Dyan’s Family Reunion

This is a sweet, true, inspiring story for a Thanksgiving morning. In 2012, a Sudanese woman arrived in Fort Worth, Texas, with two little children and pregnant with another. Her husband, Dyan, couldn’t make the trip. He was unable to leave the refugee camp because they had lost their marriage papers while fleeing war. They had to find a way to prove that they were married, and that the children were indeed his. Dyan feared he would never see his family again. We can only imagine how HARD that would be!  Four long years later, Dyan had finally resolved the issue, and he was cleared for travel to America. He would see his wife again, and his children, including meeting his 3 year-old for the very first time.











Florence Chadwick is one of my heroes (I have quite a few… there are so many incredible people alive now and in the past). She was born on 09 November, 1918, in San Diego. She died there on 15 March 1995 at the age of 76 (that’s my current age). Florence was the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions, setting a time record with each of the two swims. She was also the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel, the Straits of Gibraltar, the Bosporus (one way) and the Dardanelles (round trip). Wow!  She attended San Diego State and studied at several law schools and a business college.


Florence entered swimming competitions from a young age. She won her first race at the age of 10. But she realized she preferred ocean events rather than swimming pools. When she was still 10 she became the youngest person to swim across the mouth of San Diego Bay! Starting at the age of 11 she competed in rough water swims, winning an annual 2.5 mile race in the ocean of La Jolla 10 times in 18 years!


She had her heart set on swimming the English Channel. In 1950 she attempted to enter a contest for that swim but was refused for lack of a significant reputation. She determined to try at her own expense. She failed in July after swimming for 14 hours. Then, in August, she succeeded. On 08 August, 1950, at the age of 31, she crossed the English Channel from France to England in 13 hours and 20 minutes, breaking the women’s record. It’s only 23 miles, but because of currents, tides, winds, and waves, the distance can end up much longer. The swim from England to France is more difficult than France to England.  In 1951, after waiting 11 weeks for good weather and tides, she crossed from England to France in 16 hours and 22 minutes, setting another record.


Can you even imagine swimming that long (over 16 HOURS) in a nice pool !!… let alone in freezing water with stingrays, kelp beds, jellyfish, sharks, darkness . . . no woman had ever completed the swim from England to France until Florence Chadwick did it. And she was the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions. She eventually swam the Channel 4 times.


On the 4th of July in 1952, at the age of 34, Florence prepared to swim from Catalina Island to the coast of California. Millions of Americans were watching on TV. (I wasn’t one of them – we didn’t have a TV until we moved to the land northward when I was 17). No one doubted she could make it – she’d already swum the English Channel in both directions! And this would only be 21 miles from Catalina to Palos Verdes. The water was freezing cold, the fog was so thick she could hardly see the support boats that followed her, and sharks prowled around (several times her support crew used rifles to drive away the sharks). She was repeatedly stung by jellyfish.


Hour after hour she kept swimming. 5 hours. 10. 15. After about 15 hours, a thick fog had set in, and she began to doubt her ability. She told her mother she didn’t know if she could go on. Her mother and her trainer – in one of the support boats – kept encouraging her to keep swimming. They told her she was SO CLOSE! She kept swimming for about another hour, but after 15 hours and 55 minutes, she couldn’t go on. She asked to be taken out of the water. She was only two miles from the shore….  She was asked if she had muscle cramps, or if she was just too tired to go on. She said no – that if she just could have seen the shore, she’d have made it.


There are lessons to be learned from Florence’s story, including this attempt to swim from Catalina to Palos Verdes on the California coast. She had set world records and had done things NO swimmer – female OR male – had ever done. But on this day, with millions watching, she stopped just short of her goal. What did Florence Chadwick do after the failure to reach the California shore? What did she do about this experience? Well… she had resilience – she bounced back!


Two months later in that year of 1952, in September, she tried again to swim from Catalina to the California coast. She swam the distance in 13 hours, 47 minutes, and 55 seconds, breaking the world record (which held for the next 27 years!) and becoming the first woman to make that swim. A year later she once again swam the English channel from England to France, setting a new world record (for both women AND men) of just 14 hours and 42 minutes, 2 hours shorter than the previous record! In that same year – within just a few weeks! – she swam the Straits of Gibraltar in 5 hours and 6 minutes, setting a new record for both women and men. She later swam the Bosphorus – a strait near Istanbul connecting Europe and Asia – both ways – and crossed the Turkish Dardanelles (round trip)!


On 12 October, 1955, she set another record for crossing the Channel from England to France, this time in just 13 hours, 55 minutes! She made her last long-distance swim in 1960 at the age of 42. What a champion! What a woman!


There are lessons to be learned from Florence. Have you ever lost hope when you were reaching for a shore, for a goal? Do you ever become discouraged or give up when you can’t see the goal? And if you fail to reach a goal, do you give up ever trying again? One great lesson from her life is: Never give up! Keep going! And if you fail, try again! Hang in there!  She was such a great example of perseverance, of courage, of HOPE!





When I was in 3rd grade in Cedar City Elementary, my teacher was Nellie Higbee. She was wonderful. She taught me that love was a verb among many other important things. She really cared about us. One thing she did which I’ll never forget is take us to her home in small groups. She served us dinner, teaching us about manners. She’d take around 3 boys and 3 girls, and she helped the boys learned to hold the chair for us. We learned about napkins and no elbows on the table and chew with your mouth closed. But we learned so much more than that, having her be so kind and helpful to each of us. That was back when teachers could paddle you, but she never got angry that I can remember (even with MEE in her class!). Many years passed, and I was working at the MTC. I was greeting a new group of senior missionaries – something I enjoyed SO much! After we finished, a senior sister came up and looked closely at my name tag and then burst into tears. It was Nellie Higbee! She was going on a mission! I can’t remember where, but I do remember what she whispered to me when I hugged her. “I was your teacher many years ago, and now you are my teacher.” It was a sweet blessing to have contact with her again after such a long time, and to be able to thank her for her important influence in the life of a busy, wiggly little 3rd grader. I tried to find a picture of me in the 3rd grade; I was unsuccessful. But I found one of my younger sister, Charlotte, when she was in 3rd grade. She’s on the 2nd row, 3rd one in from the left. It looks like she was pondering!


And here’s a picture of the two of us when I was maybe in Kindergarten and she was (and still is) 2 years younger. I also found a picture of me when I might have been about 3rd or 4th grade (or graduation from high school)… I don’t know….



I share this and think of many others in my life who, like Nellie Higbee, have been an influence. I wish I could thank them all, individually and specifically. I look forward to having that chance some day when we’re “Over There” (and don’t have to measure time). I think we could all be more aware of opportunities to say “thank you” to those who have been a positive influence in our lives. It’s been fun to focus on dear Nellie Higbee today.




Annalee reminded me that Charles Shulz had a daughter who joined the LDS Church. I remembered reading an article about that quite recently, and I found it again.  I’ll share just a few of the pictures which were included; maybe you can “Google” it and see all of them (they’re great). His daughter’s name is Amy.  Amy Shulz Johnson. He called her “Amos” (love it!)  You’ll find out many wonderful things about her and her father as you read this article. ENJOY!!!


By Morgan Jones, Deseret News / Published: Monday, Nov. 2 2015 11:15 a.m. MST


In this Sept. 29, 1995, fie photo, cartoonist Charles Schulz holds a drawing of his famous comic strip character “Snoopy” in Santa Rosa, California. (Ben Margot, AP)


It is an idea that may seem far-fetched in a society that embraces edgy and vulgar entertainment on a daily basis. But according to his daughter, Amy Schulz Johnson, the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip “never swore a day in his life.”  “He always said, ‘“Rats” covers everything,’” Johnson said. “That’s why he always had Charlie Brown say ‘Rats’ when things went wrong.” It’s also why in the nearly 18,000 comics Schulz published between 1950 and 2000, the “Peanuts” characters never uttered anything objectionable. It would seem that Schulz’s faith in America was not misplaced. Although he died of colon cancer in 2000, Schulz will earn $40 million this year, placing him behind only Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley in posthumous earnings, according to Forbes. Still, perhaps more important than money earned or the number of adoring fans, past or present, is how a man is remembered in the eyes of those who knew him best. It takes only a few minutes speaking with his daughter to recognize that Schulz’s comic strip characters were a reflection of his own personal character. Johnson, who lives in Alpine, remembers her father as “a normal, nice dad who was a good person” and a man who always had time for his children. Schulz and Joyce Halverson, Amy’s mother and Schulz’s first wife, created an environment that Johnson compares to “living at Disneyland.” She witnessed the impact her father’s character and the childhood he provided had in the lives of others. It was her parents’ influence that prepared Johnson to later join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Now a mother of nine, Johnson said Schulz never talked about himself or his profession and would stop everything he was doing when his kids entered his office. His availability led her to conclude that he didn’t have a job. “I distinctly remember walking into the room, where he would be in the middle of drawing a strip, and he would immediately stop drawing,” Johnson recalled. “He would say, ‘Hi, Amos,’ and would just sit and talk to me; therefore, I assumed he was never busy. He never acted like he was too busy for any of his children.” The Schulz family lived on 28 acres in Sebastopol, California. Over the years, the Schulzes added a swimming pool, baseball fields, a park and a golf course, making it a place where their children — and their friends — wanted to be. “Some of my friends didn’t tell me until they were in their 40s the things that were happening in their homes,” Johnson said. “And … I can’t really word this properly, but they said – and this had everything to do with Dad – that coming to our house every weekend is what saved them emotionally. … Seeing a normal, nice dad who was a good person helped them survive what they were going through themselves. … Our home was a shelter from the storm for them.”

Johnson refers to her adolescence as “wonderful, happy and clean-cut.” She often tells people, “If you think Utah Valley Mormons are sheltered, you should’ve been a Schulz!” Johnson believes the Schulz residence was a place where God’s influence could be felt because “the Spirit is in homes of goodness.” Johnson feels her home life prepared her to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when she was 22 years old. She summarizes her conversion with a quote from LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley,who said, “We say to the people, in effect, you bring with you all the good that you have, and then let us see if we can add to it.”  “I see my life as taking all the good that I had, how I was raised from this great mom and dad, and then adding the gospel to the family that my husband and I are raising,” Johnson said. Johnson learned about the LDS Church while dating a Latter-day Saint. The Word of Wisdom caught her attention because the commandment to abstain from alcohol was something she already observed. Her parents never told her not to drink alcohol, but because they never drank, she didn’t either.  “Our great life prepared me because I didn’t have to change much of anything,” Johnson said. Upon learning that Johnson is a member of the LDS Church, some have commented, “I knew your dad was a Mormon because all of his strips were always so decent.”

While Schulz did not believe in the LDS faith himself, he was always supportive of his daughter. When Johnson opened a full-time mission call a year and a half after she was baptized, she immediately went up to her dad’s office. She announced, “Dad, I got my mission call. I’m going to England.” “He got up from his desk, walked around to where I was standing with his arms outstretched, gave me big hug and said, ‘Even Jesus didn’t get to go to England,’” Johnson remembered. Schulz spoke at her mission farewell, and as his daughter served, Schulz never missed a week of sending handwritten letters that Johnson now considers her biggest treasure.  “It’s funny because if I read you parts of them, you would think that my dad was a stake president in our church or something,” Johnson said. “He would have the most beautiful things to say about Christ and the scriptures.” Schulz’s support for Johnson continued when she was married in the Oakland California Temple. Schulz stood outside the temple on a cold and windy day, waiting for his daughter. “He would never want me to feel anything but happiness for my new life,” Johnson said. He also attended the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple open house with Johnson in 1996. And once, as Johnson’s daughter, Stephanie, played hymns on the piano in a room full of Schulz’s family, he leaned over to Johnson and said, “Isn’t it too bad that you and I are the only ones who can appreciate this?”


Today, Schulz’s legacy lives on in the lives of his children and grandchildren. Johnson is particularly proud of her brother, Craig Schulz, and his efforts to honor their father with the release of “The Peanuts Movie,” which he wrote and produced along with his son, Bryan, and friend Cornelius Uliano. The film is a four-generation family affair as Johnson’s grandson, Micah Revelli, provides the voice of “Little Kid.”  “They absolutely have it perfect,” Johnson said. “You just want to reach out and grab these characters. You want to jump through the screen and live in their neighborhood. They’re all just so beautifully done.”  Johnson says her brother fought to maintain the wholesome quality of the “Peanuts” brand, avoiding any kind of bathroom humor or innuendo.  For 50 years, Schulz offered something decent, and the world loved it. This weekend, “The Peanuts Movie” will test the appeal of Schulz’s work once again. When asked whether the movie is something her father would endorse, Johnson answered without hesitation: “He’d be immensely proud; he’d be stunned.”

Amy Schulz Johnson, daughter of Peanuts’ creator Charles Schulz, poses for photos as she talks about her father at her Alpine home Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015.


Amy shows a letter she received from her father while she was serving an LDS mission in England. Johnson talked about her father during an interview at her home in Alpine Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)


Envelopes sent to Amy Schulz Johnson, daughter of Peanuts’ creator Charles Schulz, while she was serving an LDS mission in England.



A Tribute to Jazmyn

I didn’t know Jazmyn. I never met her or heard or read anything about her. Until yesterday. I love checking in on the blog for and about sister missionaries – “Many are called….”  And there was a notice about the death of Jazmyn June Jeppson. And for some reason it really got to me. Deeply. I hope it’s OK for me to pay a tribute to her today. What a good, amazing, sweetly influential soul!  So many will miss her SO MUCH.  I look forward to meeting her “Over There” and finding out all the good she’ll have done. Love and the hope of comfort to all of you who knew this Saint.

JAZMYN JUNE JEPPSON – June 11, 1994 – Feb 1, 2016


Our beautiful daughter, Jazmyn was called back to her Heavenly Father due to a tragic car accident, February 1, 2016. She was born June 11, 1994 in Bountiful Utah, the oldest daughter of John and Heather Jeppson. She recently returned from the Houston Texas Mission on December 16, 2015. She developed a strong passion for serving others on her mission. Jazmyn was active, vivacious, and lived life to the fullest. It was said that she had a very infectious smile and a very happy positive approach to life. She had a love for the outdoors, photography and art. She graduated from Davis High in 2012. She attended BYU-Idaho and earned her associates degree before leaving on her mission June 2014. Friends and family said she had a bright light in her eyes, she was the best of the best. She had a profound impact on everyone she met. She had phenomenal relationships that she cherished with many, both young and old.
Jazmyn will be deeply missed by her friends and family: parents, John and Heather, siblings Tyson (serving an LDS mission in Omaha NE), Kaleb and Jaden; Grandma June Howard, Grandpa and Grandma Dave and June Jeppson; and many cousins, aunts and uncles. She was preceded in death by her Grandpa Glen Howard. In lieu of flowers please donate to Jazmyn Jeppson GoFundMe account or the LDS Church Mission Fund.  True to her nature, Jazmyn kept giving to the end by being an organ donor.

Jazmyn Jeppson remembered as role model who served others, lived with gusto


WEDNESDAY , FEBRUARY 03, 2016 – 1:07 PM

FARMINGTON — After Jazmyn Jeppson was killed in a crash that followed two alleged carjackings Monday evening, the 21-year-old woman’s family holds no ill will toward the man accused of the crime, family members and friends said.  Jeff Howard, the Farmington woman’s uncle, said Jeppson’s family wants the public to know how grateful they are for the love and prayers they’ve received. “They also have a desire for everyone to heal right now,” he said.

Kaysville police say the fatal crash happened Monday, Feb. 1, in Centerville, after a man stole two vehicles and collided with Jeppson’s car while driving one of them. Jeppson was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the oldest of four siblings, including a sister and two brothers, said Jeff Ostler, the Jeppson family’s stake president. After receiving her associate’s degree from Brigham Young University-Idaho, Jeppson served a mission in Houston, Texas, that she returned from Dec. 16, said David Francis, her ward’s bishop.  “The family has no hard feelings towards Anthony (Cruz), who crashed into her car, or his family,” said Ostler, who met with them Tuesday morning. “They have nothing but forgiveness in their hearts because that’s exactly how Jazmyn would have wanted it.”

Ostler also said Jeppson was one of the most kind, caring young women he’s known and is still giving. Her family has agreed to have her organs donated to others, he said.

Howard described his niece as a person who “took hold of life. She was always out doing things.” As soon as she got home from her mission, Jeppson would take her younger brother and sister — who are still living at home — on hikes, Howard said. “There are photos of them up in some canyon, hiking in snow and smiling,” he said.  Jeppson loved the outdoors and spent time fishing with her paternal grandfather. She also enjoyed snowmobiling. “She was one of those neat kids who was just good. Did good things and got good grades,” said Lezli Adams, who once worked with Jeppson at the former Ben Franklin store in Kaysville. Adams said Jeppson, who was attending Davis High School at the time, was an artist, “who did beautiful work. Her drawings were amazing.” The two kept in contact after the store closed, and Adams said her heart goes out to Jeppson’s family, who she describes as “a really neat family.”


Jeppson recently got a job at Stout Building Contractors in Centerville and planned to earn money to pay for more schooling, Howard said. “She had a lot of ideas and was trying to figure out what she wanted to do,” he said. On its Facebook page, Stout Building Contractors said that though Jeppson hadn’t worked for them long, the business was deeply saddened by her death. “Even though her time spent with us was short, we are all feeling the void that her absence has left in our office,” the Facebook post said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and loved ones whose lives are forever changed.” Francis said Jeppson loved to live life “with gusto.” Francis, Howard and Ostler all said she was a great example — not only to her siblings, but to others who came in contact with her.  “She represented everything good in a woman,” Ostler said. “She was the best of the best.”

AND THIS FROM JAZMYN SHORTLY BEFORE THE END OF HER MISSION. I’m so impressed (and blessed) by what she shared.


Dec 14th 2015 “Look how close that plane is!” Here it is, right in front of my face. TWO DAYS.
Have you ever looked back on a time in your life, perhaps high school, and laughed because it only seems like yesterday you were there, but yet stood still in sorrow as you recognize that time is past? A little faded and familiar? That’s how I’m feeling right now. Things already seem fuzzy. I cannot express to you how incredible this time has been, serving the Lord. I have learned so much and experienced lots.. It’s been transforming.
I’m excited for what lies ahead. And the ability to really practice what I’ve taught and learned in a more real and truer sense. I have found the greatest transformation to be my weaknesses. I know that the doctrine found in Ether 12:27 is real. My weaknesses have now become some of my greatest strengths (all are still in the refinement process).  Ask my parents, I have never been the most patient person. But with years of applying counsel and principles into my life, this sweet year and a half to really round things out, and great support and strength from God and my leaders, I’m happy to say growth has begun and the fruit is good.
The strengthening power of the atonement has become so evident in my life. I hope that as a witness of Christ I have done all that I could to share that with others. The atonement has been a powerful topic on my mission. Prepared people, once understanding the real need for the atonement, cannot deny the cleansing and strengthening power that the atonement can have in their lives. How sweet it has been to help and watch them choose to accept that. So many I have been around have willingly taken that step to follow our savior in the way that has been restored. Blessings and miracles have come because of it. Their lives and those in their family have improved greatly.
There’s is such a sweet change that happens in a person as they are learning about the gospel. I don’t quite know how to describe it but it’s rather bonding when you’re the one teaching them and trying to help them feel and understand. I’ve seen such a sweet change in those I’ve taught. I love them so much and can’t wait to continue to watch their lives blossom with the gospel and receive some of the greatest blessings the gospel has to offer in the house of the Lord.

Katie was baptized this Saturday and both her and Barbara received the gift of the Holy Ghost Sunday. What incredible steps they are taking!  I’m grateful that I have been involved in this special process in their lives at this time. I was just beaming with joy as I watched them get the gift of the Holy Ghost. I’m so proud of the steps they are taking:)

One amazing experience that took place this week is when we went to see the “A” family. We had heard that they were well fellow-shipped in the ward but we hadn’t seen them at church for a long while. We went to pay them a visit and see what was up. We shared the daily bread pattern Mormon message and that really opened a discussion about the gospel and the need for spiritual nourishment, they confessed they weren’t doing the basics. They knew they weren’t and proceeded to confide in us about their worries and doubts about the gospel. What they explained to me really opened my eyes. When we distance ourselves from God, who is Light, things become grey or fuzzy. They become unclear. I never want to allow myself to get to that point. We encouraged them and told them clearly and boldly what they needed to do if they really wanted a witness of the truthfulness of the gospel. They, thankfully, have open hearts.

Another neat growing experience for me was the opportunity to be a guide for our temple tour yesterday. Some background. You have to commit to memory 4 pages of notes about the 4 stops on the grounds of the temple, and no pressure but you have to be professional and be prepared to answer any and every question. In past temple tours I’ve been to, people have intentionally come to bash. So yes I was a bit nervous.. I practiced over and over and over again with sister Evans. We role-played things back and forth.
It was incredible though. I got to give the first tour. I was a bit nervous but my group was very cooperative and I loved seeing a few familiar faces from other areas I served in. There were a few moments where I forgot my part. My mind just went blank, so I testified of the restoration and plan of salvation. Luckily, by the spirit, I was able to remember the things which I had practiced over and over again. My favorite part was talking about the restoration and priesthood. I’ve spent 18 months getting those facts down haha.  Sister Mortensen was sweet and she told me I could be a temple square sister. I’m glad I got through it. It was neat to watch peoples wheels turning and I got to talk to a few of the investigators and answer their questions afterwards. We are lucky it stopped raining for us.

We had zone meeting this week. I just love zone meeting. We were trained on a lot of great things earlier in the week by President Mortensen. I gave the same training he did that Friday. I don’t want to boast but I really felt I gave it my all and many of the missionaries said they were moved by the training and pumped to refocus their vision and be bold and clear in their finding and teaching. It was special because I got to teach on topics I’m real passionate about.

A wonderful miracle happened today. I received an email from a recent convert as of September. It was a pleasant surprise to hear from her. While in Ponderosa we did a lot of finding in the evening and sought specific places and homes which we felt God led us to. One evening we felt prompted to knock on a specific home. We did and were welcomed back for dinner another night. We came and got to know the family well and talked about principles of the restoration and plan of salvation. I never saw that sweet family again as I was transferred but I found out today from her that she was later baptized and has been to the temple. We really don’t realize the great impact we have on others. I have found it to be so important to be a light to everyone around us and to share the gospel. Even though we don’t see immediate fruits from our efforts, they are making a difference. I’m so grateful she reached out to me!

This is kind of a long email. There is just so much stuff to share!  I’m so excited to be coming home:)  We have workshops tomorrow and a day full of instruction in the temple, then a testimony meeting and fireside at the Mortensens home.  Then Wednesday I board a plane and will be home in the afternoon. AH!  I love you all!  Merry Christmas!  See you soon!  Sister Jeppson



Jazmyn Jeppson returned from her mission on December 16, just in time to spend Christmas with her family. But, a little after a month after returning from her work serving the Lord, she was hit and killed by a man attempting to flee the police.

The “best of the best.”  That’s how some who knew Jazmyn Jeppson, 21, remembered the recently returned missionary on Tuesday, a day after she was broadsided and killed on Parrish Lane in Centerville by a man who police say was trying to get away after carjacking two vehicles. “She is pure gold. She is as sweet and as pure as they come. There is no better,” Jeff Ostler, Jeppson’s LDS stake president, said Tuesday. “She’s a special, special woman that we can all use as an example in our lives.” . . .  Despite being “heartbroken” over losing his daughter, Jeppson’s father has already forgiven Cruz, according to President Ostler. “He wants this young man and the family of this young man to know that they have no hard feelings, that they are full of forgiveness and they wish nothing but the best for this family,” he said.




Did you see this?

In case you didn’t, I decided to try to post it.  I hope the link works so you can hear the little boy and his father talking to each other. Precious!  Priceless!  A French father, Angel Le [a great first name for an angel of a father!] tells his little son that flowers are a defense against terrorism.

Paris-FlowersAngel Le’s son was approached by a reporter for Le Petit Journal and asked if he understood the significance of the terrorist attacks in Paris.  The boy said he was worried about guns used by ISIS.  His father assured him flowers and candles would keep him safe.  The exchange was translated as follows:  Son: They’ve got guns. They can shoot us because they’re very, very bad, daddy.  Angel Le: They’ve got guns, but we have flowers.  Son: But flowers don’t do anything. They’re for … they’re for … they’re for …  Angel Le: Look, everyone is laying flowers here.  Son: Yes.  Angel Le: It’s to fight against the guns.  Boy: Is it for protection?  Angel Le: That’s right.  Son: And the candles, too?  Angel Le: They’re so we don’t forget the people who have gone. Son: Oh. The flowers and candles are there to protect us?  Angel Le: Yes.  Reporter: Do you feel better now?  Son: Yes, I feel better.


After the father found out that the video “went viral,” he said:  “I’m the dad with the little boy, thank you all for the great comments that you have posting for us. When I see all this support it tells me one thing: I’m proud to be French and proud of my fellow countrymen!”

The attacks in Paris in November killed 130 and injured more than 350….

George Q. Cannon


One of my favorite leaders from early Church history is George Quayle Cannon.  He served in the First Presidency under FOUR Church presidents!: Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and Lorenzo Snow.

aaa11   aaa12


He was born in Liverpool, England, on 11 January 1827.  He was the eldest of 6 children.  His Aunt Leonora Cannon married John Taylor (then an Apostle) and was baptized in 1836.  Four years later, Elder Snow came to Liverpool, and the entire Cannon family was baptized.  George was 13 years old at the time.  He lived in Nauvoo (with Uncle Lorenzo and family) and later traveled to Utah.  He served a 4-year mission to Hawaii (then called the Sandwich Islands). He married Elizabeth Hoagland.  He was a mission president several times.


The murder of Parley P. Pratt in 1857 created a vacancy in the Quorum of Twelve. 3 years later, Brigham Young called Brother Cannon to be an Apostle.  He was 33.  He was called to be a mission president for the 3rd time (the European Mission).  In 1867 he became managing editor of the Deseret News.  He was the first general superintendent of the Sunday School from 1867 until his death.


He was called to the First Presidency in 1873 as a counselor to Brigham Young, and remained a counselor to the next three presidents.  He spent 5 months in prison under the Edmunds Act (that’s embarrassing to have my name attached to that!).



He had 5 wives and 32 children (including 3 sons and other descendents who would become general authorities, and a son, Frank, who would become Utah’s first U.S. Senator).  He died on 12 April, 1901, in Monterey, California.  He was only 74.  Had he lived only a few months longer, he would have been the next president of the Church (President Lorenzo Snow died on 10 October of that year, and Elder Cannon was the senior Apostle).


Here’s a wonderful quote from this great Church leader:  I am thankful this day, my brethren and sisters, to… be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‑day Saints.  I am thankful every minute of my life to have the fellowship of this people … and regard it as one of the greatest of blessings. … As far as this work is concerned I am an optimist – that is, I take the most hopeful and most cheerful view of affairs and of the future. Everything connected with this work and its future, and everything connected with its afflictions and its trials, brings hope, brings consolation, brings peace and joy to my heart; and I think how fortunate my children are to live in such an age, and to be so young, having such a glorious future before them.  The only regret I have about the passage of time in my own case is, one’s life is so short, and there is so much to do in establishing and building up this work.  It almost makes one wish he could live forever to have the joy and satisfaction of contending with evil and seeking to establish righteousness and truth upon the earth, and bring to pass the glorious reign of peace which the Lord has promised….  If any are to be envied at all it is the rising generation among the Latter‑day Saints.  (Collected Discourses, Vol.2, George Q. Cannon, February 23rd, 1890)



Shopping Mom





[And try not to notice that some of the children in the pictures are boys, not girls… and perhaps a little older than toddlers….]


A man observed her in the grocery store with a little child in her cart.


As they passed the cookie section, the child asked for cookies and her mother said “no.”


The child immediately began to whine and fuss, and the mother said quietly, “Now Ella, we just have half of the aisles left to go through.  Don’t be upset. It won’t be long.”


He passed the Mother again in the candy aisle. Of course, the little one began to shout for candy.


When she was told she couldn’t have any, she began to cry. The mother said, “There, there, Ella, don’t cry. Only two more aisles to go, and then we’ll be checking out.”

shopping mom7
The man again happened to be behind the pair at the check-out, where the little childl immediately began to clamor for gum and burst into a terrible tantrum upon discovering there would be no gum purchased today.

shopping7 shopping9

The mother patiently said, “Ella, we’ll be through this check-out stand in five minutes, and then you can go home and have a nice nap.”

The man followed them out to the parking lot and stopped the woman to compliment her.  “I couldn’t help noticing how patient you were with little Ella…”


The mother broke in, “MY LITTLE GIRL’S NAME IS KAITLYN … I’M ELLA.”

shopping mom4






IN THIS NEXT ONE I HOPE YOU CAN TELL HOW HARD I WAS TRYING TO SMILE!  IT WAS AFTER 4:00!  (If at home I’d have been in bed for an hour… HA HA HA HA HA)




WITH MY SISTER-IN-LAW, GLENDA (Drove down and back from Las Vegas; bless her!)





It’s 11-11 today.  Veteran’s Day.  A day of remembering.  In honor of that I decided to share a “Vet” story.  It’s the story of a canine angel who saved a soldier – How one veteran was blessed by “man’s best friend” – in peace and in war.  (Written by John Holden)

Minka and John

The eight of us slipped quietly as we could through the rolling German countryside. We were the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Unit, the eyes and ears of the Army Infantry, one of the storied divisions that battled Hitler’s army across northern Europe.  The fighting had grown ever more fierce in October 1944, as we crossed the Luxembourg border into Germany. On this night, our job was to scout the German lines and report back on how many troops they had, how many tanks, and the number and size of their big guns.  But something went wrong. The Germans spotted us as we approached a small village, and let loose a wall of fire with their deadly, 88 mm guns. All of us ran for cover. I headed for an old barn.  I found a dark corner, sat down and waited out the thunderous artillery assault, unable to stop shivering.

After a while, I realized I wasn’t alone. A small mutt, weighing maybe 30 pounds, stared at me with fear in his eyes, quivering just like me. Lord, please get me through this , I prayed. The dog looked like he was praying right along with me.  I cuddled up with him and we rode out the shelling together.  Help our soldiers – click here to learn how you can give our heroes hope and inspiration all year long.  When the firing ended, I walked to my jeep and the dog followed me. I was amazed we were both still alive. I picked him up and put him in my jeep. He rode with me back to headquarters, where I introduced him to my buddies. My good luck charm, I thought.  I called him Minka, after a 1930s song that I loved. Minka stuck to me like my shadow. I guess we were meant to be together. Soon, nothing could separate us.  One day, our team was scouting the outskirts of a village when Minka started to murmur. He’s warning us , I thought. We took cover. Sure enough, German troops were camping nearby. “You stay quiet now,” I told him.  I spoke to him in German, because I figured he’d been trained in that language. He never made another peep. After that, the boys were sold on him. Minka accompanied us in my jeep on all our missions.

Only once did we become separated. Orders came down from command. We had five minutes to pull out. Minka had gone off, wandering. I couldn’t find him. When we broke camp, I was distraught. Soon we had advanced 30 miles.  I felt like I’d lost not just my little brother, but my protector. It was my lowest moment during the war.  I prayed for a miracle to bring us back together, and I guess the Lord heard me, because two days later someone from the division found him and drove him to our outfit. Oh, what a reunion we had!  After that, I tried never to let Minka out of my sight. Minka seemed to feel the same about me. We grew so close that throughout the snowy winter, as we fought the Battle of the Bulge, we even slept together. Minka would crawl into my sleeping bag and curl up at my feet.

In some ways, the worst part of the war for me was when I received orders to return home. You see, we were forbidden to take animals aboard our transport ship. I know it sounds silly now, but I actually considered staying in Europe rather than leave Minka behind.  I came up with a plan. But I needed Minka’s help. If I could pack him into my barracks bag and train him to keep still and silent, I could carry him onto the ship and none of the ship’s officers would know.  I practiced with him for days, to no avail. I just couldn’t get through to him. Not in German, not in English. The day we were to ship out from La Havre, France, I was in a panic. At the dock, out of view of the officers, I tried one more time.  “Okay,” I said to Minka in German, “this is it. You stay quiet or else you can’t come.”  He looked at me in that way that dogs do, to make it seem they understand. And then he crawled to the bottom of my barracks bag and never made a move, never uttered a sound.  Aboard the ship, the guys and I surreptitiously fed him from our rations. I cleaned up the steel deck after him. When we landed in New York, back he went into the barracks bag. I didn’t have to warn him.  Once we were on land again, all bets were off. Minka sprang out of the bag and ran back and forth, celebrating like it was New Year’s.

Minka and I lived another 11 years together, back at home in North Carolina with my wife and our three children. They were among the happiest years of my life. People who hear my story say it’s so touching that I saved Minka. “No,” I tell them. “Minka saved me.”