Monday, February 28, 2011

NEW Quick Pages for sale!!!

I've taken a bit of a break with moving and getting my bearings here in Texas.  Now I'm hoping I'm getting a little more settled in a routine and things and I'll get to be creating digital scrapbook quick pages again.  Here are a couple albums that went up for sale this week:

I'm excited to be doing this again. Stay tuned for more pages coming soon!

A Saturday's Warrior Moment

This weekend I was lucky to attend our stake’s Relief Society Conference. They had events Friday evening and Saturday for several hours – including a nice dessert and fantastic lunch on Saturday. It was a great way to relax without kids, enjoy the sisterhood of Relief Society and feel the spirit and love of our Heavenly Father.

I had one particular thought as I was listening to a sweet sister from our ward speak. She was talking about our divine potential and the beautiful people we are. She talked about our Heavenly Father and who we were even before we came to earth. As she talked about the premortal existence I had a little flash to “Saturday’s Warrior”. Don’t laugh – I didn’t start singing, “I’ve think I’ve seen that face before….it seems we’ve talked like this before…..” But I did get to thinking about the relationships we have had before we came to earth.

Have you ever had a friendship that just came so naturally, just seemed like you must have known each other before….? I have had some really special friends in my life that just have felt like we’ve had an extra special place in each other’s lives. I remember my best friend growing up – Jana Huntington (Johnson now)’s mom used to always say she was sure we had been friends in the preexistence –I have to say I agree – it is an eternal friendship. (As are several other blessed friendships I have).

Anyway – as the speaker got to talking about promises we had made in the pre-existence with our Heavenly Father I got thinking about promises I may have made with friends and loved ones even before coming to earth. I wondered if there were relationships that included promises to be friends and watch out for each other on earth. I even went further into thinking about choices that we have made on earth that maybe were somewhat thought out before we set foot on this earth.

• What if I had promised other friends that I would be the friend to go through infertility battles so that we could all learn that joint prayers and fasting work?

• What if I had friends who had offered to be the ones to make grievous mistakes so that we could all learn to forgive and love?

• Are there friends that I promised before we were born that I would be a missionary to them and share the gospel? Were there friendships that included vows to introduce the truth to each other and help teach and lead each other to what was right?

• What if I had promised special friends that when they fell and made hard choices I would be there to help pick them back up and help them to start again?

• I wondered if I had friends who had promised to be examples to me of hard work, dedication and love so that I could get through hard times?

I know that we are given agency when we come to earth, but I also wonder if some of our decisions were somewhat planned out before we came, or if we might have been given a little preview of possibilities of what was to come. I wonder if we had a glimpse of the personality traits we would have in our mortal existence and talked about how we would handle certain situations?

This little glimpse or idea made me think of times when it might seem like too much to serve, or when it might be easier to just pass by the problem without taking care of it. It made me think of times I could reach out a helping hand and “pause to help and lift another”. I am grateful for the reminder that we just might have made promises to love our brothers and sisters a little more than we do on a daily basis.

Then again – maybe not….but I sure don’t want to get to “the other side” and realize that I had broken promises to people I loved the very most….

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Inspirational Friends

(This was a journal entry I wrote in October.  After I finished this layout today I wanted to share it with my experience.)

As I started to run in my fist ½ marathon (August 7th, 2010 – Provo Canyon) I knew that one of the only ways I was going to be able to run this race was with the divine help of my Heavenly Father. I also knew that He wanted me to run this race. I felt that the race had been placed in my life for me to succeed at, to give me strength for the trials coming up in my life, and to be a starting point for more physical challenges I might want to undertake in the near future. I had felt from the moment I made the decision to run in the race that it had been an answer to prayers – both my own and prayers of those who love me.

But in the moment that the race was about to begin and I started one of the many prayers in my heart for the day I had a thought enter my mind that changed the race for me….and quite possibly changed my outlook and life from that point forward. I had the thought that it was important to pray before a race (I’d had other experiences regarding prayer and running that had proven this to me) – but that if I focused on “Please bless ME to run better. Please take away the pain in MY feet – etc” that I would be focusing entirely too much on myself. In doing that I worried that I might find myself focusing on my difficulties, my pains, and that it might make those things seem worse in some ways. Sure as you run it is important to think about yourself somewhat – I mean who else is going to tell your legs to move, or your lungs to breathe…but I needed to take myself out of the equation for a moment.

So as I started the race I decided that from that point on when I needed some help in my running, or needed a distracting thought to keep me from focusing on the difficult task or pain in my body – I would say a prayer for someone else. Instantly I knew what I needed to do. A friend of mine Cathryn Jensen from the group I’m a part of was embarking on a VERY difficult race that day also. She would be doing the Pine Valley 15 mile run. This run made my ½ marathon look like a picnic as the trails were off road, steep, difficult and it was even longer in distance. I knew that Cathryn was nervous about the race and that it was something she was incredibly scared about.

So as I began my prayers I prayed that Heavenly Father would bless her with wings on her feet. I asked that she would have a calm mind, that her pains would be eliminated and that she would find the strength I knew she had within herself. If a blister started to hurt I’d pray and ask that Cathryn’s shoes would fit comfortably, that her legs would move strongly and that she would enjoy the time she was having in the beautiful mountains.

As I did this I was feeling closer to my Heavenly Father, and I was able to not focus on the hard time I was having. It was so powerful to me. But truthfully after the race I didn’t think too much about it….not until I read Cathryn’s account of the race that she ran. As I read what she had journaled about after her experience it came full circle – it made sense and strengthened my testimony of prayer in a way I haven’t quite experienced before. Here are just a few of the words she wrote about things she learned from her run:
  •  Heavenly Father truly does care about our goals and personal accomplishment:
  • I have back issues. I injured my back in the MTC (missionary training center) many years ago. My bottom two vertebrae are squished together and push on my sciatic nerve. For many years this has caused me a lot of pain. I have never been able to run more than a couple of miles without stopping to stretch my back out and decompress. I usually complete a run limping because it is just too much pounding pressure for my back to handle. Today, I didn’t have to stop once out of pain. My back didn’t even “twinge” or falter in the least. I have never felt more strength in my back as I did today.
  • The last month or so, my right knee has hurt once I hit 5 miles or so of running; not today. Not an ounce of pain.
  • I live at sea level in California. Today’s run was at 6500 feet. Not once did I feel like I was gasping for air or struggling to get enough oxygen today. I have felt it every run I have done here in Utah, but not today.
  • Today’s weather could not have been more perfect. It was cool (60ish degrees), very overcast, breezy and even sprinkled on us a few times. When I thought to myself, “wow, we are so lucky to have such nice weather this morning” I had a very calm, warm and peaceful feeling penetrate my heart and my soul heard the words, “I did it for you.” (Ok, now I am crying AGAIN just thinking about this. I know what I heard; I heard a loving Father ‘s whisper.)

As I read her account and feelings and the tears flowed freely - I had the strongest rush of gratitude for her experience. SO grateful that she took the time to write about how she’d felt. I felt so strong in my heart, “Those blessings were answers to prayers.” I didn’t have the feeling of “look what you did” – because I didn’t have anything to do with it. I had the feeling of “You looked outside of yourself as you ran – which blessed you. But at the same time it blessed others. We are all so connected and prayers are one of the most important ways of connecting us.” My testimony of prayer exploded that day and I felt such a confirmation of love from our Heavenly Father who wanted Cathryn and I to both have beautiful experiences.

So I’ve thought about this experience as I’ve ran other races. I’ve tried to focus on others, tried to think of other people who my need prayers answered (don’t we all???). Because of that my running time has become a sacred time for me. The time when my feet hit the pavement and I feel the fresh air are not only therapeutic for my body – but they are energizing and refreshing for my spirit and my soul. I feel so close to my Heavenly Father and the blessings He is waiting to pour out on me. I find my running time to be truly one of the most spiritual places I can be. I have had inspiration whispered in my ears, feelings brought to my heart and answers literally told to me in my mind. Running is a sanctuary for me and for that I will be eternally grateful.

I had the blessing of getting to meet Cathryn in person this past week at the Denver Transformation Conference. As I was leaving the convention on Saturday I had the feeling like I should tell Cathryn about my experience back in August. We would both be running in the ½ marathon the following morning and I felt a strong feeling like I should tell her how her running in Pine Valley had changed my testimony and blessed me for life. I felt a little apprehensive about telling her because I didn’t want to say, “Look at me – I prayed for you.” That just sounded so pompous and proud….so I tried to find the right words and tell her of the experience.


As I finished telling her how it had blessed me, and how grateful I was that she shared the blessings she’d felt as she ran she was just so sweet about it. She wiped the tears away and I remember her saying, “You’re making me cry – and I don’t cry!” I loved looking at her face and the sweet, beautiful connection we were able to make. I’m so grateful that my experiences with the community have blessed my life in many, many ways. I am so blessed to have been touched and inspired by many people like Cathryn. So grateful for that!

Journaling from the layout:


One of the highlights of attending the Denver Transformation conference was meeting Cathryn Jensen. Cathryn has been a big inspiration to me through my Transformation journey. She is such a strong and amazing woman and mom. I have learned a lot about hard work and not giving up from her. I got to share with her the experience I had when I ran my first half marathon and how she’d touched me. (She was also running a big race at the same time and I concentrated on praying for her when my own race would become difficult for me. Focusing on someone else while turning my heart to prayer helped me to not focus on my own difficult journey while my heart was drawn out in prayer. I loved giving her a hug and telling her how great I think she is! (October 16, 2010)


Monday, February 14, 2011

I have been changed for good....

I dreaded this moment – the moment when I was going to have to lock the door to our house, close the door and get into my car packed up with all of our belongings headed to Texas. I had thought about my feelings and what they would be at that moment several times over the last couple months as we prepared for our new adventure. I pictured them filled with tears, sadness to leave the house we’d made our own, the house I had brought my babies home from the hospital to, the house we’d finished and the yard we’d worked on…..With all that we’d gone through over the last couple of years with our business and the economy I worried that it would all come to a point when I had to leave the house. I wasn’t looking forward to the experience of actually leaving…..

But guess what? As I pulled out of that driveway I was ok! I didn’t even tear up or get upset at all. I looked at the house and felt grateful for my experiences there. Grateful for the true sense of home it has produced for our family. I wasn’t heart-broken and as I drove away I was feeling strong and proud of myself for really being able to leave this earthly possession I worried meant too much to me. The feelings I had been reminded of were true “they were just things….”

Then I had one last errand to run before leaving Enoch and literally “hitting the road”. I needed to run something over to a dear friend’s house before officially leaving. I pulled into her driveway still feeling pretty strong and proud of myself for not falling apart at that point. I felt like wow – I could really do this without sobbing the rest of the way to Texas. I even felt like I was going to be able to drop off this item and tell her good bye without causing too much of a scene. I wasn’t quite so lucky with this one….as I said my final good-bye and hugged this sweet, special friend it all started to crash in around me. We were leaving Utah…

But you know what? In that moment I felt stronger than ever that I wasn’t upset about the *things* we were leaving behind, the physical possessions that we were having to say good-bye to and give up. What I was heartbroken about was leaving the friends that had literally changed my life and made it worthwhile and fulfilling. In that instant the value of true friendships and loving people in our lives filled me with love and gratitude. But at the same time a big empty spot ached knowing I was leaving those dear friendships behind.

So I got on the freeway and headed south on I-15. About 30 miles from Enoch a song came on that summed it all up. This song literally jumped out of my stereo and it was as if someone had gotten inside of my head and my thoughts were spilling out. “For Good” from the Wicked soundtrack had all new meaning to me. These people had changed my life for better because I knew them!!! I put it on repeat and I’ll admit cried for quite a while as I drove.

I have listened to this song over and over again since then and thought of all of the people in my life that have changed it for the better. From my dear sweet Grandpa who passed away last month to the friends I’ve left behind in Utah – people have changed my life for better just because they have left that handprint on my heart and I am so indebted and grateful for them.

So on this Valentine’s Day think of people who have changed your life for better, let them know that and thank them while you can. Friendships and loved ones are what make life worthwhile and beautiful. Friendships with people who understand you and love you anyway. Friends who have counted on you, and who you have trusted and depended on as well. I’ve been blessed and changed forever - thank you.

For Good – Wicked Soundtrack

I'm limited:
Just look at me - I'm limited
And just look at you -
You can do all I couldn't do, Glinda
So now it's up to you
(spoken) For both of us
(sung) Now it's up to you:

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you:

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend:

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you:
I have been changed for good

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Great Quote

“Not long ago, one of my children said, ‘Dad, sometimes I wonder if I will ever make it.’ The answer I gave to her is the same as I would give to you if you have had similar feelings. Just do the very best you can each day. Do the basic things and, before you realize it, your life will be full of spiritual understanding that will confirm to you that your Heavenly Father loves you. When a person knows this, then life will be full of purpose and meaning, making balance easier to maintain.” --Elder M. Russell Ballard

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Blog needs some changes.....

I've been thinking about my blog for a while now and wanting to change some stuff with the looks of it.  Not sure if anyone still even reads this blog, but if you do....I'll hopefully be posting some new stuff, changing it up a bit...I have some ideas in my head, so if I can make those ideas translate into what I'm hoping for - you'll see them.  If not, oh well - I had good intentions :)