Saturday, November 30, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a very quiet and wonderful Thanksgiving this year. 

Suzi did a beautiful job cooking a wonderful Thanksgiving feast. We had so much food!  Suzi made a turkey, ham, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, funeral potatoes, candied yams, rolls, asparagus, pies, cakes and more. She totally outdid herself. 

We watched movies. We hung out. We relaxed. We shopped online. We enjoyed each and every moment together. 

That evening, Jodi came over to do her Black Friday shopping on line since I couldn't go out of the house. We laughed. Had fun. Stayed warm. And still got incredible deals. 

It was a perfect Thanksgiving. We were filled with love and fun and blessings and gratitude. I love my sweet family!

Christmas tree - love this time of year

Decorating the tree is one of my favorite traditions. I love looking at the twinkling lights. I love the way they flicker in the dark. The gentle glow warms my heart and fills my soul with love. It starts the magic of the season.
It is amazing how one little light can bring so much joy but when many come together it lights up the room. I sit and look at the tree and think of the lights as all those that have brightened our path, brought joy to our lives and helped to bring peace and love to our hearts. 
I love the peace that it represents. That the needles point to heaven to remind me to look up. That all testifies of the Savior. 
The lights that remind me that we all have worth and something to give. All the lights together help me to remember that collectively, we can sparkle bright. 
The ornaments remind me that it is the little things that being joy and happiness. Not necessarily big gestures but small ones. 

I love that so many help me and do the things for me that being joy in my life. My sweet husband. My precious son. And family and friends that love me and take care of me by decorating our new home so our first Christmas here would be perfect. 

This new tree in our new home is beautiful. It has brought joy beyond measure. 

Oh how I love this time of year. Everything seems more beautiful. More peaceful. More magical. And filled with more love. 

Merry Christmas! May you each benefit from our little lights as we have from each of yours.  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wrestling Wars

Boys. Boys. And more boys.

That is who lives in this home. And they multiple on nights and weekends. 

Chad, Hayden and Max were joined by Brigham and Talmage. Whenever that many boys are together, there is always wrestling. 

I love the laughter. I love the giggles. I love the screeches. I love the smiles. 

When girls have a bad day, they cry. When boys have a bad day, they wrestle. It alleviates aggression. It alleviates frustrations. 

Max is so funny. He wanted in the action just as much. 

He defended Talmage from the big boys. But, he also has his boys' back. 

Look at those smiles! I love them all!

Friday, November 22, 2013

I'm His

There are moments in life we experience and are never again the same. The details take hold of us and  we begin to see life or circumstances with a different perspective. 

As I have walked the path before me, many moments have redirected me, many have made me question all I know, and some have defined me. The compilation of all these has shaped my life and given character to me. 

Tonight was one of those night that I will always remember, cherish and be better for having experienced. 

But, to better appreciate how I got to this new founded knowledge, my week must be explained. 

Monday evening I felt the desire and need to go to my sister-in-law's sister's viewing. My heart broke for Steph and what she must be facing, with losing her sister. Lisa and Steph were close. In a way, their lives resembled Jodi's and mine. Steph, the younger sister, looking out for and caring for her older sister. Hours of sacrifice, dedication, service, and an outpouring of love for her big sister, evident in the countless hours of help given and love felt between the two. 

I imagined me being gone and prayed so many would comfort and take care of my sweet sister. I wanted to show my love and understanding. 

Thomas came home, I had slept all day trying to conserve energy and hopefully be able to do what my heart so desired. I walked in the church, went to the relief society room and stood waiting to express my feelings, sympathy and love. 

As I hugged my sister-in-law, I felt overwhelming love and true Christlike empathy for her and her suffering. Losing someone on this earth is heartbreaking. We mourn for the void they leave in our lives. We mourn for the moments they will miss out of. We mourn for our hearts that seem they can never be healed. 

When in reality, our loved ones are in a much better place, walking with those that have gone before and being embraced in the arms of our Savior. Yes. They will miss us, but their world turns into our Savior's time, and are busily preparing the way for more of our brothers and sisters to return back into our Savior's presence. We love them. 

As I embraced Steph, I felt something that changed me. In those brief moments, The Lord allowed me to understand more the role and compassion of the one who is the caregiver. The love that flowed from Steph for her dear sister's life was undescribable in our limited vocabulary. 

That night, after only a short time out of the house, something inside me occurred. Whether another blood clot broke loose, a stroke occurred or some other medical event happened, I again felt myself fighting to hold on to life, and continue breathing. 

Rough days followed. Struggling to catch enough air to fill my lungs consumed my days and nights. Sleeping was how 90% of my time was spent. The time I was conscious and awake, I spent pleading with my Father in Heaven that somehow, someway, that I would be given the energy, strength, and ability to attend the temple tonight. 

I will be honest. Only with sheer faith and determination did I walk out the door tonight. On the way out, both Chad and Hayden commented and voiced concern that I shouldn't be leaving. I so badly wanted to be at the temple, I promised all to my Savior if he would just lift my disability for the night. For one short hour, so I could follow the deep desires of my heart. 

In faith, I tried to walk I to the temple. Once inside, I was enveloped in the peace, comfort and love that is only found within the house of our Lord. And although, my disabilities and struggles remained with me, I felt a peace overcome me that assured me that enough strength would be added unto me so that I could remain conscious and keep from seizing. 

My dear Father in Heaven answered my prayer. I cannot describe the peace and love that came over me as I realized my Savior was again taking my weaknesses, imperfections, disabilities and struggles on him and he would make up where I fell short. 

Miracles occurred. I am forever grateful. 

My brother, his sweet wife and precious children were sealed in the House of our Lord, for time and all eternity. 

Words cannot describe the feelings and joy that overtook my body. I felt whole. 

I will write separately about the sweet experiences therein. 

As I sat in the beautiful sealing room, I looked around. I was in a room full of family and friends that I love and adore. An overwhelming peace and reassurance enveloped me. It came quickly, caused my eyes to water and my heart to swell. 

Words are so constraining at this time, and do not allow me to express the genuine events that occurred. My dear Savior not only allowed my physical body a reprieve from the pain and weakness and disabling effects of the stroke, but also, in his mercifulness, he allowed my heart to be opened to the love that was in the room. He allowed the joy and peace and serenity and understanding to take hold and expand and increase. He blessed me to the gift of reassurance. The blessing of understanding how those around me, both see me and feel about me. I felt embraced in love and buoyed up on the shoulders of those who love me. 

I was again reassured that my Savior knows each of us personally. He knows the deepest needs and desires of our hearts. He truly knows the road I walk. He knows the pain, the heartache and loneliness, he knows the excruciating pain, he knows the effort and struggle it is to breathe, he knows that I give my all and push myself beyond my limits, and he steps in and rescues me when I cannot do what is needed. 

My God is a merciful and loving God. He gives and does and blesses me more than I will ever deserve. He gives me more than I need but grants some of the deepest and truest desires of my heart. 

And just because my body is weak, and I must suffer the frailties of the flesh, it does not mean that I am not watched out for, cared about or loved. 

It is because my Savior does love me so much, that he allows me to grow and learn and progress. He allows the events of this earth life to unfold so that I can learn and grow and progress. 

Just as it is necessary for me as a parent to let go and let Hayden experience the world, all of it, so does my Heavenly Father allow me to experience the trials of this world. For it is only thru hard times, that we are able to taste the sweetness of good times and rejoice in the blessings. 

I am grateful for a Father in Heaven that loves me enough to allow me to learn to walk, teaches me to get up when I fall down and gently offers encouragement when I think I no longer am equivalent to the task. I am grateful for hard times because they have stretched me and taught me that I can overcome and grow. That deep within, I have divine attributes that will carry me back to the presence of my Father on Heaven and the gentle arms of our Savior. 

All of these sweet truths were again testified to me, as my failing body jerked inside. I felt enveloped in peace and love. I was surrounded by unconditional love and those that would sacrifice and do anything for me. 

As my sweet husband took my hand, and smiled at me, all the heartache and trials I have endured has been worth it. 

My dear husband and I have grown so close. He has loved me and served me and cared for me. He has sacrificed all for me. 

I am so blessed. I feel such love encircle me each and every day. I'm surrounded by rise that love me. I am kept safe in the arms of my Savior. I have no idea why The Lord has blessed me so much, but I am so grateful he has. 

As I took the first step out of the temple, the sharp pains returned. The agony and exhaustion again overcame my body. Each step felt as if it was going to be my last and pain radiated through my body, my breathing again came labored. 

I said a quiet prayer of gratitude. I was given a reprieve. Short. But so needed. Most of all, I was again reminded of how much my Savior does for me. And I am ever so grateful. 

For Time and all Eternity

My precious brother, Jake, took his sweet wife, Rosie, and three beautiful daughters to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity.

I love my brother. I love my sister-in-law, Rosie. I absolutely love and adore my three sweet nieces, Kaylee, Katelyn and Kiley. 

I wish I could better express the feeling in my heart as I walked into the temple and saw these five precious people that I love. I felt so much love and joy and peace. 

I hugged each of them. Thrilled to be there. 

One by one, each of my siblings and their spouses walked in the door. Then my dad. Other family members and friends also were there. People that have been influential in helping them change and get to the point of fully turning their hearts and lives to the Savior. 

As we walked into the celestial room, Thomas and I sat down, next to Josh and Stephanie, next to JD and Cassie and Jodi and Troy. My dad sat in the witness chair. As Jake and Rosie walked in, I felt so much love, as we were all in the temple together. A first. A special precious moment. 

Rosie absolutely glowed. Just like an angel. I've never seen her more beautiful. Jake smiled from ear to ear. 

Beautiful advice was given. My favorite was when the sealer told them that they came to the temple when needed. Not to beat themselves up for lost time but to just be glad they made it. He talked of overcoming trials. Of focusing and raising a family unto The Lord. Of being completely devoted to one another with the Savior. 

As the girls were brought in, I could feel my mom with her arm around her three precious granddaughters. Tears swelled in my eyes. The love in the room was beyond earthly words. 

The sealer was so cute with the girls. I hope those sweet and precious girls that I love will always remember the beauty and sweet spirit they felt. I hope they remember how much love was in that room. How many people adore them and would do anything for them. How much their Savior loves them. 

As my brother was sealed to his beautiful bride and precious three daughters, I saw tears swell in his eyes. Rosie's smile was one I will always remember and cherish. And the love, the overwhelming love I feel for each of my precious nieces was so strong. 

I love Kaylee, Katelyn and Kiley. I love Jake and his precious wife, my friend, Rosie. 

I'm grateful that they chose to take the steps and make the effort to be sealed in the temple for time and all eternity. I'm grateful that through the plan of salvation, we can be together with our families for ever. 

I pray Jake, Rosie, Kaylee, Katelyn and Kiley know how much I love them collectively as a family unit and individually as precious loved ones. I would do anything for any one of them. It was a beautiful moment for me. 

To know that in the walls of that precious sealing room, we were all there as a family again. My dad, mom, and each of my siblings with their precious spouses. Most importantly that my eternal companion sat with me. I knew that no matter what happens, we will be together forever. This life isn't the end. Our love, our friendship, our devotion and marriage will last beyond death. We will be together forever. And that is e greatest of all blessings. 

I love you, Jake, Rosie, Kaylee, Katelyn and Kiley. Always. Forever. And no matter what. 

Monday, November 18, 2013


Suzi invited us over for Family Home Evening one night. We ate yummy Olive Garden for dinner. We had a lesson on holding to the rod. And finished the night off with a game of Logo.

Hayden smoked us all, even Chad. He loved it. Logos. Slogans. That is right up Hayden's alley. I am shocked at all he knows. 

It was fun to have FHE with Suzi and Chad. We laughed. We had a great time.

New address

We are officially moved in. Unpacked? Of course not. Every day do we spend time searching for items? Absolutely! But we are home and happy and most importantly, together. 

Every day this home becomes more ours and more home. 

I can honestly say that this move and experience has made me realized how truly blessed and lucky I am. 

Where to begin? I wish I would have had the energy, strength and stamina to write every night. The cold hard truth is, I have fallen into bed multiple times throughout the day exhausted and almost unable to move from pain and exhaustion. This body of mine that I love and cherish for what it can still do, has been thru the wringer and it is tired and trying to just hold on. 

The last six weeks of my life has been a roller coaster of ups, downs, hard climbs, exhilarating moments and holding on for dear life. I feel as if I have experienced a life time of learning, pain, life lessons, joy and appreciation. 

I will catch up on the miracles, blessings, hard lessons and the journey that has led us to this place. I cannot look back without deep gratitude for what has taken place. I look back and see how my Savior has been putting this move in place for months and months, although I just didn't understand or see far enough down the road to clearly see the future. This last month of my life has been nothing less than miraculous. 

It feels so good to settle in, cuddle on the couch, relax and be surrounded by those I love. I have learned that a house isn't necessarily important, the walls and structure, the color or size isn't what is important. It is the contents inside. It is the people, the feelings, the carefully placed memories, compiled with a few touches of comfort that make four walls a home. 

When a family comes together, tied together by love, feet firmly planted in the ways of the Savior, miracles occur. A house becomes a home. 

We are home. We are so incredibly grateful to have a home and this one we already love. 

Most of all, the spirit of our Savior, the sweetness of the Holy Ghost, the calming influence of the peace that comes through worshipping the Savior, fills our hearts and home with a peace and love that we hold tight to. We feel safe and secure within its walls and love the protection these walls offer. 

Most Importantly, we are together. And together...there is no better place. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Max and his bones

Max is spoiled rotten and has tons of bones. He loves the huge one that is made for a husky not a chihuahua.
He gets so excited with each new toy, new bone, and treat. He jumps up and down and plays and plays with it. He carries the toy from room to room and lines up his toys. 
I'm not sure he is really a chihuahua.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Nauvoo Station

Where do I begin to document the road that led to our new address?

August, along with significant health challenges, brought a bunch of financial challenges. With me being sick and out of work for so long, trying to juggle all the balls and keep them in the air, was getting harder and harder. We knew it would be no time until we would have to face the music and lose our home we so dearly loved. With the medical bills mounting and me getting sicker, we were getting more buried in debt. 

By September, there was no more juggling. All the balls came colliding and crashing down. The fact that despite doing everything we could, losing our home was inevitable. We decided the time had come to break it to Hayden. 

One of the hardest conversations of my life was sitting Hayden down and telling him that we were going to have to move. But we didn't know where we would go. We had no money to even put down to rent a place. Buying a smaller home, out of the question, but worse yet, not being able to afford rent or a deposit. 

How do you tell a child that you can no longer provide a roof over their head? 

With the Savior, in prayer, we sat Hayden down. We talked to him about the things that make a home. It isn't the walls or cabinets or furniture but the love inside that matters. We went thru the house asking him the last time each particular wall or fixture or decor piece brought him true happiness and joy. He laughed as we walked the house. 

When we hit the bedroom and asked about our bed, he said, yes. It makes me happy because we cuddle and read and have pillow fights and talk and laugh. 

I smiled and reassured him that those things are "us". The three of us together are happy and do those same things at the beach or home or wherever we are. We bring each other joy, not things or material possessions. 

I loved the smile that spread ear to ear when he understood completely what the difference was between a house a home. 

From there, we explained that with mom being sick, we could no longer afford this particular house. Hayden asked what the plan was. And my heart sunk. No words came. Then, as a wave of peace swept thru our home, I promised my dear son that the Savior has provided, stepped in and provided for us time and time and time again over the past. He certainly would not forget us now. That although we were not currently certain of where we would end up, that our dear Savior had a plan. We just needed to trust him. 

We talked of sacrifices and complete trust in the Savior. 

In true Hayden fashion, a lightbulb went off. He ran over and embraced me, smile ear to ear, with everything he could muster. He then said words that were well beyond his years and what I needed to hear. 

He said, "Mom, I get it. The Savior kept you alive. He stepped in. So he exchanged you for the house."  

With tears in my eyes, I said yes. 

He then went on to say, "I am so grateful the Savior took our house instead of you."

We talked. We hugged. Then the words out of my boys mouth will forever ring in my heart. "Mom, it's kind of like Abraham and Issac. Heavenly Father was going to make Abraham sacrifice Isaac. Abraham walked in faith, not understanding but being obedient. When Heavenly Father saw that Abraham would be obedient, he provided a lamb to sacrifice instead of Isaac. That is kind of like this. Heavenly Father knew me and dad really needed you. But there had to still be some sacrifice. A trade. So you are Isaac and the house is he lamb. Our replacement sacrifice."  

With tears in my eyes, I embraced my boy and Thomas embraced us both. 

Yes. I simply reassured him. Yes. 

Thoughts raced thru my mind. As I realized the truth behind my dear son's words. Gratitude and peace filled my soul. All fear and doubt and uneasiness departed. We had each other. Nothing else mattered. 

If the moment would have ended there, I would have been forever grateful and at peace. And comforted. 

But then, Hayden added words that were simply beyond his years and understanding. He said, "Mom, what I have never understood is why when Heavenly Father and the Savior provide an alternate sacrifice that people would complain instead of be grateful. It's like they say, oh but why do I have to sacrifice the lamb. I want the lamb, sacrifice something that doesn't matter to me. Mom, I promise, I will never complain that The Lord asked me to sacrifice the house for you. I mean, that's crazy. Yes, the house is nice, but you are what is important. I can replace the house. No one or nothing could replace you. I would choose you over the house any day. I love you, mom."

Tears swelled in my eyes as I hugged Hayden so tight. I saw this boy. My eleven year old son grasped concepts adults struggle with. He understood the gospel and principle of sacrifice at the truest level. He wasn't freaking out but calm. 

I then remembered the saying "sometimes the Father calms the raging storm but most often he calms his child." 

With tears in my eyes, we offered a prayer of gratitude and thankfulness to our Father on Heaven. No requests. Just a sheer prayer of gratitude. 

The Spirit was so strong in our home. Love filled every inch. Fear and anxiety and apprehension was replaced with peace, reassurance and love. 

All was going to be ok. The Savior had spared my life time and time again. Nothing else mattered. Thomas, Hayden and I would be happy wherever we found ourselves. Location. Address. They no longer mattered. Hayden was right. We would never complain to our Father in Heaven because we didn't like the lamb he choose. We would just be grateful for the alternative sacrifice he so lovingly provided us. 

Davis boys

I love my Davis boys aka my stripling warrior and my little buddy.

They came to visit us at our new house and were so much fun. 

Thomas played guns, nerf swords, tickled the boys and of course, fed them treats. 

We love when we get evenings with the Davis kids. We love them to pieces. They are such joys in our lives. Their smiles warm my heart. Love you boys, always!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Turley-Mulleneux gang

Imagine my surprise when I opened my door and Emilena was at the door with four of her children. She said, they are yours for the next four hours. They are hard workers. They know how to clean. They work hard. Put the to work.

These four kids cleaned, packed, organized and worked so hard, smiles on faces, helping me. 

I was so grateful. So appreciative. So in awe. 

They packed the garage. They cleaned the pantry. And more. 

I'm so grateful for good people. Great ward members. People that love and care about us. 

My heart is so grateful. My heart is so thankful. I feel wrapped in the arms of love by this ward. They are so great to me.