, her brains are what draws people to her.  She's a smart one.  She loves reading chapter books which I think is remarkable, but to speak with her is a truly unique experience.  I don't know if it's because she's been surrounded by adults all her life, or if it is just her character, or maybe a combination of both - but the girl can maintain meaningful conversation that includes thoughtful questions and discussions.  In the short 25 minutes from picking her up at school to the spa, we had discussed some pretty intense things about people, feelings and future aspirations.

I remember something a coworker told me years ago when describing a troubled young woman she knew.  This young woman had been told her entire life how beautiful she was.  From the time she was little she heard nothing but "You're so cute".  "What a gorgeous girl you are"  etc.  And sadly, this girl believed it to the point that it defined her.  When it came to the rest of life, she had nothing else.  From that moment on, I made a deal that for every time I told Chloee how cute she was, I would also compliment her personality or her smarts.

Now, before anyone gets the wrong idea, I am SO NOT TAKING ANY CREDIT FOR THIS AMAZING HUMAN BEING!  Far from it.  If anything, I have learned from her that it IS important for us to be careful what we tell our daughters.  It's okay to let them know they are cute and that they look good.  It validates their already insecurities that inevitably creep in.  I just happen to also believe that  we need to be telling how our girls how smart they are.  What sweet personalities they have.  How good they are at problem solving.  Whatever else we can find to balance the rest of society that seems to be focused entirely on their looks, bodies and sexuality.

Does that mean we never correct or be truthful when we need to?  Of course not.  Puhleeze.  I'm all for being honest with our children (just ask my boys), I think the point I am making is that in today's world, society is sending a message that I don't think we want our daughters or granddaughters to buy.  And we as their role models can do much to either reinforce that awful message (sometimes by simply not doing anything at all) or we can counter that with as much emphasis on every other aspect in a young woman's life.  With all the good that our daughters and granddaughters have to offer the world, we should be focusing on and drawing their attention to them.  Let THOSE compliments help to define them.  Help to create balance between a comely appearance and the real beauty that a good heart, sweet soul, kind talk and keen brain offers.

So to my most wonderful 7 year old granddaughter Chloee - Happy Birthday!  Always remember that you are a daughter of God with limitless options and talents with which to better yourself and serve others.

PS - more chapter books coming.  Our next date will be another Barnes and Noble day!

PSS - just some random pictures of her reading to her cousin.  I know there is quite the age gap between them, but Addy adores Chloee and lights up when she sees her and I know that Chloee will be a great influence and role model for her.  Love my girls!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spiritual Sunday - Why I'm not and won't be a part of the "Ordain Women" movement.

I cringed even using their full name in the title of my post, because I don't want to send any more hits to their site than they already get but I wanted to make clear what I was talking about. And I fully expect to catch some back lash on this, so I'm just gonna go ahead and put some comment moderation on.  Or not.  Very few people actually read this little ole blog, and this is more for my children and grandchildren to understand precisely where I stand on this whole issue.

The issue?  In as simple terms as I can :
In my church, men hold the Priesthood.  That is by design and order of God.  However, as of late, there has been quite the movement from some women inside our church to change that eternal principle.  For whatever reason, there are women who feel that they are not as equal to men because they do not hold the sacred power of the priesthood.  The Priesthood is the power to act in God's name.  The same power Jesus Christ held to perform ordinances, heal the sick etc. has been restored and worthy men in my church have the opportunity to exercise that same priesthood power.

Why just men?  Why not women?    I get it.  I understand that some would wonder and question that.

I'm a simple girl.  I'm not a "critical thinker".  I don't analyze and research everything to the minute level.  I'm just not that smart or intellectually inclined.  I am one that goes by my heart.  In virtually everything.  I have always been one that "feels" rather than "thinks".  Religion in and of itself is based really on feelings rather than intellect.  Think about it.  The story of Jesus feeding the thousands with two fishes and a couple of loaves of bread?  You could hurt your brain trying to make that physically happen.  Changing water into wine?  Same thing.  How could the physics of that happen?  I have no clue.  I only know that in my heart, when I read about it and I pray to God for the answers, I FEEL it in my heart that it's true.  That those things happened.  I have no idea how, but they did.

As a young girl, I was raised a Mormon.  A member of  The Church of Jesus Christ of LatterDay Saints.  As a teen, as most teens do, I questioned, I rebelled, I chose to drift away.  When maturity set in, I explored how I felt about the church of my youth.  I had to make a decision as to whether it was for me, or did I want something else.  I knew I wanted and NEEDED some religion, some belief system, SOMETHING in my life and the life of my small children and husband.  My approach back into activity of the church was not something I attacked with intellect.  Again, it's just not in me.  I went with my heart and my gut.  The Book of Mormon promises answers.  I read it, I prayed about it and I got my answer.  From then on, there was no looking back.  Changes in my life were made and I embraced it.

There are some whose approach is different.  They study, they read, they cross reference, they gather all views both for and against.  And then they try to make a decision based on their fact finding.  Sorry, but that's not how religion, or better stated, FAITH in God works.  Faith is things believed in that are not seen.  I have not seen God the Father, His son Jesus Christ nor the Holy Ghost.  But I FEEL them, and in my heart I know they are real beings who love me.  I have not seen Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, the early pioneers, but I have FELT them and I know that even though they were imperfect people (just like me - making mistakes along the way), my heart knows that they were real, and that their efforts to restore the true gospel of Jesus Christ are true.  They did it.  They might have made mistakes, but those errors don't stand in the way of  me KNOWING the church and Christ's gospel is true.  I just don't even need to worry about those things in my belief structure.  It doesn't matter.  Simply, I asked God about it, He gave me the answer.  Done.

So back to the movement to ordain women in to the priesthood.  The Lord has given His answer.  It is established the way it is supposed to be.  Done.  Did Mary Magdalene, or Ruth, or Sarah or Mary the mother of God have the priesthood?  Did they ask for it?  How about after Christ was crucified and His disciples continued to preach and establish the church.  Did women in those days ask for and receive it? I can't find any examples of such.

But what about the purposes that women are saying that they want it for?  A very wise and very good friend stated it better than I ever could:

"All the women I hear talking about wanting the priesthood say things like "I want to hold my baby" "I want to bless my children" "I want to be able to give blessings." It is all very ego-centric. The grand irony is that the priesthood is the antithesis of "self-aggrandizement". It is about serving OTHERS, not about fulfilling PERSONAL wishes. So, basically, all of the women asking for the priesthood to "fulfill" themselves, don't really even understand that very priesthood that they covet." MMM

Maybe that's the problem.  Perhaps the women who are clamoring to be ordained to the Priesthood, 

aren't clearly understanding the very thing they are desiring.

For me?  I believe in continual revelation from God.  I believe it was restored when Christ's original 

church was restored in the 1800's through Joseph Smith.  I believe that if women were designed to 

 hold the priesthood and those responsibilities, God would tell us.  He hasn't.  I know from personal 

experience that when I "counsel" the Lord (tell Him what I think should happen because I know best), 

I'm usually schooled pretty well on the fact that I DON'T know all, and the HE does and that I shouldn't 

be telling Him what should happen but rather, I should faithfully pray to know what I should do to 

better serve Him.

My heart goes out to those women who feel such a need to push the prophet and other church leaders to 

change the order of God's church.

My friend Viki articulated it best, click here and read her words, for they are better 

than mine. 

*taps fingers and waits for you to come back*

But know this, I don't support the movement.  I won't ever support the movement.  I am grateful for the 

special gifts God has given me and I have plenty of responsibility and duty to serve Him with those 

talents that if He wanted me to have more, He would have given me more.  As a daughter of God, I 

find myself revered and loved by Him in a way that cannot be verbally expressed.  

But I know it in my heart, and that is enough.  My heart and my Spirit.  And for this simple girl.  It is 


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Fight for Air Climb 2014 - Sponsored by the American Lung Association but done by me for Cystic Fibrosis

Okay, so I saw this one come across my email and while it wasn't a running event, I was intrigued because of the "fight for air" movement.  Those who know me, know I have a beautiful daughter-in-love who battles Cystic Fibrosis and since I couldn't find a benefit to fund them directly, I figured this might be a good option. (To read more of Mindy's story click here)

I had no idea how it worked but I gave myself two hours to climb and figured I would do as much as I could in that time frame.  I didn't know if we climbed and went back down, or exactly the process so I was a little nervous that morning.

I found the check in area in the lobby of the Zion's bank tower.  I got my packet with my bib, timing chip and everything else.  I knew it was scrambling stairs as fast as I could, so I opted for my "scrambling rocks" shoes - don't mock - my Vibram five fingers.  I figured I could be fast without having a bulky shoe to trip on since I am famous for tripping over myself.  I was eliminating extra hazards for myself.

I loaded a gel, and my phone in my spibelt, set everything else aside in my bag and the volunteers graciously offered to keep it in a safe place until I was done.

I headed to the bottom of the stairwell and off I went!  Talk about going out TOO FAST!  Holy Smokes!  There were 38 flight of stairs, and the timing was from bottom to top.  Ever started sprinting stairs?  Yeah.  That.  By about the 18th floor my chest was on fire!  I slowed it down and decided that I would like to survive the whole thing.  There was a water break on the 19th floor and the volunteers were amazing!  I was basically climbing by myself although I would encounter another climber or two either passing them or as they passed me.  Each person seemed to have a significant purpose in their climb.  Either for themselves as they suffered with a lung ailment that makes it difficult to breathe, or for a loved one with the struggle.  It was pretty inspiring to see young kids and teens who were clearly sick with some ailment slowly climb those 38 flights.

In the opposite stairwell, firefighters from all over also participated in their own challenge.  They were geared up and they were competing to see who could complete the 38 flights the fastest.  Those guys were amazing!  I wasn't alongside them, but at the top they would come out of their stairwell, ripping off their masks and catching their breath.

Once I hit the 38th floor and the timing pad, I turned down into a huge conference room where they gave you your medal, there was food and beverages and people mingling about waiting for the awards to be given later.  Since it took me less than 5 minutes (4:16) to be exact, to complete the climb I didn't really know what to do.  I had two hours to work with, and I was sacrificing a run for this.  I had planned on using it as hill training.  As I walked around the room, I saw that there was a second competition taking place and that was how many times you could do the climb.  Okay.  I figured I might as well make good use of the time and just see how many I could do.  There was a cute volunteer that was keeping track each time you hit the top so off I went.  You had to take the elevators down (safety hazard to have climbers going up and down at the same time in the stairwells) so it gave me a chance to catch my breath and talk to other climbers.  Then off the elevators and around to the start again.  And again.  And again.

In all total - I was able to complete the climb 20 times!!  Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!
Sure, I wasn't the fastest female.  More like in the bottom 10% of the 51 females who participated, but dang I busted out more times than anyone else in the entire field.  The volunteers were so amazing.  Each time I came around, they would encourage me and congratulate me.  There was one particular police officer at the top (for security purposes) who high fived me, thumbs up'd, head nodded or otherwise acknowledged me every time I went around.  It was such a fun thing!

When I reached the top the 20th time, the volunteer said that it was over and they were getting ready to give prizes, so as I came into the now very crowded conference room, I took my medal and made my way over to the volunteer who was keeping count to confirm that I had indeed done twenty.  She excitedly told me I had the most and told me to make sure I stuck around for my prize.

With a beautiful view 38 floors up, I stretched and people watched.  Around the building they had put posters up with the names of people who the climbers were climbing for.  I looked for mine with Mindy's name but couldn't find it until I went back downstairs.

They finally got around to giving awards.  I got mine, picture taken with the head guy of the foundation then it was a mad race back home for a shower and off to work.

Such a fun event, and with those two hours of time to mostly myself, I had a lot of time to think.  We've got to come up with something designated for Cystic Fibrosis.  We HAVE to find a cure for this horrible disease.  Was that something I could venture into?  Do I have what it takes to put something together like that?  I was plotting and scheming while I was climbing.  Every time up the stairs I would try something a little different with my climb, like two stairs at a time.  Backwards.  Wide steps.  Mixing it up for muscle confusion.  All the while thinking of how something needed to be done to raise not just awareness but more importantly funds for research.  For a cure!

I gathered my things from the wonderful volunteers back in the lobby, took a few pics and then sprinted to my car and raced home.  I didn't come away with any wonderful ideas for an event for the local chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis foundation (and by local, it encompasses Utah and Idaho with a few things, nothing really close to home), but I did come home with the plan of contacting the chapter and seeing where I can volunteer my services to gain more funding for research and ultimately a cure.

Would I recommend this event?  Absolutely.  It was very well run, the volunteers among the very best I've ever encountered, the proceeds to a worthy cause, and a great excuse for some hill training.  But keep your eyes pealed for when I find something specifically for the foundation of my choice: The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

PS - a HUGE shout out to Darrell and Cassandra Catmull for your donation on behalf of my team Team Minderella.  I love you and appreciate your support!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Imagine Dragons 2014 - Can you Imagine me and the Splenda Daddy at an actual concert?

HAH!  So it's been like 25 years since Splenda Daddy and I have been to any kind of concert.  Like serious concert.  But I absolutely LOVE this band!  Like, love as in I could listen to their CD over and over and over again and not get sick of them kind of love. I do admit, that I fear they are getting overplayed on the radio, but I believe that when they release their second album it will just be proof that they are worth the exposure.

So anywhoo....when I heard they were here in Utah, I was too late to secure tickets and the night off, so I immediately hit the interwebz and found that they were coming to Boise, ID (a five hour drive north) and in February of 2014.  Before I knew it, I had my plastic card out and booking the best seats available.  I.Was.Giddy!

That was late last year, fast forward to February 8th.  The forecast called for some snowy weather so in fear of road closures or delays, Splenda and I loaded up the Rav with lots of extra blankets and coats (JIC) and hit the highway early.  Nothing like a road trip with your hubby of almost 30 years to remind you just how much you still love him and that he's truly your best friend.  I think we should do that more often!

We arrived in Boise much earlier than we anticipated and since I had 16 miles in my training plan that needed to get done, we checked in, dumped our stuff in our room (after the appropriate bed bug check) and I hit the dreadmill in the hotel's "gym".
(Great place to stay - highly recommend ANY Marriott)

(rocking the 70's motif)

Couple of hours later, a quick shower and dinner in the local restaurant across the parking lot and we were loading the shuttle van for a ride to the Taco Bell Arena.

First let me say.  It was the Taco Bell Arena and NOT ONE TACO to be found!  What the heck?  We wandered a bit before we found our seats, and I have to seats available??

The warm up band was still performing and a few of the crowd members right near us were already drunk and ready for fun.  This poor guy was trying desperately to get the "wave" going.

Pretty sure I heard 1985 calling and asking for their 'wave' back.

And then..............

The lights go down and out they come!

I realize I don't have the best pictures, and I did sneak a little video that I posted on Facebook, but I don't know how to load it here so....instead I'm gonna post a few links to their youtube videos:
One of my favorite songs....

Another favorite:

And this one means a ton to me.  My friend Kandi was a good friend of Tyler Robinson (don't mind the shaky video - watch to the end and I guarantee you will have the chills)  who loved ID as much as I do.  The band took him under their wing, there is a fund established in his name for childhood cancer and this song reminds me of his battle and all the others who fight cancer daily.  In May Kandi will be running the Ogden marathon in honor of Tyler.  I hope to be right by her side and soak up her goodness as she "slays cancer with Dragons"

They were INCREDIBLE!  So much fun!  Family friendly, gracious and kind to the crowd and excellent performers.  All of them sing, play the guitar and drum.  They are the full package.  And admittedly, it was fun to let loose for a few hours, forget that I was 47 and just have a good time!

Too soon it felt like it was over and we were amongst the masses winding our way out of the taco-less arena and into the streets of Boise.  Luckily, we were merely a mile away so we walked back to the hotel.

Such a fun time!  And while we had to turn around and head home first thing in the morning, it was worth every penny, and minute of time.  Being with my best friend, at a concert with my favorite band is exactly what I needed!

Now, I am watching their tour dates to see if I can swing another road trip somewhere close by

Thanks Imagine Dragons - you were more than I had even imagined!

PS - Kandi - can't wait for Ogden!  It will be a meaningful marathon!