More abundantly

“If we constantly focus only on the stones in our mortal path, we will
almost surely miss the beautiful flower or cool stream provided by the
loving Father who outlined our journey. Each day can bring more joy
than sorrow when our mortal and spiritual eyes are open to God’s
goodness. Joy in the gospel is not something that begins only in the
next life. It is our privilege now, this very day. We must never allow
our burdens to obscure our blessings. There will always be more
blessings than burdens–even if some days it doesn’t seem so. Jesus
said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it
more abundantly.” Enjoy those blessings right now. They are yours and
always will be.”

– Jeffrey R. Holland

I’m so very grateful for sweet days, where reminders are abundant that everything will be all right, and that all is unfolding as it should.  Our oldest daughter passed a major milestone recently, and with it, was able to attend the Temple for the first time.  It was one of those rare, sweet, perfect moments in my life.  For a moment, all things aligned and made sense and were right.  The future stretched out happily in front of me.  Certainly, trials lay ahead, but days like that one remind me that a more abundant life has been given to me, and that all will be well.



“The mountains are fountains of men as well as of rivers, of glaciers, of fertile soil. The great poets, philosophers, prophets, able men whose thoughts and deeds have moved the world, have come down from the mountains — mountain-dwellers who have grown strong there with the forest trees in Nature’s workshops.”

-John Muir

I don’t know what to write today other than to say that I am so grateful.  I feel so blessed that our family has worked so hard together, that this may be our life.


New eyes

“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.”

― Betty Smith

This is the time of year when crowds start to flock to our quiet mountain home.  Luckily, we still have plenty of quiet sanctuaries.

Though things are less quiet, I do love to see the wonder on tourist’s faces when they see Yellowstone for the first time.  It is a gift to witness, a constant reminder of how blessed we are to live here.

This is the time of year when my six daughters are photographed as much as any Yellowstone wonder by Asian tourists.  I love the Asian tourists most of all.  They come so far to get here.  The other day, we met some women from China who literally wept at meeting us.  “Six girls.  Miracle,” one of them kept saying.  I am so, so grateful for what I have.

One of my girls turned twelve yesterday.  I am amazed at how, already, just the knowledge that she has moved to a new phase of life has changed her demeanor and her presence.  So grateful for how she has stretched me and loved me.

Grateful for new eyes this spring, which can so easily see my life of wonder.


“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

– W.B. Yeats

Spring is a magical time.

Life returns after a long sleep.

We took a hike on a little-known trail the other day.

Our path led us up the side of the mountain and round a bend, right beside an elk cow nearly ready to calve.

With wonder the girls watched the calf stretching the sides of her belly.

We left her in peace and walked on our way.

We love to go slow.   We love to go slow.

The magic of grass and water and all eternity in one moment is irresistible to us.

With each passing year, my girls see it more clearly.  Each season we spend in a life-after-rush existence is all the more appreciated.

If we would have been in a hurry, we would have missed the snails.

Hundreds upon hundreds of them, silently crawling through the grass and rocks.

Most shells filled with slimy, magical life.  Some empty and left for a beautiful memory.

It was a quiet day, truly wonderful.  We didn’t go nearly as far as we had planned.  There was no need.

We climbed back down.

We passed the mama, resting in the grass as the sun descended.

Things can be wonderful.  One of the greatest blessings of my life has been learning to slow down.

Only then have I learned the magic of ordinary things.


Seeking joy.

I used to let myself be “surprised” by joy if it came.  And that’s not a bad thing, but I’ve learned a great deal in the past few years.

One of the best things I’ve learned this past year or so is that I need to go looking for joy.

I need to seek it out and plan to find it.  I need to do things and be in places where joy is possible.  I can no longer wait around and hope it will stumble into me.

I have a good friend who loves to say, “I choose joy.”  Knowing the extremes she has had to endure, I am amazed, every time she says it.

Faith is a decision.  Joy, true joy, is faith.  It is a choice in spite of disappointment and sorrow.

Sorrow sometimes paves the way for joy.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”

I choose joy.


I think it’s been a month since I’ve written on my blog.  It’s been a month of sorting-out for me.

Lots of outside time.  Lots of prayer.  Lots of Yellowstone. :)

Finally, I think I am getting there.  I had so many “false summits”…moments where I was sure that I had made it, but only turned to find another high peak of myself and my will, looming ahead.

An old friend of ours is going through an immense trial right now.  He wrote about it publicly recently, and something he said really struck me.

“Believing God lives is much more difficult after enduring heart ache, despair, loss, and true gut-wrenching pain. Especially because by professing belief in a deity that allows such things and worse to be present and perpetuated throughout life means that there must be a purpose to it all.

Believing that God is there and that He loves us also means picking up the other end of the stick…believing that there is a purpose to it all.  The step (more like leap) forward after that is believing that there is a loving, benevolent purpose to it all.  (This is the step that C.S. Lewis shared with us all in his deepest sorrow.)

This past year and a half has been a monumental climb.  I have finally figured out what I was really climbing towards.  I was climbing toward a higher alter than I have ever visited.  And every time I climbed, I found there was a greater height, a greater sacrifice, yet waiting.  Another place where I had always known the answers, but had not yet had to ask the questions.

But finally, truly, I have placed the gift of my will and my heart on that high and holy alter.

And now I’ve climbed down, never to ask again for the requested gift to be changed.  I’ve learned to find joy again in doing not my will, but the will of Him who sent me.  For a long time, I resisted the joy.  In resisting the joy, I resisted giving all that I truly needed to give.  I resisted life.

Moments of intense sorrow are being replaced by moments of deep, intense calm and joy.  I look around me every day in wonder.  I see more.  I’m happy.

And somehow, my heart is approaching whole again.  Sorrow carves out a place in us.  Wholeness is not the absence of that sorrow.  It is a hole of grief that has been filled by a Savior who understands and succors it all.



Spring is about believing in good things to come.

Spring is about the future.

Spring rushes forth like a swollen river, downstream, to all that lies ahead.

Something about spring makes you ache to be back on the trail.

Sometimes the old trails are covered in snow, and new trails have to be forged.

The call of the future is there, of good things ahead.

Spring is believing in green when all is still brown.

Spring is a time to examine the damage of winter…to see what has fallen and died.

But even in the wreck and the ruin, life springs all around.

Decay will soon take over what once was, and it will feed the new life that is to come.

Spring work

“Along the river, over the hills, in the ground, in the sky, spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm, new life, new beauty, unfolding, unrolling in glorious exuberant extravagance, — new birds in their nests, new winged creatures in the air, and new leaves, new flowers spreading, shining, rejoicing everywhere.”

– John Muir


The thaw has been coming fast and early this year.

The land is new and wild.  It is waking up, new earth and secrets revealed.

Everywhere is the sound of water, as the snow melts away and the earth breathes once more.

I wasn’t quite ready for it yet.

I had given myself the winter, the long, long, winter, where the snow quietly covers everything in a deep, white blanket.  Everything rests.  Everything sleeps.  Part of me slept, too.

In my heart, I knew that when spring came, I needed to wake up again, too, and breathe and grow again.

When I began to hear the familiar drip of the water and smell the new, wild smell of the earth, I didn’t feel ready.

It takes faith to walk through the door of rebirth, and to keep walking through it day after day.

There is a holy light around a newly born babe, of newly sprouted plants in the spring, of new baby songbirds in a nest…a divine assurance that this new birth is right and sacred.

There is travail with the birth of a new heart, as well, but the same, quiet light shows through.

My comfort would prefer
For me to be numb
And avoid the impending birth
Of who I was born to become

Speak to me in the light of the dawn
Mercy comes with the morning
I will sigh and with all creation groan
As I wait for hope to come for me

– Brooke Fraser


Five years and mercy

This week has turned from what I thought would be a couple of days of mild sickness to constant throes of very serious illness.  We haven’t been this sick in a long, long time.

Our sweet fifth girl turned five this week, and she was sick as a dog on her birthday.  She was still my sweet, magic girl.

There was no cake, but there was lots of love, and lots of Little House.

Sweet homemade presents from sisters made the day even better.

She threw up first thing in the morning, after being sick all night and the day before.  Right after, she said with a smile, “I’m five! I think I’m taller today!”

Even before this child existed, her little spirit has demanded that it be here.  I have never in my life met a stronger presence than this sweet girl.

Our family has banded together as never before this week.  I have cried, watching my family love each other this week.  Each person has sacrificed and stretched to help others who were hurting.

All week, I have wondered at the mercy in our lives.  The dehydration of myself and my family this week scared me…but it didn’t.  I felt this incredible peace this week that I can’t quite describe.  At the same moment I realized it was going to be very terrible, I also knew with certainty it was going to be just fine.

Somehow I have found more peace than ever in knowing that our Savior knows, that He suffered it all, and that He knows how to succor us…I have felt Him run to me, more than once this week.  And though I prayed and begged that I would not get it, so that I would have strength to care for my family, I suffered with them in the middle for a few days.  What a gift it turned out to be…that I could then have the understanding, patience, and compassion on the sickest of them all once I was better.

We’re nearly over it now, and we’re starting to notice the spring light filtering through the trees and windows.  We are together, and tender mercies are abundant.

Blessed am I.