Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Got Instagram?

So, I was thinking about my blog recently and feeling so bad and guilty about how rarely I post and wishing that I had never slowed down. I have had such good intentions of catching up once I had some free time, but as life is only getting busier, I am realizing that it is possible I well never be able to catch up. It makes me sad because this blog and its followers (you) have been such a huge and integral part of my healing process these past years. I am not giving up on this blog, I still want to post things when I have time, but I came to the realization recently that the quick and easy posting I am able to do on Instagram has kinda taken over the way I share and document our lives through photos. So... I decided to create a post on here inviting my blog friends to follow me on Instagram. I put that photo at the top so you know how to find me.

My Instagram username is: lesterlou

I am so grateful for those who have followed my blog and have been such good friends to me through these years as I've grieved and healed and figured out ways to live life with joy and purpose. I love you all... I hope you'll come and follow me on Instagram. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

5 with + 8 without = 13 years

 An anniversary is
a time to celebrate the joys of today,
the memories of yesterday,
and the hopes of tomorrow.
~Author Unknown

Monday, July 13, 2015

'after the manner of happiness'

~ 2 Nephi 5:27 ~

I've read this verse hundreds of times, I'm sure... but this time it jumped out at me like it never has, and not just because of the big blue smiley face I had drawn over it years ago. There was a time in my life when I felt like the light within me / the happiness I felt inside of me could be seen by all of those around me. People would randomly tell me that I'm always smiling when they see me. Even Aaron wrote in a letter to me while I was on my mission and while he was on his mission... that as teenagers, he would watch me from afar and could see that there was light and happiness inside of me and it made him desire the same thing. I wish I could remember his exact words, I'll have to dig that letter out and read it again. I was always happy to hear things like this because I felt like if light shined from me and if people could tell I was happy, it would reflect the the light of the Savior and they might be able to feel the love of the Savior through me somehow. Well, after the trials of life started to weigh heavier on me than I ever imagined possible, I know my light and happiness has faded... and I think the reason this scripture hit me harder this time is because I know in my heart that I'm not letting my light and happiness reflect the light and love of the Savior. My desire to reflect that light hasn't changed, but my ability has been somewhat halted by the weight of my burdens over the years. I desire to change that. I plan to change that... to "live after the manner of happiness" even through undesirable circumstances in my life.

Saturday, July 11, 2015


~ Ephesians 6: 10-18 ~
I was talking to Aaron today about certain things going on in our world right now, things that are contrary to God's plan for His children... and this scripture in Ephesians came to my mind. So I figured it was a good time to discuss this scripture with Aaron and talk about the importance of it. We need to arm ourselves every day and teach our children how to arm themselves every day. We can't afford not to.

~ ~ ~

I posted that in instagram and on facebook a couple weeks ago. The words in these verses are very poignant at this time and this is something that I will continue to talk to Aaron about.

~ ~ ~

My friend Chandra then sent this email to me this past week:

"This morning as I was coming into conscious wakefulness, one thought blazed across my mind: "STAND YE IN HOLY PLACES." I even saw it in caps just like that! I immediately stilled myself, knowing that the spirit put that thought there – I don't just think like that! But one thought that became clear to me was that in using the word "ye"- it meant ME. As in, the spirit is saying, "Chandra, stand in holy places." It was very specific and not a general "ye." Does that make sense?

Anyhow, I began to ponder on this phrase and asked the Lord what I am to learn from the statement – what was I supposed to find? And are there specific "holy places" I am to stand in? My next thought was that this sounded like it could be a title from a general conference talk. And it sounded like something Elder Bednar would say so I figured I would search the most recent general conferences. I went to my Mormon channel app and began to scan all the titles from all the sessions in the most recent general conferences. I got to April 2013 and ran across the title "Stand Strong in Holy Places" by Elder Hales. That made me pause. Sure it wasn't a direct quote of what was in my mind, but it was almost like the spirit was adding line upon line here and before when he's saying in essence, "Chandra, stand in holy places." Now he's adding to that (line upon line, precept upon precept) by saying, "Chandra, stand STRONG in holy places." This talk is incredible and it spoke many things to me which also happen to be in my Patriarchal Blessing. Coincidence? No. But just to be sure I went to LDS.org to search for the exact phrase- which I'd found by Harold B. Lee. There are also some wonderful nuggets contained therein.
Anyhow, what have I learned from this experience? 1) The Lord does speak to and reveal things to his prophets continually. And unless we have the eyes to see and the ears to hear, we will miss vital information! 2) The more we are prepared for an open ourselves up to the promptings of the spirit, it will come. I need to show the Lord he can trust me and stand strong in holy places. And 3) that I need to study and learn how to fully put on the whole armor of God- and then teach it to my children."

~ ~ ~

I'm grateful she shared that with me.
My response to her was:

 After I got done reading it, I went back to my posting on instagram where I put the scripture about putting on the whole armor of God and the words "to stand" are underlined in my scriptures. Those two words must have had an impact on me when I was first marking those verses so many years ago... and it brought me back to your email "stand strong in holy places". These things go hand in hand. In this day and time, we need "to stand" stronger than ever to fight against the evils of this world... and  "to stand" in holy places because that is where we will find the strength "to stand" in the first place.

~ ~ ~

I hope to help Aaron learn how
...to stand strong...
...to stand up for what he believes...
...to stand for truth...
...to stand for righteousness...
...to stand up against evil...
...to stand up for justice...
...to stand with faith...
 ...to stand in holy places...
...to stand as an example to those around him...
...to stand firm in the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ...
...to stand in defense of all that is right and true...
...to stand...

Friday, July 3, 2015

President Boyd K. Packer

President Boyd K. Packer, of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, passed away today. This makes me very sad. I remember when I was a teenager watching many times a video that was put together after a talk he gave in General Conference, it was called 'Spiritual Crocodiles'. It was an inspiring video and I loved the truth he spoke in it. (If you haven't seen this video, you should look it up on LDS.org). President Packer had a very recognizable raspy voice that I will miss hearing in General Conference, along with his inspired counsel as well.
~ A memory I want to share is about a conversation I had with Aaron on the way home from church last summer. Aaron had a printed copy of the talk by President Packer called 'Spiritual Crocodiles' that he had received in Primary that day. When I saw it, I told Aaron that President Packer is the Senior Apostle and that if President Monson passes away, then President Packer would become the next Prophet. Aaron then asked who would take his place as an Apostle? I told him that they would have to call someone to be an Apostle (through revelation from the Lord). Aaron was very thoughtful for a few moments, then he stumbled over his words a bit and said that he might... ...if they needed someone... ... he would be willing... ... to volunteer. I could tell he was not taking this lightly in that sweet brain of his and he asked if he could be an Apostle AND a wood carpenter (which is what he wants to be when he grows up). He then asked how long they are an Apostle? I told him they are an Apostle for the rest of their lives. He then asked if you get to see your family if you are an Apostle. I told him yes. ~ I thought it was so sweet that he was willing to take on the task if they needed him to... if they needed a volunteer. His questions were so sincere. So sweet.
President Packer will be missed.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Uncle Carol

My Uncle Carol passed away last week and we attended the funeral in Mapleton, Utah on Monday. 
Uncle Carol was the 2nd oldest brother in my Dad's family. 2nd oldest brother of 8 kids.
This photo of him as a baby is just so precious.
The middle photo brought back memories from when I was growing up... Uncle Carol loved roosters and chickens and always had them as pets... that is one of my main memories of him when I was young. There was a time when I was young when he kept some of his roosters over at our farm. I remember some of them were really mean and would chase us kids around. They were a little scary sometimes. He sure loves his chickens and roosters though.
He was a school teacher and also an artist. His paintings that are my favorites are of farm / country scenes and roosters. He was very talented. Someday, I would love to own one of his paintings... one can hope. :)
The right photo is a photo I took of him the last time I saw him when he could still walk. Uncle Carol endured many difficult and heart breaking trials in his life, but he always had a testimony of the gospel, was faithful through it all, and had a love for and faith in Jesus Christ.
We love you Uncle Carol. We will miss you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Aunt Betty

So, because I have been so far behind on my blog, I had not yet added a post about my Aunt Betty. These two photos are a couple of my favorites as I was looking through the photos of her as a child. So cute.
She passed away earlier this year. We attended her funeral up in Washington State back at the beginning of February.
Aunt Betty was a kind soul. She was the oldest sister on my Mom's side of the family. Oldest sister in a family of 11 kids. I remember when Aunt Betty brought her son down to Utah to take a tour of some of the National Parks here and on their way through, they stopped at our house to visit. My sister Lisa and I ended up getting invited to go along and we had a great time with Aunt Betty and our cousin Marty. She made us feel special and important.
She was the sister who lived closest to my Grandpa after he had a stroke and had to live in a care facility... in those 11 or 12 years that he lived there, she visited him every single day, unless she was out of town. She was dedicated to making sure he felt loved and cared for. I am so grateful to her for that.
I also remember when Aunt Betty had lost her husband and as a widow, she came to Salt Lake City, Utah to serve the Lord on a mission. We loved having her so close. She would come and spend the weekends at our house. She was still on her mission there when I left on my mission to England. She had found a second hand plaid blazer somewhere and had bought it for me to take on my mission. I wish I still had that. It was so thoughtful and kind. 
I love my Aunt Betty and I sure miss her.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Elder L. Tom Perry

Aaron and I went to eat at The Mandarin Chinese restaurant in Bountiful while we were engaged. Elder Perry happened to be there eating. He was just sitting a couple of booths away from us.
At one point, Aaron said he would be right back, and he walked over to Elder Perry's table and squatted down next to Elder Perry and started talking to him.
After he was done, he came back over and sat down with me. He told me that he had pointed to me and asked Elder Perry, "see that girl over there? I'm going to marry her... and I was wondering if you would seal us in the temple?"
Elder Perry agreed and gave Aaron the phone number of his secretary and told Aaron to call her and have her schedule it. Because of a prior commitment Elder Perry had, we changed our wedding date a couple days earlier so that he could be our sealer. It was so exciting.
As the wedding day approached, Aaron got a call from the secretary telling him that Elder Perry had been given an assignment I think taking him out of the country and would not be able to seal us after all. We were disappointed, but we understood.
The sealer we did have was amazing and we really loved him.
Since this experience at The Mandarin, I have always remembered this experience when I have seen Elder Perry speak. Hearing about his passing yesterday was very sad for me and brought back that memory again. I grieve every time one of our church leaders passes away, but I'm grateful for the legacy and the loving counsel they leave behind.
Elder Perry will be missed.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Am I Happy?

Truthfully, I have no idea where to even begin.
I don't know how to catch up on what has happened in the past few years...
so I will just begin with what happened last night.

I received that acceptance letter in my email last night.
My first reaction was paralyzing fear...
but knowing that this is the right step for me gives me enough peace to help me move forward instead of retreating.

I have been praying for a long time to know what to do and where to go and what path I am supposed to be on. I realize now that certain things had to happen in order to get me to this decision and put me here.

The photo that I have had at the top of my blog for years definitely comes into play in making this decision.

I haven't been happy for a long time.
Are there things in my life that bring me happiness? Yes.
Is my life what I expected it to be or what I ever wanted? No.

Anyone who knows me knows that what I believe will bring me the most happiness in this life is to remarry and have more kids. That is something that is out of my control though.
I believe I am as happy as I can be in my current situation.
Aaron Jr makes me happy...
But could I be happier? Yes.

So, since my hopes and dreams of remarrying and having more kids is not coming my way as quickly as I would have imagined, I finally decided it was in my own hands to take the advice on the photo above and change something. I finally realized that waiting impatiently for an amazing guy to come along was not helping me to reach my goal of finding more happiness. So far, it has mostly brought disappointment and discouragement. I realized that I had to change my way of thinking and change what I was willing to do in order to progress in my life.

I realized that waiting around has never and will never be what the Lord wants for us.
He wants us to keep pressing forward.
He wants us to be steadfast.
He wants us to keep working towards something.
He wants us to have faith and trust Him.
I have been paralyzed for a long time, mostly out of fear.
I am scared the the unknown.

Many talks from Prophets and Apostles, many scriptures verses, and many words of advice from family and friends have brought me to this place...
...this place where I am having to have faith and be brave enough to take some steps into the darkness in order to find the light.

I have decided to also pay attention to what I have learned in the past.
This most definitely is pushing my courage to the limits right now. :)

This doesn't mean I won't panic many more times before I begin this journey and during this journey... but it does mean that I have to push through the panic and keep moving in the direction that feels right at this time in my life.

I received that email last night...
then while reading my scriptures this morning,
I came across these verses in 2 Nephi 32:

These verses brought me comfort this morning.

You better believe I will be praying always throughout this journey so that Heavenly Father will consecrate my performance... I will need Him all the way through it.

Wish me luck.
Better yet... 
Pray for me.