24 October 2010


Today was an emotional day at church.  I have spent the last 2 1/2 years as the 2nd Councilor in the Relief Society Presidency.  I have loved this calling so much.  I have been able to grow close to the sisters in our ward by serving them.  They are strong, loving women.  The compassion and testimony that is shared every time the sisters are together continues to amaze me.  During this time I have grown so much. My love of my Savior and testimony of the work being done to save people is amazing.  I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and the sisters that I served.   I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints is true.  The Church has blessed my life so much.  I also have been so blessed to work with some amazing sisters during the time I was in the presidency, Amberly, Teri, Shannon, Jessica, Mandy, Terry, Rachel, Lois, and of coarse Sandi.  I love all of you and each of you taught me amazing things.  Thank you for all the love and kindness that has been shown me.  May God continue to bless all of you.

26 September 2010


Last Sunday we had a wonderful lesson in Relief Society about Faith.  I have been thinking about it all week long and wanted to share my thoughts and insights.  I will be referring to Alma 32:21-42 during this posting.

First I thought of hope. "if ye have faith ye hope for things..."  I thought of how to build faith we must start with hope.  The first time I poured my heart out to The Lord in honest prayers it was with a hope that there was a God and he answered prayers.  I had never met with Him face to face.  He had never spoken to me so it was with a hope He was there.  I found that He was.  My prayers were answered and continue to be.  This hope has grown to a faith.  I now know that if I am sincere and pour my heart out he will answer me.

I do not have a perfect knowledge of things and therefore I continue to grow my faith with a hope that one day I will have a perfect knowledge.

We are asked to experiment upon the word.  The word being the teachings of our Heavenly Father.  By excersisng even a small particle of faith we can learn of the plan our Heavenly Father has for us. 

We compare the word of God to a seed that must be planted in our hearts.  When the seed is placed it can grow or wither and die.  For the seed to grow it must have sun, water, nutirients, and soil.  If any of these are missing then it will die or at least be very weak.

The analogy of the seed being planted and the conditions needed to grow the seed made me think of my own gardening experience.  When planting seeds in CO they would grow just about anywhere with very little care.  Our hearts are like this when they are tender and humble.    When they are tender and ready to receive the teachings we must act and grow the plant as strong as possible. 

Many times the soil we try to plant our seed of faith in is like the hard clay of AZ.  This has been baked and lost many of its nutirents.  We must then tend to the soil by augmenting it and working it and loving it.  This is true of our hearts as well, the harshness and negativity of this world has baked the soil and leached many the nutrients out..  We must tend to our hearts by prayer, study and humility.  As we do this even in the harsh environement of the world we can have a folourishing garden of faith in our hearts from the many seeds we have planted.

I also see faith as being many seeds.  We can gain faith in the redeeming powers of the atonement but it takes another seed to have the faith that we can be forgiven of our sins and still another to believe in the revelations given by the prophet.

I hope that we all can enjoy the blessings of faith and continue to cultivate the seeds that have been planted, the soil they are going it, and the environment that they grow.  May the trees of faith bring forth much fruit that is good and desirous. 

26 August 2010

Nothing to Say

Sometimes I wonder why I keep a blog.  I don't have young kids.  No grandkids.  Just cats.  But then I realize that I am incredibly blessed.  I have a wonderful husband who is kind and gentle but with a quirky sense of humor.  We always have a good time whether we are Disneyland or Sam's Club.  I have a fantastic son (OK well I did not give birth to him but he has been a wonderful part of my life since I married his dad).  He is a delight to talk to and a strong spirit about him.  I love my family so much and don't always remember to express this.

I also have a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel.  For this I am very grateful.  With this knowledge I can endure the tough times and gain even more joy from the good times.  I am thankful for the opportunities I have for service and to be served.

I know this is just a short set of thoughts about how blessed I am but I needed to express what I am feeling.  Thanks for listening.

01 August 2010

Book Review

I just finished a book that I was not the target audience.  This was geared to about 9-13 yr old boys.
Enemies and Allies by Kevin J Anderson. 
This is set in the 1950's and is the introduction of Batman and Superman.  If you have a child that is into comic books or superheroes then this is a good option for them.  The reading level (my guess) is about a 7th or 8th grade.  There is some history there and they may have questions about Sputnik,  McCarthy, and other significant things in that time period.  There was not even any kissing just some talk of Superman and Lois Lane falling in love.  There are 2 swear words (as far as I can remember).  A few spots get graphic about the battles but it is not bad.  I enjoyed it and would recommend it to your children if they are into superheroes.

16 July 2010


Just returned from a wonderful time in CO.  Sometimes it is so hard to be so far from family and the life long friends I have had.   I guess during this trip I saw that my parents are aging and my brother is getting worse in his battle against MS.  I wish we could be closer to help more.  It was also great to see Kent's brother and sister-in-law.  Such fun and love when we are there.

I loved seeing my nieces, nephews, and grand nephews.  All of those kids bring me such joy.
The little guys.
Coal  - Our little diamond in the rough.  He is such a joy and always happy.
Joshua - So patient and just wants to be the best big brother.  He is a calming influence in the room.
Samantha - Our little princess.  So full of life and energy.  She has such a strong spirit.
Benjamin - Such the little man.  So wants to be an adult and yet still a kid.  Full of love and life.
Brady - Such a cutie.  Loves to cuddle and share his love.  He is always fun.
Scott - So wonderful and loving.  He always wants to be in the middle and lover all.
The bigger ones.
Leslie - Such a good mom always wanting the best for her little ones.
Lisa - A good aunt with so much love to share.

Had such a wonderful time with Charles.  I could not ask for a better son.  I love him so much.  It is amazing to see how much has grown.  I am so excited for the future he is planning for himself.  I wish he was closer and we could spend more time together.  Such a great young man with a kind heart and an amazing spirit.

Since we were able to spend 13 days in CO we had the opportunity to get together with friends also.  So many wonderful people that had an influence at different times in our lives.

Thanks everyone for a great time and more wonderful memories.  Looking forward to the next time we can get to CO.

14 May 2010


I am finding that I really enjoy the garden we are growing.  The first tomatoes have ripened.  They have so much flavor compared to the ones in the grocery store.  I am now planning what will go in for the fall garden.  I am thinking about some squash and maybe some spinach.  There is something very rewarding about growing your own food.

Every evening when I come home from work I am able to go and just relax by checking the plants and watering them.  It is very relaxing and brings me such a feeling of joy.

I am very thankful for the instruction from the Prophets to be self reliant.  When following this admonition there is such a wonderful joy.

Maybe I will even get good enough at this to have a bumper crop.

09 May 2010

Mothers Day

As many of you know I really dislike Mothers Day.  This year is no different but I want to take the time to tribute to my mother and other women who have had an impact on my life.

First my mom.  Through the good times and the bad she has been there.  I can always call her and know that she will listen.  I know that I was a difficult child and at one time she had 3 teenage daughters.  That in its self could send anyone to the loony farm but she loved and cared for us always.  Mom set a spiritual example also with her kindness and charity.  Mom lives what she believes.  I will always be grateful for all she has done for me over the years.  My mom is a wonderful woman with strength and love for all. 

Many of the people in my life know that I have a wonderful Aunt Naomi.  She has been like a grandmother to me and pillar of strength to our family.  Aunt Naomi is a strong woman with so much faith.  She has an incredible love of the gospel and life.  I am so thankful for the example she has set for me.  She is now approaching 90 years old and has faced the challenges of life with so much grace and dignity.  At times I have faced similar trials to her and found strength in the example that she set.

Of course I cannot forget my mother-in-law she is a wonderful woman with so much love.  I am so lucky to have a great mother-in-law who loves me and has never made me feel that "I am not good enough for her son" and supported us always.  My mother-in-law always shows me the love she feels.  She is a caring person and very nurturing.

There are so many other women who have influenced me and there is no way I can list them all here.  Everyday in my life I see the influence of Young Women leaders, friends moms, friends, coworkers, and Relief Society sisters.

For all the women in my life I hope Mothers Day is filled with love and joy.

29 April 2010


Well here in a week I will know if I am still employed by Maricopa County.  I do hope that I am.  I enjoy this job and feel like I am making a difference in the world.  I also am so close to be partially vested in my retirement. :)  But as this gets closer I realize that all I can do is pray for what The Lord knows to be best to happen and to have the strength to accept it if it is not what I thought was best.  I am so appreciative of all the prayers and thoughts that have been sent my way during these months of uncertainty. 

23 April 2010

Grand Canyon

Just wanted to let everyone know that I have started a blog dedicated to my Grand Canyon Trip. This will have my progress in training and tips for those coming to know what is going on. Should be fun for all to watch whether you are going or not.


19 March 2010

Turning 40

I am planning a trip for my 40th birthday (in 2011). Who wants to come with me. Before you decide let me give you be start of the details. I am hiking the Grand Canyon from the North Rim to the South Rim. Doesn't that sound like fun. I am starting the planning and I need to know who may want to go so I can get some prices together and then make the reservations. Final commitments would need to be by August 2010 so I can get the reservations. I am planning to hike to the bottom on day 1. Stay at Phantom Ranch that night. Hike around and relax a little for day 2. Stay a 2nd night at Phantom Ranch. Then hike out on day 3. I am getting so excited. Training starts this weekend. More will be posted as I get the training plan and the costs. Some of that depends on how many people want to join the fun. Tentative date is September 2011.

SO who is with me...

14 March 2010



Let me introduce you to DESMA. This stands for Delicious Eatable Smoked Meat Apparatus. Some of the things we have done with DESMA include pulled pork, fish, chicken, sausage, pork ribs, turkey breast and rib roast. All have been amazing. My favorite has been the pulled pork, it was so tender and juicy. This is followed by the rib roast. There is nothing like a smoked rib roast.

There have been several people that have requested information about how we built our own smoker. The story starts with a trip to Barbecues Galore. There we found that a ceramic smoker is around $700 (way out of our budget). We looked all over but could never find anything any significantly less. We were then watching FoodNetwork and saw one of the chefs build his own and though we can do that. If you want to see where we got our inspiration it is on the show "Good Eats" in the episode call "Q". The whole thing was built for about $70.

Then the quest to find the parts. Here is what you need to build your own: 1 electric hot plate, 1 metal pie pan (that will never bake a pie again), 1 round grill grate, 2 unglazed ceramic pots, 3 bricks, and 1 replacement grill thermometer.

Now the fun part putting it together.

When we shopped for ours we found it was best to start with the grate and the hot plate. These will determine the size of the pots you need.

When you have all your items here is the construction. Place the hot plate in the bottom of the larger pot with the cord coming out the drain hole. Then the pie tin on that. The pie tin should be a heavy metal if you want it to last more then one use. Then the grate place in the bottom pot. The grate needs to be the right size to sit about 8 - 10 inches above the pie tin. Then you will turn the 2nd pot upside down and seat in in the first to form the lid. The thermometer is then place in the drain hole of the top pot. This is the basic construction that you will find on the FoodNetwork and many other sites, but if you see the photo above you know that we have made changes after experimenting.

Here are the hints and tips that we have learned:
* Drill an extra hole in the top for the thermometer and leave the drain hole for air circulation. This will also give you a place for a kitchen thermometer to be inserted into the meat.
* Drill 3 or 4 holes in the bottom for air circulation.
* Wrap the pots in pipe insulation sealed with flashing tape to help it maintain a steady temperature.
* If you wrap it the apparatus then use some pipe nipples or something similar to keep the holes open and the insulation sealed.

DESMA has made some wonderful meals for us and brought a lot of fun into the cooking. I hope that if you build one it will bring you fun and delicious smoked meats.

This is the turkey breast. Doesn't it look yummy. This photo was taken about 1 hour before it was done. The carcass made the best turkey soup later.

Now that you have built one you just need to get some meat and some wood chips/chunks.

If you want more tips just let me know.

Have fun!!