Thanks Jenny!

Things haven't been going so well for the people who publish my writing lately.  First my publisher goes bankrupt then the newspaper I write for goes out of business.  Many businesses are struggling in this harsh economic climate.  

Writing is a competitive and somewhat lonely craft.  At times you find yourself wondering if all your hard work is worth it . . . if anything you've written has made any difference.

Well  . . . a few weeks ago I received an e-mail that truly lifted my spirts and gave me the courage to continue writing even when things aren't going so well right now.

A beautiful young woman named Jenny Frogley wrote to me and told me how much my book "The LDS Mother's Almanac" had meant to her.  Her words were so honest and sincere that they truly touched my heart.  When I wrote back to thank her, she told me she wanted to send me her CD as a thank you. 

Now she has touched my heart twice. . . first with her kind words and second with her beautiful singing voice.

Thank you Jenny for taking the time to express your appreciation.  You never know what heart you will touch or how much it will mean to someone when you take the time to say . . . "Thank you".



I spent the day in Salt Lake City with the Palmyra Stake Relief Society Presidency listening to training and talks by our General Relief Society Presidency - Julie Beck, Barbara Thompson and Silvia Allred. They are wonderful woman with a lot of wisdom to share.

I love Relief Society.  I love all the good woman who choose to serve each other and God.


Lucky Day for John and Alisa

My son John and daughter Alisa came home from school today pretty excited.

Alisa won the Eagle Award.  The award says:  Alisa excels in every subject. She puts her best effort into everything she does. Her behavior is always perfect and she shows a high level of respect to everyone.
Congratulations Alisa!

John won a prize drawing for no tardies.  A CD player.  He is thrilled.  Congratulations John!

Amy's Harp Concert

I went to BYU's Alumni Center on Saturday to hear my daughter Amy play several pieces of music in a Harp Concert.  The whole event was so beautiful it literally transported me to peaceful place of complete relaxation and joy. 

During the concert I closed my eyes and listened with my ears  . . . and my heart.  Hearing the delicate sounds of the harp took me back to the time before Amy was married and living at home.  Her bedrrom was directly below mine and when she practiced the harp late at night,  I would go to sleep listening to the heavenly sounds of her music.

Because my daughter Amy has always reminded me of an angel, watching and listening to her play harp music seems part of who she is even before she was born.  Amy, you are my angel.  Thank you for bringing me so much joy.


Finding the Miracle of Easter

One year I visited the Holy Land with a burning desire to walk the paths where the Savior walked. I was studying the Old and New Testament and felt drawn to Israel in a youthful search for deeper spirituality. During the week I was a volunteer at an archaeological dig in the Negev desert. On weekends, I traveled Israel discovering the sights I’d only read about in the Bible.

Even though it has been decades since that trip, each Easter I recall the specific moment when the whole world became my garden. Let me tell you how it happened. One weekend, I spent the day at the Wailing Wall and in the crowded markets of Old Jerusalem. I was hot, tired, hungry and didn’t look forward to going back to sleep at the youth hostel where I was staying because it was filthy and dark. I longed for a place to think, to gather my disappointed desires and try to make sense of why I came here.

I remember walking through Damascus Gate, crossing the road and hiking uphill. That is when I found it - an oasis in this sea of chaos – the Garden Tomb. I stepped inside and sighed. This quiet secluded walled in Garden was filled with ancient trees that created welcome shade as they swayed in the late afternoon breeze. Multi-colored flowers lined the walkways. I took my time exploring. When I found the tomb, carved from the stone hillside in one section of the garden, I bowed and looked inside. The cold cavern was empty. A sudden electric full body and soul reverence ran down my spine as I contemplated what had happened in this place. I stepped back in wonder. Still visible were the grooves where a large stone was once rolled in front. I never wanted to leave.

Later I climbed a hill in back of the garden and looked toward Golgotha where Jesus is said to have been crucified. That is when I heard the stark noises of heavy traffic, shouts of angry bus drivers and smelled exhaust fumes in the air. The abrupt contrast was disappointing. Even here in this holy place there was no lasting peace. I walked back into the garden and sat down on a bench to think. Before I came to Israel I didn’t know every significant event in the life of Christ had several sites claiming to be the real place where the occurrence took place. I felt disillusioned and disappointed. Why did something so significant have to be so confusing and commercial?

Then I glanced up and noticed the sun slowly slipping into the horizon. Quite unexpectedly a sudden shimmering golden glow cast a heavenly light on everything around me transforming the garden into a dreamlike state. It took my breath away. Then, just as suddenly, the light was gone, the air grew cold and shadows inched across the garden floor. An unexpected gust of wind sent leaves twirling to the ground. The day was ending.

I wrapped my arms around me and took a deep cleansing breath. Then, as if I was awakening from a deep sleep, I perceived a divine pattern . . . light and dark . . . winter and spring . . . morning and night . . . birth and death. I understood that even as this day was ending, another would begin at dawn. Even though the leaves were falling, they would form the earth through which new life would emerge next spring. I would die; yet I would live. That is the moment when I realized it wasn’t the site that was important but the event that took place there.

Jesus Christ is my Savior. The Resurrection is real.

That was the moment when I understood that whether I was in the Garden Tomb in Israel - or in my own back yard – the miracle of Easter was going on everywhere around and inside me every day. The whole earth was indeed holy land - a witness of God’s great love for all of us. Now each spring as we celebrate Easter my thoughts return to the Garden Tomb and the gentle awakening I experienced there. We don’t need to be in the Holy Land to experience the significance of what took place there. The miracles of Easter are manifest all around us every day - and most wonderfully, within ourselves.


Grandma Visits

One of the best parts of being a grandmother is going to interesting places and experiencing the wonder of a child all over again.  The Bean Museum and the Dinosaur Museum at BYU are great places to visit when you have little ones stay over at your house.  Come again soon!


Celebrating the Life of Jesus Christ

It is important to remember that before Easter morning came the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and the pain on the cross.  Though we will never fully understand or appreciate what the Savior went through for us we can find comfort in the knowledge that because of what he did for us, he absolutely knows how to comfort us.

Each of us will have hard times, moments when we wonder if God knows us and cares.  I promise you . . . God knows you and loves you.

Because Christ has experienced everything we will ever experience He can say . . . "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neiehter let it be afraid." John 14:27

Elder Jeffery Holland, offers this insight into trying times:
"Most of us, most of the time, speak of the facility at Liberty as a 'jail' or a 'prison' and certainly it was that. Certainly  . . . could Liberty Jail be called a 'temple,' and what does such a title tell us about God's love and teachings, including where and when that love and those teachings are made manifest? In precisely this sense: that you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences with the Lord in any situation you are in. Indeed, you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life in the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced."  (Ensign, Sept. 2009, 28)

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said: "Each of us will have our own Fridays- those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We will all experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put back together again. We will all have our Fridays. But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death - Sunday will come. In the darkenss of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come." (Ensign, Nov. 2006,30).


Happy Birthday Sammy


This is a special story written for my grandson Samuel on his sixth birthday.

Happy Birthday Sammy!
Grandma Baadsgaard loves you very much.

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Sammy who loved playing with friends more than anything. The problem was his regular friends Ethan, Ben and Zadok always went home before Sammy was finished playing.

I want a friend who never goes home, Sammy thought. I know what I’ll do . . . I’ll build a friend factory!

A few days later Sammy’s parents brought home a new dish-washer in a large cardboard box.

Just what I need for my factory, Sammy thought.

“Can I have that box?” Sammy asked his Mom.

“Sure,” his mom answered.

So Sammy got out his scissors, duct tape and a big black marker. Then he cut out doors, made levers, taped on shelves and drew the knobs and pulleys. Now his cardboard box was not a box any more – it was a factory - a friend factory. Sammy pushed his factory inside his closet. He knew factories make things what people want and what Sammy wanted most of all was a friend who never went home.

Sammy made a plan to mix all the magic ingredients to create a best friend. He walked around his house and back yard thinking and searching. While he searched he figured out the perfect name for his best friend. Then he knew just what he needed for his factory order.

First he needed the letters W and E.

When I’m alone, I’m just ME, Sammy thought. But when I turn the M upside down I get a W and it spells WE. A really good friend changes ME to WE.

Next he needed the sound of “Fa”. Sammy loved to sing and one day his mommy taught him the sounds of music like this . . . Do, Ray, Me, Fa, So La, Te Do. Sammy liked “Fa” the best. So he sang this song and stopped on “Fa” then grabbed his favorite sound out of the air and held it tightly in his hand.

Next he needed Fur. Sammy knew really good friends are always huggable. So Sammy found his black kitty. When he petted her, soft black fur came off in his hand.

Last, Sammy need a ton because friends love each other a ton.

“Can you help me find a ton,” Sammy asked his mom.

“What for?” his mother asked.

“I’m making a friend,” Sammy whispered in his mother’s ear. “Don’t tell any one – I have a friend factory in my closet.”

Sammy’s mother scratched her head while she searched the kitchen for a ton.

“Here,” she said handing Sammy a heavy magnet from the junk drawer, “This weighs about a ton.

Then Sammy’s mother followed Sammy into his bed room.

First Sammy opened the left door of the closet and put all the ingredients on the input shelf. Then he closed the left door and waited.

When Sammy opened the right closet door to see what appeared on the output shelf, he didn’t find anything.

“I think you should go to the bathroom while the factory is working,” his mother said. “Really good friends take lots of time to make.”

So Sammy went to the bathroom then came hurrying back. When he opened the right closet door again - what did he find . . . a furry black stuffed animal spider with tiger stripes on his back.

“WE-FA-FUR-TON!” Sammy yelled. “You’re real!”

So Sammy and Wefafurton became best friends. They ate breakfast together, they went to bed together and sometimes they even had a bath together. But best of all, his new friend never went home.

“Hey, Mom,” Sammy said, “Tomorrow I’m going to make a rocket factory so I can blast off to the moon with Wefafurton!”
“You better talk to your father about that,” his mother answered.                                                                     


If You Can't Change Your Circumstances, Change Your Attitude

Once we replace negative thoughts and call on God in prayer, we are better able to become more aware of our attitudes or the way we choose to think about our circumstances.

One day I walked into the room just as one of my young sons punched his little brother in the nose. I immediately began a lecture.

“In our home, we don’t hit each other. When we feel mad, we talk about it,” I said, placing my hands on my hips.

My young son obviously felt bad about what he’d just done and even worse about getting caught. He lowered his eyebrows and in a frustrated voice asked, “Why did we have to come down from heaven anyway?”

“When you were in heaven you were so excited about coming to earth, you shouted for joy,” I answered.

My young son lowered his eyebrows again, squished up his lips and thought for a moment before he replied, “Yea, well if I did, I was just teasing.”

He expressed well what many of us feel like when faced with yet another problem. We wonder - What was I thinking? I shouted for joy for this?

Yes! Though life can be difficult, it helps to remember that we actually signed up for mortality with enthusiasm. Everything we experience in this life gives us the opportunity to develop character. The person we become because of our experiences is the only thing we take with us when we die. Since none of us are going to get out of this alive, we might as well make the best of things while we’re here. Making the best of all our personal circumstances is the formula for developing a healthy attitude.

Paradoxically heaven didn’t have the requisite misery and pain for us to experience a fullness of joy. In heaven we couldn’t have children and “would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for (we) knew no misery; doing no good, for (we) knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that (we) might have joy.”(2 Nephi 2:23-25)

Wow! So we’re here to experience joy - and we can’t experience joy without experiencing misery and pain. That pretty much sums up the point of life. We’re here to gain knowledge, understanding, and personal experience through both joy and pain. There are certain character traits we develop only through difficult circumstances, such as patience, wisdom, unselfishness and love. In this life all things have their opposite - good and evil, virtue and vice, light and darkness, pleasure and pain, life and death. We all have difficult experiences to deal with. We have no control over many of the circumstances in our life, but we do have control over the person we become and the character we develop because we have the master controls over our attitude.



Saint Patrick's Day Photos

These are the cutest Saint Patrick's Day Photos I've seen. 
Libby, Emily and Sandy - my wonderful granddaughters.


John's Dream Comes True!

A dream is coming true for my son John today. John is an avid reader and usually devours several books a week. His favorite book series is the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. He has spent his hard earned money to buy each book and eagerly awaits the newest release. 
John was informed yesterday that he is one of 5 lucky winners in a Daily Herald newspaper contest.  As a result  he will be able to meet Branden Mull, ask him questions and receive a signed copy of the final book in the series TODAY.

This past week John RE-read all of the first four books so he is primed and ready to read the final book.

Congratulations John!


Catching the Golden Moments of Childhood

I walked into my living room the other day and found my daughter Alisa looking out the window at the close of day. 
I wanted the moment to last forever but I knew such moments are fleeting. Alisa is the last of my ten children - so I know how quickly childhood fades away. 
You have to catch the golden moments while you can. For children are like rays of sunshine . . . impossible to hold in the palm of your hand . . .  but you can hold them in your heart forever.


Celebrating New Life

Arianne, Alisa, Me, Martha, Karen, Teresa, April, Ashley and Amy
We LOVE to celebrate family!

One of my favorite things about being a mother is that I never have to stop having babies.  Now that I'm too old to bring new children into the world - my precious daughters are busy welcoming new children into our family.  We are expecting 5 new children this year!  This past weekend we had a baby shower to celebrate the almost arrival of Andrew Jordan Baadsgaard expected in a few weeks.  Girls night out was filled with great conversation, opening presents, going to a movie and out to dinner. I can't wait to hold my new grandson in my arms. (We sure missed you Aubrey.)

"Parents and children should realize that strong opposition will always come against the work and will of the Lord. Because the work (and glory) of God is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life as a family, it logically follows that the work of the adversary will strike directly at the heart of the home the family. Relentlessly Lucifer attacks the sanctity of life and the joy of parenthood."

Russell M. Nelson, "Set in Order Thy House," Ensign, Nov. 2001, 71


When We Rely On God For Strength

We find the path to happiness by quickly replacing all negative, fearful or unloving thoughts. We take the first step along the path when we receive instruction and comfort from God. Negative thinking effectively blocks the flow of love and wisdom from our Creator. Prayer allows us to connect with strength and wisdom beyond our own and helps us see reality with greater clarity. If we want more confidence in life, ourselves and others we need to keep a prayer in our hearts all the time. Then God can truly transform us by the renewing, refreshing or recharging our mind.

When we rely on God for strength we also acquire a new resiliency. When something stressful happens to us we quickly choose to draw on divine strength. God can teach us how to quickly reframe or redefine the difficult situation so that we can see our circumstances with a greater sense of calm and trust in God’s love and ultimate plan for our happiness. Our Creator is ever ready to help us. When we have God at our side, nothing is impossible. “If God be for us, who can be against us?”(Romans 8:31)

Our Creator will also help us learn to see other people in a more loving way. To explore this idea, think of someone you do not have kind feelings for. Perhaps you really don't like this person and feel righteously justified with your evaluation of their worth. When you’re willing to be truly sincere, offer a prayer and ask for help to see that person the way God does. If you continue praying about this person long enough, you will eventually be enlightened. That person may not ever change, but the way you think about that person will change dramatically. You will no longer be self-deceived and will be granted a glimpse into that person’s soul. Praying about the people you dislike has the potential to change your life like nothing else.

God will also help us let go of the past. We all have enough bad things happen to use as an excuse to be miserable for the rest of our lives. We can’t change the past; even God can’t change the past. Yet, with divine help, we can change the hold the past has over us through repentance or forgiveness. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, God will help us let go of the past in a way that it will no longer have a negative impact on our thoughts and behavior in the present.

The war in heaven has already been waged and won. Good triumphed over evil. The only battle that remains is the battle for our souls. That battle in waged largely in our minds. “. . . be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.”(Romans 12:2) We have been promised we are never alone to bear our burdens or face our challenges. “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”(2 Kings 6: 16) So we can let go of negativity, hate and fear. If we ask God to help us, our hearts will change in ways we never dreamed possible.


More On Getting Rid of Fear

Our thoughts and subsequent behavior have the power to bring great hope or harm to our posterity. In the same way we might write a script for a play, we help author our children’s thoughts by the way WE think. We have no secret or private musings that don’t influence us and those we live and associate with. If we take the time to cultivate loving, uplifting thoughts, we become the fertile field for our children’s hearts to grow in. We can’t control the elements of sun and storm, but we can be their good earth.

When I first became a mother, I often felt overwhelmed and inadequate. I read every book and article I could find about parenting and discovered that experts kept changing their minds and disagreeing with each other.  I finally decided to ask the only real expert. I plead with God to teach me how to love my husband and children. Each time I prayed I felt impressed to change my thoughts.

I remember receiving the impression that if I really wanted to help one particular child, I had to let go of all my most personal fears. Those fears didn't consist only of public speaking or death, but included fear of failure, not being good enough, pretty enough or smart enough, being rejected by those I loved or even that I was unknown to God.  As I gradually uncovered and let go of my fears, I watched my little girl let go of hers. As I replaced my negative thoughts with positive ones, I watched my little girl blossom into her true self. Today that same little girl who didn't dare leave the house alone because a grasshopper might jump on her has earned a PhD from a prestigious Ivy League school and travels the world working on archaeological sites, doing research and presenting papers.

Half of all hospital beds are filled with worry warts and hypochondriacs. We need to relax and turn our lives over to God. Obsessive worrying is a bad habit that demonstrates a basic lack of trust in our Creator. We need to remember God is in charge. Like staring at pictures in magic-eye books, we have to be still, focus and then relax before the image appears. When we focus on positive thoughts and learn how to relax, we too will see the magic in our lives that we are missing at first glance.

When I taught writing to college students, I told them to type on the computer with the screen turned off so they couldn’t see and criticize what they had written. My students couldn’t write well if they were constantly worried about their mistakes. If they focused on expressing themselves in the first draft then worked on grammar and spelling in a later draft, their craftsmanship improved dramatically. We likewise don’t live well when we focus on everything we or others are doing wrong all the time. Everyday life is first draft. We can go back and make corrections. We need to let go of our perfectionism, over-anxiety and our multitude of fears. Most fears are blown way out of proportion.

For example, when my daughter Amy was three she was mortally afraid of the tiny, black pieces of sock lint that floated into the bathwater from her tiny toes. She would jump up and scream, pointing at the horrible, dark monsters. I tried reasoning with her, calmly explaining that sock lint was nothing to be afraid of. It didn’t work.

My husband walked into the bathroom, observed his screaming daughter then suddenly became exuberant yelling, “Amy, kill it!” He grabbed the nearest powerful weapon - the toilet plunger - and demonstrated to his tiny daughter how to knock the smithereens out of a piece of sock lint mixed with toe sweat. “Now you do it,” he said, handing Amy the plunger.

To my surprise Amy quickly modeled her father’s behavior. Instantly, a smile marched across her face. She was empowered. Her screaming episodes in the bathtub disappeared. Similarly, the way we think about challenging people and situations in our personal lives can make them seem scarier than they really are. If we ask God to help us, we will be given the abilitly to see more clearly so we can do battle with our negative and fearful thoughts before they paralyze us.


Sometimes the difference in a winning season and a losing season is in the way we think about ourselves after we mess up or lose a game.

I went to a basketball game the other day. My team lost but I didn’t feel sad or blame any of the players for a poor performance. I see winning and losing differently now because I am a mother of a daughter who played basketball. I know about all the time and effort that goes into being on a basketball team. I know about the long practices, painful injuries, competition for positions and the deep personal disappointment that follows losing an important game. I know every player on the court is trying their best.

I remember telling my daughter after a heartbreaking loss, "Maybe it's not so much about winning or losing, but putting everything you have on the court so you can walk away knowing you gave it all you had."

"Yeah I know all that Mom, but it still hurts," my daughter answered.

Now when I go home from any sporting event where my team doesn't win, I think about all those young men or women who gave their best to an effort that didn't work out the way they planned. I know they’re probably at home hurting inside - criticizing themselves or wishing for a second chance on a crucial play.

I want to say, “Stop! Look forward, not back. You can’t change what has already happened. Picture yourself doing better in your next game.”

I read an amazing study once that said the difference between a winning and losing season for two teams with equal talent is how the individual players think about themselves after losing a game. Players who visualize them selves doing better in the next game have a much better chance of a winning season than players who are overly self-critical and dwell on past mistakes.

It works the same way at home. When we are overly self critical and agonize about everything we said or did we have a hard time living in the present or moving into the future with hope and joy. At times, we all wish we could get a second chance, but we can’t go back. However, we do have the ability to positively influence lives today. If we don’t visualize our selves doing better tomorrow, we spend too long in despair.

Some people score their parenting success by how their children turn out. The truth is many wonderful parents won’t see an immediate return on their investment. No matter what anyone says to make them feel better, it still hurts. If we are wise, we will stop keeping score that way. In every sporting event there is a winner and a loser; but parenting is different. There are no winners and losers because the game never ends and God is the only one who knows enough to keep score.

Some of our heart-felt desires are fulfilled but many are not. For each life comes with sunshine and sorrow, happiness and heartache. Yet one thing I also know about life - no matter what happen to us - it goes on. The score-keeper’s total at the end of the game may not be what we counted on and the harvest isn’t always what we expect. Yet, through the grace of God, there is always another season yet to come.


LDSLiving Magazine Article

Check out the March-April issue of LDSLiving Magazine. 

I have an article in it called "Adventures in Smiling". 

The magazine took this piece from my newest book called "15 Secrets to a Happy Home".


Sharing my Love of Writing with Students

One of the things I like best about being an author is when teachers invite me into their classroom to talk about writing.  I especially enjoyed my classroom visit to Reese Elementary School today with Mr. Roberts and Mrs. Beyal's students. These students asked great questions and some of them even shared their own writing with me. I have a feeling that there are many future writers in this group of bright enthusiastic students.  Thank you for inviting me and KEEP WRITING!


Getting Rid of Fear

Fearful thoughts take all the fun out of living. Even if the worst thing we can imagine happens, we will discover we can survive it. Life goes on and we are capable of much more than we know. The what-if disease takes a terrible toll on our happiness.

My favorite remedy for the what-if disease is what I call the horribilization remedy. My rules for horribilization are as follows: First have a fearful thought such as, I have to give a speech in front of all those people. I know I’m going to bomb. We usually obsess over that thought until we’re ready to pass out. To horribilize you have to go even deeper. You think of what-ifs until the very worst thing happens - death. You horriblize to the death conclusion like this, What if I give such a bad speech that everyone thinks I’m stupid and they tell my boss and he fires me and then I can’t buy groceries, starve and die? I guarantee that taking a fearful thought to the death conclusion will always make you laugh at yourself. Besides that, I believe life after death is going to be great so dying isn’t actually all that bad.

When my friend was going through treatment for breast cancer I asked her how she was doing. 
"I'm doing fine," she said. "This treatment is awful but I figure if it doesn't work and I die, I'll be able to be with Pete (her husband who had died unexpectedly at an early age) and if I live I'll be able to be stay here with my children and grandchildren for a few more years.  Either way, I trust that what ever happens is in God's hands, that I'm loved and everything will work our for the best."

A little natural fear is normal; without it we wouldn’t need courage. On the other hand, paralyzing fear is and always will be a fatal disease of the heart for it signals the end of faith. Fear and negativity take up so much room in our heart there is no space for anything else.

I used to have preconceived ideas about how events and people in my life were supposed to turn out. I always worried that things wouldn't work out the way I wanted. Yet life always has a way of teaching us that we are not in charge. The only control we have is how we respond to the the things that happen to us.
Now I choose to wake up, think positive thoughts, do my best that day, learn from what happens then leave the rest in God’s hands. It is amazing how much better I feel.

“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong.”(D&C 121: 45)