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On My Mind

I was reading some old posts of mine this morning, but I felt that I should repost this again. I think I mostly just need to remember my own words and I hope they might help someone out there. Recently I’ve been thinking about why bad things happen to good people and why we have to have difficult struggles in our life. Nothing is going on in our life you should be concerned about, it’s just the world we live in and some people around us that has gotten me thinking. So, here’s a post from February 6, 2012.


I’ve had a lot on my mind this weekend. Kind of heavy stuff.

It all started Saturday night when I received a call from my best friend back home, Blair, informing me that her sister’s boyfriend had been in a accident Friday night. He was riding his bike and a drunk driver hit him–he passed away on Saturday.

I don’t know the boy very well, but my heart instantly ached for his family (I went to school with his older brother) and for his girlfriend. Little Blair (my friend’s sister), as we’ve always called her, is one of the sweetest girls I know and as soon as I heard the news I thought, this just isn’t fair.

Then yesterday, we heard the news that Josh Powell blew up his house–killing himself and his two little boys. I’ve been following the story of Susan Powell since it happened, and even though I don’t know the family personally, it just broke my heart to hear that Josh killed his sons.

I was up at my in-laws last night and we started to talk about my mother-in-law’s mom who passed away when she was 44. Kelly (T.J.’s mom) was pregnant with T.J. at the same time her mom (Nancy) was pregnant. The day of the baby blessing for Nancy’s new son, she came home and told her husband she wasn’t feeling too well. She died just a couple hours later from blood clots. The day of the funeral, Kelly delivered T.J.

And one last story, just in case I haven’t depressed you enough. I read a blog post last night that Kelly told me about. It was of a photographer’s experience shooting a delivery of a still-born baby. The post was beautifully written, but made me feel so sad for this young couple who decided to naturally deliver this little baby who hadn’t made it.

Needless to say, in my prayers last night, I broke down in tears thinking about these four stories. All the people who have had such hard struggles, and how, in contrast, my life is abundant with blessings.

The biggest question on my mind about these different stories is, “Why?” Why did Little Blair’s boyfriend have to tragically die? Why did Josh have to take his two sons with him? Why did Kelly’s mother have to pass so early, leaving her newborn son without a mother? Why did that young couple have to lose their beautifully baby?

After contemplating this and discussing these questions with family, I’ve learned and remembered a couple of things.

  1. Sometimes accidents just happen. It’s sad, but true. God doesn’t always intervene. We have our free agency, He let’s things happen and although it’s hard, it’s a part of life.
  2. There are lessons to learn. Sometimes death brings a family closer, makes them think about their personal spiritual beliefs, and gives them a stronger testimony of the Plan of Salvation, and even forgiveness. It also teaches lessons to people outside of who it personally affected… such as me in all of these cases.
  3. God sees the larger picture. It is hard for us to see past the here and now and so when something tragic happens, we don’t understand why. We must have faith in our Heavenly Father that he knows what He is doing and can see the grand scheme of things.
  4. It teaches us of the Savior’s sacrifice for us and is a reminder of the Atonement and how Christ suffered the same things for all of us. What that means in correlation to all of this? When we feel like we’re alone and no one understands what we are going through, we can turn to our Savior and our Father in Heaven and they will be there to comfort us.

One of my favorite scriptures is D&C 122: 7-8. It says,

“Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?”

Anyway, those are my thoughts. My prayers are with those families lost loved ones this weekend. And I want all of you to know that I know families can be together forever through the blessings of the temple. I know that our Savior loves us and that the Holy Ghost can be here to give us peace and comfort if we ask for it.


Spring Haven Ward Activity

Our congregation at church headed up the Springville canyon to go to BYU’s Spring Haven Lodge for the night. We weren’t planning on going since Eva had been sick, but on Saturday, her breathing was back to normal and she wasn’t coughing much anymore. The drive up the canyon was gorgeous! We didn’t stay too long but it was fun to mingle with friends, play some games, go down the slide with Eva a hundred times, and explore the grounds.




Goodbye, January…

I’ve been writing on my blog so much that going a day or two without blogging seems like forever. It’s midnight and I need to go to bed. But Home Alone is on ABC Fam, so here I am. It’s my obligation… no, it’s my duty to watch Home Alone (1 or 2) if it’s ever on TV. No matter what time of the year it is. “Snakes, Snakes, I don’t know no Snakes.”

Anyway, we had a great weekend but unfortunately didn’t take any photos. Words will have to suffice. On Friday night, we had the ward dinner. The men had to make dinner for the women, and T.J. was over it all. He had to delegate most everything because he was very busy. I was pretty much a nervous wreck worrying if it would work out or if we’d have to buy pizzas at the last minute. He kept telling me not to worry, but I’m a woman. That’s what I do.

Everything turned out great though! The setup and cleanup was taken care of, a lot of people attended and there was enough food for everyone. Nice work, guys!

Saturday morning we had T.J.’s mom watch Eva while we went to the temple. Our goal is to visit all the temples in Utah before (well, if) we move. So, this week was Mount Timpanogos. I will forever love that temple. It is so gorgeous. We spent the rest of the afternoon with T.J.’s family just hanging out, shopping, and playing with the kids.

Last minute, we decided to go back up to American Fork on Sunday morning because Elder Scott, one of the 12 apostles, was speaking at T.J.’s family’s stake conference. Who could pass up that opportunity? The stake conference was wonderful. It was all about temple attendance and family history. Elder Scott also told the husbands to tell their wives why they appreciate and love them… and to give specifics! I’ll be reminding T.J. to do that daily. 🙂

I made taco soup (recipe coming tomorrow) for everyone and then we had a Superbowl Party. Fortunately for me, no one really cared about the actual game so not much football was actually watched. We took naps, I read my book, talked to my parents, and we watched a movie. I did catch the half time show and was not impressed. It was a little too raunchy.

Tonight I actually decided to work on family history stuff. And I’ve already found four names to take to the temple! I just hope I’m doing it right… it is kind of nerve racking in that way. But everyone who says geneology is addictive is right. Before I knew it, two hours had passed by!

That was our weekend in a nutshell! I’m excited for this upcoming week! The Bachelor is on tomorrow AND Tuesday. We are going to a toddler’s program at the library, I’m going to the aquarium with my in-laws one afternoon, we have a family party one night, a birthday party Saturday afternoon, and I’ve got some crafts lined up, as well as a delicious dinner plan ahead. Here’s to a productive, sunnier, and snowless week! Welcome, February!



A Complete Change

I don’t want to get too personal in this blog post but it is something I do want to share with you all. We have four family new year’s resolutions:

  1. Go to the temple regularly (We decided every other week.)
  2. Read the scriptures together every day
  3. Hold Family Home Evening weekly
  4. Kneel in prayer together at night

We have had these four goals since we’ve been married but, honestly, haven’t been great at all of them at the same time. It’s not that we purposely were trying not to do them, but life gets busy and it’s hard to get in those habits. What’s made it really difficult is the scheduling. Almost everyday T.J. comes home just for dinner and then heads back to campus to do homework. By the time he gets back, I’m either asleep or we are both dreadfully tired.

At the end of 2012 we knew we needed to do something different. Those four resolutions aren’t just goals. They are all CRITICAL components to a happy and loving marriage. I’m sure you’ve heard it a hundred times. But still. Step back for one minute and take the time to analyze your marriage. When you aren’t doing those four goals, do you feel like you’re happy with your marriage? Happy with your spouse? Do you two get along well? Do you feel like the Spirit is in your home?

If you’re not working on those four goals continually, then the answer to all those questions can’t be a solid yes. And for us, a lot of times the answers were no.

So, we decided we had to try something new. In the past, we had been trying to pray and read together right before bed. What that turned out to be was us rushing through a couple verses because we were eager to get to sleep. Our prayers weren’t very thoughtful. They were the same ones every night. Our plan? We found a new time. Right after dinner. As soon as dinner is over, we read from the scriptures then we kneel together in prayer. The best part is that Eva finally sees us reading and praying together every single day. One day this week she even hopped on my lap and pointed to the scriptures while we were reading, pretending to follow along. Also, if it’s Monday, we do FHE right after dinner.

I am not kidding when I tell you that this has literally changed our life and changed our marriage. In fact, it brings me to (happy) tears to think about the night and day difference. It’s only been three weeks, but I am literally in awe at the change it has created in our home. Not only has it brought a strong spirit of peace, we also are growing spiritually together. Who would have thought that just moving the time back a couple of hours when we are still awake would make such a huge difference. Since we aren’t half asleep, we take the time to really dive into the scriptures and pray with real intent. We also have noticed a huge difference in how we get along. We rarely fight or get offended anymore. We are more considerate of each other and see in each other so much spiritual potential.

Going to the temple is the last key to this change. We hadn’t been to the temple together for a while because it’s hard to make time when you have kids. But I will tell you what… It is crucial. Go. Make a goal and stick to it. Find a babysitter. I know it may seem inconvenient when you have kids, but it makes such a huge difference. So, just go!

I hope that this post doesn’t come out all braggy. I don’t want you to think that I’m saying, “Hey, my marriage is awesome and we are a perfect Mormon family!” We always will have hardships and every day isn’t a dream. But the point is…

When you are working on those four goals, you and your spouse have the power and strength to get through anything together.

It’s true. I know it is. And I really hope that, if you find yourself in the same rut that we were in, you try this!

Alright. I’m going to step off the pulpit now. Just call me Sister Derrick from now on.  🙂





Two years ago in November, I wrote about my little 7th grade friend who I was helping out. Just in case you don’t remember, Savannah was the one who I had mentored at BYU and who was from a very broken home. Months after the mentor program, I ran into her at the grocery store randomly. After giving her my number and telling her to call me if she needed anything, she called me one night asking me to take her to the hospital to see her mom who had a stroke. For the next couple weeks, we really bonded and I began to love this girl so much as I served her.

Well, a lot of stuff happened and she ended up in the hospital. Savannah had a lot of issues, but who can blame her when you have zero support at home. We lost contact because the phone numbers I had of hers all were out of order. I tried everything that I could, even calling the hospital and stopping by her parents’ apartments. But I never was able to reach her again. Needless to say, I cried a lot thinking that I had just lost a close friend.

The last time I actually saw her was the day before Thanksgiving. She had told me that the year before, they were living in a motel room and had mac & cheese for dinner. I wanted her to have a real Thanksgiving dinner and so, with help from a couple of friends, I brought over a dinner to her family. I have never had such an enjoyable Thanksgiving as that year. It felt so wonderful to help a family in need and helped me realize that, even in Provo, there are people who need our help.

Anyway, Savannah has been on my mind this week since it’s been two years exactly. I thought at the time that I was in her life to help her and to be an example for her. I’m sure I did help her to some extent, but I know now that she was in my life for a short time to teach me about service.

That experience showed me that true love and gratitude come directly from service. As we serve others, in true humility, we will have a softened hard and become selfless.

I challenge you, as we celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, to serve those around you. Make an effort to help someone, and you will be amazed at how fast you feel the light of Christ in your life.

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Try to Remember

Thursday morning, we received the news that T.J.’s Grandpa Lyman had passed away. About a month ago, he was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer. He tried to fight it, but the type of cancer was too aggressive.

It’s been a long time since someone close to me has passed away. I was a Freshman in high school when my grandmother Penny passed away and then just a couple months after that my grandmother’s husband, who was like a grandfather to me, passed away. So, it’s been a while since I’ve felt this way. And although Lyman was not my actual Grandpa, he was a great man who I admired and loved.

I was asked to play the piano for T.J.’s aunt who is singing at his funeral this coming Monday. You know, the Lord works in mysterious ways. A couple weeks ago, I decided to start practicing the piano again. So, when I was asked to play I actually felt very comfortable to accept. Hopefully I’ll be able to remember all that I have practiced and not get too emotional in the two songs. Pray for me, please.

I just want to share my personal and simple testimony with you all. I know that families can be together forever. I am so grateful for the Plan of Salvation. I can’t imagine losing a loved one and thinking we’d never see them again. It gives me light in the darkness and strength to continue when times are hard. I have a testimony in our Savior, Jesus Christ, and know that He lives.

To read Lyman’s obituary, click here.

Here are the lyrics to one of the songs I’m playing at the funeral. Lyman loved this song and listened to it a lot this past month.

Try to Remember (Lyrics by Tom Jones)

Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh, so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain was yellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.

Try to remember when life was so tender
That no one wept except the willow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That dreams were kept beside your pillow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That love was an ember about to billow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.

Deep in December, it’s nice to remember,
Although you know the snow will follow.
Deep in December, it’s nice to remember,
Without a hurt the heart is hollow.
Deep in December, it’s nice to remember,
The fire of September that made us mellow.
Deep in December, our hearts should remember
And follow.

Heavy Heart

We found out recently that someone close to us is sick. Because of it, I have a lot on my mind.

To learn more about my beliefs, click on each link.

I want to always stay close to the Lord so that I am prepared to endure all things.
Family is of most importance. We should continually strengthen those relationships.
I am so grateful for the Plan of Salvation and that my family can be together forever.
I want to be remembered as someone who always served the Lord.
We should never take time for granted and always find joy in the journey.


“Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family. One day each of us will run out of tomorrows.” -President Thomas S. Monson (October 2008)


Conference Weekend

Friday night, my amazing husband turned down watching the BYU football game so he could take me on a date without Eva. We have been really busy and so it was the only night that worked. He came home from work with these beautiful flowers.

We had a gift card to Applebee’s so that makes any dinner great. Most of our conversation centered around our Halloween costume ideas. We still haven’t decided on one!

After dinner, we snuck in some treats to see the movie Hotel Transylvania. T.J. really didn’t want to see that movie but I thought the previews looked cute and told him to trust me. Within the first fifteen minutes of the movie I knew we had chosen the wrong movie. I tried to keep to convince myself I liked it because I didn’t want T.J. to be right, but then it almost became unbearable. We only see movies at the regular theater once every couple of months so it’s pretty disappointing that we saw that one. Oh well, it’ll be a funny memory!

Saturday morning before General Conference, T.J., Eva, and I took a walk up and around the temple. It was so gorgeous and this cutie pie looked adorable as ever.

Eva loves watching conference.

Stand Up for Good

I have had the opportunity to work on a campaign for Miami Valley Christian Academy. MVCA is a private school in the Cincinnati area founded on Christian principles, but not specifically linked to one specific denomination. From the many interviews we participated in with students, teachers, and parents related to the school, I started to wish I could have gone to MVCA during my high school years. Although the school doesn’t promote my specific Mormon beliefs, they promote virtue.

To kickoff their new campaign and five-year plan, MVCA threw a fundraiser event which I attended. They had several guest speakers who testified how MVCA changed their lives for the better and has helped them become better, Christ-like people.

I may not have felt the same type of feelings at the event as I feel at the temple or when I’m having a sacred and personal spiritual experience, but I still felt the power of the Spirit bearing witness to me that these people–this school–is fighting for good

When the fundraiser ended, I couldn’t help but to reflect back on all the speakers and how it related to me. I want to share it with you:

Sometimes we as Latter-day Saints, get wrapped up in our own world. We think that we’re the only ones out there standing up for Christ and His gospel. It’s easy to feel that the world outside of our own is turning wicked and that we’re the only people left trying to overcome the evil.

Yes, it is true that the world is getting more wicked. It is the last days. But it’s not true that we’re the only ones standing up for righteousness. It is time for us to break down the barriers between other denominations and get past what makes us different and instead, focus on what makes us the same. It is time to join with all those fighting for good to try to overcome the evil in the world.

I’m a proud member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But I’m also a proud Christian who wants to join with all Christians to stand up for truth and light.



Our home teacher is my good friend Erin‘s husband. So, that’s awesome. Sometimes if his companion can’t come Chris brings Erin and it’s the best home-teaching in the world. Last month they had us over for dinner.

A full out turkey dinner with beautiful dishes and the cutest place setting you have ever seen. Check it out.

Thanks, guys!