Me and Kevin Bacon

Do you remember the trivia game called Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? The premise was that any actor or actress could be linked through their roles to Kevin Bacon within six movies.

I like Kevin Bacon. I've liked him since I was a teenager and saw "Footloose." (Who among us didn't develop a little crush on Ren McCormack who only wanted to dance and was so honorable that he made Ariel wait for her first kiss.) Once, I even camped at the same campground with him and his family in Montana, although I didn't see him. I just overheard the campground owners talking about it when I went to buy toothpaste in the little convenience store.

Now, I'm not an actress. I had a role in the play "Annie" that happened accidentally. But because of that role, I (and my daughters and sister and mother-in-law) now have the distinction of being only FIVE degrees from Kevin Bacon. Here's how it goes:

I was in "Annie" with Danny Tarasevich.

Danny Tarasevich was in "Sons of Provo" with Will Swenson. (By the way, if you've never seen this movie, you should. It's quite funny.)

Will Swenson was in "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" with Jeff Goldblum.

Jeff Goldbum was in "The Switch" with Jennifer Anniston.

Jennifer Anniston was in "Picture Perfect" with Kevin Bacon.

So there you have it--my dubious claim to fame.

Sorry, I'm not giving autographs. Oh, all right. If you really want one, I will.

Proof That I'm a Good Mom

(This is not my manly arms kneading the salt dough.)

This weekend, I was a good mom.

I could have based that conclusion on several things:

The fact that I did numerous loads of laundry and even got them put away instead of sitting on the bench at the end of my bed.

The fact that I cleaned multiple bathrooms. Yuck.

The fact that I prepared food.

All those things are good, but did they convince me I'm a good mom?

Nope! Here is what did.

I made salt dough, a double batch even, for my 10 year-old son, so he can make a Navajo hogan diorama for school.

I hate salt dough. I hate kneading the grainy, sticky texture. I hate the smell of it. I hate the mess of it. And I firmly believe that anything that takes two full cups of salt is of the devil.

But I made it and now he's building his hogan.

And I have grainy, sticky, smelly, messy evidence that I'm a good mom.

What do you do that proves you're a good mom? or dad?

How are My Windows Today?

1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. Matthew 7:1-5

I've always loved this scripture, but after last night's LDS Women's Conference, I love it even more. President Monson's talk made me laugh, cry, feel chastised and feel loved and accepted. That's a lot to accomplish in one talk.

Too many times in my life I've looked at others through my own dirty windows. Too many times, I've had to be reminded that my first impressions or judgments about others were wrong or misguided. I know how it hurts to be on the receiving end of wrong impressions and judgments. We need to be kinder to each other and easier on each other.

Some day I'll have to face my Savior to be judged for my actions in this life. If the scripture is true, and I believe it is, I would be wise to give people every benefit of the doubt. It tells us we'll be judged the way we judge others. Do I want the Savior to judge me as harshly as I've judged others at times in my life? or do I want him to be liberal in his acceptance and forgiveness of me and my flaws?

Because I want him to be generous with me, I'm trying to be generous with others. If I perfect this principle, I'll be in pretty good shape.

The meeting last night helped got me even more excited for next weekend.

***Next weekend is one of my two favorite weekends of the year. I don't have to dress up (even pajamas are okay), snacks are readily available, I can sort photos, scrapbook or color (yes, I like to color) and enjoy eight hours of inspirational messages that usually seem prepared just for me. I hope everyone can enjoy at least a part of General Conference.***

My Parents Weren't Hippies...

...And I'm not a new-age gal, but when I was a kid, my mom and I suffered from terrible sinus headaches. My grandmother believed in something called reflexology. Reflexology is a little like that ring-around-the-collar laundry detergent from the 1970s--an ancient Chinese secret. It is the practice of treating the nerve endings in our hands and feet that are connected to all different parts of the body. I can attest that it works. I've had some personal experiences with reflexology that I'd prefer not to share, but that have made me a believer.

I don't like talking about sickness or physical ailments. We all know how much fun it is to be around someone who dwells on their aches and pains and maladies. It is exhausting and I try not to be one of those people. But because I want to share something wonderful with you, I think you need just a little medical history, so please bear with me.

A little over fifteen years ago, I was in a horrific car accident with my sister and two of my kids. My 3 year-old son suffered serious facial lacerations requiring over 180 stitches. I suffered internal injuries, multiple fractures of the pelvis, a crushed elbow and sciatic nerve damage. Thankfully, we all survived and recovered remarkably well. Our physical bodies are truly miraculous.

Unfortunately, if I let myself get too tired or stessed, I experience pain, especially sciatic pain. Pain and stress also take a toll on the lymphatic system and it sometimes becomes difficult to handle. Several years ago, I was introduced to a woman who does reflexology and lymphatic massage and experienced great benefits from both. When we moved to a new state, I tried to find a replacement and after several attempts, I gave up.

Last spring, the pain became severe and my husband went on a quest to find me some help. The help he found me was a woman named Karalee. She works out of her home in Utah County and she's a miracle worker. A bonus for all of us is that she wants to help people, so she's also reasonably priced. Her reflexology and lymphatic massages are only $30.00/hr. That is a bargain!

She also does the stone massages, sports injury massage, essential oils and emotional release therapy. I don't really know anything about any of those, but you could talk with her if that is something you're looking for.

If you're interested in setting up an appointment with her, email me and I'll send you her number.

Just a quick note, however. Reflexology and lymphatic massage are not relaxing and pleasant. You may actually find (as I have) that it would be preferable to have your fingernails yanked out with pliers or your teeth drilled without medication. It hurts. It feels like acid coursing through your veins. The benefit comes after it's over. You just might feel like a new person.

***This is not a paid endorsement. I will pay my $30.00 every time I go, just like anyone else. I'm telling you about her because she's helped me and I wanted to share the benefits of her skills with others who might need it.***

Hello. My Name is Karey and I'm a Recovering Gambler

About a dozen years ago, a family acquaintance told us of a foolproof way he had eliminated his family's debt, saved a substantial amount of money and supported his family, all before nine in the morning. This left the rest of his day to spend quality time with his family, do worthwhile things and spend his significant income.

It sounded great. We wanted to know more. The formula turned out to be simple. Open an account with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange ($5,000.00) and start trading futures.

Isn't that a bit like gambling, we wondered? Oh no, not if you follow the formula. You get online when the market opens at 6 a.m., you look at the yen and based on it's first couple of moves, you can tell whether you should buy or sell. If it turns against you, you get out immediately. If it's working for you, you ride the wave until it dies. If you follow this plan without deviation, you'll make far more than you lose.

So we decided to practice. At 6 a.m., I met with a couple of my brothers and we did paper trades. Some days we got out almost immediately (on paper) and somedays we made huge sums of money (on paper). We did this for a couple of weeks to be sure the system worked. During those weeks, we made a lot of money--thousands of dollars, enough that if the trend continued, we'd be able to pay off houses in months rather than years. Did I mention that all of this was on paper?

It worked so well that we couldn't wait to get started. I sent in my $5000.00 to open my trading account and excitedly waited to start trading for real, earning real money that would pay off our house, take us to Norway and New Zealand (the two places I want to visit most in the world) and buy us a new car.

Monday arrived. I got up at 5:30, anxious to get to work. I went down to the basement, where the computer was set up and opened the CME page. The markets opened. I followed the formula. According to the first couple of moves, I needed to buy. So I did. Thirty seconds later, I'd made $24.00. Then it shifted. Following the sure formula, I sold. By the time I got out, I'd made $12.00 that day. Not the beginning I'd hoped for, but hey, now I had $5012.00 in my trading account.

That was the last day I turned a profit. I followed the formula exactly. The second day, I lost $36.00. The day after that, I lost $60.00. I don't remember specifics beyond that. It's all a desperate gambler's blur. Each morning, I'd check in with my brothers. We didn't understand why it wasn't working. Our mentor couldn't help us either. It just wasn't working.

Sick at losing money every day, I wanted to stop. But I couldn't until I at least got the $5,000 back. I had to break even. After all, that was money paid to me after a terrible car wreck. I didn't want it just flushed down the toilet. So feeling like a desperate man at the poker tables, I kept trying.

Several mornings, I made my trade, and then prayed, closing one eye and keeping the other on the screen to see if my prayers were being answered. I didn't like the answers I kept getting (which I now believe was, "Get the crap out of the futures game!) so I kept trying and praying and failing, finishing my agonizing mornings by crawling back up to bed, only to lay there crying, wondering how I was going to get out of this mess.

It was hopeless. I lost almost all of my investment before I finally called it quits. It was a very dark time. I clearly was not cut out for games of chance and speculation.

I'm just glad I don't live in Las Vegas or anywhere near an Indian reservation!

The Blessing of Friends

"You meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet. But sometimes you meet those people you can't forget. Those are your friends." ~Anonymous

A main theme of my book "Gifted" is the importance of friendship and how a good friend can change our life. I have been a lucky girl blessed with some amazing friends--people who make my life better.

Some of my friends are built-in. They're members of my family--that group of people that by some grand design became a major part of my life, whether I liked it or not. Luckily I like it, even love it.

I was one of those people who balked at Facebook. I thought it was trendy, high school and not for me. But then I signed a contract for my book to be published and Facebook was forced upon me. Since then I've been able to catch up with friends I have thought of and wondered about for the past twenty-plus years.

Friday I had lunch with two girls I taught on my mission. I call them girls because at the time we became friends, I was a missionary (technically an adult, although now I realize how young I was) and they were high school students. Now our ages seem almost the same and we're in the same stages of life. They're my peers and my friends. In spite of the many years that have passed, it was comfortable and fun. I can't wait to have lunch with them again. I'm counting on it not being another twenty-five years.

It is a wonderful thing to have a connection with a friend that transcends time and distance. I hope everyone knows what I'm talking about. The kind of friendship that comes easily no matter how long it's been and no matter how different your life experiences have been, someone who is comfortable and understands you, and someone who still 'gets you' even when you're sometimes hard to 'get.' I am blessed to have friends like that. I know how lucky I am.

So to my wonderful friends, you know who you are and I want to thank you. You are blessings in my life.

Recent Books I've Read

Tregaron's Daughter by Madeleine Brent

This was my second Madeleine Brent novel in a month. I liked it just as much as Moonraker's Bride. It's a beautifully written British period book with just the right amount of suspense, romance, and beautiful scenery. No, it's not illustrated, but Brent's stunning descriptions and vivid imagery make it feel more like you're watching a movie than reading a book. Speaking of making it into a movie--someone should. And if they cast Matthew MacFadyen (the latest Mr. Darcy) as Lucian, I'd have to own it.
Missing by Ronda Gibb Henrichsen

Before reviewing this book, I'm going to make a confession. I was at Costco and Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen was there signing copies of this book. Uncomfortable in the knowledge that in a few short months that could be me, feeling awkward and silly, I stopped and talked to her. And yes, I bought her book. Mostly out of pity. Having said that, I actually read the book and found it enjoyable. It was unpredictable, entertaining and a quick read. Just what I was in the mood for. It probably helped that it was set in Victoria, B.C., one of my favorite cities to visit.Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

I'm sorry to say this is the first time I've ever read a Charles Dicken's book in its entirety. I remember starting A Tale of Two Cities in High School, but I don't remember finishing it. The first part of the book was slow, and I had to push my way through it, but then it grabbed me and I quickly finished (as quickly as you can finish a 600 page book). My copy included the original ending as well as the ending Dickens settled on. I had mixed feelings about the endings. Even now, I'm not sure which one I prefer--the darker and more depressing ending that seemed to fit the mood of much of the book or the more hopeful "happy ending." This surprised me a little, because I love a happy ending, but in this case, I'm just not sure. Any of you who have read it, please tell me what you think.
The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

This is not a happy book. It is tragic, disturbing and true. The circumstances surrounding the Salem Witch Trials and the lives of the people involved are difficult to understand and hard to read, but if you have ever had an interest in the historical realities of that time, this is an excellent book. The author is a descendant of one of the women put to death for witchcraft and it is well-researched and very interesting. There are some terrible times in human history and I'd have to say this is definitely one of them.
Please share any thoughts you've had on these four books or share some recommendations for me. What do you think I should add to my reading list?

A Message to Me

My sister sent this video to all the moms in our family. I loved it. The messages from other moms and the song were quite touching and made me think. With my nearly nineteen years of being a mother, what valuable piece of advice would I want to share with the young, inexperienced and terrified me?

There are really many things--some would apply mostly to me, but a few would sound just like the lines we've heard from our mothers and grandmothers for generations.

I'd tell myself that no matter the complications, getting the baby here is the most important thing. Don't feel bad about having to have c-sections. It doesn't mean you failed.

I'd tell myself that sometimes the doctors don't know what they're talking about and if you have to fight and nag and annoy to get what your daughter needs, go ahead and fight and nag and annoy.

I'd tell myself that being a mom hurts, that every bit of teenage angst and insecurity is tripled or quadrupled when you're watching your child go through it, but that if you love them, they'll be okay.

I'd tell myself that it's okay to cry--sometimes because you're happy and sometimes because your heart is breaking.

I'd tell myself to get up a little earlier in the morning, so that everything can run a little smoother. I'd tell myself that sending your children out the door after harsh words makes for a very long and difficult day.

I'd tell myself not to forget to smile and laugh, no matter how out of control life feels.

I'd tell myself that I was about to win the lottery--four times.

I'd tell myself that I was giving birth to four completely different people, with different talents, strengths, and personalities and that I'd be wise not to compare them to each other.

I'd tell myself to pray, and then pray again, and then have courage to follow my heart.

I'd tell myself that from the time I first held my babies in my arms until I sent them away to college was going to feel like eighteen months instead of eighteen years and that everyone who said to enjoy the moment and don't wish the days away was right.

What would you tell yourself?

Thoughts on River Rafting & Testimonies

Last month, my kids and I traveled to Oregon to visit my brother and his family. One of the activities they’d planned for us was a rafting trip down the Rogue River. The weather was perfect, the scenery stunning, and the company good.

The only problem with the trip was that the water level was a little low. This made it imperative that we pay close attention so that we didn’t get trapped in the shallower areas.

Unfortunately, there were a couple of times that we got into trouble and were stuck in shallow water on beds of rock. This wasn’t easy to remedy because the raft was clear full of people including six children and my pregnant sister-in-law. My brother and son had to get out and push/pull/drag/manhandle the raft to get us back into safe waters.

It made me think. The waters were treacherous because there wasn’t enough rain or runoff from the winter. At other times, when plenty of water had flowed into the river, the waters were deep and easier to navigate.

I think that’s how our testimonies are. When they’re properly fed (like a good year on the river) challenges and snares are easier to overcome. When they aren’t, everything is a little more precarious and it’s easier to get hung up on the tricky spots.

I taught a Young Women’s lesson a couple of weeks ago. The lesson reminded us that our testimonies are living things—if fed and cared for, they grow. If starved and neglected, they die. For some of us, faith and caring for our testimonies comes easier. It feels like the natural thing to do. For some of us, we have to be more conscientious and attentive. It isn’t easy. It’s work.

But then we’re able to run the river with fewer scrapes and close calls.

We Really Aren't Con Artists

What I'm about to share is a true story. It sounds embellished or downright fictionalized, but I assure you, I am reporting it exactly as it happened. It is a funny story. It is also a humiliating story. This experience could open me up to all kinds of criticism--why I shouldn't use checks, how valuable credit/debit cards are, what are we teaching our children, among other things. I promise I've learned my lesson. Please just laugh at the story and don't feel the need to counsel me on our personal finances, parenting, life management skills or anything else. I'm already risking ostracism by my children for sharing this.
A little over two years ago, we began the Dave Ramsey/get out of debt/don't use credit card program. We cut up the credit cards and began to operate on a cash-only system. It was hard, but we were happy with the direction we were going. When I say cash-only, I include checks. Checks aren't a get-it-now and pay-for-it-later thing. To write a check you have to have the cash in the bank, so checks factored into our cash only program.
We'd lived in Twin Falls, a smallish city in Idaho with a friendly, home-town feel. I was able to write checks everywhere I went in Twin Falls. I didn't run into a single business establishment that refused my checks.
Then we moved to Utah. We bought a half-finished foreclosure in Utah County that was requiring a lot of work before we could move in. We were staying at my sister's house and we were still avoiding the use of credit cards. One evening, after a pretty full day of husband working at work, the kids working at school and me working on the house, we were exhausted and in need of a quick and inexpensive dinner.
So we headed to Ikea, where most of us (myself included) would enjoy a $2.50 kids meal. We loaded up our trays and walked up to the cashier where the six of us were eating for less than $20.00 and I began to write out a check to Ikea.
"I'm sorry, we don't take checks."
"Oh, really?" I said to the clerk. "Do you have any cash?" I asked my husband and children. My husband had a dollar and some change."I'm sorry," I said feeling oh, so foolish. "We don't have any cash. Are you sure you can't take a check?"
"We can't. We can take a credit or debit card," she said helpfully.
"We don't have either of those." She looked surprised. Banks were closed and my mind was racing to solve this dilemma. "I could run to Walmart and get some cash."
The clerk's eyes darted around the room. "Just take it. Don't say anything to anyone. Just take it."
"Oh thank you," I gushed. "As soon as we eat, I'll run to Walmart and bring you some cash."
"It'll be too late. I've already deleted this transaction. Just go eat and don't worry about it."
"I'm so sorry. You won't get into any trouble will you?" I asked.
"No, I'm a manager. I'm making the call. Just go."
So we did. We sat down and ate our Ikea dinner and then left. We stopped at my in-laws for a short visit about how the house was coming and then headed to my sister's house.
"Well, since we didn't have to pay for dinner, shall we split three shakes?" someone asked. We all enthusiastically agreed so we got off the freeway and pulled up to Iceberg, a place with shakes so large that no one person can possibly eat a whole one.
"We'd like two cookies and cream shakes and one rocky road shake," my husband said. (I'll bet you can't guess what kind of shake I was having!) "We'd also like three extra cups and spoons." The young man at the microphone gave us the total and I made out my check to Iceberg for the exact amount. By the time we'd waited for the car in front of us to pull out, our shakes were ready and sitting beside the window.
My husband handed the young man the check.
"We don't take checks," he said.
"You've got to be kidding," I said from the passenger seat.
"We take cash and credit or debit cards," he continued.
"I'm sorry. We didn't know that and we don't have either of those," my husband said, sounding like a naughty little boy.
The young man glanced behind him and then quickly shoved the tray with the three huge shakes at my husband. "Just take them and go."
"I'll drop off some money tomorrow," I said apologetically.
"No, then I'll get in trouble. Just take them and go."
We took the shakes and left.We didn't wait for the extra cups and spoons. We divided the shakes when we got home. They were delicious, but tasted a little bit like humble pie.

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Shorthand for Sale

"You should take all the typing and shorthand classes you can, so that you'll have some good, marketable skills to fall back on."

These were the words of wisdom shared with me by my well-meaning aunt. They are the words that prompted me to take every shorthand, typing, and 10-key class I could during high school and my first year of college.

The typing and 10-key, I still use. But let's talk about shorthand. For those of you who are too young to know what shorthand is (and sadly, that's probably a pretty good chunk of the population now) it was the skill that would allow a boss to tell the secretary what they wanted written, while the secretary wrote it down with a series of scratches and scribbles that were then typed back into the English language. To the average person, they looked like a cross between doodling and Chinese.

I excelled at shorthand. I could take dictation at over 100 words per minute. I could transcribe that dictation with nearly perfect accuracy. I practiced it so much that I started thinking in shorthand. Shorthand, along with my typing, 10-key and other secretarial skills were preparing me for a future career.

Sadly, I used shorthand at exactly one job. And at that job, I was called in to take dictation twice. The next time my boss called me in, he showed me this amazing gadget that you recorded your memos or letters into and then I could transcribe it using this wonderful machine called a transcription machine. Just two years after I graduated from high school, shorthand was eliminated from the curriculum.

So what do you do with an obsolete skill? You can't take it to a pawn shop or the Goodwill with your parachute pants, your oversized color-blocked sweater or your 8-track tapes of K.C and the Sunshine Band. I guess you can do what I do and take down baby blessings for relatives. You can write yourself secret notes that you don't want anyone to be able to read. You can impress little children by showing them how funny their name looks in shorthand. Beyond that? There's really nothing you can do with it.

Thankfully, I've heard it said that it sharpens your mind to have a skill like shorthand. So any time I start to feel a little dull in the head, I'll whip out a steno pad and take a few curlicued notes.

As far as good preparation for a career down the road? I guess I'd better hope that books don't become obsolete.

Congratulations, Lee!

Nine people successfully completed the blog scavenger hunt! I hope you enjoyed it and found some fun blogs to read.

The winner was chosen randomly from the nine successful entries. Congratulations to Lee! Use that gift card for something fun!

For those of you who didn't find them all, here is a list so you can check out these great blogs:

5. (I feel I should do a disclaimer on this one. Yes, I'm a contributor to this recipe blog, but I wouldn't have included it if it wasn't a great blog. Check it out!)

It's A Blog Scavenger Hunt Giveaway!

It's a Holiday Weekend! Let's Celebrate with a Blog Scavenger Hunt

For this month's giveaway, I thought we'd do something a little different. I love looking at blogs and I have some favorites. I have chosen five blogs for you to hunt for. All you have to do is find the blogs I'm referencing. When you have all five, email me with the answers. On Tuesday night at midnight, I'll name the winner (either the person with the most correct or chosen randomly from those with the correct answers). You can email me at

This is definitely a prize worth winning. A $25.00 Walmart gift card. You can buy whatever you'd like--flashlights, school supplies, a poster of Justin Bieber, air freshener, or Pine-sol--whatever strikes your fancy. My recommendation would be a good book and a stash of delicious munchies. It's up to you. So start hunting.

1. This blog turns old stuff (junk) into cool home interior items. The blog's author grew up on a 40 acre dairy farm. This week there is a delightful and beautiful posting about front doors. (It makes me very dissatisfied with my own front door.) This blog's author ran a series of very helpful articles about improving your blog. Stars are an important part of this blog's header.

2. This blog has a digital alarm clock in the header. The blog's author is obsessed with Lost. The blog's author reads and reviews several books a month. On August 2, this blog featured a Before and After article that humorously reflected real life (at least it bore a striking resemblence to my real life). This blog features tips for not very good homemakers.

3. This blog's author is a mom with three kids. On August 11, the blog featured a post with a photo display I'd like to duplicate and a nice tribute to her husband. Her husband calls her Stie. Her most embarrassing moment involved a tour of Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of Seven Gables. The blog author recently shared photos that perfectly depicted '80s hair and fashions. **Bonus clue, just because I want you to read the posting** On June 7, 2008 there is a posting about a middle-of-the-night experience that simply and sweetly illustrates God's love for us.

4. I like this blog because I like pretty things and the pictures you'll find here are stunning. This blog features weddings and you'll find lots of wedding cakes. (Since I used to make wedding cakes as a profession, I enjoy looking at them.) Every Friday they post Friday Bits--random beautiful pictures. On August 12, the blog featured some amazing cakes from Magpie Cakes. On August 31, a wedding is featured with a picture of the most delicious looking strawberry lemonade I've ever seen.

5. This blog is all about food. This blog has multiple contributors. This blog's has a black and white striped header. On August 30, you'll find a posting for peach pie with a picture that makes my mouth water. Someone named Lisa had a dream that inspired the idea for this blog.

Now go find the blogs and email me with the names. Have fun and I hope this introduces you to a couple of blogs you've never heard of.


Confidence: freedom from doubt; belief in yourself and your abilities.

Bruce got his mission call today. We opened it tonight with family and friends. (You can see more pictures of the evening here.) He was called to the Taiwan Taipei mission and will be speaking Mandarin Chinese. He was so excited--not a bit of doubt about where he's going or being able to handle what lies ahead.

As I looked at the mission call sitting on the counter all day, my thoughts traveled back over the years to the many times I've been amazed by Bruce's confidence.

One day in kindergarten, Bruce forgot to take anything for show and tell, so he asked the teacher if he could sing a song. She agreed and Bruce treated the class to an enthusiastic rendition of "Copacabana." The entire song. She told me it was a struggle not to laugh as my little boy sang about the dress cut down to there and Rico who wore a diamond. He confidently sang the line "There was blood and a single gunshot, but just who! shot! who!..." (Now in defense of my mothering, we sang a lot in the car and we didn't just sing songs like Copacabana. We sang all kinds of songs, including primary songs.)

I've always been impressed that Bruce could eagerly go to basketball camps most summers without a friend. I'd have wanted a trusty sidekick with me, but Bruce confidently went alone and came out at the end of the week with new friends, good experiences, and lots of accomplishments.

Bruce has also stood up for what's right, treating kindly the person others might mock, encouraging others to stand up for what's right and planning his future with his eyes focused on what he knows is right.

I'm so proud of him and excited for him to go serve the Lord with confidence in himself and confidence in what he believes.

I love you, Bruce.