We Seek After
These Things
Recently returned from serving the people of Honduras for 3 years

Friday, May 24, 2013

Drumroll please . . . . Big Announcement!

We are approaching the . . .


If you aren't already familiar with
"International Hug-a-Convert Day"
you should be.

Please visit this site without delay.

Sorry . . . . MMM - but they are the best part.
(You'll want to bring a snack and beverage, pull up
a chair and stay a while . . .  :)

I have been blessed to enjoy many miracles in my life . . .

But probably the first was being born into an LDS family.  I was going to try to calculate the odds but it's been tooooo many years ago that math was my strong suit.  So I'm going to  quote
"MMM"  and just say . . .
I don't know why Heavenly Father sent me to the home He did. An LDS home, with righteous parents, where I was immediately set on the correct path. I mean what are the odds for that? (Rough calculation of active LDS members to world population:  A million to one.)  Why me? I figure I will just put that  on the list I have of questions to ask God when I see Him.  Although I don't know, I have thought through a couple of possibilities:
1)  I was just so incredibly awesome in the pre-mortal life that being born into these privileged circumstances was a well-deserved blessing. That's me, "Mr. Extra-Valiant Spirit Man."  Or...
2) God knows me well enough that He felt that if He left it up to me, I would never have found the Gospel. (Yeah, a bit sobering.)

That said . . .

I do KNOW I have some pretty important conversion stories in my family history that I am indeed grateful for.  Some stories of good old fashioned pioneer courage and conviction.  We also have some modern day conversion and life changing stories that are pretty important in our lives. 

I would LOVE to reach out and hug the converts that are so important in my life!!  I'm so grateful they found the gospel, for the testimonies and strength in our family!!

In honor of the occasion . . . thought I would share a conversion story from one of my Danish ancestors - 

Lars Mouritsen, his wife Maren and son Mourits Mouritsen, 

through whom we are descendants.

The story of my great-great grandparents begins in Denmark, at the northernmost tip comprised primarily of small villages and farms, nearby the village of Guldager.  Guldager lies between the current towns of Jjorring and Bronderslev. 

Lars, the father of Mourits was a tile maker and the birth of his son Mourits was recorded in the town parish register for 28th January 1849.  Mourits was christened Mouritz Larsen, not Mouritsen as it was customary to give children a surname that identified their father; hence the son of a man named Lars would be named Larsen and a daughter would be named Larsdatter.  Each generation would use a different surname than their parents.  It wasn't until their immigration into the US much later that he would take the surname of his father and become known as Mourits Mouritsen.

During the summer of 1854 Lars had an opportunity to better his position by moving from a tiny village to the Guldager brickyard which he would manage for 5 years, with his wife and five children including Mourits.  It was here he built his family a fine brick home.  

The same year Mourits was born (1849) the Danish parliament passed the "Grundlov", a new set of laws that established religious liberty in Denmark.  One of the outcomes of the new law was the influx of foreign missionaries.  In June of 1850 three Mormon missionaries arrived in Denmark to introduce the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to the Scandinavian countries.  It was inevitable that these missionaries would eventually touch the lives of the Mouritsen family.

One member records . . .
"In the autumn of 1857 a new life opened for me, filled with blessedness.  There was talk of a strange doctrine in the land which in the common opinion, was heresy.  This brought me to pondering and an earnest considering of the meaning of life, both the present and the future life" . . .

Family tradition records of Lars attending a meeting under the pretense of a group of hecklers, intent upon tormenting the elders and breaking up the meeting.  At any rate, their interest was kindled and they invited the elders to the Mouritsen home as they were anxious for more of their message.

Lars and Maren were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on February 17, 1858.  It was necessary to cut a hole in the thick layer of ice over the deep claypit in the brickyard for the baptism to take place.

As a result of the baptism Lars was let go from his position and it become necessary to relocate his family.  Many extended family members were also displeased with the decision to abandon the faith of their birth and become a "Mormon", and henceforth kept the Mouritsen family at arm's length.

About this time the Saints emigration to Zion in the USA was once again opened up for those who had the means to gather to the Salt Lake Valley, whereas it had been unavailable and not encouraged for several years.

The Mouritsen family would travel to Copenhagen, meet up with other Scandinavian emigrants, travel by boat to the south coast of England, then overland by rail to Liverpool and begin the ocean voyage to America.  After much trial and tribulation of pioneer endurance they would arrive in Utah in August of 1859.  A favorite story much retold is of . . .

Mourits and his sister Jane who were assigned by their father to stay behind the handcart company and oversee an oxen who had given out, requiring that a cow be put in the harness as a substitute, along with the other cows.  Sometimes they would get so far behind as to lost sight of the rest of the company altogether.  The children walked, pulling grass and feeding the animals to keep them moving along and not allowing them to stop and graze.
However, a cow soon laid down and they couldn't get her up again.  Darkness came and the coyotes began to howl.  It should be noted that Mourits was only ten and Jane was only six at this time.  These children prayed like they had never prayed before.  After a long time their father came back along the trail looking for them and they were so happy to see their family again.

Enjoy celebrating 

"International Hug-a-Convert" day - 

and be sure to give a hug to the important converts in your family!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hiking the Kalalau Trail - Kauai, Napali Coast

Amazing!   . . . after 23  years I finally was able to return to Kauai!  It's an island I was able to visit with my family as a young person growing up in a traveling family.  This island was always a favorite of ours . . . and now I'm remembering why.


(Like all the Hawaiian island - each in their own way!)

My sister Kim and I spent a week taking our parents back to Kauai, a place they have always loved but find difficult to visit and enjoy all on their own right now.  What an amazing adventure.

I have so many photos . . . places I want to remember for always.

Today, I'm sharing photos of the Kalalu Trail.  It begins at the end of the road.  At Ke'e beach. 

Hiking this trail is something I've always wanted to do and now we had an opportunity to experience the first two miles of the trail.  Someday I hope to come back and do the whole 11 miles one direction. But that will be story for another time . . .

The trail is an awesome hike, glorious and beautiful, scenes from the Napali coast, tropical rain forest, muddy trails, river crossings, scenic overlooks around every corner . . .

I'm sure you'll agree - it was beautiful!

kauai trail 1


First scenic overlook . . . many more to come!

kauai trail 12



kauai trail 2

kauai trail 3

Kinda scary . . . it's certainly not a beach where you want
to go swimming!

Although while we were there a bunch a young guys
showed up with short surf board that they carried all the way up the trail
and were surfing on the waves on the beach.

kauai trail 4

Notice - the wild life . . .
pretty tame looking kitty cats.  But they were totally
wild just used to being fed lunch scraps
by the hikers.

kauai trail 6



kauai trail 7

kauai trail 8




Time to head back up the trail.

We're heading back to Ke'e beach once again.

kauai trail 9



kauai trial 10

kauai trail 11


Here we are -
almost back where we started.

You can see the people have arrived upon the beach.

Lots of snorkelers and beach sitters.


Ahhh . . .

Someday we're going to do the full 11 miles!!

Heheheh - Oh So Clever . . .

Just for your entertainment today -

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Feeling THIS today . . .

I'm feeling this today . . .

As I read about the current environment in Honduras . . .

Who more needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ
and the peace that it brings?

What better service can we do
than to bring peace into the
lives of the people through
our Savior?

DSC01860 text

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

When they are Learned . . . They think . . .

I'm feeling an an essay coming here but I don't even know where to begin . . .

 Sometimes Heavenly Father blesses us in our foolishness. Or saves us from our foolishness. Or intervenes when we do something that could cause us to experience tragic consequences . . .

 And then sometimes He doesn't.

 Can you feel a foolish story coming here?

 Maybe I should start with . . .

 A least two times as we were walking out the door I received the prompting to put on my sport hiking sandals that buckle onto my feet instead of the cheap flip flops, but brushed it off, not once but twice, preferring to not imagine a circumstance where I would need a more sturdy shoe. You'd think I would know better.

 As we were preparing to launch a canoe on the Provo river, a river we have canoed down, kayaked down, inner-tubed down several times over the years . . . (Although never at this early season of the summer) We noticed the water downriver was much higher and swifter than we anticipated. While lulled by the more peaceful and calm waters upriver, the thought did cross our minds that maybe it wasn't a good idea. That maybe today wasn't the best day for such an activity.

 But again we brushed it off . . .

Why do we do these things? !!

 Looking back in hindsight which is always 20/20 . . . Our foolishness was apparent. And I'm grateful that sometimes our Heavenly Father saves us or deliverers us from our foolishness. (Though sometimes he doesn't)

 I'm grateful that for us it was the earlier option this time, though perhaps we were undeserving.

 After our experience on the river, I barely had time to make it back home and dash off to work for the night. I was scheduled for my 5th to last shift at the hospital before we make our final departure to the MTC and then to the mission in Honduras. A place that we have deemed infinitely more dangerous than the Provo River which is almost in our backyard. And after much pondering  between patients,  maybe the lesson for me was that if Heavenly Father can save us in our foolishness, he can surely preserve us in our service with wisdom, knowledge and a grain of cautiousness.

Though I have a quiet but firm reassurance through the Spirit that our service is needed in Honduras,  and all will be well and we need not fear. It's difficult to not have doubts. But I'm not doubting . . . I'm not fearing.  I'm really not.

 But maybe I do need a lesson in heeding the quiet whispering of the Spirit.

While I may eventually get around to sharing the physical details of the experience, this is a spiritual details post.  As I review in my mind the many tragic news stories of the day, and lest you miss the ultimate message of my relayance . . .

Let me just say today . . .

I am grateful, immeasurably grateful.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Just Looking to Make Your Day . . .


I'm not even kidding :D

Hahahaha  . . .

Sunday, May 12, 2013

So Many Girls . . .

Happy Mother's Day

Ahhh . . .

so many girls

so little time

Enjoy the day!

Let's hear it for the Girls!

happy mothers day

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Photos! Townhouse Upstairs . . . Part II

Part II

Sorry about that . . . way too many photos, I have to figure out which ones to share and need a little time to organize them . . .

But we're back!

Here's the last little glimpse of the upstairs at our townhouse.

Yesterday I blogged the Master bedroom suite and guest bedroom.

Today . . .

Our daughter's bedroom - 

Kelsie is a college student and has lived away from home for the last 4 years.  Because she is our remaining single child, she was able to pick a room and decorate.

She has a fun eye for color and has always picked pretty wild colors to decorate with.  I think she did a great job here, although she will probably change things up quite a bit while we are in Honduras - I can only imagine . . .  (rolling eyes)



It was fun to use a barn door and hardware as the 
sliding door for her walk in closet.  It was perfect
for the theme of her room and turned out great.
The barn door was made for us by Wrights Sheds.  You can
find them online.  The hardware comes from Home Depot.
Yep . . . still tableclothes
for the window coverings.  One of my favorite tricks for decorating
in our new home.  I'm getting lazy about sewing!


Kelsie, on the other hand is very talented with a sewing maching.
She loves quilts.
She loves to make quilts!
So she has a great display in her room of the many quilts and 
blankets she has made!


One last look.

Then Kelsie has her own bathroom in the hallway.
Every once in a while it's shared with any guests also.

We included a wonderful soaker tub in the hallway bath
just because the Master bath has a spa shower but no tub.
Have to have a tub - I'm a soaker at heart!

The tub curtain uses the same idea as the bedroom curtains.
I have curtain clips attached to a "scarf" drapery fabric you can find
at Wal-mart with their bedroom curtains.   Then it is all just draped and swagged until you find
something you like :)
The actual shower curtain (white) is on a second rod hung just behind the first rod.


Luckily we had a small space on the landing at the top of the stairs
for my antique desk and more antique treasures.  
A few treasured books, a handmade porcelain piece of art,
wedding bouquet, and my grandparents vintage typewriter.
I feel blessed to be surrounded by so many items
that remind me of my heritage.
I look around and each piece of furniture has a history,
each object brings back a memory . . .
 . . . of much loved people and places.


There you have it!

We're barely getting settled and already it's time to say 'goodbye'
next month for far off places.

I imagine we'll have much more to blog about.

Far off places, missionary challenges and triumphs . . .

and of course . . . more family treasures.


We Seek After these Things.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Finally . . . Photos! Townhouse Upstairs . . .

A long long loooong time ago . . .

I set out to photograph and blog each floor of our townhome that we moved into back in September - 2012.  Somewhere along the line I got distracted a wee bit, but FINALLY . . .

Managed to photograph the final and upstairs level . . . location of our three bedrooms, including our Master bedroom suite, which we love.  A guest bedroom . . . and the bedroom that Kelsie designed to be her bedroom when she was home from college.

(Little did she know she would be living in the home for three years holding down the fort . . .  While we depart the country and serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the country of Honduras!  Good thing it turned out awesome and she loves it!)

Just a reminder . . . our townhouse is located in Highland, Utah.  It's called Toscana!  We are loving the simplified life (at least it was simplified until about mid-December . . . now it's currently an ongoing roller coaster . . .  :D

The entry level is the walk in from the front entry and the garage along with a small office.  The main floor is an open floor plan kitchen to family room with a butler pantry / laundry room and small 1/2 bath.  (they have been previously blogged and linked above)

Perfect! We do so love it!

Our Master suite -

During the construction stage we hoped we would be happy with the size of the new master bedroom.  We were coming from a large master bedroom and hoped we wouldn't feel too enclosed in a new townhome style bedroom.  We hoped for space for our king size bed and a sitting area. I have antique furniture inherited from grandparents that is pretty precious to me and I didn't want to part with it.  But we knew that the only place it would possibly fit was the master bedroom - and we weren't disappointed.  When it was all said and done - it fit perfectly!


upstairs 1


Our most-liked features are the mediterranean style beams, the cathedral ceilings
and ceiling fan.  From our bedroom window we still have a nice view of our favorite 
Alpine mountains.  
Our large mediterranean style headboard and nightstands still fits with our intended decor.
I wanted to hang onto them even though they are now about 45 years old.

We don't drink tea,  but the antique tea service
and tea cups come down many generations in the family.
I guess I should really polish up the tea silver,
but I kind of prefer the old and tarnished look.


Here'a a tip on ALL the window curtains throughout the upper floor.
I was in a hurry with no time to sew, yet wanted instant curtains to frame
and soften all the upstairs windows.

So I bought two of these table cloths . . .
in a 60x102 length.  These curtain rings,

and voila!  Instant curtains!

You'll see the same technique in the other bedrooms,
just these different tablecloths.

One more look . . .


upstairs 2

More modern -
what you'll find on my nightstand every day!


Now, just a quick peek
into the en suite bath - 
DSC02230 upstairs 4
My favorite?  The spa shower - so awesome!

Our Guest Bedroom - 
We are so grateful to have space for all of our family when they visit.  It's not often that more than one of our children who live outside of the state of Utah can come for a visit at the same time.  But when they do, we still can manage to fit them all in . . . although Kelsie might find herself on the couch, and one couple would probably get an inflatable bed in the office . . .   :)
Usually, our guests just make themselves comfortable here - 



Our builder did the custom woodwork - 
The queen bed is from Ikea
The mattress from Knights Mattress
and the bed linens and pillows from Ross.
Remember the curtains?  Yep . . . tablecloths.

Well . . .
I need to make this part I of II.
Stay tuned for the last update soon as I get a few minutes!!

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