Saturday, September 1, 2012

My New Calling

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we all share in the responsibility of running our ward or local congregation.  These are known as "callings".  Local leaders pray to know who should fulfill certain callings and people are "called" or asked to serve for a period of time.  Some callings last longer than others.  All are on a volunteer basis.  The reward is definitely treasure in Heaven!!

Through the years I have had many different callings.  From teaching toddlers to teenagers to women in Relief Society. I have served at Young Women camp, and in the Family History Center.  I've had leadership callings and learned how to run an auxiliary, making decisions and delegating responsibilities.

My very first calling was teaching a class of 10 year old girls.  This was when Primary was midweek.  I was scared.  Here I was, a convert of a few months to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaching a class of girls who had been members all their lives.  But, I had the manual and we all learned together and it was a great experience.  I have learned that we don't receive callings necessarily for what we already know but how we can grow!!

For two and a half years I served as a Church service missionary helping others via and e-mail with  My callings have helped me learn and grow.  Some I was excited about, some scared me and make me feel very overwhelmed and inadequate.  My brand new calling makes me feel all of the above. After serving as a ward family history consultant for almost five years I was very surprised to be offered call to teach seminary. 

Seminary is a program for high school students. It is an early morning religion class before regular high school classes begin.  They rotate between four courses of study, Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon and Church History.  This year we will be studying the New Testament.  I will be team teaching with a marvelous lady who is experienced in Seminary.  We have divided the week.  She will teach Monday, Tuesday, I will teach Thursday and Friday and we will alternate Wednesdays.  We will be teaching high school seniors. This will be their fourth and last year of Seminary and my first!  I am sure they know more than more me.  My responsible is to help them feel the Spirit at the beginning of the day.  The purpose of Seminary is to:

"... help youth and young adults understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ, qualify for the blessings of the temple, and prepare themselves, their families, and others for eternal life with their Father in Heaven." From

This calling is going to be a great growing experience for me.  I have already learned a lot as I have attended several inservice meetings.  I look forward to learning a lot as I study but also from the youth and their insights into the scriptures and our Savior.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


We used to love to go tent camping.  As the years have gone by it has gotten harder and harder for us to do with Evan's medical needs. Many times when we walk on the Grover Beach board walk and head over near the Pismo beach campground my heart kind of aches for the family fun of camping.  A few weeks ago, April came up with the idea for us to go camping with her family while Evan was at Camp Harmon.  So, Mike and I jumped at the chance.  This would be Thomas and Corbin's first ever camping trip.  We still had lots of camping equipment including a nice big tent!!  

So, we made reservations online at Folsom Lake.  Our first choice, Beale's Campground area was full. The next choice was the Peninsula area. It had several open spaces. We didn't really look at the map to see exactly where this campground was at on the lake.  In fact Mike and I had never been to Folsom Lake before.  It wasn't until the night before when I was printing out maps that I realized this campground was "isolated" and clear on the other side of the lake a whole 45 minutes from the Beale's campsite.  Yikes, we were in for a long day!!

The plan was to drop Evan off at his camp at 2pm, then head to the Sacramento area.  We knew one big challenge would be the traffic.  I didn't realize how long it would take to get Evan checked it, we waited forever in the line with the nurses to go over his meds etc.  We finally hit the road at 3pm, knowing we wouldn't get to the campground until late.  April and Matteo were going to meet us there.  Well, of course traffic was bad.  At least we didn't get lost.  The road to the campground was curvy and slow, but very pretty.  A beautiful sunset greeted us when we arrived at the lake!  But, lo and behold, no April and family.  We said a little prayer and then proceeded to set up our tent before it grew too dark.  I was so happy to see them a few minutes later.  They had been delayed with shopping and the long drive.  

It was fun to set up camp together and cook our late dinner over a fire.  The boys were great and we enjoyed our time at the campground.  The first night being a Thursday was very quiet.  Friday night was more crowded and noisy.  

It was great to be with April's family, they fished and swam in the lake and we read and sang songs and eat together.  Just like camping should be!!  It was wonderful!!

Brotherly love!!

The phone service at camp left much to be desire, but was fun, nonetheless!!

Nothing like a little root beer on a hot day!!

Foil dinners!  We had sweet and sour chicken one night and meat and potatoes the next, oh, and garlic bread!

Very weird feather memorial for geese! 

Still in love after all these years.

Sunset on the lake.

Bacon cooking!  Yummy!!
Hmmm, I wonder what mischief he got into inside the tent!!

Matteo and Corbin off to fish!

Yummy apple!! 

Waking up to breakfast with a daddy hug on the side!

Yummy bacon!

Don't you love their little outdoorsy atire??

Watermelon to help cool off!

I wish I could still squat like that!!

Grandpa fun!

Thomas and Corbin out for a little adventure!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Magical Week at Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp

 Do you know is so great about this line up of empty wheelchairs??  

The kids are all in the swimming pool!!  YEAH!!

Monday through Friday this past week we commuted from our home to Santa Barbara (about an hour and half south) to volunteer our time at the Jr. Wheelchair Sports Camp held at UCSB. The long days were so incredibly worth it!! I was uplifted and inspired, as I knew I would be at this awesome camp. Evan had participated many years at this camp. And both Mike and I have volunteered before. When he aged out of camp three years ago I kind of went through withdrawal. I really missed the smiles and joy from the kids at camp! There is magic that happens between the kids and the counselors. All wheelchair users. 

So, a few months ago, I contacted the director and asked if Mike, Evan and I could volunteer. They were happy to have us and said they would find something for Evan to do. He was able to be a volunteer for the older group of campers under one of our favorite counselors, Bill Balles. You can read more about Bill here.

The adult counselors and coaches at this camp are such great role models for the campers.  And the campers are so inspiring and willing to try to new and scary things!!  It was just a privilege to be a small part of helping it all to happen.

We were asked not to post pictures of campers so I respected that and didn't take many pictures at all.  However, if you would like to learn more about camp.   I KNOW you do.  Here is a video of the local KEYT news story. You will be amazed at how well spoken the campers were!!  And just look at those smiles!! 


Click here for an article in a local Santa Barbara paper.  And here for a slideshow of pictures.  And one more webpage from Big Wave Dave right here.  He captured some great smiles!!

I hope we can volunteer next year.  Maybe you can too!! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fourth of July Week Fun

July 4th this year started bright and early in the morning for us.  We were helping to serve at the church pancake breakfast in Santa Maria!   Before we left for the activity, I sent a quick text message to Rachel to find out where she and Joey were (they were coming to visit and were planning on leaving Mesa, very early in the morning.)  I was surprised when Katie sent a message back and said, "I'm at home!".   Wait, how did Katie get that text??  Did I sent it to the right person?  Did my phone have a weird glitch?  So, I sent Katie a text back, asking if I had really sent her a text.  Her reply..."apparently".  Oh, my!  So, then I asked Katie to call me, and as soon as I said hello, it hit me!! Rachel was at Katie's house. They got me good!!  Rachel and Joey were smart and drove Tuesday evening to Katie's house.  They had spent the night there!  They were going to the pancake breakfast and then head to our house, four hours north. 

We enjoyed our pancake breakfast and program. It was fun and great to see many old friends.   We came home for lunch and soon Rachel and Joey were there!  It was so great to see them!! 

 It was such a beautiful day.  We headed to the Bob Jones Bike Trail. 


Man, is Evan ever fast!!   Can you tell we are having a hard time keeping up!!

This is the San Luis Creek which flows along the path.  It was so pretty that day!! 

There are great trees for climbing!! 

We decided not to fight the crowds at the beach or pier and head up to middle school on the hill to watch the fireworks.  Here is our vantage point. 

Isn't the sail on this boat pretty.  

 Rachel is all bundled up for the cold!! 

Evan, me, Mike and Rachel.  We just enjoyed chatting and nibbling snacks waiting for the fireworks!!

The next day we headed up to La Cuesta Encantada otherwise known as Hearst Castle.  W. R Hearst was the famous publisher who built this the huge home on property in San Simeon.  We took the Grand tour.  This place is amazing and is now consider a museum with lots of ancient art work on the walls.

 This is the dining room. 

 Hearst actually considered this a ranch not a castle.  He was very informal and the condiments would be on the table in their original containers.  It looked rather odd around all the art work.  

They are doing things a little different now at the castle.  After your tour you can just wander around the gardens until your heart is content.  I wish I would have know that before I got tickets.  I would have planned a little better.  I was expecting to complete the tour in time to head back down the mountain for a picnic lunch.  We wandered in the gardens though for quite a while taking in all the beauty we could until hunger gave in.  Here is some of the beautiful scenery and flowers. 



This is the indoor pool.

The front of one of the cottages.

This is the view of the ocean from the castle. It was simply stunning!!

We also had fun going to the Great American Melodrama and just playing games at home.  Wii tennis was especially a blast with four people!!   When Joey and Rachel headed home to the desert on Saturday we followed halfway and went to the Los Angeles temple where Katie and Brad met with us.  It was great being in the Temple with some of our children.  It reminded us that families can be forever!!

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