Thursday, January 23, 2014


We teach our children that you can pray to Heavenly Father anytime and anywhere. Calvin and Karcyn did exactly that on Sunday.

Calvin had a talk to give in Primary and in the 60 second ride to church, he flat out refused to give his talk that day. I told him that was his choice and he would need to inform Sister Nielsen, the primary president, about his decision so she could make another plan. I didn't mention anything more about his talk to Calvin after that. He did say he wanted me to help him. I teach my youth Sunday school class right when he would be giving the talk and with Wes now in nursery (Calvin's usual talk helper) and Jared in the Bishopric with important Bishopric things to do second hour we usually just have someone from Primary help the kids with their talks. I was afraid if I didn't at least plan on helping Calvin, things might go south pretty quickly. So before church started, I wrote a note to my class on the chalkboard giving them a task to do while I was helping Calvin and that I would be back shortly.

At the end of Sacrament meeting, Calvin went to Primary without me. I hung around to say hi and get quick hugs from our friends, Kevin and Kelly Jones, who were visiting from out of town and came to surprise the ward.

I hustled to the Primary room and saw Calvin sitting in his "talk" chair up front. His teacher was bent over, quietly talking to him while the other kids continued to enter the room. They didn't see me as I approached with Calvin's talk. I took a chance and said, "Here you go, Calvin. Can Brother Ryles help you with your talk today?" "Sure!" was his reply.

The rest of our Sunday meetings went without a hitch. After our last class, I had recognized the name of a visitor and was needing to talk to her in the near future so I took the opportunity right then to do it. I caught her as she was heading out one of the back doors. I introduced myself and we chit chatted briefly, exchanging information.

I walked the path I normally take to pick up my kids after church. I got JJ, who was in a new classroom and then headed to the main foyer where we enter when we come in to the chapel. Jared was out of town, so he wasn't there to make eye contact with me or to herd the cats or let me know where the kiddos were because he often sees them before I do with the Bishopric offices located right there.

I found Jake and Cooper but skimming the crowd, I couldn't see Karcyn or Calvin. I handed JJ to Jake with the keys and told them to get in the car while I looked for the "non twins." I saw one of the gals in the Primary presidency and asked her if she had seen them. She told me Calvin's classroom was right behind us (we switch classrooms and teachers for the children and youth at the beginning of the year, so families are still figuring out where everyone is). I popped my head in there, but it was filled with 12 year old boys from another ward. Whoops. Wow, I didn't think it was that much past the noon hour, but it was enough that there were no remnants of Calvin or his teachers in there. As I turned around and headed back down the hall toward the Primary room and where the other classrooms were located, Karcyn and Calvin were right there and yelled, "Mom! We found you!"

Yes, you found me. I explained that we always meet in the large foyer after church because the car is parked right outside and for them to come and sit quietly while they wait for me.

As I was opening the door to the suburban, Calvin started to climb in and he very casually said, "My prayer worked."

Thinking about his talk that he didn't want to give, I asked, "Oh? What prayer?"

"The prayer I said when you were lost. It worked."

My heart melted. "Really?? I can't wait to hear all about it."

We all piled in and got ready for me to leave the parking lot. I was in reverse when I realized Calvin was standing up in the back, leaning on the seat in front of him. "I'm not going to buckle."

"Oh yes you are. I'm not leaving this spot until you get buckled up. It's not safe."


I put the car in park and sat there, waiting. "Calvin, it's lunch time, we're all hungry. I know you are too. But I can't go anywhere until you get your seat belt on."

I looked in the rear view mirror to make parental eye contact and he was grinning.

That made me softly beat my head up against the steering column in mock exasperation. When I looked up, our friend Brad McNeil caught my eye. He and his wife were parked next to us and had just finished loading up their kiddos. He mouthed through the front windshield, "You okay?"

I smiled and nodded, then he walked around to the driver's side window, which I rolled down.

He said, "Hey, I saw two of your kids praying in the hallway after church."


"Oh, yeah." He mimicked them by clasping his hands together and bringing his arms to a 90 degree angle in front of him. "They had it going Tim Tebow-style." Brad is a huge jokester and can make anything funny. He teaches seminary so it's a well-used and much needed gift.

Jake and I busted up. Just the way he says things is hysterical. Brad said, "Seriously, I don't mean to make fun but they were down on one knee, praying like no one else was there just like Tim Tebow." And then he kissed two fingers and pointed them to heaven.

We had a good chuckle at Brad's description and then miraculously Calvin decided to buckle his seat belt and we drove home.

Once we were settled and getting ready for lunch, I had Karcyn and Calvin explain to me what happened after church and why they chose to pray.

In their words:
Karcyn found Calvin in class and they started looking for me.
They walked half-way around the church to the Relief Society room trying to find me, but I wasn't there.
Then they backtracked and walked outside thinking I might be at the suburban. They were only there for a few seconds though because it was so cold.
They couldn't understand why they couldn't find me, so it was Calvin who suggested to Karcyn that they should pray. (They were obviously in the hall, thanks to Brad's observation).
They knelt down on one knee, closed their eyes and prayed silently to themselves. Calvin said he prayed to know which way to go. Karcyn said she prayed to know how to find me.
Calvin explained, "I opened my eyes and told Karcyn we should start walking and look for mom. We went walked straight to look for you and then we saw you!"
Calvin wrapped it up by saying, "My prayer was very good."

I LOVED and am so grateful for this whole experience, even the fact that Calvin refused to buckle up because had we not sat there a little bit longer in the parking lot, I might not have ever found out from Brad what he witnessed the kids doing. Additionally, we had just had a lesson in Relief Society about recognizing the influence of the Holy Ghost. The timing was so perfect.

I told Karcyn and Calvin that it made Heavenly Father so happy (and Mommy, too) that they would pray to Him about anything and anywhere. Their decision pray, showed they had faith and they were exercising that faith by praying for help. When they do those things, their faith will grow and grow.

They were surely surrounded by friends, parents of friends, neighbors and good people of our ward who love them in the hall and foyer area--we all look out for each other. But it wasn't any of them they turned to for help. It was Heavenly Father.

The best part was talking to Calvin about what he thought after he prayed. I explained to him that the idea to start walking was from the Spirit to help them.

In Relief Society we learned that in order to receive the spirit, you need to do three things (from a talk given by Elder Merrill in October 2006). First, you need to seek the Spirit. You have to desire to have it. You can't just say, "Okay, I'm here. Enlighten me." It takes action and work. Second, you need to learn to feel the Spirit. Sometimes we get thoughts in our minds, but most times, the Spirit directs us by our feelings. And third, you need to intend to act. We're not going to be able to receive the influence of the Spirit if we don't intend to do something about the revelation we receive.

My kids weren't in any danger. This wasn't a life and death situation for them physically. They didn't say they were scared, but their mom was lost. It was important to them (which made it important to Heavenly Father because we are His children and He is interested in the big and little things of our lives) and they recognized, after doing everything they could first, that they needed help. They sought the Spirit through their prayer and after praying, Calvin took the thought or feeling he had and did something about it. He felt he should keep walking and that's what they did. What a sweet and powerful witness of God's love for His little children and helping them (and their mom) strengthen their testimonies of true gospel principles.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Today was dance day for Karcyn--held at her teacher's house.

The drop off routine for us parents is to follow the curve of the cul-de-sac and when we pull up in front of the house, wait until another teacher can personally unload each dancer.

We arrived a couple minutes early this afternoon so we were the second car sitting in front of Ms. Heidi's house. It has been cold and windy with icky misty rain whipping all around. As we sat there talking, I happened to look over and saw Heidi's little dog on the front porch. The dog, raring to go, was on a leash that was stretched taut, and the person holding the leash was still inside the house, with the front door slightly cracked.

I looked away for a second and some movement out of the corner of my eye made me look back again. There was Heidi's cute little blonde-haired boy standing on the wet front step, in his socks, holding the end of the dog leash in his hand--with no leash or dog attached to the other end and a very distraught look on his face. He looked close to tears. I could tell he was torn, too, like he didn't know what to do or where to go first as if he were thinking: Get the dog or get my shoes? My heart went out to him and I jumped out of the burb. By the time I got around to the sidewalk, the little boy was gone. But it was okay, I didn't need him for what I was doing. I spotted the little terrier in the neighbor's yard and took slow, calculated steps as I approached the canine with a smile and tried to entice her to come to me without a game of chase first.

She fell for it.

I scooped her up and met the little boy back on the porch, this time with his shoes on. :)

Once he had her, I jogged back to the warmth and dryness of the car.

Before I had even shut the door behind me, Karcyn, who had been watching the quick exchange from her car seat in the back, gushed, "Mom!! You're a dog saver!"

I laughed at her description. "I am?"

"Yes! You saved that little boy's dog."

"I just wanted to help him get her back quickly. That's what we call service."

"Mom--you're JUST like Thomas S. Monson. When he was a teenager, he saved a young girl from drowning in the Provo River."

She is apparently listening to her teachers and leaders in church, which is good to know. I was both touched and amused at her comparison between me and the prophet of God.

"It's so sweet of you to think I'm anything close to the prophet, Karcyn. Thank you."

"That's because you're BOTH savers!"

Just further proof of Karcyn's thoughtful and altruistic nature.