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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Letter - What do you nurture?, Service is comely and beautiful

December 11, 2016

Highlights of this week are: Spencer turned 15!! Bryant had four soccer games.  I did some more Christmas shopping.  Tilly had Grammy days and three days of preschool.  Marlee and Tilly had Gilbert youth choir on Thursday, a choir Bounce U party on Friday, and a rehearsal and concert on Saturday.  I spoke at my ward Relief Society Christmas activity on Thursday night, I’ll add my talk as a P.S. if you’re interested.  Spencer, Bryant, Karalee and Marlee got to go on a hay ride around to neighborhood caroling with their friends.  Tilly got to go out to eat with Chad and me while they caroled. 

Chad and I attended a super fun MUSAWEP party last night.  MUSAWEP stands for Maycock’s Ugly Sweater And White Elephant Party.  The Dave and Audrey Maycock are exceptional party planners.  Several couples from our old ward, that we sadly just don’t get to see as often anymore, plus several couples from our new ward attended.  There were about 60 people there in all.  There were lots of funny gifts, like an “I pooped today” t-shirt that our bishop stole and ended up with.  Besides the white elephant gift exchange we also had some other fun games.  The women had to draw a depiction of our first date with our spouse.  The men couldn’t peek.  Then then put all the pictures up on a projector screen one at a time and the men had to guess which drawing was theirs and explain the date.  It was so, so much fun. 

I’ve been doing a strict diet since November 30th.  I’ve become a Prolean Wellness client.  My sister Celeste and her husband Jeff own Prolean Wellness and they have a great weight loss program.  They are helping me lose weight.  On Thanksgiving night I felt like a big blob and decided I wanted to lose 15 pounds before Christmas.  I knew that meant no Christmas goodies, but I made up my mind.  I haven’t been able to lose the weight I gained on our cruise this summer and I got to the point where I am sick and tired being at an unhealthy weight and I didn’t want to buy bigger pants again.  I have already lost 7 pounds, and I haven’t felt hungry!  It was very hard to pass up Spencer’s s’mores cake that he requested for his birthday, but I didn’t give in…I just smelled it a few times. J  Celeste assured me that it shouldn’t be a problem to lose 15 pounds by Christmas and that I will lose more than that before the whole 12 week program is finished, which is good because to get down to a healthy BMI I need to lose more than 15 pounds.  I am going to be healthy and feel good about myself…and stay that way.

Today has been a wonderful day, except the fact that Chad has the sore throat that Spencer had earlier this week.  One of my former laurels, Megan Sedillo, gave her farewell talk in church.  Her talk was exceptional.  Don’t know if I’ve ever heard a better one.  I shed many tears, as did several others in the congregation and on the stand.  Megan is an amazing young woman with a powerful testimony.  I think she will accomplish much as a missionary.  I was privileged to get to be her leader.  She taught me a lot.

A single man in our ward, who I would guess is around mine and Chad’s age, spoke after Megan and his talk was also great.  He shared two quotes that really stuck out to me. 

The first is from President Hinckley:
May God help us to be a little kinder, showing forth greater forbearance, to be more forgiving, more willing to walk the second mile, to reach down and lift up those who may have sinned but have brought forth the fruits of repentance, to lay aside old grudges and nurture them no more ( 
The part that really got me to ponder was the last words “nurture them no more”.  I got me thinking, what do I nurture?  Do I nurture a grudge for someone or do I nurture my love for them?  What I feed grows. What I starve dies.  That got me thinking about other things, do I nurture my happiness or my sadness?  It can apply to other things as well.

The second is from Bryant S. Hinckley, President Hinckley’s father.  “Service is the virtue that distinguished the great of all times and which they will be remembered by. It places a mark of nobility upon its disciples. It is the dividing line which separates the two great groups of the world—those who help and those who hinder, those who lift and those who lean, those who contribute and those who only consume. How much better it is to give than to receive. Service in any form is comely and beautiful. To give encouragement, to impart sympathy, to show interest, to banish fear, to build self-confidence and awaken hope in the hearts of others—in short, to love them and to show it—is to render the most precious service” (Quoted by Elder Perry,
I think that is such a beautiful quote full of truth.


P.S.  Here’s my talk:

Light the World through Service
Talk for Relief Society Activity
December 8, 2016

“I will stand among the faithful, my testimony lighting the way.  I’ll be a witness of and walk the path of Christ today.  I gaze up towards heaven, and my soul begins to sing.  Heavenly Father loves me; I’m the daughter of a king” (Lyrics to Daughter of a King, Lana Osmus).

How can we light the world by witnessing of and walking the path of Christ?  Before we can light others, we need to first possess light ourselves.  To do this we need to bring light into our life regularly.  We can bring light into our life through sincere prayer.  I love Elder Uceda’s recent general conference talk about prayer.  In it he asks this thought provoking question. “When you pray, are you really praying or just saying prayers?” (The Lord Jesus Christ Teacher Us to Pray)  We can also bring light into our lives by reading the scriptures and the words of the living prophets.  Elder Pearson warns us that Unless we are ‘continually holding fast’ to the word of God and living it, we will become spiritually blinded rather than spiritually minded. Search the Book of Mormon and the words of the living prophets every day, every day, every day!” (Stay by the Tree)  He goes on to promise us that if we are struggling, confused, or spiritually lost, a prayerful study the Book of Mormon will get us back on track.  After we have brought light into our lives through prayer and reading the scriptures each day, it is time to go to work spreading that light. 

The best way I know to light the world is to serve others.  In our busy lives I feel the biggest obstacle to rendering service is remembering to do it.  A scripture that comes to mind when I think about the importance of remembering to serve is Alma 60:6.  It is not a scripture you’d normally think of for service.  In chapter 60 Moroni is complaining to Pahoran for not sending help to his armies.  Verse 6 says, “And now behold, we desire to know the cause of this exceedingly great neglect; yea, we desire to know the cause of your thoughtless state.”  A few years ago when I read that verse I wrote this note to myself in the margins, “Don’t be thoughtless about the good things you can do.”  Since then I’ve tried to be more thoughtful about doing good. 

A few weeks ago in church I learned that in Hebrew, remember is an action word.  An action that has helped me to remember to be thoughtful is to put reminders on my phone.  For example, to help me be a better visiting teacher, I have a reminder to set up each month to schedule a visiting teaching appointment.  I have yearly repeating reminders of birthdays for those I love and have stewardship over.  When the reminders come up I try to send a text right then, or I put a note on my shopping list to get a little gift. 

Another thing that has helped me to serve is to set a specific goal to do a specific service a specific number of times.  For example, a few years ago I set a goal to take a meal to people a certain number of times during that year.  When I had that goal I learned to become aware of people in the ward or in my family or neighborhood were going through a hard time so I could fulfil my goal.  I became more aware of when people had a busy day coming up or when they were going through a trial or when then expressed on Facebook that they were having a hard time.  The specific service you decide to give does not have to be big.  It can be something as simple as giving a compliment, sending a kind text, going to the temple or whatever you feel like you can do.  I love Sister Bingham’s talk in the General Women’s Session of conference.  She said, “One of the most significant ways we can develop and demonstrate love for our neighbor is through being generous in our thoughts and words. …  How like that glorious wind can be the sincere compliment of a friend, the cheerful greeting of a parent, the approving nod of a sibling, or the helpful smile of a co-worker or classmate, all supplying fresh ‘wind in our sails’ as we battle the challenges of life!” (I Will Bring the Light of the Gospel into my Home)  The Lord will help us know what specific service oriented goal will help us light the world. 

I feel the most important place serve and light the world is in our own homes.  First, serve our spouse.  Light the world by looking for the good in him each day and then thank him for the good that we see in him each day.  Periodically grab his favorite snack or treat at the store and leave it on his pillow.  Happy marriages spread happiness.  They help our children, work places, and communities to be happier.  Second, serve our children.  Praise more and criticize less.  Help them.  Keep a journal so your posterity can read how you dealt with life’s challenges and so they can know of your testimony.  A journal will light the world for generations to come.  As your children receive your service and see and help you serve others, they will learn to serve too.  It is contagious and it will light the world.

Lastly, I think it is important that we don’t squelch our light by comparing our light to others.  Don’t hold back in what you have to give because you think someone could do it better.  Offer what you have.  It is good.  It is needed.  Jesus Christ needs us to share what we know about Him through our thoughts, words and deeds.  As we do so, we will light the world.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Letter - Plan of Salvation, Letter to my Dad

December 4, 2016

This week I noticed a message that was in a folder I rarely check on Facebook from a lady who sent me a message back in June.  She came across my blog and noticed that I had broken my neck.  She reached out to me because she broke her neck this year and has had a really hard time and wants to communicate with someone who has been through something similar.  We’ve been messaging each other back and forth.  She had a WAY worse accident than I did.  I’ve been thinking about her and praying for her.  While reading a conference talk on Friday morning I had the thought to share the plan of salvation with her.  This is what I wrote: 

December 2, 2016

Hi Nicole.  This morning I have been thinking about you. I realized something else that helped me a lot after my accident and during the other hard trials I have gone through in my life.  The thing that has helped me is the knowledge of the plan of God, our Heavenly Father.  I know that we lived with God before we came to Earth and I know that there is life after death.  A leader in my church recently gave a talk in our church’s twice a year general conference that explains very eloquently Heavenly Father’s plan.  I read that talk this morning and I want to share part of it with you.  I think it will bring you hope! 

“I believe every human being carries in his or her heart some form of fundamental questions regarding life itself. Where did I come from? Why am I here? What will happen after I die?
These kinds of questions have been asked by mortals since the dawn of time. Philosophers, scholars, and pundits have spent their lives and fortunes seeking for answers. …
We are eternal beings, without beginning and without end. We have always existed.  We are the literal spirit children of divine, immortal, and omnipotent Heavenly Parents!
We come from the heavenly courts of the Lord our God. …We walked with Him in our premortal life. We heard Him speak, witnessed His majesty, learned His ways.
You and I participated in a Grand Council where our beloved Father presented His plan for us—that we would come to earth, receive mortal bodies, learn to choose between good and evil, and progress in ways that would not otherwise be possible.
When we passed through the veil and entered this mortal life, we knew that we would no longer remember the life before. There would be opposition and adversity and temptation. But we also knew that gaining a physical body was of paramount importance for us. Oh, how we hoped that we would quickly learn to make the correct choices, withstand the temptations of Satan, and eventually return to our beloved Parents in Heaven.
We knew we would sin and make mistakes—perhaps even serious ones. But we also knew that our Savior, Jesus Christ, had pledged to come to earth, live a sinless life, and voluntarily lay down His life in an eternal sacrifice. We knew that if we gave our heart to Him, trusted Him, and strived with all the energy of our soul to walk in the path of discipleship, we could be washed clean and once again enter the presence of our beloved Father in Heaven.
So, with faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, you and I accepted, by our free will, Heavenly Father’s plan.
That is why we are here on this beautiful planet earth—because God offered us the opportunity, and we chose to accept it. Our mortal life, however, is only temporary and will end with the death of our physical body. But the essence of who you and I are will not be destroyed. Our spirits will continue living and await the Resurrection—a free gift to all by our loving Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  At the Resurrection, our spirits and bodies will be reunited, free from pain and physical imperfections.
After the Resurrection, there will be a Day of Judgment. While all will eventually be saved and inherit a kingdom of glory, those who trust in God and seek to follow His laws and ordinances will inherit lives in the eternities that are unimaginable in glory and overwhelming in majesty.
That Day of Judgment will be a day of mercy and love—a day when broken hearts are healed, when tears of grief are replaced with tears of gratitude, when all will be made right.
Yes, there will be deep sorrow because of sin. Yes, there will be regrets and even anguish because of our mistakes, our foolishness, and our stubbornness that caused us to miss opportunities for a much greater future.
But I have confidence that we will not only be satisfied with the judgment of God; we will also be astonished and overwhelmed by His infinite grace, mercy, generosity, and love for us, His children. If our desires and works are good, if we have faith in a living God, then we can look forward to what Moroni called ‘the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge’” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, O How Great the Plan of Our God!).

I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us and that he loves us!  Even when we go through hard things he loves us and is willing to help us.  Our life is meant to test us and to try us.  It was not meant to be easy or fair.  We are able to prove to our Heavenly Father, and ourselves, that we will follow Him and make good choices even when things are hard.  This knowledge has helped me through hard things and I know it will help me through the hard experiences I will face in the future. 

I am so glad we are friends.  I am thankful you reached out to me after reading my blog.  I love you! 

I don’t feel like our meeting is a coincidence.  I’m glad that our paths have crossed and I hope I can be an instrument in God’s hands in her behalf. 

Here is another letter I wrote that morning to my Dad for day two if the Church’s light the world initiative.  I’m glad my Mom is still around and that I got to call her instead of writing a letter!

Dec. 2, 2016

Dear Dad,

I love and miss you.  I am grateful that I feel your presence in my life, especially when I am going through a hard time.  I am grateful for the things you taught me, especially that you taught me about the gospel ties that bind us together.  I am grateful for the love you showed me.  Your praise meant a lot.  I am grateful for the love you showed Mom and the example you both were of what a happy marriage is like.  I am grateful for the love you showed your Mother and your siblings and that we were raised near them and interacted with them frequently.  Your example has taught me so much.

I am grateful for the love you had for everyone you met and for the connections you would make.  You knew so much about the families in Arizona and how they were related to or connected to our family.

I missed your advice during this political season.   I miss your wise influence in the Arizona legislature. 

I am sad that my little kids have not had the chance to make memories with you yet or to hear the nicknames I am sure you would give them in your kind, booming voice or to feel your big hugs.  I know they will have that chance eventually though and that brings me comfort.

I love you and look forward to the day when we will meet again.  I know that families are eternal.  Thank you for teaching that to me.

Your loving daughter,

I hope your week has gone well!  I would love to hear from you.



letter - Thanksgiving

November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving is over now.  It has been a wonderful holiday week.  However I’ll back up a bit before that first.  

Tuesday November 15th we had our pack meeting in our backyard so we could have a real fire.  Four of our boys earned their Arrow of Light!  I’m proud of them.  As soon as pack meeting was over, the girls and I drove over to Sky Harbor Airport to be there as Hunter come home from his mission in Russia.  It was fun to be with Penny’s family and witness their family reunion.  Penny asked me to put together a video of his arrival so I did.  I hope she liked it.

Wednesday the 16th I invited my friend from my ward Sharley Loose and her little kids over to visit and play.  It was fun to get to know her better.  I admire her kind, quiet personality and I hope to become close friends with her.  That evening Bryant, the girls and I went to watch Chad and the rest of the bishopric and the YW dads play kick ball against the young women at the church softball fields.  It was a fun evening.

Thursday the 17th Bryant had a home soccer game.  He got to play the whole second half!  He’s been working hard by practicing extra at home and has earned some playing time.  He didn’t get to play at all during the first two games.  Friday Bryant had a campout here in the desert.  Chad and I went to eat at Rodizio Grill, Mesa’s new Brazilian restaurant, with our good friends the Moody’s.  It was delicious!  

Saturday Chad had to go conduct the monthly 8 year old baptisms then he and I went to the temple and did sealings.  We did some of the family names that Bryant and Spencer found.  If anyone would like to help us do some endowments they have found LOTS of names.  It is going to us a couple years to complete them all ourselves.  

Last Sunday evening I did not write because we invited Chad’s siblings who are in town come over for dinner and to visit.  It was a special treat that Hayley and Nick and their baby Liberty were here visiting from Idaho.  We had a nice dinner, even if it had to start late because it took longer than I expected to cook two lasagnas instead of one.  Now I know.  Nick had all the kid’s attention with his fun card tricks.  He’s such a good Uncle!  

My kids had the whole week off of school this week.  When our school changed to the modified year round schedule a year and a half ago they gave us 2 weeks off for Fall and Spring Break plus all of Thanksgiving week off.  I love it.  Monday we had our family pictures taken by our good friend Melissa Lantz.  I am looking forward to seeing how they turned out.  Tuesday Spencer had his first JV basketball game.  He got to play most of the game.  Their team won by about 20 points.  Wednesday we fed the sister missionaries.  When I asked them what they would like to eat, they requested Mexican food so I made cheese enchiladas and crockpot ranch chicken tacos. 

Thursday was Thanksgiving.  We met at the stake center at 10:00 and played volleyball.  I came home around 11:00 to cook the mashed potatoes.  We ate dinner a little after noon and then had the traditional Sanders’ family snowball fight with the snow balls Brenda buys from Bahama Bucks.  Later that evening the family came over to our home to watch movies.  The little kids watched Finding Dory while the adults and older kids watched Captain America Civil War (Chad just told us that those were the top grossing movies this year.) on the projector screen Chad set up with a white sheet in the living room.  He recently purchased a nice little $100 projector for presentations he has to give at work.  Too bad for me he didn’t wait until I could buy it for him for Christmas because now I don’t know what to get him.  It was fun to be together with extended family members for the majority of the day.

Friday Chad had to work.  I got a health screening at Walgreens so we could get cheaper insurance premiums through Chad’s work next year.  I don’t remember much else we did that day.

Yesterday we set up our Christmas decorations.  That took a majority of the day.  That evening Chad and I did a session at the temple and went out to dinner for date night.  I had a lot of interesting new thoughts stick out to me during the session.  However, now as I’m thinking about it I can’t remember what it was that stood out to me.  Good thing I can go back again and again as many times as I would like as long as I stay worthy.

My quote for today is a joke that Chad just looked up and told the boys and me.  
What is the worst thing about being lonely?  Playing Frisbee.
 And here’s a bonus joke.  
I can’t believe I forgot to go to the gym today.  That’s 7 years in a row.