My Family

My Family

Monday, December 06, 2021

2021: The Year in Review


January began with a trip to the "snow".  Each Christmas for the past decade, we have chosen somewhere to go or something to do that would create memories as a family.  The 2020 gift was to have our younger children experience snow in all of its glory.  As we headed toward the end of January, we decided we had better make the trek up the mountain, even though it had been a LONG time without snow because the winter season was nearly over and no more snow was predicted.  :P  

We enjoyed stargazing, seeing the Grand Canyon and ultimately, finding a tiny patch of snow to play in on the shaded side of a mountain.  There was a frozen cow pond where we spent lots of time sliding, "skating", and let's be honest, slipping and falling.


While the trip wasn't what we had planned, I think we can all say that it WAS memorable...and we have a real snow trip listed on our "someday we'll do that" list.

Thomas was able to go through the temple before heading into the mission field.  Many other missionaries we knew had not been able to go to the temple before leaving, and we understood this was a blessing in many ways.   
On February 13th, Stephen and Victoria were married!  They had been dating and spending time together before she served her mission,  and once she was released, we were able to watch their relationship grow and evolve.  We had a wonderful reception that evening to celebrate the beginning of their marriage.  They currently live in Chandler, AZ so we have the blessing of seeing them often.  
Shortly after Stephen & Toria's wedding, I finally was given a diagnosis as to why my right foot was hurting so badly (and had been since November 2020).  I had a partially torn tendon!  What a relief it was to finally get an answer that made sense.  The goal going forward (and even currently) would be to find ways to help it heal.  

Bekah was able to go through the Gila Valley temple in early March.  It was a blessing to have both my mom and stepdad there, and also have Thomas be able to go through the temple again a second time before heading to Seattle, WA just 4 days later.  

While attending Eastern Arizona College in the Fall of 2020, Bekah met Garret Hunt.  They got engaged the same day she went through the temple.  At this point in time, our local church buildings were not able to be reserved for wedding receptions, so we made the decision to hold their wedding reception in our backyard.  (For some that would have been an easy choice, but we knew that there would be extensive work involved in prepping our backyard for such an event).  Nevertheless, we committed and
began some of our projects.  

On March 8th, they took their engagement photos.  

Thomas left for Seattle on March 9th.


Just a month later, Nathan proposed to Lily Manning when he came home between trimesters at BYU-Idaho. They met in the fall of 2020 in the singles ward.  When Nate headed up to BYU-Idaho, Lily supported him through that transition.  It quickly became clear that they would be happier together, rather than trying to manage a long-distance relationship...and so, they began planning the 3rd John family wedding in 2021.

Perhaps our largest project in our backyard reception prep was pouring this cement sidewalk AND extending our patio cement out to the back wall.  We saw miracles as so many came and helped fill in the gaps of where we didn't know things as well as physically giving so freely of time and effort.  If you helped with this or any other part of prepping for this particular reception, we are so immensely grateful for you & your willingness to help us.  


We held a "pre-ception" for Bekah and Garret on May 27th.  This lighted arch framed the entryway into our backyard.  It was the handiwork of Shirell Allen and Emily!  They were a fabulous team, and one of my favorite parts of the decorations.  
May 28th was wedding day for Mrs. Hunt.   
Every one of our sons has to check in to see if they've passed dad up in height.  While Sam still had a bit to grow in this picture, he has since passed Pat up and is the second tallest John boy.  


In July, Emily became the first of our children to graduate with a Bachelor's degree. Her degree is in Marriage and Family studies, and she has found a passion for advocating for the family.  She has volunteered with United Families International (UFI) and will continue to champion the need for more support of and education on current issues and how profoundly they can impact the family.  I've learned so much from her as she's shared what she's learning specifically in this regard.   
Emily and Tyler celebrating her graduation!

Isaac and Natalie headed back to school at the end of July.  Natalie is in the 5th grade and Isaac is in the 8th grade.  It's odd to have just two kids in elementary school and realize we are coming to the end of that phase of our lives.  Isaac is enjoying being a part of the Student Council as an 8th grade representative.  Natalie just finished 4 weeks of a club focusing on becoming an "Aspiring Author".  She's a girl after my own heart...writing and reading.  She also loves to draw, especially dragons.  

Nate & Lily were married on August 7th.  
Their reception was that night (church buildings were available again...whew!!!).
 It was absolutely beautiful!  
This is the closest thing we have to a complete family picture this year.  
With Thomas serving his mission and Pat sick enough he missed this wedding, 
this picture is both joyful and sad for me to see.  

Pat's symptoms pre-wedding were nausea (highly unusual for him) and a low grade fever.  We had no reason to be overly concerned...but he couldn't seem to shake it.  The week after the wedding, he ended up with pneumonia, and tested for COVID as an afterthought.  When the test came back positive, I was both relieved and highly concerned.  Pat was kind enough to share it with me, and we both rounded out the rest of August fighting COVID.  I have a very serious respect for all those who have fought this disease over the past 18 months, and am deeply sorry for all those who have lost loved ones to it.  I pray we may continue to find ways to navigate all of the changes it has brought into our lives. 

Labor day weekend, we did a family trip to Flagstaff.  We stopped at Montezuma's Castle on the drive up. It was a very quick loop, and fascinating to see how people lived thousands of years ago.  

We also made the trek out to Sunset Crater.  This geologist was very happy to explain all sorts of rock related things to us during that trip.  
Flagstaff will always feel a bit like home to me.  
My years at NAU were wonderful years of growth for me.  
These mountains.  <3

One of the "gifts" COVID left me with is an ongoing struggle with energy and mental clarity.  
This has been a battle for many ways, and approaching my 50th birthday, I was in a quandary.  I had planned for 18 months to do 50 acts of kindness near my birthday and to rally as many people as I could to do as many acts of kindness as they could, thus flooding the world with 50,000 acts of kindness.  
I realized by late August, I would have to change my expectations.  

SO....I did what I could with the capabilities I had.  
We packed meals for children in need at Feed My Starving Children.  
Thanks to everyone who joined in this night of service!  
It is always good for me to see that we are leaving an impact through how we serve.   

This month saw a lot of effort/struggle from both Pat and I in different arenas.  

 After nine years with CMC, Pat was let go in June of this year.  With much prayerful consideration about the path that God would have us on and where He wants us to be, Pat has been working on developing his own Environmental Consulting business (  Anyone who has started a business knows there are many challenges that are involved in that growth.  We are working on that process together (him doing the grunt work and mostly me just cheering on and supporting him)!

October was also the month I concluded that my encounter with COVID, for whatever reason, has left me with "long-haul" symptoms. Those symptoms feel and manifest very much like an auto-immune flare, which, for me, has led to a lot of discouragement.  While the tendon in my foot was able to heal during my downtime, it has felt like everything else has taken a step backward health-wise.  My energy is tapped very quickly, and I struggle with mental clarity, especially when I work on the computer or need to talk or interact for more than an hour.  I've spent a lot of time thinking about how what I do doesn't create my value or worth, but inherently, I have worth, even if (in my estimation) I am able to do only a fraction of what I would like to be doing.  

The best news of this month?  Towards the end of October Lily and Nate announced our first grandbaby will be coming in June of 2022!

After many hours over many months, Pat and his friend Ryan Dawson completed 
a 102 mile bike ride in the Tour de Tucson on November 20th!  

Pat had "a little spill" during the Tour.  He had about 5 different spots with the road rash.  As his wife, I was so very grateful that he was watched over (by God) and didn't sustain any serious injuries when he wrecked.

Stephen and Sam went to Dragonsteel Con, in Utah.  It was a wonderful couple of days for them where they got to dress up as characters from one of their favorite book series by Brandon Sanderson.  They also got to see him and listen to him in a couple of sessions/panels.  Sanderson is a family favorite when it comes to writers.  

Thomas was recently transferred to a new area where he is training a greenie and has been given 
new leadership responsibilities.  That makes his third greenie in the 8 months he has been out.  It is humbling to see how the Lord challenges each one of us in our circumstances.  
We have truly seen Thomas rise to the expectations placed upon him, and his growth is amazing to see. 
This is him on Thanksgiving day.  

We have had so much exciting news happen within the last couple of weeks.  Tyler will be graduating from BYU-Provo this month!  His degree is a Bachelor of Media Arts, AND he has already been offered a job in California, working with his first choice game audio studio. We have seen miracles in their lives as they have moved forward with faith.  They will be moving right before Christmas.  

Bekah & Garret will be re-locating to Tucson this month, and as we talk with our other kids, it's apparent that each of them are on their own journey to follow the Lord and go where He wants them to be.  That's not always easy as parents (when it takes them physically farther away), but we continue to trust that God has a plan for them (and for us) that will help shape us into the very best we can be.  

This year has been overwhelming in so many ways.  So much good has happened.  In the same breath, so many challenges have been a part of this year as well.  Suffice it to say, 2021 was a year that changed us.  And I pray that those changes will refine us and help us become the people God wants us to be.  

May this Christmas season bring you peace and joy as you focus on He who sacrificed His life for us.  
Sending so much love, 
The John Family

Friday, October 04, 2013


It's been a little more than a week...and amazingly, I'm extremely happy with the results of my commitments mentioned on Sept. 23rd.

I definitely haven't been perfect...but WOW!
All I can say is, what a difference!

I have successfully kept my early morning time on Facebook/Pinterest down to under a half hour & when I check periodically throughout the day, it is typically a very quick on & off.
I'm reading a grand total of 3 blogs regularly, which takes about 5 minutes...and then I'm off & doing more important things.
Facebook is truly off of my phone, and all of a sudden, my phone is considerably less important to me.

I feel a renewed desire to develop my own creativity.
I'm engaging more fully with my children.
I'm more introspective and likely to keep an internal goal that I have set.
I'm generally happier.

So hasta la vista extensive computer time.
I'm moving on to productivity.

Can you join me?

Monday, September 23, 2013


For quite a while, I've been feeling prompted, driven, moved...whatever term you may use to limit my time on the computer.
It's an odd thing, really...because it truly is a rare occasion that I sit down to watch a movie...and there are no television shows that I'm willing to sacrifice my time to commit to watching regularly.
Put a laptop in my hand, however, and I'm sucked in.
Frequently checking Facebook and Pinterest...seeing what's changing in the online world.

Over the course of the past month, for the first time in 18 years, I've had a regular 2 hours worth of time that I have been able to spend doing whatever *I* want as my Natalie sleeps and all of my other kids are in school.
It's been AMAZING.

Suddenly, crafting at 10pm isn't my only option.
I've completed more projects in the past month and held more classes than I ever have before.
And I'm happy.
Happy, in an "I'm accomplishing something" sort of way.
(Not that raising children and taking care of their needs isn't an accomplishment, but it's an accomplishment that takes months & years to see the results.)

I'm not sure why it is I struggle so much with trying to follow what it is that I feel is God's path for me.  I knew 2 months ago that Facebook needed to be removed from my phone.
So I took it off.
And then I put it back on.
And then took it off again.
And then opened it in my Safari browser so that I could still access it easily, but not really put it back on my phone.
Hard-headed somewhat, wouldn't you say?

So, while I've been telling you changes were coming for a couple of months I've felt the Lord working on my heart, now is my time to truly commit...
First to myself,
then to the Lord,
and finally...because a couple of you asked about it, to you.

1) First and foremost, I will start my day with family devotional, family prayer (by 5:45!!) and then personal scripture study and personal prayer.
2) I will check my e-mails and Facebook messages second thing in the morning.  If there is any urgent business I will attend to it then.
3) If desired, I will spend about 2 hours in productive computer projects.  (These may include working on the computer...writing, organizing photos, paying bills, family history, even potentially blogging or scrapbooking in MDS...or other things I may not be thinking of yet) checking Facebook though.  (And I'm deleting almost all of the dozen blogs I've narrowed my list down to off of my bookmarks bar...very little take-away from the majority of them.)
4) After that...the computer will go off for a while.  I'm going to baby step toward getting my house in FlyLady's mission of the day will be on my agenda.

That's as far as I'm going to commit today.
I'll check in here within the week and let you know how it goes.

Wish me luck....and if you need me, call me.  :D

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I made the choice this spring that regardless of how tight our finances were or how hard I had to work, that I would find a way to get to the Stampin' Up! convention in Salt Lake City this summer.
My oldest daughter's 16th birthday was on the opening day of convention, so I had planned on flying up late that night after spending the day with her.
In early April, she decided to attend an all-girls conference called Time to Blossom during the week of her birthday.
She worked incredibly hard to earn money to pay for it our family budget constraints are definitely a hinderance to us paying for something like that outright.
Once I knew she was committed and wouldn't be home on her birthday, I felt no worries or concerns about leaving in time to be there for ALL of convention.
In the end, she had an AMAZING week and birthday, and I LOVED convention & all it taught me.

I have an AMAZINGLY supportive husband and family.
I am so grateful for them and how they provide strength, help and inspiration as needed.
I have gained some of my closest friends as we have stamped together, and I truly count my customers as my dear friends.
Both of these groups made it possible for me to go to convention this year...each "stamping penny" was put toward my plane ticket and the cost of registration, and my family "held down the fort" while I was gone.

I continue to be amazed that I am doing something I love so dearly.
Teaching others to find themselves...reconnect with their precious to me.
It's the true reason I do what I do.
I believe that women need opportunities to connect...and just create...and I have been given the tools to provide those opportunities for others.
What an incredible blessing...and NOT one I take for granted.

I learned that even in a group of 6,000 women, I am unique & have gifts and abilities that God needs me to use.
My goal is to listen to how He talks to me & my heart and then DO those things.
That's the hard part.

Ultimately, convention, for me, was about rediscovering myself all over again...and being happy with who I am and the path I am on.

Pretty worth the price of admission, wouldn't you say?

Friday, May 03, 2013

This Boy

He's not quite a boy any more.
We're down to just a couple of weeks before he graduates from high school and then he's off on his newest adventures.

It's interesting to reflect...for in my mind's eye I can see him as a newborn, as a toddler, as a little boy, getting baptized, receiving the Aaronic Priesthood, and turning 16...all within just a blink of an eye.
All of the characteristics that melded together to create the young man he is today have been there most of his life...and have been refined in a way that is remarkable.

It's nice to know we have eternity together...
Letting go is going to be hard.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

On following

I'm reminded often that "The Lord is in the details".
From where we live to those whom we live near & interact with on a regular basis, our paths don't cross by chance, and our actions do not simply impact us alone.

I have wondered lately, as I have watched my father-in-law leave this world what impact I will have on the world around me.
It's not important to me to be known by many...but rather, I pray that those who did know me will be better for having associated with me.
If I can buoy others up, strengthen them in their weaknesses, and follow the path I feel the Lord has for me, it will be enough.

If I could dream large though, even for a minute or two:
I would love to write...more than I do.
I would love to be a motivational speaker, and strengthen & guide others on their life path.
I would love to serve a mission or two (or three).
I would love to raise my family in righteousness and watch my grandchildren grow up near me.
I would love to lose over 100 pounds and be able to do many things actively with my husband and family into my later years.
I would love to have an original card design published.

But most importantly, I would like to go to bed each night knowing that I had done what the Lord needed me to do...
following the still small voice that prompts me in His path & in His way.
And if my dreams don't come to fruition, ultimately, I will have the peace of knowing God knows the details that will bring me the most happiness and the most joy eternally.

And so...I trust.
And pray to hear His voice each day.
And follow.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Upon Awakening

Sleep evaded me last night.
Fitful tossing & turning made for interrupted & chaotic dreams (none of which I can remember now).

But then, I got to sleep in this morning...
a full 30 minutes longer than usual.

And as I sit here on the computer, clicking through my stamping blogs, the thought enters my mind:
Why do you do this?
Does it serve a purpose for you anymore?
(To turn the computer on first thing...before the kids are even gone and surf through ideas that ultimately 98% of the time end up having no bearing on my creativity).

I tell you...
Changes...they are ahead for me.
I can feel it.

So today, I will be evaluating all things technology laden and how they are impacting my life and the importance of them long term.

I'm not going away...that I promise.
But my routine will likely change in the days ahead.
Especially my morning routine.

For upon awaking, I want to feel focused and motivated.
Strengthened and blessed...and able to walk the path the Lord would have me on.
Not distracted and unengaged with those whom I love best, and most especially, not so distant from the Lord that I struggle to hear His voice & His direction in my life.