Focusing too much on the details of my paintings can make me think I have ruined them, life seems to be like that too.

Often when I am painting I have to get up close to my paintings to see the details. Sometimes I get so caught up in the details that I start to be extra critical of a single brush stroke or a particular section of a painting. This can be very discouraging as I sometimes think that I have ruined the painting. Case in point, this eagle below I almost threw it in the garbage.

I painted this while I was visiting family in Utah. At the time I was hyper focused on the background not working correctly, and the individual brush strokes in the face, feeling like either there were too many or they were in the wrong spots. My mom on the other hand saw a beautiful painting. Consequently, she has a beautiful eagle painting. Stepping back from the painting, and days later however, I had a new perspective. Instead of seeing small details, I saw the whole picture and realized, while there are things I would change about the picture, like the color of the background, I really did like how it turned out overall.

Often in life we tend to hyper focus on the details and forget to look at the bigger picture. In my Church we talk about having an eternal perspective. Remembering that this life is temporary and that there are greater things to come if we try to live a good life here. That’s quite a long outlook, and can be hard for people to fathom. But I find that even looking 5 or 10 years into the future, deciding whether what we are doing currently will impact our future, is a great way to stop focusing so much on the little details of every day and to get out and live life to the best of our ability.

When my kids were little I would go to bed discouraged sometimes, because I focused so much on the things I hadn’t gotten done, or the incidents throughout the day where I could have handled a situation better and didn’t. But when I could step back and look at the good things that happened, or how well my kids behaved when we were out in the world, I realized I must be doing at least a little better than I often thought I did. Some of the observation has to be the 20/20 hindsight as well. Sweet memories created help me to see the good that was created and the fun we had and continue to have, and I find that I don’t remember the little things I could have done better anymore as I observe where we were and how far we’ve come.

Life can be hard, there are little things we do need to focus on in our day to day lives. But stepping back can often give us a better perspective, help us adjust course as needed, and see how far we have actually come. There are no perfect paintings, at least not in the eyes of the painter, but when we step back and look at the picture as a whole, it becomes beautiful. I encourage you to step back and observe, it might just make all the difference.


No one likes problems quite like a rock climber.

I don’t know why I have been thinking about rock climbing this week, but for some reason the word climbers use for a new route is problem. This thought has run through my mind for several days now, so today I’ll share what my thoughts were and why.

First, I was thinking about how smart it is to call it a problem. My boys, when they first started climbing, introduced me to this term, and over the years I have found great value in the use of the word problem in this setting. A problem is a route, usually a new route that someone wants to climb. Sometimes it can even be as specific as certain holds on the wall or moves within a route that are referred to problems. The reason they are called problems, is because they are difficult to accomplish, but not impossible. Each climber is aware of other climbers that can maneuver through that route, so they know it’s possible, it’s just a matter of figuring it out.

This has given my boys a new perspective on “problems” they encounter in life. In rock climbing it takes time, persistence and patience to overcome their climbing problem. Overcoming the problem means they are now a better climber than they were and that they can move forward on their progress by trying new challenging routes. The routes are rated, so they can easily see that they have progressed in their climbing abilities. But they are also learning, at least most of the time, that life is full of problems. Not unsolvable problems, but things that are going to take dedication, work, persistence and patience to overcome.

I have also found it interesting to watch finals competitions at climbing competitions. The final rounds are usually the top 4 or 5 climbers from the competition. They climb a set of routes each one timed for 4 minutes. They rest for 4 minutes after each round and only get 1 – 4 minute attempt at each route or problem. If they fall and still have time they can get back up and try again, but when the timer runs out, that’s it. They are not allowed to see the routes until the timer starts. When I first watched these competition I was surprised to see the climbers pause, sometimes for 20 or 30 seconds and simply look at the wall. Their hands twisting and turning in the air. At first I thought they were wasting time, figure it out when you get on there, but I soon realized however, that they were studying out the problem in their minds, making some preliminary decisions about how to grip, where to place hands and feet, what is usable and what isn’t, etc. Then they start to climb. Sometimes they climb without issue to the top, but most times they fall at least once. Never giving up, they reevaluate what they’ve just done, looking closely at where they fell, deciding how to change what they’d done, and then get back on the wall and try again.

In the finals competition they may not achieve that particular route, but there are points along the way for grading purposes. However, when climbing in their own gyms they can practice and practice until they master that route and then they move on to the next hardest problem. What’s also amazing is that they never tire of solving new problems. Sometimes in life we face problems, and even if we conquer those problems we’d like life to then be more simple and easy, how often do we intentionally go out seeking a new problem to challenge us?

Growth happens when we are challenged. Floating along easily through life never promotes growth or pushes us along the path of life very far. We have to have resistance and break down our muscles in order to build them up, and we have to have similar resistance to grow and improve in our every day life. Challenges will always come. We can either see them as hardships and try to avoid them, or we can look at them like a rock climber and embrace the problems ahead and work through them. If we fail the first time, we just need to step back, reevaluate, and get back on the wall, trying and trying until we conquer.


Sometimes service is not what we expect, and sometimes it’s hard, especially when we have a bad attitude.

This morning when I got home from Seminary I was super tired. I didn’t sleep really well so I laid down and took a nap for 45 minutes. When I woke up my husband asked me if I wanted to go to town with him and how long it would take me to get ready if I wanted to go. We are preparing to either turn his mom’s house into an Airbnb or sell it, so there are a few things that need to be fixed. He was going to look at a new shower surround for the bathroom as well as other bathroom fixtures and flooring, and wanted my input.

I told him it would be about 45 minutes and he said that would work. I went into the kitchen to make a sourdough focaccia and to then eat breakfast. I was trying to hurry because I knew he wanted to leave sooner than later. Just as I was almost done putting the ingredients in the bowl, a neighbor, who tends to need a fair amount of help, came to the door. I am the one who ends up helping all the time, even though my husband is capable, and sometimes more equipped to help than I am. This morning was no exception as the person came into the kitchen to wait for me rather than talk to my husband. I then felt like I needed to hurry even faster.

As I was finishing up the ingredients in the sourdough, I reached across the bowl and knocked it off the scale and tipped it over. Nothing was mixed together yet and the water in the bottom sloshed all the ingredients out onto the counter, down the front of the cabinet and all over the floor. I stood there momentarily and decided to just leave it and help the neighbor. It took about 20 minutes to help the neighbor and then I proceeded to clean the kitchen. My husband walked in as I was cleaning the kitchen and asked me if I was about ready to go. I am grateful to say that I did not bite his head off at that point in time even though I kind of really wanted to. However I did inform him that now I had to clean the kitchen and I still had to eat breakfast and get dressed.

I told him if he wanted to head out that was fine with me, at that point in time I was slightly frustrated with him because he did not help with the neighbor and he did not help me clean up the mess. But I guess he really wanted my input, so he waited until I was ready to go. After I finish cleaning up the mess and threw out my sourdough, I sat down to eat my breakfast. I started to say my prayers and expressed my frustration to my Heavenly Father. I asked him why I was the one that had to help the neighbor all the time. At that point in time the answer that came was not what I had expected. He helped me realize that this was my opportunity to serve somebody besides my family for a while. I don’t mind doing service, in fact I really enjoy it, but I hadn’t yet viewed what I was doing for this neighbor as service.

This week in the New Testament we have been studying about how we serve and our motivation for serving. I realized that often times I find it easy to serve when it’s something I want to do to serve. Dealing with the neighbor on an almost daily basis was not something I wanted to do most of the time, it was always at an inconvenient time, and often the problems that needed to be dealt with persisted over the course of days or weeks. But that person needs help, and for the most part, even if it takes time, it is in small manageable pieces of time. I was reminded that service often requires a sacrifice of time and energy, and that my attitude and irritations made it harder for me to help.

I saw this person a little bit differently, and decided I needed to change my attitude as well as my perspective on this subject. I have found myself recently, especially as we have been reading the Sermon on the Mount, reflecting on how I can try to do better and serve others. I hadn’t even looked at current situations, but was looking for an “easy” service project, possibly something that might even come with a thank you or appreciation in some way from someone. I don’t normally like to be in the spotlight, or even be noticed, so this realization came as a bit of a shock to me. This morning was frustrating to say the least, but I have learned some things about myself that need to be changed, and I learned to see someone else just a little bit differently. I hope I can remember what I learned today (that’s one of the reasons I’m sharing it here, then I can look back and remember), and that I can go forward with new eyes to see and a heart more willing and able to help everyone, not just the easy convenient ones.


Today I was watching a reel on Instagram from a friend of mine who inspired me to get into art. She taught my daughters art lessons when I was homeschooling them through middle school. I never took the lessons she taught in person, but then she started to do online lessons. I decided to try those lessons and found out that I love painting! She still does art lessons but always wanted to travel the world. Now she does her art lessons while traveling the world with her family, and it’s fun to see the different places they go and the experiences they have. If you would like to follow along, her name is Ashley Krieger. You can find her on YouTube here or her website here. Hopefully both links work!

Anyway, I was watching her reel thinking how I love watching all the fun things they do. I am very much a home body, and while sometimes I would love to go travel to a few specific locations around the world, I wouldn’t enjoy traveling full time. But it is fun to watch them go and do it. And, while I don’t think I’d like doing what they do, I am inspired by her courage to follow a passion to travel the world, to expose her kids to different cultures, and her and her husband’s commitment to jump in and do it! As I pondered on Ashley, I also started to think about other people who have influenced me over the years in some way.

I always think of my family first. Who I am at my core is in large part because of how I was raised by my parents. While that is the case for most of us, we can at some point decide the values they taught us in our youth are not going to be our values or way of life, we always have a choice. But we can embrace the good that we learned as a youth and teach the upcoming generation the good things we learned as children as well. If we pass on the bad, that’s a choice we make, to not change. I feel blessed that my parents taught me good values and that I can rely on those values and strive to teach them to my children.

I have always enjoyed exercising and staying fit, but I hated cardio, until about 12 years ago or so. A number of friends and family members suddenly decided to get into running. I had been thinking about trying that activity to stay in shape but knew my cardiovascular system would need a lot of work. I had already started doing a little running at that point but often got discouraged because I couldn’t go very far very fast. But when these friends and family started to run, it motivated me to actually put forth some effort and do better. Some of them still run, some don’t, but they all still inspired me. Because of them I have run for many years, not as consistently as I once did, but still way further ahead than I used to be. My cardiovascular system is much stronger than it has ever been, and I love the health benefits that started years ago with running and I am grateful for those who inspired me to keep trying even when I was discouraged.

Lastly, I had a friend who inspired me a few years ago when I was discouraged about my art. I hadn’t told anyone that I was frustrated, but as I visited with him one day, he must have sensed my discouragement. By that point I had sold only 20 or 30 prints and a few hundred note cards, but I was discouraged thinking that I should be farther along in the process by then. I had decided I probably wasn’t an artist and had seriously thought about quitting. He gave me a pep talk, in a nutshell, I had already sold art, so people obviously liked it, and these things just take a little time to get going. I can’t remember his exact words, but it was in text form, and I kept a screenshot of that text for several years, so when I got discouraged, I could look back and read it. His words kept me going, and while I’m not leaps and bounds further along than I was then, I have progressed at least artistically, and I am so grateful I didn’t quit. I am also grateful for the many people over the years who would come up to me randomly, like at Church, at the Post Office, wherever, and ask about my art. Their interest in what I was working on at the moment has also kept me going, knowing there are people out there watching, even when I’m not aware they’re there.

My husband inspires me every day. This past week my husband has had all of our kids at his job helping him tape and mud a couple of small cabins. I watch as he patiently teaches the kids new skills, whether it’s taping or mudding sheetrock joint, or laying down concrete, or framing a house, or installing trim, they learn a little bit more every time they work for him. Because of his willingness to teach them, they jobs usually take a little bit longer so he can explain and instruct, but he does it because he wants them to have marketable skills and knowledge, even if they never work in the same field, they could. They have also learned how to work hard over the years, which is a blessing in and of itself.

My kids are huge inspirations to me. I have people, come and tell me what wonderful kids we have, very respectful and kind, conscientious of others and always willing to help. While we have always tried to raise our kids that way, and they really are that way, both at home and in public, I think they came that way! I’m not sure it had a ton to do with our imperfect parenting. They are of course teenagers, and definitely not perfect, but when the chips are down, they usually make the right choice, and when they don’t, they are willing to admit it, correct it, learn from it, and move on with life. They inspire me always.

I am so grateful for all the people in my life, so many I know personally, and so many that I may never know, but who crossed my path and inspired me in some way anyway. Who has inspired you today?


I love Sundays, and the older I get the more I have decided that it is my favorite day of the week, mainly because I love Church. When I was a kid and throughout my teenage years however, I went to Church not for the Spiritual uplift, but for the social aspect. Being raised in Utah, a lot of the social activities I participated in revolved around Church activities anyway. But as I have gotten older, my perspective of what Church is, and why I go has changed.

As a teenager I never felt invincible like many teenagers feel, but I felt like I was pretty knowledgeable, pretty set on the right path, and that I was pretty much right in most of what I did. I did try to listen to my parents and be obedient, but I felt like, as an all-around person, I was doing alright. I rarely struggled with doubt within myself and have always been a pretty happy person.

First, let me say, I still am a pretty happy person, almost all the time. I feel like that is not a state of being, rather a choice that we make each and every day. It’s how we choose to look at life. But, as I have had children and had lots of, I guess, “adult” things happen in life, like we all do, there are days when I need help, strength. I find that strength most often at Church through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as well through my daily scripture study and prayer. Sunday’s have become a day of rejuvenation, rest, a time to be filled and prepare again for the coming week.

I remember when my kids were small, and we would prepare to go to Church. It was always hectic and crazy getting everyone out the door. My husband usually had a calling that took him to Church earlier than me, so I had to get myself and 4 kids ready to go. There were weeks that if I hadn’t understood the lift that I get, I would have thrown the towel in and stayed home. But I knew that I needed to be there, and I knew that I would leave Church with an added inner strength that would help me get through the coming week. It never failed, I always left more at peace, and better prepared for my coming week.

Many people in today’s society are drifting away from religion and church attendance of any kind. Many say that being out in the outdoors is just as good, or that spending time with family or friends instead of attending Church is a better way to spend Sunday’s. Being outside is definitely rejuvenating, I love being outside in nature and in the fresh air, it’s rejuvenating to my mind and body, but not quite the same way as the Gospel rejuvenates my soul. I love spending time with my family, more than just about anything else. One of my favorite parts of spending time with my family is the joy they bring me. But that joy is often fleeting, only lasting until the family jumps into the week and their busy lives, not that the joy of family disappears, but things get hectic and chaotic during the week. The joy that I feel through learning the word of God at Church, and the Spirit that attends that learning continues to fill me during the week and helps me remember in all those chaotic moments what is really important, how much I love my family even when they frustrate me, and that my family is eternal. There is a peace that permeates every aspect of my life, that I can’t get anywhere else.

Church for me is not just another thing to check off my list every week, but a necessity to keep me going. Sometimes I go and look for others to help, or ways to lift. Other times I go looking for relief. But either way, I know that when I leave, I will have been filled, lifted, and prepared for whatever challenges I may encounter in the upcoming week. I know that I can leave there with peace that will stay with me, a peace that isn’t achievable except through the Lord.