Tuesday, May 26, 2015

1 Aundrea 1:1-17

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dear Elders and Sisters,

It has been far too long since I wrote to each of you.  I keep thinking I’ll get to it, but it just hasn’t happened—so today I’m taking the bull by the horns and writing before the rest of life gets in the way.

Hi!  How are you?  This past week has been a very full one here.  Last Sunday (the 17th) was our stake conference.  It was a good conference.  I spoke with my friend, Philip Taula, after conference.  They live in our 11th (Samoan) ward, and I taught two of their children in preschool.  Philip’s wife, Kainoa, has been very ill with cancer for the past 6 months.  Some of you may remember that she fought breast cancer several years ago.  When they found the latest tumor, they decided not to pursue chemo and radiation treatments. I asked him if there was anything I could do to help them, and they needed their garden planted.  I asked our ward sisters for help with plants and with planting.  I know there were several who were going to come on Saturday morning, but I got a call that morning telling me that Sister Taula passed away.  We’ll try again for next Saturday.  I am so sad for her family, but I am so grateful for the things that we know.

At 10:00 a.m. on Saturday there was a baptism in our ward.  There’s a family renting the Olson’s house on Schorr Circle.  The mother (Amy) is a member, though she hasn’t been active for YEARS.  Their daughter, McKena, who is 9, started working with the missionaries, loved church, and was baptized a month or two ago.  Now her brother, Taylor, 11 years old, was baptized, too.  They are such terrific kids.  Their grandmother lost her membership YEARS ago, and was re-baptized about three years ago.  The fact that the kids are coming makes Mom come, too.  Both baptisms have been very sweet.  Their extended family are not members (or are not active), but they’ve been very supportive.  Anyway, I was supposed to lead the music in the baptism, but I completely flaked and forgot.  I made it in time for the last talk and the closing song.  Not the most amount of help ever, but I was glad to have made it for part, as I wanted Taylor and McKena and Amy to know I cared about this.

After the baptism, our family gathered for a fun Saturday together.  We watched a big chunk of an old movie, had PBJ’s for lunch, and then went to Boondock’s for a rockin’ awesome game of miniature golf.  We laughed a lot, and just had a terrific time.  After some more playing in the arcade, we went home and had pizza together.

Sunday was another lovely day.  You know me—the highlight is Primary.  We’ve learned all three verses of “On A Golden Springtime” this month, and we’ve learned the ASL to go with it.  It’s not perfect ASL, but a signer would have enough to understand the message of the song, I think.  The children are FABULOUS, as always.  After we learned our verse for the week we played a game that my mom always had us play at our birthday parties when I was a child.  The kids LOVE this game, where you just hold a clothespin to your nose and try to drop it into a jar.  They get three clothespins to try, and if they get one in, they get to choose the song.  But if they don’t, I get to choose.  I chose “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam,” which is always silly and fun.  When the kids chose, they chose “Gethsemane,” “I Love to See the Temple,” and “I Am a Child of God.”  They always watch me, so I can get them to follow a chorister (loud/soft, cut-offs, hold out, stand up/sit down).  I’ve taught them the descant to “I Am A Child of God,” so we get some pretty sweet harmony going on.  But the best part of serving in Primary is feeling the Spirit of the Lord.  This week Sister Anderson taught the children about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost.  She shared an experience when the Spirit warned her about some danger.  Then the children started raising their hands, and we had a true sharing time, when the kids talked about times that they felt the Holy Ghost.  It was so beautiful.  I get to finish our hour with singing time, so each time I feel the Spirit of the Lord in our meeting, I try to point it out (something I learned from Mindy Pitcher years ago).  I bore testimony of the Holy Ghost and I reminded them that the happy, comfortable feeling they were having RIGHT NOW, when they really knew something was true, was also the Holy Ghost testifying to them.  Seriously, music and the purest gospel—I have the BEST calling EVER!!!  I never want to be released.

Sunday was Spencer’s birthday, so all the kids gathered for gifts.  I made Spence a fun brownie and candy cake.  We had dinner and FHE, then went out to the backyard for some volleyball.  When it got chilly we had cake, then turned on a movie and had lots of laughs.

Yesterday was Memorial Day.  Spencer and I rode up to Francis to the cemetery where my grandpa is buried.  (Spencer went with his dad and sister to his mother’s and brother’s graves on Sunday.)  I love cemeteries.  I find them very peaceful and reverent.  However, I’ve never really seen the point of decorating a grave.  They aren’t there, our loved ones.  However, I knew it would mean a lot to my grandma if we went.  My grandpa’s brother, Uncle Bud, was there at the same time we were, so we got to visit for a few minutes.  He’s 93.  I asked him how he was, and he said, “Well, I’m not bragging.”  Isn’t that cute?  His daughter Liana told us that he’s sure tired of doing nothing at home by himself all day.  It must be really difficult to be so alone and so unable to do things.  It makes me really appreciate all I can do, especially on the days when I’m completely overwhelmed.

I was surprised at the emotion I felt at the cemetery yesterday.  Life goes so incredibly quickly, and in another 100 years—which passes at light speed, it seems—we will all be on the other side of the veil, laughing and visiting about how quick and short mortality was and all that we learned during our mortal years.

After the cemetery, Spencer and I went to the old drug store for lunch.  It’s no longer a pharmacy, but they continue to sell the same food (and more) that their family has fixed for YEARS.  I used to go to the drugstore for lunch (or snacks) when I was in 7th and later in high school.  They sold a TERRIFIC salad before salad was cool.  J  The last time I was there was 1984, so it was just a blast from the past.  And amazingly wonderful food, if you care.  You need to stop at the drug store on Main Street in Kamas and have lunch.  Don’t forget the ice cream.

Last night we hosted a birthday party for Spence.  We invited our children and our siblings.  We barbecued chicken and everyone brought something to share.  The kids played with the dog and the preschool toys and the balls and each other.  We had a little bit of volleyball going on.  Mostly there was lots of visiting, and we loved every minute of it.  I had a hard time getting to sleep last night, so after that and a full, fun weekend, I wasn’t exactly jumping to get back to work today.  J

Spencer and Taylor and Taylor’s bestie, Logan, and I are planning a trip to Canada in a month.  I’m getting really excited for that.  We’re going to stay with friends in Cardston for a couple of nights (and go to Waterton park), then we’ll spend a couple of days and nights in Calgary.  Then we’re taking a scenic route into part of B.C. where Tay served his mission, and home via Glacier and Banff.  We’ll stop in the Driggs, Idaho, area for a night before we head home.  8 days of gloriousness!  There are so many things we want to see and do, but the part I’m the most looking forward to is meeting Tay’s mission president.  Taylor entered the MTC on August 1, but President Nicholas was brand new on July 1 of that same year—so he and his wife will be going home on July 1 or 2 of this year.  They live in Texas (sorry, don’t know what part), so the chances of getting to meet them are slim.  But yay!  We get to go to Calgary!

Is this epistle long enough for you?  J

I love you each and all, and you are in our prayers!  Have a lovely week!


Aundrea/Mama Hill/Sister Hill

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I Believe

He Is the Gift

Merry Christmas to anyone out there who might see this.

Monday, December 8, 2014

You're Never Fully Dressed...

Over the past 3 months I've had many and increasing problems with one of the administrative assistants who works for me.  It's hard to be the bearer of bad tidings to someone, because I empathize with her.  However, if I expect her to truly be successful, I need to draw a line in the sand to indicate what is appropriate and what is not.

In my meetings with this person, it has been demonstrated numerous times that she sees herself as a victim in everything; she never takes any responsibility for her own behaviors or the consequences of her behavior.  If I can continue to find the right ways to communicate with her, I believe I can help her keep her job.  But because of her attitude, I doubt she will EVER excel in her job, because she is not humble enough to learn.

Case in point:  Our purchasing agent went to this woman and pointed out to her that she had made a specific mistake in numerous purchase requisitions.  She denied having made that mistake, although he held evidence in his hand.  She just would not believe that she had done anything wrong, and in the end she projected the problem back to him, wondering aloud what his job was if she was going to have to do everything.  Our purchaser is wonderful, and he is more than willing to help and to train.  This same mistake had been made by at least three other admins, all of whom owned and fixed the error the first time he talked to them.  The first admin was unable to own (and therefore, fix) her mistake until the purchaser approached me with it.

Today I had my year-end meeting with this admin, wherein we discussed her goals and her performance in those goals.  Not only did she not want to "own" her goals (about which we've talked multiple times this year), but she said that the problems about which I was "so concerned" (her words) were caused by others.  In fact--she said--she has been targeted by so many people throughout her life that it was "impossible" for her to smile because life is just.so.difficult.

Ironically I met with another admin immediately after this meeting.  Admin #2 has had some very difficult challenges throughout her life, and especially in the past 3 years.  However, if you asked anyone to describe her, the words used would be "bubbly," "energetic," "helpful," "happy."

And here's the difference.  Admin #1 sees LIFE through a dark perception.  She anticipates being victimized and she won't own any of her own problems.  Therefore, to her, life is hard and dark.  Admin #2 sees LIFE through a happy perception.  She understands that it's OK to cry when things hurt or are hard, but she also understands that it's up to her to find ways to overcome and get back to being happy.  In fact, she is unwilling to be anything but happy.  I've seen her really struggle with things, but she does so with optimism and faith.

I hope I'm more like Admin #2.

Are you?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Only the Second Time

My mother got up and got herself ready for the day every morning.  She always put on clean clothes, did her hair, and did her makeup.  She encouraged me to do the same, even if I knew the day was going to be filled with dirt, sweat, or tears.

On the flip side, I have often felt that my beauty came from the inside out, so I'm quite comfortable in my own, un-made-up skin.  I have no problem going to the store without makeup.

Still, I've tried to get ready for every day, including most school days from the time I started wearing makeup, and DEFINITELY for every work day.

Today I came to work without makeup for the second time in my life.  Funny thing is someone told me I looked really pretty.  Ha.  That's a laugh.  It's kind of them to say, but even I cringe when I look in the mirror.  :)

My mother would be appalled.  I was just glad to get here this morning.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


What was pinned:

What I made:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Years ago, when our children were very little, I was quite concerned about what would happen to them if we died.  We ended up purchasing burial plots at that time, but we haven't done anything further.  With Spencer being SO involved with his dad now this his mom died, he's now the one who is concerned about taking care of our funeral and mortuary arrangements.

As pertaining to the care of my body--I DO NOT WANT TO BE EMBALMED.  Seriously, the thought of their filling me with formaldehyde or any other chemical grosses me out.  I know I'll be dead and I won't really care, but can't we just put me in the ground and call it good?  For me, this is not about being green or saving money.  It's just gross, because bodies are just shells of human beings, so why do we have to dress them up and make them up?  In the end, they just look dead--BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE.

This is not to say that bodies are gross or scary.  Neither of those applies.  It's just that I receive no comfort from a body.  The best time to speak with the family of the deceased is at the viewing, but I really don't want to view, ya know?

Anyway, several years ago I heard about green burials (you can read more here, if you care), and I really like the idea.  At the time I first heard of them, no cemeteries in Utah were involved.  But not too long ago I looked again, and there is one cemetery (it's in Bountiful) that is doing green burials.  They had a booth at the State Fair, so we made an appointment to go visit with their salesman, which we did this past Saturday.

Of course, there are many options available for both regular and green burials, including the possibility of cremation.  We are in the process of deciding how we think it should all go for us and finding the funding to take care of that so that our children don't have to worry about it.

Here are some other things (just for me):

  1. "Joy to the World" by Voice Male (or our sons, if they choose to learn the harmonies) should be played to begin the service.  Because I LOVE that hymn, and musically I love that version, that's why.  The lyrics and the music are all about the Savior and the amazing JOY that was brought to the world by Him!  And if you can't smile during Voice Male's version, you're missing out on one of the great joys of life.  Seriously.  You should go listen to it right now.
  2. I'd like my brother, Derek, to speak.  He's known me since childhood, but he'll also teach the gospel.  Because if it's not about the gospel, it's not really about my life.
  3. Make sure the gospel of Jesus Christ is taught.  If you can use my life as an example of something, please do.  But it should be ALL about the hope and joy the gospel brings, not only for a glorious future, but for the meaning it gives us DAILY.
  4. Joanne Soderborg at the organ, please.  She's amazing, and I love her, and she loves me back.
  5. Make sure Spencer is involved with as much as he can be, but protect his heart carefully.  He's as fine a man as I've ever known, and he's taken care of me in every possible way.  Also, encourage him to find someone to love for the rest of his life.  The world is a better place because of people like Spencer who have such a capacity to love.
  6. If our kids want to speak or participate, they can; if they don't want to, please don't make them.  But make sure everyone knows my family is my joy.  And kids, if you do speak or sing, make sure to reference #3.
  7. If the bishop can't keep it short and say "amen," hold the funeral at the mortuary.  It's worth the money to not have it go too long or to have him make a sermon just to hear his own voice.  If it's still Bishop Soderborg, we should be OK.  (But no stake presidency!  Because sheesh!)
  8. If you want a musical number, my favorites are Aunt Gloria and Kaylani on the piano and organ doing "How Great Thou Art," the Heritage 3rd ward Primary and friends singing "Gethsemane," or Sterling Singers doing "In Remembrance."  I'm also fine with congregational singing of hymns.  But not "O My Father," "Because I Have Been Given Much," or "I Believe In Christ," OK?  I love their messages, but I don't love these hymns.  If our choir kids (Brit, Jordan, Lisa, Anna, Chris, Colton, Tanar, Craig, Logan, Landon, Raylee, etc.) want to sing, I'd love them forever.  Oh, wait.  I'll already love them forever!  Just sing about the Savior, my loves.
There.  Now you know.  And when I have more mortuary and burial details, I'll share.  You're welcome.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Ogden Temple

Today Sister Maxfield shared this in her email home (she's serving in Valdosta, Georgia, currently):

Whatever we want to know can be given to us if we are willing to ask. But the Lord speaks to us through the Holy Ghost. I forget who said this, but I loved how they described how we can hear the Lord. He said, in effect, when we hear sound, we are merely picking up waves that travel through the air. Those waves are picked up by the receptors in our ears and then the signal is shot to our brain and our brain registers those waves as "sound". But God doesn't make the air waves move (most of the time). Most of the time, he goes straight for our Spirit. That's why we feel good, we feel love, we feel peace, we feel complete, we feel joy; that is how the Holy Ghost speaks to us. Then we can know, through those feelings what is good and what is not. We can know what is true and what is not. It's so cool!

Yesterday was the Ogden Temple rededication.  We did not have regular church meetings.  Instead our stake center was an extension of the temple, and we got to attend the rededication. The speakers were wonderful, but I was awestruck by the Hosanna Shout, which I've been blessed to participate in many times (the beauty of living in Utah during a season of temple building). And when it was time to sing "The Spirit of God," I couldn't even make a sound, let alone sing. The Spirit testified to me so strongly of our Savior, His plan, the awesome blessing of the temple, restored priesthood authority and power, etc.

Since I started working for the Church, sometimes I see things through jaded eyes (which is sad). But this time I was completely overwhelmed with joy and gratitude and KNOWLEDGE. It was beautiful!


Yesterday we began to talk about Hilladay.  This year--and from now on--we are going to celebrate our Hilladay at Snowbird, where we have a time share.  We hope that eventually perhaps our children will be able to also purchase a time share during that same week, but that will be up to them.

Anyway, in discussing Hilladay we talked about how we wished we'd kept track of every Hilladay we'd had.  The truth is that there are probably picture around, but until they all get organized, we'll never know.

So we started making a list, and this is what we've come up with:

1995:  Back yard games and jumping on Aunt Becky's trampoline at Grandma and Grandpa Bezzant's house.

1996:  Back yard sleepout.  This was the year (I think) that we were putting in sprinklers, so there was mud in the yard.

1999:  Liberty Park and scavenger hunt.

2000:  Raging Waters

2001:  Cancun

2007:  Goblin Valley and slot canyon hike and camping.

2008:  Thanksgiving Point for photos, picnic, and "Oklahoma!"

2009:  Jackson Hole camping, horseback riding, Snake River rafting, and Bar J Wranglers

2010:  Sacramento and Apple Hill

2011:  The year of service

2012:  Weber River rafting.  Briana was on her mission, and we held Hilladay early, before Taylor left.

2013:  Snowbird begins

It was hard to differentiate between some of the things we've done for Hilladay versus just playing together as a family.  But we determined that the following were other Hilladay activities.  Probably.

Saver's scavenger hunt (ended at Sugarhouse Park)
Old Sac/Six Flags
Back yard Slip & Slide and games
Back yard sleepout with Mormon Mouthful (West Jordan)
This Is the Place Heritage Park

This year will be our 20th Hilladay.  We started the year Ashtyn was one (the year I was diagnosed with MS), so our children don't remember a time when we didn't have Hilladay.  Hilladay is my favorite family tradition, and we've been very blessed.

Now to come up with this year's activities...

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Spencer called me this morning to do a math problem for him.  I love when he does that, because it makes me feel like I might actually have something useful to contribute--because he's just so freaking awesome.

Anyway, he asked how my day was going, and I told him I think I'm allergic to my job.  His response?  "YA THINK?"

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Children's Center

As part of the United Way Day of Caring, I got to go to the Children's Center and help do a little carnival for the kids.  I looked forward to this day for two weeks and enjoyed every minute of it.  Here's a picture: