Saturday, November 28, 2009

Baby Jesus' Crate!

Today I got my first christmas present from Hannah for the year. It was a body of drawings that had many apples, christmas trees and sweet messages in them. In the end she showed me the card and how it was going to have a picture of Baby Jesus in His "CRATE" on it. I giggled and figured that this is a reativly correct word to discribe the manger. It does look a bit like a crate!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Prier House

I find it really interesting that often when we do things we do them without our full intent being known even to ourselves. That is what has happened with my blog. I named it Chez Prier because it means "House of Prier", but I forgot that the meaning of Prier is "Prayer". It is the French verb "to pray". So the full meaning of the title of my blog is "House of Prayer" Interesting huh! I got such a kick out of this tonight when I remembered and put it all together!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What We Do For Each Other

I have learned some interesting things in the past 24 hours! I have several friends that are suffering through some of the hardest trials I have ever seen up close and personally. They are having experiences that take my breath away, (like gettting the wind knocked out of you.) The pain they are going through seems to compair quite a bit with what Christ must have suffered on the cross and in Gethsemane. One of my friends was told in a blessing that this is what she was experiencing and that she needed to be grateful for these experiences because they would bring her closer to the Savior.

Heavenly Father allowed Abraham to experience the idea of sacrificing his son just as He would literally do many thousand years later. Abraham could then understand to a small degree what the Father would go through because he suffered it too. We are told that we will have to suffer even as the prophets suffered if we are to qualify for the same glory they recieve. This is what my good friends are going through now! This is what many go through in the last years of their lives when they can't die, but can't live without pain. My husbands grandma is suffering extreme pain from shingles and now another nerve disease that is painful and cronic. I remember my Grandma Thatcher lived too long (in her mind), and only wanted to die because she was so miserable. I have wondered why many times this is so.

Why do we have to suffer so much? Couldn't we appreciate the gift and sacrifice we have been given by just watching it?

We are told in the Bible that even the Savior "learned obedience by the things he suffered". I don't completely understand this. He was perfect, how much more obedient could he learn to be through suffering? but He did, so why do I think that I am above suffering when I must go through hard things now?

If Christ learned through suffering, and my friends have to learn through suffering, and I have learned through suffering, and even old, dying people learn through suffering, then all this suffering must lead us in some way back to the Savior, to His sacrifice and His love or we would not go through it.

As I sit with my friends and try and comfort them and love them, I am reminded of the feelings of deep remorse for what my part of the Saviors load was and is. I remember wanting to comfort and support and love Him while He was suffering on the cross and in the Garden. I felt immense gratitude for what He did for me. I remember hoping that somehow I had been allowed to send my love to Him during those hours of pain and agony. I am not sure that was possible then, or even if I understood pain and suffering in that perfect home on High, but I do know that I can do something now for others when they are suffering, and maybe, just maybe it will lift some of what the Savior carried in those hours of His deepest trial.

Always the statement: "When you have done it unto one of the least of these my breathren, ye have done it unto me" goes through my mind. Time is one eternal round and who is to say that what we do now for others didn't have an effect then? I know Christ suffered then for the sins I commit now. I don't know, but I hope that I can better "mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort". It makes sense to me now how this is part of the baptismal covenant and why it is what our desire will be when we have been converted. When we truely accept the Atonement and the suffering of the Savior as payment for our sins and the sins of others against us, we will want to do something for Him, and knowing there is nothing that equals His sacrifice, we look for someone else to serve as He served us. It seems it is all that we have, so we give it ALL hoping that it eases the pain and burden we caused Him.

I wonder if when we do these things we are in essence supporting the Savior in His darkest hour and upholding Him in His pain and suffering. We are saying that we appreciate what he did for us and what others are experiencing to be able to understand better what He suffered. Just like Abraham did when he offered to sacrifice Issac on the alter. Abraham didnt' have to go through with the sacrifice of Issac, and we can't go through what Christ did for us, but we can to a small degree understand what He suffered, so we can appreciate the sacrifice that really was performed for us by the greatest of us all; Jesus Christ!

So when my family and friends supported me through my pain and suffering, they were supporting the Savior too. Thank You! I hope that I can do the same for them and others. It is something that must be experienced to be understood, and if we try and keep all our pain to ourselves and suffer alone, we deny others the opportunity to support and love the Savior as He loves us.

Monday, October 5, 2009

All Moved In!!

Well, we're all moved in and mostly out of boxes! It feels so good to be able to find things in cupboards and drawers again. We are loving our new place, I'm excited to be moving on. I have to say that I am loving the small spaces again. I forgot how nice it is to rush through your whole house and have it cleaned in a half hour. Or how easy it is to stay organized when the place to put something is only a few feet away. These things are simple and beautiful things that I had forgotten in my huge house on the hill.

True the view is not as nice and the noise seems much closer and louder, but the over-all result is great! I love our new home and our new lifestyle. A house really does engender a lifestyle. If it takes more time to clean it than to do all the other important things on your list of things to do for the day then maybe it's not worth it.

I must admitt though that it did help teach my kids how to work! I always said "if you don't have a farm, a big house will do!" And it was true they all have a great work ethic because of that big house and that was a wonderful blessing. I think they have decided they have died and gone to heaven because the chores are so easy now and mom does most of them, but I figure that will change when the novelty wears off. We will just have to find places to go and people to serve that are out of the house now, and that seems like a worthy quest for all the time they now have on their hands. I hope they are prepared, but something tells me they aren't. Oh well, nothing like a suprise to shake things up!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Car Crashes and Our House...What's the deal?

This happened two weeks ago, but I forgot to publish it, you can have it now, and then there is another one coming on the moving in that we have just reciently done. It will go up tomorrow or the next day.

Ok, so I wrote about the last car crash that happened two weeks ago above our house and the car going off the edge of the road and almost crashing into our house. It was a bit weird and interesting, but what makes it even weirder is that it happened again tonight! The roads are not slippery, or wet, or anything, and yet tonight a boy driving (from the ward again) was coming around the corner and went off the side of the road into the ravine. This time he went much further off the road than the last kid. We heard the skid of the tires, then the crash and thought that maybe the house had been hit. It was that loud!!! We went outside and it was very dark, but Paul and Seth found the car, still running in the ravine next to our house.

If you have ever been to our house you know that it is not the ideal place to have a car accident. The road is VERY steep and the cliff that you would go off might kill you. When Paul and Seth got down to the car it was empty! That freaked us all out. We had already called the police and they had an ambulance coming, (the fire station is at the foot of the hill so we saw it leaving) but now we were even more worried. There was no one in the car!!! So maybe they had been thrown from the car.

Well it all turned out fine. The kid had jumped out of the car and run home. He and his parents had come up the hill and arrived just as the police got there. He seemed just fine and no worse for the ware. The house and property were fine, but still I have to wonder what the deal is with all these accidents on our property just as we are turning it over to the bank next week because of the foreclosure.

Nine years living here and no accidents, nine snowy, icy winters that people could have crashed into or around our house and they never have, and now as we leave, there are two very scary accidents where the boys driving the cars are fine, but they could have both easily died.... Why now, why here?

I think that sometimes things happen to help us see other things that are going on more clearly. There seems to be a reflection in the world and the same thing happens at many different levels over and over so that we can get the message more fully. I don't know, I just find it so interesting that these things seem to happen all at once, all in harmony. Is anything a coincidence?

Maybe it is just time for us to go and this is making the "break" easier. This house has been a very safe and happy home for us for a long time and now all of that is changing. It is time to move on and go somewhere else that is better for us. Safer!!! Either one of those cars could have easily come through the house and killed someone. It could have really been a mess, but it wasn't. It is only land, it is only property and nothing that is permanent. The mess could have been so big and had long lasting effects, but neither one of them did. They were minor bleeps in the radar. No big deal! I think it is the same with the loss of this house. It will be a minor bleep in the radar! No big deal!! Things that really seem like they can be a huge thing in the beginning when we are in the energy of the emotion, seem to turn out just fine and become minor when we have time to breath and see them in perspective. I know that a lot of people are going through foreclosure right now because I am told about and know or have met several of them reciently.

I really want them all to know that it is going to be OK! Everything is going to be OK! It is just like an accident that seems to be life threatening but it is not. It will have an effect on your car, but that can be fixed and we will come out the better for it. I know those boys that were driving will be better drivers because of these accidents, they will be more careful and smarter. I will too. I will have a blessing at the hands of the Lord for this trial, and so will anyone else that experiences it. The question isn't will there be a blessing for it, but when. The key isn't what will happen but how we will handle it. What we will choose to recieve from it, or "get from it".

Sunday, August 30, 2009

"Do I Love You?"

I have often felt that answers to prayer are hard to get and I usually don't even know what I should ask, especially because I am only given the answers to the questions I ask and if I can only get the answer to the question I ask then the question is as, if not more important than the answer I seek. What I WANT to ask are the questions like; "why me, why now, why this thing". These questions always seem to be on the tip of my tounge but I have found that they don't seem to get me the response that calms my soul. But still I want to ask why I have to suffer? I have wondered what it is that I am to learn and what it is that only these experiences will teach me. Then, as I have passed through and come out the other side I have seen more clearly what great power and joy and experience I have aquired in the pain I have suffered. So, in my weakness, and especially then, I seem to need even the questions given to me.

On this particular day, feeling completely alone in my pain I went to the Lord and asked; Father what would you have me ask thee, I want to ask the right question so I can get the answer that will bring peace to my soul and understanding to my heart. What question should I ask?

The answer suprised me. It was so simple and clear and for the first time, really easy to get. He said: "Karen, ask Me if I love you."
Ok, that seems simple enough, so I asked; "Father, do you love me?" His reply was tender and clear; "Yes, Karen, I love you."

I thought, well that was good, maybe, I have just needed to ask what to ask all these years, now what else will He tell me, what else does He want me to know... So I asked again: "Father what else should I ask thee?"

The second time the answer came clear and simple, "Karen, ask me if I love you." Ok, so maybe I hadn't appreciated the first answer or maybe there was more to it, so I will ask again; "Father do you love me?" "Yes, Karen, I love you!"

I was beginning to feel His love now and began to be excited about the next answer He might give me. If He truely loved me there must be more information He would have for me. Maybe He was building my faith in the ease at getting these answers. I knew that the number two is symbolic of a witness, so He was witnessing to me that His love was true. How sweet. So once again I asked, "Father what now should I ask?"

And for the third time I was told "Karen, ask me if I love you."

I am slow, but not that slow, and I know that when Heavenly Father says something three times He's trying to make a point beyond the point that seems so obivious. He doesn't get confussed and just happen to say the same thing three times, and He doesn't do it just so we will remember, although remembering is important. I realized that this was the question that would bring me peace, understanding and joy, just as I had asked for. Why else would He have me ask the same question three times when I did not doubt His love for me, in fact I knew I was loved and had felt His love often. Why this question? Then I recieved that answer as I recieved the answer one last time to the important question He was having me ask; "Father do you love me?" Finially understanding the point of the question and the answer. "YES Karen, I love you!"

The information flooded over me and I was able to see that His perfect love meant something more, it meant that because He loved me so much that I would not be suffering these things for nothing. It meant that a loving Heavenly Father would not ask me to go through these hard things if it were not for my best good. It meant that He would not put me through pain for fun, or just for the experience of it. There was GREAT purpose in these trials and I could find joy in knowing that it was because I was loved that I recieved the trial. The trial was not just something to get through, but something that was going to be exactly what I need in my life, in my character, in my file of experiences to make me the person that I want to become. It is not done to bring me pain, or be something to endure to prove I can endure it and that I am a good person. There is more to it than that, and I can rest assured that "God chasenes (tries) those He loves" and my trials, or better yet, TRAILS are proof of that love for me! I am becoming more than I could be without them. His love, and these trials are proof that He is keeping His covenant with me and making me to "see as He sees and be as He is". My trials are proof that when I have passed through all that I have been given to pass through, I will be like Him because 'His work and His glory is to bring to pass MY immortality and MY eternal life.' And I know that nothing is wasted in that process and my experiences are for me to become like Him!

We all want to ask the wrong questions sometimes and don't understand that these questions will be answered, but the answers are not the answers we are looking for. The answer to all of our questions is in the question "Do you love me Heavenly Father?" If the answer to this is "YES my child, I love YOU, more than you know or can now feel, I love you!", then every other question pales by compairison! All is in the answer of Gods love for us!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Preserves and More Preserves!

I have spent the last 3 days making and bottling more jam, jelly, conserves, salsa, compote, and brandied fruits than I ever thought I would! I figured that if I had to box up jars they may as well be full ones! I have made two batches of salsa, and 40+ jars of other types of beautiful preserves. It has been a mad frenzie of chop, mix, steam and boil! I suppose that the uncertainty of what is going to be happening in my life and home in the next month or so has driven me a bit mad and so I have decided to take control where I can - the kitchen!

I have made so many different types of preserves that I have stopped counting. My favorite has been the Rum Apricots. They are beautiful as well as delicious. Then of course is the Apple Pie in a Jar, and Carrot Cake Jam. I never knew you could make such pretty little jars of Heaven. Pears, apples, raisins, apricots, blueberries, tomatoes, etc. Even a beautiful apple-curry chutney was bottled last week by yours truely.

I think my facination with preserves came while we lived in France 12 years ago. Weekly we went to the "SUPER" as the big excursion of the week. We found the beautiful jars of "Bonne Maman" in all the delicious flavors a sweet and delicious way to experience a country we didn't have the finances to really see as tourists. My Favorite was the Wild Blueberry or the Four Fruits! At $6 a jar at speciality stores here in SLC I don't think I will be able to put them in my pantry. But back then they were the treat on fresh, hot, bagettes that made us feel like we were living the high life, while scrimping and collecting our "centimes" (french pennies) to be able to keep the lights on. It was a way of splurging while being responsible.

I suppose that is what I have been doing this past week as I have been making and storing bottles of beautiful fruit and vegetables in pretty little jars, preparing for the sweet, responsible times that are sure to be required of us again now and in the future, where the surroundings are sparce, and the entertainment is simple, but the food is good and we are prepared, "come what may and love it!"

The "Bonne Maman" (good mother) in me requires it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Life is a Comedy!!!

Yes you heard it folks, life is a comedy!!! I feel like I am living in one of Shakespears plays at the moment and it is all a bit funny in a disturbing kinda way but I'm getting a kick out of it all the same just as you might from his play "Much Ado About Nothing".

Last night at 12 midnight I heard a big crash and thought that maybe the raccoon was out trying to kill our last chicken standing (out of the 20 we have purchased), but 20 min later my neightbor rang my door bell and we found out that his brother had almost driven off the ledge of the wall just above our house. The only thing that stopped him were the rocks and trees we had put in just a few years ago! Yes they saved a life, just as Paul thougth they might. It was a good thing but now we have all these stubbs of trees coming out of the ground and very large rocks that have been moved great distances and don't quite look right anymore. If it weren't so obiviouse that this was not what was intended by the landscape artist you might think that someone just had really bad taste. I really am facinated by the effort Satan is going to in meddling with our lives, our home and our family! It seems nothing is going to be left untouched.

It happened to be the Bishops son that was in the accident and he is alright, a bit shaken up but fine, and the car didn't seem to sustain much damage either! Just a bit of fender and bumper dents. It was kinda scary at the time because the back tires of the car were off the ledge and could have fallen into our front yard and through the front door at any time. Funny huh!!!

Remember how the saints had a period of great chaos and termoil as Joseph Smith spent 6 months in jail and the apostles were abroad as missionaries and the saints were driven from their homes and killed and hunted? Well, I take great comfort in knowing that they lived (well most of them did) through their trials and came out ahead and so will we. It was also a time of GREAT time of growth in the church when 7-8000 new converts were baptised in the space of one year! Satan didn't want this to happen so he tried his hardest to stop the progress of the saints by up-rooting them and bringing great chaos to their lives through their enemies. He will go to great lengths to stop us (all of us).

Although I know that I am not suffering to any degree as greatly as they did, I also find comfort that Satan finds me someone of consequence to try and push around. There must be something he does not want me to do or I do not think so much effort would be put into my little life when it would be so easy for things to be set right, if that were the plan.

The exciting part of the screen play is that the lyrics to Paul's song are finially done and he sent them to his friend that plays for Kenny Chesney. His name is Nick and he thinks they are great and is really excited to put them to music. They turned out even better than I though and Paul was quit pleased as well. Just you wait, he will have a top ten hit soon and that will also be interesting to see how that "plays-out" in this little "play" of ours.

Here's to the "Comedy of Life" and the fun it can be to watch it unfold! Oh, the great screen-writer God is!

Monday, August 3, 2009


I know that there are some that think that their family is the best but I am here to let you all know that hands down I have the most amazing family in the world! I know that others have real reasons to believe they are blessed and I am sure they are, but if you even try to argue with me in my thinking that your family is better than mine you will have a real fight on your hands!

The secret is out I guess that we have lost our home to foreclosure and that Paul's business has failed. It all happened in the same week and it was, to say the least, a bit overwhelming! One day we were all thinking that the banks were going to work with us and re-modify our home loan and the next they told us that they sold it on the court house steps and we will have basicly a month to get out. It was quite a whirlwind and then that same week Pauls landlord told them that they had to be out in 36 hours! Yep, we have moved a house and a business this week and decided that if it is ok with all of you we don't really need any of it (the trappings of this earth) All that is really necessary is the love of a good family and the spirit to sustain us.

When I called my mother the morning of the foreclosure I cried and hurt. She was out of town helping my sweet sister Laura have her 3rd baby and couldn't do a thing, but of course she called in the army and hearlded the troops and my family was on the property not 5 hours later helping to pack and load up a trailer to take to Logan and store in the warehouse while we find the next place to land. Not many sisters and brothers in law would be so generouse to take work off and leave their own responsibilites and come to the aid of their sister but mine did! They were amazing! Then they took all our stuff to Logan and unloaded it themselves without us there. Kyle and Riley were amazing and didn't quit working even while the rest of us rested between loads. The help they gave me was as if there had been a death in the family and they were there to support and sustain us!

Before they got there I decided that I needed some perspective in all of this and went to the Lord, again as well. He is always so merciful and gives me just what I need (including the family that I often take for granted). Well, anyway, I was reading in D&C 121 1-8 where Joseph Smith pleads with the Lord during the saints direst trials and this is what Heavenly Father tells him: "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thing afflictions shall be but a small moment: and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triump over all thy foes." Well, this has the possibility of making someone who is suffering very angry because I promise this past year has not been "but a small moment" and the experiences that lie ahead don't seem to be small in time either. Then I thought I better look at it from an eternal perspective and figure out what Heavenly Father meant by what he said.

So I took the understanding that a day in Gods time is a thousand years our time. With this I did the math and figured that if we live until we are 80 years old we will have spent 2 hours of one day Gods time here on Earth. That means that we could have gotten up, had breakfast, said our good buys to Heavenly Parents and brothers and sisters, come to Earth for our 80 years, and been home before lunch! What a small moment! Do you remember what you did last week between the hours of 9 and 11 a.m. on any day? I would have to really think about it! I remember that one of my labor and deliveries was 3 hours and that was really painful and hellish the whole time and it seems but a small moment to me now. I can hardly remember what the big deal was. I knew that I could do anything for a few hours!

And now here I am on Earth and I have forgotten all that I knew before and I have lost the perspective of what a "small thing" it is to endure 2 hours of heavenly time, on top of the fact that much of what I am experiencing that is painful is just the sprinkling on the beautiful sunrises and sunsets of my life. The beautiful things that happen are far more often and far more memorable than the pain, if I choose them to be.

So here's to my 2 hours of eternal time here on Earth, can I endure it well? Can I remember what it is to have the confidence that I can do hard things when the Lord is with me? Can I rememer that I shouted for joy at the opportunity to come here and experience the bitter and the sweet and give glory to God in all of it? Yes!!!!! Today I can! And to have a family that supports and loves me even when they have to come to my rescue and save me from my mudpuddles makes it all the better to remember that I came from a loving family in the eternities and I can be excited to return home to the Heavenly Courts on High and embrace my Father and Mother and thank them for the pain and the joy of going to Earth School and gaining experience! They have and are and always will turn those mudpuddles and rainstorms into sunshine and joy! The bitter BECOMES the sweet as we look back on it and see the strength we gained and power we garnered from the trials. I am grateful and it is enough to love and be loved!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Rest of The Story!

I can't say my life is boring right now that is for sure! But I would like to say that it is slow for one minute. I think it is interesting that things come in three's. Three car accidents, three deaths, three trials, I believe it is Gods way of pushing all our buttons at once so that we are off balance and can't do it without Him. He really wants us to know how dependant we are on Him, so you will seldom get just one trial (trail) to walk at a time. I use to think that if it's a big one maybe it will be the only one you get, but it seems that the larger the trial the sooner you get another one to go with it.

So you are probobly asking what the big deal is and what else could I possibly have on my plate so I will let you all in. I was diagnosed with a large lump in my breast. They said that it does not look like it is the scary kind but that it is large enough that it will need to be taken out. I went and had all the tests and it turned out to be no big deal. They took it out and it isn't even the kind they run tests on to make sure it isn't cancer. That one is over and is resolved. I am grateful for that for sure! I had the few days of panic and fear that maybe my children would be raising themselves and then it was all over.

Next, Paul was called to the Elders Quarum Presidency, and of course we still have the Seth is a toad issue, although that one is beginning to be resolved. Then the business and finances have never stopped being an issue for us. It seems that we are always just on the verge of jumping to warp speed when something happens and stops us from launching and we fall flat on our butts. Then there is the house issue that is not going away, although we think we will be able to Loan mod and keep it. These last two are having to do with money of course, the ever elusive companion we are hoping will condasend to attend us for a few weeks at a time.

When we went into the Stake Presidents office he knew very well all that we were going through except the breast lump (this was before we knew it was all going to be alright) and he was amazing and the spirit was very strong. He told us that they had prayed about it and that they were impressed to make this calling even with all that we have on our plate right now. Then the High Councilman for our ward who used to be in the stake presidency told a sweet story and how he was impressed to tell us that the Lord knew and was intimatly aware of us and our situation. I was very touched and impressed with how much thought and prayer they had put into this calling for Paul. I know that Paul will do wonderfully and that he has a great deal to offer the Elders of the ward. This calling will be a blessing to our family. Now we have a reason for the business to succeed and for the house issues to be resolved. I know that we are being watched out for and that we will come off conquerer! It is only a matter of time.

I believe that ifyou want a blessing from the Lord, go do your calling better and the Lord will do your other work for you. If you serve Him, He will serve you. Which He does no matter what but it is like the time that you put into your calling He puts into everything you can't do because of your calling. If it is your family, or your business, or your home or whatever, He gets 10 x's as much done in the time that you do so little for Him. It is not a fair trade for Him, but it's what He offers us in His great mercy and grace. It always turns out to our advantage. The reward is always balanced in our favor, always!!! The callings we hold are blessings that we can't get on our own because we are not able to do them alone or we do not qualify for them. So I wonder if the best way to qualify for a blessing is to do our callings better. It is a no brainer if you ask me. Of course the most important calling is that of Mother and Father and those are the ones we need to focus on the most, but when the Lord calls (by sending children into your home) the Lord qulifies!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This Storm is Beautiful!

I have more than I can handle in my life right now and I wonder if I can put it all together into a cohereant sentence that will tell others what I think is important and how to find it. The sad part is I don't think I really understood what it is that I wanted, until lately. Some people come into this life with goals, desires, and experiences that are focused and that they work toward with gusto. I did not get this gene in my DNA. All I knew is that I wanted to have experiences with Heavenly Father. There has never been anything else in my life that has held my attention. Not even my family, until lately. It seems that I have just in the past few years begun that road where I like where I am going and I have a bit of the focus I think a person should have. I have never thought I would be where I am, but here I am, and loving it!

I stand here thinking that there has got to be something that makes all of this so sweet, something that can be explained, and then I wonder WHY I am so happy when there is so much to be miserable about? I guess part of it is my children. They are the part of my life that makes the rest worth it, and I never thought I would be that person. You see, I was born without a mother bone. I often have thought that I should have been a boy because I have more emotions like them. It has always been easier for me to be logical than emotional. Not that I haven't had the emotion, I just didn't like it. I guess I couldn't really "feel" it. It was all just one extreme after another without anything really sweet.

Now it is different. I have something I didn't know was possible. I have that "joi de vive" that I have so often wondered if it really existed. And of all the times in my life that it should not be present, it is here now. How could one little relationship bring so much joy into my life? How could I have what I have always wanted, now, when before it was only a dream and one that I didn't know how to attain? I guess when you think you might loose something you really want it and pay more attention to it and find greater joy in it. That is my experience with parenthood, both that of being a parent and being parented. As long as it is easily attainable then it is nice but not priceless, when it is thougth to be lost, it becomes of great value.

I love my sweet Father who stands with me in everything and brings peace to the storm. Thunder storms and lightening are scary and beautiful; when we are children we think that they are more scary than beautiful, when we grow up, we only see the beauty. It's the same with trials. They are only scary when we are little and don't understand that if we will but trust in the Savior, we will be alright, and not only alright but in a beautiful place that we get to experience with Heavnly Father, a beautiful place that fills us with awe and respect and dare I say it, joy!

If you move one letter in the word "trial" you get "trail". Trails take us to new and wonderus places, filled with joy and beauty. This is what I am finding in my life. Trials that have become trails that are leading me to sweet and profound moments with my best and most loyal Friend. I only want to testify of His love and let eveyone know of the hand that is upon them at all times. If we could only see what is real. If we could see how He is constantly with us and walks in our paths and brings joy to the moment when we notice Him, then we find true joy! There is nothing better than noticing that we are not alone in a moment of hardship and pain along our trail. The tender arms of a loving parent wrapped around us or holding our hand and wispering encouraging words. I think it is worth the stubbed toe on the "trail" of life. It is an adventure that I choose, one that I would not trade for all the money or "picture perfect" moments in the world!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I'm Ready!

I love change! I want it and need it almost everyday to get through the day. I find that change is the one thing that I gravitate to the most. I constantly need to change my thoughts and emotions (feelings in motion), and use to think this had to be hard, but I am learning that it is not. I can do it in a second. Just change the thing I focus on it the situation. If I focus on what is wrong or what hurts then I am focused on pain and I will feel pain. If on the other hand I focus on what I will recieve from the situation (gratitude) then I will feel joy (I choose to see the greatest gift I could possibly recieve from what I am experiencing). If something is hard, I choose to focus on the great gift of experience and the power I will recieve from the situation and va' la it is mine. In an instant I begin to experience power and knowledge, I begin to see clearly what it is I can put to use and learn from my situation. I find it an opportunity to excersize faith or charity and now it is a blessing not a trial. I am learning that pain is always an opportunity to feel joy.

Heavenly Father pointed this out to Joseph Smith when He told him that all things were for his experience and even went on to say for his GOOD! He pretty much fore-told Jospeph everything that would happen to him and then added many things that I think happen to us and others so that nothing could be left out. How could all these terrible things for his good? Well it all starts in how we look at them. Do we really believe that God loves us and will only give us gifts, or do we believe that He will do things and allow things to happen to us that are "bad"? Because if we really know Heavenly Father we KNOW that it is ALL for our good and that it is all a gift! Yes it can be looked at as bad, but that is only the label we put on it. If we are going to go through it anyway, why not see the gift before we have recieved it? Why not get a jump on it and experience what we know will eventually be the outcome, the gift of it. That is my goal, to always see the gift, even before I begin to experience it. I choose to experience the gift and joy in the pain! It is how my pain is swallowed up in the joy of the Savior. It is my view on 'what is' that counts, nothing else!

I love joy and find ways to experience it even when others would not be able to find it. I find joy in all areas of my life!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Happy Easter! It's that beautiful time of year again and we have taken full advantage of it by using the holiday as an excuse to increase our food storage possibilites. You ask what I mean by this of course. Well we have just gotten back from the IFA store where we held all sorts of baby animals from baby rabbits, ducks and chicks to baby goats. It was so much fun! Then we took home six of our very own baby chicks. We got all the watering supplies, feed and wood chips.

It took me back to when I was a kid and we got chicks in the back coop. I remember loving going out and listening to the chirping of the little fuzz balls. Of course they didn't stay little for long and those chickens were purchased to eat. But the chickens in a different place in a diffeent time layed eggs and we had the best time going out and collecting those eggs. I remember sticking my hand under them and finding their treasures. It was so much fun to collect the eggs every day. I don't remember if I did this just for Grandma Thatcher of it we had the chickens after moving there. I do remember loving it!

The chicks take 3 months to get full grown and while we wait for this we will be building an ideal coop. This is what it is supposed to look like. Yes, I know it looks far beyond our abilities but I believe we can do it. It may not end up looking this good, but it will be perfect! I am so excited, now all we need is a couple baby goats!

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend and spend some time thinking about the amazing gift of the Savior and His Resurrection!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Great Deception!!!

I have been reading a new book and I think you all need to go get it and read it! It is called "Awakening To Our Awful Situation" and it is written by Jack Monnett, PhD. In 2006. He has foretold the things that have happened in the past year pretty much. It is about the government and how the Book of Mormon has warned us about what we are facing right now. It is very clear that we are facing some pretty scary stuff! I am wishing I had Grandpa Thatcher here to ask about all the things that he knew and why have I not stayed abrest of it the way I should have? It is very clear that we are responsible to do what we can do to change the "awful situation we are in".

I really love that Jack Monnett has taken what he knows and it trying to tell people what he sees and what is important. It is wonderful to have so many quotes from the Prophets in one place about the government. It seems to me that when someone has information they have a responsibility to take it to the people and teach them. This is what he has done. He is not hiding his light. He reminds us that the Elders of Isreal are not the church and that the constitution will not be saved by a church organization, but by men and women that love the contry and are LDS. We of all the people on the face of the planet have the knowledge to fix this and we are the ones, (the house of Ephrium) that have the stewardhip as well. We are the chosen house of Isreal. That means that we are the goveners, or the ones that give all the blessings to the other houses of Isreal. This can be good and this can be hard but it is what it is! We are responsibile to change what we are facing and not hide our heads in the sand.

Jack Monnett looks at the core of the problems and speaks very clearly that both parties are corrupt, we may not want to see this but it is true. No matter who is in the white house we get the same results and the same problems. This should tell us that it is not the president that is the answer. The president is going to do what he is told by the banks and the Rothchilds and Morgans etc. The Book of Mormon wars us that the Secret Combinations will be the undoing of our nation and the cause of the fall of our country just as it was the fall the the Nephite and Jaradite nations. These stories are in the Book of Mormon because the tell us what we will face, Moroni tells us that both nations were destroyed by Secret combinations!

Moroni warned us in Ether 8: 23 - 24 "Wherefore, O ye Gentiles (that's us), it is wisdom in God that these things (the secret combinations) should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins(letting them into our country), and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above(leaders) you, which are built up to get power and gain-and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.

Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when (not if) ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they shall cry from the dust for vengeance upon it (the combination), and also upon those who build it up."

He tells us of the 8 things that tell us if a group is a secret combination. This list is taken from the BofM.

1. Is it secret?
2. Is it a combination?
3. Is it murderous combination?
4. Does it attempt to get "above"us?
5. Is its goal "power and gain"
6. Does it bring the "work of destruction" upon us?
7. Does it seek "to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and contries?"
8. Is Satan at the foundation?

He tells how all of these things are the design of many of the leaders of our country and the organizations they belong to. Since Dwight D. Eisenhower we have only had two presidents that have not belonged to secret organizations like the CFR (Council of Foreign Relations) are Reagan and Goldwater. These organizations have not posted minutes and are completely secrative. We are unable to find out even what their intent is. We only know who belongs to them.

Much was started in the years of Woodrow Wilson. The following happened on his watch:

1912: The election of Woodrow Wilson
1913: The enactment of hte Federal Reserve
1916: The Graduated Income Tax
1917: Entry into World War One
1917: The Bolshevik Revolution
1919: The Treaty of Versilles
1919: The Council on Foreign Relations
1920: Proposal of the League of Nations

These actions have had far reaching consequences and have effected all of us to degrees we are unaware! How Woodrow Wilson even became elected is an absolute stagering quandry! He was a nobody and didn't have the support of the people!

It's all very interesting and you need to read this book! It will help you understand what I am learning which is "our awful situation"!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Robbery and Other Updates.

The robbery has officially been dealt with and I think we are almost done with it. The police called yesterday and had us come and pick up our stuff that was stolen and so we did. The only things we got back were my computer (which was all I wanted back) and the kids Nintendo DS and some things we didn't know were missing. Funny that I hadn't even missed them. All that is left is the insurance claim.

I am really greatful that we got my computer back, even though I went and bought a new one. My book is on it and I really didn't want to start over (although I had been inspired to make a hard copy of it a few days before the robbery). I know that Heavenly Father was watching out for me and has helped me get it back.

Our neighborhood is a bit freaked out and they are having a meeting tonight about it and they have asked me to speak. I guess I can tell everyone how they can be a great target??? No really I will be telling them what we did wrong and give them an update on what happened and what is going on now. For your information the robbers have been caught and are in jail. They were mostly underage and will be dealt with in the juvenile system. The chief of police will speak after I do.

On a more upbeat note, I was assigned to speak today at the old folks home in our stake and I really enjoyed that. It is like teaching the sunbeams except the spirit is different - the same but different. (There isn't any coloring or activity games.) They are such lovely people and love music. I sang songs with them (yes me, they don't care if you have a beautiful voice and I didn't either) and taught about the Holy Ghost. It is always good to have a good topic to speak on.

Sunday both Paul and I will be speaking in Church and the topic they have assigned us is "Gaining a Knowledge of the Gospel" Paul has been working really hard on his talk and has given it to me three times now. It is really a beautiful talk and I am excited to hear him give it again on Sunday. It is full of insight and is really sweet. I am not sure what mine will be yet. I have so much and nothing to say! I think I'll do more of the nothing and give all the time to Paul.

I have been reading the book "Mine Errand from the Lord" by Pres. Packer and it is such a beautiful book. There are so many insights and amazing lessons in it. It is quickly becoming my favorite book. Of course my favorite book is usually the one I am reading at the time.

He tells a very sweet story about seeing his grandmother after she died that struck a very tender cord with me. I will quote it here for you as I am not the greatest story teller. He said:

"There is no distance in death. The spirit world we know is here around us, but the veil is there, and the curtain is there. On occasions we can see and on more occasions we can feel those who have gone beyond. . .

I saw my mother once. It was a vision or a dream, more real than just a dream. She had died in her seventies, died a very painful, long-suffering death. There are two words that could describe my mother when I saw her: the one is beautiful, and the other is glorious. I wondered why I was priviledged to see her.

Then one day President Spencer W. Kimball in a meeting said that he had seen his father. He described an experience about like I have described to you. He said, "I wondered for a long time why I was blessed with that experience. I finally came to know that it was his way of saying that he approved of me, that he approved of my life and what I was doing."

I had the experience that was described by both President Kimball and Pres. Packer with my Grandfather Reeder. It was very sweet but I did not understand it either. I was able to see him after his death in a dream/vision and the only words to describe him were beautiful and glorious. He did not speak to me and only conveyed the knowledge that he had just been with Brent my brother. The next morning I learned that He had died and I knew that it was him. He was so young and beautiful. I remember being in awe of his beauty and the glory that surrounded him. I was questioned as to why I got the experience and have wondered many times myself.

I suppose I needed this to let me know that I am ok, that I am not off in left field and that if my Grandfather who is in Heaven and knows more than I do approves of me then maybe I am ok. I have always assumed that it was to let me and others know that he is in a place of glory. I hope it is more than that.

I am sure that even if you don't have the experience to see anyone who has passed on, just as Pres. Packer said that we can feel the presents of those who have passed on and I wonder if this is not the same thing. I have spoken to many who have felt the presents of Grandpa Reeder and others since they passed on and I believe that if they are with us, they are with us!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

An Evening of Haircuts and Tears!

This is Paul in a "before" photo. He is handsome and kind, but a bit top heavy. His hair is starting to take over his personality and become one of those places you want to visit, but not for long.

This is Paul after the hair cut. Much sweeter, the hair has been put back into it's place, it has been clipped and humbled. We must do this at least every 4 weeks or his hair begins to take on a personality of it's own.

Next Seth. What can I say, he wont even let me take a picture of him without his screwy face pulling. I am just about done with this child, and his hair is often the debate of the day. He gets the curl from both his father and his mother. He is stuck with it. I'm never sure if I should cut off more or leave on more. The fight is about all I can stand to have him let me cut any at all. Seth never combs his hair and I really feel sorry for his future wife because the wedding photos will need to be done right after his hair is cut because he has no idea how to even use a comb!

Now here is the after photo, you will see that I had to threaten and chase him around the house to get it. The before photo, came with threats as well. Oh, to have a photo of my son that is not with him pulling a "funny" face.

Next, Ari. There were never more tears or complaining than what Ari can put out. It was all so miserable that we didn't get any photos. It was just better to let him go and get in the shower!

Now Aidan: He is just so scared that I am going to cut his ear off that all I get are tears and wiggling. I think he should not be quite so upset as I have only clipped his ear once and not too badly.

Before the haircut:

After the haircut:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Things My Kids Have Taught Me.

I have decided I am not such a horrible mother after all. This is because of the wonderful lessons my children have taught me. I have fought them, but the lessons are finially "taking".

I have been spending hours a day with Sydney on her homework for weeks but I've finially made enough progress with her that it is only taking minutes a day! This is due in large part to R&R and the lessons she has taught me. We feel very accomplished and have decided to celebrate by acknowledging our success! I have never believed I was a good mom, but now I do! Next week will cure me of that I'm sure:)

Andie has taught me:
1. That I can be off course most of the time and still arrive at my destination in the end.
2. It is possible to have your daughter be one of your best friends AND turn out well.
3. Children are very forgiving.
4. How to take responsibility for my mistakes and appoligize and that this always works the best.

Seth has taught me:
1. How to laugh at myself and have fun.
2. To think before I speak.
3. To hold my tounge at all times even when I want to blow up.
4. To never say something I don't really mean!

Ari has taught me:
1. To hug more and stop to enjoy the hug at the moment.
2. It hurts to be yelled at.
3. To pay attention when someone is speaking or I will get lost.
4. One more hug is always good.

Hannah has taught me:
1. To always to follow through and never lie (by not doing what I say I will do)
2. A smile and encouraging words go a long way!
3. I am stronger and more consistant than I thought.
4. I can do hard things!

Aidan has taught me:
1. How wonderful it is to just recieve love from someone.
2. Some kids are just easier, but later they will be harder.
3. Never play favorites, or even let them think you are playing favorites.
4. If they are too easy watch out!

Sydney has taught me:
1. Negative reinforcement without possitive does NOT works!
2. Guilt never works!
3. I will be heard if I say it with a smile.
4. If it's not working try something different.
5. That R&R works with children and how important the "works" are for everyone.

All of my children have consistantly tried to teach me all of these things but I have not always been willing or able to learn when they were teaching. It is interesting that I have always thought that I was trying to teach my children but in reality they have been trying to teach me. I wish that I had learned my lessons earlier but better late than never!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I think it should be required that if you visit someone elses blog you must leave a comment! How does anyone know if their site is being visited? So to all of you who I use to be like, stop being so rude and leave a comment or two! It's only polite! I don't do this for my health.

As I recall, I have been begged, harrassed and guilted into getting to work on a blog! Now that I have, a little bit of positive re-enforcement would be good.

Can't wait to hear from you all, I will hold my breath. :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Book

I have, like I said started writing the book on R&R and I would love for anyone who is willing to look at it, and read it as I go. I figure the more eyes the better. I want to be doctrinally correct and get my points across. I am not the best writer but I know that with others help I can do this.

I have two chapters and the forward done- well I say "done" lightly. I know there is a bit more to go into them, but I have kept them skinny so that I can put the information that may go into them later in a different chapter. I don't really want to blog it because I want to hold the rights of it a bit closer, but I would love to email it to anyone willing to read and give honest feed back. The only requirement is that you would really read it and really tell me what you think. I know those may be hard but I promise I will be completely open to all comments!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Best of '08

There are a lot of great things that happened and things that I learned in the year 2008. I thought maybe I would try and inumerate them for me and all of you who where not as involved in my life as I would have liked you to be. So here they are the top 7.

1. My children became the center of my life again. I loved being a stay at home mom before but now I love it even more. I have the best of both worlds. I got to be the success that I always wondered if I could be AND I am home with my kids again.

2. I learned what it is to succeed and be who I really wanted to be. I got to do this working in the car dealership. I enjoyed this experience more than I like to admit. My dad asked me on New Years Eve if I missed selling cars and as I thought about it I really do sometimes, but not because of the reasons you might think. I really got to know myself better when I was there. I found some of the best parts of myself, and some of the worst and found a way to get rid of the worst and make the good better. I also loved knowing that I really was that good with people!

3. My sweet husband is one of the greatest gifts of my life. He is so kind and attentive. I learned in the past year what we can do together and what we can't do without each other. Paul is the amazing cook that makes it fun to come home from church and smell that great smell coming from the kitchen. I remember my mom would always have dinner ready for us as we walked in the door. I for some reason didn't inherit that talent, but all is not lost Paul has it in Spades!

4. I can have fun just staying home and spending time hanging out with the kids. Nothing is more fun to me now than having my kids, their friends and a movie in the DVD player.

5. Sunday really is the best day of the week! Every Sunday Paul and I have a nap just like my parents did when I was a kid, but part of the ritual at our house is the getting to bed part.

We finish dinner together, I make assignments on who is to clean what part of the dishes, and Paul and I head into our room. The next part isn't planned but always happens; the kids follow us and jump into bed with us. We sit and laugh and play for 20 min. I make threats that all will die if they don't go get to work, and then they head off to the kitchen and they auctually DO their chores. (I am making a leap here telling you all this, but this is my favorite part of the whole week, I love that they always come in and dogpile us! I'm going to be in trouble now that I've let my kids know that I love this, it maybe impossible to get them to do their chores now!)

6. Life is the simple things! On my 35th or 36th birthday (I can't remember which) we were in California with Mark and Shari and it was our (mark's and my) birthdays. We went out to dinner and in the course of the night Mark asked me if my life was all that I wanted it to be to that point, if I was where I wanted to be and had hoped to be. This question threw me off guard, because my life was NOT where I had thought it should be at that point. As I looked back on it I was very disappointed with where I had been and where I was.

Well not this year! I am exactly where I want to be! I have learned what I think I should have by this time in my life, things are more simple and I don't have as much as I thought I would, and I may even be loosing much of what I have accumulated up to this point on account of the economy, but I have to say I have never been so happy! I have never cared so little about the stuff! I am officially not a Stuffologist anymore. I could care less now where I live, how much we make or how many vacations we take a year.

Would I enjoy more if it was given to me? Yes, of course who wouldn't, but I don't need it anymore to be happy! I have the most amazing family and the perspective to bring me all the joy that I need.

7. I love that I know who I am and what I can do. I didn't use to know this sweet morsel. I thought that I was just another girl that came out of Logan Ut. Just one more of Gods children that are all original. Not too special. But not anymore. I know now that I am different. The same but different. I can do lots of things that maybe not everyone else can do. And I am loved by my Heavenly Father as much as all his other wonderful children. My talents are not what all of your talents are and that is ok!

The first 40 years old of my life has been for me just as it was for Moses, a time of preparation for the next 40 years. I think I will really love the 40's! I may not know everything that I am to do in this life but I do know that I have been prepared just as I was told I would be. I am ready to do what ever it is that I am asked to do. Teach the 14 year olds in sunday school or take on the world! It's all good!

ARI "The Lion of God!"

My Ari is one of the most beautiful boys I know. He is so fun and full of life. When he was younger I was always worried that he would get lost in the shuffle of the Prier home. He was so quiet and unpresuming. Well, there is no need to worry about this! Ari knows how to get his fair share of attention and he does it well. He still has his moments when I worry that he will be lost in the commotion but he seems to do well with his older brother and sister getting their face time first.

Ari's name means "Lion Of God" and that is a good description of Ari. One of my favorite stories about Ari is when he was about 8 years old he decided what he wanted to be in life and told us that he was going to be a Barbarian! We asked him what a barbarian does and he said "Well if I get hungry I'll just throw my ax and kill a deer!" (Duh mom!)

I'm not sure if the name created the boy or if we just picked the perfect name for the boy, but which ever he really is "the Lion of God!"

Seth and His Girls

Seth has decided that he needs to announce to the world on facebook that he has many girls that he likes and that have liked him over the years. This is interesting as it comes at a time when we are watching and waiting for his facial hair to come in. He has what we affectionatly call a mexi-stash. It is his almost mustach. If he would stop growing we would all have a bit more food in the house and a bit more quiet on the western front.

I do have to remember that he is one of my best friends and is so much fun to have around! He is funny and clever and interesting. He helps his dad without a complaint or a word of harrasment. I wonder if all 14 year olds are this wonderful!

The New Me

Here it is, I did it... What do you think? I have never been brunette before but have always wanated to be. Now I auctually look like the rest of my family. Someone in the ward today told me that I now look like I belong to the kids. (or maybe they belong to me.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Newest New Job.

Another big change and so there must be another blog. Also, I was given the assignment by Angela or MaRea(I think) to blog more this year as a new years resolution so I am going to do my best.

I have started a new job with the new year. I am working out of a wholistic health clinic in Centerville. I am leasing space and taking people through the R&R process to help them work through all their emotional baggage they have accumulated over the years of their lives. I know some of you are saying what is R&R and and so I will tell you. It stands for Repent and Replace and it is the process of letting go of old belief patterns and picking up new ones. It is very effective and very exciting to me. I have been very busy since I started and I believe it is making a big difference in peoples lives.

I have helped a 7 year old get rid of his Reactive Attachment disorder (a long term for what happens when a child is addopted, or is in the hospital or another trama happens when they are small and they never fully attach with their primary care giver-usually the mother). It was really cool when he danced around the office right after and said he was so happy and when his mom called and told me he was a different child the next day.

I have been able to help a couple men who have pornography addictions get rid of the desire to look at porn. Also, I have been able to help a young teenage boy start to work through his drug issues. Those are just a few of the people I have been seeing. There are more normal people but their issues are not so dramatic.

I am workng more than I thought I would in the first month, but I think that is good. I get to be home with my kids in the mornings and pick them up from school after their out. It could not be better if I wanted it to.

I have started writing a book on the R&R process and I have a friend who is helping me. She has been working in the wholistic medicine field for several years and knows a lot of differnt modalities. When I showed her R&R for the first time she was amazed and in awe of how sweet and powerful it is. She called me and told me I needed to get the book written right away and invited me to work out of her office.

I seriously prayed about it, because it is the only income we have at our house right now, but I got a resounding yes and it feels so good to know that now is the time for this to happen. It has been so fun to see people fall in love with the process and with the Savior as much as I have. The process couldn't happen without the Savior as it is based on the principle of repentance. My whole Patriarchal Blessing talks about a work that I will do, how to prepare for it and how to succeed at it. Now I auctually know what it is. It is all about bringing souls unto Christ and this is how I am to do it.

I know that not all of my family will be happy about this change as they have told me so, but I am ok with that. We all have to work through our own limitations and we all have those people in life that we get to push up against to make us stronger and more determined to do what we are sent to do. I figure they are my "success button pushers". They will make me look at the part of me I don't like because I see it in them, and then look at who I am and what I want and it pushes me to become my best. With out exception, everyone that has ever questioned me and made me look at what I really believe or want in life has been a blessing to me.

If I have to fight for something then I really appreciate it when I get it, I love it all the more and find it more rewarding than if I would have had it handed to me.

My family is doing really well. They are all have experiences with the R&R process as I bring it home to run them through it. They are my guinie pigs. They get to help mom do research to find the best to give to others. Paul is helping me edit the book as his talents are in writting and language. I have about 2 chapters written and the preface. I started it a few years ago, but it was not the right time. I didn't have all the information that I do now. It goes faster and heals more completely. I find it funny that my talents are not in the language arts. I am not the elequent one. Kim definately gets that title. She can make anything sound good and it is always carried by the spirit. I get the role of slow of speach and all the people hate me. But it is what it is. And it is good. I love that it is the Lord that is in charge and He will bring again Zion. I'm not worried, just excited.

So, there you have it. My life in a blog. Hope it's not too spiritual for you. And I can't help it if it is. It's just the facts:) Maybe next time I will find some photos to spice it all up with. That would be good!

Oh, and I think I am going brunette tomorrow! I am going to try really dark, if I have the courage!