September 10, 2014

Rock Springs and the Power to Bruise My Heel

Rock Springs 2014

This week came as expected. I had goals for a new set of days, events written on the fridge as reminders and dishes in the sink that needed to be scrubbed. One thing wasn't expected. I hobbled around on one foot for part of Sunday and most of Monday. I am an adult, I should be aware of injuries that cause a handicap to my daily duties. I had NO idea where this pain started, but I wanted it to stop. My Achilles Tendon was so tight I had trouble bending my foot down, even with a simple step.

Rock Springs 2014

I searched for answers. It wasn't the sort of pain that made you cry, just annoyed and impatient. I contacted my elder brother. He responded so quickly. It was a miracle. Although I had the answers I needed to fix the problem, I wanted to know how it started, to prevent it in the future.

Rock Springs 2014

We spent Saturday with my mom and our church congregation at Rock Springs. It was beautiful. My mom brought her impressive photog skills and GOPRO to record our fun. She is a joy to be around. The boys couldn't wait to point out what they discovered in the crystal clear waters. The baby loved it, surprisingly. The water temperature is 68 degrees Fahrenheit on average. I wore water shoes to protect my feet, but didn't do any adventurous jumping or diving that would cause injury to my heel.

What was it? I took my brother's advice and applied ice to the location. I was amazed at the instant relief. I hobbled around, cleaned the house and completed the chores that I set out to do that day while trying to avoid this pain. I had the motivation required with missionaries coming for dinner. While at dinner, something profound came to me.

A scripture. Moses 4:21.

Rock Springs 2014

Satan will have the power to "bruise his [man's] heel" but man will have the power to "crush his [Satan's] head." I had a bruised heel. And who know's how I got it, but nonetheless, was I going to let it affect the rest of my day? The diligence required to complete my responsibilities? Would I let it kill my motivation, the same motivation I prayed for, hours earlier? What did it matter that I had a bruised heel. More importantly, it didn't matter how I got the bruised heel. I had the information needed to fix it. Sometimes it is better to fix it and move on.

Often, we are blinded with bruised heels, little bumps, different obstacles. How do we adjust? Have a great week, my friends.

Rock Springs

August 27, 2014

Second First Day

August 2014

August 2014

Today wasn't filled with as much despair as our second son began his second year of Joy School, since I was teaching this week. Next week may bring on a whole new meaning with just baby Gordon around. Calvin has made so much progress in the last couple months. We are so proud of him and look forward to many tasks mastered by the end of this school year. He is brave. He is opinionated and intelligent. He has such an appreciation for finding truth and needs explanations to aide his ever growing bank of knowledge and skills. Calvin loves nature related activities and toads are among his favorite animal, even though he may argue that the panther is his favorite (Florida boy).

August 2014

Today, he was what mattered most as I prepped heavily for his lesson. I was filled with pride as he completed certain pre-school level tasks. It's difficult being number two in line. I am also number 2 in birth order.

Pictured are some lovely before school moments. I'd love to see yours. Post a link in the comments below!
August 2014
From last week, brothers reunite after their 1st long day apart

August 26, 2014

Music Muse Tues: Paul Cardall and Gracie's Theme

Music helps me focus when I am completing a work task. The notes activate connections in my brain, electricity that travels to the center of information processing. I wanted to share Paul Cardall's latest album, New Life. He was born with congenital heart disease and has under gone many heart surgeries, with the last being a heart transplant. He also did not play his entire life. He began at 8 with lessons and quit due to practice demands (like many people, including myself). He picked up again after a close friend was in a fatal car accident. He composed music as a result. I admire his talent. Something he has worked on countless hours to share with the world. If you have not heard of Paul Cardall, listen today! I love to play his music when company is over, on the Sabbath, when I need to concentrate on work, while typing this post... We use Spotify, but also own a few of his albums.

My new favorite composition is, "Gracie's Theme". It brings to mind the song, "Claire 'de Lune" by Claude Debussy. I could listen to it all day! Enjoy.

August 22, 2014

Friday's Letters: A Personal One

Aug 2014 upload

Year One:


Though this letter is somewhat late, I wanted to share the feelings of my heart now, so that they may be preserved to read at some later date. You came into our lives in time of peril. You were the light in all the darkness. Our Heavenly Father knew that we needed you at that time. Though our struggles were great, we were surrounded by so many loving people that were willing to help succor our needs. You have been blessed with such a natural patience and easy-going personality. Being the third boy in four years, this trait will continue to bless our family. Even as an infant, your personality reflected little irritation and complaining.

You love to catch our attention by exploring the trash can, putting on shoes, taking trips in the car. You are climbing anything you can to prove your adventurous spirit. Dancing and finding the beat in everyday life, always shows somehow. Even when mommy was using the sewing machine, you heard a beat and danced to it. You love to laugh and show affection. If mommy takes an extra minute to sing you to sleep, it is always interrupted by a sweet kiss.

Aug 2014 upload

You are highly motivated by food. You love to eat healthy things and try anything. Your favorite animals seem to be dogs and birds. You are enamored by nature. One thing is for sure, you love to play with water. You love the pool, ocean, sink, shower, bath, and toilet. Whatever the setting, there is a smile on your face if water is present.

Your older brothers love you so much. They try to include you in games and love to teach you new things. It is no wonder that you are a part of this family. You fit in perfectly. I am grateful for you, my sweet baby boy. Happy Birthday!

August 20, 2014

Cousins + Sea World Part 1

I've been reluctant about letting go of summer. It meant so much. It felt like I was being forced into so many un-welcomed feelings of gloom and loneliness. It was only the first year, one of three sons, gone for most of the day, only to arrive home exhausted with no energy left to share a genuine smile or widened eyes. I still had two others to keep me busy through the day and already so much has changed. My dreaded thoughts were wrong. He did have time for mommy when he came home. We were all tired, but mustered the energy to connect and relax.

Often when strangers see the boys, they marvel at how cute their messy face is in a restaurant or chuckle at the dance they do when they don't get their way in the grocery store. Though they may be reminiscing upon their days with little ones, I always combat their comments with, "Well, you should have seen what he did today..."

Oliver was off to school and I was at an annual "boo-hoo" breakfast with friends. We shared stories and smiles and pancakes. At departure, Calvin spun into a fit demanding my phone. A friend offered to cuddle an over-tired, but mild tempered baby Gordon while I got Calvin from his seat. We walked slowly together outside. I could see that she missed those sweet baby hugs. I was grateful for the help. She complimented the boys and instead of trying to bring them down, I thought, Yes. They are wonderful. Aren't they? Why is that so bad, to just accept a compliment, Amber! I guess in appreciating my blessings, I overlooked the humbleness that can be achieved by just taking a compliment.
August 2014

The summer is over. It was a full summer and now I will catch up. Catch up to schedules and to-do lists. Catch up those chores that were traded for pool time and sunshine. Below is a small taste of August.

August 2014
August began with cousins! We had some quality cousin time for the boys. While anticipating the birth of the newest cousin (read more about him HERE), Grandma, Aunt Jess and Aunt Amelia brought down Aunt Sarah and Uncle Steven's boys (2/3). We met at Sea World. It was a scorcher. Nana joined us. All I can recall from the day is the temperature. Hot and Humid. We usually hit up the parks in the afternoon, but going early allowed us time for a nice swim! The younger walrus was especially playful with the boys. They have never been so interactive. I hope they remember these things.
Aug 2014 upload

August 2014

August 2014

August 2014

August 2014

August 2014

August 19, 2014

Florida Beaches

The beach was too distant this summer. We missed it, so we made up for it by spending quite a few days in a row basking in the sun, learning to boogie board, eating sand, collecting shells, chasing birds, listening to the power of the waves, gulping down too much salt water, and enjoying un-plugged family time. Here are so photos from our journey.
Aug 2014 upload

Aug 2014 upload

Aug 2014 upload

The first 5 photos are of a late afternoon trip to Melbourne Beach, FL. We loved it! The sand is perfect, plenty of shells. The waves were not too crazy. Jason taught our eldest (5 yrs old) to boogie board! The storm pictured did roll in around 6:30, so we left for some Friday night pizza.

August 2014

August 2014

August 2014

August 2014

All but the sunset pictures are from Jacksonville Beach. I loved this beach! It was perfect for kids and surfers. The tide didn't affect our experience either! There was so much room. The beach seemed to be at the most slight incline even when in the water. We were close to the Jacksonville Beach Pier. The lifeguards were informative when the surf was rough. We paid $1 each for adults (small children were Free) to walk up and down the pier. We even saw a man catch a shark. He held it for us to touch. We explored the beach at night and it was just as peaceful. Most of one side of my family hails from Jacksonville Beach. I couldn't help, but feel a connection there. Jacksonville Beach = Highly Recommended!

We loved visiting our family that lives there too! More on that soon!

August 18, 2014

Day 1, Kid 1: Kindergarten

We moped around the house aimlessly for awhile this morning. Usually, Mondays are the busiest of the week, with chores to complete and a schedule to keep. With Daddy and Oliver gone, we were sort of lost. We couldn't sleep last night! Everyone awoke for different reasons through the night, but I just wanted today to go perfect for my courageous little kindergartner.

Day 1 to Forever

I interrupted his prayers last night when I crept in to give him a little pep-talk, (cram in every last well wish for him). I almost lost it as I saw him on his knees speaking aloud to the Lord. I told him about my excitement for his new adventure and he exclaimed, "I have to go to school tomorrow?" He hadn't shown any signs of reluctance up to this point. I answered, "Yes. Just like Norman." His eyes widened and smile grew. "Mom, do I have to be in second grade to be in Norman's school?" Gosh, I caught my breath and tried to hide my emotions. I missed them too. "No, they live too far, buddy." He stopped me on the way out, "Mom, can you take a picture of everything you do with Calvin while I'm gone? I will take a picture with my brain and tell you all about it when I get home."

I quickly let out all of my tears as I repeated the story to my love. It needed to come out. I had been so nostalgic the past week. It wasn't healthy to hold these things in. Only he could validate those feelings, as he has been right there with me.
Day 1 to Forever

What a sweet reassurance it was to have our eldest son attend school where his daddy works. It also seemed silly for me to drag everyone into the crazy traffic of the first day of school in our county. I snapped a few pictures, packed a lunch, and he was off. Off with my heart on his sleeve. Off with the courage and teachings we hoped he carried in his heart. Off with a chapter in my life, that is now closed. A very good chapter, filled with the craziness of having three boys in four years.

July 30, 2014

Chatbooks and Instagram- Code For First Book Free

Chatbooks Review

If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that I am in LOVE with a new product. I was hesitant at first because I thought it may be a commitment for someone on a budget. There are no strings attached. You can subscribe and unsubscribe as you wish. Chatbooks is a FREE app. Once you subscribe to your Instagram series, the app collects your feed with the caption and time stamp. There is one picture per page in a 60 page, high quality, photo book. 

Here is what I LOVE about Chatbooks:

  • Flat rate per book = $6
  • One picture per page- 6" x 6" book
  • Time stamp and captions included (and easily edited for spelling errors or more/less explanation)
  • 3 day grace period to edit the book prior to shipping
  • No shipping charges
  • Ease of use of the app
  • Priceless value of journaling
  • Joy that it brings to my boys when they get a new book and reminisce 
  • Change the cover picture of each book
  • Once Instagram series is subscribed, Chatbooks will download all of your photobooks and create volumes
  • Volumes are numbered chronologically with dates on spine of the book
  • Encourages me to post more
  • You can exclude photos that you don't want printed!
  • Videos show as the still shot, if it is too blurry, toss it
Chatbooks Review 
Check out my son on their homepage!! So honored! ;) 


The code is good for your first book free in their Instagram subscription. You MUST subscribe to the Instagram series for the code to work. Must be a first-time subscriber. 

Step 1:
GO HERE (from your phone) Download the app

Step 2:
Subscribe to Instagram Series (within the app)

Step 3:

Go through your pics and edit captions, choose covers for your books and exclude any photos you do not want printed.

Step 4: 
Use this code at checkout for your FIRST BOOK FREE: MOST12


I'm not sure how those sweet messages humble me so quickly, but whenever I need a better perspective, the Holy Spirit whispers truths to me and leaves me with such peace as I watch them. They brought me here so late tonight, though.

Our lives are approaching another turning point. Soon, our oldest son will leave the comfort and care of us 24-7 to attend school. No, he is not going to boarding school, but my heart aches now, thinking about the possibility of never seeing him or his loss in interest for me and the rest of the family. I know he needs to grow up, that this will be good for him and me and everyone. I know that he will do fine. I know this step is necessary, but knowing these things doesn't always bring the comfort that you need. The comfort I need comes from the knowledge of my Savior Jesus Christ. It comes from the purpose of life. Of where we are going. There are a million things to worry about when you do not have faith in Christ. I have to remind myself of this frequently.

Our family watched a favorite movie recently called, Nim's Island. I heard a quote that has been ringing in my ears ever since, "Trust is the key to adventure." My husband candidly throws the nickname "Adventure Amber" at me when I am behaving just the opposite. I have been working on this weakness and that silly movie brought such truth.


I just need to trust more. I feel like I have always been taught to avoid trust. This will keep your heart safe. You will be free of the aches and pains that may result if trust broken. Trust seems to be the foundation of relationships. Without it, what defines the relationship? Trust also works hand in hand with humility. For, if you do not trust others, you are seemingly independent of another's help. Accepting help is a part of humility.

I hope to show more trust in those around me. More trust in the Holy Spirit I have been blessed to receive after baptism. More trust in my own thoughts and plans and ideas. And I hope you see a change. A good one.

July 11, 2014

Friday the 13th


Hello Blog World! I came across this journal entry in my phone from almost a month ago! I can't believe it has been a month.

June 13th: 

Drove 15 under the speed limit tonight. So many times, I drove down that road over the speed limit, racing to get somewhere. A place so many have called home over the years.

Listen to your heart came on the radio. The lyrics applied, sort-of.
The kids chattering faded into the song.


I am sad.


Not sad because of change. Change is good. Sad because knowing that someone who would do anything for me or a member of my family, is moving more than a day's drive away, which really translates into $$ between us. Sad because our kids may grow apart as they will be forced to make other friends, sad because I always dreamed of raising my family close to our family and now it seems we are going where life takes us. We are all led down different paths that should lead us back together for eternity. So really, I shouldn't morn this day. Friday the 13th. I should cherish the moments of the past and look forward to the future.

**All these pictures are from recent Cousin events. =)

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