Farnsworth Sisters


The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke


I finally looked up the book called The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke thatPresident Monson references during Christmas.  Pres. Monson gave a big portion of the story during the Christmas Devotional last Sunday.

It is only 18 pages long, a short story, and I am glad that I read it. It gave me a lot to think about and assess in my own life.

The link above is to a free version of it you can read online.






I think everyone knows about these…

but in case you don’t, let me introduce you to POWER BITES.

Carol gave us this recipe at the cabin a few years ago and we still eat them all the time.  They are the best for a before, during, or an after school snack.  We make a batch and keep them in a container in the frige.

Here’s the recipe-

1 Cup of Peanutbutter – use the healthy stuff

1 Cup of honey

1/2 Cup of ground almonds

1/2 Cup of ground flaxseed

3 Cups of oats

Dark chocolate or regular chocolate chips – as many as you like.

Mix it all up and roll them into balls.  Then keep them in the refrigerator.

We love you Zach!

This was Marie on the first day of kindergarten.  Trying hard to smile, but struggling a little.  I asked her a few days later what the best part of school was she said, “Coming home.’  Then I asked her what the worst part of school was.  She said, “Going!”

We’ve worked through it and she’s doing great now.

When I saw this picture I thought of Ruth today.  No greater blessing than sending your last son on a mission, but you still struggle a little…

I’m sure when it is time for Zach come to come home his answer will be just opposite of Marie’s…

The best part of the mission – Going

The worst part of the mission – Coming home

We love you Zach and are already praying for you!

Divine Signature #1

I think everybody has read or has had the chance to read Divine Signatures by now.

So I’ll start off the discussion with a Divine Signature of my own.  Nothing too fancy, but a way I felt the Lord working in my life.

Please add your own…I want to get some from Mom and Dad too.

Over a year ago, I went to the grocery store alone, which is weird.  Usually I am keeping little hands away from the candy bars and keeping little eyes away from the magazines as me and the crew go through the check out line. But this time I was alone and so I was reading the magazines as I past through.  One magazine about fashion, one about bodies, one about home decor, etc…

I paid and left.  And I heard my thoughts turn to something like this, “Man, I really need to get myself fixed up.  My clothes are junk and my house needs a full redo.”  I caught myself in this mental dialogue and realized that in about 2 minutes of reading magazine covers I had just fallen for exactly what the world wanted me to fall for – and it made me mad.

I thought of my kids going out in the world everyday for hours having messages like these crammed down their throats and whispered in the ears and I started getting worried about how they could be expected to stand strong, knowing that I had been tricked so easily.

I prayed and pondered, and searched the scriptures and found 2 Timothy 3:1-7,14:

1 This know also, that in the alast days perilous btimes shall come. 

2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, acovetous, boasters, bproud, blasphemers, cdisobedient to parents,dunthankful, unholy,

 3 Without natural affectiontrucebreakersfalse accusers,incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

 4 Traitorsheadyhighminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of thectruth.

 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

 As soon as I read that last scripture, I knew that was the answer.  If we and our children study the scriptures daily, we will be able to see through the deception that is all around us.  We will be familiar with truth, what it sounds like, what it feels like.  We will have the Holy Ghost with us to help us see clearly and be wise.  To withstand the last days, we must be children of the scriptures.

I loved the answer and I know that it is true.  But at the same time I received it, I received another prompting. I was supposed to share this with the Young Women in my ward.  I was the primary chorister.  I wasn’t sure why I had that thought, so I went on.

A few weeks ago, I was called to be the YW secretary.  My first Sunday with the Young Women I didn’t really have anything to do, so I went into the Laurel class.  The lesson was about scripture study.  The experience came back to me as the lesson proceeded and I knew it was the time to share it.

I don’t know if it helped the girls in that class, but knowing that Heavenly Father had taught me something a year in advance for that moment (and for myself) helped me.

I know this was a small Divine Signature, so share yours, be they big or small.

News Story About Back to School Shopping



Thanks Amy for working hard to give us all chances to serve.  I know it makes a difference in the lives of the school kids.  But it also makes a difference in the lives and culture of our family.


Divine Signatures

Sherri recommended, Divine Signatures, by Elder Gerald Lund to me a few weeks ago. I now want to recommend it to all of you and also suggest a little fun to go along with it.

The idea of the book is that God is always working in our lives. Some people say that coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous, but Elder Lund says it is just the opposite. He says it is God’s signature in your life- a time He wants to show you He is there and loves you. Then Elder Lund gives many remarkable examples to go with this idea.

We’ve all had times like this in our lives, and probably a lot more if we would pay attention and look for God’s hand in our lives, like Elder Eyring says in a conference talk.

So read this book (I know a few of us have already) and think about Divine Signatures in your live and the life of our family. And then let’s write a few here. Some might be extraordinary. Some will be extraordinary just to us. But I know these testimonies will be a great resource for our children and family.

So, how about it?

The Beach- An Analogy

Last year we went to La Jolla beach for a week with some friends.  The first day or two, we would get our gear and put it down right where we thought prime location was. Smooth sand, great waves, warm sun, and we were even close to a playground.  The people all around us were busy doing the same thing as we were, riding the waves and playing in the sand.  We would occasionally walk up and down the beach and find a seashell or huge cool seaweed pods. 

One morning, I went jogging on the beach. As I went farther away from the smooth popular beach, I noticed more and more beautifulshells and sand dollars. So I kept going. There started to be huge rocks that I would have to run around but I noticed some interesting sea life by them which got me excited to keep going. There were fewer and fewer people the farther I got away from the smooth beach.

Soon the rocks were everywhere. I couldn’t run around them, I would have to hike over them and wade through the tide that was coming up. And right beside me a huge cliff was raising, forming a gigantic wall that the tide would come into and hit. As I looked ahead I couldn’t see anyone. In fact I watched a couple try to decide if they should brave the rocks. One person tried to coax the other, but in the end they both turned back without climbing the rocks.

All of the amazing sea life I was finding was so exciting me, I couldn’t stop. It felt like I was discovering the huge starfish, anemone, urchins, gigantic sea kelp pods, and brightly colored crabs for the first time. Every little tide pool led to another and another creature. It was rough terrain and I was really far from where I began, but I hardly noticed because I was caught up in my trek.

After a long time and a lot of climbing and distance, I looked up and saw an empty beach in front of me. Behind it the huge cliff continued, so people couldn’t access this little beach easily. I climbed through the rocks and onto the beach and couldn’t see another footprint on the sand- no garbage, no towels- so different than the beach I started on. The only prints on the sand were birds and crabs. I really felt like I had discovered a new beach. At this point, I couldn’t wait to get back so I could bring my children on this adventure and to this beach.

We brought them all back, along with our friends. It was tougher this time. All my little kids and their little kids, climbing rocks, slipping, getting scorched, and loving every minute. There was so much sea life that they could touch and hold and find- like the best treasure hunt ever. We even saw a little baby seal laying right by us on a rock.

When we got back, one of our friends commented that they had been coming to this beach for years and had never been where we were that day. They couldn’t believe they had missed it all those years.


I thought about what my friends said and it made me think of my own relationship with God and my conversion  to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We all get up every Sunday and head to church- just like that beach that everyone goes to. We are busy doing our callings. We make sure we have all the right clothes and toys. We sing, we pray, we read, and we smile. It feels like a nice place to be and there are lots of people around us doing the same things.

But is that the only reason we are here on earth and where our Father in Heaven wants us to stop? Could we be missing out on some of the real beauties of the Gospel?

I think the real joy in this life is when we don’t stop at the popular beach and we walk further- we start working on our own relationship with God. When realize that for us to become all that our Father wants us to and have all our Father wants us to have, we must go out and discover who He is and why we love Him.

But you have to make a choice not to stop at the popular beach and not worry about what people will think when you keep walking.

And then it is a process that takes work and discipline and honesty.  No one can do it for us. We have to search our hearts and assess our lives to see what we really desire in this life and the next.  And when our desires aren’t right, we have to change them.  It seems to take a lot of pondering prayer, studying and true repenting and forgiving. I think it involves not just making covenants, but taking them eternally seriously and using them as a source of power in daily life.   And there is pain, but that means there is great joy.  Joy in the end when we realize where we are.  And also joy along the way, when we feel His love and blessings that come from making the choice to consecrate ourselves to Him.

And then the really fun part comes when you get to show your kids the way.

Just something I’ve been thinking about…you are all much older and wiser, so feel free to share any insights or ideas that might help me.

Happy Birthday RuthAnn!


This picture is of Ruth when she came to visit Marie in the hospital.  (Isn’t Marie cute?- sorry Ruth- you’re cute too.)

I wanted to say a few things about Ruth on her birthday–she is a summer birthday we don’t get to celebrate enough.  I think she would agree…

RuthAnn was named after two of the Greats, our grandmothers, Ruth Cox and Annie Farnsworth.  They were both very different from each other, but did remarkable things with the talents and gifts they were given.  Ruth is following in their footsteps.  One of Ruth’s great strengths is that whatever she chooses to do, she does it thoroughly and the very best she can.  Here are a few examples:

1.  Making and eating french toast.  I can still remember watching her cut her french toast with a fork in straight lines each direction to make tidy bite size squares.  It always looked like it tasted better.

2.  Shopping.  When I was younger I went with her while she had a child in a stroller.  We stopped and got cookies at the Original Cookie Company, little ones, of course.  And then we went in a systematic pattern throughout the mall to the places that she knew were the best.  All the while eating our cookies and sipping our drinks.

3.  Scrapbooking.  She  scrapbooked before it was the thing to do.  She would scour magazines looking for the perfect phrase, then cut it out and put it in scrapbooks beside pictures.  In fact you could say she invented scrapbooking- but that would make her sound old so I won’t.  She doesn’t scrapbook anymore, but her books are still something to see.

4. AZ Brainfood – Awhile ago, Ruth saw an organization in another state that gave food to children who would come to school hungry after being at home for the weekend without enough to eat.  She started an organization here in AZ called, AZ Brainfood, and it is now very successful in getting food to many children who are really in need.  She has gotten big sponsors, met with school districts, organized volunteers, and worked every Friday during the school year to get food to children in need.  Her tender heart and her ability to organize and do things very well has helped thousands of children.

These are small examples of the things that Ruth does great!

Happy Birthday Ruth! I am blessed to have you for a sister.

Carpool and Cousins

It brings out the worst in cousins.  It brings out the best in cousins.


As I dropped off my last morning carpool and thought about the past school year, I had to shed a tear of  joy and a tear of sadness for another year of carpool finished.

The race for the front seat and all the trash talk that comes along with it.
Three sets of double buckles.
“I forgot my backpack.” and the groans that followed.
BYU vs. ASU- we may have permanently damaged Brittany.
Singing Fish and Chips and Vinegar over and over.
Stories of cousins sticking up for each other on the playground and then hearing them pounding each other in the back seat.
The never ending game of calling cars and fighting over every car that is called. (Britt was damaged during this too.)
Talking about politics as we pass all the political signs on corners.
Getting all the scoop on every teacher and kid in the school.
Singing the latest primary song.
Strong opinions and strong love.
Trying to finish homework.
The report of the previous night’s sporting events and sharing the pain of defeat and the thrill of victory.
Grace and Nate yelling to the carpool as we drive away that they were going fishing for school that day.  And Tessa yelling back that fishing wasn’t real school.
Hannah throwing up at least once a week from car sickness.
Holding up the long line of cars as the kids jump out of every nook and cranny of the car.
Singing and  dancing to Dynamite.
Watching Tessa, Kendyl, and Cameron hold hands as they walk into school.


Goodbye Spencer


This year carpool loses Spencer Gurr to Greenfield Junior High.  He will now get to bike in the fresh air to school.

I love Spencer.  He is positive, energetic, and always ready and organizing fun.  He looks out for everyone in our carpool and compliments others on their successes.  He gives his all to everything he gets involved in- including singing and discussions in the car.  He is so self-motivated.  On top of all that he has a huge heart – he looks out for people who might be struggling and he does something about it!

We will miss Spencer in carpool next year!


A Story about Cousins

Abe came home from school a few weeks ago and said that he and Daniel Wood had been given a challenge in PE that day.  They had their hands and feet tied together and then they had to try to cross the rock wall.  He proudly reported that they were the only ones in the class that made it all the way across.  I said,

“You can do anything with cousins.”

We all agreed.









A New Song from Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson

We love watching these guys.  They make all the years of painful, terrible-horrible-no good-very bad, costly practicing seem worth it!  Even though we may not play quite as well as Jon and Steven, if we could just have fun playing music… where is the joy?!  Maybe it has something to do with all of my pleasant helpful reminders about practicing and during practicing- hmmm.