Tuesday, July 19, 2011



This tree that represents sorrow for a community of young people...

This tree that is between my house and town...

This tree that I pass everyday...

This tree....

Has taught me so many things.

Unfortunately a young man in our community was involved in a high speed chase with the police and ended up tragically and fatally driving his truck into this tree.

It was not but hours later that the flowers and decorations and heartfelt offerings began covering the tree... it is now MONTHS later and new things continue to show up.

But it was within a few days of the accident occuring that I noticed something that I am still completely fascinated by and that has inspired many lessons in this little heart of mine.

It is something that most professional landscapers and arborists already know. If you look closely at this picture you can see that there is a huge section of bark that was torn from the tree during the wreck. If you look even closer you can see that on the right hand side somebody picked up a section of the bark that was salvageable and attached it back to the tree. WHAT?

As we were driving by I asked KC why anybody would do that... Do they want the place of impact not to look so bad? What is the purpose of putting this bark back? (And after stopping later and looking more closely - it wasn't just placed there it was NAILED to the tree.) KC nonchalantly answered "The bark will reattach itself to the tree to help it heal and then the tree might not die." WHAT? And the wheels in my brain started churning. AMAZING! And it's true... Here's an e-how link I looked up... http://www.ehow.com/how_4549978_heal-tree-bark-damage.html

I cannot begin to explain what lessons this brought to my mind. Oh the SUH-WEET analogies. Here are a few thoughts...

1. When we lose a part of ourselves and are at risk of dying spiritually it is others that can reach down and help put us back together. Allowing others to serve us is sometimes more important than we realize. SOMETIMES HEAVENLY FATHER SAVES US THROUGH THE SERVICE OF OTHERS.

2. SOMETIMES WHAT WE NEED TO SAVE US OR HELP FIX US IS RIGHT UNDER OUR NOSES. It is up to us to know what we need to survive. To be strong. It is up to us to realize when things ARE working. Then, when they stop working, we can pick up the pieces that have fallen out of place and fix things again. A tree knows how to make things work when all the pieces are in the proper place. We should too. We should know and continually strive to make sure we have all the pieces and they are all working correctly. This is how we become strong.

3. When we go through trials in life, whether they are spiritual or temporal IT'S OKAY TO BE A DIFFERENT PERSON when we come out than from when those trials started. This gives you character. This tree will always show the effects of the truck hitting it. And it's okay. It gives it character. Most people like to say your trials make you stronger. They forget to add the word 'eventually' to the end of the sentence. Our trials make us stronger 'EVENTUALLY'. Sometimes our trials weaken us for a looooong time. That's another blog post... BUT- Your trials DO make you unique IMMEDIATELY. And, most likely, you are probably inadvertently drawing attention to yourself and people are learning from you just by watching you. Waiting to see how you respond. If you live or die. If you continue to suffer or gather the strength to get through. You choose if you are a good example or a bad one. But there are always people watching.

4. And my favorite thought when I drive by this tree every day is simply this: "BE LIKE A TREE." Years ago when I was given an assignment at church working with the teenage girls I went to a training meeting and the woman said to us "Be like a tree. Strong and steady but flexible when you need to be." I had heard this before but had never really applied it to my life. During some hard times with teenage girls I'd open up my notes from that training meeting and that quote would always stand out. I have since applied it in many areas of my life. And even though it is frustrating at times when I don't want to be flexible, it works. It works.

This tree has brought many other thoughts to my mind. Some very personal and some a little out there. Maybe someday down the road in a later post I will update you on my tree thoughts but for now this will do.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summertime Memory Lane - And it came to PASS

On my mind today:
I haven't seen my sister in a year.
I haven't seen my big brother in 6 months.
I haven't seen my little brother in almost a month.

This feeling overwhelms me every summer because summers used to be ALL about them. I'm not good remembering how things looked or what color the walls were and such. I make my memories with feelings. It's still something I do today. I cannot tell you what Sister So and So wore to church but I remember the feeling of the conversation I had with her. Even if I can't remember what it was about. When things feel heavy, I feel it. When things feel light I feel it. Please don't be upset when I don't notice your make-up or haircut or new car. I'm working on it, really. But if you need someone to just sit with you and feel what you might be feeling I'll be there.

I've been thinking about some of my happy feelings from childhood. There are too many to write about in one post but I wanted to jot this one down.

I 'grew up' in a small town called Dayton, Idaho out in the middle of farmland. Just over the river and a few miles down the hill from the now infamous Napolean Dynamite town, Preston, ID.
Growing up means I spent from age 5 to age 11 there. The previous years were spent in Boise and Pocatello and ages 11 -18 were spent in Nampa. So I guess "growing up" is not the correct phrase. It should read 'I spent my unbelievably wonderful childhood in a small town called Dayton, Idaho'. Yes. That's better.

I've tried to re-create my childhood summers for my children. Even going as far as moving out of a subdivision when they were 1 & 3 and landing in McCall and eventually buying a home in the middle of a giant meadow a couple miles long and surrounded by forest. Okay- it's not the country and they're not at the neighbors a half mile down the road feeding baby calves and getting in trouble in the hay barn, but they DO have free roam. We'll talk about the memories they are making another day but right now I want to focus on some summer memories with my brothers and sister.

One of my favorite memories of summertime with my brothers and sister happened in my room when I had the flu. I know, weird, huh... I had the flu and it was a hot, hot day. It was probably like 85 degrees hahaha!... (which is about the temperature at which my kids feel like they're going to die) and that night a GREAT BIG STORM moved in.

There is no place more beautiful than Cache Valley, UT to watch a lightning storm. My sister and I shared a giant room. We shared a room for 18 years until I moved out. When she comes to visit I still feel like we should kick all the other people out of our lives and share a room for the night.

Our room in Dayton had 2 HUGE windows. When the storm rolled into the Valley at about 10 that night my entire family came to my room to watch the storm. They didn't care that I had the flu. I didn't care that they were all sitting on my bed. It was beautiful. Surrounded by my family in the middle of a storm. With the flashes of light and the BOOOOOOMS! of thunder. Safe and happy in my bed.

"Surrounded by my family in the middle of a storm." is yet another way to say how I feel about them to this day. Storms are raging in all of our lives right now. Spiritual storms. Temporal storms. Big ones. Little ones. In my case, a few life threatening ones. (I'm ALMOST ready to write about that). But even in the middle of my storms when I feel like I can't hear my own thoughts because of the thunderous booms- my family comes to me.

How I wish we were all little again and could jump into my twin sized bed in my giant bedroom and stare out the window on our knees and just watch. And not worry about how long the storm would last and if we were gonna make it out alive... I never had fearful thoughts as a child. I would always be okay. I was always safe. I had my family with me. I was 9 and the world was good.

And now even when they are 2000 miles away (Heather in N. Dakota) or 1000 miles away (Bill in Wyoming) or even just down in the Valley (Mom, Dad, and Jeff in Nampa), I know they are there with me through my storms. Somebody once told me... "In the scriptures it doesn't say 'And it came to STAY'. It always says 'And it came to PASS'." Our storms will pass. They will. And just like 26 years ago in my childhood bedroom - my family will be there. And we are waiting and watching and ON OUR KNEES together (even though we're far apart) waiting for the storms to pass. I will always be okay. I will always be safe. I have my family with me. I am 35 and the world is good.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I was contemplating today why I love Fall. The last few weeks as I've driven the kids to school I have found myself singing the Primary song "It's Autumn time... It's Autumn time... The leaves are falling down. It's Autumn time. It's Autumn time. Pretty colors can be found."

Pretty colors are one thing I love about Fall. But I don't just love Fall. I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE Fall.

I feel completely in my element during the Fall. Like it could stay like this forever and I would be happy. I wouldn't miss the days at the lake in the summer and I wouldn't miss the snowman building in the winter and I wouldn't even miss the pretty tulips of Spring (they're my favorite).

I was trying to figure out what it was about Fall that made me feel so comfortable and I think I've figured it out...

It's not only that my husband and I fell in love in the Fall and we were married the next Fall.

It's not only that it's Back to School time and Halloween time. I loooooooooooove Halloween.

It's not just the tremendous amount of good, warm, comfort food that starts flowing and the anticipation for the upcoming Holiday Season.
It's not even the fact that every Fall I am blessed to hear and be taught by our loving Prophets and Apostles....

It's all these and more.

I think of Fall almost as if it's a person. Because it feels like a best friend to me. Really. And this year it's reminding me, like best friends do, that we have a lot in common.


Fall reminds me that what I am doing is right. That I am preparing for hard times. So that when all of the sudden life goes from the easiness of a lazy summer day to a cold and bitter winter I am ready.

It also reminds me that while things are dying and changing and cold and they feel like they will never be the same again I can find BEAUTY in that.

Change is hard. But sometimes it can be AMAZING to watch. If we are righteously preparing for hard winters and trials it usually brings out the best in us... it is also amazing to notice this in other people.
Think of every person you know as a tree....

When we see somebody who has just been given a new trial in their life we are lucky enough to see them go from their shiny happy green and carefree leaves (lives) to a magnificent shade of reds, oranges, yellows, and golds.

I see this beautiful stage as the prep stage at the beginning of their trial. If that person or tree wants to survive they know they have to focus all their energy on keeping their core healthy. The beautiful colors we find in people come out when they are immersing themselves in the gospel. When they are studying and listening to the Spirit and trying to figure out what to do and how they will survive the winter.
They are proving to all of us that they have FAITH that they can come through the cold hard winters of that trial and eventually be back to a full and healthy green.

This is what Fall is to me. It reminds me that there is hope. And that with Faith we can make it through anything. Even the things that feel like they might kill us.

Of course....My best friend, Fall, usually goes through her winter trials just fine and eventually comes back to life through the warming of the Sun.
For me..... it's just a different Son. But He warms me all the same.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sundays with Tizzy- The Inbetween Moments

Tizzy Tizzy Tizzy Tizzy Tizzy-
I love you. I love church. I love Sacrament meeting. I especially love Fast & Testimony meeting. I am proud of you for making it until the last 10 minutes today.

I should probably start keeping track of the comments I get about you every Sunday. Usually from our dear friends sitting behind us who say things like......
"She's just a busy one, isn't she?"
"I love how she folds her little arms for the prayer. So cute."
"We really don't mind Tessa at all. She's quite entertaining."
"She did good today. Almost made it through the whole thing."
and , my personal favorite...
"Your little girl really gives you a run for your money every week doesn't she?"


Let me share a little more with you about our Sunday routine.
You get up about 6:30AM with Kamron and Bethany. Daddy & I are up wayyyyy earlier. You immediately demand that you watch a movie. Usually on Sundays we don't allow anything before church except for 'church' movies. Today you won. We watched Clifford.

Next we get everyone ready and Kamron and Bethany take turns getting your diaper bag packed (we really need to start doing this Saturday night).... I finally made them a list this morning and taped it inside the cupboard because they kept forgetting things. What's a diaper bag without diapers? Silly kids.

We drive to church and you 'help' me set up the Primary room. This usually means I have a little bit of cleaning up before I go to Sacrament meeting. But it is cute to see you push the big chairs around thinking you're helping.

About 15 minutes before church starts Daddy comes to find us (he's been in meetings since 7:30) and when you see him you run to him and jump in his arms happily yelling "Daddy! Daddy!" I couldn't choreograph this any better. Of course, there are always other people in the church who see this and it just makes your daddy beam with pride and joy.

Then we head to Sacrament meeting. We cannot seem to get on the same page here. I want to listen.....You want to.....
Trace your hand and my hand.
You want to play with the hymnbooks and your board books and kick the pew in front of us and 'sing' when the song is over.
And you haven't quite figured out how to whisper yet.
You also like to climb all over inbetween all of us and sometimes even underneath the bench.

This is exasperating.... and you wear out and I wear out and when you finally get tired enough you get your blanky and binky and monkey and climb on daddy's lap and 'fake cry' until he takes you out. It usually takes about 10 seconds.... and all the while the people around us are silently giggling because they know that cry is fake (it doesn't even SOUND real) and there's nothing we can do about it.... *Sigh*

But that's not ALL that happens in Sacrament meeting. There are the inbetween things that I want to remember too........
Like when you fold your arms very seriously to pray during every prayer.
And when you read your 'Jesus' books and point out the missionaries, and Heavenly Father & Jesus, and the temple and the scriptures.
And when you try to 'share' the hymnbook with me because you are definitely not going to be outsung.

But then there's my favorite... my absolute FAVORITE.
The thing that reminds me every week that you're not just a human baby learning neat things like what missionaries look like and that we should read our scriptures... but that

My favorite part of the entire meeting every week is when you listen quietly and intently to me while I explain to you about the priesthood and the "boys" and what is happening during the sacrament. It amazes me that you never get tired of me explaining what's going on.

It begins the moment after they bless the bread to the moment that they sit back down with their families. I whisper what's going on to you step by step while you watch and listen.....
"Oh look. Now the big boys are giving the little boys the trays with the bread."
"Oh look at that. He's giving the bread to the bishop."
"See that. They are covering up the bread & Yep.... there's the water! Now let's get ready for the water prayer."

and so on and so forth until I say...
"Now the boys are done and they get to sit down with their mommies."

I LOVE THIS TIME! I love that you are so aware and happy during such an important event. I love how proud of yourself you are when you finish the bottom of my water cup and you put the cup back in the tray just like the 'big kids'.

It almost makes me feel that you were trained in Heaven. That our big brother, Jesus Christ, sat you down before you came to earth and said 'I know, Tessa. I'll miss you too. But you get to go down to a family who is living the gospel. And that means that every Sunday when you take the sacrament you can remember me! And I'll be thinking about you then too!'

Maybe... just maybe that happened. Wouldn't that be awesome! I bet it did! I have no other explanation for why you sit so reverently during the sacrament and not so much during the rest of the meeting...

Because those boys do sit down. And you do lose interest quite quickly after that.... and Daddy usually takes you out during the last 20 minutes or so. *sigh* I love him for that.

Then I meet you in the foyer and say "Bye bye! Have fun in nursery! mmmmwuh!" And you're excitedly off to nursery where you love your wonderful teachers and friends and never have a problem and I don't have to worry about you for even 1 half of a second during the 2 hours I am running non-stop in Primary with the 'big kids'. For this I am thankful.

After nursery your brother or sister pick you up and bring you to the Primary room where I have accidentally instituted a 'if you're good you'll get a marshmallow' tradition. I keep the extra marshmallows in the Primary closet and we all clean up while you are busy with your "mallow".

By this time you are exhausted and we have a PB&J sandwich waiting in the car because we know that as soon as you eat it you'll fall asleep in the car on the 15 minute drive home and we'll be able to put you straight into bed.

Which we do... and the rest of the day runs like normal - or as normal as life gets with a 2 year old.

I just wanted to let you know that I am grateful for those small, quiet, inbetween moments you give me during what could possibly be the most tiring 3 hours of my week. I love you for that. Someday I hope you have a 2 year old Tizzy just like you.
Love, Mommy

Sunday, January 24, 2010


K.C. - I just realized I hardly ever put the periods after your initials. Weird...

Anyway- right now you are at the Stake Priesthood broadcast and I am missing you. I do that a lot. Which makes me happy. I LOVE missing you.

I especially want to tell you how grateful I am that you took me out last night. I know that the car has been broken down for 1.5 wks. and the parts finally got here and you were planning on fixing it last night and that way we could have both gone to Ward Council and you wouldn't have to work on it on your day off tomorrow and, and, and... there are another million reasons we should not have gone out last night. But I am grateful from the depths of my soul that you recognized the desperation in my eyes when I asked you to go out with me. I needed a friend.

I am grateful that you are my best friend. That even when G.N.O. cannot cure a week of heartache and exhaustion that I can turn to you and know that you will listen until I'm done talking and we don't have to hurry home.

Just recently we were watching some silly show and the couple on it said they didn't feel like they were friends anymore. That they were just 2 married people living together. So sad. As you and I talked about that we realized that we have the opposite situation. We are MORE friends than anything else. We tend to waste time together (we need to work on this- but I'm really not complaining) and sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we are really grown-up people and should probably continue planning for our future. But we also agreed that we'd much rather have it this way than the other.

Because, dear KC, (see- I didn't insert periods there. Weird) while I know I am blessed to have you as a wonderful husband I feel doubly blessed that you are my friend. I feel blessed that we were brought together that way. That we knew each other when we were 10 and managed to not let that goofy time of life get in the way when things became romantic 10 years later.

I hope we will always waste time together. I hope we will always continue to make each other laugh. I hope that our kids will grow up one day and understand that as they look for a husband or wife that they will spend eternity with that they will finally know what we mean when we say "You need to find someone you will never get tired of talking with".

I love you, KC. And I will always 'miss you'. Promise Promise.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010


In the past, recently and not so recently, by completely different people I have been told I am
'too happy'
'not compassionate enough'
'looking through life with rose colored glasses'
'too blunt'
and, most recently, have been accused of 'not making enough of an effort' to let somebody know I care about them.

My heart is hurting and I am confused. I am struggling right now and need an outlet to clear my head. So here I am.

As I typed those words those people spoke to me... I realized that those statements about me were from people who don't really know me. Not close friends. Not family. Not people I have spent significant amounts of time with. So maybe those words shouldn't bother me. But they did.

I love words. Even when they hurt me. I evaluate them and try to understand what they mean. Dictionary's have the appropriate approved definitions attached to words, but I have learned that some words IE: compassion, blunt-ness, and happiness, whilst clearly defined in the dictionary, can mean one thing to one person and a completely different thing to another person. Obviously, the definitions of those words for those people are different than mine.

I have never been a person who worries about impressions. I am who I am and have been fortunate that most people I encounter are okay with this too.... as a matter of fact, most people I encounter appreciate my honesty about myself and my opinions. Which is why it throws me off when people don't believe me or don't understand my positive attitude or think I am 'faking' it when I am happy....

OKAY - I have taken a break and I am back. I spent some time with my precious baby girl and she made me feel better. We were going through our naptime routine. I helped her gather her binky and her blanky and her monkey (her 3 keys) and got her a sippy cup and we settled into the chair to read her favorite new story book (about Biscuit the Puppy) from her Uncle Kyle.
And when I laid her down in her bed and she said "night night" and "lubyou momma" I thought:

She doesn't think I am 'too happy'.
She thinks I am compassionate enough.
She likes me to wear my 'rose colored glasses' and see life in the happiest way possible.
She understands my blunt-ness when I am using it to teach her something or get my point across.
AND - she knows that I TRY. I try hard to make the effort to let her know I love her.

I am not perfect. I cannot do everything. I cannot make peoples problems go away. I can only try to help. And try happily. When my trying isn't good enough for the person on the other end or even when they don't believe that I have tried at all, I still have to be happy with my efforts and trust that the Lord will help in the areas I am lacking. And HE does. And for that I am grateful.

I'm sorry about the rambling. Those close to me know this has affected me greatly just recently. Even to the point that I began to judge others. When someone points out your faults some people tend to want to defend themselves by thinking 'they have no idea what I do or what I'm about. I do sooooo much more than this person or that person.' I fell into this trap this time over the last few weeks and of that I am ashamed and repentant. It is not like me to be unhappy and judgmental. I AM happy with the woman in the glass in my life. I am happy with my efforts. I know that I'm trying.

And - I am grateful for my precious 2 year old today who reminded me of this.

Because I love words I'm going to share with you one of my favorite poems given to me by a Young Women Leader (Linda Minor) when I was 16 or so. It is something I have looked at over the years when those self doubts have crept into my mind and I worry about what other people think. I hope you all are happy with the person in the glass.


When you get what you want in your struggle for gain,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what THAT man has to say.

For it is not your father or mother or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass.
The fellow whose verdict counts MOST in your life
Is the one staring back in the glass.

Some people might think you're a straight shootin' chum
and call you a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum,
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

He's the fellow to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you right up to the end.
And you have passed your most valuable test
If the man in the glass is your friend

You may fool the world down the pathway of years,
and get pats on the back as you pass.
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you've cheated the man in the glass.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Righteous Desires: Singing Trees & Sister Dalton

I cannot begin to tell you what is in my heart this morning. I feel strongly that I need to write this down for my close friends and family to read.

As some of you know, I was recently called into the great Primary organization to serve as the President in our ward. I am so excited to teach and I love the little children of McCall 2nd ward. I have been in that job for approx. 3 weeks. Everything about it has been an amazing spiritual experience for me. I have faith in the fact that The Lord qualifies those whom He calls, for, were it not for Him leading and guiding me through the Spirit EVERY DAY, I would have had a complete breakdown by now. I'm not kidding.

Now- that being said - in order to serve in Primary I had to leave my old calling. This has not been easy for me. I’ve served as the 1st counselor in the Young Women's Presidency for the last 3 years. I know this does not seem like a long time to some but in the life of a teenager 3 years is a looooong time. Heavenly Father knew it would be a hard thing for me to leave these Young Women that I have grown to love and (in some cases) prayed to love (with those prayers being answered above and beyond that which I asked). :o) AND- to top it all off... this was all happening 3 wks. before girls camp!!! Are you kidding me?

But, through the experiences of last night, I have been reminded that Our Heavenly Father knows each and every one of us and the desires of our hearts. And if those desires are righteous and in timing with HIS plan He will do all He can to help those desires become reality.

So - just when I thought my heart would break into 10 million pieces thinking that I would not be able to share in this last amazing spiritual experience with my girls He blessed me with an answer to my prayers. A sweet phone call from the Stake Camp Director (who also happens to be my next door neighbor and a dear, dear friend) assured me that I would still be able to come to girls camp for Wednesday night. Now some of you might wonder what the big deal is. Girls camp is amazing EVERY year. And I know this. I've been to many girls camps over the years. But this one was different. This was an EXTRA SPECIAL girls camp. And Wednesday night was an extra special night for the girls of the Weiser, Idaho Stake.

For, because of the prayers & righteous desires of our great Stake Young Women Leaders and Camp Director, we were blessed last night to sit at the feet of Sister Elaine Dalton, the General Young Women's President. Yes. That's what I said. GENERAL Young Women's President. And yes, at Stake Girls Camp. Not a Regional Conference or an auditorium filled with thousands of girls or even an EFY session. Just our quaint little Stake Girls camp nestled up in the hills of Idaho. Our leaders were inspired to ask her to come and, according to Sister Dalton, she felt impressed and excited to come, even though others around her thought she was crazy. Idaho? Stake Girls Camp? What? I will forever be grateful for those inspired leaders and for Sister Dalton listening and acting on those promptings and impressions that she should come.

We pulled into camp and saw that the girls were already assembled at the pavilion and she was speaking with them. We found out that they had been given the oppportunity to submit written questions to her and her husband was graciously choosing them for her to answer. Just knowing that the girls were being taught directly from her was an amazing feeling.

Later on we were blessed to have her speak to all of us. I was in tears before the meeting began. She spoke to us of her experiences as a teenager and a mother and a grandmother and a wife and a Young Women Leader and The Spirit spoke to us of her great faith in Christ and testified of her love for all of us and the gospel. Our Stake Camp Director, Dana Jones, testified of the value of Virtue in our lives and offered each Young Women a Gold 'Banner', made out of fabric, small enough to fit in a pocket but big enough to hang on a wall. Our Stake Young Women President, Margo Dening, shared her testimony at the request of Sister Dalton and I was moved by her soft and tender spirit and her love of the gospel and of serving with the Young Women. I could relate to all of these women and knew that the girls were feeling that too.

We ended the night with an activity called "Singing Trees". This is an activity that takes place in the dark. We were dismissed ward by ward to walk reverently to a pre-designated spot in the tree line using flashlights for guidance. Our ward was the 2nd of 10 wards in our Stake to be dismissed. We had the opportunity to watch the others wards as they helped their fellow sisters to find their places in the dark. When all the wards were in their separate spots all flashlights were turned off and the world around us fell silent (not an easy task for 100+ girls ages 12-18).

I was sitting there enjoying the silence and the feeling of friendship and love for the dear sisters I was sitting with and then a group of flashlights came on in the distance and sweet, soft voices filled the air. One ward started to sing as the rest of us sat in the soft and quiet dark and listened. They finished. Their lights went off and it fell silent again. It was our turn. Our lights shone and our voices filled the darkness while those around us sat in the trees in silence and darkness and listened, and most importantly, FELT. Felt the Spirit testifying that we were where we needed to be, doing what we needed to be doing, and that while we might feel alone at times in a world of darkness there ARE others out there. We might not be able to see them but they ARE there. The songs continued through all the different groups. I heard "Nearer, My God, to Thee" & "Where Love Is", & "Abide With Me, Tis Even tide", & "Our Savior's Love" & ohmygoodness... I can't name them all. Our Stake Leaders were the last small group and they sang "I Am a Child of God".

And then something amazing happened. ALL the flashlights came on, and ALL the voices, including Bro. & Sister Dalton, sang TOGETHER in the darkness. It was our camp song, written by our Stake Camp Director, entitled "In The Arms of His Love". Based partly on D&C 6:20 where it says "Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love".

We had been instructed that after the song finished we could walk reverently back to our ward campsites for the night. The Spirit was strong. And even with all the silliness of teenage girls stumbling in the dark the atmosphere was still one of reverence. Our ward’s singing spot was at the bottom of the tree line, in front of some of the other wards so we were some of the first ones to walk across the spacious field towards the ward camps. I turned around about halfway across the field and was touched again by the Spirit. I was watching tiny lights coming out of the woods. Each being held by a Virtuous Young Woman or their Leader. It reminded me of the scripture in Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven." I turned to a few of the girls and leaders and said "you should turn around and look". They did. I hoped they felt what I felt. Watching the lights coming out of the darkness was as touching to me as listening to the praises being sung 5 minutes before. It reminded me of the Janice Kapp Perry song (from my days as a teenager) that says "Just one little light in the darkness shining through the night... can grow to a blaze of glory setting the world alight.”

We ended the night a few minutes later with a Ward Family Prayer around the campfire and I felt peace. A peace that I didn’t realize I was longing for. I had closure. I knew at that moment that “my” girls would all be okay. I silently handed them back to the Lord knowing that He would take care of them & that they were being watched over by angels on this earth and angels in Heaven. And when I finally got home at 2AM I thanked my Heavenly Father for many many things- for my testimony, and my love of the gospel and the Young Women & the Primary Children but most specifically, last night, for giving me one last spiritual experience with my girls by answering the righteous desires of my heart with Singing Trees & Sister Dalton.