Friday, October 14, 2011


Sometimes it may seem like no big deal to be disobedient, and maybe no one will know or find out. However, as you can see in this story, I soon learned the hard way what can happen when you disobey.

Anne and her brother, John were off to summer camp. Anne was excited to spend time with her friend Hanna who would also be there.

When the children arrived at the camp, Miss Else who was one of the workers went over the rules with them. Miss Else told the group they were welcome to play outside in their free-time. She then gave them specific instructions not to go into the wooded area that was nearby. Miss Else explained to them that it was very easy to get lost in the forest.

The next morning the sun was shining. Since it was such a nice day, Anne and her friend Hanna decided to go outside and play ball.

As the girls kicked the ball back and forth, they got closer and closer to the edge of the forbidden forest.
While Anne and Hanna were playing, they noticed an unusual bird. They had never seen a bird like it before, and decided to get a closer look.

The bird flew into the woods while the girls followed close behind. When they got inside the forest, Hanna and Anne soon lost sight of the bird. However, they quickly noticed that there were lots of other interesting things to look at.

The girls remembered they had been told not to go into the woods because they could easily get lost. Anne and Hanna didn't think it was a big deal to look around a little while they were in the forest. Besides, they could still see the building they were staying at, and no one would have to know they had disobeyed.

Both Anne and Hanna were excited to explore the forest. They were having so much fun! It was as if they were finding hidden treasures everywhere.

The two friends had not gone very far when they realized they could no longer see the building they were staying at. They thought they better find their way back before anyone noticed they had been gone.
However, no matter how much they tried, they could not see which way they had come in. Everything looked the same.

Anne and Hanna noticed a fox. They had never seen one so close before. They didn't know if the fox was going to hurt them and were relieved to see the fox keeping its distance. As they kept trying to find their way back, they got hungry. They knew they must have missed lunch, and wondered if anyone was going to come looking for them.

Anne and Hanna walked around for hours. No matter which way they went, it seemed there was no way out. It was getting dark, Anne and Hanna knew they had missed both lunch and dinner. By now, they were very tired, hungry, and thirsty. Since the sun had gone down, they were also very cold. They were afraid to sit down and rest for fear of bugs crawling on them. They were also afraid that the foxes in the woods were going to eat them.

They were beginning to think they would be forced to spend all night in the forest. Neither of the girls had ever been so scared in their life! Anne said a silent prayer. She asked Heavenly Father if he would send help so they could find their way back.

Just as Anne had ended her prayer, Hanna excitedly shouted, "Look Anne, there is a light coming from that way!" Anne turned to see what Hanna was pointing at.

Immediately, both girls started to run as fast as they could towards the light. As they ran, they could see the light was coming from the building where they were staying at.

Back at the campsite, Miss Else was making sure everyone had gone to bed. It wasn't until now, that she noticed Anne and Hanna were missing. Miss Else thought she had better alert the other workers so they could go looking for the missing girls.

At that very moment, Anne and Hanna came running in. Miss Else asked where they had been. The girls told her that they had gotten lost in the woods. Miss Else scolded them. She said, "This was the very reason why you were instructed never to wander off into the forest." She then made the girls promise that they would not go into the woods again without an adult with them. It was easy for both Anne and Hanna to promise because they had been lost for nearly 10 hours, and they were both sure they weren't about to wander off again. They had learned their lesson on why it was important to obey the rules.

When the girls went to bed, they were both hungry and tired from walking all day. But they were grateful to be in their nice warm beds and away from the dark scary forest.

Anne was even more grateful to the Lord for helping them to see the light. Without it, she knew they could not have found their way back.

Psalm 119:105

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

Me at summer camp in 1970

The building we stayed in while we were at summer camp.

 Written and Illustrated by: Anne-Mette Howland

Always Tell The Truth

It's not always easy to tell the truth... That is why I wrote this true story of what happend to me when I was little. It was written for my children and now it's used for my grandchilren.
 Every day Anne and her brother John walked to school together.

It was a very long walk.

One day Johny and Anne discovered a short cut. It was through a yard with an old abandoned house on it. They loved running through the house and across the uncut grass.

A few weeks later when John and Anne came running through the yard, they noticed some builders had come to fix up the old abandon place.

When John and Anne came home from school, they clouldn't wait to complain to their mother about not having a short cut once the old house was fixed up.

Their mother had no idea they been taking a short cut to school. Then she told them not to go into old buildings. She explained to them that they could get hurt.

The next day Anne was going to walk the long way. Her brother John said, "No, let's just go the short way, while we can still run through the old building.

Anne was scared and said, "No, we should go the right way." John replied, "Oh come on, don't be such a baby! Nothing bad will happen. No one will ever have to know we took the short cut. Besides, we are running late...Come on!"

As they were going through the building John ran ahead of Anne. Anne wasn't watching were she was stepping because she was too busy trying to catch up to John. Just then Anne accidentally stepped on a rusty old nail which was sticking out of a piece of wood.

John was way ahead of Anne. He turned around to see where Anne was, then he yelled, "Come on Anne! What is taking you so long?"

The nail was stuck in Anne's foot. She lifted up her foot to show John the problem.

John came running back to help Anne pull the nail out of her foot.

As John and Anne were walking the rest of the way to school, John said to Anne, "Don't you tell anyone about stepping on that nail! Besides, you are fine now. This will have to be our little secret."
As John and Anne walked on, Anne promised John that she would not tell anyone about their secret.

Anne's foot hurt all day while she was at school. Anne did not tell anyone about stepping on the nail. She did not want to get into trouble.

That evening Anne wanted to go strait to bed after she had eaten her dinner. She was hoping the pain would go away and that she would be all better in the morning.
As Anne and her family were eating dinner, Anne's dad said, "Let's go to the airport and watch the airplane fly by."

Everyone in the family except Anne was excited about going to the airport.

While Anne was walking around the airport, it became harder and harder for her to walk. Anne's mom said, "Anne why are you walking so strange?"

Anne was scared to tell the truth. At first she was trying to think of a lie to keep her and her brother out of trouble.

Anne then thought that it was better if she told the truth. Anne told the whole story about the rusty old nail and how it had stuck in her foot.

Anne's dad said, "Stepping on a rusty old nail can be very serious. We'd better get you to the hospital."

The doctor told Anne it was a good thing she had come in. Then he told her the nurse would have to give her a shot so she could get better.

That night when Anne went to bed her leg still hurt, but she felt good inside because she had told the truth. Since Anne had told the truth the doctor was able to help her get well again.

*This story can also be used for why it's important to be obedient and why sometimes it's okay not to keep secrets.
(By the time we got to the doctor my leg was stiff and had started to turn purple.  It was a good thing I had told the truth or I would not have made it.)
Written and Illustrated By: Anne-Mette Howland

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

There is Always Tomorrow…or is There?

Ever since I was very young I always knew I was to write down the stories and lesson I have learned in life. I have been working on it here and there, but mostly I figured I could work on it when I get old.

Then I had a very frightening experience that made me realize I might not have tomorrow or “when I get old”. And since I feel these stories are very important for my children and grandchildren I have put them together so they can be put into a book.

My wake up call…

On February 12, 2010 Ralph and I went to a Valentines dance put on by our stake. As we were dancing I could tell I was starting to get sick. I ended up having a stomach flu. Whatever I ate went right through me!

While using Warfarin (blood thinner) it is dangerous to keep taking this medication when you are sick because you blood will continually thin. Unfortunately I was unaware of this fact, nor did the doctor inform me, to stop taking this medication. After 10 days of having this bug Ralph took me to see the doctor. I told the doctor I was very dizzy and felt like I was going to pass out. The doctor took my pulse standing up, sitting up and laying down. Then the doctor said my blood pressure showed that I was fine and that I was probably just feeling dizzy from being sick so long.

I asked the doctor if they could take my INR which shows how thin my blood is. A normal person’s blood level is at a one and the doctors like to keep mine between 1.6 and two. The doctor said, “Sure we can check your INR and we can see what your level is.”  When the nurse took my INR the machine kept reading error. The nurse thought her machine was broken.

They took a blood sample from my arm to see if they could read my INR this way. I went home and waited for the doctor to call me back to let me know the INR results. Still not knowing to discontinue using Warfarin, I took my usual dose before I went to bed. Tuesday morning I woke up feeling even worse than I had the day before, but since the doctor said I was fine, I kept pushing myself. I even went to my children’s parent teacher conference. I felt so sick while I was there but kept telling myself that it was probably because I had had the stomach flu for so long.

Later in the day the doctor’s office called to tell me they would like to take another blood sample since the first sample had been lost. I went in and when they pricked my finger the machine read error again. The nurse said that was strange, because it had worked on other patients they had seen since I came in yesterday. Again they drew my blood so they could do further testing.

The next day “Wednesday” I felt even worse than I had the past few days. I thought to myself that I just had to build up strength from being sick: as usual I pushed on. The doctor’s office called for the third time and asked me to come in to get my blood drawn again. I was so sick I could hardly get myself to the doctor’s office.  

For the third time when they pricked my finger the machine read error. The nurse told me that she read up on the machine and figured out that the machine read error because my blood level was so high it could not read it. Then the nurse asked me, “Did they tell you how high your INR read?” I said no. Then the nurse told me that it read 16 on Monday, and Tuesday it read 19, but they thought it had to be a mistake because if it really was that high I should not be able to walk around. I jokingly said, “Well, I really don’t feel good!” I did not take it too seriously since neither the nurse nor the doctor seemed terribly concerned.

Wednesday is the day my daughter Laila and I babysit my grandson Bladen, while my daughter in-law Brooke teaches violin and piano. I felt I was too sick to go, but pressed on regardless. I thought, “When we get to Brooke’s house, I will rest for a few minutes and then I will feel better.” As I was driving there, I kept felling more and more sick. I truly felt like I was going to die.

After Laila and I got to Brooke’s house I hurried and laid down. As I was laying there I could tell I was only feeling worse, so I called my husband Ralph to come and pick me up. When Ralph got to Brooke’s house I could hardly move. Ralph and my son, Jared gave me a Priesthood blessing. Then I asked Ralph to take me to the emergency room so they could see if there wasn’t something that could be done to help me feel better. Ralph thought since I had been sick for so long I just needed to get home and get some rest.

At home I could hardly walk in the door, and once I stepped inside the door I collapsed onto the floor thinking I was going to die. Ralph heated up some soup for me hoping it would help me regain my strength, but I could not even lift the spoon to my mouth because I was too sick to do anything. Then the phone rang. It was the doctor, he asked Ralph if I was having blood coming out of my moth, nose or ears. Ralph told him no. Then the doctor told Ralph to take me to the nearest hospital.

We got to the hospital and they drew my blood. The doctor came in to tell me that because this time my blood level read 27 and they would be giving me some plasma since I was at risk for bleeding to death internally. They did a few tests on me and could tell I was having internal bleeding. When the doctor left, the nurse came in to tell me they were very busy and they had just had two ambulances come in spite of this, the nurse wanted me to know I was their number one priority.

When the nurse left I told Ralph that in case I didn’t make it through to do a few things for me. Ralph told me I would be fine and not to worry so much. I was in so much pain I was sure I was not going to live to see the next morning. I was sad that I had not written all my stories. I promised Heavenly Father that if I were to live I would make sure to write my stories down and writing would be my main concern.

A peaceful feeling came over me.  I knew that everything was going to be all right.  The nurse came in and I was wheeled into another room where they gave me plasma and morphine for the pain.  As I felt the medications enter my vein, I slowly started to feel better.  After I got home from the hospital I talked to a few people that I knew from the hospital. Everyone I talked to told me they had never seen a level as high as mine. The nurse I talked to also told me that they were sure I wasn’t going to make it through the night.  I search the internet to see what the highest INR was that was ever recorded. The highest I could find was 15.6, and then it said, “Needless to say this person died of internal bleedings.”

I realized just how blessed I am to be alive. I believe it was because of the Priesthood blessing I got, that I am still here and because I still have important work to do. I am so grateful for the Priesthood and for having a second chance at life and for writing my book.


My oldest son Jared wrote this story when he was seventeen.

I was almost sixteen and I was excited to get my license so I could drive. I was given a
car by my aunt . I thought it was perfect. I didn't have to buy a new car. It was a 76
Oldsmobile. It was just going to be a temporary car until I got a better one, then I was
going to drive this one in a demolition derby. The only thing wrong with it were the bald tires. All I had to do was buy some new tires and register it, and then I could drive
my very own car.

During the summer I mowed our neighbor’s lawn. I saved up $200.00. My dad told me
that I should buy some tires and register the car with that money. But it took me all
summer to save. I wanted to spend it on other things. I begged my dad to register the car
for me, but he said "No, it’s your car so you should do it." I thought if I didn't do it he would
probably do it for me.

The car sat in our driveway and it would be one week before I got my drivers permit. I wanted
to take the car for a spin, but my dad told me not before I had my driving permit.
The next day both my parents and siblings were gone on an errand. The house was so
quiet and I was bored. I looked outside and saw my lonely car parked under the
showering raindrops. I thought I would take the car out for a spin and no one would ever

I took the keys and ran outside to my car and started it up. I drove it to the skate park to show off my car that I was driving all by myself. I picked up one of my friends
and took him for a spin. We did a few donuts on the slippery, freshly rained-on asphalt and then we drove around the neighborhood for a little bit.
I went to make a left turn down by Maverick.  As I turned I thought I would step on the
gas peddle and spin the tires with the big v8 engine. I started fish tailing and lost control.
Being an inexperienced driver, I crashed right into a tree. My friend hit his head on the
windshield and the glass cracked. It made a hole in the radiator and popped the passenger tire making it impossible to drive.

I was so scared when that happened, I felt bad that my friend had hit his head because of me, and I thought I would never get my license. My friend called another friend to give him a ride home. This friend also gave me a ride to my house.
As I was sitting home alone, I dreaded the moment my parents would walk through the door. What would I say to them? How long would I be grounded for? The moment came and they had not notice the car wasn’t sitting in the street. I told my parents the whole story. To my surprise they were not mad. They were mostly disappointed that I disobeyed the law and them. My dad said we should go get the car and tow it home.

When we got to the crash sight, there was already a cop and a tow truck ready to
impound the car. I told the police who I was and what I had done. He was going to give me a ticket for leaving the scene of an accident, but since I came back he only wrote a ticket for driving an unlicensed vehicle, driving without a license and driving without insurance.

I asked them not to impound my car. I told them my dad and I could tow it home. But the police and the tow truck man would not listen to me, and they took my car anyway.
I didn't have the money to get the car out of impound so I had to leave it there.

My dad told me that we would have to go to court and suggested I cut my hair so I would look more presentable. He took the razor out and cut my hair, I watched the curls hit the ground. When my mom walked into the room and saw all my curls on the ground she started to cry. I hugged my mom and told her I was sorry.

I ended up getting my permit the following week.  When I went to court they dismissed the driving without insurance and driving without a driver’s license, but I still had to pay $200.00 for driving an unregistered vehicle.

The money I made in the summer had to go toward the ticket. If only I had obeyed my dad, I would have had a car. But since I disobeyed him I had nothing - no hair, no car, no money.

I wanted to let my hair grow long. My parents told me I could let my hair grow if I was obedient. I learned a good lesson from this. Always obey your parents and the law. Since I started obeying them I got another car and my hair is growing back.

As my hair grew back and got long, a few people thought that I did drugs and stuff like that. But I didn't care what they thought as long as I knew I was not doing anything wrong.

If you obey you will be blessed, if you don’t you won’t.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Precious Bird

A Precious Bird

A few years ago when my oldest son Jared was seven, he was playing outside with his friend who lived up the street. Jared came into the house to tell me that there was a dead bird on the sidewalk. My first thought was to tell him not to touch it but to leave it alone and I would come out and put it in the garbage.

By the look on my son’s face, I could see he was feeling sad over this little creature. I didn’t want to add any more heartache to the situation, so I gave Jared some gloves. I told him to get his shovel and go into the back field and bury it. I suggested he could say a prayer for this bird when he was done burying it.

I was in the kitchen and could see the two boys in the field behind our property. After they had dug the hole and buried the bird, I could see them bowing their heads in humble prayer. It touched my heart to see the faith of these two boys.

What happened next was unexpected. As the boys were praying, the clouds pulled aside to let a sunbeam shine through the spot they were standing on. They looked up to the sky and then at each other. It was as if they realized this was no coincidence. My son came running into the house shouting, “Did you see that, Mommy! Did you see that!”  “Yes, I saw it,” I replied. As all three of us looked out the window, we could still see the light shining on the resting place. I told the boys it was the Lord’s way of thanking them for their kindness.

I had not given this bird much thought, but realized we all learned a valuable lesson that day. Our Heavenly Father does see our every act of kindness and he loves every living thing.

Matthew 25:40,

Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Blanket

I once had a lesson in Relief Society about not comparing yourself to others. The main point of the lesson was not to be so hard on yourself, because you always compare your worst to others best.

On the board the teacher had put up a lot of good quotes. For example, “Be confident, too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to other and wishing to be something we aren't. Everybody has their own strengths and weakness and it is only when you accept everything you are and aren't, that you can truly succeed.”

After the lesson I thought, “Well, it’s a good thing that I am very well aware of my talents and my weaknesses, and that this was definitely one of the things I did not need to worry about.” I didn't want to give the lesson another thought and went on my way.

A few weeks later I started to tend for a lady named *Susie. Susie had a little 10 month old girl named *Jasmine. I met with both Jasmine parents and they seem like they were the perfect little family.

In the morning when Susie would drop off Jasmine I noticed Susie’s clothes were always so perfectly pressed. I wondered to myself how she had time to iron her clothes so neatly since she worked full time, because for me it was hard enough being at home and making sure that my husband had a newly starched and ironed shirt each morning for work.  

Every morning when Jasmine came she was always dressed in the nicest clothes, and everything in her diaper bag was always carefully packed. I noticed particularly that Jasmines blanket was always folded so neatly. I couldn't believe the mom would even take time out of her morning to do that. In the evening when it was time for Jasmine to get picked up, I would make sure to put her blanket back and try to fold it just as neatly as I had found it in the morning.

Every morning I would look at how perfectly the blanket was folded and wonder why I couldn't fold it just as nicely. Each evening before Jasmine went home, I would fold the blanket and then be disappointed in myself that I couldn't do it as well as I had found it in the morning. Then I would say to myself that I would try again tomorrow.

Susie was just perfect in every way, and I wondered if I could ever live up to her. Then I started noticing  that the blanket was not folded on Mondays. I reasoned with myself it was probably because Susie had O.C.D. and didn't want take time out on Mondays to fold the blanket.

A couple of months later, Susie invited my family and me over to their house to celebrate Jasmine’s first birthday. When we got there the whole house was so clean. I looked at the baseboards and thought not even a speck of dust on them, and wondered how Susie was able to do it all. I thought to myself, here I am getting up at 5 in the morning, and I’m trying hard to get everything done before the daycare kids get to my house, yet I am still not able to get it all done.

After the visit to their house I was really down on myself. To make matters worse, each evening when it was time for Jasmine to go home, I still kept trying fold her blanket just as perfect as I had found it in the morning.

After watching Jasmine for little over a year, Susie was expecting another child. Since I too was expecting, I had to quit tending because the doctor had told me to take it easy, due to the last two miscarriages that I had been through.

It was hard for me to have to tell all the parents that I would be quitting, especially because I had become so fond of their kids.

When I gave Susie the news, she took it really hard. She even started crying. It had already been so hard on me to tell her, and I felt even worse once I saw how she reacted. Then she said, “I don’t think I can find anyone else to take care of Jasmine as well as you have.  Since I am expecting again, I guess it’s time for me to quit my job and stay home. Except this is not what I had planned.”

Since Susie was still crying I wanted to say something to help her feel better, so I said, “Well, just think when you are home it won’t be so stressful always to make sure to have your clothes so neatly pressed. Susie looked at me and said, “I don’t have time for that, I just drop them off at the dry cleaners on Fridays after work and then pick them up again on my way to work Monday morning.” I thought, Well that would explain why she always had time to make her clothes look so good. Then I said, “Now you can have time to clean your house and you won’t have to stress over always having it caught up." And again Susie looked at me with the same puzzled look as she responded, “What do you mean? I have a lady that comes in once a week and deep cleans my house. With a full time job, I don’t have time for that!” I was very surprised at her response, but then again, that would explain how she had time for her house to look so good.

Then I said, “Well, now you don’t have to worry about folding Jasmine’s blanket each morning before you put it in the diaper bag.” Once again I got that puzzled look, except this time she asked, “What do you mean? I barely have time to put in a couple of diapers, let alone fold her blanket before I put it in there!” I was confused, so I asked, “Isn't it Jasmine’s favorite blanket? Isn't this the blanket she can’t go to sleep without?” Susie answered, “Yes.” So I asked, “What do you do at night time then?” She responded, “Yes, it’s her favorite blanket. But she has two of them. One I keep at home and the other one I only take out of the diaper bag Friday evenings to wash it and then I throw it back in Monday mornings.” I was still a bit confused. So I asked again, “You never fold that blanket?” Susie answered with a very firm, “No, I don’t have time for that!” In that moment I realized it had been me the whole time folding that blanket. I had been competing against myself trying to fold it just as perfect as I had found it in the morning. I started to laugh. Susie didn't understand what was so funny. I didn't know if I could even begin to explain it to her, I tried, but I could tell Susie had no idea what I was talking about.

Here I was after all this time, being so hard on myself, wondering how Susie could be so perfect and have time for everything, when there was so much more to it.

Even though I couldn't even begin to have her understand what I was talking about, I learned an important lesson that day. It brought me back to the lesson I had heard in Relief Society a little over a year earlier. If anyone needed to heed that lesson it was me, no matter how long it had taken me to realize it.

“Be confident, too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to other and wishing to be something we aren't. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses and it is only when you accept everything you are and aren't, that you can truly succeed.”

                                                                    Sarah and Jasmine
Famous quotes:

Comparison is the thief of joy… Theodore Roosevelt

Don't compare yourself with anyone in this world...if you do so, you are insulting yourself. Bill Gates

The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday… Unknown

*Names have been changed.