Thursday, July 28, 2011


Today I recieved an email foward with a letter attached from Sister Kristina Howell. I have blogged about the amazing Kristina before (click here and read the section on "COMMITMENT").

I met her a few years ago while waiting at church one Thursday night. She is one that basically had a 4.0 in college, told the Lord that if she didn't get into the nursing program (it would only take God's hand to keep her out with how awesome her transcripts were) that she would take that as she needed to go on a mission. Ask and it shall be given you! Kristina didn't make it into the program.

As a result of this faithful girl's commitments, she made a list about every thing she would give up if the Lord would help her get on a mission. Change friends, which meant for a time she didn't have any close friends. She changed her music, studied her scriptures, prayed morning and night and attend all her church meetings. When she shared her list with me I told her she had just made a list that would turn her into daughter of God! And boy did it ever! She is now a sister missionary serving in the Illinois Chicago Mission!

Her email was filled with miracle after miracle... but this story was extra touching to read. A great reminder--when you know something is true, what are you willing to give up/sacrifice in order to keep what you know to be true? Give up a loved one? Sleep in a homeless shelter to keep a commandment...?! How fitting for Kristina to have this woman come into her life. For Kristina too--knows about keeping commandments and making personal sacrifices. This little story and testimony moved me.


Exert taken from Sister Kristina Howell's email to her family:
...She's so awesome. Her name is Jackie and she really wants to get baptized, except she's living with her boyfriend and they have kids together and she's pregnant. He didn't want to marry her, so we didn't think baptism would be an option, but this week when we visited her, she told us that she wanted to get baptized and knew that they needed to get married or she needed to move out before that could happen. So apparently she went and stayed at the homeless shelter for 2 days, and that gave her boyfriend a wakeup call, and they're going to be getting married in 2 weeks and then she'll be baptized the week after that! It's amazing how the Lord will bless us and open ways to keep his commandments when we do everything in our power to keep those commandments!!!

I know that this Gospel is so true and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God! I know that there's such a power to the Book of Mormon that has the power to change our lives if we're just willing to open it and to read it and to apply it to our lives!! I know that true happiness can only come through the Gospel of Jesus Christ!! I'm so thankful for the chance that Heavenly Father has given to me to get to share that message with the people of Chicago!!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


A fireside was put on by a ward in our stake. I went over to the building and hoped for an evening filled with the spirit.

A girl and guy came and sat on the bench directly behind me. Before the event started they were speaking pretty loudly, but nothing different from the other chatter that was going on.

The fireside started (it was a DVD presentation of a production on the pioneers and servicemen preformed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir). At the beginning of the DVD, we watched the sign version for whatever reason. This is where the person signing (American Sign Language) while the choir and background music were shown off to the side of the signer. The gal behind me was very opinionated about the interpreter. She was out right rude in her comments. I silently wished I had chosen somewhere else to sit for the evening. Her remarks were degrading and anything but filled with the spirit. And from the way the comments were made, I don't think she was intentionally trying to be rude, but rather as part of her nature she was out spoken with her thoughts.

Her talking didn't quite down but went on and on. I silently prayed to know if there was something I could say. Bless Heidi, right next to me, she knowing Sign language turned around and signed to the girl and in sign asked her if she knew what the interpreter was saying. The girl didn't understand her. Heidi asked her three different times in sign and then finally turned on her voice as she signed and said, "Do you know what that interpreter is saying?" The girl admitted that she did not, but after knowing/seeing that Heidi signed, didn't make another comment about the interpreter. I was grateful for the way that Heidi brilliantly handled the conflict.

Not more than 5 mins into the music, this same girl, with no hush to her voice just started making comments about the singers, and life in general. The comments were inappropriate. The guy she was with agreed sometimes with her comments and that made her speak up all the more!

What to do?! After what seemed like forever, but probably was more like 10 mins or so of her out spoken words, I pondered if I should just get up and sit somewhere else? What if this was her first time back to an activity?... I wanted her a chance to feel loved and not discourage her from being there/coming, I didn't want to be rude, but how to approach someone's irreverent behavior?! And even if my intentions were not wanting to offend and have her feel love, I was feeling anything but love for her behavior. Sheri Dew said it best that sometimes our Charity does fail. Had you been seeing my level of annoyance I would have proved I didn't have any Charity.

I felt to not to change seats, but to stay put.

The row of guys in front of me were obviously annoyed by her outbursts of "matter of fact" comments as well. ???? What can I do was my pleading.

OH BRILLIANT KATIE NExt to me!! After the last really off comment, Katie turned around and I could hear the love in her voice, but she said to the couple, "You're kind of killing the spirit." The girl didn't hear Katie and asked what she said, and Katie repeated again, "You're kind of killing the spirit". There was no hatred in her tone, but a true statement towards what the girl was saying but not who the girl was. The girl taken a little back, I think truly not noticing the problem before, and she did stop talking. She laughed a little, but the rest of the evening, until she walked out an hour later, she remained pretty quite.

Brilliant!! Truly Brilliant! Why I couldn't come up with that?!! For either situation? I was stumped with what to do... bless Katie and Heidi and their bold, yet Christlike way to confront the conflict!! Great examples to me! I was so thankful to have been given the opportunity to view first hand how to handle a situation that I felt could have gone really sour. Thank you girls!!

Sam shared with me last night that in his morning prayers he had pleaded to have an increase of the spirit to strengthen him all day. He then testified to me that he had witnessed the spirit strengthening him in every meeting. What a great thing to pray for!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Well I knew that this month of craziness was coming, but can I tell you--this has been a CHOICE last month.


I will have to save this for another blog post, but Taylor came out and what a blast we had together! She is so grown up now. Not the little girl that I used to let crawl in bed with me. We entered our four-wheeling into the parade, got an awesomely sore sunburn, painted and organized with mom and dad, took a ride up the mountain, visited temples, and went on a lagoon trip. The boys and Taybabe actually got me to go on "Wicked". A one time, won't ever do it again, but this 30 year old next year went on Wicked! ;) I love you Taylor!

Some choice choice things have happened.
First, Lizi and Dave got married!! There were so many miracles that came together to have these two hook up! God pulled out all the stops! First of all, finding a brides maids dress--in any style/color--just not going to happen. Took that one to the Lord and felt to go onto Target. I pull up a dress, and order it right then. Maybe it would work. Well a week before the wedding, I went shopping everywhere and I kid you not there was NOTHING! So the dress from Target had to be the one. When JiHye came to my door, I almost started to cry. We had almost perfectly- the exact same color of dress on!! God's Hand!

The night before Lizi's wedding there was a great big party with all her family. The weather looked like it was going to dump on us and why wouldn't it? After all it had been dumping every night for about a week, and it seemed to come in about 6pm. Some prayers were said. Lizi said she would embrace the rain since it has rained on all her sister's weddings. The rains passed us... and just went south sending a beautiful rainbow at the end of the evening! The next day, I watched the hour weather and at 2pm it was to dump in Manti, and at 6 pm dump in springville. I pleaded and prayed as I am sure others did. Manti... the storm clouds came and thunder, but went south of the temple... giving great beautiful skys for pictures. And that night, the storm threatened to show its wet little head, but again, partially black clouds rolled in and stayed slightly south. It never rained on us at either location. Coincidence!? NO way!

I have never seen a couple stare into each others eyes as intently as Lizi and Dave did over the alter. It was beauitful, and truly it was a choice blessing to see their paths finally start on the sealed road.


Last week brought Davey and Mandi talking out their endowments! This choice choice couple, who have worked so hard to prepare to go through the temple--had all amounts of opposition possible--DID IT! It was so choice to be in the house of the Lord with them! All of course in preparation for their sealing.

Then it was down to AZ for Jess and Matt's wedding. Another miracle pulled by god. Matt just joined the church two years ago I believe. Jess went to AZ to prepare for a mission, in her preparation, she met Matt, followed some impressions and here they were sealed together. In their sealing, I have never had a couple enter the room with already such a sweet spirit. Whatever the Sealer had talked to the couple about--brought the spirit into the room, and it was a very intimate feeling, again, brought in with their prior meeting. That was sweet to experience that!


Then came Monday night with our first Cluster activity for church. Six ward Singles activity. No one has ever done one before and our ward was the first to be in charge. I have to say, I have the best committee ever! And my co-chair is a hard worker and gives freely of himself. The heavens were pouring, but in faith, and lots of prayers we drove to our spot in the canyon. I text Bishop Lifferth and told him we needed his prayers. (That man has sweet, deep, powerful faith!) Literally 7:03-05ish the rains completely ceased. (It had been a downpour and some good bouts of lighting with in a quarter mile or less... to blue sky and green grass beauty! We figured we had a little over 325 there. Our committee was amazing! The other co-chairs were great. I left re-leaved the activity was over, but also filled with deep gratitude for God's miracles in not only the weather, but the event as well.

So had all intentions of going to institute last night, but when I called up and spoke with my dad, he said that he had done something to his knee??? He hadn't done anything out of the ordinary, but was in so much pain (no matter how he turned his knee) that the pain was literally taking away his breath. I told him that he needed a blessing. He agreed through the pain, but didn't want to brother my brother because he was so busy last night. But when I told him Marsh was not coming down to the valley he consented to have Brytt come over. I felt impressed to grab a neighbor a few doors down that is quite old and has a messed up body himself. I knocked on the door. He immediately went to his room and with quite a process (because of his body) changed into a church shirt, pants and shoes. Hunched over we walked over to my place.

The oil was administered. The spirit was sweet. My brother sealed the blessing. His voice changed—great power and authority were present. And my dad’s body was commanded to be made whole. Very short, to the point blessing. Nothing much extra. But there was power. I almost felt bad for my neighbor taking all that time to get ready to come over for less than a 2 min stop. I walked him home and over and over he gave thanks for being asked to help with a blessing. He was so grateful to be asked. Brytt left. I felt to not go to instituted and although my dad’s knee was not swollen at all/or red- nothing visibly telling that there was pain, we wrapped it in ice and I hurried and searched for some type of movie to keep his mind not focused on the discomfort. Kungfu Panda won! My dad watched the movie (which is quite odd because he HATES seeing movies more than once). The movie ended and he made a comment that his knee was feeling drastically better. We had family scripture study, prayer, sent him to bed with a new ice pack wrapped around his knee.

He slept great. The ice pack stayed the whole time. He woke— and his knee, completely healed. As if there had never been the take your breath away pain as the day before! This is nothing short of God's hand! Oh How I love the priesthood!

A year ago exactly today, this picture was taken. I witnessed the most sacred civil wedding I have ever witnessed! TODAY! I took this picture!

One SMOK'n HOT Freshley sealed family!! How choice it was to see these two kneel across the alter, and to stair into each others eyes. Davey was taken back with so much emotion. Then, little Sammi Sunshine came into the room, and Davey and Mandi were both overcome. There was such a sweet spirit that filled the room. I was overcome. I think most of us in there were.... This little girl, that brought this sweet family together. From Davey wanting to be a father, to finding his faith, checking out the church, getting baptized, working to be worthy of the priesthood, marriage, providing for his family, and working hard towards the temple. I will tell you what, life is choice!!
God is, a God of miracles. I am a witness of them! These three choice couples that God wanted me to witness the miracle of their weddings. Each of them custom/tailor made by God. Maybe He is trying to tell me something!

Each temple has the words, "Holiness to the Lord" on the outside of the temple.
What does it mean to have Holiness? One definition of Holy is dedicated or devoted to the service of God, the church, or religion... ( Dedication or Devotion to THE SERVICE of GOD, CHURCH, RELIGION. Well that sums up what we should be striving for don't you think?! Of course to ALWAYS remembering the Savior, Loving God and Jesus Christ comes first.

Oh it has been so sweet. Almost consuming being around all these choice weddings back to back. God knows what He is doing. I am so happy he has given us a prophet on the earth, that leads us and guides us. There is a plan! God wants us to be happy, and to return to live with Him.

Has God ceased being a god of miracles?! NO WAY! If you are questioning it, serve, if you are finding less happiness than desired, serve, love, support, lift. There are miracles to be had, daily! I know this to be true!

Oh Davey and Mandi, what a sweet sweet day today! Love you!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


From President Eyring's April 2011 Conference talk--I have often pondered about his challenge:
"To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the church welfare program, members world wide will be invited to participate in a day of service. Leaders and members will seek revelation as they design whatever the projects will be."
Ever since his invite, which was echoed by several other speakers in general conference, I have pondered over what it is that I can do as my day of service? I plan to do something with my whole family, my ward, but also for me personally... But what?! Clean up, blankets, hygiene kits? I love that President Eyring asked that one seek revelation as to what the project will be.

I have given it much thought, and a great deal of prayer. An idea came to me--and after what happened to me on Sunday, I am for sure going to do my personal day (more like a month) of service = I have felt to memorize "The Living Christ"(click here). Anyone want to join me?! I know lots of folks memorized it on their mission, but I however did not.
I don't like to travel on Sunday's and try to avoid it at all costs. However this last weekend I felt I needed to be back for Sunday, so I booked the earliest flight out of AZ I could find. Just last week, I found out that one of my greatest heroes=Bishop Larson, was being released from being the Bishop in his ward. This past Sunday would be his last time as Bishop. I smiled and thanked God for allowing me to fly back in time to support a man that has influenced my life a great deal.

As I sat in the airport at 6:30am I pulled out my ensign and had a great read. The woman across from me made the comment about how early it was. She put her pack down and went to sleep. When she awoke, she looked over at me (by this time I had my scriptures out) and she asked if I had been reading the Ensign. I said that I had and she asked if she could borrow the magazine. The magazine was passed over and I had the thought that we would be sitting with each other on the plane.

Meet Becki!
Turns out Becki is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She never felt she worked for her testimony when she was little, she just went through the motions of church because that is what her family wanted.

Becki got into some heavy core drugs a few years back. Salt Lake was her "hub" for the drugs- so she moved to AZ to get away from the temptations and to clean up her life. She has been clean for five years now!

Not knowing what she believed she started meeting with the missionaries to find out about the church. What an amazing story she has!

On Saturday, Becki became filled with thoughts of how to get drugs whens she got back to Salt Lake City. Her thoughts consumed her. She told me that you would think it would be easy after five years of being clean, but how overpowering the thoughts were. Becki said that if she were to do it just one time, give in to drugs one time, she knew from past experiences she would be hooked and completely out of control.

What to do?! The thoughts were frightening. The only thing she could think to do was to call the missionaries over. They came over and gave her a blessing and she received the promise that she would have strength while in Utah. Becki then told me that when she woke up from being asleep while waiting for the plane, the thoughts of how easily she could get the drugs flooded her mind yet again and she silently prayed for help. She remembered the magazine I had, thought it might be an Ensign and asked if she could borrow it. (I have to smile at this because--before this month, other than the Conference edition of the ensign, I haven't/don't carry an Ensign and never did I read one. I always listened to the whole audio magazine when exercising, but reading from the actual pages, hasn't happened before this month. But I had the impression that I needed to start reading an article before I open my scriptures every day, so starting with the July Ensign, I have done just that and where ever I go, the magazine goes with me. Amazing that God can use even our newest habits--and is it too far fetched to think that perhaps God sent the prompting so that I could have an ensign with me in the airport?! I think not!:) )

We talked about the gospel on the plane. Becki had lots of sincere questions. She has a roommate that does not believe in Jesus Christ and it was obvious that this roommate has influenced Becki's thinking for she brought up how she didn't think she could believe in Jesus Christ. She believes that God, our Father, lives, but the idea of Jesus Christ seemed a little "out there".

Becki has been back to church a few times. I asked her if she had prayed over anything and had received an answer. She smiled and said that she had received an answer on tithing! Which was interesting on anything to be asking about/checking out first... she didn't pray about Jesus Christ, or other basics, but she did on tithing!

Becki said that she had received $300 as a grant from the collage in AZ. When she received the money she was excited as it was "free money" and at the time she really needed money. She pondered whether she should pay tithing over this money that she technically didn't earn. She was not even finished asking the question when she heard the words come to her mind, "Loosen thy purse strings." She said, "I don't speak that way, nor have I ever spoken with someone who says that type of thing." Becki knew that it was an answer from God to pay her tithing on the grant money she had been given.

She obeyed the impression and she told me that whenever things are tight and she is tempted to keep the money, those words of loosening her purse strings, come back to her mind and she does pay her tithing. (Side note: Sam shared a beauitful thought from institute last week. The teacher pointed out that we are not paying back/giving the Lord "10%" but rather the Lord is giving us/allowing us to have "90%". Money is not ours, our bodies are not our own, the only thing really that is our own and doesn't already belong to God is our will. I loved this beautiful reminder from Sam's institute teacher!)

The plane ended and Becki and I were both surprised at how fast the trip went. We walked down to the baggage claim and I was able to meet her devoted and supportive husband. Becki wants to be sealed in the temple and is trying to find out what the faith of her family was/is. We made a pack that she would let me know when she had her sealing date. We hugged and she walked off with her husband and I headed off to the parking lot.

Talk about an amazing experience. Had God sent me home to see Bishop Larson, yes I think, but I also think he had greater plans from the beginning! I did miss an opportunity though. I shared with Becki about who Jesus Christ is. What he has done and because of who He is, what that personally means for her, for me, for the whole world--but looking back on the conversation--I taught of him, but I don't think I officially testified that I know that Jesus is the Christ. Someone listening to the conversion would have gathered that I think, but what a lesson for me... a missed opportunity. Don't worry, it is not the end of the world. I am saddened by the realization of what I didn't do, but am thankful for the peace and determination to not pass an opportunity like that again. For I completely know what it feels like to wonder if God and Jesus Christ live. I know what it is like to pray often and plead from my soul to know if they are there. I know the hope and desire to finding out, but I also know the frustration and sometimes despair not knowing seemed to leave me feeling. But oh how sweet the truth is...

I KNOW that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of all mankind, MY Savior. I know that He has all wisdom and power... that through him and because of him, the grave has no power over life. I, we, can become perfect through our perfect Redeemer! Redeemed from a fallen state, redeemed for sins and habits that bind. We can become whole and cleansed, sanctified. Holy, without spot! How? All through Jesus Christ!

So--President's Eyrings challenge of what service one can offer...? Mine "personal" do something for the 75th year of welfare challenge is to memorize "The Living Christ"! And I hope by doing so, I can better let my light so shine. That others feeling alone/in darkness can too--come to KNOW--as I have, that Jesus IS the Christ!

The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles

"The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles," The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles, (2000)

As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.

He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.

He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary’s cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.

We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.

He rose from the grave to “become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His “other sheep” (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised “dispensation of the fulness of times” (Ephesians 1:10).

Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: “His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:

“I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father” (D&C 110:3–4).

Of Him the Prophet also declared: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

“For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

“That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:22–24).

We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—“built upon the foundation of … apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20).

We testify that He will someday return to earth. “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isaiah 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.

We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.
signatures signatures of the twelve

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