Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Blogging is a funny thing. Sometimes I come across old posts and just laugh at my silliness over matters that seemed so important at the time. I'm grateful for my blog because it's the only type of record I've (partially) kept up with over the years, and I love to find old posts that remind me of good times, hard times and to see how much I've grown up too.

I've been MIA on this blog the past three years, but I haven't been totally out of the blogosphere as I've at least tried to keep up with pictures on my personal blog (journal) as often as I can. I feel a need to write more lately though, and this place seems to be the spot for it, so here I am again... Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014



A dear friend of mine recently brought up some doubts and views on Feminism, regarding women and the priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - The Church that both she and I are members of. This is quite a big deal for some women in The Church right now and even though their numbers are few, their voices are loud.

It's hard for me to understand this viewpoint because I've never felt suppressed as a woman in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If anything, I feel more valued as a woman, wife and mother in The Church than in any other area of my life. Our priesthood leaders are always so aware of the women and, I feel, esteem women greatly for our roles and what we can contribute to our families, wards and communities.

This recent conversation and sort of secondhand-witnessing (through Facebook) the inactivity of some other once strong, faithful members in The Church (our dear friends from college) has shaken my own personal testimony a bit.

I always thought the hardest time of my life for being a member of The Church (because that's what I know) would be my teenage/high school years. I am quickly learning, however, that that just isn't so. It's not that uneducated (in the way of The Church) friends are in my face taunting or pressuring to do things they know I don't do, but instead it's members - friends who are supposedly on my same team - who are making me question my beliefs. ...Because if these good-standing members of The Church are questioning and not agreeing with certain church-related issues or doctrine, than why shouldn't I?

It can really mess with one's head. I've stopped following a couple friends on Facebook because their posts were all becoming more and more adrift from Church standards and viewpoints. Reading things like that over and over was draining me - spiritually.

As sad as it makes me to see this happen to dear friends, I can't help but be grateful that I'm able to recognize it and reassess where I stand and just exactly what I believe in.

I know we have a prophet on earth today who receives direction for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through our Father in Heaven. The direction he receives and then informs members of The Church is what we need to know for our day and time now. It won't be the same as when The Church first started, and it will probably change in the future. That doesn't mean that certain principles and doctrinal points should be questioned, but that there is safety in following the prophet and trusting that all things will be set in their own due time. I know that men and women have separate roles - specifically that men hold the priesthood power and women the power to bear children - but that doesn't mean we are not equal. We have a Savior who sacrificed His life for us. When we are feeling empty and hollowed out, He can fill us and help us feel whole again.

 "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I believe in paying tithing.

"Bring ye all the tithes...and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
Malachi 3:10

I believe this 100%. I know I've shared experiences with tithing before, but it's important to me that when I recognize them, I record it so my children will know I have an unfailing testimony of this principle. 

A couple weeks ago I was balancing our checkbook, comparing it to our account online. I was frustrated when I realized online it was saying there was less in our account than what I was calculating, and no matter how many times I went over things, I could not figure out where I messed up. 

Two Sundays ago I brought our tithing to church but never ended up turning it in because they were out of envelopes. During the next week, I knew things would get tight, waiting for payday, and we may end up dipping into that money that was set aside in the check for tithing. In the back of my mind, though, I thought we could just pay ourselves back at the next payday, or pay all the tithing then, if we did end up needing to use some of it.  

This last Sunday, still five days to go until payday, I turned in our tithing check, knowing it would make this weekvery tight. I turned it in because I knew we'd be blessed for it. I also feel strongly that tithing should be paid first before the other bills and expenses are paid. So now three days later, still waiting for payday and worrying that we could even possibly overdraw because some unexpected things were deducted that I hadn't remembered, I got online to balance the checkbook, and our balance online is more than what I have added up. And no matter how many times I've gone over it, I cannot figure out where I've messed up. 

There is no doubt in my mind that this is a blessing because we paid our tithing this week. I don't know how it works, and I don't need to know, but I do know the Lord will always bless us when we pay a full tithe. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is aware of me, of our family, and gives us these experiences so that our testimonies can grow stronger. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Quotes that have gotten me through the last few months...


I've been hard on myself lately - 

all these pathetic thoughts of not being good enough, not doing enough good, not doing enough right - but mot especially not being a good enough mom.

Cue my good husband. 
As I was venting to him one night and becoming even more discouraged, he gave me a pep talk:

Think about it, Gena. That's Satan. He's trying to get you down with these negative thoughts. He's not going to get you with drinking or anything like that. You won't do it. You go to church. You keep your covenants. You are so good! He has to get to you through these thoughts. You need to think positive. Will you do that tomorrow?


I wrote this first part back in September when I was feeling this way and guess I never finished... Life is interesting with all the ups and downs to help us learn and grow.

Spencer was absolutely right that night and just hearing what he said was all I needed to get out of that funk. I made a decision that next day to be happy, and it was one of the best days (best weeks) I had had in awhile as far as my attitude goes, and I've been trying to carry it over ever since.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I don't know who I am.

I feel like I'm going through this process of self-discovery right now. Discovering who I am, who I am not, who I want to be or don't want to be. It's been on my mind for weeks. 

A couple mornings ago, I was wandering around the house, getting things going for the day. Spencer must've been able to tell I was distressed about something because he asked if I was doing OK. I sat down, took a big sigh, and said, "I don't know who I am." We both chuckled. Not the quick response he was hoping for since he was trying to get out the door. 

I went on to tell him all about how and why I came to this conclusion. My rambled thoughts went something like this:

I love being a mom. I do. Best part of my life. But I don't want to be just "Avie and Jack (and now Eden's) mom." Though, that's wonderful and I'm proud to be called that, I want something that makes me ME. 

I feel blessed to have met so many wonderful women here who inspire me daily. With every new friend (and old) I've made, I feel like there's something about them that I can say, "Oh, so-and-so, she does such-and-such." It's something about them that they've worked toward having or becoming and it shows. They all seem so capable and confident. 

This brings me to my other thought on the matter: work. 

I'm discovering a lot about my "nature" through this beauty profiling system I learned about earlier this year. It's been very intriguing to learn and very liberating to find out things about my natural self, due to my Type in this beauty profiling, and discover why I do the things I do. 

Something about me is I'm very flighty. I like the idea of doing things or starting new projects, but I rarely follow through, or if I do, I rarely finish before I am ready to move on to the next thing I won't finish. 

I've concluded this is due to two things: a lack of effort and a lack of confidence or self-doubt. 

I am the worst at this. I see things I'd like to do or make or try, and I automatically think, "I'd never be as good as who I see," and because of that thought, I lack the motivation to work hard to even try. For example: photography. I like theidea of having and taking great pictures and even learning it. But I think to myself that what I want to eventually achieve would never be as good as what I see from others or would take so long to obtain, so I don't do anything about it. 

I think about things I've been successful at in my past, specifically in high school, specifically grades and high jump. I did great with both. 

I always turned things in, did my work on time, worked hard to get pretty good grades. 

In high jump/track, it came easy. I didn't have to work extremely hard, yet I did well, placing at meets, districts and even state a couple times. 

But with both these things, I can see where I seriously could've worked harder and pushed myself more. I didn't take the "hard" classes in high school (like upper-level math and science classes) because they just seemed like too much work and too hard. And other people could figure it out but not me. I wasn't that smart.

With high jump, I could have trained harder, took it more seriously, eaten better to be a better athlete (not the chocolate milk and Handimart crispitos Holly and I would get after our five milers). I could've maybe placed at state four years in high jump instead of two. 

It kind of makes me feel really crappy about myself when I look back at things in life and realize I took the easy way. I'm not saying this with regret because those are still good memories for me. But maybe more with unbelief that that is truly how I was, how I naturally am. 

I'm glad that I have been able to recognize these things because it's helped me discover more about myself and helps me to know what kind of person I want to be for the rest of my life.

For a long time, I've been able to use the excuse of money. If there was a project I wanted to try, I'd tell myself I didn't have money to get the materials or tools I needed for it when I didn't even know if it would turn out or if it's something I'd like to keep trying. 

This isn't the case anymore though. We do have extra money I could use here and there for new hobbies. Spencer always has (whether we've had the money or not), and as frustrating as that's been sometimes, I love that he has so many passions and wants to try and actually follow through with his aspirations. He's always been supportive of me finding whatever kind of hobby I want and getting whatever I need to make it work. 

So it comes back to self-doubt. It really is the only thing holding me back. Spencer tells me the only thing different between me and the people I see who have the skills and talents I'm wanting to develop is they're doing it, and I'm not. 

I don't want my kids to see their mother not doing things, who says I'll work on this or fix that and then sets it on a shelf never to be finished. Not because I didn't try but because I just never picked it up. I want to be someone who goes for things. If I see an idea I like, I want to do it. Even if I never finish it, at least I tried. And maybe I discover it's something I don't really like after all, but at least I will have tried. 

I always tell Spencer I don't have any hobbies (and he has so many!) and he tells me to get one! And then I tell him I don't even know what I would do, and he asks me what my passions are, and I say I don't know! 

But I have them. I just don't let myself really think on them because I lack confidence in my ability to do well. So I stifle them away. But if I don't do well (and I probably won't the first time, or first 10 times, and whatever I'm doing is never going to look exactly like someone else's), at least I tried. And I'll never get better if I don't try at all. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Be positive

I've been thinking about a couple comments from this past weekend - one my mom said, the other a lady at church.

I can't remember what we were talking about, but my mom got to saying how her life has been so good and she really can't complain about anything because it hasn't been a hard life.

Then at church on Sunday a lady in Relief Society made a comment about turning 50 this week and how she looks back on her past 50 years and realizes how negative she's been because she's had such a hard life. She got married a week ago and said she doesn't want her next 50 years to be like the first 50 so she wants to focus on the positive and be happy about her life.

Those two comments just made me think a lot about how it really comes down to our own attitude.

I think some people could take a look at my mom's life and think it's been hard: her parent's divorced when she was a young adult, her husband turned out to not quite be the man she thought she knew, they eventually divorced, her children have caused her heartache and grief, her second husband died way sooner than he ought to of and she was practically forced to go from teaching 2nd grade to special ed. ....

That's some hard stuff to go through, and yet I've never even thought about it all in one lump sum like this until now because my mom has never dwelled on the negative. Because of some of those trials came also some of her greatest blessings and personal growth. She has always decided to make the best of her situation, even though it hasn't  always been easy.

She's always had the idea that everything happens for a reason and more recently, "come what may and love it." It's not just things she's preached to me growing up but I've learned because of her example and the way she handles herself in hard times.

I am so grateful for her great example of faith and endurance and positivity. It's a great blessing to me.

I love you, Mom!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Answered prayers

Last week we met up with Amiee and her kids at the fun Discovery Park close by. Jack brought his blue metal airplane. He eventually found some branches that he kept dragging around, sweeping wood chips and sand with and then played in the sand awhile too. It was time to go home, we said goodbye and hopped in the van. Once back at home, we parked and hopped out of the van. No airplane! Doh! I didn't even think to ask him about it before we left the park.

He was so sad when he realized he didn't have it with him. I asked the kids if they thought Heavenly Father would help us find it if we said a prayer and asked for help. They both said yes, so we prayed. All the while, I was praying myself that we'd be able to find it in that huge park and that no other kid had already picked it up.

I immediately got the feeling to look in the sand. (I can't help but think that this was just as much for me.)

We parked and first looked in the volcano, right close to us. No luck. I suggested we head to the sand area next. Sure enough, there it was upside down, halfway covered. I asked Jack again, if he thought Heavenly Father would help him find his airplane because he knows how much it means to him. He shook his little head up and down. I helped direct him to wear the airplane was, and his face lit up as soon as he noticed it. He was so happy! And I was even happier because our prayer was answered and the children witnessed it.


A day later Avie came to me crying because she couldn't find her pink princess brush. I asked her if she thought to pray for it. She said no. I asked her if she thought Heavenly Father could help her find it, and she said yes. She offered a sweet simple little prayer asking for help to find her beloved brush. We said amen and went into her room, and there it was sitting on top of one of her many purses filled with treasures. She was beyond happy, and I said Heavenly Father helped us didn't he? And she said, "Yes, because He knows I love my brush!"


I am so grateful for these simple, but meaningful experiences with my children.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Tonight we went out to the pool for some family swim time. I sat on the side and watched as the kids and Spencer swam. Despite what we've been dealing with lately, I honestly sat there thinking, 
"Life is so good, so sweet."
It really is. (Just look at those pictures.)
It can be hard. 
We are tested and tried and sometimes it really hurts, and things happen that just.really.suck. 
But because of our Faith, we can have peace, and we can get through the hard times. 
We are here to have experiences to help us learn and grow and become the best that we can become.
We are given trials to help shape us into the people we need to be.
It's comforting to know that we won't ever be given anything we can't handle.
Though, sometimes it seems we can't.
But if we just keep pushing on and praying and hoping, things will turn around and get better again... until the next trial comes.
But that's what life is all about- so that we can grow and progress.

And despite the trials we may be going through, life can still be so good and sweet because we really are so blessed. Heavenly Father really does want us to be happy and amidst the heartache and tears, he allows us to have good lives, full of people who love us and things to smile about.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A quiet-me moment

Yesterday we spent the morning going up to Salt Lake to get Spencer a copy of his birth certificate and then waiting in the car (for TWO hours... If I had only known...) for him to get his Utah driver's license, required for his work. Then we drove him back down to work. Even though it was crazy busy, it was nice to actually get a little time to all be together. 

This job makes him one of those crazy business men, who is always getting phone calls and working long hours. But we know it's nothing long term and is totally worth it if he can make some good money and we can get some debts paid of this year.

Anyway, by the time we got back, we just needed to get out and play so we headed to the splash pad again. We played til the kids were ready to be done, and then walked to the little park down the street. No one else was there. It had a perfect breeze and was nice and quiet. I was about to go sit close and play with the kids when I decided, "No... I'm going to stay right here." So I laid out my towel, put another one behind my head so I could still see the kids and I just laid back, and I think for the first time in a week, actually took a deep breath and relaxed. It was so nice.