28 February 2011


The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt with the heart.

Helen Keller


When I turned 12, my Dad picked me up from school on his motorcycle.  We drove to somewhere in Salt Lake where he told me we were buying a helmet for his motorcycle.  When we got there, he went in alone and came out with the "helmet guy" who was holding a little tiny black tea-cup poodle.  This man, Frank, handed me the dog and said "Happy birthday!"  I about jumped out of my skin, I was so excited!  Minutes later my brothers and Mom showed up in the van to see the dog.  That was the day I got my dog-best-friend, Millie.  My Dad was a hero in my eyes!  He always has been too.  I thought that my Dad just knew what I wanted to badly for my birthday and he gave it to me.

Years later, my Dad revealed the real reason he got Millie for me.  I had better set this up by saying I laughing while relating this story.  One day my Dad wanted me to do something for him that I wasn't excited about doing.  Maybe he was trying to talk me into rubbing his feet?  Anyway, he was trying to talk me into doing something so he summoned up any and everything he could possibly guilt trip me with.  That didn't work.  So he brought out the big guns and he said "Lizzie, WHO got you Millie when you had NO friends?"  Then went into elaborate and hilarious detail about how sad he felt that I had no friends and that practically forced him into finding the most perfectly suited dog for me on the planet.  That turned into "Why don't you have friends? Now, take Mr. Leopard here.  He has friends, he's popular, everyone likes him!"  (My little brother John had been elected "Mr. Leopard" his senior year at East High School and co-starred in two musicals, was president of Madrigals and served on seminary council.  No way I was half as popular to accomplish any of that!)
The popular Mr. Leopard himself
My Dad really has always been such a fun guy, even while poking fun at us.  Of course we poke lots of fun back!

20 February 2011

New Testament Thoughts

This morning I was studying the New Testament in preparation for our Sunday School lesson.  The New Testament really is so beautiful, is it not?  To read the actual words of the Savior fills me with grattitude and amazement.  I actually feel like it is something that lifts me to another place!  I have always loved John 5:39; Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 

Now I know every person has their own way of interpreting scripture so you may think I am way off.  But I have always loved to comapre this to the way I feel so happy and elated when I am really searching and pondering the scriptures.  When I read them, I do think I have eternal life!  When I am really reading, I feel God's love for me, and I feel His love for others through me.  I realize all over again the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true!  I know faith is something I must work at everyday.  I believe that is true for everyone.  I believe every spirit has need of constant nourishment.  I really can testify the scriptures are true!  And that any man who reads and asks in sincerity of heart may know by the Holy Ghost that they are true.  God speaks to us through them and there are so many excellent things to learn!

I love this story in Mark 1:40-42 where the lepor kneels and begs the Savior.  He says "if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean."  One lesson I have learned from this is about the faith this man shows.  He essentially is saying "If it is Thy will, I know Thou canst make me clean."  The Savior says "I will; Be thou clean."  Those words are so touching to me, "I will."  I learn from this that many blessings the Lord is waiting to give us, and they depend upon our asking in faith.  I know we are individuals in the sight of God.  I know "the worth of every soul is great in the eyes of God."  Also I believe we are taught the importance of praying for God's will.  Pray is the act of the will of the Father and the will of the child becoming the same, His will becoming ours.  For His ways are not our ways and just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His thoughts higher than ours.  Even Jesus Christ prayed "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done."   

As I have thought of these things today I thought about my Dad!  I have been and continue to be affected by the hemorrhagic stroke and the traumatic brain injury he now has.  I recognize there are others (namely my parents) more affected by this than I am.  But still it is painful for me.  I am grateful for the scriptures which teach us, and the Holy Ghost which tells us the truth of all things.  Because of that, I can know that whatever the reasons, this is God's will and I am happy with that!  I also know that my Dad can be healed and will in fact be healed one day and be able to enjoy the full and proper use of his body.

I testify that Jesus is the Christ!  That He atoned for our sins, that His sweat was as "great drops of blood" and He suffered, and that He took upon Himself the sins of the world in order to redeem us and fulfill the will of the Father.  I know that God has spoken and does speak to us on earth.  I am so thankful that I have found my love for trying to live a gospel-centered life.  That is what brings me joy and happiness.  I am not even close to perfect by any measurement, but yet God has allowed me to have such joy for believing on His name and for trying to follow the commandments and repenting when I make mistakes.  I believe and I know Joseph Smith is a prophet who did, in fact, "commune with Jehovah."  I believe that if any man will ask, showing real intent and faith in Jesus Christ that he may know the truth of all things!  My religion is what makes me feel that life is worth all the headache on a bad day, that happiness is possible and worth working for.  I am thankful for my God, I know He loves me, I know He loves my children and family and I know He loves you!  We are all individuals in His sight and He does indeed hear all our prayers.

Thank you for reading and I will close all this in the name of Jesus Christ and an amen!

Oh, Dad!

May I just say that my Dad is so funny?  I think he really has always loved making people laugh and although his methods for accomplishing that have changed, he still loves when he says something that gets everyone laughing.  Tonight while my husband, children and I were visiting, we asked him about a really great experience he and my Mom recently had with a very wonderful man. 

They say there are two sides to every story, right? 

My Mom's version of the story included a lot of beautiful words spoken, a lot of joy, tenderness, spirituality, hope, and Christ-like love. 

Dad telling us this story
My Dad's version involved drug addicts, some guy from New York City (who apparently you could just look at and you knew it), witch hunters, visionary "underpinnings," something that they had "figured out to the max," and a warning that I would go "straight down" if I repeated any of it.  It was just so funny!  If I didn't know better, I think I would have literally been on the floor laughing.

14 February 2011


I was sitting in church yesterday and I had the thought that if I knew the end from the beginning, if I knew the strengths and weaknesses I started with compared with the strengths I have and will gain as I go through life, I bet I would not want to change the middle.   I know that God sees the end from the beginning, he knows what the outcomes and end results will be and I believe that all that happens in the in-between is what makes us who we are.  I believe this life is for us to be polished and refined, to learn lessons and to serve God and man.  I am not sure why it takes a hemorrhagic stroke to teach things to some people what others learn in a different way but I am certain that our loving Heavenly Father knows best how to allow us opportunities for growth and learning.

There is a family we go to church with whose dad ahad a  stroke three days after my Dad, and like my Dad, now has a traumatic brain injury.  I am reminded that so many people are in the furnace of affliction and my hope is that all people will come to the feet of the Savior and feast on His love!  He has the power to heal our wounded hearts.  He gives hope and peace!

12 February 2011

O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown

Today as I am thinking of my Dad and hoping he is happy and finding joy, I am feeling the love of the Lord for the many blessings and opportunities He provides for us.  As a personal project I decided to learn to play hymns, I think at age 12.  So I got a "teach yourself piano" book and I taught myself.  I annoyed the whole family playing hymns over and over and over again!  But I really got to know and love them.  This hymn, "O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown" was one I really got to love and one my Dad repeatedly asked me to play.  I love the whole song, but today I am mindful especially of these two verses:

No creature is so lowly,
No sinner so depraved,
But feels thy presence holy
And thru thy love is saved.
Tho craven friends betray thee,
They feel thy love’s embrace;
The very foes who slay thee
Have access to thy grace.

Thy sacrifice transcended
The mortal law’s demand;
Thy mercy is extended
To ev’ry time and land.
No more can Satan harm us,
Tho long the fight may be,
Nor fear of death alarm us;
We live, O Lord, thru thee.

I have absolute surety that the Savior has died for us, has atoned for our sins, and is living today.  I also know that because of Him no fear of death need alarm us.  "Oh it is wonderful that He should care for me, enough to die for me! Oh, it is wonderful! Wonderful to me!"

When I really think about what has happened to my Dad, I don't know why it can be so frustrating!  I guess sometimes I just want my Dad!  Is that silly to say?  Probably!  When I get feeling that way I think "well this is my Dad, not my husband" and a whole new set of feelings come to my heart as I consider the burden my Mom has been called to bear.  She really is so faithful and good!  There are lots of wonderful people out there but she just has to be one of the very best.  I really have no reason to complain.  I am thankful my Dad was able to participate so fully in the raising of us kids before the stroke.  My brother Sam says that my Dad has always been so smart, it took a stroke to put him on the intelligence level of the rest of us. 

It is so wonderful to know that Jesus Christ died that man might live again.  When the souls of all man are reunited with their bodies and never to be separated or plagued by illness or deformity, won't that be glorious?  I know that will happen.  For all of us!

11 February 2011

2 Timothy

For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7

Tea Party

Not long ago my daughter Charity asked me to call "Ya Ya" (that is what she calls my Mom) and she invited Ya Ya and Poppy over to have a "real tea party."  Peach Pie (what I call Charity) got a tea set for Christmas and has hosted many a pretend tea party.  When she invited Ya Ya and Poppy over they came and we all sat down to a fantastic tea party meal!

That day some "cawn bread" and delish pinto beans cooked by Uncle Neil came via UPS from Georgia and really made the tea party food!  My Mom always says our corn bread in the west is more like corn cake, moist and sugary.  I guess I was raised up in the west so that is what I love!  This "real" Georgia "cawn" bread was not sweet but it was delicious!
Poppy trying to put a lid on the pretend food Peach Pie brought him

That day we ended up having a dance party up in PP's room which was filled with balloons from a birthday party.  We all enjoyed having Poppy and it always means a lot to me to see the effort he puts into being the fun guy that he is!  I know my children will have a lot of fun memories with him, just like I do!

Great memories such as this!  A few summers back my Dad was training Sofie to run and jump over a pole that was set up on top of paint cans.  My little girl loved watching him do that!  Pretty sure he loved having someone who would watch Sofie do that trick all day.
It is amazing all that he could get Sofie to do!  That little doggie would do anything for him, I think.  He really has put a lot of time into training her up well.  The weekend before his hemorrhagic stroke, Eve James and her girls came to drop something off for my Mom.  While they were there my Dad made Sofie perform every trick she knows to their delight!  I heard about that from my Dad and later on heard about that from Eve.  I know my Dad really enjoys showing his dog off to anyone who will listen!  He is such a Boston Terrier nut! I think about 1/3 of his conversations revolve around Sofie.  I can't count the number of times he has stared at her and said "That is such a beautiful dog."  He really has to stop everyone he sees with a Boston Terrier.  I guess the Boston dog owners are all that way.

Once at Liberty Park a woman stopped my Dad and got so excited about Sofie she actually got on the grass and rolled around with the dog!  It was embarrassing!  After that my Dad agreed to tone down his interactions with stranger's dogs.  :)  Thank goodness he never did that!

06 February 2011

Dad and Jimmy James

My little Jimmy Jim had a real bad couple of days last week for accidents!  He fell off a bunk bed and thankfully escaped that unharmed.  Of course after he cried for a minute or two he jumped out of my arms and went straight for the ladder to climb back up.  The next day we were at my parent's house and he put his finger in the hinge of the door as it was being shut!  That one made him cry harder than I can remember hearing him cry!  He walked around with his drippy eyes and holding his injured pointer finger out in front of him.  It was real sad.  But my Dad grabbed that little buddy boy and they sat on the couch together for a whole movie!  James Brother (affectionately named by his sister) laid right on my Dad's stomach and relaxed and napped there with his finger pointed out.
It was real cute because I remember so many times my Dad telling me his favorite thing was when his own children would climb up on his belly and go to sleep.  In my childhood scrapbook (thank you Mom!) there are several pictures of me sleeping just like this on my Dad.  My Dad is a person I have always thought of with definite likes and favorites, and I know he loves having a baby asleep on his belly.  He told me how much he enjoyed having little Jimmy Jim fall asleep on his belly that day.  I am glad I snapped a photo and look forward to putting that in my own son's book.  Good memories!