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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Letter - if it will poison a Lamanite it will poison a Nephite, weak gospel teaching and modeling in the home

Oct. 30, 2016

Today I’m going to write a little bit of a different letter.  There are many things I’ve been saving to include in my letter lately so instead of writing down a log of what we did this week I’ll share the things that I’ve been saving or thinking about.

First, when I was in Kayla’s ward two weeks ago, a lady shared that when we go to our classes at church, we need to be proactive as we go into the class.  Instead of sitting down and bemoaning the fact that no once sits by you, actively look for who you can sit by as you walk in the door.

Second, here is a spotlight that was written about me in our RS email.  MINDY SANDERS - Mindy serves as our Cub Committee Chairperson in the ward. She was the only sibling out of 13 that wasn't born in a hospital. Instead she was born in a doctor’s office in Snowflake. She played basketball and volleyball in high school and her teams were the 3A AZ Champions her senior year. She also played the viola and sang in choir. Her all time dream is to have all her kids happily married in the temple and to grow old with her husband Chad (who serves as the 2nd Counselor in the Bishopric). They met in college and were in the same Family Home Evening Group. She was about to leave for her mission when he proposed. Mindy's favorite book is Pride & Prejudice. She loves summer because she can go swimming, hiking, floating down down the river and any other fun outdoor activity. Costa Rica is her vacation spot and Mexican food is her favorite food. Mindy loves serving! It is in her nature to help others. Her favorite quote is from her Aunt Nertia, "Assume the best. Look for the good" 

Third, this quote I read this week.  "Excuses are easy to find; they spring up as readily and plentifully as weeds by the wayside" (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, pg. 401). 

Fourth, this thought written by my niece Jewel. 
A few years ago, I had my first "wall of faith" experience--one where I was truly led to doubt what I had always taken for granted as true.  I had been reading news articles and heard stories about a few different movements that I originally dismissed as hogwash--complete apostasy, stirred up by angry ex-members who just wanted to drag others down with them.  I was prepared to give these movements no further thought, until some friends of mine whose opinions (and testimonies) I trusted implicitly started posting about these movements on Facebook.  
            Feeling curious, knowing these friends as active members (some of whom had served missions), and wanting to have a truly open mind, I started reading these blog posts, forums, and discussions.  I spent a few weeks diving down this rabbit hole until I realized that every time I left my computer or my phone screen, I was feeling sick, anxious, and confused.  I started mentally criticizing things at church and in the temple that had never bothered me before (many things that I had actually previously enjoyed and found comforting).  I realized that I was spending a disproportionate amount of time reading these dissenting and angry voices, rather than on my typical scripture study habits. …
During this time, I had the opportunity to attend a General Women's Conference Session with some dear friends of mine.  It was my first time in the conference center, and as I felt the strength and power of all of these righteous women, united in love and compassion for the Savior and for each other, I was overwhelmed with joy.  I remember crying through the entire two-hour meeting and feeling peaceful and content when it was over.  The entire time, the thought kept coming into my mind of what a contrast this was to the feelings I got from other things I had been reading, discussing, and listening to.  It was literally the contrast of truth versus error.  …
The significant contrast of that memory helped me to realize that the distress these articles were bringing me meant something, and I decided to lean more towards the peace of the principles I needed to focus on at the time.  I learned to trust my instinct when clicking on a link, comment, or article, and have found that usually within the first few lines of an article, I can tell whether something will be good for me to read or not.
I was grateful for this lesson, but thought little more of it until quite some time later, when I was reading a verse in the Book of Mormon that struck me in a way I'd never thought about before.
Moroni was a war captain, chosen for his valor and integrity to lead his people (the Nephites) against their enemies (the Lamanites).  While I had always enjoyed the chapters describing the victories and losses of this time period in previous perusals, this time reading through, I found a significant amount of symbolism (that had previously been entirely lost on me) by now reading it as a person who sees herself currently at war with a powerful and tireless adversary.
One part that especially struck me was in Alma 55:31-32.  At this point in the story, the Nephites currently have a tenuous advantage, and the Lamanites are trying to find ways to attack them that are a bit more subtle than previous attempts, one of which is trying to poison their wine.  
Moroni employs what I always saw as a rather obvious bit of logic here--Mormon records that "they would not partake of their wine, save they had first given to some of the Lamanite prisoners. (32) And they were thus cautious that no poison should be administered among them; for if their wine would poison a Lamanite it would also poison a Nephite; and thus they did try all their liquors." (emphasis added)
Well, duh.  I remember always laughing about that little line there before (I mean, it is rather obvious), but this time the principle hit me powerfully and personally.  
It doesn't matter whether I see myself as a Lamanite or as a Nephite; poison is poison.  No matter how strong I think my testimony is, or how secure I feel in my relationship with my Heavenly Father, if the Spirit is warning me not to ingest some message of contention or some dissenting voice, I had better listen to it, because I AM NOT IMMUNE.  I am not infallible.  It is possible for my testimony to become weakened and corroded by the voices I read out of sheer curiosity or the desire to appear "open-minded."  I am affected (probably more deeply than I know) by the messages I choose to take in, and therefore I should take care in discerning what to allow into my mind and heart” (

The last thing I’ll share today is part of a discussion we had during our 5th Sunday lesson, about what we learned in Stake Conference last weekend.  We talked about how not many young men in our stake are serving missions.  Ninety one percent of the adults in our stake have temple recommends, but only twenty to forty percent of the young men in our stake are serving missions.  And most of those 18-25 year old young men who don’t serve are going inactive.  I asked, how can we help our young men get out on missions and/or stay active?   We discussed it for a long time, but came back to a thought that was given by President Derrick at stake conference, which was also something that was discussed in ward counsel back when I was on the ward counsel and that is this: they aren’t going on missions and aren’t staying active because of weak gospel teaching and modeling in the home.  The place where most members are lost from the covenant path and the cycle of being born, getting baptized, getting endowed, getting married, having children is between age 8 and the time they should be getting endowed.  Elder Bednar said that people are lost at that stage because of weak gospel teaching and modeling in the home.  I know that there are cases where parents have taught their children well, but their children use their agency to leave the church and its teachings.  However, I agree that as parents we have a responsibility to take what we learn and church and implement it in our homes.  When we don’t do that our children know it and their testimonies are damaged.  We are in danger when we pick and choose which things we will be obedient to and which ones we will ignore.  Especially when our children know what is taught and see us ignore it.  Anyway, it was a great discussion and I hope I can have strong gospel teachings and modeling in my home.


What are your thoughts on how  to help get young men out on a mission?  

Letter - sick, trip to CA, make yourself mind yourself

October 23, 2016

I have been sick for the last two weeks.  I never had a fever so I didn’t go into the doctor.  I’m not sure they could have done anything for me anyway.   I had congestion that turned into a bad cough that would give me a headache and leave me tired at the end of each day.  It’s been exhausting, more mentally than physically.  I am tired of being sick and tired!  I’m mostly better now, except for a little bit of a lingering cough.  I mostly cough when I lay down to go to bed at night.  It isn’t so bad that it makes my head hurt anymore though. 

Last week Oct. 13th – 16th my three girls and I spent the end of their fall break in California for my niece Jaki’s baptism and my niece Carli’s baby blessing.  They are my sister Kayla’s daughters.  We drove over on Thursday with my Mom in her nice Jeep Grand Cherokee.  After we arrived in town and checked into our hotel, we went over to Kayla’s and she fed us dinner.  We didn’t stay and visit too long since Kayla’s kids had to go to school the next day. 

On Friday the 14th Tilly got to go to Natalie’s kindergarten class to be Natalie’s show and tell since Natalie was student of the week and was able to share something with the class each day!  Tilly was so excited.  That afternoon after Kayla’s kids got out of school, I took my girls and Kayla’s older girls to the beach while she and my Mom took Carli and Colt to a doctor’s appointment.  We had a nice time at the beach and there were only a handful of people with us at the beach.  I didn’t even touch the water since I was suffering with a bad cold and didn’t want it to get worse by getting in the cold water.  Karalee, Rachel and Jaki didn’t mind the cold water one bit and they went boogie boarding and had a great time.  Marlee, Tilly and Natalie mostly built sand castles, but they got in the water up to their waist from time to time.

Saturday morning we watched Natalie and Jaki’s soccer games.  That afternoon we attended Jaki’s baptism.  It was very nice.  That evening we drove to Fontana, CA about an hour away to watch Jordan, my niece Shelby’s husband, dance with the BYU Ballroom Dance team.  He is on the Latin Dance team.  Shelby is on the tech crew.  They were touring southern California, putting on shows for about a week.  They put on a wonderful show.  My girls, Mom and I LOVED it!! 

Sunday morning we attended Jeff and Kayla’s ward and were able to listen to the beautiful blessing Jeff gave Carli.  I have attended their ward a few times and love the people in their ward.  They have a strong ward.  After the block of meetings we ate a nice taco salad lunch at Jeff and Kayla’s and then headed for home.  We got stuck in some traffic near west phoenix and so we got home later than I had hoped, but all in all it was a great trip except for the fact that I was suffering from a terrible cold and was self-conscious about all the coughing and nose blowing I did.  When I got home I asked Chad if we could not drive any more long distances for a while.  After our AZ/UT road trip and this drive to CA I’m all drived out!

Chad and I weren’t reunited for very long.  He had to fly out to Orlando on Monday morning.  He had business meetings and didn’t get home until Wednesday night.  Monday afternoon I had my normal chiropractor appointment and it brought me some relief from my cough and cold.

Tuesday night I had pack meeting so most of the day was spent preparing for it.  The theme for this month’s pack meeting is Creepy Crawlers so for a gathering activity I had the boys make an ant out of marshmallows, straight pretzels and m&m’s.  It was a big hit!

Wednesday evening I took dinner to my friend Susan Griffith who I also visit teach.  She is going through chemo therapy for throat cancer.  She had thyroid cancer last year and it was successfully treated, but now it has come back to her throat.  I hope her treatments are successful.  She caught it early so she has a good chance.  I don’t like cancer.

Thursday Chad and I were able to attend the temple together for Stake Temple Day while Tilly was at preschool and he was on his lunch break.  We did a sealing session.  It was nice to go together!

Friday I scalped the rest of our lawn, Spencer did 1/3 of it on Thursday night.  I don’t like scalping the lawn anymore, but Chad couldn’t do it this weekend because he had a camporee with Bryant and the scouts right after work that day and we’ve waited so late to do it this year I didn’t dare wait another week.  Hopefully next year Chad or the boys will scalp it all or we will hire someone to do it for us.  Friday evening I spread out all the seed and set the timer to water the lawn 4 times a day to keep the seeds wet so they’ll grow.  I hope by this time next week we will see lots of green grass shoots growing in our lawn.  I do love nice rye winter grass.  All the work of reseeding is definitely worth it.   

Saturday morning the girls and I went to a big, fun tri-stake preparedness fair.  They had several booths to learn different ways to be prepared and also carnival games for the kids and a pancake breakfast.  Spencer went to a ward service project that morning.--It was 12 and up or the girls and I would have gone too.--Chad and Bryant were at the Camporee I mentioned earlier.  After that we watched Karalee’s soccer game.  Karalee scored a goal on a penalty kick! …Or at least I thought she did until the end of the game when she told me it didn’t count because it was supposed to be an indirect penalty kick and she kicked it through all the players and it didn’t touch anyone.  I didn’t even know there was such a thing as direct and indirect penalty kicks!  I keep learning more about soccer and I love watching my kids play it.

Chad got home from the camporee around 1:30pm.  He had to leave early to be home for our stake conference priesthood leadership session.  He and I went to the adult 7:00pm session.  I played the organ.  I miss playing the organ each week.  After conference several couples met at a nearby restaurant for a late dinner.  It was a lot of fun.  We are so lucky to have such good friends in our ward and stake. 

Today I had to decide between going to my nephew Jake’s mission report or going to stake conference to see what counsel our stake presidency had for us.  Since we were able to attend to Jake’s luncheon today we decided to go to stake conference.  Conference was wonderful and I learned some great things.  Our stake president gave us 4 priorities he feels we need to work on:
1.      Family History
2.      Serving others
3.      Gathering Israel – Missionary work
4.      Being more temporally and spiritually self reliant
I wish I could have cloned myself so I could have heard Jake’s talk and attended stake conference too, especially since my sister-in-law Jennifer also spoke with Jake.  Luckily she sent me her talk and I got to read about her conversion story!  It was nice to visit with Jake and many family members at Jake’s luncheon.  It was held in Wynn and Kami’s neighbor’s beautiful back yard.  It had a very nice pool and Karalee wished she could go swimming in it.  She got her wish when my brother Tyler threw her in!  It was all in fun and she didn’t cry, which tells me she’s ok with it.  However, we’re helping her plot her revenge now so you better watch out Tyler!  Tithing settlement, a nap, a biscuit and gravy dinner, and a dessert and game night at Heather and Elliot’s filled up the rest of today, making a nice Sabbath day.

My quote for today is from a comment made in relief society last week when I was visiting Kayla’s ward in Huntington Beach.  “Make yourself mind yourself.  Sometimes your spirit and your body are at conflict and your spirit has to give your body a lecture.  Make your body mind your spirit.”



Sunday, October 9, 2016

Letter - Utah Arizona Fall Break Road Trip

October 9, 2016

October started out with a lot of fun.  We headed up to Utah on Friday, September 30th around 2:00pm, the kids had a ½ day of school to begin their two week Fall Break.  We drove as far as Kanab that night.  Since we don’t like to drive longer than 5-6 hours and since we were staying in a hotel the whole trip anyway we figured we’d split the drive up.  I’m so glad we did. 

Saturday, Oct. 1st we woke up and headed to Salt Lake.  We were able to listen to the 1st session of conference along the way.  We got to Salt Lake in time for a picnic with Brenda and most of Chad’s sibling who also were in Salt Lake.  It was fun to see family that we don’t get to see very often anymore since they moved away.  The cousins didn’t seem to miss a beat even though they’ve been apart for about a year.  I’m glad my kids have a relationship with their cousins, aunts and uncles.  Saturday afternoon we watched conference in the tabernacle.  Saturday evening Chad, Spencer, Bryant, Art, Aaron, Nick and Tyler went to the Priesthood session together and then went out to dinner to Chuck-o-rama.  Karalee, Marlee, Tilly and I went to dinner at Denny’s and we also went to Grandma Lisa’s (Art’s wife) house and helped make tamales.

I enjoyed the beautiful drive from Kanab to Salt Lake.  Southern Utah is beautiful.

Conference in the Tabernacle.

Chad is so handsome and so good.  I'm so lucky.
The guys at the Priesthood Session.

Sunday morning we watched the first session of conference in our hotel room.  Luckily that was our nicest room of the trip and it had two queen beds and a nice couch area too.  Sunday afternoon we went back to Art and Lisa’s condo and had a nice family dinner with several of Chad’s siblings and their families.  Lisa made us a wonderful roast dinner and also set up a pumpkin hunt for all the kids.  It was a nice time.  We helped wash dishes and clean up during part of the afternoon Sunday session and then went back to the hotel to watch.  Sunday evening we drove up to the This is the Place Park and had a good time looking at the statues and reading the inscriptions that told about their history.

All Chad's sisters and me at dinner at Art and Lisa's.

Chad's ancestor Lewis Barney was in the first company of Pioneer's to reach Salt Lake.  Spencer read the book about Lewis Barney and walked to honor him on our stake's pioneer trek this summer.

We got creative playing hide and seek in the hotel room.

Monday morning we headed to Springdale, UT which is right near Zion National Park.  We made a stop in Beaver on our way to Springdale to visit my niece NaElle and meet her new baby, my great niece, Tessa.  Tessa is beautiful like her Momma and it was fun to visit for a few minutes and see NaElle and Cody’s cute home.  We got to Springdale in time to do a short hike before it got dark.  I LOVED Zion’s park.  It is so beautiful.  It has given me a desire to visit more of the national parks near me. 

Two deer walked with us through town for awhile.  Marlee kept trying to go pet them.  Chad and I had to keep telling her that they were wild animals and that she needed to stay back so she wouldn't get hurt.

Tuesday morning Chad and the boys left around 7:30 to go hike Angel’s landing while the girls and I leisurely packed up our stuff and checked out of the hotel.  I was nervous for the boys to do that hike.  I woke up early and couldn’t get back to sleep because I was worrying about it.  It has sheer drop offs with a narrow ledge with chains to hold onto.  After getting checked out, the girls and I headed to check out The Narrows and The Temple of Sinawava.  By the time we got the park entrance there was a long line for the shuttles so Chad and the boys were able to finish their hike by the time we got to their stop on the shuttle route, so they jumped on our shuttle with us.  Chad and Spencer really loved the Angel’s landing hike.  Bryant thought it was ok.  I think it might have been a little too strenuous for him.  Chad and the boys said it wasn’t as scary as they thought it would be after watching YouTube videos about it.  I hope I will get a chance to go hike it sometime, but I didn’t feel bad staying back with the girls who were all too young for that dangerous of a hike on this trip.  We hiked about 1 ½ -2 miles to see where the narrows started.  We didn’t go into them, because you have to walk through the creek and we didn’t want to get our shoes all wet or rent water hiking boots.   I’m not exactly sure what The Temple of Sinawava was supposed to be.  Probably the big mountain near the narrows.  After that we did one more small hike to see the weeping rock.  They boys were done hiking by that time, so we went back into town, grabbed a bite of lunch and then headed to Page for the night.  We drove through Zion National Park on our way to Page and it was an astonishingly beautiful drive.  I would like to drive it again sometime.

The beginning of the Narrows.

The drive through Zion National Park
Wednesday morning we packed up and headed to Antelope Point Marina where we rented a boat and a knee board for three hours.  The weather was a little chilly as we started out and so we drove the boat up through Navajo canyon to explore a little bit and to try to find the spot where Chad would camp when he was in young men’s with his scout troop.  I had forgotten how beautiful Lake Powell is.  After that it warmed up a little bit and we all, except Marlee and Tilly because they were too cold and/or too scared, took turns riding the knee board.  The water was a chilly 70 degrees and was quite cold at first, but we got used to it after a while.  The whole experience on the lake that day with Chad and the kids was SO much fun.  Chad and I both love Lake Powell and being on and playing in the water and now we’ve been able to experience it together with our kids.  I have fond memories of the trips to Lake Powell I went on with my parents and siblings and the Lake Powell trip Amy and I got to go on with Uncle Steve and Aunt Sharla and their family.  I want to plan a family trip to Lake Powell that lasts several days in a year or two.  Anyone want to go with us?  After we turned in the boat, we grabbed a late lunch and then headed to Flagstaff.

Our hotel room in Flagstaff was really cramped.  We were getting along fine … until one of the kids wet the air mattress they were sleeping on, getting their sibling wet.  We made it through the night … but I didn’t feel like I got much sleep.  That morning we went to the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course.  It was AWESOME.  Bryant really loved it and thought it was the best part of the trip.  Marlee and Karalee got to do the kids course.  Karalee was pretty scared at first, but she got braver as realized she was completely safe and liked it enough to do the course a 2nd time.  Tilly was sad, she wasn’t old enough to do it, but she had fun being in the forest and cheering us on.  I promised her we will go back when she is old enough to do it. 

We made it back home on Thursday evening in time to get laundry sorted and then Chad and I had to go to round table.  I was a little late to my session of round table because I was determined to get a load of laundry started.

Friday I didn’t do much other than laundry and to get our van ready to sell on Craig’s list.  We made our trip in our new to us Expedition EL.  The van, sat lonely in the garage wishing it was on one last trip with us.  I still miss several of the van’s nice features, but the Expedition is a nice big, comfy ride.

Yesterday I woke up with a bit of a sore throat and sinus trouble.  Luckily we didn’t have a lot to do.  I drove Spencer to mow his lawns so he wouldn’t have to ride his bike.  It was nice to unwind after our adventurous trip.

Today has been nice.  I still have a bit of a cold and a runny nose, but my throat doesn’t hurt.  Maybe it is allergies …or I got sick from the cold water at Lake Powell.  We had a nice sacrament meeting with wonderful testimonies.  I got to sit with Tilly’s class during her sharing time because her teacher was at a baby blessing.  Relief Society had a nice lesson about our commitment to God.  Chad has been away to meetings much of the day, but he still got to spend a few hours with us this afternoon and evening.  He was able to eat dinner with us and give each of the kids a PPI.  Now he’s at stake choir practice.  They needed him in the choir more than me because they didn’t have many men show up.  I will sit with the kids since they’re still a little too young to stay good during 2 hours of conference with Spencer in charge.

I sure have been traveling a lot lately.  Marlee and I went to flew to Disneyland on Sept. 26th with Brenda, Jennie, Lucy and Emma for Marlee’s, Emma’s and Lucy’s special 8 year old Disneyland trip with Grammy.  We had a nice day a Disneyland, slept, and then flew home Tuesday the 27th.  It was fun, but exhausting.  This coming Thursday, my girls and I are driving back to California with my Mom to attend Jaki’s baptism and Carli’s baby blessing.  We will drive back on Sunday.  The kids go back to school and Chad flies to Orlando for work meetings on Monday.

My quote for today is from our relief society lesson.  “Religion is more than a knowledge of God or a confession of faith, and it is more than theology. Religion is the doing of the word of God. It is being our brother’s keeper, among other things. …We can be religious in worship on the Sabbath day, and we can be religious in our duties on the other six days of the week. … [How] important it must be that all of our thoughts, the words we speak, our acts, conduct, dealings with neighbors, business transactions, and all of our everyday affairs be in harmony with our religious beliefs” (



Bonus Pictures ... As if there weren't enough pictures in this post already. 
My nephew Jake returned from his mission to Toronto Canada Sept. 28th.  
I got a new haircut on Sept. 29th.  I love it.