Happy Birthday to My Brother

James in canoe

My brother would have been 32 today.

He was a handsome guy.

He was a pretty fantastic brother.

People were drawn to his smile.

I wish he were a part of my boys’ lives.


I miss him.



A few years ago I was in a meeting where someone shared how she had recently found her paper scriptures and it was like reuniting with a loved and trusted friend.

I had just started reading daily on my phone for a multitude of reasons: I was up earlier than everyone else and didn’t want to turn on a light, it was amazingly convenient, and, well, actually that might be it. But still, it was great. I got through the Book of Mormon pretty quickly because there weren’t pages to turn to mark how far I’d read. I just read a couple of chapters before my day started and it was really great. Plus, my scriptures were with me wherever I went.

My well marked and loved paper version sat on my bedside table.


Then last year our family started an actual, mostly successful, scripture time in the Book of Mormon and I decided I would read something I’d never read before; the Old Testament.

If someone could please explain to me why I decided to start one of the saddest canons of scripture (at least at the beginning) at the same time I started writing in depth about some of the saddest times of my life, and all right before the duldrums of winter, I’d appreciate it.

I’d be lying if I said this all didn’t have a big affect on me. This winter turned out to be a pretty sad time for me. Fortunately, my Heavenly Father loves me and has, as always, when I trust Him, put me in the right place at the right time.

I teach Sunday School to an amazing group of 10-year-olds at church, and this year we’re learning from the Book of Mormon. I had a little inspiration last year that I needed to take my physical scriptures with me to read out of during our lessons so the children would see that I value them ( the scriptures, not the children, although I love and value the children also), and so my scriptures moved off my bedside table to my church bag and got used about once a week.

Then, at the beginning of the year when I felt the need to change my prayers, I also felt a need to change my scripture study, especially that I needed to open those paper scriptures more often. Daily, in fact. Fortunately, the Lord knows me and knows that I occasionally (or often) need more than one nudge to get me doing some things.

Turns out, it took almost four months of nudging for me to follow through. I’m so glad He’s patient.

I opened them and read the first chapter of the Book of Mormon I have read and marked in off and on for 20 years and immediately felt a hope I had lost a little. Messages and thoughts and knowledge I had jotted in the margins reminded me of a time that I truly found joy in the scriptures.

Feeling the pages and reading the notes brought up sweet memories of where I was when I read those passages and had those thoughts. Times when I felt closer to the Lord. Inspirations I wanted to have again.


Yesterday morning I read 2 Nephi chapter 9 and remembered how much I love the ministry of Jacob. He spoke of the Savior Jesus Christ with such hope and love, I couldn’t help but feel uplifted.

In fact, I think 2 Nephi is my favorite book in the entire Book of Mormon.

It’s also where my very favorite scripture is.


Something I need to remind myself on a regular basis. He knew where I could readily find the hope and joy I had been praying for.

In a loved and trusted friend.