Thursday, December 31, 2009

Very Thankful

This post started out in my mind several weeks ago.   Jadon has been singing all over the place.    The more I heard him sing the song, “Thankful,” the more I could not get my mind off it.  “There’s so much to be thankful for.”  It’s true.  I began pondering and thinking.

Then I participated in a chat with Mark Effinger and his mom.  I watched these two express love and hope even though they had been through some tough stuff.  I became more thankful....for my own family and for others who move past difficulty into something more peaceful.

Then I read an article by my friend, Julie, at Digital Marketing Diva.  She talked about believing and beautifully brought the story of Christ together with the goodness of Santa.  Then the song, “Believe,” kept coming to my mind. Jadon sings that one, too, and I hadn’t readily listened to those words until I began listening to him sing over and over, “Believe in what your heart is saying.  Hear the melody that’s playing.  There’s no time to wait.  There’s so much to celebrate.  Believe in what you feel inside you.  Give those dreams the wings to fly.  You have everything you need, if you just believe.”  Powerful.  True.  I could do a whole article on this (and may).  These, again, deepened my gratitude.

Then just yesterday while looking for recipes, I came across The Pioneer Woman.  While browsing around in the recipes, I started reading about her.  I became enraptured with her story and family.  I guess growing up around farmers and ranchers, this story had a tender spot in my heart.  I began to think about my husband and the good man that he was and our relationship and story, and gratitude came oozing out again.

Then I woke up this morning to this beautiful winter day.  I truly have so much to be thankful for, so I am sharing a video with you– music compliments of my son– and pictures of all I am thankful for!

PS.  Turn off the music on my blog page so you can hear this video without confusion

Winter Days & Misty Mornings

Yesterday driving home from the store, I looked down the road into the little beautiful valley I live in.  It was an overcast day–a wintery, gray/white sky kind of day.  I LOVE these days.  That break from the constant sunshine days, but more importantly, that warm nostalgic feeling kind of day.  When you drive down the tree-lined street that in the summer it provides a beautiful umbrella of green leafy shade, but in the winter you see bare trees with dried orange leaves still hanging from them.  You see leaves dancing in the street with the breeze. You can see through the trees into the surrounding hills and homes.  You can see the old pioneer homes, the smoke coming from chimneys, the dirt in the garden tilled and waiting for planting, and somehow you can see calm and peace.   There is so much beauty and comfort for me on those days.  I am overwhelmed by the gratitude I feel for this beautiful little valley, the people who live here, and the ones who sacrificed for me to have it all.

Just when you think you have seen it all and experienced that beauty, you wake up to a misty morning.  Or as my 14 year old said, “are we sitting in a cloud?”  Yes, we are.  We are sitting in a Norman Rockwell painting.  So being the pansy to cold that I am, I grabbed my daughter’s pink snuggie (courtesty of fore-mentioned 14 year old brother), and ran outside with my camera.  It was so beautiful and serene.

I wished I had grabbed my camera when I took the 14 year old to basketball practice, because it was the most beautiful scene down main street.  With limited visibility, you could just see bare trees silhouetted against this misty gray/white backdrop.  It was breathtaking.  Of course, by the time I got back home to grab my camera, the sun had come up and chased most of it away.

But I just had to share a taste of the beauty of my home!

Christmas Day

Christmas Day is just always so fun!  Especially when you have a little one who is experiencing their first Christmas.  It was a very relaxing Christmas.  In spite of economic conditions, we were blessed to have salsa money pay for our Christmas this year.  Although scaled down, we still felt very blessed.  Here are some pictures of our day.

Aside from Paul dropping a blender full of pancake batter, then dropping an egg on the floor, then dropping his pancake off the fork; and mom dumping hot bacon grease down her hand and burning it terribly....we had a GREAT Christmas Day!

Christmas Eve

It's amazing how you can leave practicing for the Christmas Eve Program with your kids saying, "it just doesn't feel like Christmas Eve," and you think the same thing, too.

Then magically something happens.  You show up at the Christmas Eve program, and see little angels, wooden soldiers with red circle cheeks, reindeer, and frosty's.  You feel this excitement and buzz in the air.

Then the program begins.  The excitement builds to see your own child.  And the giggles and laughter from the crowd watching that one performer who tends to "add a little something extra" to their performance.

Pretty soon, the program is over and you get all jittery, just knowing that soon Santa will come a jing-a-linging through the doorway to the gasps, shrieks and wide eyes of the little ones.

Waiting your turn for Santa can be almost excruciating-- especially if you're one of the older ones.

 But there is nothing like watching that little one's first time on Santa's knee.  It's a magical night and when the programs all over, THEN it feels like Christmas.

This year Kameron was a wooden soldier and did a great job.

 Britton got to "dance with girls," so he was even more excited.  I was in charge of their group and those boys really stepped up to the plate and did an awesome job!

Even Jadon got to sing a number between scene changes.

I was wondering how Palo would do on Santa's lap this year, but she actually did really good.  I thought she might scream and bawl.

Following the presents, we headed to Grandma & Grandpa Frei's for our dinner and visit with the family while the little ones played with their toys.  It's always such a fun time!

We came home and opened our pj's.  While we got this cute shot of the boys, the rest of us didn't quite get gathered for a photo.  You'll just have to observe them in the Christmas photos.

One of my kid's favorite things to do on Christmas Eve is to all sleep together in the same room..  When they started this, they wanted us to booby trap them in.  Booby traps get pretty lame when you are tired and trying to set traps after midnight.  But we usually get them pretty good.  I'm guessing this will be the last year they stay together.  Here's a cute picture of them getting settled.

Christmas Snow

The beautiful thing about living in Santa Clara is that it snows just enough to enjoy it, but not live in it.  And it snows so much around you that you can drive to it and have some fun, then come back to your toasty fire!

Christmas Eve morning, after the program practice, we headed to Pine Valley with all the warm gear we could find.  Did you know that it 250 lbs of clothing and 3-4 vehicles to transport you and your warm winter gear??!!  You also feel like the Pilsbury Dough Boy after you have enough layers on to think you can get out of the car and keep warm for 5 minutes-- IF the sun is shining.  If the wind is blowing, you only get 30 seconds.  By the way, it takes 2-3 hours to pack, 45 minutes to get there, 20 minutes to get dressed when you get there, and 10 minutes of sledding before you are freezing and ready to go home and spend another hour unpacking and two days washing clothes and drying out things.

Well, the sun was shining, but there was a nice cold breeze blowing, so Palo didn't last very long outside.  I took her back to the car, but was able to snap some good pictures first.  Then left my camera to whomever to get some more shots.

Lorenzo (Misi's brother) crashed into the tree first thing.  Then Britton crashed into the nice girl trying to help him out.  (Turns out is was our cousin, Courtney Jones.)  I'm still wondering if Lorenzo broke his foot.

According to reports, Whitnee had a nice wipeout and retired her sled after the fact.

Kallan still has a nice scrap on his shin.

 I'm sure Britton and Kameron both need chiropractic appointments.  You can see them airborne a couple of times.

All in all, it was a fun hour in the snow!

Christmas Gifts

I had the privilege of watching a tremendous group of young men participate in the real spirit of Christmas.

Kallan has a teammate who moved in from Kansas City this year.  He is on the basketball team with him.  According to one of our sources, he hasn't had Christmas for 2 years.  I believe he's come from the inner city life.  These young men have really stepped up to the plate to become his friend and invite him over.  When finding out that he hadn't had a Christmas, the boys pulled together and decided to do Christmas for him.

I got to take them shopping and laughed so hard, yet cried.  They were so excited to get stuff for him and to make him happy!!

Then I brought them to my house to wrap.  Oh boy!  Was that ever comical!  Mykelle and I couldn't stop laughing.  Clearly, learning how to wrap presents has not been high on their list.  You have to have A LOT of wrapping paper and tape and wrapping paper.  Any random large size of paper should usually work when wrapping.  We got such a kick out of it that we had to take pictures of the wrapping party.

Lots of wrapping paper.....

Sadly, when we went to drop the gifts off, he wasn't home.  That was okay.  What it did for the boys to bring them together and the spirit they felt will probably remain with them a lot longer!

It was truly another great gift for me to witness at Christmas.

Christmas Music

One of the best things about being a Mom is following your kids around watching everything they are involved in.    For me, there is nothing more fun that sitting at a ballgame or watching my kids perform.  Christmas was a wonderful time this year because I got to listen to Jadon sing quite a bit.  He had some great songs with great messages that brought the spirit wherever he went.

He loves feeling the spirit of giving so much.  Ever since those Madrigal trips to SLC, he longs to have that same feeling over and over.  This year, being out of Madrigals, he had to create his own opportunities.  He got with a group of his friends on Monday the 21st and they spent the day singing all over-- rest homes, individual people, and the hospital.  He had a neat experience at the hospital, especially up in ICU.  He said that several people starting crying and they were turning their computer webcams to capture them.

In the evening, they went to the Visitors Center to sing.  We took the family over to listen and to view the "Reflections of Christ" display and the temple lights.  The kids were very welcomed by those there.

As they had Jadon sing, "Mary Did You Know,"  I looked at him standing there in front of the Christus and heard him sing, "the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again.  The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the Lamb."  Here was the Savior with His arms outstretched as if He were beckoning my song.  And my son singing, no testifying, of His very life.  It was so incredible.  The only camera we had was Sue's iphone, so they aren't the most professional pictures, but at least we captured it.

I wondered as I watched if Jadon could see the reflection of the Savior looking at him in the windows he was facing.  It was pretty incredible!

The Sister working there stopped Paul and I at least 3 times and asked him to come back and sing.

Christmas Booby Traps

As I left off from my Christmas Eve post, I was explaining about this Booby Trap thing.  Sometimes we are a little more creative, but the fact is that after midnight, we are just plain tired.  I had great ideas for this years booby trap thinking it would probably be the last, so I bought a bunch of stuff.  Paul was too tired, so he made the final decision.  Turns out that it was still successful.

Paul hung a sheet in the hall way then hid in the closet just behind the sheet with an air horn.  I had a bottle of sill string just around the corner.

We could hear the kids coming out and trying to decide who would go first.  It was finally voted that the youngest should go first.  I'm sure that's because it is like 8 votes to 1 that way.  So Kameron was chosen.  All he did was stick his hand on the sheet and begin to pull it back when Paul laid on the horn.

With a great scream, Kameron fell to the ground and quickly moved himself away from the front of the line.  As the others began to make their way through, I showered them with silly string.

I would have pictures, but since my closer up lens was dropped and broken in Puerto Rico, I would have had to stand in Ivins to get the shot of them coming out Christmas morning.  Also, it was too dark, and since I don't know how to run my camera well.....I just decided to man the silly string can.

Still proved to be entertaining!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Tamales

I had such a blast on Wednesday!!  I went to Erin Mylroie's to learn how to make tamales.  It was easy and fun!  Well, it's fun if you have someone to visit with while you're making them!  Erin is amazing....teaching her kids while we were working away.  I wish MY kids were being homeschooled by her!!  At the end of the tamale session, I realized that I hadn't taken one picture of the two of us making tamales.  Although I was sad to not have the memory, I really wasn't too sad because I hate having my picture taken.  And since I went over with no make-up and my hair up in a clip in that "I'm ready to go to work" fashion, it wasn't such a photographic moment.

We did, however, take pictures of our tamales in a can for Erin's blog, so click on this link and read about our day and get the recipes.... you'll be glad you did!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

More Football

Football just keeps going on and on.....Both boys played in the Christmas Classic this last weekend.  They had a great time!

The Friday games were REALLY cold!  Britton's team lost on Friday 12-7, but then played the same team on Saturday and won 26-0, so we're not sure who took first place.  Kameron's team won both games taking the championship.  The exciting part was that they beat Dixie 19-0.  We lost to them in the regular season and the other 4th grade team lost to them in the championship.  Since we  combined for this tournament, there was a real desire to win!!  They were pretty excited.  Kam recovered a fumble.

Britton had at least 6  including a sack or two.  They are quite the players! You can see pictures of their games by going to this link:  Kameron is #85 on the 4th grade link-- lots of photos of him.  On the 5th grade white links, Britton is #84.

 Fun to watch!!  Nice job, boys!  Now we can move on to basketball......


Paul, Britton, and I spent Thanksgiving in Vegas at a Football tournament.  We had a relaxing day....weighing in at 11 am and then waiting around to play at 4 pm.  We went to one of the few restaurants we found open and had lunch.  Britt did a good job and their team won their game.

Meanwhile, everyone else had dinner at our house.  Paul's sister, Ginger and all her kids and grandkids (but Kalee) were here for dinner. Paul's mom and sister, Julie, came with their families, too.  No one managed to take a picture, so all you get for Thanksgiving pictures this year are of football. ;o)

Britton played again on Friday, so we headed back down again.  They ended up winning their division and got a really BIG trophy!  I managed to slip in an hour's worth of shopping and picked up a few deals, so it was a nice head start on Christmas.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dancing with the Stars....

It's a proud moment in every mom's life when her son becomes a "He-schelle!"  To see those new talents come to life is quite extraordinary.  It's even better when the sisters come and watch!  Mykelle, Whitnee & I had a great time going to the Powder Puff football game and watching Kallan perform with his buddies.  Here is a link where you can watch it.  Kallan is on the left in purple leggins.  Here's some photos, too!  Enjoy!  Get a tissue!  It'll bring a tear to your eye! ;o)

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Monday before Thanksgiving, Jadon sang at "Dance for a Cure" at the High School.  Mom and I went and watched him.  The two little boys had football practice.

Tuesday I went shopping.  I had another great coupon day!  Spent $30 and saved $167.  I couldn't believe all I got for $30!  It was SOO fun!!

Wednesday was a busy day!!  I went and helped out at Kameron's Mountain Man activity until 11:30.  Then I headed to the HS football field.  It was the powder puff game and Kallan was a "He-schelle."  It was quite the adventure!!  They stole the show, that's for sure!!

After a Subway sandwich, I cleaned out the fridges, mopped the floors, and tidied up.

The evening was spent making pies with Mykelle.   We made 2 pumpkin, 1 mixed berry pie, 1 Key Lime pie, and 5 cheesecakes.

It was one of those beautiful winter evenings with a fire, a clean house, and a movie!  I love those peaceful nights!

Coming Home

I was really glad to be home.  My kids were amazing.  Mykelle is incredible and the kids like her better than me.  She ran a "tight ship."  The house was immaculate when I got home and according to the kids, it was that way the whole time we were gone.  Maybe the Webster's are turning over a new leaf!  Thanks to Mykelle!!

There is no greater gift for a parent than the gift of good and righteous children.  I feel so blessed to have the wonderful kids I have!

I found out that I could do whatever I wanted and my kids would be okay, providing Mykelle was around.  But then I would miss out on so much.  I'm hoping I can still provide something in my home! ;o)

I had a busy week ahead of me when I got home!
Tuesday I was in charge of the book review in our ward.  We reviewed "Hidden Treasures" by Leslie Householder.  I had a blast with this discussion!  It was so fun!

Wednesday I had a Night of Excellence to attend.

Thursday was our Stake YW Leadership Training.  I spent Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday dumpster diving, carving rocks and painting rocks for the event.  For some reason, everything else fell on this night, too. Kameron had a football party. Britton had football practice.  Kallan had basketball practice.  Paul had roundtable and Mykelle had a volleyball game.  Jadon was singing at our meeting.  Paul received a text that Kallan had a parent meeting at 6:00 pm.  Oh yeah, and the two little boys had a piano recital.

So Britton missed football practice and we had Mykelle take him to the recital.  Paul went to Kallan's basketball meeting, then went and got Kameron and ran to piano, then he brought them home and went to roundtable.  I left at 5:00 and got home after 9:00 pm.  What a day!!

Saturday we cleaned the food storage room, started the Christmas lights and cleaned the house.

Sunday Jadon sang in the 2nd ward, then in the 1st ward, then at the Jubilee of Trees.  He did an amazing job!!  It was quite the week!

Bookpublishing Workshop

So I got up Wednesday after about 3 hours of sleep, got the kids off, cleaned out part of my suitcase and repacked.  Ran mom to the Dr., then came home and got ready to leave again.  This was a BIG stretch for me.  I've never really left my family by myself except for the Mentor's Training I attended, plus I had already been gone several days, but since I won this $2,000 workshop, and Paul and I felt like it would be a great opportunity, I went.

It turned out to be a great weekend.  I met some amazing people with some great stories to tell and others who had great things going for them.  It was a privilege to have attended.  I  learned a lot, now have to settle my brain down and implement them!

I wrote a little about it on my other blog,  You can read about it there.  Very grateful to Leslie Householder for the gift!!

While We Were Gone

There's always a few things you miss when you are gone.  The exciting thing was that Kallan made the 9th Grade Basketball Team!

The other thing was that mom hurt her knee and was flat on the couch from Monday on, so when I got home on Wednesday, I took her over to Scott Parry's office.  It turns out that she had a torn meniscus and needed knee surgery.  I can't figure out why these things happen when I will be gone and the least helpful, but fortunately, my kids were there for her and were good help to her.  She had surgery on Friday.  In addition to the tear, she had some floating cartiledge and a fatty lump that they took care of.  She was actually doing better after the surgery than before.  She's a trooper!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Puerto Rico Day 6- Tuesday Coming Home

The nice part about this day was we were the last ones leaving.  We didn't leave until 2 pm, so we were able to go down to the pool for an hour or so.  I thought it would be stupid for me to go to Puerto Rico and not come home with any kind of sun tan/burn.  Fortunately, we were able to get some sun.  We packed our stuff and set our suitcases out, then went down to the pool for a bit.  When I got back to the room, I realized I had packed my garments in my bags, so we had to get our bag and I had to change before they loaded them in the bus to head to the airport.

Travel was good.  I felt bad for Eric with his shoulder.  He was in a lot of pain, but didn't complain at all.

In Houston, our flight was delayed so we were even later getting home!!  Didn't get home and in bed until 3 am.

Puerto Rico Day 5 Monday

Monday Paul & I cancelled our tour and decided to just stay at the resort and get some sun, relax, read, and write.  It was a great plan except for that sun part.  It was cloudy and rainy the whole day.  The nice thing about Puerto Rico is that even if it is raining, it is still warm, so we went down to the beach anyway.

Joni & Eric were down there and Sis. Dalton and her hubby were walking on the beach, too.  So we all sat down and started to chat.  I asked Sis. Dalton a bunch of questions and we got to visit and listen to stories.  It was so much fun!  We had a blast and I learned a lot.  I was really excited to hear all the fun new stuff they are coming out with-- especially for personal progress!

Sis. Dalton wanted to come to our Stake Training, but was flying straight from PR to the east coast where she stayed until the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Later that day, we went to a dinner at a really nice home in the rainforest.  By really nice, I mean a REALLY nice outdoor type home.  Pretty incredible.  We had a big buffet dinner and Eric and Joni went for a walk.  When we got back to the hotel, I got a text from Joni needing some ibuprofen.  Eric had fallen on their walk and hurt his shoulder.  (The diagnosis now that we are home is that he tore his rotator cuff and will be having surgery Dec. 11).  So I don't know if the trip was that great for them. ;o)

It was one of my favorite days-- just visiting with others and feeling the spirit is so much fun!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Puerto Rico Day 4-- Sunday

* The pictures aren't loading, so I will keep working on that, but will at least get this up here!

We had another tremendous Sunday experience while traveling! I am so glad I followed the prompting to call here and see what we could do to help the members out.  It turned out to be a great blessing.  Young Women’s was first, so we went in.  There were a bunch of us there—Darla Silcox, another gal that I didn’t get her name, Sheri Dalton, Elaine Dalton, and Joni and I.  There was only one young woman there (Rosalin).  Two more had been baptized a week or two ago, but they were headed to the states, so weren’t in attendance. Neysha Lespin had come to YW, too.  She was the sweet gal I had been making the arrangements with.  I'll tell you, this is one SHARP gal!  She has a powerful spirit!!  She came in to help us translate. The sweet gal teaching the lesson (Ana) was nervous, but did a great job.  She talked about how the scriptures are important part of our lives.  She said that she used to be Pentecostal, and she KNEW the Bible, but she felt that she was lacking answers.  When the missionaries started teaching her, she found the answers in the Book of Mormon and in the Gospel.  She asked us all to describe the scriptures in one word—that was a toughie!  Here were some of the answers:
1.       Energy of Heart/love
2.       Hope
3.       Faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ
4.       Light
5.       Hope
6.       Indescribable joy
7.       Peace
8.       Answers
9.       Strength
Ana, the teacher, said that she had gotten married, then baptized the next day with her son and husband.  She hasn’t even been a member one year.  We were all so surprised!

She told of having confusion in reading the Bible—why would God give us the commandment to not kill, then tell them to kill all the other people around them.  When the missionaries explained about Nephi and Laban—better that one man should perish, than a nation dwindle in unbelief, it gave her such great understanding and she apologized to God for questioning Him. ;o)

She then told us that with the economy the way it is that her husband is working two jobs and she has had to work, too.    She told her husband that they just need to keep paying their tithing and focusing on the Lord and reading the scriptures.

This sweet little thing had such a powerful testimony and you would never believe that she was a new member.  Her teaching techniques seemed as if she were taking them straight from “Teaching, No Greater Call.”  She was delightful and really brought a great spirit.

Then Sis. Dalton stood up.  She said that it seemed that no matter where she went “the same picture pops up everywhere she goes and it was right there (pointing to the picture in the corner that I hadn’t even noticed .)  It was a picture of Esther.  She said that her message was that “You HAVE come to the kingdom for a time such as this.”

She told them that they were special spirits and they were strong.  Satan would try to tempt them, but they were strong and beautiful. She said it was not by chance that we were there and that the tender feelings we were having were because we knew each other before and this was a reminder of our meeting in Heaven.
She said that their lights just shine.  They shine so bright that everyone on the streets of Puerto Rico must think they are movie stars.  She thanked them for being pure and virtuous.

She told of a YW who lived in the states in difficult circumstances just like they were living in.  She asked this young woman what she did to remain virtuous & pure.  The YW told her that she wore her Young Womanhood Medallion around her neck and that if she were having bad thoughts, she would touch her medallion to remind her.  So she told her/them to get their medallions and to wear them.
She told them that they were not alone and that angels were with them.

The Prophet knows she is here and she will report back to him of the good here.

After we closed the meeting, I gave them their bookmarks.  Then I gave them the bracelets and told the story of David and Goliath and how these stones were like their values and shared my talk with them in the short version.  I then gave them the touch gold sign and told a little about that.  They were excited.  Sis. Dalton is really excited about it, too.  She said that she thinks the whole world should touch gold!  I’m pretty excited about it.  I knew she would love it.  It really has brought me comfort because I have been searching for a way to teach and help my sons with virtue and especially avoiding pornography.  Since they understand the power in touching gold, I knew this would help them.

It’s been a pretty fun day!  I love it when the spirit is strong!

We also brought dresses, baby clothes and the new Spanish bibles to them. A lady who was with us told me that on the way home, the gentleman with them just kept looking in his book and touching the pages and reading.  She said they were so thrilled with the new bibles.  I guess they’ve been working on the Spanish one since 1979, so they are elated to finally have a copy!

The sweetest thing was that they had refreshments for us after church.  Not only were they GOOD, they were so refreshing.  It was fun!

There was this one sweet sister who greeted us when we came, and then was helping with the food after.  When she greeted us, I was at first a little judgemental.  This sweet lady had the most crooked nasty teeth.  Some on the bottom were missing.  But there was this spirit about her.  As quick as the first thought came, another came that she was his daughter and was here doing good work.  Oddly enough, Suzanne Francom told me that in RS they told her story.  She’s only been back in PR for a few  months, but she lives in the Ghetto.  She plays her church music really loud during the day and reads her scriptures.  All the people in her neighborhood (including drug dealers and gang leaders)  asked her what the music was and why she was doing what she was doing.  She’s told them that it was because of her religion and told them about the church and these characters have great respect for her and take care of her and protect her.  However, it really isn’t safe for anyone to come and visit her, so when her visiting teachers are coming, she gets a hold of these ruffians and tells them to leave so they can visit her.  And they DO!!  Quite a cool story!

Another story I was told later was that Lilliana, the Branch President’s wife and Neysha’s mom, drove them home and told them the story of their recent marriage and sealing.  She said that they were both divorced and were attending the singles ward.  Lilliana knew the first time she met him that this was to be her eternal companion—her prince.  But he never got it.  She said they would talk and talk for hours at each activity.  He would tell her there is no such thing as eternal love.  Evidently he was still so hurt by his first marriage.  Then one day, he showed up at her door and told her they needed to get married.  She said it blew her away because there had been no discussion.  She was so happy and so was he.  They had been to SLC during the April Conference and were sealed.  The irony of this is that during sacrament meeting, Lilliana was the closing speaker.  She had taken her little girl up on the stand with her and handed her off to him, the Branch Pres.  I happened to see the cutest interchange between him and the little girl.  He was playing with her with his tie—having her blow on it and it shrinking.  She kept wanting him to play and he was just grinning.  I found out later that it wasn’t even his daughter.  But was a tender moment for me to see, then hear the rest of the story.
Lilliana kept telling these people how grateful she was that we came and was in tears the whole way home and didn’t want us to leave.  She said that they look up to the people in Utah so much and they were so grateful that there were people here that were showing them that couples can be happy in marriage.  I was so surprised and so grateful that we were there and could lift them unbeknowingly.  She also expressed gratitude that they could serve us.  Isn’t it interesting how these small acts can mean so much?

Another amazing day in the Lord’s kingdom!

I will say this—every time I travel, I become more and more grateful for the country and especially the place I live in.  I think the Lord has put me in the choicest spot of the vineyard!  I am very blessed!

Puerto Rico Day 3-- Saturday

Saturday, Paul and I went on a zip line excursion.  The Dalton’s son and dil, Matt & Sheri, were with us.  It was a lot of fun talking to them and getting to know them.  They are close to our age, so we had a lot in common.  They were married later, and have 3 little kids. It was fun to visit with them.

The zip line was fun.  I wasn’t nearly as scared as last time.  I really enjoyed it.  The worst part was walking back UP hill.  Boy, it was a work out.  Kind of like cardiac hill—it was muddy, too, that added to my enjoyment.  At least I felt like I was getting a good workout.

The guide stopped in between runs and told us a little bit about the rain forest.  One of the things that struck me as a great lesson was him telling about a particular kind of tree.  It grows slowly because of lack of sunlight, but when the hurricanes or strong winds come through, the upper branches of the canopy break off.  This allows sunlight to come through for a short time.  In two or three days, the tree will grow two or three times its size.  It has unprecedented growth just from the sun.  I couldn’t help but think of how some of us are like that.  We just eek along, growing slow and steady, or perhaps not much at all, but when the light of the Son comes and hits our life just right, we can grow at a rapid rate.  I feel like that is what has happened to me in the last few years.  But I have also observed it in others, too.  Anyone who accepts the gospel can have those large growth spurts due to the light of Christ entering into their lives.  (Oddly enough, there was perfect example of that in church on Sunday—story coming up.)

When we arrived back from the canopy tour, we quickly grabbed a burger.  May not seem out  of the ordinary, but we got the burger at the little shack on the beach/pool area overlooking the ocean.  The weather was perfect, and it was this beautiful calm warm night.  I was sitting there with my sweet husband, and I thought of how blessed I was to be able to enjoy this small moment and reflect on the beauty of God’s creations.

We then took off to the Bio Bay tour.  It was the coolest thing!!  We were put in kayaks in the dark and paddled across a little bay area, then through a channel.  Now this channel was lined with mangrove trees.  So imagine yourself in the pitch black paddling in water with trees on both sides and you have no idea where you are going.  There were glow bracelets on the front and the back of the kayaks so you could follow them.  Now here’s the cool  part….the fun of Bio Bay….there are little microscopic critters that light up when they are disturbed much like fireflies.  So every dip of the paddle and the movement of the boat lights up the water.  You can stick your hand in the water and swish it around and it lights up.  I’m telling you…it’s cool!  I wish you could take a jar and take some home.  However, they only light up at night and they die off if not in their natural environment.  Pretty cool!  Also kind of a fun possibly spooky experience to paddle in the dark down a canal of trees.