Friday, December 29, 2017


As I helped jeani pack up her home, she found an essay of mine from years ago.  I do not recall ever writing the essay, nor did it sound familiar when I read it.  But it is the honest truth and apparently I felt it needed to be said and who better to know it's truth than jeani (thanks for saving it and sharing it with me)!

It has stirred up a lot of emotions, but I would not change the story, the timeline, nor the results, for anything.  

SIDE NOTE:  I have never capitalized or spelled jeani like it is supposed to be spelled (Jeannie), but she has always written out my full name in everything - and she titled this letter to her "Dance" so I have used the same title.   :)

PS.  I did feel like it left me hanging there at the end... if you want to know who won, ask me and I may or may not tell you.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017



Someone once asked me how I felt about Heavenly Father not taking away my cancer after my diagnosis.  That I didn't show up to my next appointment and the cancer had miraculously disappeared, like in other people's stories.

That thought had never occurred to me.

I prayed to be healed and My dad blessed me that I'd have a full recovery.  I've been healed and I've had a full recovery.  I prayed to get through the treatments and that the treatments would work.  They worked.

I prayed with a grateful heart that it was me and not someone else.

I never prayed to have my cancer taken away, but here I am 13 years later and it has been taken away.  So I guess I feel grateful that I learned empathy for those who are sick, for patience in rebuilding the muscle tone killed by chemo and patience in losing the weight gained from the chemo, gratitude for the change in my diet to eating healthy, for the miracles of modern medicine, and for the millions of answered prayers in between.

I put my life in God's hands and I am stronger for it.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017



There was this one time, I had cancer.  I even wrote a book about it.  So I'm pretty much famous and I thought I'd share one of many prayer stories from that time...

LUMPECTOMY (noun, lump-eck-ta-mee) 1. The surgical removal of a breast cyst or tumor.  Origin:  1970-75 lump + ectomy

So I had one of those.

I awoke groggy (as most patients do).  My eyelids were heavy, my limbs seemed immovable, and my head weighed more than a bowling ball (the heavy ones professional bowlers use, not the fluorescent balls children use...and I use).  I blinked my lids open and found a cute beanie baby and balloon sitting with me and my mom sitting just across the room.  I think I smiled at her in my sleepy head, not on my actual face.  I worked my way to sitting, letting my head hang on my neck for a minute or two.

Somehow I had a bag of my clothes in my arms and I proceeded to put them on (a shirt that zipped up the front, genius, shorts and my Adidas tennies). No sooner had I emptied the bag of its contents then I filled it back up...with my insides.  Apparently the anesthetic did not agree with me...and it continued to disagree with me all the way home.  There is a point of dilusion, when it doesn't seem real even though it feels VERY real.  My eyes were crying tears even though I wasn't actually crying, just convulsing a little...or a lot.  I did learn a useful tip:  ziplock bags are the greatest tool for vomit control.

I lay in the guest room of my parent's home, too exhausted and delirious to do anything...even pray (which is saying something).  My dad, a sympathetic crier, sat by my side and took my hand and asked, "would you like a blessing?"  I probably responded, but that evening blurred a bit from the hospital on, so I'm not totally sure.  What I do remember is Clark Wallace and my dad laying their hands on my head and pronouncing a blessing of health and peace and then me, calmly falling asleep.

Anesthetic = 0, Power of God = infinity

Sunday, March 26, 2017



I work on the stereotypical "west side".  We've got everything, gang shootings, drive-bys, drugs, teenage moms, grandmas with 2 teeth raising babies... and all of them younger than me.  And I love it!

Back when I first started teaching, I was heading home down the street that divides West Valley and Magna, 7200 South.  It was a beautiful drive on a beautiful sunny day in girly dress (probably for parent teacher conferences or some nonsense like that).  I was passing the two vinyl fenced in neighborhoods that lined the right and the chain link fenced homes that lined my left.  One random home, surrounded by a small dense forest, divided the two vinyl lined neighborhoods on my right and stretched back for who-knows-how-far.  The home seemed out of place mixed in with the new developments.

As I passed that home/area my back right tire hit something unusual that banged around the casing of my tire.  The air proceeded to leak over the next block, causing a flat tire.  Pulled over on the side of the road, I sat down to think.  As a young woman medallion holder, I know how to change a tire but in my nice clothes, I hoped it wouldn't be necessary.  Cell phones were fairly new and I didn't know who to call anyway, I mean I'm in Magna it's not like people are really near enough to help.   I bowed my head, right there sitting on the curb, and prayed for help.  

I raised my head, looked around, waited a minute and a truck pulled up behind my Subaru.  Talk about efficient prayer answering!  The kind gentlemen said I looked like I needed assistance.  I indeed needed assistance and I thanked him for coming.  He shared with me that he was headed a different direction on another road when he felt prompted to come my way and he was glad that he had followed that prompting.

He had my new tire on in no time and was on his way.  In my prayer of thanks to my Heavenly Father, I also prayed in gratitude for the faithful man who heard and followed the Spirit to help a stranger in need.  Even in these little instances, God makes us His priority.

SIDE NOTE:  The leak was caused by a bullet hole.  The ricochet I had heard in the wheel well was the bullet.  I called to let the police know and they were very cavalier about it, "was anyone injured?"  "No, just my tire."  "Oh, okay sorry about your tire."  "I just thought someone should know that a bullet was fired in a neighborhood, that is why I called."  "Well, no one was injured so...ummm...thanks for your call."  "Uh, you're welcome."   


Friday, March 24, 2017



My senior year at Jordan High School began.  My schedule consisted of AP Calculus, not my best subject but it looks great on a college application, CP English, Advanced Art, Cheerleading, Dance Company, accounting, and whatever else was required at the time.  The buzz of applying to college and ACT scores dominated conversations.  Who got a 35 and who retook it until she got a perfect 36 just to beat her nemesis... and me with my adequate 26.

The time came and we all sent in our applications, letters of recommendations, ecclesiastical endorsements, essays, and hours of service plus extracurricular activities that dominated our time. Tina, Jeani and I planned to be roommates and sent that information in as well.  I was going to the BYU, as Doyles do, and never thought another thing about it.

One day a thick envelop arrived from the BYU, excitedly I ripped it open to find out that I had been accepted into HOUSING and would indeed be roommates with Tina and Jeani.  Nothing from the BYU admittance office though.  As others received acceptance letters from Harvard, Utah State, Notre Dame, even the very same BYU, I still waited...not in a worried way waited, just in my normal "it'll work out" waited.

Weeks passed.  Nothing.

Finally a letter came.  LATER.  WAY LATER.  "You have been placed on a waiting list for BYU".  Hmm.  Not what I expected.  So I had housing but not schooling.  At this point all application deadlines, for other schools, had passed.  For the first time it crossed my mind that I might not actually get into the BYU.  Even as I write this, I feel that thick heaviness in my chest - what if?!  It was truly inconceivable.  It sounds silly, but I was going to BYU and never believed that not going was even a possibility.  I made jokes with everyone, "BYU just wants me to live there, I'm that great" and we laughed.

I knelt down and prayed to my Heavenly Father when the doubts started creeping in.  I tried to be open to the Spirit and listen to His plan for me...praying it was to go to BYU, but also trying not to be bossy with my prayers.  I prayed for months.  Yes, months.  I didn't find out until MAY!  My acceptance letter finally came!!!  It said something like "if you start in June (summer term) you may come to our great BYU and continue as a regular student through the fall!"  Oh I couldn't contain my JOY!!  What a relief, who cares that I had to start a week after graduation, I got IN!!!

This was no small answer.  It was a miracle.  I believe in miracles.

Thursday, March 23, 2017



I was called to serve in the Paris, France mission.  A dream come my dreams.  The reality of it was terrifying.  As an introvert with food issues the mission field paralyzed me.  The MTC was a party (as much as studying the Gospel and French can be a party), but arriving in Paris made it real.

I don't completely understand my kinship to Paris, but I truly felt like I belonged there from the moment I stepped off the plane.  The missionaries took us out to preach and street contact right after we arrived at the mission home.  I asked the first person if they could tell me about "this hat" instead of castle (chapeau instead of chateau).  That is when I knew I couldn't do this.

Missionary work was not for me.  Talking to strangers? What was I thinking?!  Speaking another language?!  UGH!  Then I realized I was trapped in France. Forever.  I think it was my first panic attack.  My heart felt hot and expanded and pounded in my chest.  The world seemed blurry.  Voices swirled in my mind.  It was the worst!  "I can't do this...I can't do this..."  I've never thought that in my life!!   I prayed in my swollen heart, "how can I do this?!"

Peace.  One day at a time.  Focus on today.  Calm.

"I can do this". Heavenly Father spoke peace into my heart, encouraged me to see my mission as independent days and not by the mission as a whole.  What a blessing.  I had to focus on the seven day planner and not think too far past that.  This same answer came to me several times throughout my 18 months and kept my feet on the ground.

Monday, March 20, 2017



As I sat through the "Holmes Homes' experience" last week, I filled out their 3 page survey.  It asked questions like "what other builders did you look at" ummm none, or "why did you choose Holmes" because of the model home, and "why are you moving", easy, because God told me to...

It started awhile back, the feeling like I had something I needed to do but could not pinpoint anything.  I began focusing my prayers on how I could be making more progress in my life, to see if that would help.  Which led me into looking into helping refugees and even became trained to teach classes but it never felt right.  Months passed and I wondered if I was supposed to go back to school for another masters or switch schools, nothing felt right.

One Sunday, mid-September, while meditating during Sacrament meeting I heard a clear quiet voice speak to my mind, "you need to move yourself".   This is not how God usually answers my prayers or talks to me.  He usually speaks to me in logic.  Things seem logical and that is where I follow.  This was a voice in my mind, which was new for me.  My initial reactions were:

What?!  Why?!  Why, by myself?!  AHHH!!!  I ignored the answer for as long as I could...3 whole days.  I had no desire to move and after my first day of house hunting, I felt queasy.  I even asked Sandra to not allow me to buy a house I hated.  I tried finding good things in each listing, but they all made me die a little inside.

We found the model home in Creekside (Daybreak).  It had "me" written all over it and if they would have let me buy the model, I would have...except, of course, it had $60,000 in upgrades and I don't really have that kind of payment plan!  (Another question on the survey "what should we know about you"... I am a level 3 client with a level 1 budget!). Ha ha!  So funny.

There was ONE lot left, ONE LOT!  MY LOT!  Yes, I want the lot, get me that lot!  Please.  It all fell into place and felt right...logical.  I see God's hand in this leap of faith.  It is not easy to leave the safety of my easy life, but I will because God told me to and He wants me to be happy.

(Plus it is taking soooo long that I am able to plan and prepare...and save money enough that I am not overwhelmed. #blessed) ;)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017



My brain doesn't work like other brains, ask anyone who knows me.  In college I studied 27 hours for one Physical Science test (yes, the entry level basic science class) and I got a 57% so for the next test I skipped class and didn't open the book and pulled a 76%.  The struggle is real.  I'm a genius in my head, but sometimes I just can't access all that potential.  Connecting information and seeing the big picture is what BYU tested and found is my "learning disability".  I lack comprehension skills and I have no short term memory (again, ask anyone who knows me, they can verify this as truth).

Imagine the frustration of being smart, but not being able to pass tests or get good grades.  I faked good grades through high school, but was rudely awakened my first term at BYU... a 2.1 GPA.  High school honor roll to college probation is a tough transition; a real kick to the face (and ego).  Again imagine: studying, knowing it will not make a difference, and having to maintain the desire to continue studying because that is what college is all about!  Frustrating.

One particularly difficult course, Anatomy, took me three tries to pass (though the first try doesn't really count because I didn't realize I had signed up for it and failed by default). I only continued to take it because it was a prerequisite to becoming a dance major, which was to be my major if I could pass Anatomy with a C or higher.  I could only manage a D-, even with my roommate as my TA in the class!  I passed all our practice quizzes at home, but somehow I couldn't recall anything while on the cadavers.

There were many prayers throughout the semester, but to no avail.  I earned yet another D-  (these are expensive D-s).  Having previously received a clear answer that Dance was to be my major, I could not understand the continual failure.  God has the power to unlock whatever was disabling my brain, but I must be failing to learn some lesson (you know, building character and all that) because He deliberately wasn't releasing all that knowledge on test day!

I felt prompted to discuss my situation with my guidance counselor in the dance field.  The same counselor who told me that "dance isn't for everyone" when I decided to pursue Dance Education as my major.  Not a lot of trust in her "guidance" at this point, but I did trust in the Spirit - which is the only reason I went.  I explained my situation with both Physical Science and Anatomy (D-s in both and both requiring a C or higher to enter the program) and asked what I could do.  She gave me an impromptu Anatomy quiz, right there in her office.   My mind was opened and I answered each question without hesitation.  She waived both classes and I entered the Dance Education program (I didn't even know that was an option or that she had the power to do such a thing).  A prayer answered in God's way and in His time.

"Therefore, ask and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened." (3 Nephi 27:29)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017



Traveling with friends is the greatest way to live.  On one such adventure, we found ourselves in the south of France.  Having just spent 10 tourist trapped filled days with 50 other Americans, and two Italians, we were ready to venture out on our own.  My parents were serving an LDS mission in Geneva Switzerland and we planned a short stop to say hello, give hugs, see some sights and move ahead to the Czech Republic, our final destination.

As a well prepared traveler, I had already reserved a seven passenger van for our road trip through the beautiful French countryside.  My mom voiced her uneasiness about us driving to Switzerland and even though I felt totally capable, I prayed for guidance before making the reservations.  Everything worked out and I felt good about our decision.  We ended each day of our trip with our hilarious quotes for the day, our "by-fars", and "family" prayer.

Seven beautiful, tall (some MUCH more than others), well packed travelers (some MUCH more baggaged than others), said farewell to newly made forever-friends from Chelan and Italy.  Enzo, our Italian bus driver, in his farewells (in very broken English) left us with an offer to drive across Switzerland with him if we changed our minds about the van.  Ha ha ha!  Such a funny Italian, that Enzo!

I learned that Michael Jackson had died as we made our way to the van rental hub and was in no mood to deal with the hassle of communicating in French, so I turned it over to Amber (who also spoke French, though much better than myself).  The French man presented us with our "van" which did not look anything like the VW cargo van I had chosen by its picture and space.  Imagine a miniature version of the minivan in America.  It could hold, maybe 6 people, with limited leg space and absolutely nothing larger than a satchel.  The French man didn't seem to understand the problem and offered no solutions either.  We tried to rent a second car, if only to carry luggage, but NO CARS/VANS were available at any of the lots.  What the...

My mom was right (as per usual)!  At this point I know that I could have asked God "why" having prayed beforehand for our safe journey would the van not be right for us, but I know better.  Things always work out, so we put our heads together and prayed for guidance.  Enzo.  Yep, greasy haired, smooth talking, Amanda loving, Italian Enzo was an answer to prayer.  Never would have made that connection in the beginning of all this.  After sending the rest of our tour group on the train to Paris, Enzo packed our bags back on the tour bus and we headed on our next adventure - 9 hours across France to Switzerland with a non-English speaking Italian driver and seven non-Italian speaking American girls.

We pooled our money together, the money that would have been used on the van rental, and Enzo said it would be fine as payment for the trip (at least we think that is what he said).  The journey was easy for us, lounging around a 60 passenger bus, while Enzo did all the work.  But we eventually made it to Geneva, where we were united with my parents and their mission president (and their two miniature minivans).  We tried to pay Enzo with our Euros but he would only accept hugs as payment.  He only wanted one from Amanda we are pretty sure, but he hopped back on the tour bus and disappeared.  Leaving us safe and sound and ready for the rest of our adventures.

This story was an answer to many prayers, mine included.  There was no delay in our trip nor was there an issues with our funds.  I am truly grateful for my Heavenly Father and his love for all of His children and in all aspects of our lives - the good the bad, the happy travelers and their issues or whatever it may be.  I know that I am loved and watched over.

Monday, March 13, 2017


           The raging Snake River roared in front of me.  My body was stiff with petrified nerves as I prepared to enter the unstable canoe with my brother’s friend.  We had a quick how-to lesson of canoeing with our guides and a group of scouts, with whom we were venturing.  I felt unprepared and terrified to conquer my fear of water just then, but continued on with the group. 
            A small scout, about the height of a counter top, pointed out the fact our canoe was backward, as I stepped into my place up front.  Great, I couldn’t even tell.  We turned the canoe around and departed the safety of the shore and I, white knuckled, began to paddle.
            We had been given the choice to go left, safely past the first set of rapids, or take the rapids head on in the first minute of our trip.  For some reason we didn’t make it left and we headed straight into the crashing walls of water.  As the water enclosed us over and over again I said a silent prayer to my Heavenly Father,
  …Please help me.  Help me have a good trip.  Please keep me in the boat, I don’t want to fall out of the boat, please keep me in the boat…please…please…”
            Mid prayer a wave of water, that blocked the sun with its enormity, closed over the top of us, throwing us both into the cold water and over-turning the canoe in one sweeping motion.  It happened so quickly and yet, in slow motion.   The river hit me with an iron fist of frozen water.  I lost my breath and sucked in water instead of air.  It was over in an instant and we floated calmly in the eddy, paddle in the right hand and canoe in the left.  I inhaled air in small gasps, I’m not sure if it was from the cold or the fear.  In the smooth water, I calmed. In my calmed state I prayed again,
“Heavenly Father, I thought I specifically asked NOT to fall in the water.  I prayed with faith and everything and yet here I am floating in the water, did I miss something?!”
            We flipped our canoe and struggled to heave our numb, soaked bodies over the edges, that seemed too tall to be a part of the small canoe in which we started.  Once in the boat, the blood returned to my limbs and I helped paddle us back to the group.  The thought crossed my mind, “well, that wasn’t so bad”.  The fear dissipated and I welcomed the raging waters, enjoying the journey to the end. 
            The sun warmed our damp clothes and skin.  Many more tumbles into the intense river came, but without the panic as before.   Because of the roll in the river at the beginning of the run, I didn’t dread the water as I had that morning.  This allowed me to relax and enjoy the bumpy ride.  And when the ride ended I was both sad that it was over and pleased to be on dry land. 
            “But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.        Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” 
(2 Nephi 2:24-25)

            Yes, I prayed with thanksgiving to a loving Father who listened to me and heard what I needed, not what I said.   A Father who knew that staying in the canoe wasn’t important in the big picture, but actually falling in the water, right up front, would be more beneficial.  I don’t always know what I need, but I have faith in God to interpret my prayers with His knowledge and in the end, He will give me happiness.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017



It all began when I had cancer, but that story is for another time.  At this point I had finished my chemotherapy treatments and was coming up on the end of my radiation treatments.  My doctor was prepping me for the next phase of treatments, hormone blocking.  Apparently my cancer fed on estrogen - cancer cells need it to grow and spread, so if you stop the estrogen you stop the cancer.  Sounds pretty simple.

The doctor told my mom and I about Tamoxifen, the drug that stops the estrogen from feeding the cancer cells.  It has been proven to help breast cancer patients and I would be taking this pill EVERYDAY FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.  FIVE YEARS?!!  Who is okay with that kind of committment?!  It was overwhelming, to say the least.  After I got over the shock of the length of the treatment then my doctor covered the side effects... Cataracts, heart disease, strokes, hot flashes... sounds dreamy.  (He emphasized "POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS" but I obviously assumed that the drugs would eventually kill me if the cancer didn't).  I was already getting the hot flashes and heart problems just listening to the guy talk about blood clots like most people talk about the weather.  Obviously I was not really on board by the end.  We left without agreeing to the next phase.  I needed time to think and breath... and enjoy my last moments with my great vision and sturdy heart.   We left for the day.

Mom and I were attending an afternoon session in the temple sometime later.  After the session ended, a woman came up and struck up a conversation with us... because mom and I are both such chatty people... The conversation turned to cancer, as all conversations do (with a bald me), and I blurted out that I was terrified to take the drug I was supposed to... to a total stranger, I shared this!  I don't even think I'd even said it out loud yet.

Wouldn't you know, she knew all about Tamoxifen and it's effects.  She had a close friend who went through the five years and loved every minute of it!  Immediate peace and comfort enveloped me.  I knew 100% that I was supposed to take Tamoxifen and that this woman was set right there for me.  With billions of people needing God's attention, he took the time to answer my unasked prayer.  (I felt that this could still fit in the answered prayers chronicles because I would have eventually asked and Heaven Father would/did answer it!)

Thanks to this woman's faithfulness, she was there to calm my troubled heart.  I was then able to talk confidently with my doctor and let him know I was ready to start the next treatment.  He was relieved too.  If anyone ever asks me about whether or not to do it (to take Tomaxifen...or to pray), I would also tell them that I love(d) it too!  What a miracle.

Sunday, March 5, 2017



Sleeping in on a Saturday morning, I received a frantic phone call from my older brother, Andy.  He and his kids were vacationing in Seattle for the weekend, but he was stressing out over his missing passport (left somewhere, hopefully in his home here in Utah).  He and Mark, my younger brother, were leaving right after Seattle trip and he needed to know if he should pay $500 for an emergency passport.  YIKES!!  He, Lily and Oakley had prayed about it and Lily said, "ask Steph to find it.  She can find anything!"  And so he did.

I knew that this stress would kill the family vacation so I rushed right over to his house...his giant house...with all sorts of closets and files and drawers...

I entered through the garage and went straight to the kitchen.  There were already 8 places I thought I could look...just in the first room.  I knew that I could not accomplish this task alone and knelt right in the middle of the kitchen.  I said a quick prayer asking for guidance to the passport and specifically asked if it would be quick so that the family wouldn't be stressed.  The Lord's timetable is not always on my side, but I knew that it would be quick the moment I stood up.

Minute 1:  I left the kitchen and went directly to the master bathroom upstairs...because who wouldn't keep important documents in their bathroom?! What?!

Minute 2:  A tall filing cabinet stood before me and I opened each drawer only to find random toiletries...because that is what you "file" in a filing cabinet?!  What?!  I chuckled to myself and moved on.

Minute 3:  The bathroom also contains a walk in closet of OCD color organized shoes and clothes AND a small 2 drawer file cabinet...which was full of empty hanging files.  Weird.  He had the two kids passports on top, which he had obviously found while searching for his own.  I opened the drawer again because I felt I should.  I looked through each file and found nothing, but still felt like I was in the right place.  I pushed all the files to the back and there is sat, flat on the bottom, all alone. YAY!!  I cheered.

I took a picture of it and sent it to Andy.  Which he couldn't open apparently and responded, "what is it?!"  Boring.  Text msg:  "I found your passport!"
My heart burned with joy, like that "burning in your bosom" you read about - yeah, that's how it felt and I knew that Andy and his family felt it too.  I said a prayer of gratitude right there in the closet.  What a miracle!  What a blessing!

The Lord is aware of me and my prayers.  He knows what I need and when I need it.  I KNOW my prayers will ALWAYS be answered and I know that God answers them in His way and not mine, thank goodness!

Thursday, March 2, 2017



After yet another unfinished basketball game, due to my temper, I sat frustrated on the sidelines.   I have the Doyle temper, full of passion and justified anger - pointedly at sporting situations.  I'm not violent, just REALLY vocal.  I usually got a technical foul or simply fouled out (sometimes before half time).  Once I calmed down, I felt foolish and guilty.  I hated those feelings.  The embarrassment, each time it happened, didn't seem enough to keep it from happening over and over again.  That is when I realized the Lord would need to be the one to help me.

I prayed fervently to my Heavenly Father to take away my impatient, unruly, uncontrolled temper.  My expectations were high and I was ready to be humble...right away.  (Notice I said "humble" not "humbled").  I don't what I thought would happen, maybe just a magic wand swish and BOOM, calm Steph.  My time-table was quick and efficient and I was ready, but the Lord's timetable never seems to coincide with mine and it was a while before I knew what happened.

Who prays for humility, you may ask?!  Stupid people.  Like me.

My life had been pretty easy going up to that point...and is still relatively easy, to be honest...but not the point.  I was a good student with great grades and I danced on a team doing what I loved, I had great friends and a wonderful family.  I never really lived disappointment.  Well, that all changed after I prayed to be humble.  I tried out for the drill team, and knew I'd make it (another Doyle trait)...but then didn't.  I tried out for songleader/cheerleader and was sure I would make it...but didn't.  I wanted to be a lifeguard and applied for the job and knew I'd get it (because every other Doyle did)...but didn't.  I was not used to this feeling at all and it was HORRIBLE.  My heart was broken.  There were many tears.  I was not used to not getting my way or being successful and that is a rough transition.  Better late than never, I guess.

Life didn't end and I didn't sink into an abyss, but luckily things did start improving.  I asked a friend about why I didn't get the lifeguard position and she seemed surprised and informed me that I had gotten it after all, I cheered on the JV team of misfit toys and felt like they were my people, and I started a new basketball season without really remembering my prayers from the previous year.  It wasn't until the game was over that I noticed the difference.  Laughing and goofing around after the game I realized that I had finished the game!  Enjoyed it even.  That season our team played unified and better than we'd ever played before (and with an undefeated record until region).  I don't know exactly how to explain it, but my soul loved the freedom from the uncontrolled anger and I've been unconditionally happy ever since.

I thank my Heavenly Father every day (give or take) for the lessons/trials he provides for me in strengthening those traits I see as my weaknesses.  He is ever aware of my prayers and always answers them.  Luckily, it is NEVER how I choose them to be answered.  I know He wants happiness for me, so I trust that whatever happens will work out in the end.  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017




My friends and I have a vacation tradition to write down funny quotes and stories from people (and ourselves) during our annual trips.  The quotes are usually things taken out of context or simply hilarious on their own.  The other written part of vacations are "our favorite parts of the day" which we have endearingly renamed "by-fars".  This term came about when something so funny happened that Ali could only spit out "my by-far" (meaning "by far the funniest thing that happened today" or "by far my favorite part of the tour was...") and they have been termed "by-fars" ever since.

I introduced this to my sister and her family when they let me tag along on their family trip to Hawaii.  Luckily I did, because those kids are hilarious...actually we were all drop-dead funny.  Some funny quote examples:

"In my imagination Steph is married to a rockstar.  Do you want to be one of her rich kids Luke?"  - Levi

"I get tourists and terrorist mixed up" - Lauren

"(While hiking) There goes a fry off my right hip (boop)" - Angela (if you know her, you've just pictured this exactly like Angela)

"If you look at the ocean, it's the only time you can see the world drown" - Levi

"I think you're dilusional, I don't think you can chuck the fuzz in the air" - steph.

"I don't have a favorite tree...I'm not really a fan of trees" - Dallin

"She can't warn me or she'll throw out her shoulder or pee her pants" - Mark

I typed quotes throughout the day, sometimes because someone yells "WRITE THAT DOWN" after everyone explodes with laughter while other times secretly to surprise them with funnies later.  Then each night we relived the best parts by going through each of our "by-fars" for that day.

Some of the by-fars:  Lounging in the ocean.  Goat cheese. Catching the crab - in the tub.  Amazing appetizer. Boogie boarding.  Sunrise on one coast to sunset on the other... Etc.

After returning home, I like to make photo books of our trips for everyone.  I include pictures, quotes, and by-fars to preserve the memories.  We liked to read through the quotes each day even after the trip, because it is reliving some of the best parts - the inside jokes part of traveling together.  It's also an easy way to "journal" without so many words.

I had typed them on my "notes" app on my iPhone but wasn't super savvy with it at the time.  Well, one day all of my "notes" disappeared!!!  I panicked and searched through every app and email, but could not find our quotes or by-fars.  Oh I can't describe how sad I felt.  I tried to write down what I could remember, but it just wasn't the same.  I felt dumb, but I said a silent prayer to my Heavenly Father asking him to help me with the files.  I really don't know how or what happened, but they reappeared the next day with no explanation.

I drove immediately over to my sister's home and shared with them my scary story, my answer to prayer, and then we reread all of the quotes!  Lauren said, "you're prayers are always answered" and we all laughed.  But honestly they are and I am grateful.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017



Diving head first into a pool? Never been done before...well, by me at least.  And yet I wanted to be a lifeguard.  That was probably because I was a pasty white skinned freckled sophomore in high school who wanted to be cool and tan.  Because that is obviously what is important.  I showed up for my first day of training ready to go, but totally unprepared!  We were tested on the 25 meter in under 18 seconds swim, the 800 meter swim before we were even going to be taught lifeguard stuff!  Oh my.  I. Am. Not. A. Swimmer.

The first try at the dive (before even trying the 25 meter swim), I just put my hands in the front fin and went for it.  Went straight to the bottom.  Fail.  I prayed the entire walk back to try it again, knowing that I am capable but I'm lifeguard ing at a water park where the deepest pool is 3 feet and it is illegal to dive.  I made it in 16 seconds.

We were warned that by the last day of training we would have to hold a 10 pound brick over our head while treading water for a full 5 minutes.  I went straightway to my grandma's pool and practiced with my brothers weights.  I began each swim session with a prayer, because the first day I couldn't even keep myself above water let alone with a 10 pound brick!  I practiced for hours and days...and never improved.  How is that even possible?!

The final test day arrived.  I easily passed the 800 meter, saving a drowning person, getting an injured person out of a pool and on a stretcher, jumping in without my head going under, and it was now time for the brick.  I knew going into it that I wasn't going to pass, but I had done everything in my power to try.  Swim team members were amazing and kept their entire torso out of the water along with the stupid brick.  Sheesh.  Finally, I was next in line. Ugh...and then...

Someone from the office called out to our trainer that she had a phone call In the office (no cell phones at the time, obviously).  She turned over training to another lifeguard.  This lifeguard turned to us and said, "if you can keep the brick out of the water for 5 minutes, I don't care how you do it".  I slipped into the pool with my 10 pound brick , tried to tread water, gave up, swam in a circle, on my back, and held the brick out of the water for the 5 minutes.  She marked me off the chart, the trainer came back and I was done.

I expected the Lord to strengthen my body to accomplish the task, but sometimes I think He tests my faith in Him by making it seem like it won't work out.  But then again, if it doesn't work out, it wasn't meant to be.  I am blessed with a pure faith in my Heavenly Father.  I know not everyone has this gift, but I truly KNOW that everything works out the way God intends it to, so why question it?  I don't.  It all works out.

And FYI,  I have never done another dive or swam with a brick again, to this day.