Thursday, March 29, 2012



My daughter calls her sister, “The Seventh Wonder of the World.” Another daughter calls her, “Magic Person.” Her creative mind is such that it staggers our minds at every turn. Everything she touches transforms as if she has touched it with a magic wand. When she was tiny she earned the title, “gunk collector,” because, wherever we went, she would gather up odd pieces of scrap “anything,” and bring it home to create amazing artistic sculptures……….She wasn’t home from college five minutes before she had gathered up all her little brothers and sisters and marched into our forest grove to create “something.” I went out a short time later to discover they had built an enormous teepee out of branches and sticks. They had also dug a fire pit and placed log chairs around it. All were happily roasting hotdogs and marshmellows. She then proceeded to create a ten-foot-high wicker chair……….One hour before getting on an airplane to come to her brother’s wedding, she found the bride’s maid fabric that had been sent to her weeks earlier and sewed, without a pattern, a prettier and more creative dress than any of the other dresses at the wedding………. My brother was about to sell his Jeep to some buyers who were soon to arrive at his house when he discovered the plastic sunroof had been eaten through by rodents. She found something lying around in their backyard and sewed a new sunroof before they arrived. If it is time to bike to the beach, she has already loaded 8 bikes on the cars, gathered all the helmets and is waiting for you before you tie your shoes. Everything she touches grows into radiant living………

I looked at what she was “doodling” during General Conference addresses on the television and discovered she had painted a picture of the Savior in the clouds………If you mention, “birthday party,” you turn the corner a few minutes later and behold the most fantastical blaze of everything draping and sparkling – the strangest combination of things dangling and criss-crossing everywhere in an unimaginable combination of spectacular. It is everywhere with her…. God touched her precious mind in a way that is beautiful to behold at every turn…she is truly, truly a wonder to behold….when you get to experience someone like Cubbie in your lifetime….you can only praise God for the chance be immersed in that wonder – “The Seventh Wonder.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012



Highly creative minds are gifts from God to this earth. The very special people assigned to house the inspired imagination and creativity of the artistic mind are usually emotionally intense and driven by their need to express what is singing so loudly in their soul. They cannot help but listen to it and then do something about it…W.H. Auden said, “Geniuses are the luckiest of mortals because what they must do is the same as what they most want to do.” Einstein clashed with school authorities and failed an entrance exam. He resented school regimen and restrictive teaching methods and wrote that the spirit of learning and creative thought are lost in strict rote learning. I watched a child excel beyond possibility in classes that allowed for creative freedom and struggle in classes that allowed for none. Because of what these gifted people end up giving to all of us, as they proceed through their lives, I believe we should patiently and reverently allow for the emotional space and freedom of movement needed, so they can respond to the rhythm, the song and the “beat of a different drum” that plays loudly in their minds and hearts. Because it is so loud, it must be expressed brightly in every art form imaginable…and we get to sit back on a blanket on the grass and listen, with the expanse of God’s creations surrounding us, to Beethoven’s Fifth being played at the Boston Commons, at the free concert on Friday night…in divine duet.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I recently passed a young mother, in a parking lot, who was carrying a brand new baby. One little girl was hanging on to the mother's shirt and the other little girl was hanging on to the mother's pant leg. Then, trailing behind the group was the oldest brother, who was also very young. I saw that the brother was crying. He all of sudden yelled, “I hate babies!” I felt badly for him and thought about how each child has to, inevitably, be “kicked out of the nest.” Whenever a new child was introduced into our home, along with the excitement and celebration, there came an accompanying sadness in the one who was no longer on Mom's lap and heartbreak for the mother who knew her "young must learn to fly." One day I woke up and looked around me. Our newborn child was at my side - another had crawled in during the night and was by my other side - and then I noticed there was another child above my head and another at my feet. The last child just climbed on top of my me. I imagine I was tired enough to not have noticed what had been happening. At that moment no one was out of the nest. I wish it could always be that way.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mother Knows

Written by my sister Tamara Marina Summerhays

Bryce’s Story

One day when my son Bryce was eight years old, he came home sick from school. This wasn’t particularly alarming as many of the kids in his class had recently been sick with the flu. Bryce’s symptoms were very similar to the flu so I assumed that he had the same illness. One particular night Bryce complained that his stomach hurt really badly. He had been throwing up all day so I thought that was the reason for the stomach pain. The next day his fever was down, he had stopped throwing up and we even contemplated sending him back to school but then decided to give him one more day to recover. That night his temperature spiked and he was feeling ill again. His face appeared very ashen and he just didn’t look right to me. I was confused by his symptoms and apparently worsening condition. At this point I felt that I needed additional guidance and inspiration so I decided to pray. I knelt by myself and asked Heavenly Father for much needed wisdom to know how to help Bryce. I paused during my prayer and the answer came to me very clearly that Bryce had appendicitis. The prompting was so immediate and unmistakable that I knew exactly what I needed to do. I took Bryce to the Emergency Room and was eventually seen by the Emergency Room doctor. After a thorough exam the doctor determined that Bryce indeed had appendicitis and asked for a surgeon to come and examine Bryce. After another thorough examination the surgeon declared that Bryce did not have appendicitis and that we could go home. At this point I was feeling very confused and conflicted. I knew in my soul that he had appendicitis yet was being told by a trained specialist that he did not. The ER doctor was just as confused as I was and returned to examine Bryce again. She felt that her initial diagnosis was correct and ordered a CAT scan. I was so relieved when we made the decision to run further tests. The results came back and not only did Bryce have appendicitis but his appendix had ruptured. My Bryce was a seriously ill little boy and required immediate surgery. We had just enough time for my husband and brother to arrive to give Bryce a Priesthood blessing before he was taken to the operating room. After they took him to surgery it finally came to me how truly blessed we had been. Had I or the ER doctor listened to the opinion of the surgeon only, Bryce would have been sent home, his conditioned would have surely worsened and I hate to even consider the possible outcome. My heart was immediately filled with overwhelming gratitude for the divine prompting that I had received and for the ER doctor that had saved my son’s life. Had she backed down at any point to the surgeon or been too busy on that particular day Bryce would have suffered an uncertain fate. Many times since that day I have pondered this event and been brought to tears. I was so incredibly grateful to the ER doctor who stood up and fought for my son. I felt indebted to her and wanted to thank her but didn’t know how one thanks another for saving a life. I decided to write a heartfelt note and brought it to her with some other small gift of appreciation. I remember feeling at the time how inadequate was my offering of thanks but didn’t know of any other way to express my deep and eternal gratitude. Later, this caused me to ponder more deeply the life our Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave everything for all of us so that we might be saved. The atonement was given freely to all. How I can I ever repay such a debt? My expressions of gratitude also seem completely inadequate yet I give my small offering in comparison by giving thanks and by trying to give love and charity to those around me. I know it is nothing in comparison to the gift of life but the Savior knows my heart and my deep and abiding love for all that He has done for me. And I hope that the ER doctor knows of my deep appreciation despite my insufficient offering. All I know is that my Bryce is with me because of the answer to sincere prayer, Priesthood blessings and because someone else was willing to stand up in his behalf. For these blessings I am eternally grateful.

Written 1/22/12

Thursday, January 19, 2012



I have a friend who was a ballet dancer as a youth but had not danced for many years. She was involved in raising her small children but felt like she needed to do something for her “heart.” I suggested she take dancing lessons again. She did, and something changed in her eyes. There was a new glow…she was feeding her heart so she could better “feed” her children. All her burdens seemed somehow lighter because she was filling up an empty place inside her. I have found if I do something each day that is something I love to do - a very personal love – the happiness and fulfillment I gain spills over in to all parts of my life and all are blessed.


My Brother-in-Law David M. Nelson


Quote from the movie, “Joe VS the Volcano”: “My father says almost the whole world is asleep…everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. He says only a few people are awake, and they live in a state of constant amazement.” Quote from the movie, “Braveheart”: “Every man dies, not every man lives.” Quote from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.” Quote from Howard Thurman, “Don’t ask what the world needs – ask what makes you come alive, and go and do it – because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” Quote from President Deiter F. Uchtdorf: The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something. Quote from President Howard W. Hunter: “Whatever Jesus lays his hands upon, lives. If He lays his hands upon a marriage, it lives. If He is allowed to lay His hands upon a family, it lives.” My father says, “The only truly “wealthy” person is someone who is able to spend their lives doing something they truly love.” My brother-in-law has flown fighter planes for the Air Force his entire career. He says that he is always amazed when he gets paid for doing this because he loves it so much. My daughter just discovered, at age 34, what she really wants to do in life and she says it is the first time she has felt “alive” for very long time. We owe it to ourselves, the world and to God to wake up and find out what makes us come alive and “live” it…and God can help us discover what that is – because He knows…because He created us….

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Gift of the Child

"Let us Bring Him Silver and Gold"
December 10, 2011

A Christmas Show where many children were able to give glory to God by sharing their various talents. First, was a Nativity scene with all the children dressed in costume and singing songs of Christmas, followed by individual and family performances. The stage then was filled with pajama-clad children who couldn't sleep because of the "visions of sugar-plums" that were still dancing in their head. Santa proceeded to "tuck them in bed" by revealing to them some of the very special things he always carries in his Santa Bag that remind him of the true meaning of Christmas. He showed them a wreath (eternal love), a candle (the Light of Christ and our own inner light), a gift (giving, sharing, thinking of others), a bow (tied in the bonds of brotherly love), a bell (rings to bring lost sheep home), a tree (the evergreen of everlasting life, pointing heavenward), a candy cane (Shepherd's crook for bringing lambs back to the fold), red (The Savior's sacrifice for all), a star (The Bethlehem star, a sign of prophecy, the light of the world) . . . Santa Claus (The spirit of Christmas, giving and receiving love, caring, sharing, kindness, cheerfulness, happiness, peace, good will to all, Christlike living). The evening concluded with all the children, on stage, gathered around Santa, with the audience, singing "Away in the Manger."

I wrote a poem to describe the "hope" for the night.
The Gift of the Child . . . The Christ Child
The Gift of the Child . . . Our Child
The Gift of the Child . . . Their God-given talents


The gift of the Child from heaven to earth

The Savior, our King -the sacred birth

Brought forth a brilliant burst of light

Starlight’s bright beam transformed the night

And so it is with each new birth

The moment –the Chance—to see heaven touch earth

To deep within feel the light

That transforms our hearts, our souls, our sight

The Gift of the Child—the gift of our child

So our eyes can see the meek, the mild

And then to watch the years reveal

In sinew of soul—gifts of God sealed

The child giving gifts to glorify God

As they seek to follow the path he trod

Let us hear them, see them- give their praise

To God for all his starry rays

That shot down the light from heaven above

That taught them to sing and dance and love

Like praises from shepherds and kings of old

Let us see the child bring Him silver and gold. . .

Written by Karen Nelson

Christmas 2011