McConnell’s Mill

Old McConnell’s Mill

Yesterday Jim, Noah and I hiked at one of our favorite Pennsylvania state parks, which is only ten miles away from our house. McConnell’s Mill contains a deep gorge carved out by Slippery Rock Creek over thousands of years, maybe longer.

The deep gorge.

The fall colors this year in Western Pennsylvania have reminded me why I wanted to move back here.

Covered Bridge

The hike was a tender mercy that God is aware of me and my anxiety for the coming winter. He really is in involved behind the scenes of my life, ready to bless me in ways that grounds me. I’m so grateful to know that my faith in my Heavenly Father will see me through anything that life throws at me.

After all, it’s still 2020!

Flying By

Time is flying by this fall, and I have no idea what happened to September and am wondering where October is going. This SUV was flying by and turned off the road and smashed into our church building! He was either drunk or high, I can’t remember which one. Jim and I are scheduled to give talks this Sunday at church, and we are wondering if it will be in person or via Zoom. I know that things have been a bit crazy the last two months, but I feel like it should still be summer! Jim has been busy setting up the changes that the doctors want for their scheduling app.

Noah has started the Reach Online Cyber school of Pennsylvania and we are BOTH overwhelmed with getting used to navigating their website and turning in schoolwork! I’m sure we will adjust. I certainly hope so.

Seth and Dimiya are working and taking the BYU- Pathway classes, so I don’t see much of them, but they seem to be adjusting well to the move and married life.

Family Friends

On Sunday afternoon we visited our family friends, Millie and Barry. My dad was friends with Millie’s husband, Gary, who died in 2009. Gary is also my cousin’s wife’s uncle on her mom’s side.

Barry is her neighbor who became our friend, and my dad found out that they share a relative! I think Barry would be like my dad’s second or third generation nephew due to the age difference, but I would have to do the math.

This is one of the many reasons that I LOVE family history. We are more connected to each other than we realize, and sometimes all it takes are family photos and questions…

Our New Life in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, PA Incline

It has been hectic since we moved to the New Castle area. It’s been a difficult move; we even had to “live” in a motel for about 3 weeks!

The movers messed up a number of our belongings, although we found out that the people who were unloading the moving truck were hired from Craigslist. They carried boxes that were upside down and a lot of them were crushed. We’ve had to wait for electric, gas, and water. We don’t have an oven yet for either unit as we wait for Lowes to deliver them.

Jim and the kids live in half of the duplex, and Billy, Mirna and my parents live in the other half. We even have different addresses! I’m so grateful that our porch no longer looks like this. We still have many boxes to unpack, but at least the hardest part is over!

Moving to Pennsylvania

This is the week we are moving to New Castle, Pennsylvania where we bought a duplex. I’m looking out my bedroom window at the fountain and small lake as I write this post. Thoughts of losing this view are mixed with the new adventures coming my way.

This is gonna be a loooong drive from Texas to Pennsylvania, with Billy following me. Yikes! I will be praying from now until we pull up to our new home.

Miya’s Baptism

Elder DeCarlos, Miya, and Elder Fowler

Miya has been virtually meeting with missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the past 6 weeks. On Saturday, June 27th, she was baptized by Jim.

Seth, Miya, Jim, and I

It brought back memories of my baptism when I was nine. Like Miya, I was completely immersed in water in my white jumpsuit, and then received the gift of the Holy Ghost. I have always known that if I am faithful, His influence will guide me daily. I did not know what that meant when I was nine, but I understand how acting on the promptings of the Holy Spirit can keep me close to my Savior.

Through Him, we are blessed with certain spiritual powers called gifts of the Spirit. “All these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the Children of God” (D&C 46:26). One of these gifts include the knowledge and truths of the gospel, so that we can bless others.

I am grateful for the gift of understanding people and how the principles of the gospel can apply to my life every day. When new trials come, I can pray and read the scriptures. I love to read: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering” (D&C 46:17).

One of my favorite teachings is when the Lord revealed, “If a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through is diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much more the advantage in the world to come” (D&C 130:19). The Lord has commanded me in my Patriarchal blessing to ‘learn of Him,’ as much as I can about His work. This is one of my goals this year through this blog; reflections of where I have been and where I need to go, so that I may receive knowledge from the Holy Ghost. I need His Spirit to speak to my mind and heart.
When Jim and I are out walking at night, I look up at the sky and see the moon, some stars and sometimes one or two of the planets. I know that there is a God. Alma, a Book of Mormon prophet, wrote, “All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motions, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator” (Alma 30:44).

In the Gospel Principles book that is published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints which teaches about God. Since He is the father of my spirit, I call him Heavenly Father. Before I came to earth, I lived with Him and all of you. When He gave me the choice to come down here in a mortal body to learn, grow, and be tested through many trials that make up my earthly life, even though I do not remember it, I gladly accepted the offer and was born to my earthly mother. And I have learned so much already, but still have a lot more to learn about life.

Miya, her mom and sister

Texas and Covid-19

Just when we were about to fully open up, the numbers of Covid-19 cases in Texas have increased well over 5,000 cases this week. Last Saturday we went to Galveston and it was crowded with people who weren’t wearing masks.

We were due to return to church on July 5th, but that has now been postponed indefinitely. The level of sadness and frustration due to this virus may be felt until we come up with a vaccine that works.

Seth and Miya’s Wedding

My son Seth married his sweet girlfriend on May fourth in Galveston, Texas. They were married in a beautiful wedding chapel in a short ceremony by a very nice minister who told them that the couples he often marries are leaving on a cruise ship soon after for their honeymoon and wasn’t sure they were taking the time to realize the commitment they were making. They are a great fit for each other and I pray that they will always remember to turn to God during the storms of life. Because every relationship, especially marriage, needs the Lord’s help when life gets in the way.

Because Of Him

This Easter is unlike any other as we worship the Lord in our home. Because we have worthy Priesthood holders, we will take the Sacrament.

I’m grateful to my Savior, Jesus Christ, for atoning for my sins and dying for me. Because of Him, my sins are forgiven, and I can love my family and live with them forever!

I love the words in this hymn, He Is Risen: “He is risen! Tell it out with joyful voice. Let the whole wide earth rejoice.Death is conquered; man is free. Christ has won the victory.”

I hope you have a blessed Easter Sunday, as you reflect on the gift of His Atonement.

Unified Fasting

Tomorrow is Good Friday, and we are all invited by President Russell M. Nelson to fast for two meals, twenty-four hours, or whatever works (depending on health). This is something we do the first Sunday of every month as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

President Nelson proclaimed: “I invite all, including those not of our faith, to fast and pray on Good Friday, April 10, that the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened, and life normalized.” The timing is perfect as we celebrate the day that our Savior atoned for our sins and died on the cross for all of us.

Fasting is difficult for me. My blood sugar drops and I get migraine headaches, so they are often modified. While I’m fasting, my body feels terrible, but my mind and spirit feel peace.The only thing I have to offer Him is my love and willingness to trust that He is in control of these uncertain times.

Building a temple in Pittsburgh!

President Russell M. Nelson

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 190th Semi-Annual General Conference was my favorite one yet for several reasons. My family and I sat on our couch Sunday evening during President Nelson’s concluding talk. For many. many years we hoped and prayed for the announcement of a temple in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We didn’t expect this Conference to be the one where those two beautiful words would be added to the eight new temples. I screamed so loud that my dog Buddy jumped into my lap, thinking I was under duress. Jim backed it up so we could make sure we heard that correctly. So many of my friends who still live there were as excited as I was, and we shared our happiness on Facebook.

My mother, brother Billy and his wife, Mirna were attending the Houston, Texas temple several times a month. We took many names on my German grandmother’s side and finished the all of the female ones. I will admit, moving to Pittsburgh was gonna be tough for me. Not because I don’t love it, but the nearest local temple was in Columbus, Ohio. It would have been worth it for my son. Completely. Last week though, the Church announced that they are closing the Columbus temple for two years in August for renovations.

I don’t know when our temples around the world will re-open as a result of the Covid-19, but I was stressing about not having the chance for Billy to finish the last family name on my grandmother’s side, and imagining the planning it would take to attend a neighboring one.

We are so blessed to have a living prophet lead and guide us in these uncertain days, and am grateful to celebrate this Holy Week.

Moving To Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh at night. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

In January after a lot of discussion and prayer, Jim and I changed our destination from Southern Utah, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jim grew up there, and my family and I moved there from Queens, New York in October, 1992. It feels like home.

It’s where I met my amazing husband, Jim. We built a wonderful life and adopted our two sons there. Our extended family live in the area, so it made more sense to move back home, as they say.

We found an old home with 31 acres of land in a suburb north of the city that we are trying to buy, but my Texas home needs to sell first. If it weren’t for the Covid-19, I think this house would be under contract.

My Texas House.

Along with the rest of the country, we are staying home in isolation. We are praying for this pandemic to end.