Quick Thoughts

I was surprised when my child came home from a church activity that he didn’t hate skiing. He said he fell like 30 times. Trying new things often involves a lot of falling, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still fun and worth doing.

Religious Thoughts are below if you are interested. If you like the kid pictures and life updates more, I’ll try to remember to take more pictures by next week.

I was pondering the topic of fire from a spiritual perspective. The baptism of fire is joyous, but the wicked being burned by fire isn’t. God’s refining fire gets rid of anything evil. If I do not have anything righteous in my heart, that fire will consume me. But if I have righteousness in my heart, the fire is a cleansing act that brings forth my righteousness in more purity.

Also, we started to talk about a new curriculum that I had begun reading on my own. I really enjoyed it because it refocused on Jesus Christ. But during the lesson, we didn’t talk about Jesus at all! Instead, we talked about things like following inspiration and teaching doctrine, etc. I think it’s good to refocus: instead of following inspiration, how about following Jesus? And instead of teaching doctrine, why don’t we teach about Jesus? My religion, without Jesus, is no religion at all. Just a bunch of good advice that I could get somewhere else in a better form. Jesus is the core of religion, and I wish we would talk about Him more.


At church on Sunday, the lesson talked about how we can grow strong roots. The teacher had a picture of a tree with small roots and one with large roots.

Now, with a horticulture background, I started to think about what would cause a weak root system. The first thing I thought of is girdling roots. These occur when a tree starts out in a container. The roots are often forced to grow in a circle, without room to expand. If the tree is planted with these circling roots, instead of growing out, they continue to follow the original circular pattern. As the tree grows larger, the roots can actually girdle the tree and cause the tree to be unhealthy and even die.

I once saw a row of trees. All of them were planted in the same area with the same care, but several of them died over time in spite of being a good fit for the area. I suspected it might be a case of girdling roots. How do you prevent the problem? When you plant the tree, wash the roots off and prune back any growth in a circular pattern that could later girdle the tree. Although harder, you can also take care of the problem after planting by inspecting the roots next to the trunk of the tree.

There’s the horticulture lesson, here’s the life lesson.

I have girdling roots in my life. I have ways of thinking that worked when I was younger, but as I grow they become limiting and can suffocate me. If I want a strong root system, I need to inspect my roots and get rid of the ones that can girdle me. For me, these are things like relying on my own strength to do everything that needs to get done, instead of relying on God. It’s checking things off a to-do list instead of paying attention to what is really important in my life. It’s pride, and my favorite guilty pleasures, and all the times that I know better. Girdling roots aren’t foreign enemies: they are things on the inside that can still tear us down.

If I want a strong foundation, a strong root system, identifying how I can improve my thought patterns to rely more completely on God allows me to prune my root system and start growing roots that are healthy and larger.

If you want a bonus analogy, trees also grow poorly when planted in a lawn. The lawn competes with the tree, and the tree is stunted. Getting rid of the lawn around the roots of the tree allows the tree to grow taller. Distractions also crowd out spiritual growth.

No Room

The room was small.

I was a little late, and peered in. My son saved me a seat. But I didn’t go in immediately. Because there were a lot of people still waiting to get in. 

The man next to me said, “I think we can fit.”

I counted. 12 more people. Maybe enough seats?

I said, “There’s a lot of people still out here.”

Because there were probably others that would still be later. Others that wouldn’t want to sit with someone and couldn’t. Or others who would feel uncomfortable with the small space. We might have fit. But it was so tight that it would have been so easy to have someone excluded. 

I waited, worried…and then relieved. The person in charge gave the order. Everyone stood up, grabbed their chairs and moved to the other room. A big room with more space, more chairs to set up.

Everyone could be included. 

Do we sometimes try to fit people into places they might not comfortably fit? Fit people into our bias, stereotypes, schedules…

Maybe it’s time to stand up and move to a bigger room. So anyone that is late can still come. Anyone that needs more space can have it. Everyone will be included and no one will be listening from outside the door.

Let’s not squeeze people into stereotypes. Let’s free up time on schedules for unanticipated opportunities to connect with others. Let’s open up and make sure everyone has a place to belong and be included.

Rethinking what I desire

In a couple of books I was reading, two separate authors talked about growing up without a lot of money. They made their gifts, decorations in their homes, and did without a lot of normal thing. They still had a loving family, and mentioned that they found these times in their lives full of joy and didn’t mind the lack of material things.

A lot of things are easy to desire: wealth, indulging in pleasures, have an easy life and doing lazy things. But I know those things don’t really make me happy. I often hate how they make me feel. I played a game on my phone the other day because I was tired, and it was fun. But a couple of hours later, I felt more tired, depressed, and less in control of myself. I neglected more important things.

Other thing make me feel so much better. Working, helping others, spending time in nature, being creative, learning. Those things aren’t at all dependent on wealth: and sometimes without wealth we are forced into situations where we have to do them. I remember the homemade gifts I made for people when I didn’t have that much money to buy nice things. They meant a whole lot more.

Do I want to live in a home full of love, creativity, and work, even if it might be poor? Or a rich home full of nice things, even when devoid of the things that bring meaning? And if the answer is obvious, is that how I am actually living life?


We all have expectations. I use my expectations to guide my life and shape my experience. When we have expectations for our future, it helps us to grow and be better.

But I’ve been trapped and limited because of my expectations too. When I have expectations of my past, and these expectations weren’t met…I am miserable.

I’ve been holding on to past expectations for a long time, piling then up on top of each other and loading myself up with regret. I think about all the times I lost my temper with my children, the times I was shy or said something awkward, the times my children did not behave…all of these times where my expectations failed. And rather than accepting the past for what it was, I hold on wrongly thinking I can somehow change things.

I have no power to change the past, and by holding on to any expectation, I am setting myself up for misery. I am learning to let go of past expectations and accept everything for what it is. I have become lighter, happier to a greater depth than I have ever felt before.

Two Stories

Almost jokingly, I suggested to Peter that he could go to the nearby grocery store and pick up the Redbox movie we just reserved. And much to my surprise, he agreed. So my young child hopped on his bike with my credit card and a walkie-talkie in his pocket and off he went. He had a bit of a hiccup entering the zip code on the machine, but a random stranger helped him out and he returned home in less than ten minutes with a movie in his pocket.


I want to encourage my children to do hard things, things that are new and a little scary. And I am glad for the people around them that help them out, even if they are strangers. I could worry about everything that could go wrong with a scenario like that, but in reality, the risks are low and it will help my child grow.


We hiked to the top of a giant rock, and my niece’s hat flew off her head in the violent winds and disappeared over the side of the cliff. She was heartbroken. We couldn’t see it, and there wasn’t a great way to get it. It was seemingly gone forever. More to offer her some hope and comfort than any real faith that she would find her hat, I suggested that she could pray.

We hiked back down. My niece, Peter, and Joe went a different way down, close to the rock where the hat had fallen. Later on, I saw Peter and my niece running down the trail, and she had her hat on.

southern utah

They had found it wedged in a hole in the face of the rock, and Joe climbed up and grabbed it. Peter and my niece both said they prayed about it. And God heard their prayers, the hat was quickly found and everyone went home happy.

I am Enough

I think I’ve got it all together. I know, many people say no one has it all together, and in many respects they are right. No one is exempt from challenges, no one has figured out the answer to every question, and everyone makes plenty of mistakes. But instead of saying that I don’t have it all figured out, I would rather change my definition of what that means.
I am a responsible person who meets almost all of my obligations in a timely manner.  I set goals and I achieve a lot of them. I’m improving as a person. So I think I’ve got it all together. Now, sometimes my house is a disaster, my kids are snarky, I cry, I let my husband do all the dishes and I don’t help, and I forget something rather important. I’m not perfect. But I feel better and do more if I feel like I’m top of things and like I’ve got it all under control.
We will never live up to the all standards that we can set for ourselves. There’s always someone better, more popular, cuter clothes to wear, and better ways to do makeup.  Sometimes I feel I don’t commit to a lifestyle enough. I’m awkward, interested in all the wrong things, and don’t agree with the right politics. My house isn’t pretty, my garden is weedy, I have too many kids or not enough, my career interests are foolish, my crafts messy, I am never good enough.
That’s just a rotten way to live. A Facebook post from a while ago reminded me of a better way. A woman was lamenting that she was very far from the lifestyle she wanted for herself, and the comments filled up with really good advice:
  • Don’t compare yourself
  • Go slow and be patient
  • Just do what you can
  • Life can be hard
  • Do what works for you, it doesn’t have to match anybody else
  • Slow and imperfect progress is still progress
  • Just pick one thing you can accomplish every day
  • You can get burned out if you try too much
  • Find help from others


The gospel does not direct many details of my life.  Instead, it says, come as you are. Let God know all your works, all the efforts of your heart, and He will direct you. He believes that you are good enough, He had a work for you to do. And with him, and only Him, my life is molded and shaped for good.


the view

I’m the primary music leader for my ward, and I was recently teaching the children this simple song:

Listen to the still small voice!
Listen! Listen!
When you have to make a choice.
He will guide you always.
It’s meant to be sung as a round, and the children actually did pretty well singing it that way. At the end, I was trying to be spiritual and talk about how we need to listen to the still small voice and make sure we are listening to the one we are supposed to be following, and not the other group.
Just a bit later, it struck me how much I needed that little message. The funny thing about a round is everyone is singing the same thing: but the timing is drastically different. God tells us much the same things: that we need to serve other, have a family, be righteous. And I’ve always strived to do good, listen to God, to have Him as my guide. But I don’t always get the timing right, and sometimes I look at other people’s timing and think that is the right one for me.
I look at people who have a lot of children and wonder why I don’t have more myself. I look at people who have a lot of success or cool jobs or hobbies or lots of friends and wonder why I don’t. I could go on…but if I’m looking at other people and what they are singing, I’m going to miss the timing that God has for me.
God does have a unique plan for me if I’m paying attention to Him and not anyone else.
temple 1
(And I have the best view from my front porch sometimes.)


The day of the eclipse, I decided to drive up and see it. I was worried about crowds and traffic. Although I saw way more Utah license plates in Idaho than Idaho plates, it wasn’t too bad at all.

We found a country park to go to and randomly ended up sitting right next to my Mom’s neighbor. It was an absolutely amazing experience that Peter said was just as good as Minecraft.


This video is horrible. But I think you definitely see the excitement in it.

While I was enjoying the whole experience, it reminded me of church, and I actually used the experience to help teach my son about baptism.

When I heard about the eclipse, everyone who had actually seen one said it was worth about any effort to go. They said it was indescribable and amazing.

We also hear from people, through individual testimonies and the scriptures, how indescribable and amazing are the blessing from being baptized, going to church and enjoying the fullness of the gospel.

It’s easy to not believe the testimonies or to get discouraged by the things we have to do to get there. I almost stayed home from the eclipse because of traffic. Many people do not go to church or get baptized because of lifestyle decisions or indifference.

I went to the eclipse and it was so much more than I expected and well worth the effort. It turned out it wasn’t that hard to go after all: and the experience was incredible.

The gospel is worth the effort: it isn’t that hard, and the blessings I’ve experienced from the gospel are indescribable and amazing.

My son went to the eclipse very reluctantly. When it actually happened, he was the most excited I have ever seen him. I challenged him to get baptized and told him that it would be just as good as the eclipse.