Our First Missionary Reunion 5 October 2018, Orem

2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (28)Mission Tradition calls for missionary reunions held the weekend of General Conference in October and in April.  Missionaries who’ve served all over the world get together with their Mission Presidents and Mission Moms for these reunions.  We had our first this weekend and it was glorious!  Missionaries came from all over to spend the evening with us and their dear mission friends.

We brought our yearbook and copies of all the mission newsletters, and this beautiful photograph of our Yakima home:2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (73)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (209)Here are most of those who attended:2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (93)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (94)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (95)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (96)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (97)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (98)

We made a set of Rhythm Sticks for each missionary to take home.  This is a game we played with each departing group the night before they returned home.2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (100)Here are all of the notes missionaries wrote to their mothers each time we had interviews.  They would hold the note and I’d photograph it and text it to their moms.   I couldn’t bear to throw these thousands of notes away!2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (210)Here are a few faces of people I love:

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Introducing Josie Lewis!

2018-10-3 JOSIE is BORN (2)Adam and Heidi welcomed this little darling into our family today.  Her name is Josie.  She made her entrance at 12:47 p.m., measuring 6 lbs 9 oz. and she is 20 inches long.

We were excited to hear that Adam got to deliver her!  What a sweet entrance she made, into her father’s arms!

2018-10-3 JOSIE is BORN (3)2018-10-3 JOSIE is BORN (4)2018-10-3 JOSIE is BORN (5)Oh, those cheeks!  Next week I get to meet her in person!  I can hardly wait.  2018-10-3 JOSIE is BORN (6)

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What Are Little Boys Made Of?

2018-9-21 Adam's Room Clean (7)

We have been home from Washington for a couple of months now and we have been cleaning and sorting and organizing our home, as we step back into it.  When you go away from your Stuff for a long time, you realize all that Stuff isn’t really all that Important anymore.

Today I decided to tackle Adam’s room.  Adam had his 27th birthday last week.  He’s in medical school now, far from here.  Since he graduated from high school, Adam’s things have been untouched, but his room has filled–it’s been the catch all and storage room for wedding gifts, old clothing, outgrown baby clothes, ski equipment and Claire emptied much of my closet into boxes and bins in Adam’s room when they lived here and used my closet.

When we returned, you could hardly take a step into Adam’s room, it was so full.  Before we left, it was my Days for Girls flannel storage room, being upstairs right next to the laundry room.  His bed had 3-4 feet of washed and folded flannel covering it at all times, ready to be cut.

I didn’t think to take a before picture, but I did send this quick snap chat to the kids after several hours of sorting, cleaning and organizing the dresser, drawers, bookshelves the closet and all the scary things under his bed that were covered in a blanket of flannel lint and dust.


It was an interesting day for me.  Eighteen years of Adam’s life flashed before my eyes in a few hours.  I laughed and cried and remembered little parts and pieces of his life I’d forgotten.  I felt so close to him, my firstborn son.  I was 32 years old when he was born.  I’d waited a long time to meet him.  And oh, what a gift he was to our family!

Here are some of the things I found as I worked today:

What is my little Adam made of?

School Papers, Binders, Homework Assignments
Cub Scouting Awards
Trophies for Swimming, Tennis, Basketball
Legos parts and pieces
All sorts of Chile Mission Memorabilia
Reindeer Skin, Springbok Skin, Rabbit Pelt
Stuffed Animals, lots of them
Pillows, lots of them
A dusty Fake Tree
Ceramic alligators
Ski Boots, Snowboard
Old Mac Laptop
Black Light
Bug Collections and Bug Books
Rock Collections
Fossils, Arrowheads, Pieces of 100 more
Coin Collections
Sea Shell Collections
Posters of NBA Players
Basketball Jerseys on the walls
Old Socks
Parking Tickets
Tithing Receipts
3-column Record Books of money earned
Old Yearbooks
Bags of Outgrown Clothing
A large Sack of Bags of old Beef Jerky
Ski Passes
Artwork of Jesus Christ
3 Candy Leis from MVHS Graduation
Old Christmas Candy
Science Fair Project Photos
Packaging for lots of old Cameras and Phones
Lots of Headphones and Ear Buds
Bookshelves stuffed full
Harry Potter Books
Dan Brown Books
Signed Basketball
Tennis Balls, Golf Balls, Softball, Football
Chess Sets
Glow in the Dark Constellations on the ceiling and floor
Bowling Ball
Posters of Mission Photos, Wedding Photos
More old Socks
Boy Scout Patches and Badges, Merit Badge Sash
Treasures from Vacations from the Statue of Liberty to Civil War bullets
Photos with Cousins
Letters from old Girlfriends
Birthday Cards from many years
Notes passed in school
Records from years of teaching tennis lessons
Signed Soccer Jerseys
Dodge Ball Competition winner’s certificates (City League Teams)
Stacks of Outgrown T-shirts
Big Rocks
3 old Lamps from BYU Apartments
Lots of Old Scripture Cases
Framed Picture of Aunt Bonny who died
Full Bulletin Board
Graduation Cap and Cords
Wedding Photos, mounted
Joy School Artwork
African Masks, Carved Animals
Daggers from China and others from other places
A Dinosaur Tooth Replica
Winnie the Pooh, wooden and one stuffed
A small Box TV with VHS, Remote
Lava Lamp
Rubber Duckies, various sizes and characters
BYU Banner
Lakeridge Jr High Planners
Ski Masks
T-shirts with the sleeves cut out
Old Text Books
Extension cords
Basketball card collections
Pokemon cards
A Talking Ninja
NC Tar Heels Football Pillow
President’s Physical Fitness Awards
Athletic ribbons

I felt like I spent the day in the Museum of Adam Lewis.  I relived summer days of catching bugs and collecting coins and searching for arrowheads in dry lake beds.  I relived hundreds of ball games and competitions.  I remembered books we’d read and trips we’d taken.  I felt like a Mom who was given a gift–to raise a boy like Adam Lewis.  My heart was full to tears.

Here’s how Adam’s room looked as I neared the end of the day:2018-9-21 Adam's Room Clean (4)

2018-9-21 Adam's Room Clean (3)

His bulletin board:2018-9-21 Adam's Room Clean (6)Remnants of Cub Scouting days:2018-9-21 Adam's Room Clean (11)Some of his posters–A Basketball Birthday Party:2018-9-21 Adam's Room Clean (8)MVHS Basketball Star:2018-9-21 Adam's Room cleanReturning from his Mission in Chile:2018-9-21 Adam's Room Clean (9)Adam’s first trip to Mali:2018-9-21 Adam's Room Clean (10)His bed, clean and cleared:2018-9-21 Adam's Room Clean (12)The bookshelves:2018-9-21 Adam's Room Clean (2)2018-9-21 Adam's Room Clean (1)Some of Adam’s rocks taken out to the garden:2018-9-21 Adam's Room Clean (13)

I am grateful to be a Mom.  Adam is my first.  Claire and Aaron followed.  Their rooms are in pretty good shape, but I may go take a few photos of what’s there, just to capture the memories.  I am grateful for great kids who have taught me to be a Mom.  It’s the Best Thing I’ve Ever done.

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My Dear Hamilton

Today I finished reading a book I loved about Alexander Hamilton’s wife, Eliza.  It was an amazing read, especially coupled with our recent trip to New York City, where we saw the Broadway play, Hamilton.  Both the read and the play were amazing and I can’t stop thinking about them.

My Dear Hamilton book

Here is one of my favorite thoughts from the authors, that really resonates with me:

“They’d murdered my husband. They’d taken him from me. But I still had his words, and they were my solace. Hamilton could still speak to me through those pages. His love letters. His Ideas. His essays. Thousands of pages.  They could kill him, but they couldn’t silence him. Not if his story was told. Not if his work was preserved. And I resolved to collect the pieces of the legacy Alexander left behind.”
― Stephanie Dray, My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton

Another reason for writing my fingers to the bone.

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“In the path of their duty”

Isaiah writing

I believe in prophets.  I believe God speaks to them.  He always has, He always will.  In the Old Testament, the prophet Amos said, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he  revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”   These prophets help us to know and figure out God’s will for each of us, here and now.

This week I was reading the words of a prophet named Nephi who helped prepare his people in the Americas for the coming of Jesus Christ (about 6 B.C.).  He said, “the more  part of them are in the path of their duty, and they do walk circumspectly before God, and they do observe to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments.”

I paused on his words describing those who are in the path of their duty, remembering words in a Patriarchal Blessing I was given when I was 16 years old.  I think about the words of counsel in that blessing quite often because it refers several times to my “duties” and how to learn what those duties are.  The blessing counsels me to trust God and listen to His promptings through the Spirit.  It counsels me to follow the instructions of the prophets and the counsel of my parents.  It encourages me to read and study good books and to be in the right places at the right times.  It says if I do these, and other things, my duties will be made plain.

This week I was thinking about one particular time in my life when following a prophet seemed counter-intuitive.  I was a university student, eager to learn and enlarge my world.  I wanted to study Everything and had a hard time narrowing my interests down to one field.  I changed my major almost every semester.

During that time, a prophet of God counseled women to do all they could to not work outside the home.  He told us our greatest work would be in our homes, with our children.  As a university student, I wondered at that, considering all the career options out there, and what I wanted to become.  I decided to follow the counsel of the prophet, and I changed my major another time–to Child Development and Family Relations.

I will never forget the conversations I had with my roommates the morning of our graduation day.  We were each graduating from the university, single, hopeful, and with no marketable skills.  We’d each chosen degrees that would help us raise strong families, but not necessarily enter the work force.  What were we to do next??

I trusted in the counsel to trust God to make my duties plain.  He did.  At every turn.  For me it was important to have a university degree.  After that, it was essential to follow the counsel of a living prophet.  My life went in glorious directions, all over the world.  I could never have planned or imagined the “duties” that would unfold.  I did end up with a wonderful career for many years, until my path led me to John and then family and I was prepared for them when the time was right.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened in my life had I studied medicine.  I would have loved to have been a doctor, or even a nurse.  I would have been relieved then, to have a career path that was clear.  Instead, I took the path less traveled, and as Robert Frost said, “and that has made all the difference.”

Instead, I got to spend time with my 3 incredible children, loving and nurturing them every single day of their lives.  They taught me and they changed me more than any career path I might have selected.  Oh, what a gift!

Road Through Forest

I am grateful for living prophets who see beyond what we see and who know what we do not yet understand.  I’m grateful for the path of my duty that continues to beckon me to discover it.  And I am grateful for the means to discover God’s will for me in my own life.

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Two Incredible Montana Women

2018-8-21 To Montana (1)Last week in Montana, I met two women who stopped me in my tracks.  The first was Nancy at the Windmill Village Bakery in a tiny town named Ravalli.  Nancy makes donuts.  Perhaps the best donuts I’ve ever eaten.  When we walked into her bakery, about an hour before closing, I was immediately taken by her open manner and kindness.  She had flour on her face and dough in her hands and a big welcoming smile.

As I asked her about these donuts we’d heard about, she told me about her Norwegian mother, who always kept a pot of potatoes on the stove, using them daily in different dishes.   Nancy’s eyes lit up as she described the “spudnuts’ her mother would make for special occasions.  She decided to make them in her bakery, and now she makes them by the hundreds, daily.

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“Three minutes on each side,” she said, as we watched her plop fresh dough into waiting hot oil.  It smelled like heaven as they turned golden brown.  I asked Nancy about her recipe, which she said she’ll guard until the day she dies.  “Then,” she said, “I’ll have it published in the local paper, maybe on a full page!”  Oh, how I hope I live to see that happen!

2018-8-21 To Montana (22)2018-8-21 To Montana (5)Each donut is hand-dipped into a sweet sugary glaze.  Her secret here is a dash of salt in the glaze to cut the sweetness of the powdered sugar.2018-8-21 To Montana (10)2018-8-21 To Montana (14)We were 4 very happy campers.  The donuts were a full meal.  Food of the Gods.

I’m going to send Nancy my grandma’s donut recipe.  I told her I make my grandma’s German donuts every year on New Year’s Eve.  It felt nice to speak of our mothers and grandmothers and how their legacy lives on, making us and so many others happy.

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The next day I met another Amazing Montana Woman.  Her name is Kapri and she is the creator and founder of Tinkle Belle, the best “Stand to Pee Accessory” out there.  She is a neighbor to Graham’s family at Ashley Lake, and we went hoping to use her internet when our phones got stuck in an update.  As we waited for the phones to figure themselves out, we met Kapri and her husband, Brad, and we learned about their business.  I was blown over.  Just the night before I was looking at other similar products to take on our upcoming trip to Africa, where it can be difficult to squat over pit latrines.

Tinkle Bell 1

Kapri’s story was captivating.  She described the 3-year process of design with all kinds of trial and error and working with engineers and different materials.  What she’s designed is remarkable.  A urologist by profession, she understands a woman’s anatomy and a woman’s needs.  In the humanitarian work I do, I know lots of women who would appreciate these devices and I’ll be sharing with them!

2018-8-22 Ashley Lake (23)2018-8-22 Ashley Lake (25)The view from Karpi’s home:2018-8-22 Ashley Lake (26)

 Tinkle Belle

Here is a bit about this gift to women from the Tinker Belle website:



Our mission is to enable women of all ages to be able to get out and adventure anywhere without having to be hindered by a lack of facilities or having to bare their assets. The Tinkle Belle gives women the ability and convenience of getting to stand to pee.

The Tinkle Belle is a product that supports the God Forgives Foundation. The God Forgives Foundation is a non-denominational for-profit foundation that opens and maintains orphanages in second and third world countries around the world. These children normally would not have a chance in life. Many of the children would be abused or end up in sex trafficking or modern day slavery.

The foundation has zero overhead and zero administrative costs.

100 percent of the money the foundation generates is used directly for the orphanages. The foundation sustains the orphanages and helps the children transition to adulthood either with skill-based training or education.

The foundation is for-profit, as we cannot always adhere to non-profit guidelines at this time. Because we are a for-profit, we are continually investing in, and incorporating businesses and products that help us increase the amount of support and money that we can generate for the foundation and the children.

In our view, it doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not, what political affiliation you are, what country you are in, your race, sexual orientation or what your socioeconomic background is. We believe that any and all children should have a good opportunity at life. We wish we could help them all and we’re trying to do as much as we are able, one child at a time.

We are not asking for donations. We believe that the best way you can support the foundation is through the purchasing and utilizing our products, like The Tinkle Belle. We’ve designed the Tinkle Belle to be the best product we could make and it’s our mission to be the female urination device that empowers women to stand to pee and live their #lifeoutstanding.

The Tinkle Belle has intentionally set itself up with a very small team and low overhead so that we can support the God Forgives Foundation as best we can and maximize our resources and money.

If you’d like to learn more about the foundation, you can check the website here: www.godforgivesfoundation.com

We partner with other people, foundations and entities to help facilitate our mission like Angel House. For more information about Angel House. https://www.angelhouse.me/ 


Good women are Heavenly Father’s gift to this world.  This week I met 2 amazing women during our Montana trip.  Both have made my world a better place.

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A Bit of Reading at Ashley Lake, Montana

2018-8-23 Ashley Lake (5)

Our daughter married Graham Johnson while we were in Washington.  This last week his family invited us to their cabin home at Ashley Lake, Montana.  I took a book I’ve been waiting to read these last 3 years.  It went with me to Washington and back, unopened.  This week I devoured every word of its almost 600 pages.  Nancy E. Turner is one of my very favorite authors.  Below is the GoodReads summary, and 2 of my favorite passages.

My Name is Resolute

The year is 1729, and Resolute Talbot and her siblings are captured by pirates, taken from their family in Jamaica, and brought to the New World. Resolute and her sister are sold into slavery in colonial New England and taught the trade of spinning and weaving. When Resolute finds herself alone in Lexington, Massachusetts, she struggles to find her way in a society that is quick to judge a young woman without a family. As the seeds of rebellion against England grow, Resolute is torn between following the rules and breaking free. Resolute’s talent at the loom places her at the center of an incredible web of secrecy that helped drive the American Revolution.

From “My Name is Resolute” p. 432-433:
Last month across town, Goody Meacham was tried for witchcraft because she argued with a neighbor whose dog killed her goose. The neighbor’s child then died and his cow had a calf born with two heads. No one knew her. No one came to her defense. She might have been hung had not the judges disagreed on whether she looked the part of a witch. I never want to be in a place where no one would come forward to say to a judge that they have known me as righteous. A life well-lived, in some respects, needs witnesses.

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pp. 584-585 from the Epilogue:
I have been swept along by life’s storm, made to choose my life’s path on the wing, often with few options. As I look back I see that even when I thought I was choosing, often I elected merely to survive. I have struggled with a natural tendency to anger and to fabricate tales, but my heart was ever watchful for rightness and goodness, and love. There are those like my Cullah, who stand stalwart without lies, without anger, against the gale of life, and I honor them. I was placed on this shore in a time that has changed, I think, the world–at least if I am to believe what I heard and read when at last our Declaration was read from an upper window in Boston. Perhaps, along with hundreds of other women in this place during this momentous time, I have made a difference. Perhaps I kept some from freezing or starving. The hidden room and unseen stairs in this house have been a respite place for one runaway slave and her babe on their way north.

I am my own tapestry, then, made as I could for myself. Some holes in my fabric have been made by others, some torn by chance. Missing threads in the weave represent all those I have loved who died so long before me. Sunshine and apple blossoms tint it, along with sea foam and stars. Dark places mark where tears dyed the cloth, darker still, the stains of blood, all of it laced with the crystal blue of Meager Bay on a bright day and a single strand of ruby the color of the ring of my mother’s that I still have. The strong, even places consecrate moments where love outmatched loss, and where great good came from sacrifice. When it was finished, it was not what I expected it to be. I had once imagined to live as a delicately fashioned bolt of fine silk of high and gentle quality, perfect but for a minor slub or two. The life I have lived was not a lady’s silk, but a colorful, natty tapestry of embroidery, winceyette, lace, and motley. Many men I have known in my life will be written about and remembered for the deeds they have done these many years since the colonies loosed their bonds. My story is the story of other women like me, women who left no name, who will not be remembered or their deeds written, every one of them a restless stalk of flax who lent fiber to the making of a whole cloth, every one of them a thread, be it gold, dapple, crimson, or tarred. Let this tapestry be a record, then, that once there lived a woman, and that her name was Resolute.

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