Hidden Talents?

it’s a bit crazy, but I am as surprised by my new (lucky) talent as anyone. I have only hosted occasional family gatherings and when I did those, I really only concentrated on the food – not the decorations! In the mission, however, the Office secretary is expected to do many things. Decorating the tables for zone conference luncheons forContinue reading “Hidden Talents?”


We live in Escazú, San José Costa Rica. Escazú is a suburb of the big city and it is considered one of the nicest areas in the city. On our way to the office we pass this street sign. It is a funny sign. It helps us laugh at ourselves, forgive ourselves for the follies of youth, and look atContinue reading “STREET SMARTS?”


It seems that even though WE try to be very diligent about it, sometimes we fill out the paperwork incorrectly. A visa can’t be awarded if the information is wrong – and we got an Elder’s name AND his nationality wrong. Unfortunately, this type of error can only be corrected at the main Immigration Center in downtown San José. ItContinue reading “ERRORES”

Blessed to Serve

“Some people go through life feeling like they hit a home run, when in reality they were lucky enough to be born on third base.” This expression is a reality check that provides a humbling perspective of our achievements – and engenders an awareness of the burdens others may carry. Many young men and women sing –“I hope they callContinue reading “Blessed to Serve”

Semana Santa

This is a week long celebration here in Costa Rica, with parades, special dinners, and sacred assemblies. Elder Hofhiens and I were leaving the office late one night – around 8 pm – and were flagged down by neighbors. A neighborhood parade was taking place up the street in celebration of Jesus the Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem. Jesus Christ hasContinue reading “Semana Santa”


General Conference in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is held twice a year. People come from all over the world to share messages of faith and hope. Members take time to watch 5 (2hr) conference sessions over one weekend. WE honestly didn’t ask family members to share their conference experiences but they did! It’s a modern dayContinue reading “CONFERENCE!”

Henrietta Boggs

A woman who took part in much of Costa Rican political history, Henrietta Boggs was a fiery, southern lady and a writer. She first came to Costa Rica in 1941 to visit an Aunt and Uncle, but she ended up captivating the young José Figueres – a man who went on to shape Costa Rican history and is now affectionatelyContinue reading “Henrietta Boggs”

English in Costa Rica?

“Today, English practice was really hard,” Elder Suarez says as he leans towards me. “Did you know there are 20 words that signify ‘to get’ in English. It’s crazy!” I laugh, feeling his pain. “English is hard work Elder, but this is the best time to learn English. You already have time set aside every day for language study, andContinue reading “English in Costa Rica?”

Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center

Our grandchildren love animals. When they learned we were going to Costa Rica for our mission, they gave us homework. Find sloths, toucans, and crocodiles! We found an animal rescue center about an hour away from San José. We found about 10 sloths! Most of these animals are in cages – mainly to protect them from human interaction. These animalContinue reading “Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center”

Mission Conference!

Wednesday morning we woke to the news that Brian K. Taylor, our Area General Authority, was coming in person to speak to the whole Mission the very next day! Cue the Craziness!!! Enjoy the Slide Show — 1. Élder y Hermana Hofhiens 2. Tres Élderes 3. Presidente Hermana Cates 4. Dos Hermanas 5. Dos Hermanas y Élder 6. Tres ÉlderesContinue reading “Mission Conference!”


We had 12 young missionaries come from the US, Panama, Honduras, and El Salvador this past week. It was a busy week! We made bank deposits of @ $3000 to ensure that each Elder and Hermana started the process to obtain a Religious Volunteers Visa. Added to that, each missionary had photos to take, legal papers to sign, and fingerprintingContinue reading “Immigration”

Mission Life…

But first – there is much to do when it comes to establishing a life in a foreign country. To establish residency, it takes money, fingerprinting, a lawyer, (more money), and paperwork. Who does all this for all the missionaries? The office missionaries. I am in training to do it for all the missionaries in the Costa Rica, José WestContinue reading “Mission Life…”

Into the Unknown…

It’s a strange feeling to walk around with this badge. I am at once proud and awkward. Standing out doesn’t come natural, but now I am a representante de Jesucristo and I am meant to stand out … and be recognized! This week we finished with the Mission Training Center. While we didn’t understand everything they were trying to teachContinue reading “Into the Unknown…”


Welcomed, encouraged, taught and engaged in Gospel instruction at the Missionary Training Center (MTC), our schedule was full! We taught lessons, completed assignments, created experiences, and listened to inspiring devotionals. Mainly, we explored the Why of our Service. Yo Iré, Yo Hará! I will go, I will do! To Invite others to Come unto Christ, to more fully understand HimContinue reading “Preparación”


Even the word – aspire – sounds like breathing, and breathing is life, and this is your life! What do you want to do with it this year. Actually, one month of 2022 is gone, but there is still time to dream, aspire, work, and enjoy the results. What will you do to breath new life into this new year?Continue reading “ASPIRE”

This Time

I may have mentioned that I’ve lived overseas before. I’ve even learned languages — but only enough to give directions to a driver or shop in a supermarket. I didn’t really form any meaningful and lasting connections with locals. At that time, my focus was on creating wonderful memories and raising my children. But, this mission to Costa Rica isContinue reading “This Time”


I had lived overseas for many years and I really didn’t want to leave my new home back in the USA, but it was time. WE had time. So we put in our papers and took a sight-seeing trip around our beloved country. We were in Florida when the e-mail informing us of our 18 month mission assignment showed upContinue reading “Becoming…”


It’s time to get excited about a new year and a NEW YOU! One good thing about Covid is how it makes us focus on our lives – not just what we do, but how we do it. Henry James, a great writer, once said – Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. TheContinue reading “2022!”


Not too far from Serpent Mound is the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park in Chillicothe, Ohio. This ram’s horn is in the display case and it carries with it a very interesting cultural significance. The ram’s horn is a very important instrument that is used to practice the Law of Moses. The horn, or Shofar, is blown every weekly shabbat,Continue reading “Shofar”

Seeing Clear

In that moment, the wind spoke and all three, the Prince, the Prime Minister, and the young steward stopped to listen to the song until it finished. “Did you hear that?” The Prince asked. “Only the birds on the wind, Sire” the Prime Minister said. He snapped his fingers in front of the steward’s face. “Wake up, lad! The PrinceContinue reading “Seeing Clear”

Bug Eyes

Now, some scientist would say that insects with their gazillion eyes are beautiful.  But remember, these strange admirers are scientists. And even scientists don’t marry bugs. Our Prince looked at his murky green eyes so full of jealousy. Then, he looked at his blood-red eyes so necessary in maintaining power. And last, he held up the hand mirror to examineContinue reading “Bug Eyes”

Six Eyes!

He had SIX eyes! One pair sat at the top of his forehead and gave off a neon red glow. His own green eyes sat below the red, but they were no longer beautiful. They were tainted by an inky black film. And his last set of eyes? The Prince raised his hands to feel along the back of hisContinue reading “Six Eyes!”

The Handsome Prince

Prince Gant was young, tall, and extremely good-looking with the most penetrating green eyes anyone in the kingdom had ever seen. When he spoke all the notable men and women of the land stopped what they were doing and listened to him. With the beautiful Princess Everly already devoted to him, he was destined to be a great King. But,Continue reading “The Handsome Prince”

Serpent Mound

This past October I visited the sacred Serpent Mound in Ohio for the first time. It was a beautiful place and the size was amazing! No picture can really describe the way you feel as you walk around such a monument. It is almost mythic in proportions! Serpents are sacred animals in many cultures. Among the Nephites, the story ofContinue reading “Serpent Mound”

Sacred Space

Various native traditions and stories are associated with Serpent Mound. Mekoce Shawnee Chief, Frank Wilson, tells a story that connects the mound with a ritual of spiritual cleansing: If you count the curves in the Serpent, there’s seven of them, there’s seven curves before it gets to the head. And seven, the way I was taught, for the Shawano people,Continue reading “Sacred Space”

Ohio’s Mounds

This is a picture of the Fort Ancient entrance – not an easy place to enter if you aren’t wanted! The Book of Mormon supports such sites when it reads “…the Lamanites could not get into their forts of security by any other way save by the entrance, because of the highness of the bank which had been thrown up,Continue reading “Ohio’s Mounds”

Fort Ancient

The site is completely surrounded by one long enclosure mound. Approximately 32 miles northeast of Cincinnati, Ohio, lies the Fort Ancient Mound Builder site. Though abandoned as a permanent settlement prior to European contact, Fort Ancient is considered a sacred space by many Native Americans. Fort Ancient people observed important lunar events. At the gateway, one mound marks three importantContinue reading “Fort Ancient”

Woodland Indians

Recreated Temple mound at Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, rising 17′ tall and 223′ x 178′ at the base, the mound was the center of all village activities.

Promised Land

This monument at the Big Horn Battlefield in Montana is to commemorate the Native American way of life that was uprooted and destroyed by European peoples immigrating from Europe in the 1800’s. The scattering of the Native Americans were foretold by their ancient forefathers – they would be “scattered before the Gentiles and smitten.” Yet, their Fathers assured them thatContinue reading “Promised Land”

Native American Art

I found a display of Native American Birdstones in the Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming. These particular birds are dated much earlier than the pipe in Mira & Jax and the Mound Builders. These birds piques the imagination of what Jax’s bird pipe may have looked like.


No matter who you are or where you live, you are a part of society and, as such, you are subject to society’s influences. The people who raise you, teach you, and entertain you will have an effect on your personal values. As mindful individuals, we need to be aware of the influences that shape ourselves and our families. ThisContinue reading “Influence”

Teacher’s Influence (4 of 4)

With a quick flick of his wrist, Gavin grabbed for my hat exposing my newly shaved head.  “You cut it off!” He exclaimed, shock all over his face. “I can’t believe it! You followed that old toad.” “Ms. Ann is not a toad,” I said, defending her. Gavin had a nickname for all of our teachers. Some of the namesContinue reading “Teacher’s Influence (4 of 4)”

Teacher’s Influence (part 3 of 4)

I scooted past Ms. Ann and Clark/Celeste talking in the classroom doorway. “This is really quite beautiful lace, Celeste. Where did you find your gown?” Ms. Ann asked. “Downtown threads,” Clark/Celeste answered, pushing their hair back with black-painted fingers. Clark had decided to try out a feminine persona sometime around Thanksgiving. He made a striking girl. Everyone was in theContinue reading “Teacher’s Influence (part 3 of 4)”

Teacher’s Influence (2 of 4)

The principal and Ms. Ann met with Brooke’s parents, but no one knows what came of it. All I know is that Brooke transferred out and Ms. Ann was still here. “These are bold, confident strokes!” Ms Ann said, coming up behind me with a smile. “It looks very good, Eugenia.” Suddenly her expression turned thoughtful. “Eugenia,” she repeated my nameContinue reading “Teacher’s Influence (2 of 4)”

Teacher’s Influence I

The following is a 4 part short story designed to demonstrate the influences a young, impressionable girl may feel in an art magnet class in her hometown. Taking a step back from the easel, I reviewed my work. Something was still not right. This artistic challenge was proving to be tricky!  The assignment called for choosing an idea or emotion.Continue reading “Teacher’s Influence I”


With the advent of the internet, many people thought libraries would become extinct, but Libraries have grown to fill the new demands the information age has created. Where else can you go for free internet access and a computer? Where else are Free Books, E-books, and Audiobooks offered? Where else can you browse a tactile world of ideas? Our LibrariesContinue reading “*Libraries*”


Romantic Love

We all want true love – that special someone who will share our hopes and our dreams. That person we can grow old with, the one person who knows us at our worst, and rejoices with us at our best. We all want that happily ever after. Unfortunately for many of us, happily ever after has proven elusive. We haveContinue reading “Romantic Love”

To the Osprey

You can see the osprey nest from our deck. Have you ever seen a baby osprey? Come and look through the telescope. You’ll see the chick. He’s so ugly, he’s cute. He has a scrawny neck. Can you can see him? It’s that tiny head peaking up over the edge of all that nesting wood. Here comes Elvis. That’s whatContinue reading “To the Osprey”

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