“This is Not What I Ordered”

We just got back from Spring Break 2016.  I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking that being the party hardy family that we are, we went to Cancun, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, or were asked to be hosts of the MTV beach party.

You are very close.

We rented a car and drove for a total of 2200 miles and 42 hours.    (Is Road Trip still an MTV gameshow?)

I called the local rental company I happened to be on the website of and asked the guy who answered what the difference was between a standard SUV, a luxury SUV, and a premier SUV.  He told me to rent a Standard and they would give me an Expedition.  Part of my goal in renting a car for the road trip was to try out a bigger car and see if I liked to drive it.  I said Okay fine and didn’t think about it.

Until I worried it wasn’t going to work out.

I called Thursday to ask if we could rent a day early and they said sure.  The person on the phone said nothing about not getting the car I had been promised so I tried not to be worried about it.  I just couldn’t believe there was an Expedition in Helena.

(When Kevin wanted to rent a convertible for an anniversary trip, it took them a week to get one up here.  This isn’t really convertible country.)

I showed up on Friday to get the car and they had a

Dodge Ram Truck

for me.

I was told it is in the same category as the Standard SUV which I had ordered.  I asked if no one noticed I would be driving it ONE WAY to MISSOURI when they put it aside.  The lady at the desk said that she didn’t think it would work.  I agreed.

I then went outside and looked at what they had available.  The minivans were on recall and so I basically had the option of a Dodge Journey.   It had three rows but it is smaller than our Pilot and therefore did not reach my goal of trying a bigger car.

It also changed the plans of how we would pack.  Unfortunately, I did not change WHAT we would pack, causing a tiny panic when trying to fit everything in our suitcases for the flight back.

(We decided to fly back so we could spend more time at different sites and less time driving.  It would’ve been a great idea and we would’ve had plenty of luggage, had we gotten a larger car.)

So that is the start of our week-long trek across the US of A.

Join us next time for “My Rapid City is Faster than Yours” or “Nauvoo; Naw Problem.”

I really wanted to become a biker while here. But our SUV was too small.

I really wanted to become a biker while here. But our SUV was too small.

A Most Perfect Road Trip

I am planning our family vacation.  We are going on a very long road trip to South Dakota and Illinois and Missouri.  We are combining US history with LDS history with Jethro’s BBQ and every candy store on I-90.

While watching Making a Murderer, I’ve been googling “car trip activities.”

The internet is an amazing place.

I have:

Bingo; Road Sign Scavenger Hunt; Restaurant I Spy; state license plates; crossword puzzles; and a map.

I have treats and different snack ideas for different mile markers.  I’m going to have them color paper sacs to put their treats in.  I’m that crafty.  I bought paper sacs and I have markers and crayons.  I’m basically the female Van Gogh.

Or redheaded Martha Stewart.  Depending on what kind of treats I combine in a single plastic baggie, I may be the redheaded Rachel Ray. Or Julia Child. Or Marilyn Monroe.

I am a village.

We will be in this car at least 20 hours.

I’m hoping to win mother of the year from all of this.  At least until hour 4.

Maybe I’ll buy some jelly beans on sale and hide them in the car and make the kids find them.  Blind folded.

That should occupy them for 10 minutes.

I'm even going to rip this up and give each kid a couple of pages.  That's how creative I am.

I’m even going to rip this up and give each kid a couple of pages. That’s how creative I am.

Solidifying Back into Life with Springsteen

Well, this has been quite a year so far, hasn’t it?  I am learning that you have to just keep going no matter what happens.  

There seems to be a turning point sometime in life, I’m not sure when exactly, we are supposed to figure out how to shore ourselves up and keep going.  When we are kids, we can have gigantic melt downs and people figure it’s fine and we have the right because we are young.  When we get older and we have major melt downs, someone wonders if they should call for help and a padded room.  When really, we just need huge melt downs no matter how old we are.

Huge melt downs show themselves differently.  For some they may be loud and wet and messy and for others they may be 48 hrs in bed without speaking.  I think as we get older the only real difference is that we know what our huge meltdowns are and then we can tell people not to worry.   

We are about to melt.

The hard part is keeping going while melting or after the melting.  It can be so nice to just lose it.  But for most of us, this isn’t a state we can linger in permanently.  We have too many obligations and other people depending on us.  So we have to figure out how to solidify somehow.

This last week, I solidified at a concert.  My brother and I went to Bruce Springsteen.  I was incredibly sick and the slide guitar gave me a slight headache when it was played, but I still loved every minute of it.  

Springsteen is an amazing concert.  He played for 3.5 hours straight. He just kept going from one song to the next.  I was exhausted at the end of the concert and all I did was dance and sing and cough.

But oh how I need that 3.5 hours of just sheer joy.  I was amazed to be in the same room as him and to be at a concert of his and to hear him.  It was everything I wanted it to be and more.

I understand not everyone can go to a Springsteen concert when life gets hard.  Let’s be realistic.  Springsteen isn’t always in concert.  We must learn to live without him at times. 

But I’m glad for those moments in life that help stop the melting.  And that give us something a little more to look forward to.

And I’m already looking forward to his next tour.  I will be there.  Singing and Dancing and Screaming my head off the whole time.

(This is the part of the concert where he thanked me for coming even though I had a really bad cold.  It was very thoughtful of him.)

Life is Short

Even if you live 83 years.

On Wednesday, my dad passed away suddenly while my mom was making him lunch. 

On Thursday, I flew home. 

On Saturday, I bought Mom three pairs of shoes. 

The obituary can be found here.


A Little Deviation to Remember

I’m going to deviate from my normal stance on this blog of finding the utter irony of all things and post a talk I gave in church a few Sundays ago.

Yesterday was the year anniversary of losing our baby and I had been fighting depression all week.  I knew I was still in pain, but I didn’t realize how much until it was so, so hard to get out of bed and I went to bed at 6pm on Tuesday.  I thought just yesterday would be hard, but I was wrong.  It was interesting to see how my body was handling my sorrow.  I guess I didn’t scream enough on the Tower of Terror.

But when asked to speak in church, I had to really think about what I believe.  My faith has been rocked this last year and some days it’s been a struggle to hang on.

So this is what I said (and I don’t edit my talks for grammatical issues.  I apologize for not always putting in quotation marks as they should be used.)

Remember Me

This was an interesting topic for me.  Lately, I haven’t been thinking too deeply about the Gospel  because life has been very confusing.  I’ve been treading lightly in a way.  My heart has been very tender.  There are times that I have wanted to take a break and I have fought that.  But my heart is tender enough to smile politely and silently when I disagree.

A few weeks ago I bore my testimony about how my heart was tender and that there were many things I didn’t understand and that worried my heart.  I worried this would hinder my ability to give a talk and to understand what it means to Remember Christ.

If you go to LDS.org then put “Remember Me” in the Google search bar, the result is that you will be kicked out of LDS.org and put on a Google search page where a Robert Pattenson movie will feature.  I thought this must be inspired so I watched it to see if it would help with my talk.  How easy would it be to simply give a review of this film instead of praying and studying and figuring out what I should say?

It is not a good movie, by the way.  But Pierce Brosnan is in it so it was worth while.

I went back to LDS.org and put “Remember Me” in the LDS search bar and I got a bunch of talks.  None of them were about Robert Pattenson or Pierce Brosnan but I decided to read them anyway.

While reading these talks, I realized what I could delve deeply into and what I kept on the surface, so to speak.

Most of the talks I read talked about the sacrament and how the sacrament prayer asks us to “Always remember him.”  Then we shall “always have his spirit to be with us.”

I’m going to be honest.  With recent policy changes made by the church, it was difficult for me to dig deep into this subject.  I read about how to remember Christ you just follow his teachings and example.  His example shows us we must be baptized.  And if some people can’t be baptized, how can they remember Him by following his example?

While pondering all of this, I started a conversation with a friend from NYC.  Her husband was mission president when we lived in New York City and we became good friends with them.  She had posted an article about how women often hear phrases that men never hear.  When is the last time a man has heard, “You’re so luck to have a wife who babysits your kids so willingly.”  Or “Do you still fit into your wedding tuxedo?  We’re going to have a groom’s fashion show at Young Men’s this week.”

This opened up a discussion on how we can overcome cultural stereotypes and our culture can come closer to our doctrine.  So I asked her about my concerns.  She told me that they have had many discussions in her house on this subject matter as well.

She focuses on what she Does know instead of what she does NOT know.  Then she bore her testimony.
“I know the Book of Mormon is true… I do know that I can gain a testimony personally that trusting in the Lord is the right thing to do.  And I firmly believe that we can each get a personal witness that even though “see through a glass darkly,” our faith is sufficient to help us move toward one step at a time.  I am not about to throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water.  I love the Gospel.  I love the Savior.  I love the temple.  I love the safety that comes from keeping my covenants.I have had spiritual experiences that bind me to my ancestors on the other side of the veil.  To think about giving up what I Do know for what I DO NOT fully understand seems unwise and reckless.”

So I looked again and I started with what I DO know.

I do know that as Elder Costa stated in the October conference, if we think about the sacred moments of Christ’s life, they teach us and strengthen us spiritually.  As he pondered about Christ’s life, his soul was filled by an overwhelming desire to be a better person.  We can look at the Savior’s example to help us teach our children and create traditions that build our faith and testimony and protect our family.

When reflecting on the part of the Sacrament prayer where we will always have His Spirit to be with us, Elder Costa stated:
“I believe the Lord has His own timing as to when to give revelation unto us.  I understood this very clearly while studying Ecclesiastes 3:1,6, which reads:
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”…
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.

The sacrament is also the time for Heavenly Father to teach us about the Atonement of His Beloved Son — our Savior, Jesus Christ–and for us to receive revelation about it.  It is a time to “knock, and it shall be opened unto you” to request and to receive this knowledge.  It is time for us to reverently ask God for this knowledge.  And if we do, I have no doubt that we will receive this knowledge, which will bless our lives beyond measures.”

I need to remember that there is a time to all things and that while I have questions and concerns, I can still go back to the basics of what I do know and believe while Remembering Him.

Elder Eyring, in his talk ALWAYS REMEMBER HIM, points out how difficult it is to always remember anything.  He said, “You may have wondered, as have I, why He used the word ALWAYS, given the nature of mortality as it weighs upon us.  You know from experience how hard it is to think of anything consciously all the time.  I am not wise enough to know all of His purposes in giving us a covenant to always remember HIm.  But I know one.  It is because He knows perfectly the powerful forces that influence us and also what it means to be human.”

He goes on to say:

“The Master not only foresees perfectly the growing power of the opposing forces but also knows what it is like to be mortal.  He knows what it is like to have the cares of life press upon us.  He knows that we are to eat bread by the sweat of our brows and of the cares, concerns, and even sorrows that come from the command to bring children to the earth.  And He knows that the trials we face and our human powers to deal with them ebb and flow.

2He knows the mistake we can so easily make: to underestimate the forces working for us and to rely too much on our human powers.  And so He offers us the covenant to “always remember him” and the warning to “pray always” so that we will place our reliance on Him, our only safety.

Danger comes when we delay or drift.  But if we start with Remembering Him, we will start with what we know.  So Elder Eyring brought me back to what I know well:
1. Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  2. He is Risen.  3.  He is the head of His Church.

I can follow this.  I can do this.  I believe this.  As I study this and remember Him and His atonement, the darkness will be dispelled.  We have been told the promised Messiah comes with healing in His wings.

Elder Eyring goes on to tell us that as we remember him we will be protected against pride because we will know that any success comes not from our human powers.  But we will also be protected against the thoughts that we are too weak, too inexperienced, too unworthy to do what we are called of God to do to serve and help save His children.

I found it interesting that we will be protected from pride but that we will also have confidence to do what needs to be done.  How great is that?

My final quote from Elder Eyring:

“There is another sure promise.  It is this: Whether or not you choose to keep your covenant to always remember Him, He always remembers you.  I testify that Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem, was and is the Only Begotten of the Father, the Lamb of God.  He chose from before the foundations of the earth to be your Savior, my Savior, and the Savior of all we will ever know or meet.  I testify that He was resurrected and that because of His Atonement we may be washed clean through our faith to obey the laws and accept the ordinances of the gospel.

I promise you that you will feel the influence of the Holy Ghost touch your heart as you search the scriptures with new purpose and as you pray earnestly.  From that, you will have the assurance that God lives, that He answers prayers, that Jesus is the living Christ, and that He loves you.  And you will feel y our love for him increase.”

Elder Christofferson reminds us in his talk TO ALWAYS REMEMBER HIM, that as we study and remember, our desire and ability to always follow will grow.  In 2 Nephi 32:9 Nephi wrote, “I say unto you that he must pray always, and not faint; that he must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place he shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of they soul.”

As I read all of these talks and thought and thought about everything, I realized that I can stay at my base no matter how confused I am about other matters.  And my base is the same as it was when I bore my testimony weeks ago.  I know Heavenly Father lives and He loves each of his children.  I know that Heavenly Father will do everything in His power to make sure each and every one of his children can be saved.  I know Jesus Christ is Risen and that through his Atonement there is healing.  I may not know how everything works or why certain things 333happen, but I know there is healing through Jesus Christ.  I know that by remembering him, we can have the peace that comes through this knowledge.

The world is a confusing place.  I spend most of my days completely confused.  I know.  That’s a surprising fact to many of you, but it’s true.  I don’t understand anything.  I really don’t understand Sister Hatch passing away because she fell.  In a way, I think this may be too hard for me to understand.  And knowing that life is eternal doesn’t stop me from missing her and wishing she were still here.

But remembering him does help bring me peace in a general sense.  In the general sense that he healed the sick and that he took time to talk to a woman who touched his garment and because of her faith, he felt that touch and she was healed.  There is a tremendous amount of love there and in all of the stories of Christ.  So  so much love.  And no matter what happens.  NO matter how often I think I cannot do this one more day, I can remember that love and trust  and realize that I am not too weak to do as God asks.

And that love and trust helps me be less weak.  When I was younger, I had a difficult time feeling loved.  I often felt very, very alone.  I always believed Heavenly Father loves His children.  I  just didn’t always believe He loved Me.  On my mission, I could easily teach people Christ loved them.  It was only me He didn’t.  On a side note, I wish I’d known about depression then.  It would’ve made my mission so much easier.  But I know about it now and so I am able to fight these feelings. Now, as I study the scriptiures, when I read of the saviors love, I savor it.

A talk by  Jeffrey Holland really hit that home.  He broke down what we can remember and he put it into such simple terms.

If remembering is the principal task before us, what might come to our memory when those plain and precious emblems are offered to us?

“We could remember the Savior’s premortal life and all that we know him to have done as the great Jehovah, creator of heaven and earth and all things that in them are. We could remember that even in the Grand Council of Heaven he loved us and was wonderfully strong, that we triumphed even there by the power of Christ and our faith in the blood of the Lamb (see Rev. 12:10–11).

We could remember the simple grandeur of his mortal birth to just a young woman, one probably in the age range of those in our Young Women organization, who spoke for every faithful woman in every dispensation of time when she said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).

We could remember his magnificent but virtually unknown foster father, a humble carpenter by trade who taught us, among other things, that quiet, plain, unpretentious people have moved this majestic work forward from the very beginning, and still do so today. If you are serving almost anonymously, please know that so, too, did one of the best men who has ever lived on this earth.

We could remember Christ’s miracles and his teachings, his healings and his help. We could remember that he gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf and motion to the lame and the maimed and the withered. Then, on those days when we feel our progress has halted or our joys and views have grown dim, we can press forward steadfastly in Christ, with unshaken faith in him and a perfect brightness of hope (see 2 Ne. 31:19–20).

We could remember that even with such a solemn mission given to him, the Savior found delight in living; he enjoyed people and told his disciples to be of good cheer. He said we should be as thrilled with the gospel as one who had found a great treasure, a veritable pearl of great price, right on our own doorstep. We could remember that Jesus found special joy and 55happiness in children and said all of us should be more like them—guileless and pure, quick to laugh and to love and to forgive, slow to remember any offense.

We could remember that Christ called his disciples friends, and that friends are those who stand by us in times of loneliness or potential despair. We could remember a friend we need to contact or, better yet, a friend we need to make. In doing so we could remember that God often provides his blessings through the compassionate and timely response of another. For someone nearby we may be the means of heaven’s answer to a very urgent prayer.

We could—and should—remember the wonderful things that have come to us in our lives and that “all things which are good cometh of Christ” (Moro. 7:24).

On some days we will have cause to remember the unkind treatment he received, the rejection he experienced, and the injustice—oh, the injustice—he endured. When we, too, then face some of that in life, we can remember that Christ was also troubled on every side, but not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed (see 2 Cor. 4:8–9).”

I will admit I don’t always know hot to handle this.  Am I supposed to think my life isn’t as bad as his so deal with it?  I have no idea like I already said.  But I do know that thought does not bring me any comfort and if its supposed to, I need to look at it in a way that works for me.  And for me, when I am going through a rough time, I don’t imagine Christ as the friend who says, “You think you had it rough; my friend sold me out.  Literally.”  Instead I see him as the friend who says, “This does eat rocks.  You’re right.  This is one horrid experience and you deserve to scream and cry and yell.  But I will be here the whole time.  Because I know how bad it is and I know you need a friend.  I know.”

Elder Holland continues:
“When those difficult times come to us, we can remember that Jesus had to descend below all things before he could ascend above them, and that he suffered pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind that he might be filled with mercy and know how to succor his people in their infirmities (see D&C 88:6; Alma 7:11–12).

To those who stagger or stumble, he is there to steady and strengthen us. In the end he is there to save us, and for all this he gave his life. However dim our days may seem they have been darker for the Savior of the world.”

And what does he ask?  Well, through President Hinckley, he said:
“My beloved associates, far more of us need to awake and arouse our faculties to an awareness of the great everlasting truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Each of us can do a little better than we have been doing. We can be a little more kind. We can be a little more merciful. We can be a little more forgiving. We can put behind us our weaknesses of the past, and go forth with new energy and increased resolution to improve the world about us, in our homes, in our places of employment, in our social activities.”

We can do a little more.  And remember Him a little more.  Just a little.  Even my tender heart can do that.

I posted how much I loved this on FB and Kevin got it for me for Christmas.

I posted how much I loved this on FB and Kevin got it for me for Christmas.

Karen Hatch: A Truly Remarkable Woman

A dear friend and remarkable person passed away recently and I’m including her obituary.  I hope to be like her.  She was one of my favorite people to talk with at church and I will always be grateful for her example to me.  She was an accomplished woman who never regretted giving it all up to stay home with her children.  She was and is remarkable.

The following obituary with a picture can be found here.

Karen Frances Parker Hatch died January 22nd from head injuries suffered in a fall on the ice on January 14th. She was born on January 9, 1935 to Edna Maughan Parker and Fred Cooper Parker at home on the ranch near Hall, Montana, the 7th of eight children.

She attended the two room school in Hall, graduating from the 8th grade in 1948, and then attended Drummond High School, graduating in 1952. She received a B.S Degree in English education from Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, in 1956, and taught high school English in Oakdale, California, and Ely, Nevada until 1960 when she returned to BYU to pursue an M.A. Degree in English which she received in 1962. She then taught English at BYU until 1968.

In the summer of 1964 she attended the University of London, in London, England, for a six week course in 20th Century English Literature, and received a certificate of completion in August 1964. While in London she attended a play at which Queen Elizabeth II was also present.

For the academic year 1967-68 she studied at UCLA at Los Angeles, California, and successfully completed a specialized course of post graduate studies in teaching English as a second language.

On September 13, 1968, Karen married Carl A. Hatch in the Logan Utah Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and lived in Helena, Montana since then. For the next 30 years she focused on raising their six children, which she considered her most important work. Karen was an avid reader, and enjoyed traveling, opera, and classical and jazz music, but was always looking for an adventure whether it was riding in a hot air balloon in Albuquerque, on camels in China and Egypt, on elephants in Thailand and Myanmar, or snorkeling in the Caribbean at Cancun, Mexico, to celebrate her 80th birthday. However, she found homemaking, marriage and being a mother and grandmother the most fulfilling of all her life experiences. She loved her fifteen grandchildren and used her sewing skills to make each a unique blanket.

When her children were grown she worked for the Federal Government and the State of Montana in gathering labor and census information.

She and her husband taught English at Shandong Normal University in Jinan, China for the academic years 2003 and 2004. From 2006 – 2008 she and her husband were called by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve a humanitarian mission in the Thailand Bangkok Mission as country directors of LDS Charities in Myanmar, living in Yangon. During this mission she was involved in providing clean water to villages, education and medical institutions; in furnishing wheelchairs and prosthetics to the disabled; in having specialists from the United States, Japan, and other countries, train Myanmar doctors, nurses and other medical professionals neo-natal resuscitation; and in teaching English to governmental officials, young adults pursuing advanced education and hotel service employees.

Her devoted, lifelong membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided her opportunities to serve in many callings: teacher, choir director, Young Women’s President, Primary President and Relief Society President. Since October 2001 to the present she has served as an ordinance worker in the Billings Montana Temple. She followed the invitation of Moroni, the last of the Book of Mormon prophets, who wrote: “Come unto Christ, and be perfected in Him.”

Karen is survived by her husband, Carl, and their six children and fifteen grandchildren: Emily and James Lynn (Brendan, Connor, Ian and Erin) of Lethbridge, Alberta; Maureen Hatch of West Jordan, Utah; Jonathan and Tara Hatch (Caleb, Alyssa and Natalie) of Auburn, Washington; Jennifer and Christopher Childers (Ansel, Jonas, Owen and Sadie) of Richland, Washington; Lucy and Jay Johnson (Seth, Samuel, Henry and Daniel) of Durango, Colorado; and Sarah Hatch of West Jordan, Utah.

Shopping with my Daughter

I just went to Target with my 10 year old. Everyone should experience the joy of shopping with her. So with her permission, I share our recent experience. 

Every other year or so she gets Valentine’s and St. Patrick Day shirts. We went over to that section and I showed her this: 

Her response?  

“But gold is a solid rock. I don’t want my heart to be a solid rock.”

Then we saw this:

Her response:

“Donut pants?  That’s something YOU would wear.”

And there you have it. 

I have no idea why the second picture is sideways.

(And I probably would wear them if the situation was right.)