Friday, May 30, 2008

Flash Back Friday - Graduation

I though it would be fun to look back at graduation

Rootstown High School - Class of 1978

I know it is hard to see Donny in this picture, this was his whole class

(Yes, that was 30 years ago).

Clovis High School - Class of 1983

Christi Leonard

(Yes, that was 25 years ago)

The Ears Have It!!

The first time we took our kids to Disneyland was the week after Ashley graduated from Provo High in 2003. It did not matter if they were 3 or 18, it was pure magic for all of us.

We said this is our new tradition when ever anyone graduates from High School we will go to Disneyland.

When Alissa graduated in 2006, we made it a Family Reunion.
We had a blast!!

The Family in 2006
(expect for Ashley she was on her mission)

Some of the "girls" with Cinderella
Lisa, Christi, Steph,
Alissa & Kristen

"The Tower of Terror" - 2006

Katie, Stephanie, Alissa, Christi, Kristen and Lisa
Lindsay, Coral, Devin and Shelby

What A Great Group!!

Ben, Jason, Donny, Michael, Steve, & Trevor
Steph, Sandy, Christi, Kristen, Alissa, Katie, Lois, Preston & Lisa
Paige, Shelby, Sierra, Coral, Lindsay & Chase
Derek & Devin

All of us in 2003

Happy Graduation Ashley!!
Got to love those ears!!

Katie, Alissa Ashley, Kristen and Sierra
Devin, Derek and Shelby

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Provo High Graduation - Kristen Class of 2008

We are so happy for Kristen, she is now officially out of High School!! Tonight Kristen graduated from Provo High at the McKay Event Center at UVSC (soon to be UVU). It has been wonderful to watch her grow into an amazing young lady. We enjoyed a great summer dinner with Grandma and Michael before the ceremony.

Grandpa Michael, Kristen and Grandma Lois

Kristen Class of 2008

YEAH - "You did it!!"

Donny, Kristen and Christi
(Dad & Mom)

Sisters Forever - Kristen & Katie

Kristen with her a very close friend, Katie Hutchings

So Kristen, you just graduated from High School what are you going to do next? "I'm going to Disneyland!!!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy "16th" Birthday Katie

Watch out boys, she's old enough to date!

As we celebrate Katie's 16th Birthday today, I cannot help but to look back and reflect on her life. As we have our children we hope and pray that they will be healthy. That was not the case for Katie; to look at her today you would never know what she has been through. There is a tall tale sign, of a scar across her tummy.

To begin, Katie was 7lbs 7 ozs at birth; everything went well in the delivery and for the first few months. Until one day at church I was in Relief Society as I looked down at her on my lap she looked blue to me. We rushed her to the hospital where they found she was only getting about 75 - 80 % oxygen. This was the first day of our travels down a road of many Dr. visits, tests and eventually surgery.

The Dr. had no idea what was happening with her. The tests, so many of them, were not bringing us answers. I could list all these big worded tests and procedures she went through over the course of the next 6 months but there is no point. So to make a long story short, at 9 months old they did abdominal surgery she was so tiny, she only weighed 14 lbs 1 oz. At the same time all this was happening we had sold our house in Madera Calif. that we had built and was preparing to move to West Virginia for a job

We moved just about a week after Katie came home from the hospital. As we came to this new place, it was hard. Katie continued to be sick with many cases of pneumonia. I had no idea what to do. And to add to her suffering she fell off the stairs and broke her leg in April, she was now 11 months old.

6 months after Katie’s surgery and 3 more bouts of pneumonia, Katie had only gained 6 oz of weight. So at 14 months old she only weighted 14 lbs and 7 oz. We lived in a very tiny town, in the back woods of West Virginia. Why, were we there? The ward was not open or even very kind to us (we were outsiders there) I did not have a good Dr to care for my child so tiny and ill. Knowing our Stake President had a very large family of 9 children; he lived about 30 miles away. I called him upset and asking him who cares for his children? His wife gave me the name so I took Katie to their Dr. He was shocked to see Katie, he said “I have no idea what is wrong with this child, but she has a lack to thrive and we could loose her if we do not find out what is going on” He immediately got us in with a specialist.

Again more tests, they thought that she might have cystic fibrosis. It continued on what seemed like forever until one day, the specialist asked if he could do a special biopsy. I said yes, please do it. He took a sample of the cilia hair in Katie’s sinuses the first biopsy showed no cilia hair; so another more extensive test was needed. The second showed some cilia hair, but what few Katie had lacked the little arms that were needed to make them move properly. To understand what cilia hair does, we have it in our lungs to filter air and keep our lungs clear, we have them in our intestines to move our food along to be digested. They are in our ears and for women they are in her fallopian tubes to move the egg along and for men the tail of a sperm is a cilia hair that moves them along to find the egg. As you can see they are very important. The Dr had a friend in medical school that had this condition. “Immotile Cilia Syndrome” (very rare) that is one reason why we were there in the hills of West Virginia, to get an answer for Katie.

She was put on a high fat, high protein diet; she took long courses of antibiotics, and was on a nebulizer for breathing treatments. She was doing great, gaining weight, growing and most important staying well. Since that time expect for a few little issues she has been fine.

So as I look at Katie today so beautiful, so healthy and amazingly talented, my heart is full. I thank my Father in Heaven, for her and for sending us to West Virginia for the answers and care she needed.

As I have expressed before, (and this is for all of us) Do Not Judge. I know for a fact that we all have of our struggles, issues and trials, some seen and known and many never seen or ever known.

We need to always do our best to be loving and kind to others. Hug each other often and bear each other's burdens.

Just one of the many tests - Fall 1992

Right before Katie's surgery - Jan 1993

Leaving Valley Children's Hospital in Fresno Calif - Jan 1993

Katie with her cast after breaking her leg
April 1993 - Fairmont, WV

Saturday, May 24, 2008

When I Think of Summer...

I think of Fresh Cut Seedless Watermelon

Corn on the Cob

Family Picnics

The Smell of Tanning Oil

Swimming in a Pool

Homemade Ice Cream

The Bessings of Living in a Free Country!

God Bless the USA!

Camping, Campfires and S'mores!

Ice Cold Lemonade

Fresh Cut Peaches


Friday, May 23, 2008

End of the Ballroom Season Party - MORP

Katie & Kristen - Sisters Forever

Kayla, Cristin, Katie & Kristen

The group showing that they have some muscle

The Ballroom team had their end of the season party on Fri May 16th, 2008. They did a Morp since the kids could not go to Morp because it conflicted with the Ballroom concert. Katie & Kristen had a great time with their group. They had breakfast bight and early. Then they climbed Bridal Veil Falls and enjoyed a picnic lunch at the park. Each group than had a dinner, the dinner was our house. We served Chicken Ritz Casserole. They all loved it. Then the team all got together and had dance. Great memories for everyone.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Enrichment Meeting

I am the RS Enrichment Leader for our ward. I love serving in Relief Society, I know that it has been blessing to me in my life. So as I have come into this calling, I felt very strongly about the things I wanted to focus on.

I want to:

Unite the Sisters (we are all in different circumstances)
Teach Them Skills
and to Fill Their Lamps

To fulfill them in:
and Home

I want them to laugh and make great memories.

The idea of this Enrichment was to empower the sisters with knowledge they need to be prepared them for any kind of circumstance. With knowledge comes peace.

The Theme of the night was “We Can Do It!” The plan was to learn to change a tire on a car, and other car issues. But because of a major change in the weather, we were not able to do the hands on work, so we went to plan B.

Bro. Bradley of the 3rd Ward spoke to us, first he shared a short DVD about a family who was in an earthquake and the things they did. We talked about keeping a calm and clear mind and having a plan, Home preparedness items like: Learning how to shut off the gas, water and electricity in our homes. Where, how and what tools we needed. It was very informative.

We had folders of handouts; the color scheme was in red, orange and yellow. There were pots of Marigolds on the tables. We had early bird prizes (for those who were on time) and the grand prize was “Learn to Love Your Handwriting” Set by Heidi Swapp

The handouts were:
· How To Change a Tire.
· Utility Shut-off and Safety
· First Aid Items for Your Vehicle
· Miscellaneous Items to Have in the Car
· First Aid Supplies
for the Home
· Disaster Supplies Kit
· A Family Emergency Plan

We than played a great word game, a team work game. It was a lot of fun. Prizes of chocolate were given out. Then we all enjoyed strawberry shortcake for desert. I think everyone had a great time and I hope that more sisters will join us next time.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I Cleaned...

Okay, I cleaned. For the health, well being and a sound mind for
myself and my family. Wait a minute, do I have that?
What ever. Notice the candle burning on the stove.
Ahhhh, let us all enjoy this moment. It won't last long!!!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

To Clean or Not to Clean ...

I am a 43-year-old mother of 9, now that is an amazing statement to most. The first question is always something like "how do you do it?" My answer is "one day at a time". I used to be a very forward thinking person, always buying things and preparing for things months in advance. For the most part, I found this to be very helpful. But I also soon realized that by always preparing for the future I was missing out on the moment at hand.

I could honestly be cleaning my house 24/7 and it would still need to be cleaned. With this many bodies in motion, there is ALWAYS dishes to be washed, laundry to be folded, and some kind of mess to be picked up. With my daily battle with Fibromyalgia, I lack the energy to always be cleaning. (and who wants to anyway?)

A clean house in it’s self does not define who I am. This has become a source of some contention. Ooooooo

Now, don’t get me wrong I love having a clean house, it feels good, it brings the spirit into our home. But at what price? Me, I pay the price with exhaustion and pain. So I do the best I can and I have had to learn to let go of the rest. And if someone really cares that much that not every corner of my house is clean, I say, “Get a Life”, your Own Life!!

So if you drop in on me, you’ll never know what to expect. My house might be spotless with a candle burning for ambiance and banana bread baking in the oven or I might be in my PJ’s, with dishes piled up and laundry undone. Does that make me a bad person? No, just human.

So I say, “Have No Regrets!!” Find the balance in your life, even if there are chores to be done.

Believe me! They will be there tomorrow.

The dishes are waiting for me - Yuck

The clothes are waiting - for someone else
(I told you already, I love to wash but I hate to fold)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Kristen - Class of 2008

Kristen is a senior at Provo High School. She will be graduating on May 29th at 7:00 pm at the McKay Event Center. We are so proud of Kristen; she is a remarkable young lady. She has always been a good student, busy and involved in school activities. She is so caring and loving to others, a great leader to those around her.

Kristen has loved being on the Ballroom Team at Provo High; she served as Costume rep. for two years. She also works at Macey's Grocery Store, where she has been a bagger but is moving up to cashier.

Kristen will be attending UVU (UVSC) this fall where she will be studying to become a Well Baby Nurse, and she hopes to dance on their Ballroom Team.

Kristen We Love You So Much!!

Finding Peace in the Mirror

The Quest for a Healthy Body Image
by Pamela H. Hansen
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A lot of unhappiness results from agonizing over our physical appearance. But if we are able to see the divinity inherent in our wonderful mortal bodies, we can find a serenity and peace that eludes those who are caught up in the world’s obsession with the so-called ideal body.

Society’s obsession with the ideal body is evident in the world around us. Popular magazines, television, the Internet, and billboards all celebrate the beauty of the ideal human body. And the ideal body image portrayed is so attractive and enticing that we want to believe the message: looking like those models is necessary for acceptance, success, and happiness.

The reality is that except for the relatively few women who look like that “naturally,” the rest of us come up short to some degree. And without spending inordinate amounts of time and money to achieve such a body, or without submitting to extensive cosmetic surgeries, we are never going to have what the world defines as an ideal body. Most of us would have to give up so much in other areas of our lives to achieve the ideal appearance that our lives would quite literally fall apart.

But that isn’t to say we shouldn’t spend time and effort to ensure a healthy lifestyle. There are aspects of our appearance that we can and should seek to change. Much of the information provided by knowledgeable sources can be helpful, but if we only pay attention to what the world says, we can easily get distracted by an impractical and futile quest. Focusing on worldly achievements and acceptance has never been the way to true happiness, and an obsessive discontent with our physical appearance can lead to unhappiness and despair.

One of life’s most difficult marathons for women—young and not so young—is that of forming a healthy body image spiritually and intellectually and then physically achieving a body to match. As with actual marathons, this marathon can be demoralizing at times and exhilarating at others. For many of us, this marathon is all about making changes— changes in outlook, attitude, and behavior.

“The truth is that loving oneself—and one’s body—is a discipline all its own. It means challenging the images that the fashion industry has foisted on us. It means ignoring the voices that tell us that being healthy is a distant second to being thin” (Anne Ream, Chicago Tribune, 2007,

Why We Do What We Do

Often the challenges in our path seem insurmountable. We don’t like what we are facing. We don’t like the time and effort required to make needed changes. Seeking to be comforted or perhaps somewhat “in control,” we are often tempted to turn to whatever it is that makes us feel better. In times of desperation or anxiety, where do we turn? Especially when we want to feel better right now! Do we surrender to addictive behavior? Do we go overboard in our eating habits? Do we depend on prescription drugs? Do we write physical or emotional checks that our bodies simply can’t cash? On the flip side, maybe we spend too much time and effort sculpting our bodies. Are these addictive behaviors ways of trying to capture an artificial happiness that consistently eludes us?

We must be willing to let go of whatever started us on our road of self-destruction before we can move on.

Finding Motivation

How much energy do we waste assuming others are thinking ill of us? But of everyone you run into, there are only two opinions that really matter. As we become more in tune with our Heavenly Father and our own personal standards, we come to understand what we need to do to change—on the outside as well as on the inside. Then that energy wasted on what others think of us can be channeled into something positive. Working toward letting go of the world’s false image and finding a healthy, real you—physically and spiritually—can be an uplifting journey.

What It Takes

1. Preparation

Preparation is a determining factor in what we are able to achieve. Daily we are faced with decisions, and although those decisions may seem trivial, they add up. We can prepare to meet challenges or temptations instead of waiting for the crisis to decide how we will react. For instance, how well do we think ahead to what we are going to eat during the day? How well do we plan a healthy menu for ourselves and our family? How often do we plan physical activity, instead of hoping to do it if we get the chance? We counsel our youth to make decisions before they are actually faced with the situation. Do we do the same? Do you say to yourself, “I’ll be at the grocery store today; what am I going to do as I pass by the treats section? Can I not even go down there?”

During the time when President Gordon B. Hinckley was encouraging all of us to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year, two things were at the top of his to-do list each day: read in the Book of Mormon and exercise. He felt the responsibility to care for himself so that he could care for members of the Church. And he made time to do it. Certainly if President Hinckley made time for scripture reading as well as exercise, we ought to as well!

2. Perseverance

There will always be stones, boulders, and at times brick walls to face on our road to well-being. If we are blindsided by some circumstance we haven’t foreseen and get knocked down, our challenge is to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and keep going. As we persevere and achieve small victories, we can feel empowered and gain the strength to continue to make positive decisions. When I am sweating on the elliptical machine or sizing up the hill ahead of me on my morning walk, I sometimes ask myself, How badly do I want this? I’ve asked myself that over and over and over. When I persevere, I feel greater inner strength and a more robust sense of self-esteem, which has been described by Dr. Steven Hawks as “a sense of joy that is experienced when inherent potential is discovered and realized” (Making Peace with the Image in the Mirror, Bookcraft, 2001, 97).

The marathon task of forming and achieving a body image that is both spiritually sound and physically healthy may take a lifetime. But the pursuit of it has been so satisfying to me that I’m certain it is something I’ll never abandon. I refuse to give up. I have found, and I know others who have also come to discover, that converting an attitude from one of indifference and hopelessness to honesty and anticipation will bring about a mighty change that has at its core a greater understanding of who we are and whose we are.

3. Providing Tender Self-Care

Providing tender care for ourselves is a simple concept that can be very difficult to do, and yet is so necessary. Often, many simply get so caught up in caring for others that they don’t set aside the needed time to adequately care for themselves—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Finding what works for us individually is one of the keys. Taking a walk can make us feel especially rejuvenated. So can stopping in the middle of the day to put our feet up for ten minutes. Pausing to plan and shop for a healthy menu may seem difficult at first, but it is greatly beneficial. Doing what we can to get plenty of rest or a bubble bath can also make a huge difference. Turning off the radio in the car is a way we can tune out at least some of the noise. Of course, if there is a van full of children along, nice soothing music may have a calming effect! Reading a good book is uplifting. So is quilting or painting or playing a musical instrument. Certainly immersing ourselves in the scriptures, personal prayer, and meditation can help us to spiritually care for ourselves.

Does it Really Work?

How do we know when it’s working? I’ve found that as it gets easier to make time to exercise, the more desirable it becomes to eat healthy and spend time reading the scriptures. The resulting peace is sweet to experience, and that reinforces our determination to continue to take care of ourselves.

When I quit making excuses and actually look forward to how I’ll feel after a workout or a healthy meal, I not only feel better physically and emotionally, but I know that I am taking good care of this wonderful gift God has given me.

Pamela H. Hansen is the author of Running with Angels and Finding the Angel Within: Spirituality, Body Image, and Self-Worth, from which this article is excerpted.
LDS Living, May/June, 24-26

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What A Man, What A Man

... What a mighty fine Man.

I've Been Tagged

1. Who is your man? Donny
2. How long have you been together? 25 years
3. How long dated? 3 months - Engaged? 6 1/2 months – (too long)
4. How old is your man? 48 years
5. Who eats more? We both have pretty good appetites
6. Who said "I love you" first? Donny did, he wrote it in the sand at the beach
7. Who is taller? Donny is, only by a few inches
8. Who sings better? I guess I do, but Donny does have a very good voice
9. Who is smarter? Me, of course :-)
10. Who's temper is worse? I wouldn’t say either one of us “have a temper” we can just get frustrated.
11. Who does the laundry? Me, I Love to Wash but I Hate to Fold!!
12. Who does the dishes? Both of us
13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? Me, I always have
14. Who pays the bills? I do, for most part. But with the business Donny is doing more of that.
15. Who has bigger feet? Donny for sure, we call them “Fred Frinestone Feet”
16. Who has longer hair? I do, but Donny has great a head of hair, with only a few grays.
17. Who is better with the computer? I am, but Donny is getting better at it with work stuff.
18. Who mows the lawn? Donny does, he love’s it!
19. Who cooks dinner? I do, but I do get my girls to do it too.
20. Who drives when you are together? Donny, but I do sometimes.
21. Who pays when you go out? Donny, I never have any money in my purse
22. Who is most stubborn? I think I am, I HATE being told what to do!
23. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? Donny
24. Whose parents do you see the most? Mine, Donny’s live in Ohio.
25. Who kissed who first? Donny for sure!
26. Who asked who out? He asked me out – (he was living at my house)
27. Who proposed? He did, on Christmas Eve of my senior year (crazy, I know)
28. Who is more sensitive? I think Donny is.
29. Who has more friends? Donny does, he loves everyone.
30. Who has more siblings? Donny, he is one of 8
and I am the oldest of 4
31. Who wears the pants in the family? We both do, we are a team!

I now tag ... Lisa (my Sis), Lois (my Mom), Jennifer Gallacher, Carrie Rhodes, and Mary Gunnell

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

#1 Fibromyalgia - In my Youth

I am sharing with everyone my battle with Fibromyalgia. I’m asked all the time “How do you do it with such a large family” then many found out that I am sick to boot and they wonder even more.

As I looked back on life, of course hindsight is 20/20. I also want to explain that this will in no way be a full explanation of events in my life, but an overview to bring some understanding and awareness.
I had some very significant events that happened to me at a young age.

Christi Leonard - 2nd Grade - 1972

When I was 7 and in second grade 
we lived in Capitola, California, near Santa Cruz while my Father had a job there. We lived on the second floor of an apartment building, they were building another apartment complex right across the street. On the property was an old abandoned house; it was a huge house that they would be tearing down to make room for the project. I remember we will able to go through it and collect any items we wanted. It was getting dark, we were walking through it with candles, it was so scary, and to me it was like I was in a horror film. After collecting fur coats, old vintage clothing and other old items. We returned to our apartment, packing the items into boxes to take them back to Clovis where our house was.

In the middle of the night I was woken up by my mother’s voice yelling at my Dad, I could hear her over and over again calling his name. In a few minutes I felt my mother’s hand pulling on me, as I tried to get up I quickly fell to my knees. I could not breath our apartment was on fire! As I crawled with mother into by brother’s room we got him up and crawled to my parents room. 

There lying on the bed was my Father, I wasn’t sure if he was alive or not. My mother shut the door behind us, and opened the window and starting yelling for help. I was in just a small set of baby doll pajamas, my mother wrap me in one of her robes. I started yelling where in Nicodemus? That was my kitten, I could hear him but I could not find him. Someone found him and gave him to me; I put him into one of the pockets of the robe I was wearing. My mother had my brother and I jump out the window; on the ground was a black gentleman who caught us. 

We ran to our family car that was park there at the curb. They  There came so many fire engines, and police cars. We were crying so hard, we still did not see any sign of our Dad, we could see my mother at the window with smoke coming out of the window around her, she too jumped out of the second story window.. They were able to put the fire out, then shortly I saw my father, he was okay, he had been overcome by the smoke. 

So there we are in the middle of the night with nowhere to go. We went to a place like a Denny’s (Shoney's) that was open all night. We ordered some food and there we sat, covered in soot, with nothing but the clothes on our back and in shock.What was the cause of the fire? It was one of the boxes of items that we collected. It caught on fire from a wall heater that was next to the box in the living room. 

This is a picture of my mother the following day, in our kitchen. August 1972

If that wasn’t traumatic enough in the same time period our house in Clovis had been robbed. So after cleaning and recovering what we could from the fire we traveled back to our home in Clovis.

When we got there, we opened the door of the house it was a mess, things were dump all over place. The police had dusted the house for fingerprints, so there we dark marks of fingerprints all over the house, on everything. All though most, if not all of them belong to us, it was still so scary. We had been violated.

One of the other issues that continue to bother me was that we had experienced a few earthquakes. I just knew we were going to die in a huge earthquake.

So as child I suffered from night terrors, I remember I would tell people these stories of what (I thought) had happened to me, I know that what I said probably sounded so crazy to others, but to me it seemed so real. I also talked and walked in my sleep, more so when I was in pain. Like after a hard work out or having my braces tightened, cramps etc. (I have some really funny stories about this – real ones)

I was an active young person. I Danced, Sang in the two school choirs, did Gymnastics and was on the Swim and Dive Teams in High School. I also performed at a Dinner Theater, but would find I was so worn out and in pain most of the time. Having issues with my cycle each month, suffering with cramps and headaches.

But for the most part I was happy growing up, I enjoyed swimming and the sun (maybe too much), roller staking at Roller Towne, family activities and trips, camping, and homemade ice cream. I have wonderful memories of Christmas, Holidays, Birthdays, and of Family Home Evenings etc.

On Christmas Eve of my senior year Donny asked me to marry him (crazy, I know). So a month after I graduated from High School, at the age of 18, I was sealed/ married to Donny in the Oakland Temple for time and all eternity, and like most young couples, having No Clue of what was in store for us.