Saturday, November 7, 2015

Heavenly Father Loves Everyone

The tears I am shedding are from the ache I feel for those who are so angered by the policy clarification from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on same sex marriages and the children, natural born or adopted in those families.

When I first read the news article I was stunned, even angry.  How could they not allow children to be blessed or baptized? Isn't that punishing them for choices made by someone else? Doesn't our second article of faith state that we won't be punished for Adam's transgressions? I thought we love everyone! This didn't feel like love.

I immediately started praying for help in understanding this.  It was only minutes before I got a text from my oldest daughter asking if I had read the article.  I told her I had and then I prayed even harder knowing what the next text would ask.  She asked what I thought about it and with divine guidance I was able to express to her the following:

"When I first saw the headline I felt mad but then I read the entire statement and realized that once the child is an adult and making their own choices they can choose to join the church.  It is difficult in our society to draw a line of right and wrong. The church must draw that line with their policies so that everything coincides with the teachings of the gospel. We don't believe in same sex marriage but we do believe that every human being has certain rights. Those rights don't include changing the definition of marriage but should include civil rights allowed to all.  If someone chooses same sex marriage it doesn't mean that they are loved or valued any less, it just means they choose not to live by the guidelines of the church. I probably don't fully understand the depths of the policy but I know that President Monson is a prophet of God and speaks for him. If nothing else, I trust that and will certainly come to understand the whys."

Through the next few days and with continual prayer to my (and your) Heavenly Father, I feel so much peace in the policy and it's clear protection for the children and their parents.

I am only a whisper in the fury of the social media storm but I shall whisper nonetheless.

As a child I attended church.  Alone.  On occasion one of my brothers would attend with me but, for the most part, I went alone.  Our home life was less than ideal with many financial difficulties, alcoholism and violence that shaped our lives in many different ways.  There was love in our family but there was also a brokenness that seemed to never get repaired.

Being with my ward family at church was a refuge.  A calm in the storm of my life. I belonged. But there was also a deep sadness as I listened and learned the gospel and made the connection that my family wasn't living this gospel that I loved.  It was not a welcome response at home when I started asking the "why's", especially, Why don't you come to church? My parents had their reasons, the most memorable response was that the "Bishop couldn't answer their questions".

We had some neighbors move in next door from South Carolina, the Allen's.  They had three daughters, the youngest being just a year or two older than me.  We became friends and eventually I was invited to a sleep over.  That night, before we went to bed, the entire family gathered in her parents bedroom and kneeled around the bed to say a family prayer.  This was completely foreign to me! The father said the prayer and he asked for a blessing for me and for my family. My little heart skipped a beat....this man just asked Heavenly Father to bless me and my family! I remember laying in bed that night with my mind racing at this thought.  It was that night that I believe I was converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Not at my own home with my family, but at the home of someone who was living the gospel to the best of their ability.  I found myself wanting to be there as much as I could. I started noticing gospel centered actions in other friends homes and found myself gravitating to their homes too. I knew that this was what I wanted in my own family, I wanted my children to feel that and to have a family that lived a gospel centered life.  I have tried to instill that in our family and while not perfect, I am comfortable with my efforts.

Reflecting on these experiences has made the policy clarification of children in same sex families not being blessed at birth or baptized until age 18 an act of love for the child and their family.  No child wants to attend church and learn that their parents, the same people who they mostly view as their heroes, are not living the gospel. What good would come from that? In my own life experience it has caused grief and brokenness.  No one would wish that on a child or on the parents.

I loved the explanation this video with Elder Christofferson gave.  Please take 10 minutes and watch it.  I hope the peace I feel will fill your hearts.  I love you and I know Heavenly Father loves you. He wants the best for all of his children and he continues to show us the way.  It is not easy but I testify that it is worth it.

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Best Is Yet To Be

January 1, 2015. The day millions of people make billions of resolutions that are usually forgotten in a mere matter of days. Why do we do that?

So, I am not going to make declarations about all of the things I am going to do or change or think. I quite like where I am at and who I am. In fact, I plan on enjoying everything that already is just a bit more.

Today, I just want to let you know that I will be appreciating every person, place and thing in my life for exactly what it is, a blessing.

Consider yourself thought of and loved.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

My Old Friend

*Written in October 2014

I am laying on my bed surrounded by three of the most adorable fur-balls ever. Jazz, my very own senior dog (18 years and counting); Crazy a.k.a. The Vicious Licker and Buddy the Couch Critic. How did I get to be so lucky to share my life with them?

Each of them has their own unique personality and special quirks that make them even more loveable. Crazy will not eat a potato chip unless you dip it. Buddy is the sweetest, kindest dog unless he is behind a fence and you happen by our house.

And Jazz. My little circus dog who has lived beyond the last three Christmases even though odds were against her. She has been called a great many things; Jazz, Jasmine, Jazzy Girl, Skinny, Eeyore and Princess. She was chosen as the puppy we would keep from our dear Sadie's last litter before she was even born. Bryn asked if we could keep the runt and lucky for us it was Jazz.

She was supposed to be ours. No doubts about that. She quickly melted our hearts with her perfect puppy eyes and prance-y walk. She still prances around during bursts of happiness. It is during those moments that you would never believe she is 126 in human years.

Most recently she has taken on the name "Old Friend". She greets me with the giddiness of a child being reunited with their mother after being "lost" at the grocery store. Her favorite place to be is, and always has been, wherever I am. She insists on having a meal promptly at 4:00 PM and any delays in that will be brought to your attention. She loves food, cuddles, sleeping under the covers, going on walks and treats.

Jazz is as much my child as the two I gave birth to. How does one feel this way about an animal? It is easier than you think. I watched her come into this world, bathed her, fed her, cleaned up her messes, potty trained her, held her, cleaned up some more. We have played, camped, cuddled and cuddled some more. I am not sure who enjoys the cuddles more, me or her.

****December 8, 2014
Kirk and I just returned from the garden where we have laid our old friend to rest. After several days of great discomfort we knew it was time to let her be at peace. I can picture her frolicking with Sadie and enjoying every minute of her reunion. How blessed we feel to have been the recipients of such unending love from this little gift. Jazzy Girl....we love you and can't wait to see you again.

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Location:N 300 E,Mapleton,United States

Sunday, September 21, 2014


I am laying a well rested body into bed tonight and feel so grateful to have had such a peace-full weekend.

I did not shop or pack for this trip. I did not load the four wheelers or make sure all of the camping gear was there. This was all done by my sweetheart, and some help from the kids. I packed a bag with just the essentials and drove to a bit of heaven secreted in the beautiful mountain of Weber Canyon.

The next two days were spent visiting, laughing, riding, eating, napping, reading and the best part...watching.

I watched my dear in-laws enjoy their children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren as they tightened the bonds beyond just family into friendship. I watched my girls have a long-awaited cousin sleepover akin to those magical nights years ago when they would make their beds in the floor and talk and giggle until the wee hours of the morning.

I watched 15 pounds of bacon, seven dozen eggs and countless pancakes get gobbled up. The breakfast part of a Bertelsen campout is dripping in tradition, particularly on how and who should cook each item on the menu. One of my favorite things to watch is my sister-in-law's beautiful hands as she cooks the eggs and pancakes. I shared this secret with Bryn so she too could enjoy the view.

I watched the four generations enjoy all of the same things and learn many more things that will most likely become favorites too. My eyes welled with tears so many times as I watched this beautiful family that I am so blessed to be a part of, enjoy each other, pray for each other, tease each other.

It was a perfect weekend.

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