Back to BYU Bookstore and words from Aaron in Chile

I helped the kids buy text books yesterday for the new semester.  Not only are they Very Expensive books, they are huge, heavy and frightening.  As Claire found the ones she and Adam needed, I held the pile until it almost knocked me over.  Chemistry books and work books, Calculus, Stats, Biology, Lab books, Psychology–all these very hard things to understand and learn.  I flipped through each of them as we tried to find clean used copies, and it gave me a stomach ache.  I told Claire I’d rather DIE that have to study, learn and understand Chemistry or Calculus or Statistics.  She looked at me and rolled her eyes, like it was no big deal.

Here’s a random page in one of them:

Text Book

Understanding stuff like that IS a big deal, and I was so happy to head over to JoAnn’s after that outing to buy a little more flannel with my 60% off coupons.  Now that’s something I can understand!

2014-8-27 Aaron with 2 noobies

This photo came with Aaron’s letter from Chile today.  He had divisions with these 2 new Elders from the Chile MTC for a day.  They had a long day, with many doors slammed in their faces, which is not the norm for the good people in Chile.  Below is his report.  It sounds like he’s also learning some very important principles.  Not something you pick up in a text book.  I’m so proud of our 3 kids and the things they are learning.

From Aaron:  “I have never been rejected so many times with doors slammed in my face, so i think they got a pretty good feel for Chile :) haha but really.  Door after door got slammed.  Probably the fact that we were 3 gringos walking around, but either way, it was a very fun experience to be with 2 noobies and give them there first real taste of Chile as a real missionaries. They are going to the East Mission.  That was a long day.  But at the end of the day, I always ask myself, was I obedient today? Did I work hard, and give it my all? and if the answers are yes, then I know that the Lord is pleased, and that means that He will give us our success according to His time and needs.  Not ours.”  

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Ann Dee Ellis, Author and Friend does DfG!

AnnDee Ellis does DfG

This is Ann Dee Ellis, my friend.  She writes books.  She also does Days for Girls.  And she is the whole reason this blog even exists.  On 29 August 2012 I made my very first blog entry because Ann Dee told me to.  She was teaching a Memoir class at BYU.  I took the class and in the first week we were given an assignment for the semester:  start a blog and write on it for 8 minutes every day.

I look back now at more than 400 blog entries made only because she told me to, and sometimes I feel like I want to kiss her feet.  400 thoughts or experiences that would have been lost or unrecorded or buried in the blah blah blah of my personal journal.  Instead they are here, preserved and shared.  There have been almost 100,000 views on this blog from more than 120 different countries!  It’s astounding to me.  Not only that, but in my Family History Classes, I have been challenging everyone to write in their personal journals for 8 minutes a day.  That’s the very most important assignment I give and I tell them all that.  Thousands of students have taken the challenge and are writing.  Writing for 8 minutes a day could change your life.  I promise.  Give it a try.

Ann Dee understands the importance of Words.  So do I.  She has put some very important words into books.  I have two of her books with me here at the beach and I read both cover to cover without coming up for air.  I’ll read the third as soon as I can get my hands on it when I get home.  Excellent Young Adult Fiction about things that matter.

A few weeks ago Ann Dee invited us to come do a Days for Girls event in her neighborhood.  She rounded up about 60 or 70 friends and we all went to work.  We had a fabulous evening.  I’ve been sitting here at the beach thinking about Ann Dee and the good one person can do, and how that good can continue out in the world way beyond anything you might imagine.  It’s like a ripple that explodes out of sight.  I want to be that kind of person.  I want to surround myself with those kinds of people.  Together we can help change the world.

Thank you Ann Dee for the idea of it.

AnnDee Ellis Everything is Fine  AnnDee Ellis This is What I Did AnnDee Ellis The End or Something

You may want to read these books.  Or read them with your teens.  You won’t be sorry.

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Days for Girls wins Grand Prize in International Fund Raiser

2014-08-18 Grand PrizeThis last month we have been participating in an international fundraiser sponsored by CrowdRise called Operation Girl.  Dozens of non-profit organizations from all over the world interested in making things better for young women in all sorts of ways participated.  Each week there were different competitions–for the most donated, for the most donators, for the quickest to donate, etc.  Days for Girls hovered in the top 3 through most of the month.  We won a bonus for the most donated in one of the weeks, and then, yesterday morning in the final minutes of the competition, we pulled into the lead to win the grand prize!  It was a thrill.

Thanks to all of you who shared your means with us.  The grand prize is $50,000.  Our Utah Valley Chapter pulled in $6290 plus the $4000 bonus to equal $10,290.  That will help provide feminine hygiene kits to 100s and 100s of girls.  We are thrilled.

Here is the news that was sent out from headquarters announcing our wins:

You just got this message from 


through CrowdRise:

Thank you.

YOU are our hero, and a hero for girls and women everywhere. Because of you, Days for Girls won #Operation Girl today. You helped us raise over $85,000. Combined with the $50,000 grand prize and the weekly bonus challenge we won, that’s over $139,000.

That’s tremendous. When one kit costs $10 in materials, today adds up to a really big win for girls everywhere. You are one of hundreds of individuals who pulled together to make this happen. With the power of your commitment, passion, and energy combined, girls across the globe won today. And they have you to thank for that.

Thank you, thank you for your tremendous support, and for ensuring that girls win. 

With Gratitude,

DfG Headquarters

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The Lady at the Beach

2014-8-18 Lady at the Beach

We spent the day at Newport Beach again today.  After settling in with our chairs and towels and umbrella and our books and Fig Newtons, I took a look around me–at the never-ending waves rolling in, at children around us playing in the sand, and at a lady setting up camp not far from where I was sitting.  She was alone.  She came by herself, with her chair, her umbrella, her towel, a beautiful Vera Bradley bag that had a magazine and book in it, and with a grocery sack from Pavilions, the local grocery store.  That bag held a water bottle, a carton of coconut water and a package of cookie crackers. 

There was something about her open face and manor that captured my attention.  She was probably a few years older than I and she was a bit larger, but seemed comfortable in her light blue suit as she settled into her chair and tried to keep her umbrella from blowing away every time a gust of wind blew past us.  Her graying hair was pulled back in a ponytail.  Her skin was fleshy and white, and her face was calm.  She stared out to sea for a long time before pulling out her Newport Beach magazine (the kind you might find in a hotel room) and a book I could never make out the title of.  She sipped her water, ate quite a few cookies, and had a bit of the coconut water. 

I watched her over the top of my book, and found myself wondering who she was and why she was here.  What was she thinking?  Did she have family?  Did she like being alone?  Was she escaping to the beach, or going to find rejuvenation?  She seemed so calm and at ease and comfortable with her little world around her under her umbrella.  I was dying to pull my chair close enough to visit with her and hear her story.

As I watched her and wondered about her situation, I thought about every other person on the beach (100s of carloads of them) and all of their stories.  I’m sure some of them are very interesting people I would love to know better (and some not).  How interesting it is that we leave our homes and congregate in a place like this where we don’t really communicate with each other–we just escape into our books or music or wave watching, as the cares of our individual worlds seem to slip away.

After several hours, the lady at the beach packed up her things, and with her bags, chair and umbrella, she walked slowly across the sand, back to find her parked car somewhere on one of the streets.  I watched her go until she was out of sight, feeling like I’d missed out on something today.  I think we could have been good friends.

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Beach Reading Newport 2014

There is nothing quite like a good book at the beach!  This year we brought a good library along with us.  I’ve just finished book #6 on day #6.  Loving every minute of it.
IMG_1054 IMG_1053IMG_1055

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Newport Beach 2014

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Days for Girls Updates! Nothin’ but Fun!

IMG_1720So here’s what we’ve been up to with our Days for Girls work.  I tell my friends I go to parties several times a week!  It’s nothin’ but fun, which also happens to be our family’s vacation motto.  Speaking of which, we are leaving for the beach in a couple of days.

I just thought it might be interesting for some of you to see what is happening here in our mountain valleys since we started this movement among women.  It’s absolutely amazing and I’m proud to be a part of it.  I am surrounded by wonderful women and young ladies who look for ways to serve and help others.  Let us know if you have a group of women who want to help.  We can make that happen.

Days for Girls Schedule

8 July      200 Kits arrive in Uganda
8 July      Pleasant Grove Garden 7th Ward Event (Kendra Blesinger -801 995-2801)
8 July      Mapleton 5th Ward Event (Polly Brown – 801 489-6170)
10 July    Springville Hobblecreek Wards Event (Nicki Wake -801 491-8133)
16 July    Eagle Mountain Event (Cosette Hutton – 801 789-5017)
16 July    Provo Grandview 5th Ward Event (Jeanne Minert- 801 455-1684)
17 July    Third Thursday DfG Event 450 South 100 West, Orem, 9:00 to noon
17 July    Orem Cascade 4th Ward Event (Christy Lewis – 801 319-6210)
19 July    Provo, Grandview Super Saturday ( Ginny Lakey 801 375-9405)
28 July    200 kits and parts for 2000 more arrive in Ghana (Debbie Young and team)
She and Bernice Ankrah set up a Sewing Center there to produce kits in-country
31 July    Open House from 2:00 to 4:00 at American Quilting, Orem
31 July    Provo Peak 2nd Ward Event (Liana Au – 801 885-7675)
3 Aug      Heritage School, Provo (Tami Harris 801 336-4639)
12 Aug    Midvale East 4th Ward Kick Off Activity (Marjorie Conder – 801 225-7621)
14 Aug    Draper Pre-view Event Canyon Corner 1st Ward, (Addie Fuhriman 801 631-2945)
21 Aug    Third Thursday DfG Event 450 South 100 West, Orem, 9:00 to noon
30 Aug   Open House, American Quilting, Orem (come to learn about what we do)
30-31 Aug  St. George gathering (Barbara Prestwich – 435 463-2258)
2 Sept    Orem Event Sunset 10th Ward (Linda Olson – 801 221-8287)
3 Sept     South Jordan Event (Lori Munk 801 953-8372)
8 Sept    Lehi 4th Ward Event (Jean Edwards – 801 768-3407)
10 Sept   Saratoga Springs, Riverside Ward Event (Michleene Johnson – 801 734-0638)
11 Sept    Midvale East 4th Ward Event (Marjorie Conder – 801 225-7621)
13 Sept   Super Saturday Event 10:00-3:00, Sandy (Betsy Chamberlain – 801 209-8487)
17 Sept   Lehi Cedar Hollow 5th Ward (Vickie Hacking – 801 709-4929)
18 Sept   Third Thursday DfG Event 450 South 100 West, Orem, 9:00 to noon
18 Sept   Third Thursday Evening 6:00 to 9:00, BYU YSA 13th Stake coming
18 Sept   Rose Park 8th Ward 6:30 (Shandra Andrews – 801 657-0902)
25 Sept   Payson Event (Kay Banks)
27 Sept   Vernal Stake RS/YW Event (Nena Caldwell – 435 789-5680)
8 Oct      Lehi 4th Ward  (Jean Edwards – 801 768-3407)
9 Oct      Draper Canyon Corner 1st Ward Event  (Addie Fuhriman 801 631-2945)
16 Oct    Third Thursday DfG Event 450 South 100 West, Orem, 9:00 to noon
16 Oct    Third Thursday Evening 6:00 to 9:00, BYU Stakes coming
21 Oct    Pleasant Grove 3rd Ward  (Melanie Hyatt)
23 Oct?  Orem Northridge 4th Ward Event (Lysa Rytting 801 310-4066)

Tonight as I was running around, trying to get things here ready to leave behind for 2 weeks, my son Adam turned to me and said, “Mom.  Just tell all those girls not to have a period this month so you can go to the beach and forget them.”

I wonder if that’s possible.

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