Reeces Pieces

A Kiss

When I think about great parents my daughter Emily and her husband Jared are always right there on top!  Their patience and love for their family and how hard they work to take care of them is an example to all who know them.

Of course I am not biased when it comes to my grand-kids… but take a look at these “Reeces Pieces” that Jared and Emily produced!

5 ReecesJeanie & Ellie

The Girls

Emily has the patience of “Job” and the heart of a saint.  She shared with me some wonderful words of wisdom about how she has found creative ways to get children to help.  If this is something you are needing help with read on…

Chores are a constant need in our house. We always have an incentive attached to the chores they are doing. This may appear or resemble bribery but we feel that for the most part, an earned reward is just that, its earned. We have done different programs, (earning points toward a wanted item/activity- Joey earned up points to get a Lab Coat) our current program is the “Chore Jar” and “Summer Fun” jar.

Reeces Crafts


With school out for the summer our new program consists of the kids earning so many points with their chore jar, once they reached that goal we can pull something out from the “Summer Fun jar”.   Activities in the Summer Fun Jar include, cornstarch paint, spoon puppets,


kool-aide stand, toilet paper roll rockets, salt dough. All activities are super cheap if not free and take up another good chunk of time to fill up part of the long summer days. Another tactic we have used to motivate the kids for chores is adding a little fun to it. Once we did a “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” chore adventure where the kids put on their pirate dress ups.  Chores were pinned to a fabric map we had and we followed the map, gathering up gold coins like the characters do in the show, finally reaching the treasure, which was a snack of cookies!

 Jake - Neverland

See what I mean?!  That Emily is such a great little mom – and Jared is no wit behind her as an awesome Dad!

Speaking of Jared and Emily…  The two of them are not only the creators of 5 adorable grand-kids – but they are also the creators of there own business called of all things – “Reecently Handmade

Reecently Handmade

You will not want to miss the “old wood” creations that are one of a kind and very special.  (They are working on a contract with Quilted Bear).  Where do they find the time to parent that pack of 5 little ones AND Create awesome “Reecently Handmade” gifts too?!

Look for them in the Main Street Arts Festival  This Saturday the 23rd in Magna.  Looks like it will be perfect weather for an Arts Festival!  Let me know what you think about it – I will be in a Parade up in Logan this weekend and will have to miss it.


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You is Kind, you is Smart, you is Important!

Every once in a while I have some kind of a melt down having to do with my self worth.  Issues about my weight or how I feel about me.  (Yep even the “Mother of the Year allows doubts and fears to creep in.)  A week or so ago Ron sent me an article that he felt I needed to hear.  It was exactly what I needed at that moment and I wonder how many of you need this pep talk too.  If you are struggling with your own imagined inadequacies like me please read this article and tell me what you think about it.

A Mom’s Kids Exposed What She ‘Really’ Looks Like, And Her Reaction Is PERFECT.

Flipping through the pictures on my phone, I see it.  My first reaction is shock. Who took this hideous picture of me? Self-loathing and disgust swell up and threaten to bring me to tears.  Just as I am about to hit delete, my boy walks in the room.  “Do you know anything about this picture?” I ask him.  I turn the screen so he can see it. He smiles huge.  “I took that of you in Tahoe,” he says. “You looked so beautiful laying there. I couldn’t help it mom.”  “You need to ask me before using my phone to take pictures,” I say.  “I know,” he says. “But mom, seriously, look how pretty you look.”


I look at the picture again and try to see what he sees.  My daughter walks over and takes a look.  “That could be a postcard mom,” she says smiling. “Your so beautiful. I love it.

Picture Postcard


I take a deep breath.  This is exactly what I needed.  My default mode is to see and focus on the flaws and imperfections. I’m starting to see a bit more.  I still see my dimply, fat thighs.  I also see a mom collapsed on the shore that just explored the lake for hours with her children.  I still see chubby arms.  I also see the arms of a mom that just helped her kids across the rocks and hot sand so their feet wouldn’t hurt.

 I still see a fat woman wearing a black dress bathing suit to try to hide her weight issue.  I also see an adventurous mom that loves her children something fierce.  Like many women, I have struggled with my weight most of my life. It’s not something that will ever go away for me. I don’t have a naturally slim body. Never have.

Right now I’m the heaviest I’ve been in 10 years. Yet…  I have not let my weight stop me this time. I am wearing tank tops, sundresses and bathing suits in public. I’m running around playing with my kids this summer and I sometimes even feel attractive.  Yes. You heard me.  “I feel pretty. Oh so pretty. I feel pretty, and witty and bright.”

Well…not exactly. But something like that.  Is it because I’m getting older? Is it that I have more to worry about than just how I look? Or maybe it’s because my kids look at me with such adoring eyes.

Really, it doesn’t matter.  I don’t hate my body anymore.  That’s huge for me to admit and hard to even wrap my mind around.  I’m not giving up on exercising and getting healthy. Those are things I will continue to strive for because I want to be around awhile.  Right now though, I just want to love my body where it is. I want it to be OK to see myself the way my kids do.

Thank you kids.

As I read this article I could feel every emotion that mother felt.  Even the self loathing and I felt myself close to tears.  And then my incredible husband (the one who knows exactly what I need to hear) said, “Melanie, you need to see yourself the way your family see’s you.  You is Kind,  You is Smart, You is Important!”

Thank you Ron.

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Mommies Aren’t Perfect (by Karyann Parkinson)

Most of July has come and gone with barely an entry from me.  I have been so overwhelmed with work and Mother-the-Yearing and talks and parades and lessons!  But according to almost everyone else – so have you!

Today I read for the first time my niece Karyann Doty Parkinson’s blog – it is incredible and I had to “steal” her entry for today…  I hope she won’t mind!  But before I get you Hooked on her blog let me tell you about this incredible young mother!  First of all she is my youngest sister Tamy’s daughter.  Smack in the middle of six kids, third to the oldest (just like me!).  Karyann and her husband are taking a bit of a break in Foster parenting because she is threatening to delivery a way too early baby boy and is on (or should be) full bed-rest.

Good luck to you my sweet little niece – wish you could be with us this Saturday for Grandma Madsen’s 80th party!


A friend of mine posted something on Facebook yesterday about accidentally hurting her little one’s feelings and the lingering guilt she is feeling for doing so. It reminded me of a story.

Once when I was about four or five I was driving in the car with my mom. We had just pulled into the garage and I did something naughty (I can’t remember what, but I think I called her a rude name or something). My mom got upset and reacted strongly, probably more strongly than the situation required. I was so hurt by her reaction that I was just sitting in the back seat, sobbing uncontrollably.

Then next thing I knew my mom whipped open my door and scooped me up in her arms, cuddling me and telling me how much she loved me. (Now I’m crying all over myself, remembering how special that moment was–pregnant). She kept saying how sorry she was and that she loved me and I put my little four year old arms around her neck and told her I loved her too.

Since becoming a mom that memory means so much more to me. I hope my mom doesn’t mind me sharing it. To me though, it’s a reminder that moms aren’t perfect and we mess up, but the most important thing is to admit our mistakes to our kids and to love them up as much as we can. I have always known that my mom is my biggest cheerleader. She loves me so much and that love is so important!

I’ve learned something important as a mom from that experience as well. There are times that I get mad and lose my temper but when I tell Frances that I’m sorry for shouting and for getting angry, it is such a special feeling to hear her say, “It’s okay, Mommy, I love you too.” A child’s forgiveness really is great motivation for doing better. And I think it helps Frances learn the importance of sincere apologies and recognizing how our actions affect other people.

We’re all learning here and in all honesty, adults make more mistakes than kids. I hope one of those mistakes isn’t failing to say sorry and ask for forgiveness.

Love you Mom!

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Dads Get Their Due At Draper Days

Yesterday Lynn Callister, the National Mother of Achievement and I were in the Draper Days Parade. It was a lot of fun!  We were so touched by the wonderful people in Draper and how warmly we were received by them!   The beautiful streets, homes and town we passed by made me want to buy a home there.  A bunch of my kids, grand kids and husband joined us.  Most of us wore shirts and held signs about Mom’s.  “Hug your mom, Mom’s rock, I love mom and so on.”

One man along the parade route shouted to me, “What about dad’s?”  He wasn’t being rude – just asking…  I shouted back, “You’re right!  Without dad’s there would be no mothers!  We LOVE DADS!!”  I hope he was mildly appeased!

My husband is the rock in our marriage.  He has gone through so many trials and many of them we have experienced together:

  • Losing his first wife and the baby she was carrying in a car accident at 34.
  • Being left a widower with 6 children.
  • Blending two families when I came along.
  • Earning a good living for a family of 11!
  • Managing to have a strong relationship with each one of our 9 kids.
  • Handling surgeries, sicknesses and eventually being rendered an “incomplete quadriplegic”.
  • Learning to walk and to use his hands again.
  • Dealing with the after-effects of hospital bills and the toll it took on running his own business.
  • Bankruptcy and the loss of our home.
  • Incredible challenges with teenagers (there’s almost nothing we haven’t seen!)
  • Two suicide deaths of a son-in-law and son.
  • Helping our daughter-in-law face the challenge of the up coming birth of a baby that will not live much longer.

Where do I draw my strength from?  First from my relationship with my Heavenly Father and second the  relationship I have with my husband Ron.  I could never have done any of this alone – I alone am nothing without him!

I love this YouTube video about a father and his baby girl – so precious!

Dad and baby

Hug your dad!  We love our Dads!  We are nothing without these strong positive roll models in our lives!  Share your thoughts with us about your dad and how he made a difference in your life!

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Magical Memories

Dinosaur Toys

I found this and had to share it!  These parents know how to put the magic into their children s live’s – I love their creativity and wish I could have been there to see the wonder in those little one’s eyes!

Dinosaur Toys

“Why do we do this?  Because in the age of Ipads and Netflix, we don’t want our kids to lose their sense of wonder and imagination.  In a time when the answers to all the world’s questions are a web-search away, we want our kids to experience a little mystery.  All it takes is some time and energy, creativity, and a few plastic dinosaurs.”  

“Childhood is fleeting, so let’s make sure it’s fun while it lasts.”

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So What? Now What?: Overcoming any Adversity

Ron found this article from two of my favorite writers, Gary and Joy Lundberg.  This is just an abbreviated version of the original.  I hated to abbreviate it, what they shared was incredible.  (To read the entire article please go here: Overcoming any Adversity )  I was so impressed with their thoughts about adversity and how to move on after any kind of trauma inflicted upon us.  I hope this reaches anyone looking for peace.

cliff climbing

“Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.” Oscar Hammerstein, in his lyrics for the song Do Re Me, gave us a clue of where to start. 

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).

The process of proving to see if we would follow His commandants required choice and opposition.

The Lord wants us to have control of our lives, thoughts, and actions. Often we give away our control by the way we react to situations and happenings. For instance, when we won’t go somewhere because we might run into Joe. Now Joe has our control. We treat Sally rudely because she treated us rudely. Sally now has our control. These are “subtle” ways we give away our control and the principles we want to live. This is the path the Adversary attempts to lead us to and he is working overtime against us. Keep in mind the two words “subtle” and “beguile” because the Adversary uses them liberally and very interestingly “binds” us.

The Two Questions

Early in my career, as a therapist, a friend shared with me that she had been molested. I was honored she would share such a traumatic event in her life. She also shared the process she went through to get her life back in order. She decided the victim role was not for her and the person who molested her would not control her life. In deciding this, it in no way diminished the horribleness of the event or events. Out of this deep conversation concerning her journey I formulated the two questions, “So What?” and “Now What?”

There is a period of time each needs to heal, mourn, and work through the anger. This is helped by a support system of family and friends. For some, there is a subtle and beguiling draw to the victim role as the continual sympathy feels good. The story is retold and the anger stays fresh. There is, in some cases, a lowering of personal expectations and expectations of others concerning thriving and moving forward. It is like being stuck in a hole or a rut. In effect, it is as though the events keeps happening in your mind over and over again and the molester, rapist, or abuser has your control and keeps your control.

Over the years, I have counseled with a number of people who have been victimized. In introducing the questions, I will tell them a few times I in no way will ever discount the terribleness of what they experienced. Then I will ask, “Were you (raped, molested, or abused)? Their answer is “Yes.” “Was it horrible beyond words?” Their answer is again, “Yes.” Then I say, “Brace yourself for my next question. And here it is, ‘So What?’”

Usually there is a very startled look and I continue to explain that until you ask and answer that question, the perpetrator will continue to control your choices. Most of my clients then have an “Ah Ha” experience. They tell me they have never thought about their life this way.

A few years ago, there was a great example of this principle in the life of the young girl, Elizabeth Smart. As you remember, she was kidnaped at age 14 and for nine months was put through the horrible events of abuse and rape. After she was found, this could have been a reason for her to be a victim for life. Instead, she had wise parents who helped her learn the above principle. As a result we have been able to observe her growth and return to life of choice and thriving.

Many Examples of Choice

The newspapers and jails are full of the stories of those who justify their misdeeds of theft, abuse, molestation, rape, murder, etc., because of what was done to them or what they believe they were deprived of. They let themselves be beguiled into believing they are owed or it is their right to do to others because of what was done to them. Two jaw dropping stories illustrate this point. One we read about in the news was of the defense attorney for a young man who committed murder. His defense for the murder was that the young man suffered from growing up too rich. The other story came from a client whose son told his parents they owed him everything all his life because he didn’t choose to be here — they caused him to be born.

Also, we know of two famous people who have given small snippets of their early life. They at some point choose to answer the two questions.

Oprah Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in an inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood. She used to have to wear dresses made out of potato sacks, reported she was raped at age nine and became pregnant at 14; her son died in infancy.

Steve Jobs, the highly successful co-founder of Apple Inc, was given away for adoption by his biological parents. He became interested in electronics after his adopted dad showed him the joys of technical tinkering in their garage. He had to drop out of college, because his education was costing his parents too much. He used to return Coke bottles for money and live on free meals at the Hare Krishna temple.

Success stories are all around. Look at some of your neighbors and you will find many stories of those who have overcome much adversity to build wonderful lives. We have two neighbors who were born in Europe, forced out of their hometowns, at a young age, under threat of being killed.

One lost both parents, both told of intense struggles to survive, and now have a comfortable life. Remember the story of the young man who had a terrible stuttering problem, found out when he would sing he didn’t stutter. He went on to become a famous country singer. Many of us grow up in humble beginnings or with personal challenges and have to choose how we are going to answer the two questions — the Lord’s way or the way of the Adversary.

Lost Opportunities

Interpersonal relationships are often difficult to navigate and make it hard to stay with our desired principles. Sometimes things are said that are offensive and hurtful. We have met some who have turned away from opportunities because of being offended. There are those who have let a remark by an individual turn them away from a lifelong friendship or who have attributed one such remark to represent their whole Church, thus destroying a lifelong membership and testimony. This is what the Adversary wants, but it is not the way of the Savior.

Some talented, caring people have been affected this way and have lost opportunities of service and development. Contrast these of two stories:

A member of a church met another member who related he had been kicked out of a Sunday school class at a young age and told never to come back. He stated he never came back and when asked how many this act had affected, he said 52 members of his family.

The other story is a young man of about 12, quietly throwing little spitballs in a church meeting (unbeknownst to his parents). A woman got up and asked this boy to come with her. He followed her and she led him outside the church and told him he had no right to disturb the meeting and to go and never return. He started to walk home but decided yes, he was wrong, but she had no right to take away his church. He returned to wait in the foyer for his parents and continued activity in the Church. Each of us have to determine what we will do with what is said to or about us.

The Questions of Repentance

While contemplating the power of the two questions, the thought came that these are, also, the questions of repentance. Recall in your mind the story of the woman caught in adultery, who was brought before the Savior to be condemned.  The law stated she was to be stoned to death. The scribes and Pharisees asked the Savior what should be done to her. His answer was that the person who was without sin was to cast the first stone. After some time the Savior asked, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:1-11). Not to make light of the Savior’s words, He basically said to her “So What and Now What.”

Thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee;” (Moses 3:17).

What a wonderful gift our Father in Heaven has given us — the gift of agency. The day will come when He will ask us to report our stewardship regarding that gift. Satan wants us to fail and does not want us to ask the questions because any amount of failure will cause sorrow and pain to our Father. We need to be on guard, watching continually for the subtle and beguiling actions that will bind us from finding the joy and fulfillment this life is designed to bring.

May Ensign - children with Christus

The atonement does not cover our sins alone.  It covers everything that we suffer, our pains, our sickness and our adversities.  The key is to make the atonement effective in our lives and turn them over to Him.





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Suicide Is Not The Answer…

I would like to quote another blog that spoke about suicide,  Before you read this post, I want to make it very clear that suicide is NOT the answer. Your life is precious.  If you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, PLEASE SEEK HELP!   This post was in no way meant to glorify suicide or offer it as a viable solution to any problem.  Rather, it was written to aid those left behind to understand, to forgive and to heal.”

written by, Shawna Morrissey (Eat Think and Be Merry)

flowers on a casket

I’ve been thinking about James my son-in-law all day today.  Most everyone that knows our family are painfully aware that James took his life two years ago today.  Suicide has become all too familiar for us especially since Jason’s death on the 19th of January was ruled a suicide by the coroner as well.

There are times when I feel that this subject for me is like a moth to a flame.  I am drawn to it because of a deep need to understand why someone would choose to take their life.  But looking for answers stirs up feelings that are all too painful.  I miss our two son’s and the longer time goes on the more I realize how long it will be until we will meet again.

Jason and Shelly’s baby boy was a bright spot and promise that Jason’s life would continue on vicariously through him.  However, that too seems to be slipping from our grasp.  Shelly has felt since the moment she knew she was expecting that something was not right.

We gave one of  our two cemetery plots to Shelly so that we could bury Jason next to his mother Jeanie.  At the cemetery Ron and Shelly discussed Jason’s burial and the plan to have him buried deeper to make room for another casket.  When the undertaker left the room Shelly turned to Ron and said, “I’m glad that we are burying Jason like that because I will be burying this baby there as well.”  Ron was shocked at her comment.  At first we felt that it was the grief she was dealing with at the time and we refused to believe anything was wrong with the baby.  But as the weeks and months have progressed Shelly’s gnawing feelings became stronger and more intense.

Her fears were confirmed a few weeks ago as the doctors performed several ultrasounds discovering serious defects.  Shelly and our daughter-in-law Amanda went into visit with the doctor.  We were so grateful that Amanda who is a genetics counselor, was willing to be with Shelly as they talked with her doctor.

The prognosis is “Arthrogryposis” congenital joint contractures.  The joints don’t move as much as normal and may be stuck in one position.  Amanda helped us understand that it meant Jason and Shelly’s baby has multiple deformities and has little chance of surviving past birth.

I really did not want this post to be so full of hard things.  Gratefully Ron and I are both optimists and rarely fail to find the silver lining and although it took longer to find anything positive about the condition of our 25th grandchild, but here are a couple of thoughts that we have had…

First, if this baby is to return “home” after birth, then it is God’s will.  Their baby boy will return as perfect as he came into the world and I can’t help but wonder, “Could this child be the help that Jason needs on the other side?”  So many unanswered questions…  Our hearts and prayers go out to Shelly as she makes sense of what life has dealt her.  She is incredibly strong and amazes us each day as we watch her face the latest battle and we stand by ready to help at a moments notice.

Recently we received deeper thoughts about suicide that have brought a measure of comfort and understanding.  Brooke Stoker Andreason one of our daughters shared the blog “Eat Think Be Merry”  (The quote at the beginning of my post was theirs as well).  The post called, “A Perspective on Suicide” was surprisingly comforting to me.  Shawna Morrissey qouted a talk at her Uncle’s funeral who died of suicide,

   “At his funeral, Jay’s bishop addressed usThe words he spoke are burned into my mind.  He said, “I feel impressed to tell you that Jay spent his life struggling to survive.  Suicide was not a choice he made, but rather a choice he happened onto when his pain was greater than his ability to cope.”

     This man, who took his own life, was a survivor in every sense of the word.

     I imagine that such is true of many who leave the world in this way.”

She continues by saying,

     “Just last year, I had a clarifying experience—an experience that helped me to understand suicide a little better and led me to believe that it is really an expression of the deepest human desire to survive.

My family was watching a documentary on the 9/11 terrorist attacks and for the first time, I saw footage of someone jumping from the window of one of the twin towers.  All at once, I understood what Jay’s bishop had meant.  The person was not jumping from the building to die, but rather to escape the intense and consuming flames.  Nobody would accuse that person of being selfish or of giving up on life.

Jay was inside a figurative burning building and he happened upon an exit.  His deep need to survive caused him to take it.  Many who turn to suicide are in physical, emotional or spiritual pain.  I don’t think they seek death.  Instead, they seek escape, so that their identity and intelligence can survive.”

In conclusion I want to add the importance of our being aware of  suicide warning signs and taking action when we sense someone is in danger of taking their life:  Suicide Warning Signs

And lastly, I want to share these words from Shawna,

 “Jay’s bishop said one other thing that has stuck with me all these years.  He said, “Christ did not call Jay home in this manner.  But I can testify that He did welcome him home.”

I share these thoughts not at all in support of suicide, but rather to encourage loving remembrance and complete forgiveness of those we have lost to it. And to inspire us to reach out and touch with love each person with whom we interact, for God’s love spread through many hands may quench a fire we cannot see.”

So beautifully written!  Her words have given me comfort and the knowledge that our two guardian angels have found that peace they could not find in this life.  I’d like to believe that R.I.P. means Return If Possible and believe that they do watch over and protect.

I believe that I am not alone as I have struggled to understand this painful subject.  Please share your thoughts with us!


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What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

Friday night Ron and I spoke to a youth group at “This is the Place Heritage Park“.  It was a beautiful night and we had a wonderful time sharing our thoughts about some important things.  I would like to share some of the things I talked to the youth about.

To introduce Ron and I to you I would like to share a few experiences from our lives.  I’m not trying to make you feel sorry for us – I just feel that It might be helpful to know a little of our background in order to understand the things that we will share with you:

  • I was born in Ogden and Ron in American Fork,
  • I was raised in Taylorsville and Ron in Brigham City
  • We both had pretty normal childhoods.
  • I went to very little college after high school – Ron Graduated from BYU and got an advanced degree from the U OF U.
  • I was diagnosed with an incurable muscle disease at 24 years old – Ron broke 22 bones, had hundreds of stitches, ran over himself with his own car, 20 surgeries, broke his neck, has been in 5 car accidents… he always did do things bigger and better than me – He’s kind of a show off!
  • I lost my first husband through a divorce.
  • Ron Lost his first wife in a car accident.
  • During our marriage – Ron contracted a hospital acquired staph infection and almost died from it.
  • In 2006 Ron was paralyzed in a surgery on his neck and not expected to walk again.
  • Ron lost his father and so did I.
  • 2 years ago we lost our son-in-law
  • 5 months ago we lost our son

Maybe this talk should be titled “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger!” But what we hope to do is to talk about how to handle challenges and how we can keep a positive attitude!

When I hear someone say, “IF Momma Ain’t Happy Ain’t Nobody happy!”  I can’t help but picture a mean ornery woman chasing children with a wooden spoon!

Momma with a wooden spoon

It’s true though when Momma’s aren’t happy it seems that everyone else is in a bad mood!  Often the same thing holds true for you too – If you are not happy and you are kicking the dog and yelling at your sister everyone else suffers too!

An experience that helped me recognize the importance of finding joy in the journey came when Ron was just beginning to recover from the surgery that left him as an “incomplete quadriplegic”.

I was on high alert during the night in case he needed my help.  Being a man he really didn’t want my constant help.  One night he quietly snuck out of bed on legs that could hardly function when I heard a crash.  I flew out of bed trying to find him in the dark.  But in my haste I tripped over his leg and fell on top of him.  In a seductive voice he said, Well hello!”  “I knew I could make you fall for me again!”  That was the first time after his accident that I actually laughed and it felt really good!

Path in the woods

The key is to understand that we can’t always choose the path that we walk in life but we can always choose the manner in which we walk it!

When I was 4 and a half years old and my mom had just given birth to my baby sister Tamy, My mom put me in charge of keeping my two younger brothers Darrel and Kenny quiet and out of the babies room so she could sleep and so could my mom.

I took that job very seriously and when my little brothers snuck down the hall to peek in at the baby I went after them with a vengeance – No one was getting in to see that baby!  I remember slamming the door and shouting at them – (because of course the baby wouldn’t be startled by the slamming door or my yelling!)  And then I realized there was something very wrong – my little brother Kenny was frozen with a look of pain and surprise on his face no sound came from his open mouth.  His finger was still in that door I had just slammed!  And then pandemonium broke out!  Blood was everywhere, Kenny’s finger was badly cut, the baby not only woke up but was screaming and so was I, my brother Darrel and Kenny!

How could everything have gone so wrong I thought – wasn’t I the one keeping those demon little brothers away from my baby?!  No one ever thanked me for my heroic efforts.  And I was blamed for everything going terribly awfully wrong! All I wanted to do was the right thing!

(Ken did get even with me years later though, cutting my lip open while practicing fly fishing in our front yard!  So we’re all good!)

There’s a sign right in front of Splash Mountain in DISNEYLAND that reads:

“You can’t run away from trouble; there’s no place that far!”

Splash Mountain

There are these pockets of times in our lives that are great.  When life seems to flow with little difficulty, and then everything seems to go wrong:

  • Good health goes Bad
  • Wealth goes to poverty
  • Friends leave us behind
  • Trouble seems to find us

It’s at those times when after we were used to being comfortable and now we’re not, we might feel fear and sometimes even anger.  The anger comes in part from a feeling that what is happening is UNFAIR.  Having Good Health and the feeling of security can seem as though we deserve it, that it is owed to us.  And when it vanishes, a feeling of Unfairness can set it!

Sometimes we think that we alone have difficulties.  We look on others and think that their lot in life is better than our own.  Our view becomes one-sided.  And then just like me as that little 4 year old we cry out, I was only trying to do what was right!  How could this happen to me?  Why Me?!  We forget everyone else around us (my little brother with his badly cut finger!) – it’s all about me me me!!!

Sometimes this misery and focusing on ourselves can shake our faith in God as well!  But God has never left us alone he only allows us to struggle through our challenges so that we can be taught in certain areas where he knows we need to grow.

footprints in the sand

We should ask ourselves – “What can I learn from this experience?”

The Emperor Moth:

Emperor Moth caterpillar 2 Gramborough HillcocoonMoth

There was a man who found a cocoon and he took it home so that he could watch as it emerge.  It was an Emperor Moth and he loved the beautiful markings on their wings and couldn’t wait to see this one appear.  One day, a small opening appeared and he sat still, watching for several hours as the moth struggled to force its body through the little hole.

Then, it seemed to stop making any progress.  It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther.  It seemed to be stuck.  So the man, in his kindness, decided to help the moth.  He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon.  The moth then emerged easily.

But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.  The man continued to watch the moth, because he expected at any moment the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body.  Neither happened!  In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.  It never was able to fly.

What the man, in his kindness and rush, did not understand was that the tight cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings, so it would be ready to fly once it escaped from the cocoon.  Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle.  By removing the moth from that struggle, the man robbed the moth of the ability to fly!

  Struggles are exactly what we need in our life.  If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, he would cripple us!  We would not be as strong as what we could become!

I have a dear friend named Jeane Taylor who has had a multitude of challenges anyone of which could have crippled a person and actually one of those challenges actually did cripple her.  Several years ago Jeane was very sick and in the hospital for weeks and weeks.  She nearly died and it was only because of the fasting and prayers of others that she lived.

Jeane’s kidneys failed and her sister donated a kidney to her.  The circulation in her outer extremities, her hands and her feet began to die.  All 10 fingers and both of her feet had to be amputated.  The pain and suffering she has had to endure is beyond my comprehension.

Jeane has had every reason in the world to curse God, however, She has a beautiful spirit and strength that is amazing!  She praises God for all of the gifts that he gives to her.  She is an incredible example to everyone she meets.

Adversity does not mean that you have to curl up in a ball and die… unless you are a potato worm!  Make the most of what you have and not on what you don’t have.

Sometimes the answer is “no” or “not now”.  We need to learn to find happiness even in our challenges.  We need to be able to say, “Not my will, but thy will be done. The Son of Man has descended below them all… Art thou greater than he?”

 the Saviors hands



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Diners, Drive Inns & Dives


Ruth's Diner

Ron and I love watching Guy Feiri’s Diners, Drive Ins & Dives.  We have discovered that there are a number of restaurants in Utah that have been highlighted on that show and we have decided to go try some of them out this summer.

Now this may surprise those of you who have lived in Utah as long as I have,  but I have never eaten at Ruth’s Diner up Emigration Canyon until today!  I have driven past it a million times on my way up the canyon but never stopped to eat.

What I enjoyed more than the food was the atmosphere.  I am all about atmosphere!  We sat out on the back patio, along with everyone else and had a wonderful lunch.  Ron had the chicken fried steak and I had a chicken sandwich on a ciabatta bun.  Both meals were very good, but we both agreed that Ron’s Chicken fried steak and eggs were excellent!

It looks like they are opening a much bigger and beautiful Ruth’s Diner right next to the “original” restaurant that was built back in 1930 in a railway car.  They have restored the railway car restaurant many times I’m sure.  This is a popular place and was well worth the drive up the canyon to get there.  I will be back and next time we will go in the evening to enjoy the patio lights and music – I can’t wait!

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AMI, American Mothers Inc. are an incredible organization that Honor, Serve and Educate Mothers everywhere!


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