Personal Progress


When I keep a regular schedule of prayer, I feel more in tune with the spirit. I'm more aware of my surroundings, and I feel inspired by so many more things. Developing a closer relationship with God also comes through communicating with Him faithfully. I understand more of what He wants for my life as I am prompted in mostly little and sometimes big ways throughout my day.

VE 2
Discuss the qualities a woman needs to teach children to have faith and to base their decisions on gospel truths. (This prompt came after reading the roles of motherhood in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" and about the mothers of Helaman's stripling warriors in Alma 56:45-48 and 57:21.)

Mom: "The qualities would be first that she would have to have faith herself. You can't teach or be an example of something you do not possess. I think these mothers of the stripling Warriors were great examples as it says they did not doubt their mothers knew. I like the word exactness in verse 21 of ch 57. That says to me that they knew what they were doing and did it with precision because of the things their mothers had done. I also like that they bring courage into the picture. In today's world I think parents and mostly mothers need courage to stand firm in their beliefs because children will be hit from many sources that will be trying to teach them that sin and immorality are okay and are to be embraced and considered the norm."

I've come to understand the importance of confidence. I know that I am a daughter of God, and that I have special talents and abilities that in combination with my spirit and mind cannot be duplicated. Yet there are times when I am timid, not so much in making righteous decisions, but in making any decision. I always know what I want, but am rarely willing to be the first to speak up about it. I want to be able to solidify that link between knowing who I am and what my purpose is with my daily actions. The mother's of the stripling warriors were exact in their teachings, not only through their words, but through their example in ALL things.

VE 3
Tithing is something I can do perfectly. I know that both physical and spiritual blessings come from paying 1/10 of my earnings. A little experience I had was when I was in college. Jake and I were really REALLY poor, like EXTRA poor one month. I thought that maybe I was supposed to be getting a refund for the excess of my student loans, so I went to the cashier's office to ask about it. After a few minutes, the woman helping me asked if I'd claimed my bank card with the funds on it, and I told her no because I'd signed up for direct deposit. She let me know that I hadn't done so with that particular office, and that I had an account with money waiting for me. I was really excited - even more so when I found out it was over $4,000! I know this was one of the many blessings of paying a tithing. I have faith to turn over what God has allowed me to have in the first place.

Divine Nature

VE 1
- Dilligence, faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity

- humble, submissive, gentle, easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive. And see that ye have a faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works

- Charity, virtue, confidence

- Mother, nurturer

Just as the YW values build on one another, so do the attributes discussed in what I read. I feel that one of the most important parts, a beginning, is humility. Through humility, all other attributes can increase. Only in humility can our faith strengthen and grow. Only in faith do we realize our need to rely on God in all things. This reliance gives us hope, this hope induces action.

I can gain/strengthen these attributes in me by being aware of them, by knowing what they mean, and how they can help improve me and my experience. I can put each attribute to use after I learn of them. Experience is the best teacher.

VE 2
What are important attributes for being a mother?

Mom: "Courage, exactness, live what you teach, realize you sometimes have to be the parent not the good buddy."

One of the talks I read was "A Mother Heart" by Julie B. Beck. It is full of gems, but one thing I especially like is "she is 'not weary in well-doing'.” One hang up I really had as a mother was patience when Cora was getting sleepy. She didn't want to be put down, but she didn't really want to be with me, and it could take her HOURS to fall asleep. I could feel myself getting anxious, and frustration would bubble up inside me. I felt horrible for the way I felt, so one fast Sunday I decided to fast for more patience. I was amazed at how different I felt.

A mother needs patience, love, confidence/courage, intelligence, understanding. I always thought I was really patient, but motherhood has humbled me in the sense that there are still areas of my life I've yet to explore and refine.

I tried to show love through staying on top of our home. I often let things go a little too far before taking care of them, mostly just the laundry, but that is just about the bane of my existence. I unloaded the dishwasher each morning so the dishes would never have a chance to pile up. It was nice how staying on top of just one thing freed me up to take care of more and more. It was a snowball effect. I even mopped the floor twice in a row one day to make sure it was extra clean. Being in a clean, clutter free environment is really important to Jake and me. It helps us enjoy one another more, rather than worrying about what's going on around us. This is really important to Jake, especially with him being so busy with school and work. I want to make his life as stress free as possible.

Individual Worth

VE 1
Heavenly Father loves and is mindful of me.

Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Jeremiah 1:5 really stuck out the me. After miscarrying, I really wondered when the spirit enters the body. This doesn't give an exact answer, but if a sactififation for life's purpose comes somewhere inbetween being formed in the belly and coming forth out of the womb, then it really makes me feel like I didn't lose a child, only waited longer for Cora. Not only does what this scripture literally says let me know that Heavenly Father loves me, but the fact that it exists at all confirms that he knows me.

I spent three weeks noticing things my mom did while she was with me after I had Cora. She always made sure we had good, balanced meals to eat. I saw something important in those three weeks that I will treasure forever. My mom takes care of the little things, she looks out for them. One day I was nursing Cora when dinner was brought over. Everyone at our house started eating right away, my mom was in her room resting, but noticed it also when I went to get her to eat when I was finished feeding Cora. When the same situation could have occurred the next time, my mom said, I'm going to wait for BrieAnn to finish with Cora. That little act meant a lot to me. I was able to feel like I was a part of the meal and conversation, and that me being part of that was worth waiting for.


VE 1
Knowledge and understanding are different.

Line upon line. We must gain wisdom to continue to increase in wisdom.

Knowlegde can give us an advantage

"It's impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance."

We will carry whatever portion of intelligence we attain in this life with us to the next. One of my favorite scriptures is "It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance." We need to know what we know and believe.


Loving people
Seeing the big picture
Taking care of Cora
Sticking to a budget

Talents I'd like to develop:

time management

Planning ahead is something I've been able to develop as I've been married and had a family of my own. I'm able to budget for our finances as well as plan out menus to help our home run more efficiently. It brings a sense of peace to not have to worry about things that have the potential to be very time consuming.

Choice & Accountability

Developing a regular habit of scripture study and prayer helps me stay more in tune with the spirit to know what I should be doing throughout my day to help me be what God would have me be. (See Faith VE1)

I know that keeping our minds free of unbecoming language, violent images, and dishonest thoughts can help us tremendously. We have been counseled not to watch R-rated movies. I follow that counsel because I know that certain images and ideas can be permanently etched in my mind. Those thoughts, in many cases, can be overwhelming. They can lead to tainted actions.

We have been given the knowledge of good and evil. All that comes from God is good. Our obedience to Him will direct us towards the things he wants, desires, created for us, the good in the world. When we stray from choosing the right, we are turning away from the promptings of the Holy Ghost - one of the many things put in place to help us understand God's will for our lives.

We receive blessings through our obedience to God, and when we choose to turn away from what He would have us do, our consequence ends up being ourselves - the guilt we live with and must overcome.

Good Works

- My parents bought Jake and umbrella after his broke
- Jake drove to the airport with a friend
- Jake drove a few hours to give a blessing to a friend in need
- The ward helped the same family move twice
- My friend Ashleigh is always there to help anyone in a time of need
- Becky Gray helped Cora see Mark for eczema
- Ashley helping Rachel pick out outfits

There are too many acts of service I'm able to witness to list them all. People helping people is the most far reaching way God blesses our lives.

Mourn with those who mourn
Comfort those who stand in need of comfort
Stand as a witness of God at all times, in all things, and in all places

Write letters/words of encouragement
Testify of Christ's atonement and resurrection
Pray for them

Praying for an individual is something that has helped me have a deeper understanding and appreciation for that person. I love them more when I pray for them. In this I am better able to understand and comfort them.


The difference between God's standards and the world's standards have never been more apparent than they are at this time. The anything goes attitude crushes personal standards and integrity. I commit myself to living a higher law. It may not be the cool thing to do with everyone I meet, but it's the cool thing in terms of happiness. I will dress modestly, use intelligent language, participate in wholesome activities, be a responsible steward of the earth, serve those around me, be honest in all things, attend the temple regularly, strive to strengthen and continually develop my testimony of Christ's gospel, and be an example of peace and simple living.

I've always had this weird thing about telling little white lies to smooth over a situation. I'd never thought twice about it, until I was concocting one for someone else to use, and she said, "that would be lying." I've always said I'm a horrible liar, and I am. I'm no good at telling big untruths, but I never thought about the little ones I'd say. I suppose I used to justify these little lies as ways to keep peace, but a lie is a lie. I've been working on finding a way to smooth over a situation with truth. It's much more respectful to all parties involved. A little lie cuts the person being lied to short because it's like I don't think they're capable enough to handle the reality of the situation. The reality in my situation is usually forgetfulness. I hope that I will never be inclined to do this again.

Integrity is not departing from the things you believe in - even when your freedom/life is at stake. There are several examples of people with integrity in the scriptures. They stood up for what was right even though they were in a position to be killed for doing so. Now, rather than being killed, the worry is that we might appear unpopular or naive for sticking to our standards. I will never forget the time I was at Girl's Camp and I, along with several other girls, were getting ready for bed in the bathroom. They were cussing up a storm. I wasn't part of the stake any more, I'd moved, but went with my old ward. I knew a lot of the girls (they weren't from my ward), and I didn't think I'd say anything, but when I finished brushing my teeth, I finally found my courage. I said something like the ground we were on was dedicated to the Lord, and that we were disrespecting that and opening ourselves up for unkind spirits to enter in among us. When I was done with my little schpiel, there was silence, and a lot of eyes staring at me. I just walked out without another word, feeling so proud and dumb all at the same time. Right after I got out the door, a girl I'd gone to school with came out and caught my arm. I don't remember everything she said, but she did say what I did was cool, and she apologized on behalf of the girls cussing, as well as said they shouldn't be doing that. It made me feel so good that her integrity validated my own.

Exploring at the Speed of Light

Cora loves to help unload the dishwasher. This love began with 'flatware.' She would hold up a spoon or fork and repeat her "here" until I would take it from her with a "thank you." She would let out a gleeful sound and go for another utensil.

Her help has evolved as her mind and legs have expanded.

After all the spoons and forks [I grab all of the knives as soon as I open the dishwasher] were put away, she climbed up onto the door and stood ready to help with the top rack. She handed me bowls and cups and spatulas.

And somewhere in the last week, she has really figured out climbing. I feel like we're constantly baby proofing. We baby-proofed for crawling, baby-proofed for pulling up, for walking [with her walker], and now for climbing. She really enjoys climbing into things, especially drawers. When she gets in, she just likes to sit- and not to be disturbed after the initial recognition for what she has done.

I love my little explorer. I've also really grown to appreciate her naps.

On the Pot

I thought I'd see what would happen if I put Cora on the toilet.

This curiosity was sparked a day earlier when I was getting her ready for a bath. As soon as the water turned on, so did she...on the floor.

Fast forward to the next day, I put her on the toilet, waited a second, turned on the water and she tinkled. We tried again a few hours later, she went again. She went one more time before she went to bed.

Today we tried it again after she woke up from her nap. She tinkled and then she started saying "poo," and she did that too.

I don't know what any of this means, but it's exciting and gives me hope that she might potty train as early as Jake, at 18 months. Ha, that would be crazy, but ridiculously cool.


I never knew my grandpa's parents.

They existed to me in stories, three houses, and photos. Really just four photos. I'm sure there are more, but those four are seared into my mind and make up part of the memory I've made up for them.

Two photos are old, one is new, and one is in between. New was in 1965, the year they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and also the year Marion died. The picture is of Marion and Agness sitting behind a cake with a top that lets us know they're at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration. It's black and white. Marion is frail and in a wheel chair, but is mustering up a sort of smile that I think is hereditary in many Lunds. It's the kind of smile where eyes and mouths don't seem to agree. Agness is still healthy, thick arms and plump cheeks.

In between is Agness posing with an organization from church. I think it was Relief Soceity. She is posed with several ladies, all smiling, and all wearing what I spent most of my life thinking were funny looking shoes, though recently seem to be getting quite fashionable again.

The old photos are of young, beautiful people. One is Marion in overalls working in the field, his field. The one I imagine Agness calling him out of for dinner. The other is of a young woman, 16, sitting in a window sill with lace curtains. Long dark hair pinned up just so. Everyone says my cousin Megan looks just like her. I agree. I thank her for my full round face.

One house is a lodge. One is a wedding house. And the last is just a normal house on a normal street. The wedding house is where Agness grew up, and where Grammy stayed with two babies while Grandpa was in WWII. The lodge is where Marion and Agness raised their family. The normal house is where they lived when Marion got old. Agness lived out her last days in a home that I lived in for 5 years. I never associated it with her at the time (it was in my second through seventh years). It was across the driveway from her daughter Nathel. Neither the place in which I grew up, the home where Nathel lived, nor the driveway are still there.

I don't feel like I'm old enough for places with so much history to have disappeared. Don't they know that places in which Agness MacDonald Lund has lived are destined to go down on historic registries?

And finally, part of them is a piece of stone with their names and dates engraved upon it. They occupy the ground in the farthest NW corner. When I was younger I took a walk through the Eagar Cemetery, where I'm related to a substantial number of residents, made my way to the far corner, stood next to the afore mentioned stone contemplating those names, and sang Angels Among Us before I left. I saw Grammy's red Taurus come through the gates. I knew she was looking for me, but she missed me, and I was in mid verse. I spent the walk back to Grandma Izzie's trying to come up with a good reason for being late.

Part of a Tree

I wrote a little blurb about my great-grandma not long ago, and ever since that evening I can't stop thinking about other giants in my life.

I had the rare privilege of being around a lot of my extended family because of the close proximity I always was to my grandparents. Every time some one came to visit them, I got to see them too. When they (mostly Grammy) went to visit others, I often went along. I always felt a special bond to all of their siblings, as. As the days go by, I hope to write little blurbs about all of them, and the role they played in my life, for each one, to me, was significant.

For now, a list of names.

The children [and their spouses] of Marion and Agness Lund:
Denzel M (D) [Anabelle Dennis (D) - Cleo]
Irl J (Grandpa) (D) [Betty Jane McInnes]
Nathel (D) [Thomas Loyal Steele]
Gail B (D) [Elnora Slade]
Cloyd E (D)
Janel [Donald Winslow Farr]

The children [and their spouses] of James and Isabel McInnes:
Betty Jane (Grammy) [Irl J Lund]
James King II (Buddy/Bud) [Bette Ann Tirey (D) - Hazel Lee]
Hannah Louise [Leo Mosier Bradshaw]
Andrew Daniel (Drew) [Laura Mae]
Murray Stephen [Mary Anna Sorensen]
William Maxwell (Max) [Nancy Annette Wood]

Wrinkly Toes

I just got out of a bath. This was a luxurious bath,

in the middle of the day

with bubbles and a book of poetry.

I got to use my freshly opened bar of Dove soap, I shaved my legs, and I microdermed my face. When I got out, I lotioned up and treated my wrists to a bit of Princess.

The icing on the cake to all of this is that my Coco is still sleeping.

The Last Two Days.

On Sunday we went to Holdenville after church to celebrate Vaughn, Parker, Becky, and Kory's birthdays. I drove a 4-wheeler for my first time...and went fishing for about my fourth time. No fish, though I did get a nibble. I'm secretly glad when I don't really catch anything. I'm the catch and release type, but the barb on the end of a hook can cause damage to a fish's jaw that affects their ability to eat.

Answer: barb-less hooks...that I never seem to have on hand.

Meemaw and Peepaw live in Yeagar, OK, and are almost always the hosts for the big birthday bashes. They have 80 acres, and there's something about those 80 acres that makes me fall a little more in love with Oklahoma every time I'm there. The view looking off to the west/northwest is what I think Oklahoma is. Rolling hills, trees, ponds, a view that seems to stretch out forever, and a big sky with sunsets that never disappoint.

Here is a little glimpse at almost the right angle. Please excuse the PDA:

Okay, and here is another one from a few years ago. This is Jake's mom's side of the family [the Meemaw and Peepaw side..minus three people and plus one]. It gives an even better idea of what the sky does when uninhibited. I love these people, every single one. I can't imagine coming into a better family (and that includes his dad's side as well).

That's enough Oklahoma sentimentality for one evening. On our way home from the birthday bash, we hit a raccoon going somewhere around 65 mph. Our front bumper is cracked and the undercarriage protector (I don't know if that's an official name, but it's that part that inevitably ends up sagging on almost every car), was knocked loose. There was a point where we thought we might be leaking oil, but we're good.

I went to the dentist for a "screening" to see if I could help with a board examination. Fortunately and unfortunately I have no cavities, so I'll have to forgo a trip to Memphis with friends. I'm proud to be 23 and cavity free. I do, however, have a few "sticky" spots. I love to brush my teeth. I like to compare my tooth brush with Jake's. We always get new ones at the same time, but it always looks like I've had mine for eons compared to his after the first few weeks. I brush for a good three minutes each time. I do need to floss more.

Today Cora learned how to move her walker (the kind you stand behind and walk with, not the sit in kind) in more than just one direction. She can now back it up and turn it around. We went to Wal-Mart, and she said hi to almost everyone we saw, one person was a colleague I taught with at Northwest Classen. I needed some mascara, and low and behold, my favorite mascara was in a special double package. Two for the price of one! Over a five dollar value. I was glad because before I went I was feeling sort of guilty about buying a "luxury" item.

I've had the same tube since July. I was entitled.

I also bought two bars of Dove soap. I've been feeling the need to lather up the old fashioned way. And the smell always reminds me of my great-grandma's - Grandma Izzie - bathroom [isn't is funny how we sometimes never know how to officially spell a person's nickname because you never need to know...her 'real' name was Isabel]. She always had bars of pink Dove soap.

She was a feisty one, that Isabel, but I suppose she made up for it with things like pink soap and fancy perfume bottles.
"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write..."

Maiden Voyage

Cora took her first ride on Josephine in her new carrier. I did take her for a spin around the block once before - she was strapped to me in the Baby Bjorn. She loves riding on our bike. I love having her with me.

Jake really enjoyed his quick trip to Chicago. He loves the program and the faculty and the other admitted students.

The only thing that isn't absolutely perfect about the whole thing perfect is funding...[and that I'm still not living on a farm ;)]

It isn't official yet, but so far it's looking like a 2/3 fellowship. It means that out of 5 years of funding, the first 2 years will have full tuition and fees covered, but no stipend [he also wouldn't have any teaching responsibilities]. During the last 3 years he would have full tuition and fees covered, as well as a teaching stipend.

The first 2 years would be really difficult financially. We don't want to take out additional student loans for the sole fact of numbers. In the end he'll be a professor, and the return in the form of income might not outweigh the amount of loans we take out as a means to an end. Also, the U of C has a very rigorous program. The semesters are just 10 weeks long, so courses are very condensed. He could have upwards of 300 pages of reading each week for his classes, so a job that would pay enough money for us to live off of would be a huge stress on his time.

We still have 5 schools to hear from, and maybe, just maybe Chicago will give him a "5/5" fellowship.

He spent Monday night listening to Jazz [Patricia Barber Quartet] at the Green Mill. I'm a bit jealous of that one...


Jake just left for the airport...

I hope I can go back to sleep.

And that Cora will sleep in. ;)

PS: My husband is superbly good looking.


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