Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Scott and Brenna heading out on a Saturday morning for a ten mile "training run".

I am not a marathon runner or even an around the block kind of runner. I don't like to run. I do love the role of "marathon cheerleader". I have loved standing with the kids at various mile markers along the course ready to cheer for Scott in the past two Houston Marathons. How often do kids really get to cheer for their dad...it's usually the other way around. This year I will be cheering for Scott and Brenna as they run the half-marathon together in just a couple weeks. I love that they are having this experience together. I love to hear them chat about how to best succeed. I love thinking about them on their long training runs each Saturday morning...a father and his daughter pushing each other, encouraging each other, getting to know each other just a little bit better, working together to achieve a major goal and creating amazing memories along the way. Way to go guys. I'm already so proud of you and you haven't even run the marathon yet! I'll be cheering for you the whole way!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

He's looking like an agent!

Scott on the day he reached his reserve agent goals and became a career agent!!

After five months of school and four months of getting his agency started, Scott has completed the requirements of a reserve agent and is now considered a "career" agent for Farmers Insurance Group. What a journey it has been so far! If you're wanting to eliminate stress, I wouldn't suggest changing careers when you are in your early forties and supporting a wife and five children! I will say this, Scott has always been an amazing provider and takes that role very seriously. For that very reason, I was open to the idea of a career change when Scott first started talking about it. Even though it was totally scarey, was a huge step out of my comfort zone, and didn't make a lot of financial sense at the time; we both felt like a our path was being guided by Heavenly Father and we both felt a sense of peace. When I start to panic (which I often do) about how it's all going to work out, I go back to those feelings of peace, take a deep breath, and put my trust in the Lord and in Scott's feelings of urgency to make this whole thing work. Along the way there have been MANY tender mercies, MANY acts of kindness and MANY life lessons learned.
I am grateful for Scott...he's the real deal...a kind, thoughtful, humble, unconditional love kind of guy. I applaud his success, admire his commitment to things that REALLY matter and I wish him joy in our journey.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Project 365

Day 2 of my "Project 365" Cade and Porter with their neighborhood friends...these guys spend hours together.
Day 1 of "Project 365" Quincy and Paige...friends for over eleven years. BFFs for sure!

Just what I need is another project right?!? I am however, excited to add this to my "to do" list. This idea comes from one of my scrapbooking idols...Becky Higgins. She has created a kit which I think will make it super easy to keep up on. The kit comes with pocket pages for photos and journaling for the whole year and a 12x12 scrapbook that says "Project 365" on the front. Cool huh?!? Instructions for the project are to take one photo each day during 2009 and then journal just a little something about the photo. I guess what excites me about the idea is that it will give our family a record of the daily stuff we do. Being a big time scrapbooker, I have always been good about taking pictures of the big stuff, creating a layout and adding my journaling. This idea would allow me to do more recording of everyday things...maybe a picture of gas prices, my daughters messy room, a pile of laundry, the book I'm currently reading, the alarm clock when I get up and of course pictures of my kids doing regular things and special things. I'm sure you could do the same thing without the kit, but the kit would make it so easy. I'm not promoting it or anything, just think it's a cool idea. There's way more info on Becky's website. (beckyhiggins.com)
I think the older I get, the more I long for little bits of information about my everyday life as a child. What a simple and pretty much stress free way to record everyday life. I'm sure my kids will thank me someday!?!
Anyway, I started yesterday and my first is a photo of Quincy and Pagie...friends for eleven plus years...a sleepover MUST include some type of "beauty time". Last night it was manicures!! For day two I took a photo of Cade and Porter with their neighborhood sidekicks on our new trampoline. Tonight I must take a picture of Uncle Mike with all our his fireworks!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Christmas Gifts

I usually don't take too many photos of Christmas morning and the whole gift unwrapping thing. Nothing against that, but I think it's because Christmas means so much more to me than the unwrapping of the gifts I've purchased for the kids.
If I were to have taken the photos this year that would represent things I really love about Christmas, I would have taken photos of the crowd at the annual Ephipany Catholic/LDS church combined Christmas concert. For 15 years our two congregations have combined choirs to present an annual holiday concert. It is a big commitment with practices each Sunday from October through December and a few extra Saturday rehearsals as the concert draws near but SO worth it. I felt such an amazing spirit as we presented our songs. I loved that Brooklynn and Brenna participated in the orchestra this year.
I would have taken photos of the sugar cookie tradition. As a child my mom would make her "famous" sugar cookies, a big batch of frosting and set it out with colored sugars, red hots, and various other cookie toppings. I loved gathering as a family to decorate cookies and of course eating them afterwards! This year we shared this tradition with two amazing families. The Casper family (visiting from Allen, TX) joined us at our house on Sunday night to decorate cookies. Monday night, the Torbit family invited us over for family home evening and cookie decorating at their house. The very best part was when Maria suggested delivering cookies to various families from church. We chose several families and headed out...cookies in hand to carol and deliver cookies. What a blessing it was to experience the joy of Christmas as we shared with others. It was very obvious by the reaction we received that they were touched by the kindness...interestingly enough, I was the one who left feeling like I had been given a gift!! The gift of a smile, a sincere thanks, and even a few tears. I think we will add the caroling and cookie delivery to our sugar cookie tradition from now on.
I would have taken photos of each of my kids sharing their musical talents at school Christmas concerts. I love that they play Christmas music at a school function! Although we were double booked on a couple of nights and making it to two concerts at once was a little stressful, I really was grateful for the chance to be there to support them and to feel the Christmas spirit.
I would have taken photos of my girls giving an afternoon of service to people they may never even have a chance to meet.
I would have taken photos of Scott and me at a very fun Christmas party...what's Christmas without the suspense of a good white elephant gift exchange?!? We look forward to the second annual!!
I would have taken photos of our family gathered around to read the story of the birth of the Savior from the book of Luke much like I did as a child with my siblings when my Dad would read to us that sweet and life changing story each Christmas season.
I am so grateful for the amazing blessings of the season and for a chance to sing, read, and reflect upon the greatest gift ever...the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. I am hoping to do a better job of living a more Christlike life throughout the upcoming year.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Porter's sentiments after 30 minutes worth of second grade homework: "Mom, I can't wait 'til I'm done with college...then I won't have any homework for the rest of my life!!"
(I won't burst his bubble!)

Porter's sentiments after his first birthday party at our house with friends from church and school: "That was awesome...I want to have a birthday every year!"
(I guess he's in luck!)

I meet Porter and Cade each day after school to walk home. On a particulary hot day Porter said, "Mom, I'm hot...both ways!"
(I can't argue with that...although I've been informed that moms aren't allowed to call their sons "hot"...cute will have to do I guess!)

Tonight when discussing underwear with the girls (I know, I know) Cade and Porter came walking in the room and of course wanted to know what our conversation was about ...Brooklynn says to her brother, "we were talking about a thong, but you wouldn't know what that is." Cade quickly says, "yea I do, it's underwear with really big leg holes!"
Ok, I seriously couldn't stop laughing! Poor boys, thanks to older sisters, they know way too much about "girl stuff".

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Porter's Baptism Day

Porter, Carly and Andrea...the newest members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

Porter, Andrea, and Carly with their dads before their baptism.

Scott, Porter and me.

Porter was baptized on Saturday afternoon with his cousin Carly and his Primary friend, Andrea. It was a beautiful , sunny Texas November day which made it even better. As I took a picture of the three of them outside the church, all dressed in white, I thought about how pure and innocent they looked, ready to take the next step in following the example of our Savior. I thought about the challenges and blessings that lie ahead for them and said a silent prayer that they will be valiant and strong. I felt a sense of gratitude for those who waited inside to support and witness their commitment to become members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am grateful to those who have supported us as parents in helping them have a desire to make this covenant and I am grateful (in advance) for the numberless others who will teach them, encourage them, love and support them and be an example to them as they grow up in the church.

Later I took a picture of Porter, Carly and Andrea with their Dads...all worthy priesthood holders who would perform the sacred ordinance of baptism and later give them the precious gift of the Holy Ghost. I am in awe of the priesthood...the very same power that the Savior used to perform miracles everyday...given to men on the earth today. So cool!

Carly chose "A Child's Prayer" for the opening song. Good choice Carly! Aunt Julie gave a great talk on baptism using Cheez Whiz and paper towels which represented baptism and another to represent taking the sacrament each week. Rinda Phillips (aka Sister Friendly) gave a talk on the Holy Ghost and compared it to turning on a radio and getting the reception just right. Andrea chose "Keep the Commandments" for the closing song and my prayer for them is that they do just that!

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Get It!

As some of you know, every morning at 6:00 a.m. I have the great opportunity to teach 15 of the most amazing teenagers ever. My Seminary kids! They range in age from 14-17 years old, freshman through seniors, boys, girls, short, tall, quiet, not so quiet, awake, half asleep, musicians, studious ones, gamers, skaters, readers, swimmers, runners, artists, athletes, and honor society members. Our talents and interests are many but our common thread...the gospel of Jesus Christ...is what makes us all feel so connected. I stand in awe of who they really are. I feel humbled by their strength and power. I applaud their desire to be valiant and courageous. I am truly blessed and am so grateful that I have the opportunity to rub shoulders with them and to feel of their spirits each morning. As I prepare my lessons each day I pray that I will be guided by the Spirit to teach the lesson they need and I pray that they will know that each and every message applies to them in a very personal way.

Today we studied Luke 7 where the woman comes in while Jesus is enjoying a meal with Simon the Pharisee and begins to wash the Savior's feet with her tears, wipe them with her hair, kiss them and anoint them with ointment. I have always thought the story to be a little odd and maybe a little uncomfortable for those present, but today I got it! I really felt and understood this woman's inability to control her tears and her overwhelming desire to express gratitude for the gift of repentance. I too have felt the indescribable joy that comes through the power of repentance, the relief of a burden lifted and the desire to praise and honor my Savior for making that great gift available to me. Heaven knows I've made my share of mistakes and unfortunately will continue to do so...it's the nature of being human. But, I feel incredible love and hope, knowing that if I really am doing my very best, that the Savior will make up the difference when I fall short. I hope that that's the same message my kids got from our lesson today...a message of love and hope. Every day as I express my testimony of the Savior's love for each one of them individually, it is my hope that they will feel that love and that that same love will give them incredible strength when they feel alone, are faced with tough choices or when they need to repent and make changes in their lives.

I feel so blessed to be teaching Seminary. I am grateful for the gospel truths I learn on a daily basis as I prepare to teach. I am grateful for my association with 15 incredibly strong latter-day youth each morning. Their examples give me strength. I pray for their success every day.