The Family School

Hi Friends!

Many of you know that my sister Jane and I work as writers and editors for The Family School, a wonderful LDS Homeschool curriculum produced through the American Heritage School. The school is doing a promotional for this curriculum that ends today. For only $1.00 you can get the Latter-day Learning Family School curriculum for a summer trial. This will enable as many families as possible to try The Family School. There is no additional fee if you cancel by August 31, 2015. And, if you keep your subscription beyond September 1, 2015 you may do so for $19.99/month for LIFE—a savings of $10 per month forever! That’s a lot of future savings connected to your all-summer, all-access, risk-free trial account! So take a look and share this wonderful opportunity with homeschooling friends and family and anyone who has expressed interest in teaching their children at home.

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He Is The Gift!

This morning I thought about the fact that Christmas is the birthday party where the Person whose birth is being celebrated brings The Gift. It’s a gift that no amount of money can buy. It is the gift of rescue, of transformation, and of Eternal Life with our Heavenly Father, with our Savior, and with each other. Because of Him I can change. I do not have to be what I have been. The price He paid to give this gift to me is incomprehensible. I want to receive it with thanksgiving, open it with understanding, and put it to good use in every aspect of my life, everyday of my life! Merry Christmas friends!

So What’s So Merry About Christmas?

Merry Christmas everyone! Isn’t that the sincere wish on our lips and in our hearts at this time of year for everyone we know? We say it, we write it, we sing it. I thought I might look up the definition of the word “merry” to see just what it is I am hoping for each of you (and frankly for me too). The word “merry” is an adjective. It means cheerful, lively, bright, sunny, smiling, and lighthearted. There certainly seems to be a lot of opposition to the “merry” part of this wishful greeting. First of all there is the high stress that comes with High Holiday expectations. The pressure of decorating, gift buying, cooking, cleaning, and entertaining can indeed threaten the merry heart. And if that were not enough, being merry at Christmas time is a challenge simply because life goes on. Christmas or not the vicissitudes of life don’t seem to take a break for the holidays.

My son called me the other night and painted a picture I think is quite symbolic.  His family has been struggling with the “Have a Merry Christmas If You Possibly Can” virus. After days of mopping up and sanitizing, it finally looked as though all tummies were in good repair. Sunday afternoon would be the perfect time to deliver Christmas gifts to the neighbors. My son and his wife loaded their children into the car along with multiple ribboned tins of hot chocolate.

The plan was to drive about the neighborhood and drop off a little Christmas cheer for friends old and new. They would drive, stop, get out of the mini-van, knock, sing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” in their finest voices, and then complete the wish with a wee gift. It all seemed so perfect! But after repeating this pattern several times, things went a little sour, I mean really sour!

Right in the middle of wishing their neighbors and their neighbor’s “kin” “good tidings” my son’s oldest daughter Sammy tapped on her daddy’s shoulder and pointed at her little brother Christopher who stood about ten feet back on the path leading up to the neighbor’s front door. Leaning over the walk, he was leaving his own special gift.  So much for settled tummies! This moment of Christmas merriment concluded with apologies and a pitcher of water borrowed from the nice people. This my son used to disperse his son’s deposited lunch. Back in the car and headed for home, Chris suddenly got that look in his eye again. My son quickly grabbed him, rolled down the window, stuck the little guy’s noggin out the opening, and took care of the problem before the problem took care of the car and everyone in it—so much for spreading Merry Christmas cheer.

Some days are like that! No, let’s be honest. Every day is like that in some way or another, Christmas or not. So what is so merry about Christmas? When we wish people a merry Christmas are we hoping that the month is December is perfect, that no one throws up (figuratively speaking of course)—that nothing difficult happens and that all holiday celebrations take place without a hitch? Impossible!

Today my celebration of the birth, life, and sacrifice of Jesus Christ is merry, truly merry, no matter what is happening around me, and this is why. I am coming to know that although I live in a fallen, most imperfect world, I have been given a Savior. He is my Savior, “my Jesus,” as Nephi said. This Savior knows me. He loves me, and He wants to help me with anything that is hard for me—Anything! When I am spiritually awake and I feel His love, hear His instructions and receive His saving, transforming, gracious power in things large and small, it makes me merry. This kind of “merry” is available whether it’s December 25th or any other day of the year.

I most sincerely wish you each a very Merry Christmas. Not a perfect Christmas, mind you. Someone is going to throw-up or worse. You can count on it. Something is going to go wrong according to your plan. A truly Merry Christmas, as in cheerful, lively, bright, sunny, smiling, and lighthearted, can be had by one and by all, not because we are perfect or life is perfect, but because we have been given a Savior who loves us perfectly and we are coming to know it.

Much love to you all and a Very Merry Christmas!

By Nannette Wiggins

Posted December 24, 2014 Copyright 2011 by Nannette Wiggins. All right reserved. Making or sending copies is permitted if the page is not changed in any way and the material is not used for profit. This notice must be included on each copy made or sent.

Is She Seven or Is She Seventy?

Note: This is a postscript to my thoughts about Gracie’s trial. Some of you have been introduced to her in previous posts. If you haven’t, you may want to read “There’s No Way I Signed Up For This,” “The Perfect Stranger,” and “Little Messenger, Big Support” for some background.

It has been several years since Gracie’s first surgery for spina bifida issues. She is now a lively little seven year old. The red hair that crowns her small frame is surely a symbol for her fiery spirit!

It’s the beginning of a new year of dance for Grace. This year she was selected to be part of a company class, and the first day of class was not too soon to start making plans for the spring recital. Before any organized twirling, leaping, or skipping took place the teacher called the chatty little ladies together. Seventeen very excited seven-year-olds dressed in various colors of tights and leotards gathers in a circle. When she had their attention Miss. Jana announced the theme for the concert and for the very special dance they would be creating together.

“This year’s theme is ‘Gifts from Heavenly Father.'” she said. Then with the desire to get them thinking she asked, “What are some of the gifts we receive from Heavenly Father?” Fully expecting age appropriate answers like, “Our food, my dog, my baby sister, my toys, mommy and daddy,” she waited for a hand to pop up.

Gracie took the lead in more ways than one with the following answer. “Sometimes Heavenly Father gives us hard things, because He knows that we can do them, and He gives them to us so we can be stronger.”

The teacher was speechless. The observing company director was speechless. Where does this kind of wisdom come from in a child? Is this dancing dolly seven or seventy?

Gracie still deals with chronic pain and other daily difficulties associated with her spina bifida. She probably will for the rest of her life. But the fruit of her struggle is wisdom, wisdom beyond her years. This wisdom will serve her well in any and all other earthly trials she experiences, and being so young, it’s wisdom she can share with others for a very long time.

For most of us it takes a lifetime to understand that hard things are a gift from God, that they are God’s vote of confidence in our divine abilities, and that through hard things our capacity and tenacity grow to a degree possible in no other way. Gracie is teaching me that hard things make our spirits grow whether we’re seven or seventy.

By Nannette Wiggins

Posted December 22, 2014

Copyright 2011 by Nannette Wiggins. All right reserved. Making or sending copies is permitted if the page is not changed in any way and the material is not used for profit. This notice must be included on each copy made or sent.

“Hey Lady, Do You Know How To Call Utah?”

One summer night, years ago, I met a different kind of nine-year-old. He was day and night from my little boy, the one I had left at Grandma’s, safely watching videos and eating popcorn, with instructions negating any chance of taking part in neighborhood night games (hide and seek, kick the can etc.). I would be away overnight and this was my word to my little protected obedient son.

As the shopping mall closed their 9 PM doors I was disappointed that my bookstore browse had come to a close, but I was looking forward to some solitude as part of my weekend getaway. As I entered the lobby of the vintage downtown condominium a young child was trying to use the phone, the kind of phone guests use to call a particular room to see if someone is in. Decked in a white well-worn cowboy hat, complete with feather, he turned and said, “Hey lady, do you know how to call Utah?” I brought the little blue-eyed picture of confidence into my room and helped him call his older brother, collect. For you who are not of a certain age, that means the charge for this call would show up on big brother’s bill, not mine, next month! The big brother answered from the land-line at the family home 40 miles away, back where this little boy had boarded a bus bound for adventure. I agreed to keep the little guy for a while and give him a place to stay until his brother drove into the big city. I was to wait for a call from the lobby.

As we waited we talked, or rather he interviewed me, and our conversation went something like this:

“Are you young?” He asked boldly.

“Are you crazy! How old are you?” I replied.

“Do you have kids? Where is your husband? Is he good at what he does? What would you be doing if I weren’t here? Did you go to the mall? Did you go to Orange Julius and KB toys and the chocolate store?”

Every few minutes he adjusted his large hat to keep it from falling in his eyes. He repeatedly kicked his legs against the bottom of my couch, and wiggled around as he fired off question after question. His little body was filled with energy. This kid had enough adventure in his bones to last him a lifetime.

After the better part of an hour a very disgruntled brother rang the room from the lobby. As I let the little guy out the door I was not envious of his mother, his fourth-grade teacher, or the girl who would someday fall in love with him. I was, however, a little envious of the big spirit inside his little body, a big spirit that took a little boy on such a big adventure

As he walked down the hall I considered my own innocent nine-year-old son who had hardly ever been outside our neighborhood, whose baseball mitt was sitting neatly on his bed right beside his battered old fluffy bunny, and who still secretly liked to be rocked to sleep on occasion. I was struck with a bit of terror, knowing that like it or not, sooner than later, he and his siblings would get on a “bus” without me, a bus bound for adventures they couldn’t then imagine and I certainly did not want to think about. Standing there I also knew that there would be times in the future when they would get off the “bus,” and have no idea where they were!

At that moment it became clear to me that if I really want to protect children I need to spend my life sharing the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. These principles are the only source of real safely to be found in this very dangerous world. They help us know which bus to take—which one takes us to the Destination we really desire to reach, and they help us know how to get off when we find ourselves on a bus we have no business being on in the first place.

Are there any children of God who don’t need to know who to turn to because they have gotten off life’s bus at the wrong stop and have no idea where they are? Is there any greater privilege than helping someone develop the faith and tenacity to ask, “Hey, do you know how to call God? Can you show me? Can you help me get back to the ‘Ranch’?”

And finally, is there anything more important than helping frightened children—mine and yours—receive the courage to make that call? Each of our Father’s little ones, without exception, needs to know that they have a Big Brother who actually waits by the phone, who is anxious for it to ring, and who is very aware that all of our calls to Him are collect. I want to wear out my life reassuring those who mistakenly believe they are too lost and have used their last quarter that, no matter what, Our Big Brother will happily make the journey to pick us up and take us safely Home.

By Nannette Wiggins

Posted September 28, 2014 (Experienced—April 21,1989)

Copyright 2011 by Nannette Wiggins. All right reserved. Making or sending copies is permitted if the page is not changed in any way and the material is not used for profit. This notice must be included on each copy made or sent.

Just Come!

Reverence was not a top priority for my 12 nieces and nephews visiting the Missionary Training Center on a February Sunday afternoon. We had just finished attending a sacrament meeting where their grandpa, after several years of service, had been released as a branch president. The children had already endured, I mean enjoyed three hours of meetings. Spring may not have been entirely in the air yet, but it was definitely in their bones, and many of them had a most difficult time sitting—some more.

After the meeting closed we proceeded down the wide hallways lined with beautiful religious pictures reminding passersby of what missionary work is all about. The interest of the children in the pictures was plain to see. These life-sized replicas they had only seen in magazine articles or on the walls in their church buildings seemed to have a great impression on each child. They were definitely more interested in the pictures than they had been in the meeting. Their less than reverent voices rang through the very still, grownup filled building. “Aunt Nan,” one voice called out. “What’s that one called?” Skipping down the hall another child shouted out, “I’ve seen that one before! Is that one by Carl Block too?”

Then came the high point of the day when without provocation, several of the children made a beeline toward the sculpture of the Savior, an image of His upper body sitting on a wooden pedestal. “Oh no!” I thought. “Not the statue!” But there was no stopping them. My mother assured me that the statue was well fortified, and my worries turned to awe. The beautiful image of the Lord was just the right size for this batch of little ones. They gently wrapped their arms around His neck. They touched His cheek. They looked in His eyes. They got right up close. There was no arm’s length between these little children and Jesus.

Our Savior said “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” In the grand scheme of things are we not all little children. This was a living breathing picture of what He wants us all to do— Seek Him. Come to Him. Run. Skip. Just come! Don’t hold back. Draw near to Him. Look into His eyes. Love Him. Touch Him, and be touched by Him.

The scriptures also say, “And a little child shall lead them” (2 Nephi 21:6). I left the MTC that day knowing I had been led.

By Nannette W.

Posted May 18, 2014

Copyright 2011 by Nannette W. All right reserved. Making or sending copies is permitted if the page is not changed in any way and the material is not used for profit. This notice must be included on each copy made or sent.


The Long Way Home


Recovery is about acknowledging, coming to believe, learning to trust, remembering, thinking through, seeking perspective, taking time to review, becoming willing to let go, gathering courage to do hard things, growing in our ability to live by revelation, serving our fellows–and all this for a lifetime. Did you notice all the “ings” on the end of those verbs? Verbs that end in “ing” are progressive verbs. They require action, but they also require time. The following piece is dedicated to those of us who are in a hurry, whose minds are going from before dawn until well after dusk, whose main objective is to get “done,” to be “fixed,” or to permanently “fix” others. It’s dedicated those of us who focus more on the product than the process.  It is dedicated to me and to any of my fellow travelers who need to learn the value of taking “The Long Way Home.”

The Long Way Home

“Honey, Mom and I are taking the scenic route home tomorrow, so don’t expect me until just before the meeting tomorrow night, I’ll be there.”

My husband’s doubt rang through the silence. “What do you mean you’re taking the scenic route?”

“Well, Mom wants me to take her home by way of Panguich.”

“You know you can take her to Panguich and then turn around and head right back to the freeway. I’ll send you a google map.”

“Oh…Uh…Thanks. I’ll see ya when I see ya.”

Mom and I had just spent a week tending four grandchildren for my daughter and her husband who, after ten years of marriage had taken a well-earned, “just the two of us” vacation. Having done our utmost to qualify for our titles—“grand” mother and “great-grand” mother and with the parents back on duty, it was time for us to make our way home.  We had enjoyed a very full week of fun times–splash parks, a day at Zion National Park, picnics, late night Disney movies, a grandma read-aloud of the book Sonny Elephant, etc. On the other hand we had also dealt with issues like sibling camaraderie—or not, diapers—lots of them, the piercing and unrelenting  squeal of a toddler, bedtimes—or not, and last but not least, the universal desire of the children to eat only mac and cheese, pizza, or nothing!  Grand as it was, these “Grand Mothers” were in need of some R&R themselves.  We decided to get it by taking a “different” way home, and along the way, with the help of the Lord, I learned some sweet lessons about liv-ing in recovery:

Follow the brown signs, take a break and pull off the road, and read the plaque:

We started our “unwind” by winding our way off the freeway and away from most of the green directional signs.  We chose instead to follow the brown recreational ones.  Brown signs don’t take you home faster, but if you go brown instead of green you feel a whole lot better when you finally reach your destination.  Note to self: Life is not just about getting from here to there, Nannette. Practice taking “the long way home,” and keep your eyes open for life’s little brown signs. Enjoy a little more recreation on the way to your destination!

This was not a “Did you see that? Too bad you missed it!” trip home. As we tootled down the road we didn’t feel at all tethered to our automobile. Several times we responded to the brown signs–the invitations to pull the car off the road, stop the car, get completely out of the car, stretch our legs, and take a good look—at something. There must actually be people who make a living by traveling, stopping, taking a “good look” and then having signs made to put out on the highway that invite others to stop and have a good look too. What a great job! Note to self: Slow down a little, Nan. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt you at all to stop a little more often and stand still or sit still, be still. When you take “the long way home” you may not see more, but what you do see you’ll see better!

Now if you respond to the invitation and get off the beaten path at a “view point” and don’t know exactly what you’ve been invited to view or why someone thought this was a cool thing to gaze upon—don’t despair—find the “plaque.” If you not only pull over, get out, stretch, and look, but you actually stand there with the breeze blowing through your hair and read the plaque, and truly locate the thing you were invited to behold…well, then you know you are taking the long way home. Mom and I gazed at Cedar Breaks and Panguich Lake and several other things I don’t remember, but I do remember that everything was ablaze with the golden leaves of mid fall, and I won’t soon forget the feeling of standing there together in the sunshine and taking the time to just look at something magnificent—something God made and man has appreciated enough to name and describe. Note to self: Nannette, you may not run into a lot of plaques today, but the lovely people in your life are anxious to share the beautiful things that can be seen from their vantage points. People long for a chance to share the view from where they stand. When you take “the long way home” you stop and really look and listen. You allow fellow travelers to point out the landscape of their lives, and when you do, you are better for it!

Allow yourself to get a little excited–practice anticipation, and don’t be afraid to remember:

As we drove past the fairgrounds and into Panguich, my pulse sped up a little, and an unfamiliar feeling of childish anticipation washed over me. For a minute I was ten years old, pigtailed,  packed with my family of nine into a powder blue Ford Falcon station wagon, coming out of the California/Nevada desert with no air conditioning and no seatbelts, heading for higher ground–and we were getting real close to Grandma’s house! In my mind I knew that nothing would be the same. Grandma and Grandpa had moved on to another world. “The motel” had changed hands ten times. There would be no “Triple A” rating sign and no green vacancy invitation flashing in the big picture window of the motel lobby. Even so, my heart did a little flip flop as we pulled into the parking lot of the old motel. I liked the feeling of anticipation and now that I’m all grown up I hardly ever feel it. That’s too bad, don’t you think? Note to self: Maybe you should practice a little healthy anticipation every day.  Get a little excited about something, anything. Anticipation is simply looking forward a bit, with hope and enthusiasm. Give it a whirl. It’s not a feeling you’re required to outgrow.

Sometimes people avoid pausing at a place from the past—bad memories–or too much good gone by. I was surprised by the way I felt as we wandered about. It was as if I was meandering through a three dimensional picture frame. We opened the glass door and walked into the motel lobby. I quickly glanced around—it wasn’t that I didn’t notice that the place was a bit run down and smelled of spices you wouldn’t have found in my grandma’s kitchen. I saw the current community ads scotch taped randomly here and there and the collection of odd decorations on display—but for some reason these things didn’t take center stage.

For me the room was warm with memories. I could see Grandma sitting at her treasured organ entertaining appreciative guests who were relaxing after a chilly day of the deer hunt; I could feel my fingers move through the basket of polished rocks sitting on the coffee table; I could see the Squash Blossom jewelry, bolo ties, and beaded belts in the glass case–the trinkets I remember studying at least once a day as I waited for summer’s end. I could see Grandma taking her little key, opening the sliding door at the back of the case, and waiting while seven children made their final choice, a nearly impossible thing to do. Little fingers pointing, “That one; I want that one, Grandma!”  Is there anything in life more wonderful than a FREE souvenir to take with you as you climb into the station wagon and head back home?

We walked around to the back of the property.  The old canal we had played in and been warned about a million times was still as dry as a bone. My memory took me across the ditch to the meadow behind and the hazy recollection of Lady and Paint, the only horses in the world I could ever brag about to my sophisticated friends when I got home to Los Angeles each year.

Next I focused on the cozy brick home standing next to the motel lobby. We didn’t knock on the door and ask to take a peek inside. It was just as well.  I didn’t need to look with my eyes.  My heart was doing a very good job. Surely if I went inside I would see Grandma standing in the kitchen making Mickey Mouse pancakes or sitting at the mangle iron pressing pillowcases. I’d see a little brown-eyed girl with blond braids taking hot drinking glasses out of the dishwasher and sliding them into paper covers for motel guests.

I stared at the window to the front bedroom of the house, remembering that on the other side of the humble curtain there was a room so small it only fit me. Such a cozy place it was, a place where long ago this oldest sister of seven spent some night alone with her thoughts and dreams. I don’t know if little girls ever grow up and grow out of their daydreams.  Mine was that somehow, someday, my Los Angeles self would be transformed and I could be a small town country girl complete with hat, boots, horse and of course a cowboy for a best friend.

My eyes spotted the door to a tiny nondescript room at the end of a long row of guest rooms across the parking lot. Probably full of cleaning supplies for that end of the motel—but if I dared turn the handle on the door and peek in–there would be Grandma, washing all the bedding and towels for new guests, and then running each item individually through a fascinating machine designed to wring the water out of dripping wet laundry.

There was no sign of the pool where my uncle had taught all us kids to swim, where we played Marco Polo and baked in the summer sun for hours—before the invention of skin cancer and sunscreen. But no asphalt parking lot can erase the feel of slipping my body, exhausted with too much fun and smelling of Bactine, into new summer jammies and then into clean sheets that had dried in the summer breeze. Or instead of Bactine, it’s the smell of Calamine lotion that takes me back to the year we all came down with the chicken pox and were isolated in one of the motel cottages for several days of itchy misery.

I turned to take a final look before heading for the car and there she was! I had almost missed it, one of the best images of all! There was Grandma taking a small key out of her apron pocket. We all knew what that meant. Sometime between jammie time and bedtime we were invited to meet at the big red pop machine that stood next to the motel lobby door. Like little vultures we waited as she opened the magical kingdom to such delicacies as Root Beer, Orange Crush, Cream Soda and more.  Every night of our vacation, just before bed, she let us each pick out our very own frosty glass container of soda pop. You know the next best thing to experiencing this moment was remembering it.

I remembered the summer when money was tight, and we came to this town to play and work. Before heading out we drove to the old Social Hall. This was where my mother, with no experience doing such a thing, had courageously taught dancing lessons to a whole village of little girls. We peeked in the window, and there on the antique stage, were my sister and I doing the Dolly Dance, tap shoes and all. While we danced away the hours my daddy, chemistry teacher turned summer lumberjack, pulled pieces of wood off the green chain conveyer belt at the local sawmill—blistered ears, hair growing blonder, fair skin made bronze, he baked in the August heat, working to make ends meet.

Finally we got Mama some chicken fried steak at “The Café”—the same one my Grandma had moonlighted at to bring in a little mad money—same red vinyl booths—a lot worse for the wear—and maybe the same Melmac dishes. Note to self: Don’t be afraid to remember. The present view can be pretty tattered, but if the good memories are intact, an awful lot can be overlooked! Sweet memories can come alive in living breathing color. Remembering can be sweet medicine.

Take the long way all the way home:

You might think the best of the trip had been had.  This was the moment my husband thought we ought to head right back to the freeway and scurry on home, but not us.  This sweet journey was not over yet. We decided to take the highway that slowed to 25 mph every few miles as it meandered through all the small town between here and there. We drove on endlessly and talked and laughed till we cried—the kind of talking and laughing you only experience on a quiet road that seems to be getting you nowhere.

We stopped at the Big Rock Candy Mountain. I remembered going there when I was a little girl and seeing coyotes in a cage. I remember all nine of us snuggled up in the little power blue Ford Falcon station wagon headed down the road chewing on rock candy. No coyotes in politically incorrect cages any more, but we did buy some rock candy to take home to the “grands.”

There were several places we might have turned earlier and been home sooner.  Frankly we either skipped them on purpose or missed them altogether because we were having such a great time talking, remembering and laughing ‘til we thought we’d…well you know. It just was not about getting somewhere, not one minute of it.

Reality finally struck as the sun began to get low and the signs said things like “To Denver” and “To Fish Lake.” My sister called to see how we were coming along. I told her I thought we might be lost and headed for Colorado. “You two are crazy!” That’s one thing about cell phones…want an opinion about the road you’re on and you can access one from anywhere. We hung up and I looked off to the right, and running along the freeway was the cutest little meandering path called Gooseberry Road. I secretly hoped that Gooseberry might be our only alternative. It wasn’t. Someday I want to go back and see where it takes me.

We found a turn around, and I finally headed for the freeway and on home.  We pulled into the neighborhood and I helped my mom into the house with her little red overnight bag. I gave her a great big hug, looked her in the eyes and we both burst into laughter “some more!”  We had taken a once in a lifetime ride home. Sneaking into the adult session of stake conference, well after the opening song had been sung, I cozied up to my husband. He gave me a smile that said, “I told you you’d regret not heading back to the fast lane as soon as possible.”  All he knew was that I had managed to turn a 3 hour 45 minute drive into a 6 hour experience, but I knew better.

I had learned that whether we are speaking of our home on Earth or our Home in Heaven the long way can be the very best way home.  The long way is about being with someone on the trail; it’s about the relationship and the experiences along the way. It’s not all about the destination. It’s about sharing the path with your mother, your father, your spouse, your child, your “grands,” your neighbor, or a perfect stranger, and always with the Lord. It’s about taking time to get excited, and laugh, and cry, and relax, and learn, and look, and remember–together.

Final note to self: So Nannette, give yourself permission to slow down. Don’t be in such a big hurry to GET somewhere. When you take the long way Home, the slow way Home, you finally give yourself time to recognize that you ARE somewhere. Then you can feel at home all along the long way!

By Nannette Wiggins

Posted February 15, 2014

Copyright 2011 by Nannette W. All right reserved. Making or sending copies is permitted if the page is not changed in any way and the material is not used for profit.  This notice must be included on each copy made or sent.

Tie Him Up Today

Every day the world is abuzz with tweets and twitters, newscasts and texts, Facebook proclamations and e-mail conversation about how to put an end to evil.  No one seems to agree on how this might be accomplished, but one little girl has a pretty good idea of where to begin.

Recently my granddaughter Esther (age 5) participated with her mother and little sister in their first “Family School” /Homeschool lesson of the year.  As part of her ancient history class Esther wrote a short letter to her Heavenly Father.  At the top of the page front and back she drew pictures representing each of the days of creation.  Below the illustrations she began with the kinds of questions we all have and don’t ask any more because we are grownups, and because after all, we have come to accept our lack of information on certain things. She asked, “Dear God, What do you look like? Jesus, what do you look like?”  Esther is a lover of the great outdoors and most especially of animals, so of course she expressed her love for “trees,” and “water, because it’s beautiful,” “horses” and “porcupines, they’re nice.” And not wanting to take the time to name every member of the animal kingdom she simply acknowledged that, “All animals are beautiful.”  She also affirmed the fact that she loves, “all, all, all, all, all” her family and is grateful for Jesus, “because He loves us.”

The most interesting thing to me about Esther’s journal entry was that sandwiched right between her love for horses and trees and her gratitude for porcupines was the following question:

“And where is Satan?

This question was followed by her reason for asking:

“I want to tie him up forever and ever.”

Now I want to talk to Esther for a minute and the rest of you can listen in if you like—

Yes! Yes Esther! What a great goal! A grandma could not hear better news than that her granddaughter wants to, “Tie Satan up!” Reason being, that if we do not tie him up, he will tie us up.  That’s his big goal in life, to tie us up—to make it so we can’t move on—and  he doesn’t use a rope, or handcuffs, or a ball and chain made of metal—Oh no, he ties us up by tempting us to do things that make it hard to have the Spirit with us, and when we don’t have the Spirit with us, well, we might as well be tied up, because we can’t learn and grow  and become like Jesus and live with Heavenly Father again.

Now Esther, I can’t tell you exactly what Heavenly Father looks like, and I don’t know exactly where Satan will be lurking about today, but I can tell you that every time you choose to do the next right thing, the thing you think Jesus would want you to do, you tie Satan up, and Esther, you can do that today and every day. It doesn’t matter if you’re 5 or 105!

Truth be told, the big questions on everyone’s mind and #1 desire in everyone’s heart is the same as Esther’s. “Dear God, What do you look like? What does Jesus look like?” and “Heavenly Father, where is Satan? I want to tie him up.” The good news is that we can tie Satan up in our own lives, minute by minute, by simply choosing to do the next right thing! And as we string days and days of freedom together, we move closer and closer to that day when we will know exactly what Heavenly Father and Jesus look like, that day when Christ shall appear and “we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” (see 1 John 3:2). Thanks for the reminder Little Lady!

By Nannette W.

Posted September 28, 2013

Copyright 2011 by Nannette W. All right reserved. Making or sending copies is permitted if the page is not changed in any way and the material is not used for profit.  This notice must be included on each copy made or sent.

Little Messenger, Big Support

Addendum to “There’s No Way I Signed Up for This?” and “The Perfect Stranger”

I’ve had people tell me that the minds of little children and youth aren’t developed enough to understand principles of recovery. I don’t think it’s true. I want to tell you about a little girl who definitely has the Main Idea down.

A few days before surgery, a card was delivered to Gracie from nine-year-old Saylor. It was as complete as any Hallmark, with an artistic rendering and a sentiment inside. This was Saylor’s “experience, strength and hope” to Gracie.

On the front Saylor had drawn a picture with three distinct sections.

The top part is filled little clouds, the squiggly unmistakable kind we all learned to make as children. In the middle of the clouds there’s a rendering of the sun, a circle with spidery lines extending out. In midair she drew two persons, both bearded and looking very much alike. So as to be very clear, Saylor wrote their Heavenly names out to the side and then drew arrows pointing to the respective sources of divine help. Finally down on the ground, standing in tall grass are two smiling little girls, one smaller than the other, one with little stick figure crutches, their heads tipped upward.

Inside were the following words:

Dear Gracie,

I hope u get better after surgry. When u are nervouse or scared think about Jesus Christ and heavly father, and another way is to pray, and ask as meny qweshions as u can. I hope that u will go throuth the surgerys as u grow and always remember that heavenly father will make u brave.



This little messenger knows something that most adults don’t know.  She knows who the Real support person is, and that the very best way to help is to direct others to the One who gives just the right support, the One who has power to “make us brave.”

Nan letter0001

Whoever thinks that little children are not quite capable of understanding the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of being rescued, recovered, saved, has never met Gracie’s sponsor.  I want to grow up to be a support person like Saylor.

By Nannette W.

Posted Monday, June 3, 2013

Copyright 2011 by Nannette W. All right reserved. Making or sending copies is permitted if the page is not changed in any way and the material is not used for profit.  This notice must be included on each copy made or sent.