Regional Conference

For Regional Conference, our Stake Center had both chapels and four classrooms open to watch the broadcast. We decided to head to one of the classrooms because it would be easier with Eva.

Little did we know we’d have the place to ourself! It was awesome! Best two hours of church we had ever had! Eva entertained herself for the majority of the time playing with the rows of chairs and crawling over the classroom.

Can we have church like that more often?


Family History Stories: My Mom’s Conversion

A couple years ago, I asked my mom to write down her conversion story for me. With her permission, I’m sharing it for this week’s family history story blog post:

I was brought up in a Southern Baptist home.  My dad taught Sunday School, was a deacon in the church and once a quarter bought grape juice to be served to the small congregation in Berry for communion.  That was the only time we bought grape juice, and so I enjoyed the left overs!  Anyway, every summer I’d go to revivals, have very emotional experiences because I knew God lived and loved me but longed for more.  More peace, more answers.  At alot of revivals (summer church meetings that would last a week in hopes of more people becoming “saved”)  Anyway, in college, I became even more involved with religion as I joined a college non-denominational group called “Crusade for Christ”.  I learned more about having a personal relationship with God and had a desire to follow Him more than I’d ever felt before.

Then I met your dad.  He was perfect, as far as I could see, a musician and a minister.  We talked about the Gospel alot, only I had no idea that the things he was teaching me was part of the doctrine for the Church.  I began attending church with him and was very impressed with the warmth and kindness of the people.  Some folks even had us into their homes for dinner and FHE, and I felt something I’d never felt before.  I really liked it, but as I learned of the Mormon doctrine, it went against many of my basic beliefs (like Heavenly Father having a body and the idea of godhood).  And so for 18 months, I fought against the Holy Ghost and the beliefs that Chris shared with me.  I read the Book of Mormon, but did not get a real testimony of it’s truthfulness.

Looking back on it now, I guess I didn’t really pray with a humble faithful heart.  I’d like to say that there was a prophet or church leader who really touched me with his words, but that would be a lie.  But I held on to the testimony of Chris who was influenced by Joseph Fielding Smith (the prophet in 1973).  Back in those days, we only got to hear (not see) the prophet during General Conference, and of course there was no internet, for frequent viewing and hearing the words of the prophets.  Chris told me that he was touched by the prophet’s words when he heard them.  Remember your dad was a relatively new member too (being baptized just 2 years earlier).  And so, I prayed and fasted during my college senior year’s spring break and felt good about joining the Church.  I was baptized by Chris in a creek in Lexington on April 6, 1973.  I consider that day the best day of my life.  I didn’t know it at the time, but my life would change in a way that I could not imagine.  As Chris left on his mission four months later, I moved to Northern Kentucky, got immersed in my N Ky ward, was taught, mentored and loved.  The ward members did more for me than I could ever express.  I will always be indebted to the good people who showed me the way of the Savior.  And now many years later, I can truly say I love the Lord, his prophets, his words and his Gospel.


Family History Stories: Leland Huntsman

Last Sunday, we had a Family Home Evening held at T.J.’s grandma’s house on the importance of family history and writing events down. I feel like since I’ve been married, I’ve done quite a good job keeping record of what we have done as a family and what is going on in our life. But it made me realize that I don’t know much about my ancestors. I love hearing stories, but I’ve never taken the time to write them down. One day the people who tell me the stories won’t be there to tell them to me any longer, so I’ve decided to start doing a Family History series on my blog. We’ll see how it goes.

Today I want to talk about T.J.’s great-grandfather. All of the information comes from his biography, so at least it’s already written down. But as I have been reading it, I just have to share some quotes from this amazing man who is still around today!

Leland Emery Huntsman was born on September 28, 1909 in Santa Clara, Utah and lives in Enterprise, Utah, today at almost 103 years old. I don’t know if you realize this, but 1909 was before the Titanic sank, before light switches and zippers were invented, before women could vote, before FM radio, before WWI, and before most holidays (such as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day were adopted into our culture. Can you imagine all that he has seen? What an incredible, yet scary, century to witness.

Growing up, he loved going to the ranch with his dad. He said, “When I was young there weren’t any chores I didn’t like because then they were just things that had to be done. We didn’t know any different than to do just what we were asked.” I think I could learn a lesson or two from him.

Gas was $.25/gallon and stamps were $.03 a piece. Life was much simpler. “I drove way before I was sixteen. I definitely wasn’t old enough to drive when I started driving. I was sixteen though when I did get my license but back then all you had to do was go in and get a piece of paper. It didn’t require you to take any class or test or anything like that.”

I’ve only made it through the first 100 pages of his biography so far, but one other part that really stuck out to me was when he talked about raising a family. Leland said, “The love of the family is what I found most rewarding about raising a family. Realizing that your family is yours and how much they mean to you. Working as a family is something that we always did and I think teaching your family how to work and work together is important. Each child had their own little job to do…Being a parent is a big job and so advice I’d give to my posterity about being a parent it to be good and teach your children how to work. Just love your kids and cherish the moments you have with them because before you know it they are gone.”

As I was writing this post, I kind of broke down in tears. I was telling T.J. all that I was learning about his great-grandfather and how you can just tell by looking at Leland that he is a very special man. I guess I’m so emotional about it because I didn’t grow up with grandparents in the gospel. My parents were converts and so whenever I hear about all of T.J.’s ancestors and how they were so strong in the gospel, it really gets to me. I always dreamt of having a large extended family, all active in the church. And now… now I’m in one! What an incredible blessing to be able to have Leland as an example to me! When you see the affect of his righteous desires and choices, it is overwhelming. He has created a legacy for himself, one I must, as a part of his posterity, continue and pass along.

There is much to be learned from Leland, especially his work ethic. You can tell he worked hard and always lived by faith.

“I’ve learned a few lessons about life throughout my career. I’ve learned that life is not a game. To get the most out of life you have to work at it. You can’t just expect it to come without any effort. Always be honest! You need to realize that you need to make something of yourself on your journey. Keep the rules and still love life. Always have a goal to strive for and never lose hope or faith. Always keep your faith.”

Always keep your faith. That is something I’m going to work on this week.

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Happy Birthday, President Monson!

President Monson turns 85 on August 21 and to celebrate, there was a celebration for him at the Conference Center in Salt Lake last Friday night. My friend had extra tickets and invited a couple of us girls to join her. I was able to get a babysitter and go!

The program was incredible. President Monson loves broadway music and so the night was filled with some of his favorite tunes from Annie, Les Misérables, The Music Man, Phantom of the Opera, and Cats. The Choir sang, in addition to several guest singers: one from the Met., one who was Christine in the Phantom on Broadway, and another was toured in Les Mis. I teared up in every single song because they were just so talented and the Spirit was so strong. At one point, Boy Scouts came out singing while holding flags. It was precious.

Between the songs, they showed clips from family and friends saying Happy Birthday and sharing memories of President Monson. I am always blown away when I hear about the service that he has given to the church. He is an example to us all!

After the event, we walked around Temple Square and then had dessert at The Cheesecake Factory (conveniently right across the street now at the City Creek Center… I love that place!).

Thanks, Sarah, for inviting me! It was so wonderful to have a night out spent with good friends and a wonderful concert!

(Thanks, Sarah, for the pics.)

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Why I Keep Coming Back

Today at church I was sitting in the foyer with Eva for (what felt like) the hundredth time and I just wanted to give up and throw in the towel. I thought to myself, Why do I keep coming back here? I miss the talks. I miss the lessons. Do I even get anything out of it when I am in and out of the meetings?

This led me to brainstorming the reasons why I do keep coming back.

  • I need to set an example for Eva. I don’t want her to think that we can just skip church if we are having a rough day. In fact, those are usually the days we need it most.
  • I can still enjoy the Spirit in the building. There’s something about getting dressed in your Sunday’s best and trying to be reverent.
  • I will be blessed for my efforts.
  • I still get bits and pieces of the messages, which add up to something.
  • It’s never going to get any easier. I’m sure in ten years I’ll be looking back and dreaming of these days. I’ll have more callings, more kids, and more responsibilities then.

After that, I rededicated myself to staying the rest of the three hours. But it still wasn’t easy. On the way out, I grabbed my belongings quickly and headed to the car behind dozens of couples holding hands and talking about what they learned in Priesthood and Relief Society.

That’s when I lost it. The moment I got in the car I broke down in tears. I really consider myself to be a strong woman. Not many wives could be away from their husbands for four months and be okay. And most of the time, I am okay. But after a long day with Eva, I really needed my hubby at my side telling me it ‘s all worth it and to hang in there.

I know I shouldn’t complain. My mom would call me after reading this and say there are so many people in much worse situations than I am in. So, Mom, I beat you to the punch. When I do start feeling sorry for myself, I always think of all the wives with husbands in the military. They go months or even years without seeing their husbands and everyday they worry if he’s going to make it home safely. And when times are tough with Eva I try to remember how she’s the biggest blessing in my life.

And after all, there’s just a week and a half left. Only one more Sunday by myself. Oh, you better believe Eva will be T.J.’s responsibility for many Sundays to come.


I Can Hear the Bells

Four years ago, on a late night in April, my brother dropped me off at my new apartment complex. I knocked on the door and a girl came to the door. I wasn’t sure if I was at the right place or if it was the right time for me to move in, so I seemed a bit hesitant when I said, “Hey, uhh I think I’m your new roommate? Are you Bethany?”

Bethany and I always look back at that evening because I was this little 19 year old who arrived on a newly returned missionary’s doorstep and from there, we both changed each others’ lives! Ever since that night, we have been the type of friends who don’t necessarily need to see each other every day to stay close. We can just call and catch up every once in a while and it seems like no time has passed. Aren’t those the best types of friends?

That summer that we lived together in Chathamtown, she helped me grow up and mature so much and really helped me grow my testimony in the gospel of Jesus Christ and I helped her get out of her awkward RM phase. 🙂 It was the best mix, and I have loved her ever since. She is one of the most special girls I know and deserves the absolute best.

Well, she found the absolute best and as you can tell, is incredibly happy! Last evening, I attended their sealing in the Mount Timp. temple and got to be at her wedding dinner following. I am so grateful that she has found her perfect companion! I don’t know him too well yet, but you can just tell that they are perfect for each other!

Love you, Bethany!


Alma 5

Three years ago, when T.J. was walking me home, he pulled a flower off of the tree and put it in my hair. That night, I put it in my scriptures. I came across it in my studies this week. Alma 5.

“And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart.”



Rock Canyon Trail

Since I’m over the Relief Society activities in my ward, I planned a hike up Rock Canyon Trail a couple weeks back. There was just a handful of us, but it was a fun group and we couldn’t have asked for a nicer morning.

I love my calling and I love these girls! This calling has given me such a great opportunity to get to know so many people in the ward, and most of all, make wonderful friends!


Strong Enough

I have this thing where I don’t like to cry in front of Eva when she’s happy and content. When she’s crying… that’s a whole other story.

She just woke up from a nap and is just being the cutest thing in the world–sipping on her bottle and batting those dark, long eyelashes at me. With a smile, the milk runs down the corners of her mouth because it’s hard to swallow and smile, I guess.

Anyway, every once in a while, I get overwhelmed. I get sad. Really sad. That just happened a minute ago. It hit me again that T.J. is not here with us and that we still have three months left without him. In those hard moments of reality, I have to turn away from Eva. I don’t want her to see her mom sad. I always want her to see me as a strong woman, someone who immediately turns to the Lord in those times of weakness.

So, I let myself have a couple tears, but then I say a prayer that I’ll be strong for my little girl.

And I smile right back.



Did you know my good friend Hannah is living with me this summer? The day I found out that T.J. would be gone four whole months, I prayed to know whether or not I should go with him. I felt that I should stay in Provo for several specific reasons and then the thought came to me to have Hannah move in.

I asked her what she thought, she said it was an answer to her prayers as well.

She moved in the weekend T.J. left and it’s been a slumber party ever since!

Thanks, Aunty Hanny for keeping us company!