Maybe you remember last year at this time when my whole house started filling up.

It started around Valentine’s Day.  Everyone decided to come home.

Not just my kids.

Garett returned from his mission and moved home.

Ian moved in.

And Steven, next door, lived here from breakfast until midnight every day.

There were nine of us living under this roof.

It was a Spring and Summer I won’t ever forget.  One of my most favorite.

Well, this year it started happening again.

On Valentines day.

But not with children.

I came home and heard tiny chirping noises coming from the kitchen.  I walked in to discover four baby chickens.  (Ummm, we already have 8 full grown chickens in the back yard.)  Greg loves the chickens.  He calls them his ladies.  He talks to them, gives them treats, even allows them into the kitchen on occasion.  Now all the sudden there were four more.

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“What are these?”  I asked when he walked in.

“Happy Valentines!”  He said.

“Wait,” I immediately replied, “That’s not my happy valentine’s.  It can be yours though…” I said with a wink.

A week later I was speaking at a TOFW in Layton.  Greg sent a text.  “Someone just left four baby chicks on our front porch with a note that says, “Greg, thanks for all you do.  I thought you would like these.”


Who gives chickens as a thank you gift?

…and then there were 8.  (Well, 16, if you count “the ladies” in the backyard.)

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Until four hours later when my sister showed up at the door with six chicks.  “I heard you were raising baby chicks.  Will you raise mine?  I hate the baby stage.  You can drop them off in two months.”

Of course he would.  He loves chickens.

You might want to keep up with the math here.  22.

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Until a seminary teacher heard about the petting zoo, and added four more to the bunch.


And the neighbor across the street, who added six.


And then the cute grandpa, who couldn’t resist buying four for his granddaughter.

Yes.  That is 36 chickens.

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This year, instead of helping to raise other people’s children, we are helping to raise other people’s chickens.

Hey.  We all have to do whatever we can.  Right?

And this year I am making a difference by running a small petting zoo.

It’s made me realize that there are so many ways to make a difference.  To help out.  To serve.

And some of us are good at one thing.  And others, another.

And sometimes our role is huge.

And other times we just provide sawdust and heat lamps and chicken scratch.

But at the end of the day it is nice to know that someone can show up on the front porch and ask for help.

I always want to have that kind of front porch.

A welcoming porch.

For children.

Or for chickens.

Whatever people need.

I want to make that kind of difference.






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We woke up to gray drizzle.

That gloomy damp that seeps right into your soul.

I’m not in the mood for it today.

So first thing I go down to the holiday room.  The one where we keep all of the decorations boxed up tight.  I pull out the one that says Easter and I open the lid and Spring falls right out onto the kitchen counter in soft pastels and polka dots and my heart smiles.


I decided in January that this year Easter was going to be different.

This year I want to prepare my heart long before the weekend of Easter, weeks in advance, the same way I prepare my heart for Christmas.

This year I want to fill my heart with the stories of the people closest to the Savior.  The people who had personal experiences with Him in the last weeks of His life on Earth.  I want to learn what they have to teach me, and through their stories I hope to create personal experiences of my own.

This year I want to fill my home with decorations that testify of Jesus.  I long for decorations that bring hope, not frivolity.  I want to replace the prominence of the rabbit with the promise of the Resurrection. I want to remember the true meaning of Easter.



This year I want to grow in testimony, be filled with hope, rejoice in Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you would like to join me?

We will be celebrating each of the people and their stories each week here on the blog.

But for a more detailed description of each person and their story and tradition you might want to pick up a copy of this book.  You can find it here.

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Today Grace and I will hang this banner as a reminder of each of the people we want to learn from.  If you would like one you can find the banner here.


Already I feel my heart preparing.  I feel hope in the midst of this dreary gloom.

Easter is approaching bringing with it hope and promise in all its glory.

Yes, I can already feel it ––things are going to be different.

Easter is going to be different.

This year.

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Every once in a while God reminds us of how He is in the details.

In tiny ways.

Which makes me realize that if He knows about the tiny details, then He is certainly aware of the big details.

And when the tiny answers come, they give me faith to wait on the Lord for the big ones.

Last week I am standing at the mirror in the dressing room of a huge event that I am about to be speaking at.

For the hundredth time I retie the black satin bow around my waist. It won’t stay tied right, no matter how many times I pull the one bunny ear through the other, and measure both sides, and check the length in the mirror.  For just one second it does, but as soon as I move it is all wrong again.

I’ve been in front of that mirror for way longer than I like to stand in front of mirrors.

And now, I am getting frustrated.

Just then, a dear friend walks in.  Gives a word of encouragement as she passes by.  Enters the second bathroom stall on the left, and shuts the door.

I untie the bow and start with the bunny ears again.

“You wouldn’t happen to have a safety pin?”  I question my friend behind the closed door of the second stall on the left.

“Are you kidding?”  She says with a chuckle.  “Seriously?  Did you just ask me for a safety pin?”

She continues to laugh.  I am feeling awkward, because I wonder why she thinks it is so funny I asked her for a safety pin.

Then she says, “You aren’t going to believe this, but there is a safety pin hanging on the handle of this door.”


For just a second I have to wonder who hooked a safety pin on the inside handle of the door on the second stall.

And then I have to wonder why, at just that moment, my dear friend walked into a dressing room with 8 empty stalls and chose the second stall on the left.

Just then.

Just when I needed a safety pin.

For a silly black satin bow.

I’d been praying all day that I would be able to give the message those women had come to hear.

It was a big prayer.

One that I hoped the Lord was listening to.  I felt the burden of that responsibility.  I couldn’t do what needed to be done without an increase of His Spirit.

And so, when He answered my petition for a safety pin immediately, I knew that when I stood on the stage some four hours later I would have His help.

Because He was aware of the tiny details.

So He wouldn’t let the big details go unanswered.

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It was at the very end of the news articleI read this morning just after I had finished my egg, bacon, and green smoothie.  Two words that took hostage my mind.

Faith crisis.

I immediately thought to myself, I don’t want to experience one of those.

The article wasn’t talking about those moments you might think it was…receiving a diagnosis of cancer, losing a loved one unexpectedly, finding out information that turns your world upside down immediately.

It wasn’t talking about a crisis that turns your heart to God.  To Heaven.  To faith.

No, this faith crisis was talking about that moment when you turn your back on faith.  On what you believe.  On God.

I don’t want to experience one of those.

I hear stories like that ––stories of a crisis of faith, of a turning away, and my heart breaks.

How could you walk away from God?

Just the thought of it fills my heart with longing, with loneliness, with a lingering hint of despair

and then I am reminded of a moment I experienced this weekend that I won’t soon forget.

I watch her pick up a smooth gray stone, this woman whose gray hair curls soft.  Hands that have known the service of God, have performed it, cradle the rock…and she ponders.  I watch her as she ponders.  And then she picks up the black marker and begins to write one word.

With all my heart I wonder what word she has chosen.

This woman, whose life has been directed by God.

What will her step of faith be as she continues forward from this day, this moment?

I am intrigued by it.

But I am too far away to read the letters imprinted there.

And then I watch her stand and make her way to the front of the room.  To the line of women who have also left their mark on smooth gray stone.  Women waiting to drop their stone into the pile that is becoming a monument of faith.

Just before she leaves her stone there in the box I watch her approach the microphone.

“Perhaps I am one of the oldest here,” she suggests.

I glance around at a room filled with women who recognize the sage who has begun to speak.  There is a hush.  A waiting…

And then this woman, whose gray hair curls soft, whose hands cradle the smooth gray stone, explains that her life has been a devotion to God, and that every step from this moment will be an echo of the steps that have gone before.

That she will remain faithful.

And then she holds up the gray rock with her one word carefully penned in thick black ink.


And I know I have just encountered a woman of devotion.  A woman whose every step will lead her closer to God.  A woman who has never experienced a faith crisis.  Who, in that moment, has committed that she never will.

And I vow, in that moment, to be like her.

That every step from this moment will be an echo of the steps that have gone before.

That I will remain faithful.


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Yesterday I tried reading the scriptures on mute.

In my imagination I stood far away and watched the scene play out.  I didn’t listen to the words, I tried to ignore them there…instead, I focused on the actions.

I had a profound learning experience.

It is a story you probably know well, the woman caught in adultery in John 8.

You are familiar with the conversation that took place…perhaps you even have it memorized…let he who is without sin cast the first stone

But have you ever focused on the Savior’s actions in this account?

In verse 1…he sat down, and taught them.
In verse 3…and when they had set her in the midst.
In verse 6…Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground
In verse 7…he lifted up himself, and said unto them,
In verse 8…and again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground
In verse 9…and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
In verse 10…when Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman standing…

All of this up and down…lifted up, stooping down…and her set in the midst.

With mute turned on, there within the watching, an important lesson is learned.

Jesus stooped to her level.  Down.  Her, set in the midst.  Humbled.  It was there that He spoke to her, stooping down to reach her.  It was there that He taught her.

And, through His words and through His teaching He lifted her up.

He met her on her level until she could stand on her own again.

You know, I believe He does the same for us.

He meets us on our level…

Brokenhearted, discouraged, doubting…He meets us there.

In that place.

He offers healing, direction, comfort, answers…

And through the process He lifts us up so we can stand on our own again.

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