Monday, March 28, 2011

More Festival of Colors photos

Here are some more of my favorite photos. I'll keep posting a few every couple of days. What an adventure!

The Bride and Groom that came to take pictures

Saturday, March 26, 2011

2011 Hari Krishna Festival of Colors

My parents live just a few miles from this temple and I've never been to this huge festival. So this year I decided I should come down from Idaho. What an adventure. These are only the first few pictures that aren't edited yet - but when I get home I have more than 200 photos to sort through and edit. I'll post those when I get them done. For now - here are some of my favorite photos.

ETA: Here are the edited pictures.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How To Play Squirt's Favorite Game

All you need is your favorite teddy bear ( or any stuffed animal). Say the words in the quotes. Do what Squirt is doing in the pictures. See - it's easy!




"Where'd it go?"

"There it is!"


a hundred times a day

Try other stuffed animals for some variety

Point and Shoot Camera Tip #1

The first step to improving your photos with your point and shoot camera is working on lighting. Natural light is best for photos, especially window light. In the winters here in Idaho we get a lot of good window light. Clouds diffuse the light - or break it up. Direct sunlight is pretty harsh and leave shadows, but when there are clouds (especially when it is still bright outside) it is about the best lighting you could get. If you're indoors and using window light turn off the other lights in the room. Incandescent (light) bulbs are great to help us see, but make photo subjects appear pretty flat.

Also, turn the flash on your camera off. Most point and shoot cameras have a little lightening symbol on a button and by pushing it, sometimes three or four times, you can get the flash to go off. My point and shoot camera has 3 options I can get by pushing the flash button: Auto Flash, Flash On, Flash Off.

Using the flash can help you get a photo when it's kind of dark, but a camera's flash will make a photo look flat. Photos taken without a flash and with good lighting are pleasing to the eye. It's fairly simple to turn off the flash and it will improve your photos immensely.

Photo with flash - Photo without flash

Photos are unedited

Come visit me at and leave your blog address in the comments so you can share your photos with others!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My boys

These are my boys

And sometimes they are crazy.
But I love them
more than a million buses

because they always make me laugh
and they take good care of me when I don't feel good
and they give me good hugs and kisses
and lots of snuggles

Plus, I'm the best Mommy
Little Squirt ever had
He even told me so.

And Cyam says he loves me forever
and he really means it.

I'm the luckiest girl in the world

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

Today is St. Patrick's Day. It's the favorite holiday of my best friend, Jenna. So I'm celebrating. Plus the sun is shining - just a tiny bit - but it's still shining!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Called to Serve

All missionaries in Sendai and Tokyo are being relocated to Fukuoka, Kobe or Nagoya. My brother is going to the Kobe mission. It is the middle of the night there now but in the morning they will be transferred by bus. My brother's companion is in his last transfer - meaning the last month or so of his mission. He will be heading home as soon as they can get him on a flight. All missionaries who are within a month of going home will be doing this. It is sad for the missionaries. This missionary sent an email home which was forwarded to my parents. I want to share part of his email.

his morning, the worst of the news has hit me. turns out, becaues of the radiation, i am getting sent home a month early! boy was i not ready for that. all the other missionaries are being sent to other missions for the time being but those who are going home at the end of this transfer are "leaving as soon as possible". when we got the email this morning i couldnt believe it! i was so bummed! i just am not emotionaly prepared to go home yet!! i just wanna go help the people down in the mud!! but, i've been trying to keep the song "I'll go where you want me to go" in my head. my orders today along with all the other missionaries is to pack and stay inside.

my head is spinning like a top but i just thought i'd let you know that i am so happy...... so happy to be a missionary!!!! i have never appreciated it as much as i have now. it's always been awesome to be a missionary but it really really rocks! i just wish i could help more! God really does love these people and i know that. i really love these people and i know that. (wow, all of the sudden i am a little teary eyed) it has been the best time ever serving them!! i dont know what exactly is going to happen from here and some things in the plan will probably change but i do know that i am thankful for every second to be a missionary and for the opportunity to tell anybody and everybody that they are God's children and that He loves them. I love this work and i love these people. I'm gonna do my best to serve to the end.

I love his testimony of missionary work. As the parents of missionaries have been getting letters they've been forwarding them around. This enthusiasm and love of missionary work is present in all of these boys. Missionary work is amazing. I know the Lord has been watching out for his missionaries. They are all safe and being taken care of.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Helping Japan

I want to help someone Japan. So I started looking at the Church's Humanitarian website to see what I could do to help. And they are in need of quilts. And I can make quilts. Here are the requiremenst for the quilts:

If anyone has fabric scraps to donate I would be most grateful. I'm looking for large pieces - either square-ish pieces or long strips. I'm trying to make piecing the quilts easier and faster. It's snowing in Japan right now and a lot of them are without blankets. My friend Brandilyn at Panache said she'd help collect fabric. You can drop fabric off there or leave a comment here and I can come get it from you (in the Rexburg area). We need cotton or flannel.

Photos from Tokyo

These are photos another missionary sent home after the earthquake - so they're not from my brother's apartment - but I imagine his apartment looked pretty similar to this.

Mission President's Note

Here's more info on the Tokyo Japan missionaries for anyone who is interested. The mission president wrote this.

Now that things have settled down a little, I wanted to write each

of you and provide an update on the earthquake, our mission and your

missionary. As you know, the 9.0 earthquake hit Japan at 2:46 p.m.

last Friday. At the time, we had 60 missionaries in the church next

to the mission home for training. Fortunately, the missionaries from

the areas of our mission that were were at most risk because of the

Tsunami (Urayasu and the Chiba Zone) were all here for that training.

It became obvious very quickly that this was a major quake. We had

just finished the training and were saying good bye to each other when

it hit. There is a field of grass next to the church without any

overhead wires and so I had all missionaries go outside and stand in

that field. The major quake lasted a long time--probably a couple of

minutes. It was followed by numerous aftershocks, which are still

happening today and may continue for some time, but the aftershocks

are smaller and becoming more infrequent and probably won't cause any

serious damage.

Because of the size of the quake, the trains all stopped running.

Fortunately, we have a lot of extra beds, futons, and blankets in the

mission home and so we prepared for a big camp out that night.

Immediately after the quake, our attention turned to making sure that

all the missionaries in our mission were safe. We couldn't reach them

by telephone because the phone lines, while working, were jammed. A

few months ago, all our missionaries received new telephones with

email capability. The email provided a lifeline to allow us to reach

all our missionaries. By 7 p.m. that night, we had contacted all our

missionaries and knew they were safe. We told them to stay close to

their apartments and away from the ocean and bays. For the two

companionships we couldn't reach directly, we had the bishops check on

and report that they were safe. Immediately after the earthquake, the

Presiding Bishopric's Office started contacting us every hour to see

how our missionaries were. As soon as we knew everyone was safe, we

notified the Presiding Bishopric's Office and then started putting an

email list of parents together so we could let you all know your

missionary was safe. You should all have received an email from us

the evening of the earthquake.

The next morning, I sent an early email to every missionary in our

mission (which they received on their telephones) telling them to (1)

buy a week's worth of groceries and water for their apartments, (2)

stay away from the ocean and bays, (3) email their parents that day

and let you all know they were okay--I'm sure it is comforting to hear

from your missionary directly, (4) stay away from any downed wires (if

there were any) or broken glass, etc. and (5) let us know of any

damage to their apartments or the church.

As you all know from watching the news, almost all of the damage is

north of Tokyo in the Sendai Mission. Our mission goes north of Tokyo

but not into the major disaster zone. There are 4 sets of

missionaries who were relatively close (approximately 81 miles/130

kilometers) to the failed reactors in Fukushima and, just to be safe,

I have moved all four sets into apartments with other missionaries

further away. The destruction from the earthquake and tsunami in

Tokyo was quite minor. There was an oil refinery that caught on fire,

there was significant liquefaction from the tsunami in one area of our

mission and a few cracks in the walls of some buildings. But,

miraculously, there wasn't any significant damage to any of our

missionary apartments (two microwaves fell off the counters and

broke). Our missionaries are back to doing missionary work and

providing service wherever they can. The biggest service project is

helping people clean up their yards and get their cars out in the

Urayasu Area where the liquefaction occurred.

While I am sure the news you are seeing on television is scary,

especially about the nuclear reactors, Tokyo is quite safe. With

regard to the reactors, on Sunday I was in a church meeting with two

people who are very knowledgeable about the nuclear situation in

Japan. One is a lawyer who defends the nuclear industry in Japan and

the other is a person associated with the U.S. Air Force security and

safety in the Far East. Both of them told me that, while the risk of

radiation problems in Tokyo is not absolutely zero, it is as close to

zero as you can get. They both said that because of the directions of

the prevailing winds, there is probably more radiation risk to Seattle

(although probably not much) than there is to Tokyo. Tokyo is south

of the reactors and the prevailing winds blow east and north, out to


Last night I personally called every missionary companionship in

the mission (right now we have 74 companionships) and made sure they

were all doing well and were safe. I told them for the next month or

so to always keep a week's worth of water and food in their

apartments. They are all happy, content and working hard. They are

even getting used to the aftershocks. The biggest problem we have is

that most of the grocery stores in Japan only carry enough food

supplies for a half a day and are restocked twice a day. Our

missionaries have all been able to get plenty of food but at certain

times of the day there might not be any bread or milk on the shelves.

This problem will correct itself soon. Gasoline is also a little

harder to get but that isn't a problem for the missionaries because

they all ride bikes. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) was

supposed to be starting rolling blackout yesterday for 3 hours a day

in each area of Tokyo but that didn't happen yesterday and we are not

sure when, if at all, the blackouts will begin. With several of the

reactors knocked out, there will probably be some power shortages.

But, we are prepared for that and it shouldn't be a problem.

Overall, the Japan Tokyo missionaries are all happy, safe,

working hard and having a great experience. We are constantly praying

for the missionaries, members and people north of us. There is much

disaster and sadness up there but it all occurred 150 to 300 miles

north of us. I'm sure the news makes it look like all of Japan is

affected (and maybe of you probably think of Japan as a relatively

small island) but we are actually quite far from the destruction and

are safe and doing well.

We continue to monitor the situation very carefully. You can rest

assured that the church would not do anything to jeopardize the safety

of its missionaries. As your son or daughter's mission president, I

will do all I can to make sure the Tokyo missionaries are safe,

comfortable and continue to have a great experience. The missionaries

in the Tokyo Mission are absolutely wonderful and it's an honor to

serve with them. Thank you for preparing and sending them to our

mission. This is a time to pray for those in the Sendai Mission area

of Japan, especially those who have lost loved ones. I'm sure we will

see continuous miracles both in the safety and the hearts of the

people as the events unfold.

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Job!

Guess what? I got an online writing job! Come and visit me on for photography tips, tricks, and other fun stuff!

Tsunami Miracle

All I can think is that this man has a special purpose in life.

A 60-year-old man has been found on the roof of his floating house nearly 10 miles out at sea, two days after the tsunami that devastated the north-east coast of Japan.

Hiromitsu Shinkawa must have resigned himself to his fate when he was swept away by the retreating tsunami that roared ashore in his home town of Minami Soma in Fukushima prefecture.

As the wave approached, Shinkawa took the fateful decision to return home to collect belongings. Minutes later he was out at sea clinging to a piece of the roof from his own home.

Incredibly, he was spotted by a maritime self-defence force destroyer taking part in the rescue effort as he clung to the wreckage with one hand and waved a self-made red flag with the other. He had been at sea for two days.

Reports said that on being handed a drink aboard the rescue boat, Shinkawa gulped it down and immediately burst into tears. His wife, with whom he had returned home as the tsunami approached, is still missing.

He was quoted as saying: "No helicopters or boats that came nearby noticed me. I thought that day was going to be the last day of my life."

Officials said Shinkawa was in good condition after being taken to hospital by helicopter.

"I ran away after I heard a tsunami was coming," he told Jiji Press. "But I turned back to fetch something from home and was swept away. I was rescued while hanging on to the roof of my house."

The self-defence forces said the good weather and calm waters had allowed Shinkawa to stay alive during his 48-hour drift.

Here's the link for the story.


You know those times when the world seems to be crashing around you? Right now feels that way to me. Yes, everything is fine here in our little home - but outside that home, things are pretty crazy. Our neighbor, Grant Moedl, is still missing.

There has been no sign or trace of him for a few days. He is one of the nicest men and so down to earth. There is no reason what so ever to suspect he just ran off and left his family - even the police are saying that. I can't even imagine how his wife and daughter must be feeling. They have started getting letters from psychics who claim to have visions of Grant. One in particular was extremely graphic as to how he died. I can't even imagine why someone would even think it was ok to send a horrible letter like that to someone who is already having such a hard time. It makes my blood boil.

For those who don't really believe he is missing, that he ran off and left his family, I wish you could have been with me delivering fliers on Main Street in Rexburg. I heard so many stories about how people knew Grant. People who were his friends, school mates, co-workers. It was amazing. I teared up many a time. Grant is a good man, and he was good before he went missing. He is definitely loved by his family and friends. Please keep spreading the word about him. Let's bring him home, ok?

In other news, Sendai Japan got hit by a second tsunami last night. My heart feels like it is breaking for these good people. I can't even imagine losing my house in seconds, let alone losing people I know and love. Most of all, I can't imagine going through a situation like that without my knowledge of God. Japan allows missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to enter. But the people aren't overly receptive to messages from the church. I know this because I have one brother who returned last June from Japan and another brother who is serving in Tokyo right now. While I was attending BYU-Hawaii I liked to visit the Laie temple visitor center. There they have a video they show anyone Asian (in their own language) and it's not about the missions of the church like we normally show people. This particular video was to teach people that there is a God. Japanese culture doesn't believe in God.

The earthquakes and tsunamis that Japan is experiencing are tragic. But I believe if I were in that situation it would be unbearable if I didn't believe in a higher power. I don't believe God made this happen. But I do believe he allowed it to happen. In the Book of Mormon there is a scripture that says:

And thus we see that except the Lord doth achasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with bdeath and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not cremember him.
Helaman 12:3

I read this just the other day and was struck with a remembrance of September 11, 2001. Do you remember how we all prayed then? Our hearts were turned to God. It is true that tragedies turn us to God. And I believe these disasters will help turn the Japanese people to God.

I have been praying for the Japanese people a lot lately. I pray for their safety. I pray that their hearts will turn to God in their time of sorrow and loss. I pray the missionaries will be able to be strong and ready to serve and teach. I pray they will learn about the blessings of eternal families. Losing someone you love is sad. No amount of knowledge will really take that sadness from you. But the knowledge that not only will you see your family members and friends again, but you will be sealed to your family - for eternity, gives you reason to keep going. I am so grateful that our little family is sealed together for eternity. I am grateful that our extended families for several years/generations are sealed together. Family is everything. I am grateful to know that though we will lose family members because death is a natural part of life, we can all be together again someday. This knowledge brings me great peace.

Please join your prayers with mine at this time for those who are suffering. There are a lot of people who need a lot of prayers. I know our Heavenly Father will answer our prayers.

Friday, March 11, 2011


We got an email from the mission president of the Tokyo Japan mission. He said all the missionaries in that mission are safe. All the missionaries in the area have been accounted for except for the Sendai missionaries - and that's because all communications are down for now. The Lord watches out for his missionaries.

Abandon Ship

For now I'm abandoning the photo challenge. Life's kinda crazy right now and I just don't have the heart to keep doing it right now. Maybe another time.

Please keep in your prayers:
Grant Moedl and his family. He's been missing more than a week now.
All those in Japan - an 8.9 earthquake hit them during the middle of the night (our time) and afternoon their time. My brother Bryce is over there serving a mission right now. We haven't heard from him yet.
All those who are being evacuated. I spent a summer at BYU Hawaii - and my friends from there are being evacuated.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Barbecue in March

Perhaps it's not weird in other places - but we still have quite a bit of snow here and it's barely above freezing most days...but that doesn't stop Sam and Dave (married to Brandilyn)


Brandilyn gave me stuff to make a garland for my Panache Package in December.

I think she created a monster. Since then I've made two more garlands - but I did these just out of scrapbook paper and didn't decorate them much so they were simple and I finished them each in an evening.

Hearts for Valentine's Day

Pinwheels for Spring.

And cause Pinwheels are just cool. I love pinwheels. They might be my favorite toy. I can't wait till we can go outside and Squirt and I can get some real pinwheels to play with.

Something I enjoy - Day 5

Day 5
A photo of something you enjoy doing.

I love digital scrapbooking. I've only been doing it about a year - but it sure is fun. I am especially enjoying being on the Creative Team for Sprouting Seeds Studio. It is fun for me to get to have a specific reason to get pages done. These are some of my most recent pages.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Button Book

For my little guy who loves buttons....thanks to Brandilyn who gave me the idea to make it out of pieces of felt.