Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Father's Day Wrap Up

Better late than never! I have been busy and yet unmotivated.

As you know, I gave a talk on Father's Day in sacrament meeting. I rushed around that morning, putting the finishing touches on the talk and printing it. I think I did a lame job on breakfast that morning. Well, actually the food was great, but I mean the presentation and fanfare were lacking.

The Primary kids sang to their dads and it was adorable. However, our two little boys refused to go up on the stand. So I guess that Mary sang for all of them that day.

After church I was in party mode. Bryce chose hamburgers, french fries, and milkshakes for his meal. He wanted to make the mini-sliders himself but they turned out like little balls of charcoal. I think they might have to revoke his grilling license for that.

But it was still a good meal. There were a few salvageable pieces there!

Afterwards the kids presented him with their cards. Bryce wants to go on a kayak trip to San Diego, so I that is his Father's Day and birthday present rolled into one.

I love Bryce and I couldn't ask for a better father for our children!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why it is so hard to put the kids to bed lately

Bed in Summer

by Robert Louis Stevenson

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In honor of fathers

talk given by Rebecca Jones, June 21, 2009

The Lord has provided us with wonderful examples of fathers in the scriptures. I have chosen to highlight but a few.

ABRAHAM: You can find Abraham’s story in the book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price (or in Genesis of the Old Testament).

Abraham is like many in this world who did not grow up with the ideal father. In fact, his father was evil. That must have been hard. Abraham desired to have many children and to find more peace and happiness in this life. He wanted the Priesthood and he received it.

His father and some of his relatives worshipped idols and offered human sacrifices. Abraham tried to get them to repent, but as you can imagine, that didn’t go too well. In fact, one of the wicked priests had had enough and tied Abraham to the altar as a human sacrifice. Abraham prayed to Heavenly Father and the Lord answered his prayer. An angel of the Lord stood beside him and untied him from the altar.

The Lord said, “Abraham, behold, my name is Jehovah, and I have heard thee, and have come down to deliver thee, and to take thee away from thy father’s house, and from all thy kinsfolk, into a strange land which thou knowest not of” (Abr. 1:16).

As you know, Abraham grew in righteousness and eventually had a son, Isaac, who was his pride and joy. He became the “father of many nations.” Abraham was a loving a devoted father.

To me, Abraham’s story illustrates that even though you may not have had righteous parents, you can still grow up to BE a righteous parent. Heavenly Father has a plan for each of his children. He has a plan for you.

ALMA THE ELDER: You can find Alma’s story in the book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon.

The first Alma mentioned in the Book of Mormon was a priest of wicked King Noah who later became a prophet and leader of the church in Zarahemla after hearing the words of Abinadi. Many people believed his words and were baptized. But the four sons of King Mosiah and the son of the prophet Alma, who was also called Alma, were unbelievers; they persecuted those who believed in Christ and tried to destroy the church through false teachings.

This must have caused the father grief beyond comprehension.

Eventually an angel of the Lord came to young Alma and his cohorts. The angel told Alma why he had come: “Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith” (Mosiah 27:16).

A huge change came over Alma and his bretheren. They suffered for their sins but spent the rest of their lives teaching the principle of repentance and proclaiming the word of God.

I like the account of Alma the Elder because it shows that even righteous parents can have wayward children, At times the situation must have seem hopeless to Alma the Elder--but he never stopped praying for his son. He never gave up on him. To me this shows the power of prayer and the importance of loving your children through even the very worst of times.

JOSEPH, THE EARTHLY FATHER OF JESUS: You can read Joseph’s story in the book of Matthew in the New Testament of the Bible.

God chose Joseph to be the earthly father of Jesus. The Bible tells us in the Book of Matthew, that Joseph was a righteous man. His actions toward Mary, his fiance, revealed he was a kind and sensitive man. When Mary told Joseph she was with child, he had every right to feel disgraced. He knew the child was not his own, and Mary's apparent unfaithfulness carried a grave social stigma. Joseph not only had the right to divorce Mary, under Jewish law she could be put to death by stoning. Although Joseph's initial reaction was to break the engagement (the appropriate thing for a righteous man to do) he treated Mary with extreme kindness. He did not want to cause her further shame, so he decided to act quietly.

But God sent an angel to Joseph to verify Mary's story and reassure him that his marriage to her was God's will. Joseph willingly obeyed God, in spite of the public humiliation he would face. Perhaps this noble quality made him God's choice for the Messiah's earthly father. The Bible does not reveal much detail about Joseph's role as father to Jesus, but we know from Matthew, chapter one, that he was an excellent earthly example of integrity and righteousness. Joseph is last mentioned in Scripture when Jesus was 12 years old. We know that he passed on the carpentry trade to his son and raised him in the Jewish traditions and spiritual observances.

Joseph has a special place in my heart because he loved and raised a child who was not of his own flesh. To me, any adoptive father, foster father, or step father can look to Joseph as an example of righteous parenting.

Of course, I think of my own wonderful husband, who is helping me raise four wonderful children not born to us, but “ours” for this life, and our greatest blessings here on earth.


I was fortunate to be raised by a wonderful father, Jim Cook. I am the older of two children. Growing up, I wanted my dad to be proud of me. I worked hard in school because I wanted to, but also because I knew my dad valued education. Even when I was disappointed in myself, I knew my dad loved me no matter what.

When I was a teenager my dad started inviting me on long walks with him. At first I thought I was doing him a favor--I didn’t want him to be lonely, so I would take time out of my busy schedule to keep him company. We talked about school and friends, goals and ideals, testimonies and trials. I grew to love spending time with him like this, getting to know him as a real person who knew me and loved me for who I was, and for who I was becoming. Later I realized that he wasn’t looking for a walking partner--he was taking an opportunity to connect with he teenaged daughter. He mirrored back to me who he thought I was: smart, funny, interesting, and important. Around him, that’s exactly who I was. I am so thankful for that.

I am so proud of my dad for who he was when he raised me, and for who he has become. Now that I’m an adult, he and my mom are my greatest supporters and cheerleaders. If I’m ever down I can call them up and I guarantee I’ll feel like the most amazing person in the world. They adore their grandchildren. I love to see my dad play with my kids and see how much he loves them. I am grateful for a wonderful dad.

One of the reasons I married my husband was because I saw the potential in him to be a wonderful father, and he is. I like this quote from President Ezra Taft Benson:

Remember your sacred calling as a father in Israel—your most important calling in time and eternity—a calling from which you will never be released. May you always provide for the material needs of your family and, with your eternal companion at your side, may you fulfill your sacred responsibility to provide the spiritual leadership in your home.


There is One Father we all share, who is perfect and loves us perfectly. In Him is reflected our divine natures. He is the perfect mirror to our gifts and attributes, because we are His children. Marion G. Romney said:

We mortals are in very deed the literal offspring of God. If men understood, believed, and accepted this truth and lived by it, our sick and dying society would be reformed and redeemed, and men would have peace here and now and eternal joy in the hereafter.

Who knows us better than our Heavenly Father, who created us? We lived with him before we came to earth. We lived with Him before we were born. He counseled us, He taught us, He loved us. We chose to follow His Plan, presented by His beloved Son, and so we came to earth. He sent us here, knowing what trials we would need to face, what tests we had to endure, what paths we would have to navigate to return home to Him. Our holy elder brother, Jesus Christ, offered Himself as a sacrifice to overcome sin and death. Only through His atonement can we return home to be live with our heavenly parents, and attain eternal life.

It is my testimony that the father’s sacred role is as important today as it was anciently. May we take time today to honor those men who helped shape us, and give thanks to the Father of us all--our Heavenly Father--for them.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Mary had a huge stack of books she'd been reading to Cameron and Harrison. I thought this was sweet and funny (if not chronologically accurate).

Boys, thank you for listening to this book on Martin Luther King. I know it isn't the most exciting book but it is a very important part of your heritage. If it weren't for Martin Luther King, we wouldn't be in this family. We wouldn't even go to the same school. If it weren't for him, black people might still be slaves. We'd live in a different house and probably work for some white scum.

Mt. Charleston

Bryce was in charge of FHE and so we went to Mt. Charleston. I forgot the hot dogs and it started to rain--hard--but it was still FUN!
We did some exploring, of course. Tyce found a makeshift swing on a very tall tree branch, which was great fun. Both Bryce and I thought the other one had the camera, so we didn't get any pictures of that.

There's something about a campfire that just smells so good. We roasted marshmallows until everything got so soggy (and the kids so cold) that we had to pack up, BUT!!!! we had a wonderful time.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A new baby (doll)

I bought a baby doll at a yard sale today. We only had one dolly left from when Mary was small, and to be honest it wasn't the cutest. When I saw a little bald brown baby in a box of stuffed animals, I fell in love. Just 25 cents later she was mine.

(The old and the new. Sorry, Gerber Baby. I've had enough of your blank stare.)

I named her Nykia, after a foster child we had. (It was refreshing to have girls--sisters--after having boys exclusively for a year. Little Nykia reminded me of Po from the Teletubbies.)

So anyway, like I said I named the dolly Nykia. Except Cameron, who has taken a shine to her, calls her IKEA.

He also wanted to take her "watch" off, which is really a hospital bracelet.

I watched him hold her gently and carry her as carefully as he could. I asked, "Are you going to be a good daddy some day?"

He looked pleased and said, "Yeah."

Then suddenly his face changed like he'd remembered something important. "I'm not going to grow up to be a daddy. I'm going to be a Ninja!" he reminded me.

No amount of explaining that one could grow up to be both a Ninja AND a father could change his mind.

But "IKEA," with her little plastic "watch" and a Ninja hopeful for a pseudo-dad seems to be perfectly content with the arrangement.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Bryce's friend Rhonda is the dean of career services at the University of Houston Law Center. They have been friends for a long time, since they went to law school. Luckily for us, Rhonda had a conference here in Las Vegas, so she got to visit. Went to lunch with Bryce one day and had dinner with us another. And we even saw the Cirque show Mystere WHICH WAS AWESOME.

Mystère is classic Cirque du Soleil, combining the powerful athleticism, high-energy acrobatics and inspiring imagery that has become the company's hallmark. Deemed a theatrical "flower in the desert," Mystère thrills generations of audiences with its exhilarating blend of whimsy, drama and the unimaginable brought to life on stage. Presented exclusively at Treasure Island, Mystère provides the ultimate discovery that life itself is a mystery.

I would add that it was CRAZY and weird and cool and amazing.

Seriously, how do they do that?

Before the show we went to dinner at the Grand Luxe Cafe in the Venetian, where we caught up on each other's lives (though I was the only one out of the loop) and had a great time. It's hard to believe that one of Rhonda's daughters is getting married and the other one is in college. Those girls gave Tyce a Cookie Monster tape when he was a toddler! We sang those songs until the tape fell to pieces.

I enjoyed spending time with my handsome husband!

And it's always nice having friends come into town. We need a good excuse to venture into the city!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Just a thought

I watched a Dateline special about the Obamas in the White House.

I just can't stop thinking about being the First Lady . . . I think I could totally do it.

(Imagine me photoshopped right next to Michelle.)

Like this. (Thanks, Lisa!!!)

How different my life would be.

I spent over an hour last week planning next week's schedule: making dentist appointments, finding babysitters, sorting academic work, penciling in free time.

I spent 20 minutes planning out the dinner menu for the week.

I spent who-knows-how-long cleaning the house.

I made two trips to the grocery store and one to Wal-Mart.

But if I were the First Lady, I would have a dedicated staff who did all of that for me.

And then how would I fill my time?

Speak about causes I'm passionate about . . . work out with my husband . . . go to the salon . . . hang with the kids . . . put in my meal requests . . .

I don't know.

I'd probably be the best mom ever.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


It's hard to capture the feeling in a photo . . .

but it felt like we were playing hide and seek under a huge fluffy duvet cover yesterday morning.

I made these hangers for our graduating Laurels: Kayla, Sophia, Ceara, and Brittany.

I just love those girls so much and want them to keep going on the right path. They are truly lovely young ladies. Our Young Women program won't be the same without them.

Today is a busy one for me.

I had a 7 am dentist appointment this morning (favorable report). Had to refrain from making dumb jokes like, "I'll bet every dentist wishes he had a chair like this at home!" I know, sigh of relief from the peanut gallery. I read two magazines and watched the same 5-minute Crest infomercial about a million times. I also saw my fillings up close on the big screen which was like seeing a hideous freak show. No one should have their flaws plastered onto a 42" monitor.

Then later I'm watching Emily and Camille. The boys sure love playing with them.

And after that, Tyce comes home (1/2 day) from school where he will be DONE with 7th grade! He's going to babysit for a couple of hours while I have lunch with my new friend Denalee (also an adoptive mom). I am totally looking forward to that.

Bryce has to work late tonight because he stayed home with the other kids so I could lay upside down in a dental chair in peace. It was worth it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

R.I.P. Onesie

Onesie the Morning Dove, beloved pet of Mary Rachel Jones, had a short but meaningful life. She was lovingly cared for up until her last breath, where the bird died in Mary's arms. Cause of death is unknown.

Onesie enjoyed being carried in a cereal bowl around the house, which startled anyone wanting to clean up the breakfast dishes. She was the subject of a creative Family Home Evening lesson last night about God's creatures. Onesie preferred sleeping on Mary's pillow to her own highly decorated cardboard bird box.

Just last night Onesie secured more permanent housing in the form of a bird cage, courtesy of Donna. The cage stands empty today.

A small burial service took place in the Jones backyard. The grave was dug by Tyce, as Mary and Harrison looked on. Lantana and an apricot adorned the tiny Rubbermaid casket. No words were said.

For the children of the Jones family, Onesie will be remembered in every song of the bird and prayer of the heart.

Day at the Museum

I took the three younger kids to lunch with Bryce, and then to the Natural History Museum.

We ate at the buffet at the Golden Nugget, which is near Bryce's office. The younger kids were FREE!!! which made the meal even more delicious. There was a really nice swimming pool, which sorely tempted the children. (Heck, I'd swim there.)

Then Bryce went back to work and the rest of us went to the museum. Harrison has been very interested in dinosaurs lately and I thought he'd have fun seeing "real" ones.

They especially liked the kids' room, where they spent a loooong time doing hands-on activities like computer matching games, dressing up, digging like paleontologists, and exploring a submarine.

And then the boys CRASHED at home. Nice!