My Family

My Family

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Counting my Blessings...

It’s Thanksgiving, and I’m sitting here at the end of the day. I’ve had all day to ponder about the things I’m grateful for. This year has been a very difficult year for our family, both financially and with my health. It’s always hard to understand why bad things happen, and it’s easy to feel like your blessings have all but disappeared. But, that’s not true. I have much to be grateful for. I have the greatest husband. One wonderful thing that happens when a couple goes through trials together is that they become closer. Rick has emerged as my hero. He rarely lets me know the worst with our finances. He just smiles and says, “You don’t need to worry about that.” When breast cancer reared its ugly head, Rick took it all in stride. Knowing all of the surgeries and yucky stuff I’d be in for, he gutted our bedroom, and cleaned every little bit of it. He rearranged everything and put things back. It was so nice and beautiful. It made me feel better and, yes, I was very grateful. It’s not easy to take care of a sick spouse. What a trouper he has been. I’m grateful for my 4 sons. Grant, who is serving an LDS mission in Japan, has, I’m sure, had a difficult time dealing with my health problems. I’m sure he worries and wishes he could help. He is nothing but kind and upbeat every time he emails. I know, without a doubt, that his service to his Heavenly Father - his dedication and his hard work – are the reasons I’m doing ok. What a blessing he is. Michael, even though he is away at college, has seemed to be there for me whenever I need him. He has been present at some of the hard parts of this “adventure”. He has buoyed me up. I’m so grateful for him. Alex and Matthew have had to be very present in our family this whole year, and so have been very involved in everything that has happened. Kids their ages should never have to worry about finances or sick moms. They should be worrying about schoolwork, sports, girls, etc. But, they NEVER complain. Their first thoughts when they arrive home after school are to come and see how I am. They’ve taken on so many responsibilities and always help out. Two more incredible blessings. And that’s just my immediate family!
In the last few months, I’ve witnessed love and charity in a way I didn’t know existed. The scriptures tell us that charity is the pure love of Christ. Our family has been showered with this pure love of Christ. Our families, friends, neighbors, ward members – all have exhibited this trait of Christ and my testimony has been strengthened. I’ve had rides to every single doctors appointment and offers of help with any chores I have. Just to name a few: my parents, who come and do my laundry every Saturday, my mother-in-law, Carolyn, who helped me clean my house. My cousins, Tina and Wendy, who text and call me constantly to see how I’m doing, my sister, Kris, who doesn’t let a day go by without checking on me. My sister-in-law, Cindy, who is concerned about the food I’m eating and has brought fresh fruits and vegetables, my Relief Society President, Janie Squire, who is a cancer survivor herself – always checking on me, offering suggestions, making sure I’m comfortable. There are so many others – friends who cheer me up and church members who have delivered over 45 dinners in the last 4 months! I could go on and on. It reminds me of a favorite scripture I have: Doctrine & Covenants 84:88 – “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” I am very well aware that Heavenly Father has surrounded me with His love and concern, sending angels to help hold me up. The sweet thing is that I recognize those angels – all of you! Thank you so much for helping me recognize the blessings among the hard things. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

This picture was taken by my 14 year old son, Alex.
Aspiring photographer. What do you think?

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Story Moments - preserved with the help of Cherish Bound. Here's an idea for Christmas...

I'm sitting here working on books for Christmas gifts and thought I'd give you an incredible idea for a gift...

I work for a company called Cherish Bound. I LOVE this company. Cherish Bound is the reason I decided to start this blog page. I wanted to record my story moments. Everyone has 1000s of story moments and memories they should record. Cherish Bound is a home-based business, with consultants who help you find, capture, and share your precious stories. What sets Cherish Bound apart from any other book-making company is that we have a full line of products to help you tell your stories. We have Story Starters (workbooks with tons of questions, to get those memories flowing), Chat Cards (a fun family activity), Dailies (journaling pages), and Lifeprints (pages that help you gather information from other people). These are just a few of the wonderful and helpful products that Cherish Bound has. Go to and look under products to see everything. Cherish Bound has a very easy online publishing tool (nothing to buy - nothing to "sign up" for). Just super easy to use. We are about 30% cheaper than any other company out there, and 100% better quality. I love how Cherish Bound helps me to make a beautiful, simple, heirloom quality book every time.

So, here's the idea I promised: for Valentine's Day last year, I decided that I'd make a book for each one of my kids called, Mom's Top Ten Favorite Pictures of (kid's name). Cherish Bound offers this really fun, cute little designer book called Top Ten, and I thought it would be perfect for these gifts. So, I went down to my HUGE box of pictures (yep, I'm one of those moms - no scrapbooking for me) and started to go through memories. When I finished gathering pictures, there were way more than just 10 each. There were more like 30-40! So, I decided to just design my own books. The covers were red (the perfect color for Valentine's AND Christmas), with the cutest pictures I could find: Alex's showed a picture of him in his jammies with a Batman cape on, sucking on his beloved binky. Michael's was a picture of him in his Ronald McDonald pjs, with a huge grin on his face. And Matthew's picture showed him helping me decorate a tree with lights - no smile - just that sweet, serious, kissable baby face. Before Grant left on his mission, we took family pictures. I had one taken individually with each of my kids. Those pictures went on the backs of their books, with a "love" note from Mom.

It took me about 1/2 hour to scan all of the pictures in, 1/2 hour to throw them all into the publishing tool and place them where I wanted them, and 1/2 hour to go through and add the stories I could remember. No time at all! It was so easy.

My boss, Carol, told me what would happen when the kids got their books. She said "Don't feel bad if they just say 'Thanks, Mom' and take them to their rooms. If you go peek in on them later, they'll be looking at every page and reading every story." Well, she was kind of right. I put their books out on the table, with balloons and candy, and when they got home from school, I gave them their gifts. They immediately opened their books and spent the next 1/2 hour going through every page. They laughed their heads off at the funny pictures I loved and read every single story. They couldn't put the books down! After reading a story about a surgery he had, Matthew said "Mom, you never told me what that was called!" The questions flew - where, what, who, etc. It was so fun. Just priceless. There is nothing you could give your kids or other loved ones, that is more special than a book that chronicles their lives. It means so much when you realize that your life is as important to other people as it is to you.

Well, the gifts were a hit! Everyone loved them. And the best part was that it didn't take a long time to do! It takes even less time if you have digital pictures - no scanning involved. Christmas is coming up FAST and the publishing deadline for Christmas delivery is coming up soon. If you are interested in doing a special memory book for anyone in your family, please contact me at and I'll help you get started immediately. Don't wait - you'll want to see the priceless looks on your families faces when they open their books - trust me. Start preserving your story moments now!

Want An Idea For An Incredible Christmas Gift? Read On...

I'm sitting here working on my Christmas gifts - books made at Cherish Bound - and thought I'd post something about this great company I work for. I LOVE this company. Cherish Bound is the reason I decided to start a blog. Everyone has 1000s of stories and we all want to be remembered when we are no longer here. Cherish Bound can help! Cherish Bound is a home-based business with consultants who can help you find, capture, and share your important stories. We have a full line of story "helps", including Story Starters (books with tons of questions to get your mind moving), Chat Cards, Dailies (journaling pages), Lifeprints (pages to help gather information from others), and lots more. We have so many wonderful products! To see the full line, go to, and look under Products. Cherish Bound also has an online publishing tool (no cost to use - nothing to "sign up" for). It's the easiest online tool I've ever used. And I love how Cherish Bound helps me focus on making my memory books simple and beautiful - real heirloom quality. But, these books are so much more than picture books. Focusing on stories in your books will make them a cherished gift for your family.

So, since Christmas is coming up FAST, and our books are SO EASY and FAST to make, I thought I'd give you an idea for a fun gift for your kids: last year, for Valentine Day, I decided to make a small (5x7) book for each of my kids. It would include Mom's Top Ten Favorite Photos of (kid's name). Cherish Bound has this adorable Top Ten book that I thought would be perfect! So I got my HUGE box of pictures out and started to go through them. My only problem was that I couldn't choose just ten pictures for each of my kids! I ended up with about 30 pictures each! So, I decided to design my own book instead of using the Top Ten book. I made the covers red (for Valentine's day - but that could be fine for Christmas as well!). On the front covers I put the cutest picture I could find for each child. Alex's was a picture of him dressed in pajamas and a Batman cape, with a binky stuck in his mouth, Michael's was a great picture of him in Ronald McDonald pjs and a huge grin, and Matthew's was a picture of him helping me string lights on a tree at Christmas time. No smile, just a sweet, serious baby look. We had family pictures taken the year before, when Grant left for his mission, and at that time I had a picture taken individually with each of my kids. These pictures went on the back of each of their books, with a "love" note from mom. These books were so much fun to make. It took perhaps 1/2 hour to scan all of the pictures into my computer, another 1/2 hour to throw the pics into the publishing tool and place them. And then another 1/2 hour to go through and add stories that the pictures reminded me of. Not long at all!

My boss, Carol, told me to be prepared - the kids will says "Thanks, Mom" and flip through the book fast and then put them away. But, she said that if I went up to their rooms later, I'd find them looking through the books more carefully. She was kind of right. I had the books laying out on the table, with candy and balloons attached, when they got home from school. I gave them the gifts. Each one of them sat down, right there, and poured over every picture, every story, the whole book! They laughed their heads off at the funny pictures that I loved. After reading about the story of a surgery he had, Matthew said, "Mom, you never told me it was called that!" The whole experience was so incredible. Photos and memories are much more important in a child's life - or an adult's life for that matter - than anything else. The fact that someone remembers enough and cares enough to put everything down into a beautifully bound book that will last forever - that's a priceless gift.

So, go look through those memories - and call me. I'd love to help get you started. The deadline for Christmas delivery is coming up very soon, but it doesn't take long to make a small, simple, wonderful book. So, don't let that stop you. Our prices here at Cherish Bound are about 30% cheaper than anywhere else, and our quality is 100% better. You'll love your books. These little books make great stocking stuffers. You might not even make it to opening the rest of your presents! Haha!

Email me at or call me at 801-360-4666. Don't let this opportunity to give the perfect gift get away. Do it now! Record some magical story moments!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Missionary Memories

If any of you have LDS missionaries in the field or going soon, this post is for you. When my son, Grant, left on his mission to Fukuoka Japan 20 months ago, I told him I would keep up on all of his letters/pictures/movies/etc. That's easier said than done!

For about the first 2-3 months, I printed off every email we sent to him and every email he sent to us. I put them in page protectors and into a 3-ring binders, in chronological order. This wasn't really a hard thing to do, but unfortunately I'm now WAY behind. And I've already filled one binder. If you keep up on it, it's a great gift for when your missionary comes home - they'll be able to sit down and read about their mission, in their own words, from beginning to end. I do recommend this, but keep up!

Actually, the main thing I want to tell you about in this post is this great website that I found to make a webpage for Elder Herron. I tried several (including Dear Elder), but none of them worked for me - mostly because of restrictions on uploading pictures. The one I finally decided to use is This is a great site - very easy to use. They'll let you put up to 500 pictures on your website. Grant is a picture taker - big time. I don't load every single picture on his website, but I think I'm up over 300! It's so fun to go back through all the pictures and see how he has changed and see all of the companions and people he has come in contact with over his time there.

The other things you can do on the website are:
1. Upload letters - each letter shows the date, the place he is serving at the time, and his current companion.
2. Show special events - I use this whenever Grant gets transferred, gets a new companion, gets a special assignment, or baptizes someone.
3. There is a message board that anyone can use to leave messages.
4. You can also add links to this website.
5. The home page looks great and includes a picture of your missionary, his/her favorite scripture, a weather report from the place they are serving in, a list of the latest news - the latest 3 events you've posted, the missionary's home address and mission home address, his/her current area, the name of the latest letter and picture you've posted. And it keeps track of when your missionary will be home - Grant comes home in 119 days! Although, sometimes I wonder if it's accurate. The very bottom thing on the homepage is where they keep track of how many visitors you've had to the website, although it counts every single time something changes on the website - whenever anyone, including you, looks at something, or adds something. Currently, Grant has had over 36,000 visitors - something I really doubt!

The very coolest thing about this website, is that they'll burn everything onto a CD for you at the end of the mission! So, check it out. It's not hard, but feel free to email me if you need help - Remember to start at the beginning of the mission. It's much easier that way - update the website every week with a new letter or pics that you have received.

Check out these Elders' websites for ideas (one is Grant's and the other two are his good friends):,,

To get to their main webpage and start your website, go to On their homepage, there is a way to look for other missionaries' sites, and they pick one each month to highlight on their homepage.

Good luck! Happy mission memories.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wordless Wednesday... Photo blog

One of the joys of having brothers -
making your brother laugh so hard his drink comes out of his nose!

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My Gorgeous Boys

My Gorgeous Boys