Letters from Mom March 2015

March 29, 2015

Thank you for writing and letting us know!  Please thank President Dalton when/if you get a chance.   We had not heard anything about the flooding until your letter - we've been holed up in the theater most of this week - but,  wow!  That is crazy!  We are anxious to hear more from you about all of it: the state of your pension, the state of the people in your ward/branch and those you're teaching.  I could/would like to organize some kind of relief effort - donations of money or clothing or food - in conjunction with the play... donation buckets/boxes at the doors,  or something.  Would that be useful,  or too much too little too late since it would be a month before it arrived?   Let me know! We want to help if we can.  So many times we hear of disasters and can only help with our tithes and donations to the Church welfare program.  If we can help in some other way,  in a more physical way,  please tell me,  my dear one.  If we could,  we'd hop on a plane and come down there to spend a week digging out homes and businesses!  

So I wanted to share some of the words to this hymn that was sung to open the General Women's Meeting on Saturday, "How Firm a Foundation": 

3. Fear not,  I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,  For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.   I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,  Upheld by my righteous,  upheld by my righteous,  upheld by my righteous,  Omnipotent hand. 

7. That soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose, I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;  That soul,  though all hell should endeavor to shake,  I'll never,  no never,  I'll never,  no never,  I'll never,  no never,  no never forsake! 

I started to cry after the third verse because I felt that with floods and volcanoes and earthquakes and fires and wars and economic disasters. .. the Lord is aware of my little high school musical in Shelley,  Idaho. He is aware of the current stress and weariness in the final push to get everything ready, and he cares enough to succor me...  to strengthen me,  help me,  and cause me to stand....upheld by his righteous,  omnipotent hand.   So I was crying so much that I had pause the broadcast and explain to Dad who was a little worried about why I was crying.  Ha ha ha  But THEN, they sang the seventh verse,  and I wondered  in awe at those words - that person, or soul, who has leaned on Jesus Christ will never be forsaken by our Father in Heaven...never,  no matter what, no matter if all hell should endeavor to shake them,  they will never be forsaken by God, our Father.  I feel so humbled and grateful for that.   Indeed,  how firm a foundation IS laid for our faith in God and his son,  Jesus Christ!  He cares for me and my inconsequential needs here in small town idaho,  and He cares for the people who have lost homes, possessions,  livelihoods, and loved ones in the floods of Chanaral.  It is humbling and awe -inspiring to me. 

OK.  I'm writing this letter on my tablet,  and it's sometimes a little. ..finicky. So I'm going to close this letter and do a family update letter separately.   

You I love. 



Hello again,  dear one.  So this is the family update.   Buckle up!  Ha ha ha

One of the best parts of the week was three "theater free" days - Sunday,  Monday,  and Tuesday were all theater free! That was a good thing for us, especially some we had spent copious amounts of time there for the previous two weeks!  Ha ha ha  Monday,  the girls and I had a little shopping day.  They have both grown this year and their jeans were to short and too tight.  Also,  Meg neede a new swim suit for her California trip.  So we had a fun afternoon being girly and laughing together.  

Tuesday was "Yes Day."  it was snowing outside,  so we ended up doing indoor activities.  After a breakfast of "Pan-Tarts," we went to DI to pick out outfits.  Everyone loved the idea until we actually had to wear what others had chosen for us!  Meg was especially dismayed. the point of anger. She did NOT like the flowery shirt I picked for her! Ha ha ha  After DI we went to Fat Cats for an "All Out Fun" wristband which included a game of bowling,  mini-golf,  Balladium, and tokens for the arcade.  I will admit,  it WAS embarrassing to walk in to Fat Cats wearing our fancy DI outfits (see photos on One Drive), and Meg became increasingly surly, complaining frequently and loudly that everyone else got to wear a t-shirt and she had to wear a stupid flowery blouse.  It was pure inspiration from Heaven when I suggested that we do competitions during our stay at Fat Cats and the wonder of each competition could remove/replace one of their DI articles (with their own clothes).  Suddenly,  Meg stopped complaining and became very involved in our activities!  Sam won the first competition (who could shoot finger rockets the farthest),  but Meg won the second challenge (whack-a-mole,  but with sharks) and was thrilled to remove the flowery shirt.   She was her happy-go-lucky self for the rest of the day, and the quote from the pink under shirt I picked out to go with the flowery shirt became a frequently and happily stated theme for her for the rest of the day: you've CAT to be KITTEN me right MEOW.  Surprisingly,  she loved her cat shirt so much that she took it to California!  I won the Skee ball competition - set a new high score - and got to remove my hair bow  (hallelujah), Dad won mini golf AND bowling,  and Janie won the hoop shoot game, getting more points than any of us!   After the movie (a new live-action telling of Cinderella which was really good), we wanted to play in the arcade a little more.  Sam and Meg and Janie were obsessed with those machines where you aim the claw or key or scissors just right to get some awesome prize.   Sam won some sweet headphones and gave them to Janie,  then they were hooked. We divided out their tokens equally,  so they blew theirs pretty quickly on those big ticket games.  Dad and I played Skee ball and air hockey and hoop shoot a lot, but I couldn't beat Dad!  Argh!  Well,  I beat him a couple of times in Skee ball and once in hoops, but I lost all three games of air hockey!  Blast!   So,  in an effort to redeem myself,  I suggested one more game of whack-a-shark, with a twist: the loser had to wear the handcuffs we had just purchased with our combined tickets to dinner and eat all of their food with the cuffs on.   Yeah.  You guessed it. I was the loser!  Me and my big ideas!   So we left Fat Cats and went to the dollar store before dinner.  We had planned to give money to college students,  but the DI thing threw your siblings too far out of their comfort zones,  I think,  because they all became way too shy to give a gift to a perfect stranger!  Hahaha   So we did the past/present/future game where we drew a name and then picked out some things to represent their past,  present,  and future. That was fun!  Then we went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant,  and I wore the handcuffs.   We laughed a lot and were probably too loud, as usual, but we were happy.   I really wanted to do something for our favorite college students since we were right there in Rexburg, but it was almost 10pm by this time.  I assured them that it would be short,  we'd just go make a couple of suprise visits and then head home, and it wasn't too late because these are college students.   So we surprised Heidi first,  then asked her if she knew where Lexa lived.  She gave us instructions...which turned out to be a little wonky,  so we knocked on a house that was NOT Lexa's house,  much to the dismay of your siblings.   After a few phone calls,  we finally found it only to find out she wasn't home.   So we talked to Shaney for a bit and then Lexa arrived - surprise!    We visited for a bit and then came home.   It was a very enjoyable day.   Even Sam mentioned repeatedly how fun the day was for him. ...that was a big deal,  I think. 

Speaking of Sam,  tomorrow he begins ECT: electroconvulsive therapy, or "shock" therapy.     He'll go to Bingham Memorial Hospital, be put under anesthesia,  and then a psychiatrist will put probes on his temples which pass an electric current through his brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. The anticipated result be a change,  a "rebooting" of brain chemistry that will relieve the effects of his very drug resistant depression to the point where his meds can be effective and he can become more stable and more able to move forward in his life.   He will have two treatments a week,  Monday and Friday,  for 6 weeks.  It has a 75-80% success rate of alleviating many of the effects of severe depression and other mental illnesses.   The drawbacks are short term memory loss; his memories from the weeks/months surrounding his ECT treatments may become fractured and sketchy.  Sam's response to this was,  "why would I want to remember how lonely and depressed I am? "  So the you go... time will tell.  I'm keeping the hope alive even if Sam is unable to do it, to have hope.  Keep him in your prayers,  as you always do,  my love.  We'll keep you posted. 

Also tomorrow,  we start dress rehearsals for the musical - 3 rehearsals left!  Gah!  I hope we can pull it together!   It's been an adventure.  We'll send pics and clips next week.   I think it will be a good show. ...I hope so. Right now,  I'm so entrenched that I can't see clearly,  know what I mean?  (SIGH)  But, as usual,  your father is the salt of the earth,  the best there is - if I earn any accolades,  they are more than half deserved by your father!  He is the frame to my wild and frenetic energy who keeps me grounded and together,  and I love him forever! 

IN OTHER NEWS: Leslie is getting married on July 17th in the Brigham City temple at 10am, so you get to be there!  We're all super excited about that!   Also,  grandma& grandpa Gold actually bought tickets to come see the play. ..on a Tuesday night.  Ha ha ha  we finally figured out how to sell tickets online.  Next year,  we'll do it so you can reserve specific seats - this year is still general seating,  but you ARE guaranteed a seat.  So that is super awesome!   Heidi is still dating Cody... will she make it on a mission,  or not?  Hmmmm

Well that's all for now,  kid.   We're praying for you and for the people in the Atacama region!  Let us know how we can help! 

Love from Mom

sounds like an awesome day :)

i would like to study the new testament... and..... yeah that sounds good? mommy... i dont even know how many credits i want or need? spanish would be cool if i can test out of it. i would love that. and maybe a class on small motors or something to do with electricity... just to be able to be cool like dad when im all growed up :) i asked my president about the ecclesiatical thing... i have no idea what i have to do with it now.... do i just go to super lost... sorry.

Yes!  when it's time for your interview with your mission president, go to, then go to the myBYU tab.   Sign in with the login and password I sent,  then go to campus links,  then to online endorsements,  and then the ecclesiastical leader tab, and THEN your mission president takes it from there! 

As soon as you have that endorsement,  I'll get you registered! 


(I'm at the hospital with Sam who just finished his first treatment.... he's kind of funny right now! )

Oh,  and you need 14 credits to maintain your scholarship.  You'll be golden,  darling.  No worries! 

the scholarship is one semester or is it renewable? ummm i think interviews are in like a month more... is that gonna be too late? tell him i love him. hope it all went well

Renewable scholarship,  on a yearly basis,  if I remember right. 

No,  that won't be too late. Should be fine, I think.  Smiling face with smiling eyes

Sam says he loves you,  too.

March 23, 2015

Henry, I slept in until 6:30 this morning, which is actually a big deal, then I went swimming, and just took my time.  Why?  Because I had time!  It's spring break week, and we are loving it!  Of course, there is still loads of work to do at the theater and at home... lots of work at home that has been terribly neglected for the past three weeks!  So I'm super grateful for the time, for some flexibility of time, to get some of these things done.  :)  Of course, us being us, we have some fun things planned for this week as well.  Tomorrow, we're having a YES Day.  Dad is taking the day off work and we are not going to do ANYTHING related to the play!   We're having "pan-tarts" for breakfast, which is a thing I learned in Tavyn Radford's demonstration speech: pancakes with a pop-tart in the middle.  It will be an adventure!  And then we're going to go to DI and pick out outfits for each other to wear for the day, and THEN we're going to go to Fat Cats for the "YES" portion of the day: bowling, balladium, mini golf, pizza, and maybe even a movie.  After that, we're planning to do a progressive dinner intermixed with a "mystery shopping reward" experience.  Each of us will get a $5 bill and then we'll go up to BYU-I and find a creative way or reason to give it to a college student.  Sam is thinking of disguising his as a parking ticket and leaving it on the windshield of the rattiest looking car in the lot.  Janie wants to give it to someone who holds a door open for someone else.  So we'll see.  We may not be courageous enough to do that, so we might go to plan B which is to put together a little gift basket and doorbell ditch a few of our favorite BYU-I students.   So there you go.  We're looking forward to that - we'll take pictures and post them on One Drive for you next week.  :)  On Wednesday, Meg goes to Disneyland with the SHS music program.  They go to the beach on Thursday, Disneyland on Friday, and perform in a concert thing on Saturday before they come home... I think.  Or maybe it's a two day park hopper and they go to Disneyland on Saturday, too.  Maybe it's all fun and games and there is not concert!  hahaha  Or maybe the concert is at Disneyland.  I dunno.  Anyway, she has saved and sold stuff, and worked, and was able to pay half for the trip (we paid the other half), and she is coming up with all of her own spending money, including money for food.  We're proud of her, and she is going to have a great time!  

Also happening this week, we are having our house/property surveyed so we can make sure that our renovation plans fit within the county boundaries.  We're also talking to our contractor this week to start finalizing plans and getting bids and moving forward.  This is really so very exciting!  I've put the tentative plans that the contractor did for us just based on our first ideas in One Drive so you can see what we're thinking about doing.   We are pre-approved for a certain amount, but have no idea, really, if our plans will fit into that dollar amount, so we need to figure that out, too, when we talk to him this week.  So, the tentative plans include a new kitchen with living room space, a two car garage, and a new master suite above the garage for me and Dad.  We shall see what reality will be.  :)  But we feel really blessed.  Things seem to be falling together.  I mean, we have a few snags, but even the snags seem to be working out in their own time and way to allow the project to move forward.  So, we will keep moving forward with faith that this really IS what Heavenly Father wants for us until we feel differently!  So, you will probably be coming home to a renovated house, or, more likely, a house in the middle of a renovation!  hahahahaha  But it's exciting!

 Also exciting is the prospect of you registering for classes at BYU!  Consequently, you will need an ecclesiastical endorsement from your mission president, who, I'm sure, is familiar with the process.  You will need your BYU net id, which is henryrg and the PW is 133540HG@mca.  So as soon as you can get that done, I believe you'll be able to register for classes. I found a page about pre-med classes at BYU and what you'll need before you can apply for med schools, but I was confused about which classes to suggest to you.  So, I talked to Lexa about which classes to recommend since she is also studying to enter the medical field, and she is a student similar to you since she took several of the same classes that you took in high school.  She gave good advice about registering for some core requirement classes that aren't excessively difficult and giving you a semester to just adjust to regular life on your own as a college student.  So I looked at the premed requirements to see which of those classes will also fulfill the university core requirements, and I am ready to suggest some classes for you.  There are no times specified because I can't even look at that or attempt to register until we have your ecclesiastical endorsement.  :)

PDBio 120 - Principles of Biology (2 credits)
CHEM 105 - General College Chemistry (4 credits, includes a lab, I think)
WRTG 150 - Reasoning & Writing (3 credits)
STDEV 272 - Preview of Medicine (1 credit)
*REL ??? - What would you like to study?  Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, D&C....?  (2-3 credits)
OPTIONS - American Heritage?  Economics?  Spanish?  Humanities?  Something just for fun, to learn about an interest/hobby?  

So there you go.  I hope that doesn't look to daunting.  

I'm going to sign off for now and do a PART TWO to this letter while we're at Katie's house getting haircuts.  



PART TWO:  This is from Janie:
Hello friend! I am here to tell you about a dream I had about you! It was awesome, let's get started. So it started out on Friday night when I was going to bed. So I went to sleep and started dreaming and poof imagination happend. So it turned out we were in provo on a trip. We meaning me. Haha. So anyway. I was going to the market and ipassed a guy in the parking lot and it was all slow mo and then it turned out it was you! And you were white and wearing a flannal shirt but tou aere still missionary-ing and stuff! So we couldn't hug or anything. Sad. BUT it was a dream so we hugged anyway cuz rules dont matter in dreams. =) so then I was crying and stuff and freaking out. But then we went to see your companion, and poof dad was standing there helping put groceries in peoples cars. So then we met your companion and we were chatting while we helped people with there stuff. And then we were talking about how you guys had been listening to our three calls for your whole missoin and told me to call you more often and then you.told me your number, which was somewhere along the lines of 801-2306. And then we had to leave and it was sad.but it's ok cuz we get to see you in a few more months anyway! And then I woke up.
It was the first dream ive rememberd having about you! And it was awesome to see you again =) haha anyway. I just wanted to tell you that. And I love you.

(Mom again) ha ha ha. Janie is super funny!   

We shall return with part three! 

PART THREE: Hello again.

I should've just written one big old letter. So many distractions!   So I guess I'll just close this three part miniseries with my love.  Sometimes I think about all that has occurred in the past 20 months here in Idaho and in Chile , think about how we've all changed, grown, progressed... That is a good thing. Change is not a bad thing.  There are some ways that we've changed for the better and some in which we haven't progressed so much.  So we're grateful for every new day that the Lord gives us to try again.  I hope you won't be too disappointed in us.  :)  I've Bern wondering lately about what is the right answer in terms of media and living in the world.  Should we really only watch Disney movies?   Should we only listen to church music?   This happens every so often, you know...self-reflection....and I wonder if I'm doing right or justifying sin.  So hard to know myself!  Ha ha ha ha.  Anyway, good you're loins for your family that is far from perfect, my love. Ha ha ha

Anyway, God is great. Life is good. We are doing well, and feel extremely blessed by or Father in Heaven.  We are proud of you, we love you, and we're anxious to hear all about your week in your new city.

Until next week.

Love from Mom

i am going to love you all to death no matter how things are.

March 16, 2015

Good morning!  We're so excited to hear about your week in your new city with your new companion!  We hope it's been good.  

Things have been moving right along as usual - same old, same old - like a freight train that is on fire!  It's been a busy week.  We've spent many late nights working on the set - we've probably put it (combined with Dad and I) about 40 hours this week alone.  Yeah, it's been nuts.  But it's done, which is incredibly important because this is our week for run throughs (only 8 rehearsals left) before Spring Break and then we come back and have dress rehearsals before we open the show!  Ca-razy.  So it's that terribly busy time when we're never home and we hardly know what our names are or where we're going.  Thankfully, we'll have all of spring break to do those little finishing touches.  This is a new experiment, doing the show after spring break, and I hope it works.  So far, it's been great!  Normally, this would be dress rehearsal week - the same week as parent teacher conferences and the end of the quarter!  So nuts!  But God is great, and he has blessed me with excellent people to help.  Aunt LeAnn, Lynn Cramer, and Lynne Williams have taken over all of the costuming, which has been a HUGE help since the set has been such a monster.  I really don't think I could've done it all myself, as I've tried to do in years past.  I'm grateful for people who are willing to help and sacrifice so much time and energy.  They are saviors in their own right!  So, things are going well - as always, we will be lucky to have everyone at rehearsal for dress rehearsals... we're always missing someone!

So, there is something new!  Leslie Phillips is engaged!  Yup!  You'll have a new cousin when  you get home, Ryan Elgan.  He's a friend of Brad's, so a few years older than Leslie, but that doesn't really matter.  They've been dating for 6-9 months, and we really like him.  He even survived some Dixon Family gatherings, so we know he can "take it."  hahahaha  I posted some pics from Facebook on the OneDrive.  So we're really excited for them both.  Last I heard, the wedding was going to be in July... hopefully, like, July 18th!  hahahaha That would be awesome if you could be there for that day.  The Phillips family is really having a week - Leslie got engaged, and Lynette and Bailey's little girl, Kate, had to have surgery on her sinus - already!  But things went well, and she's home now.  She's an adorable little girl!  I'll post pictures soon - haven't seen any on Facebook yet! 

There is some potential for new things brewing as well.  Heidi has been dating this guy, Cody Smith, and she is really, really starting to like him a lot.  She has plans to serve a mission after spring semester - sometime after July - but she's brought him home to meet all of us a few times, and she spent the weekend at his house in Utah meeting his family this past weekend, so... I dunno.  We'll see what happens there!  Aunt Trina also has a new man.  Thomas is from the Dominican Republic and has two daughters, 7 and 9.  His ex-wife is in jail, unfortunately.  We just met him on Saturday at a Dixon family thing.  He's a sweetheart of a guy.  Trina seems really smitten, but it seems that meeting the family seems to be a deal breaker for many of her boyfriends.  I mean, after they meet and mingle with the family, Trina tends to decide they are not a good fit and breaks it off (has happened with the last 2-3 boyfriends), so we'll see.  Only time will tell, but there could be a true love connection, which would be super awesome for Trina!  

Things at home are going OK.  It's play season and so we are more like ships passing in the night than a family.  I look forward to a month from now when the play is over and I can come home after school while it's still daylight and I can cook dinner for the family!  Truly!  I look forward to that!  I miss it!  I could count on both hands the number of times I've made dinner in the past 4 months.... tis the season, but I do miss it.  I love directing, I love working at the school with my kids, I love the creative outlet of set building and designing and sound and costumes, I love the growth that I see in students as they perform and accomplish something difficult... but it does wear me out!  So I'll love the change of pace just as much.  It's a busy season for our family, and at the last family council everyone was still on board with dealing with the madness, so we'll continue to do that thing we do, yeah?  I know there is an end.  Just between you and me, I've been thinking more and more about whether or not I want to continue directing after Janie graduates.  I just don't know if it will have the same payout, do you know what I mean?  I mean, I started doing all of this with you guys in mind, and if you're not part of it... well... ya know?  I don't know what the future holds, but I have been thinking more and more that I would like to teach seminary after Janie graduates and leaves home.  I love teaching, and I love connecting with the youth, and I would love to be in an environment where I was working to build testimonies and help others feel the spirit everyday, where we could start class with hymns and prayer.  I don't know.  I used to substitute teach for seminary (remember those days?) and I loved it.  I thought back then about becoming a seminary teacher, but the policy was for women with school aged children to wait until all kids were out of the house.  That policy has changed now, but I'm here and established.  Anyway, I think that might be a way for me to make a clean break - to get out of public school and to teach seminary.  We'll see if that is the path the Lord would have me take when that time comes.

OK. This is really long.  I'll let you go, but only for a little while.  I'm really getting trunky, Henry.  I hope you have better success at keeping a lid on all of those trunky feelings.  I just took the lid off of them about two weeks ago and let them all air out, I'd been so diligent at keeping them contained, and now I'll be dipped if I can get that lid to fit back on again! hahahaha  But I'm working on it.  It's good that I have this play to consume my time and energy right now - that helps.  

OK.  Until next week.  YOU I LOVE!


well... thats how life is for us! i feel like every year we just have that ridiculous busy time when we do the plays and then afterwards it all calms down a little bit... then we start over again... its crazy how life goes.... the times of break seems to fly bye... but so do the really busy times... it all just fliesw! i think thats one of the blessings about being anxiously engaged!! im excited to be able to help you guys out hopefully with the next one! make it a family even again!!!

how is sam? i havent heard anything about him in like 3 weeks! maybe... but still... if you could give me a good update there i would be super happy :) i love your long letters. its always sad when they end!

hahaha, one of the Elders here actually knows leslie! ELder Tate Fuller... he went to west side htough... but thats crazy! engaged! wow! i hope i can be there!

send me pics of cody smith as well please! thats crazy! heaidi is still just such a baby in my eyes.... godness...

i will keep Trina in my prayers... has she tried that mormon dating website? i have met 3 couples so far who have used it and it has worked well... 

i could see you being an awesome seminary teacher... but then again you are basically awesome at everything you do! (i know in your head you are denying that, stop it! list:drawing, writing, reading, directing, raising kids (odnt you dare deny that! i am part of that!), english, teaching, communication, public speaking, singing, dancing, cooking, decorating, being fun to be around, anything to do with learning/studying and the list goes on! thats just a tiny bit to prove to you that you are awesome!) you are so multi faceted! i dont even know if i can say that! but i hope its understood! my english is a little skipy right now...

hahahaha... also... knowing that you are trunky makes me a little trunky to be honest hahaha.... but thats ok. im staying super focused! or doing my very best. yes im still a zone leader. thinking about classes.... im sticking with 9 or 10 in the morning... i would like to take a public speaking class... i dont know... i really feel like super in the dark with this... is there some list that you could give me? how many calsses should i take? i dont know anything mommy!

hahahahahaha.... yeah! i heard!!! but i dont know if it was so casual or if it was set up! but its hilarious!!!! plus Elder Gines looks crazy with his flat brim back and his little king tut beard! but it was hilarious! i died laughing!!

Oh, my dear son - you're so kind to me! I love you.  Thanks for saying such nice things.

I will send you a list of classes, typical freshman type classes.  I should be able to find out by the end of the week when your registration date will be.  Also, you'll need an ecclesiastical endorsement from your mission president.  I'll send you the information on that, too.  It's something your mission president is probably already familiar doing.  hahahaha  One thing about classes, are you still thinking pre-med?  That might make a difference in what type of science/math classes to look into.  Just saying.  If you're unsure, we'll just go with something general.  :)

OH, and Jake Monohan is the new head football coach - just found out today.  Pretty awesome!

Quick update on Sam - we are kind of unsure right now.  He doesn't sleep.  He doesn't take the meds that make him fall asleep.  He'll stay up for days at a time because sleeping, in his words, is physically painful.  I don't know if it's the process of falling asleep, or what.  But we're not sure where he is - the fear is that such a lack of sleep, which creates stress on the body, can spark another psychotic break which would probably land him in the hospital again.  It's all so unknown right now.  I'm not really sure how to help him or regulate him, if I should force him to take his meds.  His doctor seems a little ambivalent about it, too.  It's just a weird time with him.  Hopefully, once the play gets underway and I'm home a bit more, I can get a better pulse on where he is and how he's doing.  Oh, and he did listen to your message.  When I asked him about it, about his thoughts or his response, he replied, "That's between me and Henry."  So... there's that.  :)

I love you like crazy!  One parting question - if we were to repaint your bedroom, do you have a color preference?


hahaha... ummm i will only be living there for a very short time... sooooo not really. 

and he doesnt want to respond?????!!!?!?!?!?!?! im dying here? i have no way to contact this child! im about ready to start calling him haha... not really but goodness... i guess i will just have to wait for 4 months to actually give it more attention. i love him. thanks for the update.

still thinking pre med yes

I'll encourage him to send a response, but you'd be wise not to hold your breath. :)

We've moved you upstairs to Janie's old room - main floor, close to a potty - which will be good for the post surgery knee.  And you're right, you won't be there long, so we'll do something awesome, like rainbows and unicorns.  :)


March 9, 2015

Dude. It was 60 degrees today.... on March 8th!  It's been such a warm winter/springtime! It's so weird!  But, kind of nice.  Still, I'm pretty sure we'll get our typical blizzard in late March or early April that dumps like 6 inches of snow, and then we'll be officially done with winter.  hahahaha

So, I would like some explanations about the photos you sent.  First, you talked about Elder Bronson, having a good talk with him on the bus after your conference (what made it awesome?), and there is a picture of you with him, but that is the first time we've heard of him.  Who is he?  Just a cool guy?  A new elder in your sector?  Also, what is the big silver woman statue.  It's pretty impressive, but... what is it?  Oh, and do you get to see Elder Mangum much?  Uncle Boyd was talking about how he is mentioned in EVERY article about BYU football as the "heir apparent" to Taysom Hill for BYU football.  One article even mentioned that he is serving as Assistant to the President in his mission right now.  Man!  Such scrutiny!  That would be so crazy to live that life, to have people talking about your every move.  So crazy!  He's not even home yet, not even on the field!  Nuts!   Also, are transfers coming up?  Elder Sanchez is about to head home, yeah?  Dad and I were looking through some of your photos and I was thinking about how long you've been in Maray.  That's pretty impressive!  I wonder if you'll stay another six weeks, or if you'll be moved to another city for the last months of your mission.  Should be interesting!  What would you choose?  Are you ready to move on or would you like to stay in Maray for a while?

That is super exciting to hear about the people you're teaching.  How are things going?  I'm guessing you're going to tell us in your letter.  hahaha  And, I agree.  Satan does use fear to debilitate faith.  Yesterday, in my scripture study (Alma 7:15) I read, " Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction," and I wondered about that phrase, "fear not."  I think we are often afraid to let go of our sins (which DO beset us and bind us to destruction) because it requires faith to live otherwise.  We frequently use our sins as a sort of self-medication - alcohol, overeating, being mean or sarcastic or even abusive, spending too much, greed, and the list goes on - as a way to protect or comfort ourselves as we traverse the rocky seas of life.  It requires a lot of faith to lay these things that we can "control" (or think we can control until they end up controlling us) and apply faith for the comfort, solace, and strength that we seek from the Lord.  Its so much easier to just grab a drink or to say mean things or to eat too many sweets when you're feeling sad, lonely, tired, or angry.  It takes work and effort to pray for the comfort we seek through our sins.  Does that make any sense?  Anyway... you are right.  Satan uses fear to debilitate us - fear of change and discouragement when we aren't successful in our early efforts to change.  Satan remains a master strategist in this war for our souls that began in Heaven and continues on Earth!  In my lesson for Relief Society (next week, "Principles of True Repentance"), President Benson says, "The power of sin is great.  If we are to extricate ourselves from it, especially serious sin, we must have a power greater than ourselves."  We are so blessed to have the source of all power just waiting, beckoning, calling us to come unto Him and allow Him to effect change in our lives!  In our area conference last week, Elder Brent Nielsen of the Seventy taught that if we don't allow the Savior to help us through the Atonement, change will not be permanent.  Only the grace provided through the Atonement can make change lasting and eternal. Isn't that so amazing?  We are called to become "new creatures" but it is only through the grace provided through our Savior, Jesus Christ, that that change can make us new, different from what we were before.  It is possible, but it does require effort on our part, and that effort is sometimes scary!  So, Satan deceives us into thinking that the "right" path is the easy path - "donuts will make you  feel better," "just have another drink," "that person is an idiot and deserves to be ridiculed," "you've worked hard all day and you deserve to do whatever you want whenever you want."  He's a tricky one, that Lucifer.

So things here at home are moving right along!  We have two weeks of rehearsal before Spring Break and then three days of dress rehearsal before the show opens!  Only 12 rehearsals before we open!  JINKIES!  We have a lot of work ahead of us, but it is going to be great! The set is coming right along.  Dave Williams welded these big old pieces for us, so they are super light weight and totally versatile.  I put a couple of pictures in One Drive that show some of our progress.  I also put in a few pictures from Sweetheart Ball.  It was a surprise, actually, because Meg went to it!  You remember Parker Tomlinson, yeah?  Well, Meg has become good friends with him, and she wanted to ask him to Sweetheart Ball.  He is really trying to branch out this year and make friends, but the pressure of the dance and being on a real date was a little too much and he opted to just go to the movies instead of the dance with Meg.  So, they were planning this movie party thing and were with some other friends who were planning to go to the dance when Parker told Meg that he'd like to go, so she asked him then and there.... two days before the dance!   They decided they didn't want to dress up because it was a 50's theme, so Meg was OK with it - no fancy dress required!  Their "date" was a little unusual.  They didn't participate in the traditional day date experience with their friend group, but the two of them went to an afternoon showing of "Into the Woods" at the cheap theater and then they went to Chick-Fil-A for dinner.  After she took him home, she announced that Parker had decided to dress up a little.  So we scrambled to find something 50's ish for her to wear.  Meg went to pick up Parker, but it was still about 45 minutes before ANYONE would show up at the dance, so they came back here to hang out a bit.  Parker gave Meg half a dozen white roses in a bouquet.  It was so cute!  We were in the middle of making grilled cheese sandwiches, and Parker asked if he could have one, so we made him a sandwich.... then another one, and then he was ready to go to the dance.  They were the one of the first couples there and beat their group of friends that they were planning to meet up with at the dance.  Parker had set an alarm on for one hour and one minute... that was apparently all he could take of a dance.  So they danced a little and talked, and then the friend group came.  Everyone was excited to see Parker because... well, this is the first dance he's ever attended!  So they joined the friend group and were having fun.  Periodically, Parker would show Meg the timer and say something like, "Are you exhausted yet?"  She would tell him that she still wanted to dance, but that he could sit and rest if he needed to, which he would for a few minutes and then come back and join the group.  He isn't much for exercise.  hahaha  After one hour and one minute, the timer went off and it was time to go!  So, they left the dance and went to get milkshakes at Arctic Circle before Meg took Parker home.  She was home by 10:30!  It was very fun and cute.  She's a sweetheart for being such a good friend to him.

 So, I started writing this letter at 8:30 and it is now midnight.  There have been quite a few interruptions this evening:  infinitives and participles homework with Janie, discussions on contractors with Dad (we got pre-approved this week and spoke with a conractor who is drawing up a tentative plan and giving us a rough guesstimate based on our very rough plans, soit will be a telling week whether what we want will fit with what we can afford!), and then I a long chat with Meg about her date with Rollin Sutherin last night, making goals, and life in general.  (She had a good time on her date, by the way.  Purely just friends, but a fun time because it was just friends!)  Oh, and Meg is the winner of the Golden Shoe for March Forth this year!  She achieved her goal about 90%, I hit about 80%, Dad hit 70% and Janie gave herself a strong D-.  Hahahaha  Sam did not submit a goal last year, but we sort of forced him to do it this year.  hahahaha  If you want to, you can submit a goal and I will write it down and put it in the shoe for next year.  In fact, you'd better just do it.  Tell me one goal you'd like to accomplish this year for the honor of the golden shoe and the chance to earn $25 IN CASH!  hahahaha  But seriously, do it.  Send me a goal. :)

I know there is more that I wanted to share with you, more meaningful stuff, but at this moment, it's all a little fuzzy.  So, I guess I'll call it a night!  About your questions from the last letter (that I never got to finish, sadly) - I did say that I had a question and then I never asked a question.  So, you didn't miss anything and I can't even remember what my question was, so obviously it's not that crucial, yeah?  hahahaha  Also, about the reunion invitation, Lexa is aware of the family reunion in July and she is aware that she has a tentative invitation.  Being the wise one that she is (and the wise one that you are), she's going to just see how things are when you get home, but she is keeping that invitation in her back pocket... with several other options.  So, you don't have to worry about that - all will be well.  There is still a lot of time between here and there, so you can just put that in your back pocket too.  Hopefully your back pockets won't become so full that your pants fall down before July!  hahahaha  One last think to consider, but doesn't have to be decided for another month: what classes would you like to take next semester?  You need 14 credits to meet the requirements of your scholarship.  I was thinking just some general/core classes - a science class, math, writing, religion, maybe history?  Is there anything in particular in the way of a religion class you'd like to take?  Book of Mormon? D&C? Old/New Testament?  Would a college writing class be useful to get you back in the flow of things?  Maybe public speaking/communications?  Do you want me to just go for it?  Figure out what generals you'll need to graduate and pick a few and create a schedule for you?  Are you a morning person, so morning classes are better than afternoon classes?  or vice versa?  If you're a morning person are you an early, first thing in the morning person?  Like 7am?  I'll use my own experience at school plus advice from current students, like Heidi and Lexa, to create a good schedule - time to study between classes, or just knock the classes out and have a big block of study time afterward, or a mixture.  Like I said, this doesn't have to be decided here and now.  You've got at least a month before we have to make real choices, but just let those things marinate in the back of your mind for a bit and then I'll bring them up again in a few weeks.  :)

You are deeply loved, my dear one.  We are so proud of your efforts and your diligence in your service to Heavenly Father right now.  The coming months will pose greater temptations to slack off, especially when your mom keeps bringing up topics that have to do with coming  home, but I am confident you will embrace each day out there as a gift and live in the moment.  Remember that line from the ancient turtle in Kung Fu Panda?  "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift; that is why it is called the present."  Enjoy each and every day you're out there.  You'll never be sorry for giving a perfect effort every day.  

You I love,


i will keep all of those thing in the back of my head to stew around for a bit.....

Loved the pics! awesome! parker changed alot!!! and in one picture that looks like a birthday party. meg is with parker, that one girl that i remember. nathan wells... and the jolley boy?

meg is awesome... im glad they had a good time! sounds like a sweet experience.

ELder Bronson was the other zone leader in copiapo, so on the way back from antofagasta we started talking and it was just cool. i lke him. Elder Sanchez is gone yes, and yes i did get transfered! you guys already have the system down! im in a new city now. the silver woman statue was a present to the chileans from the chinese after the 33 miners were trapped in that mine for so long and all that jazz... its a peace monment. its hard to leave a sector... but its nice to have a change... some of the people you have to leave behind.... it hurts. especially knowing that it could very well be goodbye forever... but hopefully not. 

Elder Mangum! yes i do get to see him somewhat frequently. he is the assistant to the president right now every month, plus every six weeks he comes to do exchanges. plus zone conferences... plus i get to tlak to him on the fone every week. so we stay in good contact. hes a stud. i like him. It would be hard to be a celebrity. but he sure knowes how to carry it.

March 2, 2015

Well, hi!   This is part one of my weekly letter to you....unless something unforeseen happens and I don't get another chance to write to you!  But we're going to be positive, yeah?   So I'm going to start with the questions and then we'll get to the news.  

Well, maybe a little bit of news first. So, Allyson Hadley got engaged this week to a guy named Josh Flint.  According to Monica Nelson, when Garrett told Allyson that he was going to BYU Provo (and she was going to BYU Idaho) she wanted some kind of commitment or promise from him. Telling Allyson that she was the first one he wanted to date when he got home was not enough for her, and now she is engaged.  The reason that I had to tell you that news is because Garrett may be looking for a roommate at the Y.  Monica was asking me questions about housing and I told her about the plans we'd made for Heritage Halls. She wondered if the two of you would like to room together.  So, what are your thoughts?  Would you like to room with Garrett if he can get into Heritage Halls, or would you rather not? It's all good either way. She is going to ask Garrett the same thing. He may not even want to live on campus, so it may be a non issue, but I told her I'd ask you. :D   

Also, another piece of news that precedes another question (boy, I should've started this letter differently ha ha ha) that sort of has to do with the tragic end of "Garrett and Allyson" - and this isn't high school-esque gossip: we had lunch with Lexa on Saturday.  She was in town and we caught up with each other and went to Wendy's and Dad was super tricky and managed to buy her lunch even when she insisted that she was going to buy her own. ha ha ha ha.  We had taken little Cricket to the groomer for his first time and were waiting, and she was headed back to Rexburg after visiting Tauni in Logan, so Janie and Dad and Lexa and I ate lunch and then sat in Wendy's and talked for about an hour and a half. It was a great time!   So fun to catch up.  WARNING: THE FOLLOWING MAY INDUCE SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH TRUNKINESS. PROCEEDED WITH CARE, OR SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH.  We talked about you, of course, about your knee and registering you for classes and the plans for immediately after you get home - doctor visits and reunions and surgery (oh, my! ). We talked about other things, too, of course. Her schooling and future plans - nursing program, medical assisting, or physical therapy technician, big decisions ahead for her - and work and her siblings and adventures with roommates.  But, we talked mostly about you. She is really a wise person.  Unlike Allyson Hadley, she is not demanding some kind of commitment or ultimatum from you. She is still planning to go to BYU Idaho in the fall and knows that you are going to be in Provo, but, again unlike Allyson, she feels it will be a good time, a growing time for both of you, to allow you to experience college like she has - to see how different dating is in college as compared to high school.  There is alot more to it, but the bottom line is that Lexa is not like Allyson Hadley. Ha ha ha. Surprise!  You probably didn't know that!  Ha ha ha.  And you both are being very sensible about the fact that anything can happen - there are no guarantees - but still keeping the hope alive in your back pocket.  I'm proud of both of you!   Ok. Done with that topic.

The next question is about the house, and then I have to go get ready for school, and write more during my prep hour. I am excited to tell you about our area conference yesterday!  So, back to the question about the house.  But first a little more news. Ha ha ha. Oh, my, but it's going to be a fun day!   So we are feeling more and more that renovating the house, doing the remodel, adding on the kitchen and garage that I've been dreaming about for 10 years is the best and most correct option for us rather than moving to a different house.  We're moving forward with getting pre-approved for a loan and are meeting with a contractor tonight before FHE to discuss plans.  Yesterday, during family fun time, we asked all the other kids about their ideas for a kitchen/garage because we want ALL of you to have some input, some say in the house plans. So, at last, here is the question: what would you want to see in a new kitchen/dining area and garage.  was there anything in any friends homes that you particularly liked?  If you have no real input, that's ok. You'll join Sam in that category, but if you do have a few ideas, if you fall into the Meg and Janie category, well now is your time to voice your opinions. 

Ok. Gotta shower because I stink.  You I love, mi hijo!  I'll write again in a few hours!  

Love from Mom

alright...... response!  poor garrett.... man, i thought they were basically gonna survive... he only has 5 months left... well! everything happens for a reason!  i actually asked him that same question a little bit ago. he says he has a buddy in BYU who was gonna hook him up with everything and they were gonna live together. the fact that his buddy was gonna do it makes me think that its probably off campus for him. i would be cool living with him but i think hes already set. also, about the housing, im pretty sure that after the first semester i will try and find a place off campus with friends, from what ive heard its better, but i want to live on cmapus for the first semester. so if it doesnt happen no big deal, i may just change over the second semester.

she is a wise person :) i was just thinking the other day how happy i am that we did it this way, which is largely thanks to her, because most of the time i just did what my heart wanted without thinking it out well haha.... but its worked out really well... yeah... there are tons and tons of variables as far as what happens when im coming home, but i feel comfortable knowing that for at least the first part of my time at home nothing is gonna happen to serious between us. i will just go home and go to college and start living my life and we will see how the rest happens. everything is gonna be ok. we can work it out if it needs to be worked out haha. im in a happy ploace there. i like how you said it. im open to the fact that anything can happen but im still hoping for the best there hahaha :) along that topic i thought about what you said about the family vacation... to be honest i want to invite her... but i cant do it here. i will be thinking about it constantly. i dont want to hear an answer that yes or that no. so distracting. when i get home i know we are gonna get together and there we can talk about these things,.. plus according to garrett and allyson,... anything can still happen! who knows???!

still thinking about the transportation thing... i like the scooter or motorbike idea... but i dont know... anyways. i still think that a car will be to big of a temptation and that i dont need it.

im happier with that idea than the move! yay! ummmmmm ideas... man... it would be so much easier to think about this if i were there and such.... i like islands in the kitchen. pot filler upper things over the stove...  anddddd i cant think of very much. sorry for being lame, but i just cant think about it without seeing it. but awesome! i hope all goes well with that!!

also in the trunky paragraph you said you had a question but you never asked a question... was there something i missed or something there?

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