It was a Tuesday morning when Grace was a little girl, maybe 3-years-old.

We were flipping through the channels of the TV looking for a fun show for her to watch before lunch.  Dora… Max & Ruby… you know the drill.

I passed by channel 11 quickly, noticing the Tuesday morning devotional was on…before the next picture could load Grace yelled, “Mom!  Stop!  Go BACK!!  Your favorite show!!!”

I laughed out loud.

She had seen the pulpit, heard the voice, recognized an Apostle standing there and something clicked in her 3-year-old head.

This is my mom’s favorite show.

The one she sits down twice a year to faithfully watch for two days straight.  Grace knew.  We had never discussed it, and yet the memory of me watching conference had left a deep impression on her heart.

My favorite thing about that memory is that she was willing to sacrifice her precious moments of TV time before lunch so that I could watch my favorite show.

Well, it’s that time of year again.

My favorite show is about to start.

Truly, I can’t wait.

There will be treats, and taking notes, and good conversation during the breaks.  My bucket will be filled, and I will become equipped to face the next six months…whatever they may bring.

This year I made General Conference notebooks for my family from the pdf below.  Frilly for the girls.  No frills for the boys.

Each of the squares will make sense to you except the last.  It’s my favorite one.

So What…

It’s the question I ask myself after every single talk at Conference.

So What…

So what does this mean in my life right now?  So what should I start doing that I wasn’t doing before? So what will be different in my life because I heard this talk?

It’s the application of the message.

The So What.

Oh, just thinking about it gets my heart excited.

This weekend.

My favorite show.

general conference

For a printable pdf “frills” click here. general conference frills

For a printable pdf “no frills” click here. general conference no frills



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Today I was in line at the grocery store–Elle was begging for gum again.

A sweet neighbor of mine was behind me in line.  Seeing her reminded me about someone I forgot to call back yesterday.

She congratulated me on the new baby as I loaded up the cereal that was on sale into my cart.  (Side note about being the hero of the day for buying sugar cereals!  The kids love when Dad shops…)

I could see her counting the little ducklings around me in her head when she confirmed in an inquiring tone how many kids the new one took us to.

She was two off.

When I corrected her, it was the first time I had said out loud how many little ones we have at home.

I was overwhelmed at the sound of my own voice.

It was as if every parental responsibility finally came swinging into focus and I felt the burden–the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual burden.

Six little tummies that would be hungry without me.

Sixty little toes that would need warming this winter.

Six expansive souls that need nourishing by God’s good word.

Not to forget math and manners.

I felt like I needed to lean on the Redbox kiosk behind me–just to rattle things in place in my head.

I was tempted to rent one–any of them–just to forget for a few hours about the blessing that my mind likes to dress up in burden clothes sometimes.

But then these words…

“Be strong and of a good courage…” (Joshua 1:6)

Joshua’s counsel to a frightened camp of Israel as they considered the insurmountable task that was before them.

Strength.  Courage.  From on high.

You can do this.

I wonder if the prophet Joshua ever considered that his inspired encouragement would put bounce back into a young father’s step a few millennia later.

Because it did.  And I walked out with my head held as high as I was pretending it was moments before–my martyr card ripped in two, sitting on the ground by the bag boys.

Be strong and of good courage.

God is in this.

Plus…you’ve got a bowl of sugar cereal waiting for you after bed time.

Daily Invitation:

Where will you show your strength today?  Where will you live your courage?




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Sometimes in the mornings I go for a walk with my mom.

Our conversations are filled with life, family, scriptures ––sacred things.

I learn from her wisdom.  I enjoy her company.  Those walks have become one of the holy patterns of my life.

When I heard Sister Stevens talking about her mom during the Women’s Meeting on Saturday night, I couldn’t help but think about mine.

One line in particular stood out to me.

“She had a remarkable connection to heaven.”

What a wonderful and beautiful compliment.

And it is so true of my mom.

Oh, you would just love her if you met her.  What you would love most is her heart.

I’ve been thinking about that quote all day today.  On Saturday night my bench was filled with women I admire.  My daughters, my good friend Nish, my mom, my sister-in-law Andrea, and her daughter Ella.

I glanced around and realized that definition fit every single one of them.

Each has a remarkable connection to heaven, and my life is better because of that.


By their wisdom.  By their company. Simply by rubbing shoulders with them on a daily basis.

a daily invite

Do you know someone who has a remarkable connection to heaven?  Have you ever told them?  Today would be a good day.


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Last night Brother Butler and his wife welcomed a brand new baby into the world.

It was shortly after 9:30 that he began sending photos.

I shared the news with a good friend.  And then I sent a picture.

Within minutes she texted back:

“Cute!  Emma just said, “what should we name him?” Apparently she thinks all babies are her babies.”

(Emma is 4)

I forwarded the text to Brother Butler.  It wasn’t long before he texted back…

“Please have her name him!”

(Author’s note inserted here, by Emily, because I am the author of this post…)  Let’s be honest…she really should name him, because Brother Butler and Jenny have no idea what his name is going to be!  (End of authors note.)

So, my friend told her 4-year-old daughter she got to name the baby.

She was serious about it.  She took a long time to decide.  Then finally, she replied.

“Ok…” she says, “I think Nolan will be cute!”

“tell his mom.”


Oh, I love 4-year-olds.  I really, really do.

Pretty soon Brother Butler sent back this:


So, just for today, here is baby Nolan.  Hopefully in a few more days he will have a new name.

Congratulations David and Jenny.

We are so happy for you!!

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Today in seminary we talked about holy patterns.

…the patterns of our life that increase our holiness…prayer, scripture study, faith…

She sat on the back row, with black curly hair bouncing of her shoulders and hand raised.

“Why?”  She asked, with questioning eyes and an honest heart, “Why is prayer supposed to be a habit?”

It was a real question.  Genuine.

We’ve probably all wondered that a time or two.

“It’s a good question,”  I answered, “Why should prayer become a holy pattern in our life?”

What would be the benefit?

Why do we pray?

Out of duty?  As an assignment?  Is it  habit that is rote to us, one that must be checked off of our list of things to do?

I have to say my prayers.

I forgot to say my prayers.

Surely you’ve whispered that phrase a time or two.

“Really,”  I asked the group of high school students that had woken up before the crack of dawn to come sit in a small room and discuss God, “why would God have asked you to pray every single day?”

“Because He loves us.”

“Because He wants to talk with us.”

And then, a quiet girl, yellow sweatshirt, front row, right side, “Because it is a gift.  Prayer is a gift.  He gave it to us.”

The sincerity of her eyes testified of gratitude.

And I realized the heights of holiness are discovered in the depths of gratitude.

If I want holy to become a part of me, of who I am, it will require deepest gratitude.

For just a moment I thought of Moses and the burning bush…when God said, Remove thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground.”

Why did Moses take of his shoes?

Out of duty?  Assignment?  So he could check it off of his list of things to do?

Or out of recognition, out of awe,

out of gratitude.

a daily invite

Today, I want these three words to define my walk with God.





photo copy


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