Tuesday, August 28, 2018


The best part of being a coach is that it incorporates into my life as a mom.  Sometimes that is a difficult balance.  I remember a couple of years ago when I was at Aquabears and Scott and Tyler were toddlers and my summer became booked with lessons.  It was hard to say no.  No to the kids, the parents and the money.  With time saying no became easier as I found balance between my kids and my job.  I have loved the last 3 years at Dana Hills.  I truly know it was where I was supposed to be.  It was where my kids were supposed to be.  They grew to love swimming. And it wasn't the laps, times or awards that they grew to love.  It was the experience of summer rec swimming that I wanted to give them.  Snow cones, cheers, dances, fancy county dinners, playing games on the grass all summer long.  That is what rec swimming is about. Probably more so than the actual swimming.  That is what has kids in this area swimming so incredibly fast for only being in the water for a couple of months.  Our community was much younger and even though it is only 25 minutes away the County Rec swim culture that spans from Blackhawk to Clayton never quite made it to Brentwood.  So I decided to take a job 25 minutes away, the closest team to our town that was truly rec and have been so grateful for the experience.

The families on Dana Hills are amazing.  The kids are even more amazing.  Dana Hills has always had really strong older kids which is awesome but I wanted to see some of those kids try USS to have an easier adjustment to College if they wanted.  A lot have gotten more into Water Polo and I love coaching little kids so that is what we focused on.  You can't build a little kid program without having a great lesson program and unfortunately our pool doesn't allow us to use the pool before April or have a lesson program so we incorporated it into the team with the Spirit Squad.  The spirit squad were 13-14 kids who always helped with spirit events.  About a week into my first year, we decided to make it more of a coaching role.  So 2 days a week our 13-14's came to volunteer and teach little kids how to swim.  It has been really rewarding to see it grow.  I remember the first year, it took a lot of teaching to let the kids go and allow them to actually try to swim independently.  Year two that became more natural and really my third year I felt like it was this well established program that was amazing with Coach Kelly at the helm. The little kid program started to do great and I know will continue to grow the team from the bottom up.

I had a great time coaching alongside great friends and coaches.  We laughed everyday, usually about totally non swim related events.  We had a quote of the day which I wished I had written down that still make me laugh.  Dan 2.0, B. vs. E., the adventures of CK, lack of male hormones, madagascar, communication earpiece, mental breakdowns, tummy aches, donut runs, the death of the drone, Otter convulsions, Otter Olympics, Pineapple Run, Intersquad Meets, Mini Meets and so much more all bring back laughs and memories.  I hope they will forever.  I am so blessed that I have swam and coach alongside coaches from most teams in one capacity or another. Coaches who I consider great role models, amazing colleagues and friends.  We share memories from high school, memories from travel meets, memories from practices and memories from coaching.  We really are a tight niche community that is cheering for each other and our community of swimmers.

I learned so much in 3 years. The greatest thing I probably learned was organization. Organizing our coaches, training, otter pups, groups, meets, etc. etc etc.  The list is endless.  I learned to take everything with a grain of salt.  Every parent on a team wants what is best for their kid and I appreciate that.  That used to bother me but now being a mom and just wanting my kids to be happy, I realize that all parents want that for their kids.  I learned the importance of balancing pleasing vs. being firm. That is different for every coach and every program which is why it is so great to have so many programs.  I am all about having fun but also swimming correctly.  I learned to solve problems simply.  Give the swimmer the opportunity to try and succeed. Sometimes swimmers really want to be with friends or in a different lane.  Usually coaches know their best placement but who are we to always know 100%.  Sometimes it is more powerful for the swimmer to come to that conclusion and be given the opportunity to try.  Given the knowledge that their coach wants them to succeed.  Wants them to strive to be the best they can be.  I learned that my kids happiness is what is most important.  Not the swimming, not the best time, but their overall emotional, mental happiness.

The theme for this year in my head was grit.  It all started with a conversation about the power of grit which is a big topic in teaching.  A book came out saying that success it often the result of grit.  Not the kids who it always comes easiest to but the kids who need to have a little grit in the journey. Scott got bumped from a relay pretty early in the season.  He didn't have the opporunity to race his events on Sunday which might or might not have changed the result.  He was devastated, however, it was an opportunity to teach so many life lessons.  First, you have no power over others, just yourself and need to let relays play out.  You want to cheer on everyone and make it about the best possible team that can be formed.  Also, dissapointment can make you work harder.  You can take that opportunity to work hard and motivate you and that is exactly what he did. While he was bummed at his last Woodlands invitational not to be on the blocks with his friends, he let it motivate him.  He is an amazing relay swimmer and had an amazing swim at the end of the year that I know was that much sweeter because of a little bit of grit. Another swimmer got DQ'd from a call that should have been overturned.  It was a call that the judge kept changing his story.  In the end it motivated him to chose to swim that event at the next invitational and do amazing.  So this last season for me was about grit.  It was about coming together as a team to score the best we could at county.  It was about our B relays that had to score the best they could to get us points.  Kids who were on the bubble trying to get into consols and finals.  It was a great season, a lot of fun, a lot of life lessons.

At the end of last year, I felt that my time with Otters was probably not going to be much longer.  I didn't know the timeline or reasons but remember feeling that impression.  I really do believe in a higher being guiding and directing our lives.  I have always prayed that the Lord would guide me to where I needed to be and have felt that every job I have had has been where I should be.  Right time and right place.  As the season went on, it became clearer that this would be my last year at the Otters.  Bitter Sweet. Mostly because it was time to build up swimming in my community.  The kids in East Contra Costa deserve an amazing Rec Team.  They deserve what my kids got to be a part of and what I got to be a part of.  I also really felt the need to be closer to home.  My time with my family has become more and more precious.  Having 6 kids has its certain challenges with quality time being the biggest one.  I haven't had the chance to have that with a lot of my kids because I spent an hour or more in the car being away from home.  In the fall I would drive out to Aquabears at 4 and get home at 8.  For Tyler that was the entire time hew as home.  I never had the chance to read to Blake after school.  Hanna was content but not with her mom as much as I wanted.  I had nannies in the past who were amazing.  In many ways probably more energetic than I was but this year wasn't the best with our nanny situation.  It was great in the beginning but ended up piecing people together here and there who would sit my kids in front of electronics or do there own thing while my kids were off doing something else.  It made me grateful for how awesome my nannies have been in the past. Just not the right fit.  Plus, I realized that I have been doing this for 20 years and it was time to do something in my community how I wanted to do it. 

So that leaves us with now.  I am not sure what the future has in store.  I don't know if it will be just quality time with my family which I will treasure and be so grateful for.  I don't know if it will mean doing clinics or being a swim mom or helping start a team.  I know I will be guided and I know that the Lord knows what our community needs, he knows what will be the perfect family/work balance for me.  There have been a couple of avenues that I looked into and just weren't right.  I laugh at how unright they were.  I love that.  I remember when Danny lost his job at Lajauns and started his own practice a couple months later.  I knew without a doubt that it was meant to be.  That happened again in Walnut Creek before he was to buy another practice.  He knows my strengths and weaknesses and knows my heart.  I really do want the kids in East Contra Costa to have swimming as part of their community like it is over the hill.  I am excited for the potential.  I was at a water polo introduction meeting last week and the water polo coach had the same energy, excitement and drive that has been placed on my heart for Brentwood. He said they just started a kid program a year ago and it has grown so much and will just continue to grow.  He talked about how OMPA, which is a rec league over the hill, being an amazing feeder into their water polo and how he envisions something like that out here someday.  He had a vision for aquatics with all the new pools being built and thinks we are at the start of something pretty incredible out here.  I really do share his feelings.  Most coaches do.  I can't tell you how many really amazing coaches come up to me to see when Brentwood Aquatics will be a powerhouse.  We have the population, the numbers, the pools.  We have some great programs that have and are starting.  I think time, culture and getting coaches to stay her and build this community is going to start happening and I am excited to see how aquatics changes and grows in the next 20 years.   

So as I am sad to leave and know I will miss the kids and families and coaches, I know it is right.   And that makes me excited.  I have learned to be patient. I have learned that you don't always need to know what is coming but let it unfold in the Lord's perfect timing.  That makes me excited. Much more excited than if it was on what I thought was the right timing.  

For now, I love being home with my kids.  I love doing homework after school.  I love being able to develop myself as a coach. I have a passion for what I do in my home and in my work and that is such a great blessing!!! 

Thanks Otters for 3 incredible years.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

August haps

Kira did great at her gymnastics showcase at Black Diamond.  She's been stressing going since the coach isn't nice (she claims), but she still did well.  

Hanna turned one on the 22nd!  She's been an easy baby.  She just entertains herself.

A shot of all the kids together, even if they had cake all over their faces.  

We went to Del Valle on the 24th and went camping without the camping part.  First we went to the lake and the kids played in the water.  

Self timer shot with the iphone:  fair quality but good expressions and good lighting.

Next we went to the campground area and hung out with the Olsons, McCauleys, Nielsens, and Becks.  When it was time to go to bed, we went home!  Camping without camping! 

Okay, time to update my blog.

Letter of Intent for MFT program

Heidi Barbara Lietz

                                          STATEMENT OF INTENT


          I struggled to keep tears from streaming down my face as I watched my Grandmother fight for every breath.  Her frail hands clung to Noel, my childhood doll, as she listened to the doctor’s diagnosis.  “Patients in your stage of emphysema have approximately six months to live.  There is nothing more I can do for you, and from talking to you I know you are anxious to get home.”  It made me angry how easy the words came out of his mouth.  I wanted the doctor to show empathy, but instead he hurried to the next patient and directed us to the hospice nurse.

Understanding of Social Work and reasons for wanting to be a social worker

      The following day, I hurried to answer a gentle knock at the hospital room’s door. Clara, a social worker sent from Hospice, came to help my grandmother.  She was different from the doctors;  her eyes expressed love and her soft spoken words brought comfort to my family.  That morning I not only opened the door for a saint, but also opened to door to a profession I wanted to pursue and a woman whose footsteps I wished to follow.  I learned the difference it makes to focus on the good things in others lives, and to help them gain the self-confidence, love and desire to keep living.  Love can do so much for someone, and the thing that is wonderful is that love is found at the center of social work.  I desire to learn how to help others change from realizing the potential they have in their lives and desire they have to find the greatness of life and blessings they have. 

Limitations and Talents

         I returned to college at the end of the summer, eager to gain knowledge about the social sciences.  I pursued my education in Marriage, Family and Human Development, so that someday, like Clara, I would be able to help others through stressful times.  Studying Vygotsky’s Socialcultural Theory, Piaget’s stages of development, and numerous other research theories continued to intrigue my interest and increase my knowledge in human development.  I learned that the family is crucial to humanity and what can be done to help others strengthen their own families and communities.
       Although numerous research and statistic classes helped prepare me to add to the ongoing research in social sciences, my true love and knowledge has been gained in helping others.  While attending BYU, the research I did was informative and helpful, however, did not fill me with the same satisfaction and enjoyment that I found through volunteering and leadership roles I undertook.  I am a very dedicated person and have seen the results of dedication and hard work in school, athletics and leadership positions.  I have learned that love, friendship, service and selflessness is the greatest tool to help and influence others.  This love and empathy is a great attribute as well as a limitation for this field.  I put my whole heart into helping others, which allows me to feel the greatest joy and happiness as well as the pain and sadness.  However, it is worth it to put your heart into serving others to allow them to realize how much you love them and want them to achieve.
          Unfortunately, due to the decision to serve a mission, I was unable to complete the prerequisites for this program.  However, I will be able to complete my degree and prerequisites necessary during the Spring and Summer session prior to starting the program in Fall, 2004.  I understand they are important and know that I can complete them prior to the start of the program to be prepared.

Paid and Voluntary Experience  

          During high school I volunteered for Guide Dogs for the Blind as a puppy raiser.  I took my dog everywhere and learned how to discipline, socialize and raise a three month old puppy into a well trained two year old guide dog.  In the process you gain a best friend,  as well as learn dedication as a pupply raiser.  The tears of pain of saying goodbye when your job is done, are shortly replaced with tears of joy as you watch their new blind companion work for the first time without a cane and start a life full of new hope and companionship. 
          During college I continued to volunteer as a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee.  We learned to compromise and meet common goals.  Sitting around a table, the committee discussed and implemented ways for BYU athletes to have a greater impact on the community.  “Buff Don’t Puff”, an anti-smoking program, was one teaching method used to inform fourth grade students about the adverse affects of smoking.  Nothing compares to seeing kids eagerly line up to sign a poster declaring they will not smoke.  Influencing children to make righteous decisions is one of the greatest services and something I want to continue for the rest of my life.
          In addition to volunteer work at BYU, I competed on a NCAA Division I level Swim Team.  My days consisted of swimming from 6 to 8AM, attending classes and heading back to the pool for two hours of training each night plus traveling on weekends for competition.  Discipline, dedication and hard work paid for my education with an athletic scholarship and also allowed me to achieve several goals and honors.  I was awarded Mountain West Conference Swimmer of the Week several times, Academic All-American honors, BYU Athlete Scholar, Lowe’s Athlete Community Service Award, as well as BYU Most Valuable Player.  As a junior I was selected to be team captain, where I learned skills necessary to motivate, uplift and encourage my teammates to achieve goals in and outside of the pool.
          After winning the 50 yard freestyle individual event at the Mountain West Conference Championships and breaking the school record, I was filled with satisfaction for achieving my goal.  However, I realized that it was time for me to take a break from the team I loved and the education that fascinated me to receive an education in the real work and to pursue my real love, which is found in helping and serving others.  I took a year and a half off from swimming and school to serve a full
time mission for my church.  I was called to the Spain Barcelona mission, where I learned more about life, culture, struggles, pain, family, dedication, hard work, sacrifice and love that has forever changed my life. My best friends and examples became people who were often separated from their family.  They were people who were living in poverty and were often deceived that Spain offered a better life and opportunities than their native country.  
          A year and a half full of love and service, feeling others pain, sharing their joys, and doing everything possible to support, embrace and lift my brothers and sisters exposed me to more than I every expected.  In Spain I learned the reality, heartache and affects of abuse, broken families, loneliness, death and suicide, as well as the joys of births, the Lord, education, the strength of families and the power of change and repentance.  On my mission I had the opportunity to train new missionaries entering the mission field, which gave me the opportunity to learn from their new ideas and desire to work, as well as help guide them to make the transition to a new lifestyle.  More than
anything this experience allowed me to learn who I am, who I want to be, and how I can make that happen.

Family Perspective

          Surrounded by different family situations on my mission allowed me to better understand and appreciate the constant love, support and guidance of my family.  I was taught right from wrong, learned to work hard to reach goals, and strive to follow their examples.  As a teenager I made my own decisions and I learned from my own mistakes.  My parents high expectations gave me the desire to be the best, and their love and friendship taught me how to treat others.  At the age of 17, many looked at me as the teenager that had everything.  I was a nationally recognized swimmer athlete, good
student, surrounded by wonderful friends and a member of a family who everyone loved.  However, something was lacking in my life.  I was happy, but not completely fulfilled.  I began to question the purpose of life and why we are here.  My questions lead me to God and a church that changed my life, habits and dreams.
          For the first time in my life, my family and friends opposed a path I chose to follow.  I felt alone for a year, waiting for my eighteenth birthday to join a church that brought happiness to my life.  At the time I was upset and confused for the opposition, however, looking back on the experience, I realize opposition helps an individual grow and develop.  My family’s lack of knowledge about the church, and their concern for me created this opposition.  This experience taught me to step into others shoes, feel what they are feeling, and try to understand from seeing things through their eyes, heart
and experiences.  I am blessed for a family who has taught me empathy, love and that helping others brings an individual happiness. 

Reasons for Pursuing a Master’s Degree        
          During the last few months of my grandmother’s life, the Social Worker Clara showed me the joy in expressing love to others.  I learned conversations can cure loneliness, tears can diminish pain and love is something that everyone needs and deserves.  My volunteer experiences, especially my mission deepened this conviction and desire to help others.  In graduate school, I want to continue to gain skills necessary to help improve the quality of others lives.  Brigham Young University’s Masters of Social Work Program offers a curriculum that matches my professional pursuits.  I have learned through my educational and life experiences that there is no greater joy and happiness that what can be found in helping guide someone to understand how to improve their own life.  I plan to gain an increase in knowledge to make a difference in others lives.

McMillan Advice from Wedding Shower

Advice From the McMillan Family Shower
Appreciate all the little things in your beautiful life.
Be ready to go when Danny is ready.
Care for the other more than yourself, Concern for the little things.
Dream big and work hard to fulfill your dreams and goals.
Exercise regularly - alone and as a couple.
Fighting is not permissible at any time.
Give lots of hugs.
Have fun!
It is a 2 way street - Marriage is giving and taking.
Join a choir, club, or sports team together.
Keep putting all your stuff away so that you can find it when you need it.
Live it up.  You only get one life here, so make the best of it.
Muchos besos!
Never hold a grudge.
Often share kisses and only have eyes for the other.
Plan dates every weekend that keep the romance alive.
Quit talking about past boyfriends.
Respect each other.
Show forth greater love if you have a disagreement.
Tell him you love him every day.
Up’s and down’s will happen.  Enjoy the up’s and learn from the down’s.
Value each other above all else.
Whining will not get you anywhere.  Always have a good attitude.
X-ray your teeth to keep you dentist happy with your beautiful smile.
Yack a lot.  Always communicate about concerns and your daily goings.
Zesty filled dinners.

2009 Church Talk

I am grateful to speak today.  I decided to speak on how to ensure our new years resolutions can add joy and happiness to our lives. As I have come to know our Savior, I have come to know that he wants and has prepared a way for us to be happy and enjoy the journey of life.
Much of my talk is from Elder Wirthlins article "lessons learned in the journey of life".  He recalled a Christmas Eve on his mission in Germany saying,

"That year as Christmas Day approached, my companion and I decided to take a walk and talked of our hopes and dreams. We talked of our goals and what we wanted to have happen in our lives.

I committed that night that I would not waste my time. I would renew my efforts to serve the Lord. I made up my mind that I would magnify any callings I received in the Lord’s kingdom.  That was also the evening I made up my mind about the type of person whom I would marry.
Six decades have intervened since that Christmas Eve in Oberndorf when I made those resolutions. Much has happened in the intervening years.
After 80 years of living, I’ve begun to pick up a few ideas about what it is that makes people happy and successful. I’d like to tell you five things that, if you will take them seriously and apply them to your own life, will bring you happiness, success, fulfillment, and the obtaining of an inheritance in the celestial kingdom.”

The First key to a happy and fulfilled life is to have faith in a loving Heavenly Father. 

Since I joined the church ten years ago, I have come to know without a doubt that Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to be joyful. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 has been a scripture that has helped increase my understanding of how to find happiness through the journey of life that includes numerous peaks and valleys.  
It reads, "Trust in the Lord with all thine bheart; and lean not unto thine cown dunderstanding.  In all thy ways aacknowledge him, and he shall bdirect thy cpaths."
We can all make our resolutions and envision what we want today, tomorrow or this next year to include.  However, I think we all know that life doesn't always go as planned.  In those times, when we lean on the Lord for understanding we can find peace in the Lords wisdom and plan, which is often a greater plan than our own.
Ten years ago, when I was 17 and awaiting to be baptized, I received opposition from family and friends and at times felt very alone.  It was than that I learned to trust in the Lord and allow him to guide my life.  I quickly learned that following the Lord doesn't always mean that we will have the the easiest path, but it will be the path with the most fulfillment, growth and internal happiness. I have strived to make this trust in the Lord the driving force of my decisions and root of my happiness.
There have been countless instances in the past ten years, both big and small, in which my faith and the spirit has guided my decisions and thus increased my happiness and joy. When I was a senior in college I was blessed with scholarships to any college I desired.  Amidst the world thinking the stanfords or harvards were the best schools to attend, I felt a church school would be the best experience and fit for me.  Answers to prayer helped me lean on the Lords wisdom instead of the worlds which turned out to be the perfect college and faith promoting experience for me.   
A second decision that changed my life occured two months before turning 21. I happened to be at a conference swim meet. Life was great, I was captain of our team, loved school, loved my social life, had broken records the first day of the meet and was excited for the remaining days. Life was going exactly as planned and I was working hard and acheiving my new years resolutions.  That night, unable to sleep, I felt I should read the scriptures again.  I opened to D&C 31:2-4, which read,

  2 Behold, you have had many afflictions because of your family; nevertheless, I will bless you and your afamily, yea, your little ones; and the day cometh that they will believe and know the truth and be one with you in my church.

3 Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come; and your tongue shall be loosed, and you shall declare aglad tidings of great joy unto this generation.

  4 You shall adeclare the things which have been revealed to my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun. You shall begin to preach from this time forth, yea, to reap in the field which is bwhite already to be burned.

As I read, I knew the Lord was speaking directly to me.  I knew I was to serve a mission.  I knew that this revelation had been given to me in the Lords perfect timing.  He taught me that night that sometimes life doesn't go as planned, we will be asked to leave a comfortable life to follow him, and worldly accomplishments are simply that, worldy accomplishments. I was aware that he knew my circumstances and perfect timing for my mission.  That was the best decision of my life.  My mission forever changed and blessed my life beyond comprehension.  It is now easier for me to be able to serve the Lord when it might not be so convenient for me.  
Attending BYU and serving a mission were not in my New Years Resolutions or any resolution by that matter.  However, having faith in the Lord and listening and acting upon his promptings more closely was a goal I have each time I pray, seek the atonement, prepare for the sacrament and reflect on my progress.  I think it is important to write down goals, make lists, write in a journal or do whatever it is that helps us track our progress and strive for greater heights, as long as we are willing to adjust those goals as dictated by the Lord.  If my goals had remained going to Stanford to swim on an elite team or finishing school in four years, I would have missed out on two of the greatest, faith promoting and life altering blessings in my life. That is why having faith in the Lord needs to be at the top of our priorities as we ponder this new year.  
Elder Wirthlin's second key to happiness as we sojourn in life is to set righteous goals.  He says, "Many things will compete for your attention as you pursue your course through life. There will be endless distractions. People and things will call to you, singing the siren songs of wealth, pleasure, and power. Of course, when applied to righteous ends, these methods may be of great worth. The problem is that in most cases this search leads to a place that may seem at first glance to be desirable, but the closer you get, the more you see it for what it is."
One experience that I will never forget occured when I was 2 months pregnant with Scott, our first son.  I was in commercial sales while Danny was finishing up dental school.  Out of the blue, within a week three people contacted me to pursue various job opportunties.  One of those jobs was a very high paying and pretigious medical sales job.  I went on the interviews, and against all odds and experience got the job.  Not feeling so great about pursuing such a career with a newborn, I told the company it was probably not a great fit since I was pregnant. To my dismay the company tried to change my mind and work with my needs. The opportunity to work there was a decision I wish the Lord had taken from me, but in his infinite wisdom allowed me to make.  I knew that the only thing right for me and my family was to decline the offer. It was one of the best decisions that I have made and taught me valuable life lessons.
While the Lord wants us to provide for our family the best we can and pursue righteous goals, it is important we remember our priorities, recognize how and what he wants us to provide for them and heed the promptings of the spirit.   Sometimes the world makes us believe blessings come in the form of wealth and prestige.  While they can be in those forms, there are countless forms of success; spiritual growth, family unity and time as well as peace are just some of the most cherished and meaningful blessings my family enjoys as we strive to find balance in our work, family, hobbies and church pursuits.  
Third, Elder Wirthlin says, once you have established righteous goals, work with all your might to accomplish them. In the words of Elder David O. McKay: “Let us … realize that the privilege to work is a gift, that power to work is a blessing, that love to work is success.” 
It is important that we seek opportunities to work in our profession, community, family and church.  As we do so, our lives and the lives of others will be blessed both spiritually and temporally.
One of the hardest working men I know was on my mission.  Archie had migrated from the Phillipines to Barcelona in search for a better life.  He worked long days as a chef and in his little spare time accompanied the missionaries serving others.  He literally gave all that he had, both of his time, service and humble means to bless the lives of others and along the way was richly blessed. 
While we are usually not asked to give all that we have, we are asked to give back a tenth to the Lord in tithes and offerings.  Paying a full tithe is one of the greatest ways to bless the lives of others, increase our faith and receive countless blessings.  Being a full tithe payer should be a resolution for every member of the Lords church.  If this is a difficult thing to do, work on it.  Just like anything else, the more we work on paying our tithing, praying for help and having a desire to accomplish this goal, the more we will be blessed with a willing heart and faith to accomplish the goal.  

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the gospel of work. Elder Wirthlin says, "I believe that much idleness we experience comes from misunderstanding the Atonement of the Lord. We cannot simply sit around and do nothing and expect to be successful in spiritual or temporal things. We need to do all that is in our power to accomplish our goals, and the Lord will make up the difference."

His fourth key to happiness is to magnify our callings and be faithful members of the Church.

Elder Wirthlin says, "Some mistake the Church for a place where perfect people gather to say perfect things, think perfect thoughts, and feel perfect feelings. May I quickly dispel such a thought? The Church is a place where imperfect people gather to help and strengthen each other as we strive to return to our Heavenly Father. Every one of us will travel a different road in mortality. We will each progress at different rates. Temptations that afflict your brother may not trouble you at all. The Church is a mutual improvement society with the goal to help every son and daughter of God to return to His presence. 

One way you can measure your value in the kingdom of God is to ask yourself, “How well am I doing in helping others reach their potential? Do I support others or do I tear them down?” If you’re tearing others down, you are tearing down the kingdom of God. If you are building others, you are building the kingdom.

Another test of your worth in the kingdom is to ask yourself if you are actively engaged in magnifying your calling in the Church. When you magnify your calling, you don’t merely go through the motions; you challenge yourself to serve in the place you are called with all your heart, might, mind, and strength.

If you do not have a calling in the Church, will you go to your bishop and tell him you are anxious to serve, willing to put your shoulder to the wheel?"

Most faithful members I have seen leave the church including bishops and branch presidents left due to something someone said or did or didn't say or do.  I am sure that I have offended others, said the wrong things and if I have I ask for your forgiveness.  I want to share a story with your about a ward which I love with leaders who are amazing in all regards.
Last Christmas, Danny and I gave birth to a stillborn son, Carl Lavar.  We love him and feel he is very much a part of our family. When we were asked about his birth and burial arrangements we were also told that it wasn't appropriate to announce his birth in church.  It was such an little thing, yet something that meant a lot to me at the time.  As I sat in sacrament and heard about the birth of another child, I went home so sad, felt that our sons birth wasn't important enough or didn't go as it should have gone to be recognized as the blessing he was to our family.  
In my pain, I went home and prayed to the Lord for help.  I prayed that the Lord would lift my burden and make everything alright.  Through prayer, I recognized that this was a situation that was unique and different than anything the leaders had previously dealt with. Through prayer, I felt the Saviors love, understood their perspectice and felt the leaders love for me and the members. The savior was able to lift my pain and fill me with his love.  That night, as if divinely inspired, the bishop called, apologetic for the response given to us that day and wanted to announce whatever we deemed appropriate.  
They didn't do anything wrong that day.  They made the best decision in the interest of all.  That experience was a wonderful teaching opportunity for me.  I needed to recognize that sometimes things won't go as I wish or want in the church, but one thing is certain The things people say or don't say, do or don't do shouldn't change our relationship with God and Christ and our membership in his church. As we recognize that we are all striving to do our best, less feelings will be hurt and more love will exist.       

Fifth, Elder Wirthlin reminds us to enjoy the journey. The people of God are a joyful people.  We have so much to smile about, be happy about, yes, even to laugh about.

So many of us are always waiting to be happy. “If only I could graduate, if only I could afford a car, if only I could get married …” For too many, happiness is just over the horizon, never reachable. Every time we climb one hill, happiness beckons just beyond the next.

It is a terrible thing always to be waiting for tomorrow, always depending on tomorrow, always excusing our todays because we are sure that only in the future will we possess the things that will fulfill us.  Don’t wait for tomorrow. Don’t wait for the right job, the right house, the right salary, the right dress size. Be happy today. Be happy now.

Make up your mind to be happy—even when you don’t have money, even when you don’t have a clear complexion, even when you don’t have the Nobel Prize. Some of the happiest people I know have none of these things the world insists are necessary for satisfaction and joy. Why are they happy? I suppose it is because they don’t listen very well. Or they listen too well—to the things their hearts tell them. They glory in the beauty of the earth. They glory in the rivers and the canyons and the call of the meadowlark. They glory in the love of their families, the stumbling steps of a toddler, the wise and tender smile of the elderly.

They glory in honest labor. They glory in the scriptures. They glory in the presence of the Holy Ghost.
One thing I know for certain: the time we have here goes by far too quickly. Don’t waste any more time sitting on the bench watching life pass you by."

Brothers and sisters, I testify that this is true.  One of the greatest gifts I have been given in my life is the gift to be happy.  Danny and I have been blessed with certain experiences that have allowed us to see each day as a gift from God.  Our first son was born healthy and we took parenthood, milestones and the miracle of life for granted in many ways.  Our second son was born with a life-threatening illness that allowed us to see the miracle of life.  My heart is filled each morning as I hear him cry, recognizing the gift I have to be with him for another day.  Most importantly, we have been blessed to understand the significance of our testimony of eternal life, eternal families and temple convenants in our family that is made possible to all through a loving and merciful Savior.  

We are blessed to have this knowledge.  The world needs this knowledge.  It is my prayer that we might bring more people to this knowledge through our prayers, faith and lifestyles.  It is the key to happiness.  As we strive to increase our faith in him, set righteous goals, work for those goals, magnify our callings and find joy in the journey we will be blessed with the Lords love.  We will find true happiness and we will be better prepared for our eternal reward.  This is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.